I’ve been surfing the internet since the early 1990’s, you know the time when people were foaming at the mouth about the arrival of the 52k dial-up modem, online chat first appeared, and the Mac Quadra 900 was a super computer. Remember way back then? I seen trends come and go, but one trend that has grown has been the availability of free apps and online tools. I’m very excited at the potential this holds for improving church communications, especially in smaller churches.

You may be just getting started and working at a church or non-for-profit. You may also have a very small budget or no budget but want to do something and get out there onto the web. It’s okay. I’ve been there and I understand your situation. You can relax because getting your church or not-for-profit onto the web doesn’t have to cost you the earth. It’s a big myth that you have to spend up big to have a effective presence.

If you are already on the web and have a small budget, I can understand that too. I’ve been there. You feel like if only you had more money to do x,y, z you could be more effective, right? Here is one online tool (not free, but cheap) that will help you.

Below are 13 tools that will help you if you’re starting up for the first time, or if you’re trying to improve your online presence:

  1. Twitter: 101: This should be every churches, Youth Pastor’s and Communications peep’s friend.
  2. Facebook: Create your church community connection point/marketplace. We have. I also wrote about how to create a free custom Facebook landing page for your churchas well.
  3. Youtube: DIY online video distribution. You can literally broadcast yourself. We did.
  4. Vimeo: Another DIY online video distribution tool. I prefer this to youtube.
  5. Wufooforms: As they say, making forms easy, fast and fun.
  6. Blogger: Create your church homepage today for FREE.
  7. Gmail: Connect anytime, anywhere. Who needs Microsoft Outlook when as a church you can use email for free?
  8. Google Calendar: What’s on and when.  This can serve either as your church calendar of events or as a scheduler.
  9. Google maps: Where you are and how to get there. Excellent idea for helping people get to your church for the first time.
  10. Google Docs: You don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office when you can get most of what that does for free on Google Docs.
  11. iTunes: While not strictly online, you can post your churches sermon here every week. There are heaps of free tutorials on how to do this online.
  12. CoTweet: Time your Tweets to your Twitter feed so your church is posting online at the right time.
  13. Hootsuite: Like with CoTweet you can time your Facebook posts to your Facebook page (and your Twitter page as well if you don’t like CoTweet)

As well as being free, these tools allow anyone (especially those who has a spotty techie, geeky teenager) to set up a church website, start a social media strategy or even set up a virtual church office today.

What free online tools have you found useful?