March 21, 2012

Claiming Your Place

Nancy Davidge is at the Episcopal Communicators conference this week. This morning she attended a workshop on Claiming Places; prompting us to rerun her Claiming Places blog:

Last night Bill and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner. We chose a restaurant recommended by a friend, envisioning a cozy room with a table by the fireplace.

Remembering that Bill has a few favorite dishes, I went online to review the menu. Googling the restaurant’s name, I was presented with a number of choices, ranging from the restaurant’s own website to a host of free sites offering an array of information – ranging from the basic address and phone number to detailed lists of special offers and other information about the restaurant.

Many of these free web listings are also available to places of worship.

Some have familiar names such as YellowPagesSuperPagesYahoo, or Google Places. Others, such as Yelp, may be new to you yet very familiar to people who turn first to the Internet when looking for information.

If you visit these sites, you’ll often find that your church is already listed and that a Google Places or other map showing your location is provided. If you look carefully, you will find a link offering you the opportunity to claim your site – allowing you to add to or update the listing while preventing anyone else from making changes to your listing.

Using Google Places as an example, once you have claimed your place, you will discover you have the option to include a wide variety of information on your listing in addition to the basics. 

Take a look at the Washington National Cathedral’s or the Old North Church’s (Boston) Google Place page to see how they have used some of the options available to them to share photos or provide information on upcoming events. You’ll also see site reviews; while these two churches are also famous tourist sites, there may be opportunities for members of your congregation or community to post reviews related to their experience of the church's worship, mission, or other efforts. 

How do you get started? Google Places makes it easy. To create or update a listing go to:     

  • Click on Get started under “Get your business found on Google” 
  • Sign in with your Google account or use the “Create an Account Now” button
  • Click the “List Your Business” button
  • Enter your phone number to search for your listing
  • Edit your existing listing or create a new one

Looking for additional support? Visit Google’s “Learn about Places” resource.

As for our anniversary dinner? The online menu showed that the restaurant did serve some of our favorite dishes; Bill and I had a relaxing dinner in front of the fire and added a new restaurant to our list of local favorites.