Month: December 2015

Dealing with Failure on Social Media

Welcome to Episode 39 of the Ask Darrel podcast. In this episode, we talk about dealing with failure on social media.

Dealing with Failure on Social Media

Today on the podcast, we’re dealing with failure. Yes, there are moments when things don’t go right, plans don’t work out and everything doesn’t go your way. Those moments can be tough and can wear you down if you don’t have the right mindset. So let’s talk about how you can overcome failure and recover from mistakes.


My Top Five Tools for Social Media

Welcome to Episode 38 of the Ask Darrel podcast. In this episode, we talk about the my top five tools for social media.

My Top Five Tools for Social Media

Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about the tools that I use on a daily basis to get work done. These are the tools that I use for the social media side of my work.

Ultimate Resources

How to Use Instagram


Instagram and Kids: A Parents Guide to Privacy and Safety


The beginners guide to Twitter by Michael Hyatt


The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter




Twitter Analytics


instget.jpgMy Top Tweet




The Data Pack




Instaport – Instaport is an easy way to download and save all your Instagram photos to your hard drive. Why download your photos? Well, first it’s always good to have backup and second it makes it easier to use the photos for other projects.instaport.jpg





Social Print Studio – I used this create a giant post with my wife’s Instagram photos and turned out awesome. If you’re looking to print photos from your social meida accounts, then check it



SocialBro –  I’ve just started recently using this tool and it’s really useful if you’re a Twitter power user. You can automate replies (not just DM) and analyze other users Twitter accounts. While it’s not a full social media dashboard like Hootsuite, it does have some really cool features.

ManageFlitter – – This is an easy way to shorten links but keep them on brand. With Bitly you can shorten links and still use a custom domain name. For example, I use for all my shortened links.bitly.jpg

Zapier – This a lot like IFTTT but a it has more professional grade features with more platforms you can connect to. If you use Salesforce or Basecamp, then this is the tool for you.zapier.jpg

Google PageSpeed Tools – Your church website has to be fast. The longer your website takes to load, the more likely it is that your visitors will go somewhere else. With Google PageSpeed Tools, you can test how fast your website loads and determine what you need to do to fix it. Google PageSpeed Tools will score your website and then give you custom recommendations on how you can speed up your church’s website.pagespeed.jpg

Moz Local Search – Moz Local Search checks how your church is listed on local search engines for Google, Bing and other services. You can verify to make sure your church name is correct along with your church’s address and phone number.moz-local.jpg

Google Webmaster Tools – Google Webmaster Tools lets you see how Google sees your church’s website. You can see which pages Google has indexed, what websites are linking to you and what errors Google is seeing on your website. You can also see what search terms people are using to find your church’s website as

Open Site Explorer – Open Site Explorer is a lot like Google Webmaster Tools, however I think it is a lot easier to use from a visual standpoint. You can see your top pages, domain authority and compare your church’s website to another church’s

Uptime Robot – If our church website goes down, I want to be the first to know. With Uptime Robot, you get an email anytime your website goes and when it comes back up. I can’t tell you the number of times this has saved our team by alerting us of potential problems before they started.uptime-robot.jpg

Church Online – Are you thinking about an online campus? If so, the Church Online Platform is the way to go. It offers the ability customize the look, real-time chat and offer your viewers someone to pray with. There are similar platforms out there, but they can’t compare in terms of costs and

Church Metrics – Church Metrics is an online dashboard that lets you track attendance, giving, volunteers and decisions. It gives you charts that help you track trends from your desktop or your mobile device. (You want an easy win with your pastor? Set up an account today.)church-metrics.jpg

Hootsuite Mobile App – Yes, you can use the official Twitter and Facebook Pages app to handle multiple accounts, but the Hootsuite’s mobile app is the tool of choice. Here’s a quick rundown of its features:

  • Multiple account management (Facebook, Twitter, etc…)
  • Scheduling of posts in advance
  • Geolocation search for nearby social media activity (read more that here)
  • Check-in with Foursquare
  • Manage your Hootsuite streams


VSCOcam – VSCOcam is the best photo editor on the iPhone. Not only does it come with built-in filters, it also lets you have fine grain control over editing your photos.


Horizon – Horizon is a video camera app with one goal; to rid the world of those horrible vertical iPhone videos. You know the ones I’m talking about. The kind that makes you think you’re looking through some sort of rectangular peephole. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just ask any video professional, and then watch them start to tear up.


IFTTT – I like things that are automatic. IFTTT (If This Then That) let’s me automate a lot of my life. You can automate photo backups, your Buffer account, notifications and more. Recently, they released an iPhone app which let’s you automate actions on your phone. For example, let’s say you added a reminder in Siri but you also want email to yourself that reminder, IFTTT for the iPhone can do that. The possibilities are endless.


Feedly – There’s no way to keep up with every social media news site, but there is a way to put all those updates in one place. Using Feedly you can create a dashboard for all your news sources. You can also connect to other services like Pocket to save articles for later reading. (Bonus feature: you can hook up Feedly to Buffer with IFTTT to automatically tweet articles you save.)


Over – Over for me is the best way way to lay text over your photos. While there are other choices, Over provides the best selection of fonts and tools for creating art on the go for your church social media channels.


Giphy – Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m guilty of occasionally sending a friend or two an animated gif. I love them. I think they’re hilarious and they beat sending a normal text message. With Giphy you can search a large database of gifs or even create your own. Is it time waster? Yes. Is it fun? Sure.


Headline Analyzer – Coschedule has created an easy to way to determine whether or not your headlines have a chance to get the attention you’re looking for. With their Headline Analyzer you can test your headline and then see how you can improve it in order to drive more traffice to your site.


Coschedule – Coschedule is an social media management tool that talks to WordPress. It’s a good tool for scheduling posts, repeating content and thinking through your overall content strategy.  I’ve used for last six months and I like what I’ve seen in terms of results.


Skitch – Skitch is an amazing app that let’s you annotate images on the fly. With multiple ways to capture images (screen shot, timed crosshair, etc…) you can mark up images without having to open up Photoshop. I’ve used to make notes on design ideas, create screenshot tutorials and make wireframe markups.


Pablo – Pablo is an easy way to create social media graphics. It integrates with Buffer so it’s very seemless to share images across your social networks. While it’s not a workhorse like Canva, it does make image creation an easy processs.


Platform by Michael Hyatt – This book is great primer on building a platform. While it’s a little dated in its’ methodolgies, it’s still a good read for those just starting out.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk – This is the bible on social media. It should be required for anyone who works with social media. Gary gives very detailed explainations about what works and what doesn’t.

CRUSH IT! by Gary Vaynerchuk – This is book is along the same lines as Platform, however I think it’s little bit more timeless in its advice.

The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk – One of the best books on the power of social media. There are lot of real life examples on what it looks like to listen to your audience.

Mashable’s Facebook Guide

An Easy Facebook Guide For New Users

The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook

Master Facebook on iOS: the complete guide

Google’s Google Analytics Guide by Google

Google Analytics Guide by House of Kaizan

Guide to Google Analytics by SlingShot So

Hover – Hover is where I house all my domains. Why? Because they don’t try to upsell me and they have great customer service.

Unsplash – Unsplash has some of the most beautiful free stock photos on the internet. In fact, they’re so good that almost everyone I know uses them.unsplash.jpg





Death to the Stockphoto


IM Free

New Old Stock



The Best Host for Your Church Website

Welcome to Episode 37 of the Ask Darrel podcast. In this episode, we talk about the best host for your church website.

The Best Host for Your Church Website

Setting up a church website can be a daunting task. There are a lot of options out there and if you don’t have the technical chops you can easily get lost.

Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about some of the different options you have to host your church website. We’ll cover the pros and cons of each, plus I’ll give you my recommendation for a host that is COMPLETELY FREE!


Ask Darrel: Are Facebook Ads a Good Idea?

Welcome to Episode 36 of the Ask Darrel podcast. In this episode, we talk about whether or not Facebook Ads are good idea.

Today’s question comes from listener Andy Sochor. Andy’s question is…

Is paid advertising such as FB sponored posts, ever a good idea for churches? We’re trying to reach our community. If they’re a good idea, how do we get the most out of them?


The Two Things I Wish I Knew Early in My Career

If there are two things I wish I understood earlier in my creative career, they would be the process of Thrasing and Fine Tuning vs Tinkering.


If your work grows, you will inevitably have a new set of problems that arise with growth. With the growth comes more voices and more ideas. There is nothing wrong with new ideas, however with all the new ideas it can become increasingly hard to vet the ideas before they get to far down the track.

This is where thrashing comes in. Thrashing is the process of exploring whether or not the idea really even worth doing. The trick is to do this early and often. By thrashing a idea early you save yourself the headache of spending countless hours on something that won’t come to fruition (and yes, I am guilty of this). By thrashing often, you can create a culture where you instinctively do this when the opportunity rises.

“Can I tell you if your baby is ugly?”

That is the phrase we use when we are in the thrashing process. It might get a laugh, but I say it for reason. We’re trying to point out that we know that ideas are like babies and everyone thinks theirs is special and unique. Well they’re not and that is why we thrash them. Thrashing is not easy. In fact, it can be painful and often is, but not thrashing is even more painful.

Fine-Tuning vs Tinkering

Apple fine tunes products. Just take a look at the new iPhone. They spent hours figuring out which glass to encase the phone in. The user interface icons were painstakingly chosen and refined. Everything is fine tuned and you can feel it. This fine tuning is possible due the fact that Apple just focuses it efforts on a few projects and sets it’s own internal deadline for releasing a product (in other words only they know the release date).

Microsoft tinkers with products. Just look at the amount of money they spend on R&D ($9.5 billion). Why do they get so little return on that money? Because more than likely they have hundreds if not thousands of projects going on at the same time. At that rate you really can’t fine tune anything, especially when you announce products almost a year in advance. This of course throws a public deadline around your neck, which has Microsoft rushing to get it out the door. Too many products, with a lot of tinkering and public deadlines is a complete mess.

Tinkering is okay in the creative process. Sometimes by tinkering with something you can make a new discovery. However, tinkering doesn’t need to take place when you are trying to get something out the door.

Fine tuning though, is a must towards the end of a project. Fine tuning provides the user the feeling that what they are experiencing has depth and was carefully thought through. Fine tuning is what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

So tinker all you want on the front end, just make sure you fine tune on the back end.


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