Holston invests in new, intuitive website to meet conference needs

Holston invests in new, intuitive website to meet conference needs

Holston.org is new and improved! The first phase of a major redesign and relaunch of Holston Conference’s website workhorse was unveiled earlier this week.

According to the Rev. Tim Jones, the brand-new website features an "intuitive structure and powerful search engine that ensures everything you need is only a click away."

The new website is brighter, cleaner, and reorganized to highlight and advance the many missions and ministries of Holston Conference and its 862 congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia.

Jones is Holston’s full-time director of communications, appointed in July 2018.

“Ever since I arrived, I heard about the difficulty in finding things on our website. Our number-one goal is to make this new website user- and resource-friendly,” he said.

Rev. Tim Jones,
director of communications
Brick River, a company with a long history of creating websites for United Methodist annual conferences, was selected to take Holston Conference Communications to a new level.

In working with Brick River, Jones leads a team including Donna Hankins, multimedia coordinator; the Rev. Timothy Hankins, chair of the Communications Advisory Council; and Annette Spence, news editor.

Users of “phase one” of the new Holston.org will immediately see an emphasis on news, stories, photos, and resources.

“Based on traffic from our previous website, we realize news and stories are the most sought-after content,” Jones said.

The previous website was launched in July 2014, according to Donna Hankins. The 2019 edition is the fourth generation of Holston.org sites since the first in 2001.

While staff members have worked on the new website for months already, Jones asked users to remember it is a “work in progress.” Jones and his staff will continue to work with mission leaders to update their pages and add new content.

“In a conference this size, with all of our wonderful missions and ministries, this will always be a process that is ongoing,” he said.

This month, Jones will launch a new podcast series, “Heard in Holston,” to be featured on the site. The popular email series, “Daily Devotional,” written by Holston church members, will be easier to access when it moves to a blog format on the new website in time for the Advent season.

Coming in 2020, phase two of the new website will include implementation of a new database. The cloud-based system will help church leaders access statistical information quickly to make appointments and do other church work.

The cost for the new website, including design, hosting, launch, maintenance, and security, was $34,100, Jones said.

“Please share your stories with us,” he said, noting the new Holston.org also offers an easy way for readers to submit news, job openings, events, blog posts, resources, videos, and even recipes.

Check out the new Holston.org now.

To contact Tim Jones, email timjones@holston.org.



Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.