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Responsive Media Library

A new media library functionality is now available for all users that utilize a responsive template. This new layout is optimized for mobile and desktop devices, and allows for better categorization, Bible text organization, and grouping into sermon series.

To get started, go to the Site Manager and click on the "Media" heading on the left side menu. Then click on "Upgrade My Library" to get started.

This upgrade process might take a few moments, and when it is done you'll be able to interact with the new library format. A few more options will then be present in the Site Manager that you can work with.

Manage Media Series

The Media Series are a great way to organize your sermons by the series that they are presented in. Before adding an individual sermon file, click on this link to add a new series into which that sermon can be added. Give the series a name, a description and an image for it to display nicely in a new series view that you can select from the menu builder.

Manage Speakers

In order to promote a better system of functionality, we've now given the ability to add speakers which can have images and bios and other pieces of information that can be presented on a speaker bio page specifically. This also allows for sorting by speaker. Like with the series, you'll need to add a speaker to this section first before you are able to assign a sermon to him.

Manage Categories

To categorize sermons, they will first be added by this link and then selected when adding a new sermon record. Much like the series and speakers, the categories will be listed in a drop-down box when adding a new sermon.

For a helpful example of how this new library layout will appear, you can see an example at http://www.bethanycf.org/media/180018899

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Creating a Mailing List

Creating a convenient alias for a large list of contacts is one of the most practically helpful things that church administrators can make. Instead of having to go find the last email and copying all the BCC'd email addresses, you could rather compose a new email and send to, say, "leadership@mychurch.org" by way of example. Here are some quick instructions on how to do this with the email provided with your Finalweb church website solution.

  1. Login to your administrative webmail client. Usually the address is "http://mail.yourdomain.com/admin" but you could also use http://mail.finalweb.net/admin to get to the same place.
     
  2. Click on the "New Mailing List" button to get started


     
  3. In the window that appears, give your mailing list a name, if you need to paste email addresses from a file you will be able to do so later. Enter in a Finalweb email address for the owner then save the list.


     
  4. After adding a title and saving the list, you'll select it from the list of accounts so that email addresses can be added to it. When you click on the name of the list, another window opens in which you'll see a new "Members" tab. If you want to add members one at a time, simply click that tab and add email addresses. But if you would prefer to paste in a list from a csv file, you can do so by clicking on the Members button in the Mailing List tab.


     
  5. After clicking the Members button, paste in your email addresses so that they appear in the blank text area.
     
  6. Click on the "Message" tab, set from action to "Set to value" and enter in owner's email address, set Reply-To: Header action to "Set to sender, check "Set recipient to To: header"


     
  7. Lastly, just save the account so that it can be used to easily distribute messages to everyone on the list.

If you find that you are wanting more customization with respect to who can mail to the account, what the message header is, etc., then please consult the documentation found here for details.

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Domain Transfers

When a new customer begins an account with Finalweb, they frequently have an existing domain name that needs to be transferred, or possibly reconfigured so that it will point to the content that we host. Or, in other cases, an extra domain is purchased separately and needs to be transferred as a secondary or replacement domain for a website. Either way, there are some essential things to understand when going through a domain name transfer process.

First, the transfer of domains occurs between domain registrars. A registrar is an online provider that sells and distributes domain names and their ancillary information (contact information, security, nameserver addresses, etc.). So, when a transfer needs to happen in order to move your domain to Finalweb, we are actually leveraging the services of the registrar that we resell, which is Enom.com. This is why much of the correspondence for the transfer takes place between you, the owner, and the two (sending and receiving) registrar companies.

Second, it is imperative that before a transfer be started, the administrative and registrant contact information that is associated with your domain is updated - especially the email address listed. This address is used during the transfer to verify its sending and receiving, and the process will fail if that email is not opened and its instructions followed. 

Third, any security on the domain will need to be disabled and the domain lock must be turned off (or else the transfer will fail right from the start).

Last, we need for you to secure the transfer code (sometimes called an EPP code or authorization ID or code) and then send it to us. Each registrar is a little bit different in how you can find this code (or any of the other listed items above), so you may need to check with their support and documentation to find out what to do. Once we have the code we can begin the transfer and notify you when it is completed, usually within 2-7 business days.

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Responsive Templates

The latest major trend in web design has to do with "responsiveness" in websites. What this means is that a site that is considered to be "responsive" adapts its layout to fit (or respond) to whatever device is accessing it. So, the desktop version of a site and a mobile phone version are the same design, carry the same color scheme and theme, etc., but they are both distinct in how they are actually displayed on the screen.

This trend is great because sites that employ such a design make helpful accommodation for the growing amount of mobile traffic. But finding a template-based CMS that can give you both a responsive design and the features your organization needs is more of a difficult chore than it perhaps should be. This is due to the fact that many solutions offering a responsive layout at low cost are actually not really providing much functionality besides adding text to a page. So, a solution that offers more functionality ends up costing significantly more, because that's what the market allows.

Here at Finalweb, we're looking to bring you the best of all three - attractive, responsive designs combined with great functionality and ultra-low cost. 

And, as a start, we've recently released some responsive templates that even have unique tools for creating a beautiful homepage for your site. To start using one of these, just go to the "Change Template" link in your admin toolbar and then choose 6500, 6510 or 6511. If you are not yet using Finalweb, feel free to start a free trial today.

Here are some pictures of what one of them (Template 6511) looks like:

 

 

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How to Create More Email Accounts

Whether it is because of a new staff member, or for the purposes of organizing contact information, the need sometimes arises to create a new email account. Fortunately, the email system included with your Finalweb web solution provides a simple and efficient way to do just this. Follow the steps below, and then look at our documentation for configuring accounts in desktop and mobile clients for sending and receiving mail.

To setup additional email accounts:

  1. Visit http://mail2.finalweb.com/admin

  2. Login using your administrative username (this will be your Finalweb username, followed by the @ sign and your domain name.) For example, john.doe@church123.com and password.  The password is the same password you received to administer your web site when it was originally configured.  NOTE:  DO NOT DELETE THIS ACCOUNT!
  3. Click the "New User" button located towards the upper-left side of the window
  4. In the "Alias" box, type the portion of the email address that will appear before the @ sign.  For instance, john.doe would be an alias for john.doe@church123.com
  5. Type the same thing in the "username" box.
  6. Type the Full Name of the user associated with this box.
  7. Type and confirm a password for this mailbox. Make sure the password contains at least 8 characters, one number, and one capital letter.
  8. Click "OK" at the bottom of the window.


For more information about the settings above, click the question mark icon at the top of the settings window. 
 

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App PayPal Client ID

The Finalweb Mobile native app solution has just released and provides a host of mobile-integrated solutions for your church. One of these features is the ability to collect donations via PayPal straight from your church's mobile app. But there are a few steps required in order to have this working correctly, and they are outlined here.

First, navigate to https://developer.paypal.com and login with your PayPal account. After you've been logged in, click on the "Dashboard" link in the top menu to get started:

The next screen lists out all the apps the you've configured to work with your PayPal account; most likely there will be none here. To create an ID for your Finalweb Mobile app, click on the "Create App" button in the top right of the My REST apps content area.

To create a new app, simply provide an arbitrary App Name in the field provided. This will most-likely be the name of your church or ministry. The Sandbox developer account should be pre-filled for you; just leave it as it is.

The next screen shows that the app was created successfully. The app display name is the same as the app name, but you can change it to be something else if you'd like. The Client ID is lower on the page and will need to be copied to your clipboard for use in the Finalweb App Manager.

Having copied the Client ID, go to your website's App Manager and select the App Configuration tile from the quicklink section.

Lastly, paste the Client ID into the provided fields (both the Production ID and Sandbox ID fields should be entered, and they should contain the same copied string). If you would like to test out the payments in your app for a while, choose "Sandbox" in the PayPal Mode dropdown list; otherwise set it to Production.

Save the changes and that's all. You may have to wait for a few minutes for the app to refresh with your new settings, but before long you can begin testing and using PayPal donations from your church's Finalweb Mobile app, whether you are using the Unbranded or the Branded solution.

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Linking to Files in a Menu

Sometimes it's necessary to create a link to a file from a top or side menu of your Finalweb website. Perhaps it's a PDF or an image file that needs to be emphasized, but there is a simple process that you can follow in order to make this happen.

First, you'll need to upload the file to the server so that is available for linking. Go into your Site Manager and find File Manager underneath the Tools heading on the left. This view shows you all the files that are currently associated with your site. Since you can't create a folder here, we recommend just adding these files for custom links into the root folder which you first see.

Click on the "Upload Files" button and navigate to the document or other file that you'd like to add as a link. Once it's uploaded you will actually need to re-enter the File Manager in order to see it in the list, so simply click again on the File Manager link in the menu on the left. Scroll down to see your newly-uploaded file.

Next, you will need to copy the URL to this file to your clipboard. Right-click on the link title itself, underlined in white, and select the correct option that your browser provides to copy the link (each one is different - the image here is what Firefox presents: "Copy Link Address").

Next, return to a page on your site where you can edit the menu into which the link should be placed. Drag up a new External Link, found in the "Headers/Other" tab at the bottom.

Once it's dropped into the correct place, configure the name and target and then paste (ctrl-v or command-v) the copied link location into the URL field. We also recommend removing all the text of the link up to the "/home/" that you'll see.

Once the menu is saved, you'll have a link all set in the menu to open a file when it is clicked.

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Switching Email Hosts

Setting up a new website for your church involves a number of different components. Managing administrators, pages, designs and graphics can be difficult enough, but on top of all those things often is the task of switching email from one host to another. Hopefully this article will provide some helpful information on how you can take to make this process efficient.

If you don't yet use email with your domain, or if it is a new domain that's being set up, all you need to do is to add accounts so your users can begin utilizing mail. But if you have email addresses in use with your domain, and if you want to keep the actual email messages within those accounts then the following steps will help you to accomplish that. Since mail hosts don't provide a way to transfer mail to another provider, you'll have to do in manually, using both POP and IMAP protocols. 

Another important thing to understand is that once a domain is transferred to Finalweb's hosting, both web and email requests for the domain will be set to point to us, and not the old host. If you end up needing to keep email hosted at the old host for a time or indefinitely, just let us know and we'll work with you to accommodate that. Most of the steps that will be covered below should be accomplished before the domain is transferred, so work can begin as soon as a package is purchased.

After signing up and receiving basic set up instructions, you should begin creating new mailboxes on our email server. Login to http://mail2.finawleb.net/admin using the provided administrative email address and password, and then use the New User wizard to create each account. In order to seamlessly transfer mail and redirect incoming messages to the right place, you will want to create identically named accounts on Finalweb's server - for example, if there exists an "office@mychurchdomain.org" with the old host, you should create an "office" account within our admin client as well. Once those are all created, it's time to start the process of transferring mail.

First, it's important to understand the different between POP and IMAP so you know what's going on. POP will merely download a copy of mail from the server, and then store it in the client. No synchronization between client and server occurs, so organization takes place completely on the local machine. IMAP allows for clients to become synchronized with the mail and folder structures of the server. This is especially useful if you have multiple devices that will need to access mail messages. If a message is deleted from, say, a mobile phone's mail app, it will also be removed from the server and consequently from a laptop client as well.

To begin the process of transferring mail, a desktop client will need to be configured using the old mail host's settings, as a POP account. Outlook is a good candidate but anything will do as long as you can utilize POP (and also be sure that the current server is configured to allow POP; sometimes it is disabled). Below are some images of a sample Outlook configuration, but you'll need to follow instructions that your host provides (if available). Typically, these are the settings:

Name: Your Name
E-Mail Address: youraddress@mychurchdomain.org

Account Type: POP
Incoming Mail Server: old.host.pop_server
Outgoing Mail Server: old.host.smtp_server

User Name: youraddress@mychurchdomain.org (unless the host states differently)
Password: yourpassword

More Settings...
Give the account a new name that will distinguish it from the new one that will be added shortly

Outgoing Server tab and Advanced may have necessary settings, depending upon what the host specifies. 


Setting up an account using POP that is connected to the old mail host.


Inbox display with POP account connected to old mail host.

After all mail has been downloaded, you are actually ready to perform the domain transfer. You should have received instructions on how to do that, or on how to change nameserver records on the domain if you prefer that (which is actually faster to do, and can be done in tandem with a transfer if you'd like). 

At some point during the day of the transfer or nameserver change, mail will begin routing to Finalweb's servers. Once a day has passed since changing the nameserver addresses or since hearing confirmation of a successful transfer, you are ready to create a new IMAP account in Outlook (or any other client) through which the mail transfer will take place. 

Keeping the old POP account still active in Outlook, navigate to create a new account, using the following settings:

Name: Your Name
E-Mail Address: youraddress@mychurchdomain.org

Account Type: IMAP
Incoming Mail Server: mail2.finalweb.net
Outgoing Mail Server: mail2.finalweb.net

User Name: youraddress@mychurchdomain.org
Password: yourpassword

More Settings...
Give the account a new name that will distinguish it from the old one that was previously added.

Outgoing Server - check the box next to "My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication; then choose the radio button which says "Use the same settings as my incoming mail server"

Advanced - Leave incoming alone and change the outgoing (SMTP) server to use SSL for encryption and then switch to port 465. 


IMAP settings for email hosted by Finalweb


More settings; configuring outgoing server information.


Both accounts listed in Outlook.

After this account is created, the only thing left to do is to select mail from the old POP account and drag it into the Inbox or other created folders of the new IMAP account. Outlook will begin sending those messages up to the Finalweb server so that any other devices that connect to the account will have access to the transferred mail. When everything is moved over, feel free to remove the old POP account since it won't be receiving mail anymore.


Select messages from POP account to drag into the IMAP account.


Webmail view of synchronized messages.

We hope this tutorial is helpful, but we're sure there might be questions which will arise, so please feel free to contact our support team for assistance. 

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Overlay Text in Banner Images

Website graphics serve several important functions and they should, therefore, be added with purpose and careful thought. One way to make graphics more interesting is to add overlay text for highlighting events or promoting a concept which captures the interest of the audience. Finalweb provides a helpful tool for church websites that makes adding overlay text to banner images simple.

One method of adding text to images involves image editing software such as Photoshop to do the job. This route offers much flexibility and can help doctor-up pictures to make them look better for the web as well. But one limitation is the fact that the text added is not recognized by search engines. If text is, instead, actually a part of the website's HTML, but sitting on top of an image, it is visible to search engines and can help with search ranking or promotion of various events.

On some of our templates, there exists a tool to render specified overlay text overtop of topbar images. You'll know that your template has this capability if you see fields for title text and sub-title text inside each topbar image's configuration. Some templates also permit specific arrangement of text as well.

If your template doesn't have this feature, feel free to explore the library to see if another would fit what you'd like to do. We're also hard at work to release new templates with this functionality, and at the same time developing the feature into existing templates.

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Google Domain Verification

In order to use certain tools provided by Google with your Finalweb church website, you may be required to verify your domain name. Doing so may seem difficult, but there are actually only a couple of action steps needed. Here is a quick overview of what to do.

1. Login to the Google service (this tutorial exemplifies Webmaster Tools) using the Google account with which the service should be associated. This can be any existing Google account, whether it's a Gmail address or not - just be sure it's set up with Google services. Once you've logged in, you'll see a red button that says "Add Site", and this gets things started.

2. Enter domain information and then you will be directed to a page where Google provides instructions for domain verification. The recommended method involves uploading an HTML file, and we'd prefer our users using one of the alternate methods instead. Click on the "Alternate methods" tab and choose the "Domain name provider option." From the drop down list of providers, select "Other" in order to see the information you need.

3. A long string is provided which should be copied to your clipboard. This will be used in a later step to create a custom DNS record at which Google will look in order to verify domain ownership.

4. After copying the string (begins with "google-site-verification="), go to your Finalweb website, log in, and then go to the Site Manager. Click Tools on the left menu and select "Advanced Domain Tools". From the options that appear, choose "Advanced DNS Editor", then choose your domain from the list of available ones on the next screen.

5. A link to add a new DNS record will appear at the top of the next page, and you will need to click it and then create a new record as specified in the image below:

Choose txt as the type and paste your verification string into the Text Value field. Save changes and wait for Google to verify the domain. That's all!

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