December 2018 Newsletter


Dear Webmasters:

Happy Holidays!

Please help me congratulate more than 30 congregations who have gone live on RJ Web Builder 3.0 over the past two months. You can check out a full list on the help site. Kol Hakavod to the new sites! This means that RJ Web Builder 2.0 is officially shut down. Thank you for all of your cooperation throughout the past few months.

Feature Updates
As promised, each quarter we would review suggested plugins and determine their viability to the RJ Web Builder 3.0 system. This quarter we choose to fix a major issue with the Events Calendar plugin. Prior to these custom changes, if you deleted an event in Google, you still had to delete it from the website. Our developer has customized the plugin and this option is now automatic. Now if you delete an event from Google it should be removed automatically from the website during the next import. I hope you all find this change helpful. If you do have any issues with this new feature, please let me know.

Frequently Asked Questions
A question that has come up a lot lately is how can you create more admin accounts. Only network admins (that’s me) can create other administrators. It's a default WordPress behavior for security reasons so there's no way around this. As an admin in a multisite network, you won't be able to create or manage other admin accounts. You can create all other levels of accounts (e.g., editor, author etc.) but only network admin can manage admin accounts on individual sites. If you need another admin account set up, please submit a support ticket.

Best Practices for Welcoming Congregational Websites
Here is a great article about what makes a great congregational website by looking at successful church websites. Note that none of the discussion is about platform or functionality. It’s all about what you post and how you welcome potential members. Learn more.

News from the URJ
There are many changes coming to the Union for Reform Judaism in 2019. Please read this blog post from Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

Finally, we are one year away from URJ Biennial, which will be December 11-15, 2019, in Chicago, IL. I hope to meet many of you there, so mark your calendars.

Best wishes for a happy secular New Year for you and your congregation.

Joel Emerman
Congregational Websites Manager
212.452.6579 (Central Time)

Quick Tips

How to Set up SEO on Your Site
Many of you have noticed the words "Agency Demo" or "Corporate Demo" in the browser tab of your home page. This stems from the demo sites, and it can be easily changed. To do so, update the search engine optimization (SEO) tools offered through Yoast, which you can find it near the bottom of any page or post.

How to Add a Sidebar Menu
You can add a menu to the sidebar of your pages that displays only submenu items within that parent.

Did You Know?

The URJ Has a New Shabbat Video Perfect for Your Younger Members
Rabbi Leora Kaye explains how to make the blessings over the Shabbat candles, wine, and bread (challah). Watch the video.

The Month's Bulletin Tips
When you continue to do the same thing you’ve always done, you continue to see the same results. Instead, you should track the success of your emails to learn how effective they were and how you can do better in the future. Read How to Track the Success of Your Email Marketing.  

You can Make Your Website More Accessible to People with Vision Impairments by adding alt text and image descriptions. People who rely on assistive technology in order to navigate the internet will be better able to use your congregation’s website. This article will teach you how to make your site accessible to more of your membership. Learn how to add alt-text in WordPress.

Social Media Webinar Recordings
Last month the Union for Reform Judaism hosted two webinars with Kate Bigam Kaput, the URJ's Digital Communications Manager.

  • Social Media 101
    Kate shares content ideas, scheduling tools, technological best practices, and provides tips for finding the right social media platform for your congregation’s marketing needs. Learn how to boost posts, analyze metrics, leverage Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms, and more, all designed to improve your messaging and strengthen your congregation’s online presence. Watch the webinar and review the slides in The Tent.

  • Social Media 201
    Kate shares how to create click-worthy content, work with (not against!) Facebook’s algorithms, implement an Instagram strategy, and use your social media analytics to inform your content strategy. Watch the webinar and review the slides in The Tent.

Staying in Touch

We are challenged in reaching current webmasters due to high turnover and changes in email addresses. If you are receiving this email, you are the person who was reported to the URJ to be handling your congregation's website. If there are additional people who need to be on this list or if you need to get off this list, please send corrected information to


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