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About

"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Best. Church-Website. Ever.

My vote for best church website is Mars Hill Church Seattle. It's got loads of free stuff on there. I'm not going to link to it all here. Go and check it out. They have sermons, gospel class stuff, announcements, music, magazine, doctrinal statements, videos, blogs, maps, members section forum, hyperlinks, links, text, contact page... you name it they've got it!

What do you think?
What are the criteria for a good church website?
Put any good examples in the comments...

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  • Blogger David says so:
    Wednesday, November 08, 2006 2:49:00 pm  

    i'd be keen to here thoughts on this and also see examples. so i'll get the ball rolling...

    What do you think?
    i agree david.
    i think that mars hill is a good church website

    What are the criteria for a good church website?
    -fresh content
    -not 90s looking
    -not made in frontpage
    -rss feeds
    -media section - sermons minimum
    -outsider friendly
    -good navigation
    -no side ways scrolling
    -not too much flash?
    -still friendly to dial-up (cos that's what I have!)
    -no clip art
    -images are good (mars hill doesn't have much in that way) (american sites often have ones that are a bit too cheesy and model-posed - australian ones often have photos at the other end that are a bit daggy - a bit too much "we can tell this was taken in a school hall by someone with no idea about lighting" + ones that aren't framed well or compressed for use on web!)
    -maintained by someone under40 pref a twenty-something
    -consistent colour use
    -font smaller rather than larger

    Put any good examples in the comments...
    i'll get back to you on that one dave... top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, November 09, 2006 5:28:00 pm  

    the comments are going wild here!!

    c'mon... would love to hear some ideas and see some egs... top

  • Anonymous CJ says so:
    Thursday, November 09, 2006 7:30:00 pm  

    Okay. Some thoughts on good church website design...

    Do's

    * Do consider who your website is for. Is it targeted at the regular members of your church, or at people who might be new to the area (as possible examples)? Write it accordingly.
    * Do make your navigation simple and user-friendly. There is nothing worse than knowing something is there but not being able to find it.
    * Do use a consistent 'template' so that all pages have the same feel (the homepage may be an exception to this - although personally I disagree with that).
    * Do include multimedia content for users to look at (photos, sermons, videos etc). People will return to your website if they know that there will be new content.
    * Do test the website in a variety of browsers.

    Dont's

    * Don't over-commit. If there is no-one to regularly update the site create a site that just has 'static' info (ie stuff that won't change from week to week)
    * Don't use religious jargon that will scare away visitors.
    * Don't use Frontpage. Ever. For any reason. Even if your life depended on it.
    * Don't try to cram too much stuff onto the homepage.
    * Don't be afraid of 'white-space'. Blank areas keep a page neat and tidy.
    * Don't over-do Flash or other animated gimmicky things.
    * Don't use a repeated background image for the background (*ahem* ccecyouth)
    * Don't make the file size of each page too big (not more than 50kb is a good guide). People won't stick around if pages take ages to load.
    * Don't leave out-of-date material on the website.

    Okay, that's all that comes to mind off the top of my head. Some links that people might find useful:

    * Church webpage design - Contains some good thoughts, but the links at the bottom are good value here.
    * 75 tips for church websites - The first link from the above page. A goldmine of valuable stuff to think through.
    * Not For Free - An interesting discussion on whether volunteers should design church websites. Personally I don't quite agree with his argument, but the comments below the article are worth reading through. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Monday, November 13, 2006 12:32:00 pm  

    thanks for the ideas cj.

    got some good stuff in there. top

  • Blogger anthony says so:
    Thursday, November 23, 2006 11:04:00 am  

    Something else to think about is management. To keep the site fresh and lively content will need to be added regularly, at MHC we have been using feed distribution and re-purposing to allow campuses to blogs and distribute that content across to the main site. This can allow volunteers to easily update content in blogs that people at those campuses or ministries can subscribe to the latest information as well as allows the front page to pickup and display the latest content.

    Thinking about a sleek efficient and not overly designed (or corporate) method for content management, that works for _your people_, is important when working within Gods economy. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, November 23, 2006 1:35:00 pm  

    g'day anthony,

    there are some really helpful ideas there.

    are you involved in running the MHC site?

    what people resources would go into maintaining it?

    grace and peace
    dave top

  • Blogger anthony says so:
    Friday, December 08, 2006 5:34:00 am  

    david,

    Yes, I help recently with some of the design work related to the latest revision of the site, as a volunteer. We are blessed to have a number of volunteers that actually help with everything from hosting to coding the back end of the site when changes need to be made. At the moment most of the maintenance on written content can be handled by one person updated our wiki. Each of the campuses as one person in charge of the campus blog, and getting information out.

    As well the site often acts as a collection of other resources that are created by other ministries such as our printed paper "VOX POP", which has its own blog to post content from the paper. Then there is the video and audio from the sermons which ends up having a team of people devoted to production. But in these cases once production in done and the files are uploaded we have worked to make it as simple as possible to make pages which point to that content. We have also tried to set things up so that they run smoothly with little input, but when a volunteer is available we have projects on deck which can be done and plugged in (to make things look or function better). I would guess that just for the maintenance of the main site takes 1-2 staff/volunteers but behind that are all staff/volunteers who do content creation throughout the week irrespective of the site. top