Many thanks to Mark Walley for bringing these three websites to my attention, pointing out the importance of getting .org, .com and .net … especially when it is a inexpensive as 8.99 a year.
- Swansea New Covenant Church (.org)
- Woodruff Road Christian Church (.com)
- New Life Christian Center (.net)
Aside from the obvious confusion, things are made worse because none of these sites gives us the name of their church AND their location in their <title> tag. Some offer neither. The slogan-based domain name + the unclear title makes it very hard for someone using a search engine to find the church. That and the use of graphics for text, e.g. the front-page header at the .COM site.
Though if we had to pick one of out of the three that needed the most healing, I would have to opt for the graphically-challenged .ORG site with its fuzzy-bevelled buttons, garrish backgrounds that make the text hard to read, and useless animated gifs. That and the THE OVER-USE OF ALL BOLD/UPPERCASE TEXT ON SOME OF THEIR SUB PAGES MAKES US FEEL LIKE YOU’RE YELLING AT US.
Add to this an inconsistent look-and-feel of the sub-pages and you wish they would have at least used the dreaded FrontPage ….
… as was the case with the .COM site. Actually their site isn’t all that bad – but what is it with church sites and the scrolling marquee??? If your text is that important, why blip it across the screen one letter at a time?! That and while Kerry has a nice smile … well … instead how about something a bit more inspiring – like an action shot of Kerry from the service or church event? That said, their color scheme and navigation is good … though I might make the home page a bit lighter by moving some of the information onto sub-pages.
I haven’t said much about the .NET church (not affiliated with MSFT’s .NET Framework) because though there is a consistent color scheme and layout, there isn’t much there content-wise. While their navigation might benefit from the use of the <br /> tag, my real beef is that we have nothing more than milk here in the form of a nice online brochure. The problem with this, as discussed this past Sunday, this approach doesn’t convey the personality nor purpose of the Church – you know, the type of things that get people offline and INTO your church. Nor does it do much to make diciples. Content-wise, I would give the nod to the .COM site.
Again, I’m not saying the themselves are churches are bad. Rather, as is often the case (and the purpose of this site), I’m saying their web sites need work to better convey who they are and what they’re doing. They may also want to contact each other and discuss options for domain names. If that doesn’t work, they may also want to invest in some domain names closer the names of their church and merely have them redirect to m/lifechangingchurch\.(com|net|org)/gi.