Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Redland Baptist Redux

Quick note – I stopped maintaining the Redland Baptist Church, Rockvile MD website back in late 2004 when I moved about 350 some-odd miles south. I know, whatta wimp for not making the commute for God, but then there is that other side of the argument about good use of time, tithes and resources.

The current site reverted back to FrontPage (from MoveableType), though with much less cruft than is possible with said Microsoft tool. At some point in time, I will re-render what I had done – demonstrating the different approaches to search enabled sermon archives and dynamically data-driven church calendars (which both my work and the current work provide).

If and when I get the time that is …

- – - – - § – - – - -

Well its time for me to quit talking about it, and show you what I’ve done so far. Mostly because from a technical point of view, I’m almost done. Done that is with smithing the MovableType weblogging/personal publisher tool into content manglement system (CMS) for my church’s web site.
Redland Baptist Church

Now it is time to cut you guys (and gals) loose and give you an opportunity to yank the plank out of my eye. Yeah, I know, I’m getting beta testing on the cheap, but there is a madness to my method.

First of all, who better to convey to me any mistakes, omissions, oversights, grammatical gaffs, typos or what-have-you than a cool bunch of readers like you who have little or no idea of what my church is about and have very high technical expectations? Second, by leaving comments here, we all learn.

That and when you’re done, I can then begin in earnest with documenting what I’ve done for poor Chuck Holton, who helps me administer the site, and so you guys (and gals) can try and do the same.

Just note that this is still in a beta directory, so some ‘home’ links might throw you to the old site, and that there are no back-links to the home site via the new music and youth sites. Which between all this and fighting a recent case of food poisoning is the reason I haven’t gotten around to reviewing YOUR sites.

So what are you doing still reading this post? Go visit the test site for Redland Baptist Church of Rockville Maryland, and then come back here with your copious comments.

15 Comments

  1. Nice. It will be interesting to see it in production. My one complaint is the same for HYCW and RB: the banner does not contain a link to home. For HYCW, I should be able to click on the words “Heal Your Church Website” and get home. I’d say the same for your church’s website. FWIW, this is my personal preference and at least mentionned in Steve Krug’s _Don’t Make Me Think_.

    Good work.

  2. Good to see you’re getting there! Some random notes:

    – The “Title” tag content in the left sub nav – interesting approach to use page content there. The only issue is that it disappears before I can read it all.

    – The “recommend this page” pop up didn’t look visually related to the site.

    - “Join our email list” page looked a little funky in IE6, blanking out your verticle divider line between nav and content.

    - Something bugs me with the Gospel.com scripture snippets – I think it’s the location, because I expect a page title in that spot. Also there’s no indication that I’ll be linked off-site. Funny, I didn’t even notice right away that they were related to the page content. Not enough coffee, I guess! No, wait, I know what it is. When I click an option in a menu – esp. dynamic ones, and the page changes out, I’m always looking for a clue that I arrived at the page I wanted. Without a big ‘ole honking page title I had to let my eyes wander around a bit before confirming I was in the right spot.

    - Why the repetition of Menu title in the menu content?

    - Any way to make your Title contents the same as the breadcrumb trail in the horizontal grey bar?

    -And probably not that important, but I worked for a while in TV news. Your header color reminds me of the “blue screen” that the weather guys had to stand in front of…there’s something a little “flat” about it.

  3. Dean, it is a very nice looking site.

    Let’s start with the navigation. I am not a fan of dynamic, pull down menus. But that aside, I do not understand why in the About Us menu, About Us is repeated especially when it points to two separate URLs (about_us/index.php and about_us/about_us.php).

    I’m further confused by the fact that your submenu (left side) on the About page says Overview which is both index.php and about_us.php. It is a little confusing to have the same page called from three different links.

    Except for the bread crumbs which are exceptional–there are no you are here indicators when I get to a page. The page title is a little lost up in the masthead–I usually expect it where you put the Scripture verse. And I can select the About Us page from the pulldown menu which just brings me back to the same page. I know this is a limitation of pull downs and is the reason I do not like them

    Oh, I’m sorry but the photos — they are nice in theory, but look like they were masked by hand. They seem to have a lot of artifacts and look poorly anti-aliased. Some are better than others.

    It is not altogether clear that the centered link is Scripture verse and surprised me by sending me to the Bible Gateway. I’d rather see the page title here.

    On the positive end–your search works very nicely. I like the layout and how it nicely fits on all kinds of monitors. I like the breadcrumbs.

    Everything else seems nice and clean and simple. I really like simple. It is also fast.

    I am assuming it is easy to administer with MT (I think I saw that in your post). This may be the most imporant feature of the site–for if no one updates it?

    The other thing that is the best is that you practice what you preach! Thanks. In Christ, Tim

  4. Can I assume that member services will be part of phase 2? A specific link or section for first-time visitors would be great, too.

    The “free love” page needs a better title. Maybe ‘Roadmap to Love’ to go along with the images. I know you cheated by copying this content, but as a visitor, I’d look at a page like this as a way to define your church’s personality. They might be thinking “How is this church going to judge my beliefs and values?” But then it is listed as a ‘resource’ and not a ‘visitor’ link.

  5. Your terms of use seem a bit excessive for a church website…

  6. Try it in the latest version of Opera 7!
    Apart from that I like it, a lot. It works well. Keep up the good work and all…

  7. I like it – very ‘clean’ look.

    I get a JScript runtime error loading the front page (“Object expected”, line 169)
    My mac gets that alot :o (
    The drop-down menus don’t seem to work (IE5, OS 9)
    There’s a tiny misprunt at the bottom of the page I think – ‘of’ instead of ‘off’?

    I agree with Jeff W that the ‘terms of use’ seem a tad heavy -handed – there isn’t much about grace there!

  8. I just realized that Boyink said most of what I said–I swear I didn’t read his post before I started writing–guess I was to eager. –Tim

  9. As you well know, I’m no technical whiz. But I went over to the site and wandered about, and it works really easy and looks very interesting also. I especially liked the calendar listing, nice clear typeface and in html, not pdf file, so it doesn’t have to be waited for.

    Definitely much more interesting than my church’s site!

    peace and good, karen marie

  10. At the bottom of the Olney directions is a contact us link to http://www.redlandbaptist.org/special/about_us/contacts.php
    but this is 404. Methinks it should be contact_us.php?

    BTW, i was surprised to find you’re not far away! (i’m in Laurel) Somehow i thought from previous posts that Redland Baptist was out west somewhere … (maybe i was thinking of redwood trees)

    A link to Blogos (http://radio.weblogs.com/0122862/) is all the thanks i require :-)

  11. Just wondering… whatever happened to this site design?

    http://builder.cnet.com/webbuilding/pages/Graphics/Critique/062399/

    The design looked amazing in 1999 and it still looks great today. The critiques and interviews were very insightful and they became must-reads for many church webmasters.

  12. I’m interested in how you’re doing this in MT. Where is the content? Is it in entries? If so how do you get a specific entry to show up in a specific page? If not, where’s the content?

  13. Thanks much for your efforts. I happened across your site after some research on church website design. I’ve recently installed MT and MySQL on a personal webserver and have been getting up to speed rapidly. Our church website has been idle for nearly 3 years. Thanks again.

  14. I really like your site and wish my home church had used it as a model. They went with a more “business” type feel.

    Your site is very warm, inviting, informative, and constantly updated with new info (“content is king”). Change whatever you like, but please keep the above attributes. They are what make your site so awesome.

    Keep up the great work, both on your web site and in your church.

  15. Prayer Request,

    Hi,

    I’m seeking prayer in my personal well being in :
    “SUCCESS, JOY, LUCK, MONEY and LOVE,
    HAPPINESS and GOOD FORTUNE’S”. And my communication
    with God. Please pray for me, a miracle is needed.

    I pray for a safe trip and stay in the philippines
    this spring and I hope of opening many successfull
    businesses there. I praying for this year 2005 to be
    my year of change and properity for me.

    Praying for more confident’s in myself, self esteem and faith.
    I’m lacking so much I think, I like to change what’s not working
    for me and make it work. Praying to be more of a positive person,
    not being so negative, praying for reduce anger and frustration
    that I have been going through, being successful at whatever I do
    or need in life.

    Praying for world peace and for our world leaders, so they make
    good decisions in the interests of the people.

    thank you.

    Sean – Canada

    A fact:
    The Bible teaches that “money is the root of all evil”; when in fact
    what it says is that the love of money is evil. Money is just money,
    an instrument used that we might trade for what we need/want in life.
    God wants us to be prosperous.