Heal Your Church WebSite


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

Surrending Bandwidth at Appomattox

If I was smart, I’d hold this article until April 9, the anniversary of the date in which Lee’s Army was ‘bagged’ by elements of Grant’s army at Appomattox. But things on the web change, hopefully one of them being the web site for Liberty Baptist Church of Appomattox Virginia (LBC).

A quick visit to our good friends at the WebPageAnalyzer indicate that the home page of LBC takes a whopping 40.22 seconds to download via a 56kb modem … about fourteen and a half seconds for those of us on a DSL line. Much of this due to the inclusion of two HUGE images, which once again, are ‘look’ smaller on the web page, but are unfortunately NOT physically reduced by reducing the height and width arguments of the HTML <IMG> tag.

If what I just said seems like greek, then please read my articles “Father Flanders’ Sermon for Sunday, July 13, 2003” and Optimal Image Sizes, both of which which explain why you need to know how to physically reduce the size of the image using a graphic editor. Employing such techniques would greatly reduce the bandwidth one is required to surrender for pages such as the bio of the senior pastor … which includes a 1meg image that could easily be reduced to 20k.

I realize part of the problem with LBC’s site is the use of FrontPage. Now as we all know, FrontPage doesn’t kill church web sites … bad templates do. So if there is a shortage of geek talent in the congregation, then I would suggest the church investing $25 to $35 in a reasonable FrontPage Template into which they can plug-n-play their compelling content. This in combination with a FREE image reducing tool such as IrfanView would go a long way into giving an online seeker a great impression of what I suspect is a great church.

Some other nickle-n-dime issues (that add up) I’d fix if I had 10 minutes would be to employ a bit of mod_rewrite wizardry so that all the pages appear to come from the easy-to-remember http://LibertyBC.com/ instead of the cumbersome http://home.nesbeonline.com/~libertybaptistchurch/.

Also on my quick fix list, the <TITLE> tags … however to fix this means getting rid of the totally unnecessary use of frames by this site. First, it means no unique title tags on each page to tell a search engine what you’ve got. Second, since the frames are only delivering a single page each, why not just toss this dated technology altogether?

What about you? See anything you could fix in a few minutes? If so, leave a comment.

8 Comments

  1. Just (passing) nits from a fellow webmaster who’s “to-do list” is on steroids…
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    1) Nice pic on (well, I guess frames keeps me from linking to it directly) the A Word From… page; not a nice picture on the Daniel L Dockery page… from homestyle nice to high-school yearbookish kitch. Get a casual portait to match!
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    2) Make those mailto: links harder to harvest!
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    3) “Electronic mail”…
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    4) Map link.
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    5) Opening intro language/content on homepage is aimed at mature church seekers. Just realize this and make sure it’s your target audience (vs. unchurched neighbors who saw your website address on a sign, etc.)
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    5) Nice (hopefully) recipricol links to other SBC churches on SBC Links… might help search engine rankings due to relavance.
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    6) Student (youth) pages break theme (mix old and new). Separate site, theme!
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    7) #1 reason a visitor will come back to your site? PICTURES OF THEIR KIDS AT VBS, MUSICAL, PARTY, ETC! (heck, I can’t back that one up, but consider it! )
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    Feel free to help sharpen my website, too! (www.burtonsvillebaptist.org)

    Your fellow webservant,

    -Frank

  2. I see healing going on.

    All aces for the webservant–aware and willing to act.

  3. Frank–

    Looked at your site and it looks pretty good.

    One question…What’s IO Central?

  4. Dave, you’re sooo right. I told Frank privately via email that his page is a best example I can think of a church web site done right with FrontPage.

  5. On the “A Word From From The Pastor” page, correct the spelling of conjure. Conger is “a large strictly marine scaleless eel (Conger oceanicus) of the Atlantic; broadly : any of various related eels (family Congridae)”.

  6. You mean…all I had to do to get constructive criticism of my site is to leave the URL here and ask? (www.aisquith.org)

    I will point out what I like first. I like the fact that I see no “gratuitous technology” – no “Jesus Junk” as Dean says. The site is relevant in that if I were looking for a church, I’d know exactly what they do, what they believe, where they are, and how to contact them.

    What would I change? On each page, they reference Ephesians 2:22. I would provide a link to gospelcom.net’s Bible translations so their visitors could read the scripture – and use this on most pages that reference scripture. What else would I change? I reserve the front page of my site for things that change regularly – upcoming events, news, etc. Stuff that doesn’t change, like our belief statement, staff bios, regular church activities, I put those on sub pages. That means when you look at my site, you can tell at a glance if something critical has been updated, because it will be right there on the front page with a link to the full story. It also means that there is almost never any scrolling on the front page. Just my two cents. Good Job!

  7. Aisquith site is terrific!

  8. Thanks Dave. Coming from someone who has an awesome site like you that means a lot.
    (Can ya just feel the love here?)