Heal Your Church WebSite

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

Clintondale Friends Christian Church, , New York

As much as I’d love to live and work in Raleigh, N.C., I wouldn’t mind a business trip to New York right about now. I’m thinking some place, perhaps 100 miles or so north of the City where though past its peak, some of the pastel colors of Spring flowers may still be visible against trees just now beginning to spread their leaves.

Too bad such bucolic images aren’t reflected by the website of a church located in such a place, the Clintondale Friends Christian Church of Clintondale, NY.

Quick Analysis

Both the the underlying source and at the picture of the congregation on the church’s front page paint an image of a friendly church that may not be populated with pews full of usability minded geeks.

The site is generated using WordPerfect 9 and is hosted on the personal webspace of the pastor. The current layout and design is reminiscent of something we might see from the early days of the web where it wasn’t important how you said it, just so long as you had a web presence.

Even Quicker Healing

I heard on the news the other day where no one has yet claimed a 213 million dollar lottery prize. My wife and I fantasized what we would do with an obscenely large amount money. One of my first dreams would be to set up scholarships for some of my more deserving Sunday school students. Another would be to set up an organization that goes about helping churches and charities improve their online image.

The Clintondale Friends Christian Church (CFCC) could benefit from such benevolence. However, until such time that God blesses me with a billion bucks, I’m constrained to only offer advice … and/or suggest that perhaps one of you help these good folks along in the following way:

  1. Purchase a domain name, something like clintondalefriends.org;
  2. sit down and enumerate (on paper) all the ways CFCC is unique;
  3. build/map an information architecture (on paper) that expresses the unique purpose and personality of the CFCC
  4. subscribe the CFCC to any one of the many turnkey hosted content management solutions offered to churches these days. Some that come to mind are:
  5. purchase the webmaster a hard-copy version of the Web Style Guide by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton.

Why the turnkey, hosted solution? Because at least to me, it appears that this already busy pastor is also burdened with the task of being the webmaster. So rather than saddle him with a technology he has to master, spend the same amount of money you would with MovableType or ExpressionEngine

make him master of a technology that is set-up to serve him … or as Vincent Flanders aptly put it yesterday:

“I like the article ‘Why Content Management Fails‘ because we get so wrapped up in the tools that we forget it’s really about people. On the other hand, if you’re a one-person shop (like me), you have to be wrapped up in the tools because you’re the one who has to write the content and run the software.” – Vincent Flanders, 17 May 04

Have another like-minded turnkey CMS solution that doesn’t doom pastors to the seventh level of programming purgatory? Well don’t be stingy, share your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us in the form of a comment.


  1. Well.. since you asked.. :)

    ThisChurch.org is another complete turnkey web host. The focus is on simplicity and usability for both the site administrators and the end users. Feel free to create a trial account to play around.

  2. I’m glad they have a link to tell me what time it is.

  3. This is a really riviting site. I can’t put it down. It should be required reading for any church member who has been graced with the “computer ministry”!

  4. This is a really riviting site. I can’t put it down. It should be required reading for any church member who has been graced with the “computer ministry”!

  5. The site also has one of my biggest pet peeves. When people use hight and width tag values that do not match the actual dimensions of their images, can’t they see that the picture is skewed? Compare the image on the home page with the actual image.

    For a similar phenomenon check out this church that looks like it has been stretched out. It really looks more like this. I do not know if they were trying to make the church look wider than it really is or what. Its probably not the best way to do church growth.

    I guess its not quite as bad as this one that has been flattened. Homepageactual image.

    With this other one at least it looks like they got the scale just about right, but the size of the actual image is still a good bit larger.

  6. It looks like sitestrux.com has a service specifically for church and ministry websites. mercytree.com, the service, list features specifically created for churches and even has pricing listed on the site.

  7. Blogger Leighton Tebay has a $5/mo service called PrairieFusion. They specialize in church sites. Their interface is very user-friendly.

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