Heal Your Church WebSite


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

When web page creation tools and novice church website design collide

One of the good things about the Web in 2008 is the number of free and easy web page creation tools to aid those novices involved in church website design. One of the bad things about the Web in 2008 is the number of free and easy web page creation tools novices employ to generate unusually unusable church websites.

Case in point, Sabbath Day Church of God Hot Springs Arkansas, brought to you by Web Page Maker V2; a web page generation tool described on its own website as:

… an easy-to-use web page editor that allows you to create and upload web pages in minutes without knowing HTML. Simply drag and drop objects onto the page and position them freely in the layout.

It also appears that it is an easy-to-use web page editor that allows you to create web pages in minutes without knowing usable interface design, conversion goals, semantic HTML, and other important details. Basically, all the bad things one gets with FrontPage at only a 1/3rd the expense of FrontPage.

That said, here are 5 things I would do to improve the web presence for the Sabbath Day Church of God:

  1. Since there is information provided on a weekly basis, consider using a blog as a content management tool. It’ll help both better organize and present otherwise compelling content.
  2. Move the prayer list page behind a password protected area – as the current format may expose the church to some unwanted privacy concerns.
  3. Lose the Java Applets – such counters are not needed in a day and age of far better usage measurement tools as Google Analytics. Such counters also slows down the page load ALOT.
  4. Optimize those bloated images.
  5. Lose the grainy-green background image – it makes the black text entirely unreadable.

There are other things I might do as well, perhaps leverage Google Calendars and Google Maps instead of the current calendar and map solutions.

I most definately would put the phone number, location, along with the dates and times of the services in a far more conspicuous place then hiding said lamp under a bowl as is currently the case.

Other observations? You know the drill, leave a comment – in love – so we can all learn from it.

4 Comments

  1. Dean,

    Where do you start?!?! I would add to your list the following:

    1. Spell and grammar check the site. There are about half-a-dozen errors above the fold.

    2. The animated gifs of “dancing” red stars creates a less than satisfying visual effect.

    3. Get more content above the fold and lose the dead space in between content. (blogging software would address this)

    4. Check the site using more than just one browser.

    Hopefully someone in the congregation has a heart for web servanthood and can help them.

  2. Get a better menu structure that helps to direct visitors to content more easily
    Keep the content relevant. The “how to recognize a stroke” article left me scratching my head wondering “why”.
    structure the content in a way that organizes the information logically. It feel haphazard so it’s hard to know intuitively where to go for specific information. (which brings up the menu issues again)

    Clearly whoever is managing the site is putting a lot of love into it. That shows through despite the numerous problems. I suggest taking some of that energy and diverting it into some research and self-education on some basic web design principles.

  3. oops… sorry. Looks like I made an error with my ordered list in my comment.

  4. A simple navigation and no animation to distract visitors.

    Church websites are a social network and the ones I have been involved with are managed by enthusiastic novices. So they need a simple administration of the content.

    Get a web developer to customise the admin, if there is one in the congration.

    A directory of services performed by the church is handy – and this needs to be updatable too as the people who provide and the services can change frequently.