Heal Your Church WebSite


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

Fundy-mental 5: Faith Baptist Church, Dayton, OH

click here to see an annotated snip of the Faith Baptist Church, Dayton Ohio website.What is it with fundamental, KJV only, pre-millennial, independent Baptist churches and web design that wants to party like it’s 1999? Case in point, the website for the Faith Baptist Church of Dayton Ohio.

I’ve said this a couple times before, if a congregation desires to follow and worship God with such strictness where only a single interpretation of the original Hebrew and Greek – that’s fine. I’m no likelier to get bent out of shape over this issue as I am over the debate whether Manischewitz® matzos make for a more Biblical communion experience than Saltines® – this and other issues well covered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10.

What does confound me is how people whom love the law in just about every other area of their lives, practice web design as if no governing standard and/or practices exist; such as the W3C. Especially in a day and age when so many inexpensive and/or free web standards-based publishing systems exist.

I just don’t get it.

What I do get is that today’s example proves once again that FrontPage doesn’t kill web sites, but that people with FrontPage kill websites. Especially people who borrow designs from “Greg and Violet Preston BBFI Missionaries here in Panama” – whose sending church is some other church than FBC of Dayton – though I find no credit given to either.

All this in mind, here are 5 things I’ve visually annotated, and would change about the Faith Baptist Church of Dayton Ohio website:

  1. Lose the annoying animated GIF banners. Usability guru Jakob Nielsen sums up why this is such a bad practice:

    Some links to applications use animated words in an attempt to appear even more attractive and promote the application’s various benefits. This technique backfires even more, because users firmly believe that anything containing moving or blinking words is bound to be a useless advertisement. This belief is typically true, and saves users much time once they’ve developed the ability to ignore moving text. – “Nielsen: Ephemeral Web-Based Applications

  2. Stop using graphics to represent, render and/or otherwise display text. Search engines cannot index them, and in the case of today’s example, when poorly rendered with grainy backgrounds and/or inconsistent type faces, humans have difficulty reading them as well.
  3. Image Bloat, in this case best represented by the the image of the church on the home page that suffers a malady described by Father Flanders in his now famous sermon for Sunday, July 13, 2003:

    Just because Jesus miraculously turned water into wine doesn’t mean he can miraculously turn your 1280- x 1024-pixel image whose file size is 1.8Mb into an image whose file size is only 74Kb just because you changed the WIDTH= and HEIGHT= attributes to WIDTH=”420″ and HEIGHT=”336″.

    In other words, if you’re going to put an image of a lifeless brick building on your church’s homepage – at least run it through the free and easy to use image optimization program IrfanView.

  4. It no longer takes alchemy or rocket science to ‘embed Google Maps on your church website‘ … as the Web now offers any number of online programs that make it ‘easier way to integrate Google Maps into your church website.’ Use them to create a separate “Directions” page that not only contains all the essential info for getting to the church – but can be printed out onto a single piece of paper that people can use on the driver there.
  5. Enough with FrontPage. The product is dead, it only inspires crufty, web-standards and search engine hostile designs and limits updates to the one or two persons who own the software application license. Instead, consider employing a content management &/or a blogging service to render your church website such as:

    If nothing else, most if not all of the above tools would help generate a more readable and manageable set of menu navigation items than is currently offered.

There is actually much more we could point out here, but the purpose here isn’t to excoriate the good people of the Faith Baptist Church of Dayton Ohio, but rather to point out that they need to carefully reconsider they message they are currently sending with their current web design – along with considering the cost to render it using the arcane tools and metaphors it currently portends.

Similarly, if you can point out – in instructive love – other items we can all consider, then leave a comment.

3 Comments

  1. On the purpose page: “The baptism of believers by emersion.”

    I do see how ‘the friendliest church’ would use lots of Word-Art type graphics to convey a friendly tone, but a strict style guide is needed.

  2. Good write-up. A few other things I noticed:

    - Bad page names. For example, the staff page is “page2.html”.
    - Other pages with image bloat (again, the staff page is a good example).
    - No links in the text of ANY page, anywhere. Those are gold!
    - A counter on the home page. Blech.
    - No H1 tags anywhere, but that’s because the page titles are all rendered as graphics.

  3. I just happened to stumble upon this rather out-dated onslaught and crucifixion of a very Godly congregation, namely my home church where I grew up. If you really did your homework, you would realize that the website you were crucifying was designed in 1999, possibly 2000, and I know this because I did it for them for a TEMPORARY fix for them while they found someone to do it themselves. I used MS Publisher actually. And the website that you have linked to, which was again designed in 1998, is no longer even on the web as we are no longer missionaries but have come back to the States and now on staff at a church. Which happens to use modern website design as I am in charge of that as well. So, rather than start it off slamming the church for being “legalistic” as was gathered by your pointing out about the law and such, maybe you should find some other church sites that are far worse. At least the website served a purpose back in the day, and have you even sought to see if they changed it in the last few months? I highly doubt it. I am offended by this piece and consider it rather slanderish, so I will be forwarding it onto the necessary channels and let the powers that be do with it what they will.