Heal Your Church WebSite

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

Again with the “Religion is a ‘Chruch'” – Bethel Lutheran Church

Again with the “Religion is a ‘Chruch'” – Bethel Lutheran Church

By virtue of the Wayback Machine Archives, here’s what I know about the web presence for the Bethel Lutheran Church of Northfield, Minnesota as of Since at least July of 2004:

  • was as some point rendered from Microsoft Word;
  • has been preaching that religion is a ‘chruch’ through it’s <title;> tag
  • employs frames for navigation, yet still requires right-frame scrolling at 800×600 for text;
  • suffers image bloat, where the web person mistakenly uses the <img> tag to resize the view of the image, without changing the physical size (and hence download time) of the image;
  • right frames have no navigation elements to get person back into frames if they happen to either pop-open a new navigation window and/or surf in from a search engine;
  • so word-stuffed, that multi-color fonts and sized are required so the important stuff can shout over the white noise;
  • navigation text on right not much different from title text – making it difficult for the 60 year old grandma to figure out that’s where to click;
  • gratuitous use of kitschy churchy ‘cheap-art;’ and of course
  • obligatory, church-speaky mission statement.

By virtue of alot of experience, training, blah, blah, blah:

  • Why didn’t anyone see this? At least the title tag if not the cruft?!

Here’s my point. It appears that the Bethel Lutheran does have some things going for it, namely that they have their information organization figured out.

Likewise, and again to their credit, whomever is maintaining this site understands what they want to write to verbalize the personality of their church body. What they don’t have is a website that visually reflect this while creating some bandwidth and navigational nightmares.

So a couple of ideas on how to fix this:

  1. Personally, I’d look into employing a blog as a form of content ‘manglement’ on the cheap;
  2. Organize the information on the front page a bit better – moving some off to an about page, chronologically organizing others (hence my recommendation to employ a blog);
  3. I’d <iframe> the calendar if their subscription to MyChurchEvents.com doesn’t provide a simple and easy to use web service to deliver the goods;
  4. Make the navigation more intuitive, losing the frames, providing more conspicuous text links on the sidebar menu as well as along the bottom;
  5. Show more pictures of the wonderful people I’m sure make up this fantastic congregation; and
  6. Fix the title

Again, with so many people shopping for churches online, isn’t it time some of us out there in church website land reconsider re-factoring our web presence?