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Great article, and a great no-nonsense approach to a real problem. I would add another angle: by sticking to God's standard on this, you give the entire church body an example to follow--and there are just not enough of those examples! I really believe that just the one issue of gossip can make a church completely ineffective. And the problem is that most people guilty of gossip would never in their wildest dreams believe they have actually gossiped. And why would they, when everyone more or less has the same compromised standard? But that all changes when one person consistently and lovingly refuses to participate. Just one example can reach out beyond just the ministry you're involved in, and start to affect the entire church.

Great article, David--can't really think of anything I'd add. My approach is to think of my mom and dad. For example, they don't understand the difference between .com, .org, etc. so even though we web people wish everyone followed the guidelines, to them it's not real relevant. If a domain name is good for the non-tech folk, that probably means it's just good.

And you're right about the memorability of a domain. Lots of churches aren't going to be easy to find in Google, especially considering how many duplicate church names there are. It's great if church members can actually pull the address of the site out of memory--not going to happen with

That said, I'd almost treat domains as if they don't cost anything. $10/year is a good benchmark and it's not hard to get them significantly cheaper than that. That's worth it if it will get even a few more people using your site. If you think people going to mistakenly enter your url a certain way, there's not much downside to registering the mistake and putting a redirect in place.

One more thing--telling the registrar to auto-renew the site can save lots of embarrassment.

[quote=dteitsma]I don't know about you but domains are addictive to buy. I'm up to my third personal domain now. I have several others that I want to secure, but I haven't convinced myself. What about you?[/quote]

Absolutely. I bought two this week actually. Most of them are usually for ideas I get for the next Twitter or something like that, and then I never actually do anything with them. I've gone through a couple "family" domains too. The hard part for us Dutch is that we've got all the tech-savvy Netherlands folk fighting for the same ones.

You're welcome, Ken. (Although Tim is the one that deserves the credit) It's always nice to get encouraging feedback.

As you know, the purpose of the captchas was to keep spammers out, but it was a pain for our real users and the spammers were getting through anyway. Now our system is a little bit smarter. :)

Posted in: Mom's Dementia


The Greek letter upsilon (Υ, υ) is transliterated as a Y in english,


I just think it's hupocritical to transliterate most of the Greek letters into their sound equivalent in English, but not upsilon. It gives me hupertension just thinking about it.

You mention photos of the building vs. the people of the church. I completely see your point. But here is the dilemma ... if the church has a small (or even medium-sized) budget for the website, where are the photographs of people going to come from?

Photos of the building are easy for an amateur photographer to take. But as soon as you put any people in those pictures, you can tell pretty easily that they were not done professionally. Everything from lighting to posing and framing becomes much more difficult to do right. And my thought is that amateurish photos don't belong as design elements in an otherwise professionally-made layout—they stick out like a sore thumb. (A church photo gallery would be a different story.)

So if it's too expensive to hire a real photographer to take quality photos of "real people" for the site, and amateur photos don't look right ... what's left? Stock photos.

And those pose another problem. I remember one time that my church of maybe 100 people switched to a pre-made bulletin design that had photos clearly meant to promote or reflect racial diversity at the church. And while we would have loved to have more diversity in our congregation, the fact was that those photos didn't really match what our congregation looked like, and so it was immediately obvious that we had picked those bulletins out of a catalog.

Meanwhile, I saw a similar bulletin when I visited a large church closer to the heart of the city, and yet I had a feeling I was looking at photos of people that actually attended that church.

All of that to say ... stock photos can end up having a really weird effect when used in church materials, since a church is supposed to be a community where you know and recognize lots of other people. And yet the smaller communities that know each other best are the ones that would least be able to afford their own professional photography.

So I think it's a dilemma! I completely agree that something is missing if you only have church building pictures. Any thoughts on a solution?

[quote=al.kuiper]One more tip: use 72 dpi resolution for web display. For printing, link to the high-resolution version at 300 dpi.[/quote] Actually, you can set your mind at ease about this one! When creating web images, DPI doesn't really matter as there is no such thing as an "inch." A pixel will be different sizes on different monitors and browsers don't account for that when displaying images. So if your thumbnail is 150x150, it will always display at that size regardless of the DPI setting.

I agree with all of this, but I think the financial factor is possibly the biggest one.

When I worked as a contractor, I saw too many occasions where an organization didn't have the internal resources to maintain its Flash content. Flash development is a very specialized skill. Having Flash on your site means that you will most likely need a Flash developer eventually for maintenance, and they can be expensive and hard to find.

When you consider that most of what Flash is used for can be achieved with what's already possible with HTML/CSS/JavaScript, I think it makes much more sense to go with what will be the easiest and cheapest to maintain.

[quote=Terry M Gray]How about a capacitive tip stylus for my iPad? With a CRC logo? Please.[/quote]

I will push for that as soon as the Network development team gets their iPads.

[quote=dkklein]Our church web site has been up for a few years, and gone through a few changes. Most of the site was written and still maintained with a text editor (Notetab Light.) There are not too many folks within the congregation that have done much web work which means to pass along the upkeep means we need to do some training or consider outsourcing.
It has only been in the past year or two that guests have mentioned that that they found the church and decided to visit because they had found us on the web. Our idea is to provide information to the congregation about what is going on through postings of the bulletin and calendar, and information for the visitor such as our history, activities, and Mission and Vision.
One suggestion for anyone who wants to post calendar events is that you may want to consider Google calendars. We're able to create and post information fairly quickly, and integrate it into the web site easily.[/quote]


One quick change you could make to improve readability would be to remove the bullets from the navigation menu on the left. This can be done by adding the following line to the file called "maincss.css" in the "css" folder on the web server:

div#left ul li {list-style-type: none;}

Not a big sweeping change to be sure, but quick and easy. If you're not able to make changes on the server yourself, it should be pretty straightforward for anyone who is.


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