A little help?

The long story made short is that the guy who was slated to author our website bowed out at the 11th hour, and our congregation is website-less. We need to get one up and running, and want to have a decent offering. So any ideas?

It’s largely fallen to me, but I haven’t written a website for several years, the last time being before CSS became the norm. I’m muddling through the info at W3 Schools, but it’s a real muddling through it. We’re using free software from metadot.com to cobble it together.

So are there free customizable templates out there? The ones at metadot are good, but not quite what we’re looking for. Or perhaps I just need to find some smart people and use them. Anyway, if you’ve got any guidance, drop me a comment.

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13 Responses to A little help?

  1. anokihaish says:

    My advice? Don’t do it.

  2. Lutheran Mama says:

    The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, presumably located in Waterville, Maine, used WordPress for their entire church site (http://lcrwtvl.org/). Rather brilliant, I thought.

    I stumbled onto them while looking for ideas for our own church site, which I was going to post here, but am finding myself too shy to share. I will say that “Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML” (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/hfhtmlcss/index.html), though painfully hokey, was good help when cobbling ours together.

  3. A says:

    How about the congregation puts the project on hold until a person or group of people in the congregation take responsibility for it? If that doesn’t happen, it may mean that having a website isn’t that important.
    Just a thought.
    Peace.

  4. I tend to agree. A bad web site may be worse than no web site. Just make sure your listing in the LCMS directory is current. πŸ™‚

  5. OSC says:

    Sage advice, all of you (and my apologies for those comments which were initially flagged as spam or in need of moderation. I’m not sure what that’s about quite yet). There are a lot of things that I’m planning on letting hang in the near future to see if they’re important to the congregation or important to me. We’ll see how the experiment goes…

  6. Lutheran Mama says:

    While I agree that a bad website can easily be worse than no website, a website remains a very important thing for a church to have.

    A decent resource I forgot to mention is ForMinistry (www.forministry.com). Free hosting and pretty templates for churches. They’ve recently started putting American Bible Society ads on all pages, and their “Web Builder” is maddening if you have any real idea of what you’re doing. That said, if all your church has the energy or resources for is a single page that says “Here we are, this is how to get in touch with us, and this is when we worship,” it’s an easy, attractive, free option. You can play with their demo page at http://www.forministry.com/demo/ (to login, click on Login – Username: demo, Password: password).

  7. I travel a lot and appreciate a web site because the LCMS roster doesn’t tell everything. In addition to dates and times of worship and bible study, I like to see what liturgy the congregation uses and a brief doctrinal statement written by someone in the congregation. Put up a small map to give a sense of where the church is, then hyperlink to Google Maps so they can get explicit directions.

    I set up my church’s web site with a static content section and a dynamic content section so that news is easy to change. I don’t use a lot of CSS, just enough for text colors, font styles, and size. You don’t need to worry about absolute position of graphics and stacking items unless you want to get into that. Browser defaults aren’t that bad. πŸ™‚

  8. Rev. Chryst says:

    Mozilla (Netscape) has a handy editor called “Composer” that is all free. It’s what I used for our church website.

    See also my thoughts on, “Why your church should have a website” here:
    http://preachrblog.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html#115569067475608494

  9. Matt says:

    The best things in life aren’t free!

    Namo Webeditor is excellent and decently priced. It makes CSS like global editing a breeze. It’s less than $100. You can try a free demo: http://www.namo.com/downloads/webeditor.php

    Here’s a review of a previous version of the software: http://builder.com.com/5100-6371-1058653.html

    I’ve “graduated” to Dreamweaver, but it involved a long winter with lots of time to learn it. Namo got me started in the right direction and the later versions have become quite powerful, yet the templates make it easy to use with a lot of flexibility.

  10. Sean says:

    I can recommend a freelance graphics artist and web designer that I have worked with several times in the past. His rates are quite reasonable check out http://colindpritchard.com/index.php?id=web. Hiring a pro is the way to ensure quality.

  11. Lutheran Mama says:

    For what it’s worth, this just landed in my inbox (sorry to clog your comments; I couldn’t find an email address):

    Hi, is there someone in your congregation that I can contact regarding
    web design? Myself and other web designers recently formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit
    to provide quality graphic and web design to non-profits at well below market
    prices.

    This month we are having a launch party for our organization- Elevacion.
    We are designing websites for non-profits (including congregations) in exchange
    for a donation. If you’re interested, we will provide you a free preview of
    what your new site will look like.

    If you’re taken care of, please keep us in mind for your future graphic
    and web design needs. You can learn more about us at http://www.elevacion.org.

    Best regards,

    Adam Everard

    Adam Everard
    Program Director
    Elevacion
    Visual Communication for Non-profits
    Washington, DC
    Phone:: +1(202) 558- 7570
    Fax:: + 1(270) 682- 4094
    http://www.elevacion.org

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