Does your church website flash a breast?

I know: poor little rich Janet Jackson. And what all her family has been through. And then there’s Justin. We know he just can’t help it.

But at there’s another lesson to be learned from the antics at the Superbowl, and it might affect your church. Like media companies who look within their great conglomerations for content: “subcontract” out a part of your website’s voice, and you’ll automatically be off-message.

Using freebie hosting that inserts popup ads (annoying in their own right) is one obvious example, and unnecessary now that hosting has gotten so cheap. But what if you’re encouraged to import unvetted, “one size fits all” content from the UUA itself?

I’m speaking of the automatic banners the UUA offers, and plainly, most are a stylistic nightmare. Worse: most church webmanagers seem to use them with the same forethought as a billboard on a piece of wilderness Interstate. Worse still: because they are linked back to, very often the most obvious and visible design element of a church website is a banner encouaging a visitor to surf away from the church website he or she has come to visit.

It seems very odd, and while I can’t tell the UUA to stop offering a service that is in its interest, I can certainly encourage church webdesigners (inside the UUA and out) to use good outreach-oriented style.

So, a good starting place is a cautionary word from (which you should bookmark!). Just read “chalice” for “cross”.

[C]ontrivances and gimmicks such as spinning animated crosses, cursor trailers and moving marquees may be fun and easy to deploy, but they usually convey a lack of content to your visitors.

In other words, figure out what your church or charitys message is, and remove anything from your website that distracts, detracts or degrades this message.

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