I’m far from announcing a list of the best websites in the UUA — indeed, I may only point out some excellent ones from a variety of membership-size points and decline to rank them further — but one feature has popped out: more congregations are using a content management system (CMS) for their website, and four are using phpWebSite from Appalachian State University.
phpWebSite provides a complete web site content management system. Web-based administration allows for easy maintenance of interactive, community-driven web sites.
phpWebSite’s growing number of modules allow for easy site customization without the need for unwanted or unused features. Client output from phpWebSite is valid XHTML 1.0 and meets the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative requirements.
Founded and hosted by the Web Technology Group at Appalachian State University, phpWebSite is developed by the phpWebSite Development Team, a network of developers from around the world. phpWebSite is free, open source software and is licensed under the GNU GPL and GNU LGPL.
The four are (with membership numbers in parentheses):
- Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship, Fairhope, Alabama (56)
- Third Unitarian Church, Chicago, Ill. (110)
- Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church Cordova, Tennessee (174)
- Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Nashville, Tennessee (84)
All four made my first cut, putting them roughly in the top 80%.
Also, I poked around for other non-UU church websites that use phpWebSite and can’t find any that do a better job than these. (Elim, below, ties.) Two more of the also-rans — for sake of comparison — are
- Elim Mission Church (jointly Evangelical Covenant and Evangelical Free), Cokato, Minnesota
- First Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, New York
- Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio
The moral: a good CMS still depends on judicious design. I’m rather proud of our team’s accomplishments.