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Turn the other cheek on your website

September 11th, 2009

15614272I have a lot of times that I have to contact churches and so see a great number (in the hundreds) of websites on a regular basis. I’m always surprised by the number of churches that hide their email address or even don’t have one.

It’s always seemed to me that the most important part of any church website is the contact page. People come to your site,  not to look at pictures of your new pew refurbish, but to find out how to contact you or when something is happening.

Now you might be getting all hot under the dog collar (if you are a clergy person – read just collar if you are not) thinking that the issue is all about spam.

“We don’t want to have our email boxes blocked up with offers of herbal wonder drugs and we certainly don’t want to have to read emails about someone called Doris who wants to make contact and so has attached a picture of herself”.

However I think this is one of those times that Christians have to turn the other cheek for the sake of being available.

No-one wants to get spam (I bet even spammers moan about it when they get it from others) and some of it is pretty crude if not downright offensive but sometimes we have to put up with the filth so we can allow those who need us to reach us.

Some sites use forms in an effort to get around spam but if you have a contact form you will know that you get spam from the form anyway – or at least you do if your site is getting reasonable traffic (and if it isn’t then the spammers probably won’t be bothered with you anyway).

All the research I read says that people like to use their own email system instead of a form. People like to have a record of the email they sent and a record of the email address they sent it to.

So let me make an appeal to Christian webmaster – put your email address on your website.

If you are a timid person who is scared stiff that a spammer might get to you then use a spam filter. If you have a little technical ability you can use a javascript that will stop spammers but allow others to email you. If you are still really nervous then use an image with a funny font.

But for my part I think Christians just have to take it on the chin, turn the other cheek, get thicker skinned about the world to give the lost sheep a way to find their way home.

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