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Church Pews on the Web?

I like church pews – as long as the preacher isn’t long winded – because they offer flexibility when you are trying to get more people into the building. However these days perhaps the only time it’s needed is when the local school are using the church for their Christmas play for mums and dads. Any of my friends will tell you that I have made the suggestion to remove the pews in more than a few churches. Whilst I like pews I also like flexibility and having something comfortable to sit on.

The Internet has the reputation of evolving at the kind of pace that no one can really ever keep up with. However I think a lot of the evolution of the web is down to getting rid of stuff that should perhaps never have been invented in the first place.

Here are some of my ideas about things on church websites that are a little like pews in a church building – I see what they were trying to do but perhaps it’s time to move on:

  1. Jesus Saves banners – in your face evangelistic messages on web sites are a recipe for sending people somewhere else, even most Christians get put off by them.
  2. Splash pages – those annoying pages that get in the way when you are trying to view a web site. They still sometimes sneak in on the pretense of sending people to the right web site but personally I’d rather see a web site and then choose where to go.
  3. Hidden navigation – when the only way to find out how to navigate is by hovering over every image on a page to find out what goes where. Horrible!
  4. Visitor numbers signs – there is nothing more depressing than visiting a web site that says 20 people have visited this site in the last 10 years. Even if the site has something good to offer it just puts you off. It also doesn’t work if you have large numbers visiting – just because people get to your site doesn’t mean the site is any good.
  5. Last updated in 1896 – you know what I’m talking about. This is especially true for blogs that last had an update in 2005. If you don’t have lots to add then get rid of the dates that show your site to be out of date. Let the content speak for itself and not the date.
  6. Sites crammed with all the latest web gadgets. Unless you have a very good reason for a gadget leave it alone. Please never, ever put in some Javascript that changes the cursor on your site!
  7. Sound on web pages – this is still happening too often. By all means use video and sound that people can control but if your page comes up with some sound playing people will go elsewhere very quickly. When I personally get this I tend to click away before I ever read anything on a site – like the majority I like to browse in peace or with something else in the background. You also never know what that shouting person is going to say from their web site and if others are listening it could get embarrassing so people just go elsewhere.
  8. Intrusive adverts – do people really think we are more likely to buy something because they have annoyed us? Some churches still use free hosting that uses popup adverts etc. Sometimes the adverts are also a little inappropriate for a church site. It’s better to pay for hosting even if you can only afford the very cheapest.

Sorry I’ve run out of time. Why not add a comment with your own personal pew suggestions?

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  1. September 2nd, 2009 at 22:01 | #1

    What about animated gifs of doves! They are definitely something for ‘Room 101′!

    And purple websites.

    Oh, and church websites with no images of people on them (the church isn’t a ‘building’, it’s a group of ‘people’.

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