Working on Websites (Oh, my!)

I’m not a computer dummy, but neither am I a guru. I deal with my computer and make my way around the internet in a fairly competent manner, but some days it isn’t without a degree of stress.

Some writers have multiple websites or blogs. I have just one, but have established cyber locations for three organizations and three other writers. Mostly it has involved using WordPress templates and has been relatively easy.

Then the day arrived when it became necessary to revamp my church’s website! (Yes, that sentence was meant to end with an exclamation mark.) The original server was going down, and it was the opportune time to start over from scratch.

It was decided we needed a professional look, not achievable with a blog template. This time we would have a brand new site, created by a professional web designer.

While the new website is beautiful, it’s requiring a steep learning curve for me, and that’s both challenging and stressful. I’ll survive, but I’m sure it’s going to be quite some time before this shiny new website is ready to ‘go live’.

Website Screenshot 2

For those of you who have gone this route, too, how much value do you place on the aesthetics of a site? I tend to think first impressions are important — that visitors judge the appeal and suitability of a congregation/writer/product by its cyber-face. Am I wrong? Is the bare message conveyed by text and photos more important than a polished presentation? When you visit a website, how do you react to your initial encounter?

~  ~  ~

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Working on Websites (Oh, my!)

  1. Jeanne B. says:

    I might be biased, as I come from a graphic design background, but I place considerable emphasis on the aesthetics of a site. It’s your billboard. It’s your welcome mat. It’s the front door to your business. Even if that “business” is a church (which, despite what we’d like to believe, it is a business in addition to being a house of worship), it must present itself well, and the design should correspond to the look and feel of the church body itself.

    That said, I think the new design is beautiful, warm, and comforting. I’ll admit that I snuck a peek at the current one–oh, my… um… yes, I agree, a redesign was in order, and you’ve done a fine job.

    • Carol says:

      I was happy to get your input, Jeanne. Our intent really is to make sure it conveys ‘the look and feel of the church body’, so viewers get a sense of the welcome and friendliness. I was particularly glad to hear that you think the new design looks ‘warm and comforting’.

  2. My first visit is important. I learn quickly where I can find the right links. It’s surprising still, how often I can’t find the comment link or the blogger’s name. Why those two things must be a secret is a mystery. I like blogs that are easy on my eyes and easy to read. I don’t think that’s hard to produce, yet I’m surprised how many bloggers don’t get it and make maneuvering their blog feel like a trek through the jungle. Having said that, I try to make my own blog as simple as possible. My email addy is at the end of my profile text at the top of my blog. Ask me how many times someone has asked me where they can find my email addy? LOL.

    • Carol says:

      I agree, Joylene. If I can’t find the features I’m looking for, I get impatient and often leave the site, so I try to keep my blog uncluttered and simple to navigate, too. I have a Contact page for e-mail, etc., so haven’t included that on my blog’s Home page.

      While most pages on our church’s site won’t have a comment option, the blog page might. What we think most visitors will want to find quickly is basic information about the church — primarily its location and service time — and then easy links to other information. We’re still experimenting a bit with suitable locations for things like that.

  3. Jenn Hubbard says:

    The most important thing is for the site to be up to date. If I come to a site and all the events are three years old, I wonder if the organization is still in existence.
    I also can’t stand cluttered sites, too much info crammed on each page. Your new design looks nice and clean.

    • Carol says:

      Outdated information is one of my pet peeves, Jenn! Sometimes bloggers will keep their main news page up to date, but forget to check the info on other pages. On some writers’ pages I’ve found, “Releasing spring of 2012”, or some such date, despite the book having now been out for a few years. It feels like they don’t take their publication seriously.(I know my own ‘Writing’ page needs an update, but at least the articles that are there are still valid! 😀 )

  4. elderfox says:

    Woops! I haven’t contributed to my site for ages (sorry) but I’m going to start again (not sure how often, just know I’ll be offering something, probably, about dogs & showing them). And perhaps about life in general…(I’m 83 so I must have something to say about one thing or another ??). I also have a good lot of friends (& family) who might like to hear from me more often than at holidays & birthdays… so they tell me.

    • Carol says:

      I think it would be wonderful if you resumed posting entries on your blog, and I’m sure your friends would be glad to see them. Yes, you have a wealth of knowledge that should be shared. 🙂

  5. Sue Harrison says:

    Because I’m so computer-inept, my first look at a website is all about “how-do-I-get-where-I-want-to-go. Artistically, I love clean and well defined sites. Your website and your church’s website both work beautifully for me!!

    • Carol says:

      Thanks, Sue. I’m glad to hear you find it clean and easy to navigate. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to hunt your way through a cluttered blog or website to try and unearth the info you want.

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s