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Thoughts of a Harley rider…

Live To Ride, Ride To Live...

Sep 2011

Muse

Playing with the new software from Adobe entitled MUSE, this really is a great piece of software, very much in the mould of Rapidweaver, which enables you to drag ’n’ drop sections into your webpage.

The design interface is incredibly simple to use, allowing something with very little computer coding skills to create great looking webpages. Simple control panel usage allows me to define the page dimensions and then define how many columns I would like on each page, as well as anchoring images, curving the corners and simple foot notes.

It all works through a very well defined user interface, allowing me to tweak virtually every aspect of the webpage being created. Now I just need to be able to design a few more templates for personal use.

More investigation will be required, but on the first pass, this looks like an incredibly powerful piece of web design software for the complete novice.

Does My Church Need A Website

Having managed the webpage for St. Leonard’s Church in Swithland for about two years now, I’ve been thinking... “Does A Church Really Need A Webpage?”

I considered all of the options of why I created a webpage for my Church - Swithland Church - http://www.swithlandchurch.org

1. To assist people who have a computer and internet access to view information readily about our Church.

2. To be able to post photographs of the recent events, well it saves us chopping down trees and printing the photographs off. Or as we had done previously, all of the photographs of Church events were loaded onto my iPad and passed around the congregation on a Sunday morning after the Service was completed and we were all enjoying coffee.

3. People don't listen to the notices announced at Church, the Swithland Church webpage allows us a relatively cheap method of publishing notices and events, available to people within the Parish and for their friends and families around the world. Some of our event notices have gone as far as Hong Kong!

4. People who don't come to our Church need information about our Church - see above!! The Swithland Church website provides fast and easy access to information including Service times, events, meetings etc. There are a number of people in our Church now who came because they looked at our Church website, so it works from the point of view of getting the information out into the ether and encouraging new people to attend.

5. Most of us secretly feel that any company or organisation without a good web presence MUST be considered as rank-amateurish or 'small-fry’, whereas God really isn’t ‘small-fry’!! So let’s get our Swithland Church on the web!! That’s probably a more effective war cry than “Geronimo”.

6. If someone is looking for a Church in Swithland or the outlying regions, they will turn to Google first to find the Church, so we can utilise the power of Google to help our Church in growing.

7. Because I’m still humbled by the amount of people in my Church who inform me that they ‘regularly’ reference the Church webpage for information and to view the photographs of events. After the Harvest Festival, I had 9 emails commenting about the photographs uploaded within 3 hours of the event concluding.

8. As a Christian, it provides me with a personal resource, where I can utilise the tapestry of Swithland Church's webpage, to assist other Christian entities to publicise their issues, such as the Christian Bookshops. As an additional example, Canon Anne and Bob Osborne wrote a wonderful book on the history of Swithland over the last 1,000 years, we were able to publicise the book, the book signing evening and small excerpts from the book, enabling more than 250 books to be pre-ordered BEFORE being printed.

However I would say a Church needs a good website rather than a website created by someone without the necessary skills, which sadly is often the case for a number of Churches, someone in the congregation with some computing knowledge is "volunteered" to create a web presence for their Church (been there, done that!). Some of the websites which I have browsed for Churches would have been more effective not being online, they looked like they had been developed by someone with only a very rudimentary understanding of web design techniques!

Websites can make a Church look as unattractive as much as attractive and as a Webmaster I consider it’s my job to keep the Swithland Church webpage fresh, vibrant, interesting and up to date, this I can do with the support of EVERYONE in our Church, whether it be providing regular news articles or commenting on how good the Church webpage is...

And at the moment, I am LOVING my webpage!!
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