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Enhancing Our Web Sites for UU Growth

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Enhancing Our Web Sites for UU Growth

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For Unitarian Universalists who contribute to their congregation's web site and/or would like to help improve their congregation's web site. For the documentation that goes with this presentation, see http://www.jpduua.org/pages/growth-strategies.php

For Unitarian Universalists who contribute to their congregation's web site and/or would like to help improve their congregation's web site. For the documentation that goes with this presentation, see http://www.jpduua.org/pages/growth-strategies.php

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Enhancing Our Web Sites for UU Growth

  1. 1. Enhancing Our Web Sites [In] common between the Internet folks and the UUs… UUism is full of hope, and the fact that the Web happens is an example of a dream coming true and an encouragement to all who hope. – Tim Berners Lee, founder of the World Wide Web (www.w3.org)
  2. 2. ASPECTS OF OUR WEB SITES <ul><li>Appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Resources – including yours </li></ul>
  3. 3. APPEARANCE <ul><li>Smiling faces </li></ul><ul><li>Basic information without scrolling </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency of design: background, headers, footers, palette, etc. – check inside </li></ul><ul><li>Feels good for newcomers – shows uniqueness to other area churches </li></ul><ul><li>Colorful but not too busy </li></ul><ul><li>Expresses diversity of race, age, gender, lgbt </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t look like a site map </li></ul><ul><li>Looks good in Firefox, Explorer, Windows, Mac, & others, including old browsers </li></ul>
  4. 4. CONTENT <ul><li>Welcome message “Join us” </li></ul><ul><li>Basics: “About us”, About UUism, minister, services, religious education, hours, calendar, location, map, contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Get Involved : committees, social opportunities, social action projects, Small Group Ministry, youth and young adults </li></ul><ul><li>How to become a member </li></ul><ul><li>Searchable text with pertinent keywords (unitarian, universalist, church, congregation, community, religious education, Sunday school, music, the name of your town or local community or county and state) </li></ul><ul><li>Symbols & statements about the church’s accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Information up-to-date </li></ul>
  5. 5. NAVIGATION <ul><li>Easy to find important information: location, contact, time of service </li></ul><ul><li>Links easily viewable without scrolling </li></ul><ul><li>Site map &/or Search form (or less than 10 pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent linking scheme throughout site </li></ul><ul><li>Customized 404 error page </li></ul>
  6. 6. ACCESSIBILITY <ul><li>Domain name easy to remember and type in – own .com </li></ul><ul><li>If drop down menus, main link is clickable & links are easy to click on with eye-hand coordination problems </li></ul><ul><li>Alt tags on all images with description of image (left blank if no information) to inform the visually impaired & blind – No or little text in images </li></ul><ul><li>Good contrast for visibility and few or no blinking or moving items </li></ul><ul><li>No audio or video that automatically starts when opening page </li></ul><ul><li>Quick to load, even with older equipment and slower speed access </li></ul><ul><li>Newsletters are not text embedded in images so audio readers can be used </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasts &/or Videos available </li></ul><ul><li>Files to download are indicated (e.g. PDF or DOC) </li></ul>
  7. 7. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION <ul><li>Can find in search of name of town, state and “church” or “community” or “fellowship” (all 3 would be best – without “unitarian” or “unitarian universalist” or “uu”) </li></ul><ul><li>Comes up on Google Maps with address search or church & town+state or zip code </li></ul><ul><li>Can find with other search keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Good browser titles which show up as links in searches & names in bookmarks </li></ul><ul><li>Good description – different for each page </li></ul><ul><li>Page addresses have names rather than numbers (sermon titles in link rather than date in link) </li></ul><ul><li>Found in Open/Google & Yahoo Directories in town/state section besides UU churches section </li></ul><ul><li>Found in local directories (including special pages – concert series, open mike, podcast) </li></ul>
  8. 8. SAFETY <ul><li>Photos of children not labeled with names </li></ul><ul><li>No newsletters available with personal information </li></ul><ul><li>No copyright infringement – photos are credited to photographer </li></ul><ul><li>Email addresses not open to spammers </li></ul>
  9. 9. EXAMPLES OF UU SITES <ul><li>UU Wiki at www.uuwiki.org and click on the link for “Websters” for an encyclopedia of resources for UU web site managers & contributors </li></ul><ul><li>UUA Resources: Largest Congregations in the UUA from UUA Data Services for examples of sites </li></ul>

Editor's Notes

  • Read Unitarian Universalist Tim Berners Lee quote. This presentation is to enhance our sites for use by newcomers. Shouldn’t everyone have access to the encouragement &amp; hope of UUism?
  • Share your resources on UUA’s Websters listserv.
  • Are our congregations about our buildings or people? What makes us different? Is that expressed well in a quick view of the home page? Is it attractive? Searchers can arrive at site through inside page first, so that’s also important.
  • What are we telling new visitors to our site? Are we openly inviting them to come? Does it express how we’re different from other churches and religious organization in the area?
  • Is it easy to find information for a variety of people looking for various things?
  • Is our site accessible to people who: are looking for information in limited time, have trouble remembering domain names, have vision dfficulties, don’t use computers often, with eye-hand coordination problems, use readers, etc.
  • Can people who never heard of Unitarian Universalism find your site? What might they be looking for? A different kind of church? A caring community? What words would they use in searches? How many links go to your site from directories and other sites?
  • Can people, such as disgruntled non-custodial parents, find children’s names on your site? Phone numbers or email addresses of people who didn’t give permission to have those available to the world?
  • Not to pick on anyone, for examples of churches we’ll use this resource to find church sites to check using the criteria previously listed. Try it yourself, but first I have a few examples to show you.
  • May Memorial lists itself as a top UU web site. Attractive, well organized, consistent design, up-to-date, good content, mouse-over menu works on different browsers. Smiling faces? (see photo gallery – diversity if you scroll down) No keyword “church” since they’re called “Society”.
  • Google search results: May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society is the beginning of most browser titles with real titles being cut off. Bookmark would probably need to be edited if wanted to bookmark Podcast page or other inside page.
  • May Memorial is not listed in top of Google’s search for {syracuse church} or in the top 100 for that search or for {syracuse ny community} or {syracuse ny agnostics} or {syracuse ny atheists}
  • Nice custom 404 page by May Memorial. Used for clicking on old link in search results or typing in wrong link name.
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte – example of nice design, good content &amp; slogan, up-to-date, good organization, “church” in name, but has problems. Embedded text with no alt tags. Mouse-over menu doesn’t work in my IE browser. Smiling faces?
  • Alternate text: Missing – name of image with embedded text is movie.jpg
  • Newsletter links don’t tell you they’re PDFs – one might think they’re regular web pages. They have personal information – email addresses &amp; phone numbers.
  • Personal information is in the newsletter which is searchable. Would you want the world to know about your surgery?
  • It’s easy to type in the wrong domain name: uucharlotte.org might be typed in instead of uuccharlotte.org
  • The Unitarian Universalist Church does not show up at top of search for {charlotte nc church}
  • UUCCharlotte.org has no custom 404 page.
  • “All Souls Home” is the browser title &amp; when clicking on image properties, see: Alternate text: Missing – this is the Tulsa All Souls church (we have several – it doesn’t mention its location near top of site or browser title).
  • Again the UU church does not show up on top in search of the city name and “church”.
  • Same title on most pages “All Souls Home” – not much useful information for searchers in title &amp; not useful for bookmarking.
  • Google is by far the top search engine as of Aug. 2009, though Bing is increasing &amp; needs different strategies.
  • Another evidence to search engine usage with Google leading by far.
  • Search on town and “church” withOUT the state; the town name is in other states (see AL). Davies is 3 rd on map links. Note reviews – get your church reviewed by your members.
  • Stats for Davies Memorial UU Church – 348 visits this week, average 50 per day. What are your stats? Do you know how people find your site? This doesn’t necessarily lead to actual church growth, but it’s one step.
  • Search on {maryland churches} – see ad on right to BaltWashUUs.org.
  • Search on {maryland sunday school} shows Adword on right.
  • Found “Gay Friendly Church” ad from BaltWashUUs.org on blog about integration and segregation in churches.
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