Here are some basic web design tips:
- Choose a platform that does not add advertising to your site. Check out the terms for the design program before you use it. For instance, the free version of the popular WordPress.com adds advertising. WordPress.org, however, does not.
- Before you begin a website, remember that a good website is a lot of work, and it takes time to keep them current and user-friendly. On the other hand, a simple site with meeting times and a few announcements does not require a lot of upkeep and can be created without too much time investment.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to be able to create a world-class website on your own. Those take thousands of dollars and tons of time. If you want more than an informational or blogging site, web design can get very complicated. Start simple!
Where do you start? What tool should you use? Here are some suggestions:
- Weebly: This is an easy-to-use online site creation solution that comes with lots of things for free. You don’t have to purchase site hosting with this option. You will have to purchase a domain name though (like mysite.com) if you want to take the weebly out of mySite.weebly.com.
- Facebook page: This is one of the simplest methods I can think of for letting others know about your assembly. Facebook pages are accessible to the general public, but probably won’t appear as often in search results. A Facebook page isn’t the same as a Facebook user account—it’s meant for things like this and has an easy, user-friendly layout that can get you going in no time. Facebook makes it easy to interact with visitors and keep people informed with what is going on in your assembly.
- Blogger: Perhaps you would like to share the gospel with an informal online commentary by writing an article now and then to share with friends and family. Google’s Blogger will help you do that.
- Webnode.com: Another simple solution that offers some nice options for free
- WordPress.org: This is often associated with blogging but is also used by professionals to create general websites, too. You need to purchase a separate hosting service to use wordpress.org. My suggestions for good hosting include Bluehost and HostGator. WordPress works best on fast servers. Check online forums for feedback about your prospective host. The tech-tips section of GospelRiver.com is created with the WordPress Weaver-ii theme, which has mobile device support built right into it. The theme you choose will make a difference on how much you can customize easily.
- DotNetNuke: I don’t know much about this content management system, but the free version is used by some I know, and it has advanced capabilities. You need a host for this as well.
If at all possible, get someone who knows about web design to critique your work before publishing it the first time for the world to see.
Who is visiting?
A web administrator is able to view the number of visitors and which pages are visited most, so there is a way to see if the site is being used.
The writer has found websites helpful and has made some lasting contacts through them. We know of an occasion where a site visitor happened to notice meetings announced on a site, attended the meetings, and as a result professed faith in Christ. As with other work for the Lord, you will not know the true results—but they are with God. Ask the Lord for direction and leave the results with Him.
- Don’t post any old thing on your site.
- You shouldn’t upload all of your assembly’s messages for the public. Make sure the messages are applicable for the world to hear. Set guidelines for which messages should be posted. Think about how those who speak will react to the choosing of those messages.
- If you wish to make messages available for those who could not attend, try using Dropbox, SugarSync, SkyDrive, Google Drive, or Box.net instead for private access. See file sharing article.