May I bounce a few ground rules for the website off you?
1 – Top of the list it must provide a great ‘shop window’ for Bitterne LEP churches.
2 – It must look broadly welcoming to as wide an audience as possible. For the existing one I used shades of a particular blue which both men and women should feel at ease with. Martin taught me not to use more than one base colour plus white and black, although a range of shades of that colour was fine.
3 – It needs to be clear about what we do. In the old site I used the line ‘What makes a really great church?’ and set out to answer that.
4 – We can do that first by outlining the breadth of what happens, what goes on, all the range of ACTIVITIES. We’re not just open on Sundays!!
5 – And we can do that secondly by representing the range of PEOPLE who go there. If you like that’s the ‘Sainsbury’s’ shop window idea – the ‘customers’ already INSIDE the shop are our best advert. Some have gray hair (or none!), some have smartphones, some are black. We need to represent the broadest-possible ‘church’!
6 – Having laid out those key things the site needs to operate better than it does now. Now we no longer have Link Magazine we have the best possible excuse to make the website our central means of communication. So it should be more responsive and easily updatable by more than just one person, it will need some form of editorial control, and privacy issues need to be addressed.
7 – This could make things far more efficient. A lot of people like receiving the Notice Sheet by email and have asked for that. Figures from the Office of National Statistics from the 2011 census show that 77 per cent of households had Internet access, and 45 per cent of Internet users used a mobile phone to connect to the Internet. Those figures will be even higher now. In August this year Amazon sales showed 14% more e-books than paper books, and the first million dollar e-book has already been produced (and it’s not 50 Shades!). The critical mass is now with the internet, not with paper and print. So I think we are now justified in saying that paper Notice Sheets need to be produced only for the minority.
8 – However there are privacy issues, where private phone numbers, addresses or news cannot be shown on the website. We do need a member-only area, and to achieve that we COULD have a closed facebook group where only ‘friends’ are allowed which is only accessible to members. (That’s if older people can cope with it!)
9 – To supply and control new content we will need a range of ‘contributors’ and ‘editors’. It must not become a free-for-all, otherwise you could get entirely the wrong stuff out there. Not everyone is gifted with sensitivity and tact!! So we need a single editor (or a small group of editors), and the site must be adapted to that arrangement.