It would have been nice if all 101 websites I had sampled would have been beautiful examples of working technology. Sadly, as I mentioned before the weak and sick URLs had to be culled out of the herd.
Of the 101 websites, 84 were working. The 17 that were excluded fell victim to:
- Invalid URL on file. There was one congregation whose registered URL was so badly malformed that I wasn’t able to manipulate it into anything sane or reasonable. It started out “http://www/syn/cong/…” and got worse from there. Another was just “http://”
- Domain expired. Five sites were at domains no longer registered at all. That’s much better than the next category, though…
- Domain squatters. Five sites were selling porn and Viagra because spammers had bought up their expired domain names.
- Too slow. One was too slow to evaluate. I left my browser connected for over ten minutes, and never even got the home page.
- Nobody Home. Four sites returned “Site note found” or “Site shut down” type messages.
Take home messages:
- If you don’t have a website, make sure that there isn’t one listed with the ELCA. In fact, go check right now.
- Make sure that your domain registration is paid up a few years in advance, and make sure that your webmaster gets this taken care of regularly.
Tomorrow: On to the site analysis, with a look at how well congregations communicated what I call “basic content.”