Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Congregational Website Study

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.

Pie chart of reasons broken websites were excluded from the study

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:

  1. If you don’t have a website, make sure that there isn’t one listed with the ELCA. In fact, go check right now.
  2. 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.”

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