MARCH 3, 2013 • THE LIVING CHURCH
The internet uses a clear and useful system of classifi-cation for websites. The suffix .org was one of the orig-inal six “top-level domains” used in this classificationsystem, and it is intended for use by nonprofit organi-zations such as churches. (For the curious, the other five were .gov for governments, .mil for the U.S. military,.net for internet service providers, .edu for educationalinstitutions, and .com for commercial websites.) Parishweb addresses should end in .org whenever possible. Anaddress like saintswithuns.com is intended for use by a company, not a church.
Make links to stable, responsible sites
If your parish website includes links to external sites,learn something about the organizations behind theselinks. A small number of useful outbound links is better than a large number of links that are poorly maintainedand may misrepresent your parish’s commitments. Always include a statement on your links page like thisone from Ascension and St. Agnes, Washington: “Theselinks were selected on the basis of their potential inter-est to those who visit [our parish website]. Commentsand suggestions will receive careful attention. Whenusing this and any other portal, however, be sure to readwith critical attention and careful judgment.”
Share information about making andmanaging the site
If there are login names and passwords involved in publishing and maintaining your parish website, makesure that more than one person in the parish knowsthem— and that they are available to the rector or vicar. Sharing this information with a small group of responsible people makes it less likely that someonewill forget how to update the site, or that a parish willlose access to its web presence if your webmaster moves away,becomes ill, or just loses interest.
Make accessibility your highest priority
A flashy website that’s inaccessible to people withoutspecial internet applications— or that only people withPCs or Apple computers can use— is worse than no
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Ten Commandments for Church Websites
— You Shall —
By Richard J. Mammana, Jr.