The Christian Web Trends Blog is intended for all Christians interested in reading and discussion the impact of Internet technology on ministry and not specifically for people who use OurChurch.Com website services. So, while I do occasionally mention OCC services tangentially as they relate to a topic, I don’t often write blog articles specifically about OCC services because it’s not about OCC.
Today I’m going to make an exception to talk about the new NE1 Website Builder we recently launched, because more than 10,000 Christian organizations have active websites built with our Beacon website builder. And I believe with all my heart that the more of those organizations that move to NE1 and the sooner they move the better those organizations will be able to communicate and minister to those they serve.
Plus more than half our blog subscribers have a website created with our Beacon website builder and have an interest in NE1. It’s not often I write something that even half of our readers are interested in. 😀
OurChurch.Com’s old Beacon Website Builder was initially developed more than 11 years ago. And while it has been improved over the years, the basic structure and functionality of the sites it creates has not changed much in that time. In developing the NE1 Website Builder, we started over from scratch with a list of goals and functionalities that meet the needs of Christian organizations today. We think the websites it produces are light years ahead of Beacon.
So, in an effort to encourage Beacon users to do their organizations a favor and migrate to NE1, here are my top 10 reasons to migrate to the new NE1 Website Builder.
- Better looking templates. The template defines the structure of the web page and the elements that are common to all pages in the site. NE1 templates have more contemporary look. They are more vibrant with color and images. They are also more versatile. Some have the menu on the left, others have a horizontal menu across the top. Some have 2 columns, others 1 or 3.
- WYSIWYG Editor. Formatting the content of web pages is now as easy as using a word processor with the WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. Making text bold, adding links, inserting images into the body of your pages can now be done with a few clicks.
- Drop-down/Slide-out sub-menus. With Beacon, large sites with lots of pages were resigned to have a very long list of pages down the left side of every page. With NE1, sub-menus can be created that slide out or drop down when a visitor places their mouse over them. This is produces a huge improvement in the appearance of large sites and makes it much easier for visitors to find their way around.
- Better spam prevention. Guestbooks and prayer request pages have always been a target of spammers. With NE1’s captcha feature (example), visitors have to verify an image when submiting a prayer request or signing a guestbook. Additionally, web administrators have the option of reviewing messages before they are published, ensuring nothing goes on a site unless it’s approved first.
- Photo gallery with thumbnails and slideshow. While images can be placed anywhere in the content of any page, the photo galley module has some neat features for images viewing. It automatically creates thumbnails of pictures when they’re upload them. It also automatically resizes the full-size version of pictures so they fit on the screen and don’t take as much disk space. There is also a slideshow feature which allows visitors to sit back and look at all the images in a gallery. (example)
- Shop integrates with PayPal. The shopping cart or shop module automatically creates the “Add to Cart” and “View Cart” buttons, so there’s no copying and pasting HTML button code. (example)
- Blog. NE1 includes a blog (web log) module. Blogs are a great way to communicate personally with your visitors to keep them informed and returning to your site.
- It’s easy. Migrating to NE1 is a very simple 3-step process. There is an easy-to-use migration tool which copies just about everything from a Beacon site into NE1. Just run the migration tool, tweak your NE1 site to get it the way you want it, and activate it. That’s it. If you do run into problems or have questions, our support staff is here to help.
- You could win $59. We would hope the improve appearance and functionality would be enough motivation to switch, but we decided we create a little extra incentive by giving away $59 each week day to web administrator who has migrated their site.
- Everyone’s doing it. I know, I know… “If everyone was jumping off a bridge would you do that too?” Well, if it was Bridge Day at the New River Gorge Bridge maybe, but I digress… Eventually Beacon will be phased out and everyone will have to move to NE1. More than 500 organizations are already using NE1, so why not you? Why not today?
If you’ve already made the move to NE1, what was your top reason for migrating? What do you like best about NE1?