This week, instead of reviewing websites prior to critiquing them, I decided to pick one at random. I landed on the entry for Reese Family Ministries.
Web Address: http://www.rfmi.us/
The few things that caught my attention right off the bat were the beautiful picture and the music that started. I have to say I’m a bit biased because I happen to love the group that performs that song.
One thing I did not see is what type of ministry it was. I saw the name of the ministry, which is important, but if I had been a new visitor to the site, I wouldn’t know if your ministry was for me or not.
A suggestion would be to edit the image and place some more text on it, simply describing what type of ministry it was in a brief statement (or slogan).
As far as the music is concerned, there has been a lot of controversy on whether or not webmasters can place copyrighted music on their webpages. You may want to look further into the copyright laws about this. I’m not an attorney, though, so I may be wrong. You might want to check to make sure, though.
I noticed that your menu is quite wide. In fact, that is the reason for the header graphic (the green sky with trees, world, etc.) showing up again to the right.
I suggest that you organize your menus into Parent Menus and Sub Menus (which is a great feature within the NE1 Website Builder). For example, you could create a Parent Menu entitled “About Us” and place both the “About RMFI” and “Statement of Faith” pages under it as a Submenu. Likewise, you could place your “Photos” and “Events” pages underneath a Parent Menu called “Community” or “Happenings”. You can be creative with this.
Try to make your Parent Menus only as wide as your header graphic, that way you will not see it repeat and visitors will not have to scroll to the right to see the entire page.
Over all, the text of the site was well written ad formatted. The front page could use some headings (larger or bolded words/phrases) to separate paragraphs, though. The words seemed to run altogether. Also, please consider aligning all the text to the left. It would be much easier to read that way.
I’ve always wondered about putting the local weather on your page, too. What and who is it for? You might take this off, because it might be unnecessary.
About your blog: The title of one of those was “Weekly Scripture”. I know this is not design related, but taking on a blog is a chore. If you’re going to make a Weekly Scripture feature, stick to it. That’s what will keep visitors coming back to your site.
I’ve already made my suggestion about the front page image above. On the “About RMFI” page, try alternating the alignment of the images of George and Karen. Align Karen’s image to the right and that’ll work.
I love the images on the Photos page. I’d like to suggest that instead of a Photos page, try placing different photos on different pages in your site. Images can really make an impact, even if visitors are just reading your statement of faith or prayer requests page. If you want to keep the photos page, you may consider using the Photo Gallery module that is built in to NE1.
Also, put the image of Karen on her blog page, too. After all, it’s Karen’s blog and people want to see the real person behind the writings.
Overall, I would rate this site a B+. It’s not distracting, not gaudy and very inviting. The biggest thing to work on would be the menu system. It’s just too wide for the template you have chosen.
Another option you have would be to purchase a custom NE1 template. We could change the layout of the template to show menus down the left hand side while maintaining the look a feel that you are going for with the template you have chosen. We could also create a header for you that will embed your name so that you don’t have to print it twice at the top of the page.
Also, don’t forget to look into the copyright laws about the music on your website. It may not be enforced, but better safe than sorry.
Readers, if you have any thoughts or suggestions for Reese Family Ministries, please comment below.