For this week’s critique, I picked at random again. Cedar Vale Baptist is the Lucky winner. They are located in Cedar Vale, Kansas.
This template is an excellent choice. It is bright and inviting. The photo of your church building is excellent as well. Good quality. However, having some people in the photo would be nice to see as well.
One thing that threw me off was the audio that started playing. When I first heard it, my first thought was that I was going to hear an audio greeting from the Pastor or some other leadership member.
Instead, I heard a conversation about Teens and Sexual Purity. I then thought, “Well, maybe this is a series that they’re going through with the youth group and they recorded one of the speakers at their church or something.”
I scrolled down to see that it was actually a Christian radio station dong a live interview and it had nothing to do with the church at all. My suggestion for this is to not have it play automatically when visitors land on the page. You can place the media player on the page, but make sure that you explain what it is. All I see is “KJIL Radio”. Is this a ministry of the church? Does the pastor have a weekly message on at certain times on this station? Do you have a partnership of some sort? Or is it just a Christian station in the Cedar Vale region?
I believe the size and font for this site is very easy to read. On the front page, though, I would consider left aligning the text that falls below the Scripture (starting with “Dear Friends”). This portion was written like a letter, therefore it should be aligned like a letter.
Also, I’m not sure what your intention was for the layout of the churches address, but you might consider centering the churches mailing address and phone. Also, include the entire address and try linking it to a map page (like Google Maps or MapQuest). It will let new visitors see exactly where you’re located. You can use this URL to link them directly to a page to get driving directions. For example:
On the “List of Pastors” page, you may want to place the names and dates within a table. This would make it a lot easier to read and see the chronological timeline that you are trying to present.
I think the “Ladies Aid Poetry” page looks great and the centered text is appropriate. You may want to consider formatting the text to where the Author’s name stands out a little more to separate it from the text of the poem. Try Italicizing the author’s name, starting with the word “by:”.
I noticed that most of your pages have images at the very top that are centered. Excellent! Most of them are extremely relevant to the page and are good quality. I would try to stray away from clip art and animated GIFs. These are considered “cheesy” and “out of date”. Try using photos of people. That’s what the church is all about. You may also consider investing is professional Stock Photos for this purpose, if you can find any relevant photos of your own. I recommend iStockPhoto.com.
I did see where of of those leading photos were not centered. To keep things uniform, make sure they are all centered. Keep up the good work on these.
I also saw some image on the front page that lead to external websites. It would be a good idea to create a page especially for links or references and then explain a little about what people will find on these websites and why they are related to the church. The images really aren’t needed, but if you’re going to have images, you might think about taking a snapshot of the website and shrinking it down to make a thumbnail. Taking them off the front page will also make the front page shorter.
Get rid of the counter on the front page. No one uses those anymore.
I saw a couple of videos within your pages. Make sure that these are centered on the page. It is just more pleasing to the eye.
My comments about the audio on the homepage are up in the “First Impressions” section, so I won’t go into that again.
I think overall, this site looks great. The comments above may be a bit “nit picky”, but when I have so little to talk about, that’s what I need to do. One thing you may think about doing is look into investing in a custom header (whether it be static or Flash). It would really complete the site as a whole by personalizing it!
Great job and great ministry!
If you have any thoughts or comments on the Cedar Vale Baptist site, leave them below!