Silver Bells Special and Chime in on NE1 Changes

silver bellsWelcome to December everyone!  We’ve got two announcements today combined into one.

1) Silver Bells Special

Upgrade to a year of the Silver Hosting Package and Ad-Free Option for only $218.  That’s an $80 savings from the regular price.  Special ends December 31.  You can upgrade an existing Free, Starter, or Bronze site, or build a new site.

2) Chime in on NE1

==> A simpler, more beautiful, remarkable NE1 Web Builder. <==

That’s our goal for 2011.

We believe NE1 is already one of the better and easier to use web builders online, but we’re not content with that. We’ve got plans to improve it, and we’d like your input to help shape those plans.

Simple - We are busier than ever and don’t have time to figure out complicated systems. The simpler we can make NE1 the better. That means making NE1 more intuitive to use. Giving features & menu items better names. Making instructions clearer. It may also mean removing options that are confusing and rarely used. What about NE1 do you find complicated or confusing? What can we do to make NE1 simpler?

Beautiful – We are becoming less of a text-based culture and more of a visual, image-oriented culture. How your site looks matters a great deal to your visitors. It’s the first impression people get of your organization. What can we do to make NE1 more beautiful?

Remarkable – We want NE1 to blow you away with what it can do for you. What would could we add to NE1 or change about NE1 that would be a game-changer for you?

Here are some of the things we have in mind:

1) Eliminate background music. While a lot of website owners love background music, the vast majority of website visitors hate it.

2) Eliminate unattractive templates. We used to think the more templates the better, but in reality a large, bloated gallery of templates makes it harder to find the template(s) you want to use. You don’t need 300 mediocre templates you’ll never use. We think a smaller number of beautiful templates will serve you better (By the way, eliminating templates will remove them from our gallery to download, but will not remove them from any sites already using them.)

3) New template gallery. We want to make it easier to find the best template for your NE1 site with a new template gallery that enables you to find templates by theme, color, layout, or features.

4) Make templates unbreakable. We see a lot of NE1 sites where the administrator has inserted a logo that’s too big for the header area or added too many menu items and as a result “broken” the template. We plan to introduce safeguards that prevent that from happening.

5) Affordable template customization services. No matter how beautiful the NE1 templates we provide are, you simply won’t have a truly unique, remarkable website without customizing the template to include your logo & colors that compliment it.  We already offer template customization services, but many NE1 users are not aware of that.  We aim to change that in 2011.

6) Better ad positioning. I really don’t believe you can create a truly beautiful website with NE1 without the ad-free option. But we want to make free sites more attractive by improving the layout of the ads on those sites.

7) Redesigned admin. We think the NE1 admin looks cluttered. We’re planning to completely redesign it to make it simpler, more intuitive, and more beautiful.

8 ) Drag-and-drop menu admin. What if you could change where one of your pages appears in your navigation menu by simply clicking on it and dragging it to where you want it?

9) Drag-and-drop graphics. What if you could add an image to a web page by simply dragging it from the folder on your computer into the NE1 web page editor?

What do you think of the proposed improvements listed above? What other improvements could we make that would lead to a simple, beautiful, remarkable NE1 web builder?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

38 Responses to “Silver Bells Special and Chime in on NE1 Changes”

  1. Most of these sound good. The customizing of a template (at least for me) could possibly made simpler. Also: I would like to see my html list alphabatized as my graphics and documents are. I don’t know if there is a problem on some of my pages or not, but when I try to insert a video from You Tube, it will not add to the page or it places the embedded code some other place on the page.
    I like the drag and drop for the admin menu option. As far as the graphics, I have no problem with the way it is now. Pretty easy.

  2. Although I now have to migrate my beacon website as you have withdrawn support, I have been reluctant to do so before for the following reasons: Lack of decent Christian Templates, The photo album pages look terrible, with little room to put text, and lack of time to fine tune the pages that have not migrated well. However I guess now I will have to find the time or move to another web hosting site, which I'm reluctant to do as I have been with you about 10 years.
    Beacon was simple but effective and served me well!

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm

      Roger, thanks for breaking the ice and for giving your feedback. I think once you try NE1 you'll find it much to your liking.

      I also want to reassure you that there's no lack of time to fine tune pages. You can import your Beacon site into NE1 today (if you haven't already done so) and you still have 2 months to fine tune your pages before Beacon goes away.

      Once you start using the NE1 Web Builder, let us know if you have any other suggestions.

  3. I like the idea of drag and drop menu admin. That would save a lot of time. As far as the graphics, it is pretty easy right now as is. I would like to see my html list alphabatized as the documents and graphics list are.
    I have encountered some problems with placing html codes on pages (for You Tube etc.). I don't know if it is problem anyone else encounters but on several of my pages, the code will jump to some other part of the page other then where I have my cursor for it. That can be a little irritating. Also, I have one page I cannot get it to be added at all. It will not be in my html list after I save the changes and so far I haven't been able to get that to work. So, I don't know if that is something that could be worked on as well or if this is just a problem with my website.
    I would like to see more christian templates as Roger stated. I would like to see a simpler way of being able to edit them.
    Otherwise, over all I feel you are still doing a great job….terrific web hosting people! Thanks.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks Sharron! Alphabetizing the HTML code snippets is a great idea.

      I'd like our support team to look into the issue with the code jumping to other parts of the page and the issue with the page that you can't add HTML to at all. Could you submit a help desk ticket with more specific information about those issues, including the URLs of the pages and the specific HTML code snippets where you've experienced those problems?

      Thanks!

      • I have the same problem, also it looks the way I want when I edit & save but then look at it on main page & NO WAY! I LOVE the idea of photos being easier to upload!!! I became spoiled with facebook and now I HATE to upload here and I know that it's bad for the website but I feel like I'm wasting time waiting for the photos to upload. (I try to take care of 2 websites & church's facebook page but end up half way taking care of 1 website & church's facebook page.)

  4. Unbreakable templates would be great! I often find that just one character of text too much will break the template – urgh!
    Drag and drop graphics – I love that idea.
    I would also love to have the ability to lock size and position of graphics, to have a text box that I can drag the size up, down and out and then lock the size and position. Also, grouping of elements would be very helpful. I don't use the background music at all so I don't really care about that. Definitely yes on redesigning the admin. It is not always very clear. One thing I would truly LOVE would be easier to use and understand "Help" pages.
    The calendar still looks clunky to me – it gets too vertical if you add more than one item to a day, as the table doesn't expand outward at all, only downward. If the calendar were smaller, it would have room to fill out without breaking the template……..I think – LOL!

  5. I would like to see the bugs fixed in the NE1 web builder. My home page is set to have most items centered on the page; when I actually display the page it works correctly, but something happened to the NE1 web builder page and the items all appear to be left-justified. The "center" buttons are selected, but the text and pictures are all saying on the left side just on the web builder page. Your support told me it was just a problem with the web builder. Again, my web page displays fine; it just doesn't look correct within NE1.

    Another problem I've had is trying to change font size and/or centering/not-centering of text and objects that are close together. Sometimes I highlight only one line to change, but the other lines next to it are also changed. It seems to work better if I put more space between the lines and get my font size and layout fixed, then delete the extra space between lines. NE1 seems to want to keep items together with the same formatting even though we only highlight a portion of the text when trying to make formatting changes.

    I have more suggestions which I am posting below; it won't let me put everything into a single post. :)

  6. I've also had the problem in the past with items moving around on pages. I've not seen this recently, but I don't know if it's really fixed or not. At times when I've tried to add content to an exisitng page, some of the existing items moved to the bottom, or the added content did not go to the place where I put it. I keep working at it and have always finally been able to get my pages fixed correctly.

    (More to follow)

  7. I would like to see "drag and drop" also added to the News Module, or at least some way to move news items around if I want to change the order in which they are listed. Also, I would like to be able to delete or archive multiple news items at one time. It is a pain to delete one item, then have to scroll through everything again to find your place, delete the next old item, etc., if you have several items to remove. Also, please add spell-check to the news module.

    Speaking of spell-check, it needs to be turned on by default. It needs to work more like Microsoft Word or Firefox web browser's spell-check and automatically show if we have mistyped a word. (I probably need to be using Firefox instead of IE to administer my site, and I would have the advantage of the Firefox spell checker.)

    (Still continued below)

  8. I would like more help with what should be entered for the Meta Description and the Meta Keywords.

    It might be nice to be able to have different settings for different submenus. I have one set of submenu pages that are visable and clickable. I have another page which is also a parent to a submenu which I did not want displayed. I got around this by marking "do not display this page" for each of those submenu pages; they do not show up in the menu but can be viewed by clicking the links I have added to the parent page.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and consider these suggestions.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Jean, thanks for all your feedback and suggestions. We will take them all under consideration. I'm a bit confused about the last suggestion about the different settings for different submenus. Could you email support (at) ourchurch (dot) com and include the specific pages & submenus you're referring to so I can see for myself what you're talking about? Thanks!

  9. Sounds like a great idea Paul…However, I still would prefer that we us words along with the pictures, graphics, clipart, etc. The words chosen correctly to fit the picture could definitely make or break the website.

    Ruben Gonzales

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 8, 2010 at 6:13 am

      Absolutely Ruben. Words are very important. As we use fewer of them, we need to choose them more wisely.

  10. Hi Paul
    Thanks for evevrything you guys have done for me.
    As I have dyslexia I find this feature in Word incredibly useful for formatting and making everything look right. It won't copy into here, so I will attempt to describe it.
    It has two vertcal lines close to each other and and black ball attached to the top left hand side vertical line. It has tiny horizontal line joining the top of the two vertical lines. The other things sound great.
    Bless you
    Doug

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Hi Doug, sounds like you're talking about the paragraph symbol: http://www.larc.uci.edu/lewc/Symbol1.jpg

      It allows you to show or hide paragraph marks, tabs, and other formatting symbols, right?

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      • Hi Paul
        Thank you, yes, you had it right on the mark, it was the paragraph sign. I clicked through on your link, and it is what I was referring to.
        When I click that button in Microsoft Word, it shows up throughout the document, and makes it so much easier to see what is going on in the document, and to do whatever one needs to do in the document.
        Thank you for your interest.
        May the Lord Jesus Christ become even more one with us all this festive season, and beyond.
        Bless you all at OurChurch
        Doug

        • Hi Paul
          I remembered last night that in Microsoft Word; whenever you press the enter the paragraph shows up and remains visible through the whole document, thus helping considerably in formatting the document, and helping while you are constructing the document to keep everything kosher.
          For me personally, and hopefully for all users of NE1, it would be a tremendous boon in constructing the site, if the same thing were available in the area where one places text, etc.,etc.
          Bless you
          Doug

          • Hi Paul
            Whoops, the dyslexia is at it again, and it slipped by me. The above message should read 'whenever you press enter the paragraph mark shows up'
            Bless you
            Doug

    • Hi Paul
      Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think it is called the paragraph sign, but I am not entirely sure. Your reply is not showing up on this loading so I am unable to verify from the link that you had on the reply.
      Sorry that I had not replied earlier, but have been chasing my own tail this side.
      Bless you
      Doug

  11. I really like the ideas for the new improvements.

    I personally believe there is a place for background music and still want that option.

    I also think that the Picture Gallery needs some work. The photo's just do not look good in that presentation. I use another source to upload my pictures and use their gallery. I just post the HTML code on my site. They are also far quicker to upload to the outside source.

    I would like to see Many more Christian based templates and also several more selections for holiday templates or special occasions.. A truly unique website requires lots of template selections. If we have fewer selections we will have lots of websites that look the same.

    Continued…

  12. I would like to be able to upload video quickly and easily. I have attempted this several times and failed. I know its probably me but this is something that I have failed miserably in doing. If I remember correctly, Beacon had a way of moving and uploading large files. Maybe this is an area you can advise me in.

    Your ideas are great and I would like to say thanks for all the help your support team has provided to me over the last few years. I was not happy about the move to NE1 and have just recently started to familiarize myself with it. Your support team really is fantastic!

  13. I love the new ideas, especially the drag and drop features. I echo some other comments about the need to upgrade the picture gallery. It would be nice to allow visitors to post comments for individual pictures. It would also be nice to be able to sort pictures once uploaded (when uploading more than 5 it ends up being confusing as to which picture to upload first and last so that they show up in the right sequence in the gallery – which doesn't matter for some collection, but it does for others where there is a certain progression from the first to the last picture).

    Keep up the great work!

  14. * Good ideas – except that if you remove templates, that means they can't be reloaded. But, when you now add an extra template, e.g. for Christmas, that seems to remove the existing template as default, which then needs to be reloaded. Not too combersome, but if the original template was removed from the album…
    * Just to remind you of an older request: making he translation module also available from Dutch.
    * Finally, a more recent concern: RSS is not available anymore for the News pages, as it now points to a mid October version including already deleted items and not showing recent items.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 17, 2010 at 8:01 am

      Hi Luk, thanks for the feedback…

      - When you import a new template, that new template does become the default, but you don't have to reload any previous templates. They're still stored in your account. You can switch to any previously imported template by clicking the "config" tab and changing the default template in the config form.

      - Dutch is one of the languages in the translator module.

      - Thanks for the note about the news module. We'll look into that right away.

      • Hello Paul,

        Thank you for your reply.

        But, as far as the translation menu goes, the drop down menu of "What language is your site written in?" doen *not* list Dutch as one of the options, the available choices being only English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish…

  15. I would like to add my support to the posts already made suggesting improvements for the Photo Gallery. I have had problems uploading pictures in the past and could only load 2 or 3 at a time instead of the 5 maximum that I was supposed to be able to upload. It takes a long time to upload when you have a lot of pictures but can only do a few at a time. Facebook and MySpace will let you upload a large folder of pictures at once, so we know it can be done. Also, it would be nice to be able to change the order of the pictures once they are uploaded. As someone said earlier, when only doing 5 (or fewer) at a time, they do not stay in the correct order unless we can remember to start at the end and work backwards when uploading. Then, if we miss a picture and have to upload it later, or if we have more pictures to add later, those always go to the beginning (or end, I can't remember which); we can't move them around and put them where we want them.

    Thank you.

  16. Paul, never mind about what I was saying about different settings for different submenus. It's been a long time since I've tried to change something on these and I don't quite remember what I was wanting to do. I found a work-around for my site, so I'm good right now.

    I did just send an email to your help support; I'm now having problems with "Paste HTML Code" and can't get it to save new pieces of code. I hope you are not removing that function; it is must better than using "Edit HTML Source" if we only need a small piece of code.

    Thank you.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 19, 2010 at 7:54 am

      Jean, don't worry, we won't remove the "Paste HTML Code" option. I think that's a very important function.

  17. I find the format used by tripod lycos often quicker and easier to use so often times i will build my projects away and then paste them into ourchurch. To be able to separate each little insert into separate textual edit areas would help greatly those of us who frequently aleer portions of our page content without changing the whole page. Thanks for all you do.

  18. I like the new ideas. I’m not a big “computer guy” and I was very pleased already at how simple it was to create my current site. Thanks and Merry Christmas to all.

  19. Ditto all the comments about a better photo gallery. I too have had to resort to uploading pictures 1 or 2 at a time instead of the 5 allowable. It's also frustrating to have no ability to change the order. I also get frustrated with the text boxes not being a uniform size on the website after you enter your text. And every time I enter quotation marks or a hyphen in a text box in the gallery pages it shows up as several characters of jibberish when published on the website.

    Anytime the drag and drop option is available I'm happy. I have noticed at times when I make changes that shouldn't affect the navigation menu it's order gets altered at random. That has become a headache keeping photo galleries and song clips in the order I want them to appear (ususally most recent to oldest). Comments will continue on the next post!

  20. I am all for less templates and more Christian themed and far less generic. Also a more efficient way of sorting through templates quickly.

    Thanks for all you do and for constantly striving to make things better. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Ambassadors of Grace southern gospel duet

    Because of Christ and His wonderful work,
    Dennis and Cheryl Perkins/Ambassadors of Grace

  21. I'm back again… :) Another thing that I would like to see improved is the News module. I would like the ability to select multiple news items and then either archive or delete the selected items all at once. It takes a lot of time to remove old items when you have to do so one at a time.

    I would also like to see more templates with a smaller banner at the top. Many of the templates have a wide band across the top with a graphic, which take up a lot of screen space. This causes website visitors to have to scroll down a lot before they see any significant information. Personally, I also do not like the templates with pictures of actual people. I believe the only people who's faces are shown on my website should be people who attend my church.

    Thanks.