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Saturday, 20 August 2011

My new parish website


There is now a new website for Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen: www.blackfencatholic.org. I had forgotten quite how much I enjoy building websites. My old parish website was from the days before Web 2. I linked a blogger blog to it, giving it the same look and feel but was still tied to editing html if any of the static pages were to be updated. I was rather proud of the tightly written html and css which meant that the pages loaded very quickly - pretty well instantly on any reasonable computer with a decent internet connection.

However I have for some time felt that I should move to a content management system to enable me to change static pages much more quickly and to integrate the news feed properly into the site. I opted for Wordpress which attracted me as soon as I first used it on other sites. I rather rue the day that I opted for blogger for this blog, but it is good to be familiar with different platforms, and the profile of the Hermeneutic would take some re-building, so I'm not inclined to change.

I have registered the domain name blackfencatholic.org; I find it difficult to resist saying the "dot org" in the way that failbog has in the signature ending to its clips. The domain name was the result of some careful thinking. People on the telephone don't always know the word "Rosary" (I frequently get letters addressed to "Our Lady of the Rosemary") but black, fen and catholic are not too difficult to get right. Over in Europe, we tend to accept that we must have org.uk or co.uk suffixes but in a slightly rebellious mood I wonder why we never ever see org.us or co.us suffixes. The site is hosted by Bluehost, by the way - I have found them excellent so far and very reasonable - particularly now that the dollar is only worth 60p.

There is some more work to be done on the site. In particular I have a number of pdfs to put up in the "Catholic teaching and resources" section, and most of the pages could be illustrated with nice photos. One thing that has changed over the years is that google and other search engines are now so good that it is not really worth putting up a "links" page. I remember spending many hours gathering Catholic links and checking them with Xenu.

If you have any suggestions that will not keep me up all night (I have to actually run the parish as well) I'd be grateful for your wisdom. A project for the autumn is to develop a proper email subscription mailing list since I think this will be useful as a means of communication with those who have had some contact with the parish (through baptisms, first communions, confirmations, weddings etc.) but may benefit from kindly pastoral reminders of events at the Church.
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