Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

UCG.ORG To Be Revamped

June 1, 2010

The new face of UCG.ORG

We’d like to bring you up to date on important plans now underway for our main Church Web site: www.ucg.org. The media department has started on an exciting new project to revamp UCG’s Web presence. The ideas expressed below are still in the development stage, and functionality is still being decided upon, but, they will certainly give you a good idea of some of the functions we plan to implement. Once completed, our ucg.org Web site will incorporate some of the most current options available to Web users today, including social media functionality and a very good search tool.

Our Web design team involved in the project includes Aaron Booth, Tom Disher, Michelle de Campos and Mitchel Moss. In addition, the work of the Church’s Information Systems department will be invaluable in making this happen. The I.S. area is headed up by Richard Kennebeck, and he uses the talents of Paul Wasilkoff and Chris Stewart as well.

Programming languages and server configurations are still being discussed, but in the coming weeks they should be finalized. The whole project is a huge undertaking, but the benefits will far outweigh the time and manpower needed to implement it. The ucg.org Web site will be very different from what you see now.

Rewritten from the ground up

Our Web site systems are being re-written from the ground up to improve usability, navigability and reach to the general public. The new site will bring all content produced by UCG under one roof in an attractive and easy-to-use format. Information will be viewable in many ways—sorted by topic, author, publication or date. The site will contain many dynamic pages, not only static HTML pages. Each user will have a very flexible UCG Web experience.

Information will be organized topically and tagged with keywords. Each of these keywords will bring users to a landing page that will show them all other content with similar keywords. For example: if someone is searching for an article on faith, clicking on the keyword will bring them to a page full of material on that subject—including videos, articles, blogs, sermons, Bible lessons, Bible FAQs and commentaries. This added feature will help those new to the truth to easily find the answers to their questions.  The new site will also have a much more robust search function that will allow visitors to find information easier.

The new site will give us the opportunity to bring in the blogs of our staff writers, which will also be found on the topics and tag pages. Bringing in content from all of our publications and all of our blogs means that people who read our content will no longer have to go to many different Web sites to read The Good News, World News and Prophecy, Vertical Thought, and blogs by staff writers. They will have an all-encompassing site that will streamline their user experience.

The new site will be optimized very highly to improve our Search Engine Optimization(SEO) efforts. This will help increase our exposure online so that more people can come to learn the truth. Social media tools will also be incorporated into the site so users can easily share content on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks.

The publications will still have a home page on the new site, so none will be left out of the loop. For example: going to gnmagazine.org will be automatically send users to the new landing page for The Good News, which will retain all the features that we now have—but gain so much, much more.

User accounts

In addition, users will be able to create their own accounts on the site. These accounts will give them the opportunity to comment on articles and add articles to a list of their favorites. They can find these favorites easily by accessing their account page. This will help people keep a record of the articles they like. Also, leaving comments on an article will be helpful for the writers and other readers. It will be a great opportunity for users to ask questions and connect with the writers and other Web site users.

While this project will take considerable time to fully develop, we are excited about its many applications, as well as its potential to give the United Church of God a more established Web presence—helping us in our continuous mission to both preach the gospel and prepare a people. No doubt, many more features will be added as the project unfolds, and a few may be eliminated perhaps. But, overall, you get the idea.

The home office Web development team would appreciate your prayers for the success of this major undertaking—one that promises to bring many benefits to our online readership and preach the good news of God’s Kingdom more effectively.

Peter Eddington

Interim Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

June 1, 2010 - Posted by | Good News Magazine, Home Office, Media and Communications | ,

14 Comments »

  1. I think this is a wonderful idea. ONE issue that I find when I am reading articles and so forth….some of the pages do not have a PRINT button at the top. So you are unable to get a nice clear page of the article without all the fluff. It also would help to concern on your printer ink if you added that.

    Comment by Dawn | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. Will Virtual Christian Magazine be included?

    Comment by Lorelei Nettles | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. Don’t forget this blog.🙂

    Comment by Richard | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  4. Given the rapid evolution (and yes, that is the correct word for this process)of both internet usage aqnd software development, this is an important and neccessary step towards iknformation transparency and accessability.

    It is also something that ought to be a permanent and ongoing project that introduces new refinements and features as they become available.

    May God bless, guide, and use the efforts of this team to fulfill His Will in bringing the witness and warning message to this world and spiritually strengthening His people to withstand the temptations and seductions of troubled times that even now are coming upon us.

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    Comment by Tim McCaulley | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Dear Mr. Eddington,

    Leading the Nestle HealthCare Nutrition’s IS/IT organization, I have somewhat of an appreciation of what a significant undertaking you are tackling. May our Father bless your efforts in that the visitor’s web experience will be a fulfilling one. In this day and age, information overload is a serious issue and any attempt to assist the user in structuring and summarizing the relevant/timely information needs is vital.

    Comment by David W. Morker | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. In an August 2008 article in the United News by Mr. Salyer, it lists out some of the activities planned – making the page more searchable, social networking and blogs. This was two years ago. Why does the realtime post say that “plans are now underway”? and “the ideas expressed below are still in development stage..”

    Also, from the December 15th, 2008 Council report – “We are pleased with the results of both Aaron Booth’s SEO efforts and Peter Eddington’s search engine marketing effort (SEM).” On December 17th, 2008 more detail was given on the plans. The Feb 23, 2009 meeting included a request from Jason Lovelady to include the expense of this project into the budget.

    With two years to do these projects – what is the new things that are just under development?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    Comment by Rhonda Waddle | June 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Rhonda,

      Server configurations and programming languages are still being decided upon. In addition, finalizing the functionality of the site is ongoing. This is some of what was referred to as still “under development.” In the meantime, extensive tagging of all of our online material has been underway for some time. It will take many months to complete just this portion of the project.

      Comment by United Church of God | June 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. A while back, a couple of us were tossing ideas back and forth for what would make an ideal UCG iPhone app, but in the end these could be written into the site itself.

    * A Gmail-like starring system. Users can star articles they find of interest and intend to read later. They can then click on “Starred Articles” to find that list. This allows an interested user to peruse the literature without having to personally remember “that article that caught my eye… now what was it…?”

    * A topical tag system. Pre-tag articles based on their content. For instance, a single article might be tagged “tithing, finances, faith” and clicking on any of those tags returns a list of all articles matching that tag alone. In this way, the user whose interest is peaked by a specific topic can research it more thoroughly, one step beyond the “For more info…” linking.

    * Push notification. If an iPhone app is ever considered, be sure to allow for the user to “subscribe” to articles, which would use Push notification to let the user know when their publications of choice release new issues.

    Comment by Nathan Gilchrist | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  8. Take a look at Ted.com. They do an excellent job of content tagging which smooths content searching.

    Comment by Bob Fahey | June 4, 2010 | Reply

  9. And whats become of the many hundred of hours of strategy development regarding SEO and SEM??? Not to mention the Brading project which should provide the foundation for everything we do in internal and external communication..

    Just curious..

    Comment by Mike Moore | June 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Mike,

      The hundreds of hours of strategy development have led to this revamping of our ucg.org Web site, and will incorporate enhanced and improved SEO metrics. The “Web Task Force” and it’s recommendations have been very helpful in this whole project. Also, the branding project results have not been forgotten, with implementation plans underway.

      Comment by United Church of God | June 5, 2010 | Reply

  10. Remember Web 2.0. For example, the “courses” might be evaluated and certified. It is a great resource to create a longer relationship.

    Comment by Fredy | June 7, 2010 | Reply

  11. I’ll be moving this winter, and most likely will attend ucg; or was thinking I would… In any case, after I spent some time looking at posts and what not, and also the Facebook page ucg friends, I an just confused does ucg believe that it’s the only true church? I have som family in living an I know that they do..but I guess you’d say I’m independent so I’m just tryin to figure things out. The Facebook page seems like the members of the ucg believe it’s the only tru church tho i don’t see it as an official teaching or whatever from the church. Sorry for postin on her but I can’t figure out where else to post?

    Comment by Esther | June 24, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Esther!

      Thanks for writing! I’m no official spokesman, but I’ll give this a shot. No, we don’t see UCG as the only true Church. We believe the Church is a spiritual body. “UCG” is a physical corporation, which we established as a vehicle the Church can use to help accomplish its commanded mission to preach the gospel and prepare a people.

      This is how it is worded in our Constitution:

      “The purpose of this Corporation is to serve as an instrument of the Church to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, to make disciples in all nations and to care for those disciples.”

      We believe that those of us who are working together in UCG to accomplish that mission are a part of the true Church, but we simply do not know who all (or how many) God is working with as part of the Body of Christ today. I believe Elijah’s experience still applies: In 1 Kings 19, Elijah told God “I alone am left”. God replied, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

      I think we have to be careful not to assume “we alone are left”. (Also compare Mark 9:38-41)

      We do, however, believe God makes appointments which include administrative responsibilities in the Church (1 Cor 12:27, Eph 4:11). We also believe God wants those in the Church to work for unity and reconciliation, not division. Paul did not have to write multiple letters to various, separately incorporated congregations in the same city. This is why we are committed to healing and reconciling the divisions with others elsewhere in the Church of God wherever possible.

      (http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/treasure-digest-question-and-answer-why-dont-churches-god-pool-their-resources-pre)

      Comment by Clint | June 25, 2011 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: