web design

Top 10 Reasons to Migrate to the NE1 Website Builder

The Christian Web Trends Blog is intended for all Christians interested in reading and discussion the impact of Internet technology on ministry and not specifically for people who use OurChurch.Com website services.  So, while I do occasionally mention OCC services tangentially as they relate to a topic, I don’t often write blog articles specifically about OCC services because it’s not about OCC.

Today I’m going to make an exception to talk about the new NE1 Website Builder we recently launched, because more than 10,000 Christian organizations have active websites built with our Beacon website builder.  And I believe with all my heart that the more of those organizations that move to NE1 and the sooner they move the better those organizations will be able to communicate and minister to those they serve.

Plus more than half our blog subscribers have a website created with our Beacon website builder and have an interest in NE1.  It’s not often I write something that even half of our readers are interested in. 😀

OurChurch.Com’s old Beacon Website Builder was initially developed more than 11 years ago.  And while it has been improved over the years, the basic structure and functionality of the sites it creates has not changed much in that time.  In developing the NE1 Website Builder, we started over from scratch with a list of goals and functionalities that meet the needs of Christian organizations today.  We think the websites it produces are light years ahead of Beacon.

So, in an effort to encourage Beacon users to do their organizations a favor and migrate to NE1, here are my top 10 reasons to migrate to the new NE1 Website Builder.

  1. Better looking templates.  The template defines the structure of the web page and the elements that are common to all pages in the site.  NE1 templates have more contemporary look.  They are more vibrant with color and images.  They are also more versatile.  Some have the menu on the left, others have a horizontal menu across the top.  Some have 2 columns, others 1 or 3.
  2. WYSIWYG Editor. Formatting the content of web pages is now as easy as using a word processor with the WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor.  Making text bold, adding links, inserting images into the body of your pages can now be done with a few clicks.
  3. Drop-down/Slide-out sub-menus. With Beacon, large sites with lots of pages were resigned to have a very long list of pages down the left side of every page.  With NE1, sub-menus can be created that slide out or drop down when a visitor places their mouse over them.  This is produces a huge improvement in the appearance of large sites and makes it much easier for visitors to find their way around.
  4. Better spam prevention. Guestbooks and prayer request pages have always been a target of spammers.  With NE1’s captcha feature (example), visitors have to verify an image when submiting a prayer request or signing a guestbook.  Additionally, web administrators have the option of reviewing messages before they are published, ensuring nothing goes on a site unless it’s approved first.
  5. Photo gallery with thumbnails and slideshow.  While images can be placed anywhere in the content of any page, the photo galley module has some neat features for images viewing.  It automatically creates thumbnails of pictures when they’re upload them.  It also automatically resizes the full-size version of pictures so they fit on the screen and don’t take as much disk space.  There is also a slideshow feature which allows visitors to sit back and look at all the images in a gallery. (example)
  6. Shop integrates with PayPal.  The shopping cart or shop module automatically creates the “Add to Cart” and “View Cart” buttons, so there’s no copying and pasting HTML button code. (example)
  7. Blog.  NE1 includes a blog (web log) module.  Blogs are a great way to communicate personally with your visitors to keep them informed and returning to your site.
  8. It’s easy.  Migrating to NE1 is a very simple 3-step process.  There is an easy-to-use migration tool which copies just about everything from a Beacon site into NE1.  Just run the migration tool, tweak your NE1 site to get it the way you want it, and activate it.  That’s it.  If you do run into problems or have questions, our support staff is here to help.
  9. You could win $59.  We would hope the improve appearance and functionality would be enough motivation to switch, but we decided we create a little extra incentive by giving away $59 each week day to web administrator who has migrated their site.
  10. Everyone’s doing it.  I know, I know… “If everyone was jumping off a bridge would you do that too?”  Well, if it was Bridge Day at the New River Gorge Bridge maybe, but I digress…  Eventually Beacon will be phased out and everyone will have to move to NE1.  More than 500 organizations are already using NE1, so why not you?  Why not today?

If you’ve already made the move to NE1, what was your top reason for migrating?  What do you like best about NE1?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

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


  • I have migrated my site but I am getting complaints about how slow the new site is. I noticed this as well as I made edits. Is the speed going to improve or can someone suggest a way to improve speed. I have visited other sites and seem to have the same issues.
    Sheila Adcock

  • I am nervous about switching over to NE1..I will do it but am nervous…I am the sole webminister for our website and am afraid we will lose some of what is already set up? A few years ago, we were with a different host company and they changed their format and we lost everything… Will I lose any of what we have? I am a procrastinator,,,but Im working up the courage to click and move soon. Thanks for all the upfront info.
    St.Mark Parish
    Jean Cyrulewski
    Web Minister

  • I am still waiting to hear the calendar is finished then we will think agout moving. The calendar is a big part of out website. I have just found out how to put sermon audio out on the web and will be doing it this week. After I have a CAT scan and a lympth node removed from my neck. The cancer has moved a little from the thyroid to a few lympth nodes. Say a prayer for me!!
    Bill Larsen

  • The new NE1 is fantastic. It really is easy to migrate to.
    And the templates are very modern and cool. You gotta do it folks.
    I waited for a long time for this and migrated as soon as I knew it was available. I am very very pleased and so is our pastor and members of our church. “WYSIWYG” Is absolutely wonderful.
    You wont be sorry if you go ahead and switch over. Everything about it is easier. And if you have any trouble, which I did have a little bit, uploading audio files just a couple times…anyway the staff is perfect about helping and getting things fixed if anything goes wrong.
    I LOVE it. The best part is you can be sure all your stuff goes over on to the new site……if not, dont migrate. It doesnt hurt to try.
    It never goes over until you are ready. So dont be nervous. I am not very computer savy and I did it on our site…….

    Carol Anderson

  • Hmmm… NE1 is slow, I’m afraid of losing my site, and it doesn’t have a calendar… apparently I should have started with the top 10 reasons not to switch to NE1. 😉 Seriously though…

    Sheila, we have improved the speed quite a bit in the last few days and we have a few more things we’re going to do to improve it even further in the next few days.

    Jean, you have nothing to worry about. You will not lose anything, because the migration tool copies from your Beacon site. So even if there was a problem, we could always go back to your Beacon site and re-import.

    Bill, we expect to have the calendar module available within the next few weeks.

    – Paul

  • Hi Paul,

    I just went to look at the photo gallery and I felt the larger photos were too small and closer to a thumbnail. It is fine to have a small thumbnail but the full size photo needs to be detailed enough to know who the kids were at the campout and more detail of the kids in the bay. It is takes longer to upload the larger file so be it. I chose the photo to see it larger. Expanding the window does not expand the photo. I am just letting you know how I see it. I went to a presentation the last night and the presenter put 2 and 3 photos on a powerPoint page projected on the wall. He had 9' avilable but limited the pixel size and what we could see in a lack of resolution. It would have been so much better if he had shown 1 photo at a time and made it larger and more crisp. We need to loose the scrapbook mentality when puting together photo expositions.

    Just my perspective. But When I click to see a larger photo I want a larger photo.

    Best regards,


  • Bill, you’re right. The sample site I referenced was originally created in Beacon and then migrated to NE1. When it was created in Beacon the photos couldn’t be much bigger than those in the first gallery you saw because they would distort the page.

    I’ve added a new gallery of pictures from after Hurricane Katrina, which better demonstrate the capabilities of the NE1 photo gallery.

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