Guidelines for Maintaining Your Mission Alumni Pages
These are not meant to be definitive guidelines and not every
suggestion here may apply to your mission site. However, LDS Mission Network
does consider adherence to these guidelines in determining which site it lists
for a given mission. Mission sites which flout these guidelines will not be
listed on LDSMN under any circumstances.
More importantly, these guidelines are also representative of the practices
of the mission pages which have been most successful in terms of scope and
number of online alumni involved.
NOTE: These tips do not cover set-up on specific servers (in
particular, the dial-up services) as each one has different procedures for
establishing home pages which are usually documented in a link from their home
It is our hope that these tips will help the beginning mission homepage
developer both to 1) avoid common Web pitfalls and 2) to foster growth of their
mission web site.
- Support the principal mission language. Pages which deal with
missions whose primary language is not English should have a version in the
principal mission language(s). Obviously, for languages with font limitations
(including most non-Indo-European languages), this is not necessary. Check
our Language Selection page to find out more
on how to support more than one language.
- Don't do a page specific to one mission president. There just
aren't enough people on the net to get the word out about your page if you
limit yourself to one mission president. In addition, to be listed on the LDS
Mission Network, you need to support both the mission presidents
associated with your mission, and those associated with the defunct missions
which preceded yours as well.
- Several pages have been proposed for defunct missions. This is
reasonable if there are no missions that descend from the defunct mission--a
good example of this would be the Iran Teheran Mission. However, for defunct
missions which have descendant missions, the page should be created
for the most direct descendant, which can be determined by looking in the most
recent Church Almanac. If you need help determining the descendant mission,
check Finding pages for defunct/renamed missions or e-mail
- Maintain a page for your own mission only. Doing a page for a mission where you
(your spouse or a close relative) didn't serve, implicitly robs that page of
meaning for the missionaries who actually served there. Besides, maintaining
ONE page is hard enough to keep up with--give yourself a break :^)
- Stay away from frames, if possible. If you choose to use frames, be
sure to include a non-frames version. Many potential readers are recently
returned RMs who, as students, only have access to the internet via college
computer labs. Not all colleges have the extensive funds needed to upgrade as fast as they'd desire.
In addition, by using "bleeding edge technology" you run the risk of
alienating a large portion of your readership. To find out more about LDSMN's
statistics--i.e. what browsers are used the most, which platforms, etc.--
check out the LDSMN Usage statistics.
- Be cautious when using graphics. Although graphics can be slow,
judicious use of them can increase the interest your alumni have in your page.
Be sure whatever graphics you decide to use to choose a file format which
minimizes the memory space used by your graphic. Smaller graphics files
obviously take less time to download, so your alumni don't lose interest
waiting. As a rule of thumb, photos and other images with much color
gradation, jpeg format is usually the best option for quick transmission; for
computer-generated images (with large fields of single colors), gif is often
better. Get more information on our Modem
Friendly Design page.
- Everything is copyrighted under US copyright law that appears in
print, even without explicit copyright notice. If you intend to use a graphic
or information from someone else's pages, please check with them to obtain
permission first, unless explicit permission is granted on the page. For more
information, see the LDSMN Standards Guide.
- Don't use the church logo. Both the new and old logos of the Church,
and the name of the Church are registered trademarks. While use of the name to
refer to the Church is not per se trademark infringement, implied official
statements made under that name may be prosecutable. Be careful to indicate
that statements made on your page are not intended as
official doctrine or policy of the Church.
It is a good idea to add a disclaimer similar to what we use (see the bottom
of this page).
- Don't duplicate another mission page. Competing mission pages
drain resources and alumni from each other. If you have concerns about the
way your mission's web page is maintained, then contact that page's
maintainer to offer to help them with their site. If your site appears to be
abandoned or you get no response, let our support team know at
- Don't put personal items on your mission alumni home page. While
your mission page will inevitably have touches that reflect your own
personality, it should not serve double duty as your personal home page.
RMs look at mission pages as places to congregate and catch up with old
companions--they aren't looking for your baby or wedding pictures, your CV, or
your political views. Create a separate personal home page for those things and
have a link to it instead.
- Don't sell things on your mission page. This is just a matter of
good taste. Just as you don't go to Elders Quorum or Relief Society to hear a
presentation on the latest multi-level marketing scam, and just as you don't
want your home teachers to come by selling products instead of teaching a
lesson, so it is that RMs visiting your page shouldn't have to be inundated
with advertising--no matter how good the product you sell is. Selling product
on a Mission site is a violation of the LDSMN
- Don't use the terms official or unofficial on your
page. Saying that your page is "official" is dishonest, and
saying that your page is "unofficial" is confusing, because there
are no official pages. There is no reason to even indicate "official"
or "unofficial" on our pages.
- Don't say your page is under construction. This is one of
the most common and worst practices on the web. Think about it: if your page
isn't under construction, what is it? Abandoned. If you have a strong
urge to tell people you're still working on your page, put a note saying
"Last updated on...". Like "official" or
"unofficial", the term "under construction" is entirely
- Don't advertise "vaporware". Vaporware consists of
features which overpromise and underdeliver. If you don't have a page or
feature ready to deliver, don't say that you will. You will find that
maintaining a Mission page is hard work and that you can't do it every day.
Give yourself ample time to create pages and announce them when you're ready
to show them.
- Don't create a page you don't plan to maintain. There
is no sense in creating an unmaintained page. It wastes the time of other
alumni in your mission, who could be creating working on a better, but who, in
deference to yours, wait. If you already maintain a mission alumni page and
you are no longer able to maintain it, contact the
LDS Mission Network support team to
arrange an archiving of your page and an interim maintainer.
- Don't expect that other people will do your work for you. Several
people have started mission pages in which they've expected that people would
simply submit all the information they needed. It doesn't work that way.
Experience has shown that the person responsible for page will also be
responsible for creating well over 90% of the content of the page --
either through tracking it down at libraries, etc., or by providing an
explicit gathering mechanism (e.g. creating forms to gather e-mail addresses).
Almost no content is ever sent from other RMs in a format that it can be just
added to the page without modification.
- Give people ample opportunity to talk back. Your alumni are one of
your best sources for new information about your mission. If they feel you're
missing something, or if they feel something is superfluous, they'll tell you.
Unless you were mission historian, chances are you'll need other RMs'
submissions to make a complete page.
- Respond quickly to feedback. If you're going to be away from your
page for days, weeks, or months, tell your readers! Better still, if you're
going to be away that long, recruit someone to manage your page.
- Use an automated alumni/profile database. Hand-editing a page for
each of your alumni gets old, FAST. The LDSMN has developed some excellent databases
that ease the work load and allow alumni to edit their own information at
their leisure. Plus, as an administrator of your site, you can approve, edit,
and delete any profiles that are entered. You can find the LDSMN automated
databases in the Maintainer section. To get
help setting up your database, contact
- Provide clear, consistent navigation. Nothing is more irritating
than getting lost on a Web site, with no clue where you are and no clear way
out. If you use graphics to provide navigation, make sure you have <alt>
tags with the navigation name inside. In addition, provide text navigation on
your page (traditionally on the bottom).
- Provide diverse content. RMs, parents, pre-missionaries, and local
members will all be using your site. Tailor your site to fit their needs.
Among the items found on most successful mission web sites are:
- RM E-mail addresses
- Mission presidents
- Mission news
- Reunion information
- Mission song
- Recipes/local color
- Local addresses
- History and stories
- Links to country/state guides
- Links to LDS pages
- Be a good publicist. No one will care about your page, if they have
to stumble randomly upon it to find it. This is one of the advantages in
registering with the LDS Mission Network. Most of
your publicity is handled right here. To get
more information about listing your site on major search engines, optimizing
your site with META tags, keywords, etc., please see our