It is quite easy to despair at the state of parish websites. They almost always seem to be an afterthought and so often seem to be stuck a decade behind in web design. As fond of tradition as we Catholics are, this does not apply to outdated web design with a geo cities look. In my own diocese I haven’t found one parish website that is even close to acceptable and actually seeing a current bulletin is very hit and miss.
We can appreciate those dear souls who are usually the ones that volunteered their time to create and update a parish site in the first place. Parishes have so many demands on them that actually paying for someone to design/maintain a parish website is understandably low on the list. Though unless somebody with some degree of web design professionalism volunteers your pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to free.
Diocesan websites are normally much better, but like all things can range in quality/functionality.
This is why I love to see things like this initiative front the Archdiocese of Boston on creating “Creating Excellent Parish Websites.”
They have a 2 hour discussion on this topic along with links to the handouts they used. The Archdiocese of Boston is a positive example of a diocese that has focused on using media including new media to communicate.