Have a look at lots of businesses or individuals sites in your area of interest. See what they are doing (good and bad) with their sites and the possibilities. The world wide web is an amazing place, learn from it.
- Establish what is the purpose of your web site,
- Understand who is the target audience,
- Decide on the site outline and
- Consider theme possibilities?
what is the purpose?
Possible purposes could be:
- Promote self/club/organisation/goods/services,
- Increase membership/sales,
- Reduce administrative costs/traditional advertising costs and/or
- Increased market reach.
who is the target audience?
Consider your desired target audience and have a clear understanding of their likes and dislikes.
Once you have established the purpose of the site and target audience some of the site outline should become set. Routinely sites need to have pages for:
- links (see Search Engine Rankings)
- site map (desirable for the benefit of search robots and spiders)
Other probable pages or sub-directories might be:
- about us
- specials/notice board/breaking news/blog (a page which can be amended simply and regularly by you without the need for technical knowledge or software)
- product specific pages, e.g. restaurant, accommodation, tours
The site can also be organised in or with sub-directories that can be secured to provide access only to a particular group of visitors e.g. association members, wholesalers or whatever.
Web Sites need to have a particular theme or look and feel to them, e.g. colour schemes, text styles, logos and images. This may be a simple as selecting colours and text format, to more demanding sites which communicate a genuine feel of the business they document.
Have a look at your, business cards, brochures, recent advertisements and articles. If you have not already established a consistent theme for your marketing, now is probably the time. If you have a theme, maybe we can work it a little more to improve it.
Within a web site, all pages should conform to the theme.
Web pages are built in Hyper Text Mark-up Language (html). Un-sophisticated text files created in WORDPAD or NOTEPAD are perfect but I can equally simple extract the basic text structure from WORD (.doc) documents. I do all formatting later in html. You may find the most convenient approach is using WORD and with the power it has to format, so I can see what you want me to reproduce on a web page.
Please do not use WORD to create a file and then convert it to a WEB PAGE, this is a nightmare function and the resulting bloated page, only good for the trash can. Do not use Portable Document Files (PDF), they are designed to be rigid in structure and it is time consuming to extract the desired text from them.
Written material should be broken up into no more than one typed A4 page per web page. Each page should consist of:
- Page Title (2 to 6 words)
- Specific copy for that page, including Section Headings, if appropriate.
Copy Attitude - Although web pages should be short, they should not be without personality. Users appreciate a little humour or attitude in pages. However, users have a distinctive dislike for anything they deem excessive. Superficial exaggeration, that is commonly used in television, radio and magazine, will discount a site’s credibility.
Conciseness - Use the minimum number of words to convey the maximum message. Online reading is not yet a happy activity for many and probably never will be. Similarly, users do not like scrolling down screen loads of text, to get to the material they seek.
Structure Text - Present the most important material at the top of the page, using the so-called Inverted Pyramid Principle. Confine paragraphs to one idea and ensure that idea is detailed in the first sentence
Scan-ability - Web users tend to scan text and pick out headings, key words and sentences of interest. Scan-ability is maximised by:
- Organising pages with a Main Heading and Section Headings ;
- Using bulleted lists and similar design elements to break the flow of uniform block texts and
- Using highlighting or “emphasis” to make specific words stand out.
Spelling and Grammar - Run the text through a Spell Check and ensure that the grammar is in order. Be aware that the Spell Checker will NOT identify when you have mistyped a wrong word but with the correctly spelling.
Images should be provided as the largest digital images you can get your hands on. I will then do what is necessary to develop the image and finally “compress” them for use on the web site so that the pages load quickly..
This compression process results in a significant amount of data being permanently discarded. Therefore, once I have worked and compressed an image I can not normally continue to further amend it. What this means is if we set up a standard format for a page using images 45x90 whatever's and we have a change of mind , e.g. we want images 66x100 or without the drop shadow, or with a white background or whatever, I need to start from the original image again.
Amending a page of text takes about 4 key strokes; amending images on a single page may take 4 hours! This should not be an issue but you need to understand the importance of getting the look and feel of images settled before developing the whole site.
If you have read this far and have not already done so, you had best give me a ring on 0427 623442 to get your site going.