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The Website Planning Guide – Part 2

By Heshy Friedman

Part 2: Putting Together Your Website

 

1. Being Involved

The only way to have a successful website is to have you or someone from your organization involved with the production of your new website. Somebody will need to be available to put together content for the website, check progress during the development, and answer questions we may have. This is imperative in establishing a successful web presence, as it requires cooperation and communication.

 

2. Identifying Your Website

Think about the goals and objectives you want to accomplish with a new website. To help you decide how you want your website to function, study how other companies, especially your competitors, put their websites together. View their page structure, their wording, their color/styles, and the graphics they use. This will help you determine what you want (or don’t want) in your website. (If you don’t have the availability to do this, we can provide a pre-design consultation strategy to help your organize the material for your website at our hourly rate.)

 

3. Text for your Web Pages

You or your writer will need to put together content for the pages of the website. Text used in a website should be well written and grammatically correct. We have a professional writing partner should you require assistance in the writing or proofreading of text. Website text should contain relevant keywords so that the search engines can properly index the pages.

The Home Page
The Home Page (the first page of a website) is the most important page in the site. It determines if the visitor stays on your site or clicks further and leaves. Home page text should generally be one or two paragraphs and loaded with keywords. Visitors will read more about the site by clicking the links if they are interested – there is no need to stuff everything on the home page.

The Inner Pages
The inner pages are where all the content is placed. You can have as many inner pages as you wish and give them any name you desire. Each site uses its own unique names for all the pages, and most have the following standard pages:

  • About Us
  • Services
  • Contact Us

If your site will have many pages, you will need to have the pages grouped by category or section, and this is often organized with dynamic flyout or dropdown menus.

 

4. Graphics for your Web Pages

Most professional websites use graphics and images in their web pages. You can download and purchase royalty free photography from stock photo galleries such as Fotolia.com or Istockphoto.com, or send us your own digital photographs. We can also assist you with image searching and purchase the pictures for you.

We can also edit your own digital images by changing the size, color, etc. or create custom graphical banners, mastheads, and montages that combine several images into a single composite. If necessary, we can also provide the services of professional digital photography through a partner.

 

5. Logo and Branding Identity

Most professional websites use graphics and images in their web pages. You can download and purchase royalty free photography from stock photo galleries such as fotolia.com or istockphoto.com, or send us your own digital photographs. We can also assist you with image searching and purchase the pictures for you.

We can also edit your own digital images by changing the size, color, etc. or create custom graphical banners, mastheads, and montages that combine several images into a single composite. If necessary, we can also provide the services of professional digital photography through a partner.

 

6. Jquery, Sliders, and Animation

Animations can enhance a website by providing a rich, multimedia experience. When used properly, these can really enhance a website’s appeal. (Animations can also seriously detract from a website’s objective if used improperly.) Other multimedia elements you may want to incorporate into your web pages are audio and video such as MP3, MP4, Flash video, and YouTube videos. These can be seamlessly integrated as streaming media directly through the website.

 

7. Text on Page Footer

It is recommended that you copyright your pages by placing copyright information on the footer of every page. Copyright text should not exceed one line. Many websites also have an email link or text page links on every page footer, and this is often useful for navigation and search engine optimization.

 

8. Web Forms

You may want to provide fill-in forms on your site where visitors can input information and submit it to you. These forms can be customized by their fields, the way they look, and how they process the data collected. Forms can also be customized to limit the data within each field. For example, if more than five digits are placed in a zip code field, an error message will be generated. Web forms are useful as email contact forms, application forms, and online donation forms, among other things.

 

9. Search Engine Tags

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use content to determine rankings as one of their many ranking methods. To achieve the best results, it is recommended to put together a description and page title for each website page (keywords are no longer relevant).

  • Description: A short, one sentence description of the website that sums it up and contains keywords.
  • Page Title: Eight or less words describing the page.

 

10. Data-driven and Shopping Cart Sites

Websites that contain data that can be controlled and edited directly online are known as dynamic websites, or data-driven websites. Most online stores and shopping cart websites are database-driven. The nature of these websites tends to be quite complex, so we can discuss with you the exact requirements and how to best achieve them. There are many features that can be used with dynamic sites, including search capabilities, catalogs, customer accounts, calculators, and administrative functions.

 

11. Data-driven and Shopping Cart Sites

Social Media integration with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are important in today’s changing world. Blogs have also become an important forum for companies to post news and updates. Not all websites require these features, but they are very important and should be thought about for website integration. Mobile Websites have also become very popular and should be considered whenever designing a new website.

 

12. Domain Registration and Hosting Information

As previously noted, if you don’t already own a domain name for your website, you will need to purchase one. We recommend Godaddy.com, an established company with the most competitive pricing.

We will setup all accounts on our own hosting server and manage it. If you require the hosting to be provided by a third-party vendor, you will need to prepare your login information such as FTP login and Control Panel login so that the site can be placed on your hosting server once the site is complete.

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