This page is part of a series Before you build your Website. Read it from the beginning.
What do you want to have on your website? Why would people visit your website? What will keep them engaged & coming back? Do you need a blog? A web forum? Integration with Social Media?
When planning your website, it’s important to keep these questions in mind. Again, keep in mind the short- to mid-term goals of your website and take into account future expansion.
Completely new to this? Consult Caveena Solutions to find out how you can leverage web technologies to meet organization goals. Make an appointment today!
Website Designers and Developers have a mantra: Content is King. It means your Website Content is the reason people come to your website in the first place. It’s also the reason people return to your website. Surprisingly, our experience also says that Website Content is easily over-looked when building and planning a website.
There is a notion that Website Content is easy to generate. Perhaps that’s true if your name is Steven King or J.K. Rowling but for the rest of us thinking about our Website Content is an experience similar to writer’s block. And if your website is for an organization, it may be exponentially difficult to get collect Website Content from the different departments.
All this points to one of the most important tips in building websites: Start gathering your Website Content as soon as possible, preferably at the start of the project (or earlier, if at all possible). Task someone (or a team of people) with the responsibility and authority to collect Website Content.
For websites of bigger organizations, you might want to hire an Information Architect to guide this process. But if you’re just starting out with a small- to medium-sized website, here are some questions to help you along. They are based around the basic Who, What, Where, When, Why, How questions that reporters ask:
- Who are you?
- What are you trying to do/sell?
- What are your products/services?
- What is the key message you want to deliver?
- What are the basic facts you want people to know about you/your organization?
- What are the important phone numbers & email addresses in order to contact you/your organization?
- Where are you located?
- Where can people find out more about you/your organization/your cause?
- Where can people meet you?
- When are you open/closed (i.e. your operating hours)?
- Why should people buy your products/services or care about your cause?
- Why should people care?
- How else can people get in touch with you (e.g. social media)?
From our experience, we advise that all websites, at the very least, include the following Basic Information:
- A description of you/your organization.
- Information on your products/services.
- Operating hours
- Contact information: phone, email, social media pages.
- A web form so people can contact you through your website.
Are you stuck when it comes to your Website Content? Caveena Solutions can conduct interviews with key people in your organization to create your Website Content! Find out more today.
Content Management Systems
You’ve probably heard the term Content Management System(CMS) but don’t really know what it is. In a nutshell, it is a program that manages your Website Content. This includes creating new content, editing existing content and deleting it if necessary. The powerful advantage of using CMS is that you once installed on your Web Host you don’t need deep knowledge of programming to maintain your website.
Some popular CMS are WordPress, Joomla & Drupal with newer ones emerging every day. We highly recommend using a CMS. There are many free tutorials online (check YouTube!) that can help you along. Keep in mind that while CMS make many things easy, there will still be some features which require extensive website development knowledge.
If you are using a Dedicated Service Provider, they will probably have their own CMS installed for you to use. Check their help documents for more information.
Caveena Solutions specializes in WordPress but we also have experience with Joomla & Drupal. Want to build a custom WordPress theme with specific functionality for your website? Contact us today.
The Under Construction Page
The “Under Construction” page was once commonplace when the Internet was getting started but it has quickly fallen out of fashion. While we at Caveena Solutions don’t encourage its use, we understand that there may be situations where an Under Construction Page is the best option.
However, we maintain that if you have time to create an Under Construction page, you can spend a little more time to collect the Basic Information to put on a single web page.
Think about this: every visitor to your website is a potential customer or contact. When faced with an Under Construction page, they have no other way to get more information. You lose a potential customer or contact. But if you provide the Basic Information to them, at the very least you may get a phone call.
Using Third-Party Services
A good chunk of website content is made up of words and pretty pictures. On occasion, you may find you want to include a video or a sound file. For some websites, video is their the main Website Content they offer (Machinima, for example).
Particularly for bigger files like audio, video & high-resolution photos, you may want to use a specialized third-party service which allows you to embed the file on your website. The reasoning behind this is that your Web Host may only give you a maximum storage capacity according to your plan. Unless licensing or privacy is an issue, there are many Third-Party services you can use:
- For audio: SoundCloud and YourListen.
- For video: Blip.tv, Daily Motion, Vimeo, YouTube.
- For images: Flickr, Imgur, SmugMug, Zenfolio.
The final part of our series covers Website Maintenance & Recurring Costs. If you need a refresher, you can go back and read up on Web Hosts, Dedicated Service Providers & Website Builders.