nocturnal aardvark

Preparing for Your Own Web Site

Why should you have a Web Site?

This is a difficult question to answer with more than a "it depends" answer. Not all web sites are created equal, sometimes it is neccassary to focus the site to a specific user agent (smart phone or Desktop etc.) orther times a particular age group could be important. At all times one should design the site to conform to the industry accepted standards. The industry standards are referred to as W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium
There probably are as many reasons as there are Web Sites.
Some companies and organisations need a Web Site to provide information about products they have available, others wish to provide information about their services; and many companies have an online ordering component in their Web Site to allow customers to order online. This component is frequently referred to as e- commerce or similar. For some an important part is who they are, why they are or where they are.
Many web pages offer information or where to find information about a topic.
A big part of community based or organisation based Web Sites is often information about up-coming meetings or events and possibly background information on the topic.
Another group of Web Sites can be "how-to";. At Aardvarck Consulting Services we frequently consult these type of pages to find new and better ways to provide a service.
All of these types of Web Sites can be for the general public or specially for a smaller group. Any site can be a combination of several different types of sites and most are. Some sites can have a general site for the public and a more specific set of pages for their members or employees. The specific "member" pages can be restricted to member only with user names and passwords or left more general depending on the content. The choices and possibility of combinations is endless; the important part to remember is before embarking on a Web Site one must have a clear vision why they want the Web Site. It is also a good idea to have a way of determining if the site is accomplishing the objectives. The objectives could be simply the number of visits to the site, new members or customers, increased sales or more attendees at meetings. In almost every scenario a Web Site will cost you money, it is important to know if you are receiving value for your money, time and effort.

  1. What is the biggest challenge for a successful Web Site?

  2. Many successful Web Sites put considerable effort into attracting repeat visitors; one of the simplest ways to do this is to regularly have new content on the site. If the site is to be a content driven site it is important to have a steady stream of new and relevant content posted. This is where many sites ultimately fail, after the initial flurry of activity and enthusiasm about the new project the flow of new content falters, and the site looses visitors and becomes just a cost with no real benefit.

  3. What should be clearly defined and organised before a Web Site is created?

  4. A clear purpose for the site and a plan for the future development of the site.

  5. What are the steps to set up a web site?

  6. After determining one wants a Web Site,

    1. The first step is optional but usually recommended. Obtain a domain nameWhat is a domain Name.

    2. Decide on who you wish to host the site or provide the computer storage and access for the files that will comprise the site.

    3. Obtain the services of a web master to create and edit the pages. This can be yourself, but many find it is simpler to obtain the services of a commercial services organisation such as Aardvarck Consulting Services. Basic creation and editing of a web page is easy for anyone to learn, the challenge is in the details.

    4. In consultation with the web master determine how the Web Site should look. This can become a bit of a challenge as different browsers (correctly referred to as user agents)are different and some are different with different operating systems. Not everyone uses the last offering from Microsoft nor does everyone use just a Personal Computer to view the pages.

    5. Establish how and how often the content for the site will be provided for the web master. One may of course be both the web master and content provider but it is not recommended as one quickly becomes swamped in the details. A comparable example is in the printing world; apart from the smallest of newspapers one does not find a single person handling all the details from publishing through editing onto printing and distribution of the paper - keeping the details of each step straight is too much for a single person to carry for long.

    Some may prefer to roll all these steps into one step and go straight to obtain the services of a web master. This can be done.
    When you have settled on a web master, the most important point to remember is they can not create a Web Site without content.

  7. How do I provide content to the Web Master?

  8. Most web masters can accept content provide in many ways.
    One easy way is in a regular email. It is best to separate the headlines by double spacing so the web master knows which you want identified. Add a few instruction to say where in the Web Site you would like it to appear. and attach any photos or graphics you woulds like added along with instruction on hoe they should be used. If the information is already in a document such as a word processor then just attach the file to an email along with the appropriate instructions. If the new Masterial is only available in hard copy a scan of the copy and attach it works. If you want the scanned Masterial to be the same as regularly entered Masterial (other wise it is treated the same as a graphic) it is best to transcribe it your self, the web master can do this for you but it will take more time and they should bill you for the time - you can probably transcribe the document as quickly easily and cheaply as the web master can, one way to keep costs down. The feature may be one that does not work consistently on other user agents (browsers) or requires additional components or add-ons for each viewer to install.

  9. Why did the Web master say NO?

  10. From time to time you may want a certain feature on the Web Site that the web master will not provide. In some cases this may be because it is beyond the web masters technical ability - some features require expensive software or licensing to provide. The feature may conflict with another feature. The computer the or host provider does not offer the service. The web master may consider the feature in bad taste and outside the bounds of acceptable use.

  11. After the site is created what should be done?

  12. Obviously the site should be posted on the web. Next the site should be registered with search engines. (Before the site is posted the Web master should have paid attention to the details that the various search engines like to see in web pages.)
    Not only the Web Master should check their work but the other stake holders should also check the work - check for more than just content and typographical errors. Features such as menus should be checked by all. Some features may work perfectly when the Web Master tests them but when others using other user agents try them they don't work. The Web Master can not be expected to test the viewing experience in every possible environment.

  13. If I see an error should I tell the Web Master?

  14. By all means, the Web Site is yours and is presenting the image you want the rest of the world to see.
    Web Masters are people too(sort of - actually they are nerds), they have egos just like everyone else. It is natural for the Web Master to resist when you tell them they made a mistke. There may be a technical reason for why it appears as it does. It may be one of those unforeseen variations between different viewing environments. Tell the Web Master that a certain page is not appearing or working as you expect it to. In most cases the Web Master will want to correct the matter as quickly as possible if there is a practical solution. The Web Site is also the image they are presenting to the rest of the world.

page last modified Tuesday, 01-Dec-2009 15:51:57 PST
Site by Aardvark Consulting Services