Website Development

What is the best process to create or update a website?

There are four main aspects of website development

  • Purpose
  • Content
  • Organization
  • Layout

Purpose

It is essential that you understand what you want your website to do. What is its purpose? How does it fit into your overall business or organizational plan? How will it be used by your staff? How will it be used by your clients/customers/surfers? Make a list of the things you want it to accomplish, then prioritize the list.

Content

The site’s content is the words or copy writing necessary for the various pages. No one knows your business better than you. It is recommended that appropriate personnel create, review, and/or revise the content for each and every desired page. This can be done with a word processor. These pages will then become the building blocks of the site. We can help as required, but the more you can do yourself the less the site will cost.

Organization

At the same time you need to work on the organization of the content of the site. Again, this can be done with a word processor. Make an outline of the site, where each page is an outline point. Organize the pages into categories that make sense to you.

The outline and the content are closely related, and provide the foundation for good website development.

These are the three things that we (or any web developer) will need from you. It may be that most of this is already done on an existing site, but everything should be reviewed because some things will need to be revised. The site organizational outline will then be used as the basis for the menu (navigation) system.

Request our Microsoft Word template that can help guide you with these matters.

Layout

This is what most people think of as website design. After these things are done, the coding of the website can begin. In order to provide you with what you want, please find three existing websites that you like. Tell us what you like about them.

From that conversation, a website template is designed. We work on the template until it meets your satisfaction. The template provides the overall look and feel of the site and the navigation menus.

The next step is to plug the content into the various pages and add the meta tags to make the site easier to find.

Beyond this the site should be registered with the various search engines if that has not been done.

Finally, press releases should be sent out, not just locally, but nationally so that interested parties can more readily find your site.

If you have a lot of traffic on your site, you might also consider hosting ads on the site. Ads might generate a little revenue, but more importantly, they will increase site activity. We can discuss this if you are interested — or incorporate it down the road.

Once the site is up and running, it needs to be maintained. Maintenance mostly involves information updates and corrections. We can do that for you, or we can set the site up in such a way that anyone with the proper password can edit and change only the content of specified pages from any Internet connected computer.

You may also be interested in integrating a blog into the site so that you (and/or whoever else) can post articles, letters, reports, etc. for public viewing and interaction (if desired). The blog could allow for reader to comment on the article or exclude commenting.

Blogging will also increase the traffic on the site because blogging uses RSS technology. Essentially, that means that every time an article is posted on the blog, the system automatically announces the new article to the world. For many people RSS is already replacing email.

Discussion boards could also be set up. This could provide your constituency with a greater opportunity to discuss issues pertaining to your business or organization. Discussion boards can be set to be public or private, so you can have control of who is allowed to use them.

Next you should put your website address on everything — letterhead, envelopes, business cards, brochures, ads, etc.

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