Content-rich website setup
Date: Saturday, December 11 @ 12:50:09
Topic Website Building Tips
Building a web site for the first time might seem like an
extremely difficult task, especially when you have to consider
that you will be building a site for a world-wide audience
comprising individuals with a wide range of abilities,
platforms, and viewing conditions. We have a sure fire method
for success and any person new to web developing must carefully
consider the following eight areas:
Audience of the web site Purpose of the web site URL of the web
site Design Navigation hierarchy Usability Content Hosting This
may seem like an enormous task at first, but don’t worry it is
much easier than you might think. Let’s take each one in the
list and briefly analyze each.
Audience of the web site
First and foremost, when you have come up with your brilliant
idea of a web site, you have to carefully consider who your
audience is going to be. For instance, is the audience going to
be primarily young people, businesses, pet owners, teachers, or
maybe government officials?
Once you have determined who your desired primary audience is,
it will become much easier to maintain consistency throughout
Purpose of the web site
Now, let’s say that you have decided that you want to build a
site that is about PlayStation 2 games and your primary audience
is going to be 14-25 year olds. Now you need to determine what
the purpose of the web site is going be.
Your purpose needs to be specific but at the same time flexible,
as your site will grow, you might actually decide to change the
For our example let’s say the purpose of your new web site is
to inform young people about all the new PlayStation 2 games
that have been release and also provide members lists of cheats
to those games.
Now you have set your purpose. You want to assist young people
by providing the game cheats so that they might be able to win a
few of those PlayStation 2 games.
URL of the web site
Choosing the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your new web site
is a bit more difficult as you might have to do a little
research. You need to determine what the name of your site
should be. Now there are several ways to do this.
Name the site after your purpose Name the site after keywords
that people use to find PlayStation 2 cheats Name the site
related to your audience Or all of the above So let’s think
about this, our audience is young people, we are providing
PlayStation 2 cheats, then perhaps an ideal name for the site
would be www.playstation2cheats.co.uk or www.ps2cheats.co.uk or
www.cheats4playstation2.co.uk or even www.cheats4ps2games.co.uk.
You should be getting the idea now.
You wouldn’t want to name the site www.gamecheats.co.uk as that
is a very broad term and if someone was to search for your site
on a search engine it might not come up, but with a highly
targeted and named URL you stand a better chance.
So let’s say we have decided to name our site:
Now you will have to check the availability of that URL. There
are many web sites that can check the availability of URL’s for
free. Here are few:
http://www.rackspace.com We would advise that you shop around
and try to find a good price for your URL before making that
Probably the single most important and useful quality for Web
site design is flexibility. Most of us are pathologically
incapable of getting anything right the first time, and while
we're trying to do that, the universe changes, invalidating our
Programmers well know that the key to flexibility is separation
of concerns, typically implemented using "indirection". For
example, Web design should separate content and style, then link
one to the other.
However, this separation is a Good Thing only up to a point.
First, it adds another thing to be managed. Second, it often
adds another dimension to get confused in. Style sheets may be
buggy, and browser support is still inadequate. Above a certain
threshold of complexity, changes you make in the style sheet may
have unexpected consequences — rather like software programs
where you change one line and later discover it caused a bug.
The best you can do is to try to keep it well-organised and as
simple as possible (but no simpler).
You will probably need a HTML editor; there are many free
editors online that function using the WYSIWYG method (What you
see is what you get). A few first HTML editors might be:
· Mozilla Composer
· Tellian WebPAGE
· Netscape Composer
That there should be a hierarchy is almost mandated by
considerations such as user familiarity, file system structure,
etc. We instinctively think in terms of topics and their
subtopics, and map these to file-system directory trees in our
Note that content structure actually has two major levels: how
you implement it (e.g. in the filing or database system), and
how the users see it in navigation facilities. They don't at all
have to be the same thing, because the user isn't looking
directly at your filing system; they will see it through links
or redirects or intermediate software. This indirection can
provide you with some flexibility as your site evolves. Your
initial filing scheme might prove to be less than ideal; you
notice that users are going to a page or set of pages that you'd
placed deep down in the hierarchy, and so you would prefer them
to be prominent on the navigation menus. Not a problem, those
menus don't have to mirror the server's filing system! However,
we prefer to keep them synchronised (on the K.I.S.S. principle)
and occasionally move files or directories — taking care to add
Hierarchical organization imposes a useful discipline on your
own analytical approach to your content, as hierarchies only
work well when you have thoroughly organized your material. I
recommend putting a lot of effort into designing a logical
system based on the user's view — rather than say, departmental
structure, though that might play a role. Your navigation system
should then be able to take advantage of the file structure, and
good keywords will appear in the URLs themselves, helping users
figure it out.
So using this as a guideline lets look at our own site example.
We know certain that we want a page that lists all PlayStation
games. We also want a page that would be for new releases, and
we want an individual page for each game that describes the game
and maybe has an snapshot image or something.
Our website will already have a root folder that is where your
default homepage would be placed. Now you could create a folder
called games in the root folder and then you could create a new
folder in the games folder for every new game you add to your
list. So let’s say you want to add Grand Theft Auto to your
Or you could avoid creating a new folder every time and just
create a new web page, so for example:
We would recommend the second option for your game description
page. You would also have to create another file for the cheats.
Again following the method above you could do the following:
Notice that I modified the name of the html file by adding
“-cheats” to the end of “grand-theft-auto”, that is for two
reasons. one, when editing files you will never be confused
about which page you are working on. Secondly, the actually file
name will help search engines index the page better, hence
giving you a higher page rankings.
A Web site has to be accessible, before it is even usable.
Accessibility refers to the ease with which either disabled
users, or users with non-standard browsing situations — or even
users with typical visual abilities and the usual browsers — can
access the information and other features of a site. In a sense
then, accessibility is an extension of 'usability', in that a
site needs to be accessible by more than just the CEO at his or
her PC on your intranet.
Usability refers to the ease with which anyone (disabled or not,
or with unusual viewing situations or not) can navigate a site
and achieve the objectives which you have set for it, such as
learning how to win their PlayStation 2 games. Your Web site may
be wonderful, but if users find it to be unusable or perceive it
to be so then it's unlikely they'll get far enough to discover
just what's so wonderful about it.
A page of beautifully coloured Netscape layer pull-down menus
won't be much use to the visually impaired non-English speaking
users who favour Lynx, for example. If your target audience
profile excludes such people, fine, but very often Web sites
exclude valid users by default rather than design.
One of the major problems in a site with a lot of content is how
to present it without overwhelming the user. If you bury it down
in the navigation structure, many people may never realise it's
there. one way to solve the navigation problem would be to put
links to all available pages, on the home page. Your visitor
could reach every page with a single click. However, this is
impractical for sites with hundreds or thousands of pages; there
are further requirements such as keeping the home page fast-
loading and not too complicated.
In our example, as you build up your site with all of the
available PlayStation 2 games, you will need to carefully decide
how to organise the home page. Perhaps only having a new
releases list and maybe a What’s Hot list and then a search box,
which would allow users to immediately search through all of the
content of the web site and find information on the game they
are looking for.
Putting it all on the home page may make it too cluttered. The
most important navigational device for any Web site is the home
page. This page alone is most likely to be the one that
determines whether your visitors view one page, or many, at your
site. If it doesn't offer any clue that this site has valuable
information, and how to locate it, then people are unlikely to
expend much effort to track it down. If on the other hand, the
home page gives clear indications about what's available at the
site, and how to get to it, then your user's interest is likely
to last longer.
The conventional approach is to provide a few links to the next
level down, from the home page, supplemented with a small
selection of representative links from the next level down. An
important question to answer is "How many clicks will it take my
visitors to find anything?". People's patience begins to fade
very soon after a few clicks; but you probably don't want a very
large number of links on every page.
Now the final step for getting your first web site live is
hosting. This may be one of the more confusing steps as you will
know doubt find thousands of companies offering hosting packages
and choosing one of those packages might be difficult. But there
are a few things to bear in mind:
· Size of your web site – At first your site will be small, but
will grow with time.
· Cost of hosting – As your web site will grow, so will the
· Easy upload methods – Since this is your first time you will
want to make sure that the hosting company provides a very
simple method of uploading your files to your domain, ie FTP
client, Web service, etc.
We recommend that you consider some of the following companies
to host your domain:
For more information please see http://www.unilabplus.com
About the author:
Director of Unilabplus Ltd, a London-based online business
management software house.
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