Last time, I told you about the first 3 steps in getting a Web site. In case you need a review, they were:
1) Get a domain name
2) Decide who will host your site
3) Build the site
Of course, we aren’t quite finished talking about that third step. I left off with mentioning a few things you definitely want on your site. This time, I’ll tell you the whole list and why each one is important.
A Contact/Feedback Form
This one is mondo important. You need some way for the people who visit your site to ask you questions or comment on things. How else will you know your site is doing its job? Of course, you could just put a link to your email (which I suggest putting on there no matter what) but most people won’t use it. Personally, I think it’s because we’re all too lazy to do that. So make it easier for your average visitor. Add a form where they can leave comments that just automatically send to your email. It’s the same thing, only spiffier.
An FAQ Page
Another thing that is pretty important, though not right away. Basically, it’s a page to stop people from pestering you with the same questions over and over again. However, how can you have an FAQ until people start asking questions? My suggestion is to have a page set aside for it and link to it in all the right pages (I’d put one on your contact page, for example) and just put an “Under Construction” sign there until you need to add things to it. It’ll make it much easier later, when you really need it.
In today’s world, you’re not going anywhere without some sort of media. People will find your site boring, think you’re a scam, or any number of other things unless you have it. So, you need a media section. Personally, I’d say divide it into three sections – photos, audio, and video – then link to those three pages on a media index page. Remember to save the stuff for viewing online at a low resolution so it’s faster, and only use high definition for downloads and printing. You don’t want a slow loading site, since most people will navigate away if it takes too long. I do it all the time, and it’s not just because I’m a teenager. You do it all the time too, and you know it.
Updating your website constantly will be a total pain, yet you want your site to be current. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone away from a site because it looked “dead” (basically, if a website was a physical object, a dead site would be an the kind nobody looks at, probably with a good inch thick layer of dust on it). You do NOT want your site to look dead. The solution? An easily updateable news page. That way, you can keep your site fresh without tedious updating. I suggest a blog style with frequent updates. Daily updates about whatever it is you are doing, are great. Just make sure you don’t go to long without a new entry.
This is a nifty little thing to do. Sell some of your stuff online on your own site. Many websites have a store now, even if it’s just a small one. This actually does two good things for you: makes your site look much more professional, and gets you cash (cha-ching!)
The last, but oh-so-definitely not least, thing on this list is… Linkage! Make sure you have links to all the other neat stuff you have online (which we’ll cook up later) so that everyone can see it. Actually, it’ll make your site much better looking if you actually integrate those things into your site, but a plain links page will be fine to start out.
So, there you go. Make sure you have those things on your website no matter whether you are designing the site yourself or having it done by someone else. The last step in creating your site is probably the easiest… Put it online! Just take all those pages you made and stick them up on your host, and your done! Oh, be sure to set up your domain name, as well.
Well, that’s it for this time. Next time, we’ll move on to the cooler, more innovative stuff that will give you an edge online. See ya next time!
Originally posted 2009-09-05 04:44:06.