Building a web site for 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 following eight areas:
Audience of web site Purpose of web site URL of web site Design Navigation hierarchy Usability Content Hosting This may seem like an enormous task at first, but donít worry it is much easier than you might think. Letís take each one in list and briefly analyze each.
Audience of 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 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 your site.
Purpose of web site
Now, letís 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 purpose of web site is going be.
Your purpose needs to be specific but at same time flexible, as your site will grow, you might actually decide to change primary purpose.
For our example letís say purpose of your new web site is to inform young people about all 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 game cheats so that they might be able to win a few of those PlayStation 2 games.
URL of web site
Choosing 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 name of your site should be. Now there are several ways to do this.
Name site after your purpose Name site after keywords that people use to find PlayStation 2 cheats Name site related to your audience Or all of above So letís think about this, our audience is young people, we are providing PlayStation 2 cheats, then perhaps an ideal name for 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 idea now.
You wouldnít want to name 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 letís say we have decided to name our site: www.cheats-playstation2-games.co.uk
Now you will have to check availability of that URL. There are many web sites that can check availability of URLís for free. Here are few:
http://www.checkurl.info/us/link.htm http://www.123-reg.co.uk http://www.rackspace.com We would advise that you shop around and try to find a good price for your URL before making that first purchase.
Probably single most important and useful quality for Web site design is flexibility. Most of us are pathologically incapable of getting anything right first time, and while we're trying to do that, universe changes, invalidating our Perfect Design.
Programmers well know that key to flexibility is separation of concerns, typically implemented using "indirection". For example, Web design should separate content and style, then link one to 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 style sheet may have unexpected consequences ó 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 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 Web sites.
Note that content structure actually has two major levels: how you implement it (e.g. in filing or database system), and how users see it in navigation facilities. They don't at all have to be same thing, because 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 hierarchy, and so you would prefer them to be prominent on navigation menus. Not a problem, those menus don't have to mirror server's filing system! However, we prefer to keep them synchronised (on K.I.S.S. principle) and occasionally move files or directories ó taking care to add server redirects.
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 user's view ó rather than say, departmental structure, though that might play a role. Your navigation system should then be able to take advantage of file structure, and good keywords will appear in URLs themselves, helping users figure it out.