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Web Do's and Dont's page

Here are 10 do's and dont's when thinking of starting a website.

1. DON’T be misled into get rich quick schemes

Get rich quick schemes are synonymous with the darker side of the internet; they have been around since before its conception. The internet is merely a different vessel for con artists to use.

The internet is the perfect vehicle to promote a good idea on a global scale, and if the good idea is genuine, it is likely destined for some measure of success. Most of us have to work hard for that success, there are no shortcuts and the internet is no exception.

Don’t get suckered - if the offer sounds too good to be true, it normally is!

2. DON’T be misled by the term ‘SEO’

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a large, involved and specialised subject which is unfortunately often misunderstood and misrepresented across the internet.

In its most basic terms, SEO is any activity that assists in making your website a more appealing entity to a search engine.

Search engines perpetually check existing websites, as well as seeking new sites to list, in order to provide fast, accurate and up to date search results to users of their service. Websites can be submitted to search for consideration of listing, or found through one of the search engines own searches.

Any website will be assessed by the search engine, who measure certain criteria, depending on which will determine if the site is listed and if so what and where listed.

By having a well written and presented website in the first instance you can many of these criteria. Why pay for extra services when they should have already been done?

SEO is an ongoing need for any website, make sure that if you pay for any SEO services, you understand fully what it is the company is doing for you, what they do and how they achieve it.

Visit here for more information about SEO.

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3. DO start off simple and build over time

Any decent website will involve a lot of work and investment, whether in time, money or resources. It is easy to say “I want it to do that, and that, and that”, but consider what is involved.

Any website is ultimately capable of doing exactly the same as any other, it is down to how far it is developed. Starting a new website with only a few pages, or even one page, does not preclude that site becoming a massive all singing and all dancing project at a later stage.

By keeping things simple and uncomplicated, you can build a far larger project with more success and greater economy than trying to achieve everything all at once.

Tailor your solution to your needs.

4. DO focus on content and quality

Have you ever visited a website that is just full of links, or full of ads with little or no useful information? Unfortunately this happens all too often.

It stands to reason that the better the quality and the greater the amount of content, the greater the chance of a visitor staying on the site, recommending it to others, and returning again and again.

By focusing on the quantity and quality of content, you are performing basic SEO. Content that is of good quality i.e. well written, of decent length, accurate and relevant, will be more appealing to search engines and therefore increasing the likelihood of achieving higher rankings in search results pages. Structuring you content helps the search engines (and others) both catalogue and index your site.

Remember: Content is King!

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5. DO develop a theme and identity for the site ie create a brand

Having a website is akin to having an advert on television, a programme on television, releasing a full length feature film, radio and newspaper adverts, all rolled into one. The potential audience is greater than all those put together.

With such a large potential audience, it helps if you develop an identity. Call it corporate image, branding, or some other buzz word but it is an essential part of a successful website. Through developing a brand or identity, you build a rapport with your audience, helping to build awareness of what and who you are, what you do, and that you can be trusted.

This goes for any website in any capacity and applies to individuals, businesses, organisations, charities etc. and can take different forms. In sports, teams and clubs have their distinctive colours and clothing, in music bands have an identity through not only their music but their name, and the list is not exhaustive.

One added bonus of creating an identity is being able to use it elsewhere, for example car bumper stickers, business stationary, newsletters and so on.

6. DO be realistic, all singing and dancing websites cost money and take time to build

Some websites are simple projects, not requiring an intensive amount of input, others can be extremely complex, diverse and take a considerable amount of time to create and set up.

Behind the scenes there may be significant activity to create images or other media, designing databases, or programming code to perform certain tasks. Everything needs to be tested, validated and de-bugged using a variety of time.

When considering what you want your website to do, i.e. what functions you want it to perform, investigate the cost to implement and think of any alternatives.

For example you may want your website to deal with a community blog, ecommerce of some description, member only pages. All of these may use a login procedure at some stage in their use. If put together separately there is significant extra work involved to get them all working together.

If at the outset this is planned then each module can make use of the same script, the same code, the same databases etc. saving an immense amount of time money and resources.

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7. DO plan work after the website is live – creating a website is only the beginning

Loads of man hours, time, money and resources are put into creating a website, writing and preparing content be they photograph’s, video’s or just written content, to the designing and coding of the site, not forgetting marketing and promotion.

This is only the beginning, once your site is active and live you will need to maintain it.

This may entail adding content as time goes on such as producing a newsletter or images of a new product or service, or even some text with new information about a subject.

It may mean updating content such as terms and conditions, diary or calendar etc., or deleting parts of the website, for example the end of a special offer.

New functionality may be added or existing functionality improved, for example, you may have a website that sells goods or services and you wish to upgrade the selling process by using databases and a content management system.

Another consideration is marketing your website, on a small scale telling friends and family and on large scale, advertising, and just about anywhere in between e.g. mentioning your site in a blog (or using your site to blog with).

Whatever your choices are, we can help by performing many of these tasks for you on a regular basis. All maintenance agreements are tailored to individual needs to ensure the client gets what they need!

8. DO research

This applies to everyone – not just businesses.

When thinking about creating a new website there is a lot to consider, even more so if you are not familiar with how the internet and websites work. Often it can be daunting and off putting having to make so many decisions about technology you are unfamiliar with.

One way to find answers too many questions is to do a bit of research. Regardless of what you intend to use your website for, there will others already doing it or similar. Look at these other websites, and identify what you like or dislike about it, ask yourself what could it do better? Bookmark these websites or better still write it down. This will help you decide not only what you want and need but is also something you can show to web design companies to identify your requirements.

Consider what you can do to present your material differently or better than others dealing with the same subject material. For example, if you want to display a list of clubs in a given area and you notice that other websites display all the contact details and a photo, you may decide to provide a map of the club location.

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9. DON’T pay for something unless you have to because there is often a free alternative

One of the nice things about the internet is that it was designed to share information be that text, images, video, sounds etc.

In many cases this holds true for software, including the code that makes a website happen. When a person or group of people have spent time creating something then make it freely available it’s called ‘Open Source’. Often there will be an accompanying forum for support and advice.

Some of the scripts or packages you can find are for photo galleries, blogs, wikipedia’s, chat rooms, guestbook’s, calendars, forums and more.

There are companies out there that charge a ridiculous amount of money for something that is essentially free. Always look for an alternative because it may save you a substantial amount of money.

10. DO seek professional advice, not family, friends or a bloke down the pub

Almost everyone knows of someone who is good with computers or knows about the internet, indeed this is often a friend or member of the family. Be careful because no matter how well intentioned the advice may be, and no matter how sincere it is, it may not be the best you can get.

For a project like creating and developing a website and making that website work for you, seek professional advice. There may be factors you are not aware of, regulations, rules and guidelines to follow and so on. It may also save time and money.

For example, one client came to us and informed us of a company offering statistics that they wanted to pay, so the website would gather statistics on the website traffic, citing a friend had informed them it was really good and worth buying. We were able to explain and show the client how to access the control panel for their website where far more in depth and accurate reports and statistics were kept. Thus costing the client absolutely nothing!

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