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Five Fingers of WebDesign
"A Handy Guide -- Part II"

Content is generated in phases.

Every website has content that is relatively static and unchanging. Typically this content relates to the company, general contact information, the background story and direction of the website.

A website should also contain content which changes from day-to-day or week-to-week. This could be news updates, gossip, specials, timely updates, jokes, etc. This changing content will keep some browsers coming back for more -- checking in periodically to see what's new. This changing content will also communicate to a first time visitor that your website is up-to-date. Even if the nature of your content is timeless, a browser-by still wants to smell that "new website smell." Nothing like stale air to encourage a browser to keep on going.

If a website requires initiation to navigate forget it. Yes, browsers are constantly looking for something which is new and different -- just as long as it is more of the same.

Go ahead and allow the browser-by to feel at home. If everyone in the universe has a copyright notice on the bottom of the page with some kind of link to a contact address, why not do the same? And how about some way to get to the top of your website when a browser jumps in via a deep-link?

Which brings us to the question of a logo. You really should have some kind of graphic element which becomes synonymous with your site. Branding is so so important. And we don't mean so-so important. We mean like really really important. Keep in mind that you or others will be making buttons from your logo. So it needs to remain legible when reduced to 50 or 100 pixels.

HTML Coding
99.99% of all websites do not require all of the fancy Java-this and PHP-that. Yes there are websites such as Yahoo! and eBay which require incredible pages with super involved HTML coding. But hey, they represent only a small portion of the websites on the net. Quite frankly, if you are coding websites for organizations as big as Yahoo! or eBay, perhaps you should move past some of these newbie discussions and get back to paying millions of dollars a year for a team of super coders to keep your site going. The rest of us more or less "normal folks" don't have multi-million dollar market caps, and we do have to be cautious of how we spend our money.

So for all of us that don't plan on spending millions of dollars maintaining a website the key to a happy life will be a motto you've heard many times before: K.I.S.S. "Keep It Simple, Stupid."

And ya know what? Maybe some of those super-sized websites could learn a thing or two from this same motto.

Will to Be
The "Will to Be" is often the most misunderstood aspect of website creation and maintenance. In the fuss and muss of finding website designers, hiring HTML coders, and organizing content generation, it's not inconceivable that the baton of "Will" is lost.

The designer, content generator, and HTML coder can do their jobs perfectly well without being the holder of the "Will to Be" baton -- barring those situations where all five website creation jobs are handled by the same person. Yes, as strange as it might sound, there are websites where one person does not do all the work.

If you are in a situation where you are the one holding the baton of "Will," and you are directing others to generate content, manage design, and create the HTML code, do not fall into the trap of acting as if other's, by necessity, will share your drive to bring the website into being. That is your job. If others share it... great. Just don't fall into sleep and dream that others are carrying this baton. A website can not be brought into existence by a group of bureaucrats, each one just doing his or her job. There must be a visionary pushing and driving. Otherwise you know what happens. You've seen it on many websites you've visited.

There are several phases of; and venues for, promotion of a website. Some of these venues or methods can be implemented by others. However, some methods must be tackled by the website visionaries.

It is possible to allow a third party to register a website to search engines and monitor the standings on these search sites. The initial posting to search engines will be the hardest. Why? Because there will be many decisions to be made. What category does your website fall into? Is it educational? Is it entertainment? Well, if you could choose between all possible categories, it might be easy to determine where your website falls. But what about those situations where you have 10 choices -- and none of them match the ideal? This requires a little juggling. Hence, it requires input and clarification from the website principles (folks intimately involved with the site).

Several items that need to be prepared prior to registering your website with the major search engines include:

  • a general two-paragraph description of your site;
  • a one sentence description;
  • a 40 word description;
  • a 25 word description;
  • and a 10 word description.
This requires some juggling once again. Thus you should plan to have the original content advisor on-board to help with this task. You should also plan to have the person who is holding the "Will to Be" baton available for consultation. It also wouldn't hurt to have the HTML Coder close-by to lend advice based on an understanding of how search engines work.

Continue to Part III