Choose a website type

1. Define your goals

Write down the goals you want to accomplish with your website.

For example

2. Define your users’ needs

Put yourself in your user’s shoes and write down your user’s needs.

  • Why are they coming to your website?
  • What do they want to do?
  • What are they looking for?

For example

3. Define your content

Match your goals and the users’ needs.
Define what content you want to provide to serve both needs – yours and the users’.

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How to provide animated content on a website

A Flash website provides graphic content with animation and pictures. It contains much less information content and focuses instead on the visual design experience.

Flash is a bandwidth friendly and browser independent vector-graphic animation technology. It works only if your client’s browser is equipped with the necessary Flash plug-in. Flash allows “pixel perfect” control over web design, including font specifications.

Go with a Flash website when:

  • You want to create a graphic design experience.
  • You want to create exactly the layout you like.
  • You want to have the control over the design and the font specifications.

Advantages

  • You can put animated and interactive movies on websites.
  • Content is displayed correctly for anyone who has the Flash plug-in.
  • Flash is operating system and browser independent.

Disadvantages

  • Updating the content usually requires Flash skills.
  • Embedded information is often invisible to search engines.
  • Flash plug-in for the browser required.
  • The browser must use the right version of the Flash player.
  • Some customers are immediately put off by a Flash website.
  • Web usability and standards are infringed.
  • Website reporting is problematic.
  • Apple no longer supports Flash for mobile devices.
  • The future of Flash is not clear: HTML5 could replace Flash.

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How to provide daily or weekly posts on a website

Blogs are websites that contain individual news stories. Usually a blog is maintained by an individual with regular entries, for example comments on various topics, descriptions of events or other material such as images or video.

A blog is a collection of posts that are displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Other people can read and comment on your posts, quote what you write and link to your blog. They can also subscribe to your blog to be informed when your write a new post.

Who can blog?

Anyone can be a reporter or publisher of personal news with a blog.
You can write about things that are going on in your life. You can also write about a topic about which you are an expert.

Go with a blog when:

  • You want to publish new content frequently.
  • You want to share ideas, thoughts, knowledge, experience or your life story.
  • You will write in a humorous, honest and personal way.
  • You want to build a relationship with the readers and let them comment on what you have written.

Advantages

  • Easy to create a blog and post articles with blog software, or online applications.
  • Helps to build a relationship with the readers and other bloggers.
  • Can help you to make a name for yourself.
  • Allows discussion of ideas and getting feedback from customers.
  • Allows users to post their comments and interact with each other.
  • Allows sharing of knowledge.
  • More content oriented; the design is secondary.
  • Disadvantages

  • The audience expects frequent (daily or weekly) updates.
  • Easy to start but hard to maintain.
  • Good blog writing is a time-consuming task.
  • If your blog is not useful to your audience nobody will read it.
  • Mistakes are immediately “live“.
  • Spam can be inserted in the comments.
  • Daily monitoring of the blog.

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What’s a dynamic website?

Dynamic websites use more complex code than static websites. The layout and the page content are created separately. The content is stored in a database. Words, numbers, and images are stored as unique elements in the database and put together to be displayed on a page only if asked. This allows you to provide individual information to the user and let them personalize the content according to their preferences.

Users will be able so search through your site inventory, create a user account, or pay by credit card.

A dynamic website can also be controlled by a web application such as a Web Content Management System (CMS). The content management system modifies the stored information directly in the database. You will be able to make updates without needing any knowledge of HTML, or any website software.

Dynamic websites are usually difficult to develop. This tutorial is not about dynamic websites due to the fact that every Content Management System would need its own tutorial. Nonetheless I will explain to you briefly how dynamic websites work.

Go with a dynamic website when:

  • You want to sell products or services online.
  • You want to interact with your users and offer them some online-services such as user-accounts, user rating and communities.
  • You want to provide different content to different users.
  • You want to let users personalize the content or the layout.
  • You want to give access to more people who can edit the website with different permissions.

Advantages

  • Efficient website management with a Content Management System.
  • Easy update content without HTML knowledge.
  • The layout can be changed independently of the content.
  • Content can be personalized by the users or be presented in different ways.
  • The community develops new features (if open source).
  • Complex websites with lots of pages can be handled.
  • Provides services such as online-shops, paying by credit card and so forth.
  • More people can edit the website.

Disadvantages

  • Dynamic content is less visible for search engines.
  • Setting-up the Content Management System is time-consuming.
  • Slower than static websites.
  • Expensive to develop and to host.

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