Welcome to part two of this two part article about what is a website. In part one we covered some groundwork you would need to do before looking in more detail at your website, and now in part two we’ll continue…
– What type of website –
So you’ve got the answers to the above questions, you’re now ready to begin looking at the website itself. Now much to your doom and gloom, especially for a newbie or DIY developer, you are suddenly faced with all sorts of possibilities of web technologies. This ranges from languages used to the dynamics of the webpage itself. Remember the question about the goal of the website – well that will give you the clue you need in order to decide what sort of web technologies you’ll be going for. If you are a starter business or a very small business, my suggestion would be to look at open source based web technologies. Most of these will be written in Php and will come with various install packs but most will require a Mysql database as a prerequisite. So your question would be is what kind of web application should I use for my website, and here’s my opinion especially for the DIY developer or the newbie. Use a web application that has a great amount of support surrounding it, and its obviously suited to your website goal.
How do you know what kind of support is offered by the website application, well here’s a basic checklist:
- When last was the web application updated – very important
- Does it have readily available documentation either downloadable or online format such as a wiki
- Does it have a forum
- Does the web application promote itself – either through twitter, blogs etc…
- Is there an indication of downloads already taken place (you don’t want to be the part of the experimental group)
- Is the application security conscious
- Are there any YouTube videos relating to the application – this is nice to have but not essential
- Is the web application SEF (search engine friendly)
- Is the web application SEO (search engine optimisable)
Bottom line, when you web application fails you’ll need to get answers and fast as downtime on any website is not good for business… I’ve taken the liberty of listing a few such large open source applications for your convenience here they are below:
- joomla – http://www.joomla.org/
- drupal – http://drupal.org/
- wordpress – http://wordpress.com/ or http://wordpress.org/(to download and install on your own server)
- impresspages – http://www.impresspages.org/
- phpnuke – http://phpnuke.org/
Its not always necessary to have all the bells and whistles in your web application, sometimes they can clutter, sidetrack or even confuse you in your progress of building your website.
There are a few things you need to ensure your application does have:
- Your application needs to be search engine optimise-able. In other words, search engine optimisation features like page title, meta content etc are editable and changeable per page.
- Your application needs to have search engine friendly urls. Clean urls with good keywords always is a plus factor. For example: http://mysite/index.php?p=1 is considered to be a NON search engine friendly url whereas http://mysite/my-optimised-page.html would be considered search engine friendly. (In the near future I’ll discuss search engine’s and search engine optimisation – so keep yourself posted)
- Your application needs to be secure. I think this is self explanatory, I mean you don’t want to one day log on to your website only to find it filled with links to naughty sites or even worse displaying articles of discrimination of some kind. Therefor, you application needs to be secure – hence its important to see how often the application is being updated, patched and revisioned.
- Your application needs to fulfill the needs of your goal else whats the point.
Once you have chosen your application, you need to get to know your application well, and I mean WELL. Most people fail to come close to maximising the applications capabilities and therefore fell the application has let them down. Go through the applications help, how to’s, documentation and if you’re a more visual personality go to YouTube etc to see others using the application or demonstrating aspects of the applications abilities.
Now you are ready to begin your website. The first thing you need is content, and don’t go sparingly… “Content is King” and a lack of content means a lack of indexing by the search engines. I’ll leave the details of content for another post, but in summary, your content needs to be unique and specific.
In summary, what is a website for you:
- A visual appearance on the web that is beneficial to you
- An application that is suited to your needs
- Content that will add credibility to you and hopefully drive the numbers
I hope you found this article useful, and as always please feel free to like my articles. Feedback is always good…
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