What we need from you:
In order to build the website you want, we'll obviously need some information and materials from you. This information falls into two categories - the initial brief and the actual content. The initial brief consists of an outline of what you actually want your site to do and contain and look like. The content is all the stuff you actually want to put on your site, such as text, images, sound files and so on.
Think about each of these questions in turn and write down your answers. They'll be an invaluable resource when it comes to designing your site.
The initial brief:
When you've decided you want a website, the next thing you'll need to do is decide what you want it to be like. Websites can range from a single page containing little more than a telephone number and a picture to thousands of pages of intricately-linked information, images, multimedia files, dynamic content and so on. So here's how to make a start:
- Define WHY you want a website - what do you want to accomplish? Telling people about yourself? Selling something? What? The purpose of your site is a key factor to write down and stick to right from the start.
- Define WHO you want to reach - this is obviously linked to the first question, but it deserves much thought. Who are you trying to attract to your site and why? If your site is to advertise your skills as a freelance musician, then you're probably trying to attract fixers. As an actor, you may be trying to attract agents or casting directors. Try looking at other, existing websites that fulfil a similar function to yours and see how they go about attracting their visitors.
- Define WHAT to put on your site - you don't need to go into great detail at this stage, but you should at least make a list of things that you definitely want to put on your site. If it's a site about you, you might consider at least things like contact details, a biography or Curriculum Vitae (Résumé), and maybe a photo or two.
- Define WHERE your site should appear - on the internet, obviously! But where? When you visit a website, you usually type in the domain name (or base URL) as a starting point, such as www.bbc.co.uk or www.microsoft.com. You can have a domain that suits your site too. Many people creating a site about themselves simply use their name, such as www.matheighway.com or www.dave-the-drummer.co.uk. Come up with a few ideas and we'll show you how they can become a reality.
Once the initial decisions about your new website have been made, it's time to start assembling the content. The nature of this will depend totally on what your website is about, but here are some guidelines as to what we'll need you to provide. Remember, if you don't provide us with it, we can't add it to your website! Try to remember that the best websites are simple. A simple site with a 'clean', uncluttered 'look' is always easier to navigate than a haphazard, messy one. This should be reflected in your decisions regarding what to include in your site... and what not to include.
- The PLAN - obviously, all this lovely content needs to be arranged within your site, and we'll take care of the actual process of doing that. But we'll need to have an idea of where you want things to go - after all, it's your dream! So try to give us as much of an idea as possible about where you want the information on your site to go. The very best way to do this is by making a chart: start with the main sections or pages of your site, then divide them up into logical parts, then provide the actual content.
- The TEXT - your website will almost certainly have some sort of text on its pages. Whether it's a novel, a short paragraph about yourself, or whatever. In fact, most websites will need lots of different chunks of text to cover different areas or pages of the site. You'll need to provide us with this text so that we can build it into your site. The best way to do this is to give us text files or some other form of electronic documentation (such as a Microsoft Word Document) that can be copied-and-pasted. Please note that .pdfs do not fall into this category! If you can't give us an electronic version of your text, you can provide it to us on paper, but we'll charge you a small fee for typing it up! Proofreading (spelling and grammar correction etc.) is a free part of the service!
- The IMAGES - you'll almost certainly want to include at least one image on your website. As with text, the best way to provide us with images is in electronic format, such as a .gif or .jpg file. Printed materials will need to be scanned, and this costs time and money to do, so if you've got digital photographs, use them!
- Other FILES - sometimes people want to add sounds or other downloadable files to their websites. We can do this too.
We're used to designing and building websites, but you're probably not. If it all seems a bit much to take in, and you can't decide what you want, don't worry. We're here to help. Get in touch with us via our contact form, and we can start getting your show on the road!