In the previous article, we have discussed the design challenges which are common in real life. When you create a new website, there are a few questions at the beginning: Who is the site aimed at? which basis should be used for the site? what should be presented to visitors? who should maintain the site? And how often?
Define the Target Group
Every website has a potential target group. This ranges from one or a few people to an international audience. Examples of possible pages, content and audiences:
- Personal page: often password-protected, e.g. a compilation of links for personal use. The target group here is one’s, own person.
- Self-presentation: the display of one’s person with a CV, list of publications, work samples, etc. Target group: Customers/HR managers.
- Club page: Dates, pictures, information for new members, news, often also an internal member area. The target groups are club members and interested parties, possibly the local press.
- Company presentation: Products and ordering options, company history, employees/contact partners, contact options, job offers, … Target group: Customers, applicants, …
There are countless other examples. Before you read on, ask and answer the question: Who is my target audience?
If you take over an existing page, you should take a look at the access logs and see if there are one or more tools in use that can provide you with statistics on traffic, geographical distribution, etc. Does the site offer visitors opportunities for communication such as guestbooks, forums or similar? Take a look at what has already been said about the site. What is praised? What is criticized? What urgently needs to be improved? If you have a client, his wishes are of course also to be inquired about and taken into account. In addition, perform a search with the name of the page/company/sports club/… through. What documents can you find? Do they contain positive or negative statements about the company?
In any case, you should check if there are reference pages. Ask a few acquaintances which page comes to mind first on the topic of your page. For example, Google has established itself as the search engine standard. Take a look at these pages. What content is available on these pages? How are these pages received? Remember that you want to reach visitors through the quality of your page. This means that your goal is to be better than or at least equivalent to the reference sites. So write a list of what you need for your pages and what could make your site stand out above all others. Even if they are not in direct competition with other sites (as an example, the local sports club is again mentioned), you should still look at what distinguishes similar sites. But never forget that you can’t just copy. On the one hand, you quickly get problems with copyright, on the other hand, there is no reason for visitors to visit the copy instead of the original.
We have an article about how to write an SEO friendly article, which may help you.
While websites were written by hand in the early years of the World Wide Web, today almost only content management systems (CMS) rule. A CMS often consists of two parts, the frontend, the page your visitors see
and the “backend”, with the help of which the page can be edited. There are different types of CMS, each with different types of applications.
Typo3 and Joomla as examples of “all-rounders” that can be used with the help of extensions. Mediawiki is an example of a wiki that is designed as “card boxes” with flat hierarchies and is open to everyone. WordPress is an example of a blog, designed to display articles in chronological order. Forums to allow users to discuss.
The decision for a CMS can depend on several factors:
- Cost: there are both free and paid CMS
- Purpose: does the company homepage need a forum? Is the sports club a wiki? Is your page a blog?
- Familiarity: do you need to familiarize yourself with the software or know it inside out
- Maintenance: is the software well maintained (or at all), i.e. are updates provided for security vulnerabilities?
- Requirements: does the CMS need special software to work? If so, can you install (and maintain) this software?
After thinking about the goal and the target group as well as the technology, it’s now about the content. The focus is on the following questions:
- what content does the site need?
- which content is available, and which needs to be revised or recreated?
- how is the content for the page divided?
Content includes not only texts but also photos, videos, and audio. Among planning around technology, it is also necessary to think about the creation of video, audio and graphical content. Pinterest and YouTube are widely popular. Never launch a website with zero content. Always create some content, then launch the site.
The design of the site depends on the content. Core technology blogs have a typical homepage and sidebar. There is a need of thinking about blockquote,
inline code block, syntax highlighting etc.