1) Technology to Choose
(a) Traditional HTML websites
(i) Less Expensive Hosting – the hosting requirements are slight, just some space and some email addresses
(ii) Web host assumes you know what you are doing. They provide little to no help.
(iii) Lots of templates available
(iv) WYSIWYG tools are available – Dreamweaver, Coffee Cup
(v) Typically must purchase your software and take a class or two
(vi) Lots of help available in forums
(vii) Typically have only one webmaster and all information must go through that person and their schedule
(viii) Online Forms are another coding process to learn
(ix) Additional coding process to learn for animation or additional functionalities like image rotators, page transitions, timers. Etc.
(x) To add blogs, forums, or other interactive functionality, you typically must use the services of 3rd party websites
(b) Websites Developed by Coders – like PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, Ruby, etc.
(i) Hosting is still inexpensive
(ii) Website can have a lot of functionality
(iii)Can be nicely scalable as the site grows
(iv)You need the coder or a lot of time to learn
(v) Takes a long time to put together
(vi)Dependent on your coder
(c) Content Management Systems
(i) The software runs on the web host server
(ii) No need to purchase software. It appears in your browser
(iii)You can work on the site from any Internet-enabled computer
(iv)Database driven which means it is much more capable to handle data and users and permissions and much more
(v) Hosting is more expensive because the hosting environment is more involved
(vi)Some hosting providers offer user-help on every-day topics
(vii) Some Open-Source programs are available at no cost
(viii) You can have as many pages as you need.
(ix)Training is available
(x) Large user-base means community support is available
(xi)Many features are already built-in: Photo Gallery, user management, forums, blogs, expandable content areas, content timing, announcements, link lists, mass emailing etc.
(xii) More and specialized add-ins are available in a 3rd party market.
2) Design Matters
a) Create your own website design
b) Use a template
(i) Many, many templates are available
c) Get a Graphic Artist!
(i) No matter how you create your design, use a graphic artist experienced with website design to help design your site and or just the site graphics. It shows when a website is designed by an amateur.
d) Understand the trends – What’s Hot Right Now?
(i) video and audio
(ii) Functional Animation, for example, text blocks that open and close on rollover
(iii) Creative use of text
(iv) Unique website designs – different from the pack
(v) Connections to Social Media
(vi) Active Interaction