Once you have your domain name and your hosting account set up, you are ready to build your website.
Here is the top 10 list for successfully building a website:
- Use HTML not Flash!
- Flash is not readable on iPads and iPhones and Flash also won’t load on slower computers. You want to reach all constituents, not just those who have the turbo speedy internet service, but also those who access websites at public venues like the library. You want to reach the Mac users as well as the PC users.
- Flash is not searchable, unless the webmaster codes everything in html on the backend. Very few do that because it’s very time intensive to do. This means that a website in Flash is not searchable via the search engines.
- A Flash website is difficult to transfer to a new webmaster. You need a website that is easily transferable and easy to edit, when you are switching webmasters. HTML is easier to maintain even with older software or text edit if the person maintaining the website is proficient enough in HTML.
- HTML is readable by blind people via a screen reader whereas Flash isn’t.
- Use tables not frames. Content within frames are not easily searchable, with top frame not at all, since the content is “hidden” by the top frame.
- Title all pages and files so that search engines can pick it up. Untitled pages or pages that have numbers instead of their titles are not search engine friendly. If you have a Bylaws page, a Contact page, or a Meetings page, be sure to title them accordingly.
- Title all your pictures. Before you upload photos to your website, make sure that they are named as to the event they are showing. Make the title short and once you upload them, you can give the photos a more descriptive alternate title. For example the photo to the right has the name NCCongress2012-Grayce-with-Commission1-s.jpg so it would come up on search engines when someone types Grayce Liu at the 2012 Congress or Commission at the Congress. The alternate title of the photo is “Grayce Liu at the 2012 Neighborhood Council Congress, with the Commissioner President Paul Park and Karen Mack sitting in the front row.” You can see the title of the image if you hover your cursor over it. The alternate title is hidden but can be found by search engines. Titling your photo will also make it “visible” for the blind, because the screen reader will read the title of each image.
- Link to outside websites when you mention people or places that have a website. Be sure to have the link open in a new window.
- Link to pdf files, not to Word doc files. Word docs can contain viruses, they can be altered, and the design in a doc can look different if the viewer’s Word software is a different version from yours. Always convert your docs to a pdf before uploading to a site, so it looks clean and the design is “locked” when someone looks at it.
- Write about an upcoming event, don’t just post a jpg image of the flyer. This will make your event easy to find on search engines.
- Include images. People are attracted to photos, so go take pictures at all your events and post them on your website.
- Promote your website Let everybody know that you have a website so they can link to it. Press, friends and family, and stakeholders. Have your website on all your print media, business cards, flyers, posters, street banners, etc.
- Update your web content often! The more you update your website, the more people will come back to it, which will help your website again in coming up on search engines. The more people visit your website the higher you get on the search engine rankings.
If you follow these 10 steps, your stakeholders will be able to find you quickly and you will get higher in search engine searches. As a bonus, you can add translation widgets and your social media links if you have any.
If you have any questions or suggestions for future Tech Talk posts, feel free to post them below.