Hints and tips for building your website
Here are some general hints and tips that you may find useful when building your website.
- Take it gently to begin with
Think about how you might organise your site. Start small and build up slowly. You may be surprised by how much time it can take to build a big website. It's better to create a few good pages to start with and then gradually add more over time rather than have a large site with lots of half finished pages.
- Add your important information first
Make sure that your site includes the basic information about your group. For example, what your group does, where it is, how to contact you etc. This is the sort of information that a lot of visitors will want.
- Save often
When editing your pages, save them every few minutes or so. This will keep you logged in to the system and also prevent you losing too much work if there is a problem (for example if your computer crashes or if your internet connection drops).
- Use descriptive page titles
Give your pages good titles that describe what the page is about. This will help both search engines and visitors to find your page.
- Short and simple is good
Don't try to add too much information to each page. People read less on the web, so be concise and get straight to the point. If necessary, split one long page into several shorter ones.
- Keep your text formatting simple
Choose one font, one size and one colour and stick to it for most of your text. This makes your site look more professional and much easier to read. (Look at any large site like the BBC, Apple or Wikipedia and you'll see that they use the same formatting for most of the text throughout their pages)
- Use bold and avoid italics and underlining
Bold is a good way of drawing attention to important words or phrases. Italics are more difficult to read and underlining can make words look like links when they aren't.
- Don't get carried away when adding pictures
Avoid adding too many pictures or very large pictures to your pages. These will slow down your site for visitors (particularly if they are not on broadband). See our introduction to pictures for more advice about the best sizes and formats to use.
- Think about which words to use for your links
General phrases like "click here" or "find out more" are not very effective to use for links - they are too general. Phrases like "find out more about our knitting classes" or even "about our knitting classes" will be more useful for visitors (and search engines). A good way to tell how good the words of a link are is to say the link out loud to someone. If they can tell you what the link would lead to just by hearing it spoken, then the words are effective.
When creating links, try also to include words from the title of the page that you are linking to. For example if you are creating a link to a page called "Our opening times" make sure that you include "opening times" in the link. This helps people know that they've arrived at the right page when following the link.