Home Jan-Pieter - Coldfusion Web Developer Scotland
ColdFusion Web Developer Scotland
You imagine it, I'll create IT!
Recipe for a successful website ¿
Unfortunatily there is no such thing as a recipe for a successful website, but nevertheless there are certain ingredients in a website you must carefully think about before just building one.
Read about these ingredients and techniques I know and used myself
to get the maximum out of your website.
» Concept
The most important part of a website is a concept. The concept discribes your goals, targets and achievements with your website and your expectations. It also describes, who you want to attract to your website and compares the positioning of the website compared to other media you maybe already use in your PR.

My experience: I have build websites for different types of visitors. It's often a good idea to do some research, for example are your potential visitors waiting for the site you have in mind. Also think about how many competitors are active with a website.
Find more about web concept on: www.leveltendesign.com

» Content and Interaction
Often forgotten but very important is good quality content. Creation of content usually isn’t a problem, but frequent maintenance is. Keep in mind who you are writing or showing content for. In most cases people don't want to read endless stories on dull text pages. You need to trigger your visitor and want him/her to take part in your website. That's why you need interaction

My experience: With techniques like XML (RSS) and Ajax it's posssible to 'borrow' content from other website and reuse it on your own. In an Interaction Design you show, using screenshots, which parts of your website lead to interaction or contain visuals.

» Usability
To know if your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate or just simply 'understood', is often something you find out after already building it. For usability you have to know a great deal about your audience. Because they can tell you what font-size or screen size is appropriate. Also the colors you choose to support your 'message', must have the desired effect. Navigation plays an important part too, because the titles you choose and the order they are in, will define the path of your visitor instantly.

My experience: Do a usability test. What you first need is a prototype of your website, a clickable version with navigation, but without content. Then define different type of visitors and write out a few scenario's. Let friends, family or complete strangers navigate through your site, using the scenario's. Just seeing them 'play' with your website, will probably provide you with enough feedback for a while ;-)

» Accessibility
Making your website accessible to everybody seems logic, but is forgotten quickly, "If I can view the websie, everyone else should?!" But not everybody is capable of 'seeing' or 'listen to' what you present, because of a physical impairment or simply because they use another browser.

My experience: Creating an accessible website takes approx. 20% more time in development. Use strict xHTML and follow the W3C Guidelines (WCAG). Another advantage is that search robots can access your site better, giving you a boost in ranking!
Find more about accessibility on: www.w3c.org

» Search Engines & Ranking
Visitors usually don't type in your URL if your not known, so you want to be top ranked with the most imporant search engines. It usually takes several months to get ranked. If you have the content, but not the website, start with simple HTML pages until your website is finished, so the search engines can pick up your URL.

My experience: Get your website in the DMOZ.org, because most search engines use this Open Directory. Get you website linked from portals or start/linkpages. Build more than one site and link them to each other. Make sure your metadata is used. Don't spam search engines 'adding your link', do it only once in three or four month of it isn't found yet. Advertise your website on all media you publish.

» Statistics/Management Reports
There are lies, there are big lies and there are statistics. But knowing the amount of visitors a day and returning ones gives you a good idea of the popularity of your website. Only compared to 'what'? So, forget the normal figures about your visitors and the country they live in. In particular you have to watch how they get to your site, what they are doing and how long they spend on each page. Seeing all the click paths shows you if your site works and if your navigation is okay.
My experience: Use several and different techniques, like pixel logging and web server logging. Both give different results, but have their advantages. Using web server logging is especially useful with performance and crash testing. The pixel logging gives you detailed information about click paths and time spend on pages. I used IIS and Apache logging, Livestats from Deepmetrix, Webtrends and Sitestat from Nedstat.

» Web techniques
Besides your own content and 'borrowed' content (see content), it can be a good idea to make use of existing techniques like a guestbook, chat, forum/discussion, poll, blog. Or add other gadgets programmed in JavaScript or using Flash or SVG.

My experience: Be careful with adding web techniques. Always think if it adds something to your site. Make it a seamless part of your website and not just a loose object. On accessibility matters avoid JavaScript as much as possible.

» Programming Languages
By using HTML you can create simple but effective websites. Using a web programming language you can enhance your website with more interaction. Also can most 'hand work' be automated, especially with using a database. The learning curve is rather steep if you're unknown to programming.

My experience: If you know a little bit about HTML, try a web programming language, like: ColdFusion, ASP, PHP, ASP.NET, Java

Recipe successful website | Jan Pieter Atsma a Freelance Coldfusion Web Developer in Central Scotland. As experienced web developer I work as freelancer with Coldfusion, jQuery, Usability & Accessibility