Continuing from my last post, I’ve been talking about the three critical ingredients that are needed to create a web page, web site or web presence. No matter where you are on the map… small business owner just starting out or big business generating hundreds of clicks per day, each part is essential and needs to be addressed or there can be no web *anything.*
Ingredient #3: Creating Content
In all my years of creating e-commerce web sites for big corporatey places, the number one overlooked issue and where time was consistently underestimated was developing content.
Most of the time, people were huffing and puffing at trying to understand the technical pieces and since I was almost always a liaison between the technical teams, the marketing or business teams and the an advocate for the end user of the product/web site, I constantly got to ask “What’s this web page gonna say or do?”
This is why when I teach an online workshops or if you web presence with me, I don’t even start with the technology how-to part. I figure, you’re already scared outta your mind about it, feeling like a major “estupido” (even though you may have a college degree).
So we warm up to technology by focusing on content and the place we get started with is helping you define You, via core values; so that once we get rockin’ & rollin’ with the techno-how-to part, you have actual stuff to put ON your web pages.
The Who-What-Why’s Of Content Creation
There are three steps in content creation: 1) writing the content itself, 2) designing the layout and function of the content 3) translating the layout into a technical language so it can be used on the Web. The biggest mistake you can make when you set out to create a web presence is to overlook what it is you are going to say, in writing. Who are you? What is your product or service? How do you work? Etc.
More On Content
Once you have prepared content, your options for getting that content published on the Web include 1) working with an experienced web designer and/or web developer (sometimes called Web programmer) or 2) learning how to do it yourself.
Working with an experienced Web designer will help you to create an aesthetically pleasing (use of colors, fonts, imagery) website. A good Web designer should have some basic understanding of the concepts of Usability. Usability is the study of how humans interact with Web pages. How easy was it to complete a task? How easy was it for them to find what they were looking for? A web page can be beautiful, but does it serve a purpose? A good Web designer will take into consideration the overall strategy for the web page and/or web site, be familiar with Usability practices and be able to create interesting designs that help connect our product or service with our audience.
Even after your web pages are designed, many times you may also work with a developer or programmer. The Web programmer will translate that look and feel (the colors, images, and how things are laid out on the page) into a technical language so that the web browser can read it and display it. This is where the actual HTML code comes into play. There are many different types programming languages, HTML is the popular backbone for most web pages today.
These two roles, Web Designer and Web Programmer, can be two different people, or they can be one person. It just depends on that individual’s experience.
Pros & Cons Of Hiring A Professional
- Don’t have to learn Web Design or Usability skills.
- Don’t have to learn software or any special programming languages.
- It gets expensive quickly.
- You’ve got to shop for and hire a Web Designer and/or Web Programmer.
- You have to stand in line behind your Web people’s other clients in order to get new content created or changed and eventually implemented on your web pages.
Doing It Yourself
- Saves money.
- You can create content changes immediately.
- Your business or personal web site can grow with you, as you and your business grow.
- Requires time investment up front to learn tools & skills
- Requires ongoing time investment for you to complete your own updates
3 Essentials Ingredients
Combine your domain name (Essential #1) with your web host (Essential #2) and add your content (Essential #3), and you now have all three critical ingredients to a web presence. Anybody can become a content creator or a web publisher! It’s in your hands.
Next up, one of my most frequently asked questions… Exactly what *is* the difference between a blog and a website? and how WordPress & the Thesis theme can do both!