Working with your Website Builder

You've just contracted with a website builder to make a new website - hopefully it's me. Soon, you'll have a platform with which you can talk to the whole world. A professional builder will guide you through the process of developing your content, but ultimately it's up to you to decide what you want to say.  Most people find this difficult.

One of the mistakes that many people make is they think they have to decide on the front page first and then work their way down through the rest of the site.  That is a more difficult approach because the front page is more of a summary and inviting foyer to the rest of the site.  Start from the other direction.  Think about the various other pages and types of content you want and put those together first.  The front page will come together more easily when you have a clearer idea of those things.

The front page should be fairly low on text - bullet points and images about what you offer.  Put yourself in the chair of a visitor to the site and ask yourself, "What can this guy do for me?" or "How does the mission of this organization align with my values?" and answer that as succinctly as possible.  Put important logos, links, teasers of other parts of your site on the front page.

Make the navigation the same on everypage so visitors don't get lost.

A more detailed resume or mission statement should go on an 'About' page.  There you can have a lot of text.  Attention span is very low on websites, so the volume of text will probably make a bigger impression than the actual content of the words. 

Everywhere: Highlight important points with bold or color and break up the text w/ images as much as possible.

Give your builder lots of pictures to work with.  Let her pick ones that speak to your message and look nice with the colors of the theme.  Even pictures that are low quality might be helpful because they will help the builder know more about you.  With a bit of cropping and adjustment sometimes even low quality photos can salvaged.

Give links to external sites a target="_blank" so they open a new tab instead of leaving your site. Your builder will do this for you or show you how.

Embed video where ever you can. 

Pick a theme that complements your message.  It should be pleasing to the idea but also simple so it isn't distracting.

Be sincere.