The first steps to take when designing a new Web site:
1. Determine the management roles for your site
Each SCU Web site should identify a Publisher, Content Owner(s), and a Site Administrator. These roles are important for helping you maintain your site as well as informing the University of who is responsible for the various SCU Web sites.
2. Determine your target audience(s)
Your entire Web site (organization, content, images, etc.) should be geared toward you target audience. Therefore, it is important to identify this group before you create any content.
While you are identifying your target audience it is also useful to determine the keywords used by your target audience. What words or terms will your target audience use when trying to find your Web site? What keywords will they expect to see on your site when they are looking for information? These keywords enable your audience to quickly find the information they want. Keywords should be used in navigation, page titles, headlines, and introductory paragraphs.
3. Determine the purpose or objective(s) of your Web site
Often the most difficult step in developing a Web site is determing the purpose of the site. Is the site meant to drive action (enroll, donate, get on the mailing list, get involved) or is it simply there to provide the visitor with valid information? The purpose of your site should also be made relatively clear on your site's homepage.
4. Make a list of all the pages you will be creating
This will help you determine how large your site will be. It will also help you idenfity what pages are the most important and which pages you may be able to eliminate.
5. Organize the pages in your site
You will want to group the pages into categories that make sense for your site. These categories are likely to become the 'primary navigation' terms that the visitor uses to navigate around your site. As part of organizing the pages in your site, you will want to determine your primary navigation, secondary navigation, pop-up menus, and drop-down menus. The document in which you organize your site is referred to as your site map or site architecture.
- Primary Navigation = The terms/links on your site that will allow the user to find the information he/she is looking for. The primary navigation will most often be found of the far left hand column of the page and will be part of the template (applied to each page in your site). For the primary navigation it is important to use terms that your target audience is familiar with. Use their words, not yours. It is also important that the primary navigation links only to pages within your own site. It should not link off to another Web site.
- Secondary Navigation = The terms/links on your site that allow users to see what other sites may contain related information. The secondary navigation is most often found directly below the primary navigation in the far left hand column. In CommonSpot the secondary navigation has a blue background. Secondary navigation should link to other related Web sites (SCU or non-SCU sites).
- Pop-ups = the links you see when you roll-over a primary navigation item with your mouse. These links are short-cuts to information further down in your site.
- Drop-downs = a list of navigation links that 'drops-down' when you click on a primary navigation item. The drop-down menu is used as an alternative to pop-up menus and is the most useful for content the visitor may jump back and forth between. For example, the Center of Performing Arts uses a drop down menu for the 2003-2004 Season so visitors can jump back and forth easily between the various upcoming performances.
6. Create all the content for your Web pages
Before beginning to actually build out your Web site it is important that all your content is created. If you create the content last, you may have created pages where no content is necessary or you may need additional pages for content that is lengthy or crucial. See the Web writing and editing tips to help you develop your content.
Once all the pages in your site have been organized (site map) and your content has been created we can help you begin to build your Web site.
Please don't hesitate to contact the Office of Marketing and Communications if you have questions or need help with any parts of the above process.