A website is like a garden. After you plant it, you have to nourish and weed it if you want it to amount to anything.
Some folks pay a techie to make them a handsome site, without considering how it will be nourished and weeded once it’s up.
Keep this in mind: If your organization wants a website that people visit frequently, then organizing and training your staff and members is more important than solving the technical aspects of running the site. If your people are motivated to have a great site, and willing to work together patiently and persistenly toward that purpose, then they will overcome whatever technological hurdles lie ahead.
So, leaders: your people skills will be much more important than your technical ones.
Your first step in designing your web site is this: Convene a web team, and get their commitment to learn and lead. Then, together figure out the answers to these questions:
- What is our target audience? Whom do we most want to reach?
- What can we provide to them that they need and/or want?
The answers to these two questions will then help you figure out what your central message will be, and the kinds of content that you will have to generate to convey this message over time.
Answering these questions will prepare you for deciding what your site should look like and what it should be able to do. Voila! That’s how you arrive at a site design. Form follows function.
The final question to address with your web team is:
Can we afford the site design we have envisioned, in terms of money for technical assistance and the time it will take, on an ongoing basis, to collect content and make web pages of it? If the answer is no, then you will need to modify the design until it comes within range of your available time and money. But don’t consider the time and money constraints first. This will hamper your vision. Think of your purpose first, and then prune your site design as needed to do the best job you can of accomplishing that purpose.
Teledavis will work with your organization on these steps toward an appropriate web site design.