Where to begin
As a tool, website2Go is two complimentary tools:
It is a web page and web site creation tool; and it is also a web page and web site management tool. Both are important. Once your site is up and running, you will need to tend it. website2Go makes it easy to do both.
This tutorial will first discuss the use of templates as a building block to customizing your website. Templates are provided for many different businesses. Each distinct business segment has a certain way of doing business which suits the supplier and the customer. The templates are built from the ground up with these business distinctions in mind.
Choosing the correct template is a first step in customizing your website. If you chose a template which turns out to be the wrong model, simply modify it using the Editor tools. You have complete control of every aspect of your website.
A template is a pre-formed web site. It already has several different pages, some pages are subpages
Templates are complete, fully functional, web sites. They contain valid and relevant content, including images, and the internal links from one page to the next work correctly.
Templates are intended to give you a jump-start on building and maintaining your web site.
How to choose the appropriate template
Templates attempt to capture the business transaction flavor for the particular business the template is aimed at. Examples of how this works can be seen in the Restaurant Template and the Chiropractic Template.
The Restaurant Template recognizes that restaurants provide a service in a setting. Restaurant patrons typically want to know about the menu, the chef, the dining environment, the ambience and esprit of the facility and staff. To encourage this relationship, the Restaurant Template provides a set of pages featuring text and images which reinforce these expectations. As an added bonus, a menu for a particular dish is provided as a "teaser."
In contrast, the Chiropractic Template recognizes that there are different kinds of medicine and provides educational information about chiropractic and its relationship with the other recognized branches of medicine. It also provides what amounts to unsolicited but sound advice for improving one's health in general. This template does this by using a set of linked pages which reflect standards used, among other places, at the National Institutes of Health. This reinforces the "formal" knowledge nature of medicine and acts as a form of reassurance.
These two templates are virtually identical at the component level. They both contain text blocks, headlines and subheads, and images. They are different because the product or service each is aimed at selling has existing requirements for information delivery via the web. These templates reflect those distinctions. Keep in mind, though, that templates are merely starting points.
You would typically choose a template for a business which was identical or closely like your business.
It is important to test several templates to determine if the site, the various pages which compose the template, are appropriate for your particular conditions. It is possible that a template for a business totally different from yours will have a more appropriate set of pre-formed pages.
The text and images which are already inserted in these websites are known as placeholders. Placeholders are intended to be replaced with more appropriate or more timely or more relevant information.
Customizing the template
Once you've selected the template which works best for your new site, it's time to customize the package. A site consists of pages and links. A page consists of images, text, links, and background. The text includes headlines, subheads, captions, bulleted text and plain text.
The most productive and probably easiest way to modify a site to fit your requirements is to list what needs to be replaced in categories which represent the various elements of the site. These are the images, the text, and the links.
Identify the pictures on the template which will need to be replaced with pictures you supply. Identify either the text sections, or if the sections are generally applicable, the paragraphs within the text, which will need to be replaced or edited.
Identify the links which the template has (it may have none) and determine if you need to replace them with either more appropriate links, different links or no links.
Preparing the images
The next step involves preparing the imagery you will use for replacing the existing images in the template. If you don't have any images yet, you will need to either get photographs taken or find appropriate photographs from an existing collection. The photograph will have to be converted into a digital file.
If you are taking original photographs, creating a digital version can be very easy. Regular, silver-based, film can be developed and, using a feature most photo finishers now offer, you can request JPEG versions on a floppy disk as part of the developing. You can also use a digital-only camera. The pictures these new digital cameras take are ready to be used in website2Go as is.
If you are using an existing photograph, or other images such as map or menu or license, you can create a digital version by using a scanner. If you already own a scanner than you are already familiar with the process. If not, you can use a copy and office support company such as Kinkos or Copies Plus, et al. These firms will digitize images for a fee and return the digital version on any media you bring.
Because of the nature of images, the files tend to be very large. You should request JPEG versions if the image is a photograph and GIF if the image is something like a license or map. There are many image and digital file formats. The only two which website2Go supports are JPEG and GIF (see Glossary for more information).
Once you have the images in digital format, copy them to your PC or Macintosh hard drive. It will be easier for you if you keep the digital image files in a single directory or folder.
Uploading your images to your site
Using the website2Go Editor, select the page where you want to begin image replacement. Beneath each image is a Replace Image button. Clicking on this button will open an Editor window which allows you to select the image you want as a replacement image from your local hard drive. To do this, click on the Browse button and your file manager dialog box will open. Navigate to the location on your hard drive where you stored the replacement images. Click on the image you want to upload.
Once you're done this, click the Upload Image button to make the change. The change will be reflected immediately and you will see the new image on the Editor page. Continue this process until you have changed out all the images you previously identified as needing your custom image.
The Replace Image button works the same as the Add Image button and allows you to select the correct image from your hard drive. It also provides a space for an ALT tag (see Glossary for more information). There is an additional option to make the image a "hot" link by providing a URL which makes the image a link to another page or external web site.
Modifying the existing text
After you've finished replacing the images throughout your template, the next process is the modify or replace the text in the various text boxes. An easy way to do this is to print the web page you are presently editing and to make markups on the printed version. That way you can read and review any changes before you commit to editing the text. Once you have the text marked up, use the Editor to click your cursor into the text block which contains the text you want to either modify or replace.
The text blocks in the Editor work pretty much like the text editing in a word processor program. Using a combination of deleting and adding, modify the text to read appropriately for your business. Many of the text blocks will only need minor modifications to replace a generic company name or website with your company's name or website address.
Go through each text block on the page and edit as appropriate. Once you've finished with one page, go to the next page and continue the process. It's always a good idea to go back and proofread something you've changed or edited after you've done further editing on additional pages. This way you will catch spelling and grammatical errors which you may have overlooked because you were busy editing for changes.
Check the links
After you finish with all the text blocks on all appropriate pages, it's time to review the links which may exist. Each page of your site may have a link embedded into the text or as a separate link element. The embedded text and the link element will both have an internet address which points to either another internal page on your site or to a website elsewhere.
If the links point to external web servers, verify that this link is one you want your site to point to. Many links are informative and are provided as part of the template because they are either non-profit or government and are considered useful and neutral. You can keep these links or remove them, the option is yours.
For links which point to other pages on your site, verify that the name or phrase which provides the "hot" link (a text block in the link element) is appropriate for your website. If it's not, change it to something more appropriate. Then click on the link (links in the Editor are live) to verify that it does, indeed, go where you want it to go.
Once you've reviewed and modified the links, you've completed the update to the template and it should now reflect your company or organization.
The next and last steps in updating the template into your specific website is for you to "walk through" the site. This means going to the home page, reading everything, clicking on every link to lower-level pages and reading everything on them.
While you're doing this, resist the tempation to immediately go and change every mistake or misspelling you find. Instead keep a check list of every page and any items which need correcting or modifying or updating. That way when you're finished with the walk through, you can go to the Editor and more easily make the changes.
When you're satisfied that the site truly reflects what you intended, you've finished this process and can begin to concern yourself with web page and website maintenance.
Web page and website maintenance
Scheduling the maintenance
The first thing to consider after you've gotten your site up is what kind of schedule do you want to keep in order to mind your site and make changes. If your business or organization has a regular cycle associated with reviews of ongoing business or organizational meetings then that would be an appropriate time to review your website.
Keeping the text up to date
When you review your site you should be looking for the continuing relevance of the information you have on the site. Is the body of the site current with your present business plan?
Does the text information continue to provide the latest infomation about your business or organization? If there is one area where websites can have a strategic advantage to your business, it's in the area of "change" notification. If your business has new hours or provides additional services, your website is one of the first places you should think of to announce that information. Once your customers have your web address, they will begin to rely on your site for current information about your business or organization. Organization meetings, even impromptu meetings, can be easily announced on the web.
If your customers know that these kinds of notices and changes will be posted in a reasonable time on your website, they will begin to use your site more frequently to answer questions they may have otherwise called you for the answer to. This saves you time, gives your customers an advantage they can apply and continues in the manner of providing good service.
Review all the text on your site on some longer-term basis. This will ensure that any minor variations in style which you may have made during an update get caught and corrected if necessary.
Use informality as an advantage
Additionally, many sites provide a "formal" area and a less formal area where information is made available to the customer. Formal areas might contain service listings or product listings, business or organizational hours and changes in policy. Informal areas might be "industry gossip," "backroom chatter," "assembly line lore," or other postings which feature shorter, more personal, exchanges of information.
Business often have a "customer says" section where some common question is answered or a compliment about a particular talent or skill of the business is made available. Consider something like these less formal sections to provide current news and a changing story. This will have an advantage for your customers because they will have yet another means of learning something about your business or organization.
For service-oriented websites, this would be a good place to feature tips and shortcuts which as a professional you know but average customers may not.
Again, the point behind this continuous editing and adding is to add value to your website and make your web visitors (your customers) want to come back again.
Update your images
Pictures, graphs and signs are all images. People like images. If your site doesn't feature photographs or other visual components you are not taking full advantage of one of the main attractions of the world wide web. The truism that a picture is worth a thousand words has probably never been more true than on the web.
If you have photographs of your staff, change them to show your staff at different periods of their work or doing different activities. If you site has photographs of your products or examples of your service, add more pictures to highlight more products or services. A plumbing and heating company, for instance, could show photographs of client installations or fixes to highlight the wide range of appliances or plumbing installations they service.
Pictures have immediate impact
People respond to pictures. Pictures don't require very much user input which means they have a more immediate impact. One way to keep visitors interested in coming back to your site is to change the images frequently. Many sites use imagery which has nothing directly to do with their business. Sites like these have a gimmick which works - they show pictures of their pets or local wildlife. The pictures change to show the animals in different settings or actions. Even though these pictures don't have any specific relationship to the business the web site is serving, the interest in animals keeps the sites busy. This kind of site not only appeals to customers for the business itself, it also draws other users to the site who may also become customers.
Think about your business in a visual manner. If you business has a portfolio of material, have it scanned and include these images on your site. Your customers will appreciate the images and may decide to conduct business based on their web experience of your product.
The important thing about photographs to always keep in mind is they should be small in file size. This means when you scan something, or take a photograph and convert it digitally, or even take a digital photo, when you are ready to upload it to the website2Go server, use an imaging program and save the file as GIF or JPG format at a file size of no more than a few thousand bytes (1 to 3 kb).
Image editing software
Programs like PhotoStyler™, Photoshop™, LView, JPEGview, or any equivalent, allow you to reduce the number of colors and overall resolution and still maintain a perfectly good and legible image. Remember that you are looking at the final product when you edit an image on your computer. Your screen is how you edit the image and how all your customers are going to view it. If a photograph looks good you to you after you reduce the file size, you can be guaranteed that it will look good to others. Macintosh users will need to keep in mind that the Windows screen settings will cause type and pictures to appear slightly larger on the Windows computer than they do on the Macintosh.
And, finally, pictures and other images such as cartoons are not only worth they weight in words as a means of transfering information to an audience, they are also a means of bringing that same audience closer to you. Pictures of your company baseball team or you products in someone's home tell the web visitor that you have concerns for people. The visual image which does this is a positive message. Your customers will get it without even realizing it.
Add more material to your site
Use the Add Page feature to add subpages to your website. Put additional text and picture information on the new subpage. If your business or organization has subject areas, subpages are ideal for these different subjects. A subpage for each subject area should be constructed so the visitor has a good experience in getting to the subpage and getting back to the main page.
When you add sufficient number of subpages, navigation around your site can begin to get difficult. At this stage you should consider adding a link on the subpages to your home page using the Add Link button or inserting a site map using the Add Site Map button.
Another way to assist your website visitors in navigating around your site is to use the URhere tool. Many websites use this technique either at the top of each page or at the bottom. Users can click on any portion of the URhere string of links and immediately jump back to that level.
Pages add value to your site
Additional pages give you the opportunity to add significant value to your website if you put useful and relevant information on these pages. You might use subpages to present a "behind the scenes" look at your company or organization. This would allow your visitors to not only explore your site but learn a bit more about your company or business. And, these subpages are a perfect area to show off product photographs or other images.
The addition of more pages, though, does carry a price. You now have to manage more web material and you also have to make sure that the links to the pages are accurate. Because you are taking the web visitor deeper into your website, you also have to provide additional navigation aids.
Using pages and links is taking advantage of the underlying strength of the hypertext protocols. The more you link your site to other relevant sources of information, the more it will be of interest to new and repeat visitors. The more these links connect your visitor to lower-level pages on your own site, the more information your company or organization is presenting to the visitor.
Subpages are your website's secondary avenues
You can think of your site as a store or mall or even town. There is a main street, your home page. There are generally lots of things of interest on the main street and there should be a good number of interesting things on your home page.
There are also significant side streets off the main street. Likewise, your website's lower-level pages are the significant side streets of your website. They need good links on the home page just like side streets need good signs on the main street.
Once you begin to think of your website as an extension of your store, business or organization, the more you will begin to appreciate the value of pages and links. They work together to allow you to connect large amounts of information in a very easy manner for others to browse.
In addition to adding, there is cleaning up
Good site management also includes removing pages which are no longer useful or whose special purpose is now over. There are several reasons to want to do this. First, a visitor to your site who sees an old and no longer useful page may experience some disappointment. If the old page isn't there the chance for negative impressions is lowered. And, in a true practical sense, it saves you money by allowing you to add new pages without going over your file storage limits.
Because your website is an extension of your enterprise, it should be reflective of the standards you exercise in your business or organization. There is a certain informality associated with the internet. This means a certain amount of material which needs to be cleaned up or removed can exist for a while, like leaves in the street. But, after a certain period of time, a periodic cleaning is in store, much like the occasional street cleaner.
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Web Page &
Web pages are built from elements like text blocks and images and links to other pages or sites. When you start with your new site, you have started with a fully functional template. This means you already have the text blocks and the images and the links. You need to modify them to suit your business or organizational purpose, though.
Understand fundamentals of template
Modify template appropriately
Expand template where necessary
Review template conversion
Review applicability of new web site
Begin maintenance and enhancement activities.
Modifying the Template
Create or use pre-selected text
Change out existing text
Modify links, relink images if required
Walk through site
Fix errors, walk though site again
Continue maintenance and site upgrade activities.
Web Page & Web Site Management
Fresh information and new things to look at are a key to bringing visitors back to your site. A site which refreshes its content periodically will provide a good reason to the visitors to return later.
Update your text information
Give your readers something extra to read.
Use current industry or organizational information to keep your visitors abreast of the latest news in your business area.
Update your images
Imagery is one of the reasons why people browser the web.
If you use photographs to illustrate your site, you should consider replacing them with more current views on a periodic basis.
If your images are of your place of business or some of your organization's activities, new pictures give your visitors the chance to see a different side of your business or organization.
Add links to other sites
If your business or organization is one for which there are a large number or growing number of supporting websites, adding links to these other sites on a subpage for links or on a page of reference material can add value to your site.
The links should be supportive of your site's general business or your organization's general philosophy.
Links carry an extra toll, though, in that they need to be checked periodically to verify they still point to the proper website.
Add pages - deepen your site
Add a new subpage which features a particularly interesting aspect of your business or a sideline to your business which may be of interest to some or all of your web visitors.
If you have a lot of links which you've accumulated for your website, one good place to put them is on a separate "links" page
Once you have a large number of subpages, you will need to check them periodically to see that they are still relevant. If not, simply delete the subpage. Your website will automatically update itself.