DEFINITION OF A DYNAMIC WEB SITE
Most business websites these days are dynamic meaning that the web pages are dynamically built pages that allow user interaction. This is required for example for an online shopping cart.
They are usually built with a programming language such as ASP, PHP or JAVA. This code “creates” the HTML that is displayed in the browser. XHTML and XML are standards which are probably eventually replace HTML. However most sites are still “output” in HTML because this is visible in most browsers.
Dynamic sites are often database-driven. This means that the site content is stored in a database and the dynamic code “pulls” the content from a database.
The web technologies listed below – are the most commonly used programming languages for building dynamic websites.
Your website strategy is very important and before you can really focus on your content you need to answer the following questions.
Firstly, what is the purpose of your site? Is it a marketing tool, a shopping cart to enable online sales, or both? What are your objectives?
Secondly, what are your strengths and weaknesses? if you were in your visitor’s “shoes”, would you buy from the site and what would make you return?
Thirdly, how is your income going to be generated? Will it be from advertising, from site membership fees, from affiliate programs, or from selling your own product? What are your capabilities and how will you use them to maintain a competitive advantage over your rivals?
The answers to the above will determine your website content and this in turn will determine other aspects of your web site design.
The purpose of your website
Most sites are either informational or e-commerce sites.
Informational sites usually make their income from membership fees, advertising, commissions, or selling at the back end.
E-commerce sites usually make their income by selling a product or service.
It is often difficult to combine both into the same website because an informational site needs to provide unbiased information about the topic of the website, while an e-commerce site needs to generate sales and use direct marketing tactics.
The main objective of informational sites therefore needs to be to maximize your site membership, or your subscriber list. Site usage could be regarded as the internet’s equivalent of intangible assets.
The more information the site gathers about its subscribers, the more valuable the list is because it allows marketing to be targeted at specific groups of people, defined by where they live, how much they earn, whether they are male or female, etc… However it is also VERY important that any subscriber list is entirely opt-in because they want information from you.
Your objectives must also be feasible and suitable for the industry you are focusing on.
In your visitor’s shoes
Always put yourself in your web site visitor’s “shoes”. If you were the website visitor, what would keep you on the site. What makes your site sticky?
By doing this you can easily identify your strengths and weaknesses!
The more focused your site it, the more likely you are to satisfy your visitors requirements, and the more likely they are to return and use your site in future.
The layout and navigation of your web pages are going to affect the usability of your site. It is very important to get these right and to know which web technologies to use. We look at these in great detail in the sections about Layout strategy and Navigation strategy.
Even more important is your Content strategy because you need to provide content that is likely to be targeted at your visitors. Are you providing the content your visitors are looking for?
How your website income is generated
Informational sites usually generate their revenue from membership fees, advertising, commissions from affiliate programs and making sales to their members or subscribers using off-the-web marketing, for example through a newsletter or direct mail. Selling is the secondary objective.
The main objective of an e-commerce site is to promote an effective marketing message and to make the buying process as easy as possible. Creating a marketing base is the secondary objective. They usually have two types of customers, transactional and relational.
The purchase decisions of transactional customers are influenced by short-term reasons such as price, convenience, and/or availability.
Relational customers have built up a relationship with the business usually through previous contact. Their purchase decisions are based more on the customer relationship that has been built up, quality of support, and knowledge of the product or service or brand.
You need to identify where your market is and what your capabilities are. You need to identify what gives you a competitive advantage over your rivals.
You need to generate as much qualified traffic as possible, and turn the traffic into qualified leads, and then turn leads into your customers.
Your web site content
The content of your site is the single most important aspect of your website. And the reason for this is that there is no point in having a site if no one wants to visit it.However this reason is very linked to how well your site will rank on the search engines.
You see, one of the major factors search engines use to rank your website in the search results, is its link popularity. Other sites will link to you if you have good content which they think people will want to read. Therefore if the content of your site is not interesting and current, you have no chance of ever ranking high on the search engines.
launch a pop-up window
create mouseover effects and image rollovers
detect browser and operating system type and redirection
set up a ticker tape to scroll text in a window
create image and special text effects
Using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
CSS can be used both to format as well as to position the content on your web pages.
Although CSS is widely used to format web page content (the type of font, background colors etc…) its use to position the elements on a web page is not used that much. The reason for this is that earlier browser versions were very inconsistent and did not support positioning very well. Current versions of the major browsers however all fully support CSS positioning and so you should not be put off using CSS to position your content any more.
CSS is very easy to use and I will show you how in the following pages.
CSS will allow you to control the look and feel of your whole website by changing one file. But there are also a number of other advantages such as reducing the HTML code used.
Your website design strategy should include the following goals:
uniformity of presentation – this is important from a usability point of view – you should ensure that similar sections of your site have the same layout and formatting.
ease of site maintenance – you can use an external stylesheet to control the look and appearance of your whole website, such as the font size, style, and color, the background image, the background color, etc… by changing a single file. You don’t need to edit every page.
separation of content from presentation – CSS allows you to separate the formatting and layout from the content. You can use the CSS stylesheet to position elements on your web page as well as format them.
By using CSS to position elements on a web page you can achieve better keyword density in some search engines. Some search engines give content at the top of a page more relevance than content further down so you can actually position your important content at the top of the HTML file even if it is presented further down the page in a browser.
ease of browser compatibility – web pages are displayed differently on different browsers and platforms. For example a 10pt font looks fine on a PC but becomes a bit small on a Mac. You can create separate style sheets for each browser and use a browser-detection script in the header of your pages which will link to the correct stylesheet depending on which browser is being used.
Using Colors & Graphics
The use of colors & graphics on a website can be very important.
Many people plaster their first site with free animated gifs free clipart and other free graphics, but there is more to a well-designed website than the graphics. While making a website you can make your own graphics and can also optimize them.
The rules for optimizing are:
1-USE JPEG’s FOR PHOTOS AND GIF’s FOR LOGOS etc..
A basic rule of thumb is save the images in .jpeg format for photos and use the .gif format for your logos, and other graphics. Understanding the difference in how these file formats compress an image is important in designing good webpages.
Generally, JPEGs are used for photos and GIFs for other graphics on the website, such as the logo.
2-DO NOT USE LARGE FILE SIZES
The second thing to remember is that the larger an image is the more KB it will take up, so don’t fill your page with photos that are 600 x 480 pixels that take up the whole screen – most visitors will not wait for such large graphics to download.
Managers can however use different kinds of tools available in websites building, but a high amount of skill and awareness is required for the same.