To make a website we need your input, specifically, what you want to say about your business in text, any pictures or photos you want on your site and a logo if you have one.
Your Text – Wording – Copy
Ideally, before we start work on your website you would sit down and write each of the pages. You don’t need any fancy software to do this, any text program or email program will be fine. What is important though is you separate each page out clearly so we can see what text will go on what page on your web site. Use a short heading at the top of each page that will be the navigation link to that page.
Studies show that people don’t read long blocks of text on the web. Web copy is scanned. Or glanced at. Not read. Your web visitors are hunting for information or products. They make quick decisions mostly without thinking. Make your text easy to read by
- Breaking up blocks of text with headings and bullet points
- Make sure the most important information is in the first paragraph of each page
- People are trying to answer the question: do you have/do/sell XYZ? Answer the question right anyway
- Use short paragraphs – four sentences max
- Use short sentences – twelve words on average
- Skip unnecessary words
- Avoid jargon and or vocabulary specific to your industry
- Avoid the passive tense (e.g. (active) Sue changed the flat tire. (passive) The flat tire was changed by Sue. )
- Avoid needless repetition
- Address your web visitors directly. Use the word “you”
- Spell check –we do not necessarily read all your text as we are dealing with many websites on one day
- … but remember Google reads your site as well, so incorporate many of your important keywords into your text
Summary: use the simplest text editor to write about your business. Break the text into pages with headings. Think of your reader as a hunter and scanner and not a librarian.
Your Pictures – Images – Photography
We need photography to illustrate your text above. Pictures really are worth a 1000 words, but if they are low quality, say from a mobile phone, they can harm more than help. The photography on your site must be copyright to you – we cannot and do not just take pictures off Google Images.
- Ideally you would have a professional photographer take pictures and supply these to us in the right format (JPEG).
- If you do not have a professional to help you, you may consider selecting images from www.istockphoto.com where we have an account. We need you to record the file number of images you are interested in. Choose images from th “Essentials” tab that cost less.
- If you are using your own photos try and use a camera, not a phone. Your pictures should all be 72 dpi (dots per inch) and about 800 pixels wide (let the height be whatever). The exception to this rule are photos you would like to form a banner, in which case provide us with large versions of the photos.
- The files size of each image therefore should not exceed 150KB and these images will be fine to email to us. If you send us images directly off a camera, it’s very likely they will be too big and you will have trouble emailing them to us. You really need to resize them before you send them.
- For all photos, whether your own or stock photos, you should rename your picture files with the caption you want us to use under the image on the website. Captions are important, so don’t skip this step.
If you have a logo, this can be supplied to us as a jpeg, gif or png file. Emailing it is fine. Not all websites need or want a logo, but many have one. If you would like us to create one for you, let’s know and this will be quoted with your web development.
The easiest way to get your text and pictures to us is by Dropbox. We will create a Dropbox folder for you in the “cloud” and send you a link to it so you can drag and drop your files into Dropbox and avoid email altogether.
- Text – broken into pages, spell checked, sent as plain text in an email. Out of all the above inputs, text is by far the most important. If you can only send one thing at this time, send text.
- Pictures – jpeg images, renamed with caption text, 72dpi and 800 pixels across, should be about 150KB in file size
- Logo – in jpeg, gif or png format
- Put it all in a Dropbox folder or send to firstname.lastname@example.org