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Planning Your Web Site

Site Content

This bit's fairly obvious really -- decide what your web site is going to be about! Are you going to publicise a group or society you belong to? Or perhaps you have a hobby you want to share with others? Or is it a business you want to get on the internet? Unless you have a clear idea when you start, you will find that you end up with a web site which interests no-one but yourself.

If you want to attract a large audience, remember how many sites there are out there -- your's will have to have something special in order to get people to visit you. You may, of course, be happy with just a small number of "hits" a day, but even so, you owe it to your visitors to give them a site worth visiting.

The Site Layout

Once you've decided on the theme for your site you must start thinking about how it will be laid out. It doesn't have to be completed in one go -- you will probably keep adding to it, but some idea of the final structure of your site will help.

There are really two basic structures. All sites will start with a main opening page. This you can think of as the "hub", with spokes radiating out to the different sections of your site. On some sites, each page of a section will lead on to the next, rather like this:

Site Layout 1

In other cases it would make more sense to allow your visitors to get to any page on your site from the home page:

Site Layout 2

Most sites will be a combination of the two basic types, but whichever layout you adopt, you should make it easy to get back to the "hub" -- your home page. Don't make your visitors use the 'Back' button on their browser just to get to another page. Every page should contain links to the pages your user might want to visit next (and, of course, to the home page). Remember to call your home page by a name such as index.html. On many servers the page called index.html or index.htm will be shown to uses who have not specified a particular page. Check with your particular service provider.

By now you should have a clearer idea of what you want to do on your web site, so it's time to start thinking about your Page Layout.

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Last major revision: 22 August 1998 at 02:29 BST

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