Designing Your Website (Part 2) - Web Site Content
: Basic Considerations | Web Site Content | Search Engines
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The most important
web site design has to be the actual content on your pages. This
should be driven by the needs of your business balanced against the
needs and expectations of your website visitors.
The content should be
interesting and relevant enough to make people stay on your website and
take their time to look around the site and be able to find the goods
or services which they want. However, you do need to consider the
amount of information you provide on any one page as people will not
scroll through long pages to find what they want. Provide search
and different types of navigation to help direct your visitors to what
they want to find.
Website content can
obtained from various public domain sources and advertising flyers
although ideally your website should contain as much unique content as
possible in order to distinguish it from other websites and also to
attract a niche customer base that will keep returning to your site for
more. If you are promoting other people's products, then don't
just insert them as an advert - include some interesting details, maybe
a review or background information, which will bring people to your
website to find those products, rather than going to one of your
You need to ensure that
none of the material you use on your website is subject to copyright
restrictions (if you want to protect photographs used on your website
for example, you can quite easily do this by editing the photo to
include the website address emblazoned across it as a watermark).
You should also ensure that any files which you offer for download have
been scanned for viruses and spyware before you add them to your
website - this is essential to protect your reputation and also provide
the highest degree of customer reassurance.
Whatever the source of
your content, it is important that you carefully consider your audience
and the type of content you will provide, including any videos,
pictures, text and flash elements. Is this suitable for all
audiences, or should access be restricted in some
If you plan on offering
any adult content on your website, you will need to ensure that the
host provider allows this type of content and also bear in mind that
some search engines will restrict your submissions (you may need to pay
for submissions - see our section on making your site search
engine friendly). You should also
beware that many search
engines now provide the ability to search for images and videos based
on the same criteria as standard keyword searches - it is therefore
essential that you identify adult content clearly in order to protect
the vulnerable and attract the type of visitor who is likely to be
interested in your content.
If you offer videos on
your website you need to carefully consider how these will be
delivered. You will need higher bandwidth than most websites (see
our section on website hosting) and you
will want to protect your content against file sharing.
Unfortunately you cannot easily prevent this as most video formats can
be downloaded, or software used to capture the video as it is displayed
on a users screen. Perhaps the best form of protection (as well
as including a title screen with a link to your site), may be to use
Java video streaming as this is more difficult to capture and
share. Also please avoid adding spyware or popups within videos
as this tends to put people off using your website.
Once you have made the
decision about the suitability of your content, you should then submit
website to the various parental control providers in order to ensure
that it is
added to their lists and classified correctly as soon as
possible. It may also help to use tools such as SafeSurf
generate adult rating meta tags (known as PICS) to add to your website.
There is no
standard for controlling the content of
websites on the internet and as a result it is all too easy to get
search results appearing in search engines. This has lead to a
rise in the number of people who sign up for Parental Controls
services, such as
the ever popular Cyber Patrol, Net Nanny and the built in parental
functions provided by AOL.
your website, you therefore need to
give thought as to whether access to your website needs to be
restricted in any
way. Most search engines and directories allow you to define the
into which your website should fall, but this does not necessarily
age range of users who can access the website.
Most of the
programs operate by means of both keywords which are used to determine
the suitability of a website and a white list of website URLs which are
suitable, and a
blacklist of websites which are only suitable for adults.
the degree of parental controls protection chosen by the Internet user,
site may only be available for viewing if it has been added to one of
Click Here to
the world's leading parental control software, provides you with the
broadest set of Internet safety tools available today.
websites with adult content while providing age appropriate
content for your children.
chat (including AIM and instant messengers from
Yahoo!® and Microsoft), time spent online, and Internet-based
file sharing of music, images, and videos.
privacy and freedom of speech online.
The main parental
controls software is provided by AOL, Net Nanny and Cyber Patrol.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no way for non AOL members to
recommend or report a site which does not appear in the parental
controls list. This is a shortfall in their system and can only
be circumvented if you know an AOL user (or become one yourself).
Nanny allows you to submit the URLs of websites, FTP sites and News
Groups which have questionable
here - they can be marked under one of several different adult
is probably the best known of all content
controls software and is well known for both its home solution and
business wide SurfControl solution. Cyber Patrol enables you to
submit a website for consideration by them for
addition to its lists under specific categories - click
here to submit your website for review
- Consider the
audience for your web site content carefully - do you need to register
it with any parental controls software?
- If you provide
video, consider providing it in several formats or use a Java video
- Break your content
into several short pages, rather than one long rambling page.
- Ensure you do not
use someone else's copyrighted content on your web site - either use
your own unique content, or look for some of the broad range of public
domain articles which are available on the web.
- Consider how
accessible your content is for people with sight problems or text only
- Consider how search
engines will see your site - if you provide images on your site, are
you happy for search engines to list the pictures or other people to
use them on their own web sites?
devoted to making your site search