THE BIG PICTURE
A website is just part of the big picture. A website can be
a library, coffeehouse, meeting room and sometimes all of the
above. Even the bad websites get their day -- Unfortunately,
many people just do not get it -- just take a look at some of
the web pages that
What works? Good websites are authored and the best
sites are edited -- they incorporate reader feedback,
whether 'user-generated content' or as a wiki or something else.
As the Mexico
on the Web columnist, I spent five years reviewing websites.
What I learned is that the best sites have a clear voice. Successful
websites are those that deliver up-to-date information from
a particular perspective. Websites that try to please everyone
end up pleasing no one.
"WWW" stands for
World Wide Web, though when graphics-heavy and high-tech design
slows down access, it feels like the "World Wide Wait."
"HTTP" is short
for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol," a method used to
transfer or convey information on the World Wide Web. For nerdy
details, consult Wikipedia.
"URL" is the address
of a web page. It stands for "Universal Resource Locator" --
meaning that it identifies a single page on the Web. The URL
of Planeta is http://old.planeta.com
TIP -- If you have a long URL that you want
to send via email, you can shorten the address with Tiny
URL, a free tool that converts long addresses into ... tiny
ADMINISTRATION AND CREATION
TIP -- When creating
a website, make sure that someone is empowered to make both
technical and content-related changes online.
Also, during the
creation or renovation phase, it is helpful to have an uninitiated
peruse the website and comment on what was confusing. Think
out of the box by getting a perspective from out of the box.
TIP -- If you have a large site, include a sitemap and
answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).
A FEW WORDS ABOUT ZOMBIE SITES
Too often websites -- regardless of whether they are created
by a university, environmental group or government office --
are uninformative and frequently obsolete. There are numerous
examples of the dead websites. Red flags include a "last
updated" citation reading more than six months old or in
which "breaking news" refers to events from the late 1990s.
Many of these zombie sites are the result of an institution
creating a website during the late 90s boom "because everyone
is creating a website." Creating websites, like crafting screenplays,
is easy. But developing quality work requires talent and patience.
NOTES FOR WEBSITE OWNERS
SUMMARY: WHAT MAKES A GOOD SITE?