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Basic Guide to Editing your Website


29. December 2009 18:33

CMS content tree

Making changes to your website when you have a Content Management System (CMS) couldn’t be easier!

When your website goes live you will be issued with a unique username and password to access to your control panel.

Once you’ve logged in you’ll see a content tree on the left-hand side that represents the pages and hierarchy of your website.

By right-clicking the Home icon with your mouse you’ll access a menu that will allow you to reorder the pages on your website navigation.

By right-clicking an individual web page underneath the home page you’ll be able to revert any changes you make to that page to a previous version just in case you make a change and then need to undo it.

 

The Web Page Editor

Selecting a page in the tree will allow you to edit that page in the main editor (see below) which is as easy as typing a letter in a word processor like Microsoft® Word.

You’ll be able to modify the text on your web pages, change the style of the text, add and change pictures, insert tables, bullet lists and links etc.

CMS editor

The Editor Toolbar

The editor toolbar is very simple to learn.  Apart from the usual bold, delete, anchor and insert image icons, the three icons on the left are worth explaining further.
The save button Save button saves your changes, but doesn’t update the live site.  The second button Save and publish button saves your changes and publishes your changes to the live website.  The third iconPreview button along previews your changes so you can check them before you publish if you wish.

CMS toolbar

The Media Section

The Media section allows you to manage the files and pictures you upload to use on your website.  You access the Media section via the pane at the bottom left of your CMS window.  These will then be available to add to your web pages via the editor.

Media tree

Using WHOIS Domain Search


24. December 2009 15:16

WHOIS is an essential domain name researching tool.  It will help you determine the availability of a domain name.
If a domain name is already taken, it's often used to find out the owner or registrant's details or find out when the registration expires.

Eat at URL's diner

You can discover who owns a website by performing a WHOIS lookup on the domain, which can be useful if you want to enquire about the possible sale of a domain name that’s not currently available.

On many occasions domain names are purchased and go unused and therefore if you find a domain that is registered but not currently being used, you maybe able to negotiate a price with the WHOIS registrant.

Along with the registrants name and contact details a WHOIS search will usually return:

  • The domain registration date and expiry date
  • The current status of the domain
  • The domain’s name servers

There are a number of websites on the internet that let you query the WHOIS system.  To find information on a .UK domain name you can use the Nominet WHOIS service below.

The registrant listed on the WHOIS database is normally considered to be the webmaster for that domain, responsible for administering the domain/website and is not necessarily the owner.

Picture used under Creative Commons from Dawn Endico

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Category: Domain Names

Using Abbreviations & Terminology on your Website


21. December 2009 20:29

Making the assumption that you know the audience of your website and that they understand all the industry and product terminology you use within your company maybe alienating some of your potential customer base.

There are a few very easy ways to continue using your terminology and acronyms whilst making your website more user-friendly and meeting web accessibility guidelines on acronyms and abbreviations at the same time.

Acronyms

Add Meaning to your Terms

Acronyms and Abbreviations - By using the <acronym> and <abbr> tags in HTML you can give more information to your users when they hover their mouse over the term or abbreviation on your website.  This HTML mark-up also allows spellcheckers, screen readers, translation systems and search-engines to understand the context too.

For example:

Welcome to the <acronym title="World Wide Web">WWW</acronym>
or <abbr title="Telephone Number">Tel</abbr>

Create a Website Glossary

If you find that you use lots of terminology on your website you might want to consider adding a glossary to your website and hyper linking to the appropriate terms in your glossary when you use them in your web text.

Picture used under Creative Commons from tuchodi

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User Experience Explained


7. December 2009 18:52

User Experience (UX) is what a user experiences while interacting with your website and encompasses everything from how easy it was to find the site to the journey a user takes through the site.

User experience is understanding and designing a user’s experience from start to finish, not just how the website looks or functions.

The aim is to improve the user journey - ironing out those frustrating fly-out menus, optimising the shopping cart processes and making the website more intuitive by placing information where users expect to find it. 

User experience honeycomb

UX includes, but not limited to:

  • User interface design
  • Information architecture
  • Usability
  • Interaction design

User Focused Process

User Experience is user focused, so the first step is to identify and understand your audience and find ways to communicate with them effectively.  You shouldn’t assume a user is familiar with your product offering or knows all your industry terminology.

Understand what tasks end users will want to perform on your website and create a series of use-cases to identify each task.
While you and your web design company know how to navigate your website, do your users?  The only way to find out for sure is to perform user testing.

User Testing

The best way to evaluate a website’s user experience properly is by assigning tasks to real users and monitoring their progress in achieving the tasks.  Users should ideally be recorded and asked to think out loud while carrying out the assigned tasks so you can understand their thought processes while navigating.

It’s important that the users picked to perform the tasks haven’t been involved with the design or development process.

Information gleaned from user testing is then fed back into the design process in an iterative manor to improve the end user experience.  Iterative design can help optimise sign-ups, maximise return on investment (ROI) and increase sales, so it has real benefits!

Picture used under Creative Commons from A-dit-ya