Creating and maintaining a website requires familiarity with many different skillsets. This page introduces you to some of the most important topics to consider when creating a website.
Web design and development are crucial aspects to have a well-functioning website, but they are some of the least necessary skillsets to hold when creating and maintaining a website at NC State. This is because of the work that the university has done to create easy-to-use and flexible web systems for campus members.
Understanding how to structure the pages on your site and write easy to navigate content are some of the most important skills required to create a useful site. These skills are independent of the specific look-and-feel of your site.
Having a solid content foundation will also help you integrate your website into your broader communications and marketing efforts that may involve email, social media, and advertising.
The First Steps
Before you get started with your site, you need to have a high-level understanding of what will happen during each phase of the process. The website lifecycle is broken into multiple, discrete phases.
After you understand the overall lifecycle, you can begin procuring your web hosting and identifying your site’s domain name. University Communications and Marketing has created and maintains the NC State Web Platform. There is a Free Tier and a Premium Tier of this flexible WordPress theme. This is the platform that almost all NC State websites use.
Hosting and other support for the platform is provided by the Office of Information Technology.
Before you actually begin writing the content that will go on your webpages, you need to figure out how you are going to arrange content on your site. This content strategy phase lays the blue prints for how people will use your site and find answers to their questions.
Once you know what your site’s page structure will be, you can begin writing and laying out pages. Effectively laying out a page combines both writing and design skills. Since many website users only skim a page rather than reading it word-for-word, it is important to pair your written content with visual cues to help your users narrow into the section of the page that has an answer to their question.
After your site launches and users begin consuming content on it, you’re going to want to make sure it’s meeting their needs. By using analytics tools you can see which pages your users are visiting the most. Comparing their behavior to your expectations will allow you to make necessary adjustments to your content and site structure.
Have questions? Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns at go.ncsu.edu/ucomm-dev-request.