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Part II: Site Design > Organizing Your Content

Chapter 3. Organizing Your Content

In This Chapter

  • Establishing and sharing file management conventions

  • Developing Web site content

  • Keeping best practices in mind

Book II, Chapter 2 helps you figure out what content to include on your site. Although, by now, you might have collected much of it, your content will evolve as you develop it. Web site content actually continues to develop throughout the life of the site. For this reason, planning and building a good organizational structure is very important, and that's why we devote this chapter to that topic. As you collect information, it's tempting to just dive right in to the artwork part of designing your site. Resist the temptation. The following pointers can help you organize the content (and save yourself some headaches in the process):

  • Keep all site files in one set of folders. Typically, you have pictures, text documents, and other things, such as PowerPoint files and Excel spreadsheets. Some of these files will end up directly on your site and others just provide information. In either case, keep the original files together in a set of folders. Keep this set of folders in the local copy of your site. A local copy refers to the version of the site that's on your computer hard drive. You work on these files and then publish them to a Web server.

  • Do first things first. It's actually important to start with designing the structure and maintenance of your site first. If you start with creating artwork first, you're likely to design something that looks great but doesn't work for the purpose of the site.

  • Keep site maintenance manageable. A good way to make sure the maintenance doesn't get done is to make it difficult for people to work on the site. For instance, if you create content that needs to be updated often, you'll need to assign the editing to people who probably already have other jobs. Or the task might fall to someone who doesn't know how to do it, which means that you need to train that person. So if you don't think through all aspects of the site upfront, you risk ending up with a hard‐to‐manage site and overworked people.

    One small update shouldn't be a big deal, but if you have several, they can accumulate into a large project. It might be a good idea to look for ways to automate part of the maintenance or create content that doesn't need to be updated as often. The decision of what is best depends on your needs and what your resources are.

  • Remember that design includes the whole project, not just the pretty graphics and layout. The whole project includes functionality, maintenance, usability, graphics, layout, and expandability. You need to consider all users of the site, from content owners to the people who maintain the site to potential visitors. A beautiful‐looking site that doesn't work for the intended purpose is a failed design. The life of such a design is not as long as one that you've thought through and designed well.


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