What do You want Your Website to Do?
These are some of the common components of a website today outside of the contents of the pages:
- Forum / Blog
The lines have become a little blurred with these two options. Both start with an opening post and comments ensue thereafter. A forum though usually has the ability to organise those comments in a variety of styles.
Some scenarios call for only products to be shown and an 'email me' to order option. Others want a complete online ordering system that does everything but package and post the item.
- Contact Form
The reason for having a site is to get your view, your product or your service out there, and most time you will be wanting a response. A Contact Form or About Us page is the answer here.
Keeping in touch with your site users can be made simpler with automating a regular newsletter - telling them what is new on the site, about your latest product or service or any other announcement. A few hundred newsletters can be sent off at the click of a button, whereas if you expect to send more than this, your website can be linked to a third party service.
Used wisely a Guestbook can reinforce your product or service, or in the case of a private or non-profit site it can be a place for your supporters to leave encouragement. Don't worry though, there are options for you to preview the messages before they are published, so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can scrawl all over it.
If you publish a photo, an information page about a product, you may want others to comment on it or not. Comments can usually be added where you want them and turned off where you don't.
- RSS Feed
Most websites have a way that others can keep up to date with what is new, by subscribing to your RSS feed, if you choose to have one. It may contain the latest pages, photos, comments....that have been added. It's worth thinking about, and perhaps using to draw clients back to your site, instead of writing off the idea all together.
- Image Gallery
Do you want photos of your last home build, the renovation of your classic car, or your work conference? Site users can be given permission to add their own or add to a common site gallery, depending on your purpose. Not all sites need extra images, but it's still something to think about.