Website Checklist

Most groups are using a website as a place to gather all their elements, introduce themselves, and provide other information on their topic. Think of your audience as anyone in the world who has just stumbled onto your site: you want to make the website attractive and easy to negotiate.

1. Design: Think about how the page looks when you first click through to it. Do you have a photo or image to draw the reader in? A title? An explanation? Many have commented that they like how the Re-designing the Quad group set up their blog: clear title, photo of the quad, nice explanation.

2. Introduce Yourselves and Your Sources: Somewhere on the website you will want an ABOUT ME section give readers an idea of who you are. You also need to show that you're a credible source. Put in a link to your Sources Document (basically, an annotated bibliograpy) in your sidebar.

3. Tone: You should talk amongst yourselves about what kind of tone you want to project. Your personalities should come across. For example, Project Happy Meal worked hard to come across as objective, reasonable, and professional -- just presenting facts and letting the readers make up their own mind. The Responsible Pet Ownership team tried to come across as friendly, passionate about their topic, willing to be funny, enthusiastic about dogs, and excited about teaching facts to help you care for your pet. Think about what kind of image your website projects.

4. Links: Spelling out URLS like this will look unprofessional. Besides, readers don't like to have to cut and paste. Instead, use a hyperlink that readers can just click on.

5. Credit: Who took this photo? Where did this information come from? Be sure to give credit for anything that's not original. Be sure readers can tell when something *is* original.

6. Accompany with Original Text: Some of you link to videos, TED talks, or articles already on the internet. Accompany those links with some original text. You can explain why you think this article is worthwhile, explain something about who wrote it, give a context, sum up the main points, and connect it to your over-arching idea. 

7. Sidebar: The nature of a blog is that posts get outdated and scroll out of site. You can keep important posts in the viewer's mind by putting links on a sidebar. Your sidebar can also explain who you are and other information. You can link to a sources page on the blog. Take some time to think about what you want the sidebar to look like. Often it functions as a table of contents.

8. Font: Be consistent with font and font size. Try to use at least 12 point font so that readers over the age of forty (for example, your teacher) won't get frustrated. Fancy fonts can look cool but are hard to read. Most of the time, you will want to stick to black letters on a white background. Anything else can be hard to read if it's more than just a title or caption.

9. Write for your Audience: If you're writing on the internet for a general audience, you will want to keep your paragraphs short. Several short paragraphs will usually be more effective than one long one. Multiple blog posts with catchy titles and photos will draw the reader in.

10. Copy Edit: Proofread all the text on your website to check for grammar, punctuation, spelling errors, and typos. Little mistakes can make you lose credibility.

11. Follow up:  Did you give readers a survey? Make sure you followed up by posting the results. You will want to analyze those results and relate the results to your over-arching question.

12. Re-order:  On-going websites usually have the most recent post at the top. But you might want to re-order the elements so that any reader will see them in the right order.

13. Links: If you've got elements scattered all over the internet, you might want to make sure they all have links that will bring your readers back to your website. That way, someone who stumbles onto your rap video on youtube, for example, will end up reading your website.

Don't be afraid to ask each other for help.