Ready for a new website? Email us to discuss the best approach and most appropriate platform.
To Request a Custom Website
The official method for requesting custom websites is through the Office of Information Technology's Interdepartmental Project Portfolio (IPP). The planning process takes place between January and February each year. For projects that are requested outside of that time frame, WDS cannot guarantee that we can accommodate your project into our project slate. Email us to discuss you website's needs.
To Request a Free Website
Before You Start...
- Who will manage the project for the department? (WDS will manage the overall project, but we’ll need someone to coordinate the work on your end.)
- Who is the final decision maker?
- Who is responsible for writing, gathering, and maintaining the website’s content?
Begin to prepare...
- Identify your main audience(s).
- List, in order of priority, your audiences needs. What are they looking for on the website?
- List, in order of priority, your goals for the website.
- Make a list of what you like and don’t like about your current website. Look at other websites and make a list of what you like about them.
- Inventory the information on your current website. Click on all the links – go through the entire website. Decide what information needs to stay, go, or be rewritten/reorganized.
- Begin to think about your main menu items and how you’ll group or categorize your information in a way that is logical to your audience (not only yourself).
- Begin to gather any logos, imagery, and photography.
Writing for the Web
Much research has been done on writing for the web. Here is a brief summary of the top things you need to consider:
- People often want the "nuts and bolts" information, not poetry. You should write like a journalist, not an academic. Be brief! Consider using the inverted pyramid style of writing.
- People do not read websites. They scan for information and ignore non-critical elements and distractions. You should use headings to breakup sections of content and use the heading styles (not just the bold style) to make them standout on the page.
- Place content where people expect it. This means you should not be "cute" or "fancy". Place content in standard places used by most other websites.
- Make your content easy to find. Use labels that have meaning to your audience and do not bury content under obscure headings or menus.
- Create content that is accessible to those with disabilities. This is especially important if your site contains videos or content in files, such as PDFs and Word documents. See WebAIM.org for more information.
- Avoid the use of "click here" when creating links. Instead use 2-3 meaningful words when you create links within your text.
- Nielsen Norman Group - Writing for the Web Articles
- Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, by Steve Krug ISBN-13: 978-0321344755
- Letting Go of the Words, Second Edition: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies), by Janice (Ginny) Redish ISBN-13: 978-0123859303