Just like DIY in the home, with a multitude of modern web design platforms readily available on the Internet, DIY web design and management is also on the rise. But are DIYers getting it right?

Other Videos:  Understanding Aesthetics  |  Keeping Web Accessibility In Mind

We’ve all done it or thought about doing it….. putting up those new shelves, tiling the bathroom or doing your own car service. However well intentioned if you really don’t know whether you are doing it right or that the finished work might not stand up to scrutiny, legal or good practice guides; well, don’t go there!

We have put together the following for your company or organisation to take time to properly consider your web strategy. After all, a website is one of your most visible and easily accessed marketing tools in which proportionate time and investment should be invested, no less than it should be for other services you deliver or purchase.

Legal obligations
A website extends far beyond a company or organisations simple desire to have a web presence. Website owners now have a legal responsibility to ensure that their content is accessible to all people, and that consideration of the needs of disabled people is built-in and maintained in your website strategy and planning.

It is often for these reasons why it is sensible to outsource some elements of your website management to agencies with the full knowledge and experience that many company or organisations often do not have in-house.

Other Related Guidance:
Disabled access to websites under UK law
Making your service accessible: an introduction
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

Looks aren’t everything
We have seen and heard about many examples where self-managed websites (particularly in the charity sector) are failing to recognise that websites are not about the personal preferences of the site manager or the owners. There are tried and tested industry standards in well laid out design and copy that many novice DIYers fail to either acknowledge or act on.

Not just about the information
Visitors to websites don’t only want simple information relay, they also want to be able to see content in a familiar, consistent and readable format. Simply ‘dumping’ information on your website will not achieve this and indeed can damage visitor numbers and the brand of your company or organisation.

Aesthetics and accessibility
Careful thought should be given not only to how your website looks (good copy and layout), but also on whether the content is accessible to people with disabilities, such as visual impairments. Once again we see many cases where DIYers fail on both counts often meaning the failing of vulnerable people and/or breaking the law.

Resources management (media + copyright)
In relation to the previous topic it is also hugely important to properly label images and other media used on websites. This is another area commonly unaddressed by novice designers and copywriters. Equally important is properly managing and auditing images saved on your server to avoid overload and poor performance issues. Even more damaging can be falling foul of legal copyright by using images without consent – another common error.

Content auditing
Many websites keep irrelevant and outdated copy on their websites or alternatively over-delete information that could be usefully archived. The result can be a very poor experience for your website visitors. Time should be taken to regularly audit content to avoid such pitfalls.

Consistency is key
Frequently the problem with in-house management of websites is that responsibility often changes hands or too many people are involved as editors. We all know the saying ‘too many cooks in the kitchen‘, and this is no less relevant here! Website management without clear strategies and copy standards can lead to erratic, inconsistent and poorly put together content.

Website Security
Leaving your website unsecured is asking for trouble! Yet many in-house projects give little or no attention to this critical area. Website hacks and bugs are now more prevalent than ever and if your website goes down or is hacked it can be a far more costly exercise to put it right – much better to build-in protection from the start than suffer later.

We hope that you find these guidance topics of use in ensuring optimum performance and impact of your online presence. Feel free to contact us for further information or guidance.