1. Know your audience.
Fundamental, but many people forget it! What audience do you want to reach? Fellow scientists? Consortium partners? Potential investors? Journalists? Institutional bodies? The target audience determines what content you present.
2. Think about your content.
Most of your visitors won’t know the subject as well as you do, and have little time to spend reading! So keep it simple and short. Avoid jargon, be concise, focus on the successes and attract your audience by announcing exploitable developments or technologies and their potential benefits.
3. Plan a clear structure.
This step is vital. The site should be easy to navigate. Produce a sitemap of your proposed web content. Visitors should ideally find information in 2-3 clicks maximum.
4. Make it look good.
It sounds so basic, yet it matters! If it looks nice, people tend to give it more value. A good design reflects well on your organisation or project.
5. Limit graphic content.
Multimedia can make your content more attractive, but don’t overdo it. Use graphics only if they support your message – white space has proven to be important in communications. Too large images also slow page loading for people with poor connections.
6. Offer easily searchable content.
Have a ‘search engine’ box on the front page. A number of tools can be found on the web to help you do this, including Google.
7. Update your content regularly.
Sites with regularly changing content attract more visitors. Archive what’s out-of-date, update with new content, ensure that you don’t have broken links and add new functions.
8. Be media-friendly.
Be ready to feed content to the media by preparing press releases, brochures, CVs of relevant contact people, info about key partners and addresses to be contacted. Put them in a ‘Press’ section on your site, and don’t forget images also.
9. Make it interactive.
Allow visitors to interact with the content author or producer. Host a discussion forum or start a blog – it may encourage visitors to drop in more often.
10. Domain name is important!
Last but not least, today we remember website names as we used to remember phone numbers. So make sure that your domain name is easy to remember.