Structure and Content

A website usually consists of an index or 'home' page linking to a number of sub-pages. While there is no limit to the number of sub pages in a website, it is important that they are structured logically so users can navigate the site successfully.

A good place to start planning a website is to develop a site map. This is simply a pictorial representation of all the pages within the website. For example, your website may have an Events page providing a listing of local events in the coming weeks. Each event listing could be linked to another page that provides full details of that particular event (e.g. what it is for, when and where it will be held). The site map would show that the home page links to the events page, and the events page then links to the events details page.

Try to keep your website structure simple so visitors feel comfortable exploring. Rather than show every link in the menu on the home page, sort them into groups (e.g. show the menu item ‘Events’ on the home page, and then links to all events listed on the Events page). Remember to check any links to external websites regularly to ensure they are still valid.

Your community will probably have lots of ideas for what they would expect to find on the website. It is important that you think about who the website is for and how they are going to use it when planning the content. If possible, involve members of your community in the planning process.

There are a number of elements common to most websites, such as an index or home page, contact details and 'about us' information. As a community website, you are likely to want to include other content such as:

  • business directory
  • community group listing (e.g. sport and recreation, arts and cultural, historical, other common interest groups)
  • tourism information (click here for more information)
  • events calendar
  • latest news (e.g. sports results, local council initiatives)
  • local weather (see http://www.bom.gov.au/ and www.weatherzone.com.au as examples of available services)
  • sponsor details and advertising banners
  • community feedback form
  • links to external websites (e.g. local council, regional tourism office, chamber of commerce).

Also, it is worth thinking about including a privacy statement and a website disclaimer on the site.

The primary aim of a privacy statement is to tell website visitors what personal and technical information is collected from them, and what this information is used for. Privacy legislation is designed to safeguard any personal information collected and ensure that it is not used for any purpose other than for which it was provided (e.g. information supplied in a feedback form should not be used for marketing).

The aim of a website disclaimer is to protect the community website group from loss or damages arising from information presented on the website or contained in linked websites.

Useful Links
  • SurveyMonkey.com is a revolutionary tool to create and publish custom surveys in minutes, and then view results graphically and in real time. Visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/ 
  • WordPress is a free and open source blog publishing application and content management system. http://wordpress.com/