Management & Maintenance
As important as it is to manage the development of your website as effectively as possible, the long-term maintenance of your site is just as crucial. For tips on managing and maintaining your website, please see:
The key to testing is to test as much and as often as you can. Test at key project stages rather than wait until the entire website is completed.
The level of testing will also depend on the complexity of the website. It can be as basic as checking that all the links in the site go where they should. For more complex websites, with functionality such as an events calendar or news pages, submit dummy data to ensure it displays correctly. Try entering data in as many different scenarios as you can to make your testing as rigorous as possible. For example, when submitting events information, check that both text and numbers are accepted and fields such as the date display correctly on the web page.
Be sure to test the website in the live environment before you launch to make sure everything is working as it should.
Once you have developed your community website (and before you launch it), you will need to nominate an internet service provider (ISP) to host the site so people can visit it. Hosting costs can vary depending on a number of factors including:
the size of the website (measured in kilobytes, megabytes or gigabytes)
the number of people accessing the site each month
the bandwidth provided by the ISP
the software supported by the ISP
other services offered (e.g. visitor statistics, email addresses).
Many web developers also provide hosting, or you can use a third party provider such as Telstra or Optus, or a specialist hosting service provider. A good starting point might be to look under 'website services' or 'website hosting' in the Yellow Pages or online.
Unless your website is permanently funded by a sponsor or you have a local business providing in-kind support, you will need to raise enough money to pay the ongoing hosting costs.
While your initial website may be quite basic, it is worthwhile investigating all the options your host can provide. For example, you may want to get statistical information such as how many people have visited your website and the pages they viewed. Or you may already be thinking about possible future upgrades such as community email addresses or a local forum.
It is also important to regularly check that any links you have on your website are up to date.
To ensure updates occur regularly, it is recommended that you have a regime that establishes who is responsible for updating each part of the website, and how often. Depending on the nature of the content, some sections might need updating daily or weekly (e.g. local news and events, sports results) while others may be updated only monthly (e.g. business directory, external links).