Okay, so this is not about pies but about a really great list for updating your website. If a website update is scheduled for the next 12-24 months, it’s important to know what you can do now to prepare for a more successful project. To help you get started, Courtenay Rogers has put together a list of 14 of the most important pieces of information you will need. Think of it like this outrageous pie. Gather all your ingredients and tools before you start cooking.
Here is a list of the most common information that you will need to gather:
Domain Name: Also known as DNS (Domain Name System), this is the system for assigning addresses to web servers or hosts. This is more commonly called the ‘URL’ or website address. You want to know the company through which you registered your domain, how long it is registered and the administrative access information.
Domain Registrar: A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of internet domain names. You want to know the domain registrar and the administrative password. Some popular registrars are GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Host Gator and Enom.
FTP: File Transfer Protocol is basically how one host transfers information to another host. Think of FTP as access to the files that make up your website and when it’s time to change something, you will need to have administrative access to do so. This is the ultimate access to your website.
CMS: Is your site managed with a Content Management System where you can login and make changes? Many sites are set up this way and you will want to know who has access to your CMS along with the administrative credentials.
MySQL: If your site is integrated with a database, it is most likely done on MySQL . You will want to have your administrative login for this as well.
SSL Certificate: If any part of your data is to be secure because of sensitive user information like a social security number, you will most likely need an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate. SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. You should have a copy of your SSL that a web developer can install where necessary.
Analytics: The best way to know if your website is working for you is to read your analytics. Google offers a free version that is very simple to add to your site. Know the email address and password associated with this account.
Social Media: The list is far too long to name every social media platform out there, but know the email address, username and password for each account.
A design team can also be in the same boat when it comes to gathering a company’s brand assets. Here is a list of brand assets that are important to have safely filed along with your digital assets:
Logo: At a minimum, have your logo in both an eps/vector format (encapsulated postscript) so that it can be manipulated in any medium as well as jpg (joint photographic expert group) format for everyday use.
PMS colors: The Pantone Matching System is the authority on color matching, and allows designer to match a color no matter the equipment.
CMYK colors: CMYK is specifically for printing and refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).
Hexadecimal codes: Also known as hex codes are codes to define colors on web pages. Hexadecimal is just RGB (red/green/blue) converted to a different mathematical base number system – e.g. from decimal (10) to hexadecimal (16).
Typefaces: Most people use the term font when talking about the letters used on a website, but what they are really referring to is the typeface. Typefaces are designs like Helvetica, Times New Roman and Georgia and fonts are the things that enable the printing of typefaces. Don’t worry, your graphic designer will know the difference but it’s important that you know which typefaces you use as part of your brand.
Images: You (hopefully) paid good money to use those images on your website, so make sure you have the original files downloaded in a separate spot in case you need them again. Keep the rights of use along with them, so that you have proof that you paid for them and you know your limitations of use.
Using higher quality ingredients will lead to a more tasty meal and the same goes with a website, so don’t skimp when it comes to your digital assets. Take time establishing your brand, choose top notch photography, create a strong marketing strategy and invest time in a website plan. A little planning and research on the front end will lead to a delicious final product.