This section of the UA Web Guide presents a step-by-step process for building a new Web site or refurbishing a current Web site at The University of Alabama.
1. Please Read and Review the Following Resources
- UA Web Policy
- This UA Web Guide, including the Web Tutorials and Resources
- Faculty Resource Center
- Web Publishing — HelpDesk
- UA Visual Identity Guide
- UA Editorial Style Manual
2. Make a Plan
Some basic steps to follow as you begin a web site project include:
- Discuss your site with others in your unit or department, including your area's computer support staff or your college, school, or department Webmaster.
- Identify key stakeholders for your organization, both internally and externally as applicable.
- Determine your goals and objectives.
- Determine roles and responsibilities.
- Determine what content you have in place and what you will need to develop.
- Make an outline, then gather and organize your content. Your outline will often serve as a basis for the site's navigation when you begin the development process.
3. Develop Your Web Site
Your production strategy will depend upon a number of variables, including your familiarity with web technologies, your department's resources, and the scope of the Web site. In any case, the following considerations should be addressed at this stage:
Each individual unit of UA is responsible for obtaining the resources necessary to create, manage, and maintain organizational web sites. There may be existing resources available in your division or college, and you are encouraged to contact your organization's technology group to determine what web development resources are available to you. If you are in need of assistance that is not available in your organization, you may contact the Office of Web Communications for a consultation.
Web Templates vs. Custom Design
Developers are encouraged to use the UA Web Templates, which ensure web sites are consistent with the overall institutional web presence. Web sites may also be built from scratch, from other templates, or otherwise as long as the end result meets relevant Minimum Design Standards.
HTML Editing Software vs. Hand Coding
Though Web sites can be constructed with any text editor, many people are more comfortable using WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) software that provides a visual workspace in addition to access to the page source code.
WYSIWYG editors range from "giveaways" to high-end commercial products such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, and Microsoft FrontPage. (A note to FrontPage users: some servers on campus, including the "Bama" server, are not equipped with the "FrontPage extensions." Therefore, some server-side functions created in FrontPage, such as hit counters and e-mail forms, will not work on those servers.)
A word of caution: strict reliance on the visual workspace of a WYSIWYG editor is generally a bad idea. Building your site almost always requires a basic understanding of HTML and CSS.
4. Publish Your Web Site
Once your Web site has been developed, you must procure storage space on a Web server in order to make it available to the public.
UA students, faculty, and staff are eligible for a "Bama" Account, which includes an e-mail account and 2 megabytes of disk space for e-mail and Web pages. More space may be available for department and organization Web sites upon request. Refer to "Bama" Account information on the HelpDesk site for information on how to establish, maintain, and use a "bama" Account.
For larger divisional, college, and departmental web sites, hosting services are available on the main University of Alabama web server. For more information, please visit the HelpDesk web site or call 348-HELP.
Files are generally transferred to a Web server using an FTP program. WS-FTP (PC) and Fetch (Mac) are available from the Network & Computing Support Software Library. Some HTML editors feature built-in FTP.
5. Requesting a Virtual Address
If your department or organization wishes to have a virtual domain name to help identify your web site and market it to external audiences, you may request the creation of a virtual host for your web site in the format "groupname.ua.edu."
Please note that all requests for a virtual host are subject to approval based on the policies outlined by the Office of Information Technology.
For more information on how to request a virtual host for your official University of Alabama web site, please visit: Virtual Hosts at The University of Alabama.