By Lee Sykes
January & February 2006
This is the beginning of a new DotNetNuke training series exploring How to Build a Website in DotNetNuke. The series will cover all of the steps involved, from the initial planning, skin creation, adding content, through to the promotion of the website.
To begin the series we will look at the planning of our website.
With any website, the initial planning stages are the most crucial to ensure successful design, content, usability etc.
Before even considering what DotNetNuke can do, we need to consider what our website aims to achieve. Once we have established those points, we can then move on to consider how we can use DotNetNuke to achieve our needs.
We already have a few pieces of information for our website:
- Business Name: Vortex Music Productions
- Business Description: Composition of music for film, tv, theatre, radio and tuition of music technology
- Business Logo:
- Target Market: Television companies, film makers, producers, directors, radio companies, corporate video companies etc.
- Content to include:
- Home page – Brief introduction to Vortex Music Productions services
- Portfolio – List of previous composition clients
- Downloads – Music and video downloads of music composition jobs
- Biography – Background on the composer
- Tuition – Details on the music technology tuition courses that are available
- Further Information – How we can help you, soundtracks, corporate packages, internet, prices, latest news
- Request a quote
- Request a demo CD
- Contact details
- Search box
- Easy navigation with breadcrumbs, eg. You are here: Home > Services > Web Design > Portfolio
From this content, we need to make the following considerations:
Vortex Music must have the facility to easily update the content, especially on the Portfolio and Downloads pages. As new products or services are created, Vortex Music also needs to easily add new pages and new content to the website.
Music and Video Downloads
Should be available to all visitors of the website and there should be 2 versions, one for modem users and another for broadband users.
(Looking at the target market, the majority of users will have broadband, but the occasional director or producer who may access the website in their spare time from home may only have modem access, so we need to ensure that all visitors to the website can listen to the downloads.)
Ideally, the MP3 downloads should be sorted into categories.
Request a Quote
We would like to create a form which the visitors will fill out to request a quote. The information from this form will be automatically emailed to Vortex Music. This ensures that Vortex Music receives all of the key information it requires to create a quote while also making it easy for a visitor to the website to request a quote.
Request a free CD-Rom
This is to allow potential clients of Vortex Music to request a free CD-Rom. We will need to capture and store their name and address details. From these captured names & addresses Vortex Music wish to continually market to these potential clients via email / letters with the latest news, services and downloads.
Search Engine promotion
Research the keywords to target, ensure that the content within the website contains these keywords.
Should we implement them? – RSS is becoming more and more popular and visitors to websites are now demanding the facility of RSS feeds. RSS can help improve search engine rankings, while also offering an easy method for potential clients to keep up to date with the latest news / downloads etc.
DotNetNuke can easily tackle all of these features:
Within DotNetNuke we can easily update content, add new pages and menu items. We can also implement different admin rights for different members of staff within Vortex Music, so that certain members of staff can only maintain certain pages within the website.
The downloads section
We are going to use MP3 files for the music downloads and mpeg1 files for the video downloads. These are the most common file formats which will ensure the majority of visitors will be able to listen / view the downloads.
There are several ways that this can be implemented:
- Using the standard modules, list the MP3s and include links direct to the MP3 files that you have uploaded
- Use a Media Player module to easily upload and create a list of the MP3s
- Use a Podcast module to allow visitors to subscribe to the downloads via RSS and automatically receive the latest MP3s direct to their computer
- Use a News / Articles module to easily categorise all of the downloads and to allow for easy search and filtering options. A News / Articles module will also include an RSS feed which will allow visitors of the website to receive notifications of new downloads
As you can see there are a variety of options available. The main considerations for these are the sorting of categories, easy user administration and the possibility of keeping visitors of the website easily updated with the latest downloads. We will look at each of these options in turn later on in the tutorial series.
Request a Quote
We can easily set this up using the feedback module that comes as standard with DotNetNuke.
Request a CD-Rom
We can potentially set this up using the User Registration option that comes as standard with DotNetNuke, further considerations would need to be made however.
We require the facility to email users who have requested a CD-ROM, we therefore need to implement a facility for the users to opt-in / opt-out from the newsletters.
As well as the name and address, we need to also capture the company name and any further comments from the company who is requesting the CD-ROM.
We will need a facility to email all of the users, this could grow to several thousand registered users, so we need a reliable, trackable, email delivery method.
Dependant on the flexibility of the data we need to capture, we may need to look at:
- Purchasing a third party module
- Creating our own module to capture all of the data we require
- Editing the core code to capture the additional data we require
We will look at each of these options in turn later on in the tutorial series.
It would be good to implement RSS feeds to ‘future-proof’ the website. We therefore need to consider the best way to implement RSS feeds and the information we wish to include in the RSS feed.
The RSS feed should contain data which is constantly being updated. It could therefore cover: Latest News, Portfolio, Downloads.
We have completed the initial research into the main content and features of the website, in the next issue we will research the keywords we should include within our website.
Let’s now move on and look at the skin design for our DotNetNuke website.
Part 2 - Skin design considerations