As designers and updaters for over a hundred sites we have seen a lot of different requests for changes. Sometimes a client will ask for a seemingly simple change that can involve new graphics, new layouts, optimizing photos, editing, adding new style sheets, changing a website’s template and more.
Changes to menu bars, the site’s design and graphics are generally more time consuming than adding or changing text. However, text changes can vary greatly depending on how they are sent to us.
To help you save money and understand what it is web developers do when they update your website we have compiled a list of helpful tips.
1. Send website updates in an email or Word document whenever possible.
Transferring text from PDF into Dreamweaver can take longer (as can relaying changes by phone or fax because we need to then type those in). If you have a lot of changes or have re-written an entire section it is best to send updates in a word document or multiple documents.
2. Paste in the link to the page you would like changed.
Web developers update a lot of sites and the easier it is for them to locate the page you are referring to in their files, the less time it takes them and the less it costs you. An example of this would be: “I would like to add a new employee to our ‘about us’ page (http://www.nrichmedia.com/about_us.htm). Please add the attached information as the fifth paragraph on the page – just above the quote from the therapist.”
3. Send web copy that has been edited.
If there are obvious typos we will fix them but if there are a lot of grammar and punctuation errors, and you haven’t requested our editing services, we will spend time emailing you to let you know that the copy may need to be edited again. Your website is often people’s first impression of your business and a well-written site is much more professional than one that obviously wasn’t edited. If you don’t want to pay for editing, have a friend look over your copy – even professional writers and editors need others to review their work.
4. Do not use FULL CAPS.
Unless your original site used full caps for headings it is better not to use these. When we receive copy with full caps we have to search through and change to lower or title case in each instance. Using bold instead of full caps for emphasis will save you money and is in keeping with web etiquette as full caps implies shouting.
5. Do not double space after periods.
HTML only allows a single “soft” space after periods and a quirk of transferring over copy that has “hard” double spaces is that we have to search through the HTML code and remove each instance of the extra space so that your pages do not have awkward line breaks.
6. Only use bold, italics, or different font colours if that is how you want the text to appear on the page.
Make sure your emphasis is the same as the text that is already on your site. So, if you have client quotes italicized on your site, sending them in bold will mean an extra couple of steps at our end.
7. Do not underline text for emphasis. On the web, underlines are normally only used for hyperlinks.
This is another area where we have to go through, find each instance of an underline and remove it. If you want the words, email or web address to link to something on your site or the web in general just add the full URL in brackets after the text and highlight (using Word’s highlighter tool) the exact words you would like linked. For example: “nrichmedia was founded by Nathaniel Richman in 2000. Nathaniel graduated from the [Vancouver Film School] (http://www.vfs.com/) with a Certificate of Recommendation in Multimedia Studies …”
8. Copy and Paste your tables.
If you have tables you want changed you can copy and paste them into your document and make changes right in the tables.
9. Keep text sizes consistent with your website.
You don’t need to figure out exactly what text sizes are on your site but if you have three sizes on your pages (header, sub header, and regular text are the most common) then there is no need to send us a document with 6 different font sizes or 6 different colours. These don’t take us long to change but it will save you time when you are putting your web edits together.
10. Send graphics in separate files.
Sending high-resolution photos allows us to crop, size and optimize them for your site.
The key to quick web updates is communication. The clearer your description of the changes, the faster it is for a web developer to implement your changes. Often the longer you work with a developer the less you need to say about the regular updates such as newsletters that tend to be the same each time. However, for other changes, if you follow the tips above your updates will be quicker and cost-effective.