A web site requires content; text, images, diagrams, links to other web pages etc., which leads, inevitably, to the question, or rather questions: Do you already have content for the web site and, if so, what format is it in and how much is there of it or, if not, where is the content coming from?

The content requires managing since unmanaged, out-of-date content, deters visitors. Even well managed content is useless if the intended audience cannot access and navigate the web site, which leads to another question: who is the intended audience of the web site?

The web site may be a public showcase, the web site may be for a closed group of people or it may be a mixture, which may raise issues of partitioning access, some private data and some public.

A web site consists of a series of linked web pages. Originally a web page consisted of the text you see on the screen formatted according to commands hidden in the text, the commands using a mark-up language called the HyperText Mark-up Language (HTML). Nowadays, things are a bit more complicated with web pages formatted according the rules in external files, and the web pages containing embedded images, video and sound, or web pages resembling computer applications built from and containing code from a computer programming language. But don't be put off, web pages built from html still work and form the basis of most small-scale web sites.

How does your content end up on a web site? Typically the content, after being prepared for the web site, is pushed or copied from a local computer to the web server using software running the File Transfer Protocol (ftp), which may happen automatically within your web creation software or be actioned manually on the computer.

How does your data get converted to html? The easier, though expensive option, is to use software, such as Dreamweaver, which can take pretty well any existing data, convert it and automatically update the web site when finished. Other options include using free software, such as BlueGriffon or hand crafting the html by hand, the latter involving the rather steep learning curve of learning about html, knowledge which is often useful though whatever package is used. Pictures often need adjusting; trimming, sharpening or resizing, before uploading. Again this may be done within a web authoring package or using additional software ranging from the costly Photoshop to the free Gimp.

We now know a) that data can be converted to html, b) that images are prepared for the web site, and then c) the html and images are uploaded to a web site.

Generally, after a web site is designed, there are three phases to building and maintaining it: bulk upload of data, periodic upload of data, and revision of data. Since the first phase, the bulk upload of existing data, could be quite a big project, it is necessary to scope out the work involved and the resources required to complete the tasks of gathering all the relevant information, preparing for conversion, converting, proofing, uploading then further proofing. Procedures need to be established for periodic updates because, if not done, the web site gets out of date. Fortunately this is mostly a scaled down version of the bulk upload procedure . Lastly, procedures need to be established for periodic revision of the web site; removal of out-of-date data, consideration of what new or different data is required for the future and, quite importantly, consideration of the structure of the web site taking into account new technologies as they evolve.

Apologies if this document appears somewhat vague on how much effort is required to do all this but, this is inevitable since the content may just be a few pages of information with associated images to hundred of pages of information with associated images , though hopefully not thousands because, if so, that may require more complex technologies beyond the scope of this document.