Before you get started on your new website or edit your current site, you should consider what hardware and software tools you may need to support your efforts.
When it comes to the necessary hardware, it can be very simple or reasonably complex depending on your particular needs. Of course, if you plan to create a new website (or even view your new website later), you need a computer. Pretty simple, right? Not necessarily. We prefer to work with Apple Macintosh (OSX Leopard on MacBook Pro) as we do a lot of intensive graphics work and have previously invested in Adobe Creative Suite software (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.). It’s just as easy to create your new website using your Windows PC, but we suggest you avoid using Windows Vista (any version) and migrate to Windows 7 or stick with Windows XP. These operating systems are much more stable and reliable.
Another hardware consideration should be some sort of backup hard drive or USB flash drive(s). It is important that you back up all of your website data to a removable drive in case your computer fails, breaks, or is stolen. When you create website files, most of your data will be stored on the website’s hosting servers, but in many cases, you will have many other “creation files” that usually never make it to the hosting servers. If you lose this data, you will be forced to start from scratch in many cases. Another piece of hardware that many forget about is an HD camcorder. If you plan to include videos on your site, you should invest in something halfway decent; you can usually buy a good video camera that also captures “still photos” for less than $500.00.
When it comes to the necessary software, this can be a bit trickier, again depending on what your website design goals are. At the very least, you’ll need some type of text editing software, FTP (file transfer software), graphics creation software, and then a variety of other tools as you go along.
Here are some of the most common themes that you should consider when planning your website product design.
Do you currently have a computer that can process large files (ie video files) quickly and efficiently?
Are you planning to host your own website portal? If so, do you know what kind of server hardware and software you’ll need?
HARD DISK BACKUP or USB MEMORY
Do you currently have any type of backup equipment or hard drive plan?
Will you be creating custom videos for your website, and if so, do you have an HD video camera ready to go?
MOBILE WEB DEVICES
Thinking of making your website mobile web friendly? If so, do you have an iPhone and an iPad? Android phone? BlackBerry device? These will be needed for testing purposes!
WEBSITE CREATION SOFTWARE
Do you have any website building software (ie Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front Page) installed, licensed and ready to use?
GRAPHICS EDITING SOFTWARE
Are you planning to create your own website graphics or edit images? Do you have the necessary software (ie Adobe Photoshop or Photo Studio)?
Are you planning to create a database for your website, and if so, do you know what software to use for this purpose?