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Resources: Websites

Websites

All LIFE projects are required to have a web presence (either a dedicated website, or part of an existing website). This should provide details of the project’s objectives, actions, progress and results and it should feature the LIFE logo (and Natura 2000 logo for Nature and Biodiversity projects). The website needs to be online within six months of the start of the project and should be updated regularly. The beneficiary is obliged to keep the website online for five years after the project ends.

For most people, the website is both the main source of information about a LIFE project and their first point of contact with it. It acts as a hub of information, directing interested parties to news, events, social media accounts, technical guidelines and other project documents.

This central role in communication and dissemination activities makes it imperative for your project website to be clear, well-designed and up-to-date.

There are numerous guides to effective web design and many tools for building websites (see recommended reading or do an online search). Three basic principles are that the website should be professional-looking, easy-to-use and easy-to-update. Many projects work with design agencies who build the website before the project takes over its day-to-day management. This can be a fruitful approach, particularly if your organisation does not have the resources to dedicate to this task or lacks expertise in this field.

Two key things to consider when creating any website are its ‘look’ (appearance) and ‘feel’ (site navigation). Aim for a consistent look with a strong visual impact. Think about including multimedia content (audio, video). Try to avoid clutter and ‘interference’ (elements that blink or flash, pop-up windows etc). Test your site before it goes live to ensure compatibility with different browsers and to make sure links and multimedia content are working.

In terms of navigation, make interfaces consistent and follow a logical structure. Aim to make all information on the site accessible in no more than three clicks. This is especially important for key information, such as contact details and layman’s reports. Try to keep each web page brief and avoid excessive use of hyperlinks.
To increase site traffic (and thus awareness of your project) let your networks and your project monitor know when it is live. Also remember to multiply the impact of your messages by sharing featured news and events with the LIFE Communications Team throughout your project. Adopt best practice in search engine optimisation (SEO) – web design techniques that increase your site’s ranking in search results in Google and other search engines. Many of the principles of SEO – clear site navigation, compelling content, accurate page titles and metatags – are the same principles common to all effective, well-designed websites.

For examples of effective and well-designed LIFE websites, click here


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