Making a college website can seem like a daunting proposition, however with effective planning it isn't nearly as difficult as it seems. When creating a website for any business or educational institution, the level of organization will play a large role in determining how successful it is. Depending what information and services you will be offering through the website, the overall creation process and level of detail can vary greatly. Here are five tips to ensure that making a college website can be done quickly and effectively.

1. Define the Purpose

When making a college website the best place to start is with the big picture. The first step should be finding out what your general categories of information will be so that you can break them down into greater detail later. Along with looking at the categories that you will be focusing on, you should also consider which topics will require regular updating and which ones won't. When looking at what each category will consist of, it is important to keep in mind who your target audience is. Many college websites have at least three separate areas for each category. Each area will be geared towards targeting a different audience – normally they will be students, parents, and faculty.

2. Develop Your Navigation Structure

Once you have your general categories in hand, the next step is deciding what the best navigation structure is. Keep in mind that your navigation structure will likely be use by all of your different audiences. This means that it should be designed in a way that everyone can find what they're looking for with little effort. This also means that the link titles in the navigation need to be easily understood by the average person.

3. Focus on Design Consistency

When making a college website design consistency is incredibly important. Just like a business, your college is a brand. This means that you should integrate your logo appropriately as well is ensure that the people using the website see a similar basic design on every page. This includes creating a consistent color scheme as well as overall page formatting. Along with focusing on the overall design consistency, you may also want to develop a slightly different design for each category of information. This will help people immediately identify where they are simply by the look and layout of the page.

4. Choose the Content Management System Wisely

Another thing to consider when creating a website is what content management system will be the most effective. A majority of college websites will have a wide variety of people who will make alterations to it. This could mean that each faculty member has their own space that they can modify to suit their own needs or that department heads will make all of the changes. Regardless, your content management system should be easy enough to use that minimal training is required for other people to make changes. At the same time, there will likely be items that you do not want anyone to be able to alter. Every content management system is a little different, so take your time and choose the one that will be most effective over the long run.

5. Leave Room to Grow

Between faculty and students the amount of content on your college website will grow substantially in a short amount of time. This means that when making a college website you need to design it no way that they can easily be expanded and grow. By doing this, you can prevent the need for making drastic changes or complete overhauls in the future.