Website Owner's Manual

Paul Boag

I have been working on my book (The Website Owner’s Manual) for a while, but finally I have something to show you.

Update: You can now order the website owners manual and get access to chapters as they are written.

No, I haven’t finished it and to be honest my progress continues to be slow. In fact it is so slow my publisher is currently looking for a release date of December! Oh the shame :(

A recap: What the book’s about

First of all a quick recap on what the book is about. This is what my publisher has written…

Just because you’re responsible for your organization’s web presence doesn’t mean you know how to build a website. The job of planning, launching, and managing a site often falls to people who have little or no experience in web design or development. Website Owner’s Manual is a book for the thousands of marketers, IT managers, project leaders, and business owners who need to put a website in place and keep it running with a minimum of trouble.

Website Owner’s Manual helps you form a vision for your site, guides you through the process of selecting a web design agency, and gives you enough background information to make intelligent decisions throughout the development process. This book provides a jargon-free overview of web design, including accessibility, usability, online marketing, and web development techniques. You’ll gain a practical understanding of the technologies, processes, and ideas that drive a successful website.

So, basically it is a book aimed at website owners rather than web designers. That said, I think there is a lot of useful content in for web designers as well.

Content includes…

  • Secrets to a successful website
  • Defining roles and evaluating objectives
  • Planning and measuring your success
  • Page design and branding
  • Layout challenges
  • Creating killer content
  • User testing
  • Content management systems
  • Web design best practices
  • Domains and hosting
  • Website promotion explained
  • Techniques for engaging visitors

All useful stuff, whatever your job title. What is more it shows web designers how to better communicate with clients. In particular it helps define the role of the client. I can imagine this is a book many web designers will end up buying for their more ‘challenging’ clients.

The news: Get early access to chapters

Of course most of this you already knew. The interesting part is that you can now read and contribute to the first 5 chapters of the book.

The thing I love about Manning (my publisher) is that they run something called MEAP (Manning Early Access Program). The aim of this program is to engage the reader in the process of writing the book. Think of it as user generated writing.

For between $23 – $40 you can join the program and gain access to all of the chapters as they are written. You will also get the final book when it is released.

Each chapter is released in a very rough and ready form including all my horrible, badly drawn, sketches. You can read each chapter and make suggestions, corrections and comments via the books own private forum. I will be checking it regularly and working with you to improve the book.

What a bloody brilliant idea!

So if you fancy getting involved go to the Manning website (yes it is horribly designed!).

There is even chapter one waiting for you free of charge.