How to Build a Children's Website

By Chad Buleen

  • Overview

    Understanding how to build a children's Website is a little more involved than understanding how to build a general Website. The fact is that children require things to be more exciting and more simple on the Web than most adults do. This can be a difficult balance to find. By abiding by the guidelines listed here, a Webmaster can create a Website that children will enjoy and continue to use.
    • Step 1

      Consider the audience. The fact is that building a children's Website can be difficult unless a person knows about the children he or she is creating a site for. For example, there is a big difference between a 3-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. Therefore, there also is a difference between how they use the Web. Once a person has a good idea about what audience he or she will cater to, the best way to know what they do and do not like is to hold a focus group. The focus group can be informal, but it should include at least a few youth from the target audience. Show them different Websites for children and record what they like and what they do not like. This allows a Web designer to have a better general idea of the things that should be included on the children's Website.
    • Step 2

      Create the graphic schema before creating the HTML. This can be done by simply drawing sketches of how the site will look. While strong content can overcome poor design on Websites designed for adults, the same is not true for children's Web sites. The graphics on the Web site must immediately draw the user into the page. The best way to make a graphically attractive page is to use as many interactive elements on the page as possible.

    • Step 3

      Use Flash. Adobe Flash is the standard in creating animations and games for the Web. Children's minds need to be stimulated in order to keep their attention. A site that is full of static images and text will not hold interest for as long as a site that moves and makes sounds. Flash can be downloaded for a free 30-day trial on the Adobe Website. It also can be purchased from the same site as well as in stores. Use the Flash program to make movable elements. What exactly these elements are going to do depends on the purpose of the site, but it is important that at least some kind of Flash is used. Remember to keep text to a minimum, especially if the site is being created for very young children.
    • Step 4

      Create a section for parents. Create a link on the home page that leads to a section for parents. This section can be used to explain the purpose of the site. It can also be used to direct parents toward items available for purchase, if that is what the purpose of the Website is. Although this section does not need to be as graphically attractive, this does not mean that the graphics should be ignored. Simply scale back the animation to draw more attention to the text.
    • Step 5

      Use search engine optimization writing guidelines to increase the amount of people who come to the site. Just because a Website looks great, this does not mean that it will be a site that children will find. Use a program like Omniture or Overture to find out what kinds of terms people search for relative to the purpose of the children's Web site that is being built. Then, make sure to use these keywords periodically throughout the site. Doing so will make the page more visible to search engines like Google and Yahoo.
    • Step 6

      Observe and adjust. A person who seeks to build a children's Web site usually finds that building those sites is a continual process. In addition to finding that the needs of the users change, a person can also find that some of the things they have created for the Web are not being used or found as well as one might wish. Continually observing the usage statistics of the site can let a person know which SEO changes to make and which navigation changes to make.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • Focus groups
    • Internet access
    • HTML knowledge
    • Adobe Flash
    • Tip: Free Flash tutorials can be found on the Web. These tutorials will allow Web designers to be able to better create animations for the site.
    • Tip: Become a member of a photo bank. These photo banks have images and videos that can be purchased for use on Websites for much less than one would pay a professional photographer or videographer.
    • Warning:
    • Do not skip over the audience research step. Assuming that one knows his or her audience without specific data to back this up could start the whole Website building project off on the wrong foot.

    © High Speed Ventures 2011