Before you get started with your new website or editing your current site, you need to consider which hardware and software tools you may need to support your efforts.
When it comes to hardware needed this 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. Simple enough, 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 is just as easy to create your new website using your Windows PC but we would suggest you stay away from using Windows Vista (any version) and migrate to Windows 7 or stick with Windows XP. These operating systems are just much more stable and reliable.
Another consideration for hardware should be some sort of backup hard drive or removable USB memory stick (s). It is important that you back up all of your website data to a removable drive in the event your computer crashes, is broken or is stolen. When you create website files, most of your data will be stored on the website hosting servers but, in many cases, you will have many other "builder 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 a HD Video Camcorder. If you plan to include video on your site, you should be investing in something half decent; you can typically pick up a good video camera that also captures "still photos" for under $ 500.00.
When it comes to software needed, this can be somewhat more complicated, again depending on what your website design goals are. At the very least, you will need some sort of text editing software, FTP (file transfer software), graphics creation software and then a variety of other tools as you progress.
Here are some of the most common subjects you should consider when planning the design of your website product.
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 type of hardware and server software you will need?
BACKUP HARD DRIVE or USB STICK
Do you currently have some sort of backup hard drive equipment or plan?
Will you be creating custom videos for your website and, if so, do you have a HD video camera ready to go?
MOBILE WEB DEVICES
Are you planning to make 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 creation 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 pictures? Do you have the necessary software (ie Adobe Photoshop or Photo Studio)?
Are you planning on creating a database for your website and, if so, do you know which software to use for this purpose?