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How to create good website documentation

When creating a website it's always a good idea to create website documentation for that website.

The type of documentation that should be created for a website includes: end user documentation, website installation documentation and source code documentation.

End user documentation for a website is not always needed since websites are designed to be easy to use. It is, however, worth using standard navigation elements that users have come to expect, such as a top navigation bar, a side navigation bar and important legal links and a sitemap accessible from links at the bottom of a page. It's also worth including important user documentation such as a frequently asked questions and information about ordering processes in the case of ecommerce websites.

If creating an interactive website with a scripting language such as ASP or PHP or a development environment like ASP.NET, it's useful to provide source code documentation. This should describe how the application's code works. There are code documentation tools that will allow website source code to be documented. ASP.NET's main programming languages of VB.NET and C# also have a code documentation system built in called XML comments. This makes it really easy to document code from within Visual Studio's code editor. Java has a similar code documentation standard called JavaDoc.

A website using database or other integration should also have an installation guide - this should explain how to get the web application up and running, including information about the database, 3rd party server components, remote webservices, web server permissions etc.

By the way, when creating website documentation don't forget to document any databases that are associated with your website's ecommerce or content management system (CMS). Database documentation is easy to create as there are a wide range of database documentor tools for automatically creating high quality documentation for your relational database.


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