Web Site Guide and Considerations
What type of web site do you need?
- Personal: A blog, family photo gallery, calendar etc.
- Artist’s Gallery: Online gallery of art works, may include exhibition information, contact, gallery affiliation and more.
- Small business ‘brochure’ site: An online version of a brochure, giving basic information for services/products, contact information, location, hours etc.
- Online store with e-commerce: Presenting products online with online credit card payment systems. Site owner or a fulfillment house completes the delivery process.
- Dynamic web site using a CMS*: Suitable for Businesses, clubs, non-profits, membership management, etc.
*A CMS installation, using open-source software such as WordPress. Offering a web-based interface with the ability for authorized users to update and manage the page content themselves.
Do you have a domain name, and/or is your business name available?
The domain name or “URL” is your address on the internet, ie: www.yourname.com. (The registration options are 1, 2, 5 & 10 years at a time. Check availability here, but do not register as the price for domain name registration is often included in a commercial hosting plan.)
Who will be hosting the site?
A “host” is a company that “serves” the web site pages to the internet, making it available to viewers worldwide. Some hosts will include the domain name registration in the hosting costs. Choosing a suitable host requires consideration of the website structure. If WordPress is required, it is advisable to choose a hosting company fully up-to-date on WordPress installations, and security. It is also worth considering signing up for an account at a “Managed WordPress” hosting company such as WPEngine.com as they handle essential security and backup tasks, as well as guaranteeing better performance. Alternative “free” hosted sub-domains at commercial websites, such as wordpress.com (bypassing the need for private hosting) can be appropriate for simple websites, however customization and styling options are limited and ads may appear on the site.
Type of business:
What is your type of business, and who are your clients?
The anticipated viewer demographic data can affect the type of web site to be developed. Are your viewers likely to be very web-savvy with the latest hardware/software, or is your target audience going to have limited resources or computer knowledge? Answers to these questions will influence how a website is constructed and presented.
How much information do you plan to present on the web site?
Are you showing image galleries or do you have a large amount of text/data that needs to be searchable? Do you require a database-driven site with administrative privileges for updates, and perhaps an e-commerce site? Knowing ahead of time how many potential pages and/or sections will be needed is very helpful in the initial planning stages.
Contact forms and Social Media:
An online form can collect email address and other data from viewers interested in your services or products. Sending out email ‘blasts’ to your registered viewers is a good way to stay connected. To do this you may need a 3rd party email system to manage subscriptions and outgoing emails. Ever more important is to have accounts with the main social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The website can include the sharing links to help publicize your content.
Will the site include 3rd-party advertising, live feeds and/or other interactive features?
The site architecture will need to be structured and built in such a way to easily incorporate these features.
There are many things to consider before starting a website project. Having the necessary information organized and ready-to-go will speed up the website development process – and help keep costs down.