“I don’t know how it works, but I know need a website…”
Many clients come to me for their first website. Often they are confused about the costs and the different services involved.
Maybe this analogy will help…
Imagine you are about to open a new shop. You sign a lease with the landlord and you pay rent. This is like your web hosting company. Their charges depend on the size of your site, bandwidth and the features you want, just as you would pay more to your landlord for a bigger shop, one in a busy shopping district or with a kitchen, car parking or storeroom.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is the company you use to connect to the Internet from your home or office (eg Bigpond, Optusnet or other company). This is like the car you use to drive to your new shop.
You register a trading name for your shop with the local Office of Fair Trading. This is the same as registering your domain name with a domain name reseller. Like your shop’s trading name, your domain name needs to be renewed every year or two.
Next, you would call in people to fit-out your shop – paint the walls, put up signage, shelving, a front counter, cash registers etc. The project manager supervises the tradespeople. This is like your web developer – me! You bring in your stock (website content) and I arrange it in the shop. Once you are happy with your shop, you open to the public.
It doesn’t end there of course. You need someone to promote your shop to the public! It is a good idea to employ the services of someone to optimise your website so that people can find it easily. This is sometimes referred to as an SEO company (SEO = Search Engine Optimisation).
With a new website, it’s wise to consider new printed flyers or advertisements that carry your web address. Remember to include your web address in the signature of your emails, and on your business cards. To get the most from your new website you need people to find out about it.
Managing your site
Once your site is up and running you will need some updates from time to time – new products or services to add, changes in contact details, etc. I can maintain your site for an hourly fee. Many small changes only take a matter of minutes to do. A knowledge of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is necessary to update a web page. If you are a keen computer user, basic HTML is not hard to learn but requires a methodical mind.
If you anticipate that your site will need frequent updating – if you product lines are changing rapidly for example – you may need to have a Content Management System (CMS) deployed with your site. Costs for a CMS vary depending on your needs, but it will allow you to use your web browser to change the text or images on your site, whenever you need to. The choice is yours. However, a CMS will place some limitations on your site design and layout. You will need to decide whether a flexible design layout or a system to update the site yourself is the priority.