It’s been a while since our last blog – not something we advise in general but we’ve been so busy with client projects (and then Easter and then the birth of my first child) that our own blog has taken a back seat in the last month. I’d like to come back with a blog aimed at Web design for businesses, an overly- confusing area for many of you – let’s see if we can’t help de-clutter the topic for you.

To a lot of people a website is just something to ‘have’ online; they feel that by having a website they are covering all bases for the marketing of their company. Unfortunately this is inaccurate and can lead to a lot of bad websites that do nothing positive for a company (or worse yet, are potentially detrimental to the brand).

The area can be confusing as people are not educated on what all the relevant terms are – CMS, SEO, Hosting, Domain, e-commerce, social media marketing etc. The list of terminology is long and mostly vague.

From the ground up, these are the items you’ll need to consider –

DOMAIN NAME – This is the name of your website and you have complete control over this (assuming your chosen name isn’t already taken). For example, our domain name is zenithonlinemarketing.co. We could’ve chosen a .co.uk, .org, .ie. etc. but chose to stick with the .com and also reserved the .co.uk so no one else in the UK could have our domain name. You can search the availability of your domain on any website selling domains & hosting such as www.123-reg.co.uk, www.fasthosts.co.uk etc.

EMAIL– Once you have your domain you will be able to choose a tailored email address (e.g. [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]). A tailored email is essential for business if you want people to take you seriously – e.g. [email protected], yahoo.com etc. doesn’t really instil the same confidence as [email protected] (this is because yahoo, hotmail etc. are free; anyone can have them).

HOSTING – Once you have your domain name you need a package which will support the website going live on the world-wide web. Hosting packages vary wildly in spec and price and can start at just a few £’s per month up to £1000’s depending on the size, scale and demands of your website. If you have a Content Management System or an e-commerce site for instance, you’ll need a fairly heavy-duty hosting package to support the demands of this. If you need a secure site to accept credit card payments or privileged information, the costs may be into £100’s per month. Or if you have a single page site, the cost will be tiny. As with anything to do with websites, it’s about finding the perfect balance for you that gives you the best product and performance for the best value. This is where a good web company comes in – one that isn’t just there to squeeze money out of you but will advise on the options and suggest valid alternatives to suit your budget and your goals.

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS – Again, a wide and varied area but infinitely valuable if you wish to control the content of your website after it has been designed and handed over to you by the web company. Some content management systems are small and relevant only to very small sections of your website – these will cost very little but will be highly restrictive. Other options will open up much more of your website to your control (e.g. the ability to add new pages, galleries etc.) and will cost more depending on the size of website involved. The key here is that the web company idenitifies the correct options to provide you with. We’ve had clients who have been given terrible content management systems by other companies that are impossible for the layman to understand – what’s the point of that!? To avoid this issue, we have sourced a selection of exceptional, intuitive and stable content management systems which offer clients exactly the level of control that they have asked for. We also provide training, ongoing support and video tutorials for these so that when the CMS is handed over to the client, they can hit the ground running and gain maximum value from their investment, over time. Otherwise, it’s completely counterproductive – the idea of a CMS is to save a client time, effort and money – ultimately that’s what you’re investing in.

Check back next week for part 2 which will complete the picture and deals with other pertinent topics such as Search Engine Optimisation, Design and Statistics… Visit the Part 2 Blog here

If you have any questions please post them below and we’ll try to help you out!

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