Thursday, February 23, 2017

What to Know Before Building your Website Part 2: Types & Access

Building a website for your business is a big responsibility whether for a new business or as a website redesign. Ensuring the site is responsive, has the right keywords and is user friendly are just a few key examples of things to think about. There are other important things to consider long before getting to content and usability. In last week's post we discussed two major things: what to know about domains and hosting. This week's post expands on this topic by discussing different types of websites and access. 


What to Know Before Building your Website: Types & Access


Types of Websites

All websites have some things in common: they are accessible via the internet, are usually found using search or by domain name, and are ideally available 24/7. Beyond these similarities, websites can vary in many ways as there are thousands of ways to make a website unique. Page formats and layout, interactivity, videos, navigation menu, and social media interaction are a few examples of the ways a website can be customized.

Deciding what type of website to build is a major decision. There are two main types of websites to consider:
  • Existing templates with themes, extensions and widgets like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal
  • Custom Built, either from scratch or using a framework like Foundation and Bootstrap
Both types have benefits and limitations: 


The grid above shows just some of the features you should be considering before building a website. How long can you wait for the website? Do you need the ability to make customizations or can you be flexible with the styling? How often do you plan to make changes? All of these including the remaining questions above should be factors you consider before making a decision. 

Typically the decision comes down to a balance between how much time and money you can afford versus how much control you need over customization. Keep in mind, custom sites are not automatically more expensive but pricing varies greatly depending upon who is doing the work and what is being requested for either type of site. It is also important to remember who can support the website in the future as your business changes and grows.

Access

When you pay someone to create a website for you, you are paying for a service. As a result, you as the customer, should retain ownership of the end product. Make sure you ask for administrative access to your website. If you find you are working with someone who hesitates to give this info to you, consider using someone else as having access to the administrative portion of your website is important! Even if you plan on using the same company or web designer for building and handling all modifications, it is still important to have access in case you ever need it.

If something were to happen to that person or business, if you decided you wanted someone else to control the site, if pricing went up, whatever the reason, you should have administrative access to your website. Also, do not just ask for the credentials and consider it done. Verify the credentials work and you have full admin access to the site as this is for your protection. 

Websites can be a huge part of your business. They are marketing tools, they provide product and service information, contact and location details, and more. However, like any tool, it is only effective when used properly. Understanding the importance of a hosting site, how a domain cannot be changed, the types of websites, and why access is important, is key to building a successful website.

As always, the language of technology can be vague and confusing, but is most effective when researched and understood. Good luck and happy planning!

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