Thursday, October 20, 2011


BY CHRISTINA WILKINSON

As a client, are you confused by all the different aspects of getting a website done for your company such as Design? Programming? Hosting? Registering Domains? Well hopefully this article helps to make your life a lot easier.

First of all some basic facts all clients should know:

1. Not all graphic designers can design websites. This is because there are programming and coding elements that a designer has to know before just throwing out a design. Otherwise the design won’t work in conjunction with the programming.
2. Not all programmers are great website designers. Normally they’ll favor programming and not marketing aesthetics. So it’s best to leave design to someone who has studied design. But you never know, you might find someone who is great at both.
3. Clients do not know enough about building a website to know if what they’re paying is too much. So when you pay for a custom website build and your friend just paid a 1/4 of the cost for a non-custom website, remember that yours IS custom. Sometimes people pay less because their website might be a template or it’s part of a co-op package such as those for realtors. If a design firm is building the same style website for thousands of the same kind of business, of course they cost less. It’s apples vs. oranges. So make up your mind early-on whether or not you want a custom or template-based website.
4. Not all websites are created equal. If you’re not a big corporation or a celebrity, paying under $5000 for a website is definitely doable. With that budget, you should be able to get a Content Management System (CMS), a shopping cart, photo gallery and lots of other great website functionality.

Sometimes website designers quote based on the size of your company and sometimes they don’t care how small  your company is. Keeping this in mind, shop around and ask about other websites that have been done in the price range you’ve been quoted. You may just find another designer who is just as good for 1/2 the cost. 

5. What is a CMS? A CMS allows you, the client, the ability to make changes to your own website using a back-end administrator without having to know how to programming. Just know that while you won’t need to know how to program, finding your way around the internet and an FTP or photo hosting website is certainly a must. CMS’s can be built with Joomla, Drupal and other types of programming.
6. How do I pay? When you hire someone to build a website for you, you should expect to pay a deposit before starting, but never 100% of the cost. Anywhere from 25% and up is standard. And make sure you make those payments. Some designers and their programmers may hold your website hostage and then you’ll never see your website completed on time. 
7. Don’t expect.... the company or individual creating your website to obtain your domain name and make sure your email works properly. If this isn’t in the contract, it’s not happening. And if it’s a verbal agreement (which I don’t recommend to any client), the majority of companies don’t like paying for your domain name and they certainly won’t make sure the email on your computer works because that’s your responsibility. 
8. Clients need to communicate as much as the designer/programmer does. When you don’t get back to the designer who is doing your website, or you’ve made change upon change, your website WILL take longer to create. 
9. I need just one little change. After you’ve signed off on your main website design, NO, it is not okay to keep moving little things around after a website is in programming stages. Just because it seems simple to you or like something that should be able to be done, those little things may cost you more money. Now if you’re willing to pay the cost, then go right ahead and make the changes. But if you’re not willing to pay or it’s not in your budget, changing just one thing, that looks little to you, may mess up an entire string of programming or code which in turn causes another delay of getting your website completed. 

When a house is being built, you can’t just ask the architect to suddenly change things after the rooms are already being physically constructed on a piece of property. So think of your website as a home that is being built. 

It’s this simple:
a. Review the architecture of your website (flow of your website)
b. Review the design(s) that are presented 
c. Ask questions 
d. Make changes before signing off on a design and the architecture
e. Let the programmer do their portion of the website build. 
d. Your website is done! 

Domains, hosts and registrars:
Who is your host and domain registrar and what do they do?

Here’s the easiest way to remember what both of these entities do.

We’ll use a “Recreational Vehicle” (RV) as an example:
First of all, when you purchase an RV you need to register it. Well domain names are kind of the same as an RV except when you purchase the domain name, you purchase it from the registrar. Some popular registrars are GoDaddy and Register.com.

So now you own an RV or in this case, a domain name and you need a location to park your RV. You’ve decided to park your RV in one of thousands of RV parks and it’s name is GoDaddy.com. Well, your ‘host’ just happens to be an RV park. So when you find a host at a reasonable price to ‘park’ your domain name, that’s where it stays parked or hosted until you decide to move it elsewhere. 

Now back to the registrar; you’ll need to pay a registration fee annually just like you do for a vehicle. Sometimes you can register for multiple years or choose a schedule to reregister with your registrar.

I’ll make you #1 in Search Engines!

Do not believe someone who says they can guarantee you’ll be #1 in the search engines.

Sure it’s possible to do with a lot of work and software that puts you on top, and your website may only appear that way on your own computer. But don’t expect to be #1 on everyone’s computer. And if you’re paying someone to put you on top in search engines, there are companies just like the company you’re using who is promising companies, just like yours, that they’ll be #1 too. Did that even makes sense? So you see, it can’t be both ways because there are too many variables. 

Do the research and search engine optimization becomes (SEO) much easier to do on your own. 

Website Options:

As websites are progressing more and more each year, there will come a time that costs are going to stabilize. But don't expect to get a website like Amazon.com for $500 because it won't happen. 

Some alternatives that people are also using are template-based websites through GoDaddy.com. The pros is that it's affordable and you have the control. The cons are that you have to know how to market your own business through a template that thousands of other businesses just like you are probably using, so there's no way to make you stand out from the others. Also if you forget to pay your bill, your website with all your hard work comes down too. 

These are just some of the important things to think about when you decide you'd like a new website. 

1 comments:

Christina said...

You're very welcome. C. Wilkinson

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