Website 101 (pt 2)
Now that you have established and purchased a domain, you will need to purchase webspace for your website to live on. There are a few things to consider depending on what kind of website you want. Think about the goals for your website and what you want your users to get out of it. Are you selling products or memberships? Do you want to collect information from your users and have them contact you directly from your website? Do you want newsletter signups? Do you want to use a content management system like WordPress? Maybe you will be hiring a company to build your website or you are using a website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Shopify.
2. Establish Your Goals
If you are working with a website builder such as the ones mentioned, they will most likely also host the site for you so you don’t have to worry about it. However, if you are hiring a company to build one for you, it would be best to establish your website goals before the process begins. If you will have an online store for products, memberships, or anything that will be purchased directly off of your site, you should consider using a content management system (CMS). This will allow you to manage your entire store and content in an easy and convenient fashion. There are many CMS solutions dedicated to stores, such as Magento. This CMS fully revolves around an eCommerce website and has some powerful features. However their back-end system that you would be managing is a bit robust and some of our clients have claimed that it’s not as intuitive as they had hoped for. Another option is WordPress in conjunction with WooCommerce, which has gotten a lot of positive feedback from out clients. The WordPress back-end system is pretty out of the box and quite easy to navigate through. It’s also ideal for small informational sites. When used with WooCommerce, you can add many powerful features and manage your store with ease. However, if you have more than just a conventional store and want to add things like memberships to restricted content, extensions to the platform will have to be purchased and they can get pricey. This might not be an issue if you hire a website company that takes all this into consideration when quoting out your site build. If the goals for your site are quite complex and you have plans for growth, you might consider a CMS like Drupal. This CMS is great for scalability and complex functionality.
3. Choose Your Host
Once you have decided on a CMS, you will have to consider its requirements for hosting. Some hosting companies such as BlueHost won’t support certain CMS solutions like Drupal. The best thing to do is look through their hosting features and compare them to your CMS requirements or call the hosting’s customer service and ask if they support the CMS you are choosing. Most hosting companies like GoDaddy will have you on a shared server, which means that you would be purchasing a portion of webspace that is shared with hundreds or thousands of other websites. This is good to know because some hosting companies will advertise unlimited space, but if it’s a shared server, “unlimited” does have a max capacity. Other hosting companies such as Bluehost are very inexpensive, but will charge for certain things that would consist of support. In some cases, the company you hire to build your website will offer hosting packages. Chances are that this company has their own dedicated server so instead of sharing your webspace with hundreds or thousands of others, you only share them with most of the company’s clients. When it comes to our company, this solution might be a little more expensive, but the hosting is of great quality – your website is constantly monitored for traffic spikes, and database backups are done daily.