As an the owner of an e-commerce enterprise I often get asked about my thought process when it comes to website creation and development. So in the following series of articles I will try and outline some of that process.
In this particular article I delve into some of the things I looked at when deciding to set up a website
Depending on how you want to develop your business business model,
it may be worth spending some time looking at what sort of web site would
work best for your enterprise.
Firstly where to have the site hosted? There are many hosting platforms
across the web. Companies like Go-daddy and Weebly amongst others which offer a wide range of options for the building your web presence. These will vary in price and application.
They all offer pre-built templates which can be adapted to suit individual needs. Also catered for are the hard core people who like to build their own sites from the ground up. Each hosting platform has a unique set of tools which enables you to easily create your brand look and to populate your pages with content.
When setting up my series of sites, the requirement was for ease of use in adapting an existing template and the ability to quickly update and change content. To do this I set up a series of free accounts on a of number platforms. Created a dummy site with a few pages and tested for the conditions which were important to me. Thus I chose and continue to use my current hosting platform.
A some what novel question, but one which gives an insight into the goals of getting a website in the first place.
What is your website intended to accomplish. There are many people who pay for a website package who have only a vague idea of how to use it. Before even going to the point of
looking for hosting platforms. Decide what you want it to do.
Is your business going to be an online market for your goods and services, is it to be simply an information site. Will it be used to promote yourself as an individual. Will it be used to express your views on topics of interest. The list is quite simply endless. The development and running costs will
depend very much on what your website is going to deliver.
For me initially the websites were primarily information based, as such outlay in set up and maintenance costs is relatively small.
However if the aim is to create a full blown e-commerce online shop site. The set up and upkeep costs will be significantly different. There are some hosting platforms that specialise in specific areas of application. Sites such as Shopify being a good example. So, decide what your site is going to do, then find the best platform for your requirements.
Start up costs: These are a valid question, and are an important part of the decision making process when looking at your website options. All hosting platforms have a wide array of packages. Which offer different options in price, application, support and other benefits. Prices will also be influenced by the way the website is to be used.
Once again look very carefully at what the hosting site is offering and the price you have to pay for receiving that service.
Domain names: These are simply the name of your web site.
As time moves forward the availability of unique domain names is becoming less as more people emigrate their business to include an internet presence. Domain names work in the following manner.
This is a fictitious company and is used to illustrate how a domain name works.The name is prefixed with the letters www which simply stands for world wide web. The name itself is put in as one word with no spaces between the letters. The final suffix is the domain type. The .com is used for commercial and considered a top level domain. There are many other domain types such as .co.uk and .org. All in lower case and preceded by a dot.
When conducting a search your web browser looks for these combinations in order to find your web pages.
Not surprisingly, depending on the type domain name you use there will be a cost. The cost is incurred when you buy, and register your use of that specific domain name. This is not a one off payment and will need to be repaid either on an annual or two year basis. Depending on the domain name suffix.
I run several sites and retain several more domain names in reserve for future projects. As such the expenditure for maintaining our names is quite high.
These were some of the considerations and choices looked at and took when setting up our series of websites. Each one of which was approached in this manner.
Website development: When looking at this the focus is on changing website use to incorporate new applications after the website has been created. Once again depending on what your original goals were for your website.
I have certainly done this moving from information based applications only to include e-commerce applications. Educational and blog based activities plus downloadable e content.
Whilst the web page developments to accomplish these tasks was a relatively simple matter to accomplish. It has also meant a massive amount of extra work and expenditure to include external providers who hold and control the point of sale and download process.
As the limitations of my original site model do not allow for this type
of interaction to take place directly on my site pages.
That is why it is of extreme importance you define what your site is going to do and how that usage may change moving forward.
That concludes part one of this article. Hope it provokes some thoughts.
Part two will be looking further into this subject and how I work around it