January 30, 2017
If you haven’t read our first two blog posts in this series be sure to go back and take a look at I Became We in 2017: Designing Coding And Now Offering and The Feel: What Kind of Space Are You Looking For?
Every entrepreneur we work with is busy running their businesses and creating – and have few precious moments for maintaining their webspace, opting to pour any extra time into more family time or more work. So today we are going to touch on the ease-of-use factor and some details on hosting, coding, and maintaining a fully functional web space that helps to build your business instead of detract from it.
Each of our options – Squarespace, WordPress, Prophoto, and Shopify – will serve you well in various ways, depending on your needs, your tech-ability, and our long-term solutions.
HOSTING, DOMAIN NAMES, AND WEB FILES
Here’s some basic definitions on the three things that make up a website! Domain names are like the phone number for the web — it’s how people can reach you. To purchase one, you can visit any typical domain place (www.domain.com, www.godaddy.com, etc). Hosting, simply put, is the rental webspace for your site. Squarespace and Shopify provide hosting within their monthly cost; with WordPress and ProPhoto, you will need to purchase the hosting separately (Flywheel, Bluehost, Dreamhost, SiteGround, Hostgater, etc.). Be sure to do your research on these and choose one that has a 24-hour call center in case of outage issues!
The Web Files, or the pages and collection of images you see, are framed by the various web platforms and designed and coded by yours truly! Once you have these three things in place, you are ready to launch!
WEBSITE MAINTENANCE AND CODING
Some of you may be interested in having freedom to tweak things down the road while others would rather have us continue a relationship with you to maintain the site. Wherever you are with your desire to invest in the future of the site, we can help you decide what is the best option for you.
With WORDPRESS, there can be heavy coding involved, updates to install on plugins, and an ever changing spectrum of updated options. Unless you’re somewhat techy and choose a simple theme, you should be ready to purchase a retainer package for ongoing site maintenance since a fully-customized site will be heavy on the developer setup. Even if you go with a simple template, WordPress only has customer service for those who upgrade to a business plan. And even then, they can only help with Wordpres.com specific issues — nothing from third-party applications (various plugins). The main focus with WordPress is ensuring that your site is kept running fully-functional and safe from malware.
PROPHOTO (a WordPress theme company) is great at providing resources with hundreds of tutorials — as well as the structure that allows you to have everything you’d want in a site without having plugins (you can still have plugins if aren’t finding exactly what you’re looking for). It also updates its product as soon as you log on. Pretty spectacular! With ProPhoto, you should be able to make minimal changes going forward, only looking for development assistance on any major changes — if you use plug-ins, you will just need to be sure those get updated regularly.
SHOPIFY can frame simple themes all the way to fully coded sites. They can be contacted 24/7 through 3 main support channels – phone, email or live chat (their support is honestly one of the best in the business). Security and operational upgrades happen instantly. And they are top notch when it comes to security and processing finances. One of the biggest assets with a Shopify account is the 1,500 apps they offer to help you run your specific business. They are available at an extra cost, but can be extremely helpful in the running of a store.
SQUARESPACE is set up for you to be able to maintain the site yourself. All updates happen instantly. They have what is considered award-winning customer service with live chat, a Community Forum, training workshops, and email support. As we have said before, it truly is a one-stop shop for many various kinds of businesses.
In each platform, every website comes with the ability for you to blog and add images and products on your own. And there are mobile responsive options with each site (if you’d like to change some of the looks of the mobile vs. desktop, that is possible too. But you are guaranteed to have a mobile site that looks and feels like your regular site without lifting a finger.) We will dive into the blogging and shop aspects of these platforms in the coming days.
One thing we’d like to note here is the cost structure. We’d encourage you to visit each of the pages below to see the actual cost for what you’d be looking for. But here are the price ranges for the different platforms:
(we highly recommend starting with their premium or business plans) + any theme costs
$24.92/mo + $199
The $199 is for their theme product + you could incur possible charges for any design upgrades
$29 – $299 /mo.
(10% discount on an annual and a 20% on biennial plans) + transaction fees if you use another payment processing company
E-commerce solutions are available for $26-$46 a month
We at AJC look forward to helping you decide which platform is right for you and your business. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!