Website Planning

You’ve got choices if you’re after a new website. You’ve also got choices if you want to upgrade an existing one.

Here are some insights into key choices our clients have made and are making:

Form a firm view of your website requirements

Spend a lot of time identifying what you want from your website and what you want it to help you achieve.

Check out the websites of others operating in your neck of the woods (especially the high ranking ones on Google), and make a note of their website addresses and the things you like and don’t like; including design, functionality, loading speed and how they display on cell phones as well as large screen computers.

Clients who spend the time invariably end up with a better website and at less cost than those who don’t.

Gain an understanding of what Content Management System websites are and why they are favoured

Type words like “Compare open source content management systems (CMS)” into Google and read through the listed results that are not obviously biased, and particularly the more recent results, and check the purported advantages and disadvantages against your likely requirements.

For most of our clients, open source CMS is a clear winner, while for a very few usually larger clients with some special requirements, the balance can tip in favour of a high-end CMS (like Django).

More than 95% of our clients have gone with open source.

WordPress v Joomla, Drupal, etc

Type words like “Compare WordPress with Joomla and Drupal” into Google and read through the least biased of the results that show up.

Most of our clients run with WordPress, which is over five times more popular internationally than the second-most popular CMS. This is probably because WordPress is free to download, faster to build, easier to administer, and has far more functionality available by way of free or low cost plugins.

Another benefit of WordPress is that there are literally hundreds of WordPress developers in every city throughout the world, so it’s really easy to avoid being held hostage to the developer you run with (hopefully us).

Tradeoffs in design, functionality and cost

If there are budget constraints, let us know from the outset, as there are lots of trade-offs that can be made in many areas. For example free templates v customised templates, new graphic design v existing logos and artwork, existing images and free “stock shots” v commissioning of new photographs, standard features v customised functionality. We can even do a basic set up and provide guidance for you to easily load your own content.

We have been able to charge fees as low as $800 for a fully functional website in some cases, which is quite a saving on the $5,000 to $30,000 we have required for some really sophisticated and highly featured sites with loads of original graphic design input.

Domain names and hosting arrangements

Think carefully about the domain name to register and whether to have a .com.au, .co.nz, .com, or some other suffix. The selection can have a big impact on search rankings.

Register your domain name directly with your chosen registrar in your own name! This way the domain name is yours with no chance of some lowlife trying to claim ownership and to hold you to ransom.

It makes little difference which registrar you choose, but it is generally more convenient to go with a local one. The cost of a domain name is typically $20 to $40 per year, but there are sometimes “free for the first year” deals, especially if the registrar is the same as the host for the website files and database.

Don’t subscribe for a hosting service for your files and database until you are sure that it is appropriate for your type of website and for the storage and traffic levels you are expecting.

There are search ranking advantages in choosing a hosting service whose servers are located in the same country and same city that the website traffic is likely to originate from. Don’t go for the cheapest!

The hosts of many of our clients, have excellent reputations for service, and charge $7 to $30 per month.

Tell us why you want a website and what you want to achieve.

We’ll provide you with design and development alternatives that achieve what you want.