How to design & host a websiteadmin
Starting out writing and designing a website can be difficult and confusing. I’m not a web designer but wanted to write a blog about it to help people.
I know an amazing website designer who has a wealth of knowledge and was so pleased when he offered to write me a guest blog on website design and hosting.
Graeme Boxwell of Boxwell Web Design has written this blog. We hope you find it useful and informative.
So you have started up your own business, everything is new and exciting and most importantly you have the passion and drive within you to do well. But then you realise you have to get yourself a website sorted out and you are not sure where to start. And then there is everything else around that – email addresses, hosting, domain names, social media, . When you look at each individual item it is even more complex, for example web hosting has bandwidth, webspace, cpanels, ftp access, and so much more.
Hopefully I can help give some basic advice to you to help you on your way.
First of all some jargon busting!
This is the web address e.g.www.boxwellwebdesign.co.uk (strictly speaking the boxwellwebdesign.co.uk bit is the domain name – without the www’s. Be careful of companies charging you too much for the registration of your domain name. You should be paying around £3 to £4 per year for a .co.uk domain name, around £10 – 13 for a .com one. If you are being charged much more then I would be wary of the company you are dealing with. Why not register your own so that you own the domain name – web companies will still be able to set your site up for you but you will still have the power to move the domain to another provider if you are not happy. I would recommend 123reg (http://www.123-reg.co.uk).
This is slightly more complex. Your web host is basically the space that your website sits on. The two ,main areas to consider are webspace and bandwidth. The webspace is the hard disk space you have been provided, so ensure that the space is a lot greater than the total size of all your web files. The bandwidth is the amount of information that is allowed to be accessed a month from your site. So if a web host is advertising 2GB of bandwidth a month, once 2GB has been access by your clients you will be charged extra. Consider this carefully, especially is your site utilises high bandwidth files such as videos. Your web host will provide you with a certain amount of email addresses as well. Check to see if the email stores have any size restrictions.
FTP stands for file transfer protocol and is the method that web designers use to upload the web files from their computer on to the webspace. Filezilla is a great free FTP program that is very straightforward to use.
So now you need to decide if you are going to employ a web designer to create your site or are you going to try to design it yourself.
If you are choosing the former I would recommend:
Checking out their portfolio of work. Can they produce professional looking sites?
Word of mouth – you will know someone who knows someone who designs sites!
Speak to the designer or meet with them – make sure you feel you can communicate well. If they cannot understand your requirements, you are unlikely to be happy with the finished piece of work.
Get some testimonials if possible. Contact companies from their portfolio and ask what the experience was like working with the designer.
If you are going to try it out yourself, think about things like:
Colour – do not use clashing colours – think about what the colours are saying about your company.
Images – ensure these are professional images, and that you have paid for them. Do not take images from Google images as you may find yourself with an expensive bill to pay later!
Avoid counters – the first sign of an amateur website
Do not use coloured text, or a variety of different fonts. The typography is crucial as this will reflect the type of company you are.
Avoid Comic Sans!!
Content is king – the content on the site is the most important element. Know your audience and your content should follow from this. Have friends proof read your content for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and so they can suggest anything that is missing or needs removed.
So hopefully I have managed to give you a bit of advice that will encourage you to start out down the road of getting your website created. There are really good designers out there that won’t charge a fortune, you just have to persevere.
If you have any further queries, you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tweet me at: @graemeboxwell.