The Road to a Website
Along the road to a website there are lots of things that need to get done. It’s a bit of a coordinated dance with several interconnected systems, vendors, and services. The complexity can vary widely between clients based on their needs as well as the state of their current system. Let’s talk a bit about what the road to a website looks like.
To go deeper, there are a few milestones to consider along the road to getting a website:
- Acquire a domain
- Server hosting
- UX Design
- Systems Installation and Configuration
- Website Build
- DNS Migration/Flip
Acquire a Domain
Before you get a website, you need a domain. Think of this as the “deed” tot he property. This is the key to the city. This is very literally your ownership of the “website”. It’s important that you maintain full control over this domain, and that you are using a vendor that will be a safe fallback should you ever encounter any troubles down the road.
What if you don’t like your hosting company in two years? What if your development partner turns out to not be such a good partner in a few years? Very often when you sign up for “hosting” you unknowingly register your domain through the same company. Now, this isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. But, it is important to consider the vendors you work with and what you are working with them on.
At House Trevethan, we work with you to ensure your domain is controlled by you, and registered with a quality registrar that isn’t directly tied to your hosting vendors or other technology partners (including us).
To simplify what a website is, think of it as a collection of computer programs that run on a computer. A hosting vendor will provide you with the hardware and software needed to run a website and the bandwidth on the internet to handle the traffic you attract. These services generally are fairly cheap, and cover things at an operating system level.
The key thing to note with server hosting is that the hardware and software provided are foundational pieces of a website. It’s arguably less than half of what makes a website a website. As the foundation of your website, you want to be sure that your hosting partner is world class and ready to scale with your business as it grows. Security is a concern at this level — both cyber security as well as physical security.
Where are these computers located? Who has direct access to the machines (and my data)? Is there a team of professionals constantly watching the systems to be sure they are running and optimized?
At House Trevethan we provide you with server hosting in a world class datacenter with a team of professionals who’s only job is to make sure the network is up and running. We do this through our partner vendors who are selected very carefully and heavily vetted to enterprise standards.
Ok, you got the foundation built for your “space on the internet”. Time to build the website, right? Wrong. Time to design the User Experience (UX). Sure, there are templates and cheap landing pages that you can buy (or maybe they come free as part of your hosting), but even if you use a templated design, you’ll want to have a custom design for your website to some extent.
Even if you don’t opt for a super expensive design run, some “back-of-the-napkin” designs will be necessary. After all, you need some design to compare to the templates to be sure they will work for you.
At House Trevethan you will have access to dozens of templates to choose from to build your website and you will have industry leading tools at your disposal that even the professionals use to design and build websites. You will also have access to professional designs who can take your website ideas to the next level should you choose to go that route.
Systems Installation and Configuration
Websites are complex pieces of software. These days, most websites are built on “frameworks”. This is a great coincidence, because you can think of these frameworks a lot like the frame for your house. Before you build all the things that we think of as a website, like the pictures, text, logos, blogs, etc, you have to have somewhere to put these things.
At House Trevethan your website will be built on a WordPress and Divi framework. These are industry leading systems that really make it easy to build a website. These frameworks make it easier for both the developers (us) and the owners (you). Our top priority here is that you have total control. You might not WANT to build your website or maintain it, but you should be able to if you ever wanted to.
Finally! It’s time to build the website! We’ve got the content, the artwork, the design, the systems, and the foundation. Now it’s time to build all the pages and functionality. This is done using the tools we just put into place during Systems Installation and Configuration.
At House Trevethan you have access to these tools and systems so that building your website is as easy as possible while being sure to keep your systems open for expansion and integration. As a rule, we will always use these systems first, before we resort to custom code or something “fancy” that only a developer can understand. The idea here is that you can always jump in to whatever level you are comfortable with.
Once everything is done, we have to tell the internet where your new website is. This is done through DNS and can be a complex process depending on what your setup is like currently. This step also bleeds over into email, and dozens of other services that you may or may not be using at your business. If this step is not done carefully and by professionals who understand your big picture, this can cause serious and catastrophic problems with your day to day business.
At House Trevethan we will be with you at every step of this process to be sure the things you need to consider are being considered and that you have enough of an understanding of these elements to make the best decision for your business. We want you to have all the options and understand those options.