Anybody can create a website, so what can be so difficult about it? Although it’s true that anyone can create a website, and even for free sometimes, the difficulties come into view when you start wanting things that the free website builder can’t produce. Free (and cheap) website builders also have other issues when you become more particular with what you want; some don’t allow you to use a custom domain without paying (or at all), and quality of the theme is what you’d expect – the quality of a free product, which is just sufficient.
A custom or semi-custom website has endless possibilities, but with those endless possibilities come a lot of questions to answer. From where to host your domain and hosting, to server configuration, the content management system, website features and more. Don’t forget the ad campaigns and Analytics review to optimize your website once it’s live.
Here are a few things to think about when having your website built:
Content Management System (CMS)
When you create a website, you don’t necessarily have to use a CMS, but as the site gets larger and you want to be able to edit it easily, it’s a smart idea to think about this. A solid choice for a CMS is WordPress. Each CMS has a different method of implementing its features, so once you’ve decided, you’ll want to think about design.
Most sites use a MySQL database, but if you’re into big data or wanting to create an admin tool using new technologies, MongoDB might be a good option. Nevis Technology has experience with MySQL, MSSQL and MongoDB databases, from setting them up to administration.
You can find free templates, but the quality imperfections and lack of features may be an issue for you. There are many websites that sell themes, either static HTML or WordPress themes (or any other CMS-based themes) for reasonable prices, typically from $10-$80. Modifying these purchased themes are a great option for a low budget. If you want to implement a fully custom design, you need to basically design it 3 times for mobile, tablet and desktop. Nevis Technology can implement your theme, whether it’s modifying a purchased theme to fit your needs or develop something fully custom with a nice custom administrative back end to match.
If you don’t currently have a domain, you’ll want to see if the domain you want it available and find a domain registrar to buy it from. Nevis Technology recommends GoDaddy (we are not affiliated with them, we just prefer them due to ease of use), they are affordable and they typically have coupon codes you can use. Nevis Technology can walk you through the process of setting up an account and buying the domain, then configure the domain to point to the hosting provider.
There are some cheap solutions out there, but you get what you pay for. Shared hosting is the cheapest option and you’ll see it advertised for extremely low monthly prices, but you may have intermittent speed issues due to the traffic other websites on the server that you’re sharing are experiencing. You also don’t have any control over the server configuration with shared hosting to optimize the speed. Nevis Technology uses Virtual Private Servers (VPS) which shares the resources of a server with others, but it’s vastly different from shared hosting. You have total control over what you do on your server, you’re virtually separated from others, and you’re guaranteed those resources (processing speed and RAM). Cloud technologies take VPS to another level by replicating your site across multiple servers for excellent uptime guarantees. If you choose to host with Nevis Technology, we also do backups of your website and daily backups of your database.
This is a little technical, but if you find yourself in the situation where you have to configure your server, such as when you purchase a VPS (see Hosting, above), you have to decide to use Apache, Nginx, or some other web server. There are also other packages you’d want to install and configurations you may want to update. If you want to get really fancy and have some instant notifications pop up for users on your site by using NodeJS and websockets, that’s something you’d have to think about too. If you choose to host with Nevis Technology, we configure your server and monitor for potential issues as well as provide support.
There’s a lot to think about whether you’re new to creating a website and just have an idea in your mind or you’re looking to redesign your site. When you work with Nevis Technology, we take care of all of these decisions after hearing what you’d like your site to do. In most cases we use the same proven in-house workflow, but we can adapt to your needs as well.