Knowing what you want in a website

Website Information for New Projects

Can you change hosting when you choose? Or are you locked in to a plan? Do you own your website? What is a domain name and who owns the domain? There are so many things to know when deciding a website but really, it can be quite simple and I will try to explain it so;

 

Having a website created will involve these steps;

1. Spend time looking at other websites to see what you like. Have a look at websites in general, and websites in your industry.

See if there is anything that stands out for you, that you like, and any functionality that you would want on your own website. Doing this will give you a better idea of how your own website can surpass your competitors and give you a unique edge. This is something that any good creative agency would do anyway, but it gives you a chance to know what you want and be able to ask for exactly what you want.

Stepping Stones to Website Development

2. Talking to a creative design studio.

Meet with a representative from one or more design studios.

a. The Design Studio representative:

This person should have full knowledge of all I.T. innovation and be able to advise on the right website solution for you. Ensure they spark your enthusiasm about undertaking a website project because it is an investment that will need your input into the content, and your commitment to completion.

b. Future Costs for website changes: Keep in mind that there may be functionality on your website that you don't need right now, but that you may wish to include later. Ensure that these add-ons are possible with the website you will be getting, and what the cost of adding them on will be.

For example; you may wish to sell online in future, but for now a portfolio-type site would suit you best. How much to add a product database and payment functionality in future? You may wish to add small things at a later date, such as a link to a business Facebook page or a twitter feed, or you may want simple changes done such as removing or replacing an image or text.

You need to know how much your design agency will be charging you for any changes and additions once your website is up and running, and ensure you will receive a fair rate.

Strategy for Website Design

c. Website Hosting: Hosting is like paying for a carpark, it is paying for the space that a website takes up on a server. Ask how much will it hosting cost. Is it charged monthly or annually? It may be advisable to phone around if you're not sure what fair hosting prices should be.

Is your website going to be hosting on a secure New Zealand based server? If not, there could be delays in getting changes done if it's hosted somewhere overseas. It may also end up being much slower to load that a site that is hosted locally.

Can you move your website to another host provider when you choose, or are you locked into a contract? This may also be a deciding factor for what type of site you choose to go with as some websites have a centralised database and cannot be moved, but others are independent and can be moved easily. Check how much notice you need to give to move a site or cancel your hosting to allow yourself that flexibility.

A warning about ownership : a rare practice that you need to be very aware of is that some design agencies claim to own your written content and sometimes even images, if you have a site built with them. This means that even if you move your website they can take action against you if you continue to use what they see as their content. It's an unfair practice which is simply used to prevent you from ever moving your site, and it's a practice we strongly disagree with. Like your logo, your website is your investment and ownership of all content should belong to you. Limitations of shifting your hosting should only come down to the type of site that you have, thought they may include technical issues such as whether the new server that will host your website has the specifications to do so.

d. Domain Names: A domain name is like a signpost pointing to your website, for example our domain name is (activatedesign.co.nz). Your website won't be accessible without one, and it may be good to have all aspects of your website in one place.

Can the studio manage your domain name and how much do they charge for annual domain name renewal? A standard charge for a .co.nz domain name is $30+gst per year. Ensure you're getting a fair deal by phoning around if necessary.

This information should give you a starting point with which to know what questions to ask to ensure you're getting the best possible website for yourself. If you have any further questions you're welcome to contact us, or give us a call on 0800 30 8996.

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