August 19, 2012

The Three Important Fundamentals for a Business Website

By Ric Albano

I’ve come across a lot of situations with new clients where they are having trouble getting access to their existing source files or getting their current providers to cooperate in many ways.  So I’m share three business fundamentals that should be established when starting a website.

1. Establish Ownership. The first and most important one of these principals is to own everything – your domain name and all of your content (words, pictures, logos, graphics, videos, etc.). There are many, many companies who will offer you great deals up front (such as a “free” website for a year) but then retain ownership of your site, so that you are left with fewer option and limited flexibility. Although the initial cost may be higher, establishing ownership will pay dividends throughout the lifespan of your website by assuring that certain barriers to progress will not be imposed.

2. Have Complete Access to Your Content. In many (if not most) cases, there is one major exception to the “establish ownership” rule and that is in regards to hosting. Most small businesses just do not have the time, resources, or know-how to manage their own hosting servers. Therefore, it makes sense find an established hosting company to handle these tasks. However, when you employ a hosting company, it is important that you have direct access to all your files via FTP. Many small business owners don’t understand the process or the importance of this. By having full access a professional developer can instantly add, modify, or delete any website item on your behalf.

3. Adaptability and/or Agility. This is the only one of the three that actually deals with website design (my specialty). The basic point here is that the online universe is rapidly evolving and it is important that your website’s design has the ability to integrate newer features, technologies, and design elements. Of course, this is much more of an art than a science because none of us know exactly which innovations will become popular. But by keeping your site agile and not “painting yourself into a corner” with too many static features and dependencies, you and your developer will maximize possibilities for the future.

Ric Albano is the owner and creative director of 33 Dimensions web design.

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2 comments on “The Three Important Fundamentals for a Business Website”

  1. Great post, Ric. I think you nailed it with business owners taking ownership in their websites. From reading your post, anyone can tell the passion you have for your clients and the growth of their business. Thanks for sharing, Ric.

  2. Some of my clients seem to have a “set it and forget it” philosophy towards their websites, but I explain to them that the site is the most visible and enduring piece of their online branding and as they and their businesses change they have to be able to (or at least have access to) make related changes on their sites, too.

    One author I was trying to help recently wanted to update her home page with new book info, but her old designer from two years ago had given her only the most basic of WP author access (blog updating), implying she would have to contact him for any other updates. But now he was nowhere to be found, and without the password I couldn’t help her. Rather than fear that clients might either a) screw up the site or b) make the designer superfluous by learning to do it themselves, all designers should train clients on how to safely negotiate their own sites, or at least provide access to the necessary passwords for future changes.

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