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A peek behind the curtain: How Your Website Works.

There’s a lot that goes into getting a website created and launched, so I wanted to break it down for you. Some of my clients are not aware of everything that goes on “behind the curtain” but it’s helpful if you understand the basics.

You have to have two things to get a website up and running:

1. A domain name – like www.YourCompany.com. It costs $10-$15/year to register a domain name for one year or more. Registering a domain gives you the exclusive right to use it and point it to a website.

2. A web hosting plan – this is where your website actually exists. Your web developer will put the files on this server and create the code and design for your website.

Some clients don’t understand that these are paid for separately, might come up for renewal at different times, and they might even have been purchased from different companies.

I recommend using GoDaddy for both the domain registration and web hosting. I’ve been working with them for eight years, now, and they have easy-to-use tools and fantastic customer service, based in the U.S. That’s important to me. (By the way, I get no kickbacks or affiliate fees for recommending them.) I’ve used other hosts–mainly because my clients were already on them–and have been frustrated with bad service and slow websites. It’s also nice to have both my domains and my hosting on the same account. It makes it easy to renew.

Once you have both a domain and web host, and your website has been created, your web developer will “point” the domain to the web host. Then you’re in business!

What is WordPress?

Many web developers will use a Content Management System or “Web Framework” on which to build your site, the most popular being WordPress. WordPress is free. It’s a way to get a website up and running quickly, as it already has built-in a menu system, pages, and blog. WordPress also has a plugin system, enabling you to virtually add features that were created by programmers all over the world. Some plugins are free, some cost money. As for design, WordPress  also has a theme system, allowing designers and coders build pre-fabricated “themes” so your web developer doesn’t have to start from scratch.

MossWebWorks has used WordPress for over ten years, creating custom-designed sites for clients. We also have been programming in PHP (the same coding language WordPress uses) for twenty years. That means if we have do dive into the code and tweak something, we can do it. We do use pre-coded themes, and then customize them specifically to our client’s brand and needs.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it means making sure that people find your website when they search for certain words or phrases associated with your business. Think about what people will be searching for when they’re looking for your website. The language you choose for your home page should reflect those words and phrases. There’s much more to SEO than that, including hidden “meta” tags in your web pages, but your web developer should be sensitive to your business goals when she is developing–or redeveloping–your site.

What about Social Networking? Do I have to do that?

Just putting up a website won’t get you a ton of customers. You do also have to promote it and market your wares or services. It’s kind of like opening up a shop, but not advertising or putting in a listing in the yellow pages. How will people know you’re there? As stated above, SEO is the first step. You should also go hang your shingle where everyone hangs out…and that’s Facebook.

If you have a personal Facebook account, you are allowed to create a Facebook Page for your business. Don’t worry, the business page does not reveal who owns it, so no one can go backwards and find your personal account.

Your company’s Facebook page should be used for both announcements and interaction with potential and existing customers. But the worst mistake you can make is open a page and just sell, sell, sell. If you’re not social network savvy, you might want to hire a social network marketing company to help you get started.

Questions?

If you have questions about any of the above, feel free to E-mail me.