Websites 101 – How Websites Work & Why Your NYE Resolutions Should Involve A Website
When I first started my website I can honestly say I had no clue what a website was and how websites worked. Jargon like domain names, hosting and WordPress may as well have been a foreign language.
If you’re like me and have a non-tech background this blog post will explain these concepts in layman terms how websites work and why you need a website if you’re serious about getting into E-Commerce.
Why You Need A Website
➤ Increased credibility – Websites can assist with obtaining approval to sell products from wholesalers or even proving your business exists;
➤ Websites can serve as an additional distribution channel to sell your products. Having a platform to sell your own products helps your business remove it’s dependency on selling platforms like eBay and Amazon. This reduces the risk of your business being crippled or failing should Amazon or Ebay ban you from selling on their platforms;
➤ A website enables you to develop a marketplace where you have no other competition or sellers competing to sell your product. However, a word of caution, If you do choose this route, remember you will have to generate and direct all the traffic to your website from scratch (this is a lot harder than it sounds)!
➤ A condition of the Amazon brand registry program is that to be eligible you are required to have your own products displayed on your company’s website. The advantage of brand registry is that it will give you exclusive listing rights on Amazon; and
➤ Lastly, a website enables you to build an email list which means that you can stay in contact and build a lasting connection with your customers. This will enable you to continue to market your products to your customers in the future.
The Website Essentials:
The easiest way to think of website hosting is as the service/computer that stores all the files that comprise your website (a website is simply a collection of stored images and text).
Without a dedicated host, your website will not exist. Self-hosting is possible, however, it is not something that I would recommend for first timers.
The most important factor to take into account when choosing a web hosting service is the service quality that is provided. The best way to think about the difference in website hosting quality is the difference between ADSL and dial-up 56K modems.
A good host will make your website load faster, crash less and improve the user experience – causing customers to want to come back and visit your website!
If you choose a poor hosting service your website may go down periodically (i.e. people will not be able to visit your website) or suffer from poor loading speeds.
The other crucial factor to weigh up when selecting a website host is the customer service/customer support offered. Trust me this is important! If you are new to websites you will more than likely get stuck at some point!
For me personally, I use WPEngine to host my website as they are reliable, have great customer service and at the time of my registration they had a great pricing deal on.
They are a bit more expensive but they have more than made up for it with the great support the provided me. Had I not gone with them, I would have most likely gone with Bluehost who seemed to have good reviews and be extremely well priced.
When I first started out I used godaddy.com briefly to host my website and I can truly say for someone starting out, their customer support and quality of support was horrible and light years behind WPEngine.
However, I recommend as with any purchase you should do your own due diligent to see what service suits your budget and your needs.
This is the address of your website. Sites like google.co.uk and makemoneywhilstsleeping.com which are all examples of domain names. Domain names need to be unique and cannot be the same as another domain name.
I usually purchase my domain names from Hover. However, the truth be known is that it doesn't really make a difference where you buy your domain name from, as there is no real difference in service levels or factors that can be affected.The key issue to watch out for is the price (not that domain registration costs vary significantly).
Content Management Systems (“CMS”)
A content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content such as your website.
The easiest way to think of a CMS is that it is like the software used to build your website. The main difference between difference content management systems is the ability to customise the website you are building.
The general rule, in my opinion, is that the more you are looking to do with your website, the more flexible you will most likely need your website to be. I.e. If you are trying to host a blog, sell products and other features from your website I would recommend a more flexible CMS like WordPress where you can fully customise your website.
However, if you just need a simple website to demonstrate credibility/legitimacy/proof that your business exists, it may be easier and more cost effective to sign up with sites like WIX or Squarespace.
However, if you are looking for a specialist e-commerce website to function primarily as an online store to sell your products, then I would recommend that you start with looking at service providers like Shopify. Shopify provide website hosting on custom built platforms created especially for e-commerce sellers.
For me personally, I decided that having options and being able to customise my website to suit my business branding was important to me so I went with WordPress.
Now, if you’re anything like me and you struggle with technology I would recommend using a website designing software like Divi Builder by Elegant Themes which enables you to build a fully customisable WordPress website without having to learn coding or programming.
It’s a little pricey but it enables you to create your website using a visual builder right in front of your eyes by simply inserting different elements like headings, text, and images without needing to perform any coding or programming.
The crucial elements required to have a website include having a website hosting platform and a domain name which is the address of your website if you wish to have a website.
The final element required to have a functioning website is a content management system which stores and manages the content of your website.
The downside of such packages are they tend to be less flexible when it comes to customising your website.
Content management systems like WordPress need to be coupled with a website domain and hosting. The advantages of such packages are that they allow you to create can fully customise and personalised website.
To make the process of using WordPress easier and more user-friendly software like Divi Builder by Elegant Themes allows you to build your fully customisable website without the need to learn any coding or programming.
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