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Content Sample # 6 Web Hosting

The below sample is not currently in use on any website. Images included in the sample no longer exist and were broken, so I removed them. Calls-To-Action may or may not exist, and if they do, images associated are gone. Some formatting may be odd as well.

The purpose of this sample is to display my writing skills, not my design skills…

Create Your Business Website By Choosing 1 Of These 5 Website Builder Options


There is a myth…

Building a website = hiring a rocket scientist

The truth is…

If you do it the hard way, you might want to phone up NASA. But let’s not do it the hard way. Okay.

To help you out I’m going to provide you with 5 options. Some harder, some easier, but none require a rocket scientist. Each option will determine how much control you have over your business website.

I’m going to provide you with an explanation, and the pros and cons of each option.

The options are listed below, and you can click on any one of them to jump to the corresponding part of the article that explains the option:

Hire A Web Developer
Use A Free Browser Based Website Builder
Use WordPress Software (Best Option)
Code Your Own Website (Keep NASA on speed dial)
Purchase Desktop Web Creation Software

Let’s get started shall we…

Hire A Web Developer

This option is often the go to for many business owners. Why? Because many business owners don’t realize there are other options out there. Or if they do, they assume those are options that web developers use to build sites.

And that may be the case, but some of those other options are also easy and accessible to the average business owner. But let’s talk about web developers for a minute.

A web developer is a person, or group of people, that specialize in building websites for their clients. They’ll consult with you first, find out what you want, make suggestions, and when all is set in stone, you’ll get a quote. Pay the quote, and they’ll build your website. Seems easy peasy, doesn’t it.

At first, yes. But there are things not considered. And that is because if you aren’t savvy in how web development works, you’ll not know what questions to ask your developer, or what the cons of such a service may be.
I’m not telling you not to use a web developer. But you do need to know what you’re getting into. And once you are informed, then you can make the decision.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons…

Pros

Web Developers do all the work. They’ll let you preview the site for input as they build it, and at the end, you have a site you like (hopefully).  You’ll pay them, and all is done.

The developer will be around for changes. If you want something changed, you can call them up, and they’ll make the changes you want. You pay them, and all is done.

I like to think of it like taking your car to the garage. You don’t know what is wrong with your car, but it sounds funny. So, you take it in, the garage keeps you informed of their findings. You pay the bill, car is fixed, and all is done.

What isn’t there to like…?

Cons

Price. Web developers aren’t cheap. And depending on how complex you want your site, the price only goes up.

Every change costs money, and lots of developers will have a minimum charge. Think a $500 charge for a minor change.

Sure, you can find cheaper developers out there. But you’re getting what you pay for.

You have to hope that whoever is building your site knows what they are doing. Did they study web design? Are they writing clean code? (messy code slows down site speed, and long site load times will reduce customer retention drastically.)

No control of your site. You will have to rely on the web developers to make the changes. Unless you know html, css, php, javascript, you’ll be stuck, paying your developer.

“…many businesses do use developers for their site. They are a viable option.”

You developer could also be using licensed software to build your site, and unless you have access to this software, you’ll once again be stuck paying your developer for all and any changes to your site.

Slower wait times. You want a change. So, you call up your developer. They tell you they can have the change done by tomorrow… if your lucky.
Maybe you need the change now because you noticed a glaring mistake in the image you sent them to place on your site, and you are expecting a lot of traffic to your site within the next couple hours.

For immediate service, you’ll probably pay extra to jump the que. You can’t do it yourself. You don’t know code, or have access to their software.
And one more thing to consider…

What happens if your developer closes shop? You can hire another developer, sure. But they’ll have to go in and get caught up on the situation.
How did the last developer write the code? Was it an in-house template, did they write the code from scratch, or did they use a licensed software your new developer doesn’t have access to?
That last one would be the worst, because you’d be stuck. You would only be able to pick developers that use that software, or know how to use it.

Don’t let me scare you off from hiring a web developer. They may be the right fit for you.

If you are a car-to-the-garage-for-every-weird-noise type of person, you may want to hire a web developer. If you can afford the cost, and handle the lack of control,  web developers might be your solution. And many businesses do use developers for their site. They are a viable option.

If you want to use a web developer, I suggest you read this article found on crew.co: https://crew.co/blog/hiring-freelance-web-developer-hard/

Now on to our next option….

Use A Free Browser Based Website Builder

A free website builder allows you to build your site for free, of course, but they also host your site for free, too. They provide the in-browser software to build your site, and the software is a drag and drop interface, as all you need to do is point and click the elements and features onto your site. Very easy to use.

What are my personal thoughts on free website builders?

If your building a personal website, go ahead. But for a business website, don’t do it.

​These free website builders quite often have a premium version. If you are going to use them for a business website, pay for the premium service.

Also, if your website is going to be your main source of income for your business, don’t even use the premium version of the website builders.

 You’ll need something better. (I’ll get to that option in a bit)
If your business website is going to be a simple display of the services your business provides, the premium version of these website builders might be just for you. Easy to use, simple.

Why would I only recommend the premium version of these services?
Because you can pick your own website domain name. If you have a business called Jay’s Samosa Shop, you’ll want a website like www.jayssamosa.com or similar.

But if you use the free version of these website builders, you’ll have to use their domain, and your sites address will be appended to the front of it. Your website address will look like www.jayssamosa.freebuilder.com.
That doesn’t look very professional at all, and is difficult to say if somebody wants to know how to get to your site.

Now with all that said, let us move onto the pros and cons…

Pros

These website builders may be free… but like I said, I don’t recommend using the free version. Pay for their premium service.

They are easy to use. Click and drag.

Your site is hosted with them, so no need to go looking for a website host… but even as this appears to be a positive, you’ll find out in a bit why this isn’t actually a good thing.

If you do pay for premium, and buy your own domain name, they will do all the hosting of your site for you…. once again, I’ll touch on this in a bit.

Even their premium services aren’t expensive.

No need to access confusing database and file access software.

Customer support. Your customer support will have access to the back-end of your site, and will be able to help you with any technical issues.

Now onto the cons…

“You are limited to their server capabilities.”

Cons


They provide the hosting. I told you I’d get to this. If you are having issues with site speed, too many people accessing your site at once, or want to use software outside of their builder’s capabilities, you are pooched.

You are limited to their server capabilities.

With lack of control over your site’s infrastructure, you can’t make setting changes to the back-end software of our site. Customer Support might be able to change a few things, but you probably can’t increase memory usage, php versions, storage space, etc.

If there is a feature you want your site to have, and you can only achieve it through website coding, or installing a piece of software, you better hope your website builder will allow you to edit the code (most don’t), or that they are compatible with the software you want to use with your site. (They are pretty limited on this front)

If your site is going to be a simple informational source, you’ll probably be fine using a free website builder (premium version for business sites). If you want to setup a site that will be a primary source of income for your business, I don’t recommend the free website builders (or even the premium version).

If you decide a website builder is the way to go for you, check out this comparison article from websitebuilderexpert.com: https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/wix-vs-weebly-vs-squarespace-vs-jimdo/

Now on to my favourite option, and the option I use for all my websites (including Web Solve It)…

Use WordPress Software

WordPress is a free open source software. There is a free web builder version at wordpress.com. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the software that you can install on your own hosting account, associated with your own domain.

Remember Jay’s Samosa Shop? You want www.jayssamosa.com, not www.jayssamosa.freebuilder.com.

The WordPress software powers 50-60% of the CMS (Content Management System) that is used to power websites. WordPress also runs 28.9% of the entire internet.

Websites like…

New York Observer
New York Post
TED
Thought Catalog​​​​​​​
Williams
USA Today
CNN
Fortune.com
TIME.com
National Post
Spotify
TechCrunch
CBS Local
NBC


and many more large and popular websites use the WordPress software. Remember, I’m not talking wordpress.com. I’m talking the software you can download at wordpress.org. Same brand, but you want the software on your own website, not hosted by WordPress.

Out of the top 100 websites in the world, WordPress powers 14.7% of them. I know that seems like a weird stat. That would be 14 websites, and .7 of one website. But you also must keep in mind that not all WordPress hosted websites are entirely WordPress. Maybe the content delivery part is WordPress, and the rest is hand coded.

And here is the mind-blowing statistic…

15,886,000 websites on the entire internet use the WordPress software….

Are you done recovering from that fact?

So, with a proven track record like that, you can see why I really like WordPress.

Now if you want to see some more facts about WordPress, click on this link:https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/wordpress-statistics/

I’ll be giving you a link to a resource below that will show you more about how to use WordPress.

But now, I want to talk about the plugins/software part of this option.
The amazing thing about WordPress is, aside from the base software itself, you can install plugins. Each plugin is a piece of software that attaches onto the basic WordPress software. It allows you to do anything you can imagine with a website, without having to code the feature in yourself.
Some of these plugins offer a simple feature, and others are full blown software suites that allow you to fully take control of your site.

I use a combination of both.

I use the Thrive Themes software suite of plugins. It allows me to fully design my website as I want it, totally bypassing some of WordPress standard features, and giving me an enhanced control panel for drag and drop web design.

The software also allows me to connect to outside services and platforms, such as an email service provider, so I can allow for easy email collection from those who want to hear more from me.
It provides a commenting software that goes beyond the standard WordPress comment management.

And that is just a few things Thrive Themes does.
You could do all this with multiple different plugins, but it is much easier to work with a suite of plugins all designed to work together.
Some plugins are free, others cost some money. The nice thing is, WordPress has a built-in search function you can use to search for plugins based on functionality or name.

You also can select the look of your site by installing different website themes. There is the WordPress Theme Library, and there are countless companies that offer themes for sale, and for free. Just type “WordPress Themes” in google search.

No other website builder or CMS allows for so much outside integration. You really have no limits.
As you can see, I’m excited about WordPress. I also love Thrive Themes, and totally endorse them. I’ll link to both WordPress and ThriveThemes below.

But now, it is time for me to get to the Pros and Cons…

Pros

Easy to use and install

Wide support for WordPress because of its wide popularity and usage

Virtually unlimited selection of plugins for any feature you need

The ability to edit your website code, if you need to.

You host WordPress on your own hosting account.A must for any business. This will allow you to change hosts, or upgrade your hosting package if you need more resources. Also allows for manual setting changes on your hosting server if that is needed as well.

Check out our article on how to select a hosting service to learn more on this topic:How To Choose The Perfect Web Hosting Service For Your New Business Website In 7 Easy Steps

Ready to go website themes. Just pick one you like, and install it on your site. Thrive Themes has themes available, and their themes are optimized for their web building software. But they also work with non-thrive themes created by other developers.

Plenty of tutorials and support from other users of WordPress. Just type into Google what you want to do with WordPress, and you’ll be flooded with resources to choose from.

“15,886,000 websites on the entire internet use the WordPress software…”

Now, on to the cons…

Cons

Not all plugins are compatible with each other. You’ll find the perfect plugin that solves your problem, then you install another plugin, and all of sudden, your features on your site stop working. Sometimes this is a total plugins-will-not-work-together issue. Other times, you just have to tweak the plugin settings.

If the plugin developers are top notch, they’ll work together to alter the plugin code to make the two plugins compatible. I recently had this happen with Thrive Theme’s comment plugin, and the website security plugin WP-SpamShield.

Both the Thrive Themes Plugin Suite, and WP-SpamShield are excellent plugins, and their developers are superb. You can’t find their plugins in the WordPress Plugin Library because they are both premium plugins that market outside of the library. You will find many premium plugins work like this. I’ll link to both these plugins in the resources below.

Another con involves plugins not always undergoing upgrade maintenance. WordPress puts out software updates regularly, and plugin software developers need to test and make tweaks to their plugin to ensure it works with the latest version of WordPress.
If the developer is a one-man team, he or she may not have the time to update quickly. This could leave you stranded until, if ever, the plugin is updated.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of other options out there for plugins, and you can just as easily switch to a different plugin to keep your feature running. This sometimes does involve some extra work on your end though.
You may have to reformat web structure, format, or other settings, to make the new plugin work. I get around this issue by making sure the plugins I pick have a good track record of maintenance, 4 star or higher reviews, and a large amount of users.

All this information is available on the plugin information window in the WordPress Plugin Library. If the plugin you are interested isn’t in the WordPress Plugin Library, you can always check for reviews online.
Some knowledge of coding will be required. You can create your site without coding, but you will find there are times that coding will solve a problem, and it would be much easier to just change a piece of code then search for a plugin to solve the problem.

Lucky for you, there is lot of knowledge online about html/css/php/javascript coding, and you only should need the basics. And if you really don’t want to do the coding yourself, you can find freelance coders on sites like Upworks and Fiverr that will make the code change for a small fee.

But once again, you can also find a plugin to make the change if you want to go that route instead. Sometimes that can be the harder route though. You’ll learn which way to go after you understand WordPress and all its little idiosyncrasies.

Now I know the cons seem big. But it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. I went the WordPress/Plugin route after a lot of time messing around with the other options. This was by far my solution to all my web development problems.

You must remember, if you want to build and maintain your website yourself, you’ll need to learn the skills required to do so. And learning this route is much easier than hand coding the site yourself, or going the builder route which will limit your site’s functionality.

Of course, you can also go the web developer route, but be willing to open your pocket book, and continue opening it after the site is built, because somebody needs to maintain the site.
Now here are the resources I mentioned…

Here is the homepage for WordPress.org:www.wordpress.org

Here is a WordPress.org resource on getting started with WordPress:codex.wordpress.org/New_To_WordPress_-_Where_to_Start

Here is the Thrive Themes homepage:www.thrivethemes.com

And here is a resource from Thrive Themes about building your WordPress site from scratch: thrivethemes.com/university-courses/website-from-scratch/

And last, but not least, here is the WP-SpamShield. An excellent plugin for keeping your site secure from spammers and hackers: www.redsandmarketing.com/plugins/wp-spamshield-anti-spam/

Note: 70% of businesses have a website. You are extremely disadvantaged without your own business website. Learn how to choose web hosting for your business website, and join the successful business club by reading this article: How To Choose The Perfect Web Hosting Service For Your New Business Website In 7 Easy Steps.
Please Show Me How To Select A Web Hosting Service

Now that we got my favourite option out of the way, let’s move on to option 4, and see if it will be a better fit for you…

Code Your Own Website

This is probably the most daunting task ahead. I agree, you should have a little bit of coding knowledge. But the knowledge required to code your own website is extensive. I tried to go this route. I gave up after 2 months of study and decided on option 3.

But there are some definite benefits to coding your own site. And those that have taken this route will defend their hand coded sites to the end. And for good reason.

A hand-coded site is clean. As in there is no unnecessary code. Clean code means a faster website. When you code your own site, you know it inside and out. If something goes wrong, you will probably know where to look.

Just like a car owner who maintains his own car, when something goes wrong, he’ll often know where to start looking.

Another thing to remember is…

If you take the hand-coded route, you have to learn more than just the basic web HTML/CSS. You’ll probably want to learn PHP and Javascript. Because, to add all the features you want, in the advanced web world of today, this will be inevitable.

A benefit of learning code…

You can charge a lot of money to build other people’s websites for them. Some side income to your business.

And why not? If you’re taking the hard route, you might as well benefit from the weeks spent tucked away in a nook, pushing your glasses constantly up to the bridge of your nose, and kicking the mountain of Red Bull cans out of your space.

All joking aside… let’s review the pros and cons…

Pros

You will have an intimate knowledge of your sites infrastructure. Something goes wrong, you’ll know where to look.
Your code will be clean. Unlike web builders that write code automatically behind the scenes based on user interface selections, your code will be optimized for its exact purpose. No extra tags, breaks, or lines clogging up your bandwidth.

Clean code means a faster site.

You can program in any feature you want.

There is a large community of coders that can give you ready made code snippets to give your website features you need without coming up with the code yourself. Just copy and paste.

Of course, there is always some code tweaking needed, or code infrastructure developed before and possibly after the snippet to support its functionality within your site.

The coding community can also help you diagnose a piece of code that isn’t doing what it is supposed to. Just post your code to the forum, and you’ll have a bunch of eyes on it in no time, telling you where you went wrong.

You’ll be able to brag about the fact that you hand-coded your own website.
You can use those bragging rights to charge a hefty fee to build other people’s websites.

“A hand-coded site is clean.”

Cons

You are going to spend a lot of time learning how to code unless you already know how to code. If so, what are you doing reading my post. You don’t need my help… unless you are sick of coding. I suggest option 3 then.
As much as the support is nice from other coders, you can’t always be sure the other coders know any more than you do. You have to test their suggestions, and report back with what did or didn’t work. You might have to run bug logs, and show those as well.

This all takes a lot of time. A lot of time that you could be spent building your business instead of hand coding a site. You need to think about the real reason your coding your site, and if coding is the right way to go for you.

Web Standards change often. They change to reflect the updates in HTML versions, and the new opinions of what makes the internet an easier and safer place to visit. You could ignore Web Standards, but you’ll rank lower in the search engines, and your website won’t operate as smoothly when trying to integrate with other services that do follow Web Standards.

HTML actually isn’t a programming language. It is a markup language. HTML shows a browser what to display, and how to display it, but it doesn’t operate as a program. It controls the browser. The browser is created with programming, HTML just tells the program how to act.

Though for our purposes, it is still coding.

You will need to keep up with the latest HTML version changes. What worked for one version of HTML may not work for the next version. Although web browsers can read older versions of HTML, there is a point where the browser does stop reading this old code and you need to make an update to your HTML.

As you can see, there is a lot to keep in mind if you decide to go the coding route. You also will want to keep in mind that if you go this route, you’ll want a good code processor. You can write code into any word document, and just save it as an .html file. But that really leaves a lot of the manual labour up to you.

I recommend a code processor that will show you errors in your code, and auto format it for you so it is easy to read. There are a few different ones you can use. I’ll link to them below.

Now to the resources…

Learn to code HTML/CSS at www3schools https://www.w3schools.com/

Sublime Text Code Editor: https://www.sublimetext.com/

Adobe Dreamweaver Code Editor: http://www.adobe.com/ca/products/dreamweaver.html#x

Now to our last and final option…

Purchase Desktop Web Creation Software
Desktop web creation software allows you to create your website in a similar way to the website builders of option 2. The difference is, you are building your site offline, on your desktop, not in a web browser. You also get to host the site on your own server, with your own domain. The software can also be cheaper than some of the other options listed.
So, you may be thinking “great, sign me up.”

Hold your horses, John Wayne.

It still has some of the same issues as the free web builder option.

You still may have limited access to the html/css

You will still run into functionality limitations. The company that designed the software will be the ones to provide the function and feature options. If they haven’t thought of a feature, you’re out of luck if you have thought of it.

They may have a community based plugins library. Other users of the software can create plugins and addons to the base software. But a lot will depend on the size of the community. If there aren’t a lot of users, you’ll still be limited.

I don’t think this is a bad solution if you want a simple site. But if you are planning on a site that will provide your main stream of income, and isn’t just an informational site for possible clients to learn about your business, I don’t recommend this option. Go with option 3, 4, or 1 if you need your site to provide you with all your income.

So, once again, I’m not against this option for simple sites.

Now let’s review the pros and cons.

Pros

Desktop web builder software will be simple and easy to use. Drag and drop. What you see is what you get. The acronym for that is WYSIWYG. Creative, eh?. You’ll notice that floating around the internet now that I introduced you to it.

You can host your site on your own domain. You’ll have a www.jayssamosa.com website, not a www.jayssamosa.freebuilder.com website.

You can keep your hosting in line with your websites needs. If you need to increase resource accessibility, you can adjust the settings, or increase your hosting package needs with your provider.

You are not entirely reliable on the company that provided you with the software. Unlike a online builder that could take your site down with it if they ever went bankrupt, or closed up shop, desktop software will still be usable even after the company shuts downs.

You may need to change to a different software after a while, once the software you are using becomes outdated, but you should be able to find a way to transition.

Will often be cheaper, and usually a one time purchase per license.

Cons

Not as many features available. If the company or user community doesn’t provide a feature you can add to your site, you’re out of luck.
There won’t be as much popularity as say with a software such as WordPress. So, you won’t have as much support from the community. You better hope whoever made the software provides good customer support.

Limited or no access to the coding. This can be a problem if you need to make a change or add a feature not provided by the software. And if there is a glitch in the software, and the company hasn’t fixed it, you’ll be stuck with any problems displayed in your site until such changes, if ever, are made.

You’ll want to make sure the software you select has a lot of users, and the company is well established. This usually means the software is regularly updated to patch glitches and make the software more user friendly over time.

Is not a good option for complex websites, or sites that need a lot of outside integration, such as sites with a main goal of providing a business with income.

If you want to go with the option of desktop web creation software, I have found a few different options you can look at below.

“I don’t think this is a bad solution if you want a simple site.”

Now to our resources…

Adobe Muse: A point and click web creation software. You can add custom css/html, but you can’t edit the websites source code. There is a lot of plugins for it however, and if you want to try this route, I suggest giving muse a try. Out of any desktop web creation software out there, this one will have the most support. It has a large, and well-established company behind it… Adobe. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Check out Adobe Muse here:  http://muse.adobe.com/

Muse Themes: If you use Adobe Muse, you’ll want a theme and widget resource you can come back to time and time again. I recommend Muse Themes. Check out Muse Themes here: https://www.muse-themes.com/pages/about

Other Desktop Web Creation Solutions: This website reviews a bunch of different desktop website creation software. The English is a little broken, but the review is pretty in depth. Check it out here: http://webcusp.com/drag-and-drop-website-creation-software/

So now that I’ve shown you the 5 options…

Make My Case

I need to make my case. I love option 3. With the WordPress software, and the right plugins, you can develop any site you can dream of.
And if you integrate Thrive Themes with Word Press, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful business website your customers will come back to time and time again.

Just a note though: Thrive Themes is a suite of plugins to enhance your WordPress site. You can purchase the yearly or quarterly membership to get all the plugins. (I highly recommend this option), or you can purchase the plugins individually for a one-time fee as you need them.

The problem with the individual purchase is you’ll only get a year of support. That means a year of software updates and tech support.

The membership saves you a lot of money, and you honestly need to keep your software up to date.  You will also get access to every new plugin and theme that comes out, with no extra cost to you. And your membership price will never rise.

The price goes up for new members, but yours will always stay the same.
Whatever option you decide to take, there will be a learning curve. Don’t give up. Your business deserves a website, and in today’s world, you will have a hard time succeeding without one.

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Note: 70% of businesses have a website. You are extremely disadvantaged without your own business website. Learn how to choose web hosting for your business website, and join the successful business club by reading this article: How To Choose The Perfect Web Hosting Service For Your New Business Website In 7 Easy Steps.
Please Show Me How To Select A Web Hosting Service

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