How to build a Website Building Company!
Equipment you will need
Choosing the right hosting provider is like a minefield, especially if you are not tech-savvy or never hosted websites before. How can some web hosting companies charge £1 per month and others charge £1000 per month? What does RAM, Disc, CPU’s all mean? How do backups work? The difference in what cheap hosting providers give to you and what the most expensive hosting providers give is night and day. Many people below hosting is simply just buying a little bit of space on the internet, but it is so much more, the hosting provider you select to host your company website on needs to have safety measures, speed, continuity, support, knowledge all in place to avoid losing you and your customers business.
Backups are often overlooked as a cost that is not needed when buying hosting. It is the one most common mistake for business owners who have major issues with their websites. Backups are there as a safety measure to avoid the worst happening. Website hackers are using software to try and hack websites every day, and if the worst does happen and your website is hacked only a good backup system will save you from either having to rebuild the website or loosing your website. Backups are only looked favorable upon after the event, it is your business's insurance online.
Selecting the right right CMS (customer management system) to build websites is paramount. The availability of open-source free to use CMS systems over the past 10 years has created huge competition in the market place. 10 years ago, developers created their own CMS systems and charge £££’s to build websites using their own platform, this led to a few issues, firstly, only they could build the websites so you had to pass the work onto them, secondly you were stuck, if the client wanted to move away you couldn’t! Thirdly the prices they charge stopped you making any margin, I was recently told of one developer charging a designer in London £1000 for the setup and £60 per month hosting, not much room for margin there! However the world of CMS websites has changed dramatically, systems like WordPress, Joomla and Magento have come into the market and really disrupted the marketplace. WordPress alone now has over 20% of all websites on the internet using it as the CMS system, there are great benefits to using wordpress: It's free to use, it has a community of developers continually updating it, it has simple functionality, google loves wordpress, it can be mobile responsive, it's a common platform to build in.
A theme provides all of the front end styling of your website. Most themes provide:
- The overall design or style of your site
- Font styling
- Widget locations
- Page layouts (or templates)
- Styles for blog posts and blog archives
- Additional stylistic details
There are both paid and free themes you can use, however there are pro’s and con’s to using themes.
Quick to build
Supported by the developer
Structure to work from
Every theme is built differently so you have to learn new themes all the time.
Most themes you have to purchase they range from £20 to £250.
You have to continually keep the theme up to date or it will break.
You will be restricted in what you can do - most themes won’t allow you to move the logo from the left to centre.
We recommend you learn and use a theme builder, which allows you to actually build the theme yourself, giving you full creative control. It means you only have to learn one theme and can build any website.
Plugins are like apps for you website. They allow you as a web builder to add functionality to the website, whether you want a twitter feed, property search, weather or chat facility, there is a plugin now available for it. This is a huge benefit as the cost of having a twitter feed added to a CMS built website by a developer used to be £500, whereas there are plugins now available free to add this functionality. There are over 10,000 plugins at present with more being built every day, some are paid plugins and some are free. This will depend on what functionality you wish to have.
Some of the most common plugins:
Content builders such as Beaver builder, Thrive or Visual Composer.
With WordPress it is important to update three things: the actual WordPress application, themes and plugins. However, before you begin updating any of these items, you should make sure that you have a current backup. This is important because sometimes these updates don’t go as well as planned and you need to restore a previous version of your site. Additionally, you might have made some modifications to your theme or plugin and forgot about the changes you made. Having a backup can help in that situation as well.
Billing for websites are slightly different to billing for normal work, due to continual monthly fee for hosting and support. We recommend you use a system like gocardless.com that allows you to collect a direct debit and collect a fee per month from your customer. Giving you a robust sustainable monthly income, that will help grow your business!
I hope this has given you a good understanding of how to setup your own website building company.
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