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Website Guide

Getting a website designed and achieving results online does not need to be a stressful and confusing task, however things don't always go smoothly and mistakes made can cost you valuable time and money.

While we are more than happy to take care of all of the technical details for you it is often useful to know the process and we have listed the main points and topics below.

As always feel free to talk to us if you would like more information or to book an obligation free web site consultation or existing website audit.

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Domain Names - Your unique address on the net

When you type in a web site address into your web browser, www.yahoo.co.nz or www.google.com for example, the yahoo or google part of the address is known as a domain. Every website requires a unique domain name which forms part of the URL or website address. This domain name once registered is linked to the web server that actually holds and serves your web files and content to the world....

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When a user types in your web site address or URL into a web browser the magic of the internet takes over and works out where your site is hosted and finally displays the pages and content in the users web browser.

Registering your domain name is usually the first step when planning a new website and this name should ideally reflect the purpose or your business or website. A domain name can be registered on its own or as part of a web design package with any of the domain name registration services available. You can purchase your domain name yearly or up to 10 years in advance in most cases. We are more than happy to help you with this process and we do include 1 years domain name registration with all of our website design packages.

Careful thought should be given to the actual domain name. We recommend keeping your domain name short and simple while avoiding hard to spell or domain names that have no connection to the actual purpose of your website.

You will notice that domain names are followed by a dot and domain name extension such as .com, .org or .co.nz. This portion of your domain name is known as the domain name space and forms the rest of your websites URL (unique resource locator) or your website address.

You are generally free to choose and register which ever domain name space suits your web site, however some domains such as .gov for governments , and .edu for educational institutions can only be registered if you happen to belong to an appropriate organisation.

To search for a domain name right now, Please use our domain search tool here

You may be curious why some websites are typed as http://www.ohno.co.nz , and some are either www.ohno.co.nz or just ohno.co.nz.

Depending on the website setup, it is often possible to eliminate the need for the http:// and www part of your website address and just allow the user to type the domain name followed by the name space or .co.nz portion of the website address in this case. This is a time saving convenience and also serves to make the website address easier to remember.

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Web Site Hosting - Where your web site lives

Every website needs a place to store and 'serve' it's pages and content to the online world. This service is known as 'web site hosting' or 'hosting'.

Websites are hosted on a specially configured computer known as a web server. When someone types in your website name (URL) into their web browser (Internet explorer, Firefox or other) the web server sends off the requested files to the users computer which are then displayed in web browser window. All web sites require..

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... a web hosting plan and these are typically billed monthly or yearly depending on the hosting company or your particular web design package. Often hosting plans will include a domain name as part of the package.

Complications can arise when choosing a hosting plan as certain types of web sites may require slightly different server setups, offer different features or have limits on the amount of web traffic allowed. For this reason we would strongly recommend asking for advice or purchasing your hosting plan as part of one of our webdesign packages.

Website hosting features vary depending on the provider but in general you should expect.

  • Storage space on a web server to place your files and content. If you are planning to host video and audio content more space may be required.
  • A method to 'upload' your website files and content. Typically this is done via an FTP client such as Filezilla or WsFTP.
  • Hosting based email accounts connected to your website hosting with the domain name as part of the email address. help@ohno.co.nz for example.
  • Support in the event your website should go offline for any reason. A hosting company with reliable online and telephone support is very important.
  • A web hosting control panel to adjust email settings , add email auto responders and adjust various hosting settings.
  • Website statistics. Site visits, pages visits and other detailed information important to track web site usage in detail.
  • A set amount of web site bandwidth per month. Larger more popular websites will need more bandwidth due to the increased visitor traffic.
  • Optional MYSQL database support. This is required if your website needs content management functions or is an e-commerce web site.

Finally, you may have noticed many free website services available online which allow you to a basic website and host it for free. In our opinion these are wonderful for personal or hobby websites but typically come with advertising and branding displayed and are not ideal for business or e-commerce purposes.

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Web Site Design

Web design is not only about the look and feel of a website. Understanding the needs and wants of your customers and creating an enjoyable online experience are just some of the important details key to online success. When done correctly, converting web visitors into customers andEye catching designs customers into long term fans is far less of a challenge.

Our web design process begins with a detailed look at the exact purpose of the web site followed closely by the needs and wants of your target audience or customers. Four to five key pages are identified and the ....

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Creative , effective , functional and clean

....majority of the design work is targeted here.

Mock up layouts are created and can include any existing branding, logos and visual concepts. Designs are decided upon and we then take a more concentrated look at the layout and general flow of your future website.

We address technical aspects at this stage including any special features to be added and how this will be achieved within budget.

In our opinion, a web site should be fast loading , feature a clean layout and contain valid and well written content. Logical and consistent navigation should be present and the actual programming code should degrade gracefully for older web browsers with limited features and present well on all web browsers and mobile platforms.

Web design does not need to be stressful, and it does not need to be overly expensive, however to a certain degree you do get what you pay for online and if online results are important we feel this is money well spent.

Getting your business online is simple. We a offer FREE, No obligation web site consultation at a time and place that suits you. Contact us here to discuss your online plans with us.

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Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation or (SEO) is not as difficult to understand as the lengthy phrase may suggest.

Getting your web site on the map

Simply put, search engine optimisation is a range of techniques applied on page and off page to increase your web site search engine ranking in search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN and many others. Whatever the purpose of your web site attracting more visitors (and repeat visits) is key to online success.

Ideally we would like to see pages and content on your site appear in the first page of any given search engines listings for any given search phrase or keyword.

While it is certainly possible to use paid advertising schemes such as Google Adwords to achieve higher search engine rankings, we feel getting basic on site optimisation taken care of first and achieving good organic (free) search engine results is most important. This can be as simple as having properly constructed web site code with relevant keywords placed throughout your content and the correct use of page headings titles.

What is On Page Optimisation? you may ask....

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On page optimisation are changes and improvements made to the actual wording, HTML code and content on each of your websites pages that help to increase your web sites online ranking. This is in contrast to off page optimisation which uses a range of techniques to promote your web site externally including the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter or offsite blogs and forums that link back to your site.

Our web design packages include SEO as a base component and a broader more targeted SEO services can be added depending on your needs.

 

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Content Management Systems

Content management systems or (CMS) are web based frameworks installed onto your web hosting server which allow you to create pages, easily update content, add images , make layout changes, and change and add menu items. Essentially the CMS becomes your web page editor and having one installed can greatly simplify and speed up the creation of your web site. It also allows you to edit your own pages without hiring a web designer each time you want to add images, edit content or change a menu item.

Most of the popular content management systems are free and well supported with online user groups consisting of developers and active users. There are many to choose from including Word press, Drupal, Modx, and Joomla! Each CMS has its...

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.... own look and feel, however all will allow you to add and change content, wording and website themes very easily. You should expect a small learning curve no matter which CMS you choose. Our preference is for the Modx CMS however we can develop sites with Word press, Joomla! and many others on request. If very basic content management is required we can custom program a solution for you.

Content management systems from Modx to Joomla

Content management system's require a database present on your web server. This is often installed by default but may require an hosting plan update depending on your hosting provider. The content management system stores the various pages and content in the database and delivers them on demand along with various settings required for the content management system to function. The exact web hosting requirements for a chosen CMS vary and we recommend reading the documentation for the particular CMS if you intend to install this yourself.

In general any Linux or Microsoft based web server should be able to run any of the above CMS applications.

The other great advantage gained with a CMS system is the fact that search engines love new content and since content management system's allows quick and easy editing your content will always be fresh and new with a lot less effort.

When your web site is updated on a regular basis it is considered more current and so ranks higher. Static web sites can become stale as they are typically designed, deployed and stay the same often for years! Search engines want the web to be fluid and active and so easily updated web sites that are easily updated tend to rank higher.

 

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Web Compliant Code - Why does it matter?

Websites that use correct HTML and CSS code load faster, are easier to update / manage and typically display your carefully designed content correctly on a wider range of web browsers with less errors.

This is vitally important for business websites where first impressions really count. Errors and problems experienced when shopping online can make your customers think twice about doing business with you and in many cases encourage your visitors to leave and never return!

Well programmed web sites will be far more search engine friendly and as a result will rank higher over time than a poorly programmed site.

We program all our web sites within the guidelines suggested by the The World Wide Web Consortium or (W3C). You can read more about this organisation here.

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Adobe Flash (Shockwave)

Adobe flash is a multimedia platform popular for adding animation and interactive content into a web page. It can be used to create entire web sites and is widely used for web site banners, online games and media players.

Adobe Shockwave is a very similar product however shockwave content is authored using the Adobe Director application and is more commonly used for online game development.

Popular web sites that use flash or shockwave are YouTube.com and Facebook.com. Adobe flash is a ....

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..... very useful tool to add interactive content to your web site but should be considered carefully if your web site relies on the Adobe Flash plug-in to be present for critical web site functions such as navigation or displaying product information.

Our approach uses functions that allow your web site to gracefully degrade in situations where users do not have the Adobe flash or Adobe Shock Wave plug-in installed or are using an older web browser. This technique is also useful in situations where Java script has been disabled or is not supported for whatever reason.

In addition, this process is performed behind the scenes to avoid annoying popups or prompts being displayed.

The basic idea here is to create a site that does not rely entirely on Abobe Flash or Javascript while allowing users with supported web browsers or mobile devices to benefit from the rich multimedia features and enhancements these technologies provide.

In this way we can make sure no one is excluded from visiting your site and viewing it's content and as a result your online audience is as large as possible.

 

Least you need to know icon

The least you need to know

  1. Websites require a hosting plan which is billed monthly or yearly depending on the provider
  2. Your domain name is part of your URL or your unique web site address on the internet. Domain names attract a yearly fee for domain name registration
  3. You may select a domain name space to suit your web site. Select from a wide range of options including .com, .co.nz, .org and many more
  4. Its a great idea to keep your domain name, short, logical and easy to spell.
  5. Web design is not just about creating a pretty online picture. Business web sites should pay attention to the needs and wants of the customers and use logical and easy to understand layout and navigation
  6. Content management systems or (CMS) offer the ability to update your website content quickly and easily without special software or skills
  7. Search engine optimisation (SEO) increases your online search engine ranking and helps put your web site on the map so to speak
Have a question regarding this or any of our other services? Click here to get answers fast.

Feel free to ask us a question relating to this page we are here to help.

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