Whats included … and what isn’t
I’m afraid this bit is the boring low down that most of us hate to read, but if you are thinking of going ahead, its worth a read so you know what’s what.
Over the last few years many DIY website packages have come to market, if you watch the adverts it would seem very easy to create your own website with a few clicks. But like most things, you get what you pay for, and it often isn’t quite as easy as it would appear to do effectively! Besides, many people have neither the time, nor the will to even attempt it.
Firstly, just to explain that there are basically three levels of website design:
- LEVEL 1 Websites that feature fully customised design, with many levels of navigation, e-commerce and all sorts of other sophisticated functionality. These sites are usually designed by a web designer and then built by a web developer with extensive coding experience. These sites typical cost £1000’s. I am not a developer and do not do this type of website.
- LEVEL 2 Websites that are template based but have a high level of customisation, and allow the use of plug-ins and extra functionalities such as e-commerce, and so on. They have a high level of design input, and are usually based on WordPress.org software, which is aimed at professional designers and developers. They are hosted by a third party. These sites typically cost £100’s to set up. I can do this level, but it would come under my Mrs P Creative business.
- LEVEL 3 The third level is the DIY website, such as WordPress.com, SquareSpace, Wix and so on. To take WordPress.com as an example the main difference is that they are hosted by the provider, i.e WordPress.com and you pay a fee to them which includes hosting, and other features depending on the package. Although you can pay for more advanced customisation and access to plugins and premium themes, generally this route is ideally suited to an individuals or small businesses on a small budget. At the entry level, there are many free themes, with a limited level of customisation. However in many cases this level is perfectly adequate and fit for purpose for a client who wishes to have an attractive and informative presence on the internet. This is the service I offer with a Portfolioo package.
So – if you believe that a Portfolioo type website is for you, this is what to expect. I have used WordPress.com as an example as this is what I would use from scratch. If you already have different web software set up I can work with that too.
- We will discuss your requirements to check that the package will be adequate for your needs and to establish what you need from your website.
- The domain for your site can either be purchased as part of your Web Plan, or if you have a domain already, it can be pointed to the new website.
- The WordPress Plan will be purchased and paid for in your name. This means that I don’t have to charge you for third party hosting etc and once the site is completed I will hand it over to you, either for you to maintain, or I can do so for an hourly rate. Kind of a clean break scenario!
- Click here to see current WordPress pricing plans. Once your plan is purchased and the custom domain set up we are ready to roll.
- Next, we will agree a theme for your site. Access to all Premium themes is included in the Premium Plan, but otherwise they cost around £50 to purchase as a one off. Alternatively one of the free themes can be used. This Portfolioo site is based on a free theme, with the cheapest Personal Plan – and I would say that it has been perfectly adequate for my purposes.
- Next – you need to supply me with the structure, the text and images for the site.
- A word about images. Excellent images are essential for a professional looking website. Unless you are a photographer, or have access to good, high quality, high res images, I would suggest that custom images are purchased from stock photo providers such as iStock. Its well worth a little extra expense. On this site I have used many designed images, and this would be an added cost if you wanted me to create custom images. This is an alternative option to having photographs for headers and featured images.
- I will then go ahead and build your site, checking back with you to make sure you are happy with it all as I go along.
- Once you have signed the site off, I will hand it over to you to either maintain yourself, or I can update it for you at my hourly rate.
- Another word – this time on email addresses. There is a facility to create a custom email address in the WordPress software, however this is charged at an extra £4 per month on top of your WordPress plan. It isn’t always straightforward to set up this address in your email client on all your devices, and there may be limited storage. I have found that it is easier and more robust to set up an appropriate Gmail account (for instance firstname.lastname@example.org for my business). Its then really easy to set up on any device, either in your email client or you can access it via a browser on any device at any time.
- And on SEO. To enable specific SEO tools, you have to have a Business Plan. However a certain level of SEO is included with WordPress.com, and is managed by WordPress as they are actually hosting the site. Many people are happy with a reasonable level of SEO, but their main concern is for their business to have a web presence. If you are depending on generating much your business through web searches, this may not be the best route for you, it may be that you need specialised SEO expertise. Happy to advise.