“I need a website” – the first question is normally what type of website?
Typically, a website is one of a few categories;
- Non-editable brochure website/static site
- Editable brochure website (requiring a CMS/content management system).
- Editable, dynamic website, (login areas etc) and self managed through a CMS/content management system.
- E-commerce site – integrated with a payment gateway such as Paypal, Amazon etc
Picking which type of site you require will depend on what you actually want the website to do. If you just want a basic website, because you feel you should have one, a simple brochure or static website is all that’s required.
RNS IT & Data Solutions can help with website design - from the simplest of static brochure websites, right through to massive eCommerce portals that would bring eBay to their knees!
Brochure websites – static or content managed
A static website is usually just an online extension of your business' paper brochure; giving information on the who, what & where of your business. It is how most businesses start out on the web. For some, a simple static website that rarely changes is enough. A lot of smaller businesses don’t actually use the full capabilities of a content managed website, only ever updating their news and staff pages.
What is a CMS/content management system?
A Content Management System (CMS) is a web-based tool to allow any authorised staff or user access to edit the website. The theory behind a CMS is that day-to-day maintenance is handled by the staff who, has little or no prior experience in web page programming. By using modern programming languages and WYSIWYG (pronounced ‘wizzy wig’ – meaning ‘What You See Is What You Get’) editors look and work similarly to Microsoft Word, but convert the content to HTML (the language of the www). They aren't always perfect, but they certainly make it easier & quicker to publish to your website.
You will find staff who are proficient in Word can easily work a Content Management System based website and have the ability to create or add new pages or content, insert images and files and basically control what is visible on the website.
Most fully functioning content management systems come in many different guises, but there are now some excellent off-the-shelf options available. We recommend Wordpress or Joomla as the best of these. In addition they have thousands of thirs-party plugins, modules and extensions available that will facilitate all sorts of things, such as animated banners, slideshows, photo galleries, contact forms etc.
As with the content management systems, there are many excellent eCommerce platforms available. Ranging from the cheap and easy to setup through to the more advanced system - RNS IT & Data recommend Magento.
When deciding which to go for, be clear about your requirements. How many product lines, how many SKUs or products will you be ranging, do you need to integrate it with a warehouse? Which e-payment gateway do you want to use? (If you’re not sure, ask us!) All of these decisions will influence the direction you need to take.
eCommerce websites demand much more attention than a normal static or CMS website. You simply can not build it and expect to see your orders come rolling in, it doesn't work like that. So be prepared to have an SEO option to market the business and work hard to improve your market visibility. RNS IT & Data Solutions has options for SEO Services as well.