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Thread: Website for a small business

  1. #1
    Really Bored eccles291's Avatar
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    Default Website for a small business


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    Before anyone asks I HAVE done a search , the results of which were quite useful, but I'm looking for up to date info please.

    I work for a small building & restoration company and we are expanding so we want to get a website published that will showcase our previous work and enable us to put up photos of projects that are in progress. We don't need to sell anything through the site but we do want people to be able to see what we do and contact us via e-mail. Initial thoughts on content in no particular order are:


    • What we do
    • Completed work (before and after)
    • About us
    • History
    • Work in progress
    • Contact/enquiries (with an "info@ our company name.co.uk" email address)
    • Photo gallery (possibly)


    With this in mind, what are our best options for such a site? Website hosting, domain name registration etc.? Should we go to a one-stop shop where we can register the company name as a domain and use their site building software? Or are we better off registering the name at one place and then going to another to host it and keep it secure etc? The owner of the company is an ex-graphic designer so has plenty of ideas on how to make it look good but neither of us are massively tech-savvy so it needs to be something we can do between us. There isn't a huge pot of money to give the task to a web design company either. Any help gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance.


    Edit:
    Just to add, I saw a review on Tech Radar that said InMotion Web hosting was rated their best overall but I'd like to hear what the wisdom of TRC has to say too.

  2. #2
    Should Get Out More DefTrap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    I designed a website for a similar-ish small company, with similar requirements, a looong time ago. It was designed using Dreamweaver and it ended up on (what eventually became) tsohost as the host. tsohost has been pretty cheap and reliable enough - these were fairly low spec requirements, mind - we weren't expecting masses of hits; there was no eCommerce needed; no huge amounts of content to download; I wasn't really bothered about 'attacks' because there was nothing much there to attack. I'd recommend tsohost because it's been painless rather than because of masses of features, performance, security etc.

    I'm not sure I'd do it in Dreamweaver again - I did it like that because I sort of knew what to do and I was bored. If I did it again now I'd probably use one of the countless diy website creation services as most of them are plenty good enough until you want to invest in something bespoke. This one looked good for example https://www.squarespace.com/ Again not a recommendation a such but I had a play and it seemed fine, certainly more straightforward than proper programming.

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    If you want full control, look at something like squarespace and do it all through that. You may pay a little more for things like domain management, but you'll be utterly in control and not have to deal with one-man-band web-devs who might not prioritise your site the way that you think they should. ( ).

    Your domain should be your company name (pick something funky, please ) and make sure that before you register the company (too late??) you get the domain name registered in your name.

    It's still true that a .co.uk or a .com domain is the most likely to be found, so you need to try and get that particular purchase. Try to avoid hyphenating the domain name too.

    Even if you register the domain elsewhere, you'll be able to point the website traffic to wherever you're hosting the site.

    Re emails: set yourself up a Gmail account and within the domain management interface you'll be able to point several different addresses ( address@domain.ext ) to your gmail account and then also you can setup gmail so that it replies as 'address@domain.ext'. (I've not done this, but I know it's possible.)

    Make sure you setup a 'catch-all' account for all the spam and junk that will be generated and sent to "randomshiteaddress@domain.ext".

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    Really Bored eccles291's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    Thanks chaps. I like some of the templates on squarespace and the pricing looks reasonable too. Any opinions on the InMotion link I put in my original post? Our website will be simple and un-cluttered with menu buttons across the top of each page rather than a fancy, hover-over reveal that seems to be appearing on a lot of sites lately. The focus will definitely be on content rather than trying to have the latest slick-look website.

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    Really Bored eccles291's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    Quote Originally Posted by eccles291 View Post
    Any opinions on the InMotion link I put in my original post?
    Anyone?

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    Quote Originally Posted by eccles291 View Post
    Anyone?

    IMHO the 'top 5 anything' changes every 3 months anyway (especially from sources like techradar who are just as fallible as anyone else when advertising contracts are on the line), so it's a case of researching what service actually gives you what you need.

    Unless you have a superior web-dev with sys-admin capabilites then you're probably going to want something simple to use, ie a GUI Control Panel for your hosting.
    Most hosting these days will be on a Virtual Machine (VM) so make sure you have the abilities to a) get backups, b) expand the VM when required (as you grow, your hosting data requirements will grow).
    If you're looking to have all your email included in the deal (ie remotely stored rather than using a local exchange server (ie a machine in your office)), then, again, make sure you have access to backups.
    Think about what support you'll need if a) your people make a fuck up and delete half your data , or b) the hosting service makes a fuck up and deletes ALL your data. (Both events are more likely to happen than not). I'd say that you need a service that not only offers 24hr/366pa support, but who's support staff are also capable and willing to help you with the technical details of your website as well as 'just' the hosting server management.

    Caveat: if (when) you have a web-dev/sys-admin worth his chops then listen to him.

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    Really Bored eccles291's Avatar
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    Default Re: Website for a small business

    Thanks very much matey. Blobbed.

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