Brief guide to websites

A website can be important to you and there are a lot of options to consider. I first starting building websites by writing the basic HTML code into notepad. Things have moved on a long way since. It’s been a long time since a website owner, who wasn’t also a developer, has seen so much as a single line of code!

If you are not familiar with websites it can be very confusing and there are a huge range of options. Let’s look at some common ones:

Free options:

There are a lot of services offering free websites. The free starter is usually basic, and you may have to pay for additional services as your site grows, for example if you want to offer a shop, mailing list or other interactive services

Plenty of people do quite well with a free website, and if you don’t have much of a budget at the very least, they are a good way of getting started.

A free site may well display advertising for the provider, selected advertisers or a selection of google ads based on ad words. Whether this is an issue for you is for you to work out and will depend to some extent on what kind of image you want to portray.

I’m not going to offer any suggestions for free website providers because they are advertised widely and can easily be found via a google search. My personal preference is to have as much control and flexibility with any websites I manage so free options are not something that I would consider myself.

WordPress, Joomla & Drupal

Everyone has heard of WordPress, a free blogging platform and website builder. It’s what’s called a content managed system (CMS), which simply means that once set up, you log in to a control panel and manage your site from there. There are other CMS systems available, namely Joomla and Drupal. WordPress is more popular and it is very user friendly. However, its well worth exploring your options and none of these CMS systems are difficult to learn and introductory to advanced level training in all is easy to find.

WordPress gives you a lot of control over your site, a hosting company should give you the option of auto installing WordPress as a standard function.

Links:

https://wordpress.com/

https://www.joomla.org/

https://www.drupal.org/

A caveat – although WordPress IS very easy to use there are still technical issues that you need to be aware of. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced there are a lot of advantages to working with a specialist developer from the start.

There’s nothing worse than having an issue with your website and not knowing what to do about it, especially as by the time this happens you will probably have invested a lot of time and energy into developing your site.

At TPSO we work closely with Asad Iqbal, a long-time colleague of mine, I’ve worked with Asad on other projects over several years. We introduce him and provide his contact details in this newsletter. There have been a huge number of attacks against websites and this is set to continue. TPSO was recently targeted and Asad provided valuable support.

If you are a novice, and find things very confusing, then get someone to build your website for you. One of the advantages of WordPress is that once it is set up for you, you can take over managing the content and have your developer monitor the backend for you to help keep it running smoothly and prevent problems. They can also make sure that you have clean backups done on an agreed schedule so that if the worst does happen your site can be rescued quickly.

A word on hackers

Having a site hacked isn’t anyone’s idea of fun! Some site owners have lost everything because they found that their backups were also injected with malware and they couldn’t recover them. It’s easy to get angry with the hosting company and direct your ire at them – however its worth remembering that they are also victims of the same criminals that attacked an individual’s website. When you consider that companies that have spent millions on security can get hacked, you can see the importance of backing up your data.

Hopefully you back up your PC on a regular basis? The easiest way to deal with a ransomware attack that succeeds against your PC is to format it and reinstall everything then get your data back from your backed-up files. It’s the same procedure for websites.

That said, get a good quality webhost. Our go to guy Asad and many others have recommended https://www.siteground.co.uk/ who we have just moved to.

Any TPSO reader who is interested in developing a website and having us set it up and host it for you at preferential rates please get in touch to discuss options. We currently provide WordPress & Joomla platforms working closely with specialists if you want your site built for you:

We offer this service via www.netskiver.cominfo@netskiver.com

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