Take a deep breath. Okay, take two maybe. It’s really not as bad as it seems.
I like to know what I need and more importantly why I need it. I like to compare building a website to building a house. Let me break some of this down so that it’s a little more understandable.
Hosting – This is like the plot of land that you choose for the house. It’s where your website with all of it’s files and databases will be stored.
Domain Name – This is like the street address for your website. It will give people the specific address so that they can get to your site. When they put your domain name into Google, it’s like putting someone’s street address into your GPS.
Content Management System – This is like the foundation and framing of the house that is built on the plot of land you chose. You install this onto your host server so that you have place to keep all of your content for all of your visitors to see. I like WordPress for a CMS because it is the most customizable, and you actually own your site and can do whatever you want with it.
Themes – These are like the exterior and interior finishes that you choose to create the appearance of your house. It’s sort of like the decoration. This is where you get to choose colors, fonts, layouts, etc. The good news is that there are some themes that are what I call plug and play. You don’t have to design a layout from scratch if that’s not your thing. You can just install the theme and then plug in your content (logo, colors, content – which is the things you write on the site).
Plugins – These little gems are like adding extra functionality and upgrades to your house. If you have a garage door for your house, you probably want it to open and close automatically rather than get out of the car to do it, right? You have a sink and countertop, but wouldn’t it be better to have a dishwasher to make life a little easier? You could put a “No Trespassing” sign in the yard, but wouldn’t it be better to have an integrated alarm system on the house?
Plugins do that sort of thing for your website. They add a security system and a backup system in case something ever happens to your site (kind of like having homeowner’s insurance in case of a fire and the house needing to be rebuilt). They can also add additional appearance boosts to your website such as adding different fonts, creating those opt-in forms so that people can sign up for your email list, and keeping away that pesky spam from your site!
One last aspect of website builds that I want to talk to you about is one that often gets overlooked or minimized. It’s having a maintenance plan in place for your newly built, brand-spanking new website. Websites aren’t a “set it and forget it” type endeavor. Once you have a nice looking fully functional website with a security system to protect it, you definitely want to make sure that it’s monitored and any threats to its protection are destroyed ~ especially after all that hard work you did to get it just the way you want it.
WordPress, themes and plugins are regularly updated by the developers to fix any little buggy issues (and any large issues) that they find as their products are used. They will send out update notifications that will show up in your WordPress site to remind you to update. If you don’t do these updates, then it can make your site vulnerable to security threats. The site could be compromised or hacked.
We ain’t got time for all that! So make sure that you have a maintenance plan in place. You can have someone who will keep up with those updates for you so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining it (pick me, pick me!), or you can find out how to do it yourself.
I hope that this has helped to clear up some of the confusion and overwhelm that you may feel when you think about having to build a website for your business. Have questions about something that you read? Drop me a line HERE. I’d love to help!