Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a hosting service for my website?
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a host. Some of the more important ones are:
- Reliability: This refers primarily to hosting uptime, which is the percentage of time the host is accessible via the Internet.
- Shared vs. dedicated server: Generally, dedicated servers give you more control and offer better speed than shared servers, but they can be expensive.
- Operating system support: You will likely need a UNIX-based web host. UNIX is more stable, performs faster, and offers better compatibility than Windows-based hosting.
- Backup policy: This is especially important for dynamic sites such as content management systems, where changes are made directly on the web host’s server. Ideally, the host should make daily and weekly backups that are available to you. It is also important to determine how long it would take to restore your site from backup files in the event of a catastrophic failure.
- Technical support: The host’s support staff should be technically competent, prompt, and available 24/7 including holidays.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) availability: This is a cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications for data transfers, and is an absolute requirement for e-commerce websites.
How will anyone be able to find my website?
They’ll find it through search engines, inbound links from other websites, and word-of-mouth. One of the best ways to publicize your new website is by adding your web address to your letterhead, business cards, marketing materials, etc.
Will you submit my website to search engines?
Yes. Your website will be submitted to Google and Bing. These search engines have relationships with other search engines, so it is not necessary to submit your website to every search engine. Bruce Clay, Inc. provides a search engine relationship chart that clearly illustrates these search engine relationships.
How much do you charge for a website?
It depends on the complexity of your website project. Generally, the charge for a small informational site can be as little as a few hundred dollars, while the charge for a large e-commerce site that accepts credit cards can cost thousands of dollars.
Clients are charged on a fixed-fee basis in accordance with the project’s scope. It is important to accurately specify the scope beforehand, because additions or modifications to the original scope will likely result in additional charges.
What is responsive web design?
Please see the What Is Responsive Web Design? article.
Content Management Systems
What is a content management system?
It is essentially a software system that automates website content management and allows users with little or no technical skills to contribute content directly into the system via a browser-based interface. Website content—including text, images, and other media—is stored in a database. The look and feel of a CMS is based on templates that can be set for the entire site or associated with individual pages.
Should I use a content management system for my website?
Content management systems are ideal if you need to make frequent updates to site content, have the resources required to maintain the site, and are willing to learn the administrative interface.
Which content management system is better, Joomla or WordPress?
It depends on the features you need, as well as the technical abilities you have available to maintain your site. Generally, WordPress is better suited for relatively simple websites where content will be contributed by individuals with limited or no technical skills. Joomla would be the better choice if a more powerful framework is needed for advanced functionality. Noesis Design Studio will be happy to recommend the CMS that best suits your needs.
What are the web hosting requirements for Joomla and WordPress?
Joomla version 3.8.x is recommended for most websites. It has the following minimum requirements:
- Apache web server 2.0 or above (2.4 is recommended)
- MySQL database system 5.1 or above (5.5.3 is recommended)
- PHP scripting language 5.3.10 or above (5.6 or 7.0 is recommended)
The latest version of WordPress, version 4.9.x, has the following minimum requirements:
- Apache web server
- MySQL database system 5.6 or above
- PHP scripting language 5.6 or above
What's involved in setting up an e-commerce website?
First, you’ll need a site design that includes the usual functional elements of a website. For standard e-commerce functionality, you’ll also need several additional components: an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, a merchant account, at least one payment gateway, a back-end database for processing orders and storing customer information, and a shopping cart solution.
I'm selling just a few products. Would PayPal be the best option?
Maybe, but it depends on your sales volume. If you have only a handful of products and small sales volume, PayPal might indeed be your best option. However, you should understand that your customers will be directed to PayPal’s site when placing their order. As your sales grow, it will be more economical to switch to a standard merchant plan.
What is a merchant account?
It is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments from different sources, typically from credit or debit cards. Every payment made with a credit or debit card involves the transfer of funds to a merchant account. The merchant has full responsibility for the transactions that occur in their account, and each bank has its own terms of service.
What is a payment gateway?
It is a service that authorizes credit card payments and processes them securely through a merchant account. A merchant account and payment gateway are often set up in one process through the same company.
Search Engine Optimization
Exactly what is search engine optimization?
SEO refers to the techniques used to maximize the visibility of a website so that it does well in “organic” search engine listings. Organic listings are sometimes referred to as natural listings, and exclude paid results. SEO techniques can be divided into two broad categories:
- On-page factors. These include the quality of your website’s code and structure, as well as the quality of your textual content.
- Off-page factors. This category generally refers to the number and quality of inbound links from other websites.
Why is search engine optimization important?
SEO drives targeted traffic to your website by improving its search engine visibility. This helps ensure your website ranks highly in organic search engine result pages (SERPs). Organic search engine listings enjoy two distinct advantages over paid listings:
- Most searchers tend to click on organic listings rather than paid listings
- Over the long term, organic listings provide a better return on investment than paid listings
Will search engine optimization ensure my site will appear on the first search engine result page?
No. Although your site will be structured and coded to be search engine friendly, other factors greatly influence your site’s ranking:
- Inbound links from other websites. The number and quality of inbound links are important ranking factors.
- Social media content. This includes social media networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
- High-quality web page content. Your website must contain clear, useful, and fresh content.
- Local business listings. These include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and YP.