Whether open-source software is more or less secure than closed-source (proprietary) software is a contentious issue within the tech community nowadays. Since open source is a relatively new phenomenon and collecting reliable data on security is difficult, speculation abounds.
Hackers have found and exploited vulnerabilities in all sorts of software, whether open or closed. Security-wise, it's tenuous to say that one development methodology is categorically superior to the other.
There are big, successful companies that use open source software -- Yahoo, Google, the BBC -- and the same goes for closed.
Good coding practices and vigilant systems administrators are what ultimately make a site secure, rather than whether the software is open or closed.
The developers of the ZD-CMS™ use industry-standard security practices throughout.
Absolutely! A well thought-out web site can be built in stages and the costs spread over a period of time. It's also important to have a flexible design that can grow with you and adapt well to an ever-changing industry.
The first stage is always the Development Plan, which includes:
the site map and navigational flow,
static elements to be used - such as pictures, art, text;
(optional) dynamic elements to be used such as - forms, animation, video, audio;
dynamic database development such as - a schedule of events, join our email list, or send notice to mailing list; and
(optional) the flow and function of an E-commerce solution.
The second stage is registering your web site address (URL) and obtaining appropriate web hosting services. Your webmaster will usually do this for you. Tip: be sure to register your URL with both the .com and .net extensions. This will give you at minimum two URLs to register with Search Engines and Search Directories. If your business is more of an organization or an aspect of your business is organizational in nature, be sure to register your URL with the .org extension. There are other extensions available and you can discuss the value of these with your webmaster and/or marketing director.
The third stage is the development and production of the site style-the "look" of your website and its navigation elements.
The fourth stage is following the Site Map according to the Development Plan and filling in the text and other static elements.
After that, additional stages are up to you, taking into consideration the recommendations of the webmaster, and updates you decide you would like to add once you see all the things that our Content Management system can do. Modules of dynamic elements can be developed as "add-ons" potentially making a more elaborate web site project more affordable over time.
These remind me of the many pieces of paper that fall out of or are glued into magazines when you first get them. Obviously these were designed to grab our attention and they have done just that, even though our reaction is an annoyed one. This is what I think is a great idea gone bad. I don't mind the pop-up windows when I "ask" for them, like when I click on a link and it brings me to another website or a glossary of terms or some other feature like that. When it's advertising "screaming" in my face, it is annoying. The only way to avoid pop-ups is to close the window or disable pop-ups in your browser.
As a feature in your own website, consider the application. This feature does have its place, like on a fun and vibrant website where the main subject matter may be available resources, games, entertainment, etc., enhancing the liveliness of the website. In most cases though, this feature is best used wisely, for instance when your website provides links to other websites. It is valuable and considerate to make your site "sticky," so that people still have access to your site even when clicking on an external link. I appreciate viewing someone's site and then linking somewhere else and, after closing the new browser window or tab, be right back where I started- and so do a lot of our clients.
At Zee Designs we can discuss your specific requirements and determine whether pop-ups are appropriate for your application or whether another technique might work better for you.
You won't until you come up with a plan. How do you know how much your house is going to cost to build with all your wishes included? You hire an architect to draw the plans. Think of building your website in the same way. Hire a webmaster to create a Web Site Development Plan. This is the most important aspect of creating your web site. It will save you a significant amount of money and time, especially throughout the design and production phases.
The process of getting your own web site can be both confusing and scary. You're constantly being told that for your business to survive you must have a web presence. Adding to this pressure, web designers are coming out of the woodwork from every direction. How do you sort out the good from the bad and what is a fair price for their services? How can you use your site to truly enhance your business?
The easiest way to sort through these phone calls is to ask for their web site address, commonly referred to as URL (Uniform Resource Locator-the address for a web site), and take a look at it yourself.
While visiting their web site, locate their Portfolio and link to the other web site projects they have done.
Basic things to consider when browsing a website:
Do you like the site style and is it visually pleasing?
An important thing to remember is most often designers will focus on their particular client's taste, goal and market, which may be different from your personal taste and style. However, did the web site reflect the taste and style of THAT company's market?
Is the site easy to navigate?
As you move around the site, can you tell where you are? Think of it like a magazine or book with different sections or chapters. See if you can locate the information you would like to read easily.
Did the site load quickly?
15 seconds or less is ideal and 60 seconds or less is common for web sites that offer advanced navigation options and dynamic elements.
Is information organized and easy to read?
How can you know what to click on when everything is blinking at you and dozens of items are underlined or highlighted? It is important that
your information be easy to find;
you provide links to other related material within your web site;
art and picture elements are used efficiently and effectively;
each page is easy on the eyes making reading and navigation pleasurable.
If you like their portfolio, move on to other considerations.
Check out their Services.
Do they have a complete set of options for you to choose from?
What is their specialty?
What is their background and experience-is it related?
Do they offer state-of-the-art solutions?
Are they interested in a particular kind of web site project and do you fit in their project scope? Maybe your web site project is too small, large or complex.
Check their references
Do they share a client list?
Do they have testimonials?
Talk to the principals.
Do they talk your language?
Do they understand your business?
Are they used to meetings the requirements you have?
Will the project be in your price range?
If you get enough information, it will be an easy decision.
It is impossible to answer this question without first addressing what is to be included. What is the purpose of the site - marketing, information, sales, services? How many pages will it have? What kind of software and special features will be used? How many people [designers and developers] will it take to build this website? How much time do we have to build it? What additional services would you like?
The first part of your investment to developing a professional web site for your business should be the Development Plan as discussed in another FAQ. This will usually cost $75 to $150 per hour to develop and can take as little as two hours or as much as dozens of hours depending on the size of the project. From this Development Plan will come an estimate which will detail the cost(s) and phases of the project. Most firms will offer you the option of paying a per hour rate or a fixed project price. Be clear that with a fixed project price, any change or revision to the Development Plan will change the fixed project price.
When you buy a website, you also need to provide all the services that go with it to make it work. Some website development companies attempt to make it look easier or less expensive than it really is by combining all the parts and pieces together in their proposal and skipping over the incidentals, expecting the client already knows what these incidentals are. Then, bang, at the end of the project, the client gets hit with the invoice with all the incidental charges. this will never happen at Zee Designs. We outline all the charges in detail up front, and of there are changes due to changes in the project, we tell you that too.
An experienced, professional website development firm like Zee Designs knows that it is most efficient to be able to acquire and/or provide all services, elements, and production for any website project, be it small or large. They will also know it is about integrity to inform each and every client in writing about everything that is being done.
Costs involved may include:
Service that connects you to the internet from your office.
Hardware, software, and installation of each for your computers for the connection.
Domain name registration.
Website hosting & email services.
Project consultations and reviews.
Creative writing, editing, and translation services.
Affiliate advertising will represent a small secondary source of revenue. For many businesses however, even a supplementary income source is quite valuable. The major benefit of affiliate advertising is to your viewer, providing added resources and content that you could not afford to provide on your own. An additional benefit is increasing your credibility through your link with more widely known service providers in your field.
There are many choices when it comes to affiliate advertising programs. Choose wisely, and try to match your new 'advertisers' to the content of your site.
Most of the programs being offered are "click" based, which means that a visitor must click on the ad in order to generate a payback to you. The amount varies, but generally seems to be in the 10-cent to 20-cent range. The actual revenue generated will depend on how good the ad is and how well it fits with the demographics for your site. From what I have experienced and based on current industry data, you might expect to make between $0.50 and $1.00 per thousand page views. If you do the math, 100,000 page views a month would generate approximately $75 income.
Other programs will offer you a percentage of the sales made to visitors from your website. These programs may be more profitable.
Zee Designs can help you navigate the maze of options to find and implement solutions that best support your business and its requirements. Just ask.
You are not alone. Most people have a limited knowledge about the variety of elements to consider when creating a web site and the technical details behind it. Focus your energy on educating the webmaster about what you do know-your business. Then they can share with you what they know: presenting your business on the Internet with empowering, efficient options.
It's important when speaking with a web site designer/developer that you feel comfortable about how they communicate with you. Are they able to assist you with understanding the options without using a lot of technical jargon and speaking like a computer geek? When they do use technical jargon, do they offer an explanation that you can understand? Most likely you will be entering a long-term relationship with this company, and while this type of project can often be challenging, it is best when the journey is also fun, inspiring and rewarding for everyone involved. Zee Designs specializes in making the journey quick and delightful.
Consider how often you are making changes to your website and on which page or pages. If you are making changes every day, every week, every month, it would be wise to consider having programming designed which would allow you access to the "back side"-often referred to as the administrative side-of your website. You would use this to make changes to your website for that specific page or pages yourself, not relying on the website developer's schedule or motivation. Creating this administrative side is often done in two ways, through a custom application requiring custom programming or through the use of content management modules.
Programming is a time-consuming process and therefore can be costly. To decide if this is the most economical option, the cost of programming needs to be measured against several factors some of which include:
the value to your online customers of the information you are changing;
how often this information changes;
the return you do or potentially will receive from offering this information;
and how much you pay your website developer each time you need changes throughout the year.
Modules can be a great way of keeping your costs affordable and getting the kind of flexible access you need to these changing portions of your website. Let's use the excellent example of a Calendar of Events. Our team of website developers and programmers has developed the code for a Calendar Module. Because it is a nearly ready-made piece, it is sold as an element for a very reasonable, one-time-cost to any client desiring this feature in their website. The only custom programming that is done is integrating the module with your website, making it less time consuming than a custom programming application and therefore less costly. Now you have access to your calendar on your website 24/7 on any computer that has internet access around the world! This is just one example of a module option and how it can be used. We have modules for virtually every purpose. Let us know what you require and we will show you how our content management system can create it.
Seriously consider hiring Zee Designs as your website developer. We understand that a website is a living, breathing, interactive and important part of your business and livelihood. The majority of websites are not built and left alone. Due to the wonderful flexibility and technologies the internet involves, your website CAN change-much more easily and economically than changing any of your print, television, or radio media can. It is appropriate to find a website development team that will consider your needs now AND as your business evolves, evaluate these needs appropriately, give you options for empowering solutions that work for both of you and continue to support you with marketing solutions that will potentially bring you business. After all, isn't that why you had a website built in the first place?
Advertise it on and in everything else you do including: business cards, brochures, newspaper and magazine ads, your yellow pages listing, your motorcycle helmet, invoices, business checks, letterhead, at the bottom of every email you send out, company vehicles, newsletters, product packaging, your race car, etc.
Ask other companies you associate with to link from their web site to yours. Offer the same to them. A sophisticated version of this is available where you and your affiliates get paid for referred traffic and/or sales.
Business pouring in will be directly affected by the effort you put out notifying the public you now offer a web site for them to learn more about your business and to obtain your services and/or products in another way. Start with a mailer and/or an email notice to your current customer list. There are several dynamic options we can discuss with you which will offer powerful ways to communicate with your website visitors. A simple example of this would be a "join our mailing list" option and ZD-eNews™, our easy way to send a notice to those who have joined your mailing list.
Getting the kind of traffic you would like is directly related to all your other marketing materials. Zee Designs has excellent web site traffic analysis options so you know exactly what your web site is and isn't doing. From these analysis reports you, Zee Designs staff, and/or your marketing director can base decisions about changes and revisions that will potentially make your web site more effective. Offering day-to-day information and giveaways is a fantastic way to get visitors to come back to your site time and time again.
Search engines play a large role in how easily people find your website. The best way to think of Search Engines and Search Directories is like a giant yellow pages directory that holds millions of web site addresses. Zee Designs knows how to make sure that, at minimum, when you type in your company name, it will come up. There are several other options for submitting your web site to these Search Engines and Directories from do-it-yourself to paying for this service to be done for you. There are also pay-for-position options, and unless you have a Fortune 500 company, this may not necessarily be a wise use of your advertising funds. Register often is the golden rule here-a minimum of four times per year. Zee Designs can take care of this for you and educate you on the options available.
It really depends on the results you expect and the time you have. Employers and employees have full schedules already leaving no time for learning the complexities and diversity of this type of software. Depending on the size and scope of your project web site design, development and production can be a full-time job. Most people find out very quickly that the do-it-yourself websites often look amateur and are very limited in their ability to provoke interaction from visitors. What about all the aspects that work hand-in-hand with web sites beyond design and development like hosting, search engine registration, traffic analysis, database development, affiliate programs, and E-commerce solutions? Are you prepared for learning all about these as well and making the myriad of decisions that go into designing a site with these features?
Just as it takes a toolbox full of tools and many people to build a house, it most often takes several software applications and many people to build a professional, effective, efficient website. You may spend a few hundred dollars on a software package and a professional website design/development firm has commonly invested tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in their equipment, software, and education. A professional web site design/development firm will offer you much more for your money.
We recently were referred to a client with the same challenge. They paid $375 for three web pages on another company's website. The address didn't even reflect the name of their business! Their biggest complaint was they are getting no response from it. Here are some of the issues we discovered with this that are common to this kind of arrangement:
Only the body of the page was related to their company. All the navigation and advertising elements on the page were that of the "hosting" company making their pages easy to navigate away from.
The "hosting" company was a completely unrelated business.
Metatags and keywords, keys to search engines finding the web site, were placed in the code "behind" each web page. These elements were that of the "hosting" company and not their company.
They are selling products. The website offered a list of these products along with a quick form for the user to send only their personal information along with their credit card number. This form didn't even offer the user a chance to order how many of which product directly. YIKES! Any time you request this kind of information from your visitor, you need to be on a secure server that will encrypt the information entered and sent. If you intend to sell your products online, offer a secure order form or shopping cart solution so that the buyer is comfortable making their purchase right then!
"A picture is worth a thousand words," a wise person once said. They had one picture of the product, yet had many varieties. Make the investment to have professional pictures taken of each and every one of your products, in and out of their packaging. Make sure to include exact information for each product with ingredients, measurements, function, etc. The more information you give to your visitor, the better chance they will feel comfortable making a purchase online knowing they are seeing what they will get.
Get your own URL and plan on paying for web hosting services. It is significantly more powerful for someone to be able to get to you directly. How efficient would it be to dial someone else's telephone number then have to dial another telephone number to get to you? Same idea. Zee Designs will obtain a URL and web hosting services for you. It's just part of being professional to obtain these services directly rather than indirectly.
Be smart about your budget. If $375 is all you have to spend on a website, you are not being realistic, especially in this case where an e-commerce solution would best serve you. Spend that same $375 on a professional Development Plan so you have a "map" to go by. Save your money, create a more realistic advertising budget in alignment with the Development Plan, and put your web site project in phases you can more easily afford. We can work with you on how to do this.
If you are not ready to have your own website built and would still like exposure on the internet, and if you are already advertising in a publication which offers you exposure on their website, consider purchasing a single or few pages on their website and potentially increase your visibility in this way. When you are ready to consider your own site, we will walk you through the process.
A referral is an effective way to find an appropriate web site developer. Ask other business owners who they used and what they liked about working with them. Were they able to fulfill all the requested requirements of design, development, and production? Did they deliver the project on time? Were they informative about a variety of solutions? Do they feel like they paid a fair price and the services met up to or exceeded their expectations?
Check out other web sites of companies that offer similar services and/or products. If you find one you like, look for the webmaster's insignia, logo, or link, then check out the webmaster's services and portfolio. Ask yourself, "What sites do I like and for what reasons?" Take notes and write down the URLs. This will be very useful to the company you choose to create your web site!
Nothing if it is just a counter, and it can potentially be a turnoff for your visitors if the number isn't what they think it ought to be for them to consider your website valuable.
A more appropriate solution is website traffic analysis reporting, which can be done by putting into place software and/or a service that can report on the specifics about the traffic that is visiting your website. For example:
Where are your users coming from?
How long are they visiting your website?
What pages are they and are they not viewing?
How many unique and return visitors are you getting?
By evaluating this and other specific data, we can determine appropriate aspects of your website to either develop further or eliminate, thereby creating a strong, effective, evolving tool for your business. Solutions can range from free to a few hundred dollars a month. Effective solutions can be found for $49.95 per month and under. Considering how much you invested on the development of your website, this is a wise place to spend additional funds.
We take you through the process of determining what you desire your website to accomplish and that will help determine what elements the new website will contain. We will help you put together a plan, let you know what kind of information you will be asked to provide, and design the look to fit in with your branding. If you have no branding or inconsistent branding, we can help you with that as well. Zee Designs is a full-service provider.
Charges may depend upon what your monthly needs are such as text and product updates, monthly newsletters, high-volume list servicing, etc., and how much of it you will be doing yourself. If it is a determinable amount of work, some website firms will assess this and create a monthly fee for it, figuring that your demand will even out over a year's time. Monthly maintenance fees can also pay for the day-to-day task of checking on your site to make sure it is up and running, addressing spontaneous technical issues immediately, any dedicated server-side maintenance, etc. Other firms prefer to invoice on an as need basis. When you need the work, they do it and then bill you for it.
My friend has a son who spends all his time on the web and will design a site for me for $100. My friend is very impressed with what he has done for him. What is the difference between what he can do for me and what you can do for me?
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" definitely applies here. This is your business we are talking about, not a high school project or hiring the neighborhood kid to mow your lawn! Adding the creation of a web site to your list of advertising expenses is a big deal whether you are spending $1,000 or $1,000,000. Experience, experience, experience. How much experience does your friend's son have with owning and operating a business, managing an advertising budget, discussing a contingent marketing plan, coordinating a team of people for all aspects of project design and development, project research and development?
Even the simplest web site projects are best served with professional attention, by people who know what it's like to own and operate a business, by people whose business it is to assist you with promoting your business, and by people who care about your advertising results and provide professional graphic design to show your business to its best advantage. At Zee Designs, you end up with a website you can easily update yourself, rather than having to rely on someone else who may not be available later.