Creating Some Web Site Content

This post was written by Sara Parr

If you’ve already approached a web-designer and asked them about prices, you’ll have already heard ‘What do you want it to do?’  Having thought about it and told them, you probably picked yourself up off the floor after they told you how much it will cost!

I’m not trying to put web designers out of business here.  If you need an all singing, all dancing, visual extravaganza with fully functioning shopping cart, forum and blog with the minimum of fuss and you need your site to be unique in design and style, then you are probably going to have to pay them the rate they asked for (and if this is the case you would do well to approach Stylistic Web Design Ltd)!

If your initial thoughts are something a bit more basic; some static pages to get across key, useful bit of information about your company, who you are, what you do, maybe a blog, etc. then, if you are willing to do some reading and have a play about with technology, there are a couple of possible solutions for you.

You could use a What You See Is What You Get (WISIWYG) web-site development tool, such as FrontPage (2003 was the last version released, it was replaced by Expression Web) or Dream Weaver.  These are off the shelf packages, similar to Word or Excel.  They can be quite simple to use but the main downside is the cost.  My quick internet comparisons put Expression Web at £150 and DreamWeaver at £250.  They can also require a bit of technical know-how.

But another possible solution is Open Source Content Management.  Sounds a right mouthful doesn’t it?  But, in essence, it a framework onto which you can build.  Being open source, means there are literally thousands of developers around the world working on improving and adding bits onto the basic package for free.  They may be developing for their own needs but they make the fruits of their labour available to everyone.

Free doesn’t mean cheap and nasty looking either.  There are a number of these Open Source Content Management systems out there.  By far the most common is WordPress (found at www.wordpress.org/).  They describe themselves like this;

“WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”

WordPress is used by many leading organisations.  Downing Street (www.number10.gov.uk/), CNN (business.blogs.cnn.com/), The Wall Street Journal (magazine.wsj.com) and Fox News (www.foxnews.com/opinion/index.html) all use it, so there must be something in it, right?

Many hosts may also include it as a ‘1-click’ install on your hosting package, greatly simplifying the install procedure and getting you up and running quickly.

You can download ‘themes’ to change the look and feel of the site and also ‘plug-ins’ to add or enhance functionality.  Once you get a feel for it and if you are prepared to do a bit of reading and learning, you can edit these to ‘tweak’ them for your specific site or develop your own from scratch.

This site uses WordPress.  It uses a ‘tweaked’ theme (the standard, free one wasn’t quite what Sara wanted…) and a number of additional plug-ins to control things like e-mail subscriptions, spam monitoring, Google Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Total monetary cost to Sara – £0.00 – just a bit of time and (my!) effort.

A bespoke web site with similar functionality from a web designer?  Somewhere in the region of £5-6000!

So hopefully the posts in this series have opened your eyes to how you can produce a web site for your business.  At the end of the day the most difficult thing to come up with are ideas… that’s why professional web design studios cost so much…

If you would like Above Parr PA Services to help you create your web presence, contact Sara.

Written by Sara Parr

2 Responses to “Creating Some Web Site Content”

  • This is an excellent post.I have worked in an environment where we have paid ‘000 to web designers, web content managers, web masters and any other title you’d care to dream up. Now, self employed I struggled for ages to try and set up my website, then I found a web host specialising in Word Press. I am still learning new things every day, but as your fantastic post illustrates it is possible with initial help to really create something that does the job perfectly !

  • Avatar Philippa:

    some great advice for those who want a basic web site to get a business up & running. And for lots of business just a web presence is enough for peole to find them & be able to get in touch when they need their services

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.