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Small Business Websites

Helping to build your online footprint




Building a Website for Business


Nowadays, there are various ways of building and deploying small business websites.

Many businesses will have in-house IT Support and web designers, capable of building, and deploying, their websites. Those that do not have the necessary skills will normally opt for a third party to build their website for them.

Having external web designers build your site presents a number of advantages:

However, designing the look and functionality of a small business website is only part of the whole jigsaw, as there are other elements involved in getting a new site up and running:

Website Design
Website Design
Web Design

Domain Names
Domain Names Domain Names

DNS Hosting
DNS Hosting
DNS Hosting

Website Hosting
Web Hosting
Web Hosting

Website Security
Site Security
Web Security





Website Design


Websites are used by companies to promote their goods and services, online. They offer huge advantages over more traditional marketing tools, in that their content can be refreshed on the fly, allowing new product information and press releases to be published in real-time.

For websites to provide users with an engaging experience, certain elements need be incorporated into their design:

With regard to the development of small business websites, there are a several ways of achieving this. Companies can opt for a site which is built around a Content Management System, or by building an HTML website from the ground up.


Content Management System
Content Management System

Content Management Systems (CMS), are software packages that assist users to build and modify websites, without them having to know how to code in languages such as HTML.

CMS packages such as WordPress, provide a number of templates which can be customised, and enhanced through the use of bolt-on features called plugins, to give a more bespoke website solution.

However, to implement some of the more advanced features of WordPress may require the assistance of a web developer.



CSS Framework
HTML Website

‌In the alternative, businesses can opt to have their website built in HTML, which will require the assistance of a web developer.

Sites built in HTML will also require resources such as CSS stylesheets, which control the look and feel of the site when viewed across different devices. The Bootstrap CSS framework is a popular example.

These sites will also require the use of javascript or jquery, to provide the necessary animation in conjunction with the CSS stylesheets.



How IT Results build websites


All web design companies will have their own particular methodology when building websites for their clients. From our perspective, we operate a 4 stage process, ensuring that our clients' are kept in the loop at all times. In doing so, they get the small business websites that they expect, with no nasty surprises along the way.



website specification

The design stage is extremely important, as this is the point at which we formulate the specification for the website. We will work with you to elicit how you want the website to function, and then build design documentation including mockups of all web pages, in PDF format.

Once the specification has been agreed, and signed off, then this will form the basis of the website.

Having an agreed specification will not only save on development time, but will also avoid unnecessary costs.




website development

We will begin coding your website based on the site structure, fonts, colour palettes and page mock-ups, as per the agreed specification document.

The development process may take several weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of the site.

We will give you access to a web link that you can use to monitor the progress of your site, although some elements may not work whilst in development.




website test & review

Once the website is at a point where it is near to completion, we will provide you with a working demonstration. This will give you the opportunity to see the site running on various devices, and test all relevant functionality.

Any items identified as requiring modification, in line with the original specification, will be effected at this point.




website implementation

When it comes to putting your website live, there are various options.

We can provide your IT team with the code, which they can then upload to your internal server or web hosting provider. Or in the alternative, we can arrange a suitable web hosting package, and provide the necessary configuration to get your site up and running.





All web design companies will have their own particular methodology when building websites for their clients. From our perspective, we operate a 4 stage process, ensuring that our clients' are kept in the loop at all times. In doing so, they get the small business websites that they expect, with no nasty surprises along the way.

If you would like to know more about how we can assist you with the building of your website, then why not contact us today for a no-obligation discussion.


Ready to discuss your Website Project?





Domain Names


Before you can embark on deploying internet services for your small business, you will need to purchase a domain name.

domain registrar image

A domain name is a unique identification string, allowing the owner to deploy various internet services, such as websites and email systems.

An example domain name would be www.itresults.co.uk

Obtaining a domain is a straightforward process. All you need to do is visit a domain registrar such as names.co.uk, enter a name in their search engine, and the site will advise you which domains are available, along with their extension - i.e. .com, .co.uk, .net etc.

If you would like to know more about domain names, please get in touch.





DNS Hosting


In order to make your website available to internet users, you will need to configure your DNS (Domain Name System), with the relevant information for your set-up.

domain registrar image

The DNS contains a list of all the services that are available for your domain, including websites, email systems, VPN connections etc.

Configuration of a DNS system can be a complex task for the uninitiated, as you will need a basic understanding of IP addressing and hostnames.

As an alternative, we can manage your DNS for you, maintaining the configurations required to run your website and email systems, regardless of where the services are hosted.

If you would like to know more about our DNS hosting service, please get in touch.



 


Website Hosting


Once you have completed your website coding, the final hurdle is to get it published on-line. The two options for doing this, are to host the site on your own equipment, or use a web hosting provider.


on-site webserver
Self-Hosted

If you host your own website, you will be responsible for the purchase of all hardware and software, along with its configuration and maintenance. A typical setup will require for the following items:

  • A server with a decent CPU / RAM / hard drives
  • A suitable firewall, capable of protecting your server
  • An SSL Certificate for website encryption
  • Windows Server or a Linux Operating System
  • A Backup Solution such as MSP 360
  • An internet connection with sufficient bandwidth
  • A dedicated IP address for the webserver
  • An IT support specialist to configure and maintain the system



web hosting provider
Web Hosting Provider

If your website is hosted in the cloud, there will be no hardware or software required, as this will be provided by the web host. For a monthly fee, you will be given access to a number of services:

  • Server with appropriate CPU, RAM and RAID hard drives
  • Unlimited bandwidth / visitors (with a fair usage policy)
  • A free Lets Encrypt SSL certificate
  • Windows Server or a Linux Operating System
  • 24x7 Support
  • DNS Services
  • Free backups on certain packages
  • A dedicated IP address (for an additional monthly fee)



As you can see, hosting your own website is not an easy option, given the significant configuration required, and associated costs for server hardware and software. Hence, for businesses that have a smaller website budget, a hosting provider is a much better solution.

If you would like to know more about website hosting, please get in touch, as we have significant experience in this area.




Website Security


If your website has, or is going to have, a lot of visitors, then you need to think very carefully about implementing appropriate security, to protect it from being compromised.

Hackers continually scan websites, looking for ways through any existing security, so that they can either take them down, or steal their data.

Websites that use Wordpress are particularly vulnerable to attack, especially where they have plugins that are out of date and may contain security holes.

Hence, it is paramount that whichever webserver software you use, it must kept up to date with all the latest bug fixes.

There are also various tools available to help protect your site from being attacked, such as the Sucuri Web Applicaition Firewall (WAF).

Sucuri firewall information

The Sucuri Website Application Firewall is a cloud-based service, designed to prevent websites from being taken down by hackers.

Once implemented, all website traffic is routed via the WAF first, where it scanned for suspicious behaviour. Any entity trying anything untoward is immediately blocked, with the remaining traffic forwarded to the website as normal.

We have set this system up for several companies, including a high-profile football site that got hacked due to poor security, and all have had trouble free websites ever since.

If you would like to know more about how we can assist with your website security, please get in touch.