Software is today’s method of interactivity, be that guest books, flip books, shopping carts or blogs. Interactivity or “cool stuff” is all run by software.
One of the more concerning things I’ve seen in web business development is the dog pile of costly mistakes that come with the addition of software.
Mistakes are often compounded by webmasters who know little about software, but make recommendations anyway.
So here is a checklist and suggestion sheet to use when adding any kind of software or “new age coolness” to your website.
1. Get your site the hell out of html.
HTML was around when the net started. Buggy whips were around when wheels started. We still have wheels but we learned far more effective ways to go forward than buggy whips. Any Content Management software is better than HTML. Good suggestions to look at are:
These solutions can all “house” your html site nicely with little spent on conversion. And to boot.. you can then even dig in yourself, and contribute to the odd page if you want to. Review them all carefully, Joomla, for instance – has a massive amount of plugins, components and such that you can just add on.. insert as it were.
Some CMS Solutions are paid and some are free.. but they are all spectacular forays into interactivity that HTML can’t achieve without months of re-inventing the wheel to suit your current buggy. So take a look and choose one according to what you see your site progressing into.
The harsh truth:
Any HTML web page maker that doesn’t know how to use any of these… should be off your payroll. If you have been held back with “html is pure and better” then you have simply been HELD BACK. There is no reason to avoid progress other than your webmaster simply doesn’t know how. Any webmaster that will steer you clear of something better, purely because they have not taken the time to learn it.. should be met with a pink slip. Don’t even retrain them, they lied to you based on what they want.
2. Make a plan
What do you want to happen when a person comes to your site? Seems like a simple question but.. most site owners can’t answer it. More time is spent on the shade of purple than the effect that should be achieved.
Take a look at Ebay or Amazon. Two of the butt ugliest sites on the eGlobe.. yet two of the money makin’est sites ever. I’m not saying “screw the good looks” but I’m for sure saying.. make it count when a person arrives.
Do you want something to be purchased? Do you want to gather email addresses? Do you want voting? Surely you don’t want people to nod and say.. nice purple.
Asking yourself these questions while looking at Content Management Solutions will assist you in choosing the one that is right for you.
3. Questions to ask when your webmaster offers software solutions
1. Is my site in a Content Management System? If NOT how much will it cost to do that and then PLUG IN my software needs?
Don’t take “you don’t need that” for an answer. There is no such thing as not being able to benefit from Content Management software of one kind or another. There is no SEO or Engine benefit to HTML. When refusing to use today’s tools, there is only the side effect of looking like your site was made in the 90s – and going through cyberhell every time you want new technology on it.
2. If I move my site.. what platform will it require to run?
Your site is just like your email program. It either runs on a MAC or a PC and web software either runs on UNIX, LINUX, Windows or MAC.
Unix and Linux take up about 80% of what the net runs on. It’s not as easy to muck with but then viruses are always targeted at Windows. UNIX and Linux was designed, from the get go, to handle thousands upon thousands of simultaneous users. So in choosing platform.. think about your site more than yourself. If you’re just starting out.. I strongly suggest UNIX and Linux platforms.
3. Is this software portable? If I make a different site .. can I still use it?
Some software is domain dependent. Find out before you buy. If the firm goes out of business you could be stuck with “this site only” rules. There are many ways to find out how long a development firm has been in business, and it’s not a bad thing to have domain dependent rules.. just be sure those imposing the rules have earned their right to, in terms of doing their own time.
4. Is this a license product.. or am I paying you to fart about?
Given that MOST software has been created, few jobs can’t be done already with nothing more than the correct software purchase. Webmasters are NOT software developers. They are layout people. Get the advice of a software purchasing expert who knows many systems and platforms. Get more advice. Compare advice. And be very careful about paying anyone to redo that which is already out there. (And if you are paying someone to fart about.. you will no doubt lose that software if you ever ditch the webmaster)
5. Unless your kid really does own one of North America’s largest internet ISPs.. don’t be using their advice.
Even if they know some stuff.. family advice always comes from the point of view of not spending money. And usually you get what you paid for. (remember when they fixed your car?:)