3 Important Fundamentals of a Business Website

BIG World Wide Web 
Lately I’ve come across a lot of situations with new clients where they are having trouble getting access to their existing source files or getting their current providers to cooperate in many ways. So today I’m going to talk about three business fundamentals that should be established when starting a website.

1. Establish Ownership. The first and most important one of these principals is to own everything – your domain name and all of your content (words, pictures, logos, graphics, videos, etc.). There are many, many companies who will offer you great deals up front (such as a “free” website for a year) but then retain ownership of your site, so you are left with little options or flexibility. Although the initial cost may be higher, establishing ownership will pay dividends throughout the lifespan of your website by assuring that certain barriers to progress will not be imposed.

2. Have Complete Access to Your Content. In many (if not most) cases, there is one major exception to the “establish ownership” rule and that is in regards to hosting. Most small businesses just do not have the time, resources, or know-how to manage their own hosting servers so it makes sense find an established hosting company to handle these tasks. However, when you employ a hosting company, it is important that you have direct access to all your files via FTP. Many small business owners don’t understand the process or the importance of this ability, but by having full access a professional developer can instantly add, modify, or delete any website item on your behalf.

3. Adaptability and/or Agility. This is the only one of the three which actually deals with website design (my specialty). The basic point here is that the online universe is rapidly evolving and it is important that your website’s design has the ability to integrate newer features, technologies, and design features. Of course, this is much more of an art than a science because none of us know which innovations are on the horizon. But by keeping your site agile and not “painting yourself into a corner” with too many static features and dependencies, you and your developer will maximize the possibilities for the future.

 
~ Ric Albano
 

WordPress Basic Tips and Functions

Presented by Ric Albano, owner of 33 Dimensions Web Design to the Entrepreneur Development Group in Camp Hill, PA

Overview

Ric will touch briefly on each of the major components of the popular WordPress technology and how it can be used effectively for small business websites. This will include a layman’s explanation of how to choose the right platform, themes, and plugins, as well as the pros and cons of using WordPress as a Content Management System. This demonstration will not go into great technical detail, just give a “bird’s eye” view of how WordPress can be utilized to achieve business goals.

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

With WordPress.com, your site is hosted on the WordPress domain. Hence, installation is a snap and the web hosting is provided. And, ignoring the usual asterisks, the hosting is free. However, you cannot modify the source code or upload any plugins which are not provided natively. The biggest drawback of all is you do not own your website and are subject to the policies and procedures of WordPress.com.

WordPress.com is where “WordPress” the software is freely available to the public to be used on independent websites. Free and “premium” themes can be customized and you have access to the wide universe of plugins. This is a good resource for “do it yourself” site owners and business owners who want to maintain their brand identity and build SEO. Most of this presentation concentrates on WordPress.org features.

General Pros and Cons of WordPress

PROS CONS
  • Technical novices can easily make charges to their website
  • Includes a rich database to categorize and organize your content
  • Plugins give functionality that can save time and money
  • Huge WP community
  • Technical novices can easily make charges to their website
  • A lot of moving parts – you are subject to technology provided by various sources and sometimes these themes or plugins don’t work and play well together
  • You do not have 100% control over design (the sliding scale principle)

Setting up a WordPress site

Depending on your hosting company, WordPress may be free and easy to install or it may come with a cost and restrictions. Installing on a pre-exisiting site may also be complicated. However, once WordPress is installed, set up is relatively easy with the first steps being running a simple install script and setting up the initial admin user.

Logon, User Roles, and Dashboard

Logons are user name and passwords. There are many levels of users built into the WordPress scheme ranging from admins, who can do anything (even create and delete other admins), to subscribers, who can simply log in with no editing ability.

Depending on the user role, the dashboard will display all features available at that specific user level.

Themes

There are thousands, probably tens of thousands, of free and premium themes, along with some hybrids which start free but try to entice you to move to premium.

There are Four Basic Types of Themes:

  1. “Free” Themes
  2. Premium Themes
  3. Custom Themes
  4. Child Themes

Each WordPress installation includes some themes.

Plugins

Each WordPress installation includes some plugins and there are score of more available plugins for all kinds of features and functions, including:

  • Security, performance, anti-spam
  • SEO and analytics
  • Enhancements such as sliders, rotators, media players, calendars, social media, and forms
  • Site maintenance and backup

Posts and Pages

Posts are the typical “blogs” of WordPress and may use Categories and Tags as identifying and sort-able features. Posts may also contain meta data (author name, date, etc.) and reader comments.

Pages typically contain more “static” content and are typically featured in menus links or other top-level navigation.
Pages can have parent / child relationship.

Content

Content can be added via Text Editor (HTML) or Rich Editor. Using some features on the rich editor may contrast with the look and feel of the site and/or be adverse to SEO. Add Media button is used to simply and quickly add images or video. Posts can be saved as “drafts” and previewed without being published, which is very beneficial to the editing process.

Customization

There is basic customization for every WordPress site, which includes the use of widgets, custom menus, and custom URLs. On the theme level, each theme contains its own specific customization features (and limitations). These may include elements such as background images, logos, and text and link colors, as well as theme-specific features like contact forms, portfolios, and image sliders.

Best Practices

  • Stay up-to-date with latest WordPress, themes, and plugins versions
  • Know your role and limitations
  • Work with a designer to develop a style guide
  • Keep options open for future expansion and/or refinement
  • Be consistent

 

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday image

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the coining of the term “Cyber Monday”. It grew out of the growing practice of Americans returning to a normal work schedule off the extended Thanksgiving weekend and buying items online on this Monday each year.

2015 marks the first time that 33 Dimensions will be getting into the act and offering our own great deals for new and existing customers. Please check the list below of the primary services we offer and give us a call or Contact Us for a low cost, high quality and customized solution, delivered in a timely manner.

Ric Albano
Owner and Chief Designer
33 Dimensions LLC

What We Offer

Web Design, Integrated Mobile and Desktop Solutions
Website Maintenance
Content Management / WordPress
Search Engine Optimization
Online Marketing / Social Media Services
Inbound Marketing Solutions
Analytics
Original Articles and Blogging
Digital Images and Graphics
Video Editing
White Label Services
Training and Consultation
Complete Content Ownership for Our Clients

More Info on Our Services


Amazon logoNot in the market for any of the above?
No problem!

You can shop for great Cyber Monday deals to your heart’s desire at Amazon.com and still support our great little small business. Just click Our Amazon Affiliate Link and start shopping!


33 Dimensions on LinkedIn   33 Dimensions on Twitter   33 Dimensions on Facebook   33 Dimensions on Google Plus   33 Dimensions on YouTube

7 Years and Going Strong

7th Anniversary Collage

Thank You!

Since our founding on March 3, 2009 (the date which helped inspire our name), 33 Dimensions has grown from a simple concept on how to provide affordable websites for musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs to a thriving enterprise with a worldwide reach and a vital component for scores of businesses large and small.

Running such an enterprise is neither simple nor easy, as the business climate is constantly in flux and highly unpredictable. Throughout these years, we’ve adapted our business to accommodate changing technologies and business needs and, at times, faced our share of challenges. But we’ve persevered and emerged stronger and more committed than ever to our mission.

It is hard to express how grateful I am for all the support for 33 Dimensions and related initiatives over the past seven years.

Ric Albano
Founder, Owner, Creative Director, Chief Web Designer, Marketing Specialist, President & CEO
33 Dimensions, LLC


Here are some of the fine companies, organizations, and initiatives with whom we’ve worked in the present and past:

Thank You Collage

We look forward to commencing our eighth year with more exciting initiatives.

Avoiding the Alternative Universe

Alternative Universe imageRecently, I made a mistake of omission which set off a chain of unforeseen events. These events caused a lot of problems for my client and resulted in a few dozen unplanned hours of problem-solving for myself and my company. Initially, it did not appear that there would be much of a disruption to the client’s service but things then began unraveling quickly with new issues seemingly arising out of nowhere. In my frustration, I found myself doing something that I absolutely loath when done by others. I started using the “alternative universe” excuse.

This is the practice of white-washing situations with hindsight justification. “If I had been told the facts of ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’, then I certainly would have approached ‘A’ much differently and all these problems would have been avoided.” Now, this was certainly a true argument, as many of the subsequent problems could have been avoided if the client had disclosed all of the relevant information. Still, this was totally irrelevant to the subsequent situation, as it is impossible to jump into that alternative universe where all problems are averted.

This foray into the scientifically unproven domain has become a trend these days. You hear it often from the losing side of a sports contest, and most especially, in the political world. “If I had been in charge, we’d now be in much better shape right now…” or “…things may be bad now, but they would’ve been so much worse if not for my brilliant policies…” These statements are usually made as absolute fact and as a way to divert attention from the reality at hand.

The truth is, we only live in this one reality and we have to own the decisions we make here.This is especially true for small business owners like myself who don’t have much luxury for academic exercises and hypothetical situations. Not all our decisions will be correct, but once made they must be embraced either as building blocks for best practices or lessons learned for the future.

~

  • Multimedia Production

    In competition for content relevance, companies and organizations are using images, graphics, and short videos as an extremely effective way to get their message out. 33 Dimensions produces original graphics and video montages which are attractive and interesting.
  • Marketing & Analytics

    For some time now, smart marketers have been using a new set of tools to monitor their markets, with the real potential being the ability to dynamically respond to analytics. Businesses can now instantly meet customer needs and explore new market opportunities.