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
 

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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

 

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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.

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Central PA Happenings for October

Ag Recycling Image

The Bagman Goes Green

These days you’ll hear all kinds of people and companies say that are “going green” to help save the environment. No doubt, many of these pledges are sincere. But there is no one we know who has actually done more along these lines then Ron Davis of R. Davis Enterprises.

Based in Lancaster County, PA, Davis (a long time client of 33 Dimensions) is commonly known as “Ron the Bagman” because of his longtime business of wholesaling plastic bags and other supplies for markets and auctions. About two years ago, Ron started recycling as a secondary service, but this aspect of his business has rapidly grown to be his primary focus. Ron picks up all forms of clear plastic (LDPE, ABS, PET, PP, twine, drip tape, and filed mulch from the farm) from agricultural and industrial locations and then brings the material back to his warehouse where it is baled and loaded on his trucks for delivery to a recycling/manufacturing center which provides R Davis with the plastic bags and trash can liners that he wholesales. This entire process is done in the USA and removes approximately 200,000 lbs of plastic waste from landfills or incinerators each month. The only current problem with this whole process is that demand for recycling has outgrown Ron’s current capacity to meet it.

R Davis is looking to make necessary upgrades to their infrastructure by installing a new horizontal baler as well as new loading docks and other improvements which will ultimately triple their current capacity so they can handle about 600,000 lbs of material per month. In order to help make this happen, Ron has launched an IndieGoGo campaign where he will give cases of his high quality plastic bags and/or trash can liners in exchange for donations towards his eco-friendly, efficient and environmentally sustainable operation in Central Pennsylvania and neighboring locales.

Please check out his Indiegogo campaign here or RonTheBagMan.com. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Ric Albano
Owner and Chief Web Designer
33 Dimensions LLC

Other Happenings

Life After Russian Roulette coverAuthor Mike Kaminski will be doing a book signing for his intriguing novel Life After Russian Roulette: Game Over. on Saturday, October 24th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Cornerstone Coffeehouse, 2133 Market Street, Camp Hill, PA.

Mike Kaminski website
Cornerstone Coffeehouse website

Bridal Baby ShowersSpeaking of Cornerstone, they are offering fantastic catering and private event services, providing the perfect atmosphere and cuisine for bridal and baby showers. Be sure to book your event now because dates are filling up fast!

More on Cornerstone private events

 
Join me for my first gig in a few years as we celebrate John Lennon’s 75th birthday with plenty of songs from the Beatles and Lennon’s solo career. Special guests will also be performing some songs. Free admission / all ages.


John Lennon birthday tribute show


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

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Summer Solstice

 
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

33 Dimensions provides Website Design and Management, Multimedia Marketing, and Creative Services for small businesses, individuals, entrepreneurs, and non-profit groups. We have been designing Websites for more than a decade and have an ever-expanding Portfolio of our original work.

Common Questions

Why Do I Need a Website?

Simply put, it is the most cost-effective means of advertising. The Internet is revolutionizing entire markets, allowing all businesses, large or small, the same opportunities to market their products, services and information on the Internet in an effective and appealing manner.

Compared with attracting new customers through advertising or conventional marketing, websites are amazingly low cost and the possibilities are endless. Search engines, referrals and the vast linking mechanics of the worldwide web provide volumes of “foot traffic” unimaginable in a “brick and mortar” storefront setting.

So should I have a business website, even if my business is small and sells products I don’t think can be sold online?

Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt. These days, there’s very little that can’t be sold over the internet. More than 20 million shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

That said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer.

 


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  • 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.