Websites for Home and Small Businesses

Introduction

Designing cartoon

Before going any further we're going to clear up a few terms to make things a bit easier to understand, please note though that these terms are simplified to something the layman can understand. Like all technologies web design has it's own unique terminology.

URL
Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator". A URL is the address of a specific Web site or file on the Internet. It cannot have spaces or certain other characters and uses forward slashes to denote different directories. Some examples of URLs are http://www.cnet.com/, http://web.mit.edu/. There is more to this but you don't meed to know this for our purposes.
Domain Name
To identify a particular website an ip address is used, it looks something like this 49.145.12.5, fine for the computer but not particularly user friendly for humans so we use something more friendly like in our case http://www.thetaware.co.za is the url and the thetaware.co.za is the domain name. Much easier to remember.
TLD (Top Level Domain)
Every domain name has a suffix which indicates which TLD it belongs to, there are only a limited number of these, you will be familiar with the .co.za suffix, it refers to domain names used in the country of South Africa. Here are some more with their meanings:
  • .gov Government agencies
  • .edu Educational Institutes
  • .org (.org.za in South Africa) Non-profit organisations
  • .com Commercial organisations
  • .mil Military
  • .mobi Mobile devices
  • .co.za South Africa
  • .au Australia
  • .de Germany
Website Hosting
Your website is made up of several files (pages), in order to make your website available on the internet these files have to be stored on a special computer called a server which is connected to the internet. When someone types in your address (url) in the address line of their browser a request is sent to the server which then "serves" (that's why it's called a server) these files to their browser.
RSS feed
RSS stands for (R)eally (S)imple (S)yndication which doesn't really tell you what it is. It is simply a feed of information from another website, such as a newspaper, which can be published on a website. As the source of the feed updates its' content so your display becomes updated. It is also possible to subscribe to an RSS feed in many email clients.

What you need to do

The first thing you need to remember is that your website is a marketing tool and it's for your customers not for you, in other words it must communicate to them about your business products and services. Although this is not a definitive list it is most common to divide it up as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Company History
  • Company Profile
  • Products or Services
  • Contact Details

Of course one is not limited to 5 pages, different businesses will have different needs, a hotel for example could have a page for facilities within the hotel or data about their restaurants.

You may also want to add a page of references, current customers, successes etc. The number of pages you use varies according to the needs of your business, take your time don't rush it, look at other websites in a similar industry to yours, if you find one that you like decide why you like it and if it actually tells what they do.

Be cautious of being tempted to use fancy animated graphics, think of your own experience in searching for a product or service - you click on a link that looks like a possible candidate and are presented with such an animation that tells you nothing about what you're looking for and seems to take forever to load, what do you do? You go somewhere else = one lost potential customer.

Pictures: once we get started and you want to send us the pictures you want to use, please ensure that they are of the highest resolution and quality. The reason for this is that while optimising the pictures for optimium performance (quick loading), the resultant quality is much better when we start from a high quality picture.

Please also give us a brief description of the picture (IMG001, IMG002 the name your cell phone or camera gives is not very helpful or meaningful), It makes them easier to find and categorise as well as improving the chances of your website achieving better ranking on the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.

Another task you have is to choose a domain name, as it is possible that the name you want may already be taken, choose 5 or 6 that you like from most desirable to least desirable. Here is a questionnaire in MSWord that will help and guide you.

What we will do

Yep, now it's our turn to do some work
Work cartoon Once you have put your ideas together, completed the checklist and sent it to us, we will then choose or a create a template that matches your corporate colours and logo. The same template theme will occur on all pages although the layout may change according to the content, the content will be different from page to page of course, this ensures any visitors that they are still on your website. We will also register a domain name out of the list of 5 you supply, and when the website is ready we will also create a hosting account for you, assuming you don't already have one.

During construction we will place the website in a temporary location where you can watch the progress, this usually has the desired effect of reminding you of something you may have forgotten should be on the website. Don't be tempted to ask us to fill in every empty space, this leads to clutter and makes it harder to read the content, “white space” also helps with your Search Engine rankings.

Under the “What you need to do” TAB we discourage you from being tempted to use animated graphics (Flash), there are however, some widgets that can be quite useful such as feedback forms whereby the visitor can ask specific questions, a weather widget, a time zone clock as long as they have some relevancy to your business they're OK but don't overdo it.

What will it cost

Money cartoon As mentioned elsewhere on this website our aim is to build professional, mobile friendly websites for the small or home business, in the past we created four separate packages in order to make it easier for you, the customer, to understand. However, we have found that “mobile friendly” websites require considerably more work to create, as a result we have decided to go with one basic price, with additional charges depending on the type of work required.

ItemPrice
Online Shopping WebsiteR12 000.00
Basic Brochure WebsiteR 6 500.00
Large Product List+ R 2 500.00
Separate Catalogue+ R 4 000.00
Monthly MaintenanceR 500.00 / Month
Ad Hoc MaintenanceR 150.00 / hour
Domain Registration (.co.za, .org.za)R 150.00 / Year
Domain Registration (.com, .net)R 200.00 / year
Hosting R 100.00 / month
Registered NPO's
Non-Profit organisations are offered a 25% discount on the top four items listed above on presentation of their NPO registration.
Existing Customers
Existing customers, in good standing, are offered a 15% discount on the top four items listed above should they wish to renovate or upgrade their website

Some of the items above may require further explanation, so here goes:

Online Shopping Website
This is pretty much what it says, you have goods to sell that can be packaged and delivered on receipt of an order and payment a good example of this would be takealot.com, our latest website fits into this category Ballito Flowers
Basic Brochure Website
This is pretty much exactly what the name implies - a website that introduces your business and your product or service. The Nautilus Cottage website would be a good example of this.
Large Product List
This would the case when a business has a large quantity (50 or more items) of products to be displayed on the website. Good examples of this would be Newtown Fertilizers or Cameraman websites.
Separate Catalogue
This would be an instance whereby the customer required a catalogue (with picture and specification) as a separate entity but linked to the main website. The Glenpak website has an example of this
Monthly Maintenance
If a company finds that regular changes are required to their website, we offer the service of doing the changes. This would give you the customer, 5 hours of our time each month at a reduced labour rate, should the time required exceed 5 hours then we will charge at our normal rate of R150/hour for each hour above the 5 hours.
Ad Hoc Maintenance
This of course would be for occasional updates or corrections to your website that are not frequent enough to justify monthly maintenance.
Hosting
In order for your website to be visible on the internet it needs to be stored on a server connected to the internet, in simple terms you are renting a space on the internet.

With regard to the first four items a deposit of 50% is requested before starting, the balance to be paid on completion of the work, please ensure you read our Terms & Conditions for further information