Choice of technologies

Briefly about how the experts of “Ra-Solo” web studio work for our clients.

Market relations have entered our life firmly and forever. The Internet was no exception. A very difficult choice problem had to be solved for everyone, who ever thought about buying (producing) his own Internet resource. Why is this problem big and difficult? That’s for several reasons.

First, the come-at-able and ubiquitous Internet service predetermines the huge financial base of the market for the production and using of Internet sites. Secondly, the Internet technologies itself, as well as the huge amount of investments in this industry, have led to the extremely “happiness” of end user. His “happiness” is in the possibility of using of an astounding list of software and hardware. Note that even the extremely experienced specialists can fail in understanding of the intricacies of such software and hardware. Third, in this area it is very difficult to formulate quality criteria. Almost all of estimates and judgments are empirical in nature. Fourthly, the scheme for providing information services to the contractors/commissioners is multi-stage. That’s why it allows large (and small) market participants to hide their true intentions while providing information services.

That is why it is important to have at least some beaten paths, at least some criteria in the world of Internet business, like in “dense forest”. Despite the fact that those beaten paths, those criteria are empirical, they will not let user to get lost and not let to go insane. In another words, even user with limited skills can do something in the IT sphere. You can do something even if your uttermost skill is the ability to enter data into a spreadsheet or print a document in the Microsoft Word editor. So, speaking in the usual language for residents of post-Soviet countries, perhaps the approaches outlined in this article will make a modest contribution to the online education of the broad masses of the working people.

Thus, let’s try to understand separately the difficulties that can arise for any person, if he decided to order an Internet site.

Site design

As long as humanity exists, it is changing the fashion for clothing perennially. It is changing the household items and the work items constantly. Since the website can be uniquely ranked either as a household item or a work item, it is not surprising that the fashion for the appearance of the site also varies from year to year.

If you want to constantly monitor fashion trends in clothing, then it will be very expensive to you.

In the same way, the maintaining of your Internet projects at the up-to-date fashion level will be very expensive also. Fortunately, today it is very easy to hire a designer. However, it should be remembered that the PSD page template is not yet the page itself. You have to create this new layout, then you have to test it, and then you have to place it on your domain.

However, it should be remembered that truly masterpiece design development is very expensive. And what gives a beautiful site to its owner, in addition to moral satisfaction? Of course, beauty attracts visitors, but only those visitors who have visited the site before. Of course, beautiful design will add the number of reviews in social networks, however, can the site owner expect the growth of attendance of his resource due to the influence of external beauty? We do not have an unambiguous answer to this question.

No doubt, no one would ever make beautiful sites, if it were not for anyone was needed. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the effective output of external beauty is beyond the limits of exclusively Internet technologies. It is necessary to remember the existence of such a concept as the elitism of business or person. Representational tasks are important for any business or person. These tasks can be successfully solved by polishing the external beauty of the Internet resource. It is a question of a corporate site of the given business or a personal site of the given person. However, the prospects for a return on investment invested in a beautiful design, in this case, are far from unambiguous.

On the other hand, it is still necessary to perform at least some design of the site pages. In addition to the organization’s logo, the bookplate of a bibliophile or the owner’s personal signature, a certain set of graphic elements can and should be used. The key parameter, apparently, is the cost of these highly artistic graphic elements. It would be wonderful if this cost does not exceed half the budget allocated for the creation of your Internet masterpiece.

An important factor in choosing a website design is the requirement of its uniqueness. Let’s see, and what good is a profit of an unique design to the owner of the site?

At first glance, it seems that the beautiful design attracts more visitors to the site. After all, it’s unpleasant to go to an ugly site, just as it’s unpleasant to go into an ugly decorated cafe or shop. But why design should be unique? Think about how many similar shops and cafes are in your city? On the other hand, think about why the owners of retail outlets and public catering establishments spend money on original signboards, beautiful curtains and modern seating. Of course, any entrepreneur will allocate a certain budget necessarily if he wants to solve these problems.

In this case, it is important that the owner of an inexpensive cafe is unlikely to order the designer original solutions. The owner of such a cafe is unlikely to order the artist original canvases. So, the site owner also needs to decide whether to spend money on the original design, or not. Will these costs be effective? The answer to this question must be sought in each case taking into account all the circumstances of the business and market conditions.

The above analogy allows us to draw an important conclusion. In most cases, when making a website, there is no need to spend money on expensive individual artistic solutions. Just like owners of ordinary cafes, there is a rare desire to buy expensive furniture, decorate the walls of cafes with exclusive finishing materials, place highly artistic design installations. Moreover, often there is no need at all to spend money on this expense item. Often the advertising services of well-known trade brands, for example, beer, can take on the financing of furnishings and decoration of trading halls.

In the process of choosing a variant of the site design, the webmaster can follow the above path and take advantage of ready-made solutions. Below, we’ll look at what needs to be done to save on site design. However, first determine the terminology.

The technology of creating a website can be very simply described as follows. The functional part is implemented in the so-called content management system (CMS). Obviously it is enough to use a free CMS for the most sites. The web developer creates a so-called template (or theme) for the each content management system, there is specific terminology in each CMS, but the essence is the same. The template (we will stop on such variant) is designed to transfer the external representation of a site to the user. The template interacts with the CMS, as they say, “on the server side”. During this interaction it produces the HTML document. This document is then transferred to the “client’s side” (put simply, on your computer). Finally the intricacies of styles, scripts and other tricky things allow user to see on his screen all the diversity to which we have long been accustomed for 25 years of the existence of our beloved and indispensable Internet.

Now that we are to some extent armed with terminology, let’s return to the issue of site design. The task of searching, implementing and adapting the external view algorithm can be solved in one of the following ways (in other words, the webmaster makes out the site using one of the following options):

  • An unique template, specially made for a single customer.
  • A non-unique template, made for retail sale to current customers with subsequent modification.
  • Free simplified template, made for free distribution on the Internet, accessible to all comers.

We do not need to comment all the merits and demerits of each decision, they are obvious. Note that in this case, as it often happens in life, there are no clear boundaries, there may be “halftones”.

Content Management System (CMS)

CMS provides basic functions and a programming environment through which the webmaster implements the necessary site logic.

CMS, like the template, can also be paid and free. In very rare cases, unique CMS can be manufactured on an individual order.

There is a certain type of CMS for each type of site.

It can be a blog-style CMS. The blog is a site where the webmaster publishes some articles and notes, with the possibility of discussion together with other Internet users.

It can be a forum or an online store also. These are different types of specialized CMS.

Of course, each specialized CMS can be successfully supplemented with the corresponding software, as a result of which the site functionality is enriched. Thereby visitors can use “non-core” functions. For example, the owner of the site could decide to give the opportunity to the online store buyers to review a particular product on the forum. The forum software is not a part of the standard “from the box” delivery, so the forum plugin should be installed additionally.

Of course, each specialized CMS can be successfully supplemented with the corresponding software, as a result of which the site functionality is enriched. Thereby visitors can use “non-core” functions. For example, the owner of the site could decide to give the opportunity to the online store buyers to review a particular product on the forum. The forum software is not a part of the standard “from the box” delivery, so the forum plugin should be installed additionally.

Domain and hosting

If you try to explain in one sentence the meaning of each of the two words that are put into this subtitle, you will get something like the following.

Domain is a mnemonic designation of a site by which it can be found by people and robots.

Hosting is a service for renting out a server connected to the Internet. Certainly, the our site files are located on this server. Of course, this files are available to the internet users.

First let’s try to understand why we consider these two terms in one paragraph. The fact is that the domain/hosting pair in the general case uniquely characterize a particular site. One is possible without the other, but it makes no sense. Who needs a domain name, if it does not correspond to any information, other than the owner’s details or the registration date? And who needs hosting and files on it, if this information can not be obtained for some domain name?

Let’s briefly dwell on how the future owner of the site can register a domain name and order a hosting service.

To register a domain name, you must visit one of the many sites of domain name registrars. Today, when the technologies for creating Internet pages have reached the extreme perfection, the user does not have any special problems when registering a domain.

The registration process includes such steps as selection of a free domain name, payment for registrar services and setting up domain name parameters. At the last stage, the customer enters his details into the form (this is useful from the legal point of view and could help to assert his legal rights to the given domain name), and also specifies the names of the so-called NS-servers.

The names of NS-servers (they are usually several, at least two) serve as a pointer for computer equipment, where the site files are located. In other words, the names of NS-servers put in correspondence your domain name and files of your site. After you specify the names of NS-servers, the site files become available to visitors to the "newborn" site.

If one of the readers did not understand the functional purpose of NS-servers, then we offer a simple analogy from the field of television. Every housewife knows that, in order to open its own broadcasting or satellite TV channel, it is not enough to have a camera and a transmitter. The future owner of the TV channel must obtain a corresponding broadcast license.

So, the sense of our analogy is that the name of the TV company corresponds to the domain name. The television transmission studio corresponds to the server of the hosting provider. The license for broadcasting rights corresponds to the registration record with the domain name registrar. The address of the broadcasting studio specified in the registration documents of the TV company corresponds to the names of the NS-servers of the hosting service specified in the domain name registration record.

For example:
The site ra-solo.com.ua is registered with the registrar redo.com.ua, and the names of the NS-servers ns7.citynet.kharkov.ua and ns9.citynet.kharkov.ua are specified in the corresponding registration record. These NS-servers belong to the hosting provider Citynet. The information that you are reading at the moment is located on their hosting server.

How to choose the source of beauty

Thus, it’s time to move our issue from the realm of theory to that of practice. We determined that the cost of manufacturing the site should be comparable to the expected revenue. Since the lion’s share of customers in IT is a small and medium business, the optimal solution in most cases is to purchase a non-unique template for a free CMS.

As you can see from the portfolio, we make the most of our sites in the Wordpress/Woocommerce environment. Therefore, we will use this set of popular worldwide software as an example here. Although, of course, there is no monopoly in site building, as in many other areas of science and technology. If someone wish to solve his problems using other CMS, it will enough to replace the corresponding keys in web search queries. For example, if you want to find a template for an online store CMS other than Woocommerce, simply replace this key with a web search query, for example, Magento.

If you needed to find and purchase a suitable template for the popular CMS, it’s not difficult. The search should be made in the English-speaking segment of the Internet, because we have the large selection of western developments for any popular CMS.

Let’s recall the old saying “Life itself is simple&hwllip; it’s just not easy.” Fortunately, the search for a template is very simple. You just need to specify the search key in the Google search box, then you could have gotten either a list of templates, or a link to the template page. You have pay and download the template, then you have to send this template to your programmer. As a rule, the simplest skills of the user are enough for the installation of the template. Nevertheless, in practice, a significant “fine-tuning", “pimping” of the template, as well as elimination of programming and layout errors are required. So wake up early and work. As they say, “the early bird catches the worm”.

The search keys for templates are also extremely simple. The search procedure for a Wordpress template can be carried out using such keys:

Since there are a lot of templates, the search time can be shortened by looking for a template in the list of products of the largest store, Themeforest:

Universal template for any CMS

Unfortunately, a wide selection of templates is available not for every CMS . Besides, the amount of “creative thought” that programmers usually invest in its templates, as a rule, are not being used in a real user project. For example, a lot of sidebar widgets are not being used on the customer’s website. So we In this regard, the universal HTML template sometimes would be the best solution for site developer.

Such a template type has its advantages, the most important of which is the price. Whereas the cost of the CMS template ranges from $45 up to $75, the HTML template price is much more affordable. It’s range is from $10 up to $20. However, the acronym HTML does not mean that HTML code but no more is supplied in such templates. The template developers also include useful JavaScript procedures, due to which it is easy to decorate your site with pleasant video effects, as well as implement some interactive algorithm such as sophisticated user dialogue forms both feedback and service ordering.

We would search such HTML templates with the same queries as for CMS, but we should use the acronym HTML instead of the CMS name:

HTML template
HTML template download
free HTML template
best HTML template download
HTML template download
premium HTML template

Website promotion

This topic is covered in detail in another article on our website, which we strongly recommend to read. We only note that, before proceeding to promotion, the webmaster must fill the site with quality information. It is impossible to promote an empty "dummy". Conversely, if your site contains a lot of useful information, even without much effort, you will achieve success. You could get a certain Internet audience, but may be it would not as wide as you would like. Remember that, as they say, labor is the source of all wealth. Work hard, and you will be rewarded in full!

* * *

In conclusion, for the convenience of customers, we will try to systematize the actions of the customer and the contractor during the joint work on the creation of the site.

Customer’s obligations:

  • He must solve the problem of choice. He must agree with the contractor the terms of reference (TOR) and the contract amount.
  • He must transfer to the executor the list and content of the site pages, other data, parameters and requirements.
  • He must pay the advance in the required amount in accordance with mutual agreement.
  • The customer must take achieved results according to the terms of reference.
  • The customer must pay the rest of the contract amount.

Contractor’s obligations

  • The contractor must do the rest. (It was a joke, and in the next paragraph we will try to give a typical list of works done by the contractor.)

Contractor’s obligations (jokes are not allowed)

  • He must help the customer to choose and register the domain name, as well as to obtaine domain legislative documents.
  • He must help the customer to choose the site type and the CMS.
  • He must help the customer to compile the TOR, if necessary.
  • He must help the customer to choose and buy a template.
  • He must modify/program the system of categories and tags for products and/or posts.
  • He must study the options of the template, negotiate with the template manufacturer, eliminate errors if possible, inform the customer about the template’s capabilities.
  • He must perform the required modification of the template without changing the overall layout; He could do some permutations, change images and, of course, inscriptions, design elements; it would be more difficult with visual effects, but nothing is impossible.
  • He must refine the design, within reasonable limits.
  • He must adjust (develop) the feedback form, if necessary.
  • He must modify the pages “About Us”, the map “how to find”, etc.
  • He must perform the content management.
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