Sufficiently Advanced Technology

Did you ever wonder how a website is created? This page will familiarize you with the basic process that will turn your website dream into a reality.

Don’t worry if the following steps sound like a lot of work. Remember, we’re here to help! You can personally handle as much or as little of the process as you like, since we can take care of any or all of these steps for you:

1. Concept: First, decide on a purpose for your site. As you seek to create your own vision of the site, it is a good idea to also take into account the needs and interests of your potential visitors.

How we can help: This first step is all about your ideas — which you probably already have, even as you read this! Even so, we’re happy to offer advice and help you clarify your purpose.

2. Name and/or branding: You will want to choose a catchy and memorable domain name (for example, business-name.com) — preferably one that is short and easy to spell. A domain search will reveal whether your first choice is available. If not, you can brainstorm alternate names that will still fit your needs. Then it’s time to purchase your domain from a registrar.

How we can help: We can search for available names, help you brainstorm alternatives, and walk you through the process of purchasing and registering your domain name.

3. Hosting: A website is made up of individual files, which need to be hosted on a computer that is connected to the web. Some people have the technical knowledge to turn their home PC into a server, but most prefer the simplicity and reliability of renting server space with a hosting company. Fortunately we have found a few reasonably priced hosting companies that are also reliable and provide excellent customer service.

How we can help: We can guide you through the steps of registering with a web host, or may (at our discretion) provide professional hosting on our own webspace.

4. DNS setup: Your domain registrar needs to be given the nameserver settings provided by your web host. This will tell the DNS servers (which act as directories on the worldwide web) exactly where to look for your site (i.e., how to find the computer that houses your website) when someone types your domain name (URL) into their browser.

How we can help: Here again we can either walk you through the steps of entering the nameserver information in your registrar’s interface, or we can take care of it personally.

5. Coding: Are we done yet? Actually, we’re just getting started! One of the most important aspects of building a website is designing the layout and structure of your site — basically, what people will see when they visit, and how they can interact with the site. Your ideas need to be turned into code which can be read by the web server and your visitor’s browsers.

In the old days, each page had to be coded individually. Smart designers now use various kinds of content management systems to streamline the process of designing and formatting your site. A content manager (CMS) is a program that runs on the server to “manage” the content of your site. It processes your content and formats it for you so that, page after page, your site will have a consistent, professional look.

How we can help: We can show you working demonstrations of various CMS applications, or recommend the one that we believe is most likely to suit your needs. We can also adjust the style (colors, fonts, etc.) and layout, as well as create original graphics to completely customize the appearance and functioning of your site.

6. Deployment: Usually you will need to set up at least one SQL database on your web host so that your content manager and other web applications will run. Then you will need to upload all your files by FTP, configure your content manager and other applications, and get all the site’s features working properly.

How we can help: We can take care of the entire process, from uploading to installation and configuration. Then we’ll teach you how to use the CMS itself (which is very simple and easy to use), so that all you have to do is write your content. Which brings us to…

7. Content: Once you have a properly installed CMS, you can now begin to enter the specific information (content) that will complete the process of creating a live website.

How we can help: Of course you will decide what content (articles, photos, maps, links, charts, etc.) goes on your website, but we can help you with the presentation. As professional writers and graphic designers, we can assist in any capacity — from helping you brainstorm ideas for new material to proofreading and editing the content you create, or even writing and illustrating articles based on your ideas.

8. Communication: You will want to set up at least one domain email address, so that people can communicate with you@business-name.com. This adds an essential element of professionalism to your communication with your visitors. You can also set up a contact form that allows people to email you directly from your site, and/or a mailing list application so that you can send out group mailings to your clients.

How we can help: We can set up the email address(es) you desire, as well as install any contact software you would like to use.

9. Updating: Now are we done? Almost! With a good CMS and the ability to use it, you should now be able to comfortably maintain and update your own site content (adding or changing text and photos, etc.) when and as you choose. However, there may still be an occasional need for…

10. Maintenance: The dynamic nature of the web means that it is constantly changing. Your hosting company may need to upgrade some of its security features periodically, and this may affect the functioning of your site. At some point you may wish to make fundamental changes to the design or layout of your site. If so, you will occasionally need some of the expert help that a competent web designer can provide.

How we can help: We can either solve the problem ourselves, or we can handle the communication with the web host’s technical support staff so that the issue is resolved as quickly as possible.

Did you get tired just reading all that? Many people do! The good news is, we love doing this stuff — and we can take care of any or all of these steps for you.

As professional designers, webmasters, writers and editors we are able to help you with every aspect of your site, from securing a domain name to fine-tuning your content. When you are ready to take your website from wish to worldwide web, we’re here to help.