Can I Create, Update & Manage My Website?
This page complements the maintenance page and contains information on which early decisions should be made.
There was a time when a website developer was needed for a professional website. You will still get a better result when using a professional developer, although there are now many tools that make it easy for non-developers to create and manage a website. You can do your entire site in a blog or content management system or you can have part of it developed and maintained traditionally and maintain only parts yourself. You can do this with or without our help. Each of us needs to be realistic as to what we can do ourselves and what we need to hire a professional to do.
A professional will deliver a professional design, an integrated brand, lean/clean code, layouts driven by style sheets, layouts for different media (i.e. mobile phones) as needed, an optimized site—the foundation for good search results, marketing/promotion/linking guidance, performance review, training, strategic guidance, etc. Deciding early on the long-term approach is important and will dictate how your site is set up.
Google's Blogspot is relatively easy to use and will likely give an amateur to simply professional result if used by the business owner. With the help of the web developer, a very professional result can be achieved. Google's connectivity features can be used (facilitating gmail lists and allowing followers, etc.), but content will reside on Google's servers and is not portable should you ever decide you want to move your site. WordPress, a similar blogging software, can be downloaded onto any server, is equally easy to use, is reasonably portable, but will lack the features available in Google's empire. More complex content managment systems such as Drupal and Joomla offer very robust features such as databases and eCommerce, are more complex to learn, and are portable (with significant effort and cost). Each of the above systems handles photo uploads reasonably well (with some possible degradation if re-sizing from very large originals). A better result will be obtained if the original development is done by the web developer.
For businesses that already have sites, shifting to self-updating methods involves transition and cost. If you are starting a new site, you would be wise to consider a method that allows you some ability to update, whether it is a blogging or content management system described on this page, or custom admin consoles or hard-drive based software described on the maintenance page.
So, consider your functionality and maintenance needs and the complexity of your branding and layout. Those factors (along with others such as search utility visibility requirements) will allow the web developer to define and price your project and decide which development approach to use. You may decide you only want to update a "blog" section of your site, but the whole site can still be done using a blogging system. You may need a small section to be driven by a database, and you may opt for the simpler custom admin rather than the more complex full-bodied content managment systems.
We suggest you read the maintenance page, too.
Installation, set-up, training, and consulting on popular
software such as the following: