How to Design, Build, and Maintain a Website
If you are new to designing a website, the process may seem daunting. You may be wondering where to start, what to add, how to get a domain, how to get people to come, and many more concerns. That’s normal.
Websites can be a simple as a few information pages and maybe a contact page. This website is a little bit like that. Other websites are what we call “lead generation” websites, which may use email automation, or even include detailed and proficient sales funnels. And even other websites are straight shopping carts. You’ve heard of blogs; that is a website that has a running list of topics. There are mobile websites, Software as a Service (SaaS) sites, corporate websites, resume or personal websites, and on and on. Each one has a purpose. Each one has parts or functions specific and unique to your personal or business needs.
So, deciding what you need on a website and then handling all of the technical pieces to make it work can be daunting. But, it doesn’t need to be. This is what UpstartMediaMarketing is all about.
UpstartMediaMarketing will help you identify your needs (and suggest things you might be overlooking). We help you set it up and get it operational, whether it is simple or complex. Then we help you maintain it. Let’s look at the three main attributes of our core business.
Design and Build a Customized or Custom Website
For a large majority of websites, you can save a LOT of design money by simply using a template or “theme” that has been developed by professional designers and then customize the colors, images, and even the shape of the website.
There are many tools or “platforms” out there to make this pretty simple (but not necessarily easy). For this purpose, I have used WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, and Etsy. For an even more fundamental starting point, I have had my developers use BootStrap, and even build custom HTML with CSS. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, I stay with WordPress. It is easy to learn, but has more complexity than some of the other restrictive platforms. The platform is robust; many very large sites use WordPress. TechCrunch, The New Yorker, BBC America, Bloomberg Professional, The Official Star Wars Blog, Variety, Sony Music, and MTV News, just to name a few.
Because WordPress is so powerful and customizable, UpstartMediaMarketing can probably find the right template to get you 80% to your goal. Then we customize both the look and feel (User Interface – UI) and the way that it works (User Experience or UX). And, if you really want something very unique, we can design a completely custom template and write completely custom functionality.
If you choose to use WordPress and let us host your website and be your IT staff (see below), UpstartMediaMarketing includes several premium “plugins” (pieces of programming that add functionality to your WordPress website) and over a hundred premium themes that provide extreme flexibility and customization. In this sense, “premium” means paid. Premium plugins and templates often have superior capabilities to free, similar plugins and templates…although that is not always true! But the plugins and templates that UpstartMediaMarketing includes are definitely worth the price.
Nevertheless, WordPress may not be the best platform for your needs. If you want a shopping cart, maybe we would use Shopify or 3dCart, or a host of other good alternatives. And, if you want a true sales funnel for your unique products, we would probably go with ClickFunnels, which is certain to boost your bottom line.
Whatever you need, we first listen to what you goals are; then we decide what platform will best meet your needs.
Focus on Security (Keep the bad guys out!)
No matter what platform you use, the bad guys, the hackers, are out there trying to break in. “What? Why do hackers want my little website?” you might ask. Traffic!
Unless you are a large institution with a lot of user data, that’s not what hackers are trying to steal. Hackers want your traffic. That means that hackers want to grab your visitors and send their browser to their own websites, which are usually porn sites, online prescription drug sites selling 3rd party drugs, or other generally frowned upon topics.
UpstartMediaMarketing focuses on keeping websites protected from hackers.
I must admit here that because WordPress websites are so common, hackers work hard to find back doors to WordPress. WordPress is not necessarily more vulnerable, but they are a bigger target, just like there are more viruses on PCs than on Mac computers. There are simply more PCs than Macs, by about 10 to 1. The same principle holds true for WordPress.
Sooo, UpstartMediaMarketing includes two very important Security plugins. Wordfence and WP Site Guardian. Wordfence has a free version and a paid version which provides even more security. We install and maintain the free version, but if your site is more critical, we recommend paying the additional annual fee. Very valuable. WP Site Guardian is an expensive paid plugin that I provide for all my clients. Although I have seen websites hacked before we had those plugins, we have never had a website hacked since.
But there are 17 (or more) other things that help keep your site from being hacked that UpstartMediaMarketing (UMM) does for you. Most website owners never think about most of these:
- Keeping WordPress Updated (UMM updates all plugins once per month)
- Passwords and User Permissions (UMM requires secure passwords, especially for admin accounts)
- Install a WordPress Backup Solution (UMM provides a premium backup plugin which backs up the database every week and full once a month. We store these backups in remote servers.)
- Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF) (UMM provides a WAF for an additional charge, if necessary)
- Change the Default “admin” username (UMM does not allow “admin” username.)
Additional Security Measures
- Disable File Editing
- Disable PHP File Execution
- Limit Login Attempts
- Change WordPress Database Prefix
- Password Protect WP-Admin and Login
- Disable Directory Indexing and Browsing
- Disable XML-RPC in WordPress
- Automatically log out Idle Users
- Add Security Questions to WordPress Login
Many of these security precautions should be taken for ANY website, not just WordPress websites. But most people who set up their own websites don’t know about and don’t take the time to add these protections.
Be your Website Information Technology (IT) Department
As you can see, setting up and running a website can take a lot of resources. Many people say, “oh, I’ll have my brother (or friend, or cousin, or brother-in-law, or…) do it. He’s a computer guy.” That can be a mistake. The computer industry has hundreds or thousands of different areas of expertise. For example, we don’t do anything that has to do with networks. I hire that done. We don’t fix our own computers; that’s a hardware guy’s job. Our business is specifically building and hosting websites and managing the process of developing new software, called Product Management, and helping your Market Your Products.
Our business is to take the care of maintaining your website, making sure that it is built right, built to be fast, reliable, and secure. And then we keep it updated. We let you worry about deciding what you want to say (although we do have professional copywriters who can do that for you too). We let you do your business. We just make the online technology work, whatever you need.
UpstartMediaMarketing uses one of the top hosting companies in the world. They have state of the art redundant servers. We can provide just a little bit of computing space for starter websites, or we can scale the website to be on its own redundant, stand-alone servers.
We operate as your online IT staff
- We provide you your own control panel which you can work, or you can let us take care of all of the technical details.
- We provide weekly database backups and monthly full data backups
- We update your website with the latest software, appropriate to your website. You never worry about that.
- If you ever have a technical problem, you don’t need to worry for a minute. You just pick up the phone and we log in, find the problem, and fix it…even if you did something you shouldn’t. (Wouldn’t be the first time.)
- We set up all of the hosting
- We set up and maintain all of the email. Our servers and service will handle all of your emails. (We may recommend separating the email to separate servers, and their may be additional data requirements and charges, but you will never be limited.)
- If you need additional functionality. Just let us know. We do the research, identify the best solution, and install any new technology or service that you need. (Additional charges only apply if the technology requires additional hosting or design work.)
UpstartMediaMarketing focuses on solving your online needs. Websites, Marketing, and Product Management. If you have any questions, please call. We never all for online services consultation, even if you don’t choose our service. We’ll guide you to the best choices we can find.