PPN Admin | March 23, 2021
Websites are no longer just a luxury for the most successful companies anymore. Increasingly it’s outright necessary to have a business website to be able to even compete. Long gone are the days where paint contractors could get away with having no digital presence or a simple entry in Yelp. Like most things in technology, websites can be a complicated process, and small business owners everywhere often find them difficult to master. But they really don’t have to be. So today on this PPN Guide we’re gonna be taking a closer look at websites, how they apply to your paint contracting business, and important concepts to remember.
The first step to understanding websites is to understand the terminology used to talk about them. So let’s cover the basics and go from there.
Code – Code or computer code is a set of instructions you give to a computer telling it what to do, how to do it, and where.
Server – A computer that is connected to the internet. Servers work by executing code when accessed by another computer over the internet.
Browser – A computer program designed to access web servers and display the code they execute to the person using it.
Domain Name – A domain name or URL is basically like a street address or directions to a web server. That way when users input it into their browser they can see the files located on the server.
Website – A website is a collection of files containing code that tell web browsers to show pictures, text, etc. when they access a server.
Web Host – Web hosts are companies that rent space on their servers to paying customers so that people can access their website.
Domain Name Provider – Companies that sell, register, and manage website URLs to paying customers so that users see their website by typing it into their browser.
Content Management System – A large collection of computer code that allows users to build, manage, and display websites without any need to know code. These systems streamline the process into an easy to interact with system. Examples include WordPress, Magento, Drupal, or Joomla.
Web Builder – A web builder or web page builder is a software system that allows you to easily design, manage, and publish web pages. In modern website development web builders tend to be all-in-one systems that allow you to completely manage a website with 0 technical knowledge. Examples include Squarespace, Shopify, or Wix.
Plugin – A segment of code designed to expand the functionality of a content management system or software. This can be customer facing or behind-the-scenes.
Theme – Code that tells online software the visual “presets” to use when rendering websites. Many modern website themes will even pre-design most of your website for you without you having to do anything.
E-Commerce – A software sub-system that allows customers to purchase goods or services your company provides entirely through your website.
Now that that’s out the way let’s move onto websites and specifically which website you should get. In short, there are many, many, options for websites these days and figuring out which one is right for you is highly dependent on your needs. That said paint contractor websites usually don’t require alot of advanced features. As a rule of thumb you can lump most into two simple categories: e-commerce and no e-commerce.
Basically it all boils down to whether you want to sell online or not. This is because online shops tend to require alot of extra functionality to allow you to process credit or debit cards, collect customer information, and manage inventory or time availability.
After you figure that out the second biggest factor to consider is how involved do you wanna be. Are you the type that likes to do everything yourself or would you rather another company just do everything for you? Finally, the last major thing to consider is how technologically comfortable you are. If you’re more comfortable with computers or have staff that are then you’re gonna have alot more options. In general though, knowing the answer to each of these before you try to build a website is gonna be the best way to avoid wasting time, money, and your sanity.
Got all that figured out? Great! Then let’s move onto options. Using those very same questions you just answered let’s take a look at website solutions and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
E-Commerce Not Included
Now that you know what to use it’s time to get it running. To deploy a website online you need two basic things.
Depending on what you identified as the platform best suited to your needs these can either be included or require you procure them yourself. Systems like Squarespace, Square, Wix, or Shopify will typically charge higher rates to manage this on your behalf or use it as a draw to get more customers on their platform by offering it for free or as part of a bundle. Some, such as GoDaddy, offer it as an add-on service and others such as WordPress or Drupal (both of which are totally free and available to download) come with no domain or hosting and require you purchase both before you can use them.
More often than not, the less work something requires you to do the more expensive it is with WordPress usually being by far the cheapest option for most businesses but necessitate the use of web designers to make any changes to it. Once you have them the final step is pretty straight forward. Either the system you’re using automatically did them for you or you merely forward them on to the designer/developer you’re working with and they will complete the necessary configurations needed to get it working.