This post is for: anyone interested in the technologies behind our Starter Website packages
The trouble with pricing a web design is that it’s hard to predict the cost until the scope and requirements of the project are known. But often, start-ups and small businesses need to know what to budget for in advance, because funds are limited. That’s why we created our Starter packages: to give new business owners a solid starter product at a known price with a fixed set of features.
To keep the costs of our Starter sites down, we limit the number of features and options (because most new ventures just need a simple web presence to begin with). And, we build them using pre-designed templates. Just a few short years ago, using website templates was largely frowned upon in the industry, because templates were mostly rigid, unattractive, and “same-looking”. But those days are gone. There are now hundreds of very attractive, very flexible, very well-built, and completely responsive website templates to choose from. Modifying one of these modern templates is fast and easy, so building one for you, with your look and feel, is very economical compared with building a custom design entirely from scratch.
We don’t really talk much about the technologies behind our Starter websites, because in our experience, most small business owners don’t really care – they just want a great website. If you’re interested, however, here’s some information about the platforms that we use for our Starters:
- Starter Plus and Starter E-Commerce: For our Starter Plus and Starter E-Commerce websites, we use WordPress (“open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app”). WordPress is more than a framework or toolkit: it’s what’s known as a full Content Management System (“CMS”), which basically means that it has a huge collection of features and capabilities that let you build almost any kind of website imaginable, with the added feature that it offers a user-friendly “dashboard” area behind the scenes where you can make many changes to the website without needing to know languages like HTML and CSS.
A bit more about WordPress (for the Plus and E-Commerce packages)
WordPress is the platform used by at least 30% of the world’s websites, so it’s hugely popular and very versatile. To build our Starter Plus and E-Commerce packages, we rely on commercially-available WordPress themes as the starting point. A “theme” is basically a template or skin, the basic layout upon which we build your site.
We usually use themes that are built for the Genesis framework, which is a well-built underlying structure for your WordPress site. The way to think of it is to use a car analogy: WordPress is the website’s engine, Genesis is the site’s chassis, and the theme is the site’s design and paint job. We often recommend building on the Genesis framework because it’s well-coded, “future-proof” (i.e., popular and not likely to be broken or outdated or abandoned in a year), and very flexible.
The other thing you need to know about WordPress (if you’re interested, that is) is that it uses “plug-ins” to add features and capabilities to your website. You can extend WordPress with a large number of plug-ins that will add features like a slideshow, a portfolio, a blog area, an events calendar, a members-only area, and even a full-fledged online store with a shopping cart.
In fact, that’s what we use for the Starter E-Commerce package: we start with WordPress and we add the WooCommerce plug-in. It’s a great starting point for your online shop, and many of its basic features are free. You can later build upon its capabilities by buying additional add-ons.
When it comes to the underlying technologies of our Starter Website packages, there is so much that we could talk about! But for now, I just wanted to give you a quick idea of the tools that we use to help you get your new venture online. If you have any questions about any of the above, please let us know and we’ll be happy to explain in more detail.