So you’ve got yourself a domain name and you’re hosting it with somebody, somewhere, for some amount of money every month, right? If you’re like a lot of our new clients, that’s about as much as you know.
Or perhaps you are paying your web design company a monthly fee to host and maintain your website and that’s just how they told you it works.
Both of these scenarios are extremely common, I see them all the time, but to be honest, there’s a much easier, cheaper way to go about things. All it takes is a little honesty.
Let me just share a few little secrets as to what “hosting” and “content management” really mean to you and your website.
The Host with the Most
To be honest, unless you have a dedicated server, if you’re paying more than $8.00 a month for hosting, you’re paying too much. I’ve had many, many clients tell me that they are paying their previous web firm over $100.00 for hosting each month! Sure, for those firms, it makes an excellent residual income, but it does nothing for your pockets.
And I will tell you the same thing I tell our clients: You can get the same- or better- service by hosting with godaddy.com, inmotionhosting.com, lunarpages.com… etc. The list goes on and on.
Who Owns Your Site?
There is another powerful advantage to hosting on your own and not with your web firm: you actually own EVERYTHING. That way, if something were to happen and you wanted to take your site to another company, everything is smooth and easy and all you would have to do is tell your new firm where everything is hosted.
To sum up a website: a content management system is what you log into. Each site has FTP files, which are stored on the host. To have full control over your site you have to have FTP files. Therefore, if you own the hosting then you will always have full control over your site.
Content: Management and Ownership
That brings me to my next point: the ominous-sounding “content management system.” Simply put, your content management system (CMS) is a login-based program that allows you to make simple changes to your website.
Make sure that you OWN the content management system your website runs on. I’ve had the call over and over again from new clients, “Our site is with so and so and they won’t update anything for us… Can you make changes to our existing site?”
Sadly the answer to that question is usually no because their website was built on a PROPRIETARY content management system. Be aware of a firm that builds your site on their own content management system; you won’t be able to have any other company work on it in the future unless you start from scratch again.
Some content management systems that are universal (meaning any firm can work on them) include WordPress, Drupal, Expression Engine. Those are the three best; we work on WordPress because it is the most user-friendly system for our clients.
So Now You Know
So, if you want a custom website that is truly yours and yours alone, for an affordable and honest monthly rate, at least now you know what your options really are. Have more questions? I’d be happy to talk to you.