Tag Archives: CMS

How to Start Your Website

If you’re planning to start a new business online, but are not particularly tech-savvy, it can be difficult to know what the proper steps are to follow. This brief will get you started in the right direction.

Step 1 Concept

Think of your target audience and briefly define your concept. Review your competition, namely a company that has already “made it”. You will save a lot of time and money by going through this brief review. For example, if you’re planning an ecommerce business, then it would be great to review the TOP 3-5 links from your most well-known competitors and see what their key features are. It is not necessary to copy what they’re doing, but it will help you to obtain some idea of what is needed for the success of your project.

Decide whether you are aiming for a static HTML vs. dynamic website. A static site is where nothing changes; content is uploaded and displayed “as is”. A dynamic website, however, will have data pulled from a database so that you can display your website content by date, category, etc. (e.g. social networks). Here is one trick we would suggest that you consider: It would be great to come up with a minimum and maximum list of MUST-HAVES. In other words, it’s unnecessary to copy ALL OF EBAY, but it would be great to make a list of the major feature sets that align with your vision. This will help you to reduce your initial cost, define a feature list for proof-of-concept with minimum required functionality, and make the concept scalable in the future when it proves to be successful.

Step 2 Workflow brief

Generating a workflow brief is something that helps you analyze:

  1. How new info is coming to your website
  2. What happens next (major user scenarios)

This step will help you give a clear vision for your entire workflow. For example, if you are planning to develop a new social network with video sharing, or an online radio station, or interested to start sports betting website, first you have to review where you are planning to take the content from and in case if you need 3rd party content like live video stream or match scores,  it’s important to identify where that data would be retrieved from via API services and review the API in terms of availability and documentation provided; for example, all betting feeds for match scores, or sports results are usually paid.

We would also suggest creating small sketches to illustrate your vision. Itera Research would be glad to do that for you upon your request.

Step 3 Technology and Price

When you have your concept and the vision for workflow, it’s time to start looking for quotes.

The general recommendations for this are as follows:

  • One should consider that CMS-based development takes less time, although
  •  sometimes CMS is not a good fit when there is a lot of sophisticated, custom-tailored functionality required. In this latter case, it would be more reasonable to consider custom development (e.g. Open source).

For example, for a regular blog, using WordPress would be fine, but for custom product configuration, you may need a strong PHP developer who will be able to add that functionality to your website.

Itera Research comes up with suggestions regarding technology based on the tech review conducted for the requirements provided. We work on websites using .NET and PHP (WordPress, Magento, custom), as well as options to use Symfony2, Yii, and ZEND for custom development.

Step 4 Implementation

Implementation usually consists of the following stages:

  1. Graphic design;
  2. HTML/CSS programming;
  3. Web development;
  4. Testing and deploy.

If you decided to move on based on some CMS like Magento or WordPress, there is an option to consider already one of existing WordPress templates or WP themes, and in this case the first two stages mentioned above, would be done, the cost would be covering just template review and customization but remember that the design and theme will not be unique. Itera Research is glad to offer you full-color graphic design for all your WordPress or Magento projects.

Web development is something that should be planned in advance. When our customers are considering quotes and choosing contractor, we are happy to submit a project plan, milestones, and deliverables per milestone for customers review. Itera Research suggests to divide delivery process by Milestones, and summarize features set to be done per each Milestone along with calendar plan.

The customer is then invited to check the results from the staging server (Itera Research performs deploy into staging server, so that our clients can check the website pages throughout the development process once we have something done and available for a tech review.).

Step 5 Domain Name, Hosting

When you’re ready to deploy your site, it’s time to look for a domain name. The main principle is to make it short, recognizable, and related to your business name or industry.

I would avoid taking the last name of a real person (unless you are Mr. Gates, of course), or choosing famous brand names with one letter changed. Sometimes the strategy can work, but it can make marketing efforts quite difficult, which is part of your overall strategy that you’ll want to be effective.

Consult with tech personnel regarding hosting (this depends on the expected peak loads, technology used on the website, and other factors). For example, clouds are very popular in recent years, and they’re perfect for large-scale heavy projects (with shared servers and large data flow). However, the secret is that some websites simply don’t need to utilize clouds when dealing with small or even mid-sized web apps or websites with small to average dataflow.

Itera Research provides server set-up services for our customers and we would be glad to share our recommendations for hosting (according to project size and technology employed).

 

Sincerely,

Itera Research team

Which CMS will be crowned Content King in 2015?

Content management systems are all over the web these days. So much so thatit’s often hard for the time-pressed entrepreneur to choose between them. Here we review three of the top picks to see who will come out with the crown.

WordPress: more than just a blog

Starting way back in 2003, and used purely for blogging purposes, WordPress has come a long way over the past nearly dozen years. These days it’s much more than just a blogging system, it’s used for everything from selling sneakers to searching for soul-mates.

WordPress is probably the most well developed CMS out there today with the biggest community. Because of this, there are literally thousands and thousands of widgets, plugins and themes to choose from already. You can create a whole, fully-functioning website without having to know a single bit of code.

On the other hand, there is an unlimited scope to sorting out your own code, though to create one from scratch takes a bit of getting used to and you’ll need to know some fairly advanced PHP.

Magento: enterprise in an eggcup

Magento meanwhile, is designed with ecommerce in mind. A relative newcomer to the CMS scene incorporated in 2008. This system is especially popular in the fashion world and is trusted by some leading brands.

While you’ll lack the sheer diversity you can find in WordPress, Magento markets itself by usability: this it has in bundles. Easy to use. Easy to build. Easy to change. Most of all, easy to build your sales and concentrate on selling your item instead of agonizing over widgets.

It offers some fantastic options and the CMS really is designed with your customer in mind. Fully responsive website designs, without the faffing about behind the scenes that get your product from production to presentation with the ultimate ease.

However, what you get in ease of use you lack in customization. This is the WYSIWYG of CMS and while it works for some it doesn’t work for all.

Drupal: granddad but still going

Drupal is the oldest CMS on the list, with its roots way back in 1999. It migrated to a full CMS in the mid-noughties and hasn’t looked back since. While smaller than WordPress it has a much more dedicated community. This is the Linux of CMS. You need to know what you’re doing but, boy, doesn’t it pay off.

Some of the nicest, most impressive CMS-based websites on the internet are based on this software. Indeed, if you know how to code and you know what you need – this CMS gives you everything and more.

Conclusions

It’s a tough choice in the end, all three systems are great but it depends on what you need.

If you want ease of use and your website is more a portal than a pop-up, then WordPress will win. It’s customizable and user-friendly without being too ‘salesy’. Perfect for a corporate online presence.

On the other hand, Magento is the one to go for if you just want to sell your products on a nice-looing website, and don’t really care about the difference between PHP and Pinocchio.

Finally, Drupal is perfect for the ‘super-users’ and wins on pure customizability. Though will put anyone off who’s not comfortable with the ‘engine’ of a website.

 

Sincerely,

Itera Research team