Navigating the wide world of websites

Have you decided that you want a website for your business or want a refresh but don’t know where to start? This masterclass will give you the options available given your budget, time and technical know-how.

Watch: Navigating the wide world of websites

Key takeaways

  • What types of websites are suitable for small businesses? Some examples include information portals or repository websites (eg. Glen Eira City Council’s website); online shopfronts (eg. Amazon or eBay); business card or portfolio websites; and personal journal or blogging websites.
  • What is a content management system (CMS)? A CMS is the software through which website content is managed and published. Most content management systems are reasonably user-friendly and require little technical knowledge. Popular CMS applications include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify.
  • What are Google Sites for small business? For those with a Google account, Google Sites facilitate sharing and collaborating; allow for the drag and drop of design elements; are automatically responsive; offer widgets (ie. ‘add-ons’); and use the trustworthy domain (i.e. web address).
  • What is Software as a Service (SaaS)? SaaS is a single supplier content management system with web hosting and technical support in one. SaaS applications usually have simple drag and drop designs, as well as responsive and elegant templates. They also offer numerous widgets, apps or extensions. Popular SaaS platforms for small business include Shopify, Wix and Squarespace. Based on a subscription model, the average SaaS cost of service ranges from AUD20 to AUD35 per month.
  • What are Open Source content management systems? An open source CMS is a free application maintained by an online community. Open source CMS systems are suitable for small business owners at all levels of digital experience and knowledge. They offer free plugins and extensions and, while they tend to require more maintenance, compensate for this with greater flexibility in their design functionality.
  • How do I brief a freelance web designer or agency? Are you paying someone to build or upgrade your small business website? Your brief should include the following: the state of your current web presence (including any problems); your business objectives; your target audience; who your competitors are; desired website features and functionality; clearly established expectations in terms of revisions and design concepts; your timeline; and your budget.
  • How much does a website cost for a small business? Website design and building for small business may be billed hourly or per project. Small business website design cost is usually determined by the number of concepts; the number of revisions; the timing and urgency; and the project’s overall technical complexity.
  • What are the risks of low-cost websites? Common trade-offs include: few features and design options; little or no provision for revisions; a typically ‘templatey’ feel; and little or no measurement of performance.


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