you started a small business, and now you need a website. where do you start?
Fortunately, we make websites easy. No, not free website builder easy. We do the work for you easy. We’ll ask you specific questions about your goals and functionality, then start building. We’ll walk you through everything that’s needed, and every step of the process.
We have our system down to a science and we know what works and how to maintain it. More importantly, we don’t disappear once your site is built. We maintain what we build, and when something weird happens or you can’t remember how to get that blog post to show the featured image, we’re only a phone call away.
anatomy of a website
Every website requires 3 components:
- domain name/URL (www.yourbusiness.com)
- web hosting (where your website files are stored for access by the public)
- website design (the basic structure or theme of your website and the menus, pages, copy, images, etc.)
cyclone press provides all three components. If you have one or more of these services already, we’ll figure it out and manage all of it for you – one bill, from one company, for everything website related.
Your domain name (or URL) is what potential customers will type into their browser address bar to access your website. Generally this is your business name followed by .com. The .com portion is called a TLD (Top Level Domain), and because it seems most of the good .coms are taken these days, don’t be afraid to consider .co, .net, or industry specific TLD’s like .ai or .art for your website. Domain names are purchased through a registrar, which is separate from a website host (although many hosts offer domain name registration).
The average domain runs $10-50, depending on the TLD (more unique extensions can cost more) and they renew every year. we purchase, renew and monitor domain names for our clients, so you don’t have to worry about expired credit cards, phishing emails or annual review notices.
It’s not enough to have a domain name for your website; you also need storage space where you’ll keep the files that will be accessed by the public. This is the server where your website lives – the platform core files (WordPress), photos, the copy, contact forms, downloadable PDF sales sheets, etc. The cheap hosting you see advertised across the web is going to be shared hosting, which means the provider puts everyone’s accounts onto the same server. If another website on the server is a resource hog, that can affect your website, or cause more severe security issues.
cyclone press provides hosting through reputable web hosts, usually on VPS servers. It costs a little more, but it’s absolutely worth it for overall security and speed. Our hosting cost includes maintenance (weekly updates, backups and security monitoring), so you know someone always has an eye on things.
After purchasing your domain name and hosting, it’s time to design your website. If you’re going with WordPress, like most of our clients, this requires installation of the WordPress platform on your server, followed by general setup, theme install, customization of colors, fonts and logos, creation of pages, page layout, menus, contact forms, choosing and uploading stock photos and adding copy. If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Fortunately, you won’t have to do any of it. The most difficult part of building a website, for our clients, is writing the copy. We’ll walk you through how to do that, and we generally only need something rough we can polish. If even that sounds like too much, you can hire us to write the copy as well.
The website design stage is the most expensive and most involved part of designing a website, but once it’s done you can update pages and posts as needed. WordPress is great for blogging, fantastic for SEO, and easy to use for non-developers. If you aren’t inclined to log in and make updates yourself, never fear – we can do that too. Once your website is up and running, we offer on-demand hourly web design or monthly package pricing.
We also offer simple HTML websites for businesses who need what amounts to a landing page. If you don’t want the maintenance of a WordPress website, don’t plan to blog and very rarely need to make changes to your website, this might be a good option for you.
You can have custom email ([email protected]) without a website, but generally these services are provided together, so here’s a quick overview.
We do not recommend cPanel email, which is the free email you can set up through most generic hosting plans. Our hosting and email accounts are kept separate for multiple reasons (example: if your website server has to undergo maintenance, it won’t affect your email). This is why we don’t include email in our hosting plan. The following is what we offer for email accounts:
- Free email forwarding. This is nothing more than a redirect from [email protected] to [email protected]. It’s not a long-term solution, but for startups it’s a good place to start.
- Third party, secure IMAP email. We use a third party server that specializes in email, and this is our default for most clients. It’s $4/month per account ($48/yr). IMAP means messages are stored on the server, so you can check your messages from browser webmail, your laptop, or your phone and you’ll see the same synced emails every time.
- Google Workspace email accounts. Google Workspace is the business version of Gmail. It works the exact same way, except that you can use [email protected] with it for $6/month per account ($72/yr), and it comes with extra storage space and other business features. If you want to stick with what you know or you’ll be using a lot of Google products for your business, we can set this up for you. It’s billed directly through Google.
Every site we build is responsive, meaning it adapts to the size of the user's device. Before and after launch we test on mobile devices and make specific changes to ensure usability.