what is a website?

This may seem like a non-question at first.  Unless we've been living on Mars for the last decade or two, then of course we all know what a website is . . .  don't we?

The purpose of this page is to outline the differences between a static website and a content managed dynamic website (including their relative costs), then to explain the terms 'responsive' and 'ecommerce'.  All in good, old fashioned, plain English so that you can make a genuinely informed decision.

Illustrations of mobile friendly websites in Pembrokeshire

what does responsive mean?

It's simply another way to say 'mobile friendly'.  A responsive site 'responds' to the size of the screen on which it is being viewed, changing its layout automatically to display correctly on all smartphones and tablets (in both portrait or landscape formats) to retain its design integrity.

<< more about responsive design >>

The restricted screen size of mobile devices make traditionally constructed sites, originally designed for much larger desktop or laptop monitors, very difficult to use.  Browsing such a website means constantly having to zoom in and out, or scroll sideways to read the text, and activate touch screen links that have become way too small for human fingers.

Just five years ago, less than one in ten people regularly accessed the internet using a mobile device.  Today, it's way more than half.  Furthermore, on July 1st 2019, Google introduced its 'Mobile First' standards and now significantly downgrades non-responsive sites in its SERPs.

Every site that ipinx has built since 2008 is fully responsive.

. . . and e-commerce?

This is a catch-all term that is applied to any website, whether static or CMS (see below), that incorporates some form of payment system and so is able to process on-line financial transactions.

The payment options available to you, and their respective cost implications, are described in the bonus content below.

<< on-line payments explained >>

The simplest solution is to use an independent third-party provider, such as PayPal.  Free to set up and easy to integrate, PayPal allows your customers to pay using their own account, or any major credit or debit card.

The alternative is to open a Merchant account with your own bank, and then use an external 'Payment Gateway' (such as Stripe or Sagepay) to process customers' card transactions.

transaction fees & charges

All on-line payment providers apply a percentage of the sales value as a fee, plus a fixed charge per transaction of around 20p - 30p, based on the type of card used.

PayPal levy transaction fees of between 4% and 6%, but there are no fixed monthly charges and the integration cost is negligible.

Although Merchant Gateway transaction fees may be half that of Paypal, your bank will apply a monthly charge for the service and you can expect integration costs upwards of £150, depending on the chosen provider.

do I need a cms?

CMS stands for Content Management System.  This type of website (also known as a 'Dynamic' site) is made up from templates, into which the visible text and images are inserted from a database.

This database is, in turn, updated by you via a series of simple forms.  This structure allows the site owner to edit their website's content at any time, with little or no technical knowledge.

<< more CMS considerations >>

Whilst seemingly attractive in principle, Dynamic websites with a CMS are more costly and time consuming to develop, with implications way beyond the financial.  Maintaining a CMS site will demand an on-going commitment of your time and great attention to detail.  Few things are more off-putting to visitors than uncorrected typo's or out-of-date content!

For these reasons, you should think very hard, and question your motives honestly, before committing to a CMS site.  Fortunately, ipinx offer completely free advice, just call.

or a static site

This website, like 90% of all others on the web, is static.  Everything you see on the screen;  every image, every word, fullstop, space and comma is written into the fabric of the site.

As a rule of thumb;  unless you need to maintain and edit an on-line blog, regularly update a catalogue or shop with a constantly churning inventory, you are almost certainly better off with a static website.

<< static doesn't mean unchanging >>

Static websites are faster to build, more readily optimised for Google and other search engines, and ipinx will updated them free of charge for the first 12 months!

For these reasons alone, a static site is probably the best option for most businesses.  Interactive elements and features such as video, can still be made available via links to external applications such as Facebook, Ebay shops, Instagram or YouTube.

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