Build and release websites
Flying Cloud Design wants you to own your own site. We design, build and release websites. After we build-out a site, we hand over the hosting and everything to you, the client. We set-up hosting for one year with a domain and usually add a back-up security plan.
We help define and organize content, flow and user experience. We want your site to look and perform beautifully from the inside out. Web-friendly content is created with page info embedded for search engines. Images are optimized and meta data is inserted with descriptions for web crawlers. We want to see professional photography and competent web writing. All our sites are responsive and will look great on desktops and mobile devices.
Visit the gallery of website designs.
Brochure and blog-type websites
There are many web builder tools out there. Some geared toward full blown ecommerce, and others better used for government agencies. Flying Cloud Design selected WordPress for the brochure and blog-type websites our clients want. This is the optimal choice for online brochures, bloggers and store fronts. It offers ease of use by the end user, and a range of developer resources. That said, WordPress is easy to edit for those willing to learn, and, is popular enough to hire professional help.
What we really do, is help get your message out in the best light possible. We care about your success and we want you to look good now and in the future.
WordPress: What you should know.
WordPress is a popular website builder platform which is written in PHP and database driven. It uses a Content Management System (CMS). This makes it ideal for editing and updating. It is the leading CMS. Out of the billion websites out there, over 60% use WordPress. It is a great tool for blogging as well as building brochure-type websites. These sites are cost effective in that the client can easily make simple edits without having to pay hundreds of dollars to a developer or agency. It also makes it easier for developers to add and change code. Because of the database it’s easy to collect and sort information.
How long will the site last?
Shelf life for a website can be short unless you have planned for expansions. WordPress is part of an open source software project. This means upgrades to the platform are free (or by donation). It also means there are hundreds of people around the world adding to the code and framework. This creates an atmosphere of free enterprise in development community. It enables ease of use, simplifies tasks such as inserting videos or setting up a store front, creates mobile friendly responsive themes and more. As the technology advances, developers start implementing current trends. This is a platform that’s going to be around for a while.
WordPress allows third-party programmers to develop applications which can be added to the framework. Plug-ins are mini applications can be installed and integrated into the site. They may be simple or advanced. Some are free, some are licensed or offered by donation. We use them for SEO, security, forms and site specific needs.
WordPress uses themes much like PowerPoint uses templates, the overall look can be change somewhat easily. If your site starts to look old in a couple of years it can be re-themed, or have a new template applied.
Editing a site – the short story
The user logs-in and accesses pages in a content editor (somewhat similar to editing a Word doc). Once the edits are made the page can be viewed.
The websites which Flying Cloud Design builds uses a third-party plug-in which uses a front-end web builder. This allows the user to access and edit pages from the front end while viewing the page live. Modules that contain text, images, or galleries, may be added or edited using a drag and drop editor.
I have created a few video tutorials to learn about simple editing. If this is not your thing, you may always come to us for editng and maintenance support.
Occasional maintenance is needed with a WordPress install. When an upgrade is released for WordPress many hosting companies will automatically upgrade WordPress — and nothing more is needed. These upgrades can add functionality, or fix bugs in the software. It’s important to keep on top of your site and routinely check for updates. This will prevent the site from possible hack-attacks or down-time. I would not let a site sit out in space for a year or more without routing update checks.
Security & Back-up
If your hosting was set-up by Flying Cloud Design you most likely received hosting with a back-up plan. We often use Code Guard, Back-up Buddy or another paid for security plan. Since we hand-over hosting to our clients, it is recommended that the back-up plan is renewed with your hosting. Or that you request a back-up plan when renewing your service.
What are the upfront costs?
The site build is a one time cost. You are paying for the consult, planning, design and development of the site. This may include content development as well and a small training session on how to edit a page and where to find resources.
Are there recurring costs?
Hosting and domain registration is a recurring cost. Hosting is renting space on a server where all your files reside. Your domain, (mycompany.com), will also need to be renewed where it’s registered. We like to see the domain and hosting within the same company. However, the domain may reside somewhere other than your hosting company. For instance, your domain may be registered at Go Daddy, but the hosting may be at Blue Host, Host Gator, Site Ground, or other hosting company. The cost for hosting and domain runs about $100 – $150/year. You should know where your domain is registered and where your site is hosted and when it needs to be renewed. Sometimes dishonest companies will send you an email or letter in the mail requesting a renewal, be sure your not transferring ownership or adding additional unneeded services.
A plug-in or theme may need to be upgraded yearly as well. This is sometimes a minimal charge.
Let people find you
I’ve been asked a lot about SEO. Basically, buy ad space from Google. The more you pay Google the more likely to get on page one. Not to be cynical, but there’s some truth to this.
SEO is built into our sites. A good website architecture, which is easy for web crawlers to read, is the first step to web development. We build out the site in a SEO friendly manner. The structure of the pages, site maps, adding page info, titles, and URL naming conventions are built into the design. The site is verified, and site maps are submitted to major search engine at launch. This is the part you don’t see, until you come up in a search.
There are many companies offering SEO services. I get offering every day from India for cheap SEO service. I’m a little cautious about using SEO services. I wouldn’t want someone I didn’t know and trust to have access to the back-end of my site. They may have methods that work at the moment. But you may get stuck if Google changes their algorithm and gives your SEO method a lower ranking. This can be a problem. (But please feel free to use a SEO company if you feel the need.)
You can drive people to your site through advertising, social media, news releases, and getting links from high ranking sites. I always recommend to start a Google + page. Even though you may think no one uses it, Google loves it’s own products.
The best way to rank high is to offer something someone wants, needs and can use. Free advice is cheap. Say something important that makes sense to your target market. Keep things straight forward, honest and current. Don’t try to trick Google, they’re so much more clever than us.
Beyond the website
Websites are just a part of marketing a business. Flying Cloud Design offers logo design, print design, presentations, large format graphics, packaging, banners, email campaigns and other graphic design services to round out a marketing package.