The Technical Side of Planning a Website

by Selwyn Bergman of BMSC-Online

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From the previous pages, you should have enough information to know how to effectively guide yourself, or a contractor through the technical stages of developing your website. This isn't to say that the responsibility for making up the plan is yours alone, and good website developers will always assist you in developing the plan (or a brief as it is sometimes called), but your involvement makes it a lot easier and often results in more useful websites.

good website developers will always assist you in developing the plan

Website Hosting needsPay special attention to your website hosting and the registration of your domain. If you dont know what website hosting actually is, read my Website Hosting Article for a quick explanation. Many website companies that 'take the hassle out of domain registration' for you, actually trick you by registering your domain as their own possession. You can read more about this the related article on Domain theft elsewhere on this website.

think about what kind of technology you'd need to have included in your hosting package

Estimate what your webserver must haveBefore you host the website, think about what kind of technology you'd need to have included in your hosting package. For example, if you're a photographer and you'd like samples of your work to be available online, you'd need to think carefully about the amount of data you'll be allowed to transfer (sometimes called bandwidth) Even a small 100KB picture can become problematic if hundreds of visitors download it each month. Another example is that of a news site whose owner intends making money via advertising on the site. The adverts would need to be managed by a database and accessed through a server-side scripting language (like php or perl). The news would also need to be updated very regularly so that it remains interesting. Yet another example is that of a small business that employs 10 people who all need their own email addresses. A package that only provides 5 email addresses would be insufficient for this business.

Bad estimates and failing to plan can result in elevated costs

Get good estimates of what you needAn experienced website developer will help a great deal in determining the technical requirements, especially by giving estimates on the amount of data that will be transferred through the domain (sometimes called bandwidth), the amount of disk space you'll need, the number of email addresses you'd require, and additional software. You don't want to end up with a problem like creating a site thats supposed to attract advertisers and only discover later on that your web host doesn't provide you with some kind of database software, so you have to update the adverts manually; or only purchasing 20Meg of bandwidth per month for a popular website that needs 500Meg of bandwidth. In the latter, there is usually an extra cost of between R0.50 to R2.00 per Meg that your website goes over the 20Meg limit - in other words you'd get an "extra traffic fine" of between R240 to R960 every month. Bad estimates and failing to plan can result in elevated costs, so be sure to make an accurate an estimate as possible - even if it means consulting with an expert.

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