Ask For a Technology Summary

Would you Purchase a House without looking inside?

When purchasing a website you are purchasing a product that you are going to be using on a regular basis to build your business.  It’s important that you understand the technology behind that product.  Now, if you are anything like me someone rhyming off a list of technology to you can not only feel a little overwhelming, but you are unlikely to remember these foreign terms.  Your safest bet would be to ask your website designer/developer for a summary of the technology being used for your site.

It’s all too common that websites are built, set live, and handed over to a business owner without any training or written documentation.  This can feel scary and overwhelming to business owners, especially after spending a small fortune on a site.  By asking for a list of the technology that was used to build your website it arms you with the knowledge you need to research some basic information about that technology.  It can also be a powerful resource to hire yourself a trainer or technology expert to make revisions or updates to your site.

The types of topics I include in my technology summaries are:

Content Management System (CMS): This is the web application that was used to facilitate the editing, creating, organizing, and publishing of your website.  The most popular CMS platforms used today are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Plugins: These are tools that can be installed on your CMS to add increased functionality.  Some things plugins might be used for are an image gallery, online form, special fonts, or linking to external app/software.  One of the most commonly used plugins on WordPress is Yoast SEO.  This is a tool that can be used to customize the Search Engine Optimization of your site (I will explain this in more detail in a future blog).

Theme/Template: Simply put, this is what makes your site so pretty!  Themes or Templates are a collection of files that combined together customize the look and feel of your website.  These can be used as is, customized, or even completely custom built.  There are millions of website Templates and Themes out there!

External Applications: In some more elaborate web design projects there are external applications that you may want plugged into your website.  For example maybe you have a booking app for your business, or maybe you have a newsletter/subscription tool, or even Google Analytics.  These are all external applications that you may want plugged into your website (hence the term plugin above).  It’s a good idea to get a list of these so you know the other applications you can log into besides just your website to manage these awesome tools and leverage them for your online presence.

I suggest you ask your web designer up front, before they start your project whether they can provide you with a summary of technology at the end of the project, or even before.  If the designer can’t explain to you what technology is being used and why, then consider shopping around for the correct person to meet your business needs.  You have a business to run, don’t let the technology intimidate you!  Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to be successful online!

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