Do I need a web site?
Almost every business has a web presence of some sort these days. More and more people are looking for services on the web and more of them want to find you via a web site to buy what you have to offer or get in contact. But if a web site really isn't going to be of any benefit, we'll advise you not to buy one. We're only interested in happy, satisfied customers. There's more on this page too.
What makes a good web site?
Not that easy a question to answer quickly, as different sites need different strengths. But all sites should look good, be easy to navigate around, have clear and useful content, and download quickly. Obviously they also need to work for all of the popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.
What is content management?
Content management allows you to update your web site yourself. It's a bit of software that sits behind your site, allowing you to log in and make changes through a simple Word-like interface. This is called the Content Management System, or CMS. You can find out more about CMS on our content management page.
Do I need a content management system?
If you intend to update your web site yourself, then you do. Even if you want your web site to be maintained by your web design company, it's better if there's a CMS behind the site, as this makes updating the site quicker and easier, so it'll cost you less. If your site is only very rarely updated, then it's probably less important.
What is ecommerce?
Ecommerce is selling online. An ecommerce site has a shopping basket which is linked to a card services provider or bank, allowing the site owner to collect debit and credit card payments for the items in the shopping cart. Good ecommerce software also allows you to store and check on transaction progress, promote items in your store, set up special offers and allow for a customer management system (so you can email customers and they can manage their own accounts with you online) to be integrated without difficulty.We've got a whole page dedicated to ecommerce, so have a look to find out more.
Can your ecommerce software integrate with my EPOS/stock control software?
Yes. Almost all software written within the last ten years allows for communication with other programs, either by XML data transfer, text file or some other means. If we can talk to whoever set up your stock control software, or you have some kind of manual, we'll be able to tie the two together.
Can I upgrade my web site as my business grows?
Naturally. We hope you will come to rely on us as a part of your business, a part which helps you raise your profile or become more profitable. When you need more from your web site, we'll be there to discuss the possibilities with you and to do the work required.
What is a domain name?
All computers on the Internet are identified by a unique number called an IP address. This consists of four sets of numbers such as "126.96.36.199". It's nice and unique, but not very memorable. To make a web server easier to find and remember, its IP address can be linked to a friendly domain name, such as "beetlebrow.co.uk". These domain names are stored in domain name servers (DNS). When you type in a web address, your browser asks the nearest DNS if there is an IP address linked to it, and if there is, the DNS directs your browser to it. We can register and set up all your domains to point to your web site, and set up your email addresses for the domain as well. Find out more about domain name registration here.
How do I get email addresses linked to my domain name?
We can set up as many email addresses as you need. Each email address needs to point to a mailbox. You can either use mailboxes provided by your ISP, or we can provide mailboxes for you. More than one email address can point to the same mailbox, so firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com can both be delivered to the same mailbox. In the same way, one email address can be delivered to multiple mailboxes, so firstname.lastname@example.org could also go to several other recipients. You tell us what you need, and we'll set it up for you. There's more on email on our email information page.
What is a POP3 mailbox?
A POP3 mailbox (POP stands for Post Office Protocol) is a collection point on a mail server, where email is stored. Your email program, Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora etc., logs in to the POP3 mailbox and downloads your email to your computer for you to read. We can supply the mailboxes and help you configure your email program to access the email they contain.
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
This is the process of making your web site as appealing as possible to search engines for particular relevant search terms, so that when people search on Google etc. using those terms, your site appears at, or near, the top of the list of results. All our web sites are built to be very friendly to visiting search engines. Tell us the search terms that are important to you and we can either rewrite your copy to emphasise these words and phrases, or work them into the site in important places, or both.
There are other aspects to SEO. Every site should have an XML sitemap, which tells search engines about every page on the site, so they can easily catalogue everything. A link builder campaign can also make a big difference. Links coming in to your web site increase the ranking of your site, on the basis that a site which lots of other sites link to must be more important. There's more information on SEO on this page.
How do you get a good Google ranking?
Google and other search engines look through your site, take out all the important words, giving words in headings etc. slightly more importance. They then looks for words in links to your site, and compare them to your site and then give the pages of your site a rank for each important word and phrase.
In order to get a good rank, you need an XML sitemap to tell search engines about every page on your site, you need your site to be built according to the latest web standards (as defined by the web consortium at), you need your site to have been optimised for the words that are important to you and you may well need a link building campaign.
Optimising your site for important search terms means going through the content of your site, adding these words and phrases where possible to headings and images, and increasing the use of these words throughout the site. A link builder campaign consists of creating links into your site using important words in the link, preferably from relevant sites elsewhere on the web. We can organise all of this for you, helping to boost your online profile and the traffic to your web site. There's more on SEO on this page.
What are site stats and are they useful?
Site stats give you useful information about how many people are visiting your site, how long they stay there, which pages are most popular and when you can expect peaks in traffic. They also tell you where most of your traffic is coming from and what seach terms people are using to find your site. These can help you work out whether your site is working as you require and how to make your site more popular. For more about the statistics packages we offer, click here.
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is used to lay out a web page. It consist of tags you put around text and to call in images. For example, a major heading might have H1 tags around it like this: <h1>Important heading</h1>. These days, most good sites use XHTML, which is more standardised than HTML and is based on XML so it obeys stricter rules, making it easier for the site to work in all browsers.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is the language of style. It tells the browser how you'd like it to display the markup tags. So if a main heading is big, red and bold on one page, and smaller, green and italic on another, you'd do that via CSS. CSS also positions things on the page, and controls how your links act when you put your mouse over them.
What are Zope and Plone?
Zope is cutting edge Open Source software which acts as a framework for web sites and other online applications. It comes with a database built-in and allows applications and products to be plugged in. Plone is a Zope-based application, which provides content management, security and much more. We have based our content management system around Zope and Plone. Find out more at on this page.and or
What is Open Source?
Open Source software means that anyone can download the source code and adapt it however they wish. They can also contribute to the development of the software. Popular Open Source software, such as Linux, Zope and Plone have tens of thousands of developers worldwide working on improvements and additions to the software. Proprietary software, such as anything from Microsoft, does not permit anyone from outside the company to see the source code, and all work on changes and improvements is done within the organisation which owns the software.
What is Flash?
Flash is a proprietary piece of software from Adobe that creates multimedia files you can embed into your web pages. These are usually interactive buttons or animations, but can be anything, from video to entire web sites. Where search engine ranking is important, web sites should not be be made entirely with Flash, as search engines do not find it easy to index the text of the site. It is excellent for producing animations and games, however.
How much will it all cost?
It depends on what you want. Visit our "Get a quote" section and check up on the prices for the kind of site that's most like the one you want. Then you'll have a better idea of what we'll charge you. Then give us a call, give us a little detail about your requirements, and we'll send you a proposal with a firm price.
Is it FAQ or FAQs?
This is a tricky one. We've always believed it was FAQ, standing for Frequently Asked Questions, but now stand on the threshold of a new world where FAQ has become a word in its own right, which makes it better to pluralise it to FAQs. That's the level of detail you get with a Beetlebrow site. For more on the subject,.