Your organization’s web presence starts with your home base, usually a website or blog. This is the place where all of the important information about your organization is housed. It is also where your clientele comes to transact business with you. If you sell goods, it will include an online store. Service organizations will provide examples of their work and a way to collect information from potential clients. Every organization will want to tell their own story and give their customers a chance to get to know them.
Traditional websites consist of sets of pages, grouped into topic areas. The topics to include depends on the information that the organization wants to convey. Pages may be static, that is they display the same content until they are changed by the site owner, or they may be dynamic, in which case they change in response to actions by the site visitor. All e-commerce sites are dynamic, so that they can respond to requests to add products to a shopping cart, calculate totals, process credit cards, etc. Some sites are so dynamic that there is no practical difference between them and a traditional software application. The sites operated by Google fall into this category.
Sites that utilize a Content Management System (CMS) offer a kind of hybrid between static and dynamic. These sites allow the site owner to make changes to their site’s page content using a word processor-like interface, without any knowledge of web site programming. The CMS merges the latest content into pages as they are displayed to site visitors.
A blog (originally a contraction of “web log”) is a type of website that excels at conveying timely information. Blogs are a great way to communicate with your clientele and to keep them up to date with what’s going on in your organization. One or more people in your organization author posts, which can be about anything from product announcements, to industry news, to photos of your cats. Posts are displayed on the blog in order from most recent to least recent, so your most timely information is at the top. Once posts are published, readers are often allowed to comment on them, creating an ongoing dialogue. Blogs can be used alongside a conventional web site or, in some cases, as an organization’s primary web presence.
WordPress is popular blogging software that comes in two flavors: hosted on WordPress.com and self-hosted on your own server. The second option is much more flexible and allows WordPress to be used as a blog, a CMS for a traditional website, or some combination of the two.
WordPress is open source software. Not only is it free (as in beer), it also has a huge community of developers creating software modules and graphical themes. Many different types of websites can be developed using WordPress, often with much less effort and cost than the equivalent site created from scratch. The site you are looking at right now is powered by WordPress.
Help from webdancers
Webdancers has been creating all types of websites since 1995. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you determine the best types of web presence for your organization.