A New Website? Where to start...

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There are a number of options when it comes to setting up a new website, whether you are looking to setup a blog, a business website that informs people of your services, or maybe an ecommerce site to sell products.  These options can seem confusing and sometimes can stop someone with great ideas or excellent products and services from realising their vision, there are 3 main choices when you look to setup a new site:

The Hard Way:  You could host your own website, design and manage everything yourself, including server updates, web platform patching, website security and content.  This method always ends up being very time consuming and takes focus away from the real reason you setup the website.  The underlying cost of this model seems to make sense if you have your own spare server, a fast internet connection, and are skilled enough to maintain and manage the upkeep of the infrastructure as well as the site.  However when you look at the number of hours devoted to maintenance and upkeep, on top of producing content for the website the cost of this option can be very expensive, and only really should be used by large corporates that have teams to look after each aspect of the sites maintenance, even now this is becoming less common.

The Tricky Way: After some research and talking with several vendors, you sign up with a hosting company who will provide you with a hosted server platform and ensure that the server and the connectivity are maintained.  This just leaves you to worry about the web platform (including patching, upgrades and other maintenance tasks) and producing content for your site.  For this to be viable the 3rd party providing the server infrastructure would need to be carefully chosen as would the web platform so as to make the job of maintaining the solution.  Normally your research would lead you to host your site in Amazon Web Services, Azure, or maybe Google's cloud; however it could also lead to a local provider who will provide a similar Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, however the issues detailed in the first option can still occur, namely wasting time on maintenance and upkeep, rather than on producing content and building your business or your presence online. 

The Easier Way: Signing up with a cloud provider like SquareSpace, Wordpress.com, or Wix can provide you with a worry free platform that only requires your new site to be setup and apply a and only worry about the content.  All aspects of server and platform maintenance are taken care of.  Normally these providers supply a service that is fault tolerant and patched as soon as a fix is available, all without the downtime and annoyance to your sites visitors.  These services are direct with the companies that own the platform, for example wordpress.com runs on the same platform that 27% of all the websites in the world run on, it is flexible and has a large community of developers that look after it and the many plugins and templates that are available for it; SquareSpace is a smaller more focused platform that is aimed at the blogging, business and ecommerce customers who don't want to worry about plugins to do this, everything is centrally curated and maintained; and Wix offers a similar platform to wordpress in many regards with many templates and plugins to extend the functionality.

To summarise the general move in web platforms is away from doing it the "The Hard Way" and is moving quickly to "The Easier Way" as this falls into the same overall strategy within the wider business community to move as many services and platforms "To the Cloud".  We strongly recommend moving your web platform to a cloud services like the ones detailed above.  If you need help in deciding which is best for you, contact the team at Thunderhead and we will advise you of the best way forward.