- Q & A -  

How do websites work?

Hosting Company: This company owns and operates powerful computers called "Servers" which are designed to hold websites, and allow access to them via the internet. Servers can be configured to support different types of website elements. You will need to create an account with a hosting company, who will then "host" your website.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): This company gives you access to the internet via telephone dial-up or broadband cable connection. This company can also be your hosting company, but doesn't need to be, as this service is not connected to your website - it is purely so you can access the internet.

Website Designer: A company which creates your website and places it on your hosting company's server. This company can also be your host or ISP, or it can be a company which specialises in website design, such as Slipstream Media.

SlipManager: A Content Management System which runs on your website, which allows you to update content, images, downloadable files, video etc. from any computer, at any time. For more information, see the SlipManager section.

Website Diagram

How does e-commerce work?

To process credit card payments online, you will need to create a Merchant Account with a bank so that you can receive funds. You will also need to create an account with a Payment Gateway company, who is in partnership with your chosen bank.

On your website, product selection can be done using:
  • "buy me" buttons
  • an ordering form which customers fill out online
  • an ordering form which customers print out and post or fax
  • a more sophistocated shopping cart
There are a number of different ways to handle online credit card payments:
  • "Buy Me" buttons, which connect to another website's online store which will handle the transaction. (you will not need a Payment Gateway for this option)
  • Connection to the Payment Gateway's payment form where the purchaser enters credit card details
  • Fully integrated payment system, where the purchaser does not leave your website to make the purchase as all connection to the Payment Gateway and processing is done "behind the scenes". (This requires secure SSL enabled on your server.)
Other ways to facilitate payments are:
  • Supplying an order form on your website which purchasers can print out, fill in, and post or fax to you. This does not require a payment gateway.
  • Storing ordering and credit card information in your website database using secure SSL connections, and notifying you via email so you can access the order and process the transaction manually. Credit card details can be removed once processed.
  • Payment by cheque or money order before or after delivery
  • Cash on Delivery (COD)
  • PayPal

What are E-Newsletters?

Firstly a little bit about how website newsletters work. Visitors who wish to join your newsletter enter their email address, and any other information you want to collect (name, country etc) in a website form. Once they have submitted their details, an email is sent to the address they entered to ask them for confirmation by clicking on a button in the email. This "double opt-in" system means that people cannot be added to the mailing list without their consent (which would mean that they might consider your newsletters to be spam) and that your mailing list only contains verified email addresses. Incorrect email addresses in your mailing list will generate a response to your website email address every time you send a newsletter, which can clog up your inbox with "address not found" replied for each incorrect address.

When a visitor has verified their addition to your mailing list, their details are added to the website database. When a newsletter is sent, the email addresses are taken from the database, and each email is sent to the recipient individually. This means that all of the addresses on your valuable mailing list will not be visible to each recipient. At the bottom of each newsletter, there is an "unsubscribe me" button, which recipients can click to remove themselves from the mailing list automatically. So you do not have to manage the mailing list yourself, it is all done automatically, and all you have to do is think of something to say in the newsletter!

Now, there are a few different ways to set up your newsletter itself.

This email is a standard text email, with no layout or pictures. You type in the newsletter content, using capital letters and various text elements (-=#/|\) to emphasize headings and such. This method has the benefit of ensuring everyone can read your newsletter, as some older email programs sometimes have trouble displaying HTML emails, but is nowhere near the quality of the HTML emails.

This method will use a HTML file that is created like a webpage as the content of the newsletter email. This has the benefit of being able to change layout elements for each newsletter, but may end up being more work for you. Also, the HTML must be in a particular format, for example, it must use tables for layout rather than CSS to maximize accessibility. Also, you have to be careful not to make any errors in the HTML file. When you are ready to send the newsletter, you go to the Admin Menu, select the HTML file, and click "send". If the flexibility of this method appeals to you and you have some knowledge of HTML, a template HTML file can be designed for you.

In this more user friendly method, Slipstream Media will design your newsletter leaving room for you to fill in the blanks with images or text. When you are ready to send the newsletter, you go to the Admin Menu and fill in various sections - Introduction, Headings and Text and select Images. Generally, each section has a heading, image and text, and you can fill in multiple sections.

This is similar to method 3, but is also taking content from your website database to add to the newsletter. For example if you have added Events through your Admin Menu, your newsletter can be set up to gather new events added and display them in the newsletter, with links back to your website if people want to read further. This is a good way of gathering content for your newsletter, and encouraging people to go to your website.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta Tags give search engines information about your website, and help them to place your website within relevant search results. The two most important meta tags are:
Keyword List : a list of words or phrases which a potential visitor might enter into a search engine to find websites like yours.
Short Description : One or two sentences which use the most important keywords to describe your website. (Max 240 characters)

What are the different kinds of email addresses?

You can create a free online email account with an online company, such as hotmail. You email address willl look something like: yourname@hotmail.com. There are also paid for online email addresses which provide more space for emails and more features.

If you own a domain name, (eg. www.yoursite.com), you can have email accounts which are connected to your website, eg. info@yoursite.com. Business emails using your domain name look much more professional. You can set up your email program on your computer (such as Outlook Express or Mail) to receive your emails.

How much will my website cost?

The cost of a website varies depending on the amount of content and complexity of the website. The Website Planner can help you to plan and request a free quote, and can send us information which help to accurately quote for your website project, or simply Contact Us.

Ask a Question

If you have any further questions, you can email your question to Slipstream Media using the form below: