Technology: Website-ing without stress- how TheCapeRobyn chirps along without sweating the small stuff
|What: Weberlytic –professional website design and development for small businesses in South Africa- monthly maintenance, hosting packages, assistance and backup |
This is a personal story: Creating my magazine website, TheCapeRobyn. I don’t know anyone who has got a website going – without a lot of work – and anxiety. To do it properly takes time, focus and vision. It took me over a year to get my platform going. The process started with a face-to-face consultation with Tasneem Abrahams of Digital Engage. She is based in Joburg and luckily I was there on a business trip and we could meet over a cup of coffee – no masks – as this was before the pandemic. For me, it was essential to meet face-to-face and push around ideas. I had made a story board of how I envisioned my magazine website and Tasneem worked from the huge piece of paper -drawn up my with template- the tabs and categories for my arts and lifestyle magazine. She recommended that I get a logo, to create a brand identity from the get-go. I took her advice and consulted with veteran graphic designer, Carol-Anne Lipshitz of CasDesign. She suggested a banner logo as well as buttons for flexibility. I wanted to incorporate multiple aspects of what my website offers – arts and lifestyle, the fact that film is an offering and the bird (TheCapeRobyn). Carol-Anne came up with a range of options. It was invaluable that she lives in Cape Town. We could sit and sift through the different shades of red on her computer (essential component of my banner) and then look at how those tones translated to desktop and mobile devices. Carol-Ann worked closely with Tasneem. Logos may present differently on mobile devices and desktops and between Tasneem and Carol, they got it sorted Design is important to me – font size, colour – and they worked with me to translate my vision from a Facebook page to a multiple functioning magazine/website.
Website or blog?
People ask – what is the difference between a website and blog. It is semantics. I prefer to position TheCapeRobyn as a magazine website as it was conceived as an online magazine, with tabs/categories and is not a random compilation of articles. Some blogs – not all – present with stories reeling off the banner – without being categorised. I go with magazine website. Some websites are placeholders – with not much of the content changing. If you run a medical practice, for example, the information is the information. There may be periodic additions but contact details, operating hours and so on will remain constant, unless there is posting of health updates. Some websites have newsletters – automatically generated by software but placeholder sites would not require this. TheCapeRobyn has a newsletter- delivers Friday mornings. Please sign up – on website or send me a DM and I will do it for you.
Maintenance, maintenance and maintenance
When I got TheCapeRobyn up and riding, I thought: “Okay, cool; finally did it.” Uhhm, I failed to read a memo properly from Tasneem in which she recommends that one gets a webster person to maintain the site. This involves updating plugins and what-not. You will see a plug-in for Instagram on my site and for Facebook and these need to be updated. Most of us check the oil, water and tyre pressure of our cars when we fill up for petrol – or we should. Web maintenance, works on a similar principal. Ones needs a monthly check-up to make sure that everything is in running order and/or needs a tuning up. Yes, one can do it oneself but this involves working from the back-end of the website and can be technically challenging as it may involve codes- strings of numbers which are unfathomable for techno challenged individuals. I know how to lay out and post but updating is beyond me. In her handover document, Tasneem recommended Bradley Peters from Weberlytic, based in Johannesburg. It was a huge relief to hand-over to Bradley. Every time WordPress actioned an update, I started to sweat with worry. Weberlytic oversees monthly maintenance – updates everything and voila – no sweat. Bradley offers video calls by Zoom, WhatsApp, and Team Viewer which is useful as I am in Cape Town.
Don’t sweat the details
On top of the monthly maintenance, I soon discovered Bradley’s expertise. For instance, I wanted to add captions to my photos – in a smaller font. I googled it. I went in on the back-end and stared at my screen for two hours – without success. The font did not change. Fearful, of putting in the wrong string of codes, I asked Bradley for a quote and he put in default for captions –according to my specifications. Easy and truly not worth the aggravation of trying to do it myself. Bradley puts up my adverts. I sweat over the adverts – home page, sidebar, multiple places. Bradley does that – for a fee. If you are reading this, yes, my website requires financial outlay to keep it spruced up so please consider that when you ask me to post adverts or advertorial, “for free”.
Then I started to sweat when the domain host, upped my monthly fees. Websites operate according to space. The more space that you require, you pay more for that space. This is why many sites do not archive content. A story is up for seven days or a month and then it is gone. This is another thing to consider, when you are considering advertising content placements, dear reader. Space costs. Bradley came to the rescue again. His company Weberlytic, also hosts domains. I did not hesitate. I migrated TheCapeRobyn to Weberlytic. I pay an annual renewal fee as I would to another provider and the hosting is included in my monthly web package
I did not know that when I signed up with Bradley that Weberlytic also creates websites from scratch. He says: “For a very basic website of up to five pages which consists of text and images supplied by the client, and with security and SEO plugins, that would cost anything from R3500. More pages and more features would cost extra.” If clients do not want to sweat the business of posting, he can work out monthly packages and do all the work. If clients want actions on an occasional basis, he will quote. The caption of photos is an example of how this has worked for me. He says: “With people that really battle to manage their website or find it too technical, I can do those updates and changes at a fee. Many people would rather just pay, to have less stress and more peace of mind. People can use me on an ad-hoc basis or on a set monthly rate to make updates and changes. I can customise packages according to people’s needs.”
Can I have it now- not tomorrow – this hour
All up, Weberlytic has removed the angst of web-siting. The most important aspect is service delivery. Internet issues, load-shedding may have an impact on websites. Who you going to call? If you are a sole operator, there is no IT department to buzz. I did not enjoy being put on hold, while I waited for my domain host, call operator to answer. If there is a website issue, I want it fixed – now-now. Bradley ALWAYS replies and sorts it out. Sure, costing is important but if your web person answers in three weeks, that, is not helpful. My magazine website needs to be updated constantly and if there are glitches, I need those issues to be dealt with, speedily. Bravo to Weberlytic for de-stressing website-ing for me and for its efficiency and for Bradley’s courtesy and care – at all times. Here is the splurb he sent me when I asked him what Weberlytic offers, so I can share: “Weberlytic offers professional website design and development to small businesses in South Africa. We understand that your website forms an extremely valuable part of your business as it is your shop front to internet users. It needs to be visually appealing, user friendly, device responsive and have seamless functionality. We build websites using the WordPress content management system (CMS). WordPress is used by millions of brands around the world and is known for its ease of use and extended functionality. We will design and build your website using the best WordPress themes and plugins to make it visually appealing, fast loading, mobile responsive and secure. Emphasis will also be placed on Search Engine Optimization with on-page SEO to gain organic traffic to your website. Every website requires hosting to ensure that it is online and accessible to internet users. WordPress maintenance ensures that your website remains up to date, secure and fully functional. Our Hosting & Maintenance service covers WordPress updates to your themes and plugins, regular security scans, daily backups of your entire website, database optimisation for improved performance, SSL certificates and secure hosting. We can take care of all the technical aspects of your WordPress website, giving you peace of mind and more time to focus on your business.”
Summing up- one package fits all
As a non-tech savvy person, I recommend the hiring of professionals to create websites and then putting in place a comprehensive maintenance and back-up plan. After dealing with a domain host and getting frustrated with fees and lack of service, I would highly recommend an all-in package – maintenance and hosting. Weberlytic did not set up my site but its service has been impeccable and I would highly recommend the company. I recommend, bringing on board, a graphic designer such as Carol-Anne Lipshitz of CasDesign, to finesse brand design and identity, from the start of the start-up and I recommend working with a professional like Tasneem Abrahams of Digital Engage who understands that details matter.