The following is a brief list of features commonly requested by our clients for their sites. Not every feature is right for every site – it depends who is using it and what the users are looking for out of the experience.
How long each type of feature takes to program depends on how you wish for it to function. We will be able to provide you an estimate of time based on what you would like your site to do, and our suggestion of how to most efficiently achieve that goal.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) – This is a system which will allow you to log into a password protected area on your website, and choose which page you would like to edit. You then type or paste the new content that you would like on your page, click “Update” and your changes instantly show up on your website, with no HTML knowledge needed. The Aroma Web Design hosting system has a CMS (Content Management System) included with the package price to enable you to easily update your website once it is launched.
PHOTO ALBUM – Log in through a web interface, browse on your computer to select the photo you want to add, and the album will automatically upload the photo, create a thumbnail and large image for you and add the photo to your album. You can then decide which album you want to place it in, change the description and title, and change the order that the photo is displayed in in relationship to the other photos in the album. Click for an example of one of our photo albums included with our hosting package.
ECOMMERCE – An ecommerce site has items for sale. This is usually done with a ‘shopping cart’ on the page, and the buyer can purchase with their credit card. The terms below all relate to ecommerce sites. The West Coast Web hosting system includes light ecommerce as a part of the basic hosting package. This solution, as it involves no commitment and expense, is a perfect starting point for many small businesses. If you are planning on mostly doing business online, a full ecommerce system may be more appropriate. We can help you to assess which solution is best for you.
- SHOPPING CART – Software that operates on an online storefront. The “shopping cart” keeps track of all the items that a buyer wants to purchase, allowing the shopper to pay for the whole order at once.
- CATALOG ADMINISTRATION – This allows the owner of the site to log in securely online, add categories and products and upload photos for the product. As soon as the change/s have been made, the site will reflect the new information. This is the best choice for a company that sells products if A) Either you have more than 20 or so products or B) Your products change frequently.
- DYNAMIC CATALOG DISPLAY – This is when a list of products is displayed on a page in response to what the viewer is looking for. It is the standard way of displaying products, allowing for features such as “sort by price”, “search by name or manufacturer”, “show me this type only” etc. If you have more than twenty or so products, or your products change frequently, this is the most efficient way to present your merchandise.
- SSL – A web technology that provides security for web transactions by handling authentication, data encryption and digital signatures by scrambling data when it is being passed from one computer to the other. Most e-commerce web sites use SSL to process payment transactions. You will be able to tell if a site has SSL installed by seeing the little yellow lock on the lower browser bar.We can purchase and install the SSL on your website to ensure that your clients’ credit card information is safe while they shop with you.
- MERCHANT ACCOUNT DISCOUNT RATE – A percentage rate charged by the bank for processing a merchant’s transaction. This rate is usually determined by the type of business and/or how the credit card is processed. Retail based transactions (card present) will always have a lower discount rate than mail, phone, or Internet transactions (card absent). We suggest a number of excellent vendors to keep your costs down, choosing the wrong payment processor can cause you to pay from 3.5% to 5.5% on each transaction from your website, in addition to the transaction flat fee.
- PAYMENT PROCESSOR – A company that attends to the actual technical end of processing of a credit card transaction, to be distinguished from the merchant account bank, which merely acts as the recipient of the transaction, proceeds.We integrate your website with the payment processor’s system and ensure that everything is working perfectly.
BULLETIN BOARD – Bulletin boards, also called newsgroups or discussion groups work in a similar way to electronic mail. Instead of writing messages to individual users, participants in bulletin boards post their messages on a news server. The messages are stored on the news server in a hierarchical directories. Users participate in bulletin boards by reading the messages and responding to them. There are bulletin boards or newsgroups on virtually every subject you can think of.
MAILING LIST – A web based system that allows you to send e-mail to one address, which is then copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the mail list. Subscription is often handled through an online form where users can subscribe and un-subscribe to the topics on your website that they want to be notified of: for instance, “Holiday Events” would be one list, and “Monthly Specials” would be another.
You may want a mailing list in which only you create new messages, that go out to your customers. You can also have a mailing list in which anyone from the mailing list can send a new message, or a contribute to an existing message. In this way, people who may be using different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together. Which system is right for you depends on the use that you need the mailing list to serve.
CONTACT FORM – Unless there is a particular set of information that you *must* have before being able to effectively handle an inquiry from a potential client, providing direct contact information and a simple email link is the most user friendly way of connecting with your web audience. The huge majority of people want personal service, and will not submit web forms.
BLOG – A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger”. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Often blogs allow readers to post comments blog entries to allow the content to be dynamic communication between the blogger and the reader. A blog is an optional upgrade on our hosting package.
SITE SEARCH – Unless your site contains hundreds of pages of text, it is very unlikely that your viewers will be needing or using a site search feature. This is one of those features that looks cool, but is better skipped on small sites.
STREAMING VIDEO – Video needs to be converted into the correct format for the speed of the internet connection that the viewer is visiting your website with, then presented without a long wait time in a format that they do not need to download a special player for. We can recommend the format that is right for your audience.
OTHER FEATURES – We work for clients on an ongoing basis creating full systems that are designed to assist their businesses in running more smoothly. From booking systems for cruise boats, to condo booking systems and group communication centers, we have done it all.
Give us a call with what you have in mind, or ask us for suggestions, and we’ll be happy to give you a hand.