What makes a good website? We asked Click Rain’s director of web technology

Aug. 15, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Click Rain.

Your website is often the first impression a potential customer has of your brand or product. If it’s not making a great impression, it’s time to consider a rebuild or a least a remodel. Click Rain has been developing websites for over a decade, including recent sites for the ​Pizza Ranch FunZone Arcade​, ​VitalWare and ​Park Place Hotel​.

Click Rain’s director of web technology, ​Brady Fopma​, shares his answers to some of the technical questions you might have if you think it might be time for a new website.

What is the difference between a templated site and a custom-built site?

A templated site typically refers to a website with a predefined design or layout. Options may exist for customizing this layout with different colors and images, but the underlying layout and structure will be pre-built.

A custom-built site includes a unique design based on client brand standards and objectives. It may also include a content management system, or  CMS, built specifically for the project.

What are the benefits of both, and how do I know which type is right for my business?

A templated site will generally be less expensive, requiring less time to produce. If your requirements for a website are simple or budget is a significant deciding factor, a templated site may be a great option for you.

A custom-built site will be designed and developed uniquely for your business or project requirements. If you have unique site needs or require a custom design to reflect your brand accurately, a custom-built site is often the way to go.

How do I ensure the safety and security of my website?

There are several steps you can take to enhance the security of your website:

  • Encrypt all site traffic through the use of a domain-wide SSL certificate.
  • Choose a content management system with a strong track record of security.
  • Apply CMS security updates and patches regularly.
  • Choose a website host that is actively managing and monitoring the server environment on which your site lives.

What does SSL mean, and why is it important?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a technology for encrypting traffic between a web browser and a server. In web browsers such as Google Chrome, a padlock icon is displayed next to the site’s URL if the site is SSL-encrypted.

An SSL helps ensure the security of information being transmitted from your browser to the website server and vice-versa. For example, when logging into a site that requires a password — or submitting a credit card number during an online transaction — it is critical that this sensitive information is encrypted. In July of 2018, Google began notating any site as “Not Secure” within its Chrome browser if the content wasn’t delivered via SSL. All sites need to be SSL-secured for that reason.

What is website hosting, and why does it matter?

Website hosting refers to the server or servers on which your site lives. Choosing the right website host matters for security and performance reasons. There are seemingly unlimited options for website hosting today, with pricing that varies greatly. Before defaulting to that $10-per-month hosting plan, ask the following questions:

  • What is the host’s service-level agreement or uptime policy?
  • Is site monitoring included in the hosting price?
  • If my site goes down, how easily can I reach technical support to resolve the issue?
  • Does my site share server resources with other customer sites?
  • How are server, website and database backups being managed?
  • Will the server or servers be able to withstand heavy traffic to my site? Are load-balancing options in place or available?

How important is site speed, and what does Click Rain do to ensure all sites load quickly?

Site speed is critically important and ​impacts all aspects of your site​, from design to content and development to hosting. A site that loads quickly results in higher conversion rates, lower load on the server and potentially higher search ranking.

Click Rain follows several industry best practices to maximize your site’s performance. We use caching for lower Time to First Byte, lazy loading images to reduce page weight and deliver content via content delivery networks. All sites are performance measured prior to launch through such tools as ​WebPageTest​ and ​Google Lighthouse​.

Do I need to worry about website accessibility?

Website accessibility​ is crucial for all sites today. Not only is it important from a legal standpoint — check with your legal team for compliance — but it also allows visitors of all abilities to use your site. The three levels of ​Website Content Accessibility Guidelines​, or WCAG, describe the technical requirements needed to promote accessibility. Click Rain is well versed in these requirements and can assist with auditing your site for accessibility or helping to bring it up to WCAG standards.

Not sure where to start? Learn what sets a Click Rain website apart here. 


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What makes a good website? We asked Click Rain’s director of web technology

What kind of website is right for you? How about hosting? And how do you keep it all secure and accessible? Click Rain’s expert weighs in on these and more questions you’ll have if you’re thinking of a new or improved website.

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