Advice on making a website for a veterinary business
April 5, 2013 7:12 AM   Subscribe

I have a computer science degree so I know (or can learn) the technicalities of web programming, serving a site, etc. I'm looking for high level advice. If someone asked you to make them a business website today, how would you go about it?

I am being asked by a family friend to make a basic website for his veterinary hospital. It will be a static site at first though might have seasonal / occasional changes, and we might want to add interactivity later. Like this one. I'm sure I can do it technically, but I want to use the right procedures.

If you work in web design, and your friend or family member asked you to build them a website in short order, how would you do it? (A particular language, software suite, or service? Hire someone for part of it?) I would especially welcome advice from anyone who has special expertise.

These types of opinions would be awesome:

-- "I'd register it on, then I'd use to host it, then I'd program it using Dreamweaver/Drupal/FooSoftware/FooLanguage/whatever."

-- "You are going to waste your time, I'd use which is super fast and easy."

-- "I'd do this first aspect of it myself, then I'd hire someone from for this other aspect of it, and expect to pay in the ballpark of $ dollars."

-- "Be careful to do XYZ so that someone can take it over after you're gone."

I have a good computer science degree from within the past decade... but am not at all up to date on web stuff. There are so many tools and options out there. I would love advice about your favorites. Or, any high level guidance to get me started.

Thank you!
posted by htid to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oops, I linked to the wrong website that I am using as a model. This vet hospital is the one I'm looking at instead. Though it doesn't have to be all that fancy.
posted by htid at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2013

Best answer: The current "right" way to do it, is that second option. Use a cheap tool/hosting option like the omnipresent Squarespace or one of its competitors like Apostrophe Now, knock it out, and call it a day. For a simple, mostly-static site, there's no need to Develop Stuff in Languages in the full sense.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:18 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You have to start with what the client envisions as the point of the website.

Is it simply a web-calling-card? Just a billboard or yellowpages ad on the internet? That's easy; just use whatever fast website builder your hosting provider gives you.

Or do they want to add content, like a newsletter or a blog of sorts? Then maybe Wordpress.

Or do they want to have the ability to accept payments and make appointments and all that goodness? That's when it starts getting complicated. Not even so much from the web side, since those problems are mostly easy to solve. But from the client's side: how will they interact with the website? How will they get informed that someone is requesting an appointment? That's where it gets tricky, IMHO.

I have some webspace and domain names hosted on, and they work fine for me. It's just space, not a whole virtual server because that's more of a pain in my ass than I need. But they are cheap and as reliable as I need. I've never noticed if they had any downtime.
posted by gjc at 7:41 AM on April 5, 2013

Another vote for Namecheap + Squarespace, and I say that as a formerish web designer. Squarespace has some new and really excellent e-commerce tools if the vet practice wanted to sell some items online, and you can set up basic forms and other interactive features in seconds.
posted by dayintoday at 7:42 AM on April 5, 2013

Came in to suggest Squarespace - beaten to it by N people. They seem to offer a pretty comprehensive set of solutions.

They've been sponsoring a lot of podcasts lately with discount codes - NPR, The Talk Show, Neutral, etc. I guess its working for them... (That last link is a Squarespace site built on one of their templates. And shows a discount code.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:45 AM on April 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks so much to those who replied. I used Squarespace as a starting point for my search, it indeed looks great!

In the end I'm going to probably use Drupal, mostly as an excuse to try it out, as I'm addicted to open source gadgetry. Though if I were less thirsty for new skills, I might have also really liked Concrete5. I found Concrete5 when searching for an option with just a little more flexibility than Squarespace, but that's still user friendly.

Thanks again mefites.
posted by htid at 11:52 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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