In this series of lessons I am going to be covering all aspects of creating, maintaining and having a successful website. The internet is fast moving and mysterious to many, and so in order to make this as useful as possible for as long as possible I am going to attempt to talk about websites without getting too deep into technology. I wanted to start with some basic terms that many of you may be familiar with, but without a firm grasp of, we cannot move forward.
Let’s try and relate these terms to the real world, I want to consider your website as a flat/apartment for me…
Domain: Your domain is sort of like your postal address. It’s the location that people can use in order to find your website. Domains come in many varieties but .COM is the most obvious. The interesting thing about domains is that getting one that matches your business has become incredibly competitive. A number of people go about buying up domain names they think might become valuable in the hopes someone will pay top whack for it, but I have rarely seen this actually transpire. These days I suspect many businesses actually buy their domain first and then register their company.
Hosting: If the domain is like your street address then hosting is the apartment building your flat is in. Hosting companies like Godaddy, 1&1 and more are effectively storing the bits and pieces that comprise your website for the world to see. Hosting is sold to people on the amount of information and visitors a site is likely to have. If you’re hosting is too small then it’s like hosting a party and inviting too many people.
CMS/Platform: CMS stands for Content Management System and in our flat analogy it is the walls, the picture frames and the desks that allow you to place your own collectables. The point of a CMS is rather than having to make a shelf yourself (or code your website) a CMS gives you a framework in which to do this more easily. (Like a furnished flat that just needs your posters)
Templates: Have you ever visited a furniture showroom and wanted to copy a room? That’s sort of what a website template is like. It’s a pre-made and sometimes restrictive item that forces your content to appear a certain way. There are different templates that can be used for different platforms.
Content: These are all the elements that make your website what it is. It’s sort of like how all your personal items and pictures make your home. Many website are actually very similar in their design and it’s the content that makes a good one stand out.
UX: UX stands for User Experience. I’m not sure what they used UX instead of UE but perhaps they thought it would make it sound cooler. UX is essentially like thinking about how to lay our your apartment so that it will be the most desirable and everything will be easy to find.
Algorithms: These are what search engines use to examine your website’s information and help people find it. I guess an algorithm would be like an estate agent, going through your apartment, seeing what you’ve got that others would be interested in and telling the world.
With these basic terms covered, I actually want to go into each of the above in more detail.