So you want a website, what do you need to know?

These days, it seems nearly everyone and his dog has a website. If you are in business, it is becoming more and more important that you enter the digital age and get your name on the Internet. But if it all sounds too confusing for you, or you don’t know where to begin, read on to learn more about some of the jargon and hype to do with websites. What IS a website anyway?

Websites

A WEBSITE is a collection of information that is stored together on a server. This includes the web pages themselves, any images and other documents that you might have available such as tools and forms that you might have available as downloads.

There are also different types or styles of websites. Websites are traditionally created in a computer language called HTML and include specialist code such as CSS, XML and even interactive script languages such as Javascript. Don’t worry if these types of code language mean nothing to you, that’s the job of the website designer.

HTML website

A standard HTML website is the traditional website, these sites are designed to be created with little to no maintenance. They can include text, images, multimedia & links to other websites.

Flash Website

A website made with flash can include an image gallery and may be suitable for someone selling artwork, or as a form of a portfolio. This type of website is usually not updateable without special code from the designer / developer and can be expensive to set up.

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is one of the more modern types of websites, they are easy to set up, maintain and update. They use specialist software such as WordPress that is easy to update and in most cases do not require specialist design skills. Pages can be easily updated with simple knowledge. If you can use a word processor, you can use a WordPress platform.

 

Web pages

A WEB PAGE is a single page of information that is written in a language that the browser can understand. The most simplest of web pages is written in HTML which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. There are other languages available, but these can be more complex.

Domain Name

The DOMAIN NAME is the name of your place on the Internet. Say you had a website on the Internet at http://www.mywebsite.com. The mywebsite part of it would be your domain name. You have to pay a registration fee to the International Registrar for your domain name to actually appear on the Internet. The .com part at the end tells your visitors what type of business it is and where it is located. Each country in the world has its own extension. A website with a .com at the end is typically a commercial business in the United States. A website with .co.uk is typically a company in the United Kingdom. What you choose as your extension such as .biz or .com or even .net will depend on the type of company you run. The extension .org is usually used for non-profit organisations, while .edu is reserved for registered educational institutions like a school or university.

Web Hosting

A WEB HOST is the company you pay to keep your website on a server. Web servers are special computers that are always on the Internet and have special programs that allow a browser to search the files and find the website or the information required.

There are many types of web hosting – you can even get your site hosted for free. Usually this would mean though that you would not have your own domain name, you may be restricted to the types of files and the size of files you can have on your site, and you may be forced to have advertisements on your website.

Important stuff to know

Before you get on-line consider especially your domain name and the hosting package. If you are in business, you should always own your own domain name and pay for web hosting. Web hosting packages can be cheap, sometimes as low as under $5 per month. Domain registrations can vary, depending on the extension you choose – the .biz, .org, .com. Some registrations are cheaper if you pay for more than one year at a time. Be prepared to pay around $15-20 per year for the registration. Remember, both registration and hosting are tax deductable. Some companies will allow you to pay for your hosting each month, or will provide a discount if you pay for the entire year at once.

Before you sign any contracts, you should always look around and see what you can get for the money. Does the hosting company provide any special benefits such as FTP access, or Control Panel, what kind of support do they offer?

Ask friends or family if they have websites as to what company they use and would recommend. Do they have any horror stories or advice of companies to stay away from? Do your research thoroughly and know what you are getting

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