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Websites for beginners

article-beginner-thriveIf you’re new to the internet, or even if you’re not, it can be very daunting getting yourself a website. There are many new terms that web designers will throw at you that you may not be familiar with. There are many different types of websites that you can have and each has their own capabilities. This is a quick overview to get you started.

I don’t know much about the web but I think I need a website.

If you have more questions you can always give us a call and we can get you started 03 5448 5306.

What is the internet all about?

In its most simple form the internet is a big collection of computers and cables. These computers store web pages and web pages make up websites.

The internet has become an affordable way of promoting your business. There are statistics about how many people use the internet, what they use the internet for and how frequently, although I’m not going to bore you with the numbers.

The thing to keep in mind is that most people do use the internet; for finding products and services, discussing them with friends/family and complete strangers and finding and comparing businesses they’re interested in using.

Why do I need a website?

Reasons for getting your business a website: 

  1. Gives you a direct means for reaching your customers and engaging with them directly
  2. More cost effective than many traditional advertising mediums
  3. Ability to measure how your site is being used and accessed, whereas measuring the effectiveness of other advertising streams can be more difficult
  4. More responsive to business needs eg you can put up daily specials, instead of waiting a week until an advertisement goes in newspapers or magazine
  5. Showcase your knowledge and expertise
  6. Showcase your products and services
  7. Sell products directly online
  8. As a foundation for targeted marketing campaigns through mediums such as google adwords and facebook
  9. Additional stream for enforcing your corporate branding

What is a website made of?

A website is made of a number of different elements.

The first is your domain name (www.yourdomainname.com.au), you can see ours is www.thrivewebdesign.com.au. If we liken a website to your physical business this is like the sign you have hanging out the front of the store. If you move locations, then you can take it with you.

Second we have web hosting. Continuing the analogy, this is like the physical building you rent or own to house your shop. You hang your sign out the front.

The third is the website files, which is a collection of files, pictures, video and audio that you display to the world. This collection of files are held together by HTML, which is like the bricks used to build the walls. This collection of different types of files are like the items you keep in your shop; fixtures, fittings, stationery, items for sale etc. It includes everything thats located within your walls.

So you can see from the above, you need all three elements to be able run a website and they are very distinctly different things.

What are some of the main terms I should know?

Static website

Used when you have no need to update your website.

A static website is a collection of pages that have been created using HTML which is short for hypertext markup language. It’s like a form of coding so a static site can only be edited if you know HTML and have access to software for editing. Every time a static website is loaded it will be the same.

Dynamic website

Used where you have a need to update your website.

Dynamic websites contain pages that are updated in real time, meaning that if you’re viewing a dynamic page at this moment and refresh your browser in 10 minutes the page may have changed. Dynamic websites generally use a coding language to access a database, in its most simple form a content management system is used for adding/editing/deleting content from a website.

For example, online newspapers and blogs are dynamic sites.

Content Management system (CMS)

Used to create content (text and graphics) on a website that can be added to, modified, or deleted. Its a program that runs on your web host, where you log in and can see the articles and pages that you have on your website, it allows you to change the text and images.

Social Media

Are a group of internet based applications that allow the users to create, share and exchange content (text, graphics, videos etc). The most common of these are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace and Google+, along with many others that allow this kind of sharing.

Search Engine 

The most simple definition for a search engine is a searchable directory filled with information. It allows you to search for websites and web pages. The most common are Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is about getting your website to show at the start of the search pages for your chosen keywords. This involves a combination of many different elements. It’s simple enough to learn the basics, but we’re always willing to help you improve your rankings! For more info you can call us on 03 5448 5306.

Keywords

Keywords are the words your visitors use to search for businesses related to yours. These become very important when you are looking at how best to market your website towards finding new customers using organic search engine rankings.

Web browser (or internet browser)

Is a piece of software on your computer, tablet or phone that enables you to look at pages, images or videos that are on the web. The most common of these are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

There are many reviews available online about which browser is best to use, do some research on your own, or download them and try them out. Many are better than Internet Explorer and offer a superior browsing experience, whether that be in the way they display websites, their speed, or other features.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the primary browser that ships with the Windows operating system. It has a history of being incompatible with web standards and there are some versions that are still being used by a small minority of consumers that have little to no web development standards support.

For developers, previous versions of Internet Explorer cause problems because they won’t display web pages the same way the more standards compatible browsers do. To support old versions of Internet Explorer can add significant costs to your development project.

Google Chrome 

Browser that is developed by Google, it’s quite speedy, mostly standards compliant. A good browser to use.

Firefox

Browser that is quite speedy, mostly standards compliant. A good browser to use.

Apple Safari

The browser that ships with mac computers, iPads and iPhones. Browser that is quite speedy, mostly standards compliant. A good browser to use. 

Some questions to get you thinking about what you want for your website

Your web consultant/developer/designer wants to provide you with the best solution for your needs. When you first speak to your web consultant, they should begin the by asking you some questions aimed at finding out more about your business, who your website is targeting and what you want your website to achieve.

The more comprehensive and honest your answers are, the better equipped your consultant will be to provide you with a good solution that meets your website goals.

Have a think about some of the below questions before speaking to your web consultant and you’ll be ahead of the game! 

Your business

  • Why do you want to have a new website?
  • What will happen if you don’t have a new website?
  • What does your business do?
  • Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or features?
  • Describe your potential customers.
  • How do you differ from your competitors? Always a toughie, have a good think about it.

Design

  • Site designs you do like (3-5) and why?
  • Site designs you don’t like (3-5) and why?
  • What would you like to see in your site?
  • What would you like to not see in your site?

Objective for the site

  • What is the overall goal of the website?
  • What are you trying to communicate and why?
  • What do you want the website to do for your business?
  • How will you know if your site is successful? Number of visitors in a given period, increase in sales enquiries? etc

Content

  • Who’s writing the copy for your site, taking photos, designing banners etc?
  • What are some words you’d expect your visitors to use to find you on Google? Which is the most important?
  • Do you want to be able to edit your site?
    • This can change the cost substantially, so some additional questions might be ‘how frequently do you want to edit your site?’ ‘what sort of things will you be adding to your website?’ etc

Administrative

  • What is your budget, both initial and ongoing?
    • Comparing quotes from different web designers can be a difficult task. If you don't outline your budget up front you can get a myriad of features that you will need to compare. At least if you outline your budget up front then you can see exactly what each designer is willing to provide for the budget you've  set.
  • What is your expected launch date? Are you working towards a date for an expo, or an advertisement or some other milestone? 

I’m interested in getting online but I’d like more information

Basics of managing a website

The Website Owners Manual (Book)

http://boagworld.com/books/website-owners-manual/

This book by renowned web expert Paul Boag is a great way to start your journey into understanding more about how the web and websites work. It covers aspects planning, design, creating content, content management systems, understanding the terminology, driving traffic and engaging your visitors.

At Thrive Web Design Bendigo we’re always willing to talk to you about your website project, call us now for a no obligation free consultation 03 5448 5306.

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