So today I’ll discuss a very common question on beginners minds which is what is a website? This is quite a large post so I have broken it up into two separate posts. In part one I’ll discuss recommendations before looking at building your website. In part two I’ll go through various aspects of what a website is and what you should and shouldn’t do when building your website. We’ll take it nice and slow step by step and explore the various options open to you when examining your website.
There are a few things I’d recommend you get to know before spending money and or time on your website, and they are:
- What is a website
- How does your website and the web connect
- What is the primary goal of your website
- Who is your targeted audience
– What is a website –
Well in general the dictionaries term website to be a collection of web pages on other information typically sharing the same URL and seemingly served by a single web server. Well that is quite a mouthful, so then what are web pages? For this the dictionaries tend to describe a web page as a document containing information constituting mainly text, graphics and other media suitable for the world wide web and is readable through a browser. And now in layman’s understanding… basically a website consists of pages all linked together and displaying its information on a browser querying the domain. To see these pages ideally you would need a browser just like you would need a program developed to open word documents.
– How does your website and the web connect –
Once again keeping on the simple side of things, you’d essentially need a domain that is hosted on a machine capable of serving web pages and is visible on the web. When you’ve created your website you would typically upload your website to this machine using a username, password and address given to you by your hosting provider. This process is commonly known as FTP the files to the server. To see your website you would open up your browser (e.g. Firefox) and you would type in your domains address in the address bar. Normally your address would constitute something like http:// and your domain name. e.g. The home address for the website you are on now is http://gtalk.co.za and you are able to read this information because you have a browser open. To find this address you would have either been searching for information on a search engine (e.g. Google) or you have obtained this address via some other medium (e.g. emailed newsletter).
So the next most logical question would be if you found this article via a search engine is how did it get there. And the answer is simply that this page was indexed by the search engine, checked for relevancy and finally ranked. How to get the search engines to index your page etc… is a topic for future discussion. Just bear in mind that you’d need to do a little homework on this though…
– What is the primary goal of your website –
This is probably the most important question you should be asking yourself before building or ordering a website. The key here is a clear and focused idea sending out a clear and focused message. Spend time on this point, as valuable time spent here could save you in the long run. For example: I have a business that sells consumables. I would like a website that gives out information regarding my consumables. The goal for the website is to get customers to order my consumables either online or by being able to contact my business directly. 99% of website are looking for some sort of conversion ratio, or conversion rate. They’re wanting to do business in some way with users entering their pages. Websites that are focused in terms of what they’re about, have good navigation and are build with browser compliancy in mind will get more out of their users. Bottom line, keep it simple…
– Who is your targeted audience –
This is where it becomes interesting. Now that you have established your goal for your website you need to do a little investigation into who your target audience is (current) and will be (future). If you have an existing business then getting information to help you determine your current audience is readily available from the businesses history. What you want to get from your business history, is some sort of demographic. You need information like age group, gender as well as ethnic group. Don’t forget spending patterns… If you are a new business this could prove a little more difficult as you have no previous history to go on. The best advice I could give you here is try get models and demographics from competitors or similar business models in your industry. There are many ways of doing this but its beyond the scope of this article.
Now that we have the ground work covered lets tackle the aspects of the website itself… see you in part two…
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