Explaining website design terminology

Where to start?

Getting a website made can be a little daunting and a process not made any easier by all the unnecessary terminology so freely used by most website design companies purposely to confuse and even intimidate. I believe that the more you understand about your site, the easier it will be for you to use it to it's best effect and I hope you'll find the information below of help.

What is a website?

In it's most basic form, a website can be a single file on a computer that is made accessible to other computers via the internet. This can even be done from a home computer but is best left to experts (hosting providers).

I must have first seen 'the internet' in around 94/95 and I remember the sites being extremely basic pages, almost purely text that looked untidy at best. Unbelievable to think that many people. including my boss, doubted that this 'internet thingy' might catch on!

Now of course, websites are more sophisticated incorporating graphics and the ability to link to databases to make them editable and more dynamic but the principle is still the same.

What is hosting?

To make your website available to others, the files used to create it need to be on a computer that is available to the internet. This is best left to specialist company’s who 'host' your website on their specialist servers. I use 'Names Co' and have our own dedicated server that they manage for me. Having a dedicated server means that no other sites are loaded to it greatly reducing the risk of hacking or sites being ranked down because of 'inappropriate' sites being hosted on the same server.

Domain, URL or Website address?

I often get asked what the difference between these and although technically they can be defined differently, in real terms are all the same: a way of identifying an individual website to allow others to connect to it. Each website has it's own unique name which is registered to the owner. Once registered, no one else can use that address.

For UK customers, choosing and registering a domain name is very simple as the main choices of a .co.uk or a .com domain can be registered by anyone. Customers in the Irish Republic or Australia will need to provide proof that they have a legitimate reason for wanting to register a particular domain name if they want a .i.e. or .com.au domain.

If you are thinking of using me for your website services, the domain registration fee is usually included in the cost (depending on the domain type you want) and I will take care of the whole process on your behalf. If you register a domain yourself, there could be restrictions set by the hosts making it difficult to transfer so I can manage it. I therefore do not recommend you register a domain but you can check available domain names here.

Importantly, if I register your domain, I do this in YOUR name not mine. Unfortunately, an all too common trick is for the designer to register your domain to them. This means that should you decide you want to stop using their services, they can make it very difficult (& expensive) as they own the domain.

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

This is the common term for the process of improving the visibility of a site in the search engines (e.g.. Google). The term "search engine friendly" may be used to describe website designs, menus, content management systems, images, videos, and other elements that have been optimised for the purpose of search engine exposure.

SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for and the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines.

Optimising a website starts from the base up and the coding used to create our sites is made to be search friendly. There are other factors that help including editing its content to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to increase the frequency of the searches 'spiders' (their automated process for finding and storing changes on a site). Just adding pupil comments and or photos, editing home page text, changing prices etc.. are all part of this process.

Promoting a site to increase the number of back-links is another important SEO tactic. These are good quality links from other sites to yours. All my customers automatically get in the region of 100 one way backlinks from other instructors as soon as their site goes live.

I hope this information is useful but should you have any questions please just call me on 0787 603 1945