Are you baffled by the terms that web designers use when trying to explain things to you? Many people are and, let’s face it, we can’t all know everything. We’ve put together a brief explanation of some of the useful phrases you need to know about.
Template or Bespoke?
These two phrases will be mentioned in terms of website design at an early stage. Put simply, a bespoke design is one that is designed especially for you: it will be utterly unique to your company, and will be tailored to your wishes. This website will most likely use the latest technology and adhere to current trends. A template design is one that is already existent; it will be less costly, and quicker to build, but will know have the knock-out design features of a bespoke version. This will be the choice for someone wanting a simple landing page, but not for a high-ranking site with great potential.
What is HTML?
It is HyperText Markup Language, which probably leaves you none the wiser. HTML is the programmer’s language that will form the basis of your site. It consists mainly of simple codes and is constantly being developed. You need to ensure your designer uses the latest version. HTML uses ‘tags’ and these highlight certain areas: headers are coded with H1, H2 and so on to denote importance; H1 is the most important, and so on. This is essential practice in order to gain attention from search engines.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a term use to describe how HTML coding is displayed. It includes size and colour, fonts and all areas of the website content. It will determine how the website looks to the user. It offers an ability to keep the content of the site and the actual look apart; this allows for easier manipulation when required. The sheets described may be laid together in many ways, including over on another, to develop the site.
Why is W3C Important
W3C is an essential consideration in web design: it is the standard by which the industry is expected to comply. A W3C compliant site will accurately display on browsers, and will be able to be altered for future changes. It allows the website to load correctly, and to be fully compliant with search engines. http://validator.w3.org/ is a free check for W3C compliance, and it is recommended that you check your site using it to see if it is up to scratch.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO – as Search Engine Optimization – is one of the most vital areas of website design; it refers to the way your site is configured to be recognized by search engines. It cannot be emphasized just how essential good SEO is to your business; if you remain invisible to search engines you are missing out on potential business. The trick is to use certain methods to advance your site up the pages; few people, after all, look at sites that are beyond the first few search engine result pages. Here are some of the ways in which your designer will strive to ensure your site gets the results:
- Make the site W3C ready, as explained above
- Use keywords and tags so that searches are driven to your site
- Give Google a sitemap for reference
- Do not use non-compliant assets such as Flash, which has certain compliance issues
- Use social networking for promotion
Analysis of Data
An essential part of website use lies in analyzing and understanding the data that can be retrieved; keeping an eye on who uses your website, how often, what for and when can allow you to improve the way you work. There are free tools that can do the job for you – Google Analytics, for example, is on – and the detail even extends to the amount of time spent on your site, how they found it, and what they searched for. This could come as part of a design package, or you can handle it yourself.
Most websites will have a built in content management system (CMS) which gives the web manager ability to add and remove content without the need to indulge in the more technical side of things. Being able to make your own changes means greater flexibility and ease of use, and also cuts down on potential future costs.
As mentioned above, web designers these days steer clear of using Flash, as it has compliance issues with Apple products, as well as other problems. Most designers now use jQuery for moving image technology, and it is easy to use as well as effective.
What about Hosting?
Last, but not least, you need your website hosted; a hosting company – and there are many to choose from – will require an annual or monthly fee, and all information pertaining to your site will be held by them on their servers. There are free options, but it is recommended that you use a paid service as the results will be much more reliable and consistent.