You’ve set up your business, got your social media profiles sorted and your brand is on point, but now you need a website. The terminology looks scary and you don’t know where to start? Let me help!
In this article I will explain the terminology and where to start in simple terms. Website lingo doesn’t have to be scary and when it is explained I’m sure you’ll have no trouble understanding it and how it all works. Please note, some of the following is over simplified and therefore may not be technically accurate, but it gets the point across.
First things first, the name! What is your website going to be called? This is your domain or domain name and is what comes after the www. in the web address or the @ in the email address. Think of it like the address for your house.
You will need to check the domain you want is available and then purchase it before as your first step. The domain is usually renewed on a yearly basis after this. When you have bought the domain, this stops anyone else from buying it and directing it to their own website, so ensure it is renewed each year or someone else could purchase and use it.
You can buy several domains and direct them all at one website, which some people do, or just stick with the one. Having more than one domain pointing to the same website can help towards SEO, but there are many other strategies you can use to build this before you start buying all the domains that are available.
Once you have bought your domain, you need somewhere for your website to live. Keeping with the house analogy, this would be the house its self.
Hosting usually refers to the backend (you will sometimes hear people call these servers or the cloud) that the website is stored on. When someone requests to view your website, their computer will connect with this backend and it will allow them to see your website.
Again, this is usually renewed on a yearly basis, but would depend on the package you purchase when you set up your website.
The SSL Certificate secures information as it passes from the backend to your web browser, by encrypting the information. Think of this as the lock on the front door of your house.
As this information could also include things like card details, usernames and password, addresses etc, it should be classed as essential on many websites, especially e-commerce sites.
When it is active on the website it will display the padlock in the address bar at the top of the page to show visitors that the website is secure. Not having the SSL certificate active on your site can deter people from visiting and negatively affect your SEO too. The SSL certificate can also be renewed yearly and will need installing to your website once it has been purchased.
Domain, Hosting and SSL Certificates are essential wherever you’re building your website and following the initial build, will be part of your ongoing running costs for the website.
Following the setup of your Domain, Hosting and SSL Certificate comes the initial build of the website. At this stage it’s important to understand how you are going to build your website. You could write the code all by hand, but this requires a lot of time and expertise.
This is where Content Management Systems (CMS) come in. They help you setup, build and structure your website in an easy(ish) to use tool. No need to learn a new language!
Selecting what CMS to use is a hot topic of debate. There are so many to choose from. Most of which offer differing levels of layout, functionality and options. A few examples of CMS that you may have heard mentioned are WordPress, WIX, Joomla, Magento or Squarespace.
Careful consideration is needed when deciding on the CMS that is best for you, or deciding which company you will go with to build it for you, as they’ll all have their favourite to use. The topic of CMS is huge, but do your research and ask around to find one that will suit you and your business.
Hopefully that gives you an overview of the initial part of building a website, with some of the terminology explained. If you do have any questions or there is anything else you’d like to know more about, please do get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.