Much like everything else in the world, a website has many different components. However, for people who only go online to find something, study or to do some shopping, the work that goes into a website isn’t exactly general knowledge. A lot of things happen behind the scenes and there is some amount of maintenance that is required. For everyone who don’t know the internet lingo, but dearly want to understand web site components more clearly, just keep reading.
The Platform (Structure)
You’ve probably heard about the term, “building a website”, and it pretty much sums up what happens. There needs to be a platform on which the website can be built and it comes in the form of CMS (Content Management Systems). According to statistics, and my personal opinion, WordPress is the best. There are several good platforms out there, although my experience with WP remains consistently good. To put this into perspective, think about the platforms computers run on, for example Windows and Linux. Without them you won’t be able to do anything on the computer.
The Server (Host)
Now you need your website to “launch” so-to-speak, in other words, make it visible to other internet users. Unfortunately the platform only helps you to build the site, which means you have to use a host or server to actually get it online. You can think of it as one big computer that stays on 24 hours a day and its only purpose is to connect websites to the internet. Depending on the type of server you use, you get different benefits. But what is important is that your website has a server to run through, otherwise you won’t be getting any visitors. To run this site, I use HostGator.
Content is King (Articles, Photos, Videos)
It’s a crucial component to have content on your site that draws attention. You must remember that there are many website out there and they are all competing for a high page rank. Content is one of the keys to getting there. There used to be a time when only articles mattered, but search engines are giving more rope to sites that mostly feature videos or images. YouTube is a good example of this, but written content with keywords is still the best tool.
The owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has millions of people that literally write for free on his website and look where he is now. But apart from the necessity to get a good page ranking position, visitors need a reason to come to your site and this is where your product or content comes in. The more quality content you have the better your chances of reaching a bigger audience.
Web Design (Interface, Theme, Style)
Last but definitely not least, there is the web design component. It’s the first thing visitors notice when they visit the site and it greatly influences the possibilities for a webmaster. For starters, it has to be mobile friendly. Secondly, it has to be user friendly. In the online world there is no such thing as patience, because if a user is struggling to get to the next page or the design is just irritating then they are going to search for something else.
The design also says a lot about the quality of the site. Take note that there is a big difference between a dated or “cheesy” design and a design that might not look fantastic, but works perfectly. The reason I say this is because there are sites that simply try too hard. The loading time alone is frustrating and it usually ticks off the visitors. In many cases it’s better to keep the design basic, but functioning at a very high and effective speed. If you want more information on this then you are welcome to read my other article entitled, “Pretty Vs. Workable Website Design”.
So in conclusion, there is much more to a website than users think. These 4 components only lay the foundation for things to follow and without them the website is useless. I suggest paying close attention to all of them, but add a little more attention to the design. Given that it will be the deciding factor for most of the visitors that come to your site, make sure it works for the majority.