Ever wonder how websites are designed and how they become accessible on the Internet? Maybe you’re looking to create a website for your company or revamp and old site to reflect fresh, modern trends. Doctors’ practices can benefit greatly from having a website. Websites attract new costumers, keep your existing clients up-to-date, and allow people to get a sense of the atmosphere and offerings of your practice before setting foot in your office. However, if you do not understand how websites work and what services are best for your company, you may not know what you can do yourself and what services you need.
Here are some of the basic questions regarding websites and hosting asked by our clients:
What is a website, exactly?
A website starts as a file that contains information on how content should appear on the Internet. You need a program like DreamWeaver that allows you to design the webpage, just as you might use Word to type a letter or PowerPoint to design a slide show. Just because you have designed a webpage does not mean that it is automatically on the Internet. Let’s start with an analogy: imagine your home. A website is like the physical structure that is your house. If you have the code written for a website and a software program that allows you to translate code into webpages, this would be like having the blueprint and raw materials for your house.
What do you mean by “code”?
Code is like a blueprint. It describes exactly where everything should be positioned on the website down to every color and piece of text. Before your website goes online, it starts as a blueprint of how the site should appear once it is on the Internet. Every web page is made up of two types of code: HTML and CSS. HTML describes the content of your website, telling your web browser which headlines, subheadings, paragraphs, lists and other objects should be displayed. CSS styles your content, defining the fonts, sizes, colors and position of all the objects.
Why do I need a Web Host?
If you only have the blueprint and materials to build a house, you won’t get very far. You need a plot of land to build it on. The company that sells you the plot of land on which to build your house is similar to the Web Host. The web host has physical hardware and servers needed to put your website on the Internet. Without the web host, your website has no way of getting online.
When you purchase a plot of land, you are given an address that designates where exactly your home is located. All the rooms in your house, your porch, garage, and backyard are grouped under a single address. This is akin to your website’s domain name. It’s the address that determines where on the Internet your website can be found. You are given a domain name when you purchase the space from the web host. Purchasing your own domain name is like owning your own home with a unique address, while “free” websites from hosts like GoDaddy are often like renting apartments; you get your own space but your address is still attached to the whole building.
If a domain name is your address, what is the URL?
A URL is a little bit trickier to compare. It’s as if each floor and room in your house has a separate address. If your living room had a URL, it might be https://www.100DruryLane.com/firstfloor-livingroom
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When your website is optimized for search engines, it means that someone looking for what you’re offering (i.e. “Chicago Dentist”) will find you website as one of the primary options when they type those search words into Google, Yahoo, or another search engine.
How do I customize my website?
Like deciding whether to buy a house, condominium, or apartment – and whether to rent or own – the more time, effort and money you are willing to spend, the more customizable your website can be. If you start from scratch in creating a theme and format for your website and your buy your own domain name, the options for customizing your site are very open.
If you have the resources and knowledge, you can buy a plot of land and build your own house from scratch. However, most people choose to go through a real estate agent and building company, and when they need maintenance done to their house, they hire a contractor. If you do not have the tools and time to build a website, you will need a third-party company to design, host, and maintain your website.
Some higher-end companies will do all of these services at a cost. They will design your website and customize it to your personal brand, put it online, and then update it as you request changes. A completely original and customized website with ongoing maintenance services is the most costly option, but it is also the most professional and comprehensive option for building your website.
When you rent an apartment rather than buying a house, you may not be able to paint the walls or remodel the layout of your apartment. Similarly, if you purchase a inexpensive template site from a large web host company, you will have less freedom to cater the site to your tastes and brand. Every route you chose when deciding options for your website will come down to this: the more your are willing to pay for creative design services, the more personalized and professional your website will be.
- Webpage – a file saved on a computer containing information on how a content should appear on the Internet
- Website – multiple webpages, linked together via a common domain name
- Domain Name – a unique address describing where your website is located on the Internet
- URL – a more specific address that ties each webpage in a website to a hierarchy branching out from the site’s domain
- Web Hosting – a service that has the capability to put your website on the Internet