Here’s your guide to understanding website terminology. First, a brief introduction to what we do, and then a plunge into the nitty gritty of the various terms you’ll encounter as you plan and develop your site.
We build most of our websites using the WordPress platform, which is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to update your site on your own. Pre-defined templates ensure that the content and pages you add do not affect site architecture, so your site maintains a professional and consistent design.
Sites built by Digitally Hip adhere to web development best practices, comply with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards, work on all modern web browsers, and translate well to handheld mobile devices.
Unless you are super-organized, you’ll find that creating your website takes six weeks to three months because you’ll need that time to develop your text and find and prepare your images (and we need some time for design and coding too!).
To redo your site using the content and images from your existing site should take under six weeks, and your existing site will remain fully operational until testing is completed on the new site, so your online presence will suffer little or no interruption.
Domain Name Registration
The first step is to give your website a name, called a domain name. The domain name is usually preceded by “www.” and followed by a suffix which indicates the national (eg. “.ca” for Canada) or international (eg. “.com” or “.org” for commercial or organization respectively) origin of the site.
Depending upon the nature of your site, you may wish to register more than one domain name to protect various permutations of your business name(s).
Domain names are registered annually and can be bought by someone else if registration is not renewed in time. We generally recommend that clients buy up to three years’ use of their domain name(s).
Not unlike the monthly fee you pay for use of the technology that supports your telephone, there is a monthly fee for the web server which hosts your website.
A WordPress site has special web hosting requirements. The hosting plan for your site needs to support:
• PHP (version 4.3 or greater); and
• MySQL (version 4.1.2 or greater).
We offer an excellent hosting plan which includes management of your hosting account.
If you arrange your own hosting, we will need access to your site’s hosting control panel that includes the ability to create and administer MySQL databases and modify file permissions.
If you wish to update your website yourself, you will need training in how to upload material to and edit content on your site, as well as to maintain regular backups. We generally find that up to two hours training is plenty to get you started.
We set up your site so that it is automatically backed up with your regular office backup, and can be quickly accessed and restored.
Search Engine Optimization
When someone uses Google or another search engine to search the web for anything related to your business, you want your website to appear near the top of the search results. Since search engines are secretive about their search algorithms and regularly change them, it is not possible to guarantee first place, but it is possible optimize your site’s ranking. Search engine optimization is the term used for the various steps that can be taken to maximize the likelihood that your site can be found by your customers.
Not surprisingly, research has shown that well-written, well organized sites tend to rank consistently higher than less carefully developed sites, regardless of search algorithm changes.
SEO is not absolutely necessary, particularly if yours is a personal rather than a commercial site, but we do recommend taking some basic measures:
- Register your site with Google
- Create a dynamic sitemap and inform Google of its location. A dynamic sitemap automatically notifies Google when new pages are created.
- Create meta tags for home title, index description and search keywords.
- Set up Google Places, which identifies your business location on Google Maps and ensures your business will pop up when people search your area
- Image optimization to reduce page load times (if we build your site, this step will already have been done)
Beyond these steps, the best thing you can do to keep your site high in the rankings is to regularly update it with useful content and links to other sites, as well as encouraging other sites to link to you.
Should you wish to pursue SEO further, there are various other steps that may be taken, but those already listed provide the highest return for your investment.
Web analytics refers to the collection and analysis of data regarding website use. Such data typically includes the number of new and repeat visits to a site, the number of pages on the site viewed per visit, the country of origin, and more, depending upon the type of analytics chosen. This data can be used for business and market research, for example on the effectiveness of an internet strategy or of an advertising campaign that refers potential clients to a website.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves using massively popular online communities such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about your business. Involvement in these communities is not about selling product, though, so much as it is about about creating relationships. Developing a positive online presence encourages brand recognition and reinforces support for your business. We understand social media and can help with everything from setting up a Facebook page to customizing your Twitter account.
Blogs or Bulletin Boards
A blog or a bulletin board differs from an ordinary website page in that it allows interaction between your site and your visitors.
Blogs are a non-intrusive way to interact with your audience, and your words are archived online for future reference. Blogs are driven by an index page that lists excerpts from posts, with or without featured images, makes use of a category structure for archiving, and gives the ability to collect and manage comments through a comment form. A blog generally includes automatic page creation, categorization and other functions that require customization to your particular site. Once a blog is set up, the author simply writes a post and publishes it for all the world to see.
Bulletin boards or discussion forums provide two-way discussions. Anyone can create new topics or threads and can reply to existing posts, although most forums require visitors to register before they can post. Visitors can read existing posts without having to register. Bulletin boards have existed longer than the world wide web; prior to the web, bulletin boards provided forums through dial-up connections.
Both blogs and bulletin boards can be used to create feedback pages to allow visitors to comment.
We’ll tailor your e-commerce site to your needs, designing it to grow with your growing business. You may wish to start with a simple display of your wares, identified so that people can order by emailing you, or you may wish to go straight to the full-on shopping cart experience, integrating that through your payment gateway with reports that plug into your accounting system.
At its most basic, an SSL Certificate is a piece of software that encrypts all information moving to and from the Certificate holder’s website. This means no exchange between the website and its visitors can be intentionally or accidentally “overheard” by a third party, regardless of whether the visitor is placing an order or just signing up for a newsletter.
Websites with shopping carts require an SSL Certificate to protect information flowing to and from the site from cyber thieves intent on stealing personal data. Names, addresses, passwords, account and credit card numbers – all are safe when submitted to a website with a valid SSL.
Logos & Brand Identity
“The trademark should embody in the simplest form the essential characteristics of the product or institution being advertised.” ~ Paul Rand
Effective communication of your business or organizations identity is important, whatever the channel,
and an innovative and well though-out logo can make all the difference.
A logo needs to be simple. Type and imagery should be instantly recognizable, from a distance and up close.
The number of colours should be minimized to avoid high production costs and distraction from the logo’s
A logo must be versatile. Using detailed illustrations or too many colours may make your logo difficult to use in certain applications. A good logo should consider all potential uses, from business cards to billboards.
A logo should be distinctive. Logos should help distinguish your company or organization from others. Using common or fashionable styles or typefaces defeats the purpose of having a logo, and care must be taken not to violate copyrights or trademarks of other companies.
The process of creating a logo has many stages: The creative brief; concept development; refinement; and delivery in formats for different applications. A creative and effective logo is hard-work but worth the effort!