So you want to create a website. Give yourself a pat on the back – you have made a great decision! Websites are a fantastic way to interact with the entire world, putting you in touch with anyone who has an internet connection. But it can also be a daunting task – where do you start? How is a website different from a web page? Where do you store the files, like images and videos, for your website? And what in the world is an IP address?!
Fear not, we are here to explain the ABCs of website creation for beginners just like you. While there is a whole lot of information about the internet out there, we will give you, our burgeoning beginner, the core principles of website creation (leaving IP addresses for a later tutorial).
Let’s dive in:
Website versus Web page
These are two of the most basic terms you will need to know when creating your website. So, what’s the difference? Think of your website as a book, and think of web pages as pages in that book. Your website encompasses all of the web pages, and each different web page has different pieces of information and serves a different purpose. One web page might contain an order form, another may be a gallery of images for customers to peruse. All the web pages – or just “pages” – work together to form your website.
This element can seem quite daunting to beginners, but understanding it is a crucial part of creating your first website. When you are building your website, each time you add a new image or piece of text, you get it from your computer. However, when your site goes live and people the world over are accessing your website, you don’t want everyone to have to go onto your computer just to look at one of those images or text, right? Of course not. That’s where a server comes in.
A server is basically a really big computer that holds a lot of information, kind of like a really big closet. When someone wants to access your site, their computer or smartphone will send a message to your server that says, “Hey, will you please send me all the stuff for this web page?” The server responds, “You bet – here it comes!” After your computer receives the data, it puts it together in order, following instructions that are also sent from the server, and soon you have a lovely webpage in front of you. See, servers aren’t so complicated after all!
Web page Functions
Deciding what you want each web page to do will depend on what you want your website to achieve. That said, all websites, even beginner websites, have a few basic parts, including a homepage. A homepage is generally the very first page people will see, so you want your homepage to, at the very least, give the viewer a brief overview of what your site has to offer. From there, you can get more specific. If you’re selling something, you’ll need web pages to describe your products, as well as another page to function as an online order form. If you have a lot of images to display – for example, if you’re a photographer – then you will want your web pages to organize your images so that viewers will easily be able to find what they need. Start with a homepage, then follow examples of websites that perform a similar function to yours – after all, imitation is the highest form of flattery!
And just like that, you’re off and away to creating your very first website! Take a look around at the rest of our articles that dive deeper into building websites – we’re here to help.
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