10 website terms to make working with a website designer stress-free
When you embark on a web design project, whether it’s a refresh of an existing site or your first ever website, you’ll be exposed to quite a lot of technical information. Your website designer will want to talk to you about various stages of the project and elements of the design and build process, but if it’s a world that’s totally new to you, it could be confusing. I believe you’ll find working with a website designer easier and less stressful if you have a basic understanding of some of the terms you’ll hear. So, here are my top ten website terms to learn if you’re thinking of investing in web design services:
The domain of your website is the address where your website can be found online. You take website visitors to it using the URL, which is the name of your site with ‘www’ in front and .com or .co.uk after it – for example www.google.com. There are a limited number of domains in the world and no two sites can share the same domain, and you need to buy yours to secure it and stop anyone else using it.
The homepage is the default first page of your website which loads when someone puts your URL into the search bar of their website browser and clicks ‘go’. A homepage serves two main purposes, in my opinion. It tells visitors what your business does, how you do it and who you do it for in a clear and engaging way. That means visitors can quickly decide if they want to explore further or they’ve landed on the wrong site for them! It also provides clear instructions to find out more for those who want to look more closely at your product or service or contact you.
Content refers to the logo, colours, images and words which appear on the homepage and all the other pages of the website. The content has a big impact on the way the website looks and how people interact with it, so it’s wise to invest some time and money in ensuring your branding is smart and professional, and you use high quality, appropriate images.
Most website visitors will now expect to be able to find the information they want quickly and easily. If not, you risk them clicking away to a competitor instead. Your website designer can help advise you on the best navigation style for your website, but the two most common options are to have the main pages listed along the top (header navigation) so people can click to where they want to go, or a menu which expands when you click on it to show all the page options on the website.
5. Call To Action
A call to action is a term used in marketing for any design, tool or words which prompt an immediate response from the person viewing them. On a website that could be a button saying ‘buy now’ or ‘contact us’. It’s good practice to include calls to action on every page and make them nice and clear so that web visitors don’t have to search around for them!
6. Responsive Design
Sometimes just referred to as ‘responsive design’, this refers to the way a website looks when it’s viewed on different devices. You may have looked at a website on your phone that you have needed to zoom right in to be able to read the words, or the buttons and menu won’t work. That’s because it hasn’t been optimsed for mobile. A good web designer will ensure your website looks great and works on a laptop computer, tablet and smartphone.
Have you ever noticed a small logo in the top left corner of each tab you have open in your website browser? You might want to ask your website designer to make sure there’s one for your website, and so you need to know it’s called a Favicon. Favicons are another way to boot brand awareness and improve brand trust as they ensure a professional look and feel.
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’, and that means the different ways people can improve their website’s visibility on search engine results pages. So, if your business is offering dog walking services to people living in Henley-on-Thames, you want to make sure your website comes up as high as possible in Google’s results page if someone types in ‘Henley daytime dog walker’. You can spend some time researching SEO yourself, ask your website designer to help or hand over to an SEO expert to see what they recommend.
Analytics refers to the data generated by your website which tells you all about how your visitors behave. For example, how many hits you’re getting, whether they are new visitors or the same people returning, how long they browsed for where they come from and even more detailed demographic data. Once your site is up and running you might want to use analytics to work out what people are looking for and which pages are performing well, and which seem to make people click away from your website.
If you hear your website designer talking about getting into your back end, they’re not being a little bit fruity! It simply means the areas of the website that visitors don’t see and (in rather technical terms) is an area where data is stored and organised. Your website designer needs access to make changes to your website and you might use the backend to change content, such as adding a new blog. Luckily, most website designers give you some training when they hand over your new website, so you know what to do with its back end…