A quick guide to|
understanding web sites
Web site development
Web site development refers to the process of:
What is a web site?
An Internet "World Wide Web" site typically consists of several "pages." A page is the set of information which is loaded together. Depending on the viewer's screen and the amount of information, not necessarily all of it will be visible at once but may require the viewer to scroll down to read it all. The pages are linked together so viewers may read as many as they want and in any order they choose.
Typically, web site designers have talked in terms of number of pages to define a site. At Desert Horizons, we believe that approach is a disservice to both website owners and visitors. A page should contain no more than one topic, and even one topic may be best presented across multiple pages. The Internet is an interactive medium; a well-designed site allows users to make plenty of choices.
Unlike printed materials, the web page designer does not have absolute control over the appearance of a page to a viewer; that depends on the viewer's equipment, software and configuration. In addition, complex designs and large graphics take longer to transfer to a viewer's computer, resulting in frustration and possibly interruption of the page before it is available for viewing. We at Desert Horizons strive to maximize your site's effectiveness through:
Because computers, modems and browsers (the software used to look at a web site) are advancing so rapidly, there is a tendency to design sites for the "state of the art." Unfortunately, that can limit viewing of your site to only users with the latest technology or specific brands of browsers. Desert Horizons combines techniques to assure that a site is fully functional for those with all kinds of equipment and software.
At Desert Horizons, we use a custom template design approach for each site. The template provides a consistent look throughout the site, establishing a visual identity and continuity. In addition, once the template has been designed, it allows for faster updating and addition of new pages.
For a site to draw repeat visits, it must be dynamic and changing over time. As part of the design, Desert Horizons will recommend ways the site can be routinely updated and will build the necessary framework into the site.
The site design also can include a "hit counter" or other reporting device to monitor site traffic and an e-mail link to your e-mail address so site visitors may correspond with you.
Website visitors want more than just information from a website. They also want to get in touch with you. Some common means of building interactivity into a website include:
Web site hosting
Once the programming is completed, the site must reside on a computer that is constantly accessible by multiple Internet users. This computer is called a "server." This is not your own computer but a specialized unit with a constant, high-speed connection to the Internet. (In fact, you don't even need to have a computer of your own in order to have a web site ... just like you don't need to subscibe to the newspaper to place an ad in it.) You pay monthly rent for your web site's storage space on the server.
Desert Horizons has a state-of-the-art commercial server with very high-speed transfer rates and extraordinarily little downtime. In this way, we can assure that your site is available to viewers with minimum delay whenever they want to visit it.
A "commercial server" only makes an organization's information available to people who are connected to the Internet. It does not provide a connection to the Internet, a service provided by various companies such as America Online, Compuserve, MSN and Earthlink. Although e-mail boxes are available on the commercial server, you must have an Internet access service separate from the commercial server in order to retreive and send mail and to view your site.
Your site's Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or "address" depends on the server. There are three types of addresses:
In recent years, "virtual domain" prices have dropped substantially, and have become standard for website addresses. Desert Horizons offers discount domain name registration.
Support & maintenance
An effective website is one people want to visit time and time again. The key to repeat visits is fresh, constanting changing content. Desert Horizons designs each site for easy updating.
Desert Horizons can provide content updating at hourly rates, or clients may maintain their own sites. Increasingly, clients want to update some simple sections of their sites themselves and have Desert Horizons handle the more complex work. New "back office" technology allows this capability to be designed into many sites.
"Build it and they will come" may work for baseball stadiums but not for web sites. In the increasingly congested forum of the Internet, promotion is the key to having your site found and utilized by Net users. To help launch your site successfully, Desert Horizons will:
Desert Horizons: Capabilities
Desert Horizons Business Group LLC provides web site development and hosting, electronic publshing, training and consultation, and online marketing for a variety of companies and organizations.
Desert Horizons offers its services on an "a la carte" basis so they may be tailored to your specific needs. Since 1996, Desert Horizons has helped scores of companies develop web presences.
© 1997, 2005 Desert Horizons Business Group, LLC