Internet sites, daunting things unless you have a helpful fourteen year old son or were brought up on computers; but as every PR Company will tell you, internet advertising is an efficient and cost effective way of generating business for your company. Whether it is an online portfolio of work, a brief introduction to the services your company offers, or even online ordering forms so you can generate business directly from the site; every website consists of three key components:
- a domain name
- the “pages” that make up your website
- web space (a hosting computer)
A domain name is perhaps the most important part of your site. A name that needs to be easily typed and recognisable to your potential customers, as the ‘door’ to your website. And once you decide on a name you need to decide whether you want it to be a .com or .co.uk. The difference supposedly being that .com is for American “commercial” companies whereas .co.uk domains are obviously for UK companies. However as with many things, the initial significance of these domain suffixes has been somewhat lost, .com no longer represents purely American companies, it is more the industry standard suffix whereas the UK suffix .co.uk has retained a more predominately British presence. Although these are the two most commonly used domain suffixes in this country, there are many other generic domain suffixes to choose from, such as .org, .tv and .me, let alone all the country specific domain suffixes such as .de, .fr, and .es.
The second key component are the web pages, which can be anything from a single page with your contact details to a fully operational shop, where customers can preview your goods and purchase them directly from the site. Designing a website can be very simple for the former type, yet quite complex for the latter and if terms like html, asp, perl and Java are completely alien to you, then chances are, you are going to need someone to design your site for you.
Whichever method you decide to employ, you will always need somewhere to ‘host’ your site, the third essential component of a complete website. Web Hosting Servers are basically computers dedicated to storing information to be viewed on the internet. When you purchase web hosting, you are buying an amount of space on these servers to put your website, to make it available to everyone who uses the internet. When you purchase web hosting, you might also receive POP3 email accounts, this means you will be able to setup email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be able to retrieve all of your messages directly to your email client (if you opt for just a domain name without the web hosting you can still setup email addresses but these will only act as ‘forwarders’ to an existing email account).
So to wrap the three components together, your domain name points to your web server which hosts your website.