Basic Web design is a critical skill to understand if you plan to run an efficient online business. You can hire a pro to do most of the work if you like, but understanding the basics yourself will allow you to have more control over your business.
Even if you plan to outsource the Web design process, you should be able to make small changes and handle emergency updates on your own. Being completely at the mercy of hired help is bad for business.
Whether you want to learn basic Web design so you can tackle the job yourself, or you’d just like to be able to handle minor adjustments without having to call your designer, this article will prepare you for your first lessons.
What Is A Website In Technical Terms?
Technically speaking, a Website is a system of interconnected files and data that work together under a specific set of rules. These essential parts combine to make the unified whole you see when you access a domain with your Web browser.
The files and data that join to make a Website are stored on a server, or host machine. This host is then synchronized with the selected domain name, so that when an Internet user types the domain into his or her address bar, he or she is able to connect remotely to the server machine and thus view the site through a Web browser.
Basic Web Design Building Blocks
So basic Web design is the process of formatting and arranging information that a Web browser can understand and translate for human viewing. In order to do this effectively you’ll need a fundamental understanding of HTML and CSS, which are the basic codes used for Web page construction.
Also, a prelim grasp of PHP and database technology is helpful. PHP is a dynamic script, or programming language and databases store additional information that allows a site to function in one or more specific ways.
Building the code for your Web pages is a lot like creating and saving any other document, such as word processing files and spreadsheets. You can use a plain text editor, or purchase an HTML editor for this process.
Both HTML and CSS are alphanumeric code languages. Each language is built on a predefined set of commands that are called tags.
To build a complete Web page using HTML and/or CSS, you simply arrange the desired commands in order within the document and save as .HTML. Some basic Web design techniques allow you to build a complete page within a single file, and other approaches require two or more separate files working together to create one functional Web page.
Many people are intimidated by the thought of learning the code required for basic Web design. At first glance it can seem like an extremely technical process.
But the truth is, learning HTML and/or CSS is not as difficult as learning the English language. If you are reading this article it’s safe to assume you’ve mastered the alphabet, basic vowel sounds, and common sentence structure, all of which are considerably harder to learn than basic Web design.
Your first step in mastering Web design code is to learn what the various tags mean. Once you have a basic understanding of this you’ll need to practice organizing these tags within a document to create the desired look and format.
Again, this process is a lot like learning to write. You simply add lines of code to your page until you have the arrangement you want, and then you save the document.
Website Management Basics
Once you are able to work fluidly with the basic Web design code languages to create exactly the kind of Web pages you want, you’ll need to learn how to move your finished pages to the Web server. This process is called FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol.
You’ll use a software device called an FTP client to establish a connection from your desktop to the host machine. These tools are fairly easy to use, and allow you to move files from your hard drive to the Web server within a matter of seconds.
Of course you can also move files from the host machine to your computer. This is useful when you need to backup copies of a Website, or when you need to pull a page down for quick editing.
To be an effective Website manager you also need to familiarize yourself with the hosting control panel your Web host provides. You should seek out a host that offers Cpanel technology, as this interface is the most flexible and comprehensive control panel software available.
A great deal of information has been referenced in this article. But don’t be intimidated.
Once you get in a little hands-on practice time you’ll find none of these Web design basics are difficult to learn. In fact most people who are proficient Internet users can expect to become proficient at basic Web design within 30 days.
At this point you should be ready to dive right into your first real lesson on Web design. Remember, it’s not as hard as it looks, and if you have the brainpower to read this article you are most certainly equipped to become an ace Webmaster.