Hello, everyone, Nick Nappo here. March is Website Month here in the office, and I thought I’d use this time to talk about website basics. So there’s a lot of terminology surrounding websites that may confuse some of you, like URLs, hosting, domain names, SEO, etc., so hopefully in the next few minutes I’ll clear up some confusion for you.
Website Name Terminology
Let’s begin with a URL. You probably know by now, a URL is the link to a website. Think of it as a phone number. A phone number connects to only one location, and in that way, a URL connects to only one website. Now, a website would be located, or hosted, on something called a server, which contains all of the files for a website. More on that later. Another name for a URL that you’re probably familiar with is a domain name. They’re pretty much interchangeable. So to sum it all up, the URL (or domain name) is the phone number, a domain is the address, and the server is the physical house.
Now, each domain name has an extension. And you’re probably familiar with most of them – .com, .org, .net, .gov, .us, etc. But what do they all mean?
- .com – commercial. The industry standard.
- .net – started in the mid-80’s by internet service providers, but it never really took off. That’s why it’s second to .com. If you’re a small business that’s looking to grow, stay away from this extension because .net is difficult to pick up in web rankings.
- .org – organization. Usually reserved for non-profit organizations, charities, etc.
- .info – informational domain.
- .us – for websites that offer products and services specific and exclusive to the United States.
- .gov – governmental entities
- .edu – educational entities, colleges and the like.
Website Hosting Definitions
So that’s the structure of the website, now let’s talk about where the websites ultimately live. Before, I mentioned the server, which is essentially a system that responds to your request sent over a computer’s data network. When you click on a URL, what happens is you’re connected to the server, which is signified by a domain name with an extension, and then you get to your website. To get a domain name, you can register a domain on a bunch of different sites, including GoDaddy (that’s the most popular), but then there’s Namecheap, 1&1, Name.com, and the list goes on.
There’s also web hosting companies, which provide website maintenance services to other companies and make sure their websites are running smoothly on the server. Some web hosting sites you may be familiar with are wix.com, webs.com, biz.ly, and AwardsSpace.net.
What’s a CMS?
I also want to mention the CMS. That stands for content management system, and it refers to any setup that allows users to publish, modify, and manage content. Basically, blogs, news sites, even going back to chat rooms in the 90’s. In terms of sites, nowadays you’ve got WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, amongst others, so it’s easy to find a content management system that best suits your business’ needs.
What is SEO?
Finally, one particular trend that’s been on the minds of businesses in recent years is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO affects the visibility of the website in a search engine based on several factors. Your SEO suitability would be improved by your website containing words and phrases that are not only relevant to the topic or offering of the site, but are commonly sought by people who use the search engines. If you use the words and phrases that are on the minds of your target audience, you just might find some new customers.
And that’s my spiel for the week. I hope these website terminology definitions helped you navigate the waters a bit, and I hope you’ll listen in next time!