Basic Website Components

So you’ve decided to build a website for your business, or even yourself. But what do you need? Aside from all of the technical aspects, there are the basic components. This is the information that users expect to have available at the click of a mouse while they’re visiting your site. Here are a few things to consider when you build a website:

  1. Domain name
  2. Information
  3. Navigation
  4. Design

Domain Name

Let’s start with the most obvious – your domain name. The domain name you choose is important because it is how people will identify the website with you. You should choose a name that is relevant – your company name or what you do. People don’t go to www.cars.com looking for information on animals. They go there to find cars.

Information

Next, you need to think about the information that is on the website. People use websites as resources – free information at their fingertips. You want to give people enough information to be interested in your services, but not enough to give away your trade secrets. For instance, you can tell a customer that you can help them tax return, and in what ways you can help – how you are up-to-date on tax laws, you can file all of the forms, etc. – but you don’t want to tell them how you do that, or they won’t need you. The information you put on your website is the most important component because it is what keeps people coming back, and what attracts more people.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing “crawl” through your web pages and index all of the information they contain. When a user goes to their site and searches for information, they decide how relevant your website is to that user’s search. If they think your website has information the user is looking for, they put a link to your website on the results page of that search.

The information you put on your website should be focused on one topic – what you do; this may have subtopics, but the point is to stay focused on what you do as a business and only use information that pertains to that business. Back to using www.cars.com as an example, they only contain information about cars – used cars, new cars – nothing about animals.

Navigation

Navigation in a website is important because without it, people cannot move freely from one page to another. It is a collection of links to the main pages of the website and should always include a link to the home page. It should be easy for a user to find, and it should be easy to understand. For instance, a link that says “About Us” should link to the About Us page, not the Contact page.

The main navigation is typically in a row along the top of the page, or in a column along the left of a page. You can also add a footer navigation that contains links to all of the subpages within the website that you may not want to list in the main navigation.

Design

The overall design of the website encompasses the layout of content – the header, body, footer. This includes the images, colors, and text. Images are important because you only have about 8 seconds to make an impression on a user. If you do not capture their eye, they will leave. Images are good because they immediately let someone know what kind of information is available on the website.

Colors are important. They have to be pleasing to the eye. People are usually put-off by a green background with bright red text – it is extremely hard to read, and color-blind people can’t even see the text. It is okay to use a different color for your background besides white. Just make sure it contrasts greatly with the color you choose for text.

There are many different things to think about when you look at your text content: where you put it, the size, the color, the area it covers, and on and on. People are coming to your site for the text, so it needs to be readable. The average font size is 12pt, and the typical font face used is Arial. This is because it is easiest to read for most people. It should also take up a big chunk of space, but keep in mind that the eye can only follow a sentence across a screen about as big as a book or piece of paper. Also afford users white space between paragraphs if there is a lot of text. Eyes need breaks, too.

What’s Next?

We hope you enjoyed this tidbit on website components. Looking for more? Then stay tuned, because next we will go through the basic SEO (search engine optimization) components of a website.

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