There are two basic ways I know of to create a website.
- The designer creates it, using his software, and then uploads all the files to your website host. Any changes you want will be made by the designer. There are no limitations – no formal grid. Options are limited only by your designer’s ability.
- The designer uploads a website framework to your webhost, and adds a “theme”, or set of colors and styles. This type is called “CMS,” or “Content Management System.” CMS sites originated with the publishing industry where newspapers needed to allow many reporters to add their articles, without altering the main template. These sites are especially good if you want several people making updates, or if you want certain people to have access to only certain parts of the site. Here, you make your own text changes, working through your web browser window. You can access your website from any computer, from any where. Keep track of your password!
What is a “website host?”
There are many website hosting companies, also called “Internet Service Providers” or ISPs. Some are free, but give you limited access to help. And if you forget your password, you’re doomed. Many hosting companies charge a reasonable fee, like $100 to $200 per year. My web host charges me about $117 per year and lets me have as many websites as I can handle. They also handle my email. I can call them any time for help.
In addition to your hosting fee, you pay an annual fee for your website address, also called URL, or domain name.
There are many types of website. One is a Blog. Blogs are CMS’s, because they can be accessed through the web browser by many different people. “WordPress” is the name of a very popular blogging software.
A basic company website can be called a “brochure website”, where it basically stays the same, and tells all about your company or organization. There are also Forums, Wikis, Photo Galleries, Family Tree, Catalog, and many other types of sites.
The most well known, large CMS site builders are named “Joomla” and “Drupal”. These are heavy duty CMS’s that are complex for the client to learn. These would be best for large organizations who need a lot of functionality.
“Google Sites” give you a small amount of data storage for free. You have a lot of functionality with Google Sites, including permitting certain people to have access, being able to add maps, calendars, and all sorts of neat functions. But Google does tend to abruptly pull some of their services or aps, so you have less control. “CMS Made Simple” is another website builder. Like WordPress, it offers lots of color themes and allows many contributors. It also allows your content to be timed, so you can have an article that will disappear on a certain date.
You may have been tearing your hair out, exclaiming, “why? Why do I have to learn this stuff?!” I don’t know. I guess we are all doomed to continue learning!