Non-techies, this is for you. I’m starting a series of articles geared towards non-technical folks who want to find their way around the intricacies of running an Internet-based business. This one is the first in the series.
Call this Web Development 101 or whatever. This article is for non-techies who want to have a website but somehow doesn’t know how to begin.
No, I won’t turn you into Web Development Rock Star overnight. That would take a million lines of programming code and a lot of sleepless nights to go with it. Better leave it up to your techie brother.
However, unlike other technical folks in my circle, I don’t believe that you need to go back to technical school to be able to run a successful online business or even simply own a website.
Knowing the basics, especially the technical jargons, will get you on the right footing. After all, in any business, there are aspects that you need to be aware of so that you will not be at the mercy of someone else.
Of course, it helps to recognize where your knowledge ends where the services of a qualified expert begins. As a non-technie website owner, it is better to concentrate on improving your business (that’s already a full-time job, mind you) and learning how to delegate or outsource the technical details.
Okay… I know that was so mouthful for an introduction.
Get yourself ready…Here are the Seven Important Jargons that I believe should sink into your Web Vocabulary.
1. Domain Name
Simply stated, it is the address of your website on the Internet in human-readable, text format. The domain name of Google Incorporated is google.com; The domain name of Facebook is facebook.com. It’s no-brainer, really.
Don’t underestimate it. A domain name is the single most important resource you can have! It is your online identify. Before you even think of how your website should look like, you should spend a lot of time brainstorming about what domain name to use.
2. Web Hosting
Your website will take up some space where you will put your files: text, audio, video, images, etc. These files should be stocked somewhere or nothing will appear on your website. This is where web hosting comes in. You upload those files to your web host.
A Web Hosting Service usually comes with the following bundle of services:
- Web Server – makes it possible to run your server-side script.
- FTP Server – allows you to upload and download files to and from your server
- Email Server – allows you to send and receive email messages based on your domain.
There are a couple of other services, but these are the basic ones you need at this point.
FTP stands for File Transmission Protocol. Basically, it is needed to move files from your local computer to the Server and vice-versa. As a user, you would normally be using an FTP Client to transfer files to and from the server.
4. Scripting Language
Have you heard about PHP, Perl, C# and Java? Well, these are Programming Languages used by web developers to code things up so that your website can have a seemingly intelligent personality behind it.
Among other things, Scripting Language executes codes
- in response to user requests
- when processing database operations
- to render the final web page
…And others. I hope you get it.
5. Database Server
If you need a way to organize information in an intelligent fashion, store and retrieve it, or manipulate it programmatically, then you will need a database server.
6. Content Management System
A Content Management System (CMS) is a software bundle that allows you to maintain the contents (articles, pages, etc) of your website without having to bother much about the technical details like HTML and CSS. Gone are the days when every webpage is saved on a separate file. Thanks to the emergence of FREE and open-source CMS. Maintaining a website is easier than ever.
7. Search Engine Optimization
As soon as you have your website up and running, the next best thing to do is to let the world know that it exists. Since the most users use search engines to find something on the Internet, you stand a good chance of having someone stumble on your website if you optimize the pages for search results. That’s how Search Engine Optimization comes into play.
Essentially, it involves a process of gathering back links, placing keywords in the right places and having enough content that visitors and search engines would love to consume.
Notes on Web Hosting, Scripting Language and Database Server: When looking for a Web Hosting service, always check for their support of a particular Scripting Language and Database Server that you will be needing on your website. As a small business or professional, you would probably be at home with a web host that supports PHP and MySQL — two of the most popular, open-source technologies. When it comes to price, functionality and user-support, the combination of PHP and MySQL is simply outstanding.
Your Website, Your Baby
Treat your new website as you would a new baby. If at first it doesn’t look very impressive, as does anything in the early phase, don’t get discouraged. Having a business website requires a series of improvements along the way.
And remember, there is no such thing as a perfect website.