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Web Development 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Successful Website

Posted on: March 31st, 2016

Appleton Creative Web Development 101

The internet has become the primary way users find new businesses. A staggering 78% of Internet users report doing initial product, service or company research online. With so much at stake, your website needs to appear on the first search results page or you risk having less than 25% of potential customers see your site. But where do you begin? We’re going to cover some of the basics on the ways our web developers work to give you and your customers a functional, findable website.

Back End and Set Up

Before we get into the more advanced aspects of building websites and how designers make them search ranking champions, let’s cover how they’re built. The first step is registering a domain. A domain is the address users type in their web browser to find you. It’s exactly like putting a home address in a GPS. It’s often purchased through a registrar who may also double as the hosting provider. A host is the person who owns the servers on which your site’s information is stored. Registrars aren’t always the host, some sites require more dedicated servers which require a separate server host. The host controls your database, which is the collection of files that allows your website to function. Every link, picture, layout and feature gets stored in the database. This is also referred to as the site’s back end. It’s the maintenance side of a web page where developers can work. The public sees your front end when they browse through the site. You might also come in contact with CSS or some other coding language used to create web pages. The more intricate the design, the more complex the developer’s code.

Aesthetics

When building the website there are a lot of design options to take into consideration. As the old saying goes, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Users need to be hooked from the get go. A lot of this rests on your homepage, which is often the first place visitors are taken when accessing your website. A major design trend we utilize is a full bleed web page. It’s putting an image or video in the background that extends to the edge of the browser, giving the effect of continuing past the screen. Parallax can also be used to make the background scroll at a slower rate than the foreground, creating a subtle 3D effect. Some design choices focus on smaller parts of the site, rather than altering how the entire system operates. Scrolljacking can be used to alter how users navigate a page. It rewires the scrollbar so viewers see pages as slides, instead of the common vertical movement. Headers are the tops of pages which can be modified with rotating photos, videos or a company logo. The footer can have quick access links to other pages and social media. Some sites will even use it for quotes of the day or social feeds, displaying live activity from a company’s social media profiles. Your website needs a favicon to look more credible. Your website’s favicon is the little icon that appears on browser tabs or bookmarks. It’s usually a company logo to help with cross-platform cohesive branding. The fold is the amount of content on the screen viewable without the user having to scroll. Your primary content needs to be above the fold, and motivate your user to travel below the fold.

Functionality

Your site may be the most beautiful thing on the internet, but if the developer doesn’t make it responsive or mobile friendly, it’s practically useless. Responsive web design is the practice of creating sites that display correctly on every device, from desktops and tables to smartphones. In a world where 57% of all online searches take place on a mobile phone, you can’t afford to own a site that only works on a desktop. Google has even started giving preferential treatment to mobile friendly sites, putting them higher up on search results pages. They found it helps their system since smartphones outnumber desktop computers in many countries.

Optimization

You and our developers can finally sleep at night now that the work is done, right? Almost, now it’s time for our search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to step in. SEO tailors your website to be a keyword goldmine and increase your rankings, the numeric order your website appears on a search engine results page for specific keywords and phrases. This will help your site rank organically, meaning it has been deemed relevant and important to the user’s search by a search engine’s algorithm. Keywords are search terms users put in to find answers, products or businesses.

Monitoring Results

After your site is live the programming and SEO teams begin collecting analytics. Two major types of data are conversion and bounce rates. Customers convert when they complete a sale or behavior. The conversation rate is a percent measurement of who comes to your site and completes the specified action. The bounce rate of your site is the percentage of users who leave your site after only viewing one page.

Creating the perfect website is tough stuff, but the right team can make it a breeze. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency that specializes in Orlando web design services. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to deliver powerful, responsive websites that are specifically designed to be seen first in search engines. Reach your target customers in the right places and establish highly qualified leads with a dynamic and accessible website. Your web design and development goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or info@appletoncreative.com.