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Just the Basics

Apr 11, 2018

I think its safe to say most people know what a website is, or at least have some vague idea. But some people have a hard time feeling comfortable talking to someone about creating a website because there are so many words they just don’t understand or have only a vague idea what they mean. Others just scrap the idea altogether, even though they know having a website for their business could really help get them established and reach more people. Some just want the basic website layout terms explained in simple words.

Did I just describe you? You’re not alone! And please don’t let that stop you from starting to work with someone to get online! Getting an effective website up and running is a really important tool for your business.

Just the (Website) basics - basic terms for a website shared by TriciaIsham.com

There’s so much that goes into creating a website, but if you who feel you’re so behind you can’t possibly catch up, take a deep breath and keep reading! I’ll try to break the basics down in a simple way that you can understand. I even have a free cheat sheet for you to print out and keep on hand until all this makes more sense. We’re not going too deep today, just skimming the surface to get you familiar with basic website terms.

The Friendliest Definition of a Website

A website is your business’s digital, online home. If created right, you can think of it as your best employee. One that never takes a break and is ready 24/7 for any customer that comes its way. It can be the showcase for your products or services, a source of information about your passion, and even take registrations for your upcoming event.

A website can convey feelings, moods, get people excited about how they can work with you, and entice them to come back time and again to see what’s new, just like that awesome employee. It can be a series of articles you write, include a way for your visitor to contact you, and/or collect email addresses so you can reach out later with an offer they can’t refuse!

Every website has several things in common, which I refer to as basic website layout. This is the information we’ll build on today.

As you may know, a website can have one page or many pages, but generally, all have at least a Homepage or Landing page. This is typically the first page you arrive at on the website.

Download the Basic Website Layout Terms Cheat Sheet by Clicking Here
(no need to share your email)

Anatomy of a Website Page (or basic website layout terms explained)

I’ve created a very basic drawing below, showing you the most common sections of a website. You can refer to this as you read about the different sections. You can also print this cheat sheet to keep handy when talking with your team about your website.

Header Section – typically found at the top of the page. Within this section, you will usually find the logo (the icon or symbol that represents the owner of the website, which can also sometimes be simple text) and menu items for maneuvering around the website.

The menu items as a collective are called the navigation. Clicking on a menu item takes you to another part of the website. Sometimes you will find a menu at the bottom of a website as well. This can help you move through the site easily. Generally, the navigation appears on every page.

Above the navigation you may see a top bar with additional information such as a phone number or social media icons.

Below the navigation there may be a hero image, which may or may not appear on other pages of the site.

Anatomy of a Webpage Wireframe Diagram by TriciaIsham.com for reference in explaining the parts of a website

Content Section – This area is found below the header section and is where you will find the content of the page (text, links and images). If you click on links you will be taken to another part of the website or even another website altogether. They can help your reader move to related information quickly. Often the text on websites is referred to as copy.

On a blog (best explained as an online journal of articles) blog posts (the articles themselves) appear in the content area.

In general, the content area leads the reader to where they should look or click to next, and this is often called a Call to Action.

Sidebar – Not found on every page, but often located on either the right or left side of the content area. Home pages may or may not include a sidebar. Additional pages on a website often include a sidebar, which contains a menu or set of links that let a visitor move quickly to another part of a website, or provide additional information for the site, such as an author bio or ads. (Additional pages of a website are referred to as Interior pages.)

Footer Section – This section is located at the bottom of the page. The header and footer sections are usually the same on all pages of the website, just like the header and footer in Word are the same for multiple pages within a document. This section is used to relay more information to the visitor, sometimes a menu, other times information a visitor may need (think address, email and phone number for a business.)

Download your Website Anatomy Cheat Sheet

I’ve included a few more terms that you might find useful on the cheat sheet. Plugins, Widgets, dashboard and front- and backed are terms a website developer or designer may use that you might not understand. I’ve given simple explanations for each.

Download the Basic Website Layout Terms Cheat Sheet by Clicking Here
(no need to share your email)

Again, this is just a simple explanation of the components of a website page and is meant to help you get familiar with some basic terms as you work through the process of creating your website, either DIY or with a designer.

Do you need help creating your website? I love to work with solopreneurs creating websites that can grow and evolve with you as your business grows and if you need a website now, then check out my Just Get My Website Launched Now package.

Tricia laughing, looking at the camera

Hello! I’m Tricia, and I help consultants get online with websites that aren’t only great to look at, but that reflect the quality service you provide and do the heavy work to get you booked!

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