A website is an assembly of related content such as text, images and video that are interlinked with similar pages. A website can be found on the internet using an identifiable name (domain name) for example google.com. Once a website is published and accessible by the public, it becomes part of The World Wide Web (www). It can also be private and only accessible by a limited set of users, such as a company’s internal website.
The most common web pages found on a typical website are the home, products or services, blog, about and contact pages.
Websites are normally created with an objective in mind and are meant to convey a particular message. They may also try and convert visitors by encouraging engagement and action (known as conversions). There are various types of websites such as e-commerce, news, business, entertainment, and social websites that are dedicated to a particular objective.
Some websites have restricted access to their content and permission is granted by means of subscription or registration. Examples are social networking and gaming websites.
A website can be accessed by a web browser which is an application installed on various devices such as smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets. A web browser interprets the source code, fonts, images, text and displays them in such a way that its readable for website visitors.
Websites can be created using various technologies and scripting languages by web designers who use various web design techniques. Web design is the skill of creating visual presentation layouts using different technologies such as hypertext that is delivered to a user’s web browser through the World Wide Web (www).
What is a static website
Static websites are websites where each individual page is a separate html file that is saved on a web server that is accessible by the public. The html files do not change their content as they are static. For a given page (html file), each web visitor sees the same content because no content within the html file is generated on the fly.
Static websites are considered easier to create as they do not need to deal with complexities like accessing a database. Much of the earlier world wide web (www) was created with static websites which have since evolved into dynamic websites.
The skills required to maintain a static website are basic website design skills and a working knowledge of html. The website designer needs to maintain each individual html page and edit or change the html syntax so that the changes are reflected when displayed on a web browser.
Certain types of websites work better as static websites such as online brochures where the content displayed is pre-defined. Static content includes text, photos, animations, audio and video. As long as the content is not dynamically generated on the fly, the website can still be considered a static website.
What is a dynamic website?
A dynamic website uses both client (html) and server-side scripting languages (php) to dynamically create a web page when requested by a user’s web browser. The various pieces of content are stitched together to form a cohesive web page that can be displayed to the user on the fly.
A dynamic website normally needs to fetch information from a database so that the web page content can be tailored to the website visitor. For example, the users first and last name can be fetched from the database and then dynamically added to the web page using both html and php scripts. This approach allows the user to see their personal details and is normally referred to as dynamically generated content.
Dynamic websites also allow a user to interact which can result in further dynamic content being generated on the fly. They are also easier to maintain as common content like a page header can be shared and re-used across several website pages.
How does a website form part of the broader web design process?
Websites are part of a broader web design discipline and therefore require a well-defined process to ensure they meet a website visitors expectations. A well-designed website will clearly explain the product, service and company while also attracting visitors who may purchase products and services. Discover how to build and deliver more successful websites by following an 8 phase web design process.