Websites Explained

Location and Foundation

A good scenario to building a website is not unlike constructing a building (e.g., a museum). A museum is a good example, because visitors come to museums to “see things” or to “experience things” while visiting. They may even purchase things to take with them.

The location where the museum will be available must be set up (essentially the web hosting portion). The location must be of sufficient size to contain the museum (e.g., disk space).

The foundation for the museum must be built to support the building depending on its size and on the traffic it will need to handle. Depending on the size of the building or effectively, the number of rooms, more or less traffic handling services might be needed. This aspect is the ability to handle the traffic coming and going to, in and out of the museum and various rooms.

Rooms are like individual pages of a website of course. The museum could have a lot of rooms or very few rooms, depending on how much there is to display.

Regardless of the number of rooms the museum has, there could a variable number of visitors at any one time. Effectively in web hosting services, the term is bandwidth and processor power of the web-hosting server (the amount of data that can be served at one time). The amount of bandwidth used by each visitor depends on how many rooms he or she visits (page views). Of course, it is impossible to predict exactly how many visitors there will be or what rooms/pages they visit due to there being so many different variables that can change the numbers drastically.

Since web-services are purchased in advance, in addition to the space you are reserving, you are paying for a “presumed” number of visits (or agree to pay for extra bandwidth when needed). Bandwidth usage is allocated out on a monthly basis. Once the maximum bandwidth is used up within a period of time (for the month), the web server cannot serve up any more views for any visitors until the next period starts (the next month). Therefore, having what is a reasonable amount of bandwidth is imperative. I set my servers up to allow a large amount of bandwidth so it is usually not a problem, except in rare cases where a website becomes extremely popular over a short period of time (unpredictable).

If consistently the number of visits exceeds the purchased bandwidth, you can always upgrade to the next level, or agree to pay for extra bandwidth when needed, but at a premium price of course. Your web services administrator will monitor and let you know if there is a trend occurring where the available resources are being encroached upon on an ongoing basis. This would indicate your advertising has worked; you are getting more traffic, but now you need to step up to the next level to be able to handle more traffic.

There is no way of ever predicting sudden surges in visitors caused by “viral” or “sudden popular” links to your site, which can occur overnight. This often happens when a website or a specific page is mentioned in a news report by a large news media outlet. Suddenly, that site gets enormous amounts of traffic, and sometimes they were not prepared to handle the extra traffic.

Premium web services plans can be purchased to handle those rare situations, however at a premium. If there is a good chance the sudden surges will not happen, the extra expense may not be justified. The term “cloud” hosting is a method of handling surges. Cloud Hosting Services is not based only on an amount of space and bandwidth for that space, but instead, uses a monitoring service to allocate more processors and more memory processing capabilities to dynamically handle any load; of course, at a higher premium. In other words, rather than arranging for a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth, you agree to pay for any number of visitors based on a predetermined rate. That rate is however based on expectations.

Since “cloud” is a popular buzzword currently, web services companies have come up with all types of ways to convince people to choose their cloud services, mostly based on the savings you can have. That can only be true if you had already arranged for more services than you normally need, just so you will have the capability to handle large loads of traffic. In a large majority of cases, they are taking advantage of the purchaserís naivety of the situation to line their own pocket. I provide plenty of disk space with plenty of bandwidth to handle the most common web services needs, and at a reasonable price. Should your website get to the level of needing cloud web services or cloud web services becomes more affordable, I will let the website owner know of the options.

More than Just Disk Space and Bandwidth

In addition to the disk space and bandwidth per month for web hosting services, there are many other services that are necessary to operate a website, such as testing the website, providing data in a format that the search engines can index properly and efficiently, and disallowing bots that search website content to use the material for their gain, such as harvesting e-mail addresses, contact information, and attempting to access secure areas of the website. If your website has products for sale, you need e-commerce services, and protection for the service. There are many bots created to attempt to access digital products without paying, or attempting to place orders for products but faking the payment process.

Another standard addition to Web Hosting is e-mail services. There are other protection needs for e-mail as well as the other website protection needs. SPAM has become a common problem to deal with at the website level. Mass mailings from your e-mail address on the website can get the domain name e-mails blacklisted, meaning that recipients will not receive the e-mails because their e-mail service provider subscribes to the blacklisting services to determine if an e-mail address is from a SPAM generating domain name. SPAM generators do not want to reveal themselves or send from their own servers, so they take advantage of unprotected domain names, and can even pretend to be another domain name. It has become an electronic war between SPAM generators and the services to protect against it.

The list of services to effectively operate a website goes on and on, many just to monitor everything, some just to make it manageable. The lists of extra services needed to operate a website these days gets to be immense. Collectively, all of these services along with Web Hosting are known as Web Services. The Web Hosting component is a minor part of the overall expense. The Web Services I provide handles many situations and services that others do not even offer. When I initially started, it took me eight months to put together the needed services from the various suppliers to be able to offer them at a reasonable rate to the end user. As a result, you get a top-of-the-line professional web services package but at a reasonable price.

Building/Website Construction

Depending on how many rooms you plan to have determines how the building is constructed; the same for a website. The actual coding process for a website is being able to “serve” up content to as many visitors that visit at the same time, but within reason. A website that has to serve lots of pages simultaneously will be constructed with that in mind, as opposed to a website that can serve a few but be limited after that.

Overall Appearance

A theme is chosen for the overall appearance. The theme does not determine the content of each room (or page) however. The theme appearance will be evident overall in a consistent way. The appearance of each individual room (page) is determined by what you want on the walls. You may have given the building contractor lots of pictures and text to use, but without your input, the builder does not know what you want to see for each room (or page). It is not unlike using an interior decorator to help decide overall color schemes, but they still need your input for the final images and text to display, and in which rooms to be displayed. Everything can be all ready for your decision of content, but without that content, you have a display machine with nothing to show.

Choosing the theme is important the same way as approving an artist's view of a building. A building contractor cannot construct a building just for your approval; the same applies for constructing a website. Approving the theme is a major step in deciding how the website will look. The content on each page will be different, and can change, however the chosen theme dictates the overall appearance.

Confusion for Some

Some people have this idea that a website is like a MS Word document that has multiple pages, each with different pictures and text. That would be true if all websites were based on using just an editor, such as Microsoftís Front Page program (or others). The modern and more sophisticated way is not anything like that.

Thanking that if you do the layout you donít need the web developer would get you a paper version of your idea of a website, but you need to understand that you give that paper version as a guide so the web developer can arrange the page content for each page. If you have the page layout in a word document, then you also have the text that can be copied and pasted into the database fields.

Content and Databases

The content for each page is stored inside a database, and the goal is without any replication. For example, your phone number should be stored in one location in the database; then on any pages where it is needed, it is pulled from the database to ensure that all pages are correct. Updating the data in one spot is all that is needed to affect all.

As you provide the rough data (text and images) it is stored away in the database. Then for any page layout, whatever is needed from the database is accessed to display for that page.

The web pages are built dynamically because at any point in time, what needs to be displayed can change. This allows for pre-planned changes to occur. For example, a new release might be revealed starting at exactly 11:00 A.M. You could not possibly upload the web page change at exactly that time, so it must be prepared in advance, and let the software I create start showing it based on the time and date.

Ownership

The overall website is made up of several individual components from different sources.

Details:
  1. The content displayed on website provided by you such as text, images, and other media, is owned by you. The website will contain a copyright statement to that effect proclaiming your rights to anyone visiting the website.

  2. A major part of the website is from the web developer. The web developer maintains control and ownership of the intellectual property used to make the website work.

  3. Another part of the overall website is code provided by the web services used. The code can be part of the website in order to track how many visitors came to the website, or other statistics about the users, their operating systems, their browsers, and various other details. Of course, those suppliers maintain control and ownership of their code.

  4. There are also third-party content (provided by others) that may be incorporated into the website. Other third parties may own symbols, logos, and other graphics. They retain control and ownership of those parts of the website. In most cases, you need to have permission from the owners to use these on your website. Generally, they will have directions and specifics that you agree to before using their content on your website.

The Underlying Code that makes it All Work

The bulk of the website is the code that creates the web page at the time it is requested. It gets data from the database to display based on many things. The basic part of a page in some cases is a static display of text and images. However, these days, most modern websites are built using programming that can handle dynamic needs. The content may be based on what day it is or what time of the day it is, or what the visitor has an interest in, based on other pages they have viewed. Certain content can be programmed to display at a start time and stop being displayed at an ending time. This type of dynamic processing is not possible with a static developed page laid out by a webpage editor, such as Microsoft Front Page, or others, no more than a MS Word document will change from time to time on its own.

The underlying code is a type of Content Management System but with many additional enhancements beyond what other CMS systems offer. The result is the very latest in advanced website development and processing.

Intellectual Property and End User License Agreement

The technology behind the system I use is the basis of the web code I have created from years of experience. The intellectual technology is proprietary; therefore to use the technology, you need an End User License Agreement granted by me the developer. It is the agreement that explains that you do not own the intellectual property that makes the website work, but need it to allow the website to work. It is no different than the license agreement you get with any software. For example, you do not own Microsoft Word, but you may have a license agreement that allows you to use it. The content you create with MS Word is yours but Microsoft still owns MS Word itself. The same applies to the website. You own the content (text and images/media) provided to the developer that is placed on the website, but you do not own everything that makes up the website.

The Intellectual Property system I provide is licensed only on my GCS Servers.

Quality of Code Generated

All of web page code generated is 100% error-free, and validates using the Web Consortium validation tools. You will be able to test any page 24 hours a day to ensure that remains so. This is a very rare feature.

How Rare Is The Level Of What Is Produced

The rarity of a 100% error-free validated website is less than one tenth of one percent (extremely rare). That is the equivalent of lining up 1,000 people that claim to be web developers and finding out only one of those 1,000 really can do the job. They all sound convincing and believable. No others point you to the independent testing tools so you can see for yourself.

What Others Do

People that claim to be web developers cater to what people commonly fall for: appearance!

They know the potential website owner wants a website that looks great. All they have to do to satisfy the client is make something that looks good ... except there arenít any search engines that rank your website on appearance. They rank it on the content and the code that produced it. They have to wade through the HTML code to get to the content. If that code is bad, it is hard to determine when the actual content starts and ends. If there are lots of problems, the search engine indexing will bail out of the process, leaving the website not fully indexed and not fully and properly ranked. The assumption is that the website is obviously not ready for primetime if it is in that shape. The sad reality is that many websites have remained in that same state for long periods of time. The owner doesnít know or understand this part of the process, but presumes they must be ranked at the best they can be. They do not realize their choice of web developer is the cause. They are even defensive of their website and developer claiming that it is the best it can be; after all the web developer “knows everything about computers and websites.” As proof, they will mention that the web developer has produced several others that also look great.

It doesnít matter how many others the web developer produced if all of them are coded incorrectly, regardless if they still look nice.

What I Do

I only do websites for a few select people or organizations, such as non-profits, that could not afford anything close to what I provide. They basically pay for the minimum of services needed to get their website live. I do not do it to make money. My thrill is helping those that could not afford it, and them having the best on the Internet as a result.

Qualification

To quality for my services, the client must understand what it is I offer and why it is unique. They must be able to demonstrate that they know this by doing the validating research.

The client must be able to communicate, meaning be able to read and write cohesively, with proper English, spelling, and punctuation. Every bit of communication has to be clear. If I canít easily understand it, what would be the point of sending it to me? I canít tell “what you mean” or “what you were thinking” in any case or scenario. If the client cannot communicate, they will not qualify for my help.

The website content and purpose must be for a non-profit or charitable endeavor with no religious connection or content, or it must be for an artistic endeavor for an artist that can show they cannot afford to pay normal prices in order to qualify for my help.

If the client has a job working for more than 16 hours a week, making minimum wage or more per hour worked, they do not qualify for my help.

The client must have read and understood this document. If they have not made it this far, they will not qualify for my help.

Communication

Communication is made through e-mail. I receive content (text, images, and data) in e-mails as digital data. All website content must be communicated in a manner that it can be verified later on if there is any question as to what was desired or ended up as. If you cannot explain clearly in an e-mail exactly what you are wanting to communicate, you would not qualify for my help.

If there is a need for images that are not scanned, they can be shipped to me or dropped off, whichever is convenient. If dropped off, that time is not a design session. It is merely to get the data to me.

You should always retain the original of anything I need. You should make two copies for yourself; one to archive off-site for the added protection it gives you.

Regardless of any content provided to me, make sure you make two copies for me that I can use. One will be archived off-site, and I will use the other. In the event of a local calamity, the archived copy will still be accessible to me without a delay getting it from you.

Verbal communication is not necessary except in rare cases. In these rare cases, we can talk over the Internet but no more than five minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes per month, and 20 minutes per year can be allocated. I need to keep these to a minimum because it takes up valuable time, and is an expense that is not accounted for. Should you feel you need to speak verbally, it would be up to you to pay for the call with a call service plan at the rate of $2 per minute. Regardless, any verbal communications cannot be used as part of a design process as there is no tracking what was communicated. You can see that e-mail is the best solution.

There are many amateur services that work without any tracking, but they would have to charge enormous amounts to accommodate for the time lost or the miscommunications, and the problems they lead to. You are better off, stating exactly what you want in an e-mail.

Requirements

In addition to your own materials, in order to create the website, you will need an accessible domain name so I can set up the various records to match where the website is located. The location may change as the needs of my own servers may dictate, so if I do not have access to make changes, your website will go offline.

Planning

With that in mind, you can see that planning a website is fairly simple. Each page of the website has the overall same appearance but there is an area reserved for “content” on each page. You decide what each page will look like as far as the “content” area is concerned. That simplifies your part to the simplest possible.

The basic theme has an area for a menu. The menu leads to major sections of the website. Basically, that means you chose the menu item text choices and what content is to be displayed when those menu choices are clicked. The menu choices also determine the page name (they should match). Of course, menu space is limited. You cannot list every page in the menu, nor can the menu text be long.

The menu leads to a starting page if more pages are needed for that menu name section. That starting page may need to lead to additional pages that are not part of the menu. For example, a gallery section might need to consist of multiple pages, so the gallery menu choice might lead to a starting page that has a list of other pages, or even to other generalizing categories, which in turn list the individual sub-sections of the gallery. Eventually, the links lead to the actual content. It all starts from the menu button because the highest level is what the visitor is looking for initially. Each successive page leads them closer to what they want to see.

You cannot have every page on the menu so you name menu choices on a generalization. Some menu items might lead to a single page. For example, a common menu item might be labeled “About.” The About page might contain all there is to say for “About” or it may be broken down into an introduction, then have links to other pages that give more detail, depending on how much you have to say.

When you have decided on each pageís content, you will know how many pages you need. You type up the text and provide any media such as photos or images.

You will have to decide on the total number of pages and their content and layout to be able to get to the preview stage. All parts hook together and must be coded at that same time. Later if you want to add pages, you can but for an additional cost. The initial website development prices are based on doing the initial website together.

Typing

While it is best that you type up the text you want to see, you can contract with someone to do the typing for you. Of course, that process requires a review process, which can delay the overall process. It is up to you. The web developer wants to receive the finished text ideally so that the process goes faster.

The price per page is based on the expected time to build the database and the underlining parts of the website. It does not allow for the web developer to design your content or write your content or type your content. In my case, I only charge for the services and tools I use to create the website. Therefore, a charge for typing your content is not included. I (like anyone else) can type, but my time is better spent making things work; not typing. It would not be cost effective to hire me to do the typing. I might make mistakes even (requiring additional proofreading, which I cannot because I would likely miss my own mistakes); so it is far better that you do your own typing. My role is to help make this all work, not be a typist.

Should you be willing to pay the cost, you could hire a good typist but they will have the same problem as I would. If you absolutely cannot type the content you want, how do you convey to a typist what you want? You would have to hand-write it all out, and what would be the point if you have a keyboard in front you at every computer? Generally, you will be better off doing it yourself.

Often I find those that hire a typist to be troublesome because of the poor review process. Later on, you notice something that is not correct and presume the web developer made the mistake. The web developer has to go back and research to see what was supplied, then show that the supplied text was wrong. If the web developer did not make the mistake, you will have to pay for the time spent proving the fact. Always check and double check so that you do not have the extra expense of re-doing something later.

Content is Finalized and Provided to Developer

Going “Live” is where you ultimately want to get. Once the developer has the final data, the content is added to the database. The menu choices must be decided on, and what should be displayed for each page must be decided on. The web developer will do the final connections to ensure those pages and menus are connected.

Now all is hooked together by the developer. The code that handles this part of the task is part of the CMS System developed by me. It is already in place, waiting to be put to use. When the final joining process is complete, the remaining parts not already there are transferred to the public servers.

Initial Preview

When the final parts are loaded to the servers, the initial preview of the website is accessible (but not by the entire world). The website is protected initially with a login process to prevent the search engine bots from indexing it and giving you an initial low ranking (you can never increase by a large jump so you never want to start out lower than what you deserve). The previewing is for any refinements that need to be made. This is not a design or re-design opportunity. Anything beyond minor changes will need to be charged for. Once the preview is complete, the website goes live.

Understanding What You See

What you see online is not a copy of some document displayed by the web browser stored on the web server. Remember, all content is in a database. You cannot go and edit the page you see like a MS Word document. Instead, the data in the database itself has to be edited. Otherwise, changing your phone number would be a tedious task even with a few pages. Imagine a website with lots of pages. There are old websites like that built with page editing tools, which sadly conveys to potential website owners that all websites are built this way. That is how many websites were built in the early days of the web, but not now.

Minor Changes (Contact Information)

To make changes to common things such as contact information, addresses, phone numbers, or simple things, it is fairly easy to fill out a form, but of course that form cannot be accessible to the public, otherwise, pranksters will have a heyday with your website.

Maintenance

After the site goes live, the web development process is complete. Next, if there are any major changes needed, you do this by contracting for individual piecework or by using a maintenance contract. Maintenance contracts are more cost effective if you have frequent changes but if you seldom require changes, individual piecework might be better.

As Time Goes On

As time goes on, the way things are done changes. The way websites were developed five years ago is quite different from how they are done today. The underlying language itself changes through new features and discontinued old features. To ensure your website does not get outdated, the underlying code is maintained to modern standards and methods of doing things. Other so-called web developers do not do this. Instead, they look at this as an additional revenue stream. You come back to them and they charge you again for bringing the website up to date. I had rather keep it up to date so that it can be an example.

Eventually, older websites could fail to be displayed properly as older features of the language are phased out. For example, hosting companies provide the pre-processing capabilities of PHP. PHP 5.x to 7.x versions are commonly installed now. Not long ago, web-hosting companies supported PHP 4.x. When PHP 5.x came out several components of the language were phased out. Therefore, code that depended on the discontinued PHP 4.x methods did not work in PHP 5.x. Web developers get to know about new releases and feature changes in advance, however website owners know nothing of this. Therefore, if the web developer does not make changes for them, their websites will have problems. Sometimes the problem is that not a single page can be displayed, depending on how the website used a particular feature. Several websites did not function at all when PHP5.x came out, until changes were made. Web development companies took advantage of this by charging for the changes. In many cases, lots were charged because they made it look like every page had to be updated. Usually, it was in one minor spot; a rip-off in my opinion.

Conclusion

As you can see, building a website is not a lot different from building a museum to display whatever it is you want to show off.

The basics have been built already. You need to decide on the decorations. Otherwise, you are wasting the web services already paid for and in use.

Also Read

Intro Introduction to Web Development Services
Why Why you need a web page.
Stats This should scare you (at least back then it did).
Prices Packages, Prices, Options
Extras Extras Prices (with Descriptions)
Additional Services FTP, Link Maintenance, Webmaster, Proofread, Backup, Restore
Domain Name Registering    |    Web Hosting    |    e-mail Hosting    |    Websites Explained
Web Development Terms & Conditions    |    Web Development Guarantee    |    Web Development Disclaimer
US Copyright Office    |    Copyright Basics    |    10 Copyright Myths

Web Development Services taken on a First-Come-First-Served basis!

 


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