Understanding the Anatomy of a Website

What approach should you take to launch a website for your business? There are a couple of options. You can hire a website designer to manage every element of your site, from the coming up with the visual design components to choosing a content management system (CMS). Alternatively, you can create a website yourself using a web hosting service that provides you with everything that you’ll need in one package.

Before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the anatomy of a website. This includes the CMS, domain, and theme. Each element plays a critical role in making your site a success, and helping your business attract potential shoppers. Using a website hosting service that will house your site’s files, data, and images may be the best way to incorporate these three elements in less time.

It starts with a CMS

A CMS is a software program that is used to create and manage digital content, and is one of the most important back-end components of your website. Visitors will never see or access it, but it shapes their experiences. A content management system is the tool that allows you to upload, organize, manage, and publish the content that will be displayed on your site; this includes photos, videos, and blog posts. You can also use it to create additional pages and site sections, like a page that lists store hours and directions, a contact page, or a products and services page.

A CMS can help you organize and tag your site’s content so that users and search engines like Google can find it. Search engines scan your website to decide how they should display it in search rankings so that potential shoppers can find it online. With a hosting service like WordPress.com, you won’t have to work with a designer to build a site from scratch. It takes care of all your behind-the-scenes needs so you can begin developing content right away.

Rule your domain

WordPress.com will provide the platform to manage and launch your site, but you’ll also need a domain name (or URL). A domain name is the web address that visitors will use to access your site on the internet. Your domain can be the name of your business, a name related to your brand, or it can incorporate the location of your business as many companies can have similar names (Delta Airlines, Delta Faucets, Delta Dental). Your domain name should be straightforward and concise, like Cortadocoffeesf.com or Avayoung.blog.

Keep in mind that a WordPress.com plugin-enabled plan allows you to buy and register a domain name through WordPress.com. You’ll also have the option of rolling over — also called mapping — an existing domain to WordPress.com. With a plugin-enabled plan, you can choose from hundreds of themes, design and upload your own theme, add third-party plugins to enhance your site’s functionality, access built-in SEO and social media tools, and even utilize analytics to better understand your site’s performance. At the same time, a WordPress.com site automatically covers many of the more technical aspects of website maintenance, including backups and security features.

Follow up with a theme

A website theme includes the visual elements of your site from its color palette to its layout. WordPress.com has more than 300 free and paid themes that you can choose from when designing your site.

If you’re a photographer, for example, there are several themes specifically designed to help you showcase a portfolio. These themes typically include a homepage, where you can introduce people to your site and your business. This type of theme also includes a gallery page that displays your photos, an “About Me” page where you can describe your work, and a blog page if you produce regular content.

A website theme allows you to choose the visual design that you like best. All you need to do is input your content into the correct templates. This lets you focus on the messages that you want to communicate and the details you want to share with fans, whether your business is web-based or a brick-and-mortar establishment. You don’t need to have a background in graphic design to make your business’s website look professional. A theme is a one-stop solution for website creation.

A content management system, domain, and theme are all essential components of a website. If you’ve just begun to create digital content, understanding the anatomy of a website can help you decide which approach to take when building your own. For first-timers, a web-hosting service may be the most effective way to get a website up and running as soon as possible — while utilizing features that will help it evolve alongside your business.


Satta Sarmah Hightower

Satta Sarmah is a writer, editor and content marketing manager who launched her first personal website a decade ago — on WordPress, of course.

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