If you’re a bookkeeper who has ever asked yourself “what is a website?” – read on.
Ok, ok. You have probably never asked yourself (or anyone else) that question. But read the next paragraph and see if it makes sense to you right now?
Did your eyes just glaze over?
Don’t worry I’m going to clarify all the words that are in bold! Then when you re read this again at the end it will make total sense.
I was trying to think of a way to make this educational and yet not make you fall asleep. So I’ve decided to go with an analogy. I’ll be comparing website-related terms to you, your friends, your house and other aspects of people and life. (It’s gonna be fun – if you’re into this kind of thing.)
What are webpages?
Web pages = your appendages
If you’re going to be a person, you need arms, legs, a torso, feet, hands, fingers and toes. And hopefully, a head – with a neck in between, joining it all together.
The same goes for webpages. They all link together to form a “website”. They are pages of information, usually called “content”, including writing, photos and video. The pages are created by code.
What is code?
HTML = your personality
It stands for Hypertext Markup Language. And it’s all about your text and formatting, font and size, colour and hyperlinks (ie the link behind the words), and inserting images.
CSS = your style
It stands for Cascading Style Sheets. And it’s used for styling the layout of your webpages. The CSS takes the HTML and places it in specific locations on the page, creates boxes and borders. Where the HTML is localised to a specific page, the CSS can be applied to the website as a whole, controlling multiple pages at once.
Java is an alternative method of making coffee than “drip” or “espresso”, for example “cappuccino” or “mocha”.
Java is a computer programming language and on a website it’s function is to create special effects.
Hmmm now I feel like a coffee 😛
What are hosting and domain names?
Web Pages = your house
If you’re anything like me, you probably live in a house. And your house is probably full of stuff and likely, you spend a lot of time, money and effort making it look nice.
Your webpages are where all your content, text and pictures go. The stuff that your potential clients see. Just like your house, you want your website to look good, and to not be too cluttered.
Domain = your block of land
I’m going to make a big assumption here, and guess that your house is sitting on a block of land. We aren’t living in the time of the Jetsons yet! When your in-laws want to pop-in for a coffee, how do they know how to find your house? You give them your address and they will type it into some internet-connected device to find your house on a map.
In website land your domain name is your address. Normally it starts with www which is a sub-domain. And then your domain is yourbusinessname.com.au. A domain name is considered a “piece of real estate” and some domains are considered premium.
Standard domains can cost around $15 -$40 per year. Premium domains are normally over $1,000 but often around $3,000. So, a lot less expensive than an actual block of land, but unfortunately, unless Willy Wonka creates a real-life machine that can put us inside our computers, we can’t live in cyberspace.
When I once enquired about a domain name I really wanted. I made an offer. I said US$100 and they came back and the broker said “The owner wants US$75,000. Would you like to increase your offer?”
So I offered them USD$200.
They didn’t reply…. Did I say something wrong? 😛
Hosting = your rent and utilities
If you’re still renting, like 30.9% of the Australian population, you’ll totally relate to this one.
Both your domain name and your website need “hosting” which is an annual payment which gives you ownership of the domain name. Your domain name can be “owned” outright, sorta. Even though you purchase it you still need to keep paying a monthly fee to “host” the domain name. It’s a bit like paying your electricity and gas bills. If you stop paying them you’ll get cut off but you won’t lose the actual site, just no one will be able to see it.
Website hosting is a payment that allows your webpages live on a server somewhere – on the other side of the world, probably. Unless you buddy up with us at Savvy; we are 100% Australian-hosted which means faster page loading, and supporting local businesses.
What is SEO, copywriting and all that other jazz?
Traffic = your potential new friends
People come to your website, and check out your gig. Some will hang around and become friends (aka clients).
Traffic simply refers to the number of visitors that come to your site and look around. And you can see whose been there by looking at your website statistics and analytics.
Analytics = your Facebook friends and likes
If you want to keep track of how many friends you have or how many people like you, you can go to FB and have a look at your friend list, or post something and see if anyone clicks the *Like* thumb (or the*Love*, *Sad*, *Angry* or *Haha* face).
Analytics is the numbers about the traffic, traffic sources (which referring websites and keywords worked) and activities (ie how long they visited a page and which pages) and this data is then used for optimisation of the site. (Aka making the site more attractive to Google).
Copywriting = your speech
If you want to make new friends, you need to say something.
Often confused with Copyright (which means legal ownership of something you created), copywriting is simply, the writing. An expert copywriter will have a good understanding of marketing and sales, to help you to sell your services and direct people to the steps on your website that you want them to say.
SEO = your lingo
If you want to fit in you need to know the slang words and lingo to use at the right time, so that people will recognise that you’re one of the cool kids.
It stands for Search Engine Optimisation. And it’s is the process of getting traffic to your site, it includes keywords, image ALT tags, title meta tags, meta descriptions, URL keywords, backlinks and interlinking. (Don’t worry about all those terms! You really don’t need to know unless you’re going to sidestep out of bookkeeping into website design like I did!)
Theme = your snazzy new outfit
You want to look good if you want to impress your new potential friends, and there is no better way to impress a new friend than to suit up with a set of shoulder pads like it’s 1984! Oops, I mean there’s no better way to impress new clients than to have a snazzy new theme installed on your website.
In all seriousness, your theme is a free, or paid, installation, that provides you with pre-built pages, sections and elements. All you need to do is to think about what to write in each section, pick your colour scheme, photos, and add your logo.
CMS = your walk-in wardrobe
After-all, if you’re going to buy all those snazzy get-ups , you need a nice big wardrobe to keep it all in. And wouldn’t it be great if it came full of lots of different outfits to choose from.
It stands for Content Management System. It’s basically a pre-coded website where you can install your theme and quickly build your site.
Backend and frontend = you and your persona
Thankfully not everything that goes on inside our heads isn’t visible on the outside. That would be interesting, wouldn’t it. Because we probably don’t want people to notice all that junk, we have our persona. Our out-in-public personality.
Hopefully it’s not too different to who were are when no-one is looking, but it’s probably pretty difficult to go around in public picking your nose (well, unless you’re in the car… that’s acceptable).
Same goes for websites. Kinda. If you went into the backend of your website, your head would probably spin with all of the gadgets and controls on the dashboard. You might not know where to start. But you do all this fancy stuff in the back end and voila! Then you go to the frontend of the site and it looks all pretty.
If you were to really look into the elements of the backend you would see a whole bunch of mumbo-jumbo looking code.
Responsive = your stretchy pants
You never know when you’re going to need a bigger pair of pants. When you head out to dinner at the local Greek restaurant (or McDonalds) with your friends on the weekend you want to be confident that you won’t have to loosen your belt, or undo your top button (God forbid!).
A responsive website resizes to the size of the device you’re on (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone), in the same way that your stretchy pants do as you finish your third baklava.
Mobile site is a separate dedicated mobile-sized site, not just responsive but normally a minimal site that is optimised for a mobile phone.
Types of websites:
Just like there are sixteen types of personalities (Myers-Briggs nerd here!), there are four basic types of websites. Really only the first two are relevant to bookkeepers.
Static = your dependable friend
Sure, your friend can be a little bit boring sometimes. She tends to own a lot of beige cardigans, and maybe a pair of half frame spectacles. But you know that whenever you see her, she won’t have changed her hairstyle, or her personality. You’ll feel a lot safer knowing that in times of trouble.
Just like your dear friend who never goes on and on about herself, allowing you to download all your stories, this type of site is is an online brochure that gets designed once then doesn’t change. Ever.
Kidding, you can change it if you want to but you probably won’t need to. Simply because it’s not in your budget or you have basic requirements. This type of site works really well if you just need a few pages to point people to when you’re out networking, so they can get some information.
Editable = your exciting friend
Life can be dull if you don’t have a friend who always has lots of new ideas and stories to tell.
Just like your friend, these sites cost a little bit more because content is regularly changing content to keep it fresh and updated (and Google likes that).
Dynamic = your dramatic friend
Ok, she’s a little bit high maintenance but you wouldn’t leave her for the world. After all, life gets boring if there aren’t lots of complications. Amiright?!
A dynamic website is one that requires a lot more interaction like log ins and membership areas. These types of sites can become very expensive due to the sheer amount of work involved in the set up and maintenance of the site.
Trust me, you don’t need the drama right now.
eCommmerce = your spendy friend
It’s nice when your spendy friend likes to buy your gifts or go shopping with you on the weekends. As long as you have the money, otherwise, Afterpay here you come!
This type of site is going to set you back more than a Jimmy Choo handbag. But you’re a bookkeeper so you don’t need it, right. And you don’t need the eCommerce website either. It’s for selling; online stores, shopping carts and that kind of thing.
Let’s see if it worked…
See! That totally made sense, right? Please let me know if the comments if it did, or did not.
Now you pretty much know everything about websites that you never wanted to know, but just got told!
Over to you Savvy Bookkeeper…
Do you have questions about website DIY? Comment below and I’ll respond.
PS. This article is a part of The Perfect Bookkeeper Website DIY course. Learn common mistakes bookkeepers make on their website and how to fix them, understand website terms, costs and hidden costs. PLUS work out your niche and target market, plan your website design and content.