WHAT’S A CMS? WEBSITE TERMS FOR BEGINNERS
You know how every industry has a little bit of tech talk? Whether its investment bankers talking about ROI, IPO, M&A and LBO (uh-huh), or lawyers chatting about habeas corpus (pret-ty sure latin is a dead language), industry lingo is both incredibly confusing and a rite of passage for newbies in their careers.
The tech industry is one of the worst for confusing terms, partly because there are many, many acronyms one must face down to slog through even basic tech talk.
What is a small business owner to do when faced with the extraordinary list of incomprehensible letters (and sometimes numbers) that web developers spew when chatting even casually about building you a website?
Fortunately, I can help out with that. At least I can give a run-down of enough lingo and acronyms that can keep you from feeling lost at sea when planning your website makeover.
Before You Start
You have a website idea in mind, but before you start dreaming up how it’s going to look, you need to know about a few basics.
You need to register for a domain name. What is this, you ask? Also called a URL, it’s how we find you online. Some examples include stealthinteractive.ca, amazon.com and techvibes.com.
Some web domain names go for big dollars because it’s amazing if you can get a short URL or one that includes your business name. However, most domain names run about $15 per year to rent. It’s an annual fee so don’t forget to renew or your domain name will stop taking people to your site.
When you set up your account, keep track of your login information! Write it down somewhere because you will need this in the future.
A web host is different from a domain registry. A web host keeps your website on a dedicated server so that people can access your website 24/7. A good web host is necessary to keep your page accessible and your page loading quickly.
Some internet service providers such as Shaw, Bell or Rogers will offer hosting. There are also a number of good hosts that you can find online but be cautious! Cheap hosting will not get you good service. Stealth uses a company called Dreamhost.
Hosting services will cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per month. Aim for around $15.
Now we are running into some awesome acronyms. CMS stands for Content Management System and refers to the backend of a website. The CMS is where you enter content and make changes that will show up in the interface.
If you plan on updating content frequently, changing images or keeping up a blog or news posting on your site, choose your CMS carefully. You want one that gives you a lot of flexibility to do your own updates and keep your site content fresh.
Stealth has a custom-built CMS for most of our sites that gives us a lot of freedom to design neat effects and make changes easily. The CMS also allows website owners a lot of flexibility to make changes and update images without a lot of tech knowledge.
If a company offers to build you a site but does not give you access to change the content, you aren’t getting a good deal. A website is a big investment and you’ll want to be able to do all you can to keep it looking good and keep the content relevant.
- HTML and HTML5
You may have already heard of HTML. Most people who have heard anything about the internet since 1990 are likely familiar with the acronym. Websites these days are mainly programmed with HTML and HTML5 is the most recent iteration that is now gaining traction.
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. Now you see why the acronym. It’s a type of code used to create web pages. At its most basic, HTML consists of specific terms and symbols that indicate how text should look when viewed in a web browser.
HTML5 is set to be the standard in quality for web programming. New websites will be based almost entirely on HTML5 as other coding is replaced. HTML5 is taking what programmers have learned over 20 to 25 odd years of coding and bringing the best parts together.
We’re off to a great start! You’ll be speaking webaneeze in no time. Next blog, we’ll get into some more designer-based terms to help you understand what designers do and what they need from you to build beautiful sites.
Have you come across a tech term that really just makes no sense to you? How about the tech savvy? What tech term to you wish people knew? Leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the next post!