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Blog Articles by Jo Rice of EiWD
Just What Are You Talking About?
Terms of endearment in a Web Designers life
So you have a website, or are planning to get one created for you. You've looked around and found one (hopefully that was me *smiles*) and now you'd like to get started, but you're not sure where to begin. Here's a little help from someone that sees a lot of problems where terminology are concerned. Below are a few of the main terms you'll see in emails and talk about in phone conversations or texting:
This covers usually a long bar at the top area of the page, either at the very top or just below the logo image(s). This bar usually contains links to various pages of your website.
A Dropdown is usually a button so to speak that resides on the Menu. Very seldom does it or should it contain a link, just a box that drops down from the button and opens a box that contains 2 more links that pertain to the original dropdown button's topic. The links within the dropdown may also be dropdown buttons that open further dropdowns (some open to the sides a bit too).
These are what each of the links are consider to be. Not to be confused with Tabs (see below). Menu items cover both the main menu links and the dropdown links. When referring to something in a dropdown, it's always best to say something like, "FAQ link under HELP menu item", that way your web designer and you will always be on the same page (no pun intended ... I think *smiles*).
Tabs are many times mistaken for being items on a menu as sometimes the menu is similar to a tabbed setup. Tabs though, are a completely different item and are usually something that are part of the main content of a page, not part of the menu at all. Tabs usually function as a swapping mechanism between sections on a page. This allows us to add a lot of content to a page, without a person having to scroll down the page for ever and ever to get to it all, and it allows us to organize it in nice little sections. Clicking on a Tab will usually swap from one Tab's content to another, kind of like turning the page of a magazine without the page turning effect.
More Terms Coming Soon!
Church Site Trend
Many churches are seeing the benefit of having a website!
I've recently completed a number of church websites in my local area radius of about 25 to 30 miles or so, and still working on a couple of others. It started with one, and then another saw that one and wanted one and so on and so forth. Kind of an awesome trend really. I have one that's wanted a completely unique look, and the rest have chosen the same layout style while giving it their own unique coloring and setup for their organization.
A few have been recently added to my portfolio page and you'll notice that they are fairly similar in build, but different in looks as far as colors, menu styles, text fonts, and placements of items. This is a great thing for many businesses, churches not being the only one, as in there are a good number of styles already available that people can use as the foundation, while still making them unique to their own organizations.
This layout style that most have chosen was created entirely by me from the ground up. There are a lot of layers in that style from transparent backgrounds, semi transparent containers within semi transparent containers, full page backgrounds which alter depending on the size of your screen, and so many other additions too numerous to list here.
I've been privileged and honored to be able to provide these organizations with a website they can be proud of (or at least I hope they are *smiles*), broadening my skills, which have been taxed quite nicely on a couple of them, and being able to provide them with affordable hosting to give their new websites a place to call home.
It never ceases to amaze me how much a person can learn while doing the thing they love. That is truly the case with the handful of recent sites I've created as well as those in the process of being created. Each new site marks a learning process for at least 1 or 2 things that I hadn't had to try before, or maybe I had and it's been a while since I've tried them. Things are done so differently with Responsive Design now that I even had to relearn a few things along the way.
All in all, it's a path I wouldn't stray from for any reason I can foresee. Being able to do the work I love is not something I take for granted at all, I appreciate every one of my clients and thank you all for allowing me to broaden both of our horizons!
Domain Names ...
What to watch for with hosting packages that include **free domain names.
Many times a hosting package includes a ** "free" domain name and each year when you renew your hosting package, your domain name is also renewed with it. These things all sound well and good, but there are some hidden agendas that you need to look out for when you use these "free" domain names. What agendas might that be you ask? Our main concern on this article is that many of them do not allow you to take your domain name with you if you decide to change hosting companies.
At the start of your adventure to find a new or first home for your website, one of the first things to check for (after you have decided the price is acceptable) is whether or not a domain name is included with the package. If that answer is yes, then the next thing to check is whether or not it belongs to you or to the hosting company if you leave their service. This is extremely important to many online businesses, because this could limit you to using only their service for hosting unless you want to lose the domain name you have worked so hard to get publicized, added to business cards and flyers, added to links in your signatures throughout the internet and so on. This is a crucial decision, because if their customer service is horrible, you are just out of luck and need to just deal with the fact of not getting things taken care of. This is also important if their service is sub standard and doesn't meet your requirements or your expectations of up time.
In the end, if you're not sure about the situation for a domain name that is provided ** free from a hosting company, contact them and ask them if it belongs to you or to them should you decide to change hosting companies. This will answer 2 major questions:
1. How's their customer service?
- Answer: The answer we would hope for is great, concise, helpful, and answers the actual question(s) with as few interactions as possible.
2. Is my domain name movable to another domain hosting company if I choose to move my website to another website hosting company?
- Answer: This answer "needs" to be YES without any question. If that answer is no, you should definitely rethink whether or not you intend to be tied to that website hosting company for the duration of your online business venture. Bad hosting companies are not always easy to spot, so you need to know ahead of time that you can change to a different one should the need arise, without losing crucial components of your online business.
I hope this article has helped you make some more educated decisions concerning your domain names and hosting choices. As always I am here to help you with your hosting and website needs. Feel free to Contact Me for more details or questions about hosting as well as quotes for website design.
** The lesson to be learned in the end is that "free" does not always mean "no strings attached".
- 1. How's their customer service?
Responsive Web Design
Just what is all this "Responsive" talk about?
I for one would tell you it's definitely a strange name, but when you understand the concept it does make more sense.
So, just what does it mean you ask? Well, the first and main thing to consider when thinking about Responsiveness is the device you are using to view a website. Every different sized device, device brand, device operating system, web browsers and so on views things differently, so websites have been now asked to "Respond" to those different aspects of the Mobile device world. This affects how your website is viewed on Laptops, Tablets, and Phones as well as your normal Desktop, although desktops will probably not see a whole lot of differences since they are the full sized site with all the bells and whistles intact.
Basically Responsive, in the Web Design world, means to create a website that responds according to the device it is viewed on, adjusting it's elements (forms, menus, paragraphs, images, etc.) to fit more practically on smaller devices. Sometimes this will mean that some things will be removed from the page when the viewport is smaller. Images are the first things that come to mind when thinking about this as sometimes images can be real page boggers, slowing things down on small devices like cell phones, that may have limited data plans. What do we do then? We take them out or "shrink" them accordingly as needed. The less data a small device needs to load, the faster the page loads, and it keeps visitors browsing longer because the site doesn't use up a lot of data.
This allows for your websites to load more quickly no matter what device it is viewed on, and more practically too. For example, menus are another major factor when designing responsive sites and need to be adjusted according to the size of the device. Let's take Cell Phones as an example. They are small for the most part and many things don't show up well if they are too tiny or many things take up so much room that the user is scrolling down the page forever and back up again to get past them. These things need to be adjusted so menus are adjusted by usually making them a full bar across for each button, or one of the more popular ways is to make the menu be a single button that when pressed shows each of the button bars as needed, keeping it out of the way when not needed.
Responsive sites have made their niche so deep that it's has become the standard and even Google Search Engines have required websites to be responsive (as of April 20, 2015) in order to not lose ranking status. It's the new world of the web once again, and although many people will need to have their sites remade, in the end it will be one of the most useful changes that a website will experience, and your users will thank you for it tremendously.