The World Wide Web is designed from the outset to be accessible from a multitude of devices and to be available all the time. Whether using vastly different computers, smart phones, tablet computers, or even televisions and game consoles web sites function and present sensibly in nearly any context.
Furthermore whilst web sites can be used by people using devices, web sites can integrate with other web sites and even use web communication so applications across different businesses can integrate with each other.
This provides a capability for your organization to be available to customers and other businesses 24/7 and to work autonomously outside of usual business hours. Web sites can be much more than a brochure on the Internet, they can integrate with internal business systems to provide information, sales, and technical assistance based on product and service needs.
The ready availability of web sites means employees can be empowered to respond to business from a wide range of locations using a variety of devices. Integration between customer requests, databases of customer and product information, and a widely available web based interface can massively increase the quality and speed of responding to customer requests.
Web sites can also be used for enhancing organizations that need to monitor equipment, performance, and status of components integral to the organization.
if you have components within your organization that would be greatly enhanced by having interaction, measurement and oversight from virtually anywhere at anytime then web technology may very well boost your productivity.
The world wide web is, after email, probably the most common use of the Internet. It simply requires a web browser to access it and web servers to provide content and services. So what does it do and how does it work?
A web browser displays Hypertext (HTML) and uses HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol) to request and receive it. When a web browser connects to a web site it is connecting to a web server. The web browser can request (HTTP GET) and send (HTTP POST) information. To the person using a web browser they are looking at text (and often images and video) that is enhanced using a language called HTML (Hypertext Mark Up Language). HTML is sent from a web server over HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol) to the web browser and the web browser interprets the HTML and displays it.
HTML is known as a markup language that is designed to be easily readable by both people and computers. By default any text in HTML is treated as text and is shown as text to be read. HTML uses the less than (<) and greater than (>) symbols to embed the hypertext markup language into a text document. A simple HTML page may look like this:
<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <title>My web page</title> </head> <body> <h1>My heading</h1> <p>My first paragraph</p> <p><a href="http://somesite.com">Another site</a></p> </body> </html>
A quick breakdown of the proceeding HTML is that first you can see HTML using less than (<) and greater than (>) to describe HTML tags. Most of the the tags have a start tag (eg <body>) and an end tag (</body>). Let's breakdown this example:
You can use tools to create and edit HTML and use a web browser to see how it looks to create HTML yourself. Tools available can be basic (Windows Notepad) that let you do all the HTML yourself or something like Adobe Dreamweaver that will massively assist with the HTML.
Hire professionals such as Azegia or put some effort in, break things down, and work on each part as necessary.
In our first article we discussed domain names. Buying a domain name gets you just that but it doesn't give you a web site or e-mail. To get that you need to rent Internet hosting.
Hosting is simply a computer that is on the Internet that can be accessed from the Internet. When you are using the Internet you are using a computer (PC, laptop, tablet, phone, etc) and connecting to other computers on the Internet (hosting). The hosted computers on the Internet run software such as web servers (for web sites) or email servers (for sending and receiving emails) or other useful things.
For hosting you just need a computer on the Internet that will do what you want. This seems simple enough but you need it to always be available (not crash/reboot) and fast (high speed Internet and a fast enough computer). This can be difficult to manage and expensive so there are different types of hosting to suit different needs:
Usually a hosting service will provide service to three basic needs: DNS, web hosting, and email.
You will already own a domain (eg. mycompany.com) but you will need you own domain server to use that. This domain server (DNS) will let you set up thing likes www.mydomain.com and mail.mydomain.com and point those at software that will manage it properly.
The web server will let you set up a web site that can be accessed over the Internet.
The email server manages sending and receiving of email for your domain. This is useful in that it looks more professional as you can use email accounts such as email@example.com instead of something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most hosting services also provide a database server which is used for storing data such as customers, sales, or whatever your business needs.
Virtual and real computers can be set up to do virtually anything.
You simply find one that suits your needs and rent it. Of course that is overly simplistic and needs further discussion. First examine the type of hosting you want. If you need virtual hosting you are hosting from the likes of AWS or Azure but if your are using that or actual computers you should know what your doing or hire someone that does. If you want application or shared hosting, make sure they are a price you want, have the services you need, and perform well at least in the locality (eg country) you want.
For those of you who are starting a new business or updating your branding, design can be daunting and you need all the help you can get. Here we have included some recommendations and resources to make this process easier. If you are creating flyers, web sites, business cards, or even t-shirts you need a design that can provide consistency and recognition with everything you create.
First of all you may need inspiration and a good recommendation is to look at other designs. This will give you examples of what is possible and inspiration for you to create your own. Look at well established brands and brands of businesses similar to your own. Art is subjective so what you ultimately decide upon is up to you.
Consider that your design will eventually be used in a variety of ways and in different media. Your design should work well on a white background for letter heads but also black backgrounds for devices like televisions.
There is some free software that are quite professional and can produce stunning designs. Look at the following:
Found a nice color you want to use? You need other colors to complement that color. Complementary colors are a science (mathematics) so use a tool to find them.
Here are some resources that will help you quickly create compelling designs:
The Internet communicates between devices that are assigned numbers called IP addresses, think of them like phone numbers. Each and every device on the Internet is assigned an IP address number.
Let's look at a particular example. Using the tool "ping" in Windows Command Prompt or Terminal in MacOS or Linux we can ping google.com
PING google.com (22.214.171.124) 56(84) bytes of data.
We can see here that Google is at 126.96.36.199, using some mathematics beyond the scope of this article this number is 2398766830 and we can get to Google via https://2398766830,
Obviously remembering 2398766830 in order to search the Internet is not convenient and this is where domain names come in.
Domain names are like an address book for the Internet provided by DNS, the domain name service. Domain names are read from right to left, with the rightmost known as a Top Level Domain (TLD) and the names left of that are subdomains. Once upon a time domain names were free but now they need to be purchased and registered.
Domains are registered and managed by DNS servers. Tools such as email clients and web browsers know how to talk to DNS servers to eventually find the address of something on the Internet.
Let's use this site as an example, blog.azegia.com.au. On the right of the address we see "au" which means it's managed by Australia. Next we see "com" which means it's a company in Australia. After that we see "azegia" which is a registered domain name. "azegia" is therefore a sub domain of "com.au". Using an online "whois" tool we can see that "azegia" was registered with GoDaddy but also the "azegia.com.au" is managed by DNS server "n1.syd03.hostingplatform.net.au" which is a DNS server run by VentraIP in Sydney.
In short this means "azegia.com.au" was purchased from GoDaddy and the DNS for "azegia.com.au" is managed by a server belonging to VentraIP. An important point here is that buying a domain name requires the domain name to point to a DNS server. In the case of "azegia.com.au" it could use GoDaddy's DNS servers but it's using VentraIP's instead. This is useful in that if VentraIP becomes an issue, a different DNS server can be used and GoDaddy can be told to redirect to the new DNS server.
Let's look further into the example of "blog.azegia.com.au". "azegia.com.au" is running a web server and other things and going to "azegia.com.au" in a web browser will bring up a web site. However on "azegia.com.au" managed by Ventra IP the subdomain "blog" has been set up to point to Google's Blogger. Blogger has been configured to know which blog "blog.azegia.com.au" is pointing to and will bring up the correct blog when accessed.
This great because the DNS server for "azegia.com.au" can be set up with subdomains that can point to different parts of the Internet and it looks legit and professional.
There are three steps to getting and using a domain name, these are:
To find a domain name, use these two services, ICANN (international) and AUDA (Australia). You should use these because they are governing bodies and not commercial businesses. They won't try to sell you anything or modify prices based on your interest, not that you can buy from them anyway.
After that configure configure the domain you just purchased to point to two or three DNS servers. Multiple DNS servers are registered in case the primary one fails and in that event the secondary or tertiary server can be used.
This should give you a basic understanding of why domains are useful, what they can do, how to find an used one, how to purchase one, and a starting point on how to put it to use.