What is a website?

A pretty daft question to ask at this point, right? Well, not exactly. If you were to quickly google for a definition of a website, you are most likely to hit upon something of the sort- ‘a website is a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Locator (URL), often consisting of only the domain name, or the IP address, and the root path in an Internet Protocol-based network. Whew!

This definition does pretty much sum up what a website technically is. But it is hardly a very enlightening description to a non-IT guy who just knows that he needs to have a new website to get his product across to the masses of potential customers, past all the expensive marketing gimmicks of teeming competitors.

For instance, let us take the case of a leadership consultant coming in for a catchy website for his consultancy. To him, the definition of a perfect website would be a great piece of design work with a fancy logo wired into a page describing the courses they have on offer, and displaying a few conceptual images exuding intellect, to make sure it hits the right note.

Well, what he has in mind is indeed a website from the surface. But not all of what a website is really about. A website is in fact a thin veneer sitting on a shed load of technology. Though people just glaze over at this point, there happens to be a heck of a lot of Marketing and IT that needs to be stuffed in place while doing up this package!

The web thingymebob can be simply described as a clever blend of IT, Marketing and Design- a neat lil package deal. But, beware! If you are not careful while choosing the deal you might just find yourself stranded halfway along the journey with your glittering package. The ticket has to be one that gets you the whole way!

It is pointless to dwell on a fancy design to do it all for you. An attractive looking home page or a cart load of intellectual content is not all that it takes to catch the fleeting attention of a potential customer. The crux is to ‘make sure that the average Joe Punter finds your site appealing and convenient enough to take the time out to at least go through what you have to offer’.

As far as old Joe is concerned – the image of a serene, kadhi clad Gandhi or an imposing golden eagle in flight on a leadership consultancy home page is not reason enough to linger over it longer than one with a simple maze of squares along the corner. Not as long as there are better things that appeal to him on the other one! The whole thing is about deftly reeling in his fleeting attention before it gets hooked on to some other link that echoes back to him in his kind of language.

This is where the marketing people come into the scene. Before deciding on whether to put in the Mahatma or a sceptre or a square on the home page, the marketing team is called in. They put their heads together, circle out the potential audience, decide what would best appeal to them and come up with some clever strap lines.

No, it is not time yet to whack the whole thing over to the designer and call it a day! The all important IT part is still to be taken care of.

Thanks to the recent developments such as good CMSs (Content Management Systems) from wordpress, you could say a good part of it comes stuffed in bags (figuratively). But then, all is not done. You still have to get the right clasps in place to secure the bag and hold it all together. Without the right clasps and clips, it wont be long before you find the whole thing leaking out in a messy puddle- with hackers squeezing their way into your website and the website coming crashing down before you know it.

And most of the time, this is the point when the not so sexy part of making a website- ‘the back up’- suddenly begins to appear consequential. And, the responsibility of it all? You guessed it right…right on the shoulders of the owner of the website.

To cut a long story short, there is a lot more to a good website designed than a flashy home page. Now if you would like to have it straight out of the horse’s mouth in layman terms…just take the time out to give us a quick call.

You see, the thing is, we keep getting the same issues and the same old questions over and over again. The whole point of the last few blogs has been to blow away as much of the fog as possible in a direct manner and tell you what the whole thing of designing a website is about, sans the complicated technicalities and the jargons. I don’t know if it is the effect of having been in France for too long, but I don’t like the dilly dallies. Just straight talking! Take it from me; it is not without reason that they call the French the ‘franks’.