We custom design and build websites to meet client needs in a demanding digital world.  Crafting custom websites yields optimum results to our clients.

In this article, I will introduce you to the art of crafting websites and managing their lifecycle. First, a website begins with inception or an idea then you develop it by organizing and structuring your thoughts. Then you give it life using digital building blocks. As time goes by, you maintain, enhance, and update your website by adding features and content. After a longer time, you may need to redesign or refresh your website to keep up with the technology trends and users expectations.

What is a website?

A website is a creative place where you can express your passion and activity or showcase your business and services!

Simply put, it describes what you are doing and what you are willing to share with an audience. An audience is a group of persons sharing interests, values or needs. You need to define who your audience is and what reach you wish to have.

From a traditional point of view, you can compare a website to a shop providing customers with goods or services. From a digital standpoint, a website is a combination of organized text and media (images, video, sounds, etc.) that we call web content or simply content.

I will use an extended metaphor about a shop throughout this page to help you grasp a concrete vision of this virtual world of pixels and code.

What do you need to build a website?

Once you have your idea in mind, you have a set of professionals and tools to help you implement this idea.
Your web content needs to be written using a coding language. Then you want a way to publish that content.

Writing Content

To do so, you have many languages at your disposal such as HTML, PHP, ASP.Net, JSP to name a few. Whatever language you choose, the website rendering in your web browser will be HTML. Javascript and Cascade Stylesheet (CSS) are often used to complement HTML in order to improve the look-and-feel of a website and enhance possible interactions. All you need to start writing code is a text editor. Any kind such as Emacs, Nano, Notepad, Notepad++, TextWrangler or Vim will do.
If you would rather have a feature-rich editor — offering visual tooltips, keywords highlighting, auto-completion, rendering preview, etc. — there is a large variety of Integrated Development Environments (IDE) available like Atom, Brackets, Eclipse, NetBeans, Visual Studio Code, WebStorm.

Publishing Content

Now you need a container so you can publish your content to your audience. The simplest container is a web server, the most widely used are Apache (Apache httpd), Internet Information Services (IIS), Nginx. Finally, to ease your work with editing content or if coding scares you, you can go for a Content Management System (CMS) that sits between your webserver and content. A CMS usually offers you a more visual approach, providing a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) environment with themes, presets and other customizable options. The most popular ones are Drupal, EzPublish, Joomla, WordPress.

In the case of our shop example, your web server would be your four walls and underlining infrastructure, your CMS would be your window layout and alleys setup with shelves, and your content would be the products you place on these shelves.

How to build a website?

Now that you know about the two core components and tasks required for a website to achieve its purpose: exposing your quality content to the world.
Typically, to accomplish these tasks, you will have to assess your resources. To simplify, we can narrow these resources down to skills, time and money. If you miss none of these, great, you are ready to roll up your sleeves and start building your website. However, skills and time are usually the limiting factors, and that is when digital professionals come into play.

  • Web Designer: often has an acute sense of aesthetics. He manages all graphical and visual aspects of a website
  • Web Developer: goes deeper into coding new features, organizing content and making data available to the front-end
  • Digital Marketer: monitors your audience and plans advertising campaigns to help you extend your reach
  • Search Engine Optimizer: is in charge of implementing the best practices in terms of signals expected by search engines. He is tweaking a website and its surroundings to rank higher and thus increasing visibility.

These are the craftsmen that will assist you with shaping your website as decorator, architect, marketer would with your shop.

Where is my website?

Now, you have your website with some awesome content up and running on top of a web server, but you wonder where you can find or access your website. In the same way that a shop has a mailing address, your website has a web address that makes it identifiable and searchable similarly to GPS coordinates for a physical location. By default, a website is accessible via an IP address or a Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
However, a plain IP address is neither user-friendly nor convenient to remember. That is why you may choose to register a domain name. A domain name allows you to translate a suite of numbers into an actual name thus making it easier to remember, search or type in. For example maps to https://www.google.com/.

At Raving Software, we offer solutions to accompany and help you host your website and register your domain name.

What is a responsive website?

Responsive Design Example from our Raving Software PortfolioYour website is live and ready to welcome visitors but how they will they come visiting, by what means? To ensure you propose the best service and experience possible you need to take their browsing capabilities into account.
For example, your customers may go to your shop by car, bike or even by foot, so you need to plan accordingly. Consequently, you must have some parking spots or drive-in/drive-thru options as well as a walk-in point of entry.
In similar fashion, a responsive website will adapt its layout upon the device used. Whether your customers browse your site from a cell-phone, tablet or desktop, your content will automatically adjust to their viewport.

Getting a website presence nowadays is easy. But, being successful online in the digital age is a totally different story. We create fully responsive, customized websites based on your company’s individual needs and requirements. Whether it’s redesigning an existing website or starting from scratch, we approach each project with a blank slate and work with you to develop a website that is specific to your business. Large or small, informational or commercial, we can help you stand out.