The Information Highway
May 05, 2004 06:06PM
By Don Kindred
by Roby LaPorte
Today’s Internet consists of literally billions of websites. The term “The Information Highway” has been it’s namesake for many years, but now a days, that term seems a bit trite. If the Internet were a highway, it would be a road that you could get on, travel for the rest of your life and never reach the end. The endless amount of pertinent information and resources is absolutely staggering. There is no subject not found, no medical condition not examined, no service not offered, no event not captured…anything you ever wanted to learn more about is right there on the web, just waiting to quench your thirst for knowledge.
Getting on line is so easy now. There are hundreds; even thousands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide Internet access to the world. Telephone companies, cable TV companies, and even some local newspapers offer Internet access, usually for a monthly fee. Although most people use personal computers to get online, it’s now possible to purchase a special adapter that allows you to access the Internet from a TV set, called WebTV.
ISPs and online services ultimately do everything they can to provide their users with a safe, enjoyable and rewarding online experience, but it is impossible for any company to survey everyone who uses their services anymore than a government can control the behavior of all its citizens. The same goes for the people who build and host websites. Like any other aspect of life, it pays in the long run to do your homework if you wish to have success with your own website. As a website developer myself, I have dealt with many good people who have had unsuccessful experiences with many website designers and developers.
If you a looking into joining the many happy people who have put up a website to promote their businesses online, there are three main ingredients you should be aware of as you approach your Internet goals.
First is the aspect of Graphic Design. Graphic arts have been around a very long time, well, I would say back to prehistoric times when cavemen scratched hieroglyphics on their caves to describe things they did or saw. During the Renaissance period, drawings illustrated verbiage using decorative fonts and borders to draw attention. Yes, to draw attention, that’s the key phrase here. The layout and design of a website is critical to the image that your company wishes to convey to the world. If you want to look professional, you need a professional look. I wonder how many products you and I purchase because we know and trust their logos. If you want to draw attention to your website, you need a reliable and professional graphic designer to provide you with a uniform look that coordinates with any printed material, logos and letterheads.
Second, as most designers are not webmasters themselves, a knowledgeable webmaster is crucial to how the site works and navigates. You need someone who can keep the design intact while placing the content, images, navigation and interacting forms within its structure. If a site looks good, but people can’t find their way around, it will not keep the visitor there for long. A good webmaster works closely with the graphic designer to get the most of both worlds.
Last but not the least, is the hosting. A good webmaster wants to work with a fast and reliable hosting service that has up-to-date servers with all necessary software installed to run and maintain databases, scripting, security and redundancy. They will want servers with a close connection to the Internet’s main fiber lines so they know their customers will be ultimately taken care of, won’t have to deal with downtime or breakdowns, and can be assured the websites they build are ALWAYS available to the public.
Get all three of these ingredients in proper order and you will have yourself a happy and prosperous web life, running down that Information Highway! b