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The Internet, as big as it is, is just a network system which enables computers to send information back and forth to each other. The World Wide Web (www) is a major part of the Internet.

A Web Site consists of one or more pages that relate together and contain all the information you want to make available to your visitors via the Internet.

Getting your site up and running involves three major steps. 1) Registering a domain name, 2) Creating the web pages and, 3) Hosting the site.

A Web Site is made up of any number of Web Pages. The first page your visitors see when they get to your site is called the Home Page. The Home Page should be brief and to the point. In this fast-paced world, people make decisions quickly, so the Home Page should help a visitor decide quickly if this is the information or business he is looking for. Then, from the Home Page, links can take him to other pages with more detailed information.

Creating a Web Page is the process of putting together all the text, graphics, logos, forms, animations, video, and links that will appear on the screen, along with any (optional) background music that will play when a net surfer visits your site. A web page is what appears on the screen in a complete download (even if you must scroll down to see all of it). Text, such as this text, can be entered the usual way, using the keyboard or it can be copied from another computer file, a word processor document for example, or it might be scanned in from a printed page. Graphics, which include photographs, images, drawings, and logos, can be scanned from photographs or downloaded from a digital camera. These also can be copied from other computer files or created from scratch by our own graphic artist. Animations can be created various ways, today it's common to make them with Macromedia Flash or SwishMax. (For example, notice the words Sacranet.com under the globe as the page loads.) Animations are effective when used sparingly. Links are what people click on to go to other pages on your site, or even to other sites. Text as well as graphics can be set up as links. You may also have a link to your e-mail address so users can send you e-mail messages from your web page. However, this does increase the possibility of 'robots' acquiring your e-mail address for sending spam so Sacranet recommends using a Contact Form for visitors to fill out. Video is quickly gaining a prominent place on the web, and, with the rapid increase of broadband by web surfers, can deliver a powerful message to your visitors. Music, which is optional, can be added to play in the background of a web page (although it is not generally recommended). However, we support streaming audio, whereby a visitor can click to listen to music. Pages (windows) can be made to pop-up over other windows, but this technique has been overdone by advertisers and tends to annoy website visitors. Many surfers now use pop-up blockers, so this also is not recommended. And we try to make good use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), a simple mechanism for adding style, simplifying major changes and increasing the efficiency of your web site.

To Host the site simply means to load the pages onto a host computer that is capable of sending them to net surfers. Companies that specialize in hosting have direct, high-speed connections to the Internet. While it might be technically possible to use your home or office computer to do it, this would be very slow and unreliable; and most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not permit it. Sacranet works with hosts that deliver your pages quickly and that promise 99.9% uptime.

A Domain Name identifies your site and is what a net surfer types into his browser to go to a particular web site. For example, sacranet.com is a domain name. However usually you would click on a link with a 'friendly' name, which is then translated into a domain name by your computer. For example, when you click on a 'friendly' name, such as Proscapes Landscape & Design the browser is told to go to http://www.proscapesdesigns.com. You can register and use any domain name as long as it's not already taken. At Sacranet our charge is $20 per year to register and set up your domain name (and $15.50 per year for renewing). The end part, .com, pronounced dot-com, is the name's extension (well, technically it's called a TLD or Top Level Domain). Com means commercial, identifying a commercial site. Also there is .biz, meaning business. This is a newer addition, hoping to alleviate the lack of available .com names. There are others such as .org (a non-profit organization), .gov (a government site) .edu (an educational institution), and .net (a network, such as an Internet service provider). The rules on qualifying to use .org, .com or .net are fairly loose (for example, many sites today use the .com extension even though they are not commercial).

Additional name extensions have been approved by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the governing body of the Internet). Some of the new domains include: .aero, .coop, .eu, .info, .me, .mobi, .name, .pro, and .travel. Only time will tell how these are embraced by the web community. And after a time of debate the .xxx extension, for sites that contain pornography, was approved in June of 2010.

Currently Sacranet can register .com .net .org .info .biz .tv .us .name .mobi .ws and .me. The rules on qualifying for some of these are a little stricter, and the cost varies. For example, .biz is for use by a business only, and .tv costs $60 per year (the .tv domain was assigned as a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) to represent the country of Tuvalu, a Pacific Island nation, however the .tv domain is now available to the general public). Television stations and networks have been making use of this.

Incidentally, what was the first domain name ever registered? (Answer Below)

If this all sounds confusing, not to worry. We at Sacranet can handle the whole process, from registering your domain name to putting together the text, creating the graphics, shooting and producing video presentations, designing the pages, and uploading all of these to the computer that will store (host) them. We can create customized logos and graphics, or scan in and edit your graphics.

We make every effort to insure that your site will have a consistent look when viewed by each visitor. We take into account such things as which web browser a visitor is using, whether it is Internet Explorer (various versions exist, from 5 to 9), Netscape Navigator, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Google's Chrome. This is accomplished by writing the computer code in the new, universally implemented language, HTML5 (As of January, 2013 Internet Explorer accounts for 15% of browsers, Firefox 31%, Chrome 47%, Safari, 4%, Opera 2% and the remainder are misc. other browsers*). New browsers are on the horizon too. Such ones as Rockmelt and Flock, although these are heavily related to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also check the appearance at different screen settings, the most common being higher than 1024x768 (~85% - this includes 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1920x1080), next is 1024x768 13%, and the remainder are less than 800x600*. Further, to insure current and future compatibility, our source code is checked by a W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) validator. Why do this? And recently Microsoft released its newest Internet Explorer, version 9. Sacranet checks your site with this new browser also.

Since even the best web site is no good unless people can find it, we also submit your site to the Open Directory Project. The ODP powers core directory services for some the most popular portals and search engines on the Web, including All the Web, AltaVista, AOL Search, Bing, Gigablast, Google, HotBot, Lycos, Netscape Search, Yahoo and others. Of course, since competition is tough, we can't all be listed at the top! So we recommend that you put your domain name on all printed materials and advertisements. (It is now recommended to print web names without the "http://". Simply www.sacranet.com is the current preferred format. Also it's good to note that domain names are not case sensitive. So to make a name easier to read, use upper case letters. For example, MyBusinessDomain.com is clearer than mybusinessdomain.com)

We can help you develop your meta tags, words on your web pages that are hidden from web surfers but are used by search engines for indexing your site. At one time these were the key ingredient to good listings, but they had become so abused that they do not carry the importance they once did. However, good use of meta tags is still recommended. Meta tags include keywords, a list of key words relating to the subject matter of your site, and a description tag, describing the content of the site. In addition, although it is technically not a meta tag, the title tag has become important to search engines. Also it is known that your site's ranking with search engines can be improved by having other sites link to your site (these are called incoming links). We can help with this too.

In recent times Google has become the most popular search engine, and they don't require a submission to list your site, their own "robot" will find it and list it. Although they do offer a paid listing service, their main listings continue to be free. Sacranet also supports Google Sitemaps, a method to inform Google's crawler about all your pages and to help people discover more of your web pages. In November, 2006 it was announced that Google, MSN, and Yahoo had agreed to standardize their site-mapping services. In May 2007 Ask.com, and IBM announced their support for sitemaps.

* Source: W3schools.com

The first domain name ever registered was symbolics.com on March 15, 1985. (source, Network Solutions)