A web page is an electronic document written in a computer language called HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language. Each web page has a unique address, called a URL or Uniform Resource Locator that identifies on which web server the document resides.
A website has one or more related web pages, depending on how it’s designed. Web pages on a site are linked together through a system of hyperlinks, enabling you to jump between them by clicking on a link.
Home Sweet Home Page
When you browse the World Wide Web you’ll see the term “home page” often. Think of a home page as the starting point of a website. Like the “Contents at a Glace” of those Dummies books, a good website design will usually provide you with an overview of what you’ll find at the website. On a simple resume site, that overview is all there is. But most sites have many pages. On a larger site, you won’t find links to all the pages on the home page. The websites are more like trees where the home page links to the most important pages, and those pages link to other pages that are are related to them. And on and on.
Some websites do have a thorough listing of all the pages on the website. It’s called a site map. It can be formatted in many ways, but it is usually presented in an outline form. As sites have gotten bigger, however, site maps have gone out of fashion because they are unwieldy. An active blog that has been around for a decade can easy have tens of thousands of pages. Thus, most sites provide search functions.
Traditional Website Design
The footer is the place to look when you’re wondering, “Are these people for real?!”
In addition to the header and main content, most websites also have a footer. This acts to tie up the site design and to avoid reader confusion because the page looks like it just stopped. But it is also the place to look for important, but less popular information, like company details, usage rules, copyright notices, and contact information. The footer is the place to look when you’re wondering, “Are these people for real?!”
Most websites have some kind of navigation bar. This may run horizontally across the top, but is sometimes run vertically along the side of page. Sometimes pages have both — like Learn the Net! These navigation bars allow the user to get to different parts of the website. For example, a news website usually has different areas for domestic news, international news, entertainment, sports, weather, and so on. And once you click to one of these subsections, it will have its own navigation bar. For example, the sports section might have links to NFL, MLB, NHL, and so on.
In addition to the navigation bars, many websites include breadcrumbs, which tell the user where they are in the website. For example, the breadcrumb for this pages would be: Home > Learn to Publish > Anatomy of a Web Page. They offer an easy way to navigate around the section of the website you are visiting. But remember: you can almost always go back to the home page by clicking on the page header.
How can you tell which text are links? Text links appear different from the rest of the text — typically in blue and underlined. When you move your cursor over a text link or over a graphic link, it changes from an arrow to a hand. What’s more, the text of the link often changes in some way — becoming bold or a different color. Also, depending upon the browser, you will be alerted to the website address that the link will take you to.
When you return to a page with a link you’ve already visited, the hypertext words should be in a different color, which indicates that you’ve already been there. But you can certainly go there again by clicking the link.
Traditional Webpage Design
Once inside the website and you go to a page about a specific topic (Like this page!) you will usually find that the page looks much the same. The biggest difference is that these pages have headlines that summarize the content. You will also notice that they look more like a normal magazine article: they have a lot more straight text, and have a single narrative flow.
Learn By Doing
As we’ve noted, different websites do things differently. As a user, the main thing to remember is that websites aren’t fragile. Experiment! Click on different links and see where they take you. You can always use your browser’s “back” button if you get in trouble.