Author Websites 101: The Technical Side of Creating a Website

Before you get started building your own author/writer website or contracting a designer to build it for you, there is a little bit of technical jargon you should be familiar with in order to help you get through the experience. I don't intend to go through the whole lot - that would be impossible here - but I would like to give you the basics in an easy-to-understand format.

Content Management Systems

Content management systems (CMS) are simply a way of interacting with your website. The best way to explain this is by example. Wordpress, Blogger, Joomla and Drupal are all popular content management systems that let the average Joe build and manage a website without having a Ph.D. in programming. These systems have an administrative panel where you go and change, add or delete content or applications easily. They use databases (discussed later) to store content and other information needed by the system. They usually offer a set of website templates that can be customized with little or no programming knowledge.

Contrast this to professional, high-tech website building, which is often used by large businesses. When you loved this informative article and you wish to receive more details about Suggested Online site i implore you to visit the webpage. A web designer will build a website and all of its structures on his or her own computer and upload the programming and image files via FTP (discussed later). If done without creating a CMS, this usually means the client is dependent upon the designer to make changes to any content or image, which can get expensive. If the designer also builds or provides a proprietary CMS system for you, it will likely be expensive or lock you in to their services or hosting. This is not an ideal way to go for most authors and writers.


As we discussed earlier, content management systems are built around databases that store certain types of information your site needs to access. Usually this means page content, article content, photographs, metadata and user information. Databases should not be modified, created or deleted by inexperienced users. If you don't know what you are doing, changing information in a database can cause your site to go down completely. Popular database systems you will encounter include MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a method of uploading web design files from your computer at home to your website's file manager. This is often the preferred method of transfer for designers. However, if you are not experienced in building your own website, using a content management system is the better way to go. You will need design software and a FTP program to build a website this way.

DNS & MX Records

I am lumping these terms together because there is little you really need to know. Domain Name Servers are a way to tell people where your website is hosted. Your web hosting company has their own unique server identification location. MX records relate to email accounts and outline which server is responsible for email accounts and also serves as a way of prioritizing email delivery through multiple servers. The important thing here is that you do not change either of these records unless you know what you are doing.


Bandwidth is a common term you will see bandied about without full understanding of its meaning. Without going into the technical meaning or whether it is used properly, bandwidth in web hosting is usually referring to the amount of data transferred to/from your website. In practical terms, a large, popular site with thousands of visitors per month will use/require more bandwidth than a site with 100 visitors.

Domain Types

If you are running just one website with one domain name, you don't have to worry about types of domains. If, however, you want more than one domain or website, you will need to decide how to treat your website: as an add-on, subdomain, parked domain or redirect. If you want two separate websites, you will need to set up your domain as an add-on. If you want a separate site that operates under the same domain name, it is considered a subdomain. If you buy a domain name and don't want to do anything with it yet, just set it up as parked. Finally, if you purchase two (or more) domain names that refer to the same exact site, you want to redirect your other domains to the site that contains the website files. For example, I purchased a domain name solely to have a shorter domain name for email purposes, then redirected that url to display the main site.

Programming Languages

Programming languages change regularly. In the 1990s, Cobol and Fortran were popular. The main languages in today's Internet-based computing world that you need to know in order to build a website are different. There are hundreds of languages and they all accomplish different things. Most websites today are built using one or more of the following coding options:


Java, Java Script or J Query



Each of these coding formats does different things. If you use a CMS like Wordpress, for instance, you will find that the main functions are created in PHP, many applications are written in Java Script, and the overall master styling is accomplished through CSS. If you want to learn to adjust the look of your site or template, these are the languages with which you should become familiar.


Finally we come to a term most of us have heard at one point or another: metadata. What we typically refer to as metadata is really a way for us to tell search engine web crawlers what our website is about. When we optimize our sites, we generally focus on telling search engines things like:

How we want people to see our site title displayed in search results.

What description search engines should display about our sites.

Key words.

Geo tagging (geographical coordinates for where we are located)

We will talk more about metadata when we discus search engine optimization (SEO).

Ismael del Toro