The What, Why, and How of Websites

Contributor: Stefani Allegretti. Lesson ID: 13366

Can you imagine a world without websites? Probably not, but do you even really know what a website is? How do they work? Who creates them? Find out here (on this website)!


Communications, Practical Life Skills

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Websites are everywhere! In fact, you're using a website right now.

Many people think websites are tangible, real things that exist in real space like books or photographs. However, in actuality, websites are simply a combination of digital images, text, and code!

Take a look at the image below. This is what a website actually looks like, behind the curtain so to speak.

HTML code

Websites are used in our society for just about everything these days. Businesses, schools, hospitals, police stations, banks.... just about every organization today has a website.

Take a moment to think about all of the places in your environment or world that have websites. Then, think about all of the websites you use every single day.

Why do we have websites?

Since the invention of the Internet in the early 1980s and the subsequent increase in our e-commerce (business conducted online), websites have become a way to communicate, connect, sell, and advertise goods and services to people all over the world.

Instead of physically having to go to a grocery store, we can buy our groceries on a website and have them delivered directly to our front doors! We can use a website to study at a university in the United States but live in a completely different country!

  • Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Watch History Of The Internet, from Life Noggin, to learn a bit about the history of the World Wide Web and the Internet, which make websites possible:

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What are websites?

  • You know that YouTube and Facebook are websites, but what does that really mean?

In simple terms, a website is a page or pages of data, created by a developer, that is stored on the World Wide Web and marked with a specific Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or domain name.

Watch How Websites Work, from Bluehost, for a more detailed explanation:

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How are websites created?

Websites are created by web designers and web developers.

Web developers create websites from scratch by coding and programming. They typically use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a webpage.

HTML, which stands for hyper text markup language, is often referred to as the bones or skeleton of a web page. HTML defines the parts of the web page, like the body, header, and footer, as well as where different elements are placed on the page.

CSS is an abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheet. CSS is what is used to define and apply design elements like color and style. CSS would be like a human's skin tone, hair color, etc.

Finally, JavaScript is a programming language that tells different elements on a website, like buttons, what to do. It is similar to a body's brain or nervous system.

When you put HTML, CSS, and Javascript together, you're on your way to developing a website.

Watch What is a website?, from Learn CS, to review these programming codes:

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Web designers, as opposed to web developers, deal with the front end of a website or how it looks and is designed.

They consider things like color schemes, layout, typography (fonts), images, video, and content.

website design

All websites have a basic structure that typically includes a header, a footer, the body, content, images, and a navigation bar.

The header is at the top of the website and contains the navigation bar. It also can contain a logo and website name.

The footer is at the very bottom of a website and usually contains more links for different pages and copyright information.

The body of the website contains content and images.

Watch The Parts of a Website Design, from netministryweb, to learn about the parts of a website. While watching, take notes on the terminology:

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In addition to websites built from scratch by professionals, websites can also be created these days by individuals with very little programming or coding experience.

There are plenty of applications known as WYSIWYG or What You See is What You Get website design and development applications.

These applications are more user-friendly, drag-and-drop applications that show beginner designers and developers exactly what their website will look like as it is being designed. These applications do not require the user to know coding or programming.

Some WYSIWYG website applications include Google Sites and Wix.

Move on to the Got It? section to test your knowledge about websites.

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