website anatomy

Website Anatomy — Learn the Parts of a Website Part 1

The internet is amazing. It’s the wild frontier where websites can show the whole spectrum of who we are as a people. We are able to reach across distances to communicate with people around the world. Some of it is beautiful. Some of it is terrible. Websites are this combination of science, art, entertainment, and business. The internet has become an almost necessary part of our everyday lives. As a result, websites often have several recognizable parts. Let’s discuss this website anatomy, and figure out what parts you might need for your site.

Website Anatomy

So what are the common parts of a website? Are they important? Are they necessary? Is there a right or wrong way to use them?

  • Headers — As the name suggests, these are the top of a site, and generally appear on every page. Typically this is where you would place a logo, site title, tagline, navigation, and details you want ready immediately like a phone number. Headers are important because they are the first and most frequent thing your visitors will see. You want to be careful not to make your header too big though. Most users don’t scroll down. If your header fills the page, your visitors might not see any of the content.
  • Navigation — This is typically in the header of the site, and sometimes has nested links allowing easy access to all the areas of your site you wish to highlight. Many studies have shown that users don’t typically use the navigation bar. Instead, they just click on links and information on the page to get around. Many sites are getting rid of theirs altogether. Even so, I still like the idea of navigation. To me, it lets people know what different areas your site has available. Best recommendations:
    • Don’t pack it too full. If it’s too full it will overwhelm your visitors.
    • Don’t add a home button. Your logo can serve as your home button.
  • Footer — Once again, the name says it all. This is at the bottom of your site, and typically appears on every page. The footer is where you should have your copyright, links to terms and conditions, career options if you’re hiring, a newsletter subscription, and when appropriate, your address. Like I said before, people don’t scroll. If there is important information you want every visitor to see, don’t put it in the footer. Think about the visitors who make it to the bottom of the page and what you might want them to do.
  • Homepage — This one is really interesting. Your homepage is what you see when you type in your URL. Mine is at People put a lot of time and effort into having a dynamic, well-designed homepage, and that’s great, but keep in mind that your visitors might not ever actually see your homepage. Unless someone types in your URL, most of the time visitors will find your page through a search engine. Often the search results will be sub-pages of your site rather than the homepage. That’s OK. Just make sure that your homepage highlights what you do, but that you provide the full details on your sub-pages.

There’s plenty more to the anatomy of a site. Next time let’s talk about some of the common sub-pages you will find on a site and whether or not you need them. Until then…

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