Website FAQs

How do you make a website?

Websites today are based on a mixture of 'languages'. This started originally with hypertext markup language (HTML) - this code not only told your browser how to present the information but you entered your content as well. But HTML alone is very cumbersome (have you ever used a word processor from the 1980s? You had to enter formatting code as you typed!). So along came cascading style sheets (CSS) - these told the browser how to format the page and content - a bit like a template in a modern word processor. We also have javascript (JS) - which does things such as interactions; for example, our "Cookie" pop up window. We also have bootstrap that, basically, enables mobile friendly sites when using HTML, CSS & JS. And there's more like PHP and SQL on the server side. Staying with the language analogy, learning them is like HTML, French; CSS, Italian; and, JS, Mandarin Chinese. 

If you're pretty conversant with all the coding requirements you can 'do it yourself'. However, 'page builders' make this a lot easier by putting the necessary bits of code into 'drag and drop' icons so you can construct a page by simply dragging and dropping whatever you want onto the page - the advantage of this is building a page/site is much quicker and you don't need to understand coding. You then choose a template that best suits your needs, simply customise it (like modern document template settings) and add your content.

You also have to buy and license a domain name and find servers to host your site (preferably in the country you are operating in as this improves download speed).

A crucial piece of work is getting your website listed by search engines (Google, Bing, etc) so it appears in searches. To be successful your site's content needs to maximise its 'search engine optimisation' (SEO) - a whole industry is built around helping you achieve this! It also needs to load fast - so don't be too fancy just because you can.

Nowadays, the focus is for websites to be mobile friendly by having either 'responsive' pages (like this one) or a website with pages for both desktop and mobile devices. Search engines also give priority to websites that are secure/encrypted ('https') - this requires a 'secure sockets layer' (SSL) certificate; these are licenses that need to be renewed regularly.

How is this website built?

After an extensive evaluation of the options we settled on our site with the following characteristics:

Programmer using a laptop
  • Internal links to other pages on this site should open in the same tab (so navigate using the 'back' button).
  • Links to external sites and '.pdf' documents should open in a new tab (so 'close' the tab when you've finished).
  • Links to 'Word' and 'Excel' documents should download the file to your computer.  You will probably get a message "do you trust this source?" - you can trust this site as everything's scanned before and during loading. However, you should already have your up to date security software automatically scan everything you download.

The 'old' website ( still exists.  However, updating ceased late February 2020 and all search traffic is redirected to the relevant page on this site. 

If you have any questions or have noticed an error please use the contact form with "Website" in the 'Subject' field.

Page updated 2 January 2021