Creating a simple internet page is super easy. It starts by deciding what information you would like to share on the Internet, whether it’s just a simple biography about yourself, a book report, or an online store, it requires having a specific idea and purpose in mind. There are a few different types of Internet Sites: Blogs, Stores, Businesses, and other sites with applications that serve a specific purpose – like peoplefinder.com, or facebook.com.
Once you have a purpose, you then decide how you want it organized. In the very beginning of time with online systems, it used to be just one very long page of information, and then technical designers learned how to link pages and split information, sort of like into pages and chapters of a book, but not in a flip style or ‘turning a page,’ but with links to other information. In the beginning, those links were references to additional information on a subject or reference material where the original information was found. This became a large area of interest when considering how people reading or reviewing your site move around and leave your internet site for others. The goals changed and so did linking strategies. There were 3 types of links: 1) Those on the same page – called Anchor Text; 2) Those on different pages within the same site – called Internal Links; and 3) Those on other pages on other sites – called External Links in Other Domains. Links are a critical piece of Internet Design because this is one important area that makes the Internet connect to each other.
Referential Integrity is an important concept in Linking because those links must be maintained and correct. If an External Link exists from your site to another External Site and that External Site changes its name or information, then the link on your site might become broken or reference the wrong information. Many technical specialists are responsible for checking these links and ensuring information and references are accurate. You would not want a site linking to another site where you thought they were promoting or sharing one kind of healthy positive information changing to a site that shares something very bad or completely irrelevant, making your site wrong or broken, so this information must be regularly maintained. It’s best to keep a list of all internal and external links in a library or list to be audited regularly for accuracy and relevance.
Content layout is also very important on an Internet Site. It’s mainly driven by Navigation Menus, which are links to pages within the site. The most common Navigational Links you will find are HOME, ABOUT US, CONTACT US, MORE INFORMATION, PRODUCTS, CAREERS, etc. These Navigational Links were historically placed on the left side and are now found at the top, bottom, right, and left side of the pages and also within the body of a page.
Designing this is similar to creating an Outline for an English Paper or Book Report. You decide what you want to write or talk about, how the information is displayed and categorized, and how you want your viewers to click through information to find what you want them to look at or know.
Many internet bloggers and designers start off with a Home Page and create other basic pages and go from there. Once they’ve written and displayed the information, they test their layout. Smart designers seek to divide information for the best form of eye catching and ease of reading and navigation, reducing the number of steps or clicks it takes to get to what is needed or necessary to achieve a specific goal.
W3Schools.com has online tutorials for basic HTML Linking Tutorials and other programming languages to show you the basics on creating a link, changing its color, it’s alignment on a page, and changing the style and appropriate use of Headings, Body, Footers, and other important site/page design elements. They also have a a Certification Course where you can prove knowledge of your skills. There are other sites like Coursera.com and Udemy.com where you can learn online and collect certificates in Internet Design. You can also teach yourself with some helpful internet research.
Here is a link to PCMag.com; it’s an article linking to 10 Excellent Free Online Education Resources. This is a perfect example of how one link leads to 10 other links and shows you how one article references another, which references 10 others, with the simple goal of providing resources for learning how to code and design. If I linked or referred you to PCmag.com, without the specific article, you would not have a direct link to where I am hoping to send you, so you would be forced to search that information yourself. It’s not a bad link, it’s just not the level of specificity that good designer should use. Remember, once a reader leaves your site, they are required to remember your internet address or know to use the back button to return or to open links in a new tab, page, or window.
This is exactly why a linking strategy is so critical. You wouldn’t want to send a user away before you’ve told them everything you want them to know; or you might if your goal is to promote another site or resource.