Cue the Jimmy Buffett tunes and pour up that pitcher of margaritas! It’s another edition of Cocktail Party Knowledge!

You need a website.  And you are figuring out that there are web designers and web developers.  So which one do you need?

First, what’s a designer and what’s a developer?  

A designer is a focused on the visual aspect of the website – how it looks and the useability of it.  They consider how the user will interact with the site, and cater to making it easier for the user.  

A developer focuses on coding the website – laying the framework, the bricks and mortar behind the scenes of how the website functions.  

Remember the last post on HTML and CSS?  Imagine that the developer builds the HTML.  They code all the elements of the website.  And imagine that the designer creates the CSS.  They make the elements functional to the user and they make it look nice. 

So do you need a designer or developer, or both?  The answer varies.

Web designers can create a beautiful, custom site that uses the best design principles to ensure the user has the best experience.  Web developers can use their coding skills to bring the design to life and get it published on the web.

But there are designers who can code and create, and there are developers who can design.  So although there can be a distinction between the two in strict industry terms, in real life, the line between the two can be fuzzy (and that's not just the margarita talking!) Or there can be no line at all. 

So, if you need a very large, complex website, and are spending $$$$$, then you definitely need a designer and a developer.  Large projects require a division of labor for efficiency.  But for most web design projects, a small agency or freelancer can fill both roles and still deliver really great results.

Pour a glass of wine, stir up an Old Fashioned, and shake up that martini! It’s time to learn some more “Cocktail Party Knowledge” about the web world!

In this blog post series, I’m giving you the bird’s eye view of different web terms so you can have the confidence to speak intelligently about it with others, instead of grabbing your coat and running for the door when the subject comes up, i.e. you have cocktail party working knowledge.

If you have a website, or are building a website, or have someone building a site for you, chances are you have heard of HTML and CSS.  But what the heck are they?

HTML and CSS are languages.  HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.  It’s the language of websites.  It gives the website its structure and content.  It is the code that tells Safari or Chrome how to display the website.  CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It describes what the HTML looks like.

Imagine your website is a building.  The HTML is the foundation, the walls, the roof.  It is the basic elements of the house.  CSS is the paint, the crown molding, the vaulted ceilings, the hardwood floors.  It is what makes the house come to life and look good.  

Unless you are learning code, you may never have to deal with HTML or CSS.  There are even web designers who don’t even use much HTML or CSS – there are many easier ways to build websites these days. Lots of designers use builders such as Divi or Elementor that don’t require code, but allow the designer to “drag and drop” to build a web page.  

However, you can do some really cool things with CSS to make web pages look neat – I just learned how to animate a gradient background and it’s all done with CSS.  Cool, huh?

So now you know what HTML and CSS are and what they do! Cheers!

In my MBA program, I had an accounting professor that did something I wouldn’t have expected in an accounting class.  For the first 30 minutes of class, we discussed the news. We had to read the Wall Street Journal every day and be prepared to discuss current events in his class, and not just the events of the accounting world, but all business.  He expected us to have a “cocktail party knowledge” of everything we read throughout the week, meaning we could have a (somewhat) intelligent conversation with someone we met at party about the goings-on in the business world. 

And although I may not remember all the accounting formulas, I still remember that having a broad knowledge helps one to be more confident in speaking to others, even if it’s only “cocktail party” deep.  

This applies to your business, too.  You are the subject matter expert at what you do, whether its accounting, selling goods, designing websites, or creating content. But as a business owner, you are also in charge of finance, accounting, marketing, sales, systems, processes, etc.  And even if you are fortunate enough to hire others to be in charge of those things, you need a working knowledge of everything in your business so you can ensure that things run smoothly.  

So, your business needs a website.  And you don’t know a domain name from a host.  What do you do? You get some “cocktail party” knowledge from the subject matter expert. That’s me! I’m here to help.  In this series of blog posts, I’m going to help you understand different tech terms and concepts, so you can be “in the know.”

I'll raise a glass to that!

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