A website is more than just the CSS and HTML

Sure, you can have no website without HTML and CSS, but that is not all you need. A website is not the product of your blocks of code, rather, it is the product of a unity of content and technologies, and understanding this is vital in achieving the best quality and functionality in the design of your websites.

HTML dictates the markup of the website, while CSS dictates its style. These however, are just pieces of a much bigger puzzle. The aim of this article is to highlight this structure, and perhaps help you to modify your approach to web design for better impressions and designs.


Image Source: Pixabay

Webpage vs. website

A webpage is the single sheet that loads onto the browser. It consists of a combination of images, video, text among other elements. Coding of the structure of a webpage is in HTML, while CSS is responsible for the style/visual appearance.

A website on the other hand, is a network made of individual webpages, which have linked together logically and predictably. In previous times, HTML files for different webpages would appear arranged in a hierarchy within folder/folders, with links to the pages, which made up the website.

Advances in technology including introduction of dynamic content and CMSs have made this arrangement quite ambiguous – focus has shifted towards the creation of template files and themes and then populating the structure using content from a MySQL database.

This has made design work easier, but it does not change the fundamental structure of a website. Pages still have their distinct URLs and even though content on said URLs could differ (e.g. what happens on a person’s newsfeed on Facebook), the structures of the webpages remain unchanged. This makes these two concepts vital to the proper running of a site:


Whether a website has a single page, such as the pageless websites that are currently trending or it has multiple pages, the website must act as a singular unit, greater than the sum of its parts. Without HTML, CSS becomes meaningless, and without CSS, HTML is bland and unappealing. The DOM is what gives JavaScript and its frameworks ‘body’ and a MySQL database would be useless without PHP, which in turn uses HTML to display content on a browser. Of course, without content, all these are completely useless to a viewer.

To ensure that it is working properly, all these different elements should come together, each performing its task to create a synergistic interaction, all rounded off in a package that displays great content through a single page or assemblage of pages identified as a website.


The next most important concept to consider is purpose. On consideration of all the structural technologies and addition of great content to the recipe, a website is nothing if it does not have purpose. The purpose of the site will inform how various technologies should merge in order to gain top reviews and connect with users on a more fulfilling level, and what content should be present within the site.

Purpose is the ultimate core of a website – the magnet onto which every other element and technology is attracted and held. As such, it should form the topmost consideration in every design scheme.

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