Why Your Website is Like Your House.
And why you need a website.
Part 1 of a 7 part “website terminology” series.
It is safe to suggest that in this modern internet enabled world, an online presence is not just a “nice to have”, but is actually a necessity. Website creation is a must.
There is a strong argument that suggests you should have a home on the internet – somewhere where you and only you can be found. A home base, a central point of reference, a focal point.
Yes, you can hang out at the local café, or bar, or shopping centre, you still need to “go home” at some point.
Yes, you can hang out on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pintrest, but ultimately you still need some kind of permanent residence where people can find you.
But then you start to get overwhelmed – strange terminology, weird concepts, technological mumbo-jumbo….. and then it all gets too hard so you consciously or unconsciously tell yourself that you’ll learn about websites and how to make one later.
Later is now.
Let me explain why your website is like your house.
So – you’ve decided that you need a website, but you’re not sure where to start. You know that in this harsh economic climate you need as much exposure as possible.
You know that the internet is open 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
You know that your product, or service, or simply what you have to say is of value to many people, and even if it isn’t, you want to share it with the world anyway.
And who knows, you might even be able to monetize it somehow.
Houses have a street address.
Houses occupy some land or physical space.
Houses have a physical structure.
So too do websites.
Some houses are big, some houses are small.
Some are cheap, some are expensive.
Some have pretty colours and flashing lights and bells and whistles, others are simple and plain.
So too are websites.
That’s great, but where do I begin ?
Firstly, in order to create a website and embark on your website creation journey, you need to buy a Domain Name.
Street Address = Domain Name
A Domain Name is the “street address” of your website.
It is usually in the form of “http://www.YourWebsiteName.com”.
How do people find your house? You tell them your address.
How do people find your website? You first need an address to tell them!!
In just the same way that towns and cities are divided into logical street names, so too are Domain Names.
“.com” domain names are usually the default and often refer to the home base being in the USA. “.co.uk” domain names are from the United Kingdom, “.com.au” domain names are from Australia, and so on.
You do need to put some thought into your Domain Name – it needs to be concise, it needs to have meaning, should be easy to spell, and be easy to remember!
Land = Hosting
Next you need somewhere to put your website. In exactly the same way that houses occupy a piece of land, or part of a building, or some “physical” space, websites occupy some “digital” space.
The digital space that your website occupies is called “Hosting”, or “Hosting Space”, or “Website Hosting”.
Your Website Hosting company will allocate you an area within one of their big computers (Server) hard-drives. You rent hosting space according to your needs in exactly the same way that you would rent a house in which to live.
You might want an enormous palatial mansion exclusively for yourself – or you might simply prefer a small apartment in a large building shared with many other “tenants”.
It’s the same idea with Website Hosting – there is a size and shape and budget to suit everyone’s needs. Please remember, however, that “cheaper” is not necessarily “better” – like most things in life, you often get what you pay for.
Maybe you want the grand mansion, maybe you want the family suburban home, or maybe all you really need is the one room bed sit. One is not necessarily better than the other. Everyone’s situation and budget is different and that’s ok.
You must have somewhere to put your website and your hosting space is the place.
Then comes the interesting part: actually building your website.
Hammers/Nails/Wood/Bricks/Pipes/Wires = Website Building Tools
The physical structure of your house (or mansion or apartment) and your website (the individual pages), like the Website Hosting space (land), can be big or small or anywhere in between.
You might want a huge website with hundreds of pages and links to here, there and everywhere.
Or you might simply require a one page, stand alone website. One is not better than the other – different websites have different needs.
House = Actual Website
So – what are your options?
Just like a house, you can contact an Architect, a Designer and a Builder. You can explain your ideas and get a few quotes. Most likely you will be given wildly varying prices, mainly because different website designers have different ideas around what you need, and what they specialize in. Again, this is not a bad thing as you can get someone else to do it for you – in exactly the same way that very few people actually build their own house themselves using their own hammers and nails and wood and glass.
The website creation software needed to create a DIY Website can all be accessed online – so with a broadband speed internet connection you can make a start on your Do It Yourself Website immediately.
These DIY Website creation tools are often as simple as “point and click” what-you-see-is-what-you-get. These online tools are usually very easy to use.
If you can send an email, or create a Word or Pages document, then you can more than likely build a website.
Most hosting companies provide their own website creation tools to you when you buy hosting space. Other companies specialize in the tools themselves and have the bonus of providing hosting space as well. Again, one is not necessarily better than the other – merely catering to different people who have different skills and expectations and budgets.
You can upload your own photos / logos / images or use some of the thousands of free to use photos often supplied for you. You can change the layouts, colours, styles, fonts, text sizes quickly and easily at the click of a mouse.
Adding and deleting web pages can also be done with a simple click. Access to online website creation software usually includes Hosting space as well – think of it as an Owner Builder House and Land Package.
Another similar option is to use a system such as WordPress. In a nutshell, you (or your hosting company) installs the WordPress software into your hosting space. The WordPress software then provides you with a different set of tools to help you build and control your own pages, blog posts, images, and website.
Once you are finished, simply click on the “Publish” button, and hey presto, your Do It Yourself Website is visible to the world.
It is surprisingly easy to create your own website – and much cheaper too!
So – to recap:
- Both a house and a website need an address. A house address is usually a street name or a suburb name. A website address is called a domain name.
- Both a house and a website need a physical location. A house is usually located on some land. A website is located in some hosting space.
- Houses need tools and materials such as hammers, nails, wood, bricks and glass. Websites are also created with various tools and components – online website creation tools, or systems such as WordPress, plus text, images, audios, and videos.
Hopefully the simple analogies used here put a few things into perspective. Just like house terminology, website terminology is actually fairly simple, once you learn it.
Creating a website is much, much easier, cheaper and quicker than building a house !!
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Part 1 of a 7 part “website terminology” series.