While working with clients, I find that there can be some confusion on what is required for a website, so I want to take a little time to spell out what the different components of are and how they work together. Today I’m going to cast some broad strokes and talk about the three main parts that we need to get off the ground. To do this, I’m going to use the Trailer Park analogy.
Imagine you live in a trailer, and you want to invite some people over for a 70’s party…
The Domain Name
The domain name is not the trailer. The domain name is the street address that you put on the invitations so your friends can find your trailer. It’s the series of letters that people type in their web browser to directly access your website. Mine is WWW.AKIRAMEDIA.COM, and yours may look a little different, but it has the same basic structure. This is usually paid for with a registrar and GoDaddy is usually the first one that comes to mind because they spend a heck of a lot on marketing.
Hosting is not the trailer. Hosting is the land that you are leasing for your trailer to sit on. In real world terms, you lease space on a computer that is on and hooked up to the Internet 24/7. While the Domain Name is the address, the hosting is the lot that the address points to.
Now we’ve reached the trailer!
Content is the trailer that sits on the land and has all of the things that you want to show your friends. Velvet Elvis paintings, your 8 track collection, shag carpet and the lava lamp inspired decor that gives things just the right atmosphere. These are the files that make up your home page with all it’s copy, photos and groovy design by the designer of your choice.
Conclusion of this odd analogy
I use this analogy because it fits pretty well and people are going to remember it. If you really want to keep your initial cost down, you can shop all three of these components yourself and save some money up front. However, like most things in life, there are upsides and downsides to every decision and you have to weigh cost vs. convenience among other things.
If you get into it and have any questions, we, of course, would love to help.
Photo Credit: Flickr Commons – The Library of Congress
Disclaimer & Disclosure: The photo doesn’t really have anything to do with trailers or web design. I was going for a hard-working construction theme at first, so this seemed to fit at the time. Also, I grew up in a trailer park (actually two, but the same trailer), so don’t be hating on mobile homes.