Getting Your Blog House In Order

I had the pleasure of being a panelist at the Boston BlogHer ReachOut Tour. The women in our session were amazing, and asked equally amazing questions. Since our focus was helping people feel comfortable with hacking, coding, or just plain starting a blog, I came up with an analogy to help the women in my group feel more comfortable with the basic terminology.

It went over like gangbusters. 

I promised them that I would post the analogy here, so that they could confidently use the information until they became more comfortable with the terms and their meanings. I hope it continues to be helpful! 

Think of a domain name like your home mailbox. This is the address you give if you want people to show up to your birthday party. If the internet is an entire country, your domain name pinpoints your state, county, town, street, and number. It's specific to you, and no one else has your address.

"Why do I need a host?" You can't sign up for a PO box without having a house address. A domain host is your house/apartment/condo. It's the place where all of your information lives. Any of your files, photos, publishing platform information, plugins and widgets live here. Sometimes you can get a publishing platform that has a built-in host (Blogger, free Wordpress blogs, Squarespace) - that's like having your mailbox nailed directly to your house instead of hanging out on a pole near the sidewalk. 

This is your kitchen. This is what allows you to add content, graphics, and, of course, stories to your blog. Every publishing platform is different and allows you to do different things, not unlike the tools in your kitchen. You can make coffee in an automatic drip pot (Blogger), or you can buy an $800 espresso machine that you really don't know how to work and it has a lot of buttons you don't understand, but you DO understand how to make it spray boiling hot water all over your face every morning (Movable Type). 

This is your plumbing. It's the behind the scenes piping that makes your blog function. Sometimes it's as easy as replacing the washer on your sink (< b> < / b> makes words bold!), and sometimes it's a $10,000 backhoe rental to rip up your backyard and replace three miles of rotten, rusted city pipes ( CSS tables?! How do I justify my sidebar to be the same size in different browsers?!).