Websites can be complicated things.
I used to work with authors every day, trying to explain the intricacies of getting a website up and running. I spent hours explaining hosting, coding, design, and half a dozen other things that make up the process.
It used to be really frustrating, because at times, it didn’t make sense to me.
Then I found an illustration that did. When I started sharing it with people, they started having a-ha! moments as well. My apologies if you aren’t a car person. But if you are a fan of TopGear…keep reading.
The car on your driveway is like your author website.
Not just like it, but incredibly similar. Here’s a quick glossary of website terms with their car counterparts. See if it helps you make sense of the website building process.
Domain/URL = Car Title
The domain name is what shows people that your site is yours, just like a title proves that you own the vehicle. You need to have the website URL reflect your name or the name of your organization.
Design = Make/Model
Some people want a KIA, while others dream of owning a Lexus. Just like a Prius isn’t a good fit for hauling lumber, neither is a Ferarri for picking up groceries. What your website looks like reflects a lot about you. It’s how you present yourself to the world.
Platform (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) = Engine
What’s powering your website? If your goal is to compete in Formula One, you need more something more robust than a lawnmower engine. If you are happy competing in the lawnmower races, you won’t need a BMW.
- If your website was a car, what kind of car would it be? A KIA or a Porche? Click to Tweet
- How a car can unlock your author website. Click to Tweet
- Are you mechanically inclined? We broke down the website building process in car terms. Click to Tweet
- If you are a TopGear fanatic, you may be able to understand websites better than you think. Click to Tweet
- I’ve never thought of websites this way! // How a car can unlock your author website. Click to Tweet
Here’s how some of the most popular blogging platforms rank in car terms.
- Geocities – You are riding a bicycle through the Sahara. You are going to put in a lot of work and not get a lot of results. It sounds exotic but the reality is that it’s not a lot of fun.
- Xanga – You are riding on a moped. These blogging platforms were popular in the early 2000s.
- iWeb – These have the same amount of power as a lawnmower. The kind you push. Uphill. And now they are offline.
- Drupal/CreateSpace – These are like those Shelby Cobra kits you find in the back of Popular Science. You can try to build a sexy website yourself, but you will end up with something ugly, expensive, and not very functional. Take two Tylenol and call a programmer in the morning.
- Blogspot/Blogger – Remember those tiny little red Geo Metros that hit the roads in the 90s? They made a lot of noise, got incredible gas mileage but it didn’t matter because the cars weren’t safe and didn’t go very fast.
- WordPress.com – Think of these as a V-4. You can get where you want to and even do it in style. You just won’t have as much fun doing it. For me, it’s the difference between my Mustang and my brother’s Mustang GT. Both look great but there’s no doubt who would win a street race.
- TypePad – Early Tesla – hybrid, lean, but you don’t get much out of it. Seth Godin does a great job of making it work…but you are not Seth Godin. Unless you are.
- Joomla – you have an exotic car that no one knows how to drive or work on. You might have a great experience if you can get it to start. Good luck.
- WordPress.org – If you want power under the hood, you’d go with a V8. WordPress.org sites are the V8s of the website world. Thanks to mobile response, fresh designs, and a never ending supply of new applications and plug-ins, think of it as the V8-hybrid that you can feel good about driving.
Hosting = Gas
Your car may look beautiful, but it’s only going to be collecting dust in the garage unless you give it gas. You can have the best website in the world, but without hosting, no one will ever know. It’s going to be locked up and inaccessible on the internet.
Support = Mechanics
Having a good mechanic is the difference between a simple repair and spending your life savings on fixing your cheap car. You are going to get the best service when you go to the person who built your car – they know the ins and outs of how it should work. The same goes for your website.
You wouldn’t want to go to a mechanic who doesn’t know how to change the oil on your car. It doesn’t make sense. So why get support from someone who didn’t build the site?
Obviously, there are ways that this illustration will break down (hello fuel injectors and air filters!). The goal is to help you get a better understanding of how it works at the 75,000 foot level. Let us know if it made sense to you.
Need help figuring it all out? We’re here to help. Schedule a consultation and we’ll help you figure out what you need for your goals.
It’s your turn.
What other illustrations help the website building process make sense to you?
What’s the hardest thing for you to understand about your website?