The Biz of Blogging // Understanding the Nuts and Bolts of Your Blog // Part Six
I know what you are thinking. Huh? What are the nuts and bolts of my blog? To me, the nuts and bolts are your internet service provider, your website platform, and your domain. They are the building blocks of what makes your blog work. But these are three things, that when you are blogging, are hard to understand. Today I am going to try to help you understand what these terms mean.
Hang in there with me, ok?
So why am I talking about this? Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about our plans to buy a fixer-upper home in Waco. When I posted on Instagram that I had a big secret to share, I directed you to my blog so I could share my story and photos. A lot of you went to my blog to see what the secret was. In fact, so many of you went over to my blog, my site crashed. What that means is that my internet service provider wasn’t set up to handle this kind of traffic.
If I have lost you, be patient. I am going to explain all of this using the analogy of building a home.
The three terms that are so confusing are a domain name, internet service provider (or web host), and website platform.
Let’s start by assuming you want to build a blog. Pretend your blog is a home. The first thing you need is an address to identify where your home is located. This is the same thing as a domain address. It is the address someone needs to type into the internet to access your blog. Make sense?
Now, you have an address for your home but you need a neighborhood and a physical piece of land to put your house on. With a blog, you need the same thing. You can’t just have a web address floating around on the internet. You actually need to host your blog somewhere specifically on the internet, just like you need a plot of land to place your home.
Once you have your address and piece of land that corresponds with your address, you need someone (a contractor) and the materials to build your house. This is the same for your blog. Your contractor and building materials for your blog are your platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc.
To understand the analogy, you just need to understand this:
Your domain = address of your home
Your web host or service provider = your lot of land
Your website builder = your contractor and building supplies
So let me tell you what happened when my website crashed. It’s as if I decided to throw a party at my home and a lot more people than I had expected decided to attend. I also found out that some other people (websites) told their people to come to my party too. So thousands of people showed up at my party (about 700 per minute) and the traffic to get to my house was at a standstill and there was nowhere to park. So very few people could actually come to my party because there was a major traffic jam. Or in my case, my website crashed.
To fix it, I had to get a bigger lot, a bigger street and more parking for my home. That’s it. My address was good and my house was the right size. All I needed to do was upgrade the capacity of my web host or service provider so everyone could get to my party (or blog).
This may seem like a silly analogy but I wanted to come up with something that could finally explain this. Does this help?
Of course, I should have known better. I should have anticipated this growth and also known how much traffic was coming to my site. I made the mistake of looking at my WordPress stats and not my service provider stats. I had no idea I was getting 1.6 million hits to my website a month. Oops.
Today I wanted to help educate those of you that are just starting out blogging that you will need a domain, a host (or service provider) and a platform for your blog. These do cost money but that’s ok. Building a house costs money! (Sorry I couldn’t resist!)
If you have had your blog for a while, be sure to monitor your growth and stay ahead of it. Be prepared if you have a book launch or some big news to announce. Don’t make the mistake I did and underestimate the level of service you need.
And don’t feel bad if this still seems confusing. You can build your house (aka blog) anyway. I promise.
This is the best explanation I have read addressing this issue. Thanks so much!!
Very informative. Can I ask a question Leslie, how can one look at service provider stats? I look at my wordpress stats too…not terribly impressive 🙁
Leslie I have loved reading this series. I spent time this afternoon reading each series and a few twice. The calendar is the key for me. I am going to utilize this idea. I am always writing right before posting, not smart.
Actually before I read that part I was already going through photos on my computer. For me I figured out slipping my pictures into a draft works because I can write them at a more quiet time of my day.
Thanks for this series.