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Building your website like a home

A lot of people have trouble understanding the difference between website domains, hosting and content. I decided to use my home analogy to help explain.

Quick Jump

I bought a house!!!
4 years ago, when I was still full-time travelling, I landed in a beautiful little holiday village on the most South-East point of Africa.
St Francis Bay was absolutely magical, with picturesque beaches, turquoise water, Instagram-worthy houses, walking trails that I’ll never get tired of and a beautiful canal system that gives visitors the romantic Venice feels that make you want to buy a gondola and learn to sing in Italian.
I stayed for three weeks in winter, only to return in Summer for another “3-week stay”.
Well… it’s now been 4 years and I’ve accepted that this is my new forever home.

Since my bond was approved, I’ve been scouring the boards of Pinterest for home decor and renovation inspiration.
And it occurred to me… Building a website is very similar to building a home!
Let me explain:

A lot of people have trouble understanding the difference between domains, hosting and content.
I decided to use my home analogy to help explain.

Your domain

The starting point for any home is the ground that it’s built on, right?
Websites work the same way.

Your website domain is the equivalent of your home address. Eg: www.stormsteen.com
This is the address you give your friends (or potential clients) so that they can come and visit you.
It’s a permanent address, so they’ll never get lost and you can hand this address out with confidence, knowing that all your mail and contacts are going to find you there.

Before you build your website, you need to secure this address to build on.
Most importantly, you want to own it – not rent it – or your home can be taken away from you at any time!
You wouldn’t build your house on someone else’s land, would you?

To claim your domain, you’ll want to purchase it through a platform like SiteGround, which gives you full rights to your own domain.
If you pay for a domain through a site-building platform like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc – you are renting your domain! This means that you are limited to building your site with the limited tools, layouts and functionality that THEY allow. If you must build on these platforms, purchase your domain elsewhere first.

You know how land in different areas will cost different prices?
Very similarly, a new domain will cost you anything from $6 to $20 a year, depending on its popularity.
Like housing, you can also choose to purchase already-established domains, but that is going to cost you a pretty penny more.

Website Hosting

It’s all very well parking a caravan on your piece of land, but the chances are that you want to build a foundation and make sure you’re in an area with running water pipes and electricity, right?
Your website hosting is the equivalent of this foundation.

Hosting can cost you as little as $3.99 per month from SiteGround and ultimately gives you the foundation to build your home.
You’ve got space to store your tools, blueprints for the layout and even a connection to your hosting provider that you can call if something goes wrong.
Think of it like your municipality.

You need all of this before you start building your house.

Building your Home

Here’s where my team and I come in… Call us your construction crew.
Web designers are your architects and interior decorators, while our developers are your builders.

Do you want a 7 bedroom house with a heated indoor swimming pool and home cinema or do you want a quiet beach cottage with one bedroom and a cozy deck?
Obviously, a bigger, more complex house is going to cost you more money to build. Similarly, the cost of your website is going to vary based on how many pages and what functionality you are wanting to include.

And then there’s the content

You want nice furnishings in your new house to really make it feel like home…
In the website world, this is your copy (wording) and images.
While our interior decorators (designers) can help arrange this in a way that looks spectacular, we need something to arrange.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest for some home decor ideas and can’t wait to start redecorating!
I’ve selected a colour palette, textures and even added a couple of items to my online shopping wishlist.
It’s a great idea to do this for your designer too – giving them a good idea of the look and feel you are aiming to achieve.

Of course, every now and again you want a new couch and will want to replace your old one.
This is totally understandable. Content, like furniture, does become worn and outdated sometimes and you don’t want to be stuck with the old stuff.
This is why we build plugins, like Elementor, into your site so that you are able to edit, manage and maintain your site without calling in the builders again and outlaying more money.
These plugins also count as part of your “functional” furniture. As such, some of them may cost you a little extra.

Websites, like houses, have different stages

It is important to be aware that there are different stages needed to bring a website to life.
We, as the builders and interior decorators (website design and development), will require the land to build on first. Preferably secure land so that your visitors feel safe, so make sure your hosting package comes with an SSL certificate.

Once we have access to your land, simply asking us to “build me a website” is not going to give you your dream home…

  • How many pages are on your website?
  • How big are these pages?
  • What content do you want to fit in there?
  • How do you want your guests to walk through your site?
  • Do you need any fancy functionality?

At the end of the day, building a website for your business is like building a home for your family, friends and everyone you love.
We want you to be as proud of your website as you are of your own home.
So, are you ready to get building?


The head honcho and creative mind behind Storm Steen Digital

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