Explaining Creating a Web Site to a 7-year-old

website creation for a 7-year-oldDuring a recent car trip my 7-year-old informed me that he wanted to create his own web site. After a few pointed questions to see how serious he was about the subject, my online strategy instincts took over and we were deep in conversation about site content, domain names and hosting companies. Considering I was speaking with a 7-year-old, I had to get creative about how I presented these complex concepts.

 

Although I am fairly certain that you’re older than 7, the following conversation and follow-up summaries may help you understand a few vague concepts and processes when working on your web site.

 

7-YEAR-OLD: Can you help me make a web site?

ME: Yes, what do you want your web site to be about?

7-YEAR-OLD: Animals.

ME: Any particular kind of animals? All animals, only land animals, animals that live in water, pets?

7-YEAR-OLD: Oh I don’t know, like birds and reptiles and fish and stuff.

ME: Okay, so it sounds like you want to have several different kinds of animals as part of your site. What will you tell people about these animals?

7-YEAR-OLD: I’ll tell them what they eat and where they live. I’ll have pictures of the animals, like the red cardinal and the tree frog. I’ll tell them that some tree frogs are poisonous and that’s why they have bright colors.

ME: Sounds like a great web site with information about a lot of different animals. Who do you want to visit your site, adults, kids, both?

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What you read above is the start of a strategy session. By asking questions I’m helping my son explore the purpose, content and target audience for his web site. In a real strategy session we would explore all of these areas in great detail before taking the next step. As I continue to talk to my son more about his web site idea, I’ll be asking him to writing down the answers to all of these questions before moving forward. Doing this exercise not only clarifies the web site in his mind, but saves time and frustration when he is actually in the development process. It’s similar to writing the outline for a research paper before jumping into the paper itself.

 

After some more discussion on what he wanted on the web site, for whom and how he might organize it, he launched into specifics about what domain name he he was thinking about.

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7-YEAR-OLD: I want my URL to be www.animals.com!

ME: Well, I’m pretty sure that URL is already taken. When deciding on a URL, also known as a domain name, you should think of a whole bunch of good names and write them down. Then you can look them up at sites like HostMonster or Network Solutions to find out if the domain name you picked is available. If it is available, you should be prepared to purchase it, so someone else doesn’t buy it while you’re making your decision. The cost for your domain name varies and is often connected to your hosting service. You’ll want to look at the full package, domain name and hosting, before making a decision.

7-YEAR-OLD: What’s a hosting service?

I now realize I am still speaking with a 7-year-old and I need to think quickly about how I can relate all of this to something he can easily understand.

ME: Think of your URL as your house address. Your hosting service rents you a yard to put your house on. Your house is your actual web site. Does that make sense?

7-YEAR-OLD: Oh, so we don’t get the yard with the house?

ME: No, you don’t automatically get the yard when you purchase your address and you need a yard to build your house on.

 

I was excited to see he was actually understanding what I was saying. We continued to talk about the web site for a little while longer before something else caught his attention and he changed the subject. Knowing my son, I’m sure he will bring this topic up again soon and we will be working together on his first web site this summer.

 

Hopefully this simple story has illustrated for you:

  • When starting on a web site you must first define your purpose, target audience and high level content.
  • What is a domain name and what is the best way to get the one you want.
  • What is a hosting service and how is it related to the domain name and actual web site.

Pass this story on to someone you know who needs more clarification on the first steps to starting a web site.

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.