Skip to content

Blog Post

The Web Garage

garageLast week we mentioned that a Web site is a complex organism. This week, an illustration of just how complex…

Take a moment and go out to your garage. Put your key in the ignition, and turn it. What happens?

Unless you’ve got a broken down hoopty, the engine magically roars to life.

Now take a moment to consider, how many different processes just fired off in sequence to make that happen? (Before thinking too hard about that, turn the car off so you don’t waste gas, or asphyxiate)

From the ignition, things had to happen involving the battery, the spark plugs, the starter, the crankshaft, the electronic control unit, the fuel pump, the fuel injectors, and even more parts. That’s a lot of moving parts that have to work in perfect sync, just for the simple act of starting the car. That doesn’t even take into consideration all the components required to make the car actually move!

Just like your ignition system and engine, your web site is a finely tuned machine, composed of a bunch of different elements that all come together to create the whole. The way your site looks and functions is the end result of dozens or hundreds of files and database queries, interlocking like a great big digital 3-D jigsaw puzzle. One comma out of place in your site’s code, and the whole thing comes crashing down.

As we covered last week, the rise of content management systems like WordPress has made it easier than ever for business owners to administer their own site. That’s great news, and we’re behind that philosophy 100%. This is equivocal to being able to drive your own car.

Most of you, however, wouldn’t go poking around in your engine to try and find that clicking noise; instead you’d take it to a qualified professional that you trust. There’s an old joke about a lady who can’t get her car to start, so she has it towed to the shop. The mechanic taps it in a few different places, then whacks it hard with a hammer once. He turns the key and the engine roars to life. The lady is as grateful as can be until he hands her the bill for $100. She says, “$100 just for whacking it with a hammer?” The mechanic then drafts a new, itemized bill that says “Hitting engine with hammer: $5 – Knowing where to hit it: $95”

The point of all that is, respect your site for the complex thing that it is. Enjoy how easy it is to add pages and posts to your site, and any other custom tools that have been built for you; but also recognize that there are things you’re better off not trying to understand. If your site needs some in-depth attention, contact a professional!

And if you can’t drive your site yourself yet – maybe you have an old, static HTML site – contact us for that too! In this day and age, every Web site owner should have the keys to drive their own site.

Next week we’ll take a look at how your car/site needs regular care and maintenance to keep running right.

Photo Credit: Axel-D via Compfight cc