Web Site Domain Names & Hosting

Internet Providers

When you sign up with an Internet Provider you choose an email address that is still available and you usually end up with something long and hard to remember like: joe@joebloggs26.internetprovider.co.uk . Internet providers purposely make it so that anything short appears to have already been taken. Besides the increased cost of the signwriter having to paint a longer word on the side of your vehicle you also make it harder for potential customers to remember your email / website address (see also `Hosting`).

Domain Names

The answer is to purchase an available domain name i.e domainname.co.uk, domain-name.com, domainname-computers.net etc. You should pay no more than 12.00 for a .co.uk, 22.00 for .net / .com which will register the name to you for 2 years (.co.uk) or 1 year (.net/.com). You will have `first refusal` to renew the domain name when it comes up for renewal so no-one can take it from you.

Once you have bought a suitable domain name & hosting you will now have a website address which will be more descriptive, easier to remember and promotes a much more professional image. A spin-off benefit of owning your own domain name is that you are not tied to an internet provider who you may have had to continue with because your website was hosted with them.

Email Addresses

When you purchase a domain name you can have email addresses for different people / departments i.e joedomainname.co.uk, infodomainname.co.uk, accountsdomainname.co.uk etc. Each address can go to a different PC so that `joe` doesn`t collect the mail for `info` or `accounts`. All this should be administered via a control panel on your hosting providers website so that you can change the settings at any time.

Website Hosting

In order to make your website available to the internet 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week you need it to be `hosted`. We don`t provide hosting ourselves but almost exclusively use the services of Xcalibre Communications because we have found their hosting to be both reliable and reasonably priced with their Web100 package providing particularly good value at 52 a year. Webservers Graphic

Don`t be tempted to use the hosting provided free by your Internet Provider. They are usually slow, have restrictions on the facilities you can install & force you to use an address something like www.internetprovider.co.uk/users/bobswebsite/ which doesn`t promote a professional image for your business. The old maxim `If it`s free, it isn`t worth having` is true in this case.

Website Storage Space

Some companies will try to tempt you with 1GB or more of hosting space and on the face of it this seems good but if your website designer has done his job properly you should only need a small fraction of this. The whole of the website you are looking at now will fit on a floppy disk (1.44MB) !

Website Bandwidth

Another factor is the amount of `bandwidth` provided. This is a combination of the number & size of files being transferred from your website to your visitors machine through the hosting companies servers. Again, some companies will provide 5GB of bandwidth but as an example: www.abergavenny.net receives over 6,000 visitors a month viewing 30,000 pages and only uses 1GB of bandwidth (the allowance being 2GB). We suspect that the hosting companies who provide such needless facilities on their hosting packages must be cutting corners elsewhere and having all that bandwidth is not much use if your website is un-available half the time.

At the end of the day, reliablility & performance is much more important than massive storage space & bandwidth.

Website Statistics

A website is an essential marketing tool helping to inform visitors and answer any questions they might have in addition to making it easy for them to contact you. But how do you know your company is moving in the right direction and your investment in a website is paying dividends? Statistics, that`s how. If you advertise in a local paper for instance, your advert may have been circulated 30,000 times but did anyone actually look at it?

Your website hosting company should provide you with the ability to view your website statistics in an easy to understand format, on-line and free (some companies have the nerve to charge for this). You can view how many visitors you have had, which pages are the most popular, the busiest time & day and much more. Can the local paper provide this information? Click here for an example of website statistics provided by Xcalibre.

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