Archive for category Hosting

Ready for HTTPS?

Like it or not Google has updated their algorithm to give a preference to secure websites; one that use the https encrypted connection. Normally you only need to encrypt your pages having sensitive data, like payment checkout pages. But because of all the privacy concerns in the world today, Google is encouraging people to make their whole website encrypted!

Is this something you should do with your website? Well I like to say there are “pros and cons” to everything – so lets take a look at that:

  • Con: it requires you to purchase an SSL certificate (cost ranges anywhere from $20 – $150, depending on what type you need)
  • Con: encryption can slow down the loading speed of your site
  • Con: https doesn’t stop the hackers into your website or otherwise protect your web files themselves.
  • Pro: your data flow between your PC and the web server you are connected to is encrypted so no one can intercept transmitted data
  • Pro: the connection to your site is encrypted! No one can keep tabs on your website visit.
  • Pro: having a secure website can lend your site credibility. You get one of those little green icons at the top of the browser page – yee hah!

I’ve updated a few websites so they are completely private, including my own. Just another day at the office…

Here’s an additional article that talks about HTTPS and explains this even more.

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Does Your Domain Name Target Your Audience?

What if Facebook had been named socialstatusupdater49348.com? Or what if Twitter was called 393thebirdknowzall.com? Well I can guarantee you one thing: neither of those names would receive many visitors. The names are simple too complicated and hard to read.

A domain name is your personal identity on the vast expanse we call the Internet. It’s how people remember your site, bookmark your site, and come back to your site. And that’s where the importance of a good domain name comes into play. Now, you can’t expect people to come and socialize on a website name GardeningTools.com.

In order for your domain name to reach the right audience and get the most traffic, your domain name needs to be unique, memorable, and accurate.

First Impression

Your domain name is what leaves the first impression on your site visitors. If you create a search engine website and name it Boogle, chances are, visitors are going to dismiss it as a knock off. That’s why uniqueness is key to having a successful domain name.

Be Creative!

Make sure it is informative and creative at the same time. Renowned bloggers say that when it comes to making a new name, they try to avoid host sites as much as possible. When you use a free website host to launch your own website, the domain name will have your host’s name in it and your site will lose its professional appeal. To avoid this, own your domain name and make sure it does not already exist on the Internet.

Be Memorable!

Memorability is one of the greatest things you can give your domain name. It’s what gives you new visitors and brings back old visitors. To keep your website’s name memorable, I suggest keeping it simple and easy to spell. Overcomplicating a name is not only irritating for a user, but people will lose interest upon seeing such a site in a search engine or web directory.

Oh Those Keywords…

Using keywords that pertain to your site is also handy in finding your domain name easily and increasing accessibility for potential visitors. But accuracy is also a vital part of a domain name. Make sure the name actually addresses what the user will find in the site. Adding a signature twist to the name is also helpful in having your website being remembered for being different. However, don’t go too overboard. Keep your target audience in mind. If you’re aiming to have teenagers visit your site, add something fresh and spunky to your domain name. But if you’re going to have business professionals on your site, having a simple and appropriate name is a safer bet.

Ultimately, all of these elements will catch your visitor’s eye and lead them to your site. When it comes to starting your own site, your domain name is what will ultimately make or break you in terms of how much web traffic you’re going to get. Sure, publicizing your site here and there will get you visitors, but gaining the loyalty of returning visitors is what really counts. So when you’re thinking up a domain name for your site, remember these tips and success is yours.

Connie Davis is a contributing author for NerdWallet, a personal finance website, where you can find advice on a range of topics from managing credit debt to where to find retail coupons.

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Domain Names

So what is all this business about domain names? Here is some clarification for you, and it goes nicely with my previous post on website hosting. Some points about your domain name:

  • A domain name is your web address: www.yourdomain.com, or whatever.
  • Your domain name belongs to you and can be taken with you to whatever host company you want.
  • You don’t actually buy a domain name, you rent it for a period of time.  So if you stop paying for it, someone else can start renting it.
  • The domain names are theoretically rented out on a first come, first served basis. I say theoretically because I have some doubts to the reality of the statement, even though that is what everyone will tell you.
  • When you buy a domain name, all you are really doing is paying to have your domain added to the DNS database.
  • This DNS database is a core component of the internet and is what makes it what it is.  When you type ‘www.domain.com’ into your browser, your browser asks the nearest DNS database where your website is located, and then forwards the request on to the web host computer. The web host computer receives your message to access the website files and sends them back to your computer browser to be displayed.  And the great thing about this process is that it takes only about a second.  (at least for those of you fortunate enough to have high speed internet access)
  • Domain names are not case sensitive, and really are just for human convenience. You should avoid an underscore in the domain since that can confuse computer programs, and use the dash instead.
  • The DNS database will convert your domain name to what it really is: an IP address.
  • The DNS database could be a subject of a whole new post – but to say it quickly – it is a database that is shared across many different computers / routers. No one single computer holds the database information, it gets “propagated” or shared with all the others that are out there. That is why when you first purchase the domain it can take up to 48 hours for you to actually see it on the internet. This also shows its military background – the DNS database is bomb proofed.
  • The cost for a domain name is usually about 10 dollars a year. Companies like Network Solutions used to sell domains for something like 35 dollars a year, because apparently many people thought they had to, but NetSol finally dropped their prices to what has become the norm in the industry (urged along by GoDaddy’s success I’m sure).

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Website Hosting

Thought I’d talk a little bit about website hosting and how it relates to your domain name, as I get questions about it all the time. What is website hosting? Website hosting is where the public accesses your website from – the computer that has your web files, and where the internet points to when someone types your URL into their browser. Your host company is not the same as your domain company, and not the same as your web designer either.

Some points about hosting:

  • Remember your host is just a computer – a beefed up computer usually, but still having similar limitations.  It has a certain amount of memory, a certain speed on its processor, a certain operating system, a certain amount of space on its hard drive, etc – and what is best for your website depends on your situation.
  • For most situations, I recommend going with a Unix server as it is the least expensive. If it has MySQL and PHP installed, all the better – since most of the open-source software out there is based on that so it will save you money in the long run. (I think I read somewhere that 80% of all web servers are Unix)
  • You used to have to worry about how much disk space and bandwidth was needed as the hosting fees would go out the roof, but not any longer. The cost for both are so cheap nowadays, needing lots of either is no big deal. For my own hosting packages, I don’t even bother listing any limits – I promise to provide whatever you need since adding more to an account is no big deal.
  • According to a study done by 1&1 Internet, the average hosting cost is $45 per month, and 40% of small business (SMB) don’t bother to have one. Mostly because they don’t know how, think it too expensive to do, etc. (For the record, Idahowebpages.com will host your website for $25 / month and throw in some free maintenance to boot). The study also mentions that of the ones who do have websites, fully 80% of them call the website “essential” to their business.

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Blog Move

I’ve moved the location of the Website Help Blog from its old location into its own URL: http://www.website-help-blog.com. Please update your bookmarks, thanks.

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