Step 3: Hosting

Step 3: Hosting

Hosting

Website hosting is one of the most critical factors you need to pay attention to when you want to launch a site. A hosting company usually determines how fast your website will be and how efficient it will perform various functions.

The challenge is picking the appropriate company to host your website but before you can do that you need to understand what you are looking for in a hosting company.

What do we need to consider when picking a hosting company?

There are a number of things we should consider before choosing a hosting company:

1. What type of hosting do you want (shared hosting, dedicated hosting, vps hosting or cloud hosting)? and within these types of hosting:

a. their allowed traffic levels (bandwidth)

b. how much storage is provided (and its speed)

c. the processing power of the CPUs

d. their uptime

e. quality of service and customer support

f. price

We will briefly discuss each of these hosting types and considerations.

There are several common types of hosting available: Shared Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, Cloud Hosting and VPS Hosting.

Shared hosting is the most economical. It means that there are many websites being hosted on a single server. It is the most common choice for small businesses and individuals. Shared hosting can handle websites that run WordPress for example. This type of hosting can handle up to 30,000 visitors per month. It is a good option if you are just starting out.

A second type of hosting, Dedicated hosting consists of a single website being hosted on a single server. With a dedicated hosting you are not sharing the server or resources with anyone else so you do not have the concern of another website using up the resources and slowing down your own website. With a dedicated server you can configure the setup of the server and customize the software and hardware for your individual needs but with this ability also comes a more expensive price tag. Dedicated hosting can handle up to 100,000 visitors a month.

Virtual private servers share one physical server but act like multiple, separate servers. A VPS is a stepping stone between shared hosting and getting your own dedicated machine. With VPS you are allocated a dedicated amount of the computing resources even though you share the server. The advantage of VPS hosting is that you can scale from small to large websites without having to switch servers. With VPS hosting you are given the option to scale up your computing resources as you need them.

Cloud Based Web Hosting refers to a newer hosting technology that utilizes a number of servers that work together as one giant server. As needs grow, more servers can be added forming “the cloud”. The resources of a number of servers can be used to supply the needs of the websites.

A web hosting company may be excellent for one types of hosting ie. shared hosting but not rated so highly for another type of hosting ie.VPS.

Bandwidth /Traffic

The bandwidth (or traffic) refers to the amount of content sent from your server to a client’s browser. It’s a good idea to calculate the minimum bandwidth you’ll need before signing up for a hosting plan.

The formula: Visitors per Month x Page Size x Pages per Visit equals the Bandwidth Needed.

Example: If your average page size is 1MB, your site gets 10,000 visitors per month and on average visitors go to three pages each, then your bandwidth calculation =:

10,000 Visits x 1MB Per Page x 3 Pages per Visit = 30GB of Bandwidth

Storage Size

Storage refers to the amount of content, data, and files you can store on your server. Usually, websites do not have a tremendous amount of storage needs, but if you are hosting video or large images or user information, you may find this to be a concern. A minimum of 20 gigabytes (GB) of storage available for your web server is a good estimate.

Standard Hard Drives vs. SSD

Also, there are two different types of hard drives used these days. The standard hard drives are usually just referred to as say, “20GB Storage.” The other type of hard drive is referred to as an SSD, this stands for solid state drive. These drives are typically faster than standard hard drives and they may be listed as “20GB SSD”.

Processing Power

Processing power can be a determining factor in choosing a web host, especially if you are looking at dedicated or VPS hosting.

Usually, web hosts will list the number of cores, or CPUs, that are available for each level of service. In general, the more cores that run at higher speeds, the better.

In addition, as you get to more and more complicated hosting, there are multiple options for hard drive configurations. These configurations have to do with making sure a single hard drive failure does not compromise your system.

Uptime

Uptime is the amount of time the server is successfully operational. If the server is down, then your website will also not be operational. You need to determine the level of uptime that is acceptable for you.

Most hosts list their uptime as a percentage. In many cases, 99.9% uptime is acceptable. There are some businesses inwhich a higher percentage or even 100% uptime may be imperative.

Customer Service

Customer service is also an important feature to consider when picking a hosting company. This could vary from 24/7, US-based support to an email response within 24 hours. They may or may not provide phone support. Do they explain technical issues which is something you may or may not prefer.

Linux vs. Windows for Web Hosting

In over 99.9% of cases a Linux server should be used. Most hosting plans come with great user interfaces that will take care of all of the coding for you. Web hosting control panels provide a graphical user interface and automation tools designed to make complex web hosting tasks much easier. Processes such as creating databases, managing website files, setting up email and managing DNS are all simplified through user-friendly control panels. These are referred to as cPanels.

Major web hosting Players

There are a huge number of companies offering hosting services. I have highlighted several of the bigger and reliable players below which I would recommend.

1. BlueHost.             

It is one of the 20 largest web hosts With its sister companies, HostMonster, FastDomain and iPage, they collectively host over 2 million domains.

2. WPEngine

WPEngine focuses exclusively on WordPress hosting and touts itself as the best for WordPress hosting.

3. GoDaddy.

EconomyBasic resources for starter sites.

4. HostGator.

HostGator is designed to ensure you get powerful web hosting services inexpensively.

They have the ability to host websites belonging to small business as well as enterprises. This means that you can grow with the platform without having any worries.

Two other well known hosting companies with sound reputations include:

5. iPage

6. Siteground 

Web Hosting

Conclusion

Any of the major players are well suited to carry out the basic functions of a host effectively. Although their packages may vary to some degree, they often include:

  • A choice of server options
  • A choice of level of hosting packages
  • A money back guarantee.
  • Include a free domain and SSL certification within the subscription
  • They rank the best due to their remarkable performance and dedicated support.
  • They are also very good when it comes to offering marketing tools for their customers.
  • They offer dedicated customer support. This may vary in terms of being 24/7, if phone support is available, or only support through e-mail.

It is best to look at your specific hosting needs and check is hosts site for the details of their specific offers before choosing the right hosting company for you.

Step 2: Picking a Domain

Step 2: Picking a Domain

What is a Domain?

A domain is your unique identification or name (domain name) that allows people to access your website on the internet. It is your URL (unique resource locator), what you type in the top of the browser which will take you to your website. Some examples include http://www.beautycosmetics.com or http://www.helpthechild.co.uk. This is the home for your website.

How do you get a Domain?

There are really three steps in choosing and getting a domain: first you need to come up with a name, find out if it is available then register the name. Let’s look at each step.

1. First come up with a name

Should you use your bricks and mortar company name as your domain name?

Using your company name as your domain name is a great idea! This is because it tends to minimize confusion as well as other numerous challenges. You can continue to build your same brand online. The only problem is if it is not available as a domain name then you will need to find an alternative name.

Your own name can also be used as your domain name, if it is available. Using your own name gives credibility to your site and can be used as part of your personal branding.

You need to come up with a name that is unique and appealing for both your business and your customers. Some things to consider when choosing a domain name include:

a. To choose a shorter than longer name and if possible a name that stands out.

A short domain name is ideal. You want to make it easy for anyone visiting your site to remember your name. Also, if you can come up with a name that it catchy or that stands out, it makes it easier for a visitor and potential client or customer to remember your name and to come back to your site.

b. Ensure it is easy to type.

There is a probability that a huge number of people already have online websites that are offering similar products or services like yours. This means that if a buyer finds your domain name hard to type, they will end up opting for other site or make a mistake typing it.

Don’t use words that have multiple and confusing spellings. In most cases, domain names that have numbers or a hyphen tend to be very challenging. For example, a website with a domain name such as “number1beautyproducts.com” A visitor to your site will be confused whether the one is in roman numerals, a number or a word. Ensure that your domain name is plain and clear.

c. Try to use keywords if possible.

Keywords are the most fundamental element in Search Engine Optimization. Keywords usually come from the content you are writing about or the types of products or services you are offering. If, for example, you are selling video games, you can simply call your website videogamegalore.com. This will not only make your domain name easy to remember, but it will also improve your rankings on the search engines.

2. Find out if your name is available.

Firstly you need to search your name to make sure it is available. You can start by making a search for a domain name registrar. There is a wealth of companies that do this.

You can also search for a domain name generator to search for alternatives if you are still not sure of a name or if your name is taken.

It is better to use a TLD (top-level domain) extension although the site may give you many other extension options. The extension “.com” is the one most commonly used although other TLDs include: “.net, .org and .ca” for example.

3. Register your name

Once, you have a name deciding who to register your domain name with is your next task. This can be a thought producing task as there are so many companies to go with. Which do you choose?

One thing to keep in mind – After registering your domain you will need to sign up with a hosting company to host your website. Many sites which offer domain registration also do hosting. In the case in which you are sure about the hosting company you want to go with, then it makes sense to use them also to register your domain.

For more information about hosting: Check Step #3 Choosing a host

If, you are not sure who you want to use for hosting. Some common registrars include: HostPaPa, GoDaddy, Domain.com, Bluehost and NameCheap for example. Any of these would be fine to register your domain name with. You can easily transfer your domain name to the host of your choice after you purchase your domain name.

put in link icons

Nowadays you seem to be bombarded with add-ons when purchasing a domain. You may want to purchase the add-on, Privacy Profile. This protects your name from being given when the domain is searched in WHOIS. This reduces your risks for junk mail and identify theft.

In Conclusion

There are really three steps to securing a domain name. The first, maybe the most challenging which is deciding on a name, secondly, do a domain name search to see if the domain name is available and lastly registering the domain name.

You may want to check out the different hosting companies before registering your domain name. If, you know who you want to host with then you can also get your domain name with them. But your domain name and host are two different things and do not need to take place with the same company. You can always transfer your domain to your host of choice later.

Next step, choosing a hosting company.

Step 1: Building a website

Step 1: Building a website

Building a Website

Number one is to have a website – a website gives your business an online presence. The website is the digital representation of your business so you want it to adequately reflect your business.

It needs to appeal to your specific target audience. Having a website allows you to provide a credible source of information for your clients and prospective clients. You have the power to control your brand image. With blog posts on your website you have the ability to communicate with your customers.

You have about 5 seconds to impress your clients when they come to your website so you want it to be professional and to reflect your business clearly.

About 30% of all websites on the internet are built using WordPress. WordPress is popular because it is an all-in- one solution which allows scalability when your business needs to grow. There are thousands of plugins which can be additionally installed on your website to customize your site to whatever your need. There are built-in SEO tools which are paramount for getting your site ranked in Google or any other search engine. You can choose from a huge array of themes in which to build your website. WordPress has integration for hosting and social media platforms. Lastly it is mobile friendly which is also a definite must in today’s world.

https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/03/wordpress-powers-30-percent-of-websites.html

Have your website SEO optimized.

You want your website to be appealing and user-friendly but it also needs to be visible to your market. To make that happen it needs to appear when relevant keywords are searched in Google or any other search engine. To make this happen it needs to be SEO optimized.

SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of optimizing your website to get organic, or unpaid traffic from the search engine results page. There are two types of SEO, namely, organic and local.

Organic and Local SEO

There are two types of SEO namely: organic and local.

 

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is 50% what you do on your site and 50% of what you do off your site, that is for example through external links with other sites.

On your website, SEO consists of working with the written content of a website so target keywords are identified and written within high quality content. Some of these keywords are located in the URL, the title, meta description, H1 and H2 tags, and image html. The length and quality of the content is also important. Additionally, the navigation structure and internal linking between webpages plays a role in the overall SEO of the website.

Local SEO

Local SEO helps businesses to promote their products and services to local customers. Features include having your business appearing on Goggle My Business and having your site listed in various business directories. Listing your business in business directories strengthens a businesses online presence in a local search.

Directories

Some American based directories:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • LinkedIn
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yahoo Local
  • Bing Places for Business
  • City Search
  • Super Pages
  • Google My Business

Something that is often overlooked by local businesses on their website is having the business name, address and phone number appear on their websites. Often all you are given is a contact form and possibly a phone number. The NAP (name, address and phone number) can be placed under the contact information and additionally in the footer of each webpage.

local seo

Google My Business Listing

Facebook and Google Ads

Because it can take several months (between three and six months) for one’s website to get ranked in Google, you may want to use some form of paid advertising to get customers to your site more quickly. Google or Facebook ad advertising are ways to achieve this.

Ads can get expense so it is important that your ad is focused on a specific service, product or offer. Within the set up of the ad a specific audience needs to be targeted, such as interest group, location, age, etc.

From the ad, interested visitors should be directed to a landing page rather than your website. Landing pages are single page websites that are designed to convert visitors into leads. It captures a visitors information such as an e-mail address or name. This information can be used to contact the visitors at a later time with further offers, products or services.

Using Social Media

From this point you can expand your online presence through developing a presence on different social media sites. Developing a business brand helps to market yourself. Social media sites may include: Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Instagram for example. These need to be linked back to your initial website. Posting on a regular basis will help to grow your online business and presence.

It’s always important to keep your audience in mind. Know the reason why you are on social media and who your audience is. Social Media gives you the opportunity to develop a relationship with your audience which can lead to greater growth of the business and fulfillment of the purpose for the social engagement.

In Conclusion…

Your website is your main asset as a digital component to your business. It needs to be properly optimized to be ranked adequately to be found by search engines. The main search engine being Google. The incorporation of additional paid advertising and integration with social media are ways to grow your online presence once you have your website in place.

Step 2: Choosing a domain

Step 3: Choosing a host