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Archive for the ‘Domains and Web Hosting’ Category

Should you get a .uk domain name for your business?

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Rendered British FlagAt the end of last year, Nominet announced plans to launch .uk domain names – a suggestion which received a mixed response. Now, after a recent consultation process and modification of some of the more controversial points in the original proposal, the discussion is back on the table, but there is still debate over whether the .uk domain will offer any discernible benefit to businesses.

Nominet justifies the decision, saying: “We believe that a new secure product will create a new, trusted online home for British businesses. We hope it will help the internet economy by combating cybercrime and creating a namespace which consumers trust.” They say that the domains will be priced competitively, at around £5.50, and will give businesses a reputable, secure address that their customers can depend upon.

However, critics of the proposal say that the current co.uk scheme needs little modification – security standards could easily be streamlined and brought up to date, and the running of co.uk and .uk domains alongside one another could ultimately cause more confusion than consistency.

The final decision on the .uk domain will be made on 23rd September, but UK businesses will need to consider their stance carefully. If the .uk domain does become a reality, our tip is to purchase ‘www.[yourbusinessname].uk and redirect it to your .co.uk or .com site – that way you have the option of doing something with it later if the .uk domain does take off, and you’ve protected yourself against somebody else registering it.

3 things to consider when choosing a domain name

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

big www lettersChoosing a domain name is difficult. In fact, in a recent study from Wakefield Research, 57% of small business owners agreed that it can be as hard, or even harder, than naming a child.

However, equipping yourself with an understanding of the domain name basics will make it much easier. Here are three factors to consider when choosing a business domain name.

1) Length

Achieving the right length for your domain is a delicate balance – it should be long enough to explain what your brand does, but short enough to remain memorable. However, generally, a shorter domain name is preferable – it allows you to reel it off quickly to clients and makes a succinct ending to your email addresses too.

2) Punctuation

Remember, a domain name must consist of alphanumeric characters, and the only punctuation you can use is a dash ( – ). If your brand has a prominent form of punctuation in its name – like Yahoo! or Yo! Sushi, for instance – be aware that you may have to be creative and replace it, or omit the character altogether.

3) Keywords

It’s not just about the brand name – choosing a domain name that contains your principle keywords can have a big impact on your position in the search engine results pages – it makes your business clear and easy to find. Use a tool like Google Adwords to identify your top terms and include them if you can (whilst adhering to points 1 and 2 from this blog piece!)

5 domain name fails

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

www connectionChoosing a good domain name is vital for the success of your business. Your website is the virtual shop front for your business, so it’s essential that it’s easy for your potential customers to find. Choosing a domain name may seem simple – it’s just the name of your company, right? – but there are still a number of pitfalls for your company to fall into if you’re not careful! Here are our top 5 domain name fails:

1. Unintentional humour
Before you finalise your domain name choice, read your full URL and make sure that it’s not a) offensive or b) unintentionally hilarious. There’s a stationary provider called Pen Island. You can only imagine how their domain name turned out.

2. Similarity to bigger brands
Even if you haven’t heard of them yet, there’s always a possibility that there’s a brand out there with a similar name to yours. It’s worth running a Google search of your potential choices before committing – if there’s a bigger brand with a name that’s almost identical, you run the risk of losing a lot of your traffic to them.

3. Missing out on other suffixes
You may have the .co.uk domain name secured, but what about .com and .net? Potential clients who know the name of your business may search for the website and arrive on one of these sites instead, so it’s worth purchasing as many variations of your domain name as possible to make sure all of your rightful visitors arrive at your door.

4. Spelling mistakes
This one almost seemed too basic to include, but there really are websites out there with misspelled domains – particularly when it comes to words like ‘restaurant’. Before you go ahead and purchase, proof read! Having a misspelled domain name is one of the quickest ways to lose custom.

5. Going random!
We couldn’t tell you why, but some businesses are still choosing domain names that don’t match their brands. We don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but please – make sure your domain name and brand name correspond!

New businesses should check out aged domains

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Most new businesses that are looking to develop a strong website presence can face a daunting prospect. Unless your company deals in a highly specialised niche market, there is likely to already be stiff competition for most of your keywords. Getting a decent ranking in search engine results pages (SERPS) is of course possible by following the right SEO steps, creating a social media presence and providing great content; but there is also a little trick that can sometimes make things easier – buying an aged domain name.

An aged domain is one that has been registered for some time. Some of them may still be up on the web but are not active for whatever reason, whereas others may have been registered at some time in the past and have never actually been the host to a living website. While not necessarily of great value, a part of Google’s algorithm does recognise the age of a domain as a contributory factor in allocating authority to a website and can boost a site up the SERPS.

Another reason to consider an aged domain is the name itself, particularly if it contains leading keywords. A domain that includes a business’s most important keyword offers a definite advantage when it comes to SEO. However, as anyone who has done a domain search for important keywords knows most of the best have long gone – leaving aged domains as the only option.

Aged domains vary wildly in price according to their perceived value. They can be picked up for pennies or costs tens of thousands of pounds. It is important to note that aged domains are not an automatic passport to a high ranking, but for companies looking to set up a website for the first time it is well worth a look to see if an aged domain will fit the bill.

Apple poaches new web hosting guru from Yahoo

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Apple appears to have poached Yahoo’s head of data operations – just months after making its last hire.

Scott Noteboom, formerly vice-president of data centre engineering and operations at Yahoo, now lists his occupation as “distinguished gentleman” at Apple on his LinkedIn biography.

The updated biography has caused a flurry in the web hosting industry and in the industry press.

Apple has instigated a lot of activity in the data centre space this year. This activity includes the building of its new $1bn, 500,000 square foot data centre operations hub in North Carolina, USA, and the start of its iCloud file storage cloud.

Noteboom worked at Yahoo from 2005, during which time he launched a number of data centre initiatives. Before this, he worked as senior director of data centre operations at data centre company AboveNet.  The company had the second-largest data centre collocation footprint in the world at the time, according to Noteboom’s LinkedIn profile.

The news will come as a surprise to many, not least because Apple made its last data centre hire quite recently. It poached Kevin Timmons from his role as head of Microsoft’s data centre in April. Timmons is now reported to have moved on to US data storage company CyrusOne.

American phone giant launches web hosting service for SMEs

Monday, September 19th, 2011

AT&T, the major American communications company, has launched a mobile web hosting service aimed at SMEs.

AT&T Mobile Website Hosting allows small businesses to create their own web-site using AT&T’s easy-to-use Do-It-Yourself tool along with a mobile version that is compatible and clearly viewed with smartphones.

The cloud-based web design service also includes traditional AT&T website hosting and email services.

According to Nielsen, 38 percent of U.S. cell phone owners access the internet from their mobile device. The market research firm predicts that mobile website traffic will increase 40-fold over the next five years.

For small businesses, having a mobile website can be crucial to their success. In fact, Nielsen say that businesses experienced a 13% increase in web traffic when they added a mobile website.

AT&T Mobile Website Hosting offers one-click website creation, with no technical expertise required. It features automatic sync and updates to a customer’s mobile site when changes occur on their main website. It also offers multiple design templates, enabling each mobile website to have its own unique look and feel.

Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of small business product management, said: “Having a mobile website is crucial for small businesses, which need to be accessible to their customers anytime and anywhere.”

Industry experts in the UK now anticipate similar services being provided by telecommunications companies in this country.

Wondering about the future…

Monday, July 18th, 2011

A visit to my in-laws for Sunday lunch yesterday afternoon culminated in the obligatory look through my father in laws’ photos on his Apple TV.

He’s got it plugged into the  big telly in the living room and played his favourite classical music while the slide show worked its way through years of pictures carefully digitised and stored on his Apple iMac in the study upstairs. The most recent pictures had all been taken in the RAW format and when I looked at the sheer number of pictures along with the massive list of songs available through his Apple TV a question occurred to me.

“How much storage does your iMac have?” I asked. “A terabyte”, he replied.

Suddenly I was transported back to the 3rd year Standard Grade Computing Studies class at school. The teacher was expaining storage. He ran through Bits, Bytes, Kilobytes and Megabytes, and when he got to a thousand Megabytes he said “We would call that a Gigabyte but we’ll never have to worry about them.”

It was 1993 and the rest is history.

Then last night I was reading the new Stuff magazine and their feature on Cloud Computing where of course storage is unlimited and in theory ALL  our music, pictures, newspaper articles can be stored forever and accessed at any time, wherever we are, without taking up any space in the physical world.

And then it hit me. Fast forward 40 years from now (hopefully more) when I’m ready to leave this wonderful world. And I hand over to my children and grandchildren the password for my DropBox account.

Then, they’d be able to access every photo I’ve taken, every piece of music I’ve listened to, everything I’ve written, everything I’ve read; in short, the entire digital input and output of my life from now on.

Imagine we’d had that information about our grandparents, many of whom lived at a time when a colour photograph was seen as a precious commodity. How much more would we know about how they lived, their personalities and what went on? And how much richer will our interactions with our own grandchildren be if they’re able to access what made us tick when we were in our prime instead of trying to work us out from hazy memories and what we feel able to share with them.

Will we all live forever in The Cloud?

SEGA latest company to fall victim to hackers

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

It seems as though it’s a case of another week, another hacking story.

SEGA, the Japanese games company, has become the latest victim of hacking after a string of attacks on the likes of Citibank and Sony PlayStation.

SEGA revealed on Friday that hackers had stolen the personal data of 1.3million customers from its European website.

The organisation emailed its customers via its SEGA Pass system to inform them that personal details including email addresses, dates of birth and protected passwords had been stolen in the hacking attack.

SEGA did point out that no financial information was stolen; a slightly luckier situation for their customers than for Sony PlayStation’s, whose credit card details were stolen around a month ago.

SEGA Pass was taken offline on Thursday to reset user passwords. It remains offline at the time of writing. Visitors to the site are greeted with a message that reads: “SEGA Pass is going through some improvements so is currently unavailable for new members to join or existing members to modify their details including resetting passwords.

“We hope to be back up and running very soon.

“Thank you for your patience.”

The attack puts large organisations’ web hosting services and internet security measures under yet more scrutiny as hackers’ methods become more sophisticated and successful.

Sony brings down own web hosting service

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

We reported in our last blog that Amazon’s web hosting service, Amazon EC2, took a tumble last week with an outage lasting for nearly two days.

It’s now Sony’s turn to experience web hosting troubles. The technology giant experienced a massive five-day outage last week that affected the PlayStation Network, the online hosting service for its PlayStation 3 gaming console.

Unlike Amazon’s outage, though, Sony’s was deliberately self-induced.

Sony turned off the PlayStation Network after it emerged that an intruder had gained access to it. By switching off the network, Sony was able to protect user data and prevent further damage.

Bosses at Sony also ordered a switch-off of Qriocity, its online entertainment service.

In a statement issued over the weekend on the official PlayStation blog, Sony said: ”An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th.

“Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share.”

To date, exact details of the nature of the intrusion have not been released.

Amazon’s web hosting service crashes

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Even the biggest websites around aren’t exempt from web-hosting troubles. Nearly 100 well-known websites were unavailable for most of last Thursday because of problems with Amazon’s web hosting service.

Amongst the sites taken offline by the fault include geosocial website Foursquare,   user-generated news site Reddit and questions and answers website Quora.

In a statement on its website, Foursquare wrote: “Our usually amazing data centre hosts, Amazon EC2, are having a few hiccups this morning, which affected us and a bunch of other services that use them. Everything looks to be getting back to normal now.”

Those sites, along with dozens of others, use Amazon’s web hosting service Amazon EC2 to support their sites. Amazon EC2 provides processing power and storage to organisations without their own data centres.

Amazon EC2 said in a statement on its website: “We continue to see progress in recovering volumes, and have heard many additional customers confirm that they’re recovering. Our current estimate is that the majority of volumes will be recovered over the next five to six hours.

“As we mentioned in our last post, a smaller number of volumes will require a more time-consuming process to recover, and we anticipate that those will take longer to recover.”

No reason so far has been given for the problems.