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Archive for the ‘Domains and Web Hosting’ Category

The benefits of dedicated web hosting

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

If you’re looking at how to host your website, you might consider taking advantage of dedicated web hosting.

Dedicated web hosting is when a customer pays to hire a complete server for their own use. If you decided to go down the dedicated web hosting route then you would not share your server with any other client.

Unsurprisingly, dedicated web hosting is considered the best type of web hosting amongst the options currently available. It can be worth spending the extra money to get your own server, especially if you have a business that handles a lot of online transactions: however, it’s not always necessary to incur the extra expense. Small businesses with basic websites sometimes have no need of dedicated web hosting.

Whilst dedicated web servers are solely ‘owned’ (well, rented really) by one particular client, business or domain name, they will not be located on site. Instead, the server will be located wherever the hosting company maintains their hardware. This is usually in a dedicated data centre.

Dedicated web hosting offers a range of benefits for businesses. It offers a good level of security along with a size and infrastructure to support complex transactions and multiple site visits. For example, if you host a sale and are expecting large volumes of traffic and transactions (more so than usual) on a particular day, you can advise your web hosting company about this and they can ensure that your site won’t crash on the day.

Dedicated web hosts may also offer customised solutions, including the ability to choose different levels of storage capacity, CPU speeds, and advanced security features.

Cloud hosting benefits smaller businesses

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Cloud hosting, an approach to website hosting in which a website exists on a network of servers or computing devices as opposed to a traditional single server, is gaining a growing following. But is it a good solution for small to medium sized companies looking to make an impact online?

The cloud, which many are saying is ‘the future of web hosting‘, is flexible and convenient for businesses, since its dynamic approach reflects the fortunes of a company. If the traffic or general demands of a website increase, the server reaches into its network – or ‘cloud’ – and gathers the extra resources needed.

Cloud hosting allows businesses to focus on the immediate tasks that they need to execute, as opposed to spending excessive time dealing with hardware concerns, general IT maintenance and questions of infrastructure. By outsourcing the majority of IT needs, IT departments in particular can avoid many cases of providing extra manpower, training and dealing with bureaucracy.

However, some firms have been reluctant to engage with cloud hosting because of potential security concerns. Cyber thieves, hackers and other companies have been seen as potential threats that could access sensitive information, but the growing popularity of the cloud has boosted the platform’s security. Many web hosting companies are seeking ISO 27001 certification and are joining the Cloud Security Alliance in order to stay vigilant and raise security standards.

At NSDesign we’re keeping a keen eye on developments in the cloud hosting space, as we are planning on introducing a range of cloud-based web hosting solutions in the future.

Sedo study reveals strong domain name trade

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Sedo, the world’s leading global domain names marketplace, recently announced the results of its latest Annual Domain Market Study.

The report – centred on trends in the domain industry and information based on transactions in Sedo’s marketplace – found that Sedo’s global exchange now hosts over 18 million domain names and produced over $100 million in total sales for 2010, the first time the company has achieved that number.

Overall, the trading of domain names has reached all-time high levels, with a 12 per cent growth in sales of web addresses recorded year on year.

Nora Nanayakkara, Business Development Director at Sedo, said: ”The growth in domain name sales has been consistently on the upswing as more businesses recognise their value in growing a company’s online presence. While domain names like Sex.com, which sold for a whopping $13 million last quarter, are highly prized for their branding and marketing potential, in reality many domain names are much more affordable.

Nanayakkara went on to say that a good domain name is an asset every business should invest in: ”All shapes and sizes of businesses have the opportunity to extend their brand online if they invest in an armoury of decent web addresses. It helps companies to achieve important goals in growing a business online: to capture the right traffic, secure better search rankings and build a more prominent digital brand.”

Chrome achieves 10% world browser share

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Google’s web browser Chrome has gained its highest ever figures for global browser usage, according to internet measurements company Net Applications.

The figures – applicable from December 2010 to January 2011 – show that Chrome made a 7.2% gain, reaching a 10.7% total market share. Chrome’s current height of a 10.7% is more than double its 5.22% total market share in January 2009, and the browser is the only one that is consistently making increased, market gains.

Google’s selling of Chrome has been extensive, with many opportunities for the search giant to advertise given its internet dominance. But away from the virtual domain, it has even been rumoured that there will be an advert for Chrome within the next Super Bowl. The company has also run extensive promotions at major shopping centres, such as Westfield in London.

Chrome’s fast upgrade cycle – the browser started 2010 with its 3.0 version, but finished the year with version 10.0 – could also explain its market growth.

Internet Explorer’s (IE) global browser market share is down overall by 1.9% in the last month, despite the increase in demand for its latest browser IE8. However, the defection of users from IE6 and IE7 – both falling by 1.63% and 0.47% respectively – is likely to have boosted Chrome’s all-time high figures.

The Power of Social Media (as Verified by the Pope)

Monday, September 20th, 2010

What started out as a normal Wednesday morning resulted in being anything but.

Over our usual morning cup of tea and banter, the subject inevitably came around to the pending papal visit the following day.

Being web evangelists (aka geeks) here at NSDesign, we jokingly imagined creating an “alternative” version utilising the PayPal branding but without the distinguishing “Y”.

To be honest, that part wasn’t a terribly unique idea, people were already referencing it on Twitter, but on a whim, we took it that bit further. We decided it might be fun to do a little social media experiment where the objective would be to start with nothing and see how we could build awareness and generate interest in a site which was literally minutes old.

If it did work, then perhaps some of the lessons learned could be applied any online marketing strategy.

By eleven we’d registered the domain. After noon, we’d thrown a quick site together and started to promote the site via a few pointed “tweets” just after 1pm.

Below is how the site looked not long after launching: very basic but still funny enough to get people talking…

(Screengrab: www.paypalvisit.com)

Within minutes the traffic started to arrive and the re-tweets began…

(Screengrab: Real Time Google)

As the day went on, we added more content and images and posted the link on Facebook walls.

SOME 48-HOUR STATS:

The unique visitors were just short of 2000.

Page views came in around the 3500 mark.

Our whole point wasn’t just to drive traffic in a call-to-action format, it was to reach a s wide of an audience as possible thus building brand/site awareness.

Through tools such as TweetReach* – we were able to ascertain how far our “reach” was.

Tweet Reach Screen Shot: Paypalvisit.com
Tweet Reach: Nearly 75k

On Twitter, according to our full TweetReach report*, shows we had a potential reach around 75,000 people – which rather ironically is more than actually showed up to see Pope.

On the day of the Pope’s visit, “day two” of our  humourous project, we posted various topical updates throughout the day.

The page grew and grew more graphics and with tongue-in-cheek reports.

Screen Shot of Status Update
(Screengrab: Susan Boyle Double Booked!)

Those, too, were tweeted and re-tweeted throughout the day. (We caught a few people out with that one…)

It was all done in good fun but yet there were things we could take away from this humourous experiment.

A FEW THINGS WE LEARNED:

1) Anything topical you can tie in with your own expertise, and be a part of the buzz creation by contributing something valuable to the buzz,  you’re on to a winner.

2) Anything that is unique with humor (bearing in mind everyone’s humor is different) is also an added bonus in experiments like this.

3) We added the Facebook “Like” button and the “Tweet This” button – quite late in the game on day two – which indicates had we’d started off the project with that we might have pull back our marketing push and let the visitors of the website spread the message directly. Nearly a hundred people indicated “liked it” in just a few hours and thus spreading the message directly to their own wider networks.

4) Understanding who your champions are is very beneficial. For instance, you can see who’s mentioning it – using Google Real Time – you quite quickly see who the main influencers are.

In theory, you could almost be clever and target the people who you want to be spreading your message – and tweet them specifically in the first instance.

5) On the down side…while this experiment actually resulted in gaining followers, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t admit we’d have lost a few in the process.

After all, we broke the cardinal rule of overusing one subject in tweets – which, at times, may have been viewed coming across in an overly saturated and spammy sort of way.

Anyway it was a really fun and interesting project. We hope you who viewed the page enjoyed it as much as we did creating it.

****
SEE: www.paypalvisit.com

(*Note that link only shows 50 of the total Tweets – you have to buy the full report to see all of it – which we did…)

Are you being served?

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

If you’re looking to get your website hosted then you’ll probably keep coming across the term ‘web server’. These are the centrepoint of web hosting and you need to be up to speed on them to ensure you are getting the most from your web hosting provider.

When you employ a web hosting service, you are essentially leasing space for your web site on a server. A server is essentially a hyper-powerful computer whose main purpose is to store the files that make up your website remotely and transmit them across the internet as and when requested by a visitor.

Servers are identified by their IP addresses; every server and computer connected to the web has a unique IP (Internet Protocol) number which serves a dual purpose – to address internet traffic, like a postal address in the real world, and to help identify the different servers and computers on the internet.

When a client visits your site, their computer will send a request to your web server’s IP, which responds with the requested information. Consequently, an IP address is an essential part of the process by which information is passed around the web.

While it is possible to host your own website, this can be a costly option; which is why web hosting is so popular. Over 90% of current websites are hosted on a leased server, with no negative impact on business or retail. Hosting is a cost-effective solution to running a website, allowing you to lease only the server space you need and have top-level technical support – essential if you are need to e-commerce and website hosting.

For a no-obligation quote on web hosting packages contact NSDesign.

The key to keywords

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Keywords are the lifeblood of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Although search engines no longer place as much importance on them for rankings as they used to, they are still crucial to setting up your SEO campaign for two reasons.

Firstly, it can help focus your mind when generating content and choosing your website’s domain name to have a full list of words which are important to your business, and sales aims. Second, and most importantly, the person searching for you will be using keywords and they will want to find a site that matches their enquiry.

As well as standard terms connected to your business and industry, you need to widen the keyword net to include all possible angles from which someone may approach your company. These include:

Your people: If any of your staff have a strong reputation in the industry, then they will probably attract attention based on this alone. By connecting that reputation openly to your company through keywords, you can achieve the maximum number of hits via personal contacts and recommendations.

Your place:
There have always been services for which people wish to stay local, and the advent of green issues has popularised ‘buying local’ even further. Make the most of this by including geographical keywords in your list.

Your business: What questions would you expect someone to ask about your business? These should all be included in your keyword list, whether who, what, where, why, when and how.

If you are looking to instigate an SEO campaign for your business, contact NSDesign for a free no-obligation quote.

A cloud over your web hosting

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Web hosting via a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is one of the most popular solutions currently on the market, and for good reason. It’s affordable at all levels of business and, with the right web hosting company, is generally highly reliable. However, by its very nature, VPS means that your website’s resources will be limited as the space of a single web server is split between varying sites.

The alternative to this is Cloud Hosting, which combines multiple web servers to create a single network. The resources of this network are then allocated to and disseminated amongst sites as they are required. The result is generally less down time for your site and quicker loading speeds.

This type of hosting is now very popular amongst bigger corporations running a large number of websites or hosting numerous pages and products, Google, Bing and Amazon are three major examples. However, the reason it is popular with these big organisations is that it suits this type of company.

Cloud hosting is a very expensive option and while it does guarantee less down time and faster loading, the difference between VPS and Cloud is probably not worth the extra outlay, unless you intend to grow your business across numerous web sites which will require extra resource. For the time-being, a Linux-based solution is probably a better option.

If your company grows to encompass ten or more sites, or you find yourself hosting a 1000 page + website then cloud hosting may be a worthwhile investment; however, most SME’s will find that VPS remains the ideal, cost-effective solution for their site.

Sandbox not sandtrap

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Google’s so-called ‘sandbox’ is one of the search engine giant’s many tricks to ensure their results remain relevant and of good quality. While this is excellent news for those searching, it does present a potential pitfall for new sites. Newly hosted sites can be placed temporarily by Google in a ‘sandbox’ while their quality is ascertained. Release can take anything from a few days to a couple of months, causing a major loss of traffic to new sites. So how can you avoid the sandbox becoming a sandtrap?

Run a soft launch:
Putting your website live a few pages at a time can help avoid the sandbox. Pages are indexed as they appear, so by the time the whole site goes live Google is familiar with much of the content and less likely to sandbox the site.

Use an existing domain:
Using a domain name which is already familiar to Google can help you avoid the sandbox, meaning your site is available to your market far quicker. However, using an existing domain for a new business will greatly limit the addresses available and your branding opportunities. It is also potentially very expensive to acquire.

Choose your keywords carefully:
It’s great to compete on popular keywords, but very difficult to make a high-rank. Competing on less popular keywords will secure you a higher ranking and make the site appear more relevant.

Content is king: As with so many parts of Google, if you provide what they’re looking for – excellent, relevant content – you’ll be left alone. Make sure your site contains high-quality, original content and it is likely to be released quicker, or avoid the sandbox altogether.

Domain name suffixes

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

When choosing a domain name, you need to think carefully about its suffix:

.com – The most popular top-level domain, in use since the Internet began in 1985. Companies anywhere in the world can own a .com domain and there is some evidence that it is prioritised by google.com in rankings. Consequently .com is an excellent choice if you wish to target an international audience.

.co.uk – A second-level domain name, specific to the UK. Many countries now have their own unique second-level domain suffix. It is seen as analogous to .com in many countries, although does geographically bound your site. As a result, while you may rank higher in national search engines, like google.co.uk, it can not compete internationally, where .com will always trump. For this reason, .co.uk is an excellent choice for targeting the domestic market. It also tends to be cheaper than a .com address.

Other domain names you may like to consider are:

.biz –A top-level domain intended to denote a business site. It is not geographically bounded, but does not have the popularity of a .com address. To own a .biz domain, you must prove its use for business and/ or commercial purposes.

.ac.uk – A second-level domain which is industry specific. This can only be used by academic institutions and is highly popular in this field, where it is seen as a mark of quality. Consequently many researchers focus on .ac.uk sites.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there is nothing to stop a website owning a .com and .co.uk or industry specific version of the same address, for maximum impact.