Domain Names, Hosting and Search Engine Optimisation

Domain Names

Every website must have a unique name. The names are held in a central register. So, one of the first things you have to do when planning a website is to find out whether the name you would like has already been taken. If it has you can often get something quite close to it by making no more than modest compromises. Domain names with the ".com" suffix are usually a little more expensive to register than the ".co.uk" ones.

Once you have settled on a domain name, we can register it for you (or, if you prefer, we can tell you how to do it for yourself). Depending on the terms of registration you will then own this domain name for a specified period, which is usually one to two years.

Hosting

The program which underlies your website is held by a hosting company on one of its computers called a server. When someone requests access to your website a signal is sent from their computer to the hosting company's server which in turn downloads the website program back to the requester.

Hosting companies will also provide you with several e-mail addresses based on your domain name. So, for example, you could have "yourname@yourwebsitename.co.uk" and "abusinessname@yourwebsitename.co.uk".

Among the things which distinguish the good hosting companies from the others are, faster download times, virus and spam protection on e-mail boxes, and good after-sales service. In addition, so-called "down-times" when the hosting company is off-line for such things as routine maintenance are extremely short and infrequent.

Search Engine Optimisation

Ideally, you would like to have your website listed on the first page, or thereabouts, by a search engine responding to someone trying to find a business like yours.

Unfortunately, life is full of disappointments and this is often one of them. There are three main problems. The first is that search engines keep their ranking criteria secret. A big industry, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), has grown out of this. Claims for the success of these generally very expensive services must be weighed against the likelihood that they could fulfil promises to their very many clients competing amongst themselves and against those of rival SEO companies. Careful choice of text and attention to the "meta tags" in the code of your program can improve matters, and we will strive to do this. If your site attracts many links from others, this will be a major boost.

The second problem is that search engines send out "spiders" to trawl the internet to look for changes. Any that are found may not filter through to the listings for many weeks or months.

You might think things couldn't get any worse, but they can. Sometimes a search engine will just not list your site whatever you do.