WEBSITE DESIGN, HOSTING AND MARKETING
Advice for the Small
There are now so many options and offers from providers
of design, hosting, marketing and other services for
websites, that it becomes difficult to make an
appropriate choice. Do you select on price alone (always
a risky option, even where budgets are restricted) or do
you look for more service options, where the price may
If you have little knowledge of the web, just taking
the plunge without some basic research may mean you
have to spend more money later, to get things put right.
The problems can start with something as simple as
purchasing a domain name, a necessity before you can
have your own company e-mail address or website.
DOMAIN NAMES - You would think it would be fairly
easy to compare prices of domain names before you
purchase, but the advertised price is not always the
price you actually pay before you can use it. For
example, many of the larger companies have been heavily
discounting domain names - but the fact is that they
don't usually include the registrants' fees in their
offers, and they are advertised as a year only, totally
omitting the fact that you can't register a .co.uk for a
year, it's a two year minimum.
Then there are the 'scams' from telephone callers,
offering a domain similar to your trading name, but
advising that 'someone else' is trying to purchase it.
They then offer you first option on payment of anything
up to £500, which any reputable company can offer you
'Locking in' of domains can cause other problems.
Typically applicable to .coms, this means that the
registrar doesn't allow moving the domain to another
provider on your request.
Your domain name is very important - ensure that it is
registered with a reputable company, preferably in the
UK, and that you have the option to move it should it
WEBSITE DESIGN - We don't have the space here to
talk about the many problems associated with web design,
so we'll make it brief. In defence of designers
generally, they will usually produce a good looking
product, because you don't become a designer overnight
and even basic design concepts cannot be learned quickly
by non-professionals. However, this doesn't necessarily
mean that the finished article will promote your
business as well as it might, or that you will be able
to contact the same person in the future to update, or
even locate, your site!
Using relatives, friends, business associates etc as an
alternative, could lead to come strained relations if
things don't go according to plan and it often becomes
necessary to completely redesign the site anyway, which
doesn't save yo0u money in the long run.
However you have your site designed, and particularly if
your designer has also arranged web hosting with a third
party, ensure that you have access codes and know who it
is with; it could be hosted anywhere in the world.
WEB HOSTING - There are lots of web hosting
companies available to host your website and provide
your mail, most of these offer reliable services at
varying prices, but because it is a highly competitive
environment the type of service you require may simply
not be available.
Many of these companies rely on quantity and in some
cases, getting things done will not be instant and they
may not help with design or marketing issues. If you
hate navigating telephone answering systems and being
number 16 in a queue, hanging on for an eternity to sort
a problem, then think carefully about who you entrust
your hosting with. And it's even worse if you can only
deal with your problems by e-mail, you may never get a
So how do you avoid these problems? Well, as mentioned
in the opening paragraph, if you have a good knowledge
of what is required, you can use various web services
with some degree of confidence. However, experience
shows that many smaller companies have little knowledge
of these systems and rely on the provider to assist
How much simpler then to have all of these services
under one roof, designed specifically to cater for these
smaller companies, offering guidance whenever required.
Design, domain names, web hosting, mail and web
marketing, always available to discuss particular areas
of concern, not blinding the customer with science,
visits to customer premises when necessary, and all at a
reasonable price. Now that would surely be too much to
ask? Wouldn't it?