Web Site Hosting (How to)

  slysy 19:28 10 Aug 03

I am building a website for my wife, using DW MX, to advertise some home made craft goodies to sell online and to advertise for when she exhibits at local craft shows.
I have only ever built sites used on local machines never on the internet, so I would like some advice or links to sites that may help a semi-novice build a site for web access

I have searched for a relevant domain name, which is a available, this will be the basis of the project.

1) Web Hosting: I know there is a whole host of companies that offer this service. I do not really want to spend a fortune a month or be tied to a contract, just in case the venture is not as productive, even though I could use the site for other things.
Will I need sub domains? what use will they be.

2) How/what is the best way to get better searches or hit via the likes of Google, are the use of meta tags still worth considering.

3) How to update and maintain the site, I tried a demo of CuteFTP and full version of Crystal FTP whilst testing a site using the free hosting supplied by my ISP, but as usuall the support from them was non existant.

I have been aquiring a good list of web links to sites that provide java scripts, html code and flash content, but I just cant seem to find useful information on hosting and initial setup.

Any help or advice would be very much welcome.

Cheers in advance

Sly, melting in Sussex

  Taran 21:52 10 Aug 03

1. Subdomains can be useful to some people and in certain situations if you intend running subsections of a site - kind of a site within a site - but it can also become horribly confusing to newcomers and I shouldn't think that this would be a top of the list of features you could look out for.

2. Meta Tags are still useful, but these days search engines 'read' a page text the same (more or less) as a site visitor would, so good, clear, concise and relevant explanitory text is king to getting indexed, as long as you take the trouble to register the domain with the major engines to begin with. Doing this manually takes a while but has obvious payoffs when things start rolling, but this process can take several months so don't expect overnight results. Including the URL on all literature - business cards, letterheads, flyers and similar is still probably the best way to get your site hits without spending a fortune.

3. Updating the site should not be a chore. Some hosts use slightly bizarre and even confusing web folder directory structures which does not help your situation. You can upload direct from Dreamweaver without the need for a third party FTP program but although it can get you up and running it is not as useful as it may first sound due to certain limitations of the program. It does the job though.

Hosting is a minefield and if you ask 100 web designers who to go with you'll get as many replies. Linux hosting is the least expensive and most commonly available to the home and small business user.

Most hosts supply petty straight forward destructions on how to upload and configure your FTP account, but some of them seem to insist on you using an FTP client of their choice which may not necessarily be yours.

In general, once your account is set up with the FTP program you prefer all you do is go online, launch your FTP program, double click the account to access your web folder serverside (assuming you set your FTP client up to remember your account username and password). Then you browse to your local web folder on your PC and select which files to transfer. Some people find overwriting files without deleting the originals on their web host folder can cause problems, but this is normally a local issue to do with your system.

There has been much talk of hosting in other threads in the WebDesign forum and a quick look at some of them will give you more links than you can shake a stick at. Pricing varies wildly and so, unfortunately, does quality of service. For a home or small business package you should be able to find something with all the features you need for well under a hundred pounds per year. If you shop around you can find hosting for half of that, but it is not for me or anyone else to tell you which way to go with this.

Useful links for you could include:

Areti at click here (Forum Editors personal favourite).

2020 Media at click here

Easily at click here

WebFusion at click here

HostWay (sponsors of this forum) at click here

And don't forget 1&1, although personally I find their account management system unnecessarily complicated to newbies.

I'd suggest you come back to us with specific areas of confusion and one of us will try and walk you through things.

One point you should never overlook; talk to your intended host. All of the hosting companies above will speak with you on the telephone and advise on how to go about setting your account up, which account most suitably meets your requirements and so on. Don't ever feel that you are out of line by calling and asking for help; it's part of what you are paying for.

Finally don't go hell for leather with JavaScript, DHTML and especially frames. Start with clean and fast pages containing good text and clear, quick loading images. Tackle the special effects and complex layouts once you are more comfortable with the easier (and far more important) aspects of site design. A simple site with the relevant pictures and text will offer your visitors far more than all the bells and whistles under the sun. Also keep in mind that certain complex menu code snippets that are widely available on the web and that claim to be cross-browser compatible aren't. This effectively renders your site navigation completely useless if your visitors are using certain versions of Opera, NetScape or Mozilla.



  slysy 22:33 10 Aug 03


Thanks for the info, its very late so I will read and digest in the morning.

Any questions, I will know where to go.



  slysy 09:38 13 Aug 03


Took a look at all the sites you mentioned and opted for 1&1, mainly because we did not want to spend a fortune to start off withit was the cheapest and we can upgrade at package at a later date.

The downside with this package is its inflexibility to customise the site to much, but at least its a start.

My only other question would be, how do I improve my searches in the the likes of Google etc. Have checked google but obviuosly they want paying, any other ways?

Here is a link to the site, let me know what you think click here



  MichelleC 10:11 13 Aug 03

Also a good way to sell on site is via PayPal. It's easy to set up and their support is good.

  slysy 19:10 13 Aug 03

I have set up PayPal and Ebay to be able to sell products via that route.

Just want to increase the chances of being found in web searches now.

So new topic.



  Forum Editor 21:30 13 Aug 03

or it will be, once you have the content loaded. It's well designed, easy to navigate, and the text is well written and to the point.

Wedding stationary should be Wedding stationery by the way - a small point I know, but I'm picky about those things.

Good luck with the site. Don't rely on search engines entirely, trying to get yourself high in the lists will drive you to distraction - especially as your business has plenty of online competition. Many people are now paying the engines big money for premiere positions in the rankings, so try other ways of driving traffic to the site. One excellent method is reciprocal linking with other sites. Choose them carefully, and then approcah the sites' webmasters. You'll get plenty of nil responses, but some people will want to swap links, and you'll both benefit from some of each other's traffic.

  slysy 01:12 14 Aug 03

No problem about the typo, it was meant to be there to see if any body picked it up.

Well not quite, even with spell checker set to UK and 2 family member proof checkers, neither picked that up, will ammend it so thanks.

I am just as picky, if its worth doing, you might as well do it right.

Thanks for your comments on the site, glad that you think that it is turning out ok.

On a final note we got married a couple of months, or was it years ago and designed all our own stationery.
As a result we managed to complete some orders with our quests for their weddings and have plans to produce a site for a company that dressed the function rooms for us. So something is going right at the moment.

Will let you know when the sites are finished for you to proof for us ;)

Thanks again


  Forum Editor 01:30 14 Aug 03

to seeing the finished product when it's ready. One point to watch for on hosting packages is bandwidth charges.

Plenty of newcomers to e-commerce get caught out by this, and if you have a site that's image-rich and busy you can easily outrun your package's monthly bandwidth allowance. Make sure that you're aware of the upper limit, and what charges you'll face if you exceed it - excess bandwidth will be charged for by the Mb.

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