Posts Tagged "technical issues"

What Features Do You Need on Your Website?

The right web space features can provide excitement, convenience and many other beneficial aspects for your visitors. However, the wrong features can have precisely the opposite effect. When a site is bogged down with features which don’t work properly, aren’t properly maintained or are simply in the way, visitors are likely to look elsewhere. Here, we’ll take a quick look at how to choose the best feature for your web space, along with a few which you absolutely don’t want to waste time on.

Determining the Best Features for Your Site

For nearly every site, there are a few basic features which are essential. If you run a business site of any kind, you need a reliable, trustworthy e-commerce feature to ensure smooth, easy transactions.

If you want your site to be interactive, you need a feature or features which allow for customer input. This might come in the form of a blog, a forum or a chat space – choose the feature which best reflects and complements your own unique business. Once that interactive feature is in place, be sure to maintain it properly—respond in a timely manner and ensure that it’s running well at all times.

Checking out sites which are similar to yours can be a huge time-saver when it comes to selecting features. Visit the web space of a company you are familiar with, and take a close look at which features they offer. If the company is selling a product or service which is similar to your own and is run in a similar manner, chances are good that the same features will be beneficial to your site as well. Taking a look at the most popular packaged plans can also give you a good idea of what may benefit your site. Check out the options here to get started.

Considering your target market is another very important step in choosing features. If your demographic consists of tech-savvy younger consumers, feel free to go crazy and add the most cutting-edge, up-to-date features you can find. Only add features you feel comfortable maintaining, however—those tech-savvy visitors will only be annoyed if they find a feature which isn’t running properly.

If, on the other hand, your target market spans several demographics, you must consider the possibility that many of your visitors may not be as computer-literate as you are. If you sell a product, it may be purchased as a gift—by somebody’s 90-year-old grandmother. If there’s even a chance that your site will attract visitors who are less than savvy when it comes to computer use, keep your essential features as simple as possible. You can still use any feature you think will be beneficial. Simply place the more cutting-edge features below the fold, or someplace else where they can be easily found, but where they won’t create confusion.

What You Don’t Need

Regardless of the type of web space you’re creating or maintaining, there are a couple of features you simply don’t need. They tend to annoy and turn away more customers than anything else, and they don’t have any real value.

Flash intros may be one of the most annoying features on the internet. These introductions were a great way to introduce visitors to your site and showcase your creativity—ten years ago. These days, they’re highly annoying, especially if they can’t be turned off. Ditch them if you have them, and don’t even think about creating a new one.

Auto-play video or audio is nearly as annoying as a Flash intro. We’ve all encountered these from time to time—irritating and inexplicably loud clips of sound, video or both which launch automatically when we visit a site. If you’re like most, you frantically click until you can shut them up. Don’t force your visitors through the same annoying process—avoid auto-play like the plague.

Going Mobile

One last component of your site which can’t be ignored is mobile compatibility. While it’s not technically a ‘feature,’ it’s something you need to have in order to reach more customers and keep them happy. With the increasing numbers of site visitors using smartphones and tablets, mobile compatibility is swiftly becoming a must instead of a nice ‘extra.’ If your site isn’t easily viewable on mobile devices, you’re cutting yourself off from a huge demographic of potential visitors and customers. Choosing the right features is essential to the success of your site, so start your research today and begin building the best possible web space for your business!

How to Avoid Website Crashes

Setting up your web space is a fun process. However, as you’re enjoying picking out lush pictures and setting up areas for personal visitor connections, remember to keep an eye on the technical side of things. Bandwidth is one of the most commonly-ignored aspects of a new web space. Unfortunately, a miscalculation or oversight in this area can leave your visitors facing a crash. Our top pick in hosting services, along with many other of our recommendations, have easy-to-use tools to help you avoid this scenario.

How Crashes Occur

The technicalities of a site crash aren’t very technical at all. Crashes have to do with two aspects—bandwidth and traffic. Bandwidth represents the amount of visitors—traffic—which your site can support at the same time. If traffic exceeds bandwidth allotment, your site will perform a NASCAR-style crash and burn. A crashed site can’t be visited, which translates into a great deal of lost visitors—and customers. Obviously, this is something which needs to be avoided at all costs.

Choosing the Right Package

If you’re not the most tech-savvy person in the world, there’s no need to worry. The majority of small business owners, bloggers, and other site owners are not—this is why the best site-hosting services offer customer support.

A well-trained customer support professional will work with you as you decide on a package, helping you to determine how many visitors your site is likely to attract. Once this is determined, you’ll have a better idea of how much bandwidth to purchase.

As always, read the fine print. You don’t want to be stuck with a small package when your web space begins to catch on and attract tons of business. This is where another very important piece of web space tech-knowledge comes into play.

Keeping Track of Your Site

Depending on which company and which package you choose, you’ll have several options when it comes to tracking your site’s performance. Most performance statistics packages will give you tons of useful information, including SEO performance and rankings. They’ll also give you the total amount of bandwidth your web space used up in a day, week or month. This is invaluable, because it lets you see how close you might be coming to a crash.

Watch these numbers very closely. If you don’t understand them at first, ask a tech-savvy friend or call up customer support. You need to stay on top of these numbers, as they reveal how well your web space is truly performing.

Once you notice that your bandwidth use is coming close to your total allotted bandwidth, it’s time to upgrade. This is not a place to cut corners. Upgrading before you absolutely need to will help to ensure that visitors to your web space are not greeted by a disappointing service-error message.

What a Crash Tells Visitors

While creating the impression that your site is crazy-busy isn’t a bad thing, doing it via a crash message is a very, very bad thing indeed. Crashes send the message that your site is unreliable, untrustworthy and, essentially, a place to steer clear of. Not exactly a pleasant impression, is it? Thankfully, it’s easily avoided. Our recommended hosts feature easy-to-understand stats for easy maintenance. By keeping on top of your performance numbers and upgrading when necessary, you can easily avoid a crash and the unfavorable visitor impression it creates. Whether your site is in the building phase or has already gone live, now is the time to start watching those numbers!

Top 5 Web Space Mistakes

For those who aren’t already well-versed in running their websites, the web hosting market can seem complicated. It’s actually very easy to avoid making the biggest mistakes when looking for web space. Here are five of those, and what you should be doing instead.

1. Placing too much importance on a single aspect.

Yes, your site may very well require a lot of large video and audio files, and that would make having a good amount of disk space available very important to you. But it’s still not the only thing that matters. Good web space needs to have a variety of different things acting in tandem; you will regret it if you pick an otherwise substandard option because of one particularly attractive bullet point. Look for a provider that boasts an attractive feature set all around, not just in the one respect that you care most about.

2. Undervaluing tech support

Things generally do not go perfectly. Your web space should always come with solid tech support as a hedge against that. If possible, that should include live support via chat or telephone; however, even if those aren’t doable within your price range, a good ticket system and a sizable knowledge base are essentials. If the tech support isn’t up to par, then you want to look elsewhere, period.

3. Taking the host’s word for things

The job of a web host’s website is to convince you to give them your custom. They’re going to accentuate the things that they have going for them, and they’re going to downplay the things that they don’t. Once you’ve found an option that looks good, look up more information elsewhere. User reviews are ideal here. See what people who’ve already taken the plunge have to say about the quality of their service. The last thing you want is to be roped into using a substandard hosting provider because of the marketing. If you need to find a good web host fast, click here to see the web hosts we recommend.

4. Paying too far in advance

Yes, most paid web space is cheaper if you pay for it for years at a time—or more, for that matter. But doing so also locks you into them for the intervening time period; this is a big commitment, and it’s one that you should only really make when you’re confident that you won’t regret it. To start out, consider paying only for a few months; that way, if you decide that things aren’t working for you, it’s no hassle for you to move. Once you’re confident in your selection, then by all means go for the best bargain available—but don’t make big purchases prematurely.

5. Using over-specialized hosts that run single software packages

If you just intend to run a blog, a forum, or some other common piece of software, it may seem odd to go to the trouble of using general-purpose web space to set those up when you could just pick one of the many hosts that will run the same software for you, often free of charge. Dodging the hassle of managing your own software is attractive, but it’s still not worth it. You have very little control over “your” site with such a host; they choose when things are updated. They choose which plugins and themes you have access to. They choose which ads you run, and make all of the profit from those. You save a little work in the short term, but you’re going to make things much harder in the long run.

Linux or Windows?

Are you trying to choose between Linux or Windows as your web server’s operating system? If so, this article can help you decide.

Technologies

What technologies do you plan to use on the server? Most technologies can run on both Linux and Windows. However, some of them have limited or no support in one or the other. For example, proprietary technologies from Microsoft—such as ASP, .NET, and Access—work best with Windows.

Security

The consensus is that Windows servers have more vulnerabilities than Linux servers. Still, in reality, all operating systems have security issues. Linux may be a more secure platform, but if your system administrator doesn’t know what he’s doing, the threats will still be there. Spend your time looking for a good web host rather than worrying about your server’s security.

Cost

Linux web hosting is generally more affordable. This doesn’t affect the quality—it’s cheaper simply because Linux operating systems are free, while Windows operating systems are not. Web hosts charge more for Windows because of the licensing fee they have to pay.

Ease of use

Since Windows is commonly used as a desktop operating system, some people mistakenly think they should also use it for their server. The truth is that working on a server is nothing like working on a desktop. Most of the time, you’ll be using FTP, control panels, and content management systems to create, access, and update your website. These technologies are available on both Windows and Linux.

Availability

Most web hosts offer Linux hosting. A smaller number offer Windows hosting. In fact, when web hosts mention “web hosting,” they usually mean Linux. If you’re looking for Windows, you’ll have to specify it.

Conclusion

The choice of server operating system won’t make a huge difference to people who aren’t system administrators or web developers. The two platforms offer similar features. So unless you plan to use technologies that are unique to Windows, my recommendation would be to choose Linux. It’s more affordable, more available, more common, and generally more secure. In the end, your choice of web host matters more than the server’s operating system, as your web host will be the one running the server, taking care of your website, and helping you whenever you need assistance.

Buying Web Space: A Beginner’s Guide

Would you like to expand your small business? Show off your artistic work? Share your ideas with others? Having a website can definitely help you grow your business, showcase your talent, express yourself, and meet new people. If you feel overwhelmed by the technical issues of starting your own website, this guide is for you. Buy Web Space Today was created to help beginners learn the basics of buying web space, building their website, and growing their online presence. The first thing you have to do is buy web space. You can accomplish this in the following 5 steps.

Step 1: Learn how it works

Websites are made of data—computer code, images, audio, video, databases, and more. If you’d like your website to be accessible to people around the world 24/7, you’ll want to store this data in a computer that’s connected to the Internet permanently. A web server is a type of computer that’s suited to this purpose. You could buy and maintain your own web server—which would be expensive and time-consuming—or you could sign up with a web space provider, also known as a web host. This is a company that hosts your website, i.e., lets you rent space on their web servers for a monthly or yearly fee.

In addition to web hosting, you’ll want to register a domain, which is your address on the Internet. If you owned a business called Sarah Jones Bakeshop, for example, you might want your domain name to be sarahjonesbakeshop.com. So while web hosting provides you with “land” on the Internet, domain registration provides you with an official address. Most web hosts offer packages that include both web hosting and domain registration.

Step 2: Determine your needs

Before you choose a web host, think of what you need. Here are some things to consider:

  • Disk space. How much disk space you need to store your data will depend on the nature of your website. If the website will be mostly text, you will likely need less than 10MB of disk space. If it will contain music, videos, or high-resolution images, you will need a lot more.
  • Bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that your web host will allow you to have every month. Every time a visitor loads your website, the data transfer is subtracted from your total bandwidth. If you go over the limit, your web host might suspend your website until next month. When considering bandwidth, think about the size of your files as well as your anticipated number of visitors each month.
  • Customer support. Are you comfortable figuring out technical issues on your own? If you are, then this won’t be a huge requirement. But if you think you won’t be able to fix your website yourself if it malfunctions, good technical support is a must.
  • Email accounts. Most web hosting plans include email accounts, but some offer a limited number. Make sure to check. If you own a business, remember that you’ll want to give @yourdomain.com email accounts not only to yourself but also to your employees and business partners.
  • Programming languages, database systems, and other technical issues. If you’re looking to have a simple static website, you won’t need any server-side languages and databases. But you’ll need them for dynamic websites—blogs, forums, social networking sites, or basically all websites that you want to be able to update without having to edit and upload files from your computer. PHP and MySQL are the most popular programming language/database system pair, but there are many others available.

Other things to consider:

It would be useful to create a comparison chart to help you see the features of different web hosting plans.

Step 3: Decide on the type of web hosting

There are different types of web hosting:

  • Free hosting is generally unreliable in terms of server uptime, bandwidth, and company longevity. They also often place unwanted advertisements on their hosted websites. This is not recommended, unless you only have a personal website whose reliability and professionalism aren’t too important.
  • Shared hosting is the most common kind of hosting, where your website shares server space and computing resources with a few other hosted websites. This is recommended for anyone with regular needs.
  • Virtual private servers provide more guaranteed resources and better performance than shared hosting. It’s the middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting.
  • Dedicated hosting allows you to have a web server all to yourself, but still maintained by your web host. This can be very nice, but it’s expensive and difficult to set up. This is recommended for advanced users and websites which need a lot of computing resources.

Most individuals and small businesses choose shared web hosting. It’s an affordable solution that includes all the typical features websites need. You could always upgrade later if you want to.

Step 4: Choose your web host and hosting plan

There are lots of web hosts to choose from, and each web host usually offers several web hosting plans. Assess your needs and consider whether your potential web host and hosting plan will meet each of them. Look at the web host’s reputation, uptime, and customer support. Look at the plan’s disk space, bandwidth, performance, and additional features. If you’re not comfortable with manual configuration, choose a web host that will also do your domain registration for you. Compare, contrast, and choose carefully. If you’re in doubt, sign up for a month and try it out before committing to a long-term contract.

Just Host is a great choice; they have a good technical platform, uptime, and customer service. But there are many other good providers, and you can check them out here.

Step 5: Register your domain and get your web hosting

Register the domain you want for your website. Sign up with your chosen web host and pay for your hosting plan. If applicable, configure the domain and web hosting so that they work together. Congratulations! You now have a home on the web.