Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Kind of Website Are You Publishing?

What kind of website are you planning to publish? It probably falls into one of these categories:
  • Personal (or hobby) website
  • Business website
  • E-commerce website
Why worry about the type of website you wish to publish? Aren’t all websites the same? Sure, there’s different types of information from one website to another, but why worry about the type of website you’re publishing?
The answer is this: Depending on the type of website you’re putting up, you need to consider the file space your website needs and the expected traffic load of your website. You don’t want to get your website up and running only to find that you’ve already run out of your allotted space.

Personal (or Hobby) Websites

Personal (or hobby) websites are those you create to communicate with family or friends. Personal sites also include those dedicated to your hobbies, as well as fan sites. These types of websites are usually small and won’t bring much Internet traffic (at least not at first).
For these kinds of websites, check out free web hosting services. Some free web hosting services that come to mind are as follows:
  • Your Internet service provider (ISP). Many of these provide their customers with the ability to publish personal web pages as part of their service. There may be size limits with these sites. Often, you can buy extra file space for a small fee.
  • Free web hosting services. These include websites such as www.geocities.com, www.homestead.com, and www.tripod.lycos.com. You’ll get a free place to park your website; however, usually the host then gets to place advertisements. You can get rid of these, but there is usually a small fee.
These sites also have size limits, which you can increase, again for a small fee.

Note 
With these free sites, you may not be allowed to use your own top-level domain (TLD) name unless you upgrade your type of account (usually for a small fee). Thus, instead of www.tullfamily.com, you’d be stuck with something like www.freehostservice.com/members/~tullfamily/index.html.
Although that may not matter to you (especially if your website’s a personal website), such a name may not look professional if your website is for a business.

Business Websites

There are a couple of different business website styles. Some business websites are essentially online versions of their brochures. These websites usually provide information about the company, its services, past experience, and contact information. You can probably get away with hosting such a website on your ISP or with a free web hosting service such as those mentioned in the previous section.
You’ll want to use a top-level domain for business sites, and one that isn’t too long or too difficult to read. Pick a website name that’s easy for visitors to read and remember. You’ll also want to pick a name that’s easily printable (and readable) on printed literature and business cards.

Tip 
Check out your web hosting service. Your web host may offer a domain name free for a year when you sign up for a yearly hosting account.

E-commerce Websites

What if you want to create a website that sells products and services online (thus requiring the need to accept online payments)? Here’s where things can get complicated (and more expensive). You’ll probably want to shop around for a web hosting company that supports e-commerce.
The following are some tips on finding a good web hosting company for your e-commerce website:
  • The company should be able to help you with taking credit card orders online.
  • Avoid hosting companies that imply they can get you a merchant account. These are only available from banks.
  • Find a web host provider with at least one T-3 (45 Mbps) line connection to the Internet’s backbone, or to an “upstream” provider. Make sure the average bandwidth used is not greater than 30% of the available total.
  • As a rule of thumb, 25 MB of hard disk space holds about 500 web pages. Make sure the web hosting provider provides around this much disk space, with the ability to increase size easily. Also, make sure you can increase your disk space with a simple phone call.
  • An added plus is if the web hosting provider has easy-to-use software (like SoftCart or ShopSite) for building online catalogs.
  • Make sure the web hosting provider will help you with website security for your online transactions.
  • Prices vary, but expect to pay at least $100 per month. Startup fees can range from $50 to $150. Software (such as catalog applications) can range from $300 to over $3,000.
In this tutorial:
  1. Going Live with your Website
  2. What Kind of Website are you Publishing
  3. Publishing to the World Wide Web

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