Website Design Service - useful information

If you have questions, or have come across unfamiliar terms, the following information may help

Note: The first two items - domain names and hosting - are discussed with the client during the “Initial contact and quotation phase” (see the Process page), to ensure that I am aware of any assistance needed.

Domain names

The domain name is the name that you choose to call your website, starting with www. and ending in .com,, or something similar. (The ending is called the “tld” or Top-Level Domain.) The whole thing - www.yourchosenname.tld - is your site’s address - also called its URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

To avoid duplication, all names must be registered with an official registrar. This can be done directly with a registrar, or quite often as part of a hosting package (see below).

Domain names are relatively inexpensive (typically, a name ending in .com, .net or .org costs about £6 per year; for a name the cost is £12 but this covers a 2-year period).

If the exact name you were hoping for has already been taken, it might well be possible to achieve a close approximation through a little tweaking.

Web hosting

A web host is usually a company with a large number of computers (servers) connected permanently to the internet. This enables any website lodged with them to be viewed by an Internet user at any time, no matter in which time zone they happen to live.

There are many hosting companies, all offering an array of packages, and prices vary considerably. As a guide, a basic package for a simple site might cost in the region of £30-£40 per year.

Search engines

The most commonly used search engines are Google, MSN (now Bing) and Yahoo (also now powered by Bing). It is good practice to “submit” a newly created site to one or more of the search engines, so that they know of its existence. They may find and index the site eventually anyway, but manual submission is more rapid and reliable.

Google currently has by far the largest percentage of users and is free, but it can take some time to index new sites. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use your site as soon as it is ready and loaded onto your host server, but initially you will need to give potential clients its address, rather than rely on their being able to find it by browsing the internet.

As well as the major search engines’ indexes, a large number of directories exist to which a site may be submitted. These are generally managed by human beings, as opposed to “search bots”, and inclusion is not necessarily either free or guaranteed. For example, the Yahoo Directory makes an annual charge (currently a $299 non-refundable, annual fee, which guarantees only speedy consideration, not inclusion) for all commercial sites wishing to be considered.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

If you look at a Google search results page you will see at the top (and possibly at the bottom too) a panel containing three or so websites, and there will be a side panel also containing website addresses. The owners of these sites have paid Google a fee for their elevated position in the results list. “Organic” SEO, on the other hand, has been applied to all the other sites listed - their “ranking” in the results list depending on a number of SEO-related factors, including:

The Small World Websites design service includes the first two as standard. Depending on your subject-matter, very good positions can be obtained in organic search results simply through the judicious use of structure and content techniques. External SEO - perhaps more accurately called Search Engine Marketing - requires a very different range of ongoing, long-term activities which Small World does not normally undertake.

Internet marketing

It would be misleading to claim that on-site SEO alone will be sufficient to guarantee that your website will appear on the first page in the search engine results. Competition is now so fierce that, unless your area of activity is very unusual, it is likely that you will need to adopt various other marketing strategies in order to encourage potential clients to visit your site. These include activities often associated with SEM, such as cultivating incoming links, but also involvement in the social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or sponsoring your site with "Pay Per Click" advertising.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

A CMS gives the owner of the completed site access to its files, so that they can update it whenever they wish. All websites require updating from time-to-time; in fact, periodically adding and changing some of the content is desirable from an SEO point of view. The frequency and the nature of the amendments needed will of course vary from client to client. Some people like to take over their site completely once it is finished; others prefer to pass updates to their website designer.

Small World Websites uses Cushy CMS. Some content management systems require the user to have a certain level of technical know-how, but in our experience the Cushy system is relatively easy - similar in many ways to using a word processor.

Some useful links

If you have a name in mind for your website and would like to check its availability, try one of the following:

If you are wondering how a CMS works, have a look at the Cushy CMS website.

If you are an author or writer looking for proofreading and/or eBook formatting services, do have a look at my other site: Small World Bookworks

You may also find some of the following links helpful (though please note that no responsibility is taken for any of the content).

WebMasters Experience Directory
Popular Internet Links directory focused on humor, entertainment, news, Medical, Real Estate, Travel, Fitness, Music and Graphics.

Merchant Account

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