Your Easy Guide to Web Sites

Websites all have Four Essential Elements:

1. The Domain Name (eg or etc). Every domain name is unique. Further advice on choosing a domain name is provided below.

2. Web Hosting. This is the server where your website is held. This allows it to be viewed by anyone who clicks on your Domain Name either from a link, by typing it into their browser or from a search engine.

3. Your Website. This is your shop window. Websites come in a variety of designs and colours. You can make your own completely from scratch, use a template, use web builder software, use a Content Management System (WordPress, Joomla etc) or have a web site designed for you by a professional.

4. Website Promotion. Now that you have the 1st three elements you will need people to find your web site. This can be achieved in a number of ways using both on-line and off-line methods.

1. Your Domain Name

Domain names This is first stage of the process. There are millions still available to choose from and 100s of Top Level Domains (TLDs). The TLD is the, .com etc part of the name.

If your first choice has already been nabbed by someone else then look at alternatives. You do want this to be unique for you though, so avoid a name that's close to someone else's if it's going to confuse potential visitors. Also be aware that many names are trade marked and simply putting a hyphen into a trade marked name could be very costly for you.

Do a search for your preferred name. Is there already something similar that comes up and dominates the search results. If so, you'll be competing with this established domain and it might be worth considering an alternative.

Here's some other tips for domain name selection:

1. Make it memorable
2. Don't make it tooooo long
3. If you have to spell it out every time you tell someone, then reconsider
4. Avoid mis-spelling of words eg soundz
5. Avoid consecutive words that have the same end/start letter (eg danceentertainment)
6. If you do require consecutive letter words (as above) then use a hyphen (eg dance-entertainment)
7. When joining words - will they make new words that you don't want? (something pen island didn't consider?)

2. Web Hosting

Web HostingYour unique domain name will be linked via lots of numbers and twiddly bits to your web site host. This all happens in the background and usually pretty quickly too.

The web hosting company has zillions of spaces available in purpose made buildings which are maintained at a constant temperature and have back-up power supplies ready to jump in if required.

Occasionally there is a glitch or maintenance is required but most host providers aim to keep your site live for at least 99.9% of the time. They do this by having back-ups and lots of computer super geeks on hand to keep it all working. .

You can check the current status of AMPuk Hosting by clicking the link at the bottom of this page ''System Status'.

3. Your Website

Your Web SiteThis is where you can get all creative and present something that stands out from the crowd, brings you lots of visitors and then lots of business; but is it really that easy?

There are currently over 1 billion websites out there. One advantage is that you are probably in a niche market so you'll not be competing with all of these but chances are that there'll be a few hundred nationally and more than a handful locally, all after the same customers.

A clean, easy to navigate site is the first step to keeping your visitors with you. Then you need some useful content for them to read plus some pretty pictures. You should also consider adding videos, frequently asked questions (& answers), testimonials from previous happy clients and a contact form.

At all stages of web design you need to keep the visitor as your main focus. What are they expecting to find? Can they find it easily? Can they find your contact details on every page? Can they view your site on their mobile phone as easily as on a PC?

This latter point brings us onto 'Responsive Websites'. These shrink or expand to fit the viewers' screen size. It does this by detecting the viewport and adjusts accordingly using scripts such as CSS or JavaScript (or in most cases both). Google recently announced that they would be dropping sites from their mobile search engine results if they were not suitable for viewing on a mobile device.

4. Website Promotion

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation - or how high up your site will appear in the search results when a person enters a query. Having a Responsive Site will help when they are using a mobile device but you need more than this. Great, relevant content which optimises your 'Key Words' is necessary but there's more - so much more that there are full books on the subject and lots of information elsewhere on the web.

Off-site promotion includes adding links to your site from other directories, printing it on your business cards, flyers etc, using social media and so on...

Does all this seem too daunting for you? Well there's lots of help available. If you don't know your HTML from you PHP then you can opt for a CMS package (free from us) which will take a few hours to understand fully but you can obtain some great results and fantastic web sites.

You can also design your website using software such as Dreamweaver or Expression Web (plus many others) and then upload it to the hosting server via FTP.

A well designed website can bring you lots of customers and business. Equally, a poorly designed one can lose you customers. Make sure that your shop window to the world portrays you in the best possible way!

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