Creating the Website…

February 8th, 2007
Comments Off

Since this blog is more of a companion to the main business than the actual business itself, I couldn’t use it as the main home page for Instead I had to create one myself. For the average web designer out there, throwing together a mock up of a website is a relatively easy task. Programmers tend to make the worst GUI’s possible, caring more for the functionality of the product than how it looks. Instead of gracefully glancing the brush across the canvas, I would hold the side of the easel and feverishly scribble.

The design of the website is, though, my own work. I couldn’t justify spending money unnecessarily at this stage of the project and I feel that the site is perfectly adequeate until money is available for a more professional twist.

As of the time of writing, it is still not completely finished. I have to complete the following pages :

  1. Portfolio
  2. Advertise
  3. About Us
  4. Contact
  5. Index (just a touch up here and there. I dont feel like its quite finshed yet.)

Reading that list actually hits it home that the site is currently only 45% complete.

I created the website with my favourite text editor Notepad++ . Using CSS and HTML and my trusty sidekick – photoshop. Obviously I made frequent reference to
I tried using the Gimp (alternative to photoshop) – but I just felt it was inadequate. If they hired a professional GUI designer – I’d bet it would be 100 times as popular.

With the other 55% still to go, I’ll call it a work in progress and let you know when it is finally complete.

Comments Off

Categories: Notes, Website

Choosing the Webhost…

February 7th, 2007
Comments Off

When choosing the webhost, I had to consider many things. There are a lot of webhosts available and the choice is daunting. Doing some background research has proved to be very beneficial.

I dont want to name the bad companies that I experienced as the internet is full of stories about the bad ones. What I will do is describe why I thought they were bad and hence – what made me choose the host I am currently with. My specific requirement was for a shared hosting service.

I generally have 3 main concerns :

  1. Options available ( PHP, ASP? SQL Server, MYSQL? Bandwidth? Hard disk space?)
  2. Uptime /Reliability
  3. Support

These are essentially the main things that you should have to worry about. Next I will explain my adventures in each section:

1. Options Available.

It was very important for me to ensure that I would choose a webhost that provided everything that I needed from a technology sense. Every webhost will offer its customers a specific set of options. When I was reviewing potential service providers I made this my top priority. I wanted an option that would allow me to grow to a comfortable size. I didnt want to feel restricted.

Needing PHP, MySQL, good HD space and a lot of bandwidth were fundamental requirements as I would be introducing many websites under the same account. I found a lot of hosts that offered what I needed, so my decision required additional parameters to weigh up the best option.

2. Uptime/Reliability

When a customer comes to my websites, I want it to be active. I want it to be available. There is nothing more unprofessional than a service that stutters. Therefore the reliability of my hosting company and its certified uptime guarantee is important to me.

This is a difficult one to measure accurately. I tried to look up some sites that were hosted by the webhosts, as well as determining their own sites uptime. NetCraft have the ability to check the uptime of websites, as well as a check to see what technology they use. I find it particularly interesting to find out the Operating System and Webserver used by the big companies.

The companies that I had narrowed down from the “Options” list all seemed to offer the 99.9% uptime default. So at this stage it was hard to rule any others out.

3. Support

This was the big one for me. Customer support is without doubt the most under-rated function within business. Sure the developers make a good product that is a dumb proof as possible, the marketeers get it into the public eye for as long as a 20 second commercial can and the Sales folks finalise the deal – but Customer support has a big part to play in satisfying the customer through the tough times and in turn helping to create renewed income through a yearly support contract.

In short, I tested the customer support of the shortlist I had created to ensure that they were both responsive and accurate. In one instance a webhost offered real time interaction with one of their support personnel. This was prior to setting up an account with them. I am sure they had the best intentions and the theory was good – but the execution was awful. I asked a few basic questions before pushing them with a few more technical ones. To say the least, very long pauses between me hitting enter for the question to be posed and a reply materialisinig was the norm. Another company just didnt reply to a comment posted on their websites contact form and an email sent to their support service.

In the end only one company remained standing. Its support service was cheerful, helpful, dedicated, technically accurate and quick to respond. I just couldnt say no.

In order not to seem terribly bias and just writing this to give the company a plug, I will refuse to name them here. Needless to say it wouldnt be to hard to find out who they are, should you dig in the right places.

Comments Off

Categories: Notes, WebHosts

Buying The Domain…

January 27th, 2007 has begun its journey. I bought the domain just before christmas for a princely sum [not to be disclosed :-) ]. I couldnt believe that someone else actually owned the domain – but there you have it. It was my first experience of purchasing a domain through an escrow service and so I want to share my experience here.

Initially, when I went to I found a standard “link for everything” page. Obviously the owners at the time – probably a domain reseller – wanted to make a little advertising money out of the site until they sold it on. At the top of the page it informed me that “This domain is for sale – click here for more information”. When I clicked on the link I was taken to – the escrow service.

Since the domain was currently owned I had to place a bid on it to which normal negotiation tactics operate. Most sellers place a reserve price on their domains and mine was no exception. I dont want to discuss money here, as it isnt relevant – you’ll pay what needs to be paid and the more popular the domain, the more you’ll fork out for it.

One thing that surprised me and could possibly catch others who havent done this before is the fact that after the initial negotiations with the sellers, they can then choose to put the domain up for auction – a process which could mean you getting out bidded. I was niavely under the impression that after I agreed a price with the seller – that the process was as simple as handing over the money and receiving what I paid for. Instead the opportunists/hagglers/husslers/robbers/legitimate businesses want more money – and decide to auction it with a starting price that they have just agreed to sell it to you for.

So after bidding over the odds for a domain that should rightfully belong to someone who at the very least has my surname, I then had to sweat through an auction – hoping and praying that someone wouldnt steel it at the last moment. Thankfully no one did.

After the auction finished, a string of emails passed between and myself to sort out the payment. At the same time the domain was being transferred to sedo until they could confirm that I had paid in full.

A few days after the payment was cleared I got another email from sedo to offer login information to a domain management facility. After logging in and changing my password – the domain was mine.

As I didnt really know anything about the process of buying a domain never mind through an escrow service – I was simply winging it the whole way. It was a daunting task before I began, but all the steps following the initial one were straightforward and painless.

Next up…. Choosing my webhost.

Categories: Domains, Notes

"Thought leadership is how winners are differentiated in business."