Should I buy domain before hiring web developer?

The short answer is “no”. Most hosting companies offer a free domain registration with anew hosting account with renewal at about half the price charged by the well known domain registrars like GoDaddy and Network Solutions.

Domain Ownership

While you may prefer that the web develop register the domain name, and the hosting, it is important that you make sure you are the owner of your domain and that you have control of your own domain name. Make sure your domain and hosting is set up on your own separate account and not on the web developer’s account. Web developers come and go and you want to be able to have control your own website if the developer is no longer available.

Do I need extra domain names?

The well known domain registration websites also encourage users to purchase multiple domains.  In most cases, additional domains are unnecessary and can even work against you in your web site’s search engine rankings. (How many domain names does Google have? One, of course!)


Why You Need a Website

Even if don’t want to sell online, a good site is essential for any business.

Q: So should your business have a website, even if your business is small?

A: Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt. If you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to other companies that do.

If you have a business, you should be available on the web, so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer. A website makes you available 24 hours a day and the cost is much lower than other forms of advertising.

It is very important that you have a professional-looking site, if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks looks unprofessional, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost. With a well-designed site, even a small operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company.

The inverse is also true. Many big company websites are so badly designed and hard to navigate that customers are driven away. It’s actually better to have no website than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business.

So, if you don’t have a website, now it the time to get one. Go ahead! Get a website!

UNIX Hosting or Windows Hosting?

When choosing a hosting package, web hosting companies offer UNIX hosting and Windows hosting. What are the differences between the two and which should you choose?

The biggest difference between the two operating systems is in the software they can run. If you need to use Windows-specific technologies like ASP, .NET, MSSQL or Access on your website, you will need Windows hosting. If you want to use PHP, Perl, WordPress, Blogging Software, MySQL, etc, you will need Unix hosting. If you are not sure what these technologies are, a Unix-based system is probably best for you.

Here are some avantages and disadvantages to consider …

Windows Hosting:

– Supports ColdFusion, IIS, VBSCript, Windows Media, ASP scripting, MSSQL database, .NET framework.
– Microsoft’s server also allows integration with one of the more powerful databases, the SQL database.

– Windows hosting usually more expensive.
– A few web hosts offer PHP option but most don’t.

Unix Hosting:

– UNIX has a strong security record and its operating system is very stable.
– The majority of web sites hosted on the internet are hosted on Unix servers. Lots of support available.
– Lower hosting costs than Windows, most of the time.
– Supports PHP scripting, MySQL database, Frontpage extensions, Real Audio/Video streams

– UNIX cannot run Windows-specific technologies like ASP, .NET, MSSQL or Access

Unless you specifically plan to use Windows platform specific features (ASP, Visual Basic, MSSQL Databases), you should choose the Unix platform due to its greater speed, reliability cost effectiveness.


Your Website: Getting Started

If you want a Website, how do you go about getting one? You don’t have the time to learn Web design and you don’t trust your cousin, who says he can do it. So, who can you hire to build your site? Not everyone knows where to start.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started.

Ask friends and other business owners who they recommend. Many web developers create sites and then become diffucult to reach for updates. Look for a developer who responds to questions and is good at follow up. Just because someone is a good web developer doesn’t mean they are good at helping customers. Look for websites similar to what you want and contact the owners to learn thier recommendations.

Your web designer does not have to be in your local area. If you don’t mind working via email and talking on the phone, you may be quite happy with your choice. If you can meet in person, onsite visits can be important, especially if there are problems.

Special language or technology
Find out what technology is needed for your website. Large data-driven websites may need (Windows) technology. More popular are Open Source applications like WorPress, which are built in PHP. Get a Web Developer who specializes in the technology you need.

Freelance vs. the Big Web Design Firm
Freelancers often work very closely with their clients to get the job done, and such close collaboration between fewer people (or in some cases, just one person), means that consistency is easy to achieve. Working alone or in a small group can also generate more motivation and dedication to completing projects in which clients can be guaranteed satisfaction. In this type of arrangement, the professional freelancer you meet on the Web will be the Web specialist for your project, and can be held personally accountable. In contrast, a larger company may not have much personal interest in your project.

Freelancers may also represent better value for money. With a freelancer, there are rarely any hidden fees, nor many complex contractual details to overcome before the project can begin. Freelancers may also be more readily available to go onsite if required.

Depending on the size and complexity of your site, a big agency may be the right choice. A larger company may be in a position to deliver bigger projects more quickly than can an individual freelancer. If your project requires a large database or shopping cart application, it’s a good idea to seek out designers who already specialize in that area.

It’s Worth the Work
This process may seem like a lot of work, but when you’re spending thousands of dollars, over many years, on your online presence. Going your homework will save you from getting locked into a designer who is not right for your project.