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The web hosting business canít complain about having enough clients, success, or competition. With the ongoing growth of the Internet, both in terms of Internet services provided and Internet users, it is unconceivable for any kind of business to exist and expand without having its own web site and website designer.
Literally, there are hundreds of web hosting companies out there, each of them with multiple hosting packages. This translates into the constant possibility to switch companies whenever the results donít match your expectations, but as always, it is much easier to get it properly done from the very beginning.
Generally, most web hosting providers are good at what they do; each of them comes up with all sorts of features and incentives to get more targeted traffic and clients. The challenge of choosing a first-rate web hosting service lies with the clients and this situation is rather confusing for many of them, particularly when basic knowledge of IT or web design are absent. But guess what? You donít need to know all that; thatís what website designers are for. In evaluating various companies, there are several generic aspects that clients should look for, such as the companyís background, the guarantee offered, and the prices, of course.
To start with, it worth knowing that there are also free web hosting providers, in addition to those who charge their clients for the hosting services. Each has advantages and drawbacks, and the choice is entirely up to you. Free web hosting services are ok for personal web pages, but inadvisable for commercial purposes. If you intend to have an e-commerce site and promoting your business, hereís a piece of advice: donít waste time on free website hosting. Usually, customers immediately turn away when they see a free hosting site. So, itís better to pay and have your own personal site, which creates a big impression on everyone and a good feedback to you.
A reliable web hosting company should be in business for at least 3-5 years, and have a physical address and phone number posted on its web site. That could be a dependable indicator of the fact that the company is using leading edge technology and works with professional website designers, having in-depth knowledge of business processes and modern design. Website designers with marketing and sales experience are a great asset for your business as they know to properly develop a profit-driven website.
High quality business grade web hosting also needs super high quality and reliable servers together with web hosting support. 24/7 monitoring and service availability are very important since a web hosting service provider is the only one able to handle emergency situations just in the case the site goes down. Not many web design and web hosting companies can offer a money-back guarantee, although it is very important especially if you choose to switch companies. There are a few that makes it easy to do business with them, you just have to wisely hunt for. A good place to start is i-net.com.au.
I-net believes in backing up promises with real guarantees. This one-stop-shop for web hosting and Internet marketing solutions is recommended by brand name reliable servers and network equipment, quality network and server monitoring systems, redundant backup systems and professional website designers, experienced engineers and server administrators, who can anticipate potential problems and emergencies.
Bearing all these in mind, any business can be easily set in motion and promoted though a great professional website, thanks to a first-class web hosting service provider and a skilled website designer.
It's a Beautiful Website, So Why Am I Not Selling?
by Lee Siemon
The Old Days of the Internet, it's not that far back. I remember telling my partner "this will never catch on" and "I'll never trust my money, banking or credit cards to anyone on the Internet". That's only one of the ultimatums I have lived to regret. My how things have changed in such a short time. Today, shopping on the web is the method of choice for a large percentage of the population.Now, everybody with pair of socks to sell is launching a website. And therein lays the problem. Two scenarios that separates the merchants from the wannabees: The first scenario is the entrepreneur who gets Publisher or Front page and tries to simulate an Ecommerce site. Most of them spend a lot of time learning how to make a nice looking site with reasonable displays of their product. Now they are ready for business. So, now they have to let the customer select some products and reserve them for themselves (a shopping cart), and then they have to be able to pay for them and get them shipped. This is where the amateur misses the Ecommerce bus. I find several of their solutions that either keep me from buying, or insure I don't come back. (1) they give you an email address to send your order to after you have cut and pasted the product ID, whatever it is. Then you can mail a check. (2) They sign up for a hosting system that offers a build-it-yourself and a generic shopping cart. Most of these work fine, but the newly christened store owner doesn't understand all the bells and whistles that come with it, they don't know they need them, or they can't make them work. (3) So, the consumer in need of that product finds themselves wrestling to put an item in the cart, then trying to go back to browse, then (heaven help them), trying in vain to modify their order, check on it or check out.
Somewhere in the development of these sites, these do-it-yourselfers lose sight of "make it easy and a good experience for the consumer" so they want to come back. How many times have you stood in line at a cash register, looking around for a clerk and swearing you will never return to shop there. I usually don't go back to them either. On many amateur sites I have been on lately, I could put an item in the shopping cart, but never find the cart again to either modify or check out. No links. On one of them that I absolutely had to have their product, I ended up emailing to find our how to do it. Silly me, you just add another product to the cart, then, while you are there, delete it and check out. Now why didn't I figure that out! On another site, I finally got through the check out process, but there was no notification of shipping and no tracking system - it was pray and wait. In both cases, I don't go back. I end up shopping at another site that isn't the cheapest price on even the brand I was looking for, but the ease of shopping and the feel-good when it is done brings me back. Maybe every new Ecommerce entrepreneur should have to pass a course in the "dollar store vs. J.C. Penney's" theory. I used to berate my friends who would still go to one of the major department stores when I kept pointing out that Walmart had the same thing at 10% less. Now I understand their motive. In my humble opinion, the second Scenario is worse, because the new entrepreneur tries to do it right. They research their product, find a supplier, test market and things look good. But the web designer they finally choose either does not understand Ecommerce or doesn't have the tools to do it correctly. Your primary concern at this point is to hire an expert in the web design and Ecommerce field to build your store. So where do you find such a guru? Let's see. There's cousin Bruce, he has built several for other people and is a self-professed Geek, and then there's the old school buddy that keeps pushing to let him at it. Nope, we need a real professional, so far so good. The Yellow Pages has some real established local firms that always deliver a top-notch product. A few visits to them educate you to the price of good business. If they are out of your reach at the moment, you continue to search. Next there is the Internet. A search brings up tens of thousands of Gurus. Everyone can do you a slick looking Ecommerce site and it includes a shopping cart and credit card gateway. Prices range from "$500 and I'll have your site up and running tomorrow" to $1500-$3000 and a couple of weeks, on up to the prices you got from the local established firms. The problem that you will soon discover is that artistic ability doesn't translate to functional. So many new entrepreneurs are forced out of ignorance to make bad choices. Not only do these developers have to have artistic ability on staff, but they must completely and deeply understand Ecommerce and have the tools in their tool box to make it work. Due diligence will turn over companies that can deliver for the low-end ($1500) and just as surely turn up individuals masked as big outfits that charge the high-end and deliver a poorly functional product. It takes due diligence and if you can borrow one, a crystal ball. My advice is to pay extra attention to your research before you decide. I always recommend you have your site built by a local company who has established themselves if you can afford it. If your budget doesn't allow for that at this point, then make sure the Internet based Guru you hire isn't just another pretty screen. Get a list of sites they have done. Make sure that the list includes Ecommerce sites. Ignore the colors and images, be a shopper on these sites. Buy products and take the system all the way out to where you have to click on "submit" for your credit card. Was it easy to get where you wanted to go? Were there always enough links on each page to take you where you want to go next? How many unnecessary screens (drill downs) do they take you through? Could you feel the items saying "come and buy me"? Was the Shopping Cart available from any page on the site? Could you modify, add or delete items in the Shopping Cart at any time? Was the check-out system explained well and easy to do? The more yes's you answer to these questions the closer you are to choosing a web designer for yourself. Looks are important, but functionality is foremost. You can change the look and feel with some ease, but to fix functionality, you have to tear it back down to its root. As a website developer, I am constantly amazed at the volume of clients that get anal about the color, design, fonts and images on the home page while ignoring my advice to discuss functionality. Gennerally, the home page will be used as a template for the rest, automating the header, menu, and footer, so if it looks good don't dwell on the little stuff. Your job now is to pay strict attention to how your developer installs functionality. Fonts, verbiage and pics can be tightened up as a final walk-through. A good Web Designer sets the look-and-feel up in include files, which means that when they make changes to that file, it affects all pages.
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The point to all of this is, be very careful on your selection of web designers. Educate yourself to what will make your site as functional as your competition and make sure that is what gets delivered to you. Keep in mind that look-and-feel is an individual thing. Don't get boxed in by your vision of "a great looking site". If we all had the same idea of beauty then all art would look the same, all houses would look alike and many, many men and women would never find a mate because they didn't fit the mold. I shop a lot of websites I find ugly, but the functionality is designed to make my experience easy. I have also taken many off my list because, even though I found them to be gorgeous, they were a bear to get around. And, of course, there are a few I am forced by my vocation to still shop, even though the lack any thing near functionality. I get the Grrrrr's every time I have to go to one of those sites. Be careful not to have a website that potential clients find to cumbersome to use. You will never know how much business you have lost because of lack of functionality. They only clue you will have is that your competition is selling more than you are.
About the Author
Writing is a family thing for Lee. His parents were writers and one brother has a novel on Amazon. Lee has been writing and publishing short stories, poetry and news articles since high school. Lee does freelance content writing and website consulting and can be reached at through LinkedIN or CollectiveX or http://www.theDPSgroup.com