Category Archives: Web Design

Anatomy of a Website: Domain Names-Part Two

Domain Registrars and Resellers: How do you get a domain?

Domain registrars  are direct sellers of domain names.They can sell to you or to another company, a reseller, who can sell to you..

Domain name pricing can range from free with hosting service to thousands of dollars.

A typical domain name usually runs about $15. Many hosting services will offer a free domain name with your hosting account. Some companies have promotions or clubs you can join to reduce your cost on purchasing a domain name.

WHOIS Privacy can run about the same amount. This keeps your name and email address away from spammers who can easily check records to see who owns a domain name. It is not necessary for a website.

Examples of Registrars:

eNom
GoDaddy
Network Solutions

Examples of Resellers:

BlueHost
Host Gator
Host Monster
WebCompany.Guru

There are two very important things to remember when you purchase your domain name.

  1. Always own your domain name

Warning: There are disreputable companies that say they will buy your domain name for you but they will be the owner. Make sure to have this in writing and check your invoices to verify this with the domain registar or reseller.

2. Always set to auto-renew.

Life happens. It can get busy. Your computer, email or Internet can go down. Make sure your domain name is set to auto renew so that you don’t miss the renewal date. If you secure the auto-renew service with a credit card, make sure to add your domain registar or reseller to your list of vendors so that you can easily contact them to add the new credit card and remember to do so.

Anatomy of a Website: Domain Names

There are four parts to a website:

  • Domain Name
  • Hosting
  • Web Design
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Each of these parts is important and should work in harmony with the other parts.

  1. Domain Name: A domain name is an easy-to-remember address

A domain name is the locational information that appears in the URL* (Uniform Resource Locator), such as “littlemountainwebdesign.com” for “http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com”.

This tells others where to find your website and the exact address location of your directory or file.

TLDs are Top Level Domains

These are domain names with endings such as the following:
.biz
.com
.info
.net
.org

Many new TLDs have been released. Some of these can do quite well against the established and coveted “.com”. Development and time will tell how well the new TLDs will compare against the old established ones.

Domain name ideas can come from many places:
Company or organization name
Function of company or business
Type of product or service

Some people prefer to name their company after securing a domain name with the same name. Others prefer to name the company first. Little Mountain Web Design recommends the former as it is always important to own and control the domain name for your company or organization.

If you ned help deciding on a name or purchasing a domain name, we’d be happy to help. Call us at 402.932.7243 or vist our website at Little Mountain Web Design to learn more about our online marketing services. These include web design, search engine optimization, Internet advertising, social media and press releases.

 

New Year’s Resolutions in… November!

While most people in the US make their New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s, we’ve been experimenting with a different way.

We make our resolutions on or before Thanksgiving with the goal to finish old, outstanding, in-house projects before New Year’s. Like many companies, we have projects that we want to do for our company that often get pushed aside because the clients always come first.

This year, we got our new website up and running at http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com.

We also do “Follow Wednesday” or “Follow Thursday” instead of “Follow Friday” with the thoughts of helping people find us when they do their social media ritual on Fridays.

What will your company’s resolutions be for 2015?

What does your company do to stay a step ahead?

Send your thoughts and ideas to info@402webpage.com and have a Happy Thanksgiving in the US!

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Meta tags are located in the coding for the webpage near the top, underneath the identification of the type of document and coding that will be used.

Here is a handy list of some of the most often used meta tags:

  • Keywords
  • Description
  • Author
  • Title

To use these meta tags, simply copy the below in their respective format and insert into your website, replacing the *ADD HERE* sections with relevant words for your website and deleting the asterisks as well as the directions.

 <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="*ADD KEYWORDS HERE SEPARATED BY COMMAS*">
 <META NAME="description" CONTENT="*ADD YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE*">
 <META NAME="author" CONTENT="*ADD YOUR AUTHOR HERE, IF ANY*">
 <title>*ADD YOUR TITLE HERE*</title>

There is much more to search engine optimization than can be covered here in these two posts. Please contact us at Little Mountain Web Design to learn more about how our company can help you and your website with search engine optimization.

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Now that you understand better how search engines work, we will cover part of search engine optimization, SEO. It is important to use SEO to create better websites and not to use techniques and strategies solely to have your website rank high. Google has written much about this aspect of SEO.

To Meta or Not To Meta

Meta tags are in the coding of your website. With the exception of the title of the webpage, you will not see them when viewing the webpage. To view the code, either click on a website where there is no image or flash and check under the hood, so to speak, to see what is there running the page like an engine for your car. You should see a meta tag for the title. You should also see other meta tags, but they are not present in every website.

Some of the less experienced search engine optimizers and web designers feel and write that it is unnecessary to use meta tags, with the belief that Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engine companies will find their website without this effort. While that can be true, a large part of why a customer wants their website optimized is to have their website rank higher on search engines.

As such, they are not mindful of these three things:

  • Robots as members of your audience
  • Traditional types of information that are collected by search engines
  • Classic elements of a website

As discussed earlier, a website has two audiences: people and robots. The robots collect information including those contained in the meta tags and report back to their respective search engines with these golden nuggets. These data nuggets are, in turn, evaluated in the search engine algorithm and compared with other data, such as the content of your website. This evaluation ranks your website according to that particular algorithm and other criteria. The weight or importance put on the meta tags and comparison with the content can shift, depending on the algorithm or the version. The current search engine algorithm used by Google has been called Panda or Farmer.

The use of meta tags is an important strategy to be incorporated into any web design and is an integral part of search engine optimization. To meta or not to meta should not be the question. It should be a standard practice for those wanting to build good solid websites that are search engine optimized.

Our next segment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts,” will cover the different types of meta tags.

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Meta search engines combine searches for several types of search engines in one location or in one search.

A few of these are as follows:

http://www.hotbot.com

http://www.mamma.com

http://www.metacrawler.com/index.htm

http://www.monstercrawler.com

Different countries and languages may have different search engines that specialize in the language and other needs.

Here are a few:

China

http://www.baidu.com
http://www.zhongsou.com

Germany

http://www.suchmaschine.com

Russia

http://www.yandex.ru

The next installment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts” will focus on search engine optimization.

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc. are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Search Engine Optimization

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization

In the previous post, we discussed that there is a second audience besides humans that your website should consider–robots!

Robots are the programs that search engines send out to gather and scour information on the Internet and report back to them. These robots are also called spiders and their activity is called “spidering.” Spiders, of course, “crawl” the World Wide Web.

This collected information is then evaluated by criteria set forth in search engine algorithms. Algorithms are a set of procedures created to solve a problem or get to a desired result in a specified manner. The results of the algorithm process determine search engine rankings. This is the order in which websites are displayed when a search is made.

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and can be different from search engine to search engine. When the algorithm changes, your website’s rankings may fluctuate up and down for a time as your website is affected by the new weighting of different criteria, and so are your competitors’. This fluctuation is called by some the “Google dance.”

If you are using the Internet to help advertise or increase your Internet presence for your business, organization or area of interest, rankings are very important. This is because many people do not go past the first few results or pages, so what is on top has the best opportunity of having Internet users visit.

Search engine optimization specialists will often research and study many more pages in order to have a more in depth understanding of the competition to help clients rank better. While search engine optimization specialists study many things and employ a variety of techniques to help a website be and rank its best, no one should ever guarantee a high ranking. Ranking high is like doing well in the stock market or a horse winning a race. While much can be done to ensure success, there are so many different and uncontrollable variables and competitors, even the best specialist cannot and should not guarantee results.

Having some basic understanding of these busy spiders is key to encouraging them to visit and report back that your website is indeed worthy, in the minds of those who created the latest algorithms, of a higher ranking than your competitor’s. It is important to create good solid websites that are useful to humans, which is what companies like Google state is their intent for the algorithms.

It is also important to realize that what is considered tasty by a spider, whether it is program or arachnid, is very different from a succulent meal or “eye candy” to humans.

The art, or practice, of making a better website by using and creating tasty morsels for the spiders to feast on and report back favorably to their masters is called search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization will be covered in a future installment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts.”

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Web Design

PART II: WEB DESIGN

Web design should give cohesion to all your thoughts and ideas for presenting your information to the Internet public in the form of a website. This next chapter will be broken into many parts. Today, we will explore some basic factors to be used for creating a website, some goals and types of audiences.

1. What Factors Should One Consider In Designing a Website?

When you are considering your design, it is important to consider the following factors and strategies:

  • Purpose/Goal of your website
  • Audience for your website
  • Company/Organization name
  • Functions/action verbs associated with your company/organization
  • Branding strategy
  • Colors
  • Themes
  • Text

Choosing the right design and content for your website is very important and depends upon two major factors, your goals and your audience.

Here are some questions to help you get started.

What Are the Goals/Purposes of Your Website?

Websites can have many purposes, as stated earlier. They can introduce/sell a new idea, product, service, business, or organization. They can be used to communicate with, connect with and provide functions to clients. They can also be used to help your team, business, organization, Internet community work or engage more effectively.

The type of goals, whether they are internal, for your employees, or organization members, affects how the website can be designed. For example, your goal could be to increase the level of collaboration among your team, explain new products or services to existing customers, or introduce your business to new customers.

For websites whose purpose is more common, that of reaching the unknown Internet user, different strategies are employed, including more explanatory text and search engine optimization (SEO).

When you begin to create your website, you should start with your specific goals in mind and any other factors that may be important to you and create your own special list of goals. As time passes, you may change this list to better reflect your needs and direction. It is best to set up a time frame to periodically reevaluate your website, its goals and audience as you do your business plan, to make sure your website is working hard for you to do what is needed.

For more details on goals and purposes, please see our earlier article dated 17 January 2011. You can do that by clicking this link, http://402webpage.com/website-basics-an-introduction-to-important-terms-and-concepts.

Who Is the Audience for Your Website?

There are many ways to look at your audience. One is to break it up into three categories: general, intended, and robots.

General refers to anyone that ends up finding your website. This person may or may not have an interest in finding your particular website, but they have located it. It is important when designing the website and creating your text to realize that not everyone may know as much about your area of interest or specialty, so some broad explanations are needed to help fill in some of the gaps, even if your website is only geared towards professionals in your area.

Intended is the specific group of people that you hope to attract. These may be customers, buyers for department stores, government entities, suppliers, volunteers for a non-profit, or just people with a common interest in your field.

The last type of audience you have are robots, programs that collect information from the web. This is important if you want others to find your website when using a search engine.

We will explain more of this in our next installment, “Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization”.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and more on web design, where we will cover an overview of search engine optimization.

All rights reserved. This article and all articles are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART I: DOMAIN NAMES (CONTINUED)

After choosing a domain name, you can purchase it either separately or as part of a package with your hosting service. Some hosting services, such as Blue Host*, offer a free domain name with the purchase of their hosting service.

3. How Do You Purchase a Domain Name?

Domain names are purchased by domain name registrars that are authorized by ICANN for such purposes. “ICANN” is an acronym that stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“The mission of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.” (BYLAWS FOR INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS, Article 1, Section 1, January 25, 2011, according to their website at http://www.icann.org/en/general/bylaws.htm#I ).

To learn more about ICANN, visit http://www.icann.org.

To purchase a domain name directly from a domain registrar, you can use the below registrars:

Other registrars may be found at http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html

You can also purchase a domain name from companies that work with a registrar, such as:

If your desired domain name is in use, you may try to work with the owner, hope you get lucky and it drops off quietly when it expires or try one of the following companies to purchase it:

These companies or the owner of the domain name may use a domain name appraiser similar to what appraisers do in real estate for homes. The appraisers evaluate and put the numbers of what they think the “property” is worth.

The domain appraiser estimates the value of a domain name based on certain criteria such as:

  • Easy to remember
  • Good for branding
  • Contains good key words for a company
  • Short, preferably 16 characters or less
  • Purity of the name, no hyphens, deliberate misspellings

If there is a functioning website associated with the domain name, the appraiser may look at the following:

  • Website age
  • Website traffic/followers
  • Existing website revenues (advertisers, sponsors, affiliate members or partners)
  • Website quality
  • Other related developments (related social media, etc.,)

Please note that some of the above links are marked with an asterisk. These are affiliate links and those companies may remunerate Little Mountain Web Design as part of a partner or affiliate referral relationship.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series to include information on Part II, Web Design, from our website blog.

All rights reserved. This article and all articles, images, content, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Domain Names

PART I: DOMAIN NAMES

Choosing a domain name is a starting point for many when beginning their first website or creating a new website. It is important to consider and understand the nature of a domain name, the factors in choosing a domain name, where is best for you to purchase one, and what might be the best domain name for your business or organization to maximize your website’s potential.

1. What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the locational information that appears in the URL* (Uniform Resource Locator) such as “402webpage.com” for this blog at “http://402webpage.com” and “littlemountainwebdesign.com” for “http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com”. This tells others where to find your website and the exact address location of your directory or file.

TLDs are Top Level Domains. These are domain names with endings such as the following:

.biz
.com
.info
.mobi
.net
.org

Among the most coveted are .com and .org. These were among the first TLDs and are easy to remember.

2. What Factors Should One Consider In Purchasing a Domain Name?

When you are considering your domain name, it is important to consider the following factors and strategies:

  • Company/Organization name
  • Functions/ action verbs associated with your company/organization
  • Nouns related to company/organization
  • Keyword relevance to what you are promoting
  • Distinctive name that is easy to remember
  • Branding strategy
  • Length of the domain name
  • Buying related domain names
  • Secrecy in selecting a domain name until purchase is completed
  • TLDs

Begin your search for that perfect domain name by brainstorming different names and ideas. You can use a thesaurus to help find synonyms to think of different but related names.

It is generally beneficial for your domain name to be short and easily remembered. This helps people find your business or organization quickly, even if they can’t remember it exactly when they look for it via the search engines. Some domain name appraisers will recommend you keep the characters down to sixteen characters or less for your domain name. Long domain names make for long URLs and email addresses. This can be difficult later for business cards, media and sending links.

Define you brand strategy and ask yourself if your domain name enhances or complements it. To help with this, your domain name should have a memorable name that embodies your company/organization and what you are doing. Prepare a list of several choices in case the domain that you want has been taken.

If your choice for a domain name has been taken, you can contact the owners directly or use a third party to contact the owner for you to make a offer. In those cases, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase the domain name at cost from the owner. Be aware that there are many companies that purchase domain names with the sole intent to profit from selling it to someone like you who wants to own and develop it.

If that happens, you may work with a domain name appraiser. Domain name appraisers calculate how much they think your domain name is worth. Please note that it is their perception, not what your future domain name is actually worth. As mentioned earlier, many people buy domain names with the sole purpose of selling it to someone later. The real estate equivalent of this is “flipping” a house. Now while one does not need to develop the “property” or make repairs, some development can raise the asking price.

It is best to keep your ideas for a domain name secret and to not search for them online until you are ready to buy, to keep others from buying it first by watching your activities online with various programs. Having more than one choice for a domain name ready in case your desired domain name is not available is a good strategy to prevent persons wanting to buy your potential domain name before you purchase it.

When you purchase your domain name, you may wish to purchase WHOIS privacy. WHOIS privacy, depending on your particular company, can keep more than your email address off the main WHOIS Internet searches. WHOIS searches can tell you who owns a website and how to contact them. Having WHOIS privacy helps reduce spam and scams but can give the impression to some that you are hiding something. The decision to purchase or not purchase this should be considered carefully by a business or organization.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and more on domain names, including registrars, ICANN and how to purchase one from our website blog.

All rights reserved.This article and all articles are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.