Q. What is "Web Hosting" and what capabilities should I look for in a "Host" Company?
A. Hosting is the process of a computer containing your web files, sharing them with others on the internet. The computer with your web files should be connected to the internet with a high-speed line that has multiple back up lines in case the first fails or becomes congested. It should also have daily web file backups to disk. Ideally it will be connected to a power source that has battery back up which is connected to a diesel charging generator, in case of power failure. The physical space in which that computer resides should be secure and have someone available 24 hours a day to fix any potential problems. Also the support technicians should be conversant with the latest internet security issues to protect the computer from virus and other system security attacks.
Q. What are Search Engines?
A. Search Engines are computer robot programs that search across the internet for web sites and when found, catalog their contents into a large database like a giant phone directory. This database is made available on a web site. The largest one is called Google.com; they have cataloged almost 3 billion web pages. Other important search engines are: Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com
Q. Why is it important to be in a search engine?
A. Businesses that are at the top of search engines in their market will experience up to 85% more traffic than competing business which do not have top search engine positioning.
Q. Why doesn't my web site appear at the top for my business terms
A. Search Engines survive by providing relevant information to the web searcher. To defeat those who would try to misuse the system, Search Engines have developed elaborate robotic programs to evaluate your site for appropriateness for your search terms. The problem for you, may be that your site may be penalized innocently for violating some of the rules within that Search Engine's robotic program. I have also found some unscrupulous web developers who say they have optimized a web site for the search engines and submitted it to 100 or more search engines when in fact they have done neither. And worse, I have found some who have used a prohibited method to achieve a top ranking and got their client banned from that search engine's database altogether.
Q. Why is it important to "hand submit my site to the search engines?
A. Almost all search engines have a built in "police" scanner for the "automatic submission programs" that enter thousands of web sites into hundreds of search engines automatically. These search engine "police" programs will in a best case just eliminate your web site from that search engine' database. In a worst case they will ban your web site from ever being listed in their search engine. SEO professionals all agree for new websites.
Q. What is involved in the process of getting to the top of Search Engines by Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
A. Many variables go into the response to a query and each Search Engine has it's own proprietary rules for how they rank web sites. M3Company keeps up with all those rules and makes modifications to your site (with your permission) then submits your web site to the top search engines that generate 95+% of all traffic to Internet connected web sites. It can be a slow iterative process and on occasion require several major wording changes. Patience is the key to reaping big rewards from SEO or search engine optimization process. The reason for the slowness is due to the time it takes to get reviewed by the various search engines and directories. If it takes 6 weeks to get into the search engine, and you find they have a changed their ranking rules slightly for ranking, then rewording or coding must be changed and resubmitted in order to optimize your own ranking. This is why it is so important to make sure you work with someone who is up to speed on the latest SEO rules applicable to each of the top search engines' ranking programs (computer algorithms).
Q. Why is research necessary?
A. To obtain the widest selection of people coming to your web site, you must be sure to optimize your web site's words to to coincide with the terms potential visitors will input to Search Engines and other on line research vehicles to find your products or services. If research is not done properly, then a search engine top position for a search term no one uses may be achieved but will not generate much useful traffic to your site. As mentioned in the answer above, it will then be necessary to start over, re-optimize for another search term and finally resubmit with your new information. This can take between a few weeks and a few months to accomplish. M3Company strongly suggests at least minimal target market research to try to clarify which terms are being used to find you type of business and how often the terms used are being searched each month.
Q. What kind of research do you do?
A. Generally, there are 5 types: Internet, library, interviews, focus groups and surveys. A thorough search of the internet is always done by M3Company as part of their basic Search Engine Optimization program. If the job requires it, we take a trip to the bricks and mortar library to review information not available on the Internet. Other times a benchmarking set of interviews is done with industry experts. And often this is combined with surveys and indepth focus group research to uncover specific information necessary to define your target group's Internet use as well as their use of search engines. More research can be done to determine the approximate size of your market which many banks like to see in a marketing plan.
Q. What is meant by the term SPAMMING as it relates to Search Engine Optimization or SEO?
A. In the early days of the Internet search engines certain hidden codes were placed in web sites to assist a search engine in placing it in the proper search category so researchers could easily find your site. To the search engine company then, relevant searches for users was the most important service they had to sell. As competition for the top space of natural ranked listings became heated, many businesses abused that coding and did other things to artificially raise themselves to the top for their particular business terms. The search engine companies then countered to change the rules they used for placing a website in a top spot. Those new rules were later figured out and worked around. The war still goes on today but the four main search engines have set stiff penalties for people who obviously circumvent their rules for search engine ranking. The severest penalty of banishment of the website from the database is frequently assessed for violators of these rules. It is even done to folks who have innocently violated the rules as well as those who hired some unscrupulous phony SEO practitioners to scam the search engines.
Q. How large of a site do I need?
A. It depends on your goals for your company and your web site. If you want the site to generate regular income through direct sales of products or services, you will need a fairly large, complex site. However, if your goal is to make the web site a professional reflection of your business with only basic information about it and envision no direct sales then a smaller site is appropriate. In the later case many times we can put those up in a few days using the information contained in your current brochures. A small Three (3) page site can contain enough information for a potential client to determine if they want to do business with you. Obviously the same amount of information in a yellow page ad would be cost prohibitive if it were possible.
Q. How much should I budget?
A. Determine your goal for the site. For small web sites budget about what you would expect to pay for Telephone service per month. For larger more complex web sites selling to the world expect to pay what you would for a retail kiosk space in a small mall of a shopping center. Start up costs to setup a site range from six hundred to several thousand dollars.
Q. What is the difference between Domain Name Hosting and Web Site Hosting?
A. Domain name hosts or "domain name registrars" as they are called are the home of the master address file for your domain name and all others within the entire Internet. Think of it as the Yellow Pages of the internet. Once you receive a domain name, it is your address on the internet as long as you pay the annual renewal fee which ranges between $10 and $55. The Host or Registrar for your name maintains the master Internet file so that when someone puts your domain name into their web browser, your computer sned a request to the master files to find your correct Internet address. The computer that contains your domain name is also called a "server." It will respond with your web site files automatically and display them on the requesting web browser window ... IF you have built a web site on that server and the domain name record master file contains the correct website server address.
So a web site is just a bunch of computer files located on an Internet server computer which is connected to the Internet. The domain name host company and web site host company maybe the same company or a different company. M3Company is both a domain registrar company and a web site hosting company. Many of our plans include the domain name annual renewal into the web site hosting package deal. It also possible to just have a domain name and no website. This is often done by start-up businesses to provide a professional look email address until a business can afford a full website.
Q. How long does it take to get a web site up and running?
A. That depends on many variables, many of which you are in control. The copywriting on the site is traditionally the part that takes the longest. Of course the more you can provide in that area the faster the site will be available on the Internet. Some examples: a one page site where the business was ready with content took two days; a 6 page site where many pages had complex writing took six weeks to complete; a 5 page site with heavy technical writing took two months to complete; a 120 page E-Commerce web site with 100 products and a shopping cart took four months to complete. In summary, it depends on how much research is needed, how difficult it is to write the site content, how many design comps need to be done, how many pages need to be written, how much complex programming within those pages, and how much rewriting needs to be done.
Q. What is involved in developing a web site?
A. Generally there are 7 disciplines involved in producing a professional web site: 1.) Market researchers; 2) Sales content writing, sometimes referred to as copywriters; 3.) Graphic designers specializing in web site design; 4.) Computer programmers specializing in web site development coding; 5.) Computer network engineers specializing in providing web site files to the World Wide Web in a safe and secure way. Sometimes referred to "Hosting"; 6.) Database programmers, if e-commerce is the site's main purpose; and 7.) Search Engine Optimization specialists, if you wish your site to receive significant numbers of visitors from search engines. In an ideal world your web developer should have expertise in all these disciplines. Obviously at M3Company we have all areas under one Website Design and development business. If you select someone else to develop your site and they are deficient in one or more areas, your web site might not produce the results you have planned. Some thoughts: a beautiful web site that is poorly laid out or poorly written will not reflect well on your company; A site that is well written but does not look professional will also cause visitors to wonder about your company. A site that looks great, is well written but has program code problems or loads to slowly will cause visitors to look elsewhere. And lastly a perfect site that is not properly listed in the top search engines will not get the 85% of internet traffic that begins at search engines.
Q. Should I select my name as a domain name?
A. In many cases yes, and many others, no. The reasons for that are in the way search engines rank web sites. For example: in some search engines and directories alphabetical considerations come into play. In others, the business name is well recognized so the domain name should be the same. This area many times is only uncovered after significant research is done regarding your target market. M3Company is a full line market research company and can do the proper research to find the best way to reach your target audience. Many domain name registrars also offer website hosting. To protect their interests, some make it difficult for you to move your domain or your website to competitors like myself. For that reason I am forced charge extra to make the move for you. Therefore, to save you money, I, strongly, recommend you allow me to register your domain name if you are planning to use me for your website hosting.