Web site pro?s and con?s, cost, web site design, domains and hosting.

Web Sites

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You need, or are thinking of, a web site
If you are new to all this, then you are at risk.
From advice, whatever, you may have built up preconceived ideas about what type of site you want.
What you want, and what may work best for you, however, may not be the same.

The Facts..
Quality web design is not just about Flash and fancy graphics.
There is no point in wasting money on fancy graphics if no one is going to visit your site because it's not listed well on the search engines.
The first thing one should consider therefore, are keywords and content.
This is what the search engine spiders will be looking at.
Content needs to both be informative and useful, and contain your keywords.
And it can help you with deciding on domain(s) to purchase.
You may be limited to using your business name in your domain.
If not, keywords could be used.

For every expert that tells you that you need a keyword in your domain name, however, you will find another expert who will say it doesn't matter.

Apart from loading quickly, a web page should address simple ease of use, spam protection, etc.
If you have heavy page loading, such as displaying a long list from a database, then minimal graphics are essential.

HTML is the basic, simple web page coding language. It is easy to write and repair, etc.
If required, experts can produce attractive, and very fast loading web pages, using minimal, (if any), graphics.

The fastest way to display database data, on a web page, is lean coded Classic ASP. By an expert.
If anyone tells you that PHP is faster, one should note that some of the slowest sites on the Web are PHP.

Total Flash intros can loose you customers, but, used in the right way, Flash can be used to effectively make a sales point.

Pro's & Con's   Considerations

Web sites are rarely a quick path to riches.
They are, however, becoming an essential part of most modern businesses.

The Plus side..
Web Sites can bring in additional income.
How much depends upon:
- The sale ability, and demand for, the product.
- The marketing of that product / web site.
- The popularity and ease of use of the web site.

Web sites are better than brochures.
- They can familiarise customers with companies and products.
- They can interact with customers.
- They can sell.

On the down side..

Initial and ongoing web site costs.
Marketing and advertising.
The simple fact that one may not be that familiar with web site things, and may, quite understandably, lack confidence.

Basically, it is a business decision.
Outlay against return.
Where the web site sells a product, one can make educated estimates, of likely sales. Everything is quantifiable.

Many sites, however, do not generate sales, but provide information or support. This, of course, is harder to quantify.

There is the prestige value.
Plus the fact that prospective clients can quickly, and anonymously, get a picture of your company, or products, from your web site.

In most cases, a web site is a definite business plus.
It functions best for those selling* on the world wide market, but can also be efficient in country specific sales.*

* or information / support / whatever.

  How much to spend.
Too dear:
You could end up paying for someone else's excessive overheads.
Too cheap:
You could employ someone with limited experience. More costs to put their work right.

You may be told that your site needs this system, or that programming language.
Most nonprogrammer's tools, like ColdFusion, PHP, etc., add to the loading of the web page.

In any event, when you build a system using a specific system, or language, you should appreciate that, when future maintenance is needed, you will need someone with specific knowledge of that system or language.
HTML and Classic ASP are two of the cheapest languages to commission work in.

Systems and programming languages often appear to move in and out of favour.

One needs to be totally objective.
What is the purpose of the site? What does it need to do?
Any existing logos, trademarks, colour themes, etc.?

What appeals to the young, may not appeal to the old.
In some cases, simple and traditional may work better.
Reliable functionality, and user friendliness, is important.

Domain names
Not too long.
Ideally, should contain keywords.
Plenty of domain search tools available on the Web.*
These generally explore many extensions, (.com, .co.uk, ,biz, etc.)
* Do a search on 'domain name generator' for numerous choices.

Cheaper hosting is generally 'high density' but may be adequate for the smaller site.
Speed of display, of your web site, and reliability, (uptime), are the main things to look for.

Many companies do successfully host their web sites on their own, in-house, web servers
Hosting one's own web server, however, means that one has to be very alert and aware on security issues.
And there is the expense.

Smaller companies are often better off using a hosting service.
Slow display of web sites is a problem with some of the biggest hosting companies.

For our own web sites we use one of the fastest we have found.
And after many years of trying other hosting companies.

Corporate or heavy duty sites we put on five server appliances, with an additional server in hot-spare to handle load spikes, in a network load balanced environment
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