First, you had to answer the website usability questions I posed in a previous post. Then, I had you look at the major WU elements of content, design, and development. Now, it’s time to look into your website’s hosting platform and its domain name.
Hosting and Servers
How fast does your site load? It’s not just code or graphics that cause delays; your hosting solution or servers might be at fault. Make sure you use a good hosting provider with 99.99 percent uptime and strong servers. In extreme cases you might want to get your own servers, which is a more expensive option, but still a relatively small expense in your online monthly budget.
Monitor your website’s life through one of the different monitoring services. A good one is http://www.internetseer.com, which will send you reports if your site goes down. Your website is your office and it should be open 24/7.
As a general rule, make sure your homepage and your site’s most important pages load within 10 seconds. Otherwise, you risk losing visitors who will not wait for the site to load. There are many other reasons why your site might load slowly – such as ”heavy” code, too many large graphics, multimedia (flash/video), external codes, etc. – but I will talk about all this later.
You want your site’s name to be simple and easy to remember. I wrote about how to choose the domain name for your website in case you need to refresh your memory.
So how you can actually get that desired domain name for your site? A good domain is hard to find these days. Everything great has been already registered. You should not skimp out on buying a really good domain name for your website. I suggest you go straight to the secondary market and buy an already-registered domain name if it is exactly what you want. There are many online marketplaces where you could search for a domain name for sale, like Afternic.com or Sedo.com.
However, I suggest you approach a domain owner directly, so as to cut the price and avoid the middle guy. Do not act overly-interested; just inquire about if it’s for sale, and for how much. Show that you are a real person, an end-user rather than a broker, and use a signature that will show who you are so that the domain owner feels safe doing business with you. Most likely you will be asked to state a price, so the owner can ”think about it.” You should make an offer that is 1/4 of the price you are willing to pay. You might end up lucky and buy the domain you want for the price you want.
Future topics in this series of posts about website usability will include: Homepage, layout, and navigation; content and its structure; text styles, color schemes, and fonts; graphic design and multimedia elements; coding, scripts, forms, and functions; and accessibility, security, search, files, widgets, and tools.
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