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Why is “website stuff” such a pain to manage?

Many business owners struggle to stay on top of some of the more technical aspects of website management in Brisbane.

In particular, domain names and web hosting are two areas where there’s a lot of confusion around ownership and management. If you don’t own your domain name, for example, the current owner can do whatever they want with it. And that’s a HUGE risk to your business.

How does this even happen?

Anyone can register a domain name or set up a web hosting account, and it’s up to them whether they put your business down as the owner. Sometimes these services are set up through:

  • a friend who doesn’t really know what they’re doing
  • a company that went bust
  • a company that you no longer want to work with
  • another contact who you can’t get in touch with.

While the domain name industry is regulated, and all .AU domains need to be manually approved by auDA, the governing body, before they’re registered, it’s not particularly difficult to register any domain you wish. In fact, we’ve registered thousands of domains for our clients over the years, but only had the registration rejected/queried a couple of times.

As for web hosting, there’s really no regulation at all. You can go to any hosting provider now, set up an account under any name, and off you go. All you need to do is point the relevant domain name to the hosting provider’s system, and you’re off and running. This means if your domain name isn’t registered under your name, the owner can basically point it to their own website if they want to.

The other issue here is that if you don’t have the login details for your domain name or web hosting accounts, and can’t get them from your provider, in many cases there’s literally no recourse. For example, if you were hosting your website with one company and wanted to change to a new one, if your name isn’t on the account then you’re out of luck. Since we specialise in website management in Brisbane, we can help you to work your way through these annoying problems.

Is it common though?

Unfortunately, the above scenarios happens quite often. We recently started working with a new client, and part of the initial project was to consolidate their domain names, web hosting accounts, and email services, under the one roof.

After looking into their setup, we found the following problems:

  • Their domain name was actually registered under the name of their original web developer.
  • Their web hosting account was set up by their original web developer, but because of the way he’d set it up, it wasn’t possible to provide our client with any login details without giving us access to ALL of the web hosting accounts that the other developer manages.
  • These services were set up through two different providers, which isn’t necessarily “wrong”, but it does make management more difficult.
  • The original web developer no longer works in the industry, so they’re difficult to get a hold of.

In the end, our new client had to pay $99 to change the domain ownership, and we invested several hours of time (at a cost, of course) to help sort everything out. It chewed up a lot of their time as well, but now they own all of their services.

What’s the solution?

Well, at the end of the day, someone has to set up and manage these services. That could be you, but usually it’s best to find a reputable local provider (who might also offer professional website management in Brisbane) who has been established for a long time and ask them to confirm (before signing up):

  1. Who will “own” the domain name? (Ensure they can show you ownership after it’s registered.)
  2. Will you have login details for your domain name and web hosting account(s)? (If not, don’t use the company!)
  3. Will you be free to move your services elsewhere at any time, once you’ve paid for them?

If your domain name is already registered, you can check your ownership at the links below. You need to check the “Registrant” name (it should be someone in your business), and the email address should also be someone in your business that you trust, if not yourself. This is vital to ensure that if you ever want to transfer your domain to a new provider, you can retrieve the domain password. Contact your domain registrar (or web developer) if you need to update the information.

http://whois.ausregistry.com.au (for all .AU domains)
http://whoisrabbit.net (other domains)

We can help you sort out your domain and web hosting ownership, or point you in the right direction. Just call us on (07) 3333 2932 or contact us today.

Four tips on picking the best domain name for your small business

You might have already guessed that the domain name of your website is vitally important to your success as a business. Domain names can affect your rankings in the search engine results pages and can also have a negative or positive impact on social media engagement.

If you are in the market for a new domain name, here are 4 tips that will you identify the best one for your business.

  1. Avoid spammy keywords: People today are very sensitive to domain names and when they see a domain name that starts with ‘best’, ‘cheap’ or ‘cheapest’ it turns them off. These are words that searchers regularly use in their online searches, so it can appear as if you are trying to trick them into coming to your site, resulting in a loss of trust.
  2. Be careful with industry type keywords: A few years ago, using this type of domain name was good for SEO, because these are keywords used by searchers, but times have changed. The best domain names do not rely exclusively on industry related words, for example, ‘carpenter’, ‘printers’ or ‘hairdresser’.
  3. Use specific keywords: Instead of ‘bestcarpenter.com.au’ go for ‘kitchencarpenter.com.au’ or ‘newbuildcarpenter.com.au’. These are descriptive keywords used by searchers, which are not spammy and can actually increase traffic to your website.
  4. Use your brand name: The easiest and most effective domain names are ones that include the name of your brand. Your brand’s name (hopefully) does not include spammy keywords, which might turn people away. Also a branded domain name is perfect for building recognition of your brand within the community and for creating a consistent brand across all marketing and social media platforms.

A last tip which has only recently been available to us is to take advantage of industry keywords in your domain’s extension. So instead of XYZ.com or XYZ.com.au, you could have XYZ.online, XYZ.photography, XYZ.tech, XYZ.design or XYZ.pizza for example. This is a great way to effectively include both brand names and industry keywords into one domain name.

For professional WordPress website design, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Back to Basics: What is web hosting?

If you have not owned a website before, web hosting can be one of those areas which is very difficult to understand. Let’s try to simplify that a little right now.

The simplest analogy relating to domain names, hosting and websites is to think of your house.

The domain name is the street address, and the house is the website. You need the address to get to the house… but to build your house in the first place, you need some land, and that’s where hosting comes into it.

In a nutshell, hosting is where your website’s files and databases are stored, as well as some technical settings relating to what happens when your domain name is used.

For example, if you have a website at www.mywebsite.com, then there are settings (called DNS records) which ensure that when the website address is typed, the website appears. This happens because the website’s files are stored in the hosting account.

There are similar DNS records in place for email services, so that when someone sends an email to your email address (e.g. [email protected]), the email is routed to wherever it needs to go.

There are many other uses for DNS records, but these are the main two.

How does hosting relate to domain names?

If you have a domain name, it must “point” to your hosting account (remember the street address analogy). Typing in your domain name, or an email address for your domain, sends the user on to your hosting package, and the DNS records handle everything from there.

How is hosting set up?

A hosting server is managed by a web hosting company (such as ourselves), and you can change servers within the same hosting company or you can change from one hosting company to another. However, not all servers or hosting companies are equal. Some servers are faster than others and better for certain types of websites, and the inclusions such as storage space or advanced features varies.

What types of hosting are available?

In general, there are three types of web hosting packages available to your business:

  • Shared web hosting: These servers have limited resources, which are shared amongst many websites. This can slow your website’s loading times, cause problems with security and result in penalties if you use too many of their resources (peaks in traffic can do this).
  • Dedicated hosting: These are great for large businesses or those with lots of traffic, as your website is hosted on its own server. You can add as many websites as you want to your own server as well – but it costs more than shared hosting and is often prohibitively expensive for small businesses.
  • Cloud VPS hosting: A new technology that gives you more flexibility and resources. You only pay for the space and resources you use, without many of the shortcomings of shared hosting.

For more information on your web hosting options or you want help with website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Mythbuster Monday: We only need to register one domain name

Without a doubt, this is one myth that most of our clients believe is just plain common sense – that you only need to register one domain name for your business website.

It’s understandable why many business owners think this is true, because after all, when you register a business name you only register one name. The problem is that with domain names it is a whole different ball game and you do need to register more than one domain name.

Why do you need to register more than one domain name for your business?

The single, most important problem with having just one domain name is competition.

Just imagine that your domain name is mywidgets.com.au and you build your brand into a healthy business. Suddenly you notice that traffic and sales are dropping off, so you increase your promotions and run some specials to bring in more customers. Over time however, you realise that this isn’t working and your traffic and sales are continuing to fall.

Then you realise that another website with the domain name mywidgets.com has appeared and after some research, you realise that they have ‘stolen’ your traffic. This is a serious problem that happens to many businesses, not just the large multi-corporations, but small businesses as well. We’ve seen it first hand, and there’s not much you can do about it unless you have a trademark, and even then it doesn’t guarantee anything.

This is why it is vital to register more than one domain name for your business, so you can put a stop to this sort of underhanded competition, before the rot sets in.

So if your business name is mywidget.com.au, then it serves your business well to also buy the .com, .net and .net.au versions of your domain name as well. Some businesses purchase another 10 or 20 versions of their domain name, so that there is no possibility that customers will confuse their domain name with a copycat.

Purchasing multiple domain names makes good sense, because it helps to protect your brand at an extremely minimal cost. An average annual expense a couple of hundred dollars, to ensure that your competitors can’t underhandedly jeopardise your market share, is definitely a sound financial investment.

For more information on domain names or help with website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.