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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.

How to maximise the value of your website traffic

Are you struggling to bring in more visitors to your website? What if we told you that you may not need to?

As a provider of search engine optimisation (SEO) services, we know that the lifeblood of a website is traffic. To achieve this, businesses will generally use any combination of Google AdWords advertising, SEO, social media, and other media channels. However, getting more people to your website is only part of the job.

Maximising the value of every visitor is where you can seriously start to build brand loyalty and improve your profit margins. Here are two ways to achieve this:

1. Get repeat visits to your website

How often have you surfed the net looking for a particular product, and sometime after that you see an ad for that product on Facebook? This is known as “remarketing”, and is a very successful way to encourage previous visitors to return to your website to make a purchase. Remarketing is simply a way of working out what brought visitors to your website in the first place, then presenting them with your ads as they continue to browse other sites on the Internet.

Any good digital marketing agency will include remarketing in their offerings, because most visitors don’t buy on their first visit, and need time to do more research before making their buying decision. Remarketing to these visitors gives them this time and brings them back to your website when they’re ready.

2. Convert more visitors into customers

One of the most important factors in conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is your sales funnel and this includes the design, layout and navigation of your website. Visitors now want fast websites with relevant and concise content, a clear menu system and full security. All of this means that you need the best hosting packages, a fast checkout process, and an SSL certificate for an improved customer experience.

Are you getting the most out of your website visitors?

With a limited budget, hitting two birds with one stone is an excellent business decision. Leveraging the expertise of a professional SEO agency can increase your value for money by bringing in more traffic and increasing your profits, using well established remarketing and conversion optimisation techniques.

Want to find out more? Get a free online quote now.

If your website is too slow or you keep getting hacked – read this today

Many of our clients ask us how they can make their web pages load faster or increase the security on their website to prevent hacking. There is one simple automated strategy that we offer to all of our clients, and that is to use CloudFlare with their hosting accounts.

What is CloudFlare?

CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) which acts as a buffer or filter between your website and everyone else, including hackers and robots. The best way to explain CloudFlare is to look at the advantages of using it for your website.

Four benefits of using CloudFlare for your website:

  1. Increased performance: If some of your customers are in the US but your website is hosted on an Australian server, your website will load much faster for your Aussie customers than those in America. With CloudFlare on the other hand, static website files are cached (stored as copies) on various servers around the world. When someone accesses your website, CloudFlare provides them with copies of your files in the location closest to them, which means your website loads faster, regardless of your customer’s location.
  2. Increased site security: While a standard hosting server gives you some security, problems can still occur because spammers and hackers have varioues ways to try to access your website’s code. CloudFlare has a range of different security measures to protect your site from these types of threats.
  3. Increased uptime: With your website cached on local servers, if your main server crashes, your website can still be loaded by your customers (although some elements may be missing). This keeps your website live while your server is being fixed.
  4. Increased SEO: Google likes fast loading websites, and CloudFlare really speeds up your site. This helps to increase your search engine ranking, leading to more traffic, sales and conversions.

On a final note, your website address doesn’t change when you use CloudFlare, so you don’t have to worry about errors or using a new address. We highly recommend CloudFlare to all of our customers, because once you use it, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. And it’s very well priced, to boot.

The other option we can offer is website management, which means we use CloudFlare in conjunction with a range of other tools and techniques to keep your website secure, fast, and up to date.

For more information on CloudFlare, phone (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.