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Developing your Website – Step by Step

If you’re a first time business person on the web, you need a certain amount of guidance as you go about designing and developing a website that suits your company’s needs. Even if you’re a beginner and have absolutely no idea as to how best to go about with the project, there are ways to get things done in record time if you’re dedicated to the job and a quick learner. So here they are, the things you need to do to build your website and have it up and running successfully in no time:

  • Arm yourself with books and other sources of information that teach you about the process of web design and development. This is a good thing to do even when you’re not planning to develop the site yourself because you must appear knowledgeable when you’re talking to the designer who’s going to be taking care of the design and development processes.
  • Spend a few hours browsing the Internet surfing sites that are similar to the one you’re considering. While you don’t want to come across as a copycat, there’s no harm in adapting a good idea and making it your own as creatively as you can.
  • Map out a plan or flowchart to show how your site navigates.
  • Gather all the information (in print) that you need to put together a comprehensive yet concise website. Sort and sift this data into a form that’s suitable for the web.
  • Get a professional writer to optimize this content for search engines so that your site will be picked up by Google and its counterparts as they trawl the web.
  • Choose a domain name, make sure it’s available and get it registered.
  • Choose a web hosting company who will design, develop and maintain your site for you. Make sure that they are willing to take care of any edits and changes that are bound to arise on a day to day basis as you go through teething problems with your fledgling website. The changes must be done immediately because it’s imperative that your site irons out all the creases as soon as possible. The longer the delay, the more number of visitors you lose to poor design aspects. Also, take into account the costs that you will incur, both in terms of initial design fees and continuous hosting and maintenance fees.
  • Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that the pages load quickly.
  • While ads do generate revenue, the money does not pour in until your site gains popularity. So hold off the advertisements at least initially, and when you do incorporate them, make sure that they are the side salads and not the main course.
  • Once it’s up and running, continue to make changes and tweak details till it gets the look and feel that you’re gunning for. Improvement must be a continuous process based on your site’s performance and customer feedback.

About the author: This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of web designing institutes. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.

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Registry ready to take on the world

Just read an article about how local domain name registrar AusRegistry has taken its first global expansion steps and has signed a deal to provide services in the Middle East.

Now, I think that it’s great that an Australian domain name authority is expanding to other countries.  This is a great thing for Australia and reinforces our high level of technical competency in a field that is monopolised by the US.

The Middle East has been the fastest growing country for internet usage over the past 8 years (with a whopping 1,176.8 % uptake… with Africa being the only other country that has come close with an uptake of 1,031.2 %).

It will be very interesting to see how AusRegistry, and the domain industry in general evolves over the coming years.  You can read the full article here.

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Long or Short Domain Names

Just had a client ask me to register a new domain name for them and it was roughly 40 characters long.

Now it can be a good thing to try and incorporate some keywords that you want to rank for in the search engines into your domain name. The search engines favour domains that include a keyword or two because it indicates a little more relevance and when other sites link to you, it’s a lot more likely you’ll get keywords mentioned because many websites will use your URL as the anchor text.

But there is definitely a point when you can try and cram too much stuff into a name so that it becomes ridiculous.

Having a website should be designed to make things as easy as possible for your clients, making it easier for you to sell your products. To provide a resource that’s available 24/7 to answer all your clients frequently asked questions so they don’t have to call or email you. To reinforce your brand, reputation and authority.

Having a domain name that is too long doesn’t help achieve any of those things and you’ll often find that:

  • It makes it more difficult for people to spell (and the longer the name, the greater the chance that people will misspell it)
  • It makes it harder for people to remember
  • Sometimes if a name is too long, it will deter people from wanting to contact you simply because it takes too long to type
  • It could raise red flags from the search engines and savvy users who are aware that placing a keyword in your domain can be a good thing… but when the domain is very long and appears to include multiple keywords, it can make your site appear spammy

At the end of the day, your site should be an aid for your business, not a hindrance and if your choice of domain name is too difficult, you’ll be seriously limiting your potential success online.

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The Webhosting Year in Review

This blog is only about 4 months old, but as a company, Ingenuity has been around for 4 YEARS. Over this time we’ve seen a lot of things happen in the web hosting industry.

We’ve seen dozens of different online shopping carts come and go, we’ve watched the evolution of content management systems eg. Mambo to Joomla. Not to mention clients that have insisted on having content managed sites (and paid good money for them too) but have never updated a single page.

There have been over 1 Million Australian domain names registered and thankfully the number of domain name scams has dropped in 2007, although there were still a few places that were unfortunately tricked into spending a couple of hundred dollars purchasing new domain names when they actually thought they were simply renewing their existing names.

We’ve personally experienced the growth of blogging in Australia and attended the first ever Australian Blogging Conference.

Our client-base which started from virtually nothing has been growing at an exponential rate and this year has been busier than ever. To accommodate this growth, we’ve been progressively upgrading all of our servers and equipment and even though there were (as there will always be) a few small hiccups throughout the year, we’ve still managed to keep our Uptime at 99.99%.

So, what’s in store for the new year?

We’re planning on finalising the minor renovations to our office that we started about a month ago, hiring some additional staff and expanding our reseller offering.

2008 will be a very exciting year for Ingenuity and all our new and existing clients. We will continue to expand and improve our products and services whilst always providing the utmost highest level of customer service possible.

Happy New Year!

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Upgrading from IIS/ASP to Apache/PHP

I’ve always lent more towards OpenSource software as I find it to be more standardized and reliable. If you run into problems there are literally thousands of articles where people provide detailed and helpful information and what’s even better is that it’s all free.

One such example can be found on Sebastian’s Pamphlets blog where he discusses how to change your IIS/ASP pages to Apache/PHP.

So if you’re a Windows / ASP developer and you want to expand your skillset (and possibly even change your focus) then you can’t go past the article above.

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One MILLION Australian Domains

Australia sees surge in domain names with the number of .au registrations predicted to hit the one million mark this month.

Since 2002 the number of commercial .au names has risen by over 750,000 and Adrian Kinderis, managing director of AusRegistry says

“The growth of .au is nothing short of astounding, .au has sustained an impressive 25 per cent growth each year for the past 5 years”

So what are you waiting for – get your piece of the Australian domain market – call us on 1300 664 643 to secure your domain!

Posted in Domain Names | 1 Comment

ICANN picks Kiwi chairman

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) selected Peter Dengate Thrush, 52, over telecommunications expert Roberto Gaetano, of Italy, to head the nine-year-old agency tasked with handling domain names and issues related to allowing internet computers to find websites and route email.

Read more here

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Networking Workshop about Networking

Last Thursday night I attended a Networx Marketing event on the topic of networking. Lisa Butler, Director of Paragon Associates and author of Networking Exposed was the guest speaker and lead us through the basics of how to network more effectively.

I personally believe I’m not great at networking – I tend to be a little shy, my interests are primarily technical and IT related, so it doesn’t give me much general stuff to chat about and I perpetually sound like I’m terrified. With saying this, even though I see people who carry themselves much better than I do, I still seem to have some reasonable success through networking. Sometimes I think my nervous nature helps me attract outgoing, extroverted people who can’t bear to see someone cowering in the corner by themselves.

Getting back to the topic, Lisa Butler gave a few good points and spoke well, but didn’t really present anything new – most of it was text-book networking stuff, but if you had never networked before, I’m sure you would have learnt a few things.

Even though I may seem terrified and I didn’t learn much from this evening, I ended-up speaking with more people than I usually do and, as always, I had a great time. The venue was also great (a personal favorite of mine) – The Press Club.

Here are a couple of pics with me – more photos from the night available here :

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networking2.jpg

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Networking – Sensory Marketing

Last Wednesday evening I attended a Networx Marketing event on Sensory Marketing – Branding through Experiences.

The evening was held at Riverlife providing us with a beautiful backdrop of the CBD at night and some very tasty nibblies provided by Zen Catering.

The panel of speakers included:

* Adam Arndell, General Manager, 5iveSenses Experiential Pty Ltd
* Simon Kenworthy-Dell, Managing Director, Straight Edge
* Danielle Geddes, CEO, Riverlife Adventure Centre

All of which did a great job educating and entertaining us with real-life examples of how to provide your clients with experiences that will make them keep coming back.

Each and every one of the Networx events I’ve attended have been good, but this particular evening was excellent (and to make things even better, I won a prize in the business-card draw too).

Here are some photo’s from the evening.

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Networking – Maximising the Media

I attend a monthly business networking group – Networx Marketing and a couple of weeks ago I attended one of their events about Maximising the Media.

The venue was the Brisbane Powerhouse and speakers included Emma Blackwood (a news editor from Austereo), Amanda Fitzgerald (a news journalist and presenter from Network Ten), Daniel Sankey (chief of staff at brisbanetimes.com.au), Heather McWhinnie (an editor from bmagazine), and Sophie Gatward (the promotions and marketing director also from Austereo).

They answered questions about how best to liaise with the media, how to submit good PR articles, what they look for in PR submissions and a bunch of other things that we don’t really do at Ingenuity.

I know that all businesses should embrace the media and we should probably do a bit more of it… but we’ve found great success in word-of-mouth and online marketing.

Despite not being a topic of great interest, the networking benefits were still very good and there hasn’t been a Networx night I haven’t enjoyed.

Looking forward to the next event in a couple of weeks time on Sensory Marketing – Branding through Experiences.

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