Tag Archives: Theserving.com

Domain Name Scams: Have You Fallen for One?

Have you received information regarding your domain name through postal mail? Did you receive numerous invoices regarding your domain name? Ever been stuck in a contract for well over a year? If any of the above apply to you, you may have fallen for a domain name scam.

Domain name scams occur when a domain name registrar sends you and “invoice” to renew your domain registration, but it really is an agreement to switch to their services.

Scott Karlo, founder of Internet Know How (IKH), LLC, offers these helpful tips on how prevent your company from falling for domain name scams.

Prevent Domain Name Scams by:

• Setting up automated renewals with timely advanced warnings prior to billing period. This allows you to know when a renewal date is scheduled and in turn you can ignore any other “invoices” you may receive from other companies since you know exactly how much and when your next payment is due.

• Using the registrar’s domain locking feature to protect it from being taken without authorization. This prevents registrar companies from initiating a transfer request to pull your domain to their system. By locking your domain you save yourself the time, hassle and cost of switching back away from them.

• Carefully review invoices from the registrar companies before mailing in the requested payment due. Many companies assume that the invoice is real. It passes through accounts payable, who recognize the web address, pay it. Since they are fearful of losing the domain they don’t tend to question the invoices legitimacy. Investigate who the invoice is from before paying it!

• Finding an internet consulting firm that will be able to monitor your domain names on a regular basis and keep track of renewal dates. Hiring an internet consulting firm relieves the headache of domain name scams. Your company can ignore all mailings regarding your website domain registration.

Virtual Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting

Why do some organizations choose to host their own Web site on their own managed servers, while others contract with a Webhosting company or purchase their ecommerce hosting services through an ISP (Internet service provider)?

While cost (including risk) and flexibility are often the two primary considerations when choosing how to host a website, understanding distinctions among Webhosting options and the pros and cons of each will help you pare down the list to something considerably more manageable, ensuring that you make the best decision.

Webhosting plans can be categorized broadly into two types: virtual server hosting and dedicated server hosting. Small to medium-sized businesses typically choose a virtual server plan where multiple ecommerce web sites are hosted on space within a single server. This service allows you to share a server with others, but your site is further protected or isolated with its own server resources including processor, memory, and disk storage. This arrangement works well for small sites that rely on dynamic generation of content from a backend database, small ecommerce sites, or for customers who wish to manage several separate web sites.

The reason that vendors can offer low-priced domain hosting for virtual private servers is because the customers look the same and require a set of web services that are essentially identical from site to site. Webhosting vendors who are able to package similar services across a huge volume of customers most effectively are generally the most successful since they can capture substantial economies of scale.

Dedicated hosting on the other hand is an option for mid- to large-sized businesses that require or desire the flexibility that comes with dedicated servers. While more expensive, this type of plan generally provides a higher level of security, support, and maintenance with a guaranteed level of availability. Offering this type of guarantee generally reflects a level of redundancy within the vendor’s data-center operations that severely decreases the chances of downtime or removes the risk all together. Depending on the vendor’s plan, flexibility means you can write and run your own custom scripts or applications and even use a content management system to manage the web site but not worry about managing the network, server hardware, or operating system.

The easiest decision will likely be whether you intend to host the site yourself or contract with a webhosting vendor. Scale is the primary decision-making factor. Going it alone takes money and the willingness to assume the activities and risk associated with managing the server hardware, software, and connectivity. For organizations that already have a dedicated IT staff and data center, hosting may be an affordable option. The IT department may, in turn, offer a shared server arrangement where organizational entities such as the organization’s library are provided space on the server. But for those who are unable to tap into existing resources or who are working for companies without IT resources, contracting with an external webhosting provider is the only cost-effective option.

Narrowing the choices down can be difficult since there are so many vendors from which to choose. The first step is to list your requirements for developing, managing, and offering a web site to your users. For very simple sites, the vendor may provide tools for creating and managing your site along with available services to extend your site’s offerings, such as online form capabilities. Alternatively, you can use your own HTML authoring tool and upload pages as needed.

Vendors try to make choosing plans as easy as possible by packaging most-requested services together into specific webhosting plans. Doing so allows customers to more easily select what they need; they also benefit from a cost structure that can be kept fairly low. Most plans require an upfront set-up fee along with a monthly fee covering the plan you choose and any additional services (extra e-mail boxes, additional storage, etc.) that you request.

Finally, choosing a webhosting vendor can be confusing due to the array of options. A winning approach includes developing your list of requirements along with a plan for current and future growth to allow you to substantially clarify how your needs map out against your domain hosting options.

Ecommerce Hosting Considerations

Website hosting can be a complex undertaking. Determining how much space you need, how much transfer, finding a reliable host, and getting everything online is no simple task. Add ecommerce to the mix and things become even more complex. This article will deal with some of those additional complications to finding a host for an online store. All of the same considerations to finding general hosting can be applied to ecommerce hosting, there are simply a few additional ones that need some attention.

Basics- Disk Space and Transfer
The core states of any kind of hosting, ecommerce or not, remain space and transfer, or traffic. Generally measured in monthly increments, your space and transfer will place a crucial role in determining just what size plan you need. Ecommerce sites will, generally speaking, require more space and transfer than an equivalent sized site without ecommerce. This is due to the presence of the shopping cart upon which the online storefront is based. Shopping cart programs are installed to the account on which they operate, requiring space, and their scripts for running the store will require additional transfer to handle customers as they browse, add items to their cart, and check out. Will there be a tremendous amount of extra transfer required by the cart? That depends on how many use the cart and on the cart itself. This is why its best to start small and having a clear upgrade path to handle future popularity.

Prospective online merchants will generally have a good idea how many products they’ll be selling initially. This will vary wildly from merchant to merchant, and many merchants don’t put their entire stocks online. It is wise to start with a considered selection of products first, especially if you wish to initially keep your hosting plan small and upgrade as the store prospers. Those with a great deal of products need to be aware they will probably be facing a bigger monthly fee for a larger hosting plan. Once the decision is made regarding the products, attention can be turned to finding a suitable shopping cart program to contain them.

Shopping Cart
The choice of shopping cart can be a personal one. Those entirely new to ecommerce will probably not have any experience with any kind of shopping cart software. There are a number of popular choices, and most hosting companies will provide one, if not a variety, from which you can choose. It is important to find a shopping cart that suits the individual user, as attempting to change your shopping down the road can be a long process that will, most likely, bring your store down during a transitional period. Don’t immediately jump at the first cart a host offers. Ask if they have demos and try them out. Be sure it’s a program you can learn and use, as it is the primary way you’ll be doing your online business. Even if you have a large business and have a design firm setting up the cart, a rudimentary knowledge of the cart’s processes is highly recommended.

Learn as much about your prospective shopping cart software as possible. Make sure it supports SSL, a common site security protocol that will help keep your customer’s credit card numbers safe when ordering online. It will need to support your merchant account and payment gateway. In many cases a host might bundle these services, so compatibility isn’t an issue. If you secured your merchant services separately from hosting, be sure they are compatible. Find out if the cart has a recommended maximum product limit and, of course, try not to exceed it. The store may slow down and perform poorly if there are too many products in it.

Finally, make sure it will do everything you want it to do. Some merchants sell services and download-able items that don’t conform exactly to the order-product-ship-product flow. If your cart doesn’t support these features by default, there may be 3rd party add-ons that will provide this functionality. Miva Merchant is one such shopping cart with a very active 3rd party developer community providing a wide range of add-ons, or “modules” to extend the feature set of the original program. The merchant will have to buy these add-ons and have them installed on their own initiative, though, and the hosting company will not be able to support them.

Reliability and Support
Perhaps of greatest importance is reliability in your chosen host. Think in terms of a “brick and mortar” storefront. If someone locks the front door during business hours, then no customers can come in and nothing is sold. Similarly, if an online store is down at any hour, no customers can come in and nothing is sold. You want the most reliable hosting for such a mission-critical site. Never just take the word of a hosting company’s site in regards to their uptime. Do research and look for customer reviews of your prospective host. Online merchants should always be willing to pay more for a reliable hosting company with good uptime and support. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from free or “bargain basement” hosts, since support and uptime are usually the first things to suffer with this kind of hosting.

Conclusions
Finding the right ecommerce hosting company requires a few additional considerations. Decide on your products, your shopping cart, and then shop for your hosting company. You will need more space and transfer than an equivalent site, but start small with your product selection and you can still save money on your hosting. Find a shopping cart that’s easy for you to use and understand, as switching at a later date can result in downtime and a lot of work transferring your products. Finally, make sure your host has solid uptime, as an online store that’s down isn’t generating any sales.

Create Worry-Free Sales With Secure Shopping Cart Software

Succeeding in business can be a hassle and a headache without the right tools. This is especially true when dealing with ecommerce. Regardless of the market, service, or goods being offered, the one tool that is essential to the success of every online ecommerce business is a reliable ecommerce shopping cart.

The online shopping cart is your one stop container for placing and receiving orders online. A basic shopping cart will allow the customer to specify the quantity of the goods wanted, take the customer’s credit, billing, and shipping information, and actually allow the customer to place the order. However, a good shopping cart software solution will do all of this and so much more.

Many ecommerce shopping cart solutions offer customizable templates and design tools for your shopping cart and sometimes even your website. There are also several web hosting shopping cart solutions that will not only handle the order placement and transactions, but also handle the hosting needs of your website.

Other tools and features included in shopping cart software packages are affiliate system management programs, search engine optimization tools, and advanced shipping options. There are also several ecommerce providers that offer secure encrypted credit card processing along with other merchant account tools as a part of using their shopping cart solution for your ecommerce needs.

Almost all reputable shopping cart software providers also offer full telephone, email and live internet chat support in case any questions may arise after purchasing their service. All of this is done to allow you to focus on growing your online business. By automating the back-end of your website, you don’t have to worry about manually taking each order that comes in. Ecommerce shopping cart software handles all of this for you.

Make your online business profitable, secure, and reliable with an affordable shopping cart software solution. It is one of the best investments you can make in the operational aspect of your ecommerce venture.

Do It Yourself Website

If you are just starting out in your new business and you decide that a website could be a valuable addition to this business how do you go about getting one up and running? You have two basic options really. Do it yourself or employ an individual or company to do it for you. Which option you take depends upon your own confidence in acquiring the skills necessary and the amount of funds you can divert to hiring in a company. If you have sufficient funds then hire in a company as this will enable you to devout all your time to developing your core business. If you don’t then you will have to do it yourself. So how do you go about it?

You will require no or little knowledge of HTML as you can purchase a whole package from a web hosting company which should include some form of website developing software and your domain name plus the hosting of your website. Give some thought to your domain name. It should be easy for people to type in and remember. Not too long, succinct and preferably no hyphens. So you have chosen your domain name and your hosting service now you must develop your site. Again give some thought to this. How many pages you are likely to produce, how many links you will need. What sort of information is going on each page. If you are completely new to this then I would suggest that using your site editor software you produce a first draft and publish it. You can always modify everything later as you go along. This will give you your first website which you can then submit to the search engines albeit not exactly what you want or one that is going to attract visitors.

Now you need to do quite a lot of research on the internet as to how to make your site visitor friendly and search engine friendly. Here you will discover the importance of good content, changing content, appropriate keywords, backward links, article writing and good copy on the website. Taking this information on board will enable you to restructure and rewrite your site over a period of time, probably many times. However all the time this learning process is going on your site is actually published on the Web so is likely to start being trawled by search engines and getting indexed even if it doesn’t sky rocket through the rankings. The most important thing to do from the outset is to write good content that will be of interest to your visitors. If it holds the attention of your visitors and gets them to contact you then it will likely be of equal interest to the search engines. Do not produce a site that is written with the search engines in mind. It is your visitors who are important and by following a few simple rules that are published all over the Web your site can become very attractive to visitors and to search engines also. Keep the site textually based, there is no point in having very flashy graphics as these are not noticed by the search engines and often annoy visitors who want to get at the information they are after as quickly as possible and not have to wait for some animated introduction to finish before they can enter the actual site.

Having put into practice all the advice that is out there you should have put together a pleasing and appealing website that visitors and search engines like. Each day or week you add more content and develop more links and you will gradually climb up the rankings. The last piece of advice I would give is start writing and submitting articles. One or two a week would be excellent over a year or two. Once your articles start being published you will see an immediate leap in the number of links back to your site and a subsequent rise in the rankings if your content is also good. Aim to produce over time several hundred articles if possible. The more you write the more links back to your site you will develop and the more visitors you will get as well as boost your rankings in the search engines.

Dot com or dot net, which is the best domain name to settle for?

When seeking domain names most people get confused over whether to settle for a dot com address or a dot net one. More so in recent times when dot net addresses have risen in popularity and usage on the net.

There are a few important facts that one needs to realize before they opt for a dot net address. Quite often when people need to commit the address of a website to memory, they will not remember the dot net and the first place they will check is the given address with a dot com ending. Many times when they do not find it there, they will hardly ever think of using dot net to repeat the search. That is a lost visitor and maybe even potential client.

What is even more worrying is that there is increasing evidence to suggest that an increasing number of people end up at a website after hearing about it either from a friend or acquaintance, or by seeing an advertisement on Television or hearing about it on radio or reading something about the site. When committing the website address to memory very few will distinctly remember the dot net address if that is the domain name that you have chosen.

Having said that, let us also appreciate the fact it is becoming increasingly difficult for anybody to land a decent dot com address. After years of use, there is hardly any short catchy name that you can think of that will not have been already taken up. Do not even mention search-engine key word friendly domain names which will be virtually impossible to get. This is the reason why folks often settle for a dot net address. Others do not even bother to start their search with dot com domains. This is a big mistake despite the unavailability of good dot com domains, which we have already acknowledged.

Exhaustive efforts should be made to try and secure a dot com domain before you give up and move to dot net. For example you can try and search for abandoned domain names. In fact by making an effort to be really creative and not hurrying the process, it is quite possible to secure a reasonably good dot com domain. You can be sure that it will be well worth the extra effort and time you put into it which will result in better success when you begin to seek traffic. Of course if you just cannot get a dot com domain, a dot net one is a good second choice.

Register now to avoid disappointment

Any successfully business person will tell you that one of the keys to a successful business is to plan ahead. With all the work and planing that has to be done, it can be easy to overlook some of the smaller points. Registering domain names is not something that traditionally has a high priority when you’re planning the future of your business. It has however become more important to reserve your on-line real estate as soon as you possibly can.

There are two good reasons to register domain names now even if you have no immediate plans to develop a website.

Every single day thousands of domain names are registered by people all around the world. The effect this has on you is an ever shrinking pool of suitable domain names to choose from. It is likely that several other companies around the world share your business name so even that is not safe.

The second less obvious reason relates to a recent change in the way search engines decide what order web pages should appear in their results. Search engines have started to look at the age of the domain name and if it was only registered recently (within a year) the site will be penalized. The result of this is your new website will fail to appear for any of the competitive search results for a considerable amount of time.

A simple solution to both these problems is to sit down and spend some time brain storming what your domain name requirements for the next year or two are likely to be then register the domains now. With the low cost of domain name registrations you only have to make a very small investment to secure the on-line future of your business. Most domain registrars also provide a free holding page service so there is no need to have a website.

Remember to register domains relating your business name and area of business. You should also look at registering domain names for your products. If you’re going to be launching a new product or service then register a domain for it now.

Multiple Website Hosting – Subdomains are the Answer!

Many business owners find themselves in a quandary over the ways to make the most of their company’s web site. This is especially true of those who have the need to maintain more than one web site but do not wish to pay for multiple hosting accounts. If this is you, a sub-domain may be the answer.

Sub-domains are sort of a site within a site. They are not, however, simply additional pages of an existing web site. The sub-domain can have a web site all its own, completely separate from the site located at the main domain name.

To understand the use and purpose of sub-domains, it may be necessary to first understand the concept of an internet domain name. Every web site that is active on the internet (and there are literally billions of them now – it was estimated as long ago as 1996 that there were more web pages in existence than there were people on Earth) has a unique domain name. There can be only one Ebay dot com, for example, on the entire internet. The domain name, however, is really just a way for humans to relate to the site. Internet servers see web site names as unique I.P. addresses. It is the domain name server that translates those numbers into names and back again.

A sub-domain is simply an offshoot of your web site’s domain. In terms of the way it appears on the server, the sub-domain is simply a folder or a sub directory located within your domain’s root directory. Any sub directory can serve as a sub domain. For example, if your web site is “www.mycompany.com” and you store the images for your site in a directory called “images,” then you could, if you wished, create a sub-domain at “images.mycompany.com”. As long as you put an “index.html” page in the folder you should be able to pull it up in a web browser that way. In most cases you will create a new sub directory to be associated with a sub-domain and some web hosts do not support sub-domains on their servers or put a limit on the number of sub-domains you may associate with your site.

The benefits of using sub-domains as opposed to opening multiple hosting accounts are twofold. First, you get the obvious benefit of only having to pay for one hosting account. You also benefit from being able to have a completely separate web site, but one that your customers will easily recognize as being associated in some way with your business. Some companies will set up sub-domains for various divisions (xyz.com may also have sales.xyz.com or support.xyz.com) and some will use sub-domains for various businesses that are all offshoots of the same parent company.

That association could be a downside to using sub-domains as well. If you want to keep the relationship between your companies under wraps (like Disney tried so hard to do with Touchstone Pictures so many years ago), you may want to use multiple accounts rather than subdomains. The web address clandestineproducts.megamall.com would clearly betray that there was some connection between Clandestine Products and Megamall, whether you wanted that information to be known or not.

Internet Domain Registration – Establishing and Transferring Your Domain Name

If you’re in business, one of the most important things to you may be your ability to establish an internet presence. Operating some type of functional web site for your business helps your customers find you, can present additional marketing opportunities through e-commerce, and offers advertising opportunities that you can not get elsewhere. Companies that do not have a web site lose business to companies that do all the time.

Of course the real key to your web site is the internet domain registration. Everybody wants mybusiness.com – the problem is that domain names are unique and can be taken by anyone. If you don’t register your desired domain name right away, someone else could take it. The fact is that internet domain registration can turn into a sneaky competitive game. In many cases business owners have gone to register a domain name and found that it had been registered years before they every started the company by some group that is in the business of registering domains and then turning around and selling them for exorbitant rates.

A humorous story came from the 2005 municipal election in North Las Vegas, Nevada when one candidate realized that the incumbent mayor had not registered an internet domain name. The incumbent registered the mayor’s name dot com and as many variants of it that he could come up with, literally stealing the Mayor’s plans for a web site out from under him. The tactic didn’t win him the election, but the candidate managed to annoy the mayor quite a bit and still owns the internet domain registration names to this day.

The key to avoiding these sorts of problems lies in early registration of your desired domain name. If you find the one that you want (or a close variant of it), register it immediately. Even if you’re not prepared to set up a web site yet or won’t be for several years, register the domain right away anyway.

Registering a domain name before being ready to set up its web site will require the domain name being transferred to the servers of your desired host when you are ready to establish the site. Transferring the domain name once you have selected a web host is a very simple process, but does require you to establish the change with both the registration company and the new host. The new host will provide you with the server information that you, in turn, will need to provide to the company with whom you originally registered the domain. There may be a short waiting period (typically 24 to 72 hours) while both servers get the information updated. Once that process is complete, you’ll have your domain safely residing on your host’s servers and your site (as long as it’s been built) will be ready to go.

The internet domain registration and transfer for your business web site is a simple process and can be completed through automated online systems in most cases. Clearly the most important part of this process is the registration of the domain name and this should always be done as soon as possible, even if it is going to be years before you’re ready to get the actual web site up and running.

Domain Registration: How Many Extension Should You Register

When it comes to selection of a domain name, people are often inundated with several questions. One of the most important of them is which extension should I choose – dot-com or dot-net or dot-biz?

There are circumstances when you will think it is fit to register more than one extension. This article is aimed at helping you to make the right decision.

A common problem is that people usually type in .com all the time on net and land up on various other sites. This could be troublesome both for the business and the customer.

When you select a domain name, you are always given a list of different extensions to choose from. These extensions can help specify the type of products or services you are offering online or your geographical location.

To begin this article, I am giving some basic definitions of the extensions you can choose from:

* .com signifies “commercial”. It is the most well-known extension and preferred by all commercial enterprises. The acute scarcity of unforgettable .com domain names has led to creation of several other extensions.

* .net signifies “network”. It is generally used by internet service providers, web hosting companies, or other firms related to network or internet services.

* .org signifies “organization”. It is commonly used by non-commercial web sites. But, at present, many businesses register their matching .org extension to their .com domain names.

* .biz signifies “business”. It is used for business web sites. There are more chances of you getting this extension because of its low current penetration.

* .info signifies “information”. It is generally used for information sharing web sites. This too like .biz is gradually growing in popularity and there is more likelihood of you getting it.

Your first aim should be to get a perfect domain name for your business. Once you have done that you should then consider registering other extensions for the same domain name.

It is up to you to decide which extensions are most relevant for your business. It depends a lot on your customer base, range of products/services, and also your brand image.

You should always use domain forwarding service to redirect visitors from your other domains to your primary domain. This is quite essential since visitors may get confused about your web site address and may reach your competitor’s web site. For example, you domain name is home-appliances.net and your potential customers may reach home-appliances.com, which is your competitor.

Prevention is always better than cure. So, instead of buying a rival domain name from someone (at a high cost), it is always preferable to register that domain name yourself (at a low cost).

We find that name protection and greater coverage are the two key forces driving the need for registering more than one domain name. The accessibility of the site increases by registering more than one extension for a domain name.

There are other advantages of multiple domain name registration. It helps in creating a demand for similar domain names due to people realizing that so many domain names are available related to the primary one.

But some observers in the industry have a different viewpoint. They think that having more than one domain extension is very confusing for the visitors to these sites.

In conclusion, I would like to say that your primary target should be .com and thereafter, find out the relevant extensions for your business and try to register them also. I recommend you to register all relevant extensions so as to guarantee maximum coverage and minimum misguided competition.