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Why create a website for your business

Bill Gates once said, “Computers are tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user”. This is what you can do with a website: shaping your own business.

And what is a business? It’s a trade, ruled by supply and offer laws: people look for goods or services and they search for them with today’s tools:

a website is an updated Yellow Page entry with more information and opportunities

Therefore, by having a website you will reach two main goals: giving a better quality of information to a larger number of customers and optimizing your business plans by controlling and scheduling your activities. A customer care service and a back office management.

Customer care service

If you build your own website you will provide your customers with any information:

  • You exist. You have a website and therefore (if it has the right content, like good reviews) you are reliable. When they find your website, you are giving them your business card. You are shaking their hands with conviction while wearing your best suit.
  • You tell them who you are, and that might fulfil their expectations. If they have been looking for specific information or goods, they want to find them as soon as possible, if your website will completely satisfy this need, the customers will be at your feet.
  • You showcase an offer with a 24/7 service. Having no days off, your website will be reachable any time from anywhere, ready to display its best. It will be a detailed, permanent and updated advertising.

Back office management

  • You will reach much more potential customers. If you will have a good ranking on the search engines, your business will definitely receive a boost. Having a good SEO service provider (Search Engine Optimisation) will quickly increase your visibility.
  • You will be able to collect customer information and to set accordingly more precise goals for your business. You will basically start to learn your client by tracking his behaviour and preferences.
  • You will save money. The advertising expenses will be considerably reduced: costs for new campaigns as well as updating maintenance will be avoided by a few clicks.
  • You will be at the same level as any company bigger than you. Availability on internet levels any budget difference. A neat, complete and updated website works better than an entire department.

What is the difference between a CMS and a website builder

You have decided to build a website for your own business or hobby. Unless you are confident with coding skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript…), there are two easier possibilities for beginners or semi-skilled users:

  • choosing a Website Builder like Wix or SiteBuilder
  • choosing a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress or Joomla

The very first difference between these two tools is the complexity: CMS require and offer a more composite management than website builders which are basically ready-to-use. In details, these are the main distinctive features of these platforms:

A CMS is the right choice if you want flexibility and advanced functionality. It will provide a large offer of plugins to customize your website according to any specific need, from a simple blog to an online store. But be careful if you are not enough proficient in content manamgement: you will have less customer support (you would need to look for users’ community chats) while dealing with a high module fragmentation. Furthermore, you will have to manually download, install and setup every single component of your perfect working machine.

A Website Builder is the option if you want to create a website easily and you do not want to get lost in too many technical details. It will offer a huge amount of predesigned templates (also called schemes) according to the business you have, while supporting your creative process with a strong and efficient team. You won’t need to download extra plugins and the interface will be elementary. On the other side, do not expect high flexibility or detailed customization.

In conclusion, imagine that you want to hang a nice picture on a wall. Depending on the time, the skills and the final effect, you will realize that

A CMS is like composing your own puzzle and enjoying his complexity.

A Website builder is like completing a coloring book and enjoying his simplicity.

What is a domain name?

The domain name is a section of the URL, the address of a unique page onto the Internet.

Imagine to organise a housewarming party and you want to invite your friends and relatives at your new address, Home sweet home, 42 National Road, Kinshasa, Congo, where “Home sweet home” is the name of your house.
Let’s now take the case of the webpage https://www.homesweethome.com/mainpage/rooms/room1. homesweethome.com is a domain name within an URL, an alphanumeric string which allows an internet user to access to a precise webpage. There is only one difference with the buildings naming: the Domain Name System (DNS), the authority which controls the domain names, makes sure that “homesweethome.com” is a unique address in the entire World Wide Web. You are basically the only owner of that domain name. Your friends and family can’t miss you!

How to choose a domain name?
Domain names have to be easy-to-remember words for business and communication purposes. Actually, they also have to be easy to write and spell, for the same reason. A social blog for movie fans will hardly be www.supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.co.uk. Much rather, www.ilovecinema.co.uk will easily reach more popularity. When looking for domain names availability, you can click on the link here which will redirect you to our domain search tool.

What is CDN – Content delivery networks?

What is CDN – Content delivery networks?

You wake up one day intending to buy a bottle of Bordeaux, the famous French wine, to celebrate an important anniversary. Wherever you live, you will certainly not drive to Bordeaux to get it, but you will go to the closest wine shop. The CDN is the network of the local stores which provide web content to millions of people. And like a bottle of wine, if the web content is available nearby, it will be faster delivered to the customer.

A CDN’s goal is, therefore, to minimize the physical distance between the user and the website content in order to reduce the latency, the time frame between the page loading request and its show on the screen. This happens thanks to multiple and geographically distributed PoPs (Points of Presence, the single local shops) which store part of the website’s main server content, especially the static one.

Let’s a make a simple example.

Your website sells T-shirts. You live and operate from Singapore but your website’s server is in the US. A customer from Germany is now reaching your website. The web content he will visualize can be of a different kind. All the static content (i.e. the heavy load, the content that never or rarely changes like navigation menu, main pictures, HTML pages, javascript files, videos…) will be sent from the local PoPs.; the dynamic content (i.e. anything that depends on the user’s interaction and subject to changes) will be sent directly from the server in the US. This procedure will shorten the loading time in two ways: the heavy content will be sent more fastly since it comes from a source closer to the customer and, at the same time, the main server will be lightened and able to process faster the remaining data.

CDN’s popularity is quickly spreading. Any time we go on the internet, we deal with their transparent presence: nowadays, in fact, more than 50% of the websites are using them, including Facebook, Netflix and Amazon.

Do I need a CDN?

Your website needs a Content Delivery Network if its web audience is located in many different countries. Without a CDN, the main server (called origin server) must respond to every single user interaction with the website. This would create a significant traffic to the origin and, therefore, loading times and chances for failures would be exponentially higher.

What is bandwidth in web hosting?

What is bandwidth in web hosting?

Imagine to plan a road trip around Europe. After deciding all the cities you will be visiting, you calculate how much will it take moving from one stage to another. For example, if you want to go from Nice to Marseille, it will make a big difference to choose the large highway or a narrower coastal road. Bandwidth is the width of the road you choose to drive on. The larger it is, the faster you will reach your goal. The larger bandwidth your web hosting has, the more comfortable your visitors will feel.

Bandwidth is therefore a capacity (and not a speed!), i.e. the maximum amount of data volume that can be transmitted from one point to another over a certain period of time – the second. Thus, the bandwidth is expressed in megabits per second (Mbps): as higher the Mbps is, the more data your internet connection can send and receive at the same time. For instance, if you are downloading a movie you will need more bandwidth than when loading a webpage with text only. If your company’s employees are simultaneously working on the same network, they will need a larger bandwidth too in order to read files, download pages, reading emails, etc etc. Finally, if you have a webshop, the more visitors you have in a single portion of time, the slower their interaction with your server will be. Unless you already calculated how much bandwidth you need according to your traffic. This is the most common way to do it:

Bandwidth needed in a month = Average Page Views * Average Page Size * Average Monthly Visitors * Redundant Factor

The average Redundant Factor is something between 1.3 and 1.8. The Average Page Size can be easily calculated on https://tools.pingdom.com/ .

Still finding some difficulties? No worries, the following page will do all this job for you:

http://www.calculator.net/bandwidth-calculator.html

What is a web address?

What is a web address?

On top of this page you can see a white space with a sequence of letters starting with “https://webspace.com.mt“. That is the web address of the page you are reading now or, using the formal name, its Uniform Resource Locator (URL). A URL is made of different parts: it is easy to look at it as a street address where the street name is the domain name (webspace.com.mt in this case) and the civic number is what comes afterwards and it is related to a page or part of it within the same website.

Let’s take an easy example.

https://webspace.com.mt/what-type-of-web-hosting-do-i-need/

  1. Regarding the first part, a URL always starts with a protocol prefix, like “http://” or “https://”. Lot of browers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer use the so-called Hyper Text Transfer Protocol to load web pages. The “s” in “https” means that the website is encrypted by a security code which prevents data stealing by hackers. To learn more about it, please visit our page address https://webspace.com.mt/ssl-certificates/
  2. After the protocol, the second part of the web address consists of the domain name, a string that identifies a unique authority within the internet. Webspace.com.mt is therefore representing an organization that chose this simple name to be easily recognized and memorized by internet users. More technically, the domain name is an alphabetical (and more recognizable) abstraction of a numerical label, the Internet Protocol address (IP address), which has been assigned to the webhost’s server by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). When your computer server communicate with webspace.com.mt’s one, they use these IP addresses made up of numbers and the Domain Name System (DNS), the authority which controls the domain names, translates the IP address into the related URL and the requested webpage appears on your screen through the browser you are using.
  3. The last part of the web address shows the position where a particular webpage is located on the server. Depending at which level of this path, webpages can be at the directory, folder or subfolders level following this order:
    www.domainname/directory/folder/subfolder1/subfolder2 etc. etc.
What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

WordPress is the most common website content management system (CMS). It can be used to create business websites, eCommerce webshops, blogs, forums, social networks and much more. To give an idea of its popularity, it is used by the 30 percent of the top 10 million websites (April 2018’s data) including Facebook, LinkedIn, eBay, New York Times, CNN and Microsoft.
But what does it make it so popular as compared to other CMS?

First of all, it is completely free since it is an Open Source Project: many volunteers from all around the world are constantly maintaining and improving the WordPress software. Moreover, it runs online and you do not need to install anything on your device (yes, even iPhones and Androids phones) since WordPress is installed directly on the web hosting server. Then, it is highly flexible and largely extensible thanks to thousands of themes and plugins.

And how does it work?

At the beginning of the internet era, websites were written in programming languages like HTML, PHP and CSS in order to allow a web browser to read these codes and render them in a text, image or page layout display. This process can nowadays be skipped by people who are not confident with programming codes by using a web creator tool like WordPress. He will do that job for you. As a consequence, you will deal with an easy interface which will offer you thousands of templates to choose from. These are well-known as themes and plugins (WordPress offers more than 2600 themes and 31000 plugins available for free). They are both architectural templates allowing, for example, to change the webpage layout without altering the text content or to add a function like a navigation bar.

Do you want to create your own website? WordPress is the right answer to give your website any look you want without having to learn programming codes.

What type of web hosting do I need?

What type of web hosting do I need?

The best answer is asking yourself a couple of questions:

  1. what kind of website do I want? Is it going to be a static website with information about your own company, a blog dedicated to your favourite hobby, a well on track webshop with lot of customers per day or a new business opportunity?
  2. How are my IT competencies? Am I a beginner, a proficient user or anything in between?

 

These two questions can guide you to different kind of services and related web hosting types. The following list is covering the most common options:

 

  • Shared hosting (for beginners/blogs/small businesses, economical solution)
  • Dedicated hosting (for proficient users/big websites/complex business, expensive solution)
  • VPS hosting (a mid way of the previous two, economical solution)
  • Managed hosting (for specific Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal)

 

Before introducing these four hosting services, just imagine to rent a holiday house and go through the different possibilities.

 

Shared hosting

With “shared hosting” you are going to share the holiday house with somebody chosen by the landlord. It is the budget option: you will pay 10/15 euros a month but you will depend on someone else’s behaviour. The webhoster will be putting one single server in share with up to 1k people and this might slow your website down in any time. Still it is a good choice for those who want to test a new activity, to have a blog or an information website at laughable prices.

This might be your first step in case of a start up activity: it will be easy to upgrate afterwards in case of a succesful business.

Dedicated hosting

If you have proficient IT competencies or an ongoing activity, the “dedicate hosting” will allow you to have one server at your complete disposal. You will rent your holiday house for yourself and your family only. This choice allows fully customized and flexible settings, faster performances and a higher level of security.

Dedicated hosting is therefore the most reliable service thanks to the exclusive relationship between the webhoster and the owner of the website.

VPS hosting

With a “Virtual Private Server Hosting” you will choose a flat inside a holiday condominium. Technically speaking, you will be sharing the same server with other 10-20 websites but the server itself will be divided into multiple “virtual” private servers. That means you will have a total administrative control over the VPS software (IT competencies will be required) without any of the hardware and maintenance costs that “dedicate hosting” requires. You will keep your costs down and still have freedom to customise your service.

This option is ideal for website owners with some IT knowelegde who want to low-cost advantages of a “shared hosting” service plus the flexibility of a dedicated one.

Managed hosting

Let’s say you want a holiday house for yourself but you don’t have enough knowledge of the surroundings: you should then go for a “managed hosting” service and the hosting provider will offer a day-to-day maintenance and support. It’s like having a camp counselor, if you need suggestions or run into trouble, you will ask his help and advice.

He might also lease you a Content Management System (CMS) like, for example, WordPress: this is one of the most common website platforms and it will help you out with an easy interface, detailed statistics and flexible templates ready to use

What is Magento?

What is Magento?

Magento is a feature-rich eCommerce CMS (Content Management System). If you will create an online store, then Magento is one of the best platforms to choose. Strictly speaking, Magento provides two distinct eCommerce platforms: Magento Community and Magento Enterprise.

1) Magento Community Edition

Magento Community is an e-commerce platform which is built on an open source software. This means that Magento is developed, maintained and updated in a collaborative public manner and it can be downloaded for free, used, changed and distributed for any purpose. Developers can implement the core files and add new plug-in modules which are available for free and on sale from other developers.

2) Magento Enterprise Edition

Based on Community Edition’s core, Magento Enterprise is a tested version developed by Magento’s team. Due to the greater features and functionality, as well as the technical support offered to users, Magento Enterprise has an annual fee (starting from $18,000 for the original version and $22,000 for Magento 2.0). This is an ideal solution for large businesses and companies which want 24/7 assistance.

What are Magento’s benefits?

First of all, Magento is a scalable platform, ready to grow and to be implemented according to your business’s improvement. Easy to download and customize, Magento offers a variety of plug-ins and layouts that can be integrated along with the growth of your catalogue and in order to enhance customers’ interaction. Furthermore, its shopping cart system supports a wide range of credit card processors and shipping services. A search engine optimization, accurate inventory, catalogue and client management, a multi-lingual and currency support, a multiple reports system combined with Google Analytics: these are, last but not least, a few of Magento’s main features.

Looking for Magento extensions?

Did you already download Magento? Are you ready for an advanced functionality? All you have to do is implementing your default version with any integration you need. On https://marketplace.magento.com/ you will certainly find the extensions to do the trick.

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

Although there is sometimes a fine line between a blog and a website, it is possible to define two opposite and permanent features which show their macro differences:

1) Interaction vs Static

A blog (Web log= Blog) has a double interaction: the content refreshment and the visitors interaction. While the author offers a costant update of the chosen topic – which is very often highly defined (health & fitness after 50s, travels on a budget, quick recipies back from work, etc.) – visitors are encouraged to leave comments behind and to subscribe to the newsletter in order to keep themselves updated with their favourite subject. The articles on the blog (posts) are shown on the webpage in a reverse-chronological (latest to oldest) order. Visitors comments are listed below the related post (in a reverse-chronological order too) and they are sometimes visible for the subscribers only. A regularly updated content is example of a thriving blog.

A website is a collection of several and related web pages, usually indexed in a mainpage. The major content of a website remains generally the same and any interaction with visitors is mainly isolated to an internal page of the website (sometimes a blog, sometimes a contact page with a form to fill up) which shares the same domain name. Websites are updated from time to time due to business changes, layout improvements, general information updates, company’s terms etc.

2) Simplicity vs Complexity

As a consequence of the first point, a blog offers a simple navigation: a single page with posts in reverse-chronological order and an archive section that lists the posts in categories and sub-categories (date, author, subject, tags). On the contrary, the main aim of a website is the browsing of the different pages, which might include an online store, multimedia material or external links to sponsors. Even the language used is a reflection of this main difference: a blog is much more unformally written than a website.

As a summary, comparing these online medias with the old ones:

A blog is a modern newspaper. it writes about specific topics sharing a common point of view with interacting visitors instead of passive readers.

A website is a tv channel: it prepares you for a show and tell, making sure you will not get bored and start zapping somewhere else.