|Design ~ Hosting ~ Promotion|
Get On The Web!
It's fast, easy and inexpensive with Dot Image Web Solutions
Do you have a business? Then you NEED to be on the web. Your competitors are!
We offer a range of cost effective web site solutions to fit your budget
Visit our links to learn more about creating your online web presence. Read our Knowledge Base to educate yourself on some of the finer points. Review our very competitive design and hosting pricing.
Then contact us for a quote by visiting our Contact page.
Web conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP) are two hot technologies currently. We are actively investigating current and anticipated offerings of internet telephony solutions and video conferencing/voice conferencing products in order to bring our customers the most cost effective solutions.
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Supported by articles by Mark George
|Domain Name||We you see a web address like www.yourcompany.com the Domain Name is the yourcompany part of the web address. Similarly, when you see an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, again yourcompany is the domain name. By the way, the overall web address is also known as a URL, Uniform Resource Locator.|
|Domain Name Selection||Domain name selection is probably the most important decision you can make when it comes to building an online presence. It must be easy to remember and convey something about what your business does so that people can find you easily on the web. Unfortunately, most great domain names have already been taken. All 3 letter/number combinations were taken long ago. All the obvious domain names like loans.com, cars.com, realestate.com, etc. are also long since taken. So you will need to be creative in selecting a domain name. With our help we will find one that is available that will serve you well. Once you have found one you like register it without delay, or someone else will!|
|Domain Registration||All domains are registered to establish ownership and give you exclusive rights to their use. Previously the only company that could register domains was Network Solutions. That has since changed but the process is the same. For a fee, usually about $70, you gain ownership of the domain for 2 years, then $35 per year after that. By registering through a hosting company such as Dot Image (more later on Hosting) it is usually possible to get a small discount. Although most good domain names have been taken there are still some left. And there is no limitation on how many you can register. You can register a .com, .net, or .org domain name; there are no restrictions. A good strategy is to register multiple domain names so that you can capture .com and .net traffic, and your competitors cannot take advantage of misspellings of your domain name. Conversely, you can register domain names to pick off traffic intended for a competitor.|
|Hosting||Once you have selected one or more domain names you must "host" your site. A "host" is a physical computer on which all the data and files for your web site are stored. That computer is connected to the internet through high-speed connections. The computer responds to requests from web surfers all over the world by sending your web pages over the internet to their computer for display. A hosting company has a large pool of computers that they maintain and sell space on for many web site owners. This is what makes web sites so affordable today. Selecting a good hosting company is very important. Your web site must always be available and it must respond quickly when users visit it. If the web hosting company has problems with their computers or internet connections your site may be down or slow, which means you lose customers. We use high availability servers connected to the internet via multiply redundant broadband connections. By utilizing shared servers we can offer this high availability and feature rich hosting environment at a very low price. Low cost web hosting is our specialty.|
|Place-holder Page||After your domain is registered and hosted we will install a Place-holder Page. This is a very simple text-only page that gives you an immediate web presence while we work on your web site design. It is important to install the Place-holder Page right away and submit your URL to the search engines. More about search engines later, but for now you should know that you must get "indexed" by the search engines and it can take up to several months for that to happen. So we "submit" right away. Even though the Place-holder Page is simple looking and lacks graphics it will have the elements that are critical to be indexed by the search engines, namely Meta Tags (more later on Meta Tags).|
|Website Design||Now that you are on the web, with global reach (amazing, isn't it!), it is time to design your web site. If you are an experienced surfer you have no doubt seen some spectacular web sites. The sky is the limit, or rather, your budget is the limit, on how fancy you want to make your site. Extensive graphics and interactive features make a site complex and development time is lengthy. If you want a full-blown e-commerce site that accepts real-time orders and credit card processing you should expect to spend thousands of dollars, or hundreds of hours of your own time if you are so inclined. However, a clean, sharp, well-designed site that projects a professional image and gives you enormous exposure is inexpensive. We will discuss the options and features in our consultation meeting and select a site design concept that best fits your needs.|
|Home Page||The first thing a visitor sees when entering your site is the Home Page. Sometimes this page is referred to as a "splash" page because itshould "make a splash" and compel the visitor to stay a while. It must convey your message, and quickly, or the visitor moves on. We work with you to make the biggest splash with your page.|
|Email Configuration||When we host your web site we establish a group of email addresses for the site. There will be at least one main email address and several email "aliases". An email alias is an email address that automatically forwards any email it receives to another address. This allows us to configure an address such as email@example.com to automatically forward to your personal email address or to the email address of your sales manager, for example.|
|Active Elements||Beyond the graphics and links of a basic web page there are additional features that can be added to make your site very eye catching. This is where Active Elements come in. If you surf the web at all you have seen them. Things like animated graphics, hover buttons, marques, etc. Use of Active Elements helps make your site easy to use and entertaining.|
|Scripting||The general term for writing programs that are used to add interactivity, help visitors fill out forms, check form fields for errors, or even add some animation effects to web sites. Scripting is what goes on behind the scenes when a website is able to do things like take input from a visitor, send email, process credit card payments, add up the price of items in a shopping cart, and almost anything else you might want to do. It takes considerable expertise and time to implement these features. But your website will sizzle and stand out from the rest when you add the kind of interactivity scripting enables.|
|Promotion||With your web site up and running the new customers will start swarming in, right? Not yet; they first have to find your web site. And with so many sites on the web now (more than 100 million) it isn't so easy to be found. So you must promote your site. Traditional advertising like print and radio are great ways, but expensive. However, if you are using traditional methods you should be sure to mention your site's URL so customers can visit and learn more about your business. The Promotions we offer are internet based activities designed to get your site known and drive potential customers to your site. Most important is to be listed in the Search Engines (more later about Search Engines). And then to be "ranked" high in the search engines. There are a quite a number of important steps required to make this happen and some details follow. There are also Link Exchange activities that help people find your site by having other sites link to yours. Email and newsgroups are also internet-based methods for promoting your site. All are described in detail below.|
|Search Engines||Your first stop when you want to find something on the web, search engines are large indexes of many, but nowhere near all, of the web sites on the World Wide Web. It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that your site be listed in at least the top 10 search engines. There are many search engines, well over 300, and most operate in one of two ways. True search engines like HotBot, AltaVista and others create a database of websites along with some information about the sites, most of which they get from "Meta Tags" (described below). They build this database by "indexing" or "crawling" or "spidering" web sites that have been "submitted" to them. When a user visits the search engine and enters a search phrase the search engine tries to find the best match between the search phrase and the characteristics of the sites in the database. They all do it differently, and the exact way they do it is kept a secret so site owners cannot easily achieve high Ranking (described below). The other type of search engine is really a catalog or directory. Yahoo, Lycos, AOL and some others are in this category. You must submit your site to these catalogs and upon review your site MAY be listed. Lead time is very long for many of the search engines, from several weeks to several months or more before your site will be indexed and listed. To make matters worse, they sometimes experience problems that result in your site being dropped. Hence, vigilance and periodic review is important to remain in the search engines and maintain or improve your ranking. Other so-called search engines like Google and Mamma are really meta search engines, meaning they don't created their own databases but instead they search other search engines. A recent development in the last year or so is that the major search engines now require a fee to be listed, or even to be considered for listing. The fees range from $49 to $199 and sometimes more. Whether you want to spend this kind of money really depends on your budget and the return on your investment you expect to receive.|
|Search Engine Ranking||Users visit a search engine, type in a search phrase, click on the search button, and are presented with a message something like "1,367,988 sites were found, 1 through 10 displayed". Then the user scans through the first 10, clicks "Next" and scans the next 10, and MAYBE clicks through to a couple more pages before getting bored and moving on. Your site better "rank" in at least the top 50, preferably in the top 20, or it will rarely be noticed in the search engine results. Rank is based on the relevance of the search phrase and the information that was extracted about your site by the search engine, plus some other things. Things like the title of your site, content of the meta tags, and word count in the text of your site are all part of the top secret formulas used by the search engines. It is a very competitive and time consuming business to achieve good ranking, requiring up to date knowledge of search engine technology. Dot Image achieved an amazing #1 ranking for Asian Sweetheart Network on Yahoo through an extensive promotion campaign. While results like this cannot be guaranteed we know how to get good results.|
|Meta Tags||There is lots of hidden information in a web page that is critical to getting your site indexed properly in the search engines and achieving good ranking. Things called "meta tags" tell the search engines about your site and help the search engines display a summary of your site when someone searches the web for a particular subject. Meta tag generation is an important service that we offer. Generation of the initial set of meta tags is free. Additional meta tag "tuning" activities carry a fee. By periodically reviewing your web site's rankings in the search engines and comparing your site's meta tags with those of your competitors, we can tune them to achieve high ranking on key search phrases.|
|Link Exchange||A valuable way to drive more traffic to your site is through a targeted link exchange program. This involves finding other sites that are compatible or synergistic with yours and persuading the site owner to place a link on their site that points to your site. In return you link back to their site. In some cases competitors will actually link to one another. Links to and from your site are logged and analysis of the effectiveness of link partners is assessed. This is a high payoff activity but requires substantial effort to develop a successful program. Another related effect of this activity is improvement of "link popularity". Search engines rate your site "popularity" by counting the number of other sites linking to yours. Through a link exchange program, as well as some other techniques we employ, we can improve your site's popularity and improve its rankings in the search engines.|
|Email Campaign||Similar to a direct mail campaign, but faster, with much greater reach, and far cheaper, an email campaign is a highly effective way to improve business if it is done correctly. With the current backlash against bulk mailers and "spammers" it is important that unwanted mass mailings are avoided. Instead, targeted mailings to individuals who are likely interested is key. Creating an email list of these potential customers requires significant time and some innovative research techniques. The payoff can be substantial.|
|Site Maintenance||Once your site is up and running there are several items that require maintenance. You will most likely need to update the site content on occasion. You will want to review site statistics to see how many people are visiting your site, what they are doing once there, and how they are finding you. And you may want to modify your email preferences or add new email addresses.|
|Site Updates||Periodically you may want to change the content or format of your web pages, your email aliases, logging options, permissions or security settings. We perform these maintenance items as part of the Maintenance services. Minor content or format changes are included. More extensive changes are handled as Custom Site Design Service.|
|Site Statistics||A variety of statistics are available to be logged for your site. Number of visitors, amount of data transferred, and the location from which the visitor came to your site are among the items that can be logged. These statistics are valuable for determining which promotion campaigns are most effective and what features of your website are of greatest interest to visitors. The frequency and detail of the report depends on the maintenance package you select|
|Web Conferencing||Web conferencing is a hot technology now. Through use of new and emerging VoIP and broadband technologies you can now efficiently manage a global operation almost as if it was all under one roof. We are constanty evaluating and implementing web-based conferencing solutions.|
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