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Should I Buy Web Hosting with my Domain Name?

24. February 2010 18:39

Frequently asked question:

I've just bought a domain name for my business and was offered a good deal on web hosting, should I buy it?

Our answer:
Before we answer this question, it would help if we understood a bit more about what web hosting actually is.

Data Centre

Web hosting is essentially a leased space where you can upload your website and make it accessible to users on the Internet.

Websites are hosted in data centres which have very fast connections to the internet, they essentially consist of many special computers called servers.  These servers can host anything from one to many hundreds of websites each.  “Web servers” as they are known can use different operating systems too, much the same way as desktop computers can run Windows Vista or Apple OSX, they can also come preinstalled with many different types of software that you can use for your website.

As you can begin to see web hosting from one company isn't necessarily comparable to web hosting from another.  There are lots of factors you need to look at to compare one service to another, and as with computer software, some packages are not compatible with different servers.

As a general rule, we ask customers to avoid purchasing web hosting because the package you purchase might not be suitable for your website.  The CMS (Content Management System) might not be compatible, the server might have too many other websites running on it which may make your website slow to load.  There can also be hidden charges such as extra bandwidth bills if your website becomes really popular or you have videos or other large files on your site.

Picture used under Creative Commons from cbowns


Category: Domain Names

Determine Your Business's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

23. February 2010 18:38
  • Do you ever analyse your business?
  • Do you know what your business strengths and weaknesses are?
  • Do you know of any external threats to your business?
  • Do you assess potential opportunities for your business?

If you answered no to any of these questions you should consider performing SWOT analysis on your business.

What is SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis (Strength's, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is a method of assessing a business.

SWOT Analysis

By undertaking the SWOT process you'll have a better understanding of your business and your market place.

You'll discover what you do well, what you need to improve, whether there are potential opportunities you could take advantage of as well as potential external threats.

Start by using a grid with four columns, one each for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Objectively look at every aspect of your business and its products and services with your team, try to look at the big picture rather than concentrating on minutiae.  Encourage the team to analyse your business and categorise what you do into the four columns. 
Examples might include a poorly structured website, low ranking in search engines compared to your competitors and low profit margins.

Evaluate your strengths and compare them to your competitors.  Ask yourself whether there are improvements to be made.

Identify where expertise is lacking and what would be needed to fill the gap, also consider how you might turn your weaknesses around creating new opportunities.

Try to be totally honest and realistic. It sometimes helps to get an outsiders’ viewpoint on your business strengths and weaknesses.

Analyse the threats to your business.  Try to come up with a "what if" plan to deal with potential threats. This will mean you'll be able to react quicker should any of the threats become reality, since you would have already considered what you might do if such an outcome materialised.

Finally, try to learn from the outcome of your SWOT analysis, plan to build on your strengths, reduce your weaknesses and minimise the risks to your business.

Be proactive and plan to integrate SWOT analysis into your business strategy and perform it at regular intervals to react to changing business conditions.

Picture used under Creative Commons from jean-louis zimmermann


Category: Business Services