Five Goals to Strive for with Every Site You Design

Five Goals to Strive for with Every Site You Design

Goals are important to have in life. They are especially important for website design, because without any goals, you have nothing to shoot for in the end and nothing to measure your success by. Goals help designers focus on the important things and not lose sight of what you want in the end; goals are what help designers deliver outstanding sites every time.

The results at the end of the site design process are usually pretty much the same with every project; I end up with a site design and I hand it off to the client. In the beginning, I have an idea of what I want to do and what the client needs, and I know I want to strive for an awesome deliverable in the end. The steps in between follow roughly the same path, however each site design is vastly different in style and character needing some different steps to achieve the proposed outcome. Sometimes I feel the need to sketch and other times I jump right on my computer. Even though the process may be different each time, it’s important to have goals with every site, whether you write them down or keep them in the back of your mind while you design. I’ve compiled a list of 5 goals that are important to think about each time you start a site design.

1. Strive for a design that’s user-friendly and beautiful.
A great user-interface is often sacrificed for a wonderful design, but both are equally important and should go hand in hand. A well-designed site helps users travel through your site with ease. Items are where users expect them to be. If they’re in unusual places, they need to make sense and the site design needs to direct users where to go. The navigation is best near the top of the page not because that’s where it looks best, but because users don’t often know to scroll down to find it. If you expect users to scroll to find the navigation, give them a reason to scroll like some movement in the design that directs their eye downward and they’ll find it more easily.

2. Create a site that targets the appropriate audience.
I’ve seen many gorgeous sites that just don’t fit the target audience. A retro site with funky colors may look great for a design studio or a music producer, and your client may love the look, but it doesn’t fit a law office with a professional, corporate clientele. Your client can give you good insight on their particular audience, who they target and what customers they reach the most. Do your research and see what other similar companies are doing. You don’t have to do the same thing, but the feel your site gives to its users should be similar.

3. Design a user-interface that flows freely, allowing users to navigate easily and find what they need quickly and efficiently.
A good navigation is key for a top notch site. A sitemap done beforehand helps determine where pages should go and what items should be placed together. Many sites often have too large of a navigation because they didn’t plan where information would fit best. You need to minimize the amount of space and maximize the amount of pertinent information. Not everything belongs on a company’s website because not everyone is going to have the patience to read it. Streamline the navigation, determine what’s important and throw away the rest.

4. Give the client what they want plus what they need.
As many designers know, the client usually thinks they know best. They do know their company better than you (in most cases!) so do take their advice on their industry, listen to what they say about their audience and the products they are selling. However, they may not know how to organize the information in the most practical manner, and they may not realize the characteristics of web users. Educate your clients on items that are important for them to know and help them understand why they don’t need certain things that may seem cool, like a 5 minute flashy intro to their site.

5. Increase the site functionality with additional code.
A simple website can be made into a great website with the addition of some fancy features with the use of javascript or php. Users will enjoy the extra added feature and it gives designers a chance to try out a new tutorial. There are so many skills out there to learn and add to your repertoire, why not aim to stretch your design legs and try something new with each site? Try a new jquery tutorial or add a fun php script. There are tons of new things to learn every time you sit down to design a site. If you could learn just one new thing with every site, think of where you could be in one years time.

Goals are definitely an important part of being a designer and moving forward with your design and coding skills. You can’t hope to increase your skills and dazzle your clients if you don’t aim for something. Think of what you want to accomplish when you start a new site and aim not for perfection but for a great site design, each and every time.

Why Your Website Marketing Relies On The Right Web Host

Why Your Website Marketing Relies On The Right Web Host

There are many reasons to create a website for your business, but one of the main ones is for marketing purposes. A website can quickly increase brand awareness, help new customers find you, showcase what the business can do for them, why they should choose you, and often even help to draw the attention of the press or potential investors.

When it’s time for you to create your first, or next, website, there are many decisions to make, from the design and functionality, to the content provided and the search engine optimization work involved. However, one area that marketing managers shouldn’t forget to concentrate on is the actual hosting of the site.

Luckily though, if you ask some smart questions up front, do your research, and find out the pertinent information from each company, and you can avoid getting stuck with horrific hosting that has high fees and poor service. Before you sign on the dotted line for any website hosting plan, make sure you ask the following questions.

The right Web hosting plan is important when it comes to getting good traffic and lots of conversions. You don’t want to end up with a provider that slows down your site, constantly drops out, and that doesn’t provide scalability as the website gains popularity. It can be tricky deciding who to go with though. There are so many business Web hosting options to choose from, and it can be hard to know how to properly compare apples with apples.
What Is the Uptime And Security Guarantee?

One of the most important things when it comes to choosing a website host is finding out what their uptime guarantee is. The last thing you ever want is customers experiencing an error message or a blank screen when they come to visit your site, so make sure you only ever choose a provider with an uptime guarantee of at least 99 percent.

Similarly, you also want a host that is reliable in the area of security. With cybercrime a huge issue for businesses around the world, it’s important to make sure that your website is secure from all angles. Not only your company data, but also that of your customers (such as credit card numbers, passwords, email addresses, and the like) needs to be protected from hackers, as does the actual site so that it doesn’t easily crash and end up offline.

Look for a Web host that has things such as Sitelock (which detects and fixes malware and other system vulnerabilities) and domain privacy, which helps to prevent phishing attacks as well as identity theft.

Will Site Content Automatically Be Backed Up?

It always pays to have your site automatically backed up by your web hosting service, but this isn’t something that every company provides, so make sure you check with a provider before you sign up. You might accidently delete a bunch of information on your website at some stage, or face a hacking issue, so you need to know that all of your important data is backed up somewhere.

While this is something you can do yourself, it is much easier if the process is automatically handled, on a daily basis by your Web host instead. Find out what your potential host’s disaster recovery plan is so that you know you’re covered.

Is The Plan Scalable?

Another element to consider when shopping for a hosting service is whether the company can scale with you as your business grows. You should only ever choose a hosting provider that has different levels of service on offer so that you can upgrade over time if you need to.

As well, it pays to find a host that lets you change plans without charging exit fees or contract cancellation costs. Many good Web hosting companies have a variety of tiers that you can choose from on a month-to-month basis, and which let you change up or down according to your needs. This helps if you have a sudden spike in traffic and need more bandwidth, as you don’t want to have to pay an arm and a leg for additional usage costs on your current plan.

What Support Do They Provide?

Another question you should always ask a hosting provider is if they provide free support, 24 hours a day, and if so, would you get to speak to a local expert? There’s nothing worse than having an issue with your site when you’re just sent out an email newsletter, had an ad run, or some other big sales or marketing tactic that is driving people to your site, only to have it crash. You need to be able to talk to someone in a hurry to get any problems sorted out, no matter the time of day or night.

web hosting companies in uganda

web hosting companies in uganda

Web Hosting Companies in Uganda

The list of web hosting companies in Uganda keeps growing with each day that comes. Still many Ugandans keep asking which web hosting company should i choose? How do we decide if a web host is good? Do bandwidth and disk storage features still matter these days? Which type of hosting service should you go with? Hostaculous will help you answer some of these very important questions and guide you in which web hosting service will suite you best.

Know Your Hosting Needs

You can never get the right web host without knowing what you need. So before you go any further – put everything aside (including this guide you are reading) and think thoroughly on your own needs.

  • What kind of website are you building?
  • Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, for example)?
  • Do you need Windows applications?
  • Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP)?
  • Does your website need special software?
  • How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?

These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.

Have a quick picture of what you want to do with your website now. Figure what happens next for the next 12 months.

If you are totally new…

For newbies, the no-brainer rule is to always start small with a good shared hosting account.

A shared hosting account is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new sites. Plus, you can always upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting in the later stage when your site grows bigger.

Server Reliability / Uptime Scores

Nothing is more important than having a 24×7 operating web host. You need a web host is operating on a powerful server and stable network connections. 99.5% and above is the recommended uptime score; anything below 99% is unacceptable.

Cron Jobs, Auto Script Installer, .Htaccess, And SSI

web hosting companies in uganda web hosting and domain registration services in uganda

I am always surprise that some web hosts out there still do not offer these basic hosting features nowadays. You need Cron for day-in-day-out operations, Auto Script Installer (like Fantastico, Simple Scripts, Quick Installer, Softaculous, Installatron, and so on) for easy web apps installations and updates, .htaccess access for security/page redirects/etc purposes, Server Side Include (SSI) for easier site maintenance (especially when you are building a static site), and FTP access for easy file transfer.

Unless you are signing up on a specialty web host like WP Engine and Pressidium, else these basic features are must-have. You SHOULD NOT settle with hosting providers that do not supply them.

Ignore Disk Space and Data Transfer Capacity (for now)

Disk space and data transfers are hardly a meaningful comparison factor for shoppers – especially if you are new – these days.

One, if you check, almost all shared hosting providers are offering “unlimited” storage and data transfers. While the term “unlimited” is nothing but a marketing gimmick; web hosting users get more than enough capacity in storage and data transfer. (In most cases, it is RAM and processor power that limit the usage of an unlimited hosting account.)

Two, if you think about it, disk storage and bandwidth hardly matter to an average website owners these days. Images can be stored on Flickr; files and documents on Google Doc, videos on YouTube and Vimeo, large data files on cloud storage.

So in conclusion – you don’t need to care that much on your hosting storage or bandwidth for now.

 E-Commerce Features

  • Are you running an e-commerce website?
  • Are you using any specific shopping cart software?
  • Do you need to process business transactions on your website?
  • Do you need special technical support (ie. PrestaShop guide, or so on)?

If yes, then it is important for you to pick a web host with sufficient e-commerce features support. SSL certification, dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation are some of the essential features/supports you will need.

An Easy-To-Use Hosting Control Panel

A user-friendly and functional hosting control panel is very, very important.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a cPanel or a Plesk or a third party control panels– we are okay as long as it is user-friendly and come with all the necessary functions. Without an adequate control panel, you will be left at the mercy of the hosting tech support staff – even if all you need is some basic server changes.

Site Backup

There are times when a site crashes. Perhaps a hacker got into your WordPress blog and replaced your index.php file, or your entire database got nuked, or the server had a severe hard disk failure.

If your web host does site backups regularly then there is nothing to worry about when these incidents happen. Your hosting provider should be able to restore back your full (or at least, a big chunk of) site in no time.

On backups, here are a few key questions to ask your web host:

  • Does your web host provide full backups regularly?
  • Can site backup be done easily via the control panel?
  • Can you create auto backup your site easily via cron job or other program?
  • Can you restore your backup files by yourself easily (so you don’t have to wait for the support staffs to do it for you during disaster time)?

 24/7 Live Chat Support?

Personally I prefer live chat over phone and I prefer web hosting company with comprehensive documentation (so I can just read and solve the problems myself).

But it’s just me. You might prefer email or telephone support instead.

What we want is someone who can throw us the life saving rope instantly when we press the S.O.S button.

web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in uganda,web hosting companies in ugandaweb hosting companies in ugandaweb hosting companies in uganda web hosting and domain registration services in uganda

Why you need a website

Why you need a website

A website will expose you to a larger number of potential customers and increase the size of your target audience.
The people who visit your website are already interested in what you have to offer because they have reached it through searching the internet by content and location. Therefore, your business promotion is more effectively targeted.

Internet Purchases Increasing in Popularity
Researching and purchasing products and services on the internet is becoming increasingly popular. Customers can browse businesses at any time of day and night in the comfort of their own home. They don’t have to run all over town and there are no pushy salesmen, no parking hassles and they don’t have to worry about the kids. A website puts the customer in control of the purchasing process and as a result, shopping on the web is becoming evermore convenient and popular.

Get Customers Early
For many people, a purchasing decision starts with research on the web. They often make their choice long before ever entering a store or making the first phone call. Having a website will mean that you are part of their selection process from their very first step.

Promote Yourself Continuously
For the small initial cost and effort of establishing a website, customers have access 24/7. They can read about you and your work when and where it is convenient for them – often, long after you have finished for the day. With an informative website, you can effectively communicate with potential customers all day and all night.

Win Customer Confidence
By providing appropriate content on your website, you can answer visitor queries and provide valuable information that goes beyond mere marketing. Potential customers value this service and can see that your business is knowledgeable and professional.

Inexpensive
As a form of advertising and marketing, a website is cost-effective and great value. Compare the cost with other forms of advertising, such as printed media, Yellow Pages, or radio and television.

More Information
A website does not limit the volume of content you can present. Other promotional media like print, radio and television, charge you by the word or second. A website allows you to fully explain and display who you are and what you do. You can tell potential customers about your work, qualifications, existing clients, completed projects – in fact just about anything that will benefit your purpose.

Dynamic
A website is a dynamic, easily updateable resource through which you present information to your visitors. Unlike other forms of marketing that are either static, or difficult and expensive to change, a website is easily updated.

Increase Customer Interaction
Visitors can contact you via e-mail directly from your site. You can also have online forms that allow visitors to request more information, provide feedback or place an order.

Increase Your Profile
Customers will perceive you as more professional, dynamic, modern and better able to meet their needs. Can you imagine companies like QANTAS, ColesMyer, BHP or ANZ not having a website? How will potential customers perceive you if your competitors have websites and you don’t?

Measurable Success
You can analyse the comprehensive statistics reports provided by your website to see how many people are visiting, what pages they are viewing and how long they are spending on your site.
REMEMBER – YOUR BUSINESS NEVER CLOSES ON THE INTERNET

Meaning of web hosting

Meaning of web hosting

When you design a website and you want to get it on the web for the entire world to see, you need a web hosting service. A web hosting service provides a medium that lets a personal website as well as a business website to be accessible on the web. The web hosting companies give the webmaster a space on their server which allows an internet connection. These servers are located in something called data centers. Or when web hosting companies do not own the servers then the servers are stored at a co-location.

There are hundreds and hundreds of web hosting companies out there today. With billions of websites already on the web, the companies are now a dime a dozen. There are many different types of web hosting plans out there. If you want to host a simple web page or a hundred page website, there is something for everyone.

If you have a basic webpage, there is very little processing when you are dealing with only one web page. But when you are hosting a larger site, it becomes more difficult to choose a plan. Some of the plans that web hosting companies offer are Free Web Hosting, Shared Web Hosting, Virtual Web Hosting and Dedicated Hosting Services.

Linux vs Windows hosting (which is better)?

Linux vs Windows hosting (which is better)?

Linux vs Windows hosting

If you’ve already decided you need a hosting account, you might get slipped up when you get asked, “Linux or Windows?” Fortunately, there isn’t a big difference between them and either type of account works for most customers.

To make sure you do get the right type of account, though, you should choose the type of hosting account you want based on how you’re building your site.

Development Tool Linux Windows
WordPress® or other Web apps
Dreamweaver or other WYSIWYG apps
PHP, MySQL, CGI, Python, or Perl
ASP, ASP.NET, MS SQL
ASP, ASP.NET and PHP, MySQL
I have no idea what any of this means

It’s important to note that these are just our recommendations. Windows accounts will actually support most of these development tools but Linux hosting best fits most customers hosting needs.

In order to decide whether to go for Linux or Microsoft hosting you will have to identify what your website will need supported.

If you need to support Microsoft products such as ASP.net, ASP, MS Access, Microsoft SQL Server or VBScript, then Windows hosting would be better.

Linux is generally a more popular option because of its affordability, stability and many features. Linux supports PHP, Perl, mySQL, PostgreSQL and CGI Scripts.

Both Linux and Windows servers are reliable, stable and secure. Generally, however, more viruses are written to attack Windows servers than Linux servers. If you need to host on a Windows Server ensure that your web hosting company continually upgrades their Windows and Linux servers with the latest fixes and patches available.

Two points to note:

First, just because you use Microsoft Windows on your computer does NOT mean that you need to host on a Windows hosting package. Windows for your home computer is completely different from a Windows server.

Secondly, even if you use Microsoft FrontPage or FrontPage extensions to design your website, you can still use either Linux or Windows hosting as long as your chosen package supports FrontPage.

What is web hosting?

What is web hosting?

Here are some points to help you understand just what web hosting is and how it works:

1. The reason to sign up for Web Hosting is to give your website a place to live for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Your website has to be housed on a computer somewhere that is always connected to the Internet. This computer on which your website will live is called a Web Server and is owned by your web hosting company.

2. Web hosting is in essence a subscription service. 

In order to continually make sure that your website has a place to live you will have to pay recurring amounts: either monthly or yearly.

3. Some big websites — such as Google and Ebay — do their own web hosting. This is the exception rather than the rule.

It is usually the best bet to let another organisation do the hosting for your site. Here are some of the reasons why:

» Uptime. If your website goes down in the middle of the night for any reason someone else takes care of the problem for you. Generally you won’t even know that the site was down. With most web hosting companies your site will have at least 98% or better uptime.

» Salary Expense. In order to make sure that the computer your site is on is running smoothly at all times you will have to hire a full time employee called a Systems Administrator. When you use a web hosting company then the cost of the skills are spread across all their clients.

» Security. There are hackers out there who enjoy causing havoc. A web hosting company will generally have experience in ensuring their client’s websites are as secure as possible.

4. The specific computer on which your website lives is called a web server. 

Generally speaking, if the web server that your website is hosted on goes down, your website goes down.

5. A web server typically hosts many websites.

Just because your website is stored on a computer does not mean it is the only one on the web server. Generally their are many websites on one web server to produce economies of scale which enable you to get affordable web hosting.

6. An established web hosting company will generally own many web servers which in turn host many websites. 

Each web server the hosting company owns will typically host hundreds of individual websites and domain names.

7. Across the world there are many more websites than there are web servers because it is possible to host thousands of small websites on one web server. 

8. If you sign up with a web hosting company, your website will be assigned to one of their web servers.

9. Your domain name will be assigned to one of their name servers.

A name server is a computer which will connect your domain name (http://www.YourDomain.co.ug) to the web server where your website lives.

10. Your name server and a web server work together to get visitors from all over the world to your website. 

This is how it works:

Your visitor types your domain name in his browser. Based on information provided by your hosting company’s name server, your website is found to live on the specific web server where it was originally assigned to by your web hosting company.

A single page of your website is sent to the visitor’s browser by the web server.

The process repeats when your visitor goes to the next page of your website.