Sunday, February 26, 2012

Which domain name termination is better?

With more and more generic top level and country specific domain name terminations to choose from, people will find useful to know which domain name termination is better for their business websites.

Is your business local or global?
In the first case you can consider to get a top level country specific domain name. In the second case .com is the best choice.

Advantages of a .com domain name
The dot com termination has permeated our culture. People are more likely to type in this termination when trying to reach a company's site.

Fees for a .com domain are generally lower, when compared to country specific domain names.

Disadvantages of a .com domain name
Your desired name is probably taken aswell as other short or meaningful names.

Advantages of a country specific domain name
Perfectly targets your country market. Easier to find your desired name.

Disadvantages of a country specific domain name
In average you will pay higher fees.

Tip for new online businesses
Build your brand and identity around your domain name. In the long term it will become one of your most valuable assets.

Managing content

Useful information for anyone interested into publishing and maintaining large amounts of information.

Separate content from presentation
Make sure your website is designed using separation of content from presentation techniques. Using the latest widely spread standards based techniques you can be sure your site will accomplish this.

Identify your content units
Are you planning to publish articles, reviews, listings, forum posts, blog posts, etc? Identifying what you are going to publish it will help you choose the best managing system for your content.

A dynamic website
A dynamic website is needed to manage large amounts of data.

Basically a dynamic website loads content from a database and merges this with a presentation layer commonly known as "theme" or "template". It also provides interfaces to create, modify and organize content.

An static website falls short when it comes to content management.

Structure your site
Use categories and subcategories to create your site's structure. This will help you to organize your site's content in a logical manner.

Finally you will need to choose the best Content Management System for your site. Each one has different features.

For example when I started this site it was an static website, a modified version of wordpress was used to output static pages from a database. Then I tested mambo on another site and considered using it but it didn't cover all my requirements. Finally I found drupal and its code cleanness, security and flexibility make me chose it.

Whenever you develop a dynamic website like a forum, community site, ecommerce site, etc. Security is something that you need to take into account. This holds true also for any kind of functionality that you add to your site using scripts.

Security holes
The same scripts that make things easier for you, are the ones who make your site open to security holes. Sometimes developers find them before a malicious user can exploit them, but often you know about them for the reports of hacked sites.

But the scripts are not the only ones responsible for security holes, the platform where you run them counts too, your operating system, http server, database server and your programming engine.

Steps to counteract security risks
Backup often. Depending on your site's activity and the importance of the data, you can make daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly backups.

Do not install scripts or complete web applications before searching for security reports about them. Always make sure you have the latest stable version available.

Once installed you will need to keep your scripts, web applications and running platform up to date. Install bug fixes, security fixes and version upgrades as soon as they become available.

Do not to modify a script without knowing the implications regarding security.

Am I Paranoid?
When I developed only static sites I didn't notice any real threat. But now that I only manage dynamic websites, with realtime reporting on site's activity, I realized the threat of having poorly security designed websites.

As recorded on my sites' logs people trying to exploit security holes are running bots using anonymous proxy servers to test sites for vulnerabilities. Because of the use of anonymous proxy servers they cannot be blocked by their IP addresses.

Some examples of the tests they run are:

Checking the existance of a variety of sending mail scripts.
Issuing known commands or queries to exploit security holes specific to some scripts and web applications.
Leaving automatic spam comments

.Choosing a Domain Name

Choose a good domain name for your website.

The best domain names are short, easy to remember, easy to communicate and easy to type.

Your domain name will be part of your branding strategy. A short name easy to remember, will help you on your marketing campaigns.

Easy to communicate
Choose a domain name easy to communicate. Test how difficult for other people will be to understand your prospect domain name.

Easy to remember

Relate your domain name with your company name, services or products to make it easy to remem

Business Website Checklist

Do you know what it takes to start a business website?

Structuring your site
Choosing a domain name
Choosing a hosting provider
Choosing a web designer
Adding content
Planning will help you set your goals. Try also to spot the pitfalls and the opportunities for your business idea.

Do some research to find out the feasibility of your project. You could also learn from others experiences, ask general questions in forums, talk with people, etc.

Website Structure
Start thinking about the structure of your website. What sections and features will be required and how content will be grouped and managed.

Choose your Domain Name
A domain name will be required for branding your business website. It will also help you to build credibility. You will be using it for marketing and promotion. Your company name should be your first choice, but if it's unavailable, try something related to your activity. Keep your domain name short, pronounceable and easy to communicate.

Choose a Web Designer
If you are serious about starting a business website, you will have to find a web designer. I'm assuming you don't have enough experience in web design. Concentrate your efforts defining required features and providing the roots of your site structure. Define your target market, and the services and products that will be available to them. This information will help your chosen web designer to make decisions about the appropriate backend for your project, your web hosting requirements, colors, graphics and fonts to use on your design.

Choose a Web Hosting Company
With the help of your web designer, you can find a good hosting company for your website. He will be able to guide you about your minimum requirements, based on the features he will need to implement your design. Remember that support and reliability is very important.

Adding Content
Once you have your site up, you will need to start adding content. If you have provided some initial content to your web designer, you can skip this step. A CMS can be very useful when it comes to add, edit, remove and organize content.

You will need to drive visitors to your site. You can submit your site to the most important directories and search engines like Yahoo, MSN, Google and DMOZ, fees for including your site can apply. Also you might need a budget, to buy advertising for branding purposes and to drive targeted visitors to your site.

It's very important to have your information up to date, so you will have to dedicate some time or assign a person or a group to maintain your website.

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