Building Your Web Presence: Services

In this tutorial we're going to take a look at the services you will need to build your web presence. Here's what minimum you're going to need to get started:

Internet Connection

If you're reading this I'm assuming you already have access to an Internet connection, so we'll skip straight on to the next item.

Domain Name

You will need to register a domain name (preferably a .com domain) using a relevant keyword/phrase, something like easynailart.com or something similar. There are a number of Domain Registrars online, here are two I use a number of years and have received excellent service:

Quick note: I would suggest you don't sign up for web hosting with these sites as they don't have all the facillities you'll require as a niche marketer, which leads us to...

Web Hosting

Choosing a web host for your niche site(s) is like taking a partner into your business, so it's essential that you find one that fits with what you want to achieve. Here's my basic criteria for choosing a web host:

Reliability. This is the first thing I look at when choosing a hosting service. Guaranteed minimum uptime (the time when the hosting server is functional) should be 99.9% or better with daily back-ups of their servers so you don't lose your site if the host has a problem - it does happen.

Support. You need to make sure that your host has 24/7 support 365 days of the year. Before you sign up, send a couple of queries at different times of day and see how fast they respond. Ideally you're looking for a response time of a couple of hours or less.

Disk Space. This is the amount of space you'll need on the host's servers to house your web site(s). (100 Mb = 60 pages approx. but this will be much reduced if you are featuring audio and/or video on your site). You need to figure out the size of your website and how much it is likely grow. Before I look for web hosting I build my site(s) so that I can figure the space in Megabytes I'm going to need. I then multiply that figure by 5 to allow for growth. It's only a rough rule of thumb, but it works for me.

Monthly Bandwidth Transfer. This is the measure of data (web pages, images, PDF files, audio and video clips) to be accessed by visitors to your web site each month. Deciding this is a bit more difficult, especially if you're just preparing to put up your first niche web site, because you will have no idea what volume of traffic your site will receive until it's established and been running for a while. I usually go for 10 times the disk space I've estimated. So for instance if I need 1Gb of disk space for my web site then I want 10Gb (10,000Mb) of bandwidth as a minimum. I know it sounds like overkill, but it's better than finding out halfway through a month your web site has been suspended because your bandwidth has been exceeded.

24/7 FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Access. FTP allows you to transfer files between your computer and your hosting service's server on the Internet. FTP access lets you to upload and make changes to your niche web site(s), when you need to, via a piece of software called an FTP Client. Make sure you select a hosting service that allows unlimited FTP access.

POP3 Email Accounts. These are email accounts that allow you to send and receive emails customised with your domain name. For instance sales@yourdomain.com or support@yourdomain.com.

Before you decide on your host, you will need to make sure that they are offering sufficient POP3 accounts for your needs.

MySQL Databases. If you are intending to run a membership site and/or blogs or similar applications on your domain you are going to need databases to run them. Hosting services vary in the number that they offer with their packages so you need to make sure they offer sufficient to for your anticipated needs. I usually select a host that offers "unlimited" MySQL databases so that I know I won't be restricted.

Cpanel with Fantastico Installer. For me this is essential. cPanel is a graphical, web-based, easy to understand, control panel, which allows you to manage all aspects of your e-mail, files, backup, FTP and statistics for your web site all in one place. I've used hosting companies that don't offer this facility which made it quite complicated to manage the various aspects of my web presence.

Fantastico is a commercial script library that automates the installation of a treasure trove of open source applications like content management systems (CMS) such as Wordpress, and Joomla, support desks, discussion boards, shopping carts and a lot more to enhance and automate your niche web site.

So there you have it, my basic criteria for choosing a web hosting service.

Over the years I've used a number of different hosting companies, but the best by far has been, and still is, the Ultimate Marketing Center (UMC). I have been using UMC exclusively since 2005 because they an excellent web hosting service that meets all the criteria above together with an outstanding level of support. On top of this UMC include a whole suite of tools and services you would normally have to pay for separately, including:

Follow-up Autoresponder Service

A Follow-up Autoresponder allows you to set up a pre-written email for your product download information for your customers, automatically personalized with their details which will be sent on automatic pilot (You'll see what we are talking about here in the next tutorial). In addition to this you will automatically collect their email address so that you will have an a pool over potential buyers who already trust you to advertise to for free for any future products you may want to promote.

Buying an Autoresponder Service separately can work out to be quite expensive, so you may be tempted to use a free service. DON'T! These services are supported by advertizing which will appear in every one of the messages you send to your customers, not only that, you will be limited to the number of email addresses you can store and write to each month (this may not seem that important when you're first starting out, but as your business grows it will be).

Once again I recommend Ultimate Marketing Center. With a hosting account from them you get unlimited autoresponder accounts included, capable of sending unlimited pre-written follow-ups to an unlimited number of customers/subscribers.

Payment Processing

When you sell from a web site you need a means to process payments from your customers. Here are three of the most popular options available:

**February 2015

In the next tutorial we're going to cover what you need for your web site.

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