Choosing a Shared Hosting Provider - Tip #4

by demtron on Monday, November 10, 2008 10:34 AM

Upgrading to a New Plan

So, what happens when your site becomes fantastically popular and your need more storage space, bandwidth, or features?  Often, when starting out a new site, a site owner will intentionally choose a low-cost plan to save a few bucks.  When more resources are needed, you might need to upgrade to a better plan.

Each host handles this process a little differently.  Here are a few questions you might want to ask.

How do I initiate the upgrade to a new plan?  Some hosts offer an on-line form to automatically request the upgrade.  Others require a phone call.

What happens during the upgrade?  For many hosts, the upgrade is completely transparent to you and handled automatically.  For others, or if you are moving from a now-defunct plan to a new plan, the host needs to have a technician move your site to a new server.

Will your site be moved to a new server?  Some hosts will cluster sites with similar plans on the same server, so when you upgrade to a new plan, you may also be moved to a new server.  Be aware that your site’s performance will often increase (but sometimes decrease) when it’s moved to a new server.

When will the upgrade be completed?  Most hosts I work with tell me that an upgrade will take 24-48 hours to complete, while one in particular can get upgrades completed in 12 hours or less.

Is there a fee associated with upgrading?
  Usually not, but I’ve found two hosting companies recently that charge $10 and $20 for a plan upgrade.

What testing will the hosting company perform after and upgrade to ensure that the upgrade was successful and that the site, database, and e-mail plans work correctly?  When I have asked this question, I often get an uneasy silence and an answer like, “Well, we’ll check that the home page comes up.”  If your site uses database access or more sophisticated features, you’ll want to have a plan in place to check all major functions of your site.  If you use a designer, make sure your designer is on-call to put out fires.

How will you be notified when an upgrade is complete?  Surprisingly, some hosting companies I work with don’t send a notification upon completing an upgrade.  I’ve also found that these hosts are poor when it comes to sending notifications for events like planned outages, upgrades or support follow ups.  (I wish I could switch these clients to different hosts, but that’s a story for another day.)

SEO for Title Tags Tip 5 Brand Building

by demtron on Sunday, November 09, 2008 12:49 PM

When considering how to modify page titles for a site, it’s important to recognize the significance of brand awareness for your products and services.  Your brand may be just as important, and perhaps even more important, than anything else.

Let’s say that you operate Crazy Cutters Hair Styling.  Your “claim to fame” is short waiting times and quality hair care products that sold in your salons.  Crazy Cutters is a pretty catchy name, and, depending on the nature of your other marketing and advertising efforts, it may be well known.

This is where some investigation is in order.  When they visit your salon or Web site, ask your customers how they found out about you.  If they found you in the Yellow Pages or a newspaper, ask them why they decided to come to your store.  If your brand name or slogan is mentioned often, it’s a “must use” on your site!  For example:

Haircuts and Family Hair Care at Crazy Cutters

Crazy Cutters Hair Styling - Cut Out the Wait!

Hair Conditioner - Treat Your Hair to Crazy Cutters

Each one touches on a different aspect of the products, services or customer experience.  Search engines will pick up on the coupling of these phrases and others prominently identified on your page and associate them with Crazy Cutters.  Alone, it isn’t clear that the term Crazy Cutters has anything to do with hair styling.  By integrating your important keywords with your brand, search engines will more readily identify Crazy Cutters with the hair styling theme, and your site ranking will rise, especially for long-tailed searches.

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