The UK2.NET Shared Hosting Quick Start Guide

10th October, 2019 by

Welcome To UK2.NET 

To an IT newcomer, websites and shared hosting can seem like a complex process, yet the reality of getting your personal website or business online is far simpler than you might expect. Whether you are new to shared hosting, or If this isn’t your first trek around the data centre, we have created this quick start guide to help answer your business and shared hosting questions.  

In this guide, we will look at: 

  • The most frequently asked shared hosting questions.  
  • What you need to know before choosing a domain name.  
  • Questions you should ask before building your website.  
  • Along with tips on getting the word out through email marketing once your website is established.  

If at any time along the way you need a helping hand or a quick answer, be sure to contact our expert technical support staff. They are available around the clock to lend a helping hand to get your business online. So, let’s get started… 

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Shared Hosting 

What is website hosting?  

Web hosting for beginners usually involves storing basic website content (like photos and page designs) on a publicly accessible server with high-speed internet connections. This server will be owned and maintained by specialists like UK2.NET. 

What’s shared hosting?  

Shared hosting occurs when one of the servers described above hosts several different websites simultaneously. This is a cost-effective method of web hosting for beginners since each site is completely independent without needing dedicated hardware. 

Will the contents of my website be safe wherever it’s stored?  

Yes. The site will always be visible to the public, and servers are automatically backed up so data can’t be lost or accidentally deleted. Servers are housed in secure, temperature-controlled data centres supervised by IT professionals. 

How do I make a website look equally good on big or small screens?  

Complex websites need sophisticated solutions, but in terms of business or ecommerce hosting for beginners, the best option is a responsive site framework. The page layout automatically adjusts to suit different screen sizes, so a full-width menu might become a smaller drop-down one instead. 

How do I choose a suitable address for the site?  

Each website has a unique address chosen by its owner. However, many addresses have already been reserved and used. Your site name should be easy to spell and pronounce, with relevance to your business or local area. 

What is a top-level domain, and why is it important?  

The final part of a website is the top-level domain or TLD. The most popular one is .com, which identifies a company. There are national TLDs, industry-specific ones and quirky options like .biz or .me. 

What will the site be able to do? 

Whatever you want! Modern websites are incredibly versatile: you can accept sales and take payments, host documents that can be read or downloaded, update content daily, or interact with customers through live chat facilities. 

Do I need to maintain the site once I’ve launched it?  

The company hosting your site will handle technical responsibilities, but it’s advisable to regularly update and refresh written content. This is typically handled through a website interface called a Content Management System, or CMS, and it’s as easy as word processing. 

How will people find my new website?

Most people find websites through search engines like Google and Bing, which rank sites in order of perceived relevance for different search terms. You can improve your site’s ranking with regular updates, fast-loading pages, plenty of text, optimised subdomains, and relevant page titles. 

Which company should I use for all this?  

Us, of course! UK2.NET can host websites for a low fee, and we make the process of registering a new website domain child’s play. We stick to plain English, we’re always here for advice, and we can help you build a new website from nothing more than an idea…  

Which brings us to our next important topic, what must you know before getting your business online? We’ve outlined six important topics to be sure that you are ready for what lies ahead. 

What You Need To Know Before Getting Online 

Commissioning a new website can be an exciting time. The possibilities seem endless, from media integration to ecommerce website checkout functionality and dynamic design. However, deciding how to develop a business website should always be done with care to ensure a new or relaunched site is worth the time and money invested in it. 

So, before you get started building your website and joining the online community, it’s important to have the following six questions in mind. 

What design are you looking for? 

Websites come in many styles nowadays, from responsive single-page affairs to New Brutalism sites starring white backgrounds and blue hyperlinks. Knowing how to design a website that will appeal to your target audience is crucial, for example media firms often upload case studies and employee profiles, whereas manufacturing companies increasingly add multimedia content onto their sites. Responsive designs that automatically resize to different sized devices are highly recommended, but everything from fonts to the use of image galleries is open to discussion. 

Are you happy to use a template? 

WordPress is the world’s most popular web builder software, powering around a quarter of the world’s sites. Blue-chip clients include NASA, Facebook and Toyota, and the WordPress platform has 48,000 plugins handling functions as diverse as ecommerce, embedded video and visitor analytics. Despite offering standard templates, WordPress’s endless customisation opportunities allow you to create completely bespoke and unique websites. Many UK2.NET customers have created successful and innovative sites through WordPress hosting packages. Learn more about WordPress hosting at UK2.NET.  

What is the new site supposed to achieve? 

For new companies, this may be nothing more than an online resource that prospective customers can read before getting in touch. For existing brands, a replacement website may be able to offer functionalities that weren’t practical or possible before, such as downloadable content or multimedia presentations. If the objective is simply to generate more leads and business, discussions around how to design a website will vary among companies whose primary focus involves being on top of search engine rankings. Which brings us onto point four… 

What are your SEO goals? 

Search engine optimisation is so important that this has evolved into its own booming industry. Google and Bing are the all-conquering oracles of internet enquiries, and the hugely complex algorithms that collate their search engine results pages (or SERPS) are very finely tuned. SEO goals can affect the design and functionality of a new website – search engines favour sites that are regularly updated, for instance, and blog sites with new pages being added all the time prove this to be the case. 

What are your competitors doing? 

A decision to redesign a website is often made as a response to competitor activity. It’s vital to identify what your rivals do particularly well or badly in their online profiles. What messages are they conveying, and does their tone of voice come across as authoritative, friendly, cost-driven, etc? If elements of their sites are more effective than yours, it can be a good idea to add your take on them – without resorting to plagiarism! 

Which content should be prioritised? 

Clearly, the homepage is the place to make headline statements about your brand, products or services. It’s not the place to profile your brand’s history or discuss past projects. Decide what your central messages are, and structure sub-pages in descending order of priority. People will be more likely to click on the first menu option than the sixth, so front-load opening pages with the most important messages. Finally, ensure sub-pages are easily found anywhere on the site, and always provide a clear route back to the homepage and ‘Contact Us’ page. 

Now that you have the important questions floating through your brain, it’s now time to find a location for all your brilliance. You now need to find a domain name to associate your domain name with. The next question is which one?  

First Things First: Choosing The Perfect Domain 

Purchasing your first domain name can be an intimidating experience purely because there are so many to choose from. Knowing which is best for your website requires a lot of thought and a little searching. Luckily, UK2.NET can help you along the way. 

What are domain names exactly? 

We type them into our web browsers constantly, but we rarely stop to think about how domain names work. As well as containing abbreviations for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and the World Wide Web, addresses include a domain (UK2.NET, for instance) and a top-level domain (net, .com, etc.). Also known as TLDs, these top-level domains are either generic or country code-specific, identifying the nation where that website is based or hosted. 

To be sure that you only make informed decisions regarding your new domain name, here are ten things you probably didn’t know about domain names, concluding with something every UK website owner needs to be aware of… 

#1. They’re shorthand for a website’s real address. 

Domain names are English-language shorthand for internet protocol (IP) addresses. Our site’s official location is at 83.170.69.14, but UK2.NET is far easier to remember and type into your browser. DNS management software handles these translations on behalf of web browsers. 

#2. Until 1998, the domain market was completely unregulated. 

It’s twenty years since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers started regulating a lawless market, where bulk-buying was causing chronic shortages of available domains. Since 1998, ICANN has released over a thousand new generic TLDs. And yet… 

#3. Some gTLDs have been blocked or blacklisted. 

Although domain availability has improved immeasurably, some gTLDs have been banned. Amazon’s bid to register .amazon was halted when South American countries complained, while ICANN’s refusal to promote violence means there’s no .bomb, .gun, or .war TLDs. 

#4. The vast majority of new gTLDs sink without trace. 

In 2014, ICANN released hundreds of new gTLDs into the marketplace. The vast majority haven’t been seen or heard of since, despite being very cheap to acquire. The public is wary of visiting unfamiliar gTLD addresses, creating a vicious circle that’s difficult to break. 

#5. It’s possible to buy a domain name someone else has registered. 

Before regulation in 1998, speculators mass-purchased domains and immediately advertised them for sale to make a profit. This still happens today. Some domain names are parked and listed for sale, while others expire after a period of five or ten years. They can then be re-sold. 

#6. Exact match domains perform extremely well in search results. 

In 2012, Google introduced a filter to prevent poor-quality sites performing well when their domain name exactly matched a search string. Nonetheless, half-decent sites still rank highly in this scenario, so try to choose a domain that describes what you offer – or where you are. 

#7. Companies often apply to register their own gTLD. 

Blue-chip brands like Volkswagen and KPMG have already registered their names as TLDs. This looks very impressive in search results, building brand presence. However, an estimated three-quarters of company-specific TLDs haven’t been used to launch a single website. 

#8. Search engines are biased towards their home country’s ccTLD. 

People prefer ccTLDs over gTLDs for their superior performance in domestic search engines. A .uk gTLD will always rank more highly in Britain than a .fr or .de site. As a result, spelling out a word or phrase out using a gTLD is inadvisable – most of the time, at least… 

#9. One ccTLD has been converted into a gTLD. 

There’s always an exception to the rule. British Indian Ocean Territory’s .io gTLD was barely used until IT companies pounced on the chance to register a domain representing the input/output abbreviation. ICANN eventually reclassified .io as a gTLD. 

#10. The co.uk ccTLD is going to be gradually phased out. 

India recently transitioned from using co.in to the simpler .in, matching global gTLD habits. The UK recently experienced a similar process, and firms with a co.uk address had until summer of 2019 to buy the related .uk domain. However, since this date has passed, anyone can take the .uk version of your domain. 

Once you register the perfect domain, all that’s left is to choose the perfect web builder software tool. Be sure to follow the UK2.NET blog for more information about website builders, like WordPress hosting, and how to promote your website around the globe. A great way to get started driving traffic to your website is through professional, authentic email marketing. Learn more below…

Using Professional Email To Boost Your Website Traffic 

Email marketing sounds straightforward. You write a personalised email and send it to those who you think may be interested. Unfortunately, there is one single entity that complicates this process: spam.  

While you know that your email marketing messages are not spam, inboxes do not. Luckily, there are ways to combat these trials. Learn more below… 

How is spam still an issue? 

Despite huge improvements over recent years in the quality and reliability of email filters, spam remains a significant problem for companies reliant on email marketing. An estimated 100 billion emails are flagged every day as spam, accounting for most email sent in 2017. Most damningly, only 28% of messages sent every day reach their intended recipients. That means billions of genuine messages are being classed as junk and ensnared in spam filters. 

After two decades of honing their skills, spammers are becoming increasingly adept at dodging inbox filters. Consequently, getting your company’s message in front of prospective clients has never been more challenging. Consumers are understandably tired of spam slipping through, which means they tend to overreact and label any unsolicited mail as unwanted. A spam rate of just 0.25% can be enough to damage your credibility. 

Fortunately, there are various techniques for increasing delivery rates across email marketing campaigns. We’ve summarised some of the most significant ones below… 

#1. Remove words known to trigger spam filters. 

This is probably the most important (and obvious) change you can make to any personalised email marketing campaign. Updated lists of trigger words are easily found online, and classic examples include “win”, “free money”, and “limited time”. Using any of these will arouse suspicion among ISPs. 

#2. Don’t use attachments unless it’s essential. 

Other than a dubious link, it’s difficult to convey a virus or malware in a text-only email. Attachments pose far greater risks, particularly executable files or documents capable of running macros. 

#3. Only send email to people who’ve opted-in. 

We’re all familiar with the “click here if you want to receive marketing information” boxes on web forms. If someone has clicked this box, they’re unlikely to reject future personalised emails, particularly messages that are infrequent and informative. 

#4. Never use third-party mailing lists. 

Bought-in email marketing campaign databases will contain loads of dormant or dead addresses, while the remainder may have received a hundred unsolicited emails before yours. Gather your mailing lists through attraction and promotion rather than paying for them. 

#5. Check your sender reputation. 

Like a credit rating, sender scores indicate how ISPs view your IP address. A number between 0 and 100 is calculated across a rolling 30-day period, based on metrics including industry blacklists and the proportion of email recipients who unsubscribe. Every time someone clicks “report spam” in their inbox, a report is generated that will eventually impact on the sender’s reputation. 

#6. Look yourself up on blacklists. 

Companies like Spamhaus publish lists of IP addresses and domains associated with spam. Removing yourself from one of these DNS lists is difficult, but it can be done. If you are included on a blacklist, some ISPs will disregard almost anything you send – irrespective of its value or legitimacy. 

#7. Don’t use low-quality email providers. 

Email marketing campaign providers come in all shapes and sizes, and less scrupulous ones may have a reputation for low-quality output. If they’re pumping out junk messages on behalf of unscrupulous companies, your messages will share their IP address and be marked down accordingly.  

#8. Send messages in small batches for a while. 

Bulk mailing is a red rag to spam filters. If you’re sending emails out directly, do so in small batches over a long period of time. Every opened message not flagged as spam will establish greater trust in your IP address, enabling you to distribute larger volumes later with minimal issues. 

#9. Send messages at regular schedules. 

Spammers fire out messages randomly, often at strange hours. This creates a record of erratic behaviour, which might be attributable to a bot program. Instead, send messages at specific times of the day and week. It takes trial and error to identify the hot spots, with the best click-through/response rate. 

#10. Regularly cleanse marketing databases. 

Sending emails to non-existent users causes bounced mail, reflecting poorly on your reputation. Remove inactive users and monitor your inbox for undeliverable notifications. Consider an email validation service, capable of weeding out everything from typos to duplicate addresses. 

Now that you are an expert on shared, business, and ecommerce hosting, website, domains, and email marketing, you are ready to put this knowledge into action. Head to UK2.NET to choose your personal, business, or shared hosting package and search for your domain. Once you’re online and in action, be sure to look at our helpful tools and services available to help make your new website a professional, optimised success.

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