Which hosting with TSO should I buy?

Digitally Sorted TSO Host DiscountIf you want a website, you will have to buy hosting. There are often very reasonable monthly and annual hostings packages and often these include more than one website, as well as email addresses.

A favourite hosting provider is TSO Hosts. Having tried several in the past 10 years, TSO Hosts has never once had major, unexpected downtime (most hosting providers will have a small percentage of downtime – this is normal), have a responsive email ticketing service and customer care line and also have a one-click WordPress Installation functionality.

Here are instructions for buying hosting with TSO Hosts*
  1. Click here – www.tsohost.com – to land straight on the TSO web hosting page.
  2. Scroll down to see the Plans and Pricing.
  3. The Lite or Standard version is recommended.
  4. Click on Buy Now.

You will receive an email sending you all your dashboard details – keep these somewhere safe!

Which hosting to buy

*This is for people who want a personal website or small company website. 

Now you’ve got hosting – what about your URL? If you’ve not bought that yet, it makes your website easier to manage if you buy your URL and hosting from the same place.
Need some advice choosing a domain name? 

10 Things You Must Consider When Choosing Your Domain Name

Your domain name is your URL. It can be up to 67 characters in length and you can also include numbers and hyphens. Domain names can cost from as little as a few GBP a year depending on the extension you use and the likely popularity of the name. Choosing your domain name can be lots of fun as well being equally frustrating and painful. These handy tips will help you when choosing your domain name to make there’s no regrets later.

Where to start

Begin by summing up what your website is going to be about in 5 words. Then brainstorm these words, looking at ways you can combine them and work them together into something that makes sense.  There are several places online to check whether your ideas for domain names work.

A personal favourite is 123-reg.co.uk as it also gives suggestions for variations on your domain name as well as examples of different extensions that you could consider. However, before you go and buy your domain name, also think about hosting – it can make your website a lot easier to manage if you buy your URL and hosting from the same place. Whilst price is important, good hosting is essential so I would choose hosting first and after experimenting with various URL ideas, buy them from the same place. Take a look at ‘What is Hosting?‘ for more information about this.

Think you’ve come up with a good name? Before you click on any ‘buy’ button, make sure you ask yourself these 10 important questions:

1. Does it match your company / brand name?

With websites being the first port of call for people to go to when they’re searching for more information it’s important that your URL has some correlation with what your company or brand name is. For example, if your company name is Digitally Sorted these would be examples of names that could work, in personal preference order from best to worst:

  • DigitallySorted.com
  • DigitallySorted.net
  • DigitallySorted.co.uk
  • Digitally-sorted.com
  • Digitally-sorted.co.uk
  • DigitallySortedServices.com
  • DigitallySortedYou.com

If you try and reduce the ‘Digitally Sorted’ element down, it loses its sense of ‘what’. For example, ‘DSServices’ could relate to anything.

2. Does your URL say what it’s about?

If your URL describes what service or product you’re supplying then you’re onto a winner. This also makes it easier to remember. Single words make for great URLs although the availability of these are becoming less and less. There is a current trend for tech companies especially, to embrace one word names, such as Huddlah (sports community), Boxed (letting you buy goods in bulk from your phone), Estimize (crowdsourced earnings estimates for stocks), Watsi (crowdfunded low-cost, high impact medical care for those that need it most), Kiip (gives you vouchers for free products when you use certain apps), Lyft (easy to access, cheap taxi service).

There is also the trend to combine words together to form names and URLS, such as Coinbase (making it easy for users and businesses to use Bitcoins), WatchSend (helping developers understand how their apps are used), FlightCar (rent your car whilst you’re on holiday) and Homejoy (cost-cut home cleaning services).

3. Is it easy to remember?

Is it a made up word or a combination of words that already exist? Does it sound like something else? Whilst the URL may be easy for you to remember, other people may have difficulty so something as simple as possible is best. Having a random word as your URL is definitely worth it if you have time and investment to put in supporting brand development and awareness. Companies such as Google, IKEA, Starbucks, Skype, Amazon, Yahoo etc have all spent money on their branding.

4. Is the domain unique?

The domain name has to be unique in order for you to purchase this. However, is it similar to another website that’s out there at the moment? For example, if your service is organic health and food products and www.PlanetOrganix.com is free, then you may find yourself accidentally driving traffic to your competitor.

5. Is the .com version available?

There are so many new extensions becoming available such as .ventures, .company, .photography, .gb.net etc and the general rule is that the more unusual the extension, the more likely the domain name of your choice is available. However, the .com is the most common domain extension, driven by the fact that it was the first domain to be used commercially. Try if you can, to get your hands on a .com domain name as many people still believe this is the only extension available. If that’s not available, .net is the second most commonly used extension.

6. Is it easy to type?

This may sound silly but if your URL needs a lot of thought before the user types it in, due to length, unusual characters, use of unmemorable sounds or words then you may lose a good proportion of your visitors. There have also been studies in ‘awkward’ letters detracting from easy writability; these include letters such as ‘q’, ‘z’, ‘x’, ‘c’ and ‘p’.

7. Will other people like it?

Don’t forget that even though its your company and domain name, other people are your main target – after all, you’re already sold on what you’re going to be writing about, your service, product etc. Does it make sense in other people’s minds? Ask friends and family around you what they think of it.

8. Are you trying to be too clever?

If your company name is Made For You and the url www.madeforyou.com is taken, as are all other versions, think twice about getting too clever and replacing letters with numbers or adding hyphens. Whilst www.made-for-you.com works, www.m4de4y0u.com will be extremely hard for your potential customers to remember.

9. Does your URL infringe any trademarks?

Be sure to steer well clear from any already trademarked names, even if only part of the name is used. Whilst internet domain name law disputes are often full of grey areas, it’s not worth getting into a legal dispute over and these can be costly.

10. Does it still make sense as a URL?

Don’t make the mistake that some companies have done by not viewing their name as a URL. The Tech recylcling company, IT Scrap didn’t check what their domain name would look like and so it is unfortunate that it reads www.itscrap.com

The same is with:

www.whorepresents.com – Who Represents; a database of talent representatives

www.penisland.com – Pen Island; a pen company

www.therapistinabox.com – Therapist in a Box; a product offering emotional healing

www.powergenitalia.com – Powergen Italia; an Italian electronics company

And even if you think your name sounds ok, make sure you check it against the endings of your web address. As well as .com URLs, more are available such as .info, .net, .me, .name etc. Otherwise, you may end up with something like this:

www.budget.co.ck – Budget Car Rentals in the Cook Islands

www.swissbit.ch – Swiss Bit; for electronics

 

How to Resize & Crop Images Without Using Photoshop

You’re responsible for the website content and you want to swap in a new image. You’ve found the image, you know where you want it to go, yet you need to crop and resize it. There’s no budget for a designer, you don’t know how to use Photoshop and this problem is really annoying.

So is there a way to crop and resize images without needing Photoshop or a similar application? Of course. And it’s free.

Let’s take the WPF Therapy site as an example.

It’s time to update this right hand image (highlighted in red).

WPF Therapy Screenshot

How to resize your image

1. Find out what size your image needs to be.

Click and drag the image onto your desktop. Left click on it and ‘Get Info’ on the pop that appears.

Image information pop up

Right Click on the image to bring up this screen. Then click on ‘Get Info’.

Get Info pop up

The information you need here is the ‘Dimension’.

This gives you all the information you need. The section you need to look at specifically is the ‘More Info’ section where it tells you the dimension.

In this case, dimension is 200 x 110.

This means it is 200 pixels wide and 110 pixels high.

 

2. Click here to open up PicResize in your browser. This is a free online application.

PicResize Screenshot

 

3. Click on Load a Picture

 Load a Picture

4. Follow the instructions and when you have chosen your image, click on ‘Load Picture’.

 Load Picture

5. Your image will load. You will be able to see in the top right hand corner the following:

Selection – what size of image you choose

Size – the size of the image uploaded

Position – the position of your cursor over the image

Information area

 

In this instance, the image is 1024px x 1024px large which means it is best to make this smaller first before you crop it to the right shape. Otherwise, you will only see a part of the image when you crop it.

 

6. Click on the Resize button on the left and choose your dimensions. Click on the percentages in the pop up, or make it a custom size. Ensure that the ‘Lock Aspect Ratio’ button it ticked. Then click on ‘Apply’.  Remove the pop up by clicking on the small cross in the corner of it.

 Resize Button

7. Now to resize your image. Click and drag on your image. This will bring up a bounding box. Keep an eye on the top right hand information area as this will tell you when you’ve when you’ve got your size correct.

 Crop Image

You can click and drag on any of the corners of the bounding box to adjust the size. You can also click and drag the whole box (position the cursor inside the bounding box) to position it over another area of the image.

When you have the bounding box positioned and sized properly, click on the Crop button on the left to finalise this.

The screen will show you the finished product. You can also add ‘extras’ such as text to this image.

 

8. Save it. When you’re happy with your image, choose from the options on the bottom left.

Save Image

 

Choose Format: Select JPG if it’s a photo or image with a lot of gradients. Select GIF if it is an image made up of block clour.

Save to :Choose ‘Save to Disk’ to save it onto your computer. This will most likely be saved in your Downloads Folder.

 

And there you have it. Your image resized and cropped and ready to be uploaded!

 

 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR WEBSITE*

It amazes me that there are so many companies out there with badly behaved websites – some are off having a holiday, some need an urgent trip to the vet’s, many are lazy and others have behavioral problems.

So if you’re in charge of managing your company website, or for updating content, and you want it to work harder for you then you’ve come to the right place.

Just like puppies, websites need training too

Now all you need to do is imagine your website is cute and furry, just like this puppy.

 

Here is a list of the different lessons. It helps if you do them in the right order. Enjoy!

‘How to Train your Website’ Lessons

 

How to Train Your Dragon DVD*For those who enjoy great films, this title  of this set of posts was inspired by the animated film, ‘How to Train your Dragon’. I highly recommend it.