Sunday, August 27, 2006

Free Hosting

I remember when I first started out designing my own websites, the biggest problem I had was finding somewhere to host them for free as I couldn't afford and didn't see the point in paying a professional web host.

I tried many of the big names in free hosting such as AngelFire, GeoCities and a few others but had nothing but problems. Not only does free hosting mean that you get no support, it also means that you have adverts over your great designs (or in my case not so great). The more advanced I got the greater the problems with these free web hosts became, they didn't support scripting or databases which meant I was unable to do anything worthwhile.

Eventually I bit the bullet and paid a professional company to host my websites, and I haven't looked back since. Of course back then it cost about £60 for one years hosting for just one website!

Things have changed now though, hosting and web space is much cheaper, which is why I have been trying to get some free hosting up and running here at Horizon Web Development.

Free hosting for people who have their own websites but can't afford or like me years ago, don't see the point in paying for a professional service that they don't need. Hopefully this will be up and running pretty soon and all those budding web designers, bloggers and many more will have somewhere to try out their sites.

Watch this space for our free hosting accounts. These accounts should allow you to purchase a domain name for about £10 and then add a blog or website at your domain name for free!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Search Engine Optimisation

It seems that web design companies are almost ubiquitous at the moment, with new ones popping up all the time and with most being set up by amateurs, hobbyists and those having recently finished a college course in web design, it can be difficult to be sure that you’re getting a quality service from an expert.

One aspect of web site design that separates the amateur from the professional is Search Engine Optimisation (seo), how can you ensure that your website is ranked as highly as possible in the major search engines?

Firstly you need to remember that while a flashy site with fancy graphics and so forth make look good both to you and your customers, the search engine spiders (so called because they crawl your site and gather information on it) won’t be impressed at all. To more clearly see what I mean take a look at what Google sees of the Horizon Web Development homepage here.

As you can see all the nice pictures are discarded, Google is only really interested in the text. With this in mind it is important that your site is designed to pamper to both the potential viewers, customers and the search engines.

Bright colours and animations should be kept to a minimum on most sites, text should be clearly laid out and the keywords spread evenly throughout the page. The days where you could saturate your page with certain keywords to get higher page ranking are long gone, now it is better to scatter your keywords into proper sentences and paragraphs.

Typically search engines don’t read JavaScript or Flash, so be careful how these are used (splash screens for instance are a definite no-no), you should also make sure that your pages are filled with interesting content that people want to read and that is updated regularly.

Horizon Web Development weblog

This is the web log for Horizon Web Development, we will be placing information here about the company, including issues, special offers and also some general chit chat. Feel free to make any comments about the site and service and ask questions.