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Web Presence

Getting yourself a little piece of the web.

People who want to have a presence on the World Wide Web generally fall into three categories; those that absolutley need a high quality web site, using the latest web technologies, the site being a business-critical resource, those that need a web site, but it is a secondary sales and/or marketing tool, and those that are feel perhaps they should have some kind of web site, just in case people are searching for their kind of products and/or services. If you fall into the latter two categories, I can quickly help you to establish your web presence at a very competitive cost.

The process:

1. Domain Registration.
To have your little piece of the web it helps to have a domain name. This is the part of the web site address after the "www."and after the last full stop. For instance, on this site (www.andygflees.com), andygflees.com is my domain name. I have registered this name until 2016 and, should I need it after that period, I will renew the registration just before it expires. Not every name is available - the name that you want may have already been taken but you can check the availability of any name on this site.
 
You do not need to register a domain name but it looks better on your site if you do not have something like http://sites.google.com/site/andygflees1 (the name for my site had I not registered my domain name), plus a more meaningful name also decreases the chances of spelling mistakes by clients.

2. E-Mail Address.
Another service offered by companies who can register your domain name is to provide any number of e-mail addresses to match your domain name (for instance, mail@andygflees.com). 
This is not obligatory either but, again, it looks more professional than an address from a free bulk e-mail supplier. E-mail addresses from a domain registration company cost from around 1€ per month. The mail sent to these e-mail addresses can be accessed by your existing mail client, such as Microsoft Outlook, or Outlook Express, along with any other e-mail addresses that you may already have, or you can access them using a web browser via the domain company's web mail interface, using a service called IMAP.

3. Web site design.
You can design your web site yourself, on your own computer, or on-line, but the process can be a little daunting. I encourage the use of Google Sites for my clients web sites design - it is free, easy to manage and readily integrates into other free services offered by Google. Full access to the web site, for management and editing purposes, is retained by you, if you want, so that the site can be amended at no charge. Alternatively, I can be employed to keep the site up to date and/or amended as and when you require. In this case the web site is designed by me, using Google Sites, under your direction. I could also be responsible for promoting the site to search engines. This ensures that you web site appears higher in the list of search responses.

3. Web site hosting.
Once written, the web pages need to be stored (hosted) on a computer called a web server. Most domain registration companies offer design & hosting services but if you used Google Sites to design your web site you would automatically be choosing Google to host your site as well.

4. The Result.
When you type an address into your web browser ( e.g. www.andygflees.com), your computer asks another computer on the internet (called a DNS Server) to search for the location of the web server hosting the domain name (andygflees). From the result of this search, a location (called an IP address) is given to your computer. Your computer then requests the hosting computer matching the IP address to deliver the web page to your browser. If your web site is hosted on another company's web server (Google Sites for instance), your request will get redirected to that new location.

On the face of it this is quite convoluted process but, in practice, on a correctly configured computer, it happens in a fraction of a second.
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