Why You Need a Web Hosting Service

Website hosting is, essentially, the way websites present themselves to the world. Every website has to be hosted, or it’s simply not visible.

Web hosting is one of the most fundamental parts of the online landscape – but because it’s such an essential and universal feature, a lot of people don’t really know about it, or what it is. As such, we’ve to put together a little explanation of what exactly web hosting is, and why you should choose a hosting service.

Web hosting is the storage of a website’s data on a server, allowing internet users to access your web address on their browser. A website consists of files and data, and those files need a place to be stored where they can be reliably called upon to present you with a webpage.

When you decide to use a website, do you think about where it comes from? Probably not, but it has to come from somewhere. This is where servers come in. A server is a computer or set of computers that are always running so that it can be called on at any time – and website files are stored on one of these. When a person tries to visit a webpage, their request is sent to the server, which produces the webpage you want.

However, not everyone who makes a website owns a server. After all, they might not have the money or technology necessary to keep a server running continuously. You need a web hosting service to provide the required technologies and expertise to ensure your website is viewed by customers online.

Hosting is a process whereby someone who owns a server provides space on it to those who need it – they ‘host’ the data for a website, so that it can run without incident. As such, by using a hosting service, someone can have their website files stored safely and keep their website functional without having the hassle of running their own server.

Different providers offer a range of options, from email accounts to FTP access and WordPress support, and they can help maximise your website’s potential. Let’s take a look at some practical reasons why a web hosting service is a worthwhile investment. There are many, but here are just a few.

Improving Website Responsiveness

Investing in a good website hosting service is the pathway to ensuring that your website is as responsive and reliable as possible – at all times of the day. Periods of peak traffic can easily crash a lesser server and render your website inaccessible, so it’s essential to work with a hosting service that can analyse your traffic patterns to provide optimal service.

Optimise your customer’s user experience with a fast website. Slow and sluggish load speeds can make your site look amateur and increase your bounce rate. With web hosting services, your website will have more bandwidth and RAM to optimise its performance.

Keeping Your Website as Secure as Possible

When you invest in a professional web hosting service, you’re also investing in their ongoing efforts to keep your website as secure as possible. Servers are often a prime target for hackers and DDOS attackers, who can seriously disrupt your business and cause real problems if they get access. A professional hosting provider will help keep your website safe from such attackers.

For search engine algorithms to see your website as trusted, you need to keep it secure. However, The Small Business Guide to Cyber Attacks published by Hiscox revealed that more than half (55%) of UK firms reported an attempted cyber-attack in 2019. If your website is one of those targeted, sites such as Google won’t trust your website, which means it won’t show up in search pages.

With a dedicated web hosting agency, you can ensure that your website’s firewall and antivirus software run smoothly, offering you protection from potential attacks.

Ensuring You’re Primed for Ongoing Business Growth

As your business grows, the demands you place on your hosting server will increase. You may need to store a broader and more comprehensive website, you may need to process more and more customer transactions, and your general traffic patterns may become busier. If your business is going to grow, you need a web hosting provider who will be able to facilitate your growing needs properly.

Regular Maintenance Reports

The best way to improve your website’s performance is through accurate data and analytics. At Real Internet, we provide a monthly report on your website’s analytics, security, and performance so you can see any improvements we’ve made through updates.

Additionally, our analytics will demonstrate how your website is performing with users, with statistics such as page views and session durations. Plus, with our digital marketing services, you can maximise traffic with targeted strategies to areas with the highest referral rates. This information will help you decide when your website needs updating.

An Investment That Every Business Can Afford

These are just a few of the many reasons why all businesses should invest in professional web hosting services. The flexible nature of those services means they are affordable for all businesses. Whether you’re a multinational corporation or you’re a sole trader who has recently started your business, there’s a web hosting package for you.

If you’re looking for website hosting, web services, or website design, then we are here to help. We work with clients across the South West, UK, and offer an end-to-end service from web design to digital marketing.

We design and produce websites that are perfectly suited to our clients’ needs, and we offer hosting on servers that are secure and rigorously maintained. As such, from the start of the creation process to the very end, Real Internet can help you build a website that works for you.

For more information, get in touch with our team today.

Speedway Flooring – How to Build a Great Website from the Ground Up

It’s one of those businesses and brands that succeeds by being invisible.

Speedway Flooring is the leading installer of liquid screed floors in the South West. Like us, your first question is probably – what exactly IS a screed floor? It’s the concrete foundation underlying all tiling, carpets and floor coverings in your home, your office, your doctor’s surgery or an indoor ice rink.  If the Speedway team do their job right, you shouldn’t even notice the result. If not, you will certainly notice if, after six months, your tiles crack or your linoleum lifts.

Up until July 2020, Speedway Flooring’s web presence had been as invisible as its perfectly smooth floors. Managing Director and founder, Antony Jones, has built up the business over 14 years by personal referral and word of mouth. Which – like his floors – is a very solid foundation for good business.

Antony realised that a website is now business-critical to share information, stand out from the competition and find new customers. He wants to expand into new markets – how would new customers find him except through web searches? It’s not uncommon for smaller businesses or sole traders to have no web presence – last year a survey revealed that 75% of Britain’s small businesses don’t have a website.

But if you are scaling up, or looking to attract new business, it’s time to bite the bullet.

This is the story of how Real Internet helped Speedway Flooring launch their new website – using the start-up package which is tailored for single services or businesses just starting up.

No smooth talking. Just smooth floors.”  A very good place to start

When starting work on a brand-new website – take your time.  Time to talk with your designer, and copywriter if you’re using one, about your brand. They need to understand your company and your goals as though they were a partner. What makes you stand out from your competitors? Do those competitors have a web presence? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? What do you offer that they don’t?

In the case of Speedway Flooring, it was very clear that this is a company that doesn’t believe in sales spiels and genuinely believes in delivering a perfect service every time. Antony was clear he didn’t want to over-complicate the new website by using too many technical terms or contractor industry jargon.

“People can call me at any time, or quiz me at the site visit, to get the technical requirements and information they need. But going into enormous detail about drying times, or how many millimetres deep the floor needs to be, can be off-putting on a website, especially to homeowners rather than people in the building industry.”

This led directly to the mission statement line on the website home page:

No smooth talking. Just smooth floors.’

Which set the tone for the entire website. A few well-written pages are more effective than dozens of over complicated ones.

The art of web design

“The best websites require users to think less. They do this by ensuring they understand and meet their users’ needs in a clear, easy and efficient way.” Tom Fogden, web designer.

A good website is usually more than a simple static home page with contact details. For smaller companies who offer a single service, up to 4 pages is usually plenty to explain the product and introduce the team.

Increasingly, potential customers want to know who they are buying from as well as what they’re buying. It gives the same reassurance as a personal referral so including some background about Antony was going to be a key component. Speedway also needed to explain in layman’s terms what liquid screed flooring is and what the benefits are.

The home page solved this neatly by creating two click-throughs: About Us – the people – and Liquid Screed – showcasing the product and its key benefits. We were even able to add a more light-hearted comment on what NOT to expect from a liquid screed floor: “cracked tiles, uneven floors, higher energy bills and headaches!” into the list of benefits. Keeping the tone friendlier and more conversational. No smooth talking, just smooth floors.

To create the About Us page, the team decided to use a direct quote from Antony talking about his career and why he’s passionate about doing a good job, every time. It was important for everyone that the personality of the company, as well as the product, was clear on every page of the site.

…and the science

As a user, what’s the one thing that is guaranteed to drive you crazy, or drive you to other sites? Links that go nowhere, confusing website structures which take 10 clicks to find the contact details, laborious load times?

The science of web design is about making the online experience as easy as possible for a potential customer. In reality, this is all about building a site that is easy to navigate. Of course, you can buy website building templates ‘off the shelf’ now, and DIY your website design. In reality, what you won’t have access to is experts who understand the mysteries of “Google optimisation” and compliance. And particularly, how to create clear, simple structures that allow customers to find what they need fast.

You know yourself how frustrating it is when certain sites simply don’t look right on your different devices. Real Internet will ensure that your site appears the same whether it’s accessed on a laptop, mobile phone or a tablet. It’s called responsive design – since the website automatically adapts or responds to the device or platform it is loading onto. If you don’t build this into your design, words can be cut off at the edges or images could be cut in half. And you wouldn’t want to lose any zeroes off the price list and mislead potential customers!

Pictures can speak louder than words

If your images aren’t good, your site won’t look good, either. You can make anything look attractive – even cement!

In many instances, we suggest steering clear of using stock photography which can look over-staged and commercial, even cheesy. But, for Speedway, using a mix of well-shot, well-lit images, and powerful close-ups, plus real-life images of the Speedway team installing floors, gave the new site visual standout.

Dividing the web pages in two, and devoting 50% of the screen to an image, demonstrates confidence in your product or service, and catches attention.

For Speedway’s home page, we chose an aspirational image of the ‘finished product’ and on other pages such as Liquid Screed, we embedded images of the team at work, laying the liquid floors. Research confirms that in most cases, ‘people buy from people,’ especially with smaller businesses. So, putting a face to a product creates a stronger emotional connection, and builds trust in your brand.

If you are a smaller business or sole trader thinking of creating a website, please get in touch with us here at Real Internet – we’d love to help you get online!

What does a web developer do?

If you want the very best website you can get, you need to contact a web developer to help you. At Real Internet, we have a specialist team of web development experts ready to help you – but what is a web developer, and what do they do?

What is a web developer?

A web developer is someone who “builds” your website. They will be responsible for the way your website looks, works, and operates. Every element of your website from the website design itself through to how quickly it loads will be down to the web developer. This is why you should always choose a web design specialist with a good amount of experience.

What does a web developer do?

Simply put, a web developer will create your website for you.

The process will begin with a consultation where the web developer can get an understanding of who you are and what you want to achieve with your website. They’ll make a note of your preferences in terms of the way the website is designed and what kind of things you want it to feature.

They will then set about building the website. Just like building anything, a website is put together piece by piece from the base coding upwards. At every stage, the current build will be tested and checked to ensure it’s meeting expectations, before moving on to the next portion of the build.

When a website is completed, that’s not the end of a web developer’s job, however. If you choose, you can have them maintain and update your website on an ongoing basis. This is an intelligent investment, as who better to keep something operating than the individual or team who built it?

A crucial asset

A web developer, then, is a crucial asset to your business, organisation, or operation – it will be through a web developer that your website will be built and maintained going forward. With such an invaluable task, make sure you trust it to the right people. Contact the web design specialists at Real Internet for more information.

What is web development?

Web development is a term you hear a lot these days, a seemingly universal need for any company or individual that wants a meaningful presence on the internet. Indeed, ‘web developer’ is a hot career for young people today –  they can see that the internet isn’t going anywhere! If anything, it’s getting more complex, and consequentially succeeding on the internet is getting more difficult.

Web development is a catch-all term for a variety of processes involved in developing, implementing, and maintaining websites for the internet. These websites and pages vary in complexity from simple text to sites with all sorts of coded bells and whistles.

In the professional world of web development, the term refers to all the technical-type stuff that doesn’t involve the design-side. The visual side is the remit of graphic designers who specialise in web design. So, what does web development include?

Web engineering

The techie stuff: programming the actual code that makes internet applications and programmes run. Think the Matrix, but in the real world.

Web content

You’re reading some right now! All the stuff that goes on the websites you visit. Articles, videos, audio. But it also includes highly specialised jobs like website structure.

Web servers

Servers are where parts of the internet are actually stored, and server technicians make sure websites work smoothly with them.

Web security

The internet can be a dangerous place, especially for companies who carry sensitive data. Fortunately, there are security experts out there who ensure websites have the correct procedures and programming in place to mitigate hostile attacks.

The above is a simplified overview of some of the things web developers commonly do. It’s a complex field, and you would benefit from an experienced partner helping you navigate it.

We are a passionate web design and development company based in Gloucestershire. We also provide web hosting, so we’re well equipped to provide you and your company with a 360-degree service.

We’ve got a range of packages available for clients large and small, so if you have any questions get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” Development Update

WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” upgrade was released on 11th August. The upgrade improves three main areas of WordPress websites: speed, security, and search.

Speed

Posts and images will load faster, thanks to lazy-loaded images. This means that images wait to load until they scroll into view – lazy loading.

On mobile devices, lazy loading stops browsers from loading files meant for other devices, resulting in reduced data consumption and battery life is not used up so quickly.

Search

WordPress sites already work well with search engines, now WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines find your important pages much faster.

This means more people finding your site more quickly, giving you more time to engage and convert to paying customers.

Security

It is now possible to choose to update all plugins and themes automatically or just pick a few. This means you always know your site is running the latest versions.

Auto-updates can be turned on or off for each installed plugin or theme. Manually updating is now easier too by uploading a ZIP file.

What do you have to do?

Nothing! If your website is hosted and maintained by us, we will install WordPress 5.5 and fix any compatibility issues that may come up.

Investing in quality web hosting

Installing upgrades is one of the best reasons to invest in our hosting and maintenance packages, we do all the work so you don’t need to think about it.

A great website is worthless if it’s insecure and unresponsive to browse. Web hosting is the backbone of your business’ online presence and the very thing that ensures your website can be seen by the world.

Learn more about how affordable quality web hosting can be by contacting Real Internet for a quote today.

What is website hosting, and what do you need to know about it?

Website hosting is one of the most important web services you will need to consider as a business. At Real Internet, we offer a range of hosting packages tailored to our clients’ needs. But before you know which package is going to be best for you, you need to know the basics of hosting.

What actually is hosting?

Web hosting is, quite simply, where your website is stored. Our hosting service means your website and all associated files and services are stored on one of our servers. When users connect to your website, they connect to our server that it is hosted on, which allows them to browse it.

The important elements of hosting for you

If your website is going to be hosted, what do you need to consider?

The first is the speed and reliability of the server your website is going to be hosted on. Your website must remain fast and responsive to navigate, even during periods of heavy traffic. If not managed properly, the server can become overloaded, which can lead it to become sluggish or even crash entirely.

The second thing you need to think about is security. Your whole website is stored on the “hosting server”, so you need to be assured that the server itself is safe and that your website is going to be secure while stored there. At Real Internet, we take great measures to ensure our hosting servers are as secure as possible.

Data loss prevention is the third consideration you need to make. If there is an issue, you need to have access to a backup of your website and all necessary files/data to continue operating. A properly managed web hosting service will also contain provisions to help protect your website against data loss.

Investing in quality web hosting

A great website is worthless if it’s insecure and unresponsive to browse. Web hosting is the backbone of your business’ online presence and the very thing that ensures your website can be seen by the world.

Learn more about how affordable quality web hosting can be by contacting Real Internet for a quote today.

5 Good Reasons Why You Need a Responsive Website

In today’s world, there’s a vast majority of users out there accessing the Internet via smartphones and tablets, rather than a laptop or desktop computer. So if your website appears clunky, and difficult to use on their device, they’ll simply leave your site and shop elsewhere.

What is Responsive Web Design?

It’s a coding technique web developers apply to the build of a website design so that, regardless of the device that is being used, the website will respond and adjust to the screen size. A responsive website design is easy to navigate on any device and will deliver a great user experience, resulting in happy customers and increased sales.

Here are 5 very good reasons why your website should be responsive.

One Size Fits All 

A responsive web design will adapt to different screens automatically. It cleverly detects the user’s screen size and resolutions, and then generates the best possible output for that device.

Seamless Experience 

Mobile friendly versions of websites are often simplified versions of the parent website. This can often be really frustrating when a user jumps from their mobile, to their laptop and gets a completely different screen. A responsive web design will provide a consistent look and feel.

Cost Effective

Instead of owning and maintaining multiple websites for different devices, a responsive website, its content, and imagery, only needs to be maintained once.

Customised Marketing

Multiple versions of the same website can make marketing campaigns onerous. However, with a responsive website and valuable data from Google Analytics, the web pages can be highly customised.

Reduced Bounce Rate

High bounce rates are frowned on by search engines. Responsive websites achieve a lower bounce rate compared to their non-responsive counterparts. They load quickly and will keep users on your page.

At Real Internet, we offer affordable web design services that cover the South West UK. We are a creative and passionate team, that deliver thoughtful, well designed, responsive websites from start to finish. We love to talk responsive so contact us today.

Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry, so it’s important to keep up with the latest developments and trends. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at a few common digital marketing errors to avoid.

Not Developing Your SEO Strategy

One of the most effective ways of increasing your visibility on search engines and getting your business noticed by your target audience is by working on your SEO techniques. There are a number of proven SEO tactics that continue to help blog posts and websites rank higher in search engine results, including adding keywords in the meta description and title tag and adding interactive content, visual content and backlinks. However, search engine algorithms are continuously changing, and it’s important to stay up to date with the latest SEO techniques so that your site doesn’t end up being left behind.

Not Creating a Documented Strategy

If you’re a B2C or B2B brand without a documented strategy, you aren’t alone. In order to stand out, you need to have a clearly mapped out plan. It’s important for your business to establish its own goals but it’s also important to lay out a documented plan of the steps you need to take in order to accomplish them. If you have a small marketing team, it’s a good idea to focus on two or three strategies at a time or get in touch with a digital marketing agency to help. By analysing each of your tactics, you can quickly uncover which techniques are working and which aren’t.

Posting on Social Media Without an End Goal

Creating valuable content that is designed to generate engagement from your audience is the best technique for social media marketing. Posting for the sake of it is not an effective strategy, your end goal must be to connect with your followers and provide them with valuable content so that they are encouraged to take action. Creating headlines that stand out with facts, questions and how-to’s is a great way to generate interest, while responding to comments will convince audiences that you are worth connecting with.

If you’re looking for digital marketing or web design services from an experienced provider, get in touch with our team at Real Internet today.

Why bespoke web design is a good investment

If you run a small business you probably realise that it’s essential for you to have an online presence. With the role technology and eCommerce plays in our lives, a website is a must. Investing in bespoke website design might seem like a stretch too far for you and your budget right now but, in reality, it’s one of the wisest investments you can make.

Your website, your way

Your business is unique, surely your website should be equally as unique? You have individual requirements from your website that a web design company can help you achieve quickly, efficiently, and surprisingly affordably. When you use a template to build your website, you are always going to be dealing with some sort of compromise in functionality.

Using the services of a web developer you can have your website built to your exact specifications – your website needs to work for your business, and for your customers, if it’s going to be successful. It’s much easier to do that by building it from scratch.

Ongoing improvements

A website is never “done” – it requires constant updating and improving to ensure it’s as responsive and secure as possible. There is no better team to handle the management of your website on an ongoing basis than the team who built it. Many web design agencies, such as Real Internet, also offer ongoing maintenance packages to clients to keep their websites running perfectly. This allows you to keep your website secure, and ensure it always suits your changing needs.

Improving brand image

Something all small businesses need to consider is brand image and digital marketing, and a bespoke website offers an excellent boost to your overall image. It makes your business seem better established and higher quality, without any extra work required on your part. Think of all the largest and most successful businesses in your industry – they don’t use website templates, and neither should you.

Get started today

A bespoke website tailored to your exact needs is surprisingly affordable, and open to businesses of all sizes. Give your small business the website it deserves, and contact Real Internet today to get the ball rolling.