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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.

Yate Outdoor Sports Complex Cafe Ordering System

As the COVID-19 crisis subsides, we’re all adjusting to life in the post-lockdown world, which means we have to find new ways of doing business. This is especially true in the hospitality industry. When a customer walks into your premises and orders a coffee and a sandwich, extra measures must be put in place to comply with social distancing and to keep you and them safe.

The Clubhouse at the Yate Outdoor Sports Complex needed a solution to be able to provide such extra safety measures. They wanted to automate their entire ordering system, from the customer choosing their food and drink through to the bar and kitchen staff preparing and delivering the items.

We implemented a WooCommerce solution for them, with some adjustments for their individual requirements.

YOSC Online Food and Beverage System

For a detailed walk-through how this process works, please take a moment to watch our instruction video here. But in summary, it looks like this:

• The customer accesses the menu from a QR code on the table or in the bar
• The customer then places their order by navigating the menu and choosing their food and drinks
• They are then taken to the checkout where they pay for their order
• In the bar or kitchen, staff are notified of a new order
• Staff fulfil the order.

No cash has changed hands. Social distancing has been observed. Business can continue, providing YOSC with an additional steady income stream. As a side-benefit, the Clubhouse can also keep a much tighter control on stock, reducing waste and cutting costs.

It’s taking time for all of us to get used to new ways of doing things. Whether you’re shopping in the high street or meeting friends for lunch, your world has changed. At Real Internet, we are doing our bit to help businesses find their way through this transition to a different way of living and working.

With our help, the YOSC Clubhouse is now keeping its staff and customers safe whilst still providing a great service.

YOSC are planning to extend the system to include all the bookings for their sports facilities.

The system we implemented could be used for a number of businesses where money changes hands for goods or services. For example, it would work in exactly the same way as we set up in YOSC for pubs, hotels or B&Bs. Hairdressers could add it to their online booking systems and could take full payment or a deposit before the customer’s appointment. It has the potential to be used in so many different ways, if you can think it we can do it!

We have also implemented online shopping systems for other websites where purchases are completed online.

If you would like us to do the same for you, please get in touch.

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.

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