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How much does website hosting cost?

Website hosting is an essential consideration for any business that wants to have a reliable and secure online presence.

With technology forming such an integral part of how shoppers engage and interact with businesses, an online presence is more important than ever. But how much is website hosting actually going to cost, and can you afford it?

How much to host a website: what determines the cost?

When working out web hosting costs, your web developer will first determine the actual requirements your business has. Every business has its own needs when it comes to hosting. If you are a sole trader who has just had a new website go live, for example, your requirements are going to be generally smaller, compared to an established multinational with thousands of new visitors every hour. This is the primary consideration when it comes to determining web hosting costs.

Most hosting companies now offer dedicated packages of different types, to cater to these various needs. This will often include your actual hosting, as well as some other essential services such as ongoing security updates and data backups. These are very important investments for the stability and security of your website, so be wary of simply choosing the cheapest package.

Can your business afford website hosting?

The simple answer is yes. Whatever kind of business you operate, whether you have employees or you’re a sole trader, and whether your business was established a week or a century ago – you can always afford a web hosting package.

Web hosting is a scalable investment, which means you pay relative to your requirements. The more you need, the more your package is going to cost. But your increased requirement is going to come off the back of your growing success. This means that your hosting service is always going to be a comfortably affordable proportion of your cash flow.

Make a key investment in your business today

A dependable, scalable, and secure web presence is essential for any business in today’s tech-dependant marketplace. That means you need web hosting you can trust. The good thing is that you can easily afford it.

Contact us at Real Internet today to learn more.

How do you define your target audience?

How do you approach your website design and digital marketing?

While some will simply create a website and hope for the best, there’s a better way. By first defining your target audience – a more specific, targeted group of people that you want to reach – you can increase the chances of a good return on marketing investment.

What is a target audience?

To define your target audience, you need to look at a variety of demographic factors to establish the type of people that are most likely to be interested in your product or service. These factors could include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status/whether they have children
  • Income
  • Profession
  • Education level
  • Location

Once you have established the types of people that are most likely to buy from you, you can start to work on marketing campaigns and methods, and the best style of communications that speaks to your audience. You have to make the target market aware that this product or service exactly what they need or want.

How to define your target audience

Defining your target audience is all about research. There are several different ways to work out who your target audience is, and the methods you choose will vary from company to company. These could include:

  1. Analyse your existing customers. Do you know who they are and whether there are any commonalities? If you don’t currently have demographic information about your existing customer base, consider adding questions to newsletter sign up forms, or use analysis tools to look at your social media following to find out who they are.

  2. Conduct a review of your competitors. Do you know who your biggest business competitors are? The likelihood is that their customer base will be the same target audience as yours. Analyse any information you have about their customers to help you to define your target audience.

  3. Look at customer needs/pain points. Which needs or pain points does your product aim to address? If you’re providing virtual PA services, for example, you’ll be aiming to target the owners of small businesses that don’t have this function in-house.

You may well find that you have multiple target audiences – perhaps, different audiences for different products, or different potential audiences for the same product, depending on how it is used. That’s why it’s so vital that you do your research, ensuring that your audience is clearly defined to give you the best chance of success.

For all web design services that help you get results from your target audience, contact Real Internet today.

 

 

How to Choose a Good Web Design Company

Picking the right web design company isn’t only about looking at their previous work to see if they can create a beautiful website. There’s far more to consider than just aesthetics, and a good web designer knows this. But how do you find one that suits you?

Here are three questions to consider ensuring you get a great looking site, as well as the support and forethought needed to make it valuable, too.

Do they offer the whole package?

Website design is just one piece of the puzzle. There are also things like hosting, security, and maintenance to consider. This work needs people with expertise too, so if you don’t have someone on staff who can take it on, you’ll be stuck if something goes wrong.

If you hire a company that can work with you every step of the way, you’ll be in a much better position. For example, what happens if your site goes down?

If your company is on hand to help, they’ll have all the access they need, and prior knowledge of the site, to identify the problem and fix it quickly.

This dramatically reduces downtime, especially compared to hiring a new person. That would mean getting them up to speed, digging up your domain and hosting details, and getting them access so they can make a fix. By this point, a lot of damage will have already been done.

Are you on the same page?

This is a less technical issue, but just as essential. You need to know you can work with the web design company you aim to hire, and that, while they are the experts, they’ll take your considerations and knowledge of your industry onboard too.

This means having in-depth and structured conversations with the web design team before anything gets started. Be sure to know what you want, what your customers want, and your red lines you don’t want to cross. It will be clear very quickly if the company wants to work with you, rather than drag you along with what they want.

If you’re getting the sense your prospective company falls into the latter camp, it’ll be time to look elsewhere.

Do they know their SEO?

A beautiful website that converts well is only valuable if people actually visit it. For many companies, this means ranking for relevant search terms in Google. The process and actions to achieve this is called ‘search engine optimisation’, or SEO.

How a website is built plays a huge role in this. For example, if it’s slow and doesn’t work on mobile screens, Google is never going to rank it highly no matter how good the content you put on there is.

It is integral your website design company not only consider SEO but have expertise in it. Be sure to ask them about this, and to hear their exact approach for building your site to standards search engines favour.

A good area to ask about (but by no means the only one) is Google’s Core Web Vitals. Going live in May 2021, they will be a major influence on how Google ranks websites. If your company has never heard them, this should sound alarm bells.

Here at Real Internet, we take the time to talk to you about, not only what you want, but what you need as well. Contact us to discuss how we can work with you to create a website that brings in visitors and converts them to paying customers.

Where is My Website Hosted and Why is it Important to Know?

Whether you’re building a website from scratch or improving an existing site, at Real Internet we understand that there are aspects of running a website that can be a little baffling. One of the biggest sources of confusion is website owners asking the question “where is my website hosted?”, so we’ve put together this article to help you unravel some of the mysteries.

When does it matter where your website is hosted?

1. If your host is causing your pages to load slowly

Slow loading pages impact SEO. You’ll be troubled by this if you’ve been lured into shared hosting options by what looks like a bargain price. This type of issue causes irritation for your customers and impacts your SEO ranking – costing you money. Using a dedicated web host like the ones provided here at Real Internet means happy customers and the type of page ranking you dream of. By choosing a UK based hosting package that is designed for your framework, you can be sure you offer the absolute best load speeds and customer experience.

2. When security is a prime consideration

Security is another big consideration when it comes to knowing where your website is hosted. If your website is hosted in an unsecured environment, then you could receive a low security ranking which can be disastrous for your reputation and SEO. That’s why we recommend taking steps to be sure that where your website is hosted is with a provider using high-security data centres with anti-hack protocols.

3. To avoid excess downtime

Again, the cheapest doesn’t always mean best. Cheap plans are usually for hosting on shared servers, which can put a strain on your bandwidth. This means poor performance, and could cause a lot of downtime, especially if you have a site with a lot of responsive elements or images. Hosting on dedicated servers can ensure maximum uptime and security.

Still confused?

We hope we’ve helped you get to grips with some of the reasons it’s so important to know the answer to the question where your website is hosted. If you’re still baffled just contact our team here at Real Internet. We offer UK website hosting, web design and builds for maximum efficiency and peace of mind. We can even import from existing sites like WordPress, so all your carefully created content is still there, but with the benefit of expert hosting and regular maintenance to keep everything running at its absolute best.

Our team are ready for your toughest questions so just give us a call or drop us an email.

 

What is SEO Website Design?

SEO website design uses a website’s coding, link structure, appearance and development features to rank the site higher in search engine results pages. It gives you a website that’s beautiful, easy to find and enjoyable to use, making visitors more likely to convert.

SEO website design and SEO: what’s the difference?

SEO website design is just one component of an effective SEO strategy. SEO website design, as a one-time service, tends to be cheaper than continual search engine optimisation campaigns, but it’s also the perfect precursor to ongoing SEO projects, helping to further boost your online presence over time.

SEO, on the other hand, is the larger overall process of optimising a website and its online presence. For example, by improving its content, keywords, links, pages, load times and functionality, and by managing how the website interacts with search engines in the long-term. Effective, continual SEO work relies heavily on good SEO website design at the outset.

SEO website design optimises your website’s code, usability and link architecture, with fast and significant results. It also gives your ongoing SEO work, such as link building and content marketing, the greatest possible impact (and value for money).

What does SEO website design involve?

As a web design agency, one of the many web services we provide for our clients is SEO website design. To lay the foundations of great SEO web design for your website, we focus on two essentials first. These are search engine optimised code and search engine optimised link structure.

Search engine optimised code involves removing, or simplifying, any code that doesn’t absolutely have to be on your webpages. This cuts to the chase when the search engines crawl your website, making it clear that your site is all killer and no filler. Done professionally, with absolute attention to detail, this process can have dramatic results for a site’s SEO.

Precision SEO coding makes it clear to search engines that your first priority is providing valuable, highly useful content accessibly to your visitors – which is also faster, tidier and tastier for search engine spiders to crawl. This could really help your webpages to rank more highly in search.

Search engine optimised link structure involves a careful audit and re-work of your website’s page architecture. This helps to manage how search engines view your website, reorganising the links between items (such as page categories and subcategories) into the most search-friendly link hierarchies.

This process makes your site’s many webpages (like products and product options) as valuable, relevant, self-contained and search-appropriate as possible for search spiders to crawl easily, and effectively. Kind of like organising separate-but-related pages into combined SEO blocks.

More valuable, self-contained and appropriate link structures harness the built-in power of your website’s highest-quality pages, making the absolute most of your PageRank to boost your place in search engine results. It’s all down to the expert optimisation of your website’s fundamental link structure.

There’s so much more to great SEO website design!

The points above really just scratch the surface of world-class SEO website design, but we hope they help understand its complexities and the incredible results it could achieve for your website in the search results.

If you’d like to learn more about our SEO website design service, and what our wider end-to-end web services like website hosting, web development and digital marketing could do to dramatically boost your online presence, just get in touch – we’d love to help!

How to Design a Website

The thought of designing your own website may seem daunting. You may wonder where to start and how to get to the end result but don’t worry, we have put together a guide to help make your website a success!

First things first…

Before designing a website, you need to define what the purpose for it will be. For example, will it be an e-commerce site, a blog, a portfolio…? This is very important as it is the first step to creating your perfect site. You will also need to decide on your company branding, what colours you will use to represent the website, what layout you have in mind, and whether content will be text-heavy or more on the visual side.

It is also important to come up with a domain name; this must be unique to your website and represent what it is you are wanting to promote. Make it simple and easy to remember, to allow more driven traffic.

Different ways of designing and building your website

There are various ways to create a website that meets your desires. You can make it yourself from scratch – this is the most difficult way to build a website as it involves a lot of work and is time-consuming. However, it is very rewarding when you see the finished results!

Or, you could use a website design and developer company/agency. It doesn’t matter if you are building a brand new website or looking at updating one that already exists, they will help with your decision. You can usually find a variety of different packages on the websites catered to various levels of requirement, from standard brochure-style, service-based websites to more in-depth e-commerce sites. You get professional help and advice when choosing to design your website with an agency and the process is a lot more straight forward than designing a website yourself as you make all the decisions with none of the work. This saves you time which will be beneficial in the long run.

Other helpful tips

Some other things will need to be done to ensure your website runs smoothly and gets the recognition it deserves. Make sure the website is mobile-friendly is a must. 52% of website traffic is generated from mobile phones, so it is vital that your audience can access your website from their mobile devices.

Also, once it’s up and running, don’t forget to promote your website. This can be via social media, word of mouth or business cards etc. Make sure people know about your website and services and, last but not least, ensure you are using the correct tags and keywords in all the right places to drive traffic to your site.

Want to find out more about designing a website? We are an expert web design agency based in Gloucestershire. Get in touch today to talk through your ideas.

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.