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Web Moving Day!
October 16, 2000

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WEBSITE101: READING LIST
Reaching Great Minds Online
October 16, 2000 Issue #65
Mike Valentine, Editor, learn@website101.com



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IN THIS ISSUE:
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==> Sponsor Ad: Time Control Training Room
==> Feature Article: A New Home for the Home Page!
==> Guest Article: Do-It-Yourself Web Site Pros/Cons
==> Cool Tool: Rocket E-Book carries a Library!
==> Classifieds
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WebSite Moving Day! New Home for the Home Page
by Mike Banks Valentine

Moving is an inevitable event for most of us. Over the last
25 years I have moved an average of once per year! First
it was that exciting move out on my own to attend college,
then came the reluctant bouncing between relatives, bad
apartments, incompatible room-mates and then, just about
graduation time, the perfect apartment! Oh Well.

Now its off to a new city, a new job and a new apartment.
OK, I admit that a good deal of my moving happened during
college and that first job, but when I'm still not quite
satisfied with my work life, it's back to college again
and another succession of temporary homes until starting
the career anew.

What has all this to do with online small business? Well I
recently moved again, not to a different house, but to a
new web host and it reminded me of the complexities of the
move from one home to another.

I expected moving to a new web hosting company would be as
simple as snapping my fingers. After all, what is there to
do beyond making a phone call and a few follow-up emails to
wrap up the details?

Lots! Don't be lulled into complacency because you see that
change discussed so much around the web. It seems nearly as
likely that you'll change web hosts when getting started
online as it is that you move often from home to home. As a
matter of fact, if you are using a local Internet Service
Provider, you will very likely change to another web host
if you change cities. After all, the house doesn't move
with you, and neither does the dial-up account!

So what does one do when preparing to move from the local
ISP to a new web host? Here's a to-do list for that move.

1). Pack up your belongings. Moving your home page means
making copies of the pages of your site and any cgi scripts
used to run automated parts of your site such as autore-
sponders. Store them on zip disks or CD's and carefully
pack them away for the move. Make the transition as seam-
less as possible by turning off the services you'll no
longer be needing or you'll continue to pay for them! But
unlike moving house, I recommend you have at least a month
overlap of services, including email so you can notify
the new providers and be certain it all works before you
shut down existing power, water and gas. Make certain you
set up mail forwarding with your current host, or rather,
post office.

2). Call the moving company. When you move your web site,
it means moving bits and bytes rather than bits and pieces.
The first mover will be your domain name registrar. That's
the company you registered your website name with. Just as
the movers need to know details of what you are moving and
where you'll be moving it to, such is also the case with
the domain name registrar. Be prepared with the current
primary and secondary Domain Name Server and each of the
current IP addresses so they'll know what they are moving
and where you currently live.

3). You'll need to tell them where you're moving to as well.
You've done your home shopping and have decided on a great
piece of cyber real-estate with all the amenities, database
access, built-in site search script, 24 hour security and
complete privacy with a great view out the window of all
those cool features you'll want to add - down the road. ;-)
So you'll know the *new* Primary and Secondary Domain Name
Servers and thier IP addresses to give to the registrar, er
I mean movers, to arrange arrival at your new home page.

4). Just as you want your belongings to arrive at your
new home before you do, you'll want your web pages to get
there ahead of you as well. Those carefully copied files
that you downloaded and packed away for the move will need
to be uploaded at the new web home. Unzipping those files,
unpacking those scripts and putting them away is always a
challenge when the layout of your new home is different.
You'll need to contact the utilities companies, um, that
would be the new host support folks, for "paths" to the
cgi-bin, directory names and database access.

5). Now finding all the stuff you packed and getting it
put away is still ahead of you. CGI scripts will need a
fresh coat of paint before your new home looks just right.
Minor patches to files and scripts that relied on old bits
and bytes need updating to reflect the new location. You
may also need to contact friends and relatives, or in this
case, affiliate programs and third-party resources to be
certain that they have your new IP address, they may rely
on old information that needs updating after the move.
That means list hosts, site intrasearch utilities, page
translators, co-branded services, etc.

Depending on the size of your household, moving could be
like filling your old clunker with all your belongings
and schlepping it all to another bad apartment or it
could be as complex as moving the corporate office into
a shiny new 20 story building. The challenges of a move
from one free web host to a local ISP or from a host
grown too small to a dedicated server with your own staff
to run IT operations can be compared to moving to a new
home.

Plop into your favorite chair and pop the cork on the
champagne and celebrate!

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GUEST ARTICLE
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DO-IT-YOURSELF WEB SITES: THE PROS AND CONS
by Tim North


Not sure what's involved in getting a web site started? Well,
there are really only three ways to go about it. In this article,
I'll provide an objective review of the strengths and weaknesses
of each approach.

(a) The DIY solution: Create and maintain your web site yourself
by using software such as Microsoft FrontPage or by writing
the HTML directly.

(b) The half-n-half solution: Have an external party create the
web site. You then do the regular updating of the site
yourself.

(c) The full outsourcing solution: Have an external party create
and update the site.


(a) THE DIY SOLUTION

ADVANTAGES
* This is the cheapest solution. You don't need to pay any fees
to consultants.
* If you enjoy being creative this could be an enjoyable and
rewarding activity.
* You'll have complete control over your web site's "look and
feel."
* There's no chance of a consultant handing you a site that
isn't what you wanted.

DISADVANTAGES
* DIY sites often look amateurish. This can turn away customers.
* DIY sites often have poor navigation controls. In a
well-designed site, the user should be able to find what they
want in seconds. Achieving this is not as easy as it sounds.
* You'll need to obtain some suitable software and then spend
time learning how to use it -- perhaps a lot of time.
* You will need to learn the arcane secrets of effective META
tags, JPEG compression, browser compatibility, FTP clients,
loading speed and more if you want the site to perform well.

SKILLS NEEDED
* Patience: This will all take time.
* Good PC skills; e.g. a familiarity with both text and graphics
applications.
* Technical skills or the willingness to acquire them.
* Graphic design and page-layout skills.


(b) THE HALF-N-HALF SOLUTION

ADVANTAGES
* You'll need far less technical knowledge.
* The graphic design, page layout and navigation elements of the
site will all be done for you thus avoiding many of the pitfalls
that strike amateur designs.
* A consultant will probably produce the site faster than you can.
* If you have the skills (and the desire) to update the site
yourself, this may be the best trade-off between price, speed
and professionality.

DISADVANTAGES
* You'll still need to have (or learn) some technical skills, but
not nearly as many as with the DIY solution.
* Consultant's cost may be hundreds of dollars even for a small
site. Larger sites will cost more, of course.
* You run the risk of the consultant not providing the design
that you were looking for.
* Major changes or upgrades to the site will probably need to be
done by the consultant.
* When you update the site yourself you risk "breaking" something
or just "messing it up."

SKILLS NEEDED
* Some technical skills or a willingness to acquire them.
* The ability to liaise with the consultant about how you want
the site to look and what you want it to achieve.


(c) THE FULL OUTSOURCING SOLUTION

ADVANTAGES
* You are not required to spend time and effort learning
technical skills that other folk already know and (let's be
honest here) can probably do better.
* This requires the least effort on your part.
* A consultant will produce the site faster than you can.
* This should produce a professional looking site that navigates
easily, loads quickly, is compatible with all browsers and
works well with search engines.

DISADVANTAGES
* This is the most costly solution.
* You have less control over the content of the site.

SKILLS NEEDED
* The ability to liaise with the consultant about how you want
the site to look and what you want it to achieve.

CONCLUSIONS
Choosing between these solutions comes down to two main issues:
your budget and your skills. If you have the skills needed (and
the free time), you can save yourself hundreds of dollars in
consultants' fees. If not, consider bringing in a consultant to
design the site for you and, perhaps, to do the updates as well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Tim North (info@betterwritingskills.com) is the author of
"Better Writing Skills" -- an easy-to-understand, jargon-free,
downloadable book that can make you a better writer easily.

You can DOWNLOAD A FREE CHAPTER that's full of useful hints and
tips from http://www.betterwritingskills.com
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Copyright 2000 Mike Valentine

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  June 10, 2001