My website is 5 today!

Happy 5th Birthday!My website, www.chris-smith-web.com, is 5 years old today.

I registered the domain name and started building the site on 15th June 2004. This has made me all nostalgic so I thought I’d take a quick look back over the last 5 years and how the site and business has changed in that time.

I registered the domain with a company called 123-reg whom I still use to this day. They provide good value domain registration with a nice simple control panel. I also hosted my first site with them though now I have moved on, mainly due to the more advanced technologies I now use.

website in 20042004

My first design was fairly basic but, looking back on it now, I still like its simplicity and clarity.

Although it was a new site it managed to bring in some good enquiries and before long I was off and running.

I can still remember my first enquiry and the first website I built for a client very clearly.

website in 20062006

As the “cheap web design” market got more and more competitive I needed to redesign the site to try to improve its search engine rankings. I tried using an individual web page for each individual service I could offer.

With hindsight, I think what I gained in web traffic I lost in conversions as this design failed to impress web development seekers.

website in 20072007

Another year on the web was changing and Web 2.0 technologies were becoming more common. I decided I needed a different design with a fresher, more vibrant feel. This design change saw a marked improvement in my enquiry levels.

I also started using server side technology to create more interactivity.

Today

My site now uses a blogging model and has articles as its centre rather than just the static pages about my services. This model is strong on the search engine side and my visitor numbers are higher than ever. It also means I get to write about the things that I’m passionate about – web development and online marketing.

The Future

I’m just in the process of launching a new site focused on Online Marketing. Please take a look at Chris Smith Marketing, www.chrissmithmarketing.com.

Need a website? Confused about what you need? Read this.

Here are the real basics of starting a website in simple, jargon-free, easy to understand English.

Web ServicesHow a website works

A website is a collection of files (text, images, video, etc.) on a computer made available to the public. When someone visits a website files are copied to the visitor’s computer for them to view. Each web page needs a unique address so that people can find it.

What do you need?

To run a website you need three things:
1) someone to create the files for you,
2) somewhere to make them available and
3) a nice name to make it easy to find.

The process of creating these files is known as web development.
The service of making them available is known as web hosting.
The name for a site is known as the domain name.

These three elements are available as separate services from different suppliers or can often be bought together from one.

Web Development

You need the services of a web developer or web designer. In real terms when you’re searching for someone to prepare a site for you there’s not much difference between the two but a designer is possibly more concerned with the site’s appearance and style whereas a developer is more focused on how people use the site.

Web Hosting

To make your site available to the public you need it to be hosted. Web hosting companies have special computers designed for this purpose called web servers. In order to put your website onto the web server and make changes to it your web developer will need access to your hosting account.

Domain Names

To give your site a nice user-friendly name you need to register a domain name with a domain name registrar. There are lots of sites that offer this service including a lot of web developers or hosting companies. The domain needs to be set to point visitors to your hosting account. Instructions of how to do this are usually provided by the hosting company or a web developer will do this for you.