The Difference Between Domain Names, Hosting and Websites

Whether you’re new to the web industry or you’ve been around it for a few years, there are a lot of technical aspects to the digital world.

There are many acronyms in the business, such as HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click).

As much as there have been attempts to “not use jargon”, there’s really no better way to describe optimising for search engines than SEO. After all, these are the vernacular, the tools of the trade, so “call a spade a spade” as the saying goes.

The same goes for domain names, hosting and websites. Whilst these aren’t acronyms, they are technical terms that require clarity. A recent client kept asking us for the logins to their domain name so that they could make changes to the website. So for the benefit of existing and future clients, here’s the difference between domain names, hosting and websites.

Domain Names

A domain name is the actual name or string under which your website will eventually sit and be reached, the name that you type into the address bar. The domain name of this site is 22i.co.uk – it’s in the address bar above.

Domain names come in all forms, from .co.uk and .com to .net and .org etc. There were a tranche of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) released a few years ago, such as .coop, .guru and even .ninja – we joked about some  of these but they were true.

A domain name on its own doesn’t do much. For example, let’s look at the domain name tomswifties.co.uk – If you type that into a browser’s address bar or click this link to visit http://tomswifties.co.uk/, you’ll simply see a holding page with the registrar 123-Reg.

There is no hosting.

And there is no website.

However, a domain name for a project can and will be associated with number of services. We can configure website hosting services and email through your domain name, set up subdomains for secondary services etc.

We configure domain names through our control panel, alongside all our other clients’ domain names, unless they manage domains through their own registrars. So please don’t ask us for a “login for your domain” – our service includes domain name management, so we will not give away “the keys to the kingdom” to safeguard the privacy and security of all our clients.

If you wish to have full control over your own domain name, we advise that you do so under your own details. We will then instruct you on the steps to take to “point” to webhosting, email etc.

Alternatively, just relax and we will happily manage your domains for you.

Web Hosting

Once you have your domain name purchased and are ready to have us build a website, then you’ll need some web hosting (Website hosting).

This is a space on a web server that will be reserved specifically for your domain name to point directly to it.

As we discussed earlier, a domain name on its own does nothing, as does simply buying web hosting.

Even when you point your domain name to your web hosting, there is still something missing…

Website

Once you’ve brought your domain name, pointed it at the web hosting, usually the IP address of the server you just rented space on, you are now ready for the last part – the website.

At the very least you can create an index page and add some quick “Hello World” HTML

Hello World HTML

Better still, you should install your favourite CMS, be it WordPress, Drupal, Joomla! or Typo3*

Once you have the “holy trinity” of domain name, hosting and website in place, you’re ready to rule the world. Just get your designer and/or developer to help you build the final website and you’ll be ready to launch, promote etc.


So there you go, a quick explainer about domain names, hosting and websites. They’re all different and, all together in the right order, they’re the basis for your web presence.

If you need help or someone to do this all for you, give us a call.

Happy Birthday: 22i Design is Twenty One

I realised this morning that, being the 5th September 2021, it’s been twenty one years since I started 22i Design!

On this day in the year 2000 this little studio was born and here it is today, still quietly ticking over (Whilst we work full-time for other digital agencies)

Our clients are mostly website hosting and email services, with website maintenance to keep their WordPress installations secure. However, we do still manage the very occasional website design. Farnborough-based, we serve clients here and in Fleet, Farnham and Aldershot too. So we’re mostly assisting local digital businesses.

In those twenty one years our founder, Paul Mackenzie Ross, has worked predominantly in full-time roles as:

  • Researcher.
  • Web designer/web developer.
  • Content writer/editor.
  • SEO consultant.
  • PPC consultant.
  • Social media expert.
  • Digital marketing manager.
  • IT/digital project manager.

Paul’s duties have included:

  • Domain names & website hosting.
  • SysAdmin/IT support.
  • Web design/development.
  • SEO.
  • PPC.
  • Social media management.
  • Project management.

The industries he’s worked for include:

  • Small businesses.
  • National charities.
  • Global corporations.

The sectors he’s worked in include:

  • Business/Business-to-business.
  • Healthcare.
  • Legal.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Electronics.
  • Finance.
  • Transport.
  • Technology.

Here’s to another twenty one years of digital, I love this industry. And happy birthday 22i.

Google Passage Ranking UK

Google announced passage ranking back in October 2020. It was apparently rolled out live on Feb 10th 2021 in the US. So is what we’ve seen today evidence that Google Passage Ranking is live in the UK?

After receiving an SMS from by mobile phone provider, offering me the Apple Watch series 6, I clicked the contained link to see a page of specs on the latest device. Amongst all the blood oxygen level and ECG benefits I saw that the page boasted series 6 has a battery life of “up to 18 hours”.

As an owner of an Apple Watch series 2 I wondered what my battery life was. I swear it’s more than the series 6 so I just wanted to check to ensure the newer watch wasn’t s retrograde step from my current one.

I Googled “series 2 battery life”, yes, omitting to spell out Apple Watch, but Google still furnished me with both the relevant result and even a link to the specific passage on the resulting page  that held the answer;

Google Passage Ranking Apple Watch Series 2 battery life.

I was shocked to see the answer “54 hours”, three times better in my old watch than the latest one, as I’m sure my battery life is no longer than 24 hours at a push. I followed the link to its destination URL…

And there on the resulting page, Google had helpfully highlighted the exact passage of the knowledge I was looking for; is this evidence of Google Passage Ranking live in the UK?

Google Passage Ranking result.

What is Google Passage Ranking?

Google’s Vice President of search, Prabhakar Raghavan, announced a number of search innovations in the official post back in October, titled How AI (Artificial Intelligence) is powering a more helpful Google.

The section of the post addressing the new Passage Ranking features reads:

Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right, since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages. By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.

Search result about UV glass

With new passage understanding capabilities, Google can understand that the specific passage (R) is a lot more relevant to a specific query than a broader page on that topic (L).

Raghavan’s descriptor perfectly describes my experience this morning and demonstrates the power and usefulness of Google Passage Rank. Not only did I get the result I was looking for but also a link to the source and an even deeper link anchor to the relevant section highlighted for my reference.

Passage Rank is extremely useful and will make fact checking easier than ever, especially when the user is taken directly to the source within the source and can quickly evaluate context too.

This is a fantastic update from Google, I can see massive value in Passage Rank already.


22i logo icon.Need an independent SEO consultant with 20 years experience and an affordably priced service?

Get in contact with 22i right now, speak to the organ grinder, get results and save yourself a packet.

Call us now on 07306 020 985

Twenty Years of Digital Marketing Expertise

Today is a special day. Twenty years ago, 22i design launched.

After spending 2 years studying for an HNC in Graphics & Design, our founder found himself in a dilemma;

You can’t get work without the experience and you can’t get experience without the work.

Catch 22 aye? But that wasn’t the only reason for the name, that was more of a happy coincidence. 22i is indeed a quirky name, and came from the engine size of our owner’s Opel Manta GT/E – a 2.2 litre fuel-injected, 140BHP inline four engine. Hence the name 22i.

And so, a 1998 personal homepage hosted on Demon Internet became Manta World in June 2000, soon followed by 22i Design in September 2000. Then soon after, the Dave M Karate and MaxTherapy  websites became the first little commercial successes for this tiny little home-based design studio.

Since then we’ve had a steady stream of low-key projects over the years, providing web hosting and email, web design, graphic design and lots of digital marketing, mostly SEO and content marketing but with some PPC on the side too.

Of course, 22i Design has always been a side project, and in the “day job” other skills have included full time project management and social media.

Basically, we’re based upon over twenty years of digital marketing experience.

Other businesses have come and gone. Some only take on the young, and the cheap, but they are also inexperienced too.

If you want a master craftsman, speak with 22i Design. You can get a 33% discount on rates by choosing a business with just five years experience but you’ll also be cutting the insights, wisdom and experience by 75%.

Twenty years experience in digital marketing, that’s a tough score to beat.

 

 

 

New Email service from 22i

For over a decade our small business customers have been happy with a few hundred MegaBytes of webspace and a number of POP3 email accounts.

Recently, however, our clients have been asking for more from their email accounts. With the rise of the smartphone (61% of UK phone owners have a smartphone and hence email capabilities) and the tablet (and the “phablet” if you want to include those oversized phone/tablets and use a ridiculous portmanteau) the old POP account just doesn’t cut it any more.

Searching for email service providers has been a lengthy task for us here at 22i design and, quite frankly, 99% of the services have just not met the requirements of our customers. 2GB of email is not enough for the client who wants to migrate over ten years of email so we’ve come up with a new 25GB IMAP account.

Now our clients are securely accessing their email from iPhones, iPads and multiple desktops and all with the same functionality that they were used to with their Mac Mail, Outlook and Thunderbird accounts.

We do still offer Google Apps for Business, which does offer 25GB of email and all the bells & whistles of calendar sharing etc but we found that the GMAIL method of “labelling” email was a problem for our clients with years and gigabytes worth of legacy email.

So, if you can’t afford a Microsoft Exchange server and you don’t want Gmail, but you DO want a secure, reliable and cost-effective email service with 25GB per email box, then do let us know and we’ll got you up and running.

Call 22i Design on 01252 692 765 for a chat about your small business email requirements and we will be happy to advise you on your digital transformation.

Freelance Developers – £15 an hour!

Really? In England? Somebody would only charge £15/an hour for web development?

Well, that’s what the ad said.

Whilst browsing YouTube recently a number of display ads have been cropping up for a business that I’ve noticed has stepped up a gear in trying to promote itself over the last few months.

I initially noticed the business’s PR team throwing content at publishers including one of my big clients for whom I edit and write copy. As with a lot of PR I see on my desk these days, some of the associations between the business embedding their link in the PR piece and the content itself is a little tenuous – that’s the way some content marketing and guest posting has become these days.

Secondly the rate at which these pieces of PR are being pumped out is, in my opinion at a relatively small scale publisher, flooding the market. To publish content from the same source on a regular basis, with sometimes tentative associations with the content, and all-of-a-sudden when there was nothing before is a little bit, well… Spammy!

But when their display ads appeared touting developers for £15 an hour, VAs for £10 an hour and the same measly rate for freelance animators, it concerned me a bit. There is a “going rate” for freelance web designers & web developers in this country and, even though I personally choose to operate a little under that rate, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to offer my specialist services, which I have spent over a decade developing, for a rate that, let’s be fair, is a bit too close to the national minimum wage.

The other issue that developers have to consider is that hourly rates usually make up for the fact that freelance work involves a fair degree of risk. An hour or two’s work here or there may involve travel which means expense or downtime. Also, hourly rates reflect the fact that an hour here or there is just that – an hour and not a day or a week or a month’s guaranteed and salaried income.

So I took a look at the website of the business selling devs for £15 an hour and lo and behold, the developers are not even in the UK. The lowest c0st, home-grown developers are offering their services at a little under the “going rate” which is fine by me.

But if you are looking for a developer for £15 an hour then the chances are they won’t be in the UK. You may well get a good service but if you do want to keep your money at home and spend it locally then a Brit will be worth twice that amount.

As for being a British developer offering your services at such a low rate, well it’s up to you if you think you can pay for all your kit, laptop, displays, backup drives, your learning, your office and your travel, mortgage etc on a such a small amount – Don’t forget that as a freelancer you may not be able to get work all the time (especially if British businesses are sending work abroad) so work out how much “downtime” costs you.

Newbies & Dreamweaver

Newbies & Dreamweaver

A friend of mine has decided that he wants to be a web designer and has enrolled in a course to learn the basics of web design. It’s been really interesting getting feedback from him on how people regard web design these days and the most common thing he reports back about is that everybody wants to skip learning the boring HTML part and learn all about Dreamweaver, afterall, they’ve heard SO much about Dreamweaver and seem to think it’s the magic bullet.

This is for you, newbies and wannabe web designers who think you should be learning Dreamweaver and not HTML, this is straight from the web designers mouth. I’ve been doing web design for 11 years and using Dreamweaver for about 8 years, and this is what I think:

  1. Dreamweaver is not the Magic Bullet Dreamweaver is not the answer to all your web design prayers. Dreamweaver will not slay all your design demons. Dreamweaver is not the holy grail of web design. Dreamweaver will not help you sleep better in your web designer’s bed at night.I’m sorry if that’s not what you want to hear but this is not the X-factor. I will not build your hopes up and I will not say that you’re wonderful and you’re going to make it even if you’re crap. The harsh reality of web design is that it is a fiercely competitive world and you will either sink or you will need to swim and swim very well too. You will not be able to design websites just because you’re using Dreamweaver.My Advice: Learn HTML, learn to design & code and then maybe learn Dreamweaver.
  2. Dreamweaver is just a Tool: Moreso, Dreamweaver is a toolbox. If you turn up to a garage with a top-of-the-range SnapOn toolbox stuffed full of shiny SnapOn tools, that doesn’t make you a mechanic, does it? Just because you own a shiny packed-full toolbox does not automatically qualify you to fix cars, does it?My Advice: Again, learn HTML, learn to design and then you could learn Dreamweaver.
  3. Dreamweaver is for experienced designers: I own a modified 300BHP Subaru Legacy. It looks great, sounds great and goes like the clappers. If you’ve just passed your driving test or if you’re not experienced or old enough then you won’t be able to drive my Subaru. Why? Because the insurance companies will not insure you on such a powerful, high IG car and by law you cannot drive without insurance. You will not be able to handle the power and the same goes for Dreamweaver. If you’re not experienced then don’t touch it, you won’t know what you’re doing with it.My Advice: Learn HTML first. Walk before you even think of running.

I’d point you to some forum posts I’ve seen over the years as to the debate on whether designers should use Dreamweaver or not, but they tend to be filled with the same polarised black & white nonsense and it’s usually not very helpful. What you would see in these forums would be either:

I love Dreamweaver, it’s wonderful.

or

I hate Dreamweaver, I only hand code.

These responses are a waste of time, a waste of forum space and a waste of server hard drive space. They serve no purpose to answering the debate over whether web designers should choose to use Dreamweaver or not.

If all you can say is that you love Dreamweaver then that’s great, I’m happy for you. Where did you spend your honeymoon and did people give the “happy couple” funny looks?

If you hate Dreamweaver because you’d rather hand code then you’re just a snob; you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. There’s really no point in being so ideologically opposed to it.

Neither of these standpoints actually answers the most important question of WHY? Why do you love Dreamweaver? Why do you hate Dreamweaver? “It’s great” and “it sucks” are really not very useful nor professional answers.

Here’s my take on Dreamweaver.

I started hand coding from a book on HTML back in 1998 (SAMS Teach yourself HTML in 24 hours. It’s out of print, and only the 2001 edition, which includes XHTML, is available) I didn’t touch Dreamweaver until about 2001. In those 3 years I learned HTML and design, all from scratch, totally self-taught. I had qualifications in Art, Design and Computer Science and a background in engineering and construction with some art & design commissions under my belt so I was well-suited for the design/technical aspects of the web design industry.

Dreamweaver, for me in my 8 years of using it, is a tool that helps me to manage multiple sites. It allows me to switch between working on a big project on one dedicated web server to another project on a shared server and manage the tens of thousands of files that may be in that site. (Yes, tens of thousands of files – did you think web design was all about 4-page websites?) With Dreamweaver I generally manage around 20 projects at any one time, so it’s pretty handy for keeping things organised. I could fill it up with every site I manage, but there’s really no point if they’re not maintained regularly (I tend to archive sites for good housekeeping and re-install them locally as needs be)

Dreamweaver is a managed and manageable environment for me, so it does virtually everything I need it to do. OK, DW FTP can be slow, not capable of multiple connections and not fully featured, so I will use Filezilla to back me up in those situations. I prefer to edit .htaccess files and check my error logs in Notepad++ and edit my CSS in TopStyle but that’s cool because Dreamweaver does most of the other things I need it to.

Dreamweaver allows me to manage my workflow. With templates and code snippets I can rapidly work new HTML pages and deploy regularly-used pieces of code.

Dreamweaver allows me to work in design view, code view or both, meaning that I can switch between designer and developer coding easily. If I’m happy with the code that Dreamweaver spits out I can use the design view. If I want to keep an eye on it I use the split view to see both the code & design views and if I’m working purely in PHP I can just use the code view.

Sure, if I allow it to, Dreamweaver occasionally throws up code I don’t always like, but because I know my HTML/XHTML and I work in code view as well, I can spot it a mile off and fix it. Of course, Dreamweaver can be buggy and doesn’t always give me the shortcuts I need but I get by and it is a time saver.

I didn’t like that Adobe brought out Macromedia, that move seems to have made the marketplace less competitive, but what can I do about that? However, that said, I’m still using Create Suite 3 as opposed to the new-fangled CS4 but with Photoshop and Illustrator bundled in alongside Flash & Fireworks, I’m more than happy with the CS3 package.

So, if you get to know your HTML 4.01 and 5, XHTML 1.0 strict and transitional, CSS 1, 2 & 3, Fireworks, Photoshop & Flash, learn your FTP and understand your LAMP environments, get to grips with MySQL on phpMyAdmin and your command line work on PuTTY ssh client, tweak your Apache web server keep up with PHP aswell as being able to wrangle your sites in your beloved Dreamweaver then you’re probably going to make a good web designer.

But don’t get too hung up on the tools or the technology, just make sure you can actually DESIGN things, that’s the really important part of being a web designer. (The clue is in the term DESIGNer) And Dreamweaver is not the be-all and end-all of web design. Some people hate it and don’t/won’t use it, but that’s entirely up to them. Personally, I think it’s a very handy tool that I use daily and could probably not live without. However, as this article is aimed at newbies, know your code first and then use the tools (if they’re right for you). You too may either love or hate Dreamweaver, or better still just find Dreamweaver to be one more big handy tool in your web design toolbox.

HTML Tags Allowed in Blogger Comments

I just discovered today that Blogger’s comment system does allow some HTML tags within comments. The following HTML tags are OK to use…

<a> tags.

So you can use a tag like the following;

<a href="http://www.whatever.com">Check this out</a>

But Blogger does not allow any attributes to be used such as the target attribute as in…

<a href="http://www.whatever.com" target="_blank">Check this out</a>

<strong> and <b> tags

Blogger allows the strong and bold tags for making text bold

<em> and <i> tags

Yes, you can use these tags to make text italicised.