Nicky Jurd

Effective Small Business Websites

Archive for the ‘Web Hosting’ Category

Domain Name Scams & Cons

Tuesday
Apr 1,2008

In an earlier post I wrote about electronic domain name renewals and why it’s important to have a company manage your domain names on your behalf. Unfortunately over the years various clients have been burnt by the increasingly convincing domain name scams.

Most people know what a spam email looks like, and business owners don’t usually get caught by these. It’s the paper scams delivered to you in your real mailbox that get people. You’re busy, and it just looks like another bill.

There’s two major types of scams:

  1. Domain Renewals
    A company will attempt to have you transfer your domain name to their control and renew it on your behalf. These renewals scams most frequently look like an invoice, and threaten that your domain will expire and you’ll lose it if you don’t act quickly.
  2. Similar Domains
    The scam company will send you a letter that looks like a domain renewal invoice, but is actually a very close match of your existing domain name. For instance, if you own cityofcairns.com, they might send you an invoice for cityofcairns.net. Note the alternate extension.

Here’s some things you can do and watch for to avoid getting caught.

Have your Domains Managed by a Company

This means that if an invoice turns up in your letterbox from a company you haven’t heard of, you can safely dispose of it. Become familiar with your domain management company’s logo so you can easily identify legitimate invoices.

Look Carefully at the Letter

Is your correct domain name actually listed as the on invoice? Also have a good look at the company details, as scam letters are often generated from a foreign entity.

If in doubt fax through the questionable correspondence to your domain management, web hosting or web design company and ask them what you should do.

Have you ever been domain scammed? Let us know your experiences.

Thursday
Mar 27,2008

It’s a bad idea to register your own domain names. It’s easy to forget the domains you register, because it’s another year before they come up for renewal for a .com, and 2 years for a com.au. A pivotal piece of your registration is your email address. Your domain registrar will use it exclusively for corresponding with you when it comes time to renew your domain.

This is a problem for new businesses who might not yet have a business email address, and are using businessname@ozemail.com.au or some similar email address at their ISP.

It is amazingly common for domain names to expire because the owner changed their ISP, and so their email address changed too. This similarly occurs with free online email addresses like at Hotmail, or Yahoo.

By having a company manage your domain names, you can have peace of mind your registration will always be renewed on time and your website will never embarrassingly go down due to the expiration of your domain name.

If you have purchased the domain for a future project or as an investment the consequences of not collecting your renewal email can mean losing your domain forever. Most recently expired domain names are purchased by domain-squatters, so the chances of recovering it after expiry are minimal or expensive.

Check with your web host as most offer a service to manage your domains.

Wednesday
Mar 26,2008

I am eternally frustrated with the number of ISP email addresses like businessname@bigpond.com I see in advertising. In newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages and even on business cards it seems many small businesses are unaware this is so naughty. Using an email address at your own domain is very important for these reasons.

What happens when you change of ISP?

Inevitably, you will also need to change your email address. Having your primary business email address at your ISP means if you find a great deal on internet access there is a large cost associated with changing the email address over across all sources of advertising.

Owning a domain name and operating email addresses on your domain means your email is independent of your ISP, and you’re free to move as you please.

Brand Awareness

Strengthen your brand at every opportunity. This includes your email address. By having your own email address shows you’re operating a serious business.

Which is better in your mind?

nickycitycairns@bigpond.com or nicky@cityofcairns.com?

Website Downtime

Saturday
Nov 24,2007

What should you do if your website goes down?

Website downtime happens frequently, and for a large number of reasons. Here’s what you should do if your website goes down.

1. Test Internet Connection

First thing you should do is go to Google and do a search for something completely random that you have never searched for before. Try ‘orange scissors‘.

If you are not able to search Google the problem is not your web host, it’s your internet service provider (ISP). You need to call them for further information.

The reasoning behind this is that Google never goes down, so if you can successfully search, you can be reasonably certain your internet connection isn’t the issue. Therefore, so to step 2.

2. Contact Hosting Provider

Check the contact page of your web host’s website and see if they have a phone number you can call. If there is an answering machine, be sure to leave a message that indicates the nature of the problem. Something like this should do the trick:

This is Nicky Jurd calling from cityofcairns.com. I am currently unable to access my website, www.cityofcairns.com. Could someone please urgently look into this issue and return my call on 07 4041 6853. That number again is 07 4041 6853.

Important features of this message are:

  • Your name
  • Your business name
  • Your website address (or URL)
  • Your phone number – say it slowly
  • Repeat your phone number

Repeating your phone number is particularly important if you are on a mobile phone connection, as service dropouts can hinder the clarity of a message.

If your host does not offer phone support, they will usually have a support form on their website in which you can indicate you have an urgent problem.

Be aware that from a hosting provider’s perspective, your website being down is the hosting provider’s most important issue and they will treat it as extremely urgent.

Long Downtime

If your website is down for 24h or more and you have not been able to reach anyone at your web hosting provider, you should immediately consider swapping hosts to a reputable web hosting firm who offer strong phone support.

If you’re stuck for a web host with strong support, try local Cairns firm Get Web Services.


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