Site maps

A site map is a clear list of links that outlines the navigation of your website.

A clear outline of your websites navigation is vital if you want to try to ensure search engines are able to properly search your website content. Sitemaps can improve the chances of your websites content being checked by search engines even if the structure of your website is poor. Without a site map a search engine could miss a page of your site and it wouldn’t even have a chance of appearing in search results. The code used to assess your website will decide if the navigation on the site, without the use of the sitemap, is acceptable. The code will then determine if the content is hidden from visitors or if it believes the content is too hard to find, if this is the case the code may decide not to display the content in search results.

Site maps can be submitted to search engines directly and most website developers will upload the site maps they create to the major search engines so that they are sure the sitemap is being read by the search engine crawlers. Search engine crawler or search engine spider are terms given to the code which search engines use to search your website content. This code is very intelligent and is constantly being refined, however the code does sometimes find it tricky to find site maps so it is good practice to manually upload the sitemap to the major search engines.

Sitemaps are also useful because they allow you to clearly see how your visitors should be accessing your website content, this can be helpful for determining why visitors aren’t visiting a particular portion of your website or the reasons behind a large number of visits on one page versus a lower number of visits on another. However the use of a sitemap for visitor navigation research is only a secondary goal, the main goal is to make sure all the content you have on your website is seen by search engine crawlers.

Usually website developers will create a HTML sitemap, which is used to display the navigation of the website to the people who visit the website and an XML sitemap which is used by search engines to determine the importance of pages on your website and the navigation of the website. Site maps can be created manually but tools do exist that can automatically create them for you, if you are not sure if you have a sitemap or not then look for a link in the footer of your website or contact your website developer.

 

Storing your website

In simple terms website hosting is a term used to describe where your website is saved. Your website is a collection of files stored on a hard disk drive, or a solid state drive in some cases, this drive may contain multiple websites all of which are accessed using the the internet.

The hard drive will be in a computer somewhere, this type of computer is called a server. Servers are usually manufactured to be thinner than regular desktop computer towers, this is so that they can be mounted in a rack which allows a lot of servers to be kept in one place. The server will be stored in a remote location and probably connected to the internet with a fast internet connection so that the site can be quickly accessed by your visitors.

Websites are uploaded to servers using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or a web interface such as a content management system. Some people will choose to host their website themselves; however this can cause problems if a lot of people access the site, the website allows visitors to stream video footage, or if the website contains large files.

Other factors can effect the speed of your website loading time, for example a large number of visitors accessing the website at the same time. This can occur when a hacker or group of hackers decides to attack your website and deny others access to it, this is called a DDOS (Deliberate Denial Of Service).

There are different types of website hosting packages that are available. Most small businesses or personal sites will be hosted on a shared server with other similarly demanding websites.

Medium to large organisations may chose to have a dedicated server, which is a hosting package that allows them to have their only their content stored on the server. The main reason for doing this is so that they can have a larger community access their site or sites without disrupting other websites hosted on the server.

The final type of hosting I’m going to briefly outline is reseller hosting, this is the name given to a hosting package that allows a company to distribute hosting packages to whomever they wish.

I can offer website hosting packages to you or your business, if you are interested please contact me