HTML Section 10: Getting your site on the internet

Websites and Domain Names

To get your site on the internet you're going to need some web space. For most people, and certainly beginners, this means something called Shared Hosting. What you're basically doing here is renting a folder on somebody else's server. That "somebody else" will be a Web Hosting company who either own the servers themselves or are acting as a middleman for the company that owns the server (called a reseller).
The size of the folder you get on the server will vary, but is typically between 500 megabytes to a Gigabyte. This is usually more than enough. In fact, 100 megabytes is usually more than enough. If, for example, each web page on your site is 10 kilobytes, a 100 megabytes means that you will have room for about 10, 000 pages.
In this section, we'll take a look at some for the things you need to look out for when signing up for Shared Web Hosing. First, we'll take a look at domain names.

Domain Names

As far as web sites go, a Domain Name is the bit after the www in your address bar, followed by an ending, such as .com,, etc. When signing up with a Web Host they'll usually let you register a domain name with them. It's up to you to come up with a name, though. You can register any name you like, unless someone else has already taken it. It's pretty much "first come first served". You have to be careful not to tread on someone's trademark, though, as you'll quickly find yourself in hot water if you register something like, where megacorp is the name of a giant company like Apple or Microsoft.
Whether to go for a .com or a ending (or any other country ending) is something you'll also need to decide. If your business is international in nature, or your site can be used by anyone in the world, go for a .com ending to your domain name. If your customers are going to be local to your own country, then get a country domain ending (, for example). One thing to be aware of, though, is that the .com domain is to all intents and purposes an American domain. This means the authorities can and will shut your web site down if you break laws in the USA. (This also applies to domains ending in .org and .net.)
Other common domain ending to consider are .org, .net, .eu, and a whole host of others. (To confuse the situation even more, though, there will be a lot more domain endings to choose from. This is because an organisation called ICANN is allowing people to register their own domain endings, such as .learn, .learning, .learner. You'd need deep pockets, however, as the price is $150, 000 per ending.) To save yourself from bankruptcy, however, it's probably better to just buy a few endings. For example, if you were selling black widgets, you could go for and The fees involved vary, but shouldn't set you back too much. But remember: you have to renew your domain names every year or two, which means paying again. If you forget to renew a domain name then it goes on the open market and anyone can buy it.
One more thing to consider is singular and plurals. In our example above, if we register the domain name somebody else can come along and register the singular version, You can complain to an organisation called ICANN, who oversee the .com ending, but it would take a while to resolve, and your business could be damaged before a decision is reached. To defend against this, you'd need to register the singular as well as the plural for your domain name, if this applies.

What to look for when buying Web Space

The websites of Web Hosting companies can be a minefield of jargon. Here are some of the things to look out for.
Disk Space
This is how much space you get on the hosting company's server. Obviously, the more the merrier, here. But it's highly unlikely that you'll need a Gigabyte of disk space, unless your web site contains lots of large images or videos. But the average site won't even be 50 megabyte in size never mind 500 megabytes. So don't just base your decision on Disk Space.

Data Transfer
This refers to how much download activity occurs on your site each month. (Data Transfer is also known as Bandwidth.) Say, for example, that each page on your site is 10 kilobytes in size (pretty small, these days). If 1000 visitors come to your site each day they will be downloading 10, 000 kilobytes of data, or 10 megabytes. Multiply that by the number of days in a month and the data transfer will be about 300 megabytes a month. If the Web Hosting company you sign up for only allows 100 megabytes of traffic each month then they will cut you off when that limit is reached. Your site will then be down until next month.
It's a pretty rare Web Hosting company that does this, though. And a 100 megabytes data transfer limit is fairly puny. What you'll normally see here is the dreaded word "unlimited". A lot of hosts put an asterisk next to "unlimited" which leads to a fair use policy. Which, of course, means it's not really unlimited. Your site would really need to take off, though, for the fair use policy to kick in. But pay attention to when this is.
Not every hosting company has their own servers. Some will rent server space from another company. They will then resell some server space to you. So when you sign up for a reseller just remember that they don't own their own servers. If something goes wrong they will have to get in touch with the parent company and find out what's going on, and how long it will take to fix the problem. In the meantime, your site will be down. There's not much the reseller can do about it, though, other than to nag their parent company.
Most resellers are decent small businesses, who will go out of their way to help you. In fact, one of the advantages of a reseller is that personal touch you just don't get with "big boys" of the web hosting business.
So don't be afraid of signing up with a reseller, especially the ones that are up-front about it. But be wary of those resellers who hide the fact in the small print, and whose contact details are minimal or absent. A good trick is to try to phone up your prospective hosting company just to find out how fast they answer. If they only do email support don't be put off, as telephone support is quite expensive. But do check to see how fast you get a response to a sign-up query.
Linux, Windows, Apache, IIS
The server software that a hosting company runs is usually Apache. This will be running on a Linux operating system. IIS stands for Internet Information Services and is server software by Microsoft running on Windows. If you want an ASP NET web site then you'll need to go with IIS/Windows. However, most hosting companies will offer the cheaper Linux/Apache solution rather than IIS/Windows. (You can run PHP scripts on both Windows and Linux servers.)
If you don't really care about any of this then go for the Linux/Apache solution.
mySQL database
If you need to store information in a database then on Linux hosting this is called mySQL, which is a database owned by Sun, just like the Access database is owned by Microsoft. You'll normally only get 1 mySQL database. Hosting companies that have their own servers, however, usually offer you more.
It's very handy to be able to send and receive email with your own domain name. For our example domain name, it would be handy of we could contact our customers using rather than, say, Most Hosting companies offer POP3 or IMAP email. These are ways to receive email. If you want to be able to send email with your domain name then look out for SMTP. This would mean that the emails will be going through their servers, rather than your ISP's servers. What this means is that if you are not reliant on your Internet Service Provider to forward emails, if indeed they would let you.
If being able to send as well as receive emails with your domain name is important then don't forget to ask about both. Resellers tend to let you receive but not send, so POP3 but not SMTP.
If you haven't got the time to create a web site, then some Web Hosting companies let you use their in-built templates to create a site. This will be via a simple wizard system. Other templates to look out for are WordPress, if you're going to be blogging, and Joomla, if you need a Content Management System.

cPanel login
cPanel is a piece of server software that handles the administration side of things, such as setting up email accounts, managing databases, checking diskspace, and a whole lot more besides. If you sign up for a reseller you'll more than likely have a cPanel login.

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It's a way to encrypt connections between a server and a client. If you need files to be securely transferred and not just available to everyone then look out for a SSL option. You may also need SSL if you have an area on your site where people need to log in. You can tell if SSL is being used because the address in the address bar of your browser will say and not just (the difference is the "s" after "http").

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is used to transfer the files and web pages from your computer to your web space. You can get FTP software that simplifies the job. You enter the details provided by your web hosting company and then connect. After that it will be a matter of dragging and dropping files from your computer to theirs. Here's an example of setting up your FTP software:
An FTP dialogue box
For the Host/IP/URL section this is usually your domain name with FTP in front of it. But your Web Hosting company will send you an email with these details. When you click Connect the software will attempt to log in using your username and password. If you're successful, you'll see folders like these for Linux hosting:
Web hosting folder structure
Double-click the public_html folder and uploaded all your web pages into there. Windows hosting will be very similar but may just say public instead of public_html.

Some Web Hosts

If you're in the UK then the big players in Web Hosting business are and 123-reg is owned by Webfusion, which has its own hosting here:
All three of these sites are worth a visit. Look out for all the items we've discussed above, and make note of what other extras they offer. Most of these extras you won't need, so don't be bamboozled by them!
Another Web Hosting company to consider is Netweaver ( Although they don't offer as many frills as the big players, they are very reliable. They have their own servers, too.

Search Engine Optimisation

In this section we'll take a look at what you should do to get your web site recognised by search engines. However, bear in mind that the goal of a good web page is quality. You should not be writing your articles for search engines but for people. If you care about what you're saying and care about your audience then this will be far superior to someone just trying to make a fast buck.

META tags

A category of HTML tags that you can add to the HEAD section of your web pages are META tags. META is short for METADATA, which means information about the data on your web page. An example is this:
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Widgets for all occasions.">
This META tag has the attributes NAME and CONTENT. The NAME attribute can take a lot of values, but it is used in conjunction with the CONTENT attribute. In the example above, the CONTENT is describing what the web page is about. Because the CONTENT is a description of the page, the NAME value is "description".
Some other NAME values are:
So, for example, if you want to declare yourself to be the author of a particular piece of work you would add the following META tag:
<META NAME="Author" CONTENT="your_name_here">
But there are lots more NAME values. You can even create your own.
In the list above, the most used (and abused) is the Keywords value. Here's an example of its use:
<META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="Red Widgets, Black Widgets, Green Widgets">
The idea here is that you provide some keywords which sum-up the contents of the page. However, the keywords NAME was abused by a lot of people trying fiddle the outcome of search engine results. They thought they could get to the top of the likes of Google and Yahoo by stuffing the CONTENT attribute with as many keywords as possible. Google will just ignore the keywords NAME now. So it's not really worth bothering with. Unless you use only a few relevant keywords.
The description NAME tag above, though, is well worth adding. Although it won't bump you up the search engine ranks, sites like Google may display your description in its search engine results. So it's worth writing a good description for the CONTENT attribute of the META tag when using NAME="description".
If you don't want search engines crawling a page then the ROBOTS value is the one to use. Like this:
The NONE value instructs reputable search engine bots to move along and not bother crawling the page.

Keywords in your page text

Search engines work by scanning the text and images on your web page. They then try to work out what the page is all about. To make sure that a search engine gets it right, you can tweak your text to remove any ambiguity. For example, suppose your page is about black widgets. If you have discussed widgets but not black widgets then a search engine won't know that this page is about a specific type of widget. So your keywords here are "black widgets". In an article that's 300 to 500 words, you should mention the phrase "black widgets" about once every 100 words. Don't overdo it, though. A search engine may penalise you for "keyword spamming" if you mention "black widgets" too much.
Keywords can also be placed in the ALT attribute for images. For example:
<IMG SRC="black_widget.jpg" ALT="A black widget running on a Mac">
The ALT attribute above is describing what the image portrays. This not only helps a search engine to categorise your page, but it also helps those who are not able to see your image.
Try to aim your keywords not at search engines, however, but at your readers. You want people to genuinely like your article or product. They won't if you spam them to death!
A search engine will not only file away your text but also your hyperlinks, and where they are pointing to.
So another thing you can do is to include your keywords in the link to the page. For example, a hyperlink could be constructed like this:
When a user clicks the link, they should be taken to your black widget page.
The TITLE of a web page is another place to insert your keywords. For the black widgets page itself, then, you could have this for the TITLE tag:
<TITLE>Black Widgets in all shapes and sizes</TITLE>
The TITLE, remember, will appear at the very top of the browser window. So it's an area that can be of help to your visitors, a visual clue that they are on the right page.
But don't obsess over keywords. The advice, again, is to aim your web site at people, and not at search engines.

Submitting your site to search engines

You don't really need to submit your site to a search engine anymore. They all have bots that crawl the entire internet, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, analysing your contents. Google, it is said, will find and crawl your site in about a month, and then crawl it again every month. If you can't wait, then Google allows you to submit the first page in your site here:
To submit your site to Microsoft's Bing search engine, the page is here at the time of writing:
Yahoo's site submitting process is a little more complicated. But the page is here:
If you have an offline business, one really useful addition to your marketing is the free Google Places. This is a part of Google maps, and gets you a little pin on a map. When users click on your pin they get a popup box with the details of your business on it.
The search engine Bing (from Microsoft) also allows you to add business information. The link is here:

Links back to your site

One thing that search engines do count is how many other sites are linking to yours. When you are just starting out the answer will be "none". The problem is that it has become really difficult to get a link back to your site. The traditional way to get a link is to email an owner of a web site and ask if they will link to yours. Expect such emails to be deleted immediately!
You can ask for something called a reciprocal link. This is when you link to their site and they link to yours. The value of such links is debatable, and may even do more harm than good these days. Just make sure the links you do get are relevant to your own site. After all, why would you link to a shoe shop if you're selling computer components? The link would be worthless.
Getting links is very time consuming. You can make a start by typing, say, "Black Widgets" into a search engine. You then send an email to all those websites who, like your own, offer black widgets.
To save you time, type "Add your link" "Black Widgets" into a search engine (Obviously you should substitute your own keywords in place of black widgets. Add the quotes, though.) You'll then get back sites that actively encourage you to add your link to their website.
For more information on getting backlinks (links back to your site) see the site Lori's Web Design:
There is some excellent advice here.

Social Media

Rather than spending all your time trying to get links from other sites it's probably better to promote your site via social media. This means sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. The idea is that you create a social page on these sites and let everyone know about your site, what they can find there, and why they should bother visiting. On your website, you then add links back to your social media pages. These links are ones visitors can click on if they "Like" your site. The more "Likes" you get the more popular your site will be. For more information on using social media to promote your site, see these pages:

Pay Per Click Advertising

If you can't wait for the search engines to crawl and rank your site, then you can sign up for something called pay-per-click advertising. As its name implies, this is when you pay for somebody clicking on your advert and then coming to your site. The market leader here is Google's Adwords. When you sign up for an Adwords account, you get to bid on keywords and phrases. You decide how much you are willing to pay per click, say 20 cents. You then write a few words of copy for your ad ("Thousand of Black Widgets on Sale"). Your ad will appear on the right of the search engine results in Google. You can also pay a premium and have your ads appear at the top of the page, inside a coloured background.
Google is not the only game in town, here. Microsoft's Bing and the Yahoo search engine have teamed up to run a pay-per-click campaign called AdCenter. This is more-or-less the same as Google's Adwords, except your ad will appear on Bing and Yahoo's search results.
You have to take care with pay-per-click advertising, however, as your budget can quickly run out of control. The trick is to create a great landing page (the page where visitors end up after clicking your ad). The more convincing your landing page is the greater the chance is that visitors will buy your products. Something called ROI (Return On Investment) is important here. This is how much you've spent on advertising to get a sale. So if 100 people click on your ad and you've bid 20 cents per click then you've spent twenty dollars in advertising. If your product costs 30 dollars then your ROI is 10 dollars. Get your landing page wrong, though, and you might need 200 visitors to make a sale, making a total outlay of 40 dollars - a 10 dollar loss!
It's well worth reading up on pay-per-click advertising before you spend any money. A good place to start is the well-known and respected SitePoint Forums. The Internet Marketing section is here:


A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your web site. In addition, a sitemap can list other resources on a page, such as images and videos. You can also add information about how often a page is updated and when it was last changed. A site map can be submitted to search engines, and ensures that all the pages are referenced and crawled.
You can create a sitemap yourself using XML, but this is very complex and time consuming. The easiest way to create one is via free sitemap generators. Here are two such sites:
Once your sitemap is generated you'll have an XML file that you can upload to your web space. Place it in the same folder as your index.html web page - the root folder, in other words.
Your sitemap can be submitted to all the main search engines. For Google, you need to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. The details are here:
To submit your sitemap to Bing, this page is quite useful:
Information on how to submit a sitemap to Yahoo can be found here: