View Full Version : Where do I start? Any advice appreciated

10-15-2008, 09:52 PM
Here is my situation. I was in the yellow pages and discontinued it this year. It was getting out of control, $450 a month. Worth it, but just getting to me too much. Well the new book came out in July and I am still getting alot of calls, from commercial mostly. I was wondering where they were coming from, so I start to ask. The internet is the first responce mostly. So I was curious and did a google search for lawn care/maintenance, my city and state. Well, I have no idea how or why, but a link to my site is the 2nd hit on google. So I want to have something better.

I have a e-mail with my name@my company.com through yahoo and I set up a one page site through them. Just me name, phone, and e-mail in the middle of the page, thats it.

My first question is, if I design it, do I still have to pay for hosting each month? If so, how much on average?

How much would it cost to have it done for me? And once its done can I have control to make minor changes?

I just want a main page, services page, pictures, contact us, and maybe a way for people to pay through paypal.

Any advice, links, or names would be great.

10-19-2008, 06:32 AM
I am not sure how much help I can be but yes, you will need hosting somewhere. I would say you could get qualtiy hosting for no more than $ 10.00 a month.

To have a site done professionally would run somewhere between $ 300 and 2 grand. I would think you could get a nice site for around a grand and with what you were paying for yellow pages that is not bad. If you wanted you could probably find some newbie web designer who would do it for a hundred or two but you will get what you pay for to some degree. I don't know much about him but CBS creative hangs out here a lot and since he does he would be familiar with the industry and could probably give you a pretty first class site. There may be others but I have noticed his posts. Most would let you make small changes, some may charge a bit for it but if they charge too much for a small change I would find someone else. It only takes a few minutes to change a photo or reword a few things.

One of the hosting companies I use gives you "coffee cup" software to create your own site if you host for a year. I host one site with them but never tried thier software but it looks ok. That is PowWeb and thier hosting has been fine. I like GoDaddy for Domain names but have had bad luck with thier hosting. I see some guys mention site builder but I don't know anything about that.

The other option might be to find a forum for web site desingers and look for someone starting out that might do a decent site cheap but since most of your business is coming from the internet you might want to ask yourself what most of your business is worth and go for quality.

10-20-2008, 12:16 AM
I would be interested in doing your site. PM me with your contact info and I will call you about what your looking for and what I can do for you.

10-21-2008, 06:08 PM
Well, I see my name mentioned, and Turbo was pretty accurate with his post. The cost of a site pales in comparison with what you were spending on Yellow Pages. As you already found out, many businesses don't use the phone book any more which is why the Internet is working better for you (many biz owners have not made this discovery yet). Turbo also hit it right on with the price. For someone in your business, I doubt it would be necessary to spend much over $1000, and, you do get what you pay for.

As for updating, that's something I always work out with each client to what best suits their needs.

11-11-2008, 11:31 AM
He already has yahoo to host his site, no need for a new hosting service unless yahoo can't meet his needs. No point in wasting something he is already paying for.

11-11-2008, 02:20 PM
If he is happy with Yahoo that is great and very true. Truthfully if I was looking for someone to host one of my sites Yahoo would never come to mind and I do think there are better choices. If he is paid ahead for a while then yes, he might as well hang in with Yahoo.

11-11-2008, 02:25 PM
If he uses AT&T/Yahoo for his ISP, it comes with the package. I also would not recommend Yahoo to anyone for a hosting provider if given a choice.

11-14-2008, 07:28 PM
Another "yahoo" recommendation ;)
The price given is right in line, a good web site say 4 pages shouldn't be over $300 or less and the only problem is what deal you made with yahoo when you got the name. I made another post about a fairly new client I have who found he had committed to Yahoo for a year without realizing it and you may have done the same when you signed up for the e-mail hosting & such.
It's nothing you can't get around, you may just have to wait until your "deal" with them (it was buried in the fine print) runs out. Then I would move the name to an independent registrar, you can do that while having a site hosted on another host-no downtime, just moving a name.

There are other "do it yourself" programs included free, almost every host offers one "free" with hosting these days, the quality varies though so look for the good ones if that's what you want. I had one contractor build a pretty nice site (http://classylawn.com) with no prior knowledge in about 10-12 hours...now he's looking for time to finish it over the winter.

So you should be able to get whatever you want, all your e-mails will come with your new host, web site won't cost a lot if you pay for one or build your own then under $10 a month for all your hosting stuff, easy & well worth the money.
Happy hunting :)

11-15-2008, 01:15 AM
The BIGGEST trouble you can get into is a company that offers anything "unlimited". Very bad advice.... unless you don't care about either clow response, servers frequently down, poor support, etc.

What's your $19 "unlimited" lawn care plan?
No matter how big the lawn or how many hedges to trim or other extras it's all just $19. "Unlimited Lawn Care" -- what a concept. As long as most lawns are small and they don't need edging you'll do great... but what about when the 2 acre lot with all the hedges & walkways calls-OK so you can afford to take a beating on one-but worse they tell their neighbors and now 50 of them all call...:dizzy:
I'm sure you are running that ad for your landscaping business since your recommend it in hosting ;)

There are no "unlimited" hard drives in the stores, look on the Dell website, even for $25K the servers don't have "unlimited RAM, even a way cool q8ad-core Xeon is still only so many cycles per second, and then there's those persky internet connections that datacenters price based on speed. 10Mbs costs a HECK of a lot less than a GB connection.

There was a "woe is me, my site is always slow, it's down a lot, etc." post just today on a big hosting site I'm very active on (sorry-different name) from a guy who had unlimited and he found his host's server was running constant loads over 10 (normal "peak" "redline" is 1) and there were 1,800 & some sites on that server... that's the world of "unlimited".

I hate to see somebody paying too much like with Yahoo or some of the others but I REALLY hate companies who promise what doesn't exist.."unlimited" hosting or "500GB disk space" (a whole hard drive) for $4 a month... these companies may do OK until they get too many customers, so if it's a brand new company it might work a while... the rules won't let me link to my site so I'll make a long post by adding a news item I posted there 2 days ago:

In the December 2008 issue of a major magazine I saw one of the scariest things yet!

Unbelievable if you think of it but this was the "plan" offered in their ad...

"If you are looking to make big money Start Your Own Web Hosting Business Free!" Unlimited disk space and unlimited transfer for 12 months FREE! (then it told of the huge market for web hosting-you can make a fortune from home...etc. etc.)...then:

Start your own hosting business, we will "white label" your free plan so it looks just like you are a major hosting company...feel free to offer your customers as much space and bandwidth as they want-charge whatever you want-it's all pure profit for your first 12 months!

Of course the "plan" is that a percentage of the people looking to make "fast money on the Internet" like all those late -night infomercials talk about; this sounds great and they will get customers from friends, family, maybe advertise or whatever. Then of the percentage that get some customers during the "free" 12 months some will be making enough money they will pay the higher than average fees to continue with the company offering this "deal" when the 12 months is up. Can you believe it..."unlimited everything" for someone who knows nothing about the web or hosting to sell to you through a "white label site" so they look like a real host!
Sadly I wonder how many people will sign up for this "free money for 12 months" offer and then sell BIG plans-or even unlimited for low prices like $2-$5 to get customers (probably will have a special "yearly" fee) then when it's not free anymore the college kid or "get rich quick" schemer will vanish with his 12 months of free money leaving all their customers with no host? Of course the people making this offer hope a good % will "stay & pay" and in 12 months they will have paying customers...but I can't help think of human nature and how many people will use this opportunity to make some quick money then leave the "customers" wondering "where did XYZHost go? I have no web site or e-mail! To me such advertising & "marketing" gimmicks should be illegal. There are no "unlimited" hard drives if you search for the biggest you can find and all bandwidth (even the low quality slow lines) costs money; but they are offering anyone who signs up "your free & unlimited everything" web hosting business"; for 12 months!
The people signing up can be anyone and may or may not "have a clue" about web hosting. Some may just want a few quick bucks...whatever the result to me it's totally unethical. After a year you will think one "company" is your host but he's actually just one of many all selling as much as they want of the same server and you would never even know the company that really has your data!

PS: A little research (easy) shows ziggyhosting.com is a reseller using "white label" services of another host. (not the one in the ad mentioned above--there are LOTS of them)

11-15-2008, 05:40 AM
Just the look of ziggy's website would scare me. Compared to my other hosting companies their website looks very fly by night. The prices are ok but I have to wonder if down the road a few years when ziggy graduates from high school if the web hosting will still be around.

11-15-2008, 10:58 AM
I hate to see somebody paying too much like with Yahoo or some of the others but I REALLY hate companies who promise what doesn't exist.."unlimited" hosting or "500GB disk space" (a whole hard drive) for $4 a month... these companies may do OK until they get too many customers, so if it's a brand new company it might work a while

You are a bit behind the times on single hard drive capacity. There are 1.5 TB drives available on the market right now, with 2TB soon to be released. If the companies that offer large storage space on their servers are using 500GB drives, they are fools. Beyond that, these companies can safely offer large storage capacity because they know the majority of the users will never use that space, and they have other restrictions in place (that fine print you really need to read).

The biggest problem/bottleneck in any shared server is processor and memory resources and number of users assigned to a single modem. As you pointed out, all too often the el-cheapo "basic" hosting packages operate on overloaded servers, and this is a problem with just about all hosting services that offer these types of packages.

I do agree someone who states "unlimited" is not someone I would want to do business with.

11-16-2008, 02:16 PM
To above post: There are 1TB hard drives for servers but they are slow (bigger size takes longer to look through) and a TB is expensive in a "server-grade" drive (a lot more than that one at Best Buy)
I haven't seen any major providers offering 1.5's in "server grade" yet. But same logic applies. A server grade 1TB is about $50-$75 a month at the least or if bought over $750 so how does a company give 2 guys or even 4 people paying $4 one of those drives?
You are obviously not a host to call us fools when you don't know what you are saying. 500GB to 750GB is "standard" these days unless you use NAS with 1TB HD's for backups & such. TB's are seldom used for "web site delivery" they are just too slow.
The BEST drives are SAS (drool) and the largest SAS available is 400GB and those are rare more have 300GB and the most common is the original (and 3X as fast as anything else) 73GB HD's.
If I was buying today it would be 400GB SAS drives but they are 2 1/2 times as expensive as SATAII and they run hotter (most have individual disk coolers attached) so the datacenters charge more for the rack space.
But that's a lot of stuff that doesn't matter to anyone here. What the point was that a host can't give a whole or half or even 1/4 of a hard drive to one $4 a month customer...

(Reply to two posts above:)That's always my recommendation IF you have a web designer that knows how to sell services. If not and he's a good designer (layout, coding, the "look" and such you want) then also get a copywriter who knows how to write copy that sells to write the text for your site and work with the designer so your site sells your services. Often a designer just does their job and often this is not good for service web sites. A designer's job is to please their customer...that's YOU...and you don't need to be sold on your business/services. So the designer builds a site that pleases you (their customer) but doesn't "sell" to your potential customers.

Many designers build sites for products & such and so they are used to describing features of the products the sites are about or the web store or whatever. They are not highly experiences at selling services like landscaping or writing copy for other such "service" web sites.
Example: He's building a site for the XYZ Company that sells these items on the web. He doesn't have to do any copy-writing: the owners of XYZ are going to give him the descriptions from their print ads in their catalog or such to describe the items and send the photos needed. So they are very used to that. Then there are sites like one I host for a "high-end" Hollywood animation specialist and because of the "type" of business he paid thousands for a super "high tech" web site... because his service is all about "high tech" so the site needs to reflect that, it's what his customers (like Nike & Toyota and other big corporations) expect.
But I have had clients ask me to build contractor web sites actually get mad at me because they have told me all their services and sent me photos of their completed projects but then I keep asking them "but why should I use you instead of someone else in Cincinnati (or whatever city) to do my project of this type?"... because I want something that will "sell" the web site visitor on contacting my client whether by phone, e-mail, contact form or whatever... but in a service/contractor site if the visitor doesn't contact you you can have 1,000 visitors a month and not make a dime from it since you can't very well put a picture of a mowed lawn on a site and a price and "add to cart" button next to it :rolleyes:.
Not pushing myself because I am not primarily a designer and if I had 10 of you hire me tomorrow it would probably be ages before I could get you all finished up... but I am unusual because I was a contractor in a service business myself for over 20 years before I got into offering to do web sites & hosting for others and never thought about my web site much until in 1997 I was contacted by a major magazine in that industry for an article about web sites and I said "why me?" and then they explained because their research showed my site I had done myself (because it was interesting learning about the web and sites & such in the early 90's and I could see a future in this) and of course had continually worked on it-although primitive by today's standards was one of the top two web sites in the nation for that industry! ( I had no idea-I didn't pay attention to that type stuff) But I had the benefit of 12 years of marketing/sales experience in media before entering the contracting business when like many I decided I wanted to "work for myself". So I looked at service web sites differently that most "brochure" sites and that's where I had an advantage.

So the point is IF you use a designer (and can afford one) GREAT-but be sure it "sells" (and you can tell that by your host's "stats" programs monitoring how many visitors you have to what pages and how much your sales of that service increase (should be in proportion to the page views).
OR if you do it yourself, either design & write it with your visitor/customer's point of view or get a copywriter to do that part for you & you can put it in your web site.

Lastly there is no reason you must have a "cookie cutter" site if you do it yourself. That's the difference in a low-end and top-notch "site builder". In a capable program there are templates, like all programs, BUT you can modify EVERY aspect/element of the site, so there is no reason (with some work) you can make your site look as good as a professionally built site. Many site builders limit you to their templates & layouts but a good one allows you to customize every piece of a template or get good and design your own template or whatever you want to do. That where making the choice of a host with a high-quality site builder compared to a basic one. As a host I can assure you there are dozens of site builder programs for us to choose from just like everything else about hosting. There's the best then there's good, then there's cheap... it's up to me or any host what site builder or what other options/stats programs/spam & virus blocker software/firewalls...you name it; every element is "up for sale" to a host so that's where choosing a host can require some shopping because there might be value hidden in places you don't notice just from reading quickly through the order pages to get the "$X.99 this month only" special (with free domain that it turns out they own until you pay them for 2 years or else pay a $150 "early release" penalty. So not all site builders make "cookie-cutters" it depends on the software and the time the owner spends working on it.

11-16-2008, 10:46 PM
There are 1TB hard drives for servers but they are slow (bigger size takes longer to look through) and a TB is expensive in a "server-grade" drive (a lot more than that one at Best Buy)

1TB Enterprise Grade SAS drives for around $300. Granted not 10K or 15K, but still SAS.
I paid almost as much for my 300GB Velociraptors (10K enterprise grade),


Here is a 1TB Enterprise grade SATA drive for $210.


Any 7.2K SATA/SAS drive is perfectly acceptable for Tier 2 datacenter use IMHO.

I haven't seen any major providers offering 1.5's in "server grade" yet.

Nor have I, desktop only .... but that doesn't mean people aren't using them for datacenters.

You are obviously not a host to call us fools when you don't know what you are saying. 500GB to 750GB is "standard" these days unless you use NAS with 1TB HD's for backups & such.

No, I don't run a datacenter, I have friends that do, but I don't need to run one in order to understand that a host who offers 100GB or more storage space per client, and they are allocating all that space from their Tier 1 drives at $4/client/month, are short sighted (perhaps a better term than fools) at best.

The BEST drives are SAS (drool)

Can't argue with that .... and second the drool.

However as pointed out above, $300 bucks on average for 1TB 7.2K SAS Enterprise drive, and is targeted squarely at Tier 2 enterprise storage, which IMHO is what static websites and file servers fall under. Is a 7.2K drive fast enough for Tier 1storage? I don't know, but I would be willing to bet some datacenters think it is.

more have 300GB and the most common is the original (and 3X as fast as anything else) 73GB HD's.

I think WD would beg to differ (10K Velociraptor is a SATA drive).

I'm curious however, how fast of a drive do you think you need to serve static data? 7.2K, 10K, 15K. I can see the need for high speed SAS drives if you are running multiple, large databases, but just for serving static data, is it really necessary?

But that's a lot of stuff that doesn't matter to anyone here. What the point was that a host can't give a whole or half or even 1/4 of a hard drive to one $4 a month customer...

That was my point, they don't, or shouldn't. and if they do, they are fools. Allocate enough, say 1-2GB/per client on your high speed online drives, and offer the other 98GB or whatever from your nearline storage. Using a 400GB drive, that gives you 200-400 clients/drive, and most of that 1-2 GB of allocated space will probably never be used, let alone the rest of the 100GB.

11-17-2008, 10:48 AM
According to my server techs; although Seagate callas the Barracuda 1TB an "enterprise" drive others have had poor experiences with it. They are not confident in it's durability for datacenter use. (I have asked when I saw Dell offering the same drive in some of their servers).

As far as your other questions it depends on what the drive is used for and how the server is configured. 7,200RPM is fairly "little used" on new servers because of the availability of SAS & 10 & 15K RPM drives in "server grade".
The faster the drive & the larger the cache the faster the search times & responses (why currently we use nothing but SCSI (faster than SATA but not SAS) A 7,200 is fine for some things and was the "standard" a year and a half or so ago. For applications like mail servers & such they are OK. The main place where faster drives "shine" is on database, where sites need to make database calls (such as this forum, which must "fetch" each page for each user depending on the selection the visitor makes and with many visitors can have hundreds of database connections "open" at once. Then when I hit "submit" this reply will be quickly written to the database and added to it's ever-growing size. Then when a forum like this has someone "search" especially for a broad search there is a great deal of work for the hard-drives to do searching the whole database & returning results while dozens of other users are doing other things making other database "calls" at the same time. The hard drives on this server are likely "mirrored" (like mine) so there are 2 drives handling the same jobs all the time to handle the workload while still displaying other content (like the banner ads which are not only displayed but counted etc. as part of the advertising software which is also running off this forum's database constantly displaying data and recording new data.
That's where fast drives (and smaller) come into play. To be able to handle several sites like this all doing different hings at the same time. With today's dual-quad servers & Linux allowing for large amounts of RAM (unlike some versions of Windows) the "slow point" in any web server is it's drive arrays (normally-not the $59 servers). Already there are 12 core servers (2--6 core Intel) in the "pipeline" and next spring we can expect 16 cores (2--8 core chips)
So server configurations are always changing. The fastest is using 2 73GB 15RPM SAS "mirrored" for all the server software (operating software-compare to a really big version of Windows on your PC only including database software etc.) Then either 400GB SAS in RAID arrays or larger SATAII drives (bigger size, more capacity & less expensive-but slower)
Whether or not the "slower" there makes a difference is hard to say-depends on what's running on the server) then you also have NAS where you use the faster SAS server for "normal" site delivery and the NAS to have great amounts of storage capacity (like a set of 8 1TB drives) for data that's not accessed as frequently or needed quite as quickly (a web site that shares data between 10 offices across the nation for example but where the speed of displaying say the "4th quarter financials for 2007 on the XY Project" to one user at one office isn't like a web site visitor waiting on your site)

There's as many configurations as there are users & applications; but in general today SAS is the fastest and is noticeably faster (to the visitor looking at your sites providing you have a good network and good network connections) with 10K SATAII is the "standard" for those not in the SAS price range (still new and higher priced).
Do remember as my datacenter techs explained to me (the guys on contract to "fix" the hardware if it breaks so the know) the ads like you referenced are to "sell" people like you & me on buying an "enterprise grade" drive for our PC...not that they are really "datacenter grade".
Also I personally work with a very conservative company that builds all their own servers to order but as for components they see all the other thousands of servers in the data center every day (& talk to other company's "techs"--the "carrier grade" datacenters like Equinix or the Planet have numerous company's all with their own secure cages and all using whatever products that company prefers and then almost all hire firms like mine that work on contract to maintain the servers and have someone actually "on duty" at the center 24/7/365) Anyway, my company is conservative and they tend to watch any new thing for a few months to see what problems all the "cutting edge_-- "latest thing" guys are having before deciding whether to use it or not. There are companies who use nothing but Dell for example who will be the first to have the 12 core boxes Dell has for order now...but my guys will be waiting & watching (1) for the prices to come down and (2) to see what problems the "all Dell" companies are having or if they aren't. (Just like DDR3 RAM is "available" and faster but nobody is really using it yet--not enough faster for the cost)

Your last question about static data is easy...it doesn't take much although it would be faster on an SAS machine with great processors and RAM on a mirrored RAID and a company that uses good bandwidth and fast connections than a $59 Celeron server with 1 80GB hard drive on poor bandwidth and slow connections.
But comparing good company to good company you probably couldn't tell the difference depending on your Internet connection and PC.

The problem is virtually no servers (if any) run only static since so many things depend on databases. I have no idea but for example, but on this box, this may be the site that "works" this server; then 350 "static" sites work on it just fine also with them placing very little demand on "the box" (again no idea about this site or what their configuration is-just an example of how static gets mixed with databases all the time--you won't find a company with a "static only" web server that I could think of.

A good host will "mix" the sites on a particular box & move them as needed to maintain the best performance/profitability/dependability mix for each server.There is no "one size fits all" just like I cringe when I see somebody buying a Wal-Mart PC (even the Dell'that's where they clear out their discontinued & such) I cringe--but that PC may make those folks perfectly happy.

The point I was making was like someone recommended a host that wasn't a host at all... Just a "white label" reseller who could be paying $25 a month to that host and then "selling" 50 $3.95 a month hosting plans... as long as those are 50 small "static" sites he may be OK but I never recommend resellers or even VPS (because if a VPS "host" has an attack or something on one of the VPS on that "monster box" it can take hours to recheck all those big disks and/or identify & stop an attack---your VPS guy may be the greatest, but he still just rents a piece of one big server (one step up from the reseller).
Also the reseller recommended might be fine, may have 2 degrees in computer sciences and be a lot smarter than me; I don't know anything about them personally...but the reality is "reseller" accounts are today's "paper route" for teens. A small business they can operate from home and make "date & gas" money like kids did with newspaper routes 50 years ago.

The same way with the huge "too good to be true" ads for ridiculous amounts of space & storage that sometimes (if you do the math) are technically impossible to use without violating a company's TOS.) On a hosting forum I visit the other day a guy was griping because he bought a "huge-cheap" plan and couldn't even finish uploading his big site before they shut him down for going over his "CPU Quota" for the month.

2 Rules to remember when choosing a host:
If it sounds to good to be true--it is. There is no "best host"--only the "best host" for you.

11-17-2008, 01:41 PM
Pretty good summary all in all. The only thing I would note is I don't use store front descriptions (nor should anyone) to inform me of hardware capabilities .... I go straight to the manufacturer and pull their spec sheets. Once I find what I want, then I go to the stores looking for the model I want at a decent price. All the drives I listed are targeted at enterprise & server market.

Some comparisons. Brackets following links indicate [interface | max capacity | rotational speed].

Seagate Barracuda ES.2 (http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_barracuda_es_2.pdf) [SAS/SATA 1TB 7.2K]

WD RE2-GP (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=385#jump44) [SATA 1TB 7.2K]

for giggles and grins, some SAS 15K drives to compare

Fujitsu MBA3300 Series (http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COMP/fcpa/hdd/mba3xxx_datasheet.pdf) [SAS/SCSI/FC 300GB 15K]

Seagate Cheetah 15K.6 (http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_cheetah_15k_6.pdf) [SAS/FC 450GB 15K]

and a couple of 10K drives

Seagate Savvio 10K.2 (http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_savvio_10k_2.pdf) [SAS 147GB 10K]

Fujitsu MBD2300 (http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COMP/fcpa/hdd/mbd2xxxrc_datasheet.pdf) [SAS 300GB 10K]

WD VelociRaptor (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=494#jump44) [SATA 300GB 10K]