Do You Need a Web Site Monitoring Service?Written by Lew Newlin
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Monitoring "interval" is simply frequency in which a site or server is checked. Most monitoring services offer packages ranging from 2 to 60 minutes. Since monitoring costs are largely based on monitoring interval, it is important to determine downtime interval is acceptable. If site or server is mission critical, 2 minute monitoring intervals may be required to avoid revenue loss. On other hand, a site or server operating a hobby may not require monitoring at all.
Contact List and Methods
Most monitoring firms email a contact list in event of an issue. There are four important points to consider: (1) your e-mail availability; (2) number of persons that can be contacted; (3) testing your email devices; and (4) additional costs.
If you carry an email enabled cellular phone, pager, PDA, or other device 24/7 you are in great shape. However, if you check e-mail a few times per day, having your server monitored at 2 minutes intervals makes little sense if monitoring service uses email notification. Take a realistic assessment of your email availability. My personal solution was to email enable my cellular phone. The email address is not published and phone is with me 24/7.
Most monitoring firms offer ability to contact multiple persons. The logic is that someone on list will be available to react to an issue. While this approach may sound odd, it may make sense to contact your Webmaster, LAN administrator, yourself, or others depending on your staff size, work schedules, and hosting arrangement.
Most monitoring firms offer ability to send "test" messages to your contact list. This feature is provided to ensure everyone on your contact list is correctly receiving notification messages.
Read fine print. Some firms have "additional" charges for pager messages and if you exceed a specific number of notifications per month. As everyone involved in technology knows, unexpected normally happens, and on a daily basis. It is important to understand what you are agreeing to and your level of financial commitment.
Monitoring costs very greatly depending on monitoring interval, method used to determine operational status, and services provided. Generally prices range from free to $99.00 per month. Mission critical server packages normally range fall in $30.00 - $60.00 per monthly range.
Monitoring firms perform monitoring from outside your organizational IT infrastructure in same fashion world accesses your servers. Doing so ensures that your servers are truly available to your visitors and items such as firewall are correctly configured. Depending on your business goals, monitoring can be a valuable resource and play a critical role in your online success.
Lew Newlin is CTO of Information Solutions, Inc. that operates SiteRecon.com. SiteRecon specializes in security, email monitoring, and web site monitoring for Internet service providers and businesses.
The Basics of Website PromotionWritten by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Ph.D.
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3. Create an email signature file Most email programs allow you to create a “signature file,” or text that is automatically attached to each email you send. Including a signature file with your site’s URL makes each email you send a promotional tool.
4. Participate in forums and listservs There are literally thousands of web-based forums and email listservs out there that allow people with similar interests to communicate. Think of these as electronic mixers where you can network with others in your line of business or your target market. Keep in mind, though, that participants are expected to keep their discussion to topic of forum/listserv, and that naked promotion and advertising may be grounds for your expulsion from group. Most, however, do allow signature files, so use these to promote while you enjoy conversation and debate with others.
5. Start an ezine An ezine is simply a web or email-based magazine or newsletter. Ezines can help you stay in touch with existing customers and attract new ones. Many ezines are nothing more than promotional tools, though, so make sure yours actually provides information that your customers want and need. If you don’t have time or skills to create and manage your own ezine, hire someone to do it for you.
6. Write for other ezines Even if you don’t want to tackle challenge of producing your own ezine, many other web and email-based publications accept article submissions. An article in a well-regarded ezine can quickly position you as a name in your field or business. Keep in mind that most ezines don’t pay – rather, they publish a signature file with your article. Of course, your signature file in a widely-circulated ‘zine can do wonders for your website promotion. If you don’t think you have necessary writing skills, hire a writer who will ghostwrite an article for you.
7. Send press releases to news sites Just as with more traditional forms of media, web-based news sites rely on press releases for much of their content. A well-written press release can bring you tons of free promotion. If you chose this tactic, make sure that you create a newsworthy release, as thinly-disguised advertising is likely to end up in recipient’s recycle bin. Also make sure you use standard format and writing style, and send your release only to sites that would be interested in kind of news you’re submitting.
These tactics are only tip of iceberg, of course. With a little creativity, and a knowledge of web etiquette, website promotion can become a challenge rather than a chore.
Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Ph.D., is an English professor and freelance business writer. You may contact Jeff at email@example.com