Do You Need a Web Site Monitoring Service?Written by Lew Newlin
You can do a splendid job obtaining high search engine ranking and an equally fine job marketing your site. However, your hard work will be of little value unless your site and servers are up and fully operational. Unfortunately, items such as software lockups, hardware failures, databases, hackers, viruses, worms, service patches, and Internet connectivity can all play a critical role in your online success. Enter firms that specialize in email, site, and server monitoring. What exactly is "server, email, and web site monitoring"?
Web site monitoring refers to monitoring operational status and performance of a web site that uses HTTP and/or HTTPS. Likewise, email monitoring refers to monitoring, operational status and performance of SMTP servers to insure that mail is flowing correctly and timely. Server monitoring refers to monitoring operational status and performance of other server services such as FTP. While difference may seem slight, it is important to note difference.
How Does Monitoring Work?
Monitoring firms attempt to connect to your site or server service at regular intervals via Internet. If monitoring service is unable to connect and verify correct operational status, most firms will retry based on customer defined timeout and retry levels. If operational status still cannot be confirmed, then a customer defined contact list is notified. Upon resumption of service, most monitoring services will notify contact list again informing them site or server service is operational.
Determining Operational Status
Some monitoring services simply use ping to see if a server answers and record response times during process. Some services use more complex techniques such as checking web page code, database connectivity, keyword verification, and email round robin. The important point to consider is how a monitoring firm determines operational status. A ping request for example may verify server has power, but does not guarantee a web site or server services is operational.
Most monitoring services provide detailed statistics that can be especially helpful in verifying SLA and QOS agreements are being honored. When reviewing monitoring services, insure that method used to determine operational status is applicable to your SLA or QOS agreement.
What Changes are Required?
Some monitoring services require that executables be installed on your server. While this practice is not wide spread, it does exist. Most Internet monitoring services can query your site or server service without need of agents and associated complexity and maintenance required by installing additional software.
If you need to monitor sites or servers that are behind a firewall, a firewall rule will need to be established. Most monitoring services will provide originating IP information upon request.
The Basics of Website PromotionWritten by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Ph.D.
Website promotion is, quite simply, process of getting word out about your site. Like any kind of marketing or promotional effort, website promotion requires planning and strategy.
Where to Start
Before jumping headfirst into site promotion (and, perhaps, even before building your site), youíll want to think carefully about your target market and your siteís purpose. Who do you want to visit your site? What do you want those visitors to do when they get there? With so much information out there, and so many means available for website promotion, itís tempting to dive in without testing waters. Just as with more traditional forms of spreading word, though, you want to figure out what you have to offer, and who will be most interested. Promotion should focus on bringing those visitors to your site who want or need whatever it is you have to offer.
The Tried and True
Once you have determined your target market and how your site will serve that market, youíll want to start looking into various methods of website promotion. Given that youíre working with an internet-based medium, youíll likely think first of internet-based forms of promotion. Donít overlook more traditional methods of announcing your site, though. Do you have a business card? Have your siteís URL printed on it. Do same with other paper promotional items you produce routinely. Do you send press releases to media with news about your business? Certainly include URL in these. Do you advertise in newspaper, or on radio or TV? Your URL should now be a part of contact information included in those ads.
The "New Media"
Of course, Web opens up new possibilities for promoting your site, and you certainly want to take advantage of them. Here are seven possible ways to promote your site through Internet:
1. Get listed Where do you go on Net when you want to find information? Probably Yahoo!, Google, AltaVista, or one of many other search engines, directories or portals available on Web. So itís likely that your target market does same. Check into processes for submitting your siteís URL to search engines and directories Ė many of these services will list your site for free. The grand-daddy of directories, Yahoo!, does charge just to look at a business site (currently for $299, with no guarantee of a listing), but keep in mind that about half of all web traffic comes from Yahoo! -- you may decide that itís a smart investment in your website promotion efforts. Also keep in mind that there are smaller engines and directories tailored to specific topics and interests, and you may find that getting listed with one of these will give you a more prominent position in engine/directory, and provide you with more targeted traffic. Also, donít overlook local and regional engines/directories. For more information, see my article on Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.).
2. Get Linked While most webmasters will first think of search engines and directories for their website promotion, more traffic (six to seven times as much) comes from links on other pages than from search engines. How do you get these links? Generally, you need to propose a link swap with another site. That is, you contact webmaster of another site to which youíd like to be linked, and offer to link to his/her site if s/he will do same. Short-cuts, such as FFA pages, are generally not most effective kinds of links Ė because so many people submit to these sites, individual links may appear for only minutes or even seconds. Also keep in mind that people visit these sites to submit their own links, not to find information.