Here is an article that tells you why you should not try to use free hosting for a serious commercial web site: http://linz1.net/freep70.html.
This site claims to have a faster and better search engine for looking up domain names: http://www.betterwhois.com/
The Domain Name tussle is beginning to clear up. There are now a number of places where you can register aside from NSI, who held the monopoly so long. A list of new domain name registrants is at http://www.NewRegistrars.com/. Many are cheaper than NSI (some only half-price).
There has been a lot of noise in the industry lately about long domain names. In the old days you were restricted to 27 characters. Now you can register up to 63 (including the .com). A list of where you can do that is at http://www.domain-price-wars.com.
Some are touting this as the best thing since sliced bread. They claim that a long domain name packed with keywords (car-cars-used-cars-VW-fiat-fords-mustangs-toyota-SUV-jeeps.com) will rank high on search engines.
Others (including myself) doubt this. Search engines are pretty smart and even if such a name would rank high one week, it could be considered "spamming" and drop like a stone the next week. Moreover, it is an ugly name and very difficult to remember.
It is good, however, that longer domain names are allowed in case you need them. Many of the shorter names are long gone.
Building Your Site
A very handy message board where you can post any technical question about hardware, software, web development, etc. is the Annoyance Board at http://www.PRIMEConsulting.com/annoyanceboard/.
Many friendly, knowledgeable people hang out there. It is a useful place to visit. Read about the problem you are encountering or post a new one.
Some useful design tips for your web site are found at http://www.hotwired.com/webmonkey/98/34/index1a.html?tw=eg19991028
Banners. You may want to build banners (for example to advertise on TheBeadSite.com). The better the banner, the better the click-thorough rate. The best word on a banner is "Free," but don't use it unless you have something of value to give away.
Another important phrase is "Click here." A surprising number of people don't know that this is what you are supposed to do with a banner. Your design should be clean and to the point. The color combination should be pleasing. A static banner should be no more than 7K bytes large.
For more information visit: http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/Design/FreeStuff/index2.html
A lot has been happening in the arcane world of Search Engines (SE). It has been shown that even the best SE only tracks about a quarter of the Web and that a combination of the largest only searches through a third. This has set off alarms and several SE are trying to become broader.
It is debatable whether that is a good thing. Already so many "junk" pages come up on a search that more may not be desirable.
Another trend is toward directories rather than SE, meaning that people visit, classify and rank pages. This is what Yahoo! has always done. It is a growing movement.
Those in the know say that the most important things to get yourself ranked high in search engines is real content. That means a compelling TITLE and matching keywords on the home page. Don't try to fool the SE, and especially don't pay anyone good money to help you try to fool them.
Home pages with nothing by a pretty graphic and not even a text link to click are wasting valuable space and are not being indexed by search engines.
For submitting your site, here are the submit pages of the major SE:
Marketing on the Web:
Craig Lock's "The Ten Commandments of Internet Marketing" are at http://linz1.net/freep67.html
Good Luck to all,
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