Laying the Groundwork for Your Online Store’s Success


Online shopping used to be viewed as something of a niche among consumers, but it’s now regarded as the norm. The convenience of being able to purchase whatever you want with a few simple button clicks is simply too much for even the biggest brick-and-mortar proponent to pass up. To describe the number of operational online stores as “massive” would be an understatement. In light of how much competition you’ll be facing on all ends, it’s imperative that online entrepreneurs take early steps to lay the groundwork for the success of their respective stores. Whether you’ll soon be opening your first online store or your tenth, you’re sure to benefit from the following pointers.

Hire a Professional Web Designer

If you want to create an online store that stands out, it’s strongly advised that you enlist the services of a professional web designer. While it’s true that the plethora of premade templates available all over the web enable people with no background in web design to create functional sites, an experienced designer is needed if you wish to build a site that’s uniquely your own. Using your aesthetic preferences and site layout suggestions as a road map, a seasoned web designer will be able to create an online store that flawlessly matches your vision. Additionally, if you encounter any problems with your site in the future, you’ll be able to contact this individual or their parent company for assistance.

Don’t Force Customers to Register for Accounts

In the early days of online shopping, many stores required customers to register for accounts if they wished to make purchases. Although this archaic practice should have gone the way of the dodo, a staggering number of eCommerce sites still require mandatory registration. Not only do modern-day consumers find this cumbersome, many of them view it as an invasion of privacy. Furthermore, with so many stores to choose from, prospective customers will have no problem finding another place to make their intended purchases – one that doesn’t saddle them with mandatory registration. In other words, requiring customers to register is not going to do your store any favors.

Have a User-Friendly Layout

When creating your store, make a point of prioritizing functionality over aesthetics. This isn’t to say that your store shouldn’t look nice – but if cutting-edge visuals come at the cost of functionality, you’re liable to lose a huge chunk of prospective business. Additionally, mobile functionality should be among your foremost priorities. Since the majority of online shopping is now done on smart phones and other mobile devices, a store than doesn’t properly load on these devices is losing out.

The eCommerce game can be a tough one. No matter what kind of products your store specializes in, odds are there are countless other sites that prominently feature the same merchandise. This is why early planning plays an important role in ensuring the success of your store. With this in mind, have your store built by a professional web designer, don’t require customers to register for accounts and imbue your store with a user-friendly layout and mobile functionality.

Reasons why Social media marketing Didn’t Work for Your Business


An objection which i am given almost daily as I interact with prospects & talk to people about Social media marketing is “I have tried SM marketing before & it didn’t work”

In my opinion & experience there is huge value in social media but I am not deluded. I realise that not every business has found that it works very well for them or at least in the short term they didn’t see a decent return on their investment, whether that investment came in the form of expenditure of the their time, money or both. Therefore they conclude that SM marketing is a waste of time & money. But hold your horses!

SM Marketing may not be a good fit for your business, it’s true. However please don’t be too hasty either. Thousands of businesses are having fantastic success.
Before you toss SM Marketing on the scrap heap please consider these factors. Some of you may get validation that it really isn’t for your business but some of you may reconsider & give it a second shot, this time doing things a little differently.

Let’s look at some possible factors as to why to Social media marketing didn’t work…

1. All businesses are different & there are so many different variables when attempting to connect with your target market using SM marketing.

Social Media works best for companies that serve the whole of the country or even internationally. For those local businesses out there, it will be a little trickier. It’s just a fact unfortunately. There may only be a certain limited amount of people within your geographical location, interested in the topics you are talking about.

Does this mean local businesses shouldn’t bother with SM Marketing? No that’s not what I’m trying to say at all. I am just saying you need to have realistic expectations & also consider wisely how much you invest in Social Media.

I believe that every business big or small should have a Social media presence, remember it’s about quality not quantity. A few loyal fans & followers can still be worth a lot to your businesses bottom line. Keep them engaged & strengthen the relationships you have with them. You know your business better than I do. So if you feel that your business is extremely micro-niche or geographically tight then i wouldn’t spend any money on social media at all but some carefully managed time instead. 15-20 minutes a day spent interacting with fans & followers is more than enough to give awesome value to them & keep an active Social Media presence without breaking the bank or wasting hours on SM that could be put towards something more productive.

Consider carefully how much you invest in SM marketing. Make sure it’s the right fit for your type of business & is likely to bring more rewards than expenses.

2. Some businesses are just a better natural fit than others when it comes to Social media marketing. Social Media is all about engagement. For some businesses this is easy & for others there may be a little more imagination required.

Some businesses & organisations will always have pockets of people who want to listen & talk about the things relevant to their business. Fashion, arts & crafts, authors, restaurants, speakers, coaches, cookery, sports, theme parks, news, religion, charities, health, music, film, TV shows, the list goes on and on. There are certainly way more interesting enterprises out there than bland ones.

But there are bland ones. And you know who you are. Accountants, precision engineers, adhesive manufacturers, plumbers, locksmiths, taxi drivers, again the list goes on. Should businesses like these like this still use Social networking? In my opinion yes, although less exciting people still need these kinds of services.

Get your thinking cap on & think of ways to make your business interesting or at the very least informative. This will still help to get people talking & interacting with you. Just accept that you may never get as many people talking as businesses in other slightly more “fun” markets.

3. You were trying to do it yourself but you were doing it wrong. A lot of people mistakenly believe that their dabbling and fooling around a bit with social media themselves counts as a well thought out & executed Social media marketing Campaign. And then they are surprised when it doesn’t work.

This is very common especially amongst small business enterprises that may not be able to afford to have it outsourced to a professional or have a marketing employee do it in house.

If you can afford it out source it. If that doesn’t fit well with your marketing budget & you have to do it yourself then get educated. There are plenty of courses, seminars, mentors & workshops out there to help you learn. If you are really on a shoestring budget spend some time scouring the web looking for free information on social media blogs, websites & video channels. But make sure you do. There is no point spending time on something if you are doing it wrong. Social media marketing isn’t difficult & shouldn’t take long to get up to speed but it doing it the right way or wrong way is the difference between it paying dividends or not.

4. You didn’t give it enough time. Social Networking takes time. Relationships take time.

Expecting to do the Social media thing for two months & then giving up obviously isn’t going to work. Please be aware that Social Media is not an instant fix but a long term solution.

Kind of sucks right? No not really. Because once someone is a true fan or follower of your business, who knows how many years into the future you will be interacting? If your business is a flash in the pan business then sure it will disappointing not to see results straight away. But if you intend to be in a business a long time, think long term. If you deliver good value to your target market consistently over a sustained period of time, your target market will begin to sit up and take notice. And then your social media presence will build momentum & take up a life of its own thanks to the viral nature of the internet.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

5. A poor product or service will not be fixed by Social media marketing. Even if you are doing Social media all correctly, there are factors outside Social media which need to be in place first.

Market research, social proof, a website with good copy & a compelling call to action. Social Media is a good way to drive traffic to your website but if your landing page is poor & does not immediately provide what there are looking for then it’s all for nothing. If you have no testimonials or social proof then you will struggle to sell online. If there is no demand for your products or services then SM Marketing will not help you. Nor will telemarketing, PPC, SEO, Direct Mail, Yellow Pages, Radio or TV ads or any other type of marketing work for you.

I’m not saying that this is you, but trust me I have had people approach me with these problems, totally unaware that they had them. They wanted me to help them because nothing else was working & maybe SM Marketing would change it all around.

Choosing Your Ethernet Service provider


Inter-site Ethernet

A guide to choosing your Ethernet service provider

Key topics

The market for Ethernet is continuing to grow, as UK organisations appreciate the cost savings, performance and efficiency gains to be made from deploying services based on this transport technology. Businesses that choose Ethernet-based connectivity for their corporate Local and Wide Area Networks can expect greatly increased productivity and profitability, as well as significant competitive advantage, from the capacity to introduce new applications and services to customers and staff. When choosing an Ethernet service provider, companies need to consider a range of factors including: the fibre-based coverage offered by the provider the methods used to protect, optimise and guarantee network performance the price and flexibility of deploying future services. 1 Introduction

More and more enterprises are choosing Ethernet connectivity for Internet Protocol (IP) services %u2013 not just for their Local area Networks (LANs) but also as a means of easily, flexibly and cost-effectively connecting geographically spread sites.

Ethernet offers superior network performance at vastly reduced cost compared to traditional Leased Lines or services based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) or Frame Relay transport technologies. It makes it affordable and achievable for organisations of any size to create a single network that is easier to manage, provides the flexibility to grow with the business and enables new applications to be added as required, simply and cost-effectively.

The tangible business and it management benefits of the technology are fuelling massive growth in the adoption of Ethernet services by UK corporations, with market estimates for continued growth over the next few years already being exceeded.

2 Business drivers

There are compelling business reasons why companies are embracing Ethernet as their connectivity of choice for the corporate LAN and Wide Area Network (WAN):

-u2022 major cost savings

-u2022 increased IT efficiency

-u2022 improved business protection

-u2022 greater productivity and customer service.

2. 1 Major cost savings

Integrating WAN and LAN into a single, national Ethernet-based LAN generates considerable cost savings for a number of reasons.

Reduced price & flexibility of bandwidth

Bandwidth on Ethernet is less expensive than bandwidth on Frame Relay or ATM-based networks and you only pay for the bandwidth you actually need. This means you can get far greater capacity for an equivalent investment %u2013 in fact, businesses can expect to treble their bandwidth capacity for the same price as their current Frame Relay/ATM networks. Where providers offer scalable bandwidth upgrades, you can initially set lower capacity while you determine your network%u2019s needs, then increase capacity as and when required, easily and cheaply, without having to replace the fibre over which the service runs.

You can explore the opportunity to use your greater bandwidth capacity to introduce new services and applications that will improve your overall efficiency and competitive edge:

consolidate servers and storage networks to facilitate their management and reduce IT costs Take advantage of multimedia applications to improve business practices and customer service, such as delivering interactive training courses with live video Use Voice over IP to enhance staff productivity by introducing hot-desking move to thin clients within a web-based software architecture, saving capital equipment costs (servers and software) and minimising hardware wastage. The reduced cost and greater bandwidth flexibility of intersite Ethernet enables you to be confident that your network availability will be robust enough to support new services, as well as increasing the performance of existing applications.

Reduced hardware

As Ethernet is well-established within the LAN environment %u2013 there are almost a billion Ethernet interfaces in use worldwide today %u2013 and increasingly being adopted on the WAN, equipment is more readily available and costs far less than the traditional WAN routing equipment used to support Frame Relay/ATM based networks.

By enabling you to consolidate your WAN into a single network, you can make major savings by eliminating the need for the hardware involved in multiple networks. With fewer systems to purchase and house at additional sites, you can save on the capital cost of servers and related equipment. This has a knock-on effect of reducing software licensing fees and support costs.

Facilities management

Centralising your network also simplifies its management, monitoring and back-up and streamlines the administration of software licensing, generating further cost savings. Before Metro and National Ethernet services became widely available, companies had two main options for their network management. They could either allocate networking staff to manage the main servers on the network at every physical location, or centralise resources and connect them via ATM or Frame Relay %u2013 both of which were expensive.

This also resulted in many companies under-utilising their capital equipment by being forced to duplicate resources across multiple sites, often implementing upgrade programmes before some sites became truly obsolete and failing to optimise the skills and availability of their staff across the entire network.

An Ethernet-based network also gives you flexibility in where you centralise your network management. Rather than recruiting and locating staff in headquarters, for example, you can instead choose to move network management to a regional office, where staff skills are cheaper to acquire and property overheads lower. According to Ovum 1, 70% of the cost savings from consolidating network resources comes from such staff and accommodation cost reductions.

Reduced staff costs

The overall staff costs of managing a single Ethernet network are lower than with ATM/Frame Relay-based networks, because Ethernet skills are widely available and cheaper to recruit than WAN/router specialists.

2. 2 Increased IT efficiency

With Ethernet, the integrated LAN can effectively extend anywhere, yet be managed centrally. This is both cost-effective and efficient.

Simplified management

The WAN can use the same protocol as the LAN, making it far easier to manage the two. Companies that have Wide Area or Metro Area Ethernet solutions can also manage their LAN and WAN with a common set of management tools %u2013 which in turn removes the need to source and recruit specialist skills in Frame Relay or ATM technologies.

Lower maintenance

Centralising the management of the network also simplifies system monitoring and back-up, substantially reducing the level of maintenance needed on the network.

Strategic deployment of it resources

By reducing maintenance and management issues with an Ethernet-based network, you can reallocate staff that would previously have been required for reactive management and maintenance to it projects that proactively support business progress.

The optimal network

With no geographical constraints and less drain on budgets, you are free to design the ideal network to exactly match the needs of your business.

2. 3 Improved business protection

Disaster Recovery, the process of regaining access to the data, hardware and software necessary to resume critical business operations after a natural or man-made disruption, often implies preparation for a freak catastrophic incident. However, very often the type of events that can affect business continuity are much more mundane or routine occurrences, such as a power cut, or even simple human error.

So it’s vital to ensure uninterrupted availability of that information in the event of system downtime “for whatever reason” and to deal swiftly with any issue that affects any part of the network and has the potential to threaten the smooth operation of your business.

Ensuring business continuity

The growing importance of adequate business continuity measures is being driven by companies%u2019 dependence on IT and by the higher expectations of their customers, who demand the kind of 24×7 service that can only be delivered by the most robust technology.

Historically, putting a business continuity or disaster recovery solution in place to protect the business was a complex and expensive task. However, Ethernet now makes it possible to deploy a highly cost-effective solution by enabling business critical data to be backed up remotely over a high speed network between corporate HQs, regional locations and business continuity sites.

For example, over an Ethernet network, it is easy to mirror corporate databases in real time. If a live database should go down, an up-to-date back-up copy is immediately available and easily accessible to any employee over the network, regardless of their physical location.

2. 4 Greater productivity & customer service

The benefits of Ethernet-based networks can also enable you to explore new ways to increase staff productivity and levels of customer service to gain a valuable edge over your competitors.

Deliver improved service to customers

Over a secure Ethernet connection, you are able to make information much more immediately accessible to staff, no matter where they are located. They can hold virtual meetings, develop more collaborative working practices and use electronic whiteboards to share and discuss information.

Training can also be delivered in interactive sessions, independent of location, over the network rather than on costly, time-consuming training days, enabling it to be delivered much more frequently.

This all results in better informed and better trained staff able to provide greater levels of personalised, immediate service to customers.

Deliver new services to customers

Customers increasingly expect to interact with their suppliers using the web or multimedia applications. For example, nowadays, most telephony providers, utilities and banks provide billing and customer service information online. Ethernet’s affordable high throughput of data means that it is well-suited to support such services by enabling them to be delivered cost effectively and quickly over a high quality network.

Depending upon the nature of their business, companies can also look to introduce innovative new services such as multimedia and interactive presentations, to enhance how they attract and sell to both customers and prospects.

Deliver new services to employees:

VoIP & video

Many UK enterprises are adopting Voice over IP (VoIP) in a phased manner to take advantage of significant call cost savings, easier systems management and the new applications that can dramatically improve communication, productivity and service levels. However, VoIP makes heavy demands on bandwidth and network resources, and requires low latency, low packet loss and small voice packets to perform properly.

With the ubiquitous high-quality bandwidth capacity delivered by Ethernet, companies can maximise the opportunities presented to them by VoIP capability. Innovative solutions such as video conferencing to aid employee training and minimise travel costs, as just one example, can be deployed with full confidence in the robust performance of such applications.

3 Underlying Ethernet technologies

There are numerous technologies and connection mechanisms that can underpin an Ethernet service. You need to choose a service based on underlying technology that will suit both the IT and commercial needs of your company, not just in the short term, but in the future when you may wish to explore new business opportunities.

3. 1 Short haul & Metro Ethernet

Point-to-point Ethernet services are based on supplying a dedicated fibre pair for each connection, which is physically laid through the service provider’s local hub site. No routing takes place; data packets go in one end and come out the other, exactly as they went in. The advantage of this is that there is no routing overhead and faster delivery.

Multi-site Ethernet services for the metro (regional) area often use switched Ethernet technology and do not usually touch a core network. This delivers better performance than a service that traverses a provider’s core network. However, metro-based services are restricted to the regional area, and generally the benefits of long haul connections will outweigh any loss of throughput over longer distances.

The ideal provider is one with good local presence and an extensive national core network, which can provide a combination of both short and long haul Ethernet services.

3. 2 Long haul Ethernet

3. 2. 1 General

In the case of long haul or National Ethernet, a portion of the service is usually carried over some form of core network. Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is widely accepted as the best type of core network for supporting both legacy and future applications. This is partly because many service providers plan to offer the highly attractive Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS) over their MPLS core network.

3. 2. 2 MPLS

MPLS provides the ability to define and support different classes of service to individual flows of traffic, prioritising bandwidth and enabling you to make the most efficient use of your capacity to ensure carrier class delivery without increased cost.

3. 2. 3 Virtual Private LAN Services

VPLS enhances a service provider’s MPLS core network by providing a connectionless Ethernet service, delivering anyto-any connectivity, and gives far greater flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency when it comes to managing traffic flows. VPLS also allows multiple services to be delivered to customers over single rather than multiple access circuits.

Adoption of VPLS will undoubtedly accelerate technology change, reduce IT costs and allow use of new applications to increase productivity. In addition, as VPLS is protocol independent and operates at Layer 2, there is greater security for customers as the service provider has no view of, or control over, the customer’s routing of particular importance to the “high end” corporate Enterprise.

3. 2. 4 Developing carrier Ethernet solutions

Technologies such as Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) claim to provide Ethernet services which aim to match traditional networks delivering Quality of Service (QoS) and protected paths.

4 Choosing your Ethernet service provider

Several UK service providers offer National and Metro (regional) Ethernet services, and any evaluation to differentiate between them should consider:

– coverage of fibre-based local access

– price

– network performance

– flexibility to add future services

– terms and coverage of Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

– security.

4. 1 Coverage of fibre-based local access

Ethernet services above 2Mbps tend to be provided using fibre, rather than copper, line plant in the last mile. Therefore, for Ethernet services, you should shortlist operators that have deployed fibre to street cabinets already, thereby reducing the cost of bringing Ethernet services to your business premises.

It’s also important to understand service providers’ ability to connect into every site in your network, which depends on the number of Points of Presence (Pops) they have. A service provider with more PoPs is more likely to have a PoP close to all the sites in your network, and therefore is more likely to be able to provide comprehensive Ethernet coverage.

4. 2 Price

With most Ethernet services, the dedicated access circuit is generally the highest cost component, while shared resources such as the service provider’s core network provide significant economies of scale, and are a small proportion of cost to the service provider. The shorter the access circuit, the more

likely the service provider will be able to provide a low cost circuit. Therefore a large number of PoPs is a strong indicator that the service provider will be able to offer an economical solution.

4. 3 Network performance

For all their limitations, ATM and Leased Lines do provide reasonably high levels of performance when measured in terms of latency, packet delivery and jitter. When replacing inter-site networks that use technologies like ATM or Leased Lines, it is important that the new network matches the performance of the old, not least because users do not appreciate cost savings at the expense of network performance. When considering Ethernet services, you should be aware of the following:

Avoid over-provisioning

With packet-based networks like Ethernet, particularly those delivered over a shared core network, it is possible for service providers to contend their network in the same way that Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband internet access is contended to reduce the service provider’s cost per customer. The better providers are those whose networks have been built with enough spare capacity in the core to respond comfortably to peaks in demand throughout the day.

Latency, packet loss and jitter

As latency, packet loss and jitter significantly impact the delivery of Voice and Video over IP, inter-site performance should ideally match LAN performance.


Voice over IP requires low latency, low jitter and moderate levels of packet loss and a network that can also manage a high volume of small voice packets (typically 40bytes). If your VoIP traffic is going to traverse your network more than once, such as in a ‘hub and spoke’ network, traffic may be routed into a hub site and back out to a branch (or spoke) site. In this instance, the latency, jitter and packet loss that your traffic experiences will be twice that quoted by your service provider.


‘Real time, two-way’ Video over IP such as video conferencing applications requires low latency, whereas streaming video or Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) does not place such high requirements on the packet delivery system.


Data back-up and restoration necessitates low packet loss. A good rule of thumb is that the lower the latency and jitter figures cited by a provider, the better their service will be. It also pays to consider whether a provider can support ‘any-to-any’ connectivity between your sites.

Performance of existing applications

If you intend to consolidate your servers into just one or two nationwide locations, then you need to bear in mind that established applications may be designed to operate over a network with LAN levels of performance, where jitter and latency would be very low.

To get a clear indication of a provider’s network performance, review their SLAs and be wary of those who do not include target levels for performance. This is often an indication that they over-provision or contend their core networks, which will inevitably jeopardise the performance of your network.

Ethernet Latency

The time taken for traffic to travel from one end user site, across the inter-site network or link, and reach the other side. Some service providers quote “round trip delay, ” which is simply double the latency figure.

Latency is measured in milliseconds. VoIP and realtime video are both sensitive to high latency.


The latency of a link is not constant: a series of measurements collected from one route will show a variety of latency times. Jitter is the amount by which this latency varies, i. e. the difference between the shortest and the longest latency time measured. Jitter is also measured in milliseconds. VoIP is more sensitive to jitter than real-time video (as opposed to streaming video). However, excessive levels of jitter can nevertheless disrupt both voice and video.

Packet loss

Also known as packet delivery, a measure of the percentage of packets that successfully traverse the

inter-site network. Almost all types of packet, frame or cell-based networks lose a small amount of traffic. If applications are using a higher layer protocol like Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) then these lost packets can be retransmitted. However, many applications use User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which does not retransmit lost traffic. VoIP, Video over IP or data backup are examples of applications which use UDP and can therefore be vulnerable to packet loss. Choosing a service provider whose network has a low packet loss is therefore important.

4. 4 Flexibility to add future services

An inter-site service that is future-proof will be able to support new applications as they are introduced further down the line. Even if applications such as VoIP and multimedia are not current requirements, it is important for your business to have the flexibility to incorporate these technologies quickly and easily should the need arise in the future. Being able to take advantage of these new technologies without having to reinvest in your inter-site connections is therefore an important requirement when reviewing providers. A future-proof inter-site service also gives you the option of agreeing a long-term contract and benefiting from term discounts, safe in the knowledge that there will be no need for costly upgrades if new applications are needed in the future.

Supporting Virtual Private LAN Services

Not all Ethernet inter-site services are based on state-of-the-art technology such as MPLS, some are even based on ATM. Whilst Ethernet presentation of ATM services brings some of the benefits delivered by true switched Ethernet services, it suffers significant drawbacks.

The fixed size of ATM cells means that small packets (e. g. VoIP packets) have to be carried in two ATM cells with most of the second cell being ‘padded’ out to make it up to the mandatory ATM cell size. The effect of this padding is that throughput on an access circuit can reduce by up to 35%, with a 100Mbps service only being able to support 65Mbps of traffic.

MPLS-based or true switched Ethernet-based services, by contrast, don’t suffer from this limitation so there’s no need to investigate the packet sizes of your existing network traffic. MPLS-based core networks make it possible to deliver potentially attractive services such as Virtual Private LAN Service. VPLS permits national end-to-end Ethernet (i. e. Layer 2) services to support any-to-any or peer-to-peer traffic, making network management much easier and enabling new applications to be plugged in as and when required at vastly lower cost than in a multipoint network.

In the Heavy Reading Survey 2, 68% of Enterprises rated VPLS as an important requirement in the future prosperity of their business. Because of its current and growing future importance, it is worth making sure that the long-haul Ethernet services offered by your chosen service provider don’ have any technology barriers that prevent them from being able to support VPLS.

4. 5 Terms & coverage of Service Level Agreements

Many SLAs only cover part of the service, and very often exclude the access circuits as they are provided by a local access wholesaler and are therefore outside the control of the overall inter-site service provider. Look for providers that include all elements of the service, including the access circuits.

Additionally, examine the terms applied by a provider to fault resolution. For fault repairs, guarantees are usually measured in hours and / or annual availability, and it is vital to check that the service provider considers that the fault has started when either the customer or the service provider detects the problem.

4. 6 Security

Security is an important concern with any network. Fortunately, most of the technologies that underpin intersite Ethernet products are generally considered safe and, where there are risks, they are well understood. None of the inter-site Ethernet products on the market today rely on the internet as the backbone network. However, if any of your sites have an internet connection, adequate inter-site and internet security solutions must be put in place by the service provider. This will typically include firewalls at the gateway to the internet and access restrictions to different parts of the internal network for different users, using such methods as Virtual LANS (VLANs).

5 Conclusion

Ethernet-based connectivity for corporate LAN and WAN offers broad business benefits. A massive growth in spend on Ethernet services by UK companies is being fuelled by their recognition that this mode of transport for IP services gives superior technical performance at a vastly reduced cost than traditional Frame Relay or ATM technologies. By using Ethernet-based connectivity to integrate Wide Area and Local area Networks into a single, national LAN, you can expect to:

– save costs

Bandwidth, equipment and supporting specialist skills are all far less expensive when compared with Frame Relay, ATM and other alternatives. Consolidation and centralised management also minimises hardware requirements, and reduces capital and software licensing costs

– facilitate network management

With Ethernet, the integrated LAN can effectively extend anywhere, yet be managed centrally. This makes the network easier to maintain and saves IT resources that could be deployed more strategically to support your business

– protect business continuity

You can take advantage of the greater speed and bandwidth of Ethernet connectivity to deploy robust disaster recovery measures and ensure staff can access business-critical information in the event of a major outage or catastrophe, regardless of their location

– flexibly develop their business and services

Ethernet connectivity underpins applications like VoIP, multimedia and real-time video to enable you to provide value-added services to customers and staff, such as online provision of information, collaborative working and distance learning.

Checklist for sourcing an Ethernet service provider

Identify cable companies with fibre, not copper-based coverage, that have good local presence and an extensive national core network to enable them to provide a combination of both short and long-haul Ethernet services. A large number of PoPs will also enable the provider to offer you the best-priced solution. Seek evidence that the provider does not over-provision capacity, which will degrade the performance of your network, but instead offers end-to-end Ethernet services. Look also for providers that publish and include target levels for network availability within their SLAs. Check the terms on which support services such as fault resolution are delivered, to guarantee the level of service you are paying for. Choose a provider that can provide the requisite security applications and measures to safeguard your network from attack and potentially crippling outages. Look for the flexibility to introduce new applications quickly, easily and cost-effectively onto your network in the future without the need to exit expensive, constraining contracts or undergo costly or disruptive upgrades. 1 Ethernet in the WAN, Cause and Effect, Ovum.

2 2004 Survey of Ethernet Service providers, Heavy Reading.

Part of the Virgin Media Group.

ntl: Telewest Business endeavours to ensure that the information in this document is correct and fairly stated, but does not accept liability for any error or omission. The development of ntl: Telewest Business’ products and services is continuous and published information may not be up to date. It is important to check the current position with your local ntl: Telewest Business office. This document is not part of a contract or licence save insofar as may be expressly agreed in writing. ntl: Telewest Business, Media House, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 9UP. DX0013WP0807.

So You want to Be a Web designer


With an excellent employment outlook and a median salary range of nearly $60, 000 per year, many people have taken an interest in web design as a possible career path. Here we will discuss the many facets and tools necessary for the job, so that you can be better informed on what it takes to be a web designer.

A web designer is tasked with creating the framework, visual elements, and functionality of web pages and websites as a whole. Designers may be involved in all or many of the aspects of the development of a website including layout, organization, graphic design, color scheme, and image or media implementation. In cases where a web producer is employed, it is the responsibility of the designer to produce a design that reflects the vision of the web producer.

As a web designer must work with either clients or web producers to create their pages, it is necessary for a designer to have the ability to communicate well verbally and to properly convey visual concepts to others. Designers must also show flexibility and patience, as revisions to their work may be called for. Also needed are an ability to meet the tight deadlines and changing demands of the client, as often updates are needed to keep a website’s content current.

Once a framework has been established, the designer must then format any text, image, or media files so that they will be viewable online. Special functions such as clickable links or buttons along with a number of other features may be needed as well. A thorough understanding of hypertext markup language (HTML), file transfer protocol (FTP), Flash, XML, XHTML, and other languages, programs, and extensions is necessary in order to implement these features correctly

To properly produce the graphical elements required of the job, a designer must also possess skills in using graphical and web development programs such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator. As the tools and technology of the trade evolve, designers are expected to keep up-to-date on any new or current programs and principles that may develop over time.

Because not all servers and browsers are universally compatible, it is necessary for the design to allow pages to be used on any type of server and viewed by all browser types. A firm understanding of browser/server compatibility and multi-platform computer languages such Javascript, that are compatible with a many forms of hardware and software, is also required.. Designers must also be well-versed in working with various operating systems such as Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.

Those looking to enter this field may either acquire a two-year or a four-year degree in computer science, or in some cases, no advanced schooling as there are many resources online or in text that can give one the information to teach themselves the skills necessary to achieve proficiency in web design. Many of those that enter the field of web design may come from an art, publishing, or graphic design background as well.

Any aspiring web designer should keep a portfolio of their work to show to prospective employers. Often, designers may elect to become freelancers. Self-employed designers seek their own clients and in most cases have their own website that has an online portfolio of their work and description of the services they provide.

Web design, Where Do i Start?


What is Web Design?

The first thing you should understand is that the web design, next to other activities as may be projective graphic design, computer or other activities as may be the schedule, today is a specific area of development: this means that there and sufficient basic knowledge of the environment to consider this project activity as a self-employed. For practical purposes, means that although the discipline share similarities with different areas of expertise (web design, computer and audiovisual production. )#) Today who wants to engage in web design, I speak from the viewpoint of a person who competes in a labor market or who aspires to become part of a development team of a specific company in this sector, you must learn a set of specific knowledge about the environment ranging from psychology oriented interaction to programming languages specific to the Web, not to mention all the elements of communication, information design and graphic design that may be involved in various projects.

Typically for the efficient development of a good web project, there should be at least two people involved in a team, a web-oriented programmer (responsible for developing the mechanics of the web, internal operating level), and the other should be a website designer oriented web (in charge of designing the user interface and graphic communication strategies of the project).

Therefore a person with knowledge of graphic design would be able to access a part, and this is important to understand well, professional web development as a whole.

The web designer and digital designer

The web designer handles traditional concepts of graphic communication [Composition, iconography, typography, photography, graphic concept, etc] to which are added specific knowledge of print [print-specific software, digital files, file compression, appropriate communication with printers, formats, media types, conceptual relationship of communication to its support, etc]. The web oriented graphic designer [or interactive graphic designer] is a professional profile that regardless of the specific communication skills that usually handle a traditional graphic designer, should handle specific knowledge of the new medium [graphic interface, information design, usability, layout for the digital media, programming languages for the interface design, etc.] affecting equally to the conceptual levels of communication because the medium itself affects and defines how that information should be designed.

So and that’s all I want to make on these lines, is that although a traditional graphic designer, have a favorable basis for understanding and interpreting the figure of interactive graphic designer, not simply transcribe his methods work, their models communication, the web, however you must understand not only found in a new medium (or paradigm), but should be open to learn all the specific knowledge, especially related to cognitive psychology and programming (translating your proposal to the machine), that will be needed to master the new medium in which it conducts its work.

Choosing the right Web Designer


1. Choosing the right Web Design that fits your business

Why is choosing the right design essential? A good design is essential for a good web site. It must be genuine and appealing to catch the attention of customers. Your web design must be suitable to the type of business you represent, whether it is a small business, personal business or e-commerce.

Your web design carries out the information about the variety of products and services you convey. It builds your business presence and delivers a high impact to customers’ interest, mood, intent, and professionalism of the company.

Establishing your goals in order to choose the right design for your website is necessary. You must take note on your expectations and future plans. Determine your budget in order to know the amount you would like to invest on your website.

Your website can give you great advantages over other competitors when you get to have an attractive feel and look of your design. Try to avoid unstylish and plain designs for it can make your business look boring and gets your visitors to be uninterested. Colors affect the human psyche. Extreme and distracting colors should also be avoided.

2. Choosing the right Web Designer

Why is choosing a good web designer important?

This person is the venture administrator for your web site. A web designer has a better knowledge in layout, graphics, typography and color shades than you do.

Good designers are determined by their performance from ongoing and previous work. It is a must that you ask for work samples before you start to hire them. You can also have an option for whether you want to hire someone remotely or hire someone from a web design company. Hiring a designer from a web design company is much more expensive than someone who works remotely. But hiring someone in an established company is more secure. When you want to hire someone remotely, you must assure of his knowledge and working atmosphere.

Good web designers know about online promotion and search engine optimization. This person assures you that he can create a website that meets business objectives. A beautiful website wouldn’t be good as a whole when it does not meet the larger marketing goals and doesn’t produce income and leads.

It is better to have a designer than designing it yourself. But what if you do not have the budget? Let’s see how building your own web site can be very helpful.

3. Build your own Web Site

Why is building your own website necessary?

Problems now are that small business owners just like you can’t afford and do not have the budget to hire someone to design your business website. Building your own web site means cutting down costs. It is one option to be considered for your business to save more and spend less.

A web site builder is completely suitable with web site hosting. With a site builder, you do not have to worry about file uploads because everything will connect to your hosting account automatically. You wouldn’t need an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) for uploading contents to your website. The best part of getting a website builder is that it lets you choose from different designs and helps you customize your website depending upon your needs.

A web builder with hosting is very cost effective. Making your website with a builder is cheaper than buying your own web developing applications and pay for hosting independently. You wouldn’t even need to spend a lot on expensive developing tutorials and take more time to learn it. It is also much cheaper than hiring a web designer. It makes problem solving and troubleshooting much easier and technical customer support handy. You also get to have the challenging part that you were able to make your own small business website.

Things To look for When Hiring A Web designer


The best way to get your business up and running these days is by promoting it through the internet. Whether you run a retail business, service business or a corporate empire, the first informational flyer people will look for to understand your business is on the internet so it is always better to have your own website that promotes your business exactly the way you want it.

Now building a website isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. You need to register your own domain, buy an address and then design a website. The first two are relatively easy but designing a website is the tricky part. You can get software that helps you design your website over various fixed templates but if you really want something unique and custom, you need to hire a web designer. A web designer is a trained professional that will help you design your website, any graphic work to be done on the website and manage your site while it is on the web. For large companies it is always smart to permanently have a web designer on staff. They will help you regularly update your sites, get customer interaction from sites and much more.

The main problem is how to hire a web designer. Not all of us need a full time designer or can afford one. Luckily because web design doesn’t really need you to be in the same vicinity as the business, you can hire any designer over the internet making it easy and cheap.

Hiring A Web design Professional Or Firm

Of course our first reaction when hiring is how much would the best cost? Going for the best is always a good option but only if you can afford it. Professional and unique web design is a rare talent, talent that can be charged heavily. Professional firms or individuals offer you the best work with the latest graphic works a web site can handle. These designers focus exclusively on web designing using various skills to make the sites attractive. The various terms you will hear being used here include SEO experts, programmers, Coders and others. They are highly educated and trained in this line of work and are very efficient when it comes to meeting deadlines.

Because they are the direct workers, communication is never a problem. Contacting them directly helps you get your message through which is not the case in other forms of hiring done for web designers. If you are hiring a dedicated firm then it is much easier as all members of a web development team are under one roof. This form of hire is the most costly but because of the high competition in the market and because all members of the team rely on each other, prices are being kept quiet low to even compete with unknown freelancers.

Hiring A Consultant Firm

Normally we don’t have the expertise or the knowledge of web development to put together a team of web designers for any specific project. This is when technological consultant firms come in. These consultants help you put together a team of fine web developers, with every individual specialized in one component of the process. For example a normal team would consist of an SEO expert, a graphic designer, a web programmer, and a site coder.

The glitch here is that these firms don’t always have these teams ready for work. They select and hire when clients ask them to and assign them work. This means they are the communicators between you and the team which leads to delay in communication and hence is quiet inefficient. Furthermore every individual of the team demands his own fee separately. Accumulated, every member involved in the process will have to be paid plus an added fee to the consultant for managing the team altogether can become quite expensive.


Finding freelancers is the cheapest way to hire a web designer or a web development team. This is also the most used system to get most web design work done online. Freelancers with limited or great talent post ads and advertise their skills on various sites. They build a portfolio of their experiences and show it to you on demand during the hiring process.

These freelancers are in abundance to hire. This is because every individual even with basic web development skills applies for a web designer job and because they are so inexperienced or seek employment, they charge very low fees. This becomes an attraction for many clients. However, they do not have immediate supervision so it is very easy to lose control over the project very easily. Thus, you will have to remain on your toes throughout.

Four Different kinds of Web Designing Tools Which Every Web designer Uses


Just about every web designer has got a plethora of web designing tools that they make use of each day. Of all the tools in their tool belt, it is very probable they own one or more tool that belongs in one of four types of web designing tools.

Mock-up/ Wireframing/ Prototyping Programs

Mock-up tools are free or commercial applications used to pre-plan your web-site layout. They normally utilize a drag and drop interface and are usually fairly instinctive to use. Mock-up tools are a good method to express your design and style to prospective clients or even to promote your ideas and thoughts with acquaintances. Additionally, they can be good for forming and imagining your design just before implementing them. Mock-ups will support initial preparation, which can actually save a tremendous amount of time.

Web Browser Development Tools for Debugging

Web browser development applications are programs that enable you to alter Html code and CSS promptly using your web browser. In fact you can actually stop by any established site, revise the CSS and HTML and observe the immediate modifications on the screen. Such tools are practically required to almost any web designer mainly because it will greatly improve productivity. As an alternative to being required to recompile and refresh your browser when creating your layout, you could use the development tools for formulating your design before executing it.

Browser developer tools are browser specific. Included in Google Chrome, there is Google Developer Tools, which can be seen by typing Ctrl+Shift+L. Regarding Firefox; the add-on called Firebug has this feature. On Internet explorer, there’s a built in development mode. Pressing F12 will trigger this mode.

Graphics Editing Software

Every web designer has some kind of graphics editing software. Whether you wish to develop a logo or make a background image, graphics editing software is necessary. Just about every picture you see in the internet has been modified with a digital graphics editing tool, indicating the dominance of this resource. Photoshop is by far the most popular editing software for building both basic and complicated illustrations and photos. Nevertheless, there are a number of free alternate options, including GIMP.

Design Inspiration Sites

This point is a little different from the others from the list because it isn’t really a piece of software, but more of an online resource. Web designer’s block arises when a designer becomes uninspired and not able to think of design ideas. This is something that web designer’s come across every once in a while and may become a remarkably cumbersome undertaking. Fortunately, there are some websites that solely concentrates on presenting existing webpage designs for individuals to view. The featured web pages are typically modern in design and are a good method to keep up with the newest design ideas. Additionally, there are many websites which can be used to view graphics which can encourage innovative design ideas.

As you can see, using web designing tools from each one of these four categories can significantly help you as a web designer. It can help improve efficiency and assist you prepare and communicate your concepts. The most effective application for each category is fairly subjective and will differ from designer to designer. You’ll just need to explore a couple to discover which appeals to you the most.

Tips for Seeking Search engine Friendly Web designers


In today’s digital marketplace, it’s common to stumble upon web designers who showcase search engine optimization as core part of their services. Hiring one provider to handle both web design and SEO carries many advantages; however, the issue of concern is that too many companies that offer both SEO and website design fail to fully understand the complexities of optimization. The best practices of optimizing a website are continuously changing, and the competitive nature of search is growing fiercer by the day.

If you’re looking for a website designer to handle both the development and optimization of your site, it is critical that you choose wisely and enlighten yourself on what constitutes a search engine friendly website. Below we offer a number of characteristics that contribute to search friendly web designs and how to go about finding the right designer for your site.

SEO Friendly HTML Coding Structure

The process of developing a well optimized site must address the HTML coding structure. Otherwise referred to as a page’s back-end, the code used on each page as well as the techniques in which the code is applied can have a huge influence on how search engine friendly a website is.

SEO friendly website providers will often code sites using CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets) when building an optimized site. This helps to ensure that the Html code of each page is minimized for efficient crawling and indexing by search engine spiders. By applying CSS in the HTML, web designers can avoid using code that can take up a lot of space, such as tags for various fonts, colors, and other styling elements. This will often times promote a greater ratio of keyword optimized content over cumbersome Html code.

Similarly, the keyword optimized content (or page copy) should be presented as early as possible in the coding structure of a page. In many cases, the code of site-wide navigation links and other non-optimized elements are pieces of code that search engines spiders interpret first when crawling a page. If the page text is buried at the bottom of the page’s back-end, the spider will reach the content last, after chewing on a bunch of links and non-optimized content. The most skilled search engine friendly web designers will address this concern by making use ‘div’ tags in the HTML. Using ‘div’ tags can ensure that rich, keyword optimized copy is presented early in each page’s back-end.

Niche SEO Skills and Expertise

Unlike some services for website design and development that may be one-and-done projects, search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Professional SEO companies will track, monitor, and report performance statistics and make continuous adjustments to best ensure the optimal outcome.

In essence, SEO’s have niche skills and expertise that may go overlooked by a typical web designer. Such specialties will often include the analysis and reporting of Google Analytics data, keyword position statistics, as well as providing detailed reports and strategy recommendations. Most SEO companies will also staff professional copywriters to generate content that’s both reader-focused and keyword optimized, in addition to having a strong portfolio of link building.

SEO copywriting (for on-page optimization) and link building (for off-page optimization) are two primary services of strong SEO providers. Ensuring that your prospective SEO friendly web designer is capable of providing these expertise is a solid means for qualifying candidates. Often times, asking your prospects related questions or for examples of their SEO work can shed light on just how effective they really are.

Search Engine Friendly Content Management Systems

Content management system (CMS) software is a convenient and highly sought-after solution for building and operating a website. Now, most website designers develop sites based-on CMS software. As a result, it is extremely important that if you’re opting for a CMS-based site, that you must ensure the CMS software caters to essential SEO capabilities.

With respect to SEO, it is crucial that your CMS has the necessary page editing functionality. That is, you or your web designer must be able to write keyword optimized page titles, meta descriptions, and Urls. In addition to functionality features, the back-end HTML coding structure of each page will often depend on the type of CMS software used to build the site. There are a number of content management systems that produce pages with minimal, search engine friendly coding structures. Some of the characteristics that define SEO friendly content management systems include:

software that generates page based on CSS, as opposed to nestled tables and other cumbersome coding structures
a CMS platform that is considered ‘developer friendly’ in that it offers the capabilities of implementing links, copy, images, videos, and other elements in specific areas throughout a page
software that allows users to produce dynamic, keyword friendly Urls
platforms that automatically generate XML sitemaps for submission to Google Webmaster Tools
Be a Smart Shopper and Know what to Ask

If you’re seeking a website design company for both the creation and optimization of your website, be sure to ask your prospective providers a lot of questions. The areas that you’ll want to address are designers’ technical capabilities, like their HTML coding practices and graphic design skills. If CMS software is the basis for your website, inquire about the type of platform being used.

There’s a wealth of web designers out there that claim to be experts in SEO, yet fail execute the intricacies of optimization in an effective manner. As a shopper, being aware of the ideal aspects of search engine friendly web design can help you pinpoint the right expert for these services.

Low cost Web Design – 4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Design a website


Getting a website online is now cheaper and easier than ever before. With the rising popularity of the Internet, the cost of getting a website online is much lower than it used to be. Low cost web design has enabled countless numbers of people to have their own website on the internet.

In this article, we will go over 4 low cost web design options that will assist you in getting your website online.

Web Design Course

The first option is taking a web design course and designing your website yourself. There are a few different ways you can take a course – you can purchase a book at your local bookstore, take a course online, take a course through a local college or purchase a course online.

The price of a web design course will depend upon how and where you take it. Purchasing a book or course online will be the cheapest route, while taking an online class or college course could cost thousands of dollars.

By taking a course, you will learn all about web design and how to write Hypertext Markup Language, also known as HTML. HTML is the language used to create web pages that are displayed through a web browser.

It will also provide you with some independence, as you won’t have to depend on anyone else to help you get your site online. What’s more, if you need to make changes to your pages, you can do it yourself.

Web Page Templates

The next option is using a web page template. Web page templates are pre-designed websites that you can edit to suit your needs. You can either edit the template yourself, or hire someone to edit the pages for you.

Web page templates provide you with the ability to get your website online very quickly, as you simply add your own information to the pages and upload them to your web server.

Web page templates not only provide a quick and easy way to get your site online, they also give your site a professional look almost instantly.

Web Design Software

If you would prefer not to learn HTML, you may want to consider using a web design software program. There are basically two types of software – one that is installed on your computer and another that is accessed through your web browser.

Here are some software options:


A WYSIWYG editor, also known as a ‘What You see Is What you Get’ editor, will enable you to build web pages by selecting options within the software.

Here are some popular HTML editors:

* DreamWeaver

* Coffee Cup

* Microsoft Frontpage

* PageSpinner (Mac)

* Taco HTML Edit (Mac)

Website Building Software (Online)

Website building software will enable you to build a website within your web browser. There are a couple of different options – you can use a software program, such as WordPress, that can be installed on your web server. Or, you can sign up with a company, such as SiteBuildIt, that will enable you to build a website online.

Although any of the above low cost web design options will enable you to build a website, you would be wise to take the time to educate yourself and learn some basic HTML. It will be well-worth your time and effort.

Scroll To Top