Website experiences..

Please bear in mind that I am a beginner to all of this stuff, and have had to do all of this with limited knowledge and even less resources..

I have recently moved my website from a paid service with HostPapa . There was nothing wrong with the service offered, but I simply could not justify the cost of keeping my website there. A group of guys I know who provide a free hosting to an elite band of people who provide their services free to the online communities came to my rescue, providing me with a sub-domain where my website could happily exist. Thanks, guys 🙂

Moving a website from a www address to a sub-domain on another server is a little daunting. Apparently, one can’t move a www site to a sub-domain on another server by normal means, or to put it another way, website hosting companies will not do it. What I had to do was upload my website to the new server and HostPapa for the last two months of my paid subscription in order to stop page 404 errors appearing if somebody was to click on an indexed page which pointed to the outgoing host.

I created a copy of the FrontPage website held locally on my computer, gave it a unique name, and uploaded the contents of each folder to the respective servers, but initially forgot to alter the ‘robots’txt’ file in the new copy. I realised that something was wrong, as I was using this website to find out what pages, if any, were being indexed..

It didn’t take me too long to create a new ‘robots’ file (with help from Google Webmaster tools) which included a relevant sitemap for the new address and a couple of other changes, and I duly uploaded it to the new server.

The results are surprising yet maybe not surprising at all.. I fully expected the Google crawler to do the best job, followed by Yahoo and MSN in that order, because historically this was the order for my old website address listings. Guess what? Bing (MSN) is doing the best job of all. Google has managed to list five pages, Yahoo found all of my blog entries and is only now staring to list web pages, three so far, and Bing has found and listed thirty six pages. Bing is definitely in Google’s slipstream and although the air gets dirty at close quarters, Bing will pass Google in time.

So what has become of my old website address? Well, thanks to my new website host team, I found out about ‘301 permanent redirects’ and even though the search engines list pages with the old www address, anybody clicking on them is immediately taken to the new server. The only page to survive intact on the HostPapa server is the original index page which itself has been redirected, and the robots file has been set to disallow everything. My subscription has ended now, but I guess remnants of the old address will survive for a good while, maybe even forever.

Page indexing is all very well and is important of course, but it is by no means the whole story. If your web pages appear in a search at the big end of the search results, it is unlikely that anybody will find your website. Ultimately, the only way a website is ever going to appear in the top ten search listings is if one pays to get it there.

For all of my efforts and time spent negotiating the learning curve, my website will always be an ‘also ran’ because I don’t have the monetary funds to promote it. It would be nice to be able to generate some business through it, have it put some food on the table, but for now I am pleased that I have it and hope that anybody who does see it will benefit in some way, even if the only benefit is knowing how NOT to design a website.

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