Over the last few days I gave more thought to starting a blog and finally decided to jump in head first with both feet. Yeah, mixed metaphors. Guilty. Now, for those of you who haven’t been involved in the production side of web content, there are a few technical/legal things that need to be done, the first of which is deciding on a name which a) somewhat relates to what you’re planning on doing and b) is unique among the BILLIONS of website names already in existence. Luckily, a simple web search yields dozens of sites that will check your ideas of names against registered domain names and let you know if it is already in use or if it is available. For my new site, I went through approximately 30 names before I found one both available and I liked. Once found, you have to register the name with ICANN through a domain name registry service which costs in the neighborhood of $12.00-$15.00 for the fist year. This I did around 3am Saturday (Jan 3rd). I installed the blogging software, customized the format and static content, installed an SEO application (Search Engine Optimization) and began compiling topics for my blog.
When a new web site is created, the first thing that happens is the name and associated IP address are propagated throughout all the DNS (Domain Name Server) servers across the planet. Basically, when you type in a web site name, your browser goes your local DNS server which receives updates from the regional DNS servers. The DNS server matches the site name with its associated IP address (think of looking up a phone number) and sends your request off to a router which connects you to the network segment where the website server lives. When a new website is published, it takes anywhere from 12 to 48 hours for all the local and regional DNS servers to learn about it. This process is called ‘propagation’.
I knew TechGuyTalk had finished propagation when I received officious looking emails this morning informing me that it was important that I click on a link to their website to complete my SEO efforts. I had registered with the company who wrote the SEO application I installed but I was not expecting an email like this from them. I checked the fine print on the footer of the emails and found the company names, none of which I had ever dealt with at any time. After some fast cutting & pasting into Google, the most complementary remarks returned were ‘SCAM’ and ‘UNETHICAL’. Seems that these super helpful companies charge a yearly fee (I’ve seen pricing ranging from $99 to $399) to submit your website name to search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and so on. Here’s the interesting thing about this. Do you know how much the search engines charge for website submittals? Absolutely NOTHING! Nada, zilch, zero! Not to mention that a lot of the smaller search engines don’t even do their own site crawling; they get their information from Google, Yahoo or Bing.
In summary, all blogging software which I’ve used have free apps that provide SEO promotion of varying degrees and if you want to use a professional app, they are not that expensive. So do not feel in any way obligated to engage these companies who try to mislead you into thinking you’re finishing a process when you never started it in the first place!
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