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small business web hostingThese days, small businesses need to cut costs everywhere. Not paying too much for web hosting should be a no brainer. There is stiff competition in the web hosting marketplace and vendors will often try to outdo each other additional features and lower pricing of their hosting packages. Offers of unlimited bandwidth and disc space abound, but seldom manifest themselves as such in reality.

It is important for a small business to remember that there is much more to small business web hosting than cost and features alone. For instance, reliability is very important because if your website is not available, you aren’t making money to cover the cost of any web hosting subscription. If there is a data loss, a good host will have you back up and running within minutes. In contrast, one can easily locate and read many horror stories online regarding inferior web hosting with no disaster recovery plan, where years of the customers’ invaluable data has been permanently lost. With these facts in mind, cheaper does not always mean better. The time saved with an effective small business web host is priceless.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to protect yourself from tragedy when it comes to choosing a webhost. Do your research on any hosting company you consider and ask colleagues what they might recommend. Stick with a reputable company and don’t buy hosting from some stranger online. Any potential savings will soon be overshadowed by inferior service and more trouble than it is worth. With a good host, you will be nearly able to forget about their operations once you get up and running.

Essex Web DesignIt’s hard to believe it, but in just a couple of months it’ll be 2014.  One of the keys to staying on top of your profession is ensuring that you are aware of the latest trends, and that’s even more the case when you working in a visual field such as Essex web design.  Because of this, we’ve put together this list of some of the key trends we think are going to take over in 2014:

Flat design

We believe that one of the keys to web design in 2014 is going to be ‘flat’ design, i.e. design that displays its 2D-ness loud and proud by avoiding any 3D effects such as drop-shadows and heavy textures.   If it’s brash and flat, it should be a part of your portfolio in the new year!

Various typography

This is quite a tricky technique to get right, but you can be sure that various fonts used in conjunction with each other on one site design will have the pages looking seriously cutting edge.  There’s a definite plus to this trend: being able to vary the typography used gives any web designed a whole lot more room to be experimental with.

Single pages

The advent of search engine optimisation and general digital marketing has meant that the last few years have been dominated by websites that spread across many different pages.  However, it seems quite likely that single page sites will come back in vogue during the next year or so, with users instead able to scroll up and down one large page to view the different pieces of content contained on the site.

Huge background images

This one has already been making itself apparent across recent designs.  The idea of one, very high-res image playing the part of the site’s background can be an extremely effective one.  If the image itself is right, it can look genuinely stunning and clean-cut.  It can be a genuine antidote to the multitude of wordpress-alike pages currently clogging up the web.

Responsive design

‘Responsive design’ has become another buzz-term within the last few months, and you can be sure that it’ll be on the tongues of more than one hip-designer next year.

Mobile websites

Mobile traffic is accounting for more and more visitors, with tablets and smart-phones almost uniform amongst certain demographics.  This means that it’s essential for any website being constructed in 2013 to be compatible with mobile devices.

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best web hosting servicesThere is much debate about whom offers the best web hosting services.  With so many hosting providers to choose from, it is very difficult to choose just one and even professional webmasters may disagree with one another when presented with this question.  First and foremost, it is about your web hosting needs and what works well for some might not end up so well for others.  Still, there are certain services than have become more or less standard, or default as a tech-saavy shopper might say.  Armed with this knowledge, there are several things which anyone should expect of a superior web host.


We can not stress how important this is.  Managing a web hosting network is very technical stuff and yes, inferior web hosting companies will have outages, some more severe than others.  On the other hand, a good company will have have actual 99.9% uptime.  You should almost never have to worry about hosting problems causing outages.  If an inferior web host has down time as result of a data loss, you could be in for big trouble.  Any experienced web host will have in place redundancy plans which will protect you and keep your website running even in the most extreme circumstances.

Network Speed & Bandwidth

Many individual factors will determine how quickly your web host can serve up your web pages to the masses.  One of which is the physical geographical location of your hosting companies data centers.  Inevitably, greater distances will result in slower network speed and page load times.  Yet other factor is the equipment used to route traffic and data.  Switches are large pieces of your hosting company’s network and good ones do not come cheap.

Of course up-time and and network infrastructure ore two of many other factors to consider when choosing a webhost.  They are however, beyond the focus of this writing.

In conclusion, the web hosting industry is very competitive and there are literally thousands of companies to choose from.  Is there a single company that offers the best web hosting services for everyone?  Arguably not, but there are some very good ones that are great at what they do.