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A Strategic Plan For Hosting Multiple Websites

Success in Niche Markets requires a strategic plan for the hosting of your websites. It's becoming a common practice to have upwards of 100 sites serving a variety of interests. To easily and effectively manage a large number of sites, and to contain costs, an overall hosting strategy needs to be considered. And, of course, there are many with a smaller number, say 10 or more sites, intending to build their "empire" to a much greater size. With a view to controlling your business, it is also important to consider future growth before the workload and cost arising (as you "just add a few more additional sites") spiral out of control. There are two special matters to consider at the very outset: The number of sub-domains allowed and the number of domains allowed on the one account. Using a sub-domain means that you don't have to register a domain name in the early stages of a new website. It gives you a chance to first test the demand for a particular niche before you spin it off to a fully fledged site with a registered domain name. For example, if you have a hosted website called BettysHelpfulHints.com, you could add numerous sub-domains (or additional websites) to this - if your host allows it. Thus, You would be able to create sites with compound names like GourmetRecipes.BettysHelpfulHints.com; Onlinedating.BettysHelpfulHints.com; OrganicGardening.BettysHelpfulHints.com, and so on. Web hosts have varying requirements about the number of sub-domains allowed. Naturally, the more that you have, the more bandwidth that is used, so it's often the case that lower-fee charging hosts will limit the number of sub-domains allowed on the one account. Once you've decided that demand justifies it, you'll start thinking about registered domain names for your individual websites. This is much more cost effective and easier to manage if it can be done with the same web host, all on the same account. However, also keep in mind the caution behind the old saying, "Don't keep all your eggs in the one basket". So it's probably wise to consider a structure that hosts your major multiple websites with 3-4 different companies. Also consider opening a reseller account with another hosting company for small and new websites and backup. This structure offers security along with the capacity to expand. Other key factors to consider:

1. You'll want your sites operating with as little downtime as possible, so ensure that that they have the facilities to do this. Unfortunately 99% of web hosts will claim they are online 99% of the time. Using several web hosts spreads the risk of downtime. It's highly unlikely all your sites will be down at the same time.

2. Cost isn't a major concern when you have only 1 or 2 websites. When you have 10, 50 or 100+ the monthly expense can be crippling if you don't anticipate the growth and just add sites by opening new accounts. One option, metioned earlier, is to use a reseller hosting account for those new and small sites. This would cost only about $15 per month. Sub-domains are also a possibility, with no additional cost if the web host will allow it. If you reach the stage of needing a dedicated server, this will cost upwards of $50 per month.

3. If your site development is likely to affect a production hosting site, carry out development and testing work on your reseller account and move the finished application to another server when you are satisfied it is functioning to your satisfaction.

4. Having backup facilities in place that have already been tested means you can easily transfer a major web site to another web host if required. A temporary or permanent change can be made in the few minutes it takes to redirect the domain.

5. There are many outstanding web hosting companies available. One that is highly regarded is HostGator.com, which will allow you to host an unlimited number of domains, as does MeWebhost.com. Another well-regarded host that comes to mind - TeknonMedia.com - allows an unlimited number of subdomains, even with their lower cost packages. I have no connection with any of these, knowing them only by reputation. The growth of Private Label Rights and niche market products, including promotional material and websites, has encouraged a boom in marketing to a huge range of niche interests. Market segments that were once considered too difficult to cater for are now easily accessible. This has also resulted in a huge growth in the number of websites now controlled, or likely to be controlled, by individual marketers. A workable strategy to administer this growth needs to be considered at an early stage - that is, before your "empire" becomes too difficult to manage and the costs excessive.


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