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Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

How to change DNS, a checklist

January 4th, 2014

Before Authorizing Your Domain’s DNS/ Name Server Change

  1. Back up your email. We strongly recommend you install a POP email client on your local PC or Mac and download all the emails from your existing account before a service transfer. If you use a POP client like MS Outlook this means that copies of your emails are stored on your local PC or Mac. If you manage all your email using a Web Mail application this means that all your email and email folders are stored on your current Web server. Be aware that when a DNS change is complete all those emails and folders in your Web mail account will be irrevocably lost during the change process. If you do use Web based mail, please insure that you download any emails or folders you wish preserved. One option is to download your email from your Web account using a POP client like MS Outlook or Apple Mail. If you don’t have a POP client Mozilla Thunderbird can be downloaded here for no charge.
  2. Insure that your existing email accounts (e.g. myname@mydomain.com) are set up on your new mail servers prior to the DNS change so that as soon as the change is complete your emails will be received by your new mail server.
  3. If applicable, insure that you have the Website you want to be displayed at your domain installed and ready on your new hosting account.
  4. Understand that while most DNS changes are completed within 24 hours they can take longer (as explained in more detail below).
  5. Understand that while most DNS changes result in no or nominal interruptions in your Website access and email service they can result in interruptions that last longer (explained in more detail below).
  6. Understand that when the DNS changes are submitted, the process is completely in the hands of the top-level domain registers and numerous backbone and secondary DNS servers and there is nothing that can be done to speed up the process once changes are submitted.


Understanding What Happens During and After DNS / Name Server Changes

Initiating this DNS change with a domain register may affect the hosting, DNS servers, and email servers associated your domain. This means that when the transfer process is complete:

1. When your domain name is entered in a browser, it will display the Website installed at on your new hosting account; the content of your old hosting account will not be displayed or accessible using your domain name. If you have an active site at your domain, this means prior to authorizing this DNS change you must insure that your new hosting server displays the site you want your visitors to see. This of course does not apply if you currently are not displaying a Website at your domain.

2. When someone sends you an email, that email will be routed to a new mail server; the content of your old mail server will no longer be accessible. This means that you can only retrieve your domain’s email by going to the new URL we provide for Web mail and, if using MS Outlook or another POP client, by entering the new account information (such as your POP and SMTP server addresses) provided by us or your new service provider.

When a DNS change is submitted, typically the changes take place within 24 hours; meaning that the Website (if applicable) on your new hosting account appears when your domain is entered in a Web browser and you view and send email using your new accounts mail settings. While 24 hours is typical, there is no set or guaranteed time frame the changes will be finalized. The changes can take a number of days and, very infrequently, up to 7 days to complete.

Please be aware that once the DNS changes are submitted with your current DNS service provider, the process is completely in the hands of third parties and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to expedite the change process (called propagation). DNS propagation is a complex process of updating top-level index records, International Root Name Servers, ISP’s, Internet Backbone Service Providers and even the internal routers or servers of your own company (if applicable).

As stated, the vast majority of DNS name changes are complete within 24 hours or less. However, you must understand and accept the possibility that your domain name server change may take longer.

Potential Temporary Service Interruptions During a DNS / Name Server Change Process

Website
Typically, DNS changes occur sooner rather than later and provide a seamless and often transparent transition for site users. If the Website installed on your new hosting account prior to the DNS change is an exact duplication of the site on your old hosting account, it’s likely your site visitors will never know any changes have taken place. However, it is not uncommon for a period of seemingly odd or unpredictable behavior to occur during the change process, such as your site not appearing, your new site appearing then reverting back to your old site, etc. If this occurs it is temporary and is manifesting only because of the series of complex record changes that are taking place behind the scene.

Email
For email, you will know your DNS change is complete (or nearly complete) when you find your current POP client or Web mail settings no longer work. You will then use your new email server access instructions and soon be able to send and view email using your same email address associated with your domain (note: new accounts with matching addresses have to be manually set up on your new mail servers first). With Email, even in best case scenarios, there is often a brief period (usually a few hours) when your email address will not work and those who send email to your address may get it returned.

If any of these behaviors are experienced with your Website and Email, they may manifest sporadically during the update process, which as mentioned before is typically lasts 24 hours or less but can take longer.

Frappe Free Web Design

December 11th, 2013

One of the biggest ROI killing design blunders for any product or publication is over complexity, and Websites seem to be one of the most common offenders.

The term usability is used in Web design jargon as the attribute of how easily understandable and navigable a site is, and how readily it meets its target visitors’ needs. Almost without exception, each of the millions of Web sites in cyberspace are designed for very specific tasks for a narrowly defined group of people.

Osterizer GalaxieYour primary goal as a site owner is to provide a completely intuitive experience for your visiting prospects. In spite of this obvious goal often simplicity becomes lost in unnecessary clutter. When this happens visitors become confused and confused visitors, according to research, tend to make a hasty retreat.

I ran across a great example of usability in design recently when my ancient Osterizer Galaxie Blender broke. While it had provided many years of satisfactory service, it was always a source of mystery and anxiety to me. I just needed it to perform one simple task—blend. But each time I went to use it I had to wonder at all the buttons on the front:

Chop (Off) – Grate (Off) – Grind (Off) – Stir – Puree – Whip – Mix – Blend – Frappe – Liquefy

Am I doing this wrong? Should I be Puree’ing or Frappé’ing this protein shake. And does it matter which off button I push, why are there three? Just for good measure, I would randomly use all the buttons on different
occasions—all with no noticeable difference to my concoction.

Osterizer BeehiveIn browsing for a replacement, I came across the polar opposite of the Osterizer  Galaxie—the Oster Classic Beehive. There’s just one switch on the whole thing and that tne switch does just what I need without having to stop and think about which button to push and why.

While blenders and Web sites don’t have much in common, the design principle illustrated by Osterizer’s two extremes make great litmus tests for the usability of our own sites.

Now the Beehive looks much cooler than my old Galaxie, I no longer have to hide my blender from guests come over. But the most important thing about well designed
products or Web sites is not looks (although good design naturally lends itself to better aesthetics) it’s about making the value you offer clear and easy to implement.

I mentioned Steve Krug probably too much, but I know of no who does a better job of explaining the foundational principles of usability and helping people really “get” what it takes (and doesn’t take) to create an effective revenue producing Web site. If you’re the owner, manager, or administrator of a site I implore you to get your hands on a copy of his classic book, Don’t Make Me Thinklink opens in new window.

Best Practices – Facebook Marketing

December 2nd, 2013

VerticalResponse has one of the best condensations of how to manage your business’ Facebook page that I’ve seen. If your business has a Facebook page I strongly recommend checking it out. Looking for someone to manage your Facebook branding, marketing and posts?  Let us know, we can work with you to develop and manage your online, social media and email marketing.

Courtesy of: VerticalResponse

 

Choosing a Domain Name | .Com vs .Net

September 3rd, 2013

Choosing the best domain name for your Website is a daunting task. Actually thinking of a great domain name is not hard, finding a great name, or even a good-enough name, that’s taken is the hard part. We’ve accumulated a number of guidelines to use when considering a new domain name which we’ll be sharing the next few blog posts; here’s the first:

.Com instead of .Net

never use a .net domain as your primary business domain”

This first guideline is the most absolute of them all—never use a .net domain as your primary business domain. The reason a company considers a .net domain is almost always because someone else already is using the .com version of the domain. Usability studies have proven that when someone hears or reads a domain name, by the time they type it in their Web browser they’re most likely going to type .com anyway. If you do choose to go with a .net, be aware that a huge percentage of the branding expense and effort you do for your Website will benefit the .com version, not yours.

Sometimes people see that their .com is not currently developed and assume that since there is no site on the .com the .net is a viable option. In these cases it’s even more important not to choose the .net. A domain squatter dreams about a company investing a ton of money into developing and marketing a Website on a .net for which the squatter owns the .com. It raises the value of the .com significantly and it’s very easy to squeeze the .net domain holder into paying an exorbitant price for the .com when the squatter puts up a porn site.

This means that even though there is the perfect domain name available (such as mycompanyname.net or myexactkeywords.net) you’ll be far better off to select a .com even if it’s not as desirable of phrase. Our upcoming posts will shed some light on how to do that.

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