Website Management & Hosting Service


Once we have designed and/or implemented your new website, we will host it on one of our servers (a computer continuously connected to the internet that stores the pages that make up your site and supplies them on demand to any internet user that wants to read them). We will also provide a link from this site to yours so that the search engines can find it. At your request, we can submit your site to the major search engines and directories, and search for other sites to link to yours to generate relevant traffic to your site and improve its search engine ranking. A further technique that can be used to improve your search engine performance is to write articles for distribution to other websites. Note that these are not advertisements but informative articles about subjects related to your website that include links to your site. You can write and distribute such articles yourself, or you can commission us to do it for you, through our authoring service.

Your website will typically contain some sort of 'contact us' feature, to allow your potential customers to ask questions about your business, request a quotation for, or even purchase, your services to products. We will endeavour to protect this facility from abuse by the automated e-mail address gathering 'robots' used by spammers, so that only genuine queries are forwarded to the e-mail address you provide to receive them. We will also provide a separate facility for queries about your website itself; we will then handle all such messages without your involvement.

During the lifetime of your website, it is highly likely that you will want it to be changed from time to time, to reflect changes in your organisation or its products or activities. You may want the content of certain pages modified, or other pages added or removed. We can also help you to run certain special features of your site, such as restricted access areas, newsletters, mailing lists, and competitions and draws. To support this, we operate a system of 'update units', that you can purchase either as and when required, or in advance to receive a quantity discount.

This section describes the Aardstorm website management and hosting service, including domain name choice and rental, and details of our hosting, traffic generation, site management and update services. See the separate fees summary page for details of our charges for these services.

This service is only available to clients of our website design and implementation services.

Domain Name Rental

Your new website will require a domain name, such as A number of different domain name types are available, such as .com, .org,, etc. It is up to you to choose the name for your site, depending on what sort of online image you wish to present. You must then rent your chosen name, for the lifetime of your site, from one of the many registration services. You can do this entirely yourself, and then either provide us with the necessary access to your chosen registration service so that we can set it up to point at our server, or we can provide you with our server information for you to set it up yourself. If you take this route, then you not only have to think of a desired name, but also check that it, or a similar name, has not already been taken by somebody else. Most, if not all, registration services provide easy to use facilities for checking on the availability of domain names. When choosing the name of your site, it is advisable to select one for which all of the domain types are availabe, to avoid possible conflict with other sites. It is also advisable to choose a name for which variations such as common misspellings or with and without hyphens to separate adjacent words are also available. You may also wish to purchase additional names, such as extra types and name variations to help prevent others from setting up sites similar to yours and attempting to steal traffic and/or customers from your business. These additional names can be set up to point to your new site; you do not need an extra site for each name.

Alternatively, you can commission us to help you with the search for an available domain name, and rent your chosen name(s) on your behalf. We will pass on the registration and rental costs, and add our own administration fee for this service. We currently use 123-reg as our domain name registration service; please see their site for details of current rental costs. You will need to specify broadly what name you would like, together with how many and which domain types and variations you wish to purchase. Once we have completed our search for suitable names, we will present you with a selection from which you can make your final choice, before we go ahead with renting them on your behalf.

Website Hosting

Once your new website has been implemented, and approved and paid for by youself, it will be placed (hosted) on one of our servers that are connected to the internet. We do not directly own or operate our servers, but rent them instead from a larger internet service povider company, that can offer much faster and more reliable internet access than wve ever could, and has the expertise to look after the server hardware on a daily basis. We currently use Webfusion (Pipex) for this service. This does, however, mean that we cannot make any guarantees regarding reliability or availability of your website on the internet; we can only pass on the guarantees provided by our supplier. See their website for details if this is important to you. If we receive compensation from our supplier for loss of access to internet or other failure of a server, then this will be distributed among our clients with sites on the server(s) affected.

Your new website will normally be placed on a server that also hosts one or more of our other clients' sites. The cost of renting the server is therefore shared between all hosted sites, keeping our hosting fees down. The inherently limited resources of this server, such as processing power, memory and disk space, and internet access bandwidth (maximum volume of web traffic) will therefore be shared among the sites hosted on it. We continuously monitor the server resources used by each site, and will if necessary move certain sites to another server, to ensure that each site has a fair share of those resources.

You may, however, choose to have your site hosted on a dedicated server of its own, so that all of its resources are always available for your site. You can do this from the start (if you expect your site to become busy quickly), or you can start with a shared server, and then move to a dedicated one when your site becomes successful enough to need it. If your site becomes particularly and consistently busy, so that it is taking an unfair share of its server's resources, we will insist that you move to a dedicated server.

Traffic Generation

Once your new website is up and running, you will want people to come and use it, particularly potential customers for your goods or services. This traffic for your site can be generated both offline, through conventional advertising and marketing techniques, and online from the major search engines and links from directories and other websites. Offline traffic generation is entirely up to you; we supply you with a website that you can use to support your conventional marketing and advertising activities. We can, however, help you with online traffic generation, by offering additional services.

Design Optimisation

The first step in encouraging traffic to your site from online sources, is to ensure that the design of your site is optimised to be easy to read and navigate by the major search engines, and is targeted to the keywords (the words or phrases people search for) relevant to your site. This means including plenty of text with frequent references of the chosen keywords, and providing simple links, keyworded if possible, between the pages of your site so that the search engines can find all of its pages. Proper use of the hidden 'meta tags' on each page, for page title, description and keywords, also help the search engines determine the relevance of your pages to your keywords. All of this is included in our standard design fees.

Search Engine Submission

Once your website is up and running, the search engines need to be able to find it. A link to your new site will be added to the 'examples' page of this site, so that all of the search engines that know about this site will also find yours when they next visit us. This can, however take several weeks, and only those search engines that periodically 'crawl' the web looking for new sites will find your site this way. We can attempt to accelerate this process for you by submitting your new site directly to the major search engines and directories. For some of these, particularly directories such as Yahoo and the Open Directory Project, the only way in is direct submission. Some search engines and directories also charge for submission, especially if your site is deemed to be of a commercial nature, often with no guarantee of inclusion. We will pass on these submission costs to you, in addition to our standard administration fee. If you indicate that you wish to use this service when you request a quotation, we will include a list of relevant search engines and directories, togther wiith their additional charges, so that you can decide which you want us to submit your site to. Alternatively, you can do the submissions yourself.

Some search engines or directories also operate a system whereby you can purchase additional prominence of your site within their search results for selected keywords. These systems often work by allowing you to 'bid' a certain amount of money for each keyword. The position of your entry in the search results for that keyword then depends on the amount you have bid relative to other bidders for the same keyword. Whenever somebody clicks on your 'sponsored' link, you have to pay the search engine the amount you have bid. Again, you can do this yourself, or you can commission us to do it for you, although you will still have to pay bidding fees generated by the search engine(s).

Article Distribution

Once your site has been indexed by a search engine, then its ranking relative to other sites for a given search keyword depends to a large extent on the number and quality of links to it from other websites. Link quality here typically depends on the relevance of the link, whether any keywords are embedded in the link itself, and the ranking of the other site. A particularly good source of good quality links is to write one or more articles about a subject relevant to your site. The full article is included as a page of your site, and its location is then submitted to the large number of subject-specific article directories on the web, which will then include a link back to your article. A shortened version of the article can also be distributed for inclusion in other websites and/or e-zines. Wherever this article is published, it will include a high-quality link back to your original article and website. This will not only greatly improve your search engine ranking, but will also generate relevant traffic to your site from people following the links to your article. Note that these articles must be educational and informative about a subject relevant to your business or website; they must not be written as advertisements. You can write and distribute articles yourself, or we can distribute your article(s) for you, or you can use our document services to commission us to write the article(s) as well.

Third-party Link Search & Request

The final method of obtaining links to your website is simply to ask the webmasters of other, relevant, sites to include a link on their website, on the basis that such a link would be of benefit to their users. Making a request is no guarantee that a link will be provided, and may well result in a request for a link back to their site from yours. You will therefore need to decide whether such outward links are acceptable, and how they are to be included in your site. You can search for relevant other sites and make the link requests yourself, or you can commission us to do it for you. Depending on the nature of your site, the search for relevant sites can be time consuming, and therefore expensive, with no guarantee of success. If you have a direct competitor with a successful (ie highly ranked) website, then searching for sites that link to their site can be fruitful - if a site contains a link to your competitor, then they will probably be willing to also include a link to your site.

Website Management

Periodic Monitoring

While your website is hosted on our systems, we will regularly monitor certain aspects of its operation. On a monthly basis, we will check the overall level of traffic received by your site. If you wish, we can provide you with summaries of this traffic at monthly, quarterly or annual intervals. If your site consistently receives a lot of traffic, we may have to move it to another of our servers to help spread the load and maintain fair sharing of our resources by all of our clients. We will endeavour to minimise disruption to the users of your site while the move takes places, by doing it at a time of minimum traffic and arranging where possible for an overlap between the new and old site locations. If your site becomes really successful and receives a very large amount of traffic, we may have to insist that your site move to a dedicated server of its own, and will therefore incur our higher level of hosting charges. We will give you as much advanced warning of this as we can.

On a (working) daily basis, we will monitor the 'webmaster' mailbox associated with your site for queries regarding the site itself. Wherever possible we will answer such queries without intervention from you, but some may require us to send you a message to obtain information or permission (eg. to respond to a request for adding a link to your site to some other site). We will also forward to you any queries concerning your organisation rather than the site, that may have been sent to us by mistake.

Site Updates

Once your new website is up and running, there will inevitably come a time when you want something changed, probably to reflect a change in your business such as revising your prices, offering a new product or service, discontinuing an old one, or running some sort of time-limited promotional special offer. Depending on the nature of the parent organisation, some sites will require updating more frequently than others. Aardstorm therefore operates a system of update 'units' to cover the work involved in such changes. You can purchase these units either as and when you need them, or in advance to take advantage of our quantity discounts - the more units you buy in a single transaction, the cheaper the individual units are. The units last indefinitely, with no expiry date, until consumed to pay for an update.

A single update unit covers a small amount of work to change your website. Some examples of changes that consume a single unit are:

  • Add, remove or replace up to a few lines of text on a single custom page
  • Add, remove or replace a single picture or graphic. This includes updating any associated thumbnail image and caption text. This also assumes that you supply any new picture in electronic form; our standard scanning fees will also apply if you supply the picture on paper or film.
  • Add, remove or replace a single entire template page of an existing group. This will also include regeneration of any associated index pages.
  • Add, remove or replace a single input control on a single interactive form.
  • Add, remove or replace a single e-mail mailbox.

Changes arising from an error on our part during the original site design process that were not detected at the approval stage will, of course, be implemented free of charge. If, however, the error was in the material you supplied to us, then the normal update fees will apply.

Other, more extensive, changes, such as adding a whole new custom page or form, or completely rewriting an existing one, will consume more than one update unit, equivalent to our normal design fees. When you request us to update your site, we will confirm the total cost for your specified changes, and wait for your agreement and purchase of the necessary units before proceeding. Really extensive changes, amounting to a redesign of some or all of your site, are best handled as a new design project, for which we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Special Site Features

If you commission us to do so, we will also manage on your behalf special features of your website such as newsletter and other mailing lists, competitions and draws, and restricted access areas. Note that all of the special features described below can also be configured, during the design and implementation of your site, to be managed automatically or directly by you.

Newsletters and Mailing Lists

We will maintain an off-line database of subscribers to your newsletter or other type of mailing list, in response to automated e-mails received from your site as users add or remove themselves from your lists, or modify their subscription details. We will then also distribute the newsletters or other mails that you supply to us to your current subscribers, or targeted groups of them. Note that this service does not include writing or editting the newsletters, etc., for you, other than simpe format conversion from the source document that you supply. You are, however, welcome to commission us to do this for you too, through our document authoring and editiorial services.

Competitions and Draws

We will maintain an off-line database of entries to each draw in response to automated e-mails received from your site, and then select the winner(s) when the draw closes. We can also optionally handle initial contact with the winner(s) on your behalf, for example to gather further information such as postal address and choice of prize. We will then pass on the details of the winner(s) to you so that you can supply the prize(s). We will also update the relevant pages of your website, to remove the old entry page or replace it with a new one, and publish the results.

Restricted Access Areas

Where access to certain areas of your site is limited to specific users that are authorised by you, rather than users who manage their own access through automated facilities on your site (in response to payment, for example), then we can manage the appropriate user accounts on your behalf, in response to instructions from you, using special features of your site that are only accessible by us.