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How To Be Certain Your Site is Ready to Handle Substantial Growth

Aug 17, 2007
It's funny how quickly a website that was originally supposed to be a tiny web presence can quickly turn into web weed that starts growing out of control. Naturally, having a very large and well-known website is a very desirable thing for any webmaster seeking success. However, not every website is ready to handle sudden and substantial growth. There are many different elements that can pose problems along the way when a site becomes quite large.

To begin with, the hosting service that you chose for your original website may not be able to handle a much larger site, creating traffic problems because of bandwidth issues. Running into unexpected bandwidth problems can become quite expensive, so it is important to anticipate such growth in traffic before it becomes an issue. The primary problem faced in these cases is either that the web host cuts off the site after it has reached its limit for a given month, or, more commonly, the web host will apply expensive overage charges for exceeding the maximum limit.

Either of these cases is very expensive. The overage charges are more directly expensive because they are often quite substantial. When the site is shut down for the remainder of the month, on the other hand, the expenses are indirect, but can be much more costly. You risk losing the popularity of the site that was just taking off; you risk blocking any prospective sales; you risk losing any possible return on investment for your marketing efforts; and you risk losing any favorable search engine ranking that you may have achieved. These issues can be enough to sink a website just as it was beginning to reach the big time.

Therefore, if you find that your site is becoming dramatically more popular, or even before that, when you're looking around for web hosts, make sure that you're thinking ahead about your bandwidth. Have a look a the bandwidth policies and data transfer policies. This will allow you to be billed according to the amount that the bandwidth has actually been exceeded, and you will not need to make a pre-payment. Don't forget to read the fine print in case of any hidden traps you might not yet have been aware of.

Another issue faced by many webmasters when growing their sites is that they build their sites to be so vast that they have too many pages to update. Large sites can be extremely challenging to manage. This is especially the case when many of the pages need to be updated and changed on a regular basis. It doesn't take much at all for these activities to become overwhelming.

Furthermore, when you believe that you'll be adding a large number of new pages on a regular basis, you will need to have a good quality web design program or system in place. Sure, for a small site, it doesn't take too long to individually insert things such as the logo, navigation menu, and standard "look" of the site onto each page. However, when you're working with a much larger number of pages, you'll need to have something in place that will replicate the look into any new page, instead of having to redo every page every time. This will also help when you change something that will need to be common across your entire site. You will be able to make a change that will become universal.

When you have this large site on its way to being designed and built, you will also need to make sure that your web host is reliable enough to deal with a website of the magnitude you'll be working with. When you have a very small site that doesn't have a huge number of visitors, a budget web host makes sense to keep costs low. However, when you need a larger site, you may also need a more reliable web host to make sure that it is always up and running when you need it to be. This will be very important to the impression that your company makes, and to make sure that you aren't missing out on any potential opportunities to make new customers.

Basically, as with everything, growing your website needs careful planning. As long as you prepare for the changes you may be making in the future, you will not run into any problems that may be harmful to the success of your website.
About the Author
Mark Nenadic
Mark is the director and face behind FifteenDegrees-North, where you will find articles and resources to help with SEO,
marketing and Web design.
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