Saturday, October 29, 2005

Do You Really Want a Popular Community Site...?

Most of us use the web to promote our business sites. In the last few years blogging has taken off and many want to promote their blogs. My recent problems with my web host -- highlighted some issues with owning a popular community site, i.e., blog or forums board -- not to say that my blogs or forums are popular -- only to say that I have been reading up on web hosting issues associated with community sites.

Many web hosts mistakenly believe that because a site is popular -- that it is also a money maker and should therefore be subject to more fees. This is a misconception. Or that it is simply too resource intensive and costly for the inexpensive web hosting plan that it currently uses and becomes more a liability than the monthly fee it garners.

This is not to knock of my former web host. In my case I believe there are extenuating circumstances associated with my internet involvement and therefore I am not a good example to use.

However, in trying to figure out how much of my web hosting problems could be credited to my on-going issues with Washington versus how the web hosting industry conducts itself, I found some interesting reading.

Another problem could be -- PHP scripts and popular community sites. I use signatures and links to drive traffic to the PHP driven features on my site -- (News, Software, & Java forums and Q's Wire...). These site features get most of the hits on my site and use a lot of files [PHP script files]. It doesn't matter that the boards are really not that active in terms of participation [I maintain a lot of lists for bloggers -- therefore I get hits]. I also use to maintain popular blogging polls -- which I now require registration for participation.

And even if your site gets a lot of hits, it does not mean that advertisers are going to want to advertise on your site. So there is really no money in maintaining the community features on your site other than to help with your overall site ranking or to promote your business. And the ranking may be inaccurate because of the way PHP uses files and bandwidth.

Keep in mind -- I have evidence that Washington "watches" my online activities and could be causing some of the odd things that I have experienced. They may also be affecting my income from this venue. I make virtually no money [Adsense the exception -- but it is only pennies a month] from my online activities -- however, in my case, I suspect foul play. The money aspect is qualified here because some moderately popular boards maybe making money through advertising -- however, I only have my own experience to go on.

If your web host is sending odd messages and you have a community board or a popular blog that uses PHP ... be prepared. By the way -- I am not knocking PHP... I think it is very useful for these types of tools. The problem is that it is very resource intensive and web hosts know it. It also does not matter that you are coming nowhere near your plan limits.

Pushing your PHP community boards on an inexpensive web hosting plan may be a bad thing. You could lose your web host.

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