How Website Hosting Actually Works

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

Owning a website is like owning a car.

It’s a big investment up front. It’s essential for business. We trust it with the most precious things in our lives. Yet we tend to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the mechanics.

Like it or not, your website is important. It’s the kind of purchase that’s going to require your full attention from time to time, starting with: “Where exactly is this thing parked, right now?”

If you see yourself in business in the next two years, you’re going to have to know how these things work. You know what? We’re here right now. So let’ do this. Put your phone in a drawer and kick off your shoes. It’s going to take us five focused minutes to demystify what website hosting actually is, and why it matters. Something that you have been avoiding—up until this very moment.

Sure, let’s park here. Good enough. And it’s cheap, kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Park This Thing?

If you own a car. You need parking. Same goes for a website.

If you’re trying to wrap your head around what ‘parking a website’ looks like, just visualize the different types of parking out there that you already know.

First up is the classic cul-de-sac carport with the sliding garage door.

Enjoy Secure, Private Hosting in Your Suburban Garage

Your site is self-contained, with its own private entrance. It’s tucked well away from all the other sites crammed in towers by the freeway. It’s an independent option, and that’s reflected in the price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do you want this? You’re not sharing keys. You’re the only one with access to the garage, so it’s safe and private too. If there’s a virus going around, you’re in the clear.

The only downside? The buck stops with you. You’ll need to pop the hood and get familiar with the machinery.

I know this is a beauty, but price is a consideration. Also, only owners have hobbies like ‘home repair.’ So let’s keep looking.

Secure and Cheap but the Privacy’s Weak. Hosting At The Underground Parkade

The average city car lot is big on gates and cameras and uniformed guards.The intimidating security presence is more a deterrent than anything. It has its function though. So no one’s in there that shouldn’t be—for the most part. As for the vehicles, it’s tight. You know the drill, don’t leave your valuables in plain sight, or bring any attention to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why would you want this? It’s cheap and secure from the outside world.

The downsides?  Everyone is sharing the same keys. All it takes is one bad apple. It’s not like they are doing background checks down there.

Okay Mr. Human Error. Mister Misanthrope. Mr. People-Are-The-Problem. I get it, you want a spot and then you never want to deal with it again. And you certainly don’t want anyone in there. There’s another word for this, it’s called a tomb.

Cheap, secure, out of sight, out of mind: AAAARGGH-SO-EASY STORAGE

The model is simple: Build a fortress with impenetrable walls, and state-of-the-art locks, and keep it cheap by stacking it high with thousands of cars, slotted away, and clients without access. It’s just parking. Not comfort. Pile in.

cars stacked one on another

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything’s Alright Until Something Goes Wrong

Thing is, when you wall yourself off from intruders on the outside, your problem becomes your neighbours. Viruses spread like fires through a shanty. If your neighbour gets it, you’re getting it too.

Why would you want this? You like cheap, you like safe, and you don’t give a rat’s ass about access. Websites should be seen and not heard.

The downsides? Be prepared to wait weeks to get the keys if you need them. You’re not supposed to come back here, remember?

Still too dear? Well, the world has discount parachutes for a reason.

Not Secure. Not Private. But Cheaper Than Hell:  Dystopian Overnight Parking.

You know that creepy old lot by Kingsgate Mall with the one flickering streetlight and the barbwire fence, and the distinctive lingering scent of old skunk. This is where abandoned sites go, when no one cares where they’re at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what cheap hosting is. Exposed, barely secure, and as neglected as it gets. You never know who’s in there. You want access? Over there. The gate’s still bent up in the corner from the last time someone crept in.

Why would you want this? You don’t. This is the last thing you want. If you’re paying next to nothing, though, then this is what you have.

The downsides? All of them.

The fog is starting to lift a bit, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad you’ve stayed with us this far? Web hosting isn’t that complicated. It’s just out of sight. That’s no excuse though. If you wouldn’t leave your briefcase in the backseat of your car at any of these spots, are you sure you’d like to leave your keys with them too? Now, let’s get you out of here.

Back Home At The Garage

Remember this place? The private garage with sweeping views that lets you get away from it all? Chances are you loved everything about it—except for one thing—you don’t like to pull weeds or wires or change your own oil and you definitely don’t subscribe to Littlest Coder On The Prairie.

So we’ve found you one better. It’s the perfect fit for the city type who loves to be remote as long as there’s wifi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s exactly the same as our first suburban garage, but this time it’s in a gated community of twenty or so business owners like you. Everyone has their own private access. Plus, there are only two keys, one for you—and one for me.

Come again?

—–

Enjoy Your Stay At Immersion’s Gated Community 

We liked our garage so much be bought the whole community. Now, we have twenty detached garages in all. So if you want a secure and private place where you hold all of the keys but none of the responsibility that comes with it, then this is it.

If your email lags, don’t waste your day playing IT. Get on the horn and I’ll send somebody down. That’s what landlords are for.

If you’re trying to hang a picture, and end up hammering through the wall—we can fix that for you. We have a maintenance retainer set aside for stuff like this. If something compels you to dig around the foundation and you hit a water main and the water won’t stop spraying until the city comes to turn off the the block—We have an extreme response troubleshooting retainer set aside for thing like that as well. Also every Daylight Saving Day, we make the rounds. We check the units for bugs and mould, uneven floors, and broken links and things to fix.

gated community

I have a ton of space here. Over the years, some of my clients asked if they could  park here too. Sure. I’d rather them be safe here, than in some sketchy tower crawling with abandoned sites that don’t use any protection. Crammed conditions, sharing keys with strangers, leaving the door wide open on some nights—you know where this leads if they don’t start to taking better care of themselves.

When a client has a kit with me, their sites is my responsibility, so I move their vehicle into one of my garages where I can keep an eye on it.

Now, I’m not saying that we have private valet service that will rotate your tires while you’re off at Saint Martins. What we do have, is a nice little gated community though. Everyone has a pool. And a nice big garage. And a Bow-Flex in the corner under a quarter-inch of dust.

It’s got all the privacy and security you could ask for. The front gate of the community keeps out the traffic, and the your own parking spot ensures you always look respectable.

Your Secure, Private Carport Keeps You Asleep

Is this the kind of place you’re comfortable leaving your briefcase in your car overnight? Sure. You don’t give it a second thought.

And if, god forbid, your neighbour has a fire, it won’t spread to your house too.

You know everyone who lives here. You’re already friends with some of them, in the Facebook sense, the rest, they all pop up as “Mutual” suggestions. So there’s one degree of separation at most and that’s comfort enough, that even if you leave your front door open, the worst thing you might find is a plate of cookies.

It’s a friendly place. You’re welcome here. To find out more information, just shoot us an email at mike (at) immersioncreative.com

Beyond Just Hosting, Here’s What We Offer.

Extreme Response (Troubleshooting)

Maintenance

Tutorials

Creative, Branding and Design

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have  or refer to Immersion’s Frequently Asked Rhetorical Questions

 



WordPress Tutorials

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under websites | Leave a Comment 

Do you find WordPress a bit intimidating? I know I did until I had a few quick tutorials about how to make changes to my own site. In less than an hour, I was changing photos, editing copy, and even resizing images.

If you have a WordPress backend on your site, here’s your chance to learn how to actually use it. We offer a private, one hour, one-on-one training sessions for $140. For group classes, the hourly rate is simply divided by the number of participants.

Let us know what time works for you and we’ll set you up with a session with one of our developers. For me, it unlocked so much potential. I actually enjoy editing my site now (I find it rather therapeutic). You can save a bunch of money not having IT make every little change.

Looking back, I’m amazed it took me so long to just book a friendly session and spend an hour learning how to do things myself.



Website Maintenance

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under websites | Leave a Comment 

If you own a car: it needs maintenance. Your website does too.

You can’t just get and forget a website. Applications need to be updated, broken code and links need to be fixed, and it never hurts to take a peek under the hood once or twice a year to make sure everything is running smoothly.

While a website appears to be a static on the surface, it is still dependent on the Internet, which is probably the most dynamic and ever-changing force ever created by humans. If your website is a car, the Internet is the elements. We had a client that lost countless leads because of an outdated application, which we would have found and fixed in a routine checkup had it been requested.

 

If you’re using your CMS (WordPress) frequently and making your own edits, it’s advisable to have us do two checkups a year.

 

If you’re more hands-off, you might be safe with one checkup a year.

 

Of course, we can perform a checkup any time. To streamline the process, however, we do the Smokey The Bear thing and remind you to change the batteries in your smoke alarms (and keep your website running smoothly) every Daylight Saving Day.

 

If you don’t want reminders, please let us know and you can opt out of one or both reminders.

 

If you don’t want reminders—you just want things to work the way they should without being bothered, we can add a maintenance fee ($15/month) that will cover the cost of your checkups each year and they will be performed automatically (by humans) every time the clocks change.

 

Beyond Just Maintenance, Here’s What We Offer:

Hosting

Extreme Response Troubleshooting

Tutorials

Creative, Branding and Design

 



Extreme Response Troubleshooting

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under Uncategorized, websites | Leave a Comment 

We have always strongly suggested keeping a one-hour troubleshooting retainer with us. This is for emergencies. If you need us urgently at two in the morning on a Friday after, say, you accidentally erased a page (or you need one taken down)—you don’t want to be in a queue with the others on Monday. Or, say your emails aren’t coming through because your IT guy fumbled with your name-servers: These types of emergencies are given top priority if there is a retainer ready and they will be handled within 24 hours. 

If you’d like to apply your existing retainer to other projects, but still keep it topped up annually, we can arrange that paperwork for you.

Please let us know if you would like to change your billing to one of these options.

 

Beyond Just Troubleshooting, Here’s What We Offer:

Hosting

Maintenance

Tutorials

Creative, Branding and Design

 

 



The Briefcase Test

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under websites | Leave a Comment 

Here’s a fun game we can play. It’s called:

Would you leave your briefcase in your car?

As we take a tour of each of these various parking spots —keep that in the back of your mind. Is this the kind of place that you’d leave your bag unattended in the backseat?

 

How about your laptop?

We can even up the ante a little. You’ve got your laptop in there. It might as well be unlocked. Your email is wide open. Medical records, financials, passwords, sensitive patient and client information? As vulnerable as candy in the hands of a baby. Sure a small score for the DarkWeb but it’s everything to you.

So let’s review this. Your briefcase is your data, and your website is your car, and if your parking is your hosting— So, where do you want to park it overnight? In a sketchy downtown parking lot? Or in your carport with your skis?

Now think, it’s not just now, it’s for years at a time. So where?

 

It’s a website. Ten pages. >Shrug<. Why would it need privacy?

Email, people. Don’t forget about email. That Pandora’s box is filled with credit cards, and medical files and other sensitive—and potentially lucrative—information. So if we’re talking privacy, you really need to get a room. Not just somewhere to go when it’s mom and dad time.

You want to be parked securely, in one room,  a garage, with one key, and four walls, and a roof, . You want to know the people parked nearby. But you don’t want to touch them. You want your walls detached, so fires (and viruses) can’t spread, and you want to know who’s nearby and who’s inside at any time, and a gate that goes around the other carports like yours.

Now that’s security. And certainty. If you’re not comfortable leaving your briefcase in your backseat of your own private carport, in your own gated community, then where?

Briefcase in the backseat game a metaphor for website hosting.

The Club Soda is a good diversion. But not enough.



Our Website Design Process

January 27, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

We’ve streamlined the website process into a few steps to make it simpler.

FIRST OFF – WHAT DO YOU LIKE?

We ask you to send us samples of websites you do and do not like and the reasons why. That gives us a good starting point. Also, it’s good to see your current advertising materials to get a feel for the main message you are trying to convey.

NEXT – YOUR KEYWORDS

What words do you want to best optimize for search engines? We have been doing SEO in Vancouver since Immersion began in 2008, and we know from experience that it’s the best advertising you can do for your business. In the first six years or so, it’s how Immersion got every one of its clients, by being number one on Google for Vancouver advertising agency and Vancouver advertising.

Properly optimizing for keywords begins with a best-practice internal optimization. In fact, the words that you pick as you main keywords are so important, they guide the architecture of the entire website.

Don’t know what the best keywords for your business are? Then let’s go on a FISHING EXPEDITION on Adwords to find out. (Click the link to find out more about that.)

Either way, once we have your keywords determined we can start structuring how this thing is going to look.

NEXT, NEXT – SITE SKELETON

Now that we have signed off on the best three keywords for your site, we need to lock down the skeleton. This is basically how the site will be structured. The architecture, if you will.

It usually looks something like this:

HOME

ABOUT

WHAT WE DO

PROJECTS

FAQ

NEWS / BLOG

CONTACT US

That’s a pretty simplified version, but you get what we mean.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT STEP – COPYWRITING

Once we have the skeleton locked in, we move onto copy. Note, whenever I talk about copy, ever, I’m referring to text. All the words on this page are copy. I started off in advertising as a copywriter. I still am a copywriter. But I do a bunch of other things too. I edit copy too. But I never copy copy, copy? (I couldn’t help myself.)

Either way, copy is the words. In the world of advertising (or website) copywriting, it is making the words interesting, easy to understand and persuasive. Some clients like to give me a list of things that they want to say on each page (or copy points, or bullets) and I take these points and give them some poignancy and panache.

Examples of Copywriting:

I turn features of your product or service into benefits.

FROM

We only offer our services online.

TO

Our services are available to you anywhere, anytime, night or day.

I also edit, simplify and clean up redundancies and make it easy for your clientele to navigate.

Another component of copywriting for the web is SEO copywriting. Again, always cognizant of your keywords, we make sure to pepper in just the right about of keywords, link appropriately, and tag and build around those words to best optimize you on search engines.

Some people think this is just a matter of repeating the same keyword over and over again in the copy because the same keyword multiple time is all you need to do with that same keyword and Google’s search engines will love seeing that same keyword in your text. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea. You’ll get flagged and possibly even banned.

There’s a proper way to pepper keywords.

There’s a proper way to frame content.

There’s a proper way to utilize URLs (ie somekeyword.com).

Domain names (URLs) used to be a gold mine (for instance business.com sold for something outrageous like USD$350 million). While it helps, it’s not the be-all-end all of SEO. There’s a lot more to it.

It starts with internal optimization of your site through Keywords, Architecture, and Copywriting. Which brings us to WEBSITE DESIGN.

Oh yeah, and if clients would rather provide the copy, that’s fine too. (A lot of law firms prefer this for some reason.) We can always optimize and edit client-provided copy without changing the nuance. Sure. I have to say though, most legal copy is as dry as dirt, and if you are a law firm, I strongly recommend taking your hands so firmly off the wheel when it comes to communications copy and let us add some flavour, otherwise you’re just like every other law firm out there with copy that will never get read.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT – WEBSITE DESIGN

Once we have the copy doc signed off, we move onto the look of the site itself. Usually what we’ll do is present you a couple of options for the first couple of pages. You pick the one you want, and we use that as a template to build out the rest of the site.

With site design, just like everything else we do, you get one round of revisions per stage, for free. Just please keep them all in one place.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT – PROGRAMMING

Okay, so once you’ve signed off on the look, we move into the mechanics of the thing. At this point our developer goes into his programming cave and makes sure that all the wires behind the scenes are set up properly.

In the old days, we gave clients the option of either a website with HTML or a WordPress backend for content management, our new thinking is that every site needs to have the capacity for the client to run it on their own if they desire. So all sites that we make are fully turn-key, once we are done, you can edit the copy, images, pages, etc. on your own.

 

CUSTOM WEBSITE VS. OFF-THE-SHELF THEME WEBSITE OR WIX?

In regards to websites we can do CUSTOM sites like this:

 

https://snrc.ca/

 

Or super simple THEME ones like this:

 

https://www.mariahruschak.com/

 

As well as everything in-between.

 

THEMES

 

Keep in mind, it’s built around a theme, so we don’t have any flexibility in design or functionality.

 

It’s basically a ‘what you see is what you get’ option.

 

 

CUSTOM

 

If you want a custom site, it would be built to whatever look and functionality you want, exactly the way you want it.

 

Custom looks professional because it is professional. As they say, buy cheap, buy twice.

 

 

 

NEXT, NEXT, ETC. – PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now we are ready to show you a Beta Version of the whole website and all we need to do at this stage is test it. We’ll do one last pass over the site on both sides. We’ll check that all the links are working properly, do a final copy-edit. We make sure that the photos are all correct. You, know, quality control before launch. We check mobile versions, iPads, iPods, iTouches, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Internet Explorer 8 (shudder) and all the browsers and devices we can think of to make sure everything is just right for launch day.

FINALLY – THE LAUNCH

Now, we’re ready to deliver our baby to the world. We press a button, hold our breath and shed a little tear as she spreads her wings for the first time and takes flight.

———

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WORDPRESS CRASH COURSE

It’s one thing having a site that you can have complete control of as a client and another thing to know how to do it! So we offer a one-hour workshop with our developer to teach you everything you need to know about WordPress. In no time, you’ll be adding your own photos and captions and copy and then, you too, will be off to the races.

We made this website in 48 hours.

 

THE NEXT STEPS

Your website is the storefront of your business.

You want it to be easily accessible (fast load times and ranked well on Google), interesting (well designed) and intuitive to navigate.

We build websites that are best-optimized for search results (SEO). This is only half the battle, the rest we can provide for you with ongoing content. Our social media kits will provide you weekly blogs to post, daily tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram images and whatever else you need to climb to the top of Google and drive traffic to your site.

We build websites with WordPress backends. This allows you turnkey access, so you can change photos or text, and manage the content all on your own. Of course we are always available for technical support if need be.

 

 

 

 



Cruise Comp: Tired Of Counting Trees The Hard Way?

August 7, 2019 | Filed Under advertising, clients, design, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

CruiseComp is a timber cruising software created by Industrial Forestry Services. It is designed to make the timber cruising process easier and more efficient. To highlight the program, we created a website, a trade show kit and made a series of videos to explain how it works. A favourite was our homage to Subterrania.

 

IFS Cruise Comp Website Design by Vancouver Advertising Firm- Immersion Creative

 

IFS Cruise Comp brochure Design by Vancouver Advertising Firm- Immersion Creative



Ximen: Website Design

July 7, 2019 | Filed Under design, Immersion Creative, websites | Leave a Comment 

Them Thar Hills

Real Estate was the number one industry in BC for years. However, with housing sales cooling in the past year, we’ve changed focus, back to our roots, really, with an eye on natural resources. Ximen Corporation needed a website that was sleek, responsive and most of all turnkey. We created a site with a Content Management System that gave them full control. It turned out well.



Lawyers At Sea

May 7, 2019 | Filed Under design, Photography, websites | Leave a Comment 

If you have been in a horrific accident, the last thing you need is having to learn how to navigate a whole new, complicated world of law. David Doig + Associates have been doing this for decades, and they are the trusted, experienced professionals you need when it comes to charting a path from chaos to order. With navigation as the theme, we shot Dave and Ty at sea by starlight, on the famous Midnight Sun. Photographer Matthew Chen did a beautiful job of this.

Based around the photoshoot, we redesigned the website into a sleek and information site.

 



Mattress Choice

June 1, 2010 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, Mattress Choice, websites | Leave a Comment 

The new website for Mattress Choice has officially launched!

If you are looking for a mattress in Victoria, be sure to come to their Grand Opening to save up to 60% off your new mattress.

Or, if you have a dream that you need analyzed, ask Dr. Floyd (click on the red tab on the bottom left corner) – he will give you the interpretation you seek.