Our ramblings about website design and other things

DNS Propagation

We often set up a new website or move your existing hosting to our hosting platform and then we tell you to wait while we get DNS propagation across the web so what does DNS propagation mean?

When we set up your new website we create a Master DNS record in our Domain Name Servers. We simply point to our DNS server as being the master authority of your domain.

When anybody wants to know how to find your website, they first go to the registration database to find out who the DNS authority is for your website. Then they visit our hosting provider’s DNS servers to find out what the IP Address is for your domain name, and from there your audience can now view your website.

This all sounds very straight forward however the problem with this whole set up is that in order to speed up the rate at which their customers can view the internet, each Internet Server Provider (ISP) caches (stores) their DNS records. This means that they make their own copy of the master records, and read from them locally instead of looking them up on the Internet each time someone wants view a website. This actually speeds up web surfing quite a bit, by speeding up the return time it takes for a web browser to request a domain lookup and get an answer, and in helping reduce the amount of traffic on the web hence giving it the ability to work faster.

The downside to this caching scenario and what makes it take so long for your website to be visible to everyone, is that each company or ISP that caches DNS records only updates them every few days. There is no standard for this time frame , and they can set this time anywhere from a few hours to several days. The slow updating of the servers cache is called propagation, since your websites DNS information is now being propagated across all DNS servers on the web. When this is finally complete, everyone can now visit your new website. Being that the cache time is different for all servers, as mentioned above, it can take anywhere from 12to 72 hours for DNS changes to be totally in effect. You also have the added effect that some users can see your hosting while others cannot until the propagation is complete.

So in summary you just have to be patient and let the DNS propogation happen.

Website Facelift

We have all heard the expression ‘cobbler’s shoes’ although when I quote some well known expressions to my teenage children they look at me like I am speaking a foreign language!, we have finally found some time to give our own website a ‘facelift’

We practice what we preach so our website is CMS based so the majority of work was with the new template and design and we carried all our content across, this is the beauty of CMS based websites, many times we see users produce a new website and as they have a lot of information they lose their history which can be a very good business resuorce and have the added bonus of bringing traffic.

Anyway jumping off our soapbox we hope you enjoy the new design.

Good Website Design Practices

Here at Bluewave we like to think we are good at what we do an we hope our customers do to. Very often with a website project it is easy to get bogged down in tiny design details of colours, line thickness, icon size etc and while the overall aesthetics of a website are important there are some key items that many web designers overlook.

Website Accessibility

Make sure every page on your website can be accessed via your front page, it is important that search engines can see your whole site, ensure that links are not hidden in flash or other types of menus. Users may only come to your site via searches and if pages are not indexed then they will not hit them.

Cross Browser Compatibility

Check, check and check again your website in all browsers, depending on your target audience some sites may be accessed from mobile phones so ensure your site can be seen and all menu items accessed, you may want to consider a version of your site just for mobile users, people like easy access and if they like your site they are more likely to become customers.

Each page should be Unique

Avoid at all costs a cut and paste mentality across many pages, content should be unique and appear only once, even if you have product variants vary the copy on each product so it is unique. Search engines love unique content and it will help you in the long run.