Adaptive Software Development

posted on May 20, 2021

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What is Agile?

In literary terms, the word “agile” means someone who can move quickly and easily or someone who can think and act quickly and clearly. In business, “agile” is used for describing ways of planning and doing work wherein it is understood that making changes as needed is an important part of the job. Business “agility” means that a company is always in a position to take account of the market changes.

In software development, the term “agile” is adapted to mean “the ability to respond to changes − changes from Requirements, Technology and People.”

Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto was published by a team of software developers in 2001, highlighting the importance of the development team, accommodating changing requirements and customer involvement.

The Agile Manifesto is −

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work, we have come to value −

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Characteristics of Agility

Following are the characteristics of Agility −

  • Agility in Agile Software Development focuses on the culture of the whole team with multi-discipline, cross-functional teams that are empowered and selforganizing.

  • It fosters shared responsibility and accountability.

  • Facilitates effective communication and continuous collaboration.

  • The whole-team approach avoids delays and wait times.

  • Frequent and continuous deliveries ensure quick feedback that in in turn enable the team align to the requirements.

  • Collaboration facilitates combining different perspectives timely in implementation, defect fixes and accommodating changes.

  • Progress is constant, sustainable, and predictable emphasizing transparency.

Agile Methodologies

Early implementations of Agile methods include Rational Unified Process, Scrum, Crystal Clear, Extreme Programming, Adaptive Software Development, Feature Driven Development, and Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM). These are now collectively referred to as the Agile methodologies, after the Agile manifesto was published in 2001.

In this tutorial, we will learn the Agile Methodology − Adaptive Software Development.

What is Adaptive Software Development?

Adaptive Software Development is a move towards adaptive practices, leaving the deterministic practices in the context of complex systems and complex environments. Adaptive Software Development focuses on collaboration and learning as a technique to build complex systems. It is evolved from the best practices of Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Evolutionary Life Cycles. Adaptive Software Development was then extended to include adaptive approaches for the management, with speculation replacing Planning.

ASD Lifecycle

Jim Highsmith published a book on Adaptive Software Development in 2000. In Highsmith’s words −

“Adaptive Software Development is cyclical like the evolutionary model, with the phase names Speculate, collaborate, learn reflecting the unpredictable realm of increasingly complex systems. Adaptive development goes further than its evolutionary heritage in two key ways. First, it explicitly replaces determinism with emergence. Second, it goes beyond a change in Life Cycle to a deeper change in management style.”

SDLC Models - Evolution

A Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model is a framework that describes the activities performed at each stage of a software development project.

In a Software Development Life Cycle, the activities are performed in five phases −

  • Requirements Gathering − Requirements for a software to be developed are gathered. These requirements will be in a language that is understood by the customer / user. Domain specific terminology is recommended.

  • Analysis − The gathered requirements are analyzed from implementation point of view and the software specifications are written to cover both, the functional requirements and the non-functional requirements.

  • Design − This phase involves arriving at the software architecture and implementation specifics based on technology chosen for development.

  • Construction − In this phase, the code is developed, unit tested, integrated, integration tested and the build is produced.

  • Testing − Functional testing of the built software is done in this phase. This also includes the testing of non-functional requirements.

There are two approaches to performing these activities −

  • Prescriptive − The SDLC models that will provide you ways of performing the activities in a prescribed manner as defined by the framework.

  • Adaptive − The SDLC models that will give you flexibility in performing the activities, with certain rules that need to be followed. The agile methods mostly follow this approach, with each one having its rules. However, following an adaptive or agile approach does not mean that the software is developed without following any discipline. This would lead to a chaos.

You need to understand that we cannot say that a specific SDLC model is good or bad. Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses and thus are suitable in certain contexts.

When you choose an SDLC model for your project, you need to understand −

  • Your Organization Context
  • Your Technology Context
  • Your Team Composition
  • Your Customer Context

For example, if the software development is predictable, you can use a Prescriptive approach. On the other hand, if the software development is unpredictable, i.e. requirements are not entirely known, or the development team does not have prior exposure to the current domain or technology, etc. then Adaptive approach is the best choice.

In the following sections, you will understand the most prevalent SDLC models that are evolved during the execution of software development projects across the industry. You will also get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each of them and in what contexts they are suitable.

SDLC - Waterfall Model

The Waterfall model is a classic SDLC model that is widely known, understood and commonly used. It was introduced by Royce in 1970 and is still being followed as a common approach for software development in various organizations across the industry.

In Waterfall model, each lifecycle phase can start only after the earlier lifecycle phase is complete. Thus, it is a linear model with no feedback loops.

Waterfall Lifecycle

Waterfall Model – Strengths

The strengths of the Waterfall model are −

  • Easy to understand, easy to use.
  • Provides structure to inexperienced development team.
  • Milestones are well understood.
  • Sets requirements stability.
  • Ideal for management control (planning, monitoring, reporting).
  • Works well when quality is more important than cost or schedule.

Waterfall Model – Weaknesses

The weaknesses or the disadvantages of the Waterfall model are −

  • Idealised − It does not match reality well.

  • Unrealistic − cannot expect accurate requirements early in the project.

  • Does not reflect iterative nature of exploratory development that is more common.

  • Difficult and expensive to make changes.

  • Software is delivered only at the end of the project. Due to this −

    • Delays discovery of serious defects.

    • Possibility of delivery of obsolete requirements.

  • Significant management overhead, which can be costly for small teams and projects.

  • Requires experienced resources at every phase − analysts, designers, developers, testers.

  • Testing starts only after the development is complete and the testers are not involved in any of the earlier phases.

  • The expertize of the cross-functional teams is not shared as each phase is executed in silos.

When to Use Waterfall Model?

You can use the Waterfall model if −

  • Requirements are very well known.

  • Product definition is stable.

  • Technology is well understood.

  • New version of an existing product.

  • Porting an existing product to a new platform.

  • Large organization with structured cross-functional teams.

  • Communication channels are well established within the organization and with the customer as well.

Evolutionary Prototyping Model

In software development using Evolutionary Prototyping model, the developers build a prototype during the requirements phase. The end users then evaluate the prototype and give feedback. The feedback can be corrections to the prototype or additional functionality. Based on the feedback, the developers further refine the prototype.

Thus, the product evolves through the Prototype → Feedback → Refined Prototype Cycles and hence the name Evolutionary Prototyping. When the user is satisfied with the functionality, and working of the product, the prototype code is brought up to the required standards for the final product delivery.

Final Product Delivery

Evolutionary Prototyping Model – Strengths

The strengths or the advantages of an Evolutionary Prototyping model are −

  • Customers/end users can visualize the system requirements as they are gathered looking at the prototype.

  • Developers learn from customers and hence no ambiguities regarding domain or production environment.

  • Allows flexible design and development.

  • Interaction with the prototype stimulates the awareness of additionally needed functionality.

  • Unexpected requirements and requirements changes are easily accommodated.

  • Steady and visible signs of progress are produced.

  • Delivery of an accurate and maintainable end-product.

Evolutionary Prototyping Model – Weaknesses

The weaknesses or disadvantages of the Evolutionary Prototyping model are as follows −

  • Tendency to abandon structured development in the code-and-fix development, though it is not what is prescribed by the model.

  • This model received bad reputation for the quick-and-dirty methods.

  • Overall maintainability can possibly be overlooked.

  • The customer can possibly ask for the delivery of the prototype as the final, not giving the opportunity for the developers to execute the final step i.e. standardization of the end-product.

  • Project can continue forever (with continuous scope creep) and the management may not appreciate it.

When to Use Evolutionary Prototyping Model?

You can use the Evolutionary Prototyping model −

  • When requirements are unstable or have to be clarified
  • As the requirements clarification stage of a waterfall model
  • To develop user interfaces
  • For short-lived demonstrations
  • For new or original development
  • For implementing a new technology

SDLC - Iterative Incremental Model

In an Iterative Incremental model, initially, a partial implementation of a total system is constructed so that it will be in a deliverable state. Increased functionality is added. Defects, if any, from the prior delivery are fixed and the working product is delivered. The process is repeated until the entire product development is completed. The repetitions of these processes are called iterations. At the end of every iteration, a product increment is delivered.

Iterations

Iterative Incremental Model – Strengths

The advantages or strengths of Iterative Incremental model are −

  • You can develop prioritized requirements first.

  • Initial product delivery is faster.

  • Customers gets important functionality early.

  • Lowers initial delivery cost.

  • Each release is a product increment, so that the customer will have a working product at hand all the time.

  • Customer can provide feedback to each product increment, thus avoiding surprises at the end of development.

  • Requirements changes can be easily accommodated.

Iterative Incremental Model – Weaknesses

The disadvantages of the Iterative Incremental model are −

  • Requires effective planning of iterations.

  • Requires efficient design to ensure inclusion of the required functionality and provision for changes later.

  • Requires early definition of a complete and fully functional system to allow the definition of increments.

  • Well-defined module interfaces are required, as some are developed long before others are developed.

  • Total cost of the complete system is not lower.

When to Use Iterative Incremental Model?

Iterative Incremental model can be used when −

  • Most of the requirements are known up-front but are expected to evolve over time.

  • The requirements are prioritized.

  • There is a need to get the basic functionality delivered fast.

  • A project has lengthy development schedules.

  • A project has new technology.

  • The domain is new to the team.

SDLC - Rapid Application Development Model

Rapid Application Development (RAD) model has the following phases −

  • Requirements Planning phase − In the requirements planning phase, aworkshop needs to be conducted to discuss business problems in a structured manner.

  • User Description phase − In the User Description phase, automated tools are used to capture information from users.

  • Construction phase − In the Construction phase, productivity tools, such as code generators, screen generators, etc. are used inside a time-box, with a “Do until Done” approach.

  • Cut Over phase − In the Cut over phase, installation of the system, user acceptance testing and user training are performed.

RAD Phases

Rapid Application Development Model – Strengths

The advantages or strengths of the Rapid Application Development model are as follows −

  • Reduced cycle time and improved productivity with fewer team members would mean lower costs.

  • Customer’s involvement throughout the complete cycle minimizes the risk of not achieving customer satisfaction and business value.

  • Focus moves to the code in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get mode (WYSIWYG). This brings clarity on what is being built is the right thing.

  • Uses modelling concepts to capture information about business, data, and processes.

Rapid Application Development Model – Weaknesses

The disadvantages or strengths of Rapid Application Development model are as follows −

  • Accelerated development process must give quick responses to the user.

  • Risk of never achieving closure.

  • Hard to use with legacy systems.

  • Developers and customers must be committed to rapid-fire activities in an abbreviated time frame.

When to Use Rapid Application Development Model?

Rapid Application Development model can be used when −

  • User can be involved throughout the life cycle.
  • Project can be time-boxed.
  • Functionality can be delivered in increments.

Though the strengths of Rapid Application Development model are appreciated, it is sparingly used in the industry.

SDLC - Spiral Model

Spiral model adds Risk Analysis and RAD prototyping to the Waterfall model. Each cycle involves the same sequence of steps as the Waterfall model.

Spiral Model

Spiral model has four quadrants. Let us discuss them in detail.

Quadrant 1 - Determine objectives, alternatives and constraints

  • Objectives − Functionality, performance, hardware/software interface, critical success factors, etc.

  • Alternatives − Build, reuse, buy, sub-contract, etc.

  • Constraints − Cost, schedule, interface, etc.

Quadrant 2 - Evaluate alternatives, identify and resolve risks

  • Study alternatives relative to the objectives and constraints that are determined.

  • Identify risks such as lack of experience, new technology, tight schedules, etc.

  • Resolve the identified risks evaluating their impact on the project, identifying the needed mitigation and contingency plans and implementing them. Risks always need to be monitored.

Quadrant 3 - Develop next-level product

Typical activities include −

  • Create a design
  • Review design
  • Develop code
  • Inspect code
  • Test product

Quadrant 4 - Plan next phase

Typical activities include −

  • Develop project plan
  • Develop configuration management plan
  • Develop a test plan
  • Develop an installation plan

Spiral Model – Strengths

The advantages or strengths of the Spiral method are −

  • Provides early indication of the risks, without involving much cost.
  • Users can view the system early because of the rapid prototyping tools.
  • Critical high-risk functions are developed first.
  • The design does not have to be perfect.
  • Users can be closely involved in all lifecycle steps.
  • Early and frequent feedback from users.
  • Cumulative costs assessed frequently.

Spiral Model – Weaknesses

The disadvantages or weaknesses of the Spiral method are −

  • May be hard to define objectives, verifiable milestones that indicate readiness to proceed through the next iteration.

  • Time spent in planning, resetting objectives, doing risk analysis and prototyping may be an overhead.

  • Time spent for evaluating risks can be too large for small or low-risk projects.

  • Spiral model is complex to understand for new team members.

  • Risk assessment expertise is required.

  • Spiral may continue indefinitely.

  • Developers must be reassigned during non-development phase activities.

When to Use Spiral Model?

The Spiral model can be used when −

  • Creation of a prototype is appropriate.
  • Risk evaluation is important.
  • A project is of medium to high-risk.
  • Users are unsure of their needs.
  • Requirements are complex.
  • Product-line is new.
  • Significant changes are expected during exploration.
  • Long-term project commitment unwise because of potential business changes.

SDLC - Agile Methods

Agile Methods are based on the Agile manifesto and are adaptive in nature. Agile methods ensure −

  • Team collaboration.
  • Customer collaboration.
  • Constant and continuous communication.
  • Response to changes.
  • Readiness of a working product.

Several Agile methods came into existence, promoting iterative and incremental development with time-boxed iterations. Though the Agile methods are adaptive, rules of the specific method cannot be by-passed and hence requires disciplined implementation.

Agile Methods – Strengths

The advantages or strengths of Agile method are −

  • Early and frequent releases.
  • Accommodation of changing requirements.
  • Daily communication among the customer and developers.
  • Projects built around motivated individuals.
  • Self-organizing teams.
  • Simplicity, focusing on what is immediately required.
  • No building for future or overburdening the code.
  • Regular reflection to adjust behavior to improve effectiveness.

Agile Methods – Weaknesses

The disadvantages or weaknesses of Spiral method are −

  • Customer availability may not be possible.

  • Teams should be experienced to follow the rules of the method.

  • Appropriate planning is required to quickly decide on the functionality that needs to be delivered in an iteration.

  • Team is expected to have estimation skills and negotiation skills.

  • Team should have effective communication skills.

  • New teams may not be able to organize themselves.

  • Requires discipline to develop and deliver in time-boxed iterations.

  • Design needs to be kept simple and maintainable, thus requiring effective design skills.

When to Use Agile methods?

The Agile methods can be used when −

  • Application is time-critical.

  • The scope is limited and less formal (scaling agile methods to larger projects is underway, with certain extensions to some of the agile methods).

  • Organization employs disciplined methods.

Adaptive Software Development - Evolution

The earlier SDLC models are more oriented to the practices of stability, predictability and decreasing returns. The industry, such as the Internet Platforms has been moving to increase return environments, unpredictable, nonlinear, and fast approaches.

Adaptive Software Development (ASD) has evolved to address these issues. It focuses on emergence as the most important factor from the management’s perspective, to enhance the ability to manage product development.

In Jim Highsmith’s words, “Adaptive Software Development framework is based on years of experience with traditional Software Development methodologies, consulting on, practicing, and writing about Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques and working with high-technology software companies on managing their product development practices”.

Waterfall model is found to be characterized by linearity and predictability, with meagre feedback. It can be viewed as a sequence of Plan → Build → Implement.

Waterfall Model

The Evolutionary Lifecycle models such as the Spiral model moved the Deterministic approach to the Adaptive one, with Plan → Build → Revise Cycles.

Evolutionary Lifecycle

However, the practitioners’ mindset remained Deterministic with long-term predictability turning to short-term predictability. The practices of Evolutionary Lifecycle models such as RAD are found to be less Deterministic.

The Adaptive Life Cycle

The Adaptive model is built from a different point of view. Though cyclical like the Evolutionary model, the names of the phase reflect the unpredictable nature of increasingly complex systems.

Adaptive Development goes further than its evolutionary heritage in two key ways −

  • It explicitly replaces Determinism with Emergence.

  • It goes beyond a change in life cycle to a deeper change in management style.

Adaptive S/W Development Lifecycle

The three phases in Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle are −

  • Speculate − Speculate replaces the deterministic word planning, planning of product specifications or planning of project management tasks.

  • Collaborate − Collaborate represents drawing a balance between

    • Managing in the traditional project management sense, and

    • Creating and maintaining the collaborative environment needed for emergence.

  • Collaborative Activities build products, keeping up the pace of changes in the environment.

  • Learn − Learn aims both, the developers and the customers, to use the results of each development cycle to learn the direction of the next.

Adaptive Software Development - Concepts

In this chapter, we will understand the various concepts of Adaptive Software Development.

Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) Theory

Brian Arthur and his colleagues, at the Santa Fe institute, used the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory to revolutionize the understanding of Physics, Biology, Evolution, and Economics.

Brian Arthur culminated his more than two decades of trying to convince mainstream economists that their view, dominated by fundamental assumptions of decreasing returns, equilibrium, and deterministic dynamics, was no longer sufficient to understand reality. The new world is one of increasing returns, instability, and inability to determine cause and effect.

The two worlds differ in behavior, style, and culture. They call for −

  • Different Management Techniques
  • Different Strategies
  • Different Understanding

Complex Software Development

With the scope of Software Applications being exploded, even the software development organizations are accruing similar contradictions as mentioned above.

  • One World is represented by the Deterministic development, derived from management practices that are rooted with the basics of stability and predictability (which in Arthur's terms means decreasing returns)

  • Second World is represented by the industries moving from decreasing to increasing return environments that are unpredictable, nonlinear and fast.

To address the issues of this second world, Jig Highsmith offered a framework, Adaptive Software Development that is different from the Deterministic Software Development.

The Adaptive Software Development focuses on addressing the complex systems −

  • Adaptive Software Development for the development life cycle.

  • Adaptive Management Techniques calling for a different mindset from that of traditional project management practices.

In this tutorial, you can understand both these implementations.

Adaptive Software Development (ASD) is based on two perspectives −

  • Conceptual perspective based on the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory, as given in the first section of this chapter.

  • Practical Perspective based on

    • Years of experience with Deterministic software development methodologies.

    • Consulting, practicing, and writing about Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques; and working with high-technology software companies on managing their product development.

In this chapter, you will understand the conceptual perspective of Adaptive Software Development.

Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) Concepts

Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory has many concepts. Adaptive Software Development is based on two of these concepts −

  • Emergence
  • Complexity

Emergence

In complex software product-development projects, the outcomes are inherently unpredictable. However, successful products emerge from such environments all the time.

This can happen by Emergence, as illustrated in the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory. It can be understood by a simple example, flocking behavior of birds.

When you observe a flock of birds, you notice that −

  • Each bird tries to

    • Maintain a minimum distance from other objects in the environment, including other birds.

    • Match velocities with birds in its neighborhood.

    • Move towards the perceived center of mass of birds in its neighborhood.

  • There are no rules of behavior for the group. The only rules are about the behavior of individual birds.

  • However, there exists an emergent behavior, the flocking of birds. When errant birds rush to catch up, the flock splits around obstacles and reforms on the other side.

This shows the requirement of the most difficult mental model changes in Adaptive Development − From ways of managing and organizing that individual freedom to the notion that a creative new order emerges unpredictably from spontaneous selforganization.

In addition to the development, emergence is the most important concept from the management perspective also.

Complexity

In the Software Development context, Complexity is about −

  • The individuals of a team such as the developers, customers, vendors, competitors, and stockholders, their numbers and their speed.

  • Size and technological complexity.

Adaptive Software Development Practices

Adaptive Software Development offers a different perspective on software management practices. In the sections below, you can understand the two important practices − Quality and RAD, both of which have ramifications for gathering requirements.

You can find the details of all the practices in the chapter, Adaptive Software Development Practices in this tutorial.

Quality

In a complex environment, the age-old practice of "Do it right the first time" does not work as you cannot predict what is right at the beginning. You need to have an aim to produce the right value. However, in complex environment, the combinations and permutations of value components like scope (features, performance, defect levels), schedule, and resources is so vast that there can never be an optimum value. Hence, the focus is to shift to deliver the best value in the competitive market.

RAD Practices

RAD Practices generally involve a combination of the following −

  • Evolutionary Lifecycle
  • Customer Focus Groups, JAD Sessions, Technical Reviews
  • Time-boxed Project Management
  • Continuous Software Engineering
  • Dedicated Teams with war rooms

The RAD projects have an inherent adaptive, emergent flavor. Many IT organizations are against RAD. However, Microsoft and others have produced incredibly large and complex software using techniques comparable to RAD because it raises questions about their fundamental world view.

RAD practices and Microsoft process are both examples of Adaptive Development in action. Giving them a label (i.e., Adaptive Development) and realizing that there is a growing body of scientific knowledge (i.e., CAS theory) explains why they work. This should provide a basis for more extensive use of these practices.

Adaptive Software Development - Lifecycle

Adaptive Software Development has evolved from RAD practices. The team aspects also were added to these practices. Companies from New Zealand to Canada, for a wide range of project and product types, have used adaptive Software Development.

Jim Highsmith published Adaptive Software Development in 2000.

Adaptive Software Development practices provide ability to accommodate change and are adaptable in turbulent environments with products evolving with little planning and learning.

Phases of ASD Life Cycle

Adaptive Software Development is cyclical like the Evolutionary model, with the phase names reflecting the unpredictability in the complex systems. The phases in the Adaptive development life cycle are −

  • Speculate
  • Collaborate
  • Learn

These three phases reflect the dynamic nature of Adaptive Software Development. The Adaptive Development explicitly replaces Determinism with Emergence. It goes beyond a mere change in lifecycle to a deeper change in management style. Adaptive Software Development has a dynamic Speculate-Collaborate-Learn Lifecycle.

The Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle focuses on results, not tasks, and the results are identified as application features.

Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle

Speculate

The term plan is too deterministic and indicates a reasonably high degree of certainty about the desired result. The implicit and explicit goal of conformance to plan, restricts the manager's ability to steer the project in innovative directions.

In Adaptive Software Development, the term plan is replaced by the term speculate. While speculating, the team does not abandon planning, but it acknowledges the reality of uncertainty in complex problems. Speculate encourages exploration and experimentation. Iterations with short cycles are encouraged.

Collaborate

Complex applications are not built, they evolve. Complex applications require that a large volume of information be collected, analyzed, and applied to the problem. Turbulent environments have high rates of information flow. Hence, complex applications require that a large volume of information be collected, analyzed, and applied to the problem. This results in diverse Knowledge requirements that can only be handled by team collaboration.

Collaborate would require the ability to work jointly to produce results, share knowledge or make decisions.

In the context of project management, Collaboration portrays a balance between managing with traditional management techniques and creating and maintaining the collaborative environment needed for emergence.

Learn

The Learn part of the Lifecycle is vital for the success of the project. Team has to enhance their knowledge constantly, using practices such as −

  • Technical Reviews
  • Project Retrospectives
  • Customer Focus Groups

Reviews should be done after each iteration. Both, the developers and customers examine their assumptions and use the results of each development cycle to learn the direction of the next. The team learns −

  • About product changes

  • More fundamental changes in underlying assumptions about how the products are being developed

The iterations need to be short, so that the team can learn from small rather than large mistakes.

Speculate - Collaborate - Learn Cycle as a Whole

As you observe from the Speculate-Collaborate-Learn cycle, given above, it is obvious that the three phases are nonlinear and overlap.

We observe the following from an Adaptive framework.

  • It is difficult to Collaborate without Learning or to Learn without Collaborating.

  • It is difficult to Speculate without Learning or to Learn without Speculating.

  • It is difficult to Speculate without Collaborating or to Collaborate without Speculating.

Lifecycle Characteristics

Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle has six basic characteristics −

  • Mission focused
  • Feature based
  • Iterative
  • Time-boxed
  • Risk driven
  • Change tolerant

In this chapter, you will understand these six characteristics of Adaptive Software Development.

Mission-focused

For many projects, the overall mission that guides the team is well articulated, though the requirements may be uncertain at the beginning of the project. Mission statements act as guides that encourage exploration in the beginning but have a narrow focus over the course of a project. A mission provides boundaries rather than a fixed destination. Mission statements and the discussions that result in those statements provide direction and criteria for making critical project tradeoff decisions.

Without a clear mission and a constant mission refinement practice, iterative lifecycles become oscillating lifecycles, swinging back and forth with no progress in the development.

Feature-based

The Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle is based on application features and not on tasks. Features are the functionality that are developed during an iteration based on the customer’s priorities.

Features can evolve over several iterations when the customers provide feedback.

The application features that provide direct results to the customer after implementation are primary. A customer-oriented document such as a user manual is also considered as a feature. The other documents such as the data model, even if defined as deliverables are always secondary.

Iterative

The Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle is iterative and focuses on frequent releases in order to obtain feedback, assimilate the resulting learning and setting the right direction for further development.

Time-boxed

In Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle, the iterations are time-boxed. However, one should remember that time-boxing in Adaptive Software Development is not about time deadlines. It should not be used to make the team work for long hours challenging a collaborative environment or for compromising on the quality of the deliverables.

In Adaptive Software Development, time-boxing is considered as a direction for focusing and forcing hard tradeoff decisions as and when required. In an uncertain environment, in which change rates are high, there needs to be a periodic forcing function such as a timebox to get the work finished.

Risk-driven

In Adaptive Software Development, the iterations are driven by identifying and evaluating the critical risks.

Change-tolerant

Adaptive Software Development is change-tolerant, viewing change as the ability to incorporate competitive advantage, but not as a problem for development.

Adaptive Software Development - Practices

The Adaptive Software Development practices are driven by a belief in continuous adaptation, with the lifecycle equipped to accepting continuous change as the norm.

Adaptive Software Development Lifecycle is dedicated to −

  • Continuous learning
  • Change orientation
  • Re-evaluation
  • Peering into an uncertain future
  • Intense collaboration among developers, management, and customers

Adaptive SDLC

Adaptive Software Development combines RAD with Software Engineering Best Practices, such as −

  • Project initiation.
  • Adaptive cycle planning.
  • Concurrent component engineering.
  • Quality review.
  • Final QA and release.

Adaptive Software Development practices can be illustrated as follows −

Practices Learning Loop

As illustrated above, Adaptive Software Development practices are spread across the three phases as follows −

  • Speculate − Initiation and planning

    • Project Initiation

    • Establishing time-box for the entire project

    • Decide on the number of iterations and assign a time-box to each one

    • Develop a theme or objective for each of the iterations

    • Assign features to each iteration

  • Collaborate − Concurrent feature development

    • Collaboration for distributed teams

    • Collaboration for smaller projects

    • Collaboration for larger projects

  • Learn − Quality Review

    • Result quality from the customer's perspective

    • Result quality from a technical perspective

    • The functioning of the delivery team and the practices team members are utilizing

    • The project status

Speculate - Initiation and Planning

In Adaptive Software Development, the speculate phase has two activities −

  • Initiation
  • Planning

Speculate has five practices that can be executed repetitively during the initiation and planning phase. They are −

  • Project initiation
  • Establishing time-box for the entire project
  • Decide on the number of iterations and assign a time-box to each one
  • Develop a theme or objective for each of the iterations
  • Assign features to each iteration

Project Initiation

Project Initiation involves −

  • Setting the project's mission and objectives
  • Understanding constraints
  • Establishing the project organization
  • Identifying and outlining requirements
  • Making initial size and scope estimates
  • Identifying key project risks

The project initiation data should be gathered in a preliminary JAD session, considering speed as the major aspect. Initiation can be completed in a concentrated two to five day effort for a small to medium sized projects, or two to three weeks effort for larger projects.

During the JAD sessions, requirements are gathered in enough detail to identify features and establish an overview of the object, data, or other architectural model.

Establishing Time-box for the Entire Project

The time-box for the entire project should be established, based on the scope, feature-set requirements, estimates, and resource availability that result from project initiation work.

As you know, Speculating does not abandon estimating, but it just means accepting that estimates can go wrong.

Iterations and Time-box

Decide on the number of iterations and the individual iteration lengths based on the overall project scope and the degree of uncertainty.

For a small to medium sized application −

  • Iterations usually vary from four to eight weeks.
  • Some projects work best with two-week iterations.
  • Some projects might require more than eight weeks.

Choose the time, based on what works for you. Once you decide on the number of iterations and the lengths of each of the iterations, assign a schedule to each of the iterations.

Develop a Theme or Objective

The team members should develop a theme or objective for each iteration. This is something similar to the Sprint Goal in Scrum. Each iteration should deliver a set of features that can demonstrate the product functionality making the product visible to the customer to enable review and feedback.

Within the iterations, the builds should deliver working features on a preferably daily basis enabling integration process and making the product visible to the development team. Testing should be an ongoing, integral part of the feature development. It should not be delayed until the end of the project.

Assign Features

Developers and customers should together assign features to each iteration. The most important criteria for this feature assignment is that every iteration must deliver a visible set of features with considerable functionality to the customer.

During the assignment of features to the iterations −

  • Development team should come up with the feature estimates, risks, and dependencies and provide them to the customer.

  • Customers should decide on feature prioritization, using the information provided by the development team.

Thus iteration planning is feature-based and done as a team with developers and customers. Experience has shown that this type of planning provides better understanding of the project than a task-based planning by the project manager. Further, feature-based planning reflects the uniqueness of each project.

Collaborate ââ€â‚¬ Concurrent Feature Development

During the Collaborate phase, the focus is on the development. The Collaborate phase has two activities −

  • The Development team collaborate and deliver working software.

  • The project managers facilitate collaboration and concurrent development activities.

Collaboration is an act of shared creation that encompasses the development team, the customers and the managers. Shared creation is fostered by trust and respect.

Teams should collaborate on −

  • Technical problems
  • Business requirements
  • Rapid decision making

Following are the practices relevant to the Collaborate phase in Adaptive Software Development −

  • Collaboration for distributed teams
  • Collaboration for smaller projects
  • Collaboration for larger projects

Collaboration for Distributed Teams

In the projects involving distributed teams, the following should be considered −

  • Varying alliance partners
  • Broad-based knowledge
  • The way people interact
  • The way they manage interdependencies

Collaboration for Smaller Projects

In the smaller projects, when team members are working in physical proximity, Collaboration with informal hallway chats and whiteboard scribbling should be encouraged, as this is found to be effective.

Collaboration for Larger Projects

Larger projects require additional practices, collaboration tools, and project manager interaction and should be arranged on the contextual basis.

Learn - Quality Review

Adaptive Software Development encourages the concept of ‘Experiment and Learn’.

Learning from the mistakes and experimentation requires that the team members share partially completed code and artifacts early, in order to −

  • Find mistakes
  • Learn from them
  • Reduce rework by finding small problems before they become large ones

At the end of each development iteration, there are four general categories of things to learn −

  • Result quality from the customer's perspective
  • Result quality from a technical perspective
  • The functioning of the delivery team and the practices team
  • The project status

Result Quality from the Customer's Perspective

In the Adaptive Software Development projects, getting feedback from the customers is the first priority. The recommended practice for this is a customer focus group. These sessions are designed to explore a working model of the application and record customer change requests.

Customer focus group sessions are facilitated sessions, similar to jad sessions, but rather than generating requirements or defining project plans, they are designed to review the application itself. The customers provide feedback on the working software resulting from an iteration.

Result Quality from a Technical Perspective

In the Adaptive Software Development projects, periodic review of technical artifacts should be given importance. Code Reviews should be done on a continuous basis. Reviews of other technical artifacts, such as technical architecture can be conducted weekly or at the end of an iteration.

In Adaptive Software Development projects, the team should monitor its own performance periodically. Retrospectives encourage the teams to learn about themselves and their work, together as a team.

Iteration-end retrospectives facilitate periodic team performance self-review such as −

  • Determine what is not working.
  • What the Team needs to do more.
  • What the Team needs to do less.

The Project Status

The Project status review helps in planning further work. In the adaptive software development projects, determining the project status is feature-based approach, the end of each iteration marked by completed features resulting in working software.

The Project Status review should include −

  • Where is the project?
  • Where is the project versus the plans?
  • Where should the project be?

As the plans in the Adaptive Software Development projects are speculative, more than the question 2 above, question 3 is important. That is, the project team and the customers need to continuously ask themselves, "What have we learned so far, and does it change our perspective on where we need to go?"

Adaptive S/W Development - Management

A flowchart of the Traditional software management is shown below.

Reevaluation

Traditional software management has been characterized by the term command-control.

Many organizations are steeped in a tradition of optimization, efficiency, predictability, control, rigor and process improvement. However, the emerging information age economy requires adaptability, speed, collaboration, improvisation, flexibility, innovation, and suppleness.

Harvard business review and management books have come up with the terms such as empowerment, participative management, learning organization, human-centered management, etc., but none of these are being put into managing modern organizations.

In the context of Adaptive Software Development, the gap looks much wider and there is a necessity to consider the Adaptive management techniques that have been proven successful in other fields.

Adaptive Management

Adaptive management has proven successful in the environments where the resource managers worked together with stakeholders and scientists as a team, with the following goals −

  • To learn how managed systems respond to human interventions.

  • To improve resource policies and practices in future.

The principle behind adaptive management is that many resource management activities are experiments as their outcomes cannot be reliably predicted beforehand. These experiments are then used as learning opportunities for the improvements in the future.

Adaptive management is intended to increase the ability to respond timely in the face of new information and in a setting of varied stakeholder objectives and preferences. It encourages stakeholders to bound disputes and discuss them in an orderly fashion while the environmental uncertainties are being investigated and better understood.

Adaptive management helps the stakeholders, the managers and other decision makers recognize the limits of knowledge and the need to act on imperfect information.

Adaptive management helps to change the decisions made by making it clear that −

  • The decisions are provisional.
  • A management’s decision need not always be right.
  • Modifications are expected.

There are two types of Adaptive management approaches −

  • Passive Adaptive Management.
  • Active Adaptive Management.

Passive Adaptive Management

Adaptive management aims to enhance the scientific knowledge and thereby reduce uncertainties.

Passive Adaptive

Within Passive Adaptive management, a single preferred course of action, based on existing information and understanding, is selected. The outcomes of management actions are monitored, and subsequent decisions are adjusted based on the outcomes.

This approach contributes to the learning and effective management. However, it is limited in its ability to enhance scientific and management capabilities for conditions that go beyond the course of action selected.

Active Adaptive Management

An Active Adaptive management approach reviews the information before management actions are taken.

Active Adaptive

A range of competing, alternative system models of ecosystem and related responses (e.g. demographic changes; recreational uses), rather than a single model, is then developed. Management options are chosen based on the evaluations of these alternative models.

Leadership-Collaboration Management

Adaptive management is what is best suited for Adaptive Software Development. The approach requires resource managers, i.e. the managers who can work with people, allow human-interventions, and create an amicable environment.

In software development, the leaders often take up these responsibilities. We need leaders more than the commanders. The leaders are collaborators and work alongside with the team. Collaborative-Leadership is the most sought after practice in Adaptive development.

The leaders have the following qualities −

  • Grasp and set the direction.

  • Influence people involved and provide guidance.

  • Collaborate, facilitate and macro-manage the team.

  • Provide direction.

  • Create environments where talented people can be innovative, creative, and make effective decisions.

  • Understand that occasionally they need to command, but that is not their predominant style.

E-mail Service Providers

posted on May 14, 2021

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There are several email service providers available in the market with their enabled features such as sending, receiving, drafting, storing an email and much more.

The following table shows the popular email service providers:

S.N.Service and Description
1. Gmail
Gmail is an email service that allows users to collect all the messages. It also offers approx 7 GB of free storage.
2. Hotmail
Hotmail offers free email and practically unlimited storage accessible on web.
3. Yahoo Mail
Yahoo Mail offers unlimited storage, SMS texting, social networking and instant messaging to boot.
4. iCloud Mail
iCloud Mail offers ample storage, IMAP access, and an elegantly functional web application.
5. ATM Mail
ATM Mail is a free email service with good spam protection.
6. Mail.com and GMX Mail
Mail.com and GMX Mail offers reliable mail service with unlimited online storage.
7. Shortmail
Shortmail offers easy and fast email service but with limited 500 characters per message.
8. Inbox.com
Inbox.com offers 5 GB of free online storage. IMAP is not supported by Inbox.com
9. Facebook Messages
Facebook Messages includes the message conversation.
10. My Way Mail
My Way Mail offers clean and fast free email service but lacks in secure messaging.

When you get your own web hosting from a reputable web host, then you will be able to have your own @yourname.com domain email address.

101 E-mail Security

posted on May 14, 2021

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Email hacking can be done in any of the following ways:

Spam
E-mail spamming is an act of sending Unsolicited Bulk E-mails (UBI) which one has not asked for. Email spams are the junk mails sent by commercial companies as an advertisement of their products and services.

Virus
Some emails may incorporate with files containing malicious script which when run on your computer may lead to destroy your important data.

Phishing
Email phishing is an activity of sending emails to a user claiming to be a legitimate enterprise. Its main purpose is to steal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.

Such emails contains link to websites that are infected with malware and direct the user to enter details at a fake website whose look and feels are same to legitimate one.

E-mail Spamming and Junk Mails
Email spamming is an act of sending Unsolicited Bulk E-mails (UBI) which one has not asked for. Email spams are the junk mails sent by commercial companies as an advertisement of their products and services.

Spams may cause the following problems:

  • It floods your e-mail account with unwanted e-mails, which may result in loss of important e-mails if inbox is full.
  • Time and energy is wasted in reviewing and deleting junk emails or spams.
  • It consumes the bandwidth that slows the speed with which mails are delivered.
  • Some unsolicited email may contain virus that can cause harm to your computer.

Blocking Spams
Following ways will help you to reduce spams:

  • While posting letters to newsgroups or mailing list, use a separate e-mail address than the one you used for your personal e-mails.
  • Don’t give your email address on the websites as it can easily be spammed.
  • Avoid replying to emails which you have received from unknown persons.
  • Never buy anything in response to a spam that advertises a product.

E-mail Cleanup and Archiving

In order to have light weighted Inbox, it’s good to archive your inbox from time to time. Here I will discuss the steps to clean up and archive your Outlook inbox.

  • Select File tab on the mail pane.
  • Select Cleanup Tools button on account information screen.
  • Select Archive from cleanup tools drop down menu.

Select Archive this folder and all subfolders option and then click on the folder that you want to archive. Select the date from the Archive items older than: list. Click Browse to create new .pst file name and location. Click OK.

A reputable web hosting company can save you the troubles with email hacking.

What is Email Hosting?

posted on May 11, 2021

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Email hosting is a service that runs email servers. Put simply, if you own a domain name and want email service on that domain name, you would need to sign up for an email hosting service.

Most web hosting companies provide you with email hosting as well; however, the email hosting service provided by web hosting companies for the most part only supplies you with POP3 email and the basics in spam/virus protection and other features. Additionally, some of the free email hosting providers are ad-supported. Again, if you own a small or medium sized business (SME), then you should not want to operate your business email using one of these providers since the email service is typically sub-par as compared to a professional email hosting service.

Using a professional email hosting service should give you peace of mind. You should be able to focus on your business while the email hosting provider manages your email service. Most email hosting providers offer a rich set of webmail features including unlimited aliases, unlimited forwarders, autoresponders, large attachments, robust spam/virus protection, mail rules, IMAP/POP3, online storage, calendars, mailing lists, whitelists, blacklists, backups, archiving, folder management, contacts management, etc. You would also be able to access your email from anywhere using webmail, smartphone and your favorite email client such as Outlook.

Best of all, professional email hosting service is very affordable. It eliminates the need for in-house email servers and IT people to manage those email servers. Compare email hosting providers by taking advantage of the free trials that most email hosting companies tend to provide and then choose the one that works best for your needs.

Is Private Domain Name Registration Necessary?

posted on May 8, 2021

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When you register a domain name, your contact information (name, physical address, phone number and email) all go to a public Whois database. Now, this database is completely free and available to anyone who wants to check a specific domain name on the Internet.

The problem is that someone can easily abuse Whois. That’s where private domain registration comes in.

So, do you need a private domain registration? I would say not always, but if you want to:

Avoid unwanted solicitors

Let’s say you have a nice domain name and someone wants it for themselves. So, they check the Whois for your contact information and then keep pestering you to sell them the domain. No matter how many times you tell them that it’s not for sale. To avoid this, simply register the domain privately and prevent them from ever finding your contact information.

Protect your privacy

Whois contains a myriad of information that you might not necessarily want publicly known. For instance, I always wondered about the need to include your physical address in it.

Well, suffice it to say that there are a lot of opportunities for a hacker to use the Whois database for identity theft. With private domain registration, all they will see is a proxy service.

Then I would say, get private domain registration.

If you want to see Whois at work, you can check this Whois in action.

Changing Domain Names and Not Losing Your Page Rank in Google’s Search Results

posted on May 6, 2021

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There are 11 important SEO steps to consider when redesigning your website and more importantly switching domain names. Because the concept of time is awesome, we’ll jump right into them.

1). Export URL’s using Google Webmaster tools

If you’re taking your internet marketing & SEO seriously then you have Google Webmaster tools installed to monitor your site’s performance. If not, no worries. Simply install Google webmaster tools onto your old site before you design your new site. Export Google’s list of indexed URL’s on your old site into an excel document. Now you know which blog posts & interior pages have the most authority on your old site. These are the url’s that you should be sure to redirect to a subsequent matching new url on the new site.

2). Beware of Content Duplication During Beta of New Site

Ensure that your development environment or beta sections of the new site are excluded from search engine’s view until the new site is officially live and until all redirects from the old site are set up.

3). Keyword Ranking Check

Take note of which keywords you are ranking for in Google. Put these in an excel document with the URL ranking that keyword.

4). Note Old Title Tags, Content, & Url Structure

Take note of the title tags, keyword URL structure, and keyword density of those pages that host ranking keywords. For example, if your “about us page” is ranking for the keyword “San Diego Surgery”, then take note of the title tag used on this page and the content layout. You’ll want to emulate this on the subsequent matching page of your new site.

5). Choose Desired Target Keywords

Pick your target keywords prior to website design. Include old keyword you currently rank for that you want to keep rankings for.

6). Keyword URL Mapping

Group 2-3 keywords to rank per page. Then determine which keywords will be assigned to which new pages of your new site. Consider how old keywords need to fit into the new pages.

7). Mock Up New Site Content & Images to Match Keywords

Draft up the content that will help individual pages rank on your new website for matching keywords. Consider the layout of the old website’s content that ranked keywords to help structure what should work on the new site.

8). Complete Interior Page & Homepage 301 Redirects

Using Google’ Webmaster’s tools’ list of old url’s…. go ahead and set up 301 redirects from old interior pages and blog posts to the subsequent matching new interior pages and new blog posts. This step is crucial for maintaining SEO legacy and link juice from the old site. Then setup the 301 redirect from the old domain to the new domain. If you aren’t switching domains in your redesign then you don’t need to worry about this.

9). Generate New XML Sitemap & Upload to Google Webmaster Tools

Submit your new sitemap to Google via Webmaster tools immediately. This manually gives Google a layout of all new pages of your new website.

10). Request Manual Crawl and Index of Your New Site

Using Webmaster Tools you can manually ask Google to crawl your site. We always do this in addition to the sitemap submission for precaution.

11). Update Old Social Links & Neighbor Links


Try to update your social media profiles, bookmarking profiles, and neighbor links as quickly as possible. Neighbor links are those links which you may control such as links from another web property, mini-site, or your mom’s blog. Even though these old links will redirect from your old site to the new site (via the 301 redirects you setup in step 8)… the links will be more powerful if they link directly to your new site with optimized keyword anchor text.

Of course there are many other on-page and off-page SEO factors that contribute to your keyword rankings. (Keyword Rich Domains Win Always and Web Hosting is also important) These 11 we believe are most crucial and most controllable without making heads spin. If all goes according to plan here’s what you can expect.

What Are The Best Sites for Buying Premium Domains?

posted on May 4, 2021

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There are plenty of domain selling marketplaces out there. The biggest difference is the fee you’ll need to pay for registering and the commission for each transaction.

Here are five, in my opinion best domain marketplaces:

1. NameCheap Marketplace

– Fee: $0 Commission: 0%

2. Sedo


– Fee: $0 Commission: 10-20% (from seller)

3. Flippa

– Fee: $15/month Commission: 5-15% (from seller)

4. GoDaddy Auctions

– Fee: $4.99/y Commission 10-20% ($15 minimum) (from seller)

5. NamePros

– Fee: 5-10/month Commission: 0% (from seller)

Now, before you go to any of these to buy/sell domains, I’d recommend doing a couple of things first:

1. Research the seller

For instance, do they have a social media presence or a blog?

2. Research the domain

Has the domain been penalized by Google before (check Open Site Explorer)? Is the domain using a trademarked name? Has it been sold before (http://www.domaintools.com/buy/sales-history/)?

3. Social media profile availability

Depending on your business, you’ll probably want a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or some other social media connected to the domain and website. If you can’t do this, it’s going to be hard to brand your business.

4. Consider an alternative domain

If the seller is not interested in selling or is asking for too much money, you can always try an alternative name.

5. Don’t “low-ball”

Unless you want to piss off the seller with your offer, don’t low-ball him. Buying a domain requires careful negotiation and though you don’t have to accept the first price, don’t insult the seller either. Send him a reasonable first offer to see that you are serious.

6. Have patience

Don’t give up if the seller is not accepting your first offer. Sometimes, these things can stretch for weeks or months before you close the deal finally.

Check out some Premium Domains!

What is an Online Market Place?

posted on May 4, 2021

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A B2B eCommerce marketplace is exactly what it sounds like: brands sell their products wholesale in an online marketplace right alongside their competitors.

The Marketplace Model: Increased Visibility, Fierce Competition

Discoverability & Competition


There’s often a belief amongst smaller wholesalers that leveraging the Marketplace model will lead to increased visibility for their brand. In many scenarios, this is true. However, competition in a marketplace tends to favor larger, more well-known brands.

In a marketplace, all brands, regardless of their size, are stacked up against each other and the ability to stand out in a sea of competitors is limited. In a scenario where retailers are browsing a marketplace looking to buy, big brands have a major competitive advantage against their smaller competitors simply because of brand recognition.

What, then, can a small brand do to compete in a marketplace and stand out from other brands? One strategy small brands try to use is to leverage unique marketing strategies to out-position their competitors, but a marketplace’s rigid templates are often unable to accommodate particular font treatments, colors, videos, and other brand-specific assets.

e-Commerce Models: The Differences

The Pricing Game

Many small brands respond to the pressure of being transparently compared against competitors (particularly larger ones) by cutting prices. However, price is often an indicator of product quality, and by slashing margins, smaller brands end up with less capacity to invest in innovation and marketing.

This situation leaves them at an even greater disadvantage to larger brands that can compete on the strength of their brand and the perceived quality of their products. In addition, the effectiveness of price reductions is further diminished as other brands enter the marketplace and pursue a similar pricing strategy.

Devaluing your product by competing aggressively on price is a scenario that no brand wants to optimize for, but is often considered a necessary evil in the Marketplace model. You will need a reliable web hosting service provider for your successful online marketplace.

Scale

Brands that lack efficiencies of scale may find that complex Marketplace models allow for a superior customer service experience for their buyers, as many smaller brands have not established fulfillment processes that are as sophisticated and cost-efficient as those of a marketplace.

While brands should consistently be working to improve their shipping and fulfillment processes in-house, it can be worthwhile to take advantage of the scale of complex Marketplace models while those capabilities are being built.

New Customer Acquisition

The best, highest value customer relationships your brand has are ones that order frequently, merchandise your products well and correspondingly have a high lifetime value (LTV). Your goal is to find more of these star customers. Customers that discover you on a marketplace website are taking a chance on you and your brand and, accordingly, are placing smaller orders. It’s a transactional relationship very different from your core customer relationship.

New customers acquired from marketplaces require close monitoring to ensure that they are successful and economically viable for your business to support. Any customers that cannot be nurtured into strong, high quality relationships may require a disproportionate level of investment to support, relative to the amount of sales they generate.

Brand Equity

Brand equity and loyalty are engendered as a positive output of the full range of experiences and interactions your customer has with your company.

In a scenario where your products are showcased in a marketplace, the brand equity that is being built by the customer is actually the brand equity of the marketplace provider. It’s their template, user experience, and in the case that the marketplace owns fulfillment, it’s their customer service team. Although you may be able to reach new customers and generate additional sales without control of the customer experience, your ability to use B2B eCommerce for brand building is reduced in a Marketplace model.

If your marketplace provider is a well respected forum for high-quality products, and has an exceptional user interface, it is possible that your brand can benefit by association. However, it is important to continue building standalone brand equity for your company in tandem. Complete reliance on marketplaces is generally not a long term strategy.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons to each model. The marketplace model offers greater visibility, but also increased competition and less flexibility.

While the marketplace model does present some advantages, it is ultimately not a sufficient way to serve your high value customers and nurture long-term relationships. Whether you decide to implement only a Direct B2B eCommerce site or use it to supplement an existing marketplace eCommerce platform, it remains a key part of an effective wholesale B2B eCommerce strategy.

What is the Best Way to Do Marketing Online?

posted on May 4, 2021

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Some tactics could be used to do marketing online, and you may find more after you adopt the related marketing strategy, which will require a reliable web hosting service provider.

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of producing blog articles, videos, photos, infographics, or any other form of ‘content’ that appeals to your target audience, with the aim of attracting visitors to your website.

How it works

Imagine you sell handbags. It’s coming up to the holiday season, so you write a blog post titled ‘The perfect outfit for the office Christmas party’.

In the article you list a dress, jacket, shoes and, crucially, one of your own handbags. You include good photos of all the products you mention and ensure you link to the product page where readers can buy your handbag.

So how does this attract traffic? This is your ideal scenario: a fashion-conscious woman is looking for inspiration on what to wear to her office party. She turns to Google and searches for ‘christmas party outfit’ - and up pops your article.

She clicks on the article and likes what she sees, so she clicks through to your handbag product page and then starts browsing your shop. Bingo!

A content strategy

Having a strategy for your content is essential. It should be something you set aside time for each week.

The most important aspect of your strategy is understanding your target audience. What are their interests? How old are they? What content will be useful to them?

Once you know who you’re targeting, the next step is to plan your posts. Coming up with valuable and relevant content can be hard. Keep a list of potential headlines that you add to whenever you have an idea.

As well as a list of content ideas, add important dates to your calendar with reminders to publish relevant articles. So, a month before Valentine’s Day you might post an article like ’10 fool-proof Valentine’s gifts for the woman in your life’.

You should also think about how the content will be structured. Types of posts that work well are:

  • Lists: Quick reads that can be packed with products. e.g. ’10 great handbags to go with that little black dress’
  • Informative/‘how to’ posts: Articles with tips or advice. e.g. ‘What to wear for that all-important job interview’
  • Topical/relevant: Making your post topical is a great way to get people reading it. e.g. ‘The best and worst handbags at the Oscars’
  • Amusing posts: Difficult to achieve but very likely to be shared on social media if they hit the mark. e.g ‘5 hilarious things we’ve woken up with in our handbags

2. Mailing List

Email marketing

is the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. If you’re not using it effectively, you’re missing out on sales.

Building your mailing list

If you have a visitor on your website and they don’t buy from you, the next best thing is to capture their email address.

One of the best ways to do that is to use a box with a sign-up form, ideally offering something in exchange for the visitor's email address. e.g. ‘Sign up and get 10% off your next order’

Another good technique is to incorporate a sign-up field at the end of your blog posts. The idea is that, if they enjoyed reading one of your posts, they’ll likely enjoy the other content you might send them.

You should also offer customers the chance to join your mailing list as part of the checkout process.

Using your mailing list

Once you’ve built your list, it’s time to start using it.

Just like your content marketing strategy, it’s important to have a plan for email marketing.

In fact, it should simply be an extension of your content strategy.

Create a list of ideas for marketing emails, and update it frequently. You should be aiming for one email a week, so you’ll need plenty of ideas! Here are a few:

  • Promote new or upcoming products
  • Offer discounts or promote sales
  • Send out relevant articles from your blog
  • Mix up product and non-product content so it doesn’t feel too salesy

Take inspiration from other brands' mailing lists - particularly those you subscribe to and read.

3. Social Media

If you do it right, social media can have a big impact on your sales figures. The aim of the game is getting your customers to be your brand advocates - promoting your company for you.

Where to start

The first thing to do is think about which platforms you’re going to use. Typically the visual ones, like Instagram and Pinterest, work best for online shops. But Twitter and Facebook are also very important. A Shoppable Instagram, as in the Skinnydip example above, can be a great way of generating revenue for visual industries, such as fashion or homeware.

It can sometimes be useful to focus on one platform, particularly if you are limited with the amount of time you can spend.

What should you be posting?

Just like your mailing list, your social media strategy will be closely tied into your content marketing strategy.

Our advice would be to split your posts so that only 20% is promotional. The rest being interesting content that appeals to your audience. Followers won't appreciate a constant stream of promotional messages only. They want to be informed and entertained, rather than just sold to.

Join in the conversation

As well as posting out content to your followers, it’s important to get involved with conversations.

A good way to do this is to see what’s trending and comment on it - particularly if it’s something that your target audience might be interested in. It will sometimes seem off-topic to talk about current events, but it all helps give your brand personality.

Reward your followers

A great way to engage people is to give something away. Typically in exchange for them posting, sharing or ‘liking’ something.

This might be simply sending a personal message when they buy something, or an exclusive discount code, or a competition.

Going back to our handbag company, an idea might be to get people to post photos of themselves wearing your bags, tagging your company in the post. The great thing about this is that their network of followers will all see these posts, creating a viral effect that spreads the message of your brand.

4. PR

Getting good PR is all about having a story. Magazines, newspapers and blogs are always looking for article ideas, so the key is to make your story relevant to their audience.

Know your audience

The first thing you need to do is make a list of publications that your target market is likely to read. Find out contact details including a contact name for each one.

Once you have your list, you then need to segment it into different focuses. A national newspaper will have a very different focus to a blog, so your pitch to them will need to be different.

Work out your angle

Still using the handbag company example, if you were pitching to a blogger that focussed on sustainable fashion, you might centre your story around your locally-sourced materials and the process for developing the bags.

If you were pitching to a more style-focussed blogger, your story might rather revolve around a unique design element or a tie-in to a new trend.

Make it easy for them

Journalists are busy people, they receive a constant stream of promotional messages from brands trying to get featured. Make sure your pitch is clear, concise, and it has something to stand out from the crowd.

Include a phone number in your email so they can easily call you for more information.

Give something away

This is only applicable to certain businesses, but if you can, it’s worth giving your product away to the journalist you're pitching to.

Firstly, they’re getting a nice freebie, so they’ll immediately be in a good mood. And secondly, they're able to get a much better sense of the product.

This works particularly well in the fashion industry. Many style bloggers will 'review' (read: wear and photograph) your product, but they'll expect to keep it as a gift in return.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you let other people market your products in return for a percentage of sales that you generate as a result of their efforts.

How it works

Affiliate marketing relies on being able to track the source of a particular sale. You typically provide a unique URL that affiliate marketers can use to advertise your products.

A blogger, for example, would then post this URL on their website with an accompanying article about your company.

When a customer clicks on that URL, they’ll be taken to your website and, if they make a purchase, the affiliate tracking software will attribute that sale to the blogger.

Affiliate networks

An affiliate network is a ready-made network of marketers that are looking for affiliate schemes like yours. They take the pain out of finding affiliates, so are the easiest option for getting up and running.

Some example networks include Rakuten LinkShare, Commission Junction and ShareASale.

DIY affiliate marketing

The alternative to using an affiliate network is to promote your affiliate scheme yourself. This involves contacting potential affiliate marketers and selling them your scheme. Whilst this approach requires more effort, it is also much cheaper.

If you want to take this route, you’ll need to invest in affiliate tracking software, such as Lead Dyno, Wigify or Refersion.

Key Things to Consider When Building a Mobile Version of a Website

posted on April 30, 2021

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1. Define Your Need for a Mobile Site

Usually a mobile website design project comes about through one of the following circumstances:

  • It’s a brand new website in need of both a desktop and mobile strategy.
  • It’s a redesign of an existing website, which will include a new mobile site.
  • It’s an addition of a mobile site to an existing desktop site, which won’t be changing.

Each of these circumstances brings a different set of requirements, which will help you determine the best way forward as you consider the items discussed below.

2. Consider the Business Objectives

In most cases, you, as the designer/developer are being hired by a client to design a mobile site for their business. What are the business objectives as they relate to the website, specifically the mobile site? As with any design, you’ll need to prioritize these objectives, then communicate that hierarchy in your design. When translating your design to mobile, you’ll need to take this a step further and focus on just a couple of top priority objectives for the business.

Take the website for Hyundai as an example. If you load hyundai.com in a desktop browser, the first thing you’ll see are big, bold images that evoke an emotional connection to their vehicles. In addition, you see a robust navigation, callouts to various benefits of owning a Hyundai, site search and social media links.

Now load hyundai.com in your mobile browser and you have a stripped-down version of the website. Yet the most prominent feature is still the same: a relatively big image of their latest vehicle model, followed by several other (mobile-optimized) images of vehicles. You don’t see the complex navigation and other callouts in the mobile version. They chose to focus their mobile site on their primary business objective, which is to evoke an emotional connection with their cars through bold imagery.

3. Study the Data of the Past Before Moving Forward

If this project is a redesign (most web design projects are these days), or an addition of a mobile site to an existing website, hopefully the site has been tracking traffic with Google Analytics (or another metrics tracking software). It is wise to study the data before diving into design and development.

Analyze things like which devices and browsers your users are accessing the site from. While you want to be sure the site is built with device support in mind, you can target these browsers as high priorities when you go from design, through development, testing and launch. At this stage your web hosting service provider is very important.

4. Practice Responsive Web Design

With so many new mobile devices being released every year, the days of checking your site in a few web browsers and launching are over. You’ll need to optimize your site for a vast landscape of desktop and mobile browsers, each bringing a different screen resolution, supported technologies, and user-base. As recommended in the well-known article Responsive Web Design, you can craft the desktop and mobile site experiences simultaneously.

Utilizing the latest and most forward-thinking web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts, you can design your site to scale and adapt to any device it’s viewed on. That’s what we call responsive web design.

5. Simplicity Is Golden, But ...

As a general rule of thumb when converting a desktop site design to mobile format, you want to simplify things wherever possible. There are several reasons for this. Keeping file size and load times down is always a good idea for a mobile site. Wireless connections — while faster than years past — are still relatively slow, so the faster your mobile site loads, the better.

Usability considerations on the mobile web also call for a simplified approach to design, layout, and navigation. With less screen real estate at your disposal, you need to choose your placement of elements wisely. In short: Less is more.

However, we can still create beautiful designs that are optimized for mobile. CSS3 gives us an amazing set of tools for creating things like gradients, drop-shadows, and rounded corners, all without resorting to bulky images. That’s not to say you can’t use images at all.

Check out these examples of mobile sites that strike a great balance between simplicity and beauty.

6. Single-Column Layouts Usually Work Best

As you think about layout, a single-column structure tends to work best. Not only does this help with managing limited space on the smaller screen, it also helps you easily scale between different device resolutions and flipping between portrait and landscape mode.

Using responsive web design techniques, you can take a multi-column desktop site layout and adapt it to a single-column layout. The new Basecamp mobile website does a great job of this.

7. Vertical Hierarchy: Think in Collapsible Terms

Does your site have a lot of information that needs to be presented on the mobile site? A good way to organize things in a simple and digestible way is to set up a collapsible navigation. Taking your single-column structure a step further, you can stack chunks of large content in folding modules that allow the user to tap open the content that they’re interested in and hide the rest.

Check out the mobile site for Major League Baseball. At the top of the page is a button labeled “Teams.” Tapping this extends the page, listing the 30 teams vertically in the single-column page.

8. Go From “Clickable” to “Tappable”

On the mobile web, interaction is done via finger taps rather than mouse clicks. This creates a very different dynamic in terms of usability.

When converting from a desktop to mobile site design, you have to revisit your “clickable” elements — links, buttons, menus, etc. — and make them “tappable.” While the desktop web lends itself well to links with small and precise active (clickable) areas, the mobile web requires larger, chunkier buttons that can be easily pressed with a thumb.

In addition, on the mobile web there is no hover state. Most of the time, when something is set up to occur on hover (like a dropdown navigation menu), it actually occurs on the first tap when viewed on a mobile device. The second tap on the mobile site does what the first click does on the desktop site. This may cause confusion for mobile users, which means you’ll need to re-work hover states for mobile.

9. Provide Interaction Feedback


Speaking of interaction, you’ll need to make sure you provide obvious feedback for any actions that occur on the front-end of your mobile site.

For example, when the user taps a link or button, it’s good practice to have that button visually change states to indicate it has been tapped and the action has been initiated. It’s common to see a white-colored link turn fully blue on the iPhone when tapped. This visual feedback is familiar to most users and you’d be wise to take advantage of it.

Another good practice is to include loading states for actions which may take a bit longer to load. Use an animated loading image to indicate something is in progress. Basecamp Mobile does a great job of this by showing a spinning loading gif as it loads the next page.

Remember, the desktop browsers have various indicators built-in to show that something is in progress. Mobile browsers don’t make it as obvious, so it’s important to build visual feedback into your mobile site design.

10. Test Your Mobile Website

As with any project, you’ll need to test your mobile website on as many devices as possible. Without owning all these devices, it can be somewhat tricky to find ways to accurately test for each. It will involve a combination of installing the developer SDK for the platform (like the iPhone SDK and Android SDK) and using web-based emulators for viewing other mobile platforms.

What is SEO Marketing?

posted on April 30, 2021

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation is an integral part of digital marketing. In today's time after getting social media and Google AdWords, it may have lost its place but still, SEO is important in digital marketing.

Earlier in the mid-90s corporates and big firms have just got introduced to the concept of SEO. They started hiring SEO experts as it was all about keyword stuffing and manual submissions. In 2004 startups started taking interest in SEO as they want to build their online presence. Hence SEO in digital marketing changed over the years. In today's time, SEO is very different from earlier SEO practice. Nowadays organic searches and website traffic are given priority in SERP(search engine ranking page).

Whether it's a local business, mid business or big business all are changing their marketing approach and changing to digital marketing. Therefore there is a radical increase in the importance of SEO in digital marketing. Nowadays people are always searching on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc before buying something to check reviews of that product. It amazes me that people also searched how to boil water. Hence we need to grab maximum eyeballs for our business to generate leads and convert them into sales through sales funnel.

Search engine optimization is simply used to create visibility of your webpage. More traffic is proportional to more sales. A proper SEO of a website helps to rank in SERP.

Simply understand this, we type certain keywords related to our niche which we need for various reasons and shows us pages with more relevance to our keywords. The more the relevance of the keyword more the accuracy of the result more the traffic and thus more the sales.

Search engines are not humans but the software that scans the pages by completing a set of activities like crawling, indexing, caching. This is done by robots which are a set of instructions created by search engines to perform a specific task such as crawling, indexing and caching.

Your web hosting service provider speed performance is very imporant as well.

Search engines are further categorized into two parts on-page SEO(onsite) and off-page SEO(offsite). Many experts in the market will give you the percentage of importance of both but frankly, nobody can fully understand the Google algorithm which is a fact.

Types of SEO

  • Whitehat optimization Whitehat is a set of instructions given by search engines and is also known as guides rules.
  • Blackhat optimization: Blackhat is a set of instructions given by search engines and is suggested not to follow them.
  • Greyhat optimization: Greyhat is a set of steps which is not included in the search engines algorithm yet, some experts misuse it for instant results.

Can Web Hosting Change Your Business?

posted on April 30, 2021

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It depends on what you mean by "change your business." A web host can affect your business and how you do business in several ways. In some cases, they may actually require you to operate your business in a certain way.

Affecting How You Do Business

A web host may affect how you do business due to the technology they have available for you. So you may have to tailor your internal company practices to conform with the technology your web host has.

For example, if your web host only supports PHP and you want to bring in an ASP .NET programmer, you are either going to have to give up on the idea of ASP .NET or you will need to change web hosts.

Requiring that You Do Business a Certain Way

All reputable web hosts have a Terms of Service (TOS) or its equivalent. These are basically the rules you have to abide by to use their web hosting service.

If your business is doing something or plans on doing something that violates or will violate the TOS, they can and will demand that you change your business practices and not violate their TOS. If you do not comply, they will typically terminate your account and not give you a refund.

For example, a web host may require that you use double opt in mailing lists. If it was a business practice to collect emails some other way (perhaps via business cards or some database you have), they may require that you to change your business practices so that all recipients of your mailing list are double opted in.

In some cases, the web hosts may simply be enforcing the law, by requiring you to operate your business in a certain way.

For example, the CAN SPAN ACT requires businesses to send their commercial emails in a certain way (a real from address, relevant subject lines, a legitimate physical address of the publisher and/or advertiser is present, etc.).

Affecting Your Revenue or Reputation

If the web host goes down, goes out of business, is hacked, or something else bad happens, it can have a negative affect on your business. You can lose customers, valuable data and revenue. It can also potentially harm your reputation.

For example, if your web host goes out of business or your server is down for a week, you lose all the revenue that came from your website during that time period. If you do not have your own backups, you may also have lost valuable data that you either have to spend time rebuilding, or is simply lost forever. If you have an online business where you offer a web based service, your reputation as a reliable provider would be tarnished.

Your Choices

As you can see, your choice of web host can affect your business in many ways. If you don't like how a web host is affecting your business, you can always move to another web host that has different rules.

How to buy a new domain name from registrar?

posted on April 26, 2021

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Getting your own domain boils down to two ways:

  •     Buying and registering an entirely new domain, or
  •     Purchasing one that's currently owned by someone else.

There are pros and cons to both ways but ultimately, it's up to you whether you prefer to pay for expensive but well-known addresses (domains that are active) or cheaper but lesser-known ones (brand new domains).

One thing you need to consider is how to name your domain.

As mentioned earlier – A really good domain name can be the deciding factor that makes or break your brand, so choose one wisely.

1. Check for domain availability

Now that you’ve decided on a really awesome domain name, it’s time to check whether the domain name you want is available or not.

Checking on whether a domain name’s availability is easy enough. You can do a simple search with one of the domain registrars; or, use a Whois search engines such to verify whether your domain name is available or has been taken.

If the domain name you want is not available, try to see if different extensions are available instead.

2. Register your domain name with a registrar

The domain name you’ve chosen is perfect and you’ve verified that it is available, now it's time to actually register the domain name itself.

Just add your desired domain to cart and proceed to payments; and the domain is now yours.

How to buy an existing domain name from its owner?


What if you wanted to purchase a domain that’s already active instead?

You can choose to purchase active domains and transfer ownership through services such as a domain name escrow.

What’s a domain name escrow?

A domain name escrow basically an independent third-party agent that assists in the selling-buying process of domain names on the internet. These sites provide a safe way for buyers to purchase domain names from sellers who want to let go of their domain name.

There are a number of domain name escrow services available, but here are a few that you can check out: Escrow.com, Sedo, and BuyDomains.

How to Purchase Domains Using Escrow

Let’s say you found a domain name and both you and the seller have decided on the amount. The conundrum becomes: How do you safely pay the money and make sure the owner transfers the domain ownership to you?

That’s where escrow comes in. You can use escrow services to make sure that the transaction goes about smoothly. How do you actually do that? Here’s how:

  • Set up an escrow transaction between you and the seller
  • Register an account at an escrow service site, and determine the terms of the transaction between you and the seller, which includes the domain name(s) and sale price.
  • Make your payment to the escrow company
  • Once you decided on the amount, you make your payment (via wire, credit card or any other method) to the escrow company.
  • Domain name is then transferred from the seller to you
  • When the escrow company receives and verifies the payment, they will then instruct the seller to transfer the domain name to you.
  • Confirm that you’ve received the domain name ownership
  • You’ll need to confirm with the escrow company that the ownership of the domain name has transferred to you. Use WHOIS or WHSR Tool to check if the owner profile has been updated or not.
  • The seller receives the money from the escrow service site
  • The escrow company will verify that the domain name has been transferred and they will then give the money to the seller, minus their fee. (You can decide beforehand which party pays the fee or have it split down the middle.)

How to determine the value of a pre-owned domain name

When you’re looking for a pre-owned domain name, which can usually be found on aftermarket services, private sellers, and auction houses – you’ll notice that their value can range anywhere from a few dollars to as high as a six or seven-figure range.

These might not be the best place to get a domain name if you’re just starting out.

How an existing domain gets its price can be determined by a number of factors such as length, language, trends, and demographics. There’s no one single method that can give you a perfect asking price. There are ways, however,  to give you a ballpark estimate of a domain name and it requires a little bit of researching on your part.

1. Using Recent Domain Sales

A good rule of thumb to understand how domains are valued is by looking at the recent sales. A look at the recent sales can give you an idea of what type of domains are being purchased and for how much.

DNJournal posts a domain sales report which they regularly update and in it, they list out domain names that are recently sold from multiple premium domain services. When looking through, pay attention to the domain’s keywords, length, and other related factors to get an idea of how a domain name is valued.

It’s important to note that the report only covers a small number of domain names, so it’s not exactly the most comprehensive list.

2. Using Online Domain Valuation Tools

The other way to determine a domain’s value is through a domain appraisal service or an online valuation tool. These sites will allow you to enter a specific domain name and will give you a suggested asking price for it.

A few of the sites that you can check out are Estibot, WebsiteOutlook, and URL Appraisal.

These sites determine the value of a domain using SEO-related factors like search ranking, keywords, Alexa rank, monthly searches, number of searches, and cost per click.

One thing to note is that different sites can give you different estimations. A good plan would be to use several different sources and compare them to give you a better estimation of a domain name value.

Again, there are no definitive prices for buying a domain name and you can expect them to fluctuate quite often. If you want a general idea of domain name prices, you can go to sites such as SEDO.com, Afternic or Buy Domains to get a feel for the cost. Many hosting service providers offer free domain for the first year on sign up.

7. FAQs about Website Hosting

posted on April 24, 2021

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Read Previous: #6. Putting Your Local Host Server Online

7. FAQs about Website Hosting

Having helped thousands of beginners start their own websites, we have heard every possible question. Following are some of the most commonly asked questions from people who want to host a website.

- Why do I need a hosting provider to host a website?

Hosting service providers specialize in maintaining a platform to serve websites. They have engineers and system administrators in their staff that monitor their servers 24/7.

This allows you to focus on building your website and growing your business instead of managing server software.

- Can I buy a domain name and hosting from two companies?

Yes, you can. However, buying them from the same company allows you to manage both of them under the same dashboard. Also some providers like Bluehost even offer a free domain as an incentive to use their service.

- Can I buy a domain name and host my website later?

Yes, you can buy a domain name alone. However, it will not be pointing to your website until you choose a hosting provider.

- Can I host my website on my local computer and later move it to a hosting provider?

Yes, you can do that. However, if you are serious about making a website, then it is better to start with a hosting provider.

- Can I host a website with one provider and then change it to another provider?

Yes, you can move your website to any other hosting company at any time. See our article on how to move your website to a new host for detailed instructions.

- Where do I host my website?

There are so many hosting companies out there, that it becomes difficult for beginners to make the right choice.

Over the years, we have worked with all the top hosting companies on the market. This has given us insights into what makes a good hosting platform.

For starter websites, we recommend SiteGround. They automatically install WordPress, and they offer a beginner friendly dashboard, built-in caching, security, and more.

There are few companies offering free web hosting, but we recommend that you be very careful about those.

We hope this series of articles helped you learn how to host your website.

6. Putting Your Local Host Server Online

posted on April 24, 2021

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Read Previous: #5. How Much It Cost to Host a Website

6. Putting Your Local Host Server Online

Once you host a website on your local server, it will only be available to you. You’ll need to change its settings to put your website on the internet.

First, locate your web server software’s configuration file called httpd.conf.

If you are using WAMP on Windows, then you’ll find it under C:wampinpachepache[version#]conf] folder.

MAMP users on Mac will find it inside /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/ folder.

You can open this file using a plain text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. After that, you need to find the line that begins with

Listen 80

You need to replace it with your IP address and port number. You can find your IP address by simply Googling ‘what is my ip address’ it will show you a numeric string separated by dots. Here’s an example of what that code should look like with your IP:

Listen 64.233.160.1:80

Next, you need to find the following line:

ServerName localhost:80

Go ahead and change it by replacing localhost:80 with your IP address.

ServerName 64.233.160.1

Next, you need to find the following line for WAMP:



If you are using MAMP, then look for the following line:



Below this line you’ll see the access permissions, which you need to replace with the following:

Order Allow,Deny
Allow from all

You can now save your configuration file and restart your local server with the new permissions.

Now anyone can use your IP address to access your website instead of localhost. This is not an ideal situation as it would be hard for your users to remember the IP address.

That’s where domain names come in handy.

Pointing Your Domain Name to a Locally Hosted Website

Pointing your domain name to a website that you are hosting on your own computer will allow users to access it as they would do with any other site.

First, you need to edit your domain name’s DNS settings. We’re using Domain.com in our screenshots below:

Editing DNS settings for your domain name

After that, you need to edit the A name record with @ sign as the Name. If you don’t have one, then click on Add new record button to proceed.

Adding A record for your domain

In the value field, you need to enter your computer’s IP address and click on the Update DNS button to save your changes.

If the computer with your local server is connected to the internet directly, then you are all done.

However, if your computer is connected to the internet via router then you need to forward ports. To do that, you need to login to your router’s admin interface by entering the router’s IP address in your browser address bar.

Depending on the manufacturer, your router interface may look slightly different. You will need to find the option labeled port forwarding, virtual server, or NAT.

Port forwarding

Next, you need to forward web or HTTP traffic to port 80. In the IP address field, you need to enter the IP address of your computer on the local network. This IP address is the internal address that identifies your computer on the local network.

After that, you need to apply the changes and restart your router.

Disadvantages of Hosting a Website by Yourself

Hosting your website on a local computer is a bad idea. This is why even the tech giants with enough resources, skills, and know-how prefer to go with a hosting service provider.

Following are just a few disadvantages of hosting a website on local computer.

    In order to run a web server, you need to put it on a computer connected to a high-speed internet connection 24 hours a day.
    You also need to install updates for the web server software, keep backups, plan on a backup server, and more.
    The computer hosting your website will also be open to hacking attempts, malware injection, and DDOS attacks. This could also affect the security of all other computers on your network.
    You will need to purchase a static IP address from your internet service provider, which will cost you extra.

Doing all this will require a lot of time, effort, and technical skills. This is why it is a bad idea to host your website on a local computer by yourself.

Read Next: #7. FAQs about Website Hosting

5. How Much It Cost to Host a Website

posted on April 24, 2021

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Read Previous:#4. Choosing The Right Plan to Host a Website

5. How Much It Cost?

So far we have covered the costs of web hosting companies. However, your costs of hosting a website may vary depending on several factors.

The first thing is the hosting plan you choose. We recommend starting with smaller shared hosting plans and then upgrade as your business and website grows.

Once you start building a website, you may need to spend money on other things as well such as website templates, software extensions, and other services.

Your goal would be to only buy what you actually need and use free tools whenever you can.

We have an excellent guide on the cost of building a WordPress website and how to avoid overspending.
How to Host a Website on Your Computer

We are often asked by our users if they can host a website on their own computer.

Yes, you can.

However, the only reason you should host a website on your computer is when you want to test a site locally before putting it on the internet.

A lot of beginners find it useful to learn web development, WordPress, and coding by installing a local server on their computer.

See our tutorials on how to set up local server on Windows and Mac.

This will allow you to install a local server without making it publicly available.

We don’t recommend using a local server to host a website and make it publicly available. However, we will show you how to do that for users who are feeling adventurous. to Host a Website

Read Next: #6. Putting Your Local Host Server Online

4. Choosing The Right Plan to Host a Website

posted on April 24, 2021

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Read Previous: #3.Types of Website Hosting Services

4. Choosing The Right Plan to Host a Website

As you can see, all different hosting plans come with different server configuration and pricing. You’ll need to choose a plan that suits your needs and budget.

At WPBeginner, we recommend users to start with a low cost shared hosting plan and then upgrade as their business grows. This allows you to save money and only pay for the services that you actually need.

Shared hosting plans start from $7.99 per month (paid annually) and $14.99 for a domain name.

Now if you are just starting out, then this is still a significant investment.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a discount on hosting and free domain name. Basically, you’ll be able to get started for $2.75 per month.

They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

For other shared hosting plans, see our comparison of the best hosting companies.

Once you have signed up for a hosting account, the next step is to create your website. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to make a website.

Read Next: #5. How Much It Cost to Host a Website

Types of Website Hosting Services

posted on April 24, 2021

tags:

Read Previous #2. What Do You Need to Host a Website

3. Types of Website Hosting Services

Not all websites are the same. Some are smaller and have low traffic while others are larger with more content and visitors.

A smaller website requires fewer resources. On the other hand, a larger and more popular website will need more resources to run efficiently.

Website hosting companies provide different types of hosting offers designed to address specific website needs. Here are some of the most common hosting services.

3.1. Shared Hosting


A shared hosting service is suitable for small websites, blogs, and small businesses who are just starting out.

They are able to keep their costs down by allowing multiple websites to share the same server resources. This makes hosting your website affordable.

Pricing: Starting from 2.75 per month to $7.99 per month

Suitable for: Starting a new blog, small business website

Our recommended shared hosting provider: Bluehost

To learn more see our guide on the truth about best shared web hosting.

2. VPS Hosting

VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server hosting) is still a shared hosting environment. However, it offers a flexible set of resources to handle large traffic spikes.

You get a partitioned of private server for your website that you can manage from your hosting control panel. This gives you the best of both worlds, the low cost of shared hosting with the flexibility of dedicated resources.

Pricing: Starting from $29.99 / month

Suitable for: Medium-sized businesses, popular blogs, and eCommerce stores.

Our recommended VPS hosting company: HostGator

To learn more, see our article about when you need VPS hosting for your site.

3. Managed WordPress Hosting


Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized hosting service made specifically for WordPress. It is like a concierge service for your WordPress website.

On a managed hosting platform, the hosting company takes care of updates, backups, and caching of your website. This allows you to focus on creating content and growing your business.

Pricing: Starting from $35.00 per month

Suitable for: Popular blogs, business websites, membership websites

Our recommended managed WordPress hosting company: WP Engine

For more details, see our article explaining when do you really need a managed WordPress hosting.

4. Dedicated Hosting

A dedicated server hosting gives you the entire server dedicated to your own website. You get all the resources of the server, advanced tools for server management, ability to install your own software and even your own operating system.

You’ll be managing your own server which may require some technical skills. It is an advanced option for larger websites that need high-performance to tackle higher traffic volume.

Pricing: Starting from $79.99 month

Suitable for: Enterprise level businesses, hugely popular websites, eCommerce stores

Our recommended Dedicated hosting company: SiteGround

Read Next: #4. Choosing The Right Plan to Host a Website

What Do You Need to Host a Website?

posted on April 24, 2021

tags:

Read Previous #1. What does it mean to host a website?

2. What Do You Need to Host a Website

You will need the following two things to host a website.

    Web hosting service provider
    New Domain name or you can choose from these Premium Domain names

Web hosting service providers offer you ready-to-use web servers to host your website. They take care of all the technical stuff and provide website owners with easy to use tools to manage their hosting.

Now, how do users reach your self-hosted website? This is where domain names come in.

A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website. For example, wpbeginner.com will bring you to this website.

Basically, a domain name is a human-friendly way to connect user’s browsers to the website server associated with that domain name. To learn more, see our guide on what is a domain name and how do domains work.

how domain names work

You can purchase a domain name from one of these top domain registrars. These are companies licensed to sell domain name registrations. Or you can get a flying domain name start here!

To understand the relationship between hosting and domains, see our guide on the difference between web hosting and domain name.

Note: later in this series, we will show you how to get a domain name for free.

But first, let’s take a look at different types of web hosting plans and evaluate which one would be the right fit to host your website.

Next: #3.Types of Website Hosting Services

A Beginners Guide Series for Hosting a Website

posted on April 24, 2021

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The challenge is that most beginners don’t know the best way to host a website. Many even believe that it requires special technical skills to host their own websites.

That’s simply not true.

If you choose the right approach, then you can easily host your own website within just a few minutes. In most cases, it is just as easy as creating a facebook account.

In this beginner’s series guide, we’ll show you the exact steps on how to host a website without learning any technical skills.

We will also explain how it all works behind the scenes. This would help you gain a basic understanding of different ways to host a website.

How to host a website

Here is what you’ll learn in the guide.

   1. What does it mean to host a website?
    2. What do you need to host a website?
    3. Different types of web hosting services?
    4. Choosing the right plan to host a website?
    5. How much it cost to host a site?
    6. How to host a website on your computer?
    7. Putting your local server website online
    8. FAQs about hosting a website

1. What Does it Mean to Host a Website?

Hosting a website means that you put your website files on a special computer called server. This computer makes your website files publicly accessible on the internet, so anyone can visit it.

In order for other people around the world to see the website, these special computers have a particular set of software installed. This software is called a web server.

A web server’s basic job is to receive incoming requests and respond by sending the requested page to the user’s browser.

Hosting a website

Now all of this may sound like bunch of technical jargon, and it is.

However, you don’t need to learn how to do all these things in order to host your website. Luckily, there are thousands of companies that offer this as a service (at very low cost).

All websites on the internet use a web hosting company to host their websites. Even tech giants like Netflix (hosted on Amazon) and PayPal (hosted by Google Cloud hosting) use third-party service providers for their hosting.

There are only a handful of companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon that completely host all their services on their own platforms.

They can do this because they have the technical and financial resources to take on such a huge task. All other businesses (including us) use a web hosting company to host their website.

Continue to #2. What do you need to host a website?