20 website hosting tips for the five-years-ago me

I started hosting websites and running web business back in year 2003. Back then during my newbie days, I made tons of foolish mistakes (and still often make mistakes now).

Yep, without doubt I learned faster from my own mistakes but you bet I wish badly for a mentor to point out and correct my mistakes before it turns into a disaster. If I ever have a time machine to travel back to the time when I first started, here’re what I’m gonna teach myself.

  1. Fail to plan is plan to fail – have a clear plan before you start any websites.
  2. Networking is important, no matter you’re doing business offline or online.
  3. Always, always, always work only with a good web host – read (and test) as much of reliable hosting reviews as you can before you really get started. If a good host turns bad, don’t feel hesitate to swtich.
  4. Read point 11th in Ian’s post here: Don’t, I repeat, don’t start with a dedicated server, spent the money in marketing or content instead.
  5. Any autorun audio files on your website is unnecessary.
  6. Use .htaccess (or Google Webmasters Tools for now) to clarify the WWW and non WWW version of your website.
  7. Splashing page sucks! No seriously, you don’t need that Flash animation to show how good you are in screwing web user’s experience.
  8. Minimize your website load time.
  9. There are a handful of web tools provided by your web host, use them! Building the entire web form from scratch doesn’t worth the time.
  10. There’s nothing wrong with a static website – simple is good, so stop working long hours on that fancy-randomized-banners just because your girl friend says it’s cool.
  11. Read your web stats always.
  12. Always update your web apps (if there’s any) to avoid hacker’s attacks.
  13. Use keywords in hyperlinks.
  14. Don’t build a mall, limit your website around a specified topic and drill deep down on the topic.
  15. Stay away from anyone who offer $X for 2,000,000 traffics, those are scams.
  16. Read (and contribute back) Webmaster World as much as you can.
  17. The numbers with Alexa is inaccurate.
  18. People steals content online – accept and live along with it.
  19. Don’t leave any space in your web file name, URL with s p a c e looks like this: s%20p%20a%20c%20e, which is ugly.
  20. Last but not least, always work with a robots.txt.

Now I have give you my list, how about yours? What will be the best advice for the 5-years-ago you?