It’s time to look back on 2002 and find out what really mattered web-wise. This year saw it becoming easier and cheaper to get your site on the web, thanks to a plethora of new products and services. By far the best was a £180 package from Interactive Tools (www.interactive tools.com). Article Manager provides just about all the features and functions you would ever want, at a fraction of what some of the bigger players charge. Whether you’ve got plans to develop a website for a newspaper or just want a better quality e-zine, Article Manager showed you don’t need big bucks to create a good-looking website.
Google continued to show why it is the best destination for finding out information. Google News takes a feed from 4,000 news sources to provide an impartial look at world events. The service is still US-focused, but a UK version is said to be on its way.
When it comes to trying to make life a bit easier for journalists looking for information, Response Source (www.responsesource.com) has proved invaluable. You tell it what information you are after and your request is e-mailed to PRs who subscribe to its service. It covers a broad range of interests and was spun out of a similar service that parent company DW Publishing has been running for hi-tech journalists.
There is no excuse for not having your own domain name these days. With 123-Reg (www.123-reg.co.uk) charging less than £7 for a two-year registration of a .uk domain and GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com) charging around £5 to register a .com for a year, domains don’t really come any cheaper.
Once you have registered your domain name, you will need some web space to go with it. This year saw prices coming down for those of you who want a dedicated server that gives full control of the computer that hosts your site.
US-based Rackshack (www.rackshack.net) offers dedicated hosting from £60 a month. The advantage is not only in the price, but also in the amount of space it gives you, which just about beats anything from the UK.
For any journalist going freelance or setting up their own business, 2002 saw the price of computer equipment coming down. No longer are sub-£1,000 notebook computers not very powerful. These days, armed with £1,000, you can go into a retailer or visit a manufacturers’ website and buy something that will offer you all the power and performance you need. What is important is to shop around, and to try out a machine before you buy it.