Carat Networks Blog 2018-05-18T13:55:01-07:00 Carat Networks,2018: Copyright (c) 2018, Carat Networks How Much Should Web Hosting Cost?,2018: 2018-05-18T13:55:01-07:00 Web hosting has come a long way over the years and that’s affected its pricing, too. And while there are many things a website owner needs to consider when choosing a web hosting package, there are very few that don’t have to worry at all about the cost. So, how much should web hosting cost in 2017? The cost for the most inexpensive web hosting packages is still that – inexpensive. Websites that are stored on a shared server, meaning that many other websites are stored on the same server, can still be found for less than $10 a month. And website owners that don’t need their own separate domain name and don’t need a lot of support can still even find them for free. But free web hosting doesn’t usually work for businesses that need a more professional look and customer support when their website goes down. Because of this, the cheapest and most appropriate web hosting will typically start at around $10. WordPress hosting has become much more popular in the past ten years, namely because the platform is so easy to use and powerful enough to run just about any website. Due to that popularity and improved features, WordPress hosting typically starts anywhere from $19 to $47 a month, but it can go as high as $400 a month. The price will depend on any additional services that are ordered such as backups, security, and increased speed. For most small businesses, there’s a good chance that this is all they will need. But if the website is going to be very large, such as an e-commerce site, or one that’s going to attract a lot of traffic, a shared server may not be a viable option. In these cases, a VPS or dedicated server may be necessary. While these hosting packages will provide many more options, they are also some of the most expensive choices. A dedicated server can cost a business hundreds of dollars a month. And while VPS packages are less than that, they can still cost between $50 and $100 a month or more, depending on the services and upgrades that are chosen. Today, there are still a number of options available to website owners, or business owners that want to get an online presence for their business. For those that are just getting started, or don’t expect a huge influx of traffic to their website, shared hosting plans typically cost anywhere from $90 - $150 a year. Of course, if the business or website is very large and needs a much higher capacity, web hosting can be much more expensive, with an annual cost of $300 to $10,000. All website owners like to dream big, and having end goals is very admirable. But it’s important to keep those goals realistic in order to save money which can be invested in other areas of the site or the business. A good web host will always have options available in case the website expands and requires more resources in the future. And while some things have changed over the years when it comes to web hosting, the idea of starting small and working your way up hasn’t. Traffic, Engagement, Profitability: Your Web Hosts Affects More than You Think,2018:,-engagement,-profitability:-your-web-hosts-affects-more-than-you-think 2018-04-11T13:53:44-07:00 When choosing a web host, many people base the decision on what type of server they want to use, and how much the price of any one hosting package is. But there’s far more to it than that. The fact of the matter is that a web host can greatly affect many things pertaining to a website including the amount of traffic it receives, how engaged people are with the website, and at the end of the day, how profitable it really is. Here are five factors to consider when choosing a web host and how they can have an impact on your website. Speed: There are a lot of things a website owner can do to ensure their website is loading as quickly as possible. They can make sure the website is fully optimized, ensuring that images aren’t too large and that there isn’t a lot of flash video that pops up as soon as someone lands on the site. But the speed of a website also rests largely with a web host. For instance, if a web host oversold space on a shared server that could cause websites to load slower or not load at all. And if the infrastructure of the server isn’t properly maintained, this could also greatly slow a site down. While many think that a web host’s speed can’t be determined until that host has hosted a website, that’s not true. Reading reviews online and searching for speed tests on that web host can give a great deal of insight into a web host’s speed, helping website owners make a better choice. Uptime: Uptime is simply the amount of time a website is up and running online. For every minute of downtime, or every minute the website can’t be reached by visitors it can lose new traffic, regular visitors and even sales. Downtime can happen for a number of reasons including a failure of the server or other network devices, human error on the part of system administrators, power outages, hacking attacks, and configuration changes that were not implemented properly. No web host can guarantee 100% uptime, but the reputable ones will work very hard to get as close as possible to it. Support: Support is one thing that many website owners just give a quick glance when looking for a new web host, but it shouldn’t be. This is a very important part of web hosting and you need to make sure yours is offering the best and quickest support possible. Imagine if your website does go down. You email your web host to ask what the problem is and two days later, after checking and rechecking only to find that your site is still down, you get an answer. A short two days is a lifetime in the online world and if you use your website to run a business, it could mean the loss of a great deal of profit. Always pay close attention to the support a web host receives, and testimonials and reviews that speak to that support. If others have had problems getting a web host to take them seriously and respond to questions quickly, the chances are you will, too. And you and your website may pay the price for it. Security: Unfortunately, there’s very little a website owner can do about the security of their own site unless they’re hosting it on their own web server; in which case, they’re not looking for a web host anyway. But the simple fact remains that if a web host gets hacked in any way, there’s a very real possibility that all the websites on that server will get hacked, too. That means losing valuable files, dealing with a website that’s offline and possibly even losing passwords, which could possibly turn the website into something else or have it deleted altogether. The sad truth is that like with so many things controlled by the web host, there’s little a website owner can do about the security of their web host except familiarize themselves with a particular host’s security before signing on with them. This can also only be done by reading as many reviews as possible and getting the inside scoop from real people who have already used that host. Scalability: Your website may be small now, but what if it grows in the future? Or what if you put up such a knock-out post that it goes viral and you suddenly have a huge influx of traffic? All of this sounds good, but it can work against you if your web host isn’t prepared for it. All website owners should have growth as one of their main goals and they need to make sure their web host is prepared for it with a variety of options the website can be moved to if it’s ever needed. As a bonus, the web host should also let you know when you’re nearing the limit on any resource and suggest that it’s time to invest in more resources. Website owners always feel as though they have the world on their shoulders and that the entire responsibility of their website rests with them. But while it’s true that there are a lot of things a website owner can, and should, do in order to make sure their website is running at full efficiency and effectiveness, there’s also a lot a web host needs to do to contribute to that and support the website owner as best as possible. Before signing up with a host, read as many reviews and as much information as you can to ensure you and your site will not suffer for it. Things to Look Out for when Searching for a Web Host,2018: 2018-03-21T13:52:50-07:00 Just as there are many things to look for when searching for a web host, there are also many things to look out for. New web hosting companies are popping up every single day, and they all need to make the best claims to potential customers in order to attract their business. Sometimes those claims or promises are simply good deals on web hosting, but too often they’re tied to conditions that the web host isn’t always so forthcoming about. Here are some of the most common claims and promises made by web hosts, and what you should be looking out for. Promise: Setup fees will be waived Look out for: Setup fees will be waived on longer contracts “Contact us today for web hosting – we’ll waive your setup fee!” This, or something like this, is often splashed across web hosting websites to give potential customers the feeling that this particular web host has a leg up on the competition because by using them, you won’t have to pay the setup fee (which is usually around $30). But look out for setup fees that are only waived on longer contracts. While many web hosts will in fact waive the setup fees on contracts of 6 months, a year, or longer, usually a monthly contract will still include setup fees. Make sure you ask before signing up, and never sign on for this reason alone. Promise: Unlimited bandwidth Look out for: Contract clauses regarding CUP cycles or time Unlimited bandwidth is something the majority of web hosts offer and on its own, it’s nothing to be cautious of. Web hosts offer the unlimited option to all of their customers knowing that only a few will ever use significant amounts. However, when those few in the minority do start to use several gigabytes of bandwidth in a month’s time, some web hosts start to panic and will send notices to those customers stating that they’ve nearly reached their capacity. But how can that be when the contract was signed for use of unlimited bandwidth? When this is the case, the web host has typically tucked a clause in the contract regarding CUP cycles or time, so that they could fall back on it when needed. Always read the contract very carefully and make sure that unlimited means the same thing to the web host as it does to you. If it doesn’t, you need to look for a different web host. Promise: Unlimited MySQL or MSSQL databases Look out for: Limits on database size Some web hosts will try to draw customers in with the promise of unlimited MySQL or MSSQL databases, leaving customers to think they’re possibilities are endless. However, web hosts get out of this by putting a limit on the size of either an individual database, or the total size of all databases combined, essentially nullifying the original claim. Promise: 24/7 customer support Look out for: No actual person available 24/7 Of course your server or your website is going to crash in the middle of the night. And of course you’re going to want to talk to your web host about it. Luckily they offer 24/7 support so that shouldn’t be a problem, right? It’s unfortunately at this moment that website owners sometimes find out that the “24/7 customer support” that was promised is really just an email address generating an automated response. Look out for web hosts that don’t have an actual phone number or at least live chat available on their website. Look out for these biggest claims, and the truth behind them, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the right web host for you and your website! Things to Consider when Buying a Server,2018: 2018-02-12T13:51:44-07:00 Buying your own server can give you complete control over it, including what you put on it and how you configure it during its lifespan. Storage options will also open for you, as you can choose to collocate your server, or even become a reseller. Yes, your server can even make you money! That could come in handy, as servers are major pieces of equipment that cost thousands of dollars. And because servers can come at such a high price, there are several things you need to consider before buying one. Drivers: Drivers are relatively easy to find if you’re using a Windows-based operating system, but they get much more difficult to track down if you plan on using Linux. Make sure you can get the drivers you need before you purchase a server with the wrong drivers. Redundancy: Redundancy is critical for any server. It ensures that even if the server goes offline in case of power failure or other emergency, it will still have a power supply connected to it. Redundancy can be as simple as two power supplies on the server, or you can install a complete set of redundant memory or a spare memory module. You’ll need to determine which one you want to use before you buy your server. Space: In the complex world of servers, it can be easy to forget the simple things such as determining how much space you have before you buy one. Make sure you have rack space left if you’re buying a rack mount server, and also remember that while 1U servers are relatively small, 2U and 4U servers take up much more space. If it’s a blade server you want to buy, always make sure you have room available in your blade server chassis. Also, if you’re planning to use collocation and you have a specific provider in mind, remember to ask them what type of space they use so your server can be easily integrated. Processor support: Nothing’s more infuriating than buying a server to only later find out that it doesn’t have sockets for the CPUs you want to use. Manufacturers today have solved this problem by incorporating different sockets for a number of different processors, but not all of them do. For this reason, you need to make sure that your server will be able to work with any processor that you want to use and that you can upgrade the CPU support farther down the line. Memory: Anytime you buy a piece of computing equipment, memory is going to be one of the biggest factors you take into consideration. However, you have to give it special consideration when buying a server, especially if you’re going to be partitioning it into a virtual server environment. This is because each of those virtual servers will have their own operating system, and you need to make sure the server can handle it. There’s a lot to take into consideration when you’re buying a server, especially if this is your first one. But while there’s a lot to think about and a lot of research to do, having your own server is definitely worth it and will give you back the control you’ve been searching for! The Importance of Having a Mobile-Friendly Website,2018: 2018-01-08T13:50:32-07:00 The world is going mobile and that’s not a trend that’s going to slow down any time soon. In fact year over year, smartphones and tablets are greatly more in use than laptops and desktop computers. So what does all of this mean for your website? It means that it better be mobile-friendly. Google is changing its algorithms all the time. Algorithms are the ranking factors Google uses to decide how they will rank websites and display them in search results when consumers look for certain search terms. And with Google being the most popular browser for the past several years, these algorithms are something website owners should take very seriously. In April of 2015, Google responded to the increase of mobile devices by including an algorithm that placed a higher importance, or rank, on websites that were mobile-friendly. Being mobile-friendly means that a website will load quickly on a mobile device and that it will be able to be viewed properly. This is important for website owners that are looking to get more traffic to their website, which is every website owner. If a site is not mobile-friendly, it will not get a good page ranking which means that it will be shown much lower in the search results than other websites that are mobile-friendly – such as competitor’s websites. Sites that are not mobile-friendly will lose traffic and ultimately, lose customers. Customers are also likely to increase their engagement with a particular website when it’s mobile-friendly. Reports have shown that 90 percent of people will move between devices when using a website. This means that while they may search for a local business on their phone, they may move to their desktop when it’s time to contact that website or to look further into it. This doesn’t just result in repeat traffic, which is good for any website, but it also reduces the bounce rate of a website and makes customers more likely to spend more time, and more money, on that site’s products or services. Customers have also been proven to be much more likely to make a purchase from a website when it’s mobile-friendly. This is because even if someone is at home, it’s likely that they’re looking for a business on their tablet or phone, not on their desktop computer. Small businesses will get even more out of a mobile website because customers are often likely to search for local businesses while they are out and about. When they find a business online, they are likely to visit it and even more likely to buy from that company. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, the chances that the website will appear in the search results are slim which means those local customers won’t know about the business and will go somewhere else. No one can deny that mobile is taking over the online world or that in coming years the use of mobile devices is likely to go up while desktop usage continues to decline. This is important for website owners because with Google now placing such a large importance on websites that are mobile-friendly, those that aren’t will continue to feel the effect in the amount of traffic they receive, and their ranking within the most popular search engine. The Different Web Hosting Options and Choosing What’s Right for You,2018:’s-right-for-you 2017-12-15T13:49:32-07:00 When it comes time to create a website of your very own, one of the first things you’re going need to decide is what type of web hosting you’d like to use. There really is no one type of web hosting that is better than another, but the type you choose will depend on how big your website is and how much traffic you anticipate it getting. Of course all website owners would like to imagine that their website will receive millions of visitors every day and that every piece of content within it will go viral. But out of all the websites online, that only happens to a handful. So it’s important to be realistic when choosing a web hosting option that will be right for you and your website. Many people initially want to turn their nose up at shared hosting because they realize that with this type of hosting, their website will be on the same server as many others. While it does have its downsides, such as not being able to customize the server in the way you choose and limited storage space, shared hosting runs the majority of websites online. Shared hosting often comes with features that are easy to use such as one-click installation of popular software programs like WordPress and easy management of a site’s files, databases and email. Shared hosting is best suited for website owners that plan on creating a very small site such as a personal blog or a website and blog for a small business. Websites that are run through WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal are also typically run on a shared hosting plan so if that’s the intention, this type of web hosting is likely best for the site. It’s also the most affordable option, which can be a plus for many website owners. On the other end of the spectrum is dedicated hosting. With this type of hosting the website owner has a web server all to themselves with no other websites taking up precious real estate within it. With a dedicated server, website owners can customize the server however they want, as well as take up as much room as they want. These website owners will also rarely have to worry about how much traffic they’re receiving as they’ll be the only ones using the bandwidth. Dedicated servers typically come with both managed and unmanaged plans, meaning that the website owner can have server maintenance completely taken care of for them, or unmanaged, which means they will be responsible for these tasks themselves. This latter option requires great technical knowledge however, and a willingness to spend a significant amount of time working on the server. While shared hosting may be the equivalent of renting a room in a house though, a dedicated server is the equivalent of renting the entire house. It’s much more expensive and the majority of maintenance tasks will rest entirely with the website owner. For those who don’t think a shared environment will work for them but also don’t want to pay the high cost of a dedicated server, there’s VPS hosting. This type of hosting takes a dedicated server and virtually separates it into different sections with each section working independently of the others. It’s really a middle ground between the most expensive and the least. This is a good option for medium-sized businesses, a personal blog that receives a lot of traffic, and website owners that want more options within their hosting package. Sometimes the choice of the perfect web host is obvious to the person just starting to create their own website; other times, it’s not as clear. For those who aren’t sure what their needs are, or what they’ll be in the future, it’s best to contact a reputable web host and spend a few minutes talking about the website. They’ll likely be able to provide insight on what you need and what will work with you in the future if the chosen option doesn’t seem to be working and you want to upgrade your hosting plan. The Case for Unmanaged Hosting,2018: 2017-11-13T13:48:38-07:00 If you’re going to be using a dedicated server or a VPS, you’re going to have to make the choice between managed and unmanaged hosting. With managed hosting, you’ll not only receive server space equipped with an operating system, you’ll also get a web host that manages that server for you. They’ll provide backup, performance monitoring, software updates, malware scanning and removal, control panels, and more. With unmanaged hosting however, you’ll only get the server space and operating system. The rest is up to you. So why would you ever choose unmanaged over managed? It’s true. With unmanaged hosting, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of server management, and that includes knowing how to do everything listed above when talking about managed hosting. Of course, many business owners have founded their business using knowledge that has little to nothing to do with server management. For this reason, they hire IT consultants or in-house IT staff to manage the server for them so they personally don’t need to have this knowledge. But still, why would you spend money on additional IT resources when you can just choose a managed web hosting plan? Mainly it’s because with unmanaged web hosting, the world of server and website management opens up completely. It’s true. While managed hosting might be convenient, website owners will give up some choices and freedoms for that convenience. For example, say you currently have a managed hosting plan and want to install an application on your server. However, that application is going to require some special tweaking or fine-tuning of the server. In most cases, the web host will not allow those changes to be made under the managed hosting plan. With unmanaged hosting however, that server – or at least the space on it – is yours to use however you wish and so, you can not only install the application, but make any necessary changes to the server. Control panels are another point of contention when it comes to managed web hosting options. Because the web host is managing your server space and therefore will need to regularly make changes or updates to it, you will be required to use a certain type of control panel. For those just starting out in server and website management, this might not be a big deal but for many, an alternative option to their preferred just isn’t feasible. Using the control panel of your choice is just one more area of control you’ll have over your website. Of course, because unmanaged web hosting plans use fewer resources from the web host, these plans are typically much cheaper than managed plans, but that’s not the main reason why business owners choose them. They choose them because they have the final say in everything in their business, and they don’t think it should be any different when it comes to their server and their website. Should My Email Host be Different than My Web Host?,2018: 2017-10-21T13:47:43-07:00 There are many services a web host can offer and many of them are absolutely necessary, such as a dedicated server when you have a huge website that gets hundreds of thousands of hits every day. But web hosts also offer services that, while convenient, aren’t really necessary. Email hosting is one of these. When a web host offer emails hosting, they’re offering to give you an email address that’s directly in line with your website such as Taking a web host up on this service can certainly streamline certain processes and make it easier. For example, instead of remembering two login names and passwords, you only need to remember one. But while this might be more convenient, there are many reasons why website owners should in fact, keep their email hosts and web hosts separate. It’s important to remember that web hosting is for hosting websites, while email hosting is for hosting email addresses. It makes sense that web hosts will put more focus on their actual web hosting than they will hosting email addresses, and they should. That is after all, their business. But it also means that if something goes wrong with your email address such as you suddenly stop receiving emails, you will be a lower priority to your web host than someone that has had their website completely shut down unexpectedly. Email also takes up a lot of space. There is a vast amount of space used not only in the emails that are being sent and received, but any attachment also takes up more space on the server you’re using. This storage space is valuable space that your website could be using instead, and you pay good money for it. So why would you waste your money on that when you could be spending it on space for your website – the thing your web host is actually providing and focusing on? Because the focus of any web host will not be on their email hosting, they also won’t invest in it as much as they should. Their email software may be lacking, they may not make it a priority to keep that software up to date, and the interface and functionality will not be of the highest quality. And those who are used to using email such as Outlook or Gmail are sure to be disappointed. You don’t want to be paying for something that’s not as good as the exact same service you can get for free. Lastly, but perhaps more importantly, if you use your web host as your email host as well, you’ll be locked in to using that web host as long as you want your email address. It can be a real pain to change your email address with everyone you’ve ever had contact with; and if you’re a business, it could actually lose you money. When your email is separate from your web host, you can still move your website to a new web host at any time, without worrying about losing your email contacts, too. Using your web host as your email host can certainly be more convenient. But like anything that has a convenience factor, it may cost you a lot in the long run. It’s best to keep your web host and email host separate so that when one thing goes wrong with one of them, you won’t lose everything in the meantime. And your email hosting and web hosting will probably be better for it. Linux vs. Windows: Which is Best for Web Hosting?,2018: 2017-09-10T13:46:25-07:00 If you want to stir up an argument among web hosts and website owners, simply pose the question ‘Is Linux or Windows best for web hosting?’ This has been a hot topic since the beginning of web hosting and some say that it doesn’t really matter because the website owner will likely not even know what operating system (OS) they’re using. That may be true in some instances, but certainly not for all. And even if you’re not going to be tinkering with your server very often, you should still know which OS you’re using, and if it’s the right one for you. Let’s start with the basics. Linux and Windows are both operating systems. Every computer needs an OS and a web server is no exception. The choice a website owner makes will impact the way the website owner interacts with the server. Most website owners will likely spend most of their time interacting with their control panel or with a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal. But even when this is the case, it’s still important to know what the server’s OS is. One of the reasons for this is because certain control panels will only run on Linux or Windows operating systems. This is true for cPanel, which is only available for Linux systems. Web developers and system administrators may also prefer Linux because it’s highly customizable, which allows these tech-savvy individuals to make the server, and the website, anything they want it to be. Website owners that are using shared hosting won’t have the choice of what OS they want to use as the web host will likely only offer one type. But website owners running their site on VPS or a dedicated server will need to make the choice, and therefore need to know which one is best. There’s really no one right answer, just like there’s no one right answer about what OS should be used on a home computer or laptop. Linux is by far the most popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. Many people choose Linux because it’s known to be a reliable and stable OS. Being an open-source platform, it’s under constant development and can adapt to any environment. Because it’s open-source, it’s also considered to be the more secure and safer choice. Lastly, while a license is needed to run Windows on a server, Linux is free. While the web host will be the one paying the cost for that server and Windows operating systems, if they don’t have to pay a fee for it, they can often pass those savings on to their customers. However, that doesn’t mean that Linux is perfect. There is a bit of a learning curve that comes with this OS for those that choose it, although it’s fairly user-friendly during the learning process. With all those benefits, it may be hard to imagine why anyone would choose a Windows OS on their server. But in fact, Windows does have a few advantages over Linux. The first is that the learning curve is virtually thrown out, because a server set up with Windows is much easier to set up and use. Many web applications use the .NET framework, and developing these is much easier when it’s done on a Windows server. So how can one decide what OS to choose for their website’s server? For those that aren’t interested in customizing their servers, plan on developing applications within the .NET framework, or are looking for the easiest to set up and use, Windows is the clear choice. However, if you are an administrator that wants customizable options along with a server that is more secure, Linux is a better choice. While Linux has been the popular choice, and the obvious one for many, Windows operating systems on servers have come a long way over the past few years. And when choosing which one is right for you, they both deserve a closer look before you make your ultimate decision. If You Have to Change Your Domain Name, this is the Way to Do It,2018:,-this-is-the-way-to-do-it 2017-08-14T13:44:49-07:00 There’s a reason so many articles and blog posts online place an emphasis on choosing the right domain name before your website is even up and running. In fact, there are many. Once you have a domain name and a website for some time, people become familiar with the name, your brand, and knowing what they can expect from you. If you change it, they may lose track of you and not bother learning or remembering your new name. However, there are times when you may want to change your domain name. If you didn’t pick a great domain name to begin with you may want to change it at a later date, and if your company ever goes through a period of rebranding, a domain name change may also be called for. When it is, it’s important that you know how to do it properly so the change can be as seamless as possible and regular visitors to your site don’t get lost in the mix. First, spend some time thinking about exactly what you want the new domain name to be. You don’t want to have to go through the process again, and changing the domain name too many times can confuse visitors and eventually keep them from coming back to the site. Once you’ve settled on a name you want to use once and for all, choose a registrar you want to use and register your domain name with them. After registering the domain name, you’ll need to assign that name to the website through the same registrar. This process will vary depending on the registrar you’re using. Some make it very simple while with others, it can be a bit more complicated. If the latter is the case, just contact the registrar and ask them to walk you through it; most registrars should be happy to. Once the domain name has been registered, you’ll then need to make sure that your website’s design still reflects the new name. This is especially true when the domain name is being changed for rebranding purposes, as the ‘About’ page may have to be revamped and the logo and tagline may also have to be changed. Be sure to read through all the content that’s on the site to make sure it all matches with the new domain name. The most important, and sometimes the most difficult, step in changing your domain name is to redirect users from the old domain name to the new one. If this step is missed, visitors may simply visit the old domain and be confused when they land on a page advertising the space for sale or showing an error message. The web host you’re using may have a ‘redirect’ function that will automatically take the visitor to the new domain but if they don’t, this will be a bit more difficult as you may have to let them know through other outlets such as Facebook. In either case, keep the old domain active until traffic to it starts to die down. It also doesn’t hurt to place a notice within the old domain letting visitors know the site has moved. Lastly, don’t think your visitors won’t notice the new rebranding or the new domain name; and don’t leave them out of the loop as to why. Place content on your page explaining why the change was made and what bigger and better things they can expect out of the new brand. The decision to change a domain name isn’t one that should be taken lightly, but there are a number of valid reasons to do it. When it comes time to make that change, be sure to do more than simply register a new domain name and assign that name to your website. Let everyone know what you’re doing and why, and the entire process will be much easier and go much more smoothly. How Your Web Host can Help Boost Your SEO,2018: 2017-07-20T13:39:21-07:00 Every person that creates a website does so with the intention of having their site viewed. That is, actually seen and visited by people. In order to do this, there needs to be a number of factors both on the website, and in the infrastructure that actually runs the site. These factors all contribute to a site’s page ranking, or how high it appears in the search engine results page. The actual owner of the site can do a lot to increase this ranking, but the actual web host – the person or company storing the site on their web server – plays a small part, too. Below are five ways a web host can affect a website’s page ranking. Server location: When searching through different websites, the search engines can identify what country the website is being hosted in. And this is very important for website owners to keep in mind if they are trying to target users in a certain geographical area. For instance, users in Canada will likely use as their primary search engine and so, websites that are hosted within Canada will show higher in this search engine than they will in or This matters to website owners because some choose a web host based on price alone, paying no mind to the geographical location of the web host. But that’s a big mistake, particularly when they are trying to reach visitors in a certain area. Speed: Of all the factors search engines use to rank websites in their search displays, the speed of the website is one of the most important. Internet users typically expect a page to load in three seconds or less; and those that don’t are likely to leave the page and find their information somewhere else. The website owner contributes a lot to the speed of the site by sizing images properly and using unnecessary java script, but the web host also plays a role. When the website is on a shared server for example, the resources for all websites on that server will be limited. These servers run multiple websites, and therefore have far more visitors than any one website would. If too many people are visiting at the same time, the server can become overloaded and show a “Try Again” error. If this happens too often, the search engine will take notice and will lower the page ranking of that website. Website owners need to take this into consideration and make sure their host doesn’t overload their servers. Downtime: Downtime is the amount of time users cannot reach a website because it’s down due to server problems or maintenance. All web hosts have some amount of downtime but when it happens too often, search engines will also realize this and lower the page rankings for the websites on that server. Users who visit the site will also be annoyed that they often can’t reach the site and eventually will stop trying. Connection failure: This factor is similar to downtime and speed, but it does differ. A connection failure doesn’t mean that the site is very slow; it means that it can’t be loaded at all. And it also doesn’t mean that the website is down, just that the server is so overloaded or improperly maintained that the search engine’s server will stop trying to connect to the web server of the website. Just like downtime and slow speed however, search engines don’t take kindly to connection failures, particularly if they happen often, as they want to create the best possible experience for the user. IP address: The IP address tells the search engines where the server is located and the location of any given website. This is how they identify the location of any web server and any website. Website owners have to be most concerned about the IP address of their website when they are on a shared hosting plan because if other websites are running content that is over-promotional or suspicious, all websites on that shared server may be penalized for it. There are many factors a website owner may take into consideration when choosing a web host. But many neglect to consider how their web host will contribute, or detract from, their SEO efforts. These are all important factors to take into consideration, because they will greatly affect where a website ranks in the search engine results and therefore, how many people visit the site. How to Migrate a WordPress Site to a New Web Host,2018: 2017-06-15T16:09:21-07:00 While there are many reasons a person running a WordPress website might want to move their site to another web host, the thought of actually doing so can be enough to have them breaking into a sweat. Luckily, the entire process could take just a few hours and be quite simple, if the right tools are used. The most important thing to remember is that plugins are your friend if you’re going to be moving so that you don’t have to manually copy every single file. With the right plugin, your site can be moved with just three steps. While there are many plugins that can help, All-in-One WP Migration is the easiest to use. To start, install this plugin onto the site that you want to move. Then you need to set up WordPress and get it ready with the new web host. After this has been done, the site needs to be exported from the original web host. This can be done by opening the WordPress dashboard and clicking on the All-in-One WP Migration tab. Then click on the ‘Advanced options’ link. You’ll be given a list of options pertaining to the content that you do and don’t want moved to the new web host. If you want an exact replica of the site, leave all of these options unchecked but you can choose to leave the spam comments, post revisions, and more so they aren’t carried over to the new web host. Once you’ve selected your options click on ‘Export To’ and choose ‘File’. The plugin will then place the entire website into one single file. Depending on how large your website is, this could take several minutes. Once it’s finished, you can then download that file to your computer. After the website has been exported, you then need to head over to the website that’s been installed with the new web host and again install the All-in-One WP Migration plugin. Once installed, click on the ‘All-in-One WP Migration > Import’ tab. Here there will be an option for uploading the WordPress file. Click on that option and choose the website file that you downloaded and saved to your computer. This may also take a few minutes but this time it depends on the speed of your Internet connection, not the size of the file. When the file is uploaded, you will see a warning that this file will override any current content on the site, which is exactly what you want since there shouldn’t currently be anything on the site. Click ‘Continue’. The plugin will then also tell you to go to ‘Settings > Permalinks’ and click the ‘Save’ button twice. After doing this, you will have an exact replica of your site on the new web host. At this point many people will think they’re done, but the chances are good that you’ll also have to change the domain name as it is likely still going to be pointing to the original site and web host. This process can vary because there are so many different registrars, but it typically involves finding the domain management settings and choosing an option asking you to update its nameservers. You’ll then need to replace the old web host’s nameservers with the new. This part can be a little confusing and if that’s the case, just contact the registrar’s support team and ask them to help you. They’ll likely be able to walk you through it in just a couple of minutes. Once the changes are all made, your website will be successfully transferred from the old web host to the new one, but it can take as long as two days for those changes to make their way through the web. After the changes are made, you can either delete the old site entirely and close your account with that web host, or turn it into a new website. WordPress plugins make it very easy to transfer a site from one web host to another. So if that’s the route you’ve chosen, there’s no need to break into a sweat! How to Decide which Control Panel is Right for You,2018: 2017-05-11T16:08:19-07:00 Website owners who are new to running and managing a website may wonder what exactly a control panel is, and which one is the best for them. Others, who have years of experience under their belts, may still wonder if the control panel they’ve been using is still working as it should; or if there’s one out there that might suit them a better. Control panels are web-based interfaces that allow website owners or their administrators to manage the website and functions of the server from the convenience of a web browser. While there are dozens of different control panels that can be used, there are three key players in the industry. They are cPanel, Plesk, and Webmin; and these are the ones that will be examined here. cPanel: The Standard for Linux Web Hosts cPanel is a control panel that is offered by most web hosts, either by default or as an add-on. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that much of the Internet is powered by cPanel, and the fact that it’s built on a code base that has been proven time and time again over the years. But with all the advantages cPanel brings, it still has its downsides. cPanel has one of the easiest to use interfaces that can be found in the industry. This control panel is so streamlined it can help organize workflow and accomplish routine tasks very quickly. It also has the advantage of one-click installation, meaning that those working with Wordpress, Drupal, or other common software don’t have to suffer through a multi-step installation process but rather, can do so in just one click. While this definitely lightens the web host’s load, it’s also a great help for those that just want to get their website up and running. Of all the disadvantages that are out there with control panels, cPanel has relatively few. One of the biggest is that it does have a limited operating system selection, and that’s enough to keep some from using it. cPanel is only compatible with CentOS, RedHat, and CloudLinux servers. Those that wish to run their control panel from another operating system will have to choose another one to do it with. Plesk Just like there is great debate between Apple users and Microsoft users, there’s also a world of debate between those who prefer cPanel and those who like Plesk. There is no one that is better; it’s largely a matter of personal preference. There is no argument though that Plesk certainly brings a lot to the table. One of the biggest advantages Plesk has, and that users will be quick to point out, is the fact that this control panel comes with a remarkable support system. Those who are working on a Microsoft SQL server will find this especially useful as they need to integrate all of their technologies, and Plesk will help them do this with ease. In fact, Plesk is considered easier to use overall than many other control panels within the marketplace. In addition to the great support that comes with Plesk, it can also be run on Windows servers as well as CloudLinux, CentOS, Debian/Ubuntu and openSUSE. What Plesk offers in support however, it takes in resources. With any panel, administrators will have to sacrifice some resources for usability. But because of the crowded interface Plesk has, it tends to take much more. Plesk can also be confusing to use due to the fact that it has a single login for administrators and end users; so it’s good that it comes with the great support that it does. Webmin Webmin has many advantages over both cPanel and Plesk, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. While Webmin is free, being that its code is completely open source, it’s also a fairly bare-bones control panel. This means that those who are very tech savvy can customize the panel however they see fit; but it also means that those that aren’t familiar with working within control panels will have a great deal of trouble performing even the simplest tasks. Like cPanel, Webmin can also only be run on Linux servers, but it doesn’t have the friendly user interface that cPanel does. It also doesn’t have the support system that either cPanel or Plesk do, which means that administrators that face technical issues will have to fix them on their own. Website owners and administrators who need to choose a control panel will typically end up opting for a web host that offers cPanel or Plesk. These are the two most familiar, and the choice will typically come down to the server they want to run their website on, and how much support they’re going to need. While Webmin is arguably the best open-source control panel on the market, it’s really only meant to be used by professionals that are proficient in the technical needs of a control panel, and being able to meet them and fix problems when they arise. For those that are new to running and managing a website, the best advice is to choose a web host that offers both cPanel and Plesk. Discuss with them what options might be best for them and then choose based on that. However, it is also important to remember that cPanel is the most popular for a reason and just because a website is run on a Linux server doesn’t mean that website owners need to know code or use a Linux computer in order to manage or add to their site. How to Back Up Your Website,2018: 2017-04-20T16:07:22-07:00 There are millions of website owners that don’t back up their website. But it’s not because they don’t want the safety and reassurance that backing up a website brings. It’s because they simply don’t know how to do it. When it comes to backing up your website, there are five different ways to do it. Manually The first way to back up a website is by manually backing it up. This is the least technical way to do it, but it’s also the way that’s going to cost the website owner the most amount of time. It can be done by installing Filezilla and then use that software program to connect to your account. From there a number of options will pop up to download your files. You’ll be able to choose whether to download all your files, or just the ones you want. When using the manual method to back up a website, it’s important to remember to do it often. This can be done by setting diary entries to make sure the task doesn’t slip your mind. And while backing up all the posts and pages that might be on the site, there’s more to it than that. It’s also important to remember to back up all the databases, keep a logical folder structure with the date as the directory name, and to back up to multiple hard drive locations. This will ensure the files will never be lost. cPanel backups Using cPanel to back up a website is also easy. You really just need to log in and press the ‘Backup’ button. Select ‘Generate/Download a Full Backup’ and then choose ‘Home Directory’. From there all you have to do is select ‘Backup Destination’ and enter your email. Then click ‘Generate Backup’ and you will get the email when your backup is ready. When you get that email, you need to download the backup and store it onto your computer. Even though this is a simply straightforward way of backing up, it’s still important to remember to do it regularly and keep the backup files in a safe place. This should not be on your web host’s server, even if you have a file there. After all, if your backups are stored there and the server goes down, those files will do you no good. Backing up to a cloud Backing up to a cloud service is one of the easiest, and most secure, ways to back up your website. A cloud can expand as much as you need it to when files are continuously being added, and it’s fully redundant. There are also many different platforms and software programs such as Dropbox and Amazon S3 that can make the process even easier. While Amazon S3 is intended to be used for backup solutions and Dropbox is not, getting creative with backup solutions can often be one of the easiest ways to do it. Rsync backup Rsync isn’t a cloud-based backup service in itself, but it can be used to back up to a cloud server. And while it might not be the easiest to use, it’s considered one of the best in the business for a reason. Rsync will only transfer files and portions of files that have changed, which is a great time-saver. But you will still have to back up your database, and you will have to do it on a Linux server. Automated backup solutions Using an automated backup solution means hiring a third party to do it automatically for you. There are many services available out there that will help you do this, and your web host might be one of them. But, even if your web host does offer backup services, it’s best to also have someone else do it as well. Remember, the more copies you have of your website saved somewhere, the better off your website will be, especially if a mistake happens that destroys it. Backing up a website is important. But the reason most website owners don’t do it isn’t because they don’t understand the importance of it; it’s simply because they don’t know how to do it. These five options offer a range of ways to do it, varying from easy to difficult and affordable to quite expensive. All website owners have to do is choose the one that’s right for them, and then start backing their website up as soon as possible. How Much Support Can You Expect from Your Web Host?,2018: 2017-03-12T16:06:46-07:00 If there’s ever a problem with your website, your first call is probably going to be to your web host. After all, they’re the ones that have the server so they should be able to figure it out, right? Well, sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes the support that’s needed goes beyond the realm of web hosting. This can cause some customers to become upset with their host, because they see it as simply a lack of interest on the web host’s part, when that’s not necessarily true. So how do you know when your web host can help and when they can’t? How much support can you expect from your web host? For example, let’s say you’re having a problem editing your website’s template. A problem arises, and because you’re dealing with the template, you assume it’s a scripting issue. So you quickly go to your web host’s website to file a support ticket. Once there, you don’t see the category you need, so you call them instead. After explaining the problem, they tell you it doesn’t seem to be a scripting issue at all, but that it’s actually a problem for your web designer. Frustrated, you get off the phone thinking that the web host has now “passed off” your problem because they didn’t want to help you. Situations like this cause a couple of problems. The first is the confusing support tickets, and the second is the answer from the web host that you weren’t really happy with. But is the web host really to blame for this? While it’s easy to lay that blame at the feet of the person you think is responsible – in this case, your web host – they’re not really at fault. While the categories of support tickets can be confusing, most of the time they do include just about every issue you could come across with your website. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, a simple call should help. But what if you’re unhappy with the answer, as in the example above? In that case, a short call to your web designer will probably clear up the problem, but not every issue will be just like that scenario; and sometimes, you might not have anyone else to call. So what do you do in that case? All you really have to do is check out the Terms of Service of your web host before signing up with them. The TOS will fully explain what the web host’s support staff will be able to help you with, and what they won’t, which can eliminate some surprises later on down the road. Another good rule of thumb to remember is that if the problem can’t be fixed through your control panel, your web host probably won’t be able to help. Web hosts generally do their best to help their customers with issues regarding websites, but they can’t fix everything. If there’s ever an issue on your site, knowing what to expect in the way of support and what’s out of the web host’s hands can help get your problem fixed sooner, and with less frustration on your part. How Much Can You Expect to Spend when Starting a Website in 2017?,2018: 2017-02-05T16:05:25-07:00 So you want to start your own website. Whether it’s for your business, or you just want to claim your own corner of the web to speak your thoughts, one of the first things you’ll probably ask yourself is: how much is it going to cost? Between domain names, hosting packages, and other features, the costs can quickly add up. So when all is said and done, how much can you expect to spend when starting a website in 2016? Domain name $0 - $100+ per year Your domain name will be the name of your website, or the address they type into their browser to get to your website. How much you pay for your domain name will depend on the type of domain you want, and who you purchase it from. If you find a web host that offers free domain names, you won’t have to pay a penny for your domain name. If you want to purchase your domain name on your own, from a site such as NameCheap, you’ll end up paying about $15 for a simple .com domain name. There are top-level domains you can also buy such as .guru or .global, but the yearly cost for those can be as high as $100 or more. When buying a domain name, it’s important to check not only how much it costs to buy, but what the yearly renewal fee is. You will have to pay a fee to keep your domain name, and therefore your website, every year and you want to make sure it’s not going to run you more than you’d like before your final purchase. The average domain name costs about $10 per year. Web hosting $0 - $1000+ per year If you’re going to have a website, you’re going to need a web host. Unless you’re prepared to purchase, install, and maintain and operate your own server, this is unavoidable. But just like domain names, you can spend as little or as much as you’d like. It just depends on the type of web hosting you choose. Free web hosting is available from a number of different web hosts. Their hope is typically that you’ll move from free web hosting full of pages of ads to paid hosting, which will give you full control over your website. Free web hosting is also shared web hosting in the way that your website will be placed on a server with many other websites. The difference with paid shared web hosting is that you won’t have any of those ads and for a fee of about $7 a month, you’ll be able to choose the ads you’d like to run on your site, and run different features. VPS and dedicated web hosting are other types of hosting available, but they are a bit more expensive. VPS typically runs about $50 a month, while dedicated can be as little as $60 a month, or as much as $200 a month. Features, templates, and plug-ins $0 - $100+ one -time fee Features, templates, and plug-ins are all the little extras you’ll want for your site. Features and plug-ins will let you and your visitors use and interact with the website, and templates will get your website looking exactly how you want it to. Just like domain names and web hosting, you can find all of these for free but you might find your choices to be a bit limited. You can find these same items through your web host or online, and if you’re willing to pay a small one-time fee, it can drastically change the look and feel of your website. Unfortunately, there is no one definitive answer as to how much you can expect to pay when starting a website in 2016. The entire process can be completely free, or you can spend a thousand dollars or more on it. The good news is that all the different things you’ll need to start a website are available in varying price ranges, so people of any and all budgets can get online with their own website! What’s the Difference between a Mobile Website and a Responsive Website?,2018:’s-the-difference-between-a-mobile-website-and-a-responsive-website? 2017-01-12T16:04:42-07:00 Being one of the main algorithms Google now uses, many people know the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. So when they hear the term ‘responsive website’ they think it means the same thing and use the two terms interchangeably. But in fact, these are two very different things and all website owners should become familiar with both ideas. A mobile-friendly website is really the bare minimum in terms of mobility. When those bare minimum standards are met, an exact replica of the website will appear when it’s viewed on any device such as a smartphone or a tablet, or even a desktop computer. Nothing will change with the exception that text and image size may change slightly on mobile devices so they can be better viewed on a smaller screen. Those sizes however, will not change depending on whether it’s a phone or tablet that’s being used. Having a mobile-friendly website doesn’t change anything about the actual site, or the user’s experience on that site. They will be able to see everything as if they were looking at it on a desktop computer, it will just be optimized for their mobile device. A responsive website on the other hand, does just what its name implies – it responds to the device it’s being used on and will change accordingly. Unlike mobile-friendly websites, usability will change as needed on responsive websites. This means that when a website is responsive it will look and function differently depending on what’s being used to view it. When viewed on a desktop computer, the full website will be displayed with all functions, images and text visible. When the website is viewed on a tablet or smartphone, the layout and navigation of the website will change. Some menus may be displayed at the top or bottom of the website, while other features may not show at all. After understanding the differences between a mobile site and a responsive site, website owners then need to understand which type they need. In short, all websites should be mobile-friendly. Google has placed such a huge importance on this that those that aren’t mobile-friendly may not even rank at all; that’s how vital Google considers mobile-friendly websites. And those who have a simple, static website may find that having a mobile-friendly website is all they really need. Switching to a responsive website is expensive and really only necessary for websites that are very big and include a lot of navigation. A good way to know if it’s necessary to switch to a responsive website is to analyze the bounce rate. The bounce rate of a website is how many people land on the site, spend a very short amount of time on it, and then leave. A high bounce rate typically means that users aren’t getting the information they need from a site, or the user is having difficulty using the site. Both of these factors indicate that switching to a responsive website will lower the bounce rate and be better appreciated by visitors. While many may think the terms mobile-friendly website and responsive website mean the same thing, they are very different. In order to determine which type of website is needed, website owners need to understand the differences between the two and know how to analyze their site metrics. Common Mistakes when Choosing a Web Host,2018: 2016-12-09T16:03:32-07:00 Creating a website and choosing a web host is often a process of trial and error, particularly for those that are new to it. Because of this, there are sometimes common mistakes that are made when new website owners look for, and sign up with, a web host for the first time. If you’re about to start a website, you should know what those mistakes are, in order to avoid them. Not knowing what you need It’s important for website owners to know what they need before signing on with any web host; and not knowing is one of the most common mistakes people make. Many people know that they need a web host; but they don’t take into consideration how big their website is, how big it will be in the future, or even if they want a blog attached to their website. And while they may hope that their website receives a large influx of traffic, they may not know how much they can actually expect. All of these are great unknowns when signing up with a web host, and not having a clear answer to those questions may mean they end up with the wrong host, or a hosting package they don’t really need. Not reading reviews There is not one web host on the Internet today that will create their own site and talk about all the things they fail at, or the resources they lack. Like any other business, web hosts promote the things they do really well. And in the cases of less than honest web hosts, they may even talk about how they do particular things very well or offer superior features – such as great customer service – when in fact they don’t. The only way for a business or website owner to cut through all of this is to do their research and read reviews of what other people are saying about the web host. There’s no better way to know what a company is really like than to hear from real people that have actually used them. While no web host can make everyone happy, and there is certainly going to be a bit of criticism, too much of it speaks to a web host that either can’t, or isn’t interested in, providing their customers with what they need. Automatically choosing free web hosting Some soon-to-be website owners hear about free web hosting and jump on it simply because it’s free and they’re looking to save the most amount of money possible. But free web hosting isn’t for everyone. While it’s not inherently bad, free web hosting is only right for a handful of websites. Personal websites, very small websites, and those that don’t mind excessive advertising on their site might find all they need with free web hosting. But websites that are meant to represent a business and need a professional look, or websites that are very large, simply won’t find what they need with free web hosting. Websites that are run on free web hosting actually aren’t owned by the creator of the website or the business the website is for, but by the web host offering it. Also, there are those ads that appear on it and this can be unattractive to visitors, and make it seem less professional. Not testing customer support Customer support is of huge importance when it comes to web hosting. If a website suddenly shuts down or there is some kind of malfunction or other problem, you’re going to want to be able to contact your web host and talk to them about it. In many cases, this is the only way to really correct the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Luckily, customer support can be tested before signing up with a web host. Most web hosts will offer a variety of contact options including phone numbers, emails, live chats, and more. Each of these contact options should be tested by contacting the web host and asking them about a certain issue. This will allow you to test how responsive they are to your questions, how knowledgeable they are, and how quickly they respond. If it’s not fast enough, or they don’t know how to answer your questions, there’s a real possibility that they are not the web host for you. There are many things to consider when choosing a web host, and many mistakes that can be made. Know what those most common mistakes are, as well as how they can be avoided is a great start to finding the web host that’s right for you, your website, and your business. CMSs and Website Builders: What are they, and how do they compare?,2018:,-and-how-do-they-compare? 2016-11-14T16:02:16-07:00 Both content management systems (CMSs) and website builders allow website owners to create a website relatively easily. Because of this, many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are in fact very different. However, a website owner does not need to use both in order to make a great website. So what are the differences between them, and which one should you use? Website builders Website builders are just that – a tool that allows a person to easily create a website. They do this by using components that already exist within the builder and typically different layout options can simply be dragged and dropped into the website. Many website builders make this very easy and a new website can built within an hour or so. Website builders have many advantages, particularly for the novice website owner. They’re easier to use than most CMS platforms and you may not even need a web host, as many of these provide the option of self-hosting. But as good as website builders sound, they’re not for everyone. Because they consist of templates and existing components, it can be difficult for a website to stand out in the crowd. They also aren’t as scalable or include as many advanced features as CMS platforms do, so they may not be able to accommodate a very large website. Content management systems Content management systems on the other hand, are platforms that have more substance than website builders. Templates and themes are still available, but the website owner is given many more options in terms of additional features. Many CMS platforms, such as WordPress, originally began as a blogging platform but they’ve come so far in recent years that virtually any type of website can be run from them. While CMS platforms aren’t necessarily very difficult to use or require a lot of technical knowledge, they aren’t as easy to use as website builders. It can take some time to become familiar with these systems and understand them, but once you do, they’re very easy to work with. In addition to this, website owners who choose a CMS will also need to find their own web hosting solutions as these platforms don’t offer web hosting. Because of the steep learning curve, those who only want a very simple website may be better off choosing a website builder. So which one should soon-to-be website owners choose? It really depends. In most cases, those who only wish to have a small website that’s relatively simple and straightforward may be better off with a website builder. But those who want to include a lot on their website or envision their site growing even larger in the future may wish to choose a CMS. For those that still aren’t sure, many website builders offer free trials making it easy to give it a test run and determine if it offers everything that’s needed. Likewise, if you already have a web host a CMS such as WordPress can be installed and tinkered with to see if it’s something you can handle and want to work with. Are Domain Hosts, Web Hosts, and Email Hosts all the Same Thing?,2018:,-web-hosts,-and-email-hosts-all-the-same-thing? 2016-10-11T16:01:09-07:00 When it’s time to set up your website, you’ll quickly learn that there are many components of it – just as there are many components of a business. And you’ll also quickly learn that hosting has a lot to do with it. There are a number of web hosts and types of hosting when it comes to a website including domain hosts, web hosts and email hosts. So what exactly is the difference between the three? Domain hosts A domain name is the address of any given website on the internet. The address that is entered into any browser is a website domain. It can be seen as the address listed in the address bar above any website’s homepage. Domain hosts are the companies that provide that address. Also sometimes called registrars, they control the actual domain and the licenses that go along with it. When you sign up to get a domain, they also make sure that no other website is registered to that domain. You can purchase your domain name separate from your hosting, but you’ll have to pay a certain price every year that you want to continue ownership of that domain. Web hosts can also offer domain names, but they don’t always and many experts recommend that you keep the two separate in case anything ever happens with your web host, such as wanting to make a change. Web hosts Web hosts are companies that have access to many web servers and they rent out space on those servers to people who want to create and manage a website. Web hosts rent out a certain amount of space on these servers meant for websites and website owners pay a certain amount every month or year for that space. Web hosts offer many different packages including shared hosting, dedicated servers or VPS, which all refer to the type of server a website is stored on. Many also have other options including managed and unmanaged packages and, as mentioned, many of them offer additional services such as domain hosting. Email hosts Email is a service that you probably already have, but you can have it directly related to your website as well. While many web hosts and domain hosts offer email hosting as well, email uses an entirely different kind of software and protocol in order to send and receive it. Many Internet providers offer email hosting by offering a certain number of email addresses when someone signs up for their Internet package; and it’s also offered by many web hosts and domain hosts. A web host should not be chosen based on whether or not they offer email hosting however, as there are a number of free services such as Outlook and Gmail that offer email hosting. There are many different types of hosting that relate to a website, but it’s important to know what their different functions are and how they will ultimately affect your site. If you don’t, you could be talked into something you don’t need and paying for something you’re not even going to use. Should You Replace Your Server or Move to the Cloud?,2018: 2016-09-02T16:24:31-07:00 So your web server has gotten old. It’s getting a little bit slower every day, or maybe it’s just finally given up altogether and crashed. Now you’re left with a big question. Should you replace your server or move to the cloud? It’s a big question, and it can seem there’s no easy answer. After all, the cloud can give you greater flexibility in your company and can even cut back on your IT costs, right? So maybe it’s something you should consider. But wait. Before you do, you need to consider the actual costs of the cloud. It’s true. If you want to move to the cloud, you can find a company that will move your accounting, CRM, databases, and other existing applications to the cloud for you, and some might even be able to manage them for you. And when you first look at moving to the cloud, the initial cost might not seem like that much – especially when you compare it with buying a whole new server. But, the initial costs aren’t what you’re going to be paying when everyone in your company needs to be accessing the code. In order to actually move your existing infrastructure to the cloud, the cost is approximately $100 a month per user. So if you’re the only one using your server, moving to the cloud might seem like a good option – but it will still get fairly pricey in the long run. However, if you have a company that employs even just 10 people, and those people will need to access the cloud on a regular basis, you’ll be paying $1000 a month just for them to do that. Simple math tells you that that adds up to $12,000 a year, and that’s just for your hosting costs. For that amount, you could buy several servers. Cloud web hosting can certainly be convenient, especially for companies that have offices and staff in different regions or countries. But in the end, for companies with more than just a few staff members, the cost simply isn’t worth it. And that’s why most small businesses today opt for simply purchasing a new server rather than move to the cloud. Truthfully though, there are many other reasons to stay with a dedicated server rather than move to the cloud. The performance on dedicated servers is usually much better than what you’ll find on the cloud, and it’s much easier to find bottlenecks on a server, whereas cloud services can often obscure problems involving hardware and network problems. While cost is typically the first reason small business owners give for replacing their server rather than move to the cloud, they have many other reasons to replace their server. And now you do, too! Pros and Cons of Using One Web Host for Multiple Domains,2018: 2016-08-01T16:23:38-07:00 If you’re going to be running multiple websites, you’ve probably already considered using one web host for all of your domains. But wait. Why would you want to run more than one website? Mostly because websites are a bit addictive and once you get one, it’s not long before you’re thinking about the next one. And large businesses, especially those with offices in different locations, will often have different websites for those different locations. So, when running those different domains, should you use the same web host for all of them? The short answer is “yes” as typically, the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Using one web host to run multiple domains can be much cheaper than using a different host for every site; and it also gives you just one control panel to deal with, and that control panel gives you access to all of your sites. If you find a great web host, you’ll also know that you’ll also be getting the same great quality and service across all of your websites. So does using one host for multiple domains have any cons? Just a couple, and most of those can be avoided. The first one obviously, is that if any one of your websites crash, all of them will. So if your web host experiences a problem or downtime, no one will be able to get to your sites – including you. Likewise, if one of your websites is experiencing a lot of traffic, the resources reserved for all of your websites might be directed towards just that one, slowing down your other sites. But traffic and web hosts aren’t the only things that can slow or shut down your site. Malicious code can also wreak havoc on any website, and if all of your domains are with the same host, it can destroy a lot of work in a lot of different places. To protect your sites against this, security measures such as FreeBSD or containers (Linux) can be installed. While keeping all of your sites connected can be a much cheaper option and make things much easier, that connection can also bring all your sites down at the same time. To keep that from happening, it’s best to keep the individual sites as isolated as possible to prevent one from affecting the other. Then you can just sit back and enjoy all the benefits and convenience of using one web host for multiple domains. Out with the Old, In with the New: How to Correctly Move a Website,2018:,-in-with-the-new:-how-to-correctly-move-a-website 2016-07-05T16:22:57-07:00 Sometimes you want to change your website domain. Maybe you’re unhappy with your host and want to move to someone else, or maybe you just want a domain name of your very own. Whatever the reason, at some time in the future you might want to move your website and when that day comes, you want to do it properly. The biggest mistake website owners make when it comes time to move their website? They shut down their old site and just start uploading to the new one. This causes several problems which in the end will only frustrate you and your visitors. If you simply take down your old site, you’ve effectively lost all of the hard work you’ve put into getting Google and other search engines to recognize your site. And while those search engines will eventually find the new site, it’s not going to happen overnight and having an old site to redirect to the new will help speed along that process. By simply taking down the old site, you’re also losing any links to that site that appear on other pages. This will result in broken links on those pages and that will frustrate everybody – readers, owners of other websites, and you, because you’ll lose traffic that was directed right to your site. So how do you solve those problems? No, you don’t have to continue to run two separate sites. Well, at least not forever. You do need to keep the old site around for a little while, if only so that you can place permanent redirects on every page. A permanent redirect is a link that will automatically redirect visitors from the old page to the new once you have moved your site. You’ve most likely seen these on other websites. They typically come in the form of a message that says, “You are being automatically redirected to the website Click here or copy and paste the address if you are not redirected in 5 seconds.” Remember that any page that’s on your old site can still be found by Google, and may still be searched for by users. Because of this, it does no good to simply place a permanent redirect on your home page only, because now only that home page will be redirected to the new site. Visitors that have made their way to your site via a link on another page may still be left with an error message, and Google is no longer seeing any new content on your website. Configuring the pages to include permanent redirects involves using meta elements in your HTML, and it can become a bit complicated. If you’re unsure of how to do it, ask your web host or an IT consultant that might even be able to complete the process for you. You should keep your old site up and running for a little while after you’ve already moved in, but there are a couple of ways you can tell when it’s ready to be taken down. The first is to search different search engines for your company name. When you’re no longer seeing the address of the old site in the search results, Google is no longer picking it up anyway and enough time should have passed that visitors are already aware of the change in address. Also remember to start tracking traffic to the new site right away, using web server log analysis. This will tell you when visitors are starting to find the new site and how many are visiting every day or month. When that starts to reach the numbers your old site once did, it’s safe to take the old site down. How to Create a Dynamite Domain Name,2018: 2016-06-04T16:22:09-07:00 The name of your website is as important as the name you carry around with you in the world every day. It’s your online identity; it tells people who you are. And, on the great worldwide web, it might even tell visitors whether or not they want to visit at all. So, how do you choose a dynamite domain name? Follow these four principles. Make it relevant Just like your actual name represents you, your domain name has to represent your website. Therefore, it should tell people who you are as soon as they hear or see it. By keeping your domain name relevant, you’re also making it easy for visitors to remember it. So if you’re running a recipe site, might be a good idea, or Both of these examples are relevant to the content of the website. Of course, if you’re running a website for a business, it’s natural to want the domain name to match the business name, but this isn’t always possible. Even though you might be the only one with that business name in the area, the online world is global and someone may have already snatched that one up. When that’s the case, tacking your location onto the end can make it unique, and still all about your business. Keep it short There’s no actual limit on the length of your domain name, but in general it should be kept short, no matter than one to three words. This just makes it easier to remember, easier to say, and even easier to promote! Make it memorable So haven’t we been talking about all the different ways you can make your domain name memorable? And about how you can do it by keeping it short and relevant? That’s true, but there are other ways to keep it memorable, too. Make sure the domain address isn’t spelled incorrectly, or simply in an odd way, and try not to use dashes or hyphens in it. Keep it in line with your brand This is different than keeping it relevant and it’s also different than possibly using your business’ name. Your domain name needs to have the same tone that your website has. It is going to be the first thing people hear about your site, after all. So if you have a fun and fresh site, try to choose a name that’s the same. If your site is going to be more formal and professional, you probably won’t to choose a silly or quirky name. There’s a lot that goes into choosing a domain name – that’s why so many website owners spend so much time thinking about it before taking the plunge. Start with these four tips and you’ll end up with a domain name that’s dynamite! How Does Web Hosting Affect SEO?,2018: 2016-05-03T16:19:56-07:00 Search engine optimization. If you have a website of any kind or size, it’s a term you’ve certainly heard. Typically what comes to mind when one thinks about search engine optimization, or SEO, is researching and properly using keywords, linking them strategically, and incorporating tags and descriptions. So, what does a web host have to do with any of that? While website owners certainly have a lot of control over the SEO on their website, web hosts also have some control over it. This is because in addition SEO tactics that you incorporate into the content, Google also looks for other SEO strategies such as website speed, availability, and security. And those are components that are only available through a web host. You have some control over the loading speed of your website, and you can keep it loading as quickly as possible by optimizing code and images. However, if your web host simply takes too long to load, then none of the measures you’ve taken will matter. When looking for websites to direct visitors to, Google will look at how long those websites take to load and send the most traffic to those that don’t keep people waiting. Google won’t like it if your website takes forever to load, and it also won’t like it if your website is consistently down; and this is something only your web host can control. If their servers are constantly shutting down and inhabiting access to your website, the search engines won’t rank it well. Just like you can take measures to help with the loading time of your website, you can also secure your website with privacy settings within the control panel and virus protection and firewall software. However, if you’re the only one taking these security measures and your web host isn’t as secure, it’s like locking your bedroom door but keeping the rest of your house open. But how does security affect your SEO? It doesn’t really, until your website becomes hacked or worse, spreads malware or viruses to other computers or servers. If you’re hacked and your site gets shut down, the website’s ranking will drop, and if your website is responsible for spreading a virus, Google will certainly look on that negatively. These are just a few ways a web host can affect any website’s SEO efforts, but they’re very important. SEO web hosting isn’t necessarily a specialty type of web hosting, but there are some web hosts that claim to be experts in SEO or SEO-focused and these can be great options if SEO is especially important to you. To find a web host that can help with the SEO for your website, simply call around to different hosts and ask them how they can help, and what SEO measures they take. In a day when websites are becoming more competitive than ever, SEO is one easy way to increase page ranking and get your website in front of the eyes of many more visitors. Does the Location of My Server Matter?,2018: 2016-04-07T16:19:00-07:00 Every website is physically located somewhere. A website is made up of digital files and those files are stored as data on a physical server that is located somewhere in the world. The question for website owners is, does it matter where that server is located? If they live in California but they find a web host they love in New York, does it matter if their data is on the other side of the country? Unless you actually own the entire server and are collocating it, the easy answer is no, it doesn’t really matter where your website’s server is. But when it comes to the physical location of your web host, there are a few reasons to choose one within your country, if not your city. You might be able to find a great deal on web hosting in the United Kingdom, even though you’re located in Canada, but opting to go outside of the country isn’t always a great idea. For starters, different countries have vastly different laws on not only websites and web data, but also for different industries, particularly when it comes to buying and selling information. When you take web hosting outside of your country and the laws you’re familiar with, your website could inadvertently be running illegal content in the hosting country. Not to mention that dealing with a web host halfway across the world is going to be inconvenient at best. Once you’ve narrowed the location of your web host down to your own country, the best advice is still to keep them as close as possible. Having a web host, and therefore your actual website, physically close to you has a number of advantages. Firstly, Google does take the geo-IP of the server into consideration when ranking different websites and pages. If there’s a long way for data to travel it could affect the ranking slightly, whereas Google will prefer the data of sites that doesn’t have long to travel. SEO strategies can also suffer if the web host and server aren’t physically close to you. This is because while you might be using keywords such as “ABC Business, Buffalo, New York,” if the server has a different address, that SEO tactic might not be as effective because the two sides of it won’t match up. If you’re going to be moving your web host outside of the city in which you live, it’s a good idea to consider the physical factors of that location. If it’s prone to natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, or tornadoes, you might want to consider choosing a web host in a different area. Many website owners will never have to actually visit the server that stores their website and so in theory, the location of that server shouldn’t matter a great deal. But the chances are good that your website will benefit from having the server relatively close to you. 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Any Data Center,2018: 2016-03-02T16:17:46-07:00 So you’ve made the plunge. You have all of your most sensitive data on a server (or two or three) and you’re ready to find just the right data center to hold onto it for you. Now’s the time you start talking to different centers, and probably even visiting a few. When you do, you’ll need to be armed with the right set of questions to ask, and below are the five most important. 1.) Where are you located? If you ever ask this question to someone you do business with, it’s often just an administrative matter, but in the case of data centers, it’s a little more important. You should really only consider using a data center that is at least in the same country as you, if not the same city. In the end, this can potentially save you a lot of legal problems, and possibly even problems with your website. 2.) How many redundant data centers do you have? The answer can be as little as one, and it can even be something as small as a micro or modular data center. The important thing here is that the data center you use should have redundancy procedures in place, preferably in an entirely different space, to provide backup services in the case of power outage or other issue. 3.) What are your power failure procedures? It’s difficult to tell you what any one data center’s power failure procedures are, because they’ll vary depending on the resources used by any data center. Again, the important thing is that the data center has power failure procedures in place, and that your data will be safe in the event of an outage. 4.) How often do you test your backup generators? Power failure procedures include generators in nearly every single data center, but that procedure won’t do much good if the backup generators aren’t working. Ideally data centers should be checking the functionality and load of the generators every other day, but every week is also acceptable. 5.) What is your uptime rate? The uptime rate of any data center is the amount of time your website will be up and running. Ideally every website owner would like the uptime rate to be 100%, but that’s not really realistic. You can get pretty close though and find plenty of data centers with 99.99% uptime rates. Truthfully, there are a lot of questions you’ll need to ask any data center you’re going to entrust with your most important data and hardware. The most important questions however, will deal with the security of your files as well as the access visitors will have to your website. If you can’t keep your website secure, it might get shut down, and if the data center has regular interruptions or outages, visitors won’t make it to your site. Want to Update Your Website? Here’s how!,2018:’s-how! 2016-02-17T17:40:05-07:00 The Internet is such a fast-changing place that if you own a website there will come a time when you decide it’s time to give it a bit of a facelift. Or maybe the worst has already happened and your customers and visitors have already mentioned that it could use a freshening up. But aside from scrapping the whole bit and starting from square one, how can you do it? By using these simple tips that will instantly give it new life and attract even more visitors. Take a hard long look at your “About” page All too often people slap up an “About” page when they first get their site up, without putting too much thought into it. Businesses will often just use their mission statement, or a short summary on the products and services they offer. But once your site has been running for some time, take a long hard look at this page and ask yourself if it could possibly offer more. Perhaps give a brief history of your company, highlight a major event that really boosted your company to another level, or tell them what makes you better than your competition. Install a blog Truthfully, if your website doesn’t have a blog to along with it, you’re already behind the times. People expect every website to have a blog these days, as it’s a way to keep readers regularly updated on what’s going on with the business or the website and makes them feel more connected to you – even if they don’t realize it. Many business owners think they don’t have the time that’s required to install a blog and keep it updated regularly, but there are many content writers that would love to write for yours and they can tailor the posts to your business, and to convey the exact points you’re trying to get across. Even if you just need a blog post about an upcoming sale or promotion in your store. Place sales and promotions on the home page It’s great to have a blog post detailing certain promotions you’re holding, but putting it right on the front page of your site will also give it a new and fresh look. One dialogue box, strategically placed right where visitors will see it first, will instantly tell visitors that this is a site that gets updated regularly, plus it will clue them into the fact that you have a certain product or service on sale. That might get you more business for that particular event, and could get you repeat visitors on a regular basis. Just remember to take it down once the event is over, as leaving it up will do the exact opposite and tell customers that the site is rarely updated. These are three very simple ways you can use to instantly help freshen up your website. And while there are other ways to do it, including giving it a total revamp with an entirely new design and template, these are a few that will take just a few minutes and can really give your site an entirely new look. Want to Start an e-Commerce Site? Here’s How to do it!,2018:’s-how-to-do-it!- 2016-01-05T17:38:53-07:00 An ecommerce site is a great way to start a business, run a business, and make a lot of profit. And in fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration has stated that in the year 2013, online businesses grew faster than brick and mortar businesses, and that’s not showing any signs of slowing down. But for those interested in having one of these very popular types of businesses, just how do you get started? It’s really easier than you may think. Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal S.M.A.R.T. is an abbreviation for goals that translates into: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely; and having a S.M.A.R.T. goal for your e-commerce website is essential. Is it going to be strictly to sell your product or service? Is it going to be to tell customers about a discount you’re having? Or is it simply to tell customers about your business? Before you embark on building your website, you must have a clear goal in mind so that your website remains focused, and that the concept and message is clear to your customers. Know how to choose a domain name carefully The domain name of your website is the address that users will have to type in or visit when they want to get to your site. This must be chosen very carefully. It will often be the name of your business, but you also want to make sure the domain name is clear, self-explanatory, and should clearly indicate what your brand is all about. You may hear a lot about how it’s important to tie keywords into your domain name, but don’t worry about that too much as there are plenty of other SEO tactics you can use right within your content down the line. Have a merchant account ready A merchant account is a bank account that will allow merchants to accept payments such as debit and credit card payments online. You must have one if you’re going to be an online business, otherwise customers will go elsewhere to get the goods and services that they need. Paypal and both offer merchant accounts, but you should be able to set one up within your own bank as well, if that’s a preferable option for you. Find a good web host A web host will help you set up and create your website, and even if you know how to do these things with Joomla or WordPress, you’re going to need a web host that will store your website on one of their servers. When creating your website, be sure to include proper navigational links and pages within it including an About page, a Contact page, an industry news page, a page for your blog, and any other individual pages that are relevant to your business. Install analytics It will do you little good to have a website, work on it all the time, and never know whether or not it’s reaching people or achieving its desired goal. Install an analytical tool such as Google Analytics and you’ll be able to see how much traffic is coming to your site, what pages visitors are visiting most often, and even what times your website is the busiest. This will help you down the road, when it’s time to start focusing on these areas and writing the content or providing the goods and services that your customers are after the most. Starting an e-commerce site certainly isn’t difficult. Be sure to follow these steps, and you’ll make it even easier on yourself – and make your business even more successful! To Make the Right Infographic, You Need the Right Tools,2018:,-you-need-the-right-tools 2015-12-08T17:37:52-07:00 You’ve heard all about how infographics can help your site, and you’ve probably even seen a few that you thought were very compelling. But how do you get one up on your website or blog? Aside from gathering all the data from your different resources, how do you get it all into an attractive and interesting graphic that’s perfect for your site? Here too, you’ll need different resources. Some of these are free and some will cost a few bucks, but all of them will give you a great infographic. The difference will only be in if you want a basic graph, or one that’s more complex with different pictures and features involved. is a great tool that will take any data you enter into Excel and transport it into a PDF document, or even transfer it right onto your website. While it does only provide charts, it will give you up to 30 different kinds of them, far more than you’ll get with just Excel alone. You can also have one or two different charts within the same infographic, providing a couple different sets of data numbers. You will need to register on the site first, but registration – and full use of the site – is completely free. If you’re looking for a user-friendly infographic tool, Piktochart is a great one to use. Here you’ll get 90 different templates, so you’ll be sure to find one that will perfectly fit the data that you need. These templates will then guide you through adding the data you want contained within the graphic, and afterwards you can easily drag and drop them to wherever you want them to fit. Once your graphic is finished you can download it, print it out, or even share it directly to social media. This tool does cost $29 a month to use, but a trial version is available in case you want to try it out without paying a fee. InfoActive is another very user-friendly site that allows you to make stunning visuals pretty simply and easily. One thing InfoActive offers that some others do not is that the graphs are interactive and can easily be changed by the users. That allows you to continue to edit and make changes to your infographic so that they don’t become outdated, forcing you to create a new graphic altogether. InfoActive doesn’t cost anything, but it is still in a beta phase. That means that it’s considered to be private and the owners of the site will need to approve you first (after you submit your email) before you can start working on your graphic. There is no word on whether or not the software will cost anything to use once it goes public and no longer needs registration approval. Many Eyes is an infographic tool that allows you to create different images for your graphic that others won’t. These include things such as word trees, tree maps, heat maps, and word clouds. It’s not as easy to use as many of the other infographic tools and so, you might need to have some technical know-how before you embark on using it. The infographic you choose will ultimately depend on much technical knowledge you have, as well as what price you want to pay for it. Any one you choose though will let you get that infographic up and running on your site, so you can jump into this current trend, and start promoting your blog or website in one of the most productive online marketing strategies today. Stats to Help You with Your Internet Marketing,2018: 2015-11-10T17:30:23-07:00 Internet marketing can be defined as any marketing that’s done online. The most popular forms include PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements, social media advertising (even if it’s just a tweet on Twitter,) and content marketing, although there are others. But how do you know where to focus your Internet marketing efforts? And how do you know where your competitors are focusing theirs? Here are some stats that could help. By looking through them, you can see where customers are online, and therefore where they’re most likely to see your ads and promotions; as well as where others are using Internet marketing, and being successful through it. Search Engine Data • 75% of search engine users never look past the first page of results. This tells you how important it is to improve your search engine ranking so you appear on that first page. • SEO leads, that is search engine optimization techniques you use on your site, have a 14.6% close rate versus the 1.7% close rate you’ll get with outbound leads such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. • Search engines are still the main way to get visitors to your site. When compared with social media, the search engines drive 300% more traffic than any social media website. • 79% of the time, Internet users will click on natural search results rather than sponsored results (those that have been paid for and are usually ads,) even though sponsored ads appear at the very top of the page. Social Media Data • While Twitter might seem like the most popular search engine, as of 2013 Facebook still beats it with 1.11 billion users, as opposed to Twitter’s 500 million. Google+ comes in third at 343 million, LinkedIn at 225 million, Technorati at 216.million, and Instagram at 130 million. Pinterest comes in last at 48.7 million users. When organizing your social media efforts, it’s best to focus on the ones with the most users first. • With Facebook being the most popular, it’s not surprising that 80% of users prefer connecting with brands using this social media network. • When people like a group page on Facebook, they probability of them sharing that brand’s name and promotions is 85%; while it’s only 60% when users don’t “Like” the page or brand on Facebook. • That being said, 69% of social media users said that they like to find products to purchase through Pinterest – the network with the least amount of users. • And 67% of those on Twitter said they’re more likely to buy brands they follow. • B2B companies are 61% more likely to acquire new customers when they find them through LinkedIn. • Only 40% of brands are currently using Instagram to acquire new customers. • There’s no doubt that social media works. Social media generates twice as many leads than trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and PPC combined. • People like to find coupons and discounts through social media! 80% of them, in fact! • When considering any type of purchase, 46% of people will first check it out on one of the major social network players. Content Marketing • Content marketing isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 91% of B2B companies use content marketing in some form. • In 2013, the amount spent on content marketing is expected to be about $118.4 billion. 20.5% of companies planned on spending anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 on their efforts, while only 11.3% planned on spending nothing on content marketing. • Outsourcing is becoming more popular for content marketing, as 42% of companies said that a lack of human resources was their biggest obstacle for content marketing. Another 35% said that it was lack of a budget for it that was standing in their way. • When asking chief marketing officers of big companies, 78% said they believed content marketing was the future of marketing. • Always attach a picture to an article! It’s 94% more likely that it will get viewed when you do. Using these stats, you can determine where consumers are looking, and just how important certain forms of marketing might be that you’ve been overlooking. Many might be surprised for instance, that Facebook is more popular than Twitter, or that an article with no picture has only a 6% chance of being seen at all! SEO and Content Marketing: Is there a Difference?,2018: 2015-10-24T16:55:32-07:00 SEO and content marketing have been some of the hottest buzzwords on the Internet today. Often the two overlap onto each other, and sometimes the terms are even used interchangeably. But is there a difference? Or has content marketing just become the new SEO? SEO SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” That is, optimizing your site for the search engines so that when people are searching online, they can easily find you and your website. SEO involves a number of strategies including using keywords, links and backlinks, and one of the newest, being mobile-friendly. Even images and video are optimized for SEO so that search engines can recognize them and place them higher in the page rankings. SEO does have a lot to do with the content of your site. After all, you can hardly write keywords and long-tail keywords without having content to place them in. And any links and backlinks you have on your site will also be nestled nicely somewhere in the content of your site. But SEO focuses on advertising your site to the search engines, letting them know you’re there and using them to get higher page rankings and therefore, more people to your site. Content Marketing Content marketing, as its name suggests, is also another form of advertising your site. But instead of advertising to the search engines and letting them know you’re there, you’re advertising to people, letting them know you’re there and attracting them to your site. Visitors don’t care so much about keywords and links, but they do care that the content they view on your site is relevant, engaging, helpful, and useful. If the content on your site is of no value to the visitor, they’re going to leave and find another site that is. This is why you need to not only focus on SEO, but also content marketing – tailoring your content to the reader and making it as dynamic as possible. It’s important to understand that content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean pushing your products or trying to sell directly to the customer. It’s about giving them information that is useful and that they can learn from. In doing so, you’ll gain a strong customer base that rewards you by giving you their business and that remains loyal. Although the terms SEO and content marketing are sometimes considered one in the same, they’re really not. While they both involve the content of your site, they have very different purposes. While one targets actual customers, the other targets the spiders of the search engines. SEO and content marketing do have one other thing in common however. In order to be successful using either of them, each needs to be done consistently. Your site must have regular, updated content that is not only of real value to the reader, but can also easily be found by the search engines. How to Sell Your Website,2018: 2015-09-07T16:54:37-07:00 If you’re unsure of how to take your website to the next level and are tired of maintaining it, don’t simply let the domain expire and cancel your web hosting account. Instead, make some extra money from it and sell it to the highest bidder. This has become easy to do thanks to websites such as, one of the sites where “website flipping” has not only become one of the quickest-growing industries, but also an extremely profitable option for website owners. Sites such as Flippa hold auctions that focus on the sale of websites. The auction on a certain listing will last for a certain amount of time at the end of which, the website will be sold to the highest bidder. While the process is relatively easy, there’s a lot to know and you’ll need to be very active before, during, and after the sale. Things to know before selling your website You might think you already know everything about your site. After all, you’re the one that created it and that’s been maintaining it, right? While that’s probably true, you’ll still need to know two very specific figures before listing your website for sale – traffic and revenue. Traffic. You’ll need to know how much traffic is coming to the site on a regular basis, and you’ll need to have exact figures. Buyers are going to determine whether or not they’ll buy your site based on its revenue potential and website revenue is dependent on one thing – traffic. Make sure that Google Analytics is installed on your site (it should have been since launch), and have those numbers ready for buyers. Revenue. Keep in mind that websites typically sell for one to three times their yearly profit so, in order to sell your website, it should be making substantial revenue. If not, your site might not be ready for sale just yet. If your site is producing revenue, keep accurate records that are provable, and keep separate accounts for web businesses. During the auction Once your site has been listed and is officially up for auction, you’ll need to do more than just ride out the auction time and wait to collect your payment. The chances are that buyers are going to have lots of questions. Make sure that you’re available to respond to them, and to be as active as possible with buyers – you’re not only selling your website, but yourself, too. Also make sure that you don’t get discouraged if your listing doesn’t get a lot of bids right away; most come within the last 24 hours. After the auction Just as you need to be present during the auction, you also need to be present after the auction, otherwise the sale could very well fall through. After the funds have been released from escrow (the gold standard of auction websites) you can then transfer the site to the buyer. Remember that the buyer may also ask for the name of your web host, graphic designer, content creator, or any other person that has been involved in the creation and production of your site. Always be sure to ask ahead of time if you can pass on that information, so you can have it ready when the buyer asks. The process of selling a website can be a long and tiring one, and it’s important to know that there will be a lot of expected of you before, during and after. In the end however, you may end up enjoying the process – and the profit – so much that you become a professional website flipper! How to Make Your WordPress Site Mobile-Friendly,2018: 2015-08-12T16:53:50-07:00 Did you know that last year, for the first time in history, online users accessed the Internet more frequently on their mobile devices than they did their computers or laptops. The shift from browsing the Internet at home to while on the go meant a lot of different changes needed to be made in the ways companies were portraying themselves online. This year, Google announced that it would be taking mobile-friendliness into account when assigning page rankings, making it even more important that websites be clearly visible and easily navigated when being viewed on a mobile device. If you run a website or blog from WordPress, there are many things you can do to improve the mobile-friendliness of your site and they don’t take much time at all. Choosing your web hosting provider carefully Of course if you choose a bad web host, you’ll naturally be dealing with slowness and unreliability along with a lack of knowledge about how to make your WordPress site mobile-friendly. But if you’re going to have a WordPress site, you need to make sure your web host is well-versed in this platform. Only then can they make recommendations about how to best make it mobile-friendly. Choose your theme carefully In WordPress there are themes that load quickly and others that aren’t, leaving the user staring at a blank page waiting for it to load. When choosing your theme select one that is tagged as having a “responsive layout” to ensure that it’s responsive and that it will load quickly. Make content mobile-friendly Remember that if people are viewing your website on a mobile device, the chances are good that are on-the-go and don’t have a lot of time to scroll through pages and pages. Use short paragraphs, subtitles, and bulleted lists to make text readable and easy to scan. Also include lots of whitespace on each page to avoid making it look cluttered. Use plugins wisely WordPress has a host of plugins and website owners can become so enamored with them that they end up collecting a lot of them over time. While they may be useful to the PC user, all of those plugins will only slow down the load time of your site and frustrate the mobile user. Don’t forget about your images If you simply upload an image to your site and don’t optimize it in any way, it’s going to be very large and again, slow down the load time and mobile-friendliness of your site. There are a variety of plugins that will help customize your images. They are: Image Pro, CW Image Optimizer, Imsanity, Hammy, EWWW Image Optimizer, and PB Responsive Images. While you manage and edit your site from your PC or laptop, you might not be giving a second thought to the mobile-friendliness of it, but ignoring it is a big mistake. You’ve taken so much time making sure your website is already perfect, for the intent of making it easy for users to visit and navigate. Not making the extra effort to make sure your site is mobile-friendly will make all of that work for naught and worse, will have visitors leaving your page to find something else. How to Get the Right Kind of Traffic,2018: 2015-07-20T16:53:00-07:00 So you have a website and the whole point is to get as much as traffic to it as possible, right? Everyone knows that traffic equals revenue and what difference does it make whether that traffic comes from one post that’s gone viral, or a steady stream of high-quality posts? It matters. While this all might be traffic, what kind of traffic is it? There are different types and if you’re focusing on the wrong kind, your website simply won’t be reaching its full potential. What is the right kind of traffic? While traffic and owning a website is largely a numbers game, you must focus on the right kind of traffic. This is one area where quality really is better than quantity. The right kind of traffic includes users that visit your website often, browse through multiple pages while there, and spend a good amount of time digging around your site. What makes these users so desirable is not only that they boost your page ranking within Google (because they do), but that they’re also the users that are most likely to give you direct revenue. They’re the most likely to purchase your product or sign up for your email list, and this is the audience that you really should be tailoring your website to. What is the wrong kind of traffic? While even the “wrong” kind of traffic will still build the overall traffic numbers for your site, that’s all they’ll do. These are the visitors that only visit your site once, leave almost as soon as they get there, and not go anywhere else but the landing page. Even with the boost in numbers, these visitors aren’t going to do too much for your website or your bottom line, so it’s important not to place all your focus simply on building numbers. This type of traffic often comes when you’ve had a post featured on sites like or The exposure your site will receive on these sites is invaluable, and will increase the popularity of your page overall. In the best case scenarios, this initial exposure leads to visitors that come back again and again after hearing about it. However, the revenue generated from that one specific post won’t likely be enough to greatly boost profits, and no website owner should ever rely on one of their posts going viral in order to turn a profit. Website traffic is important and generally the more you have, the more beneficial it will be to your site. However, it’s important that you don’t put all of your efforts into making your traffic numbers as high as possible without giving a second thought to the quality of that traffic. There is high-quality traffic and low-quality traffic and you want to make sure that every visit counts. 9 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Data Center,2018: 2015-06-09T16:49:27-07:00 Data centers are starting to revolutionize the IT industry and there are more start-ups today than ever before, with more coming onto the scene every day. Whether you’re one that’s just starting out or you’ve been operating a data center for a while, you might be making some of the most common mistakes found in data centers. Find out what the top nine are, and how you can avoid them. 1.) Not having a high-quality pocket flashlight on you at all times Your fluorescent lights do a fine enough job lighting the office, right? And in case of a power outage, your generators will kick in and provide enough light for you to get around. So why would you need a pocket flashlight? Because you’ll need to be crawling into racks, checking for serial numbers and ports on the backs of servers, and do your fair share of searching in the dark. Don’t rely on your phone that’s awkward, will get scratched, and won’t provide sufficient light anyway. Spend a couple of bucks to get a pocket flashlight and have it on you at all times. 2.) Not knowing your cables You’ll be having equipment delivered to your office on a regular basis and not every cable, wire, or cord is the same. Make sure you know what cables come with it, and if it will fit into your standard rack power strips, because not all of them do. If you can fix this problem at the time of delivery, you’ll save yourself some grief in the long run. 3.) Failing to keep a copy of all documents This is common sense, right? Right, but not everyone does it. Your diagrams and reference sheets will already be on the fileserver, but if you can’t access them when it goes down, they do you no good. Keep a copy on your laptop, Google Drive, or SharePoint Workspace so they’ll be accessible when you need them. 4.) Messy racks and server space Neat cabling, with wires all nicely running parallel in cable management attachments, don’t just like phenomenal (because they do), they also make it easier to trace cables, install new ones, and remove the old. They’re a must. You should never have cables knotted into nests beside or behind racks. 5.) Neglecting to check things out for yourself You’re the expert so if something goes wrong you’ll be the person that’s called. When you are, take the time to check the problem out for yourself. Otherwise you might waste a lot of time trying to fix a “faulty” printer that’s really just had the network cable accidentally knocked out of it. 6.) Failing to double-connect everything Double-connecting everything to the network is valuable insurance that your servers will remain accessible even if something goes wrong. Pair the adaptors with LACP/EtherChannel, or use teaming software to run the ports as a team in active/passive mode. Also remember to have two NICs to prevent the server from being disconnected from the network. 7.) Making changes without thinking it through Decisions will need to be made about certain changes that the data center may need, or that may just enhance the data center, hardware or software. But making changes without considering things like dependencies can be dangerous. Always know if one change will affect anything else and then consider whether or not you should make the change after all. 8.) Assuming things will always go the way they should It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming complacent about things because you’ve done them a hundred times and things have always gone smoothly. However, complacency breeds mistakes so always take as much caution the hundredth (or thousandth) time you do something as you did the first. 9.) Not keeping the vendors happy The relationship with your vendors is important. Not only must you make sure you’re always very professional and courteous with them, but you should try and go one step further. Schedule them to come in around lunch time and then offer them some pizza you ordered for the office. Or, hold off on non-urgent issues when you know your vendors are swamped. Going the extra distance will reap valuable benefits in the free advice that’s given while you’re chatting up the vendors. Avoid these most common mistakes and your data center will run much more smoothly, and you’ll run into far fewer issues. 8 Ways to Improve Data Center Efficiency,2018: 2015-05-10T16:48:37-07:00 Data centers are really just large spaces dedicated to the storage and maintenance of servers, computers, and other equipment. All of this equipment is typically running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means data centers use a lot of electricity. If you’re running your own data center, you can increase energy-efficiency to keep your equipment running at optimal performance, and save on your utility bills. 1.) Reduce cooling power While many think it’s the actual IT equipment that uses most of the power in a data center, it’s actually the cooling system. Any inefficiency in the cooling system must be upgraded and replaced with energy-efficient systems, and making better use of outside air will also increase the energy-efficiency of the cooling system. 2.) Better virtualization techniques When dedicated servers are “virtualized”, they are split into different virtual servers. This can be done to increase overall virtualization from the typical 10 per cent of dedicated servers to anywhere between 20 and 30 per cent with more dynamic management systems. Doing so can also free rack space up for additional servers. 3.) Balancing, calibrating, and monitoring cold aisle temperatures Cold aisles are one of the most effective ways data center operators reduce energy and keep their servers running. But the configuration of hot and cold aisles can create hot spots within data centers that can create hot spots. In order to minimize these hot spots, equipment needs to be balanced, calibrated and monitored. Equipment will run better, and energy will be saved. 4.) Match server capacity to load in real time During periods where your server is not as active as its busiest times, it’s still using just as much power. It can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent by matching the server capacity to load in real time. Application such as Runbooks can be used to automate the steps involved, making it even easier. 5.) Improve emergency procedures of the facility and IT equipment In some data centers, the emergency procedures of the actual facility and the IT equipment are different and sometimes, happen at different times. Correlating and automating these procedures will reduce the impact of power outages and will also reduce the UPS/generator load. 6.) Know how much power you’re using Whether you’re using newer or older equipment, you need to know how much power you’re using. Of course older equipment will often use power inefficiently, while new servers can have a higher idle/peak swing, which can eventually overload the circuits. Know how much power you’re using and then take necessary steps to maximize server capacity while reducing the risk of overloading circuits. 7.) Stop using the transfer switch Common configurations often involve using an automatic transfer switch between the grid and the generator. However, using an alternate current (AC) or direct current (DC) distribution bus will integrate every source of power and will allow generator maintenance cycle to be put to better use. 8.) Have multiple data centers that can use the most power when it’s cheapest Everyone knows that power is cheaper to consumer at night. But if you have only one data center in one location, you can only take so much advantage of those lunar hours. However, if you have several data centers, loads can be shifted to where energy is not only the most stable, but also the least expensive. Data centers use an immense amount of power and it’s critical that data center operators are aware of the many different ways they can increase the energy efficiency. This is the only way for a data center to remain viable and for owners and operators to save on not just energy consumption, but their wallets too. 7 Tips to Protect Your Site from Hackers,2018: 2015-04-14T16:47:52-07:00 You have a website for your business. There’s no financial or personal information on it, so why would hackers ever want to interfere with your site? Most people are surprised to find out that most hacking breaches are not to deface your website or gain any information at all but rather, to use the server for spam, or to set up a temporary web server that can be used to hold illegal files. For this reason, every website owner needs to protect their site from hacking as best they can and these tips will help you do it. 1.) Ensure software is up to date If you’re using managed hosting you probably won’t need to worry about this as your web host will do it all for you. But if you’re managing your own site you need to make sure the software for your server operating system, CMS, and forums are all up to date so hackers don’t find their way onto your server. 2.) Use parameterised queries in web form fields You know those forms you have on your website that visitors can fill out and contact you? Hackers use these to perform SQL injection attacks and gain access to your database. Parameterised queries are a feature in most web languages, are easy to implement, and will help keep your site safe from hackers. 3.) Encode or strip out any HTML This will prevent hackers from performing cross site scripting (XSS), which is also accessible to them through the web form. With XSS, hackers can then run malicious code on your site. To prevent them from doing this, make sure that when creating the form it will encode or strip out any HTML. 4.) Error fields We’ve all seen error fields on our computers when we try to do something unauthorized, but how much are your error fields giving away? Do they simply state the “username/password combination is incorrect”? Or do they actually tell the user which one of those things is incorrect? The latter will provide clues to hackers that will help them when they’re attempting a brute force attack by simply trying different combinations to access an account. 5.) Browser and server validation Browsers do a good job of catching certain fails, such as when mandatory text isn’t typed into a field. However, hackers know how to bypass these and so to protect yourself even further, you need to make sure that validation is also being done on the server side. Otherwise, you put your site at risk for malicious code or scripting code being entered into the database. 6.) Regulating passwords Online users know that complicated passwords are important, but that doesn’t mean everyone uses them. Force them to by including password regulations such as minimums of eight characters, and including uppercase letters along with at least one number. This will make it more difficult for hackers to perform brute force attacks. 7.) SSL If users are passing personal information between the website and your server, you must have a security certificate installed on the site. Without these certificates hackers can gain access to that information and get into user accounts and their personal information. If you have a website it’s important that you protect it from being hacked so that it continues to run as you need it to, and to protect the personal information of the users of your site. These tips are just a few of things you can do to protect yourself but be sure to speak to your web host about even more security options available to you. 6 Interesting Facts about Data Centers,2018: 2015-03-19T16:46:44-07:00 Unless you need to use one for your own server, the chances are good that you’ve never given a thought to data centers. Truthfully however, if you’ve ever sent an email or gone online, you’ve used a data center, even if you didn’t know it. Data centers are large groups of computer servers that are used by organizations and businesses for the purpose of processing or distributing large amounts of data, or for remote storage. In addition to their practical purposes, data centers can be fascinating, as shown by the following six interesting facts about them. 1.) There are approximately 3 million data centers in the United States alone. It’s easy to think of data centers as remote buildings somewhere far away from people, or anything really. If this was the case there would only be hundreds, maybe even a few thousand, data centers. In reality, there are approximately 3 million data centers in the United States – that’s 1 for every 100 people – and they’re just about everywhere. 2.) The energy use consumed by data centers is exponential. With all those servers, wires, coolers, and other equipment, it’s easy to see that the amount of energy used by one data center alone would be significant. In 2013, those 3 million data centers in the U.S. used approximately 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which was 2 per cent of all electricity use within the country. 3.) Every kilowatt saved in a data center can potentially save 2 kilowatts in powering the same data center. While data centers do consume a huge amount of power, there are also many ways these centers can save energy. Data center owners and operators know this so they employ many energy-saving practices including hot and cold aisle isolation, managing airflow, and raising the temperature within the recommended range. 4.) On a larger scale, data centers can improve overall energy efficiency Imagine how much power you can save in your own home just by turning lights off, using energy-efficient appliances, and running your air conditioning and furnace as little as possible. When data centers employ energy-efficient practices, those energy savings are present on a much larger scale. If all data centers in the United States could cut their energy use by 20 per cent, the country could save more than 20 billion kilowatts within the next 5 years. That’s about $2 billion saved. 5.) About 10 per cent of the United States’ federal government’s electricity comes from data centers. This one really speaks for itself. It’s a statistic that comes from the Department of Energy and it shows just how reliant everyone is on data centers; and once again, how much energy they use. 6.) Data centers upgrade their IT equipment every 3 to 5 years. The equipment in a data center is everything, especially all that IT equipment that includes servers and other hardware. It has to be the most up-to-date because the clients of the data center are relying on optimum performance from it literally every second of every day. Data center owners and operators have to make sure that their equipment is the best so they can provide their clients with the best. Upgrading IT equipment this often also means that the new equipment will be more energy-efficient than the older equipment it’s replacing. Data centers are everywhere and while you’re likely already using one (even if you don’t know it) you might have to store your own data there one day soon. When you do, you’ll likely find that they’re not only more common than you think, but also much more interesting. 5 Facts about Your Website You Should Know,2018: 2015-02-20T16:44:02-07:00 You’re already well aware of the design of your site, the purpose of it, and hopefully, who your target audience is. But how well do you know your site when it comes to its performance and its capabilities? Here are five facts about your website that if you don’t already, you need to become familiar with. Your traffic stats The success of your site will depend on a number of things but the number one factor will be how much traffic your site receives. Everything you do for your site will be done with the intent of getting more traffic. But do you know how much traffic your site is actually getting? How many people are coming to your site per month, and what are they doing once there? Do they land on your page and then leave, giving you a high bounce rate? Or do they stick around, checking out the different pages of the site, giving you a high conversion rate? You must always know your traffic stats so that if you’re having a problem getting traffic or the right kind of stats, you can fix the problem. If you don’t know your traffic stats, Google Analytics is considered the gold standard in the industry for getting them. Your page’s load time The Internet is all about immediacy. If people have a question, they can get the answer in a matter of seconds. If they want to purchase something, they can with just a couple of clicks. If your page takes too long to load, the chances are that they will leave and go to a site that doesn’t have a waiting time. In fact, a site with a long loading time will turn people away even more than a site with low-quality content. Visit your page as though you were a visitor using any number of tools – Webslug is one of them – so you can again, fix the problems as they occur. Storage space If you’re a website owner that’s not concerned about their storage space because your web hosting package came with unlimited space, you’re not alone. Truthfully though, web hosts cannot physically provide unlimited space for all of their customers that sign up for it so they’ll outline in their terms of service just how much storage you’re actually getting under that “unlimited” umbrella. Read the fine print in your TOS so that you know exactly how much content you can load to your site. Bandwidth Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer you’ll have available for visitors to download your site’s content onto their computer or device. So if your site gets a lot of visitors, you’ll need a lot of bandwidth. Analyze your traffic stats and then analyze your bandwidth stats so that you can see if you need more bandwidth, or if you’re paying for bandwidth that your site isn’t using just yet. If you exceed your bandwidth, your site could shut down so it’s important you always know that you have enough. Your server You need to know a few things about your server so that if you need tech support you can both communicate to the IT person what’s going wrong, and you can understand some of what they’re saying when they tell you about the solution. Know what type of server you’re using, whether it’s a shared, dedicated, or VPS. Also have handy the manufacturer of the server, the applications it can run, the processor information, and how it’s mounted. While you don’t need to know this information off the top of your head, you should have it available for your reference. When it comes to your website, knowing about the design, theme, and content is all very important. But there are some stats at the back-end of your site that you also need to know to make sure it’s performing at its very best, and that it will continue to. These are five of the most important, as they’ll have the biggest effects on the overall success of your website. Best SEO Practices for 2015,2018: 2015-01-11T16:50:30-07:00 Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a bit challenging. Not only are there a number of different elements to consider, but things are constantly changing, making it hard to keep on top of what you should be doing on your site. This year, a lot has already changed in SEO and if you haven’t kept up, it could mean making some changes on your site. Here are some of the changes that have been made, and the best SEO practices you can start putting into place right now. Go mobile This year Google placed a major emphasis on mobile-friendly websites. With over 50 percent of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s not hard to see why. If your website isn’t currently mobile-friendly, not only will users get frustrated that it’s not appearing right on their device, but your Google will also lower your page rankings, making it difficult for people to find you at all. Speak with your web host or IT specialist about how to make your site mobile-friendly. It’s not difficult, and will greatly contribute to the success of your site. Go long, go local Keywords are still just as important as they ever were to SEO, but they are seeing changes, too. While single words used to be the norm in keywords, today long-tail keywords that include three to five words is considered ideal. Not only will long-tail keywords get you slightly higher page rankings, they will also help visitors narrow down what they’re looking for. In turn, this helps you to direct content to your target audience more efficiently and effectively. Also remember that including your location can be helpful with keywords, particularly if you deliver a product or service locally. So the keyword “florist” can be turned into “best florist in Florida”. Get social If you want your site and your brand to have a significant web presence then you must get active on social networking sites such as Google +, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. In terms of SEO, it’s more important to have a dynamic presence than it is to have content that is actually liked and shared. And because these sites will have a high page ranking, if visitors don’t find your site at least they’ll find you indirectly through your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Make sure that you keep active on Google+ as well. Although not one of the most popular sites, because it’s a Google product it will receive priority in the page rankings. When it comes to the number of SEO practices you can employ on your site, there are many. And while some of the ones you use today are those that you’ve been using for years, there are also some that have just come about this year. In order to stay ahead of the competition and ensure your site has a dynamic and robust web presence, start using these best SEO practices for 2015. You’ll start seeing the results right away. Why Having a Mobile Site is Important,2018: 2014-12-18T16:55:44-07:00 You’ve started a business and you’ve built it up to the point where it’s very successful. And, you’ve even created a website and it looks pretty fantastic. What more could you need? Well, if you currently don’t also have a mobile site, you’ll need to go one step further. A mobile website is a website that has been optimized to be viewed on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. They typically look the same as the original site, only they’re formatted to be viewed on smaller screens and when customers are on-the-go. But, do you really need one? The answer is a resounding “yes!” and here’s why. People are searching everywhere Gone are the days when a person has to be at home and boot up their PC or laptop before they can get online and research places to shop, eat, or use products and services. Today, people are searching in their cars, at the office, when they walk down the street, and just about anywhere they can go. So if friends are out together and want to go to lunch but don’t know where to go, they’ll likely pull up an app or a search engine and look into nearby restaurants. (They’ll also do this if they’re out shopping for a particular product or service and need to know where to go.) If you don’t have a mobile site, the chances are good that your business will not show up in the results, and customers won’t even know about your business in order to be able to go there. You absolutely need a mobile site in order to be visible among the competition today. Be more visible in homes, too You can increase sales even more than just by being visible in apps and search engines, though. In fact, today when customers need a product or service, they search on their tablets or smartphones - even when they’re at home. Smaller devices are simply becoming more popular because they’re easier to handle and carry around. Customers might order your product or service right online, which increases online sales, or they might just research the product before finding it and visiting the store where they found it. Either way, you’re going to see an increase in sales, but you’ll need a mobile site before you see that difference take place. Creating a mobile site doesn’t need to be a lengthy and expensive process. Just like when you were setting up your original site, there are many different packages suited to different needs. In fact, you can have your mobile website up and running for a cost of anywhere between $13 a month to thousands of dollars a month. It all depends on how large your website is, how much storage and broadband you want, and how many visitors it will receive on any given day. No matter which type you choose though, there are no negatives to having a mobile site, meaning that you and your business will only be reaping benefits by having one. Making Keyword Research Easy,2018: 2014-11-04T17:39:49-07:00 Even if you don’t know what they are, keywords are really the backbone of your website. These are the words that people enter into search engines when they’re looking for content, and that will ultimately lead them to your site. Most Internet users, even if they’re going to the same websites every day, use search engines and keywords on an almost constant basis, and so if you want to get more visitors to your site, you must know how to use them. But where do you start? And will it involve hours of keyword research? Well, you can begin your research right here, and all of it will take just a few minutes. Start your keyword research by simply pulling out a blank sheet of paper and pencil (or you can do it right in your computer using a program such as Word.) Think about all the words and phrases that apply to your website, and start jotting them down. For instance, if your website teaches people how to cook, some of the words and phrases that might apply include “recipes,” “easy recipes,” “best recipes,” as well as different kinds of food – “turkey,” “beef,” “spinach,” and anything else that you cook and post regularly. Because you come up with these keywords easily and naturally, they are likely to be the most organic keywords you will find. Unfortunately though, compiling a list of your own keywords and phrases isn’t enough. Once you have your own list, you’ll need to expand on it by utilizing keyword research tools. These are tools that will not only provide you with even more keywords and phrases, but that will show you which ones will perform better than others on your website. You’ll be able to see how much traffic certain keywords will bring in, as well as how many searchers are currently using specific keywords. Still don’t know where to start? Some of the most popular keyword research tools you’ll find online are: Wordze, Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Bing’s Keyword Tool, Wordpot, YouTube keyword tools, and Keyword Spy. Lastly, make sure you’re using long tail keywords. Many people see long phrases such as “the best beef stew you’ll ever make,” and automatically discount them because they think they’re simply too long for a keyword. However, that’s not the case. These longer phrases are known as ‘long tail keywords,’ and because fewer website owners tend to use them, they’re far less competitive. Because of that, when you incorporate them on your website, users that are searching for that long tail keyword will be taken to your website over someone’s who has just used the keyword “stew.” Keyword research is essential in order to draw traffic from the search engines, but it’s important for other reasons too. It will show you which niches are most profitable for your business, tell you about the specific content ideas people are most interested in, and give you hints about the products and services that will be most profitable on your website. Keyword research doesn’t have to be difficult, and it holds so many benefits for online business owners. Keeping the Navigational Side of Your Website Organized,2018: 2014-10-02T17:38:56-07:00 You can have the greatest business in the world, e-commerce or otherwise, but if your website is lacking in navigational organization, the website alone could ruin it. The world of the Internet is so fast today, and there is so much competition between businesses and their websites. If yours is lacking, it won’t take long for customers to abandon it and instead go to your competitor’s website. And, a recent study done by Social Triggers found that no matter how great the business concept or business model, the majority of customers will turn away from it if they can’t navigate through it smoothly. So, how do you make sure that they can? Start by knowing the Golden Rule of website navigation, the 3-click rule. This rule states that any page within your site should be accessible by three clicks. So make sure that there are clear links to every page on your site right on the landing page; and if there are pages that are buried deep within your site, make sure you have a link to a sitemap on the landing page. The sitemap is a list of every page on your website, so if customers can simply visit it, find what they need and click on it, you’re golden. Just so long as it doesn’t take more than three clicks to get to any page, you’ll be keeping within the rule and keeping yoru website’s navigation organized. Secondly, use tags and use them wisely. Tags are a great way to categorize different pages and there are many different types of tags. This may seem redundant to the business owner, but the different types of tags will be very helpful to visitors. Tags fall into the three categories of crucial, optional, and irrelevant. Crucial tags are those that apply to everyone that comes to the site, and visitors should be able to find whatever they need using these tags. So if you have a wedding planning site, “Bride,” “Groom,” or “Wedding Party” are great examples of crucial tags. Optional tags on the other hand, will refine the results so that if someone clicks on “Wedding Party,” they’ll then be taken to “Ushers,” “Bridesmaids,” or “Maid of Honor.” Users will only get to these pages though, after they’ve clicked on the crucial tag of “Wedding Party.” Irrelevant tags then, are tags that are only seen by the site’s administration staff and not the general public. These include things such as word count and the date the post or page was published. Lastly, you need to make it very simple for users to start their search again, or go back and start searching for something else. This is important on every single website, no matter what product or service you’re offering, and it’s very easy to do. Simply provide visitors with a way to get back to the home page, whether that’s through a “Home” button on the bottom of every page, or whether they can click on the name of the website found at the top of every page. Visitors don’t want to click back hundreds of times any more than they want to click forward and so, you need to make it easy for them. It doesn’t matter how brilliant your website or business is. If your website isn’t easy to move through, visitors aren’t going to stick around to figure it out. Follow these tips to ensure that they do! Is Your Website Successful? Find out how to tell here!,2018:! 2014-09-08T17:36:00-07:00 There really is no point in having a website or a blog if you’re simply publishing to it (even daily) and letting it sit. Doing this will give you no insight to the number of visitors you have, whether or not your site is making money for you, or if there are mistakes you’re making that could be easily fixed. There simply is no way to determine the success of your site by just publishing and never recording its success. So how do you tell if your website is successful? By using measuring metrics, and knowing what to look for within those metrics. Google Analytics is probably the most popular tool for measuring the metrics within your site; and it’s free, too. Not only will Google Analytics measure things such as conversion rates, bounce rates, and keywords, it will also let you perform split testing. That’s the unique ability to find where the trouble is within your data, and use action steps to help correct it. Piwik is another tool that’s also free and will help you measure the success of your website. The one benefit Piwik has over Google Analytics is that it’s hosted on the same web server as your website, which might consolidate the resources you use and give you total privacy when it comes to looking at the stats. So what data should you be analyzing to determine the success of your website? • Conversion rate: This will tell you how many people are simply visiting your site and then leaving, and how many are staying on the site and taking the action you want them to, whether that’s visiting pages further in than just the landing page, subscribing to a newsletter, or contacting you directly. This is given as a percentage, and the percentage you see is the number of people taking action. • Exit pages: Unless the exit pages are natural (such as a thank you page,) you need to know where users lose their interest and leave your site. By seeing what pages are the biggest exit points for your readers, you can improve them so they don’t leave, but continue on. • Page views: These are very simple; they’re the amount of times a page was viewed within one day. However, it won’t tell you whether that number was by the same person coming back to the same page, or if they were unique visitors. • Unique visitors: This is where you’ll not only find out how many times a page was viewed, but how many different people came to look at that one page. • Referrers: Are you listed on other websites? If so, the referrers metric is very important. This measuring tool will let you know where the most customers are coming from, and can either help you boost your efforts on that page, or improve other pages that may not be getting the same amount of referrers. • Internal search keywords: Unlike search engine keywords, which tell you what words people are entering into search engines to find your site, internal search keywords will tell you what people are entering into the search box found on your site. This can help you see what pages are the most popular, and add other content like it. • Bounce rate: This rate tells you how many people are visiting your site and leaving after only looking at the first page. It can be helpful to determine the success of your landing page, and your able to help users convert landing into an action taken. These are a few of the different ways you can determine the success of your website. And if you’re not currently using any type of measuring system to determine the success of your site, they’re a very good place to start. How Social Media can Help You Provide Better Customer Service,2018: 2014-08-07T10:15:50-07:00 Never thought that being on social media is all that important for your business? Or are you on Twitter and Facebook, but use it mainly to tell customers about new products, or new blog posts and other content on your website? If any of these things are true for you and your business, it could be one of the biggest business mistakes you’re making. In fact, social media can be your biggest boost when it comes to customer service. First, set up the Twitter account with the username yourcompany_complaints, or other name that clearly indicates that if customers have a problem, this is where they should be telling you about them. Sometimes it can be very difficult to sort through hundreds of tweets, just to find the one that involves a complaint from a customer. To keep this from happening, make sure you set up a Twitter account that is dedicated to issues. Customers love social media because if they find a problem with your product or service, they can tell you about it right away. They know that instead of waiting on hold over the phone, or writing a letter, they can simply hop onto Facebook or Twitter, leave a message for you, and their concerns will be addressed. However, because they are able to leave a message instantly, you need to do them the same courtesy and make sure you respond immediately. It will only take a minute, and it gives you the chance to keep a customer for life. If you don’t want to be tied to your phone, or you don’t want to be checking your accounts all the time, hire a staff person dedicated to this job. When it comes time to respond to the customer, make sure that you do several things. First, acknowledge that what they’re complaining about is an actual problem and apologize for it. Then, offer a solution that does not involve something that’s already on your website or social media account. The customer will feel offended that you’ve assumed they haven’t looked into it, or that they have simply overlooked something that’s clearly written out. Doing so will not only show that you’re sympathetic to their situation, but that you actually care and are doing everything you can to right the wrong they have experienced. No matter how organized you are with keeping your complaints separate, no matter how timely you are in responding, and no matter how much advice and information you give, sometimes there just isn’t a solution. But if you give your customer nothing at this point, they’re going to be even angrier. When this happens, make sure that you offer your empathy and that you also give them something for their trouble. Whether it’s a gift certificate or a discount on their next purchase, they’ll appreciate the fact that you really have done all they could to make their experience a bit better. Customer service used to be one of the most difficult aspects of owning a business. With the advent of social media today however, it’s actually one of the easiest if you know how to harness it and use it to your advantage. 10 Marketing Strategies that will Help Your Small Business,2018: 2014-07-10T10:14:52-07:00 There are fewer things in life harder than starting a business. And for even the most ambitious business owner, one of the most stressful aspects of starting that business can be the marketing of it. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be! Here are ten marketing strategies that are not only effective, but also pretty easy for even the business owner with next to no marketing experience whatsoever. 1.) Be yourself This one is very important because no matter what type of marketing you embark on, you always want to make sure your voice and your own personal style comes through. There is something that makes you uniquely you and therefore, makes your business unique from any other. Be sure to include that with any type of marketing you use and you’ll be halfway to one of marketing’s biggest stumbling blocks – distinguishing yourself from the competition. 2.) Content marketing This one is also really easy and applies to your website. Simply make sure that any content that goes on your website, blog, or social media is dynamic, interesting, and helpful to visitors, and they’ll be back to check it out again at a later point in time. It’s that easy. 3.) Use social media Social media has done many great things for our world, and it’s done many great things for businesses too. While businesses once had to go to great time and expense to tell their customers about something new, today it’s super easy to tell them – simply hop onto Twitter or Facebook! 4.) Utilize SEO The best way to tell people about your website is to simply utilize great SEO tactics. Simply know how to use keywords and backlinks on your website and it will be the search engines that actually do the marketing for you and bring customers to your website. 5.) Pay-per-click Pay-per-click is perhaps one of the most common forms of advertising on the web. Simply purchase ads that will be displayed on other web pages, such as Google or Facebook, and you’ll get paid every time someone clicks on them and is taken to your site. Be warned that PPC alone won’t get you the results you’re looking for. Customers will need dynamic content greeting them on the other end if you want them to stick around. 6.) Reputation marketing This is something that is lesser known than using SEO and PPC advertising. With reputation marketing, a business simply asks customers to review their product or service and collects these reviews over time. They can be posted on the site, or on third-party review sites. 7.) Go outside of banner ads There are sites such as BuzzFeed that allow businesses to market their products or services. Typically these advertisements do look different than other content on the site, but users prefer them over other types of advertising such as banner ads (which users find really annoying.) 8.) Be creative With even more businesses popping up today and surrounding customers everywhere they go from their daily lives to online, they’re getting tired of seeing and hearing the same old thing. Be creative, think outside of the box, and inject that passion and ingenuity that had you start up the business in the first place. 9.) Make sure customers are really happy This sounds like common sense, but ensuring customers’ happiness is about more than just delivering the promised product at the guaranteed time. Go out of your way to make your customers really happy; go above and beyond. That will ensure that they come back next time they need your product or service. 10.) Be diverse Online marketing is great, but make sure you’re involved in many kinds of it (SEO, PPC, content marketing, etc.) so that you diversify as much as possible. Also in terms of diversification, don’t forget about including traditional forms of marketing such as TV and radio if your business needs it. 4 Mistakes Small Businesses Make on Their Blogs,2018: 2014-06-05T10:13:38-07:00 So you’re a small business, and you’ve recently created a website for it. That’s great news, but unfortunately it’s not enough. In order to keep your customers updated regularly, and to promote your business even further, you’ll need to set up a blog too. When it comes time to do that, you’ll want to make sure that you avoid these most common mistakes that many small business owners make. Creating unfocused blog posts The focus and purpose of your overall blog is likely to draw in more customers, reach them often, and keep them updated with what’s going on with your business. But in addition to having an overall focus, you also need to have a focus for each and every blog post. Maybe it’s to direct customers to your product page, maybe it’s to inform them about a sale you’re having, or maybe it’s just to simply promote your business. If you embark on creating a blog post without a specific focus, it will seem disjointed and unorganized, and probably won’t make a lot of sense to customers. Have a focus, keep a focus, and create your content with only that focus in mind. It will be clearer to your customers, and your blog posts will do exactly what you want them to. Promoting your business too much You might not think that it’s possible to promote your business too much, but to your customers, you can. That’s especially true when they visit a page expecting to be educated or informed about something, and they find they’re just trying to be sold something. Customers don’t want to be sold something all the time, especially when the Internet is supposed to be about information. Promotional copy doesn’t help them, doesn’t inform them or anything, and can actually be quite annoying. Promotional posts are okay once in a while, such as when you’re having a sale or have a new product in stock. But try to keep them to a minimum and spend the rest of the time actually informing and helping your customers. Having the same type of content all the time If every time you create a blog post you’re simply writing out a bunch of text and publishing it, people are going to lose interest quickly. This is a new day and age from the time when the Internet was first invented. Users now expect more than just a few paragraphs that have been thrown together. They want to see pictures and videos along with that text, and often all in the same blog post. Not breaking up content Using audio and video is a great way to break up the content of your blog posts – and this is something else that users want to see. Again, clogging up a blog post with tons of text and little else will only make users tired – and they’re not going to want to sit for hours and read through the entire thing. Make sure you break up that content with audio, video, headings, subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists, and visual graphics. When you want to make sure that you have the most dynamic content on your blog, make sure that you do not make any of these four most common mistakes. What are HTML Tags, and how do you Use Them?,2018:,-and-how-do-you-use-them? 2014-05-13T18:22:48-07:00 <strong>Don’t miss this step!</strong> Italic text Italics are really used for emphasizing text, so it makes sense that the HTML code for italics stands for ‘emphasis.’ In fact, the tag is <em> at the beginning, and just like when you’re bolding text, the end tag simply has a slash before the letters so it looks like this: </em>. Example: <em>Subscribe to our newsletter here!</em> Adding a link Links are a bit more complex than just changing the format of texts because you have to include the address you want to link to in quotation marks, as well as the name of the website. Links also use HREF tags, which need to appear only at the beginning of the tag. Link tags also need to begin with an ‘a,’ which stands for “anchor,” because you’ll be using text to anchor, or hold, that link. And just like the other tags, you need to use an end tag for that anchor, telling the site that the link ends there. Example for linking to YouTube: <a href=””>YouTube</a> Linking to another page, in a new blank page (or window) can become even more complicated. However, it’s a good idea to use it so that when users are done with that link they can easily get back to where they were headed on your site, which is where you want them to stay! Here all you have to do is indicate that the “target” page for the link is a “blank” page, while separating them using quotation marks. Example for linking to YouTube in another window: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>YouTube</a> Adding a picture You know that just about all of your content needs a picture to go along with it. And while this might sound intimidating at first, adding tags to an image is very easy. There are no end tags to worry about, because the image itself will tell the site where it ends. All you really have to do is save your picture online somewhere first (your own CMS or a service such as PhotoBucket is great for this!) and then tell the site where the “image source” is. Example: <img src=””> When it comes to formatting your text and the pages on your website or blog, there are many different things you can do. However, when you only want to perform the most basic tasks, and allow your webmaster to work on things like installing plugins and updates for a few more minutes a day, these are enough to know to let you get the most basic tasks done. ]]> Arguments for Net Neutrality,2018: 2014-04-22T18:20:53-07:00 As we’ve discussed previously, net neutrality is the concept of an open Internet in which all individual users have the same access to online content and are not charged fees for viewing certain types of data. There are many different arguments for net neutrality including the control of data, rights and freedoms to digital content, the need for fair competition, and the need for the same speed applied to all websites across the online board. The first argument for net neutrality goes back to the cable companies. Proponents of net neutrality claim that these cable companies want to be able to discriminate against certain websites, while allowing others to run at faster speeds and download/upload faster than others. By doing so, cable companies would then be able to charge the companies that own these websites in order to ensure fast speeds, or the ability for their websites to load at all. Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol and vice-president of Google argues that allowing cable companies to have this kind of control would “undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success.” This control of data, and disabling the cable companies that kind of control, is one of the biggest arguments for net neutrality – and a very good one at that! Another very logical argument for net neutrality is that users are entitled to certain digital rights and freedoms. By allowing only certain types of content, or only certain websites to run at optimal speeds, or by charging users for access to certain information, it essentially eliminates certain freedoms. In fact, making the Internet a closed source that only a few of the privileged have access to would in effect, eliminate any independent news sources and would also stifle any future innovative, creative, and diverse web content. While today you can find just about any content in any style and any format online, should net neutrality cease to exist, only certain styles and formats would be allowed online, and the Internet would essentially look very different than it does today. While the cessation of net neutrality would be bad for the individual user, it would also be unfair towards certain companies and owners of websites. Smaller companies and websites for instance, would likely be unable to pay the high fees and taxes that cable companies would be allowed to charge and so, they would essentially disappear and only the richer websites and companies with far more resources would be allowed to have their websites downloaded at reasonable speeds, and be accessed by all users. This would create an online monopoly by these wealthier companies and would eliminate any competition or innovation. There are many arguments for net neutrality, and for the Internet to remain the open source that it currently is. All of these arguments ultimately point to the same goal, however. That is, preserving the fairness and rights of both Internet users, as well as the companies and website owners that are currently allowing access to that information – any information, in any format, and at optimal speeds. Arguments against Net Neutrality,2018: 2014-04-15T18:20:06-07:00 We have discussed net neutrality at some length here on this blog. And while it may seem that the fairness net neutrality provides to users, companies, and website owners, there are still some that argue against the idea of net neutrality. Not surprisingly, most of the opponents are telecom and cable companies, which would be given the upper hand should net neutrality ever cease to exist. The reasons they give for being against net neutrality include the need for prioritization of bandwidth, the well-being of online users, and the fact that net neutrality doesn’t really exist within the current Internet infrastructure. The first argument against net neutrality, telecom and cable companies state, is that there is a need for prioritization of bandwidth – and that net neutrality disallows that prioritization. They state that companies that have the ability to pay for faster bandwidth should be able to do so, and that by instating a tiered service, they would be able to do so. The extra revenue that telecom and cable companies would receive for doing so could t hen be used to increase broadband access for all customers. These same companies state that without that additional revenue, they wouldn’t be able to invest in advanced fiber-optic networks and provide on-going advancements in technology. However, the argument against that is that telecom and cable companies will still be making revenue for providing their services, and that this revenue can be used for any future investments needed. Proponents of net neutrality claim that they are doing so in the best interests of the general public and all Internet users, and opponents of the idea claim the same thing. The difference is that while proponents can point towards certain rights and freedoms – such as freedom of speech and freedom to information – opponents of net neutrality are unable to do so. Opponents aren’t able to pinpoint why net neutrality would be detrimental to Internet users and instead, only point to the idea of a neutral public option to still encourage competition in place of forcing Internet service providers to remain neutral. While there is no proof that such an option would make it better for Internet users, there still remains quite a bit of doubt. Lastly, opponents of net neutrality claim that this is a concept that doesn’t even really exist today and so, they don’t understand why legislators are so keen on introducing the idea. They claim that Internet users as well as companies and website owners still have to pay for access to a certain amount of bandwidth, and storage capacity for their websites. While this is true, it doesn’t exactly speak against net neutrality. Should net neutrality cease to exist, not only would users have to pay for the bandwidth that they’re currently using, they’d also have to pay just to be granted access to certain websites, and if they weren’t deemed privileged enough, or if they didn’t pay enough money, they may not be able to download or view certain websites at all. With all that telecom and cable companies stand to lose with net neutrality, it’s not surprising that they are the biggest opponents of net neutrality. However, in order for everyone to win – including the general public – net neutrality is something that has to be here to stay! What is Net Neutrality?,2018: 2014-04-08T18:18:58-07:00 Net neutrality is a relatively new term, but it’s a concept that’s been debated for years. It’s also known as network neutrality and Internet neutrality, but whatever name it’s given, the concept is the same. The idea of net neutrality is that ISP, or Internet service providers, along with governments, should be treating all online data the same, and that they should not be allowed to discriminate by user, content, site, platform, or application. It’s this omission of discrimination that would allow the Internet to remain an open and free source, as it is now. If discrimination were allowed to be put into place, the Internet would become a closed source, and certain users may have to pay more to be allowed the same type of online freedom they’re currently enjoying. While all countries are, and should be, concerned about net neutrality, it’s in the United States that concerns are really being raised; and the debate is getting very heated. Senator Franken of Minnesota has stated that “Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time,” saying that basically, an open Internet – or the case for net neutrality – is the same argument as that of freedom of speech. Tim Wu, a media law professor from Columbia, has also likened the argument for net neutrality to that of the argument for a common carrier – an idea that suggests the Internet should be offered by a person or a company according to legislation that would be put in place. It’s this idea that goes hand in hand with the concept of net neutrality – allowing people on the Internet to communicate easily, and for the equal treatment of all data. Should net neutrality ever cease to exist, users could be charged simply for requesting access to certain information. This has already been seen with certain streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon, but without net neutrality put into place, additional and exorbitant charges could be placed on any and every site, including news sites, social media sites, and any other site online. Some individuals argue that net neutrality no longer exists, and some of these individuals have even protested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC,) even though the FCC had previously struck down rulings for an open Internet. Now however, the FCC is beginning to take strides towards a new open Internet, or net neutrality, and they are now working in the public’s interest. While this work may at first seem to be entirely for the public, the FCC is mainly concerned about the monopoly that a closed Internet could create; something that would be negative for both the economy, as well as the general public. Net neutrality is an online concept, but it’s not one that’s difficult to understand. Simply put, net neutrality allows for an open Internet and provides information free of charge to users across all websites. Without it, only the privileged or certain individuals and corporations would have access to specific web pages, or the Internet as a whole. It’s important that net neutrality remains in place, so that each individual can retain the rights they’re entitled to. Stating a Website as a Business? Here are 4 Tips to make it Successful!,2018:!- 2014-03-14T13:15:19-07:00 In the past two decades or so, it’s become easier than ever to own your own business. No longer do you need to open a brick and mortar store or business, or have shelves and shelves filled with inventory. All you really have to do is create a website and offer either goods or services. The website can be an e-commerce site, wherein you actually sell and ship goods to customers, or it can be a website that consults or provides a service in another way. But just like any other business, yours won’t necessarily be successful simply because you set up a website and get it running. It takes a lot of hard work, and these four tips to get you started. Follow your bliss This is as true for your online business as it is in life. There are tons of great ideas out there, and most of them could earn you a good income if you choose to create a website off that idea. However, once that idea really takes off and you’ve built a good customer base, you’re going to be stuck with that idea whether you like it or not. If you’re not passionate about it, it will be your business that suffers – along with your customers. Not only will you quickly become tired of it and possibly even give up on it, but your customers could possibly feel the outcome and that will negatively affect your reputation when the time comes to start an online business you’re passionate about. After all, no one wants to do business with someone that’s already let them down once. Treat it like what it is Even though you’ve got to have the passion backing up your idea, you still need to treat it like a business. For instance, imagine that you’ve taken landscape photography your entire life. Once friends and family members started asking you for some, you gave them prints for free. Then, once you saw there was a demand for it, you decided to create a website and start selling these photographs for money. The minute you start selling them and accepting money in exchange, you have started a business and you must treat it as such. Start taking orders and bundling photographs and prints as soon as they come in. Don’t stall or decide you can take your own time with it just because it’s a “fun” thing for you to do; because if you’re accepting money for it, it no longer is. Also don’t make the mistake of continuing to give away prints for free. Of course, it’s different if it’s a gift for a special occasion, but once you’ve decided to make that your livelihood, giving it away for free will only eat into your profits and therefore, your own personal lifestyle. Be real about it While you need to make sure that your online business will be something that you’re already passionate about it, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all going to be about your following your dream. While it will be, there will be many moments that don’t feel that way. Know that you’re going to have to fully devote yourself to it, work at it night and day, and that it will be a lot of hard work. Knowing that going into it will save you from a lot of discouragement and disappointment down the line. Get it done! There would be even a million more websites than there are today if everyone who said they were going to start an online business actually did it. So stop talking about it and get out there and take that first step! Why Your Small Business needs to be Online,2018: 2014-02-11T13:13:12-07:00 Maybe you run a small bakery, or a small contracting firm. Perhaps it’s a small dental practice, or a small business of another kind. Whatever type of small business you own, you have probably considered starting a website for it in the past and shaken off these thoughts with the belief that your business doesn’t actually need one. After all, you serve the local public, are not an international business, and therefore, simply don’t need to tell the world that you exist. Even more so, you’ve probably talked yourself out of a website because you don’t want to spend money in the budget that you don’t have in order to do it. We’re here to tell you now to forget about all those nay-saying thoughts. Your business, no matter how small or how local, needs a website. Here are a couple of reasons why. Your customers are talking about you online Even if your business isn’t online, your customers are. If they have a bad experience, or feel that they’re not getting the attention they need from you, gone are the days when they come home and tell their family and that’s it. The chances are good that instead, now they’ll hop onto social media or review sites – sometimes right after they walk out your business’ door – and they’ll tell the world about it. This could be enough to stop new and potential customers from coming to you when they need your products or services, and it will give your business a bad reputation. Even worse, you might not even know about it until it’s too late, if ever. By taking your small business online and creating a website for it, you will be able to control that conversation. Maybe instead of telling the world about the issues they’ve had at your business, they will come straight to your website and let you know through the contact page. Having a website for your business, no matter how small, will give you control over the online conversation about your business and will allow you to help your customers even more so. A website will help customers find you One of the major misconceptions small business owners have about starting a website is that they don’t need one because they’re a local business with local customers. However, just because you service only those in the nearby area doesn’t mean that local customers know about you. And when those same customers need your product or service, the chances are very good that they’ll go online to find a business they need – even if they know it will be within a 10 mile radius once they find it. If your business doesn’t come up in that search, customers won’t even know about you to consider using you; and you’ll lose valuable business because of it. It really cannot be stressed enough. No matter how small your business, and no matter how local your customers, your small business needs a website. Not having one is essentially the same as locking your business’ doors all day and wondering why customers aren’t coming in to see you. Three Tools to Make Adding Video to Your Site Easier,2018: 2014-01-10T12:05:28-07:00 So our last blog talked about how adding video elements to your site will make things more interesting to your user and keep them on your site longer. The problem is, you still don’t know how to do it! The good news is that, just like for almost any other problem you might run into when it comes to your website, there are tools available that are able to help. Here are the three most popular, and how they might be able to help you get that video up today. Animoto Animoto might be the most user-friendly and basic of all types of video creation today, but it does only really fill one need. That’s the need of the person who doesn’t want to be seen on camera, or even heard. That being said, it is still very useful for those who have simple tutorials they want to show, such as cooking or craft projects, or those that just want to add a little bit of interest (such as a cartoon or funny clip) to their website. Animoto has slideshows that are already formatted with layout, and all you have to do is drag and drop items from your computer to the slideshow slots within Animoto. When you’re done, you can even set the entire piece to music, and your video will be finished. For the most basic slideshows available through Animoto you won’t have to pay a fee, but if you want many different options there is a fee. Screencast Screencast is another great tool for those that don’t want to be seen on camera, as it simply takes elements from your computer monitor to create a dynamic video. The difference between this and Animoto is that you can still speak on the video, which makes it easier to create how-to videos and tutorials, but still holds the advantage for those who are just getting started in video creation. Because you’re using elements on your computer screen, it can be either video you’ve taken yourself, pictures you’ve pieced together, or something you’re actually doing on the screen, such as showing someone how to use WordPress or install different things such as Java or different web browsers. YouTube If you want your video to be really interactive, and to clearly show you talking your visitors through different elements or tutorials, YouTube is the best option. And if your computer has a built-in webcam, you can use that along with the built-in web video recorder YouTube has provided. While you do need to register with YouTube first, it’s now part of the Google network and so you can use the same Gmail, AdWords, or AdSense login that you’re already using. After that there’s no fee to upload your video and it will even share it across the Google+ network if you so choose. Upon your first upload you will also be given your own YouTube channel, which you can continue to upload multiple videos to afterwards. Now that you know how important it is to add video to your site, don’t be worried by the fact that it might simply be “too hard” for you to do. It’s really not, especially when you use any of these three most popular tools listed above! Why Incorporating Video onto Your Site is So Important,2018: 2013-12-14T12:04:08-07:00 If you’re running a website or a blog – any kind of website or blog – you’ve probably heard about how incorporating video among all that text is so important to your users, and the success of your site. But why is it so important, and do you really need it? One of the reasons having video elements on your site is so important is simply because Internet users get tired of having to read through long pages of text all the time. There is so much information on the Internet today that users can quickly become frustrated about having to read through it all. And one of the reasons for that frustration is because reading through all the fine print is not only time-consuming, it’s also boring for readers. Having video elements can be the solution to both of these problems. That’s because what takes up an entire page of text to explain can easily be described in just a few minutes of video. The reason for this is because things can simply be explained more concisely when spoken aloud, than if they’re written down in print. Also, it’s more interesting for a user to sit and watch someone talk about a subject rather than sit there and read it all on their own. It keeps the user engaged, and that’s the entire point of incorporating video onto your site. Just check out the popularity of sites that rely completely on video, such as YouTube, to see just how popular video segments are. Because users are more engaged and more interested when watching a video than reading something in text, they also tend to be more forgiving of your site, and any mistakes you might make. How many times have you seen comments on your site that say something such as, “They typo you made with ‘integration’ makes your site look really unprofessional.” Or, “Proofread and edit your work! It’s too hard to read!” While you don’t want to be stumbling and stammering through videos, when you misspeak or mispronounce something in a video, it will actually make you appear more human than it will less professional. People will love that, and it will give them one more connection to your site that will have them coming back time and time again. Not every post or every page on your blog or website needs to have a video element to it. And you don’t even have to appear on the video, as you can simply show what you’re talking about on the screen, and do a voice narration over top of it. But yes, the time has come when you simply cannot get away with not having some kind of video element on your site. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to keep your users interested and invested in your site, which means they’re interested and invested in you! Mistakes that will cause Visitors to Leave Your Site,2018: 2013-11-19T12:21:54-07:00 Once you’ve gotten visitors to your website or blog, you want them to stay and browse for a little while. This will help increase your conversion rate and get you ranked even higher in the search engines. But visitors only spend a few seconds on a main landing page before they decide whether they like it and continue on to its other pages, or leave and find a new site to get their information. So how do you get them to stay? By avoiding these mistakes that are sure to make them leave. Poor Navigation Confusing elements on your landing page such as unnecessary visuals, scattered links that take users to different parts of the site, and linked text that’s difficult to understand will only make users feel frustrated and angry. Instead, group navigation links in one main place (such as the header,) and a clear logical layout will let your users easily roam around your site. Most importantly, it will keep them on the site, without even one second’s consideration of leaving it. Poor Ad Placement, or Too Many Ads are an essential part of many different websites and blogs, but there are different ways you can place them and use them so they won’t anger your visitors. Firstly, limit the amount you have. Multiple ads take up a lot of space on the server, and that means that when your visitors want to land on your site or roam around within it, it will take much longer – which will again, only frustrate them. Also, be careful about where you place the ads. To the sides and to the bottom of the content are best, as they won’t be intrusive or the first things a visitor sees. Also make sure that there are not more ads on the site than there is content. It’s this latter that users are there to see, after all. Poor Video Placement Videos, just like ads, can be annoying to some visitors, especially if they don’t have a choice in whether or not they watch it. Make sure that videos placed on your site have clear “play” and “stop” buttons, and that they don’t start automatically when someone reaches the site – taking away their choice of watching it. Also, don’t include loud music on these videos. While it might be your taste of music, remember that it won’t be everyone’s. Many visitors are looking for video versus all-text pages these days, but you still have to know how to use them wisely. Forced Registration One of the things people like best about information found online is that it’s typically free – meaning that it requires no money or time to be given upfront. If you force people to register before they’ve even had a chance to look at your site, it’s a deterrent to entering it at all, even when that registration is totally free. Forced registrations are really just a barrier between the user and your site, and why would you want any kind of barrier that could detract visitors? If you’ve found that people are landing on your website, but they’re not sticking around long enough to find out what’s contained within the pages past the landing page, these may just be a few of the mistakes you’re making. These are the most common errors webmasters and website owners make though, so fix the problem and you should start to see your conversion and your retention rates start to increase. VPS, Dedicated Servers, and Colocation. Which is right for me?,2018:,-dedicated-servers,-and-colocation.--which-is-right-for-me? 2013-10-28T13:02:33-07:00 Virtual Private Servers are machines partitioned to allow multiple concurrent instances- though not typically as much as shared hosting. This means that you can have a number of users on the same server, all with their own resources and software. The only limits to a Virtual Private Server are the hardware, the additional load, and security limitations established by the administrators. Dedicated Servers are more user-involved. They are physical machines in data centers managed by a staff of admins to maintain your server integrity against hardware failure, loss of data, as well as general upkeep. It’s the workhorse of web hosting. More user-intensive than Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated Servers allow you the freedom of having complete control of your website's hosting environment; users should be aware that there is a learning curve. And then there are Colocation Centers- It's the simplest of the three. You buy a server, manage all of the software and hardware, so it's similar to having a Dedicated Server. You're in charge of everything; but you rent space inside someone else’s data center, and the data center supplies all the power, security, and bandwidth for your server. Not sure which is a good fit for you? If you have spent some time with a website, and you have it pretty much handled, but need more elbow space, as well as specific features not offered with a shared hosting account, but still want someone else to do the heavy lifting (you're busy running a business and fighting intergalactic criminals, we understand), then a Virtual Private Server would be something for you to consider. Are you looking for more horsepower than a Virtual Private Server, but don't want to have to go out and buy your own server? Dedicated Servers may be in your future. You manage everything, but don't have to worry about physically doing anything. However, if you want more of a hands-on approach, then you should consider Colocation. It's similar to having a Dedicated server, but instead of only using what we select, you literally hand-pick every component yourself, along with your server's software and settings. In some cases, you can even select your own ISP (our speeds are blazing fast, by the way) if you want. Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated Servers, and Colocation Centers, for all their differences, have one thing in common: logistics. They employ the same basic principles in regards to, security, cooling, and power. For those not in the know, you can't just lock a few hundred servers in a closet and walk away. You have to restrict access to the location to prevent unauthorized personnel from presenting a threat to the servers, monitor their temperature so their hardware doesn't fail (they can push out a LOT of heat), and ensuring that there are reliable power sources as well as redundant power in the event of a local power grid failure. If you're considering upgrading from shared hosting, or if you want more options and control of your website, then you should start considering Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated Servers, and Colocation Centers.]]> Infographics can get People to Your Site!,2018:! 2013-09-17T12:54:50-07:00 You want great content that will convey your message to your readers. But you also don’t want that message to be boring, so how do you do it? The answer lies within an infographic. Infographics are just that – very large graphics that contain a ton of information. That information can be in the form of hard statistics, general information points, or comparison charts within the graphic itself. Of course these are just a few examples and really, any type of information that you think would be useful and pass on a lot of information to your readers. But why do they work so well? One of the biggest reasons infographics work so well is because Internet readers today don’t want to sort through a lot of text to get the information they need. Truth be told, while the World Wide Web is the information highway, there’s too much out there for readers to want to sort through today. A lot of them are tired of reading pages and pages of tiny print, and just want to get the info they need in a very short amount of time. Infographics allow them to do that, and allow them to look at something fun and different at the same time. Another, perhaps even bigger way infographics can get people to your site is when you use them to submit to press release publications. These publishers of press releases know how valuable infographics are, and so they’re happy to publish a press release of yours talking about the infographic you have up on your website or blog. That press release, while still all text, can be very short and to the point. All it has to say is that you have an infographic on the site, what the infographic covers, and where people can find it. That press release will then be published online in multiple places where thousands of people can find it; but they’ll only be directed to one place – your website or blog. Infographics are really the best thing to happen to any website, and they’re fairly new which means that not everyone is using them just yet, and you can set your website apart by creating one for your site. Give your readers what they want without having to sort through tons of text and talk before they can get it. Provide them with an infographic full of information, and reap the benefits of having many continual visitors to your website. Getting Visitors to Your Blog isn’t Easy; here’s how to do it!,2018:’t-easy;-here’s-how-to-do-it!- 2013-07-16T12:53:57-07:00 When you’re looking to get more visitors to your blog, there’s only one thing you need to focus on – the content. Content is not only what will attract people to your blog, but it’s what will keep them there once they land on it. And even if you think you’ve got the best content that can be found on the web right now, you might be surprised to find out that you’re making some big mistakes. Here’s how to get even more visitors to your blog, and how to write content that will keep them there. Use Sub-Headings or Bullet Points No one wants to look at pages and pages of text. The chances are that, whatever the theme of your blog is, your readers want to be able to scan the page for the points they’re looking for and move on (hopefully to another one of your great posts.) For this reason, get rid of all that heavy text and organize your thoughts by using sub-headings, bullet points, or both. Your readers will easily be able to scan through the content, and they’ll be more appreciative of it too. Have Interesting Headlines Sometimes you want to get straight to the point, and that’s okay; but it doesn’t mean that your headline has to be boring. If it is, readers might not bother to continue on to the content to find out just how great it is. Still make sure that the headline clearly states what the post is about, but inject some personality into it to make it a little more user-friendly and a little less boring. If it’s a really great headline you’re using, that alone could be enough to get people to check out your blog. Comment, Comment, Comment No, you don’t want to comment on your blog (unless of course, you’re replying to a comment from a user.) But you do want to check out other blogs on similar subjects and respond to their posts with intelligent, helpful comments. Maybe you have a finance blog and find someone else’s post about happenings in the stock market, and notice that they left out a vital piece of information. Make a comment and include that info. You’ll establish yourself as an authority, and other readers of that blog will take notice and might go to the real expert’s blog – yours. Guest Post Commenting on the posts of others is a great way to get your name out there, but what if those users could actually see your writing on the blogs of others? It’s possible, when you become a guest blogger for other sites. Contact the webmasters of those blogs and ask if you’d be able to write a guest post for them. You’ll be able to reach more readers, and they’ll get a link on your website that will also bring readers to their blog. There are many ways to get visitors to your blog, and some of them don’t even involve working on your actual blog. But that’s sort of the point. You need to be able to get creative with it and find ways to send people straight to your blog, or bring them over from other blogs that they’re visiting. How to Blog Better for you Website,2018: 2013-05-21T12:52:25-07:00 Blogging can be a great way to increase content for your website. Maybe you don’t have a blog yet and are thinking of starting one up. Or maybe you do already have a blog, but you’re just not getting the traffic yet to justify spending your time (and your money) on it. So how do you make a better blog than what’s already out there? Or how do you, as a blogger, blog better? By following these tips. Have a Purpose Even when you’re writing a personal blog about your daily life and activities, you should never go into a blog post not knowing what you want to write about. The blog in general should always have a very specific purpose, and each blog post should support that purpose. To do this, write yourself a mission statement that may or may not be posted onto the actual blog itself. Then when it comes time to write any blog post, check back with that mission statement and ensure that the post will support your mission statement and that the two make sense together. Consistency is Key We would all love it if we could just blog whenever we felt like it. But truth be told, unless running your blog is all you do, you won’t feel like it very often (and maybe not even then.) Because of that, you need to make sure you’re blogging every day or at least every other day – whether you want to or not. To help you do this, set aside a large portion of time to write several blog posts, publish one of them when you’re done, and then save the others as drafts. Depending on the software you’re using, you can either post-date them to publish automatically on specific days, or you can simply go into your blog and hit “Publish” when it’s time to get a new blog post up. Make it Interesting to Look At Sure, content may be king, but your readers will only get to that content if they like the first impression they get from your blog; and they get that from the design. Make sure, firstly, that the design of your blog conveys the type of business you’re trying to promote on your blog, and that visitors will get the concept as soon as they land on it. Then make sure the design is not stuffed with anything and everything you could find. This means cleaning up photos by putting them into a photo gallery, and that you don’t have large banners or tons of ads that will distract your visitors, and detract from the overall appearance. Have great Content With your design exactly the way you want it, you can then start to focus on your content. This means more than just getting it up on a regular basis, and making sure it keeps in theme with the idea of your blog. It also means being creative with your topics, and also being timely with your topics. After all, if you’re running a sports website you don’t want to recap a game an entire week after it happened. To help you with this, set up Google Alerts that will come right to your email and keep you in the loop about what’s happening; or visit blogs on similar topics and check the comments section. There you can see what people most want to know about, and then write content that will help them out with it. Blogging better can seem like a difficult thing to do when you’re just starting out, or when it seems as though you’ve tried everything and just can’t seem to get visitors to your site. Use these tips and find just how much they can help you achieve your blogging goals! Why Proper Keyword Research is Key,2018: 2013-04-09T12:51:15-07:00 If you’re simply publishing pages to your website or posts to your blog and not going any further than that, the chances are good that you’re not getting huge amounts of traffic to that content. Until now. Because after reading this post, you’ll realize the importance of using the proper keywords to help not only bring in traffic, but to bring in the right kind of traffic that will be noticed by even more visitors. So how do you perform proper keyword research? You have two main choices: you can either do it for free, or you can purchase a Google AdWords campaign that will do it for you. The Google AdWords Way If you don’t mind spending a few bucks on finding the best keywords for your website or your blog, then Google AdWords is the best way to do it. To start you have to set up a Google AdWords account, which involves using a Google or Gmail email address. Once your account is set up you can then log into your account and use the Keyword Tool you’ll find located in there. Within this tool you can type in any keywords that you’d like to know more about. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce site that sells baby products, you might want to learn more about the keywords “baby products,” “baby diapers,” “baby toys,” and “baby sleepers,” along with the many others you’re undoubtedly thinking about. Once you’ve submitted these, Google will almost always suggest a better term, and you should use their suggestions. They are after all, the biggest search engine you’re trying to get results from, so it doesn’t hurt to see what they have to offer. Look over the suggestions and think about which keywords would most easily fit within your blog posts, remembering that you want the flow of keywords to be natural so they don’t seem like they’ve just been stuffed in there. You will be penalized for that by the search engines if they think that’s what’s happening. For those that you think would be a good fit, then check those off so Google AdWords can give you further results on them. Those results will tell you how often people search for them (both globally and locally) and if many people have purchased those keywords (which is actually more relevant for writing ads than it is for writing content.) Remember that the keywords that are most often used or most often purchased aren’t necessarily the best keywords for you. Those keywords will also have the most competition, for both ads and search engine rankings, and so higher results could mean that you have to work even harder to get your site noticed. To ensure that you’re using the best ones, set up a test ad that will cost a few dollars, but will also tell you just how effective those keywords are. You can then use these for online ads, as well as your content. The Free Way This way is much simpler and it’s free, but it might not give you the detailed results you’re looking for. Simply type different keywords into Google and hit “Enter” after typing each one. Once the results have generated, look along the sides and the top of the page. Are there a lot of ads located here? If so, the chances are good that you’ve hit on a keyword that a lot of people search for and are using, which means there’s a good chance it will give you those good conversion rates you’re looking for. The way you research your keywords is up to you. But remember that you have to be doing at least some kind of research on these highly important words if you want your blog to be able to compete among the rest. DNS and Reverse DNS (rDNS),2018: 2013-03-13T13:01:20-07:00 website hosting account, you have more than likely heard the term DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System. This system is used to direct and translate domain names into their numerical values which are known as IP addresses. For instance when you type in the DNS servers translate that to and then start looking for Google. A very good comparison you could make for DNS is that it is the phone book of the internet, meaning it is a directory of names. There are many ways you can use and manipulate DNS, most of which are available to you within your web host control panel. When you create a domain normally you will be given an IP address for it. This IP address represents the website or the server the website is located on, depending on if you are hosting your domain on a shared hosting platform or a dedicated server. These DNS records are kept locally on the name servers of the host. Understanding that DNS defines where your website is located is essential to knowing how to control multiple domains and pointing them to the same website even. For instance, you buy the domain with a .com, .net, and .org extension and you wish to point them all to the .com address. You will do this with your DNS records. DNS also controls other things besides websites since it identifies devices by IP address so even e-mail servers which leads to why you need reverse DNS. Reverse DNS is generally used for email services, it does the exact same thing as DNS except in reverse. Basically, when a DNS request gets to a name server it will do a reverse DNS look up which takes the IP address and then finds the domain name. The reasons for using reverse DNS is because it is a security feature as well as protecting against spammers. It is a simple test to make sure any communicating DNS server has set up their servers correctly. It helps prevent spam because most mail servers will do a reverse DNS look up and then if it fails they place it on a greylist. Greylisting means that if it is a legitimate email they will simply need to resend the email and it should go through to the correct email. Using DNS and rDNS is essential to making the internet work and is constantly happening all of the time throughout the world! ]]> Google Fiber,2018: 2013-02-13T14:25:15-07:00 Chances are, if you exist in the 21st century, you’ve heard of, and used Google, and have at the very least, a working knowledge of what they do. However, there is a possibility that you don’t know that one of the myriad services that Google provides is internet service. Google Fiber was initially announced in 2010, and more than a thousand communities applied for a chance to be the first to be granted the boon of reasonably-priced, incredibly fast broadband service. In 2011, Kansas City, Kansas was the first to get on the Google train, and from then on, it’s been on like Donkey Kong. For the time being, only Kansas and Utah have any cities with firehoses attached to their routers, but just how fast is it? Well, the United States currently averages around 20 Mbps (Megabits per second). If that doesn’t sound impressive, it’s because it isn’t. The United States is roughly ranked #32 worldwide. The top three are Luxembourg with 49.90 Mbps, Singapore at 52.62, and Hong Kong at a nitrous-fueled 63.42. Now, as fast as the world’s fastest broadband is, what Google is offering is almost 16 times that! What’s that mean for you? Well, if you’re in Utah or Kansas (Texas is next on the list), then you’re one of the lucky chosen few. If you’re not, then don’t fret. Google isn’t the only game in town, and even if the incumbent providers aren’t able to match speeds exactly, many providers are currently, or intend to increase their speeds to stay competitive. Now, having a connection as fast as this available is leaving a lot of consumers, providers, and even governments scratching their heads, as there aren’t currently any practical uses for such ridiculous bandwidth, though it’s not dissuading communities from signing up to get out from under sluggish and overpriced internet service providers. One such ISP has actually gone on record saying that American customers don’t need gigabit speeds, and another was nice enough to tell us that we didn’t want it anyway. Thanks, guys. More pragmatic ISP’s are looking into dropping their prices, increasing their speeds and trying to keep the rumbling smoke monster that is Google from gobbling up all of their business. One way to look at it could be future-proofing against new and more intensive means to use the Internet, or it could just be a case of broadband consumers finally getting what they pay for. Just, really, really fast. How Popular Are Your Scripts?,2018: 2013-01-09T08:52:19-07:00 web hosting account has hundreds of files, but do you really want to manage them by hand every time you need to make an update? Are you making the most of your website hosting account? This is a great time to take advantage of some popular scripts. Scripts are software packages that perform specific tasks. They allow you to get more bang for your buck by maximizing your website’s potential. Scripts are as tiny as those hit counters that were so popular in the 1990’s, to massive content management systems that grant you control of all of the information in your website. The best part is that you can simply use the Install Popular Scripts tool to quickly and easily add one of these convenient scripts, so you don’t need to be a computer science major- you just click on what you want. Most times, you’re granted access to upgrade them whenever necessary. Of course you’re wondering about what should be available, and the scripts available for use on hosting accounts are as varied and numerous as there are websites to run them on, so let’s go over a few. One of the best aspects of having a website is that it can generate revenue for you with minimal interaction from you. There’s not much better than easy money, but there’s nothing worse than having to set up your own shopping cart. Well, you’re in luck, because Oscommerce and Tomatocart are only two of the time-and-frustration saving tools available to you. Most of the hard work is done, now all you have to do is fill those cupcake orders. Social networking is a phrase that you hear daily. It’s not just a meaningless buzzword that gets tossed around- it’s a proven method to drive visitors to your website, and keep them coming back. One of the most painless ways to do that is with a forum like Bbpress or Phpbb. You manage the conversations, or even assign moderators to do the work for you. Then just sit back, and watch your site get busy! Want to share your brilliance with the world? Flex your writing muscles with a blog. Installing blog software like Serendipity or WordPress into your hosting account allows you to have an ongoing conversation with your readers. Update as often as you need, change up the entire appearance, look, and feel on a whim. You are in complete control, and able to bring your words to life with freedom that you can’t get anywhere else. In short: your website may be good as it is right now, but if you aren’t running scripts on your hosting account, you aren’t getting every bit of your money’s worth. ]]> Password Security,2018: 2012-12-12T13:54:35-07:00 web hosting account.” “I’m just testy. My blood sugar is really low, and I’ve been trying to hack this guy’s account for like three weeks.” “It’s been running that long? “Yeah, man. The other hosting accounts had passwords like “qwerty12345,” or “password,” and stuff. No characters, no spaces, no changes in capitals.” “Like Boise?” “You make that joke every time” “So what is the problem?” “I don’t know. Web hosting accounts aren’t typically this hard to crack. Most people don’t anticipate a really high threat of intrusion, so they use passwords that are related to their website, or the same password that they use for their bank accounts, social media and whatever.“ “I do that, so what?” “Are you kidding me? If you tell me that you have all of your passwords on a sticky note on your monitor, I am going to scream.” “I’ll, uh… be right back.” Meanwhile, at Gracie’s Puppy Emporium... “Gracie, what’s the password for the hosting account?” “Here, Dad. I’ll show you again.” “Why does it have to be so complicated? I remember when I could just use your birthday. What was wrong with that?” “We got hacked, some guys took our website down for a week without us knowing, our customers got viruses, we lost a ton of business, and we even lost our Google pagerank- which took a bunch of time and work to get. Oh, and my birthday isn’t May 4th, it’s April 5th.” “It’s correct in Europe.” “Which would mean that in some Scandinavian country, your present wouldn’t have been a month late, but we live in Boise.” “Okay, I get it. But why does it have to be so complex? It could just be a weird name, right?” “Dad, these guys aren’t manually going through lists of passwords to get into hosting accounts.. They have banks of hundreds, thousands of commonly used passwords. Sequential numbers like 12345 and real names aren’t going to cut it. You would have to use a combination of both that wouldn’t exist anywhere. There are key generators that spit out passwords like that.” “Why does it matter to them? What do they get out of breaking into someone’s web hosting account?” “Well, best case scenario is they just delete the website, and upload an image to annoy the user. What’s more common is they upload a bunch of malicious code to the hosting account and use that to send a bunch of spam or even programs that are used to steal the data from anyone who visits the site. Remember when we had to get a new card for the shop?” “Oh. Right. So if my er, friend had to change his password, what would he need to keep in mind?” “Well Dad, your ‘friend’ would want to use a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, symbols, spaces when possible, and to not use sequential numbers or common words.” “Anything else?” “Yeah, the software these guys use gets more sophisticated all the time. It’s important to change it all the time, every six months at the latest. “ “Seems like a lot of work.” “If you look at it that way, maybe, Dad. It’s really just another investment, but one that only costs you if you don’t do it.” “Ah. I feel like you’re getting me back for not getting you a pony. “No, making you work in my pet shop is for not getting me a pony. The password thing is serious.” “Every six months?” “I do it every three. Now let’s get some ice cream.” ]]> Okay, So What is Colocation?,2018:,-so-what-is-colocation? 2012-11-14T14:26:47-07:00 colocation locations are data centers that provide secure physical space, internet connectivity, and staff to maintain and run your server. This means if you don’t have the time or space to run your own server, a colocation facility can do it for you. They are equipped to maintain the correct temperature, power levels, and security for you. This frees you up to manage your actual server, by letting someone else deal with the brunt of the logistics. Once you buy your server, which unlike typical website hosting, is completely to your standards (as you hand-pick the components, software, and settings yourself), you decide if you want to use the data center’s dedicated internet service, or if you want, opt to get your own. Then, you take your server(s) to the colocation facility, and they rack it all for you. Step four: Profit! Not sure if it would be a good fit? Imagine you’re in a law office with branch offices. The only space you have for your server is essentially a closet. Sure, it’s out of the way, but you are running a server for three other locations, and they use it 24 hours a day. The constant load on the server means that you have to be careful with cooling, because like most businesses that shut down even partially over the weekend, the air conditioning goes off. That risks data loss or corruption, or even hardware failure. Your server has to run constantly and smoothly, and that requires at least one admin on hand at all times to watch for failures, and make hot swaps, perform updates, etc. Another concern is power. Most office buildings don’t have dedicated independent power sources in the event of a local power failure, so if that one office is on an unreliable grid, the other three offices are dead in the water. The same goes for internet connectivity. That office may have access to their building’s internet service, but the only way to ensure that they are going to get anything resembling operational speeds, they are going to need a dedicated trunk for their server, which do not come cheap. Could a business operate like this? With an army of quotation marks, yes, they could “operate,” but it’s expensive, tedious, and unsustainable. What’s that? Do I have a solution? But of course. If they used colocation for their hosting needs, they wouldn’t have to worry about the cooling costs, as the data center is chilly to say the least. The temperature and humidity are digitally monitored at all times. The internet service? You can stop paying for that expensive trunk, and just use the colo center’s tier one internet. Oh, and you can stop worrying about power issues, too. Colocation centers have redundant power to ensure that even if the local grid goes down, your server doesn’t. You don’t even need to worry about whether other servers are crowding your space. You can request to have yours sequestered to give you room to grow. Something you shouldn’t have trouble doing with all that money you’re saving. ]]> Red, White, and You: Meet Your Presidential Candidates,2018:,-white,-and-you:-meet-your-presidential-candidates 2012-09-05T12:02:33-07:00 viral. It must be election season. Welcome to the 2012 presidential campaign, where an untimely remark can be costly and speeches are peppered with thinly-veiled quips at the opposition. Whether you're boldly blue or relentlessly red, this runoff is sure to be one heck of a show. Let's discuss the players, shall we? To my left we have former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. His campaign slogan, "America's Comeback Team", underscores his promise to help the country recover from its economic slump and "get America back to work." In 1984 Romney co-founded Bain Capital, one of the world's leading management and financial services companies. The company proved profitable for Romney and has contributed to his considerable net worth. Opponents of Romney use his financial status and privileged background—including a father in politics and an Ivy League education—as indicators of his inability to relate to the common man. Romney has refused to release more than two years of his tax returns, prompting many to wonder if he's hiding something. He officially accepted the Republican nomination on August 30 at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. The broadcast made headlines when supporter and actor Clint Eastwood took the stage with an empty chair and feigned conversation with the president. Which brings me to my right, where we have current president and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. He argues that, contrary to what Romney states, the economy has actually improved since his term began, with roughly 4.5 million new jobs created. Obama's campaign slogan, "Forward", assures the public that he will continue to restore our country's economy and push it to new heights. Obama's biggest supporters are blacks, women, and the younger population—not surprising considering his background. Obama was raised by his mother and grandparents. During speeches he emphasizes his tight-knit family structure, despite coming from a single-parent household. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois Senate and became a US senator in 2005. His progress up the political ladder culminated with his presidential election in 2008, making him the first black person to ever hold the office. Because of his relatively young age—he was 47 when he became president—Obama does well relating to a younger demographic. He and his family are huge fans of pop star Beyonce; he even invited her to perform at his inauguration ball. Additionally, his campaign makes good use of social media to help promote his platform, including Twitter updates to over 19 million followers. Following Eastwood's performance during the RNC, Obama's reelection team tweeted a picture of Obama seated in his presidential chair with the caption "this seat's taken." Ouch. Now you're all caught up. Next time we'll discuss the vice-presidential nominees and what they bring to the table. Until then, I offer you a bit of advice and my personal slogan: Stay Informed. ]]> Power of Pictures,2018: 2012-04-12T13:08:48-07:00 website hosting account by showing the world your awesome pictures. If you have a blog website about food, and you describe every quality of a meal in the utmost detail, you will still leave the reader disappointed if you do not include some captivating pictures of the food itself. A great picture will allow your website visitor to connect your words with the picture, almost as if they are sitting at the table with you, enjoying your fantastic meal. There are many websites out there that revolve around family, and the stories you tell on your website are probably very enjoyable. But let's be honest, grandparents really just want to see pictures of their grandchildren! By taking fun pictures and including them in your stories, you allow family from around the world to feel as if they are there in the backyard enjoying the day with you, or on a fantastic family vacation in the passenger seat. Have you ever been to an e-commerce website to find only a description of the product being sold, but no picture? That would be very awkward, and difficult to trust. If you plan to sell items on a website, you better believe you need pictures of your products! Taking high definition photos from different angles and allowing your visitors to virtually hold the product in their hands is a key method of building trust in customers who purchase products online. You will definitely want to take some great photos, and use a photo editing program to compress and touch up your photos, and then get them online on your website! A picture really tells a thousand words, so let your pictures tell your story online now. ]]> Love is Online,2018: 2012-02-16T10:27:25-07:00 website hosting account to succeed in love, and perhaps have even more success online than in real life? More and more people are finding it easier to pronounce their love and feelings virtually without the awkwardness of eye to eye contact. One of the most successful examples of using the internet for love is the creation, and success, of the many dating websites that are now flourishing all over the world. The two big dating sites, and, both had to start somewhere. A person with a dream of creating a website that will allow lonely singles to meet people who they could connect with on more levels than just what you see at the bar started out with just a simple website. Perhaps you consider yourself to be an expert on love, so you start your own advice website. Writing a blog about love and what it takes to succeed could quickly land you on the Oprah or Dr. Phil show! Allowing guests to discuss what is working and what isn't working on your website could be a recipe for a successful online love experience. Setting up a WordPress blog, or a Joomla social networking website, is your first step to facilitating love on the internet. Everyone had to start somewhere, so take your passion and your idea online, and launch the next big romance website now! ]]> Politics and the Internet,2018: 2012-01-10T12:37:40-07:00 website hosting account to participate in the coming elections? If you have a blog that garners enough visitors, you could be selling political campaign ads, or even get yourself media credentials for campaign events. In the end, the freedom to voice your opinion via your website is powerful, so don't keep quite...speak up now! ]]> Web Stats - What Does It Mean?,2018: 2012-01-03T14:41:55-07:00 website hosting accounts, then visit your custom stats page to see what is going on when people head to your website. We use Webalizer stats tracker to output the details of your website activity, and the stats page is generally updated every morning for the previous day. When you visit your stats page, you will see an overview of each months statistics. If you click an individual month, you will get more detailed information about that specific month. Within the monthly view, there are many stats recorded and displayed, some of which may be confusing. Here, we will break down the individual stats displayed so you can better understand what they mean. The first stat is HITS which is any request made to the server that is logged. These requests can be for anything, including html pages, graphics images, audio files, CGI scripts, etc. Each valid line in the server log is counted as a hit. This number represents the total number of requests that were made to the server during the specified report period. The second stat listed is the FILES stat. Some requests made to the server require that the server then send something back to the requesting client, such as an html page or graphic image. When this happens, it is considered a 'file' and the files total is incremented. The relationship between 'hits' and 'files' can be thought of as 'incoming requests' and 'outgoing responses'. The next stat listed is the PAGES stat. Generally, any html or php document, or anything that generates an html document, would be considered a page. This does not include the other items that go into a document, such as graphic images, audio clips, etc. This number represents the number of 'pages' requested only, and does not include the other features that are in the page. This stat is sometimes referred to as 'Pageviews' in other stats reporters. Each request made to the server comes from a unique SITE, which can be referenced by a name or IP address. The 'sites' number shows how many unique IP addresses made requests to the server during the reporting time period. This does not mean the number of unique individual users (real people) that visited, which is impossible to determine using just logs. Whenever a request is made to the server from a gien IP address, or website, the amount of time since a previous request by the address is calculated. If the time difference is greater than a pre-configured 'visit timeout' value, or has never made a request before, it is considered a 'new visit' and the VISITS stat total is incremented both for the site, and the IP address. The KBytes, or kilobytes, value shows the amount of data, in KB, that was sent out by the server during the specified reporting period. This value is generated directly from the log file and is a fairly accurate representation of the amount of outgoing traffic the server had. The Top Entry and Exit tables give a rough estimate of what URL's are used to enter your site, and what the last pages viewed are. Because of some limitations, this number should be considered a rough estimate, and will give a good indication of the overall trend in where users come into, and exit, your website. The REFERRERS stat is much harder to analyze than a typical URL. What is contained in the referrer field of your log files varies depending on many factors, such as what site did the referral, what type of system it comes from, and how the actual referral was generated. This is a reflection of how a user got to your website, which may have been from a bookmark in their browser, they may simply type your websites URL into their browser, they could have clicked on a link on some remote web page, or they may have found your website from one of the many search engines and site indexes found on the web. The SEARCH STRING stat is a good indication of what users were searching for when they found your website. The Webalizer will do a minimal analysis on referrer strings that it finds, looking for well known search string patterns. Being able to read and understand the stats reported about your website will help you to know what is working, and what needs help. ]]> PHP and MySQL,2018: 2011-12-02T11:47:10-07:00 dynamic web pages that interact with your visitors. You can create useful and well formatted web pages with HTML, but with the addition of PHP and MySQL you can collect data from your users, create specific content on the fly, and do many other things that simple HTML alone cannot do. You can use PHP right inside your already existing HTML content, or put HTML tags right inside your PHP coding. PHP and MySQL complement each other to do what neither can do alone. PHP can collect data, and MySQL can in turn store the information. PHP can create dynamic calculations, and MySQL can provide it with the variables it uses. PHP can create a shopping cart for your web store, but MySQL can keep the data in a format PHP can use to create receipts on demand, show current order status, or even suggest other related products. Although PHP and MySQL can each be used independently, when you put them together it opens up countless possibilities for your site. It is becoming more and more necessary to deliver dynamic content to keep up with the demands of web surfers and their desire to have information instantly delivered to them online. WordPress is one of the most popular PHP scripts available today, and it allows people with little to no coding knowledge to put up a professional website in minutes. However, if you took the time to identify exactly what you wanted from your blog website, and put in the effort to learn the PHP code necessary to accomplish those results, you could create your own script without all of the extra, unnecessary features included in the WordPress package. Many open source scripts are filled with endless possibilities for your website. But what happens if you never use 90% of those features? The space those features occupy on the server is wasted, and your website has to comb through it all to determine which features to load and which to ignore when someone visits your website. By taking the initiative to learn the PHP code required to design a website with only the features you require, and then designing efficient MySQL queries that will populate your website quickly with only the information necessary, you could have a screaming fast website with excellent dynamic content. ]]> MySQL Maintenance,2018: 2011-11-10T13:57:38-07:00 website hosting account are running appropriately. Lets use our auto parts warehouse as an example again. Once you have filled your warehouse with all the parts you need, and properly organized your parts in rows that are easily navigated, you cannot simply leave the warehouse alone forever. As time goes by, you have to do some cleanup and re-organizing. As you add new products, move existing products, or discontinue unnecessary products, you need to make changes to your organization structure to reflect these changes and keep your warehouse organized and easy to navigate. Likewise, as you continuously add new data to your database, move or change existing data in your database, or remove data completely from your database, you will need to perform maintenance on your MySQL database to keep it organized properly. If you make a lot of changes to your database, but you do not routinely perform maintenance on it, your website queries will begin to slow down, and potentially come to an abrupt halt. There are four commonly used maintenance tools, which can be found in phpMyAdmin or you can run them yourself. These tools are used periodically to make sure your MySQL database is functioning properly, and efficiently. There are two tools you would use to essentially make sure that your database is not broken. It is possible for your database to be corrupted, and you may experience failed queries or errors on your website as a result. To ensure that your database's structure and content does not have any problems, you would use the Check Table tool. The Check Table tool will perform an integrity check on the table structure and its contents. If there are any problems with the structure or the contents, it will report the errors letting your know that there is a problem. If the Check Table process reports an error, you will then want to use the Repair Table tool. The Repair Table tool corrects problems in a table that has become corrupted. This tool does have limited use, and sometimes doing a full restore from a backup is better. The other two maintenance tools you should be using periodically are used to ensure that your tables are running smoothly, and performing their duties the best they possibly can. The first of these tools you would want to use is the Analyze Table tool. This tool updates statistics about the distribution of index key values. This information is used by the optimizer to generate execution plans for queries. After you have run the Analyze Table tool, you will want to use the Optimize Table tool. This tool re-organizes a table so that its contents can be accessed more efficiently. The Optimize Table tool will clean up a table by defragmenting it. This reclaims unused space resulting from deletes and updates, and coalescing records that have become split and stored non-contiguously. Optimize Table also sorts the index pages if they are out of order and updates the index statistics. For advanced MySQL users, you can also use the Explain statement to gain more information about a MySQL query to determine if it is efficient. Running a MySQL query with EXPLAIN before it will display information from the optimizer about the query execution plan. MySQL will “explain” how it would process the statement, including information about how tables are joined and in which order. With the help of EXPLAIN, you can see where you should add indexes to tables so that the statement executes faster by using indexes to find rows. You can also use EXPLAIN to check whether the optimizer joins the tables in optimal order. If you take the time to perform routine maintenance periodically, you can ensure that your MySQL databases are configured efficiently, your queries are operating at top speed, and your web site is performing fantastically. Make sure you keep the warehouse clean and organized, and you will save yourself from the headache of trying to resurrect a dead website. ]]> MySQL Optimization,2018: 2011-10-28T11:18:55-07:00 website hosting account more efficient. A database is a large collection of data, similar to a warehouse full of goods. How well you organize those goods in the warehouse determines how quickly you can find an individual item when you need it. Consider your database an auto parts warehouse. If someone came into the warehouse and told you they needed a spark plug, how easy would it be for you to find that spark plug if you had no organization in your warehouse? You would have to walk up and down each aisle looking in each box to see if that box contained spark plugs. This could take forever! A MySQL database puts your data into tables that are easy to navigate. This would equate to putting your auto parts into specific aisles in your warehouse. Now, you would know which aisle your spark plugs were in, so you would only have to look into each box in one aisle until you found those spark plugs. This is much better than having to go through the entire warehouse, but still could take some time since there may be thousands of items in one table that you still have to sift through to find specific data. Optimizing your MySQL database is the best, most efficient way to improve the performance of your website. Instead of just connecting your website to a database, and letting your queries wander around your database aimlessly looking for specific data, you can create indexes that guide your queries directly to the proper location of the requested data. Now you can walk directly through that auto parts warehouse to the aisle with the spark plugs, and know exactly where on that aisle the box of spark plugs is. Indexes are created on a per column basis. If you have a table with the columns: name, address, telephoneNumber, and birthdate and want to create an index to speed up how long it takes to find birthdate values in your queries, then you would need to create an index for birthdate. When you create this index, MySQL will build a lookup index where birthdate specific queries can be run quickly. It is not necessary to create an index for every column, but any column which is queried frequently could benefit from an index. Creating indexes for your tables is crucial for your database, it allows it to perform faster and more efficiently than it would normally. If you use well written queries with efficiently indexed tables, you will find that your websites load incredibly fast compared to poorly written queries with no indexes. When you get started working on your website, take the time to analyze each table you create before you launch, just to make sure it is optimized and ready for action. You may not realize that certain columns are going to be utilized quite as much as you expected, so it is also important that you revisit your databases on a regular basis to determine which tables and columns are working efficiently, and which ones have slowed you down. In our next blog entry, we will discuss MySQL database maintenance in greater depth. ]]> Introduction to MySQL,2018: 2011-10-14T12:12:16-07:00 MySQL is the most popular Open Source SQL database management system, which is why it is used on our website hosting servers. MySQL is developed, distributed, and supported by Oracle Corporation. MySQL is a database management system. A database is a structured collection of data. It may be anything from a simple shopping list to a picture gallery or the vast amounts of information in a corporate network. To add, access, and process the data stored in a database, you need a database management system such as MySQL. MySQL is a relational database management system. A relational database stores data in separate tables rather than putting all the data in one big storeroom. This adds speed and flexibility. The SQL part of “MySQL” stands for “Structured Query Language.” SQL is the most common standardized language used to access databases. Since computers are very good at handling large amounts of data, database management systems play a central role in many script based websites. Most of the free scripts we include in the Install Popular Scripts tool rely on MySQL, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, and many more. MySQL is the most popular choice of databases for use in web applications, and is a central component of the widely used LAMP web application software stack. LAMP is an acronym for “Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python”. MySQL is used in some of the most frequently visited web sites on the internet, including Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, and Facebook. Since MySQL is a relational database management system, it does not provide a built in GUI tool to administer MySQL databases or manage data contained within those databases. You can use command-line tools if you are an expert in the field, but we provide a web based tool to manage your MySQL databases in the Account Manager. PhpMyAdmin is a PHP based interface that allows Linux hosting customers to manage their databases through a web based interface. Understanding MySQL and how it allows you to develop fast, efficient websites using scripts is very important to a successful website application. We will dive deeper into MySQL in the coming weeks to examine proper optimization of MySQL databases and tables, as well as how to perform timely maintenance on your MySQL databases to keep everything running smoothly. ]]> Inspiration Outside The Box,2018: 2011-10-07T13:12:53-07:00 website hosting account, you could probably see increased traffic if you were sharing this video right now, simply because it is so popular. Some of Steve Jobs' catch phrases are being posted all over the internet. His inspiration is sparking quite a storm from people who honestly had no idea who he was just a few days ago. The simple statement “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” has become a mantra of young up and comers who look to expand outside the box. As you begin each day, each project, each new job, each new relationship, it is important that you stay hungry and stay foolish. Think outside the box, instead of just going with the flow. Make sure that you are truly happy with your performance, and not just doing what you are told without any emotions. Being hungry means always searching for more, reaching for higher standards, striving for more difficult goals. Staying foolish does not mean just goofing off all the time. Stay foolish in that inspirational connotation so that you never accept the status quo. I am sure many people thought Steve Jobs was foolish to try competing with IBM and the PC. But he threw caution to the wind, and foolishly developed a winning product. As Steve Jobs moved forward with his plethora of innovations, he allowed his foolishness to expand and explore the realm of impossible. What was once outside the box, quickly became the normal standard. Ipods, Iphones, Ipads all are considered the most popular brands in their fields now. Perhaps you can think outside the box with your website project, and develop something that people find foolish at first, but quickly discover they can't live without! ]]> Online Discussions - Take It To The Forums,2018: 2011-09-30T10:01:32-07:00 Forum on your website. An Internet Forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. There are several popular forum scripts that can be installed into your website hosting account through our Install Popular Scripts tool in the Account Manager. These scripts allow you to host a forum on your website without having to code the forum pages yourself. By using our Install Popular Scripts tool to install a forum script, we will create and configure the code and the database for you, and all you will need to do is add your personal flare! PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. It is released under the GNU General Public License. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages. Another popular Forum script is BbPress. BbPress is plain and simple forum software, plain and simple. It's easy to use, easy to administrate, fast and clean. But don't let its simplicity deceive you; underneath the gleam it's got some powerful features and is highly customizable. A unique Forum script is Phorum, which was the original PHP and MySQL based Open Source forum software started in 1998. Phorum is a little different from the other web based message boards out there. It was designed to meet different needs of different web sites while not sacrificing performance or features. Phorum prides itself in offering its users freedom, which means having the ability to make your message board do what you want it to do. PhpBB has become the most widely used Open Source forum solution since it was created in 2000. Like is predecessors, phpBB 3.0 Olympus has an easy to use administration panel and a user friendly installation process, which allows you to have a forum set up in minutes. With a large and highly customizable set of key features coupled with a standards compliant interface, phpBB will grow with, and compliment your website. With millions of installations worldwide, it is no wonder phpBB is one of the most popular ways to create and support a community. Simple Machines Forum – SMF in short – is a free, professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board and with its unique SSI – or Server Side Includes – function you can let your forum and your website interact with each other. SMF is written in the popular language PHP and uses a MySQL database. It is designed to provide you with all the features you need from a bulletin board while having an absolute minimal impact on the resources of the server. When you are ready to get started with your online discussion, you will find that adding a Forum to your website is the perfect solution. Determine which forum script fits your needs, give it your own personal style, and get started! ]]> Put Your Excellence Online,2018: 2011-09-15T13:39:00-07:00 website hosting account that can help you to excel at everything you put online. Your performance needs to match your passion at all times, and you cannot allow yourself to fall into a pit of negativity. By always doing your best, no matter what you are doing, no matter who is watching or not watching, you ensure that the results will always be exceptionally good. Your constant attention to detail and quality will always produce high quality, well received results. You will quickly be associated with great leaders and entrepreneurs as you prove that your excellence is a habit. When excellence becomes a habit, it becomes an involuntary behavior that is regularly followed. Your excellent performance is so deeply ingrained within your core that you could not fathom under performing. Your actions have meaning, each and every action is done with such passion that it sparks the next action which progressively powers your performance into a locomotive barreling down the track. You are unstoppable, reaching new heights of inspiration and dedication which is reflected in the end result. If you are a negative person, or find yourself simply not caring about much at all, you should stop and analyze each step you take. If you allow your indifference to influence your performance, your end result will be insignificant, and thus you will be known as insignificant. Instead, put some passion into your actions and light a fire in yourself along the way. Allow your bad habits to melt away and your new excellent habits to take hold of your being. As you excel in your life, your excellent results will define you. When excellence becomes a habit, everything you touch turns to gold! ]]> Building A Sports Related Website,2018: 2011-09-08T09:56:16-07:00 website hosting account and find a fancy sports theme, or perhaps even find a theme relating to your favorite team, and then start blogging about whatever you feel strongly about. You could do weekly write-ups of the previous week's game, the upcoming games, and everything in between. Connecting your sports website to your social networking websites is also very popular. Using Twitter or Facebook to post small, frequent comments about your team and sport interests is a fun way to participate in active dialogues about your favorite team. Some of the analysts covering the NFL lockout became the hottest trend setters on Twitter this past summer. If you have valuable information and keep your blog updated with relevant information that people enjoy reading, you can quickly find your website on the front page of search engines if you do proper search engine optimization. Fan pages are also a very fun and profitable website to build and maintain. A lot of leagues and teams have fan page packages you can download and use to make your website look like it is an official team page. When you get a lot of people following your page because you keep it fresh and new, you can begin to sell advertisements because your website is valuable. Maybe you are an up and coming sports reporter and you want to get your foot in the door with a big time sports company like ESPN. You can start your own sports news website and do a good job of reporting the sports news as it happens. This could be your resume as you begin to look for work as a reporter, so make sure it shines. There are a lot of ways you can participate in sports through your website, so find a league, a team, a player...something you are passionate about and start building your website! ]]> Inspiration leads to Innovation,2018: 2011-08-26T11:01:00-07:00 website, sometimes you take for granted the simple methods of stimulation that can spark a wonderful idea.  Don’t over-think yourself into a rut, but instead allow yourself to drift into a powerful state of creativity by changing the way you participate in daily activities. One of the most important tools you can utilize is carrying a small notebook with you everywhere you go.  When life slaps you in the face with that Next Big Idea, you don’t want to wait until you get home to write it down and start to develop it…you need to get it down on paper RIGHT NOW! Even if the idea seems silly or irrelevant, just write it down and you can expand on it later.  Some of the best ideas are formed out of the smallest, most insignificant day dreams. You would be surprised how many daily, boring activities you can change up to ignite that creative process you are struggling with.  Don’t just cruise through life not paying attention, allow your life to fuel your excitement. For example, exercise can often times be painful and annoying…you just can’t wait until it’s over and you spend the whole time arguing with yourself over why the heck you are even doing this.  But imagine if you drive that negativity out and dive deep into your body to start getting in touch with the growth and power of your workout.  Visualizing your muscles growing and expanding, unwanted fat melting off your body as your energy increases and your body goes into hardcore mode, you can now allow your mind to fire up those creative powers and launch into an awesome new idea. Another time you may drift off into nothingness is when you are driving.  Even the worst traffic can be channeled into fuel for your dynamic process.  When others are rushing and raging, slow down and take yourself out of the negative and enjoy the positive.  Take a look around and find the pleasant surroundings you normally miss as you push through the maze of cars.  You can even take a different route, experiencing a whole new world of inspiration from your new environment. When you are talking to people and they start to complain, do you ever just tune them out?  Sometimes it is hard to listen to someone who is very negative, and you just wish they would stop.  However, maybe their complaining can spark your mental revolution!  Maybe it’s time for you to come up with a solution to their problem, or even better, an idea that will silence all the whining of the world?  Start asking more questions, dig a lot deeper than just the surface of the complaint, and really find out what makes this person angry.  Once you have the root of that evil in your hand, you can start to dissect what the exact opposite would be, and build on that idea to develop the root of AWESOME! Don’t neglect your daily toils and tribulations, convert them into high-powered, efficient fuel for your idea producing engine…your days will be much better, and your ideas will flourish. ]]> SiteBuilder Helps Create Excellent Websites,2018: 2011-08-19T09:23:47-07:00 SiteBuilder service, you can have a new professional looking website online within minutes! Sitebuilder is a template based web development tool included free with all website hosting accounts. When you enable SiteBuilder, the first step you will take is selecting the template you like the most. You can select from over 450 templates, so you are sure to find one that fits your needs. Each template has been designed by a professional web designer. All you have to do is add your content into the text fields of your template, and update your website. Your template will automatically format your text and photographs so that your site looks fantastic. You can even upload your own logo, create forms, and add a guestbook. You can also create an Adobe Flash introduction using SiteBuilder and add a dynamic element to your website, upload your photographs using the Photo Album tool, and add a secure shopping cart to your website to sell your products immediately. In addition to the free SiteBuilder tool, you can upgrade to one of our more robust SiteBuilder plans if you want a bigger and better website. The SiteBuilder Pro package allows you to create up to 40 pages and features over 700 templates! You can customize the Footer and Banner of your website. It also features a Welcome Page, Photo Album, Flash Intro Animations, Form Creation Tool, and Guestbook Creation Tool. If you are looking to take your business to the web to sell your products, you will find the SiteBuilder E-Commerce package very helpful. You can develop an online store in no time, with no website coding experience at all. The SiteBuilder E-Commerce package allows you to create up to 70 pages and features over 700 templates. It also features a Shopping Cart, Blogging Tools, Online Image Editing Tool, Photo Album, Flash Introduction Animations, Form Creation Tool, and Guestbook Creation Tool. You can also customize your Footer and Banner, as well as your own Welcome Page. If you are looking to get started on the internet, but have no website coding experience, give our SiteBuilder tool a try. You will be surprised how quickly and easily you can have a professional looking website up and running! ]]> Put Your Photos Online,2018: 2011-08-11T10:39:20-07:00 Gallery to display your photos. We have many popular gallery scripts available for you to install to your hosting account through our Install Popular Scripts tool. Gallery scripts allow you to upload, organize, and display your pictures in a smooth, simple format. Most galleries can be customized to the exact specifications you need for whatever your project may be. There are many gallery scripts and software programs out there, some of which you may have to pay for if you want the truly robust options. But we have plenty of fantastic, free options for you to use with your website hosting service. One of the most popular gallery scripts is Gallery. Gallery is the next generation of open source photo sharing web applications. Gallery gives you an intuitive way to blend photo management seamlessly into your own website whether you're running a small personal site or a large community site. Hundreds of thousands of people and organizations are using Gallery to create personalized photo albums on their websites. Another popular gallery script is Coppermine. Coppermine is a multi-purpose fully featured and integrated web picture gallery script written in PHP using the GD or ImageMagick image library with a MySQL backend. Coppermine allows users to upload pictures through ftp or through the web interface. It also stores picture information in a database, allowing you to manage your albums better. Fourimages is a powerful web-based image gallery management system. It features a comment system, user registration and management, password protected administration area with browser-based upload and HTML templates for page layout and design. By using the integrated template system, the design and layout can be customized easily. Fourimages is also multilingual, allowing you to add an external language file that can be used for translation in other languages. Pixelpost is an open-source, standards-compliant, multilingual, fully extensible photoblog application for the web. Pixelpost features a comprehensive admin panel, extensive template tags, and many addons to extend your photoblog. Zenphoto is a standalone gallery CMS that just makes sense and doesn't try to do everything and your dishes. Zenphoto is more than just a gallery for your images, it also features multimedia support for audio and video and is even capable of running your entire portfolio website including a news section and custom pages. Once you choose the perfect Gallery software for your needs, you will have a lot of fun creating albums full of your photos for the world to see. If you are an artist, you can also set up a professional portfolio to use as your resume. Whatever you do, have fun with and let the world see your wonderful photos! ]]> Keep Your Contact Information Safe,2018: 2011-08-05T10:22:13-07:00 website hosting company and domain name registrar takes many steps to ensure that your private information remains private. First, you can rest assured that any information you enter into the Account Manager will remain private. Your name, phone number, email address, any information you provide, will always remain private, and no one will ever be given any of this information. It is also extremely important that you keep your contact information up to date in the User Information and Contact Information sections of the Account Manager. We send out notices occasionally about your service, renewals, or problems. If you haven't updated your contact information to your current information, you may not receive those notices. Please make sure you always update your contact information if anything changes, we would hate to see you miss out on something important! Keeping the correct contact information updated for your Domain Contacts is also very important. Information about who is responsible for domain names is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws. This information is available to the public on a “Whois” site. For people who do not want their personal information to be made available to the public, we offer a wonderful service called Domain Privacy Protection. By purchasing Domain Privacy Protection, you license a third party company to accept responsibility for the contact information. Your contact information will be replaced by our privacy protection company's information, shielding you from unwanted spam and identity theft. You can enable Domain Privacy Protection in the Account Manager under the Domain Name Registration Management section if your domain is registered through us. If your domain is not registered through us, we highly recommend that you transfer your domain to us so that you can utilize this important service to protect you and your personal information. If you take the appropriate steps to keep your contact information up to date through our system, we will ensure that you are notified of any upcoming renewals or relevant updates. By utilizing our Domain Privacy Protection service, we will ensure that your personal information is safe and secure. ]]> Shopping Carts Take Your Business Online,2018: 2011-07-28T13:36:11-07:00 free shopping cart scripts you can install to your hosting account. Each of these scripts is included in the Install Popular Scripts tool in the Account Manager. Whether you are only selling one item or service, or selling thousands of products with different variations, you can find an e-commerce shopping cart solution that fits your needs through one of our free scripts, or you can look into some of the paid options if you need something more robust or customized. One of the most popular shopping carts is the osCommerce product. osCommerce is a free, open source on-line shop software. The default installation includes a large number of features that you can easily enable and configure. With osCommerce shopping cart you can add multiple products on your site, organize them in categories, set discounts and special promotions. osCommerce allows you to set your prices in different currencies and accept all popular payment methods: PayPal, credit cards, and checks. osCommerce also has a built-in shipping and tax function. Another popular shopping cart is Magento. Magento is an open source e-commerce platform, which uses the newest technologies on the web. It offers professional features, flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of the on-line shop. With Magento you can establish an e-business with convenient product and catalog browser options, extended customer management, advanced analysis, reporting and marketing promotions tools, and much more. Magento has an intuitive administration interface, it is completely scalable and backed by an extensive support network. PrestaShop is a professional e-commerce shopping cart software that you can install for free. It is scalable, modular, light and fast. PrestaShop has more than 265 features that you can customize, including unlimited categories, subcategories and products in your catalog, a robust customer system, customizable order statuses, built-in statistics and Search Engine Optimization. There is a growing community of PrestaShop users, who make the shopping cart better every day. A very popular e-commerce solution is Zen Cart. Zen Cart truly is the art of e-commerce; free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software. The e-commerce web site design program is being developed by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants that think e-commerce web design could be and should be done differently. Some of the features included in Zen Cart are multiple customer modes, unlimited category depth, multiple sales and discounts, and multiple display modes. OpenCart is an open source PHP-based on-line shopping cart system. OpenCart is a robust e-commerce solution for internet merchants with the ability to create their own on-line business and participate in e-commerce at a minimal cost. OpenCart is designed feature rich, easy to use, search engine friendly and with a visually appealing interface. OpenCart features unlimited categories, unlimited products, unlimited manufacturers, supports multiple currencies and languages, allows product reviews and ratings, and supports more than 20 payment gateways and 8 shipping methods. Once you are ready to take your business to the internet and begin selling your product or service on-line, you will be happy to find a great selection of shopping cart solutions available to you. Find the one that best fits your needs and style, and get to selling! ]]> Direct Selling Online,2018: 2011-07-14T11:29:22-07:00 beat the economic crisis is through Direct Selling via the internet. With the strength of social networking, you can create an empire of sales opportunities from home. If you are able to connect with a distributor or manufacturer, you are primed to succeed even in the toughest economic times. There are many tools that you can take advantage of to become a powerhouse direct seller right now. Direct selling is the original social networking business, and with the advent of new online social networking websites, you are poised to make profit from home if you are able to tap into the plethora of resources available to you. Social Networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, and the new Google+ have opened the doors to market your product quickly and easily, right to the doorstep of people you know, or maybe don't know, who need your product. And, with your ability to provide those products quickly and efficiently, at a lower cost to the customer than through a brick and mortar store, it is simple to convince your “friends” that you are an excellent source of quality products. Once you have established a relationship with a distributor or manufacturer you can be passionate about, you can set up a simple website which lists your available products, and how people can purchase those products through you. You can either have people contact you directly to purchase the products, or you can install a quick and easy website shopping cart. Either way, keep it simple at first, making sure that you can provide, and deliver, the highest quality, most in demand products available to you. Setting up a blog website related to your business can also be very helpful. You can always install a blog like WordPress directly through the Account Manager using our Install Popular Scripts tool. Make sure you keep your blog fresh and new, presenting yourself as an expert in your field. Once the public finds your blog and you have earned their respect, your suggestions and references can become powerful marketing tools for your business. You will also want to use the many social networking websites frequently, but responsibly. Do not overburden people with fluff or sales pitches, or you may find yourself blocked or un-friended by even some of your closest real life friends. Keep people up to date, but don't turn your Facebook page into a Swap Meet. Twitter is great for quick, short blasts to let people know about important updates, changes, or news. You will also find that becoming involved in other social networks as a contributor can lead to increased visibility of your business. You do not want to join another forum or discussion group and immediately start trying to sell people your products. However, if you establish yourself as a respected member of that new community, people will naturally learn more about you and that will lead them to your business. As you participate further in those communities, you can begin to make suggestions and recommendations that help people to find your business and save people time and money. There are many other opportunities for you to succeed online in this economic crisis. I have seen many direct selling professionals thrive as they cater their business online through social networking to help cut out the middle man and deliver excellent products at reasonable prices to the public. Find yourself a good product you can get behind and give it a shot, you may find yourself sitting on top of a gold mine soon! ]]> Wonderful World of Email,2018: 2011-07-07T11:27:58-07:00 Email Service is included with all hosting plans, and there are many features involved with email that you can utilize to stay connected. To manage your email accounts, you can log into the Account Manager and click on the Email Accounts tool. When you create an email account, you can configure it as an email account with a mailbox, as just a forwarding email address, or as both! If you want to use your email account with Webmail or an email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird, you will need to set it up as either a POP3 or IMAP4 email account. When you configure your email account as a POP3 account, you will be pulling your emails off of the server into your email client, and a copy of the email message will not remain on the server. If you configure your email account as an IMAP4 account, you will be keeping your emails on the server, and when you check your email, you will be connecting to the server and reading the emails off of the server. If you choose to create an email account as a Forwarding Only account, any emails sent to that email address will not land on our servers. They will only be forwarded on to the address you indicate as the recipient of the forward. You can set up your email account as a POP3/IMAP4 and Forwarding account if you want. This way, the emails will land on our server, and then a copy of that email will also be forwarded on to the address you indicate as the recipient of the forward. You also have the option to add an Autoreply message to your email accounts. This will send an automatic reply message to anyone who emails this account. You can configure this Autoreply message to respond with any message you wish, and you can change this message as needed. Webmail is a very handy tool for checking your email when you are on the go. You can check your email by visiting a website and logging into your email account there. This provides you with a direct connection to the server where you can read and send emails, and delete emails off of the server that you no longer need. We also include a powerful spam prevention tool in the Account Manager called SpamAssassin. Within the SpamAssassin tool, you can adjust the Spam Rejection Level based on how tight or loose you want the spam control to effect each hosted domain on your hosting account. When you use this tool, it is important to recognize that 1 is the Highest level of spam rejection and may result in legitimate emails being rejected, and 14 is the Lowest level of spam rejection which may result in many spam emails being delivered. SpamAssassin also allows you to add email addresses to a Whitelist or Blacklist for each hosted domain. When you add an address to the Whitelist, you are telling the server to deliver the email regardless of the spam rejection score it receives. On the other hand, if you add an email account to the Blacklist, you are telling the server to not deliver the email to your account under any circumstance. Messages delivered to multiple recipients will use the default spam settings, so you cannot rely on the Whitelist or Blacklist if a message is sent to multiple recipients. Also, messages are still subject to server based checks which occur prior to the message being scanned by SpamAssassin, such as the SpamHaus blacklist and the Greylisting service. Greylisting is a mechanism used by mail servers to filter out mail from “spam bots”. It utilizes the Simple Mail Transport Protocol's (SMTP) built in ability to handle temporary failures in mail delivery to force computers that are delivering mail to “prove” that they are mail servers and not simply a “spam bot”. We hope that you find our many email features valuable and enjoy the many tools we have added for you to manage and maintain your email accounts. ]]> New Features - More Power,2018: 2011-06-30T14:51:49-07:00 Mail Manager. This feature is an external manager of email account settings, which will allow each individual email account holder to manage their own email account settings. Previously, only the user account administrator could manage things like email account passwords, auto-replies, and forwarding addresses. Now, each email account can be configured to allow for password changes, auto-reply configuration, and forwarding address additions. We have also added a new Cron Tool in the Account Manager for customers to manage their own Cron Jobs. For advanced users, this tool allows you to manually add a Cron Job to the server in real time, so when you update or add a an entry, it will be added to the server immediately. Cron Jobs can run at a minimum of once every 15 minutes. There are 2 types of crons that may be added, a ”command” based cron and a ”web” based cron. The command type requires the user enter in all of the details of the cron entry manually. The web type is a simple interface that lets the user browse to a file on their site that will be executed via HTTP as if someone went to the link in their web browser at the requested interval. A very popular addition has been the new Secure Shell access tool. SSH is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel, adding an additional level of security when connecting to the server. You can find the Secure Shell tool in the Account Manager under the Website Settings section. SSH is for advanced users who wish to have command line access to their web hosting accounts to make changes directly on the server. Another new feature is the ability for an email account that is only configured as a forwarding account to have a password associated with it for the purpose of sending email through our servers with SMTP Authentication. This password is optional for forwarding only accounts, and can be added when creating a new email account or through the View/Edit link in the Email Management tool in the Account Manager. As part of our Invoicing system, we are now offering PDF Invoices in the Account Manager. There is an Invoices link in the Account Manager under the General Information section. Only invoices after April 25, 2011 are available in PDF format. Full contact information for both the company and the customer are included in these new invoices. We hope that you find our new features useful and allow you to have even more power and control over your website hosting service. Let us know if you can think of any other changes or additional features that would be useful. ]]> Keep Your Website Safe And Secure,2018: 2011-06-23T14:44:40-07:00 You work hard to design, publish, and maintain your websites. The last thing you want to do is let someone else ruin all of your hard work. There are people out there who are looking for vulnerable websites that they can hack and then utilize to do their illegal activities. These people are called hackers, and we want to help protect you from them. There are many ways for a hacker to gain access to your website, but there are a few very common methods that can be prevented very easily. Hopefully, if you are resilient and always stay one step ahead of them, you will never have the unpleasant experience of having your website hacked by one of these unruly characters. The first, most common way to have your website hacked is by activating a virus on your own computer that you use to access your website through the Account Manager or through FTP. This can happen through a multitude of methods, but most commonly it is done through clicking a link in an email that launches a virus, or by visiting an infected website and clicking a link there that executes a virus on your computer. Once a virus is on your computer, you are usually sending all of your sensitive login information to a hacker through a Keylogger. The hacker then uses that login information to access your hosting account or ftp account to deface your website. The easiest way to defend from this type of attack is to always run a trusted anti-virus software on any computer you use to access your account. A good anti-virus software will alert you before you even click a virus, and if you do happen to download or launch a virus, it will be intercepted and removed promptly. You can also run regularly scheduled anti-virus scans of your full computer to make sure your computer is always clean and free from malicious software. If you think you may have been hacked, step one is to run an anti-virus scan on any computer you may have used to log into your account so that you can remove those pesky Keyloggers before you start changing your login information. You never want to change your login information until AFTER you have cleaned your computer of any malicious software, otherwise you are just sending your new password to the hacker when you change it. The second most common method of having your website hacked is through outdated scripts installed on your website. Most free, open-source scripts are updated regularly to fix security breeches. If you do not keep your installed versions up to date, you become an easy target for hackers. Many scripts have a built in update mechanism that you can use to check for updates, and then do an automatic upgrade once a new release is found. If you do not keep your scripts up to date, hackers may find your website and discover that you are using an old script that is accessible through injection. They will inject code into your script that grants them access to all of your websites on your hosting account, and then go to work on all of them. Again, you can prevent this by always keeping your installed scripts up to date using the latest versions of each script from the script developer website. So remember, in order to keep your website from getting hacked, always run a trusted anti-virus software on any computer you use to log into or manage your website hosting account or FTP account, and always keep your installed scripts up to date with the most recent, secure versions from the script developer website. HTML Editors - How Do You Code?,2018: 2011-06-16T10:28:24-07:00 HTML Editor. There wasn't anything fancy, or productive, about Notepad, it was just a blank slate that allowed you to enter line after line of code. When you hit a snag, the process of tracking down your errors was a nightmare. Lucky for you, there is a plethora of constructive HTML editors for you to choose from when you are ready to start developing your website. There are two flavors of HTML Editors for you to choose from: HTML Text Editors and “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) Editors. Depending on how comfortable you are with coding, you may find either type beneficial. The “What You See Is What You Get” HTML editors are very easy to use, and you simply place items on a page how you want them to show up on the website. The editor itself converts your creation into a coded file for you, so you never have to worry about the actual HTML code. WYSIWYG editors are very popular with novice web developers who have no previous coding experience. HTML Text Editors require that you know HTML code. You are given a blank slate to write your code on, but most of these editors have built in tracking to help you with your coding and identify errors or mistakes. HTML Text Editors also give you more control over your website if you have advanced HTML coding knowledge, since you can alter things at the root level to change how it will appear on the website. There really isn't a “correct” way of coding a website, so choose whichever editor you are comfortable with and go to town! There are many options for both flavors of editors for you to choose from, including many that must be purchased as well as some quality free options. There are even some options that include both the WYSIWYG and Text Editor options combined in one software package. One of the most popular and well known editors is Adobe Dreamweaver which is a very robust platform that includes both the WYSIWYG and Text Editor options built in. Dreamweaver includes a CSS panel which will apply different styles as you adjust screen dimensions, code hinting and design view rendering support, as well as advanced Jquery interactive code hinting. For Macintosh users, a very popular option is RapidWeaver which makes it ridiculously easy to create stunning website on your Mac. RapidWeaver allows you to simply choose the pages you need for your project, select a theme – customizing it using the included variations – and add your content. There is also a very passionate community of developers that collaborate on projects, addons, and themes. A very powerful and FREE HTML Text Editor is Komodo Edit which allows you to edit more than just HTML, it can be used to code with Perl, Python, PHP, and Javascript as well. There is a much more robust paid version Komodo IDE as well. Komodo Edit is a convenient project system with easy local and remote file browsing and friendly HTML and CSS autocomplete features. There are many more options for you to choose from, so do some research to determine which HTML Editor offers the best tools for your style of development and dive in! ]]> E3 Expo And Your New Gaming Website!,2018:! 2011-06-09T13:37:13-07:00 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo has provided quite a bit of information about the future of gaming this week. If you were lucky enough to attend, you may have even experienced some of that future yourself! For the rest of the world who could not attend, you are in luck...the internet can connect you to a plethora of information, experiences, and insider tips that even E3 visitors may have missed. One thing I found surprising was how many press passes were issued to people who really had nothing more than a fan site or blog site related to an upcoming game. I saw several interviews where an average Joe who did nothing more than collect information about an upcoming game and post that information along with his impressions on a simple website was interviewing a lead developer or writer for a major gaming company. It's pretty amazing to see how far we have come in the gaming world over time, and the internet is now an important factor in many gaming experiences. Most games now have some form of online connection, and some are completely online such as MMORPGs and the like. The internet is connecting people all around the world in video games that are slowly taking up more and more of our social time. Beyond the simple fact that online gaming is a strong trend, the websites related to gaming are quickly becoming some of the most visited URLs on the internet. Websites like and offer news, reviews, previews and more for all of the games you might be interested in. So what is stopping you from becoming the next big gaming website? Most of these sites really started out as a simple blog site discussing games. Any person who plays and reviews games, does some research and previews upcoming games, and collects newsworthy information and presents it in a well written blog entry, can suddenly find themselves interviewing the lead developer of their favorite video game at a gaming convention. If you have a passion for gaming, you need to start your own website and get to work on connecting your website to the gaming community. You can set your website up with a WordPress blog and do weekly write ups about what you are playing, what you wish you were playing, and what you won't be playing anymore. If you are publishing entertaining and relevant information, people will enjoy reading your articles. Next, you need to drive people to your website. Start working on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques so that when people do a google search for game reviews, your website will show up on the first page. Start joining other gaming communities and participating in the discussions there, always including your website in your signature. Once people identify that you really know what you are talking about, they will start visiting your website for more information. Once you have the traffic, you can start placing advertisements for high profile companies on your website to make more money! You can even become an official spokesperson for certain gaming companies if you are doing a fantastic job. The opportunities really are endless, so get your website set up and start writing about things you are passionate about...don't wait until tomorrow, do it today! ]]> Drupal: Beyond The Basics - Themes,2018: 2011-05-19T14:09:47-07:00 THEME. Drupal requires more advanced coding knowledge when it comes to customizing as opposed to the simple theme processes in other common scripts like WordPress and Joomla. If you are not comfortable with coding, you may find Drupal a bit intimidating, but really it just takes some practice and planning to get you on the right track. There are several options for customizing your Drupal site, ranging from simple to advanced. Once you have a theme, you will want to upload it to the server into your /sites/all/themes directory. From within the Drupal admin panel, you can see all of the themes you have uploaded to the server. You can enable or disable individual themes, and then set one of the themes as the default theme. Whichever theme is set as the default theme will be the one that is used when visitors view your website. If you are a beginner, you will want to find a completed theme that fits your needs and install it. You can find many themes through the Drupal Themes Site which allows you to search or browse the many themes that have been uploaded to their database by the community. You can also purchase professionally designed themes from developers if you wish to. Once you have uploaded a theme, you can then use the administration interface to modify some of the aspects like the colors, visible features, and other basic information. These changes do not require you to know any coding, you simply add, change, or remove things through the administration interface and refresh your page! For intermediate users, you may want to consider taking an existing theme and tweaking it to better fit your needs. If you have CSS design knowledge, you can edit the code of the existing CSS files so that they mold into the theme you really want. Uploading your new versions of the CSS files to replace the theme's CSS files will cause your new layout to be visible when your visitors view your website. If you want to claim a new theme as your own, you only need to change the .info file to reflect your own unique theme name. You can also make your own unique sub-theme of an existing theme. This only requires you to create a directory for your sub-theme and put a .info file in that directory which contains a line in it that points to the “parent” theme. If you are an advanced designer and wish to create your own theme, you can start from scratch and build an entire theme to your own specifications. You can create your own template files which contain HTML or PHP code that generates pages the way that you like. If you do choose to design your own theme, you should share your work by contributing it to the Drupal community so that people just starting out can utilize your theme in their own site. No matter how you do it, you will want to spend some time drawing out exactly how you want your website to look, and then look for themes that fulfill your needs. It is difficult with Drupal to start with a theme and then try to build your website around the theme. Once you have a master plan for your website, you will find basic themes that you can customize along the way to provide your website with all the glitz and attention it deserves! ]]> Introduction to Drupal - Powerful Content Management System,2018: 2011-05-11T10:55:03-07:00 Drupal is one of the most advanced, feature rich Content Management Systems available today. Drupal is a free, open source software package that allows anyone to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. You can use Drupal to build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications. There are thousands of add-on modules and designs that let you build any site you can imagine. Drupal is very flexible and is constantly being improved by hundreds of thousands of passionate people from all over the world through the Drupal community network. By using Drupal, you can build internal or external-facing websites in a matter of hours, with no custom programming knowledge necessary. You can manage your content with an easy-to-use web interface. Drupal's flexibility handles countless content types including video, text, blog, podcasts, and polls with robust user management and menu handling. We have a convenient installer in the Account Manager that will allow you to install Drupal with just a few quick clicks. You can log into the Account Manager and click the Install Popular Scripts link under the Website Marketing and Design section, then click Install Packages to view all of the popular scripts that can be installed. Once you have read over the Package Description and you are ready to install Drupal, click the Install link to begin. You will want to read the installation information and the important notice on the next screen, and once you are done click the Continue button. On the Drupal Installation page, you will only need to fill out a few quick items relevant to your installation. In the Installation Directory field, you will enter the name of the directory you wish to install Drupal to. If you want to install it to the root of your website, you will leave the box blank. If you want to install it to a subdirectory, simply enter the directory name like /drupal and it will install it there. Next you will want to set your Admin Username to something you will remember, and note your admin password as well. Please keep this information safe and don't forget it, since it is unique to your installation. You will then want to provide the email address of your site administrator in the Admin Email field. Make sure that this email address is valid, since it will be used for any communications through your Drupal website. You will then need to read and agree to the Agreement and then click the Install button to begin the pre-configured installation of Drupal to your hosted website. Once your Drupal installation is complete, you can log in at the URL where you installed it to begin your design adventures! ]]> SEO - Search Engine Optimization and You!,2018:! 2011-05-04T13:05:54-07:00 Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the art of optimizing your site to increase its rankings in common search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. The higher your ranking in search engines, the more visitors you will receive to your web site. The art of Search Engine Optimization is very complex, and there are so many factors to consider in the process that we cannot list them all. Hopefully we can cover the basics to get you started with Search Engine Optimization, and you can build on it from there. The most important part of Search Engine Optimization is your content. You will want to make sure you always have fresh, unique content that is linkworthy on your web site if you wish to remain successful in the search engine world. In order to best optimize your web site, be prepared to update your site at least twice per week with new, unique content. Just because the content you posted is awesome, does not mean you can sit back and let that one post garner you rankings forever. The second key to Search Engine Optimization is choosing relevant keywords and building your posts around those crucial keywords. Be careful not to build your site around keywords that nobody searches. Think like a person who is interested in your topic, and do the research into the keywords that would be relevant to your topic. Don't limit yourself to just one word either, use keyword phrases that are descriptive to best capture visitors. One helpful tool for improving your Search Engine Optimization is creating a sitemap. A well organized sitemap gives the search engine spiders a way to quickly and more efficiently scan and index all of your content. We have a convenient tool in the Account Manager that will assist you with creating a Google Site Map. Once you log into the Account Manager, look under the Website Marketing and Design section for the Google Site Maps tool. A powerful tool used to enhance your Search Engine Optimization is building quality backlinks. The number of backlinks your web site has is one indication of the popularity or importance of your web site. Basically, a backlink is a link from a completely separate web site linking to your site. The more times your web site is linked to from an external web site, the more important your site is going to appear to search engines. You want to make sure you create quality backlinks, and avoid irrelevant backlinks or excessive backlinks in a short period of time which may cause a web site ranking penalty. Finally, you will want to submit your web site to popular search engines so it can be crawled and indexed. You will at least want to submit your site to Google, Yahoo, and Bing to get started, since these are the most popular search engines. It takes time for your site to be crawled and indexed, but once you get into the system, you will want to take a proactive approach to keeping your site moving up the search rankings. Write fresh content at least two times a week, and make sure that the content is unique in its nature, and your site will be crawled and indexed frequently, improving your position in the search engine rankings. There is much more to do in order to improve your Search Engine Optimization, but this is a good basic plan of attack. Make sure you do the research, follow the guidelines, and soon your web site will be rocketing up the search engine rankings! See you on the first page!!! ]]> What Is Your Blog About?,2018: 2011-04-14T13:09:38-07:00 One of the most popular things to do in the hosting world is to create a blog. A blog can be a separate part of your web site, or it can be the main focus of your web site. Blogs are usually written and maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as pictures or videos. Many blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and have discussions regarding the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static web sites. There are two primary types of blogs; The Personal Blog and The Organizational Blog. A Personal Blog is a blog hosted by one or more individuals, which discusses any topic the blogger feels relevant. These types of blogs are generally one persons opinion or impression of the blog topic, and the discussion revolves around whichever topic the blogger feels inclined to discuss on that particular day. The Organizational Blog is a blog created and maintained by a business, team, club, or some other form of organization. Many businesses will create a blog to keep customers informed, or use it as a marketing tool to announce new and improved products. Teams and clubs will use a blog as a central location for announcements about upcoming events or matches, and discussions about previous activities. So you want to start a blog of your own, but what should you be blogging about? The sky really is the limit here, but there are some good ideas to follow in order to keep your blog interesting. One really important factor is to blog about something you are actually interested in. You will have problems if you try to jump on the bandwagon of some popular topic that you have no knowledge of or interest in. Say, for example, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team was very popular all of the sudden. You knew there were a lot of people who were actively discussing the Lakers and looking for web sites to read more about the Lakers. If you knew nothing about the Lakers, or basketball for that matter, choosing to do a blog focused on the Lakers would be a really bad idea. You may be able to list some facts and stats about the Lakers, but people will generally ignore your blog once they see that you really don't have an interest in the Lakers and are simply regurgitating facts they can find elsewhere. But what if no one else is interested in what I am interested in? Who cares! Writing a blog is about self expression, and growing your ideas into something bigger and more exciting than just a daydream. Let's say, for example, you are an aspiring fashion designer...but your job is just dressing mannequins for a local department store. You could start a blog where you discussed your ideas for how you would improve fashion and go from there. Maybe you could take pictures of the mannequins as you put each article of clothing on, and then do a blog discussing how and why each piece works together. Or, you could dress the mannequins in your own unique way, showing off your flare and take a picture. Then dress the mannequin the way the store wants it dressed and take a picture. Then in your blog you can discuss what you did different and why you think your version of the fashion is better! Good blogs can consist of just text, full of great ideas and topics that people would love to discuss. Or they can include pictures, videos, or sound files. A picture really is worth a thousand words. This is true when it comes to all topics, from artwork to science, sports to fine dining, Hollywood to Holland. You may not realize it, but there is probably many blogs out there for things like quantum physics and I am sure they include plenty of lavish diagrams and equations. Blogs about cooking probably have wonderful photos of exquisite food creations. The options here are endless! So think deeply about what you are passionate about, and start your own blog! Even if only one person is reading it, you are still connecting with the world and sharing your passion! Joomla! Extension Management,2018:!--extension-management 2011-03-24T14:16:35-07:00 Joomla installed on the server and your web site is up and running, it is time to get fancy! Joomla presents you with a blank canvas that you can then fill with whatever you want. Joomla Extensions allow you to add all the extra bells and whistles to your web site to really make it shine! Joomla has a built in Extension Manager that will allow you to install an extension with just a few clicks. Once you have found an extension that fits your web site needs, download the extension zip file to your computer. You will then log into the Joomla admin page and click the Extension Manager icon. On this page you can Install, Update, and Manage your extensions. Under the Upload Package File section, click the Browse button and find the extension zip file on your computer, select the file by clicking it and then click the Open button. You will then click the Upload and Install button in the Extension Manager. In just a few moments, your extension is uploaded and installed, and all necessary adjustments will be automatically made to the web site code and the related database. You will then open the the related extension admin page to manage the features of the installed extension. It really is that simple! So what extensions should you install? Well, the possibilities really are endless. You can search for extensions through the Joomla home page, or you can google search for specific extensions if you have a specific need. One of the most popular Joomla extensions is Community Builder. If you are looking to develop a social network site, this is the tool for you! Community Builder has many plugins available including Profile Gallery, Profile Blog, Profile Guestbook, Profile Wall, Facebook Connect, Twitter Connect, Paid Subscriptions Membership Management, Donations Management, Shop, Captcha and many more. You will definitely want to check it out if you have any interest in developing your own social media site. If you are looking to develop an e-Commerce web site, you will be interested in the popular Joomla extension VirtueMart. This is a complete e-Commerce shopping cart solution for Jooma, used by thousands of store owners. It can be run in Store Mode or Catalog Mode. With its powerful Administration Tool you can handle an unlimited number of Categories, Products, Orders, Discounts, Shopper Groups and Customers. There are over 7,000 extensions available through the Joomla web site, so head over and look for the ones that solve all of your problems. Your Joomla site will be fantastic once you add the professional, easy to use extensions designed to make your life simple. ]]> Joomla! Content Management System,2018:!--content-management-system 2011-03-10T12:36:55-07:00 Joomla! Joomla is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) and application framework. Anyone can develop a robust, feature-rich web site using the Joomla script, even if you have no coding experience. Joomla is also one of the included features in our Install Popular Scripts tool in the Account Manager. This will allow you to install the Joomla script automatically configured for your hosting account, without having to do any of the coding or database creation. To install the the Joomla script, please log into the Account Manager, click on the Install Popular Scripts link, then click the Install Packages link next to your desired domain name. You will find Joomla under the CMS section. If you hover over the Package Description link, you can view a description of the Joomla script. You can also click the Joomla's home page link to visit the script developer web site. When you are ready to install Joomla, simply click the Install link. On the next page, you will want to make sure you read all information about the installation and then click the Continue button. You will now enter some basic information in regards to your Joomla installation. In the Installation Directory: field, you will enter the directory you want the Joomla script to be installed in. If you want Joomla to be installed to the root of your domain, you will leave the box blank. If you want the script to be installed to a sub-directory, you will simply enter the name of the directory you have already created on the server, and it will then install it to that sub-directory. Please note that the directory you are installing this script to must be empty, so make sure there are no files uploaded to the server in the specified directory. In the Admin Username: field, you will enter your desired admin username. You will want to make note of the Admin Password: assigned to your installation. Please make sure you write down and keep this username and password combination in a safe, secure place. You will also need to enter a valid email address in the Admin Email: field. This email address will be used for all admin contact features, so please make sure that you have access to this email address. Once you have all of these fields filled out completely, check the Agreement: box and click the Install button. The Joomla script is now queued for installation and your copy of Joomla will be installed shortly. Once the installation is complete, you will need to login as the Administrator to configure your web site. On the administration page, you can manage the layout, modules, extensions, settings, and content of your new, professional looking web site. Have fun with it! ]]> Secure Shell Access (SSH) Now Available,2018: 2011-03-04T15:19:04-07:00 Secure Shell Access (SSH) is now available for all Linux hosting customers! Secure Shell is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel between two networked devices. SSH was designed as a replacement for Telnet and other insecure remote shells, which send information, notably passwords, in plaintext, rendering them susceptible to packet analysis. The encryption used by SSH is intended to provide confidentiality and integrity of data over an unsecured network, such as the internet. Secure Shell access is for advanced users who wish to have command line access to their web hosting accounts to make changes directly on the server. To enable SSH, you need to log into the Account Manager and click on the Secure Shell tool under the Website Settings section. You can then enable, or disable, Shell Access as well as define the Shell Interpreter, then click Update to finish the process. Please note that once you have enabled SSH, your account access information will be listed in the Secure Shell section in the Account Manager. You must use those settings if you wish to use SSH to access your web hosting accounts. ]]> WordPress: Advanced Features - Plugins,2018: 2011-02-24T16:48:40-07:00 Plugins to your WordPress blog will not only make it look and work better, but will also keep it safe and secure. Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. To install a plugin to your WordPress site, you will first download the plugin, usually as a .zip file, extract the plugin and upload the named folder into the /wp-content/plugins directory on the server. Every plugin that you upload to the server will then be available to enable or manage through the WordPress admin page. So what should you install? Well, there are thousands of plugins available in so many flavors and colors, so you should do some searches for features that you think might fit your blog best. You can find many of the best plugins through the WordPress Community Plugin Page. They have a built in search feature that will allow you to browse the over 13,000 plugins that have been uploaded to the WordPress community. There are definitely some very popular plugins that you will want to check out. The most popular of which is the All In One SEO Pack. This plugin will automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization). Beginners or advanced users will find it very powerful, since it works out-of-the-box, or you can fine-tune everything to your specific needs. And if generating traffic to your blog is important, you will also want to look into the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it's much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content. Another popular plugin is Akismet. This plugin is awesome for stopping those pesky spammers who love to fill your blog comments with their own ruthless advertisements. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog's “Comments” admin screen. A simple but flexible contact form plugin is Contact Form 7. This plugin can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so much more. If you want to include an image gallery, a good plugin is NextGEN Gallery. This plugin is a fully integrated Image Gallery plugin with a slideshow option. You can add custom templates for the galleries to match your WordPress theme and other effects. There are so many fun and interesting plugins that you really want to check out if you are serious about having a well developed WordPress blog, so head over to the WordPress homepage and start searching for plugins that will enhance your blog now! ]]> WordPress: Beyond the Basics - Themes,2018: 2011-02-17T13:56:50-07:00 THEME. A custom theme will completely change the layout, colors, and features of your blog...and you don't even need to know any code to do it. First, you need to find a theme that you like. You can either look for a theme that reflects your own personal style and culture, or you can use a theme that directly relates to your common topics discussed in your blog. If you had a blog that was specifically discussing cars, you might want to install a theme that had pictures of cars. If you were discussing an assortment of topics and wanted to have your blog reflect your personal love of cats, you could install a theme that had lots of pictures of cats! So, where do you find these themes? You can search the huge list of themes available through the WordPress homepage at The WordPress Themes Page. There are over 1,000 themes available there, so go do some keyword searches for something you find relevant and see what comes up. Or you could even browse through all of the 'Most Popular' themes to see if anything catches your eye. You can also use Google to search for WordPress themes using your specific keywords to find plenty of other resources that offer free or paid WordPress themes that may spark your interest. Once you have found that perfect WordPress theme, you will want to download it to your computer. Most of these themes can be downloaded as a .zip file, which you can then extract into a folder on your computer. You will then upload that extracted folder onto the server into the /themes sub-directory under your /wp-content directory wherever you installed WordPress. For example, if you installed WordPress to the root directory, you would want to upload your new theme folder into the /primary/www/wp-content/themes directory. If you installed WordPress into a directory named blog, you would upload the new theme folder into the /primary/www/blog/wp-content/themes directory. Make sure you upload the actual extracted folder into the /themes directory, not just the files inside the folder. This will give you a list of directories in the /themes directory with the names of each theme you have installed. Once you have your theme uploaded to the server, you will log into your WordPress admin page, click the Appearance section, then click the Themes link. You will now see the Current Theme at the top, as well as a list of Available Themes. Any theme you have uploaded correctly to the server should be listed under the Available Themes To enable your new theme, click the Activate link. Just like that, you have a whole new stylish go find that special theme that screams CHECK ME OUT! ]]> Introducing WordPress - The Basics,2018: 2011-02-10T17:11:52-07:00 Wordpress. Wordpress is a simple web software script that allows you to create beautiful web sites and blogs. We have a simple to use script installer within the Account Manager for Wordpress. With just a few clicks, you can have a pre-configured blog uploaded to your site in minutes. Blogging is so much fun, and honestly you can blog about just about anything these days! People love to read and discuss so many different topics, so no matter what you want to blog about, someone will find your site and enjoy what you have to offer. You have the option to install Wordpress manually by downloading the files from the Wordpress site and uploading those files following their instructions. Or, the simple solution is to use our Install Popular Scripts tool in the Account Manager. Once you log into the Account Manager, click on the Install Popular Scripts link under the Website Marketing and Design section. You will then click the Install Packages link next to the domain you wish to install Wordpress to. You can view a brief description of the software by hovering your mouse over the Package Description link, or you can visit the Wordpress developer web site by clicking the Wordpress' Home Page link. To install Wordpress, simply click the Install link! Once you are inside the Wordpress installation page, please take the time to read the Wordpress information as well as the Notice section which explains some important information about using our installers. Once you are comfortable with your selection of Wordpress, click the Continue button. Inside the Wordpress Installation page, you only have to enter a few quick items. The first item you need to select is the location of your Wordpress blog, which will go in the Installation Directory field. If you want your Wordpress installation to go into the root of your domain, you will leave the field blank. If you want it to go to a separate directory, you will enter that directory in the field. For example, if you want the blog to show up at, you will enter /blog in the field. Please note that the directory you are installing to must be empty, so make sure there are no files in that directory before you begin this process. You can enter a unique Admin Username, and make note of the temporary admin password assigned to your Wordpress installation. You will then enter the email address for the Admin Email, check the box for the Agreement and click the Install button. Your Wordpress installation is now queued for installation, and will be configured and uploaded in no time. The beauty of this is that you do not have to fool with creating and managing MySQL databases or any of the code...the installer does all of that for you! Now get to blogging everyone! ]]> Secure Your Domain Name For Life,2018: 2011-02-02T13:48:49-07:00 Domain Name Auto Renew. Domain Name Auto Renew is an option that may be enabled directly through the Account Manager. It automatically renews the registration of a domain name within two weeks of expiration. Auto Renew ensures that domain names remain registered with the same ownership. Auto Renew effectively secures domain name registrations for as long as the option is enabled. Allowing a domain name to expire allows it to be registered by someone else. Why risk losing ownership of a domain name? To enable Auto Renew on one or more domain names, please follow these Three Simple Steps: 1.Log in to the Account Manager 2.Click the Auto Renew option in the Domain Name Management section. 3.Select the checkbox next to the domain names to configure for Auto Renew, or click the Check All box to Auto Renew all of the displayed domains. Choose the credit card that will be billed for the Domain Name renewal, and click Update. The selected domain name(s) will now automatically renew. To turn this feature off, follow the steps outlined above and simply remove the check next to the domain names to remove Auto-renewal and click Update. Don't lose that awesome domain name! Keep your domains under your ownership for life! ]]> PHP 5.3 Now Available,2018: 2011-01-27T16:25:34-07:00
  • Support for namespaces
  • Late static binding
  • Lambda Functions and Closures
  • Syntax additions: NOWDOC, ternary short cut "?:" and jump label (limited goto), __callStatic()
  • Under the hood performance improvements
  • Optional garbage collection for cyclic references
  • More consistent float rounding
  • Deprecation notices are now handled via E_DEPRECATED (part of E_ALL) instead of the E_STRICT error level
  • New bundled extensions: ext/phar, ext/intl, ext/fileinfo, ext/sqlite3, ext/enchant
  • Over 140 bug fixes and improvements to PHP, in particular to: ext/openssl, ext/spl and ext/date
  • PHP 5.3 also drops several extensions and unifies the usage of internal APIs. Users should be aware of the following known backwards compatibility breaks:
    • Parameter parsing API unification will cause some functions to behave more or less strict when it comes to type juggling
    For more information about PHP please visit the PHP web site at ]]>