Website Tips


Administrator

Administrator

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 13:39

Free Directory days seem to be over.

The Day Directories Were Free

It seems most of the directories that were free and now charging a fee.
Some of them are quite high in price as I have seen prices over $100 for a listing.
This is not to be unexpected as there are costs in running a directory.
But the question comes up as to the reliability of the website that is charging this price!
Do they have a backup plan?  Will they decide to drop my listing due to price changes?

These are not unreasonable questions as Sites Like Joe Ant has dropped Free listings when they decided to move away from free listings and started charging for them. Other directories have done the same.

I for one will shy away from a directory that has dropped it's free listings because they have changed their listing policy. If they drop the free ones why would they not drop the paid ones should they decide to charge a higher price. As I remember the submission page said lifetime listing. Does this mean the lifetime of their pet turtle or the lifetime of the Website submitted?

Are we now going to have to have watch dogs for these directories to see if they are acting in good faith with those that have submitted to them.

The web is becoming more of what we hoped it wouldn't become each day. Site owners seem to be fighting a loosing battle as Major search engines are more interested in making big bucks then trying to have pure search results and now large and small directories are not living up to their promise.

Vincent G.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009 00:10

Web Hosting to Avoid

Hosts that are going over board on Spam

It has come to my attention that some hosting companies are going over board with Spam filters. Godaddy Hosting for instance has their own Spam filters setup and many complaints have been seen on message boards about it.

I have to say these complaints are not unfounded as the methods used by Godaddy are beyond recommended methods and in my opinion makes them a bad choice for web hosting. Some have said they blocked IP ranges while others have said they have had problems removing the block. I for one have had personal experience with them and from what I see this is no way to run a ball club.

First the unblock screen was not working.
After calling them they fixed it.
They are slow in responding - expect an answer 24 hours later.
Don't be surprised if they tell you that the block was placed 5 months ago.
Don't be surprised if they tell you to check your logs to correct the problem.
Based on what I see they most likely have 20% of all servers blocked or maybe even more.  What this means is you will be cut off from doing business with 20% or more companies on the web. How do I come to this number you ask?
If you make it hard to remove the block tech people will not bother to try and remove blocks on their servers. Also if you set the spam checking to levels too low it will mark Paypal payments notices as Spam.
They are guilty of both setting the spam checking too a level that rejects legitimate email and are making it so tech people will just say nothing we can do about it.
20% may well be a very low number and it could be as high as 50%.

First spam blocking is the option of the user as he is best qualified to judge if an email is spam or not. By blocking out IP's without allowing the email to go to the person it was directed to the host has taken it upon it's self to judge the validity of the sender. Thus it is possible an important email such as a bill or late payment notice will never get to the user. Or a lucrative contract may not be ever signed since The host blocked the sender to complete the deal and the company will look at this and think this company has something wrong with it - thus they changed their minds and took the business elsewhere.

There maybe other large Hosting companies that are doing this also and Godaddy may not be the only one.
Ah, yes...the hugely popular and rapidly growing trend of social media—it almost seems as if it’s going to be the end all, be all results producing source on the web sooner than later, doesn’t it?
 
Social media has certainly been all the rage lately, and there’s little doubt that the media all want us to believe it will be everything that the web is about before too long. But here’s the deal—while social media is really cool and does have some major identifiable benefits, it’s not ever going to replace the need to have a quality well-optimized website. It will complement your website if implemented correctly though.
 
So at first assumption, it would be safe to say that social media is right for promoting your website. Let’s take a look at some practical advice though, before rushing into setting up profiles on all the popular social media sites for your business or organization.
 
It Pays To Have A Solid Plan First
 
It’s easy to get started with just about any social media site in just about 30 seconds or so of signing up. But resist the urge for a just few minutes at least. Can you answer all of these questions:
 
·         Should I set up the profile in my name personally or in my business name?
·         How will I use this social media platform to promote my business?
·         Who will I accept as friends or followers for this medium?
·         Will I inter-mingle my own personal profiles with my business profiles?
·         Are potential customers likely to see my social media promotion as “spammy?”
·         Am I using social media to network or to advertise?
 
See where this is going? Again, while it’s really easy (and always tempting) to get started immediately, it’s just even more important to have a solid plan laid out before proceeding. Sure, one organization’s plan might be completely different from the next one, but with research and by finding reasonable answers to all of the questions you might have first, you can avoid making mistakes.
 
Big Mistakes Are Easy To Make.
 
Again, we’re not trying to scare anyone away from social media at all—quite the opposite actually. But jumping in prematurely without that all important plan could create regrettable mistakes that are nearly impossible to fix or reverse. For example, after building quite a network of business related social media friends under a personal profile, you might decide that these should have been established under your business profile instead. It will be a huge endeavor to undo such an oversight.
 
The bottom line? Plan first and appreciate the fruit of your efforts in due time!
There’s no need to be afraid of Twitter. Let’s face it, micro blogging can be a really great way to build buzz and even to generate traffic and build a stronger customer base. But while it’s a perfect way to competent your website, it’s just not going to come anywhere close to replacing it. Why not?
 
Search Engines Aren’t Likely Going To Index A Bunch Of Random Micro Posts Well
 
Web optimization professionals all know that the backbone to building great search rankings is building a solid website full of targeted niche information. While the little blurbs offered by micro bloggers can indeed be catchy, helpful, and sometimes even informative, they are just not organized well enough or comprehensive enough to make a noteworthy impact with the search engines.
 
When the search engines do pick up on Twitter profiles, it looks like most of the results listed will be supplementary to an organization’s website. Remember, this can only help your website succeed by offering additional exposure and catching potential new visitors that might not find you otherwise.
 
Micro-Blogging Is Not Going To Replace Traditional Blogging
 
Blogs have proven to be one of the most reliable tools in a website’s traffic building arsenal. They provide information, offer “sticky” content to visitors, help develop trust with customers, and are a fantastic way to share news and updates. Micro blogging might present a little bit of competition for that last aspect—sharing news and updates—but other than that, the long format of standard blog posts just provides more of a resource to convey your site’s important messages.
 
And the best thing about traditional blogs is that we already know that the search engines love tightly-themed, regularly-updated content on websites. Blogs provide plenty of fresh new material for the search engines to index, but most importantly, for your visitors to read. The less than one short sentence format of micro-blogging provides a nice lead to attract visitors to a site’s blog itself, but other than that, long-form blogging remains the bread and butter.
 
So, Should You Use Twitter For Your Organization?
 
Absolutely! Again, the unique catchiness of the micro blogging platform is a fantastic way to draw serious attention. Many businesses are finding great success using their Twitter presence to reach out and offer customer and product support. With a little research and creativity, there’s no doubt that using Twitter can be an incredibly effective success tactic for your business.
 
That said—it’s only going to help your website, not make it obsolete!

Provided by WSpider
You know the routine, right? Over and over again, those familiar with gearing websites up to receive plentiful traffic talk about the essential need to receive lots of quality in-pointing links to your site. And scoring plenty of these natural (and preferably on topic) links is certainly essential.
 
Incoming Links Matter...
 
But the little known component of a solid high-performing link strategy is that your website’s outgoing links matter too.
 
And do they ever! Here’s the thing—search engines place substantial investment of their efforts in measuring which websites will best satisfy their own customers when a specific keyword term is searched for via the search engine. With so many businesses and websites out there competing for a fair share of that natural source of incoming traffic, the key typically ends up being focusing more on scoring as many in-pointing links as possible to boost the site’s link popularity—and therefore, to hopefully boost search positioning.
 
But Search Engines Are Smarter Than That!
 
The search engines are smart. Again, because they have a significant interest in providing their searchers the very best quality, accurate results, they aren’t so easily manipulated with just tons of incoming links as many of the unscrupulous practitioners of search engine optimization (SEO) would have you believe.
 
Why Outgoing Links?
 
Your website’s incoming link popularity is a major factor, but having outgoing links placed naturally and strategically helps to show that you’re not just in it all for yourself. When you link outwardly from your informational content to external sites that will also provide true value for your visitors, you’re playing a more active and responsible role in the overall web community.
 
The search engines pick up on this. It’s natural for their algorithms to assume that websites that give back to their visitors and their overall niches’ community by offering no-obligation links to other relevant and helpful sites are the same sites that are just much less likely to be greedy with an “it’s all about me approach.” It’s really all about give and take—kind of like the golden rule.
 
It’s The Right Thing To Do.
 
So, go ahead and link to your organization’s friends and other great sites that you feel might help your visitors—it’s the right thing to do. The search engines understand what you’re doing and if you’re doing it for the right reasons, it will probably help your rankings even more.
 
One final piece of advice though...don’t go overboard with external linking. Site’s that the search engines deem to have too many outgoing links are considered to be “link farms,” and penalized as such. You’ll be perfectly safe if you keep it to just a couple well thought out links per page.

Provided by Wspider

We’ve all been hearing quite a bit about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as of late. As effective as quality white hat SEO has been over the last several years, it seems that the current economic recession has really encouraged organizations to look towards website traffic building measures that are more affordable and have greater lasting power than buying pay per click or impression ads. 

And while there are SEO tutorials all over the web, in reality, for the benefit of your website and for simple peace of mind, there are more reasons to leave SEO to the experienced professionals instead of risking a do it yourself approach. Here are 4 practical reasons to leave SEO to the pros:
 
1.      The Pros Know What’s Safe Or Not.
 
One major caveat to do it yourself optimization is the fact that it’s just way too easy to fall into a trap or use a seemingly harmless tactic that could turn out to actually get your website banned or blacklisted from the search engines altogether. The pros know exactly what “tricks” have been overused, exploited, and are deceptive—and therefore exactly what to avoid at all costs.
 
2.       SEO Professionals Are Experts At Achieving Results Quickly.
 
Unfortunately, there’s just no such thing as overnight results—or for that matter, guaranteed results in just a couple of weeks. The search engines don’t necessarily work with timeframes like that. But what SEO pros do understand well is how long the process takes and what promotional methods tend to achieve respectable results the fastest. This is something that should not be overlooked.
 
3.      The Pros Know The Code.
 
Yes, a good part of search optimization involves digging into the complex programming code of a website and making needed tweaks and adjustments. For most amateurs, reading and understanding the code might as well be like trying to interpret a foreign language never before heard. It’s complicated stuff!
 
4.      Time Is Money.
 
It seems like in business, it always comes down to time and money...doesn’t it? Well, these two things do have a major impact on the bottom line. Sure, as a business, it’s always possible to hire a professional to do optimization in-house. But that could cost as much as $100k per year! On the other hand, professional SEO services (like WSpider) can do the job better and in a more timely fashion at just a tiny fraction of that cost.
 
Here’s the thing—oftentimes the do it yourself route seems like a good idea until the reality of just how involved the process is actually going to be sinks in. Why not be practical from the start by having the pros handle your SEO and focus the time and money saved on other high-impact business ambitions?

Provided by WSpider
Monday, 27 April 2009 21:42

Time Left Counter

This script will give you a count down of Years, Months, Days and Hours left to a given date.

 

Enter a date as Month day, year

 

Click to see the days left

<script>
function cdtime( targetdate){

var currentTime=new Date()
var tdate=new Date(targetdate)
var timesup=false
var timediff=(tdate - currentTime)/1000
var oneHour=3600 //hour unit in seconds
var oneDay=86400 //day unit in seconds
var oneMonth=2630880 //month unit in seconds
var oneYear=31570560
var yearfield=Math.floor(timediff/oneYear)
timediff = timediff - (yearfield * oneYear)
var monthfield=Math.floor(timediff/oneMonth)
timediff = timediff - (monthfield * oneMonth)
var dayfield=Math.floor(timediff/oneDay)
timediff = timediff - (dayfield * oneDay)
var hourfield=Math.floor(timediff/oneHour)
if (currentTime >= tdate){
	var ret = "The time is up!"
}else{
	if (yearfield > 1){ret = yearfield + " Years " }else{ret = yearfield + " Year "}
	if (monthfield > 1){ret = ret + monthfield + " Months "}else{ret = ret + monthfield + " Month "}
	if (dayfield > 1){ret = ret + dayfield + " days and " }else{ret = ret + dayfield + " day and " }
	if (hourfield > 1){ret = ret + hourfield + " Hours left"}else{ret = ret + hourfield + " Hour left"}
}

return ret
}
</script>

To call it just place this code on your page.



document.write(cdtime("July 1, 2010"))
Friday, 20 March 2009 13:12

How to design a website

There are many ways to do it but the best ways are as follows.

If you have XP Pro or Vista Business or Premium Version then you can develop right on your home PC.
If IIS is not installed go to Control Panel / Add Remove Programs / Windows Programs and Check IIS to install.

IIS is a Windows Web Server and it comes with some versions of Windows.
This is not the full version that Web Servers use as it has limits such as it allows only one web site.

If it's running you can access your web on your PC as http://localhost

You can add a folder to your web folders which under Windows is named Inetpub.
The default public root is Inetpub/wwwroot and this can be changed to your folder under Inetpub.
Go to Start - Settings - Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Internet Information Services
There click on Web Sites and right click on default Web Site and choose properties.
In the Web Site Properties window click on the home directory tab and change the directory to the one you created. Next be sure parent paths is checked. Click on the configuration button and choose the options tab. Check enable parent paths.
Parent paths allow you to reference items in IIS by using ../../my-image.gif

You can install PHP and Perl by going to the websites and downloading the install apps.
For PHP go to: http://us3.php.net/downloads.php

For Perl go to: http://www.activestate.com/activeperl/
If you are going to design from scratch or use a template then use a tool such as Dreamweaver or Expression. These are WYSIWYG editor / designer tools put out by Adobe / Microsoft. I recommend Dreamweaver over Microsoft's Expression as I really do not like any programming tools from Microsoft as I feel they are either misguided in concept or buggy. A perfect example of a misguided tool was Front Page which was a very bad idea.
My viewpoint is you try to make something that makes it easier for the programmer but never try to program for the programmer. The Elite seem to think the average Joe can not be capable to write his own code and try to force their way upon them.
Trial and error is how you learn which is my viewpoint and this I believe is what makes one a better programmer.
With either of these products you can quickly create or edit your pages and add your graphics. You can add Flash videos, Sound and anything else you like as they are both quite good inserting the code needed for any Media required.
This allows you to design the site at the comfort of your home / office with no additional cost of a temporary website account or IP address.
Many hosts do not allow using /~account-name which then would require a temporary hosting account with an IP address or a temporary sub domain from your host to access a development hosting account via a web browser.
If your hosting company does allow using the tilde account name ( /`account-name ) you could develop your site that way but you will need to not set the name servers on your domain so it will not allow visitors to see your site in development.
Using your PC is better and will save you money in that is avoids problems with the public root such as when you use the IP/~account-name the root will be the IP address where as on your PC the root will be http://localhost. This can cause slight problems with graphics or scripts when the resource is referenced such as /images/myimage.gif.
The first forward slash tells the server the place to go is the public root of the account. But that can be a problem if you either set your development to a sub folder of your PC's Inetpub folder or are using your hosting account as IP/~account-name.
If you leave off the first forward slash and put -  images/myimage.gif  - it will work only if the page is in the same directory as the image directory is in. If the page is in say a directory called vacation-homes but the images are above this directory what will happen is no image will display. The reason is the server will look in the current directory for a directory named images and will not find vacation-homes/images.
Also by using your PC you can set the name servers on your domain and create a coming soon page, which is a bit nicer rather than having the domain sending people to the default Domain Registrar page.

If you don't mind spending the extra money then go with a temporary hosting account as this will avoid problems that come up with things behaving different on different web servers. You will either need an account with a dedicated IP or a Sub Domain from the Hosting company. A dedicated IP allows you to access the site using the IP address. The only problems you will run into, which should be very few to none, is if you have to use the absolute url anywhere. A relative URL is best to use in all cases and should work in all cases.

Too often I have seen page errors on Shopping sites because they did not use a relative URL. When you switch to the secure https then a absolute url starting with http will cause an error.

So choosing the best development method can save you time which is also saving you money.

Once done you can either use Dreamweaver / Expression to upload the website to your Web Hosting account to go live or you can FTP the pages / images and such if you wish to manage it your self.

Hope this helps you finding the best way to design your website.
 
Monday, 16 February 2009 16:50

Cron Jobs

Cron Jobs


Linux has a very nice tool for those that want to have a scheduled action of some sort. The cron job allows you to set a script or command to run on a schedule that you set.

The syntax for the command looks like this:
0 9 * * * * /home/mysite/cgi-bin/somescript.cgi

You may want it to delete files every so often in a folder that has cache or other files that build up.

You can run PHP scripts or in some cases even use Curl to help out.
Curl is a software that allows you to access your website or some other website by Curl calls.
So if you use Curl in a cron job it would look like this:
0 9 * * * *  curl http://mysite.com/cgi-bin/somescript.cgi

Why use Curl? In some cases you may need to. Maybe due to some dynamic reasons or what ever reason which requires a  Php or a Perl script to only work when called from your website URL. Curl in this case maybe the answer and it allows you to pass parameters either as a get or post.

Getting back to Cron Jobs we can set them up very easy and it's quite simple.
There are 6 numbers or wild card symbols separated by a space.
* is a wild card which means every day, hour depending on which place it's in.

The entry places are setup as follows:
minute  hour   day   month   day of week

Each is a number or wild card where a asterisk ( * ) is the wild card.
Minutes are from 0 to 59
Hours are from 0 to 23
Day is from 1 to 31
Month is from 1 to 12
Day of Week is from 0 to 6

Hours are in 24 hour format so 13 would be 1 PM
Zero = 12 AM
For day of the week zero equals Sunday.

0 * * * * *  This would mean it fires every hour on the hour.
1 5 * * * *    The first minute of the 5th hour of every day
0 0 1 1 *    The first hour of the first day of the first month  or once per year.

We also have the slash, forward slash to be more precise to have it do the same task every 2 minutes, hours, days, months or weeks.

 * */3 * * *  Here we set it for every third hour.
* */2 * * *  Every other hour.

If you have a shared hosting account most Control Panels have a feature to set a cron job. For those that are not you will need to have access by using Shell.
For those that use Shell you will need to run crontab.
To view cron jobs you run crontab -l and to edit or add cron jobs use crontab -e

Hope this helps.
Saturday, 29 November 2008 17:35

How to choose a Hosting Company

How to choose a Hosting Company

One of the most important moves you will make is choosing your hosting company.
Hosting a website is somewhat complicated in that most people do not know what is the important points to look for.
Hosting falls into a few different OS types. Most common are Windows and Linux servers.
If you are a hands on Guy/Gal then I suggest you pick the OS your most comfortable with.
The most common software for Windows hosting is written in ASP or Dot Net and although ASP can run on a Linux server it will not work as well. For Linux we would find PHP and Perl. Both also can run on Windows servers but most PHP and Perl scripts are written for Linux. Therefore some of these scripts may not work as well under windows and some may not work at all.
These are two different worlds so choose carefully as switching can be a big headache should you become unhappy with the one you picked.
Personally I suggest you should first find a software that does what you want if you are planning to do more than just a plain HTML website.
Basic web pages requires nothing special and will work on either platform with no problems.
But if you want to sell items or do more than just have a basic HTML webpage then first find out what software fits your needs.

Choosing the right software is in my opinion really the correct first step.
Then match a server to the software you pick. Don't assume things - Email the company to see what they suggest.
A basic rule is if you choose a PHP or Perl application then choose Linux as the OS or if ASP or Dot Net then go with Windows.

Next comes the type of hosting plan. Choose one that fits your needs.
Check if the plan allows a dedicated IP if you expect to do sales on your site and will have those sales through your website.
If you are going to use Paypal or a third party merchant then you don't need a dedicated IP.
Most hosting companies will give at least 100 Meg of space available on even their minimum plans, which will be enough for most websites.
If you need more then choose a better plan.

Stay away from those that offer unlimited space and transfer or those that offer very high numbers for either of these.
For instance if a server has a 500 Gig hard drive how can a Host give plans that allow 100 Gig for $5.95 a month???
What they are doing is figuring an average that clients really use.
Most clients will use on average 200 Meg of space.So they put 200 clients or more on a server which they hope that only a small percentage will go higher than the 200 Meg.
In reality this does not work and what happens is over time people will expand the usage and the drive becomes full.
This causes a Linux server to crash and problems for its clients if it's not addressed right away.
So the hosting company has to move clients off the server or add another drive.
Down time is what takes place along with a slower server.
The more files on a server the slower it becomes.

What most people do not understand is Limits are designed to benefit the hosting client.
What companies do is try to sell you on the idea that unlimited is better.
Unlimited or limits like 100 Gig for a low price is not better as you will pay a price in performance and your website will be down more often per year.

How often should a server go down?Servers can run with very minor down time unless a hardware breakdown takes place.
Most hardware problems would be resolved in one day at most while many only take a few hours to take care of.
Software updates only require rebooting the server which only takes minutes and are not done often.
So a server should be up 24 hours every day of the year with at most a one day down time.
You will not find this type of service with a company that offers Unlimited resources.

Another factor is VPS hosting which might be good or bad depending on the circumstances.
For instance if you pick a company and it is giving you a hosting plan on a VPS server then you are in trouble.
If you are looking for standard hosting be sure the hosting company is not putting you on a VPS server.
VPS is really not intended to be used for virtual hosting but many small companies do use it.
On the other hand if you are picking a VPS plan for your website it maybe a good choice if you are able to deal with maintaining it.

VPS plans are virtual servers where a single server is split into many virtual servers.
So if you are a very technical person and can maintain a Linux server then VPS maybe for you if you need a great deal of space and resources.

Ask your hosting company if he is limiting resources such as CPU and transfer.Because they say unlimited it really does not mean unlimited.
Settings on the server can limit the number of hits a site receives and the amount of CPU cycles it requests.
For Linux they will install something called modbandwidth to limit transfer.
Email can be limited by the maximum each domain can send out per hour.
The Control Panel software may say you have unlimited but the Server settings which supercede the Control Panel will limit your service.
How does this work? Well if your website has a lot of traffic then limits on CPU or Transfer will block visitors or slow down the website.
So a visitor will have to wait a number of seconds or get a page error when he hits your website.
A good hosting company will have no governors of any type with only the limits of the server as being the limit to your usage.
This allows no interruption or slow down of service during peak usage!Many website will get a large number of visitors at a certain time.
Lets say your website will get 1,000 visitors between 5PM and 6PM.With server limits turned on a good number of these visitors will get turned away as they will experience very slow page loading or page errors.
Most people will move on and your customer will be lost should you choose a host that has such limits.In my experience I find those that offer Unlimited will have limits turned on such as I outlined.

Also ask your Web Host how many clients does he have at max on a server.
Over loading a server with too many websites will slow it down quite a bit.
I have found a good limit is around 250 websites. This number can vary somewhat depending on type of websites.
I have seen one company place as many as 800 on a server which is really bad.
This is very common with Free Hosting services but for free you really can't complain.
You do not want to be on a server that has more than 300 sites on it!

If you want the best web hosting then look for companies that offer realistic limits per Plan.
Do not settle for a company that has server limits, which is not the same as Control panel account limits, on CPU or Transfer.

If you are serious about your website then what you want is a hosting company that will host your site so that it is up 24/7 all year long and will allow visitors to go there at any time of the day without it slowing down to a crawl or giving errors due to server restrictions.Vincent Gabriele

Do not choose a hosting company by these websites that claim to have the top hosting companies listed or those that claim to have rated the top 10 hosts or those that have compare the top 10 hosts. These are nothing more than sites that have affiliate deals with the companies listed in their website. Those that are listed pay out as much as $100 or more for signups. Think about that for a second or two. The site told you these are the best because they are making a quick buck by telling this tall tail. And the company is willing to pay out $100 to get you to spend $6.95 a month.
 
My suggestion is that the best way to choose a company is by how tech support answers your questions. Contact their support and act as if you have a website with them to see how fast they respond and what their attitude is. You don't want to sign up with a company that has tech support that treats you like your problem is not important.


Also find out what the policy is on number of sites per server, bandwidth limits (both listed and server controlled) and are there any software restrictions.
Why would you signup for a phone service that limits the number of calls you get per hour or limits the number of words that you speak per minute?

Is Hosting any different that you would accept this?
 

 
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