Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Spec Of Sand

Beautiful Sand Castle on the Beach
A Spec Of Sand

Let's take a stroll along the beach and while we're at it learn about how a domain name is nothing more than a spec of sand when it comes to the moment you purchase the domain till the death of the domain. It will always be one domain name and to explain it more plainly let's call it... a spec of sand. Pretend for a moment you can reach down and grab some sand. Now, take one spec of sand or one piece of sand and look at it. Now, remember it.. drop it back into the pile of sand or entire beach coast line even a playground. Go find that same spec of sand.

Skip forward to the point that your domain name is hosted on an affordable hosting service that is most likely a shared hosting account. You've installed Wordpress and selected a great theme for the design like the sand castle above. It's pretty to many, complex to others and what's the point to some as eventually this castle will fade back into the sandy beach.

Now that our sand castle or website is completed we certainly want to get visitors to come see it and take photos or in this case put us in their favorite places within the browser cause most only take a few seconds to visit a new website only to quickly decide if they are interested and if so will come back later. Myself, I have 30 tabs open on my browser rather than favorite them all I keep the ones I need. Point is, not everyone is the same.

Getting traffic and the right kind of traffic to visit us is only one part but are you ready for visitors? What is your castle made of? How many visitors can it hold at once? Is it secure and safe for everyone who enters? This list of questions can go on forever as their are so many factors to consider when it comes to... is my website ready?

Building Foundation Strong and Secure
For most of us the domain, hosting, theme and spending one day or several weeks on making the website look and function the way we want it too. It's important to keep up with trends, current versions and updated website software such as Wordpress requires updating and in many cases updates can and in fact break the theme or the complete website. Not to mention hackers love to play hide and seek with many website owners as they enter the backdoor of websites and add hidden pages, dirty links and in most cases send out spam.

Service Entry - Back Door - Easily Opened - By Most Anyone

A Wordpress website has a login and admin control panel. It also normally contains plugins that allow the website to function in a special way like sliders, classifieds, photo galleries and of course ecommerce shopping carts. Oh, a hackers paradise once they gain access to a successful online store causing troubles foe everyone. So it's vital to keep the website protected 24/7 even while in production or coming soon stages.

Simple Tools Create Amazing Results

We're all masters of our own websites, even if you do not personally do the work. Someone is making a website for you or helping you. In my experience over the past 15 years or so is that some clients think a website is no more than a word doc, pdf or some fancy printable page. Not once really give any thought about all the work or the software making it all possible. 

Stone Master Gently Tapping On Cobblestone

Take a look at the photo above, the stones are sitting on sand that has been compacted, prepared for the stones. The hammers are wood and rubber allowing the stone master to tap or pound on the stones to make them level and semi perfect patterns. Not all are same shapes and sizes and for us, this like like the top of the website or the header area. Then the content, images, wording as well as the menu and of course the footer area of the website. It all has to be built and correctly, even if your just editing the theme you must be careful of typos, image optimizations as well as content that is SEO driven.

Success Is Not Instant

If you think about this, notice the walkway is starting to take shape. There's a road being built and there's lots of stones to put in place. Now, with a Wordpress website all the road is complete, once you have the website software installed it normally includes the basic and free themes to select from. But, for most of us it's not enough as we seek to be unique as possible. Notice the stones on top of the road, they represent the pages a client wants to add to the website. Home, About, Photo Gallery, Contact and normally a Services page.

Cobblestone Roads Are In Need Of Constant Repair

Like the road breaks, so does a website and oddly enough some of the worst breaks happen day one in the setup of the premalinks or menu structure of the website. So many times we see that a client has created a site, menu with 20 page and on each page has links to all the pages creating a negative SEO result for incorrect linking internally, not even talking about the links to other sites. These links are actually ether broken and do not work or looping causing a bot to ignore the content you have worked so hard on but you can see the site, the page but if it's not linked correctly.. you the only one that sees it.

Incomplete or Personal Choice
As humans we all drive different cars, taxis, buses, trains and even inside our homes we're different all created around the same idea of 4 walls, ceiling, floor and some windows etc.. like a website you want to make sure you also have all things in order. In so many cases clients say .. I love pink, black and purple and I also want the images to be perfectly clear without any distortion. Also like minimal with lots of white space. Look at this photo and think about it... do you like it? Is it interesting? Does it make you want to tell a friend? One needs to be careful with white space as it can cause the.. what is the point reaction.

Dark Holes Should Be Avoided

Creating a unique website can sometimes go overboard and actually loose visitors. Really have to be careful when it comes to advertising and paying money for people to see your website online such as banner ads, links and even directly listings. Kinda like leading a horse to water, you can not make the horse drink the water. Sure, you can bring it to it's lips, even pour the water on the horse.. it's not drinking cause it wants too. So money on advertising can and in many cases totally wasted cause the website was not ready.

Pitfalls and Dangers

Visitors to your website normally have anti-virus, anti-malware and even smart phones etc.. your website can, if not protected or has broken links, missing images or typos in code cause the site not to look the same to all visitors based on the device they are using. One of course these days make the site 100% responsive. Even more important is to us a plugin like Wordfence - free and helps protect the website from would be hackers.

My Road, err Website is Ready - Looks Great!   

Now that you have secured your website, locked the backdoor and even updated all the plugins, software itself you want to make sure and backup the website. Not just one time, but in different ways. Via the hosting control panel as a server backup or contact your hosting company for instructions. Plugins can help, I love to use one called BlogVault not just cause I'm an affiliate and get paid for referring people like you to use it. More cause I use it myself and for my clients websites it's very easy for me to use. Give it a test drive for free. 

Everyone's Looking At You Kid!

This is the result we want in most cases to come up on the search results as first place or at least the top fold of the screen. Now that the website is protected, you've placed some ad's and see messages from visitors you're on the right track. Make sure and listen to the visitors feedback, especially if they complain something is not working - investigate it and fix it.

Unique and Narrow Path

Maybe your website is one product, one thing like the next best piece of bubble gum. You really want to modify your approach, selective on how you promote and even what medium you want to reach your audience with. I've seen TV commercial mention to visit the website for more information only to see that the website does not work on my android phone as the website has flash (flash is fading away) so you want to make sure you have a mobile version for visitors to see your website. These versions are normally highlights, specific and important pages of the main site. Reducing things we show visitors so it loads quick and not a lot of distractions.

Successful Paths Of Success

If you do it all correctly, take your time and learn how to build a website correctly and that actually depends on one thing.. what do you want the website to do for you? Best of luck to your projects and please feel free to reach out to me for consultations, recommendations as well as free quotes to help you get your website where you want it.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

404 Error - You found the Magical Pink Unicorn!

404 Error - You found the Magical Pink Unicorn!

Custom 404 Pages

When it comes to 404 error pages, these are vital to any and all websites. Especially what you did with the error's when they come. So many webmasters, newbies mostly.. take the helm and redirect to the home page.

What's a 404 Error Page? Well, when you're searching on the web and see a result you are interested in seeing more about. You click, once there you sometimes are redirected or you see an error page. The error page is mostly due to a deleted page that was indexed by search engines.

So, the reason for my 1 year absence is that I was not actually absent. I have two hands, and lots of projects going at one time. Not complaining, happy to have a waiting list. I'm working on fixing that.

To all you webmasters, business owners. Feel free to comment and post your custom 404 error page. Let's see how different we are, what works and I'm sure some guru's will comment about what we're doing wrong. That's called, corrective feedback.. we love it, so should everyone else.

Here's my favorite custom 404 error page created for the Shop Texas Business Directory

Yes, please.. let us know if you find our pink unicorn ;)

By the way, if your clients or your own business is located in Texas - USA then feel free to add your or their business to the directory. It's only $49 for a one time fee. No subscriptions. See the terms of service so you understand who is not approved. Also, listings must have a physical location or owned and operated in Texas.

We also offer Startup Websites for $450 and up that includes 1 year domain name, hosting and initial website up to 10 pages. It's Wordpress or Prestashop and we'd help you get it all installed. Setup and running. We'll even place a coming soon page on it for you for fee. And, yes even a custom 404 page.

Best to contact us for a free quote as we offer consultations to help you make the best choices possible. We've been doing this since 2004 .. yeah, we're old!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Websites, it's a Love Hate Thing.

When it comes to websites there are many things that come to mind for most people. Either you love them or hate them and websites go to great extremes to get your vote of - Like but what happened to Love and Hate are they not what we humans decide on a daily basis?

Learning Curves
Either you love them or hate them, I don't really recall someone saying I love the learning curve of getting my website designed the way I want it done. I do however recall hearing others including myself how much I hate hard coding a website back in the beginning cause it was soooooo boring!

Domains and Hosting
Oh, here's a real eye twitching combination as if you forget to renew your domain name you hate that someone took it from you using some bot program and now want to sell it to you or the highest bidder! In regards to hosting, it seems many are always trying to find the best service and price and not so many are loyal to their supplier as everyone loves a good deal.

Website Templates
They look so easy on the demo and even the video showing you how to edit the design with ease. But, just like driving a car it looks so easy until you get behind the wheel and for everyone's sake I hope someone is sitting next to you holding the wheel and teaching you when you go, go, go cause it not chances are you'll stop, stop, stop. So just because someone says it's easy, it's best to have a helping hand when it comes to web design as there are more rules to follow other than color codes and easy checkout.

Drag and Drop or HTML
How about both as there is an actual "plugin" if you will that I totally love, yes click that like button and let's get going on the idea of total ease of web design. Of course that's not the only thing you should be concerned with regarding the ease of website designs using drag-n-drop website templates as you also have to be careful in regards to the legal part and not to copy someone's website content, photos. Love it or Hate it the law is everywhere when it comes to web designs.

I Love It!
The one thing I love most about hosting, providing domain names and even the webdesigns we provide our clients is the fact that we're helping them save money and time as if you do it yourself - sure, you can get someone online quick but is it correct? Will people love it? From my past experience since the birth of the internet most will hate it and for many reasons.

Why Hate It?
You might have a beautiful design and it's perfect colors, cool logo but if your content is not enough to keep the reader or searcher loving it for more than 5 seconds they are out of here and you can forget about them clicking like and if you gave them the choice they would mostly click Hate for many reasons but mostly it's loading too slow, some things that should click do not, too much animation, huge photos not optimized for the web and don't even get me started on online stores.. those are another topic all together cause they combine websites with retail and that takes pure balance to keep them surfers returning back for more.

Like or Hate?
Interesting, you don't see any Hate buttons only +1, Like, Share and one has to wonder why is that? I think most logically is possibly your competitors going around clicking Hate all day. So if my blog post today had a Hate It or Love It which would you click? Would you share it and tell others how much you whatever it?

I'm not scared... cause I'm just being me and sharing my thoughts so I really do not care what others think as that's not why I wrote this. Why did I go to Fotolia and purchase an image, edit it to my liking and post this blog post? Well, if you checked out the links I embedded into this post you'd understand.

Happy Holidays and hope it's full of Love with a dash of hate as you know you don't like something someone cooked and it's sitting on the table with one of your in-law's looking at you to see how much you will put on your plate with pure anticipation of the first bite you take of their humble pie :)

Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Protect Your Wordpress Website from Hackers!

If you own and operate a Wordpress website on your own servers you need to of course keep it updated as there are many updates each year as they are constantly updating core of the site to help prevent attacks as well as keeping it new and fresh as the internet websites evolve.

As a website owner or webmaster taking care of your clients websites you need to do a couple of things that will help stop hackers cold in their tracks. Plugins are a simple way but not best solution for everyone but they certainly helped me. I had one website being attacked everyday, weekly and if I did not back it up it would be a total loss as you can't rely on the hosting provider to have your backups and if they did most would be dated beyond the site current content.

Struggling with this for months I have tried many thing and a few weeks ago I added one plugin, upgraded it and walla - instant stop as when I upgraded the plugin I was able to block all countries except USA and that stopped them mean hackers cold. Then to my surprise I get an email that someone logged in as the 1st plugin called Wordfence sends you emails on all kinds of things as you select to be notified as I do.

Wordfence is really good and there's a nice cache system that speeds up the site by 30 - 50 times and that's not percentages. Best of all it's FREE but if you upgrade it adds many other features but the one I love the most is it will send you an SMS to your phone providing you with a code to enter with your password.

The other plugin I added yesterday and I added it cause I kept getting notices of the hackers trying to log-in and I thought there must be a cool little plugin that hides the wp-admin and of course I tried a few but found the Lockdown WP Admin to be simple and quick. The notices stopped as they can't find the login page now.

These two are the only plugins I use for the WP sites now except if the wordpress website theme has additional plugins such as contact form etc.. most importantly is to keep your plugins updated. Wordfence will send you a notice each time a plugin or just about anything needs updated or out of sync to help prevent hacks.

Good luck with your websites and if you've ever been stressed by a hacker.. these two plugins should bring peace of mind.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Public or Re-Seller Hosting - What's right for you?

Sharing my amazing mood today with the world on many levels both personal and business. Today I'm celebrating 6 months of marriage to my wonderful wife Evgenia and I also signed up for a my 4th hosting server reselling account :)

If your new to hosting there are so many options on the web today I know it can be confusing. For me, I like to have servers across the States of USA as I hosting mostly US companies, friends and even some of my own websites. What's the difference, what is best to choose for your website project?

I own one website.
You would think this is a simple process for you but it's really not. You might be using a online site builder or even a free account at you might not actually have a domain yet. Even the website you have or plan to have most likely has hosting requirements. Some websites need more power, server abilities or special setups.
I own many websites.
Maybe you have domains at difference registrars, hosting companies. Can be rather complex especially if you do not want downtime. If you want to get all your domains, websites in one location then sign up here and get started with organizing your projects into one hosting account to make your life simpler.

Selling Hosting - Public.
This is easy as pie as my grandma would say, of course she was not talking about hosting she was talking about cleaning my room or doing laundry. If you want to sell hosting to the public it's not hard and you need a couple of things.
  • Need a cool, easy to remember domain name and register it using the following bullet.
  • Once you have decided what domain is not taken or you will transfer you need to select how much you're willing to spend in order to make hosting sales. But it also depends do you want to deal with clients directly or become an affiliate and use a link to promote the hosting service that pays you for referrals?
Selling Hosting - Private.
You only need to select a reseller account and for the domain name page make a small custom image, logo and put something like "Private Server" you should not put customer login link etc.. you would want to give your clients the link to login directly - if that is you not taking care of their needs directly. At any rate I'd provide the "account information" to any client in case your no longer able to work or something worse... don't leave clients in the dark.

There's more options like Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated Servers and of course dedicated IP addresses you can learn all about them here.

Thank You!!!
Scott & Evgenia Lawrence
Married February 8, 2014
Traveling Europe