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Finding the Right Web Host
Choosing the right Web Hosting service for your website can be a little bit confusing. There's so many choices out there and many people aren't exactly sure what they should be looking for.
Here's a few things you should take into consideration when looking for a Web Host:
File Storage Space/ Disk Space
How much disk space do you need? That depends on how many files (pages) you plan to upload to your hosting space. If it's a personal or ecommerce site (a site that sells products) with just a few pages and graphics, than 25 MB of disk space a month should be more than enough. If it's a multi-page site such as an online shopping mall, then 2000 MB would be safe.
Storage space is specified in kilobytes KB, megabytes MB, or gigabytes GB, a megabyte is 1000 kilobytes and a gigabyte is 1000 megabytes.
Bandwidth / Traffic / Transfer
All words above are used interchangeably. It's the amount of data that flows through your site, the amount of hits or how many people visit your site. If you're expecting a few hundred hits a day then 10, 15 of 25 GB of Transfer should be enough. If you're expecting hundreds of thousands of hits every month then you should get a hosting account with as much Bandwidth as possible.
Bandwidth is usually expressed in Gigabytes.
Common Gateway Interface, is a protocal script used to make your site dynamic. Flash banners, moving objects. With the right web design program or scripting knowledge and a host that offers CGI you can easily bring your site to life.
Now-a-days more sites are offering Frontpage extensions. Microsoft Frontpage is a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) web design program that lets you easily create web pages while the software does all the coding behind the scenes. The great thing about using Frontpage and having a host with Frontpage extensions is once you design your webpages all you have to do is click one button that says "publish site" and all your pages go from your computer to your hosting space with one click.
Shared Hosting / Dedicated Servers
Shared hosting, or sometimes called basic hosting means that the webspace that you rent will be shared on the same web server with other clients of the company you've purchased web space from. This is the most common.
If you purchase a Dedicated server it means your website will have it's own unique server. This is the preferred choice for sites with a huge amount of traffic and many graphics that would take to long to load on a shared server.
Finding a Web Host can be confusing if you're not sure what to look for. If you're planning on having an average website with a few hundred hits or fewer a day, than shared hosting is the way to go.
About the author:
COMPARE TOP 20 WEB HOSTS! FIND THE RIGHT ONE!
Basic and Shared hosting, Reseller Accounts, Dedicated Servers as low as $29.95, Virtual Servers, CGI, Mysql, webpage builders, Frontpage Extensions and much more.
Friday, August 28, 2009
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at 8:40 PM
Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is now renamed into Microsoft Dynamics GP, as well as Microsoft Navision into Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Axapta into Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Solomon into Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft CRM into Microsoft Dynamcis CRM. Of course Microsoft has the plan to select the most marketing attractive name for its ERP products, however the other side of the renaming may be in the plan to move Project Green forward. At the final phase of Project Green Microsoft might drop GP, NAV, AX, SL and CRM extensions and make final version name to be simply Microsoft Dynamics. Interesting fact that Great Plains Software, which was the first candidate for Microsoft ERP software acquisition had Great Plains Dynamics brand, so probably Microsoft is plying retrospection card, in any case Microsoft technically owns GPS Dynamics brand anyway. In this small article we will give our retro view on Great Plains Dynamics customization, development and reporting1. Great Plains Dexterity – this is proprietary programming language and technology, designed back to earlier 1990th with the goal to build platform independent graphical accounting package – Great Plains Dynamics. Dexterity itself is written in C (following popular those days hope – that C will provide platform independence). You can install Dexterity from Great Plains 7.5 CD #2. Obviously it requires a lot of learning / training, but it allows your custom piece be seamlessly integrated with Great Plains interface. Nowadays, however – and this is a good thing – most of Great Plains installations are moved to SQL Server – so you can use Dexterity for custom forms drawing only and make the buttons run SQL stored procedures.
2. Modifier with VBA. Unfortunately you have to purchase this tool and get new registration keys. If you are familiar with VBA customization for Access or Excel – you have all the skills needed – then you just attach your scripts to the buttons and fields on GP forms (you can modify these forms with Modifier – or just tough them with it).
3. Continuum for VB/Delphi – we don’t recommend this tool, because it is using Great Plains as OLE server – and you probably don’t want to be trapped by old technology.
4. Crystal Reports. Great Plains has its own ReportWriter, but its functionality is limited – you can’t do cross modules reports (you can’t link Sales and Purchasing tables in one report, for example). So – you use Crystal. The GP tables structure is in Tools->Resource Description->Tables … and you are in control. Feel free to create views and stored procs directly in the companies databases – it doesn’t hurt the Dexterity engine
5. Direct web publishing from Great Plains SQL databases, using Visual Studio.net and your language of choice (VB.Net, C#, J#, etc). Plus you probably want to have several SQL stored procs.
6. eConnect – this tool is type of SDK with VB.net samples. It allows you to feed data into Great Plains and was primarily created for eCommerce developers.
7. Integration Manager – it is end-user tool for importing to GP, however if end-user meets some challenges in the integration – you as a developer can help with VBA scripts. IM validates 100% of business logic and uses hidden GP forms – so it maybe slow for big on-going integrations, when you have thousands records per day – in this case you rescue to eConnect or directly to SQL store procedures.
8. SQL queries - as a developer you have unlimited potential in using SQL queries, because the database in MS SQL Server.
at 3:03 PM
Can you really get a website even without knowing anything about code, and without paying a fortune? Find out.
The days when websites were primarily distinguished by their code are long gone. Nowadays, the web is a true publishing medium that favors well thought-out ideas. You can get a professional-looking website online in minutes with many website building services and software. But what should you look for? What are the features you really need and which are just clutter?
Some website authoring software packages only allow you to entire plain, unformatted text. Some of them allow you to entire HTML tags. Others provide a WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") interface with options for font, links, and image insertion much like a word processor's. Some will allow you to use more than one, or even all of these options so you have a choice on how you want to format your text.
Every website builder ever invented came with at least one or two templates for creating the graphical look of a website, so you don't have to design the look of the site yourself. But some packages have very large libraries of templates, some have only a few. Some will let you mix and match elements of the design templates, while others will lock you in to one setup.
Many ready-to-go websites created by website builder software feature built-in shopping carts. Some even come with credit card processing. This is of course necessary if you're going to be selling stuff direct online. But if you're not going to be selling anything, ecommerce functionalities may just complicate the administration of the site and pad the price for the software or service.
Blogs are "web logs," but blogging software involves more than just a simple online journal. Blogging technology allows you to send your new posts directly to subscribers via RSS, without them having to visit your site or receive an email from you. Still, unless you plan on updating your site regularly (at least once a month), your website's blog will just gather cobwebs.
Some hosted web authoring systems provide email accounts at no additional charge, while others do charge separately. Some web builder systems even come with modules for creating email newsletters.
It is very likely that you will encounter a technical difficulty at some point while owning your website. Make sure you know in advance of paying whether the company provides only paid support, and if any included support is over email, a web ticketing system, or the telephone.
Photo and Image Management
For many, if not most, people who want personal websites, displaying pictures online is a primary motivation, if not the only motivation. If you want to display pictures on your website, make sure to choose a website builder system that makes it easy to upload and publish images.
Renting vs. Owning
You can buy website authoring software upfront for a flat fee, or you can "rent;" i.e., pay a company every month to use a hosted service. The choice is up to you, but remember that the hosted service will likely charge you much more in the end: averaging around $20/month, hosted the typical hosted website builder will cost you $240/year--far more than most desktop software.
In short, you don't need to know how a website is coded to make one, any more than a book author needs to know about printing ink. Don't burden yourself with learning how to do web design. Having fun with your website starts with choosing a website builder software that will make it fun.
at 8:08 AM
Electronic-Data-Interchange, or EDI is a method of computer to computer exchange of various types of information. While many people know of the internet and the World Wide Web as communication methods, the electronic-data-interchange is much similar. It allows the transfer of data from one place to the next with very minimal need for people to get involved.
Today, the Electronic-Data-Interchange is regulated. It offers specific interchange methods that transpire overseas and nationally as standard bodies when it comes to moving information and business transactions from one place to the next. For example,this is the most common form of communication in the process of purchasing goods and services. Communication for the location to the financial institution to deliver a message of the amount of funds required, in this case, is what data will be transferred.
In most cases, the information that is transmitted in an electronic data interchange is done so that companies can communicate. They can provide information to allow business transactions or the passage of very important information. For example, in the healthcare industry they can be used to help communicate through the network about a patient allowing for a faster method of receiving information. This technology is still being developed in many areas, though.
In fact, more and more so, people are turning to Electronic-Data-Interchange as their means of communication especially with more people turning to the Internet. The Electronic-Data-Interchange allows for networks of all sorts to communicate and this is helping ecommerce as a great way for companies to buy, sell or trade information and services. In fact, ANSI has just approved a set of Electronic-Data-Interchange standards. They are known as the X12 standards. Nonetheless, you will see more and more people using them because more and more people are getting online to do just these things.
at 8:06 AM
In web ecommerce, you are going to find a wealth of information about what it is and what it can do for you within minutes of looking on the web. The problem with this is, it is hard to sort out the good from the bad and the worthless from the maybe-worth-something options. Relying on the bad stuff will leave you broke and everyone is in search of the best options to make them a ton. So, where do you begin when it comes to web ecommerce?
In order to help you get started with web ecommerce, here are some of the things that anyone on the web selling can do to make their business more profitable and more potentially interesting to their buyers.
• Provide quality and something that is user friendly to the client. If you want to sell, you need to convince them that you have something that is better than what is out there or something that isn’t out there at all. You need to provide for them a good experience as well.
• Sales and promotions work as they would in the retail setting of a store. To get people in and buying, offering incentives can definitely help.
• Provide a great looking website for them to visit. Make sure that it is user friendly and that it is easy to navigate as well. Things like photos and graphics that are exciting and appealing are great tools to use as well.
• You can also do well by offering things like chat rooms and blogs that keep up the readership to your website. Allow them to play a role like this and they will likely book mark you and come back for more web ecommerce action!
Web Ecommerce can be a remarkable tool when you use it well. So, as your first step, take the time to explore what ways you can create a great place for your customers and how you can make sure that they come and come back.
at 1:12 AM
If you are making a comfortable living from the Internet and the Web or have a plan to achieve that goal, it's likely that you are running more than ten websites. The websites are your virtual offices. You want to your sites to be up and running 365 days, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Managing multiple websites is a daunting task if running one website is a hobby.
Proposed Hosting Strategy for Managing Multiple Websites
The hosting strategy we propose is to host your multiple major websites with 3-4 different hosting companies, and open a reseller account with another hosting company for 1) small and new websites, 2) web development and 3) backup. Hosting with too many hosting companies will significantly increase the time and the difficulty of managing sites, and using a single hosting company isn't a smart choice either.
Justification of the Hosting Strategy
Cost - Cost of the Web hosting isn't an issue for running a single web site whether it costs $5 or $25 a month. The difference is only a few hundred dollars or less a year. It's always nice and smart to get the most out of every single dollar in doing business. At least, a few hundred dollars difference wouldn't make or break a business. If you run 10 or even 50 websites, the cost of Web hosting alone will define the success or failure of your online adventure. To cut the hosting cost, the option is to use a reseller hosting account to host as many small or new sites as you want for about $15 a month. You host one or 2 major websites with one hosting company. Shared hosting account costs under $10 a month, and dedicated server will cost $50 or more a month.
Uptime - If your bread-and-butter maker website is down for a few hours, you'll lose hundreds of dollars and more. Even though most hosting companies promise 99.9% uptime, it's not common to see a website down for a few hours. A site could be down for a half day or even more if a hosting company is doing a major update. The hosting company may do the update in a weekend or a major holiday, but that's when many family-oriented and travel sites generate their revenues. If you could afford the loss of revenues, many websites owners can't bear the psychological loss and pressure. Hosting your sites with a few hosting companies will reduce the risk of downtime.
Application Development - For simple web application, webmasters will do development on the same production hosting site. If your ecommerce applications are complex, doing development on the production site may bring down the live site especially if you're in the process of changing configuration files or install customized applications. The option is setup a website on your reseller account for development and testing, and move the applications to production account on another server after the completion.
Backup - If you're not happy with a hosting company, a hosting company is out of business, or the servers will be down for a day or two, you can easily temporarily or permanently switch from one hosting company to other since you're familiar with the site managing tools already. If you have a backup or secondary copy running on another server, all you need for the switch is the transfer of the domain, which will take no more than a minute.
Shop Before You Buy
There're too many hosting plans to choose from a large number of hosting companies - ASP Web Hosting, Budget Hosting, Dedicated Servers, eCommerce Hosting, FrontPage Web Hosting, Hosting With Templates ( http://www.web-site-hosting-n-tools.com/hosting-with-templates/ ) , Managed Web Hosting, PHP Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Shared Hosting, Unix / Linux Hosting, Virtual Private Servers, Windows Hosting or Co-location Hosting. Compare the cost, hosting features, tracking records of hosting companies before making your commitment. Good luck with your online adventures.
at 1:10 AM
Here are a few programs I can't do without. They're free, and make being a webmaster much easier.
A cgi script that allows you to run commands on your server, even if your web host won't give you telnet access. Also good for getting at files generated by other scripts that are owned by user 'nobody', instead of your username. Ever tried deleting them? Well, now you can.
AXS Visitor Tracking System http://www.xav.com/
A very fine hit counter. Fairly simple to set up, if you use footer files on your site. Gives detailed information. Much better than the stats software that came with your web-hosting account.
A Perl text replacer script. Handy if you're not familiar with Unix commands. Make sitewide changes in seconds. The original author's site doesn't list it any more. Can still be found via a search engine (hint, hint).
FTP Explorer http://www.ftpx.com
The charm of this software is that it looks a lot like the Windows shell, and thus makes FTP'ing a little less intimidating for the novice webmaster.
Putty Telnet/SSH Client http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/
A simple-looking, but sophisticated, freeware telnet and SSH client. Can be run from a floppy disk. Useful for the mobile webmaster.
Email Remover 2.4
Not currently available from the author's website, but can be found by Googling for a file named 'eremov24.zip'. This is an email account checker. It can be run from a floppy disk and can check multiple email accounts. Allows you to highlight spam and delete it, and download emails if need be. WARNING: It has a bug. Do not change the order of the emails in the software window before deleting; you'll end up deleting the wrong ones.
RFTP 32 Version 0.99
Again, not currently available from the author's website. This is a self-contained FTP client that can be, you guessed it, run from a floppy disk. Search around for a file named 'rftp.exe'.
If you don't see a pattern emerging, then let me elucidate: the last three programs can all be run from the same floppy disk. You can leave your laptop at home, and work on your your site from internet cafes.
The only thing left would be a WYSIWYG HTML editor that you can run from a floppy disk; that would be asking for a lot. However, the Mambo content management system http://www.mambo.com comes with one pre-installed. There's also a WYSIWYG plugin for the blog software WordPress http://wordpress.org/.
Either is a useful addition to any website. You can keep it updated while on the road.
at 1:08 AM
In the real world, businesses come in every size, from self-employed entrepreneurs like me to mega malls like Wal-Mart.
On the Internet, companies come in every size, too, from a stand-alone ebook sales page with webmaster and owner all in one, to 300 pound gorilla like Amazon, with over a million pages requiring the entire population of a small country to serve as webmaster.
If your site is a single page, it is its own network. But if your site is any bigger, and you have plans to grow, it is a network or is fast becoming one. You need network monitoring.
Most ecommerce webmasters are at least somewhat familiar with website monitoring. Many use a website monitoring service or software to keep track of "uptime" and "downtime".
At your local shopping mall, serious business requires more than just knowing when the front doors are open and when they are closed. Serious ecommerce needs to know more than just when the site is accessible. That is what network monitoring is all about.
Chances are, your e-business owns one of the following, or uses one of the following remotely:
DNS servers: These are used to translate your site name, like www.mycompany.com, to the numbers called "IP addresses" that computers understand. If DNS servers are not working properly, end-users will not be able to find your site and will get an error. Usually only an external or remote monitoring service will detect such a problem.
An FTP server: File Transfer Protocol servers are used to help you
exchange files with remote users. If you use FTP, a monitoring
service can make sure it is always up and running.
POP3 and SMTP servers: These are used for exchanging emails. If you are using email, chances are you are using SMTP and POP3. If your SMTP server is down, everyone who sends you email will receive an error, stating that your mail
server is down and cannot accept incoming email. To say that the impression this leaves your customers is bad would be an understatement. If your POP3 server is down, you will be unable to retrieve email from your mailbox. Once again, only external monitoring will prevent such a problem.
Firewalls: Many businesses use firewalls to protect their internal network from un-authorized traffic, such as spyware, viruses and sabotage by competitors. Furthermore, a firewall is your first line of defense. If your firewall goes down, your whole network may actually become inaccessible from outside. In other words, if you host your own web site and mail servers, those will become
inaccessible to the outside world if your firewall goes down. Once again, remote network monitoring is required to detect that a problem exists and quickly get it repaired.
Internet connections: Users come to your network from multiple backbones, depending on the company they use to connect to the Internet and their location. It is important to ensure that your connection performs well for each user. A remote monitoring service can ping your networks from multiple locations around the world, thus testing most major routes to your web server or network. Before hiring a network monitoring service, check to see that they have both your customer geography and the Internet backbone layout covered.
Very few websites of any size and functionality are anything less than a complete network, and many networks rely on servers in different parts of the world.
A good network monitoring service can ensure, as a base, that all servers are properly functioning, that data can be sent to and received from each server, and that each function sharing the server responds as required. An advanced network monitoring service can even remotely monitor the temperature of your servers.
What you need to monitor depends on how extensive your network is. A network monitoring expert can help you determine what needs monitoring. If you own the servers, or are remotely hosted on dedicated servers, you most likely need everything monitored. If your site is hosted on shared servers, you might need fewer functions monitored.
at 1:06 AM
Kids in High School are making thousands of dollars a month with Adsense... Housewives, Retiree's, Mom and Pop's who've never made a dime on the Internet have created full time incomes by simply placing AdSense Ads on their web site or blog.
Then you have the "Super AdSense" earners. We have all heard of them... the Elite few who are on track to make half a million dollars a year or more promoting AdSense sites.
Do not be mistaken though... these people are not building like your Mom and Pop's do. They have systems in place that create sites for them... people who build sites for them... they have outsourced and automated many of the tedious tasks such as posting to blogs and searching for keywords.
While most people cannot emulate everything these Super AdSense earners do... many of them you can.
Here are 7 Required Steps you can implement today to copy their success1) Starting today... treat your AdSense business like it is a REAL business and track what you do.
Begin tracking what you are doing that works... as well as what you are doing that does not work. This will keep you from making the same mistakes over and over, and you can repeat the steps that have worked in the past. As simple as this step seems... most people do not know the reason(s) to their success or failure.
2) Utilize the latest tools and software available.
The Super AdSense earners are not any smarter than your average person. I know many people think they are... but for the most part, they are regular non techie people.
They are smarter in one respect though... they use the latest tools available to them to automate most of the tasks involved with researching and creating sites. They use the latest keyword, site creation and search engine optimization tools available. The tools they use are their secret weapons.
3) Quit chasing the Mega Dollar keywords.
You cannot compete with the search engine experts who create sites for the $80 payout keywords. You may get lucky every now and then... but in the long run, you are better off building sites for the low to mid range payout keywords. The competition is less, and your chance of success is much higher over the long term.
4) Choose broad niches and break it down.
Choose a broad subject as your main theme (lets use computers for an example). From there... break it down into as many sub niches as possible.
Using Computers as the example... you could build sub niches/sites like laptop computers, computer hard drives, computer keyboards, etc, etc. You could literally build hundreds of sites around one major theme and stay totally focused. Once you have exhausted every possible sub niche of that major theme... choose another main theme and repeat the process.
Keep your sites easy to navigate and forget the fancy graphics that distract your visitors attention. Unless you are just building AdSense sites for the fun of it and to impress your friends... the purpose of having the site is to have people click on one of the ads, right? Then keep the site layout simple... dump the scrolling banners, dancing chickens and colored scroll bars... they are distractions.
6) What is the purpose of your web site?
Your web site cannot be everything to everybody. If you have a full fledged ecommerce site, with products for sale... links to other products, it is not a good site for AdSense. If the primary focus of the site is to sell products... let it do that.
Do not distract or confuse your visitor with to many options or choices. The best AdSense sites are AdSense only content sites that sell nothing. They are sites that "Tell"... not "Sell."
7) Be consistent.
This is not one of those deals where you build one site and you are done. Refer back to Step #4. You must continuously build in order to be successful.
Think of it as planting a crop that you will harvest in a month or two, and the sites you build are seeds. Once the seeds have grown and matured... you will reap the harvest. The more seeds you plant... the larger the harvest.
To sum it up... utilize the tools available to automate as much of the process of building sites - doing research and building keyword lists as you can. This alone will help keep you organized and on track. Be consistent in building... treat it like the business it is and you will reap the rewards of your harvest.
at 1:03 AM
Website hosting can be a complex undertaking. Determining how much space you need, how much transfer, finding a reliable host, and getting everything online is no simple task. Add ecommerce to the mix and things become even more complex. This article will deal with some of those additional complications to finding a host for an online store. All of the same considerations to finding general hosting can be applied to ecommerce hosting, there are simply a few additional ones that need some attention.
Basics- Disk Space and Transfer
The core states of any kind of hosting, ecommerce or not, remain space and transfer, or traffic. Generally measured in monthly increments, your space and transfer will place a crucial role in determining just what size plan you need. Ecommerce sites will, generally speaking, require more space and transfer than an equivilant sized site without ecommerce. This is due to the presence of the shopping cart upon which the online storefront is based. Shopping cart programs are installed to the account on which they operate, requiring space, and their scripts for running the store will require additional transfer to handle customers as they browse, add items to their cart, and check out. Will there be a tremendous amount of extra transfer required by the cart? That depends on how many use the cart and on the cart itself. This is why its best to start small and having a clear upgrade path to handle future popularity.
Prospective online merchants will generally have a good idea how many products they'll be selling initially. This will vary wildly from merchant to merchant, and many merchants don't put their entire stocks online. It is wise to start with a considered selection of products first, especially if you wish to initially keep your hosting plan small and upgrade as the store prospers. Those with a great deal of products need to be aware they will probably be facing a bigger monthly fee for a larger hosting plan. Once the decision is made regarding the products, attention can be turned to finding a suitable shopping cart program to contain them.
The choice of shopping cart can be a personal one. Those entirely new to ecommerce will probably not have any experience with any kind of shopping cart software. There are a number of popular choices, and most hosting companies will provide one, if not a variety, from which you can choose. It is important to find a shopping cart that suits the individual user, as attempting to change your shopping down the road can be a long process that will, most likely, bring your store down during a transitional period. Don't immediately jump at the first cart a host offers. Ask if they have demos and try them out. Be sure it's a program you can learn and use, as it is the primary way you'll be doing your online business. Even if you have a large business and have a design firm setting up the cart, a rudimentary knowledge of the cart's processes is highly recommended.
Learn as much about your prospective shopping cart software as possible. Make sure it supports SSL, a common site security protocol that will help keep your customer's credit card numbers safe when ordering online. It will need to support your merchant account and payment gateway. In many cases a host might bundle these services, so compatibility isn't an issue. If you secured your merchant services separately from hosting, be sure they are compatible. Find out if the cart has a recommended maximum product limit and, of course, try not to exceed it. The store may slow down and perform poorly if there are too many products in it.
Finally, make sure it will do everything you want it to do. Some merchants sell services and downloadable items that don't conform exactly to the order-product-ship-product flow. If your cart doesn't support these features by default, there may be 3rd party add-ons that will provide this functionality. Miva Merchant is one such shopping cart with a very active 3rd party developer community providing a wide range of add-ons, or "modules" to extend the feature set of the original program. The merchant will have to buy these add-ons and have them installed on their own initiative, though, and the hosting company will not be able to support them.
Reliability and Support
Perhaps of greatest importance is reliability in your chosen host. Think in terms of a "brick and mortar" storefront. If someone locks the front door during business hours, then no customers can come in and nothing is sold. Similarly, if an online store is down at any hour, no customers can come in and nothing is sold. You want the most reliable hosting for such a mission-critical site. Never just take the word of a hosting company's site in regards to their uptime. Do research and look for customer reviews of your prospective host. Online merchants should always be willing to pay more for a reliable hosting company with good uptime and support. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from free or "bargain basement" hosts, since support and uptime are usually the first things to suffer with this kind of hosting.
Finding the right ecommerce hosting company requires a few additional considerations. Decide on your products, your shopping cart, and then shop for your hosting company. You will need more space and transfer than an equivalent site, but start small with your product selection and you can still save money on your hosting. Find a shopping cart that's easy for you to use and understand, as switching at a later date can result in downtime and a lot of work transferring your products. Finally, make sure your host has solid uptime, as an online store that's down isn't generating any sales.
at 12:08 AM
This small article is targeted to Microsoft Dynamics GP audience. Recent Microsoft marketing move from Microsoft Business Solutions to Dynamics means Project Green wave 1 progress. This will mean increasing role of XML web services enabled as connectors to eConnect or Integration Object SDK. Let’s come to the subject. When Great Plains Software introduced the first graphical accounting application for Mac and Windows in the beginning of 1990th it had Great Plains Dexterity customization tool, IDE and programming language. Dexterity design was based on several longevity principles: Graphical platform independence and database platform independence and easy switch from one DB to the other among the most important ones. Dexterity was written as a shell in C programming language, which was “platform independent” and at the same time very efficient in compilation (close to assembler). Since then we saw new tools and options:
• Modifier with VBA. This tool allows you place custom buttons and editable fields on the forms and attach VBA scripts to these buttons and fields. Theoretically you can deploy ADO and make a call to the database, but typically this would be given to Dexterity programmer. Also Modifier can deal with ReportWriter report – which is rarely used option, but you should be aware of it. Another usufull feature - calling Crystal Reports engine from VBA, so you can print custom Crystal Report - Invoice from SOP Entry screen, instead of regular Report Writer SOP Invoice Form.
• Continuum for VB and Delphi. We do not touch obvious features of Continuum, but would like to mention its advanced use. First – in Dexterity you can not easily target multiple modules (coming from different software vendors – those days Intellisol Advanced Purchase Order Processing, Project Accounting and ForeStar Fixed Assets). This feature could be addressed through Continuum generated VBA code with inclusion of Dexterity Scripts (Sanscript). The second nice feature of Continuum could be Great Plains Integration Manager custom apps, which allows you to switch Great Plains companies automatically and integrate the whole corporation during the night
• Dexterity SQL Support. When Great Plains C/S+ was introduced on MS SQL Server 6.5 platform – instead of using Dexterity cursors – you could use the way more efficient stored procedures and simply call them from Dexterity code. The negative side of this was – you can not have your custom piece running on Btrieve or Ctree platforms, where Dexterity cursors were the only way to work with the database
• Dexterity COM object support. This was new feature of Microsoft Great Plains Dexterity version 7.0. This feature allows you to call something nice, like web service from your COM object and in this case replace, say Great Plains tax engine with the one working from your web server, located in one place and serving numerous subscribers.
• eConnect. This tool was initially designed for eCommerce developer, who deploys Microsoft Great Plains as the back end/ERP. eConnect is SDK with SQL Stored Procedures and parameters descriptions.
• Extender. We’ll wait the next version – but even now it is very promising and it doesn’t require you to be programmer to customize Great Plains.
at 12:06 AM
Search Engine Positioning is the art of optimizing your web site so that it gets into a high position on the search engine results page whenever someone searches for keywords that relate to your products and services.
However, some people make basic mistakes while designing their web site and as a result, never make it to the top. Even if they work hard on it! Or may be waste a lot of money on useless tools and services.
Do you make these mistakes too?
1. Designing a Frames-based web site
This one is the biggest loser of them all. Frames may make the job of maintaining a very big and complicated web site easy but search engine absolutely hate them. Most of the search engines cannot find out their way easily through them and end up indexing only the home page.
Now imagine this. One of your internal pages has been reported by the search engines and the user has clicked on it. What a mess! The page looks orphan without the outer frame and the navigation.
Lose your frames right away. You will start getting positive improvements the moment you redesign your site without frames.
2. Having an all-Flash or graphic-only home page
This is another classic mistake. Many designers design web site home pages like brochures. A beautiful cover which has to be opened to read. But on the Internet every click takes away some prospects. Did they click your ENTER button or the Back button?
You see, search engines need content to index. If you don't have content on the home page but only a Flash movie or a big animated graphic, how will the search engine know what you deal in. And why will it give you a high enough ranking?
3. Not having a good title
What's your title, Sir?
A good title is an absolute must for getting a good search engine position and the most vital thing -- the click-through. With the title, you are always walking a tightrope. You need a title with your most important keyword near the beginning but it should still appeal to the human reading the results.
Don't, don't stuff it with the keywords. How does this look to you --
Search engine position, search engine positioning, search engine ranking
If you saw this in the search engine results, will you click on this or you will prefer-
Top 10 Search engine positioning mistakes!
4. Hosting your site with a FREE host
It takes away all your credibility. You want to do business from your web site. Right? And you can't even afford a decent web hosting package. How do you expect your prospect to trust you?
Most of the search engines do not spider web sites hosted on the free hosts. Even if they do, they rank them quite low. How many geocities web sites have you seen in the top 10?
Also, will you be comfortable buying your merchandise from someone who can't even afford a small shop? And web site hosting is much cheaper!
Do you want your visitor to look at your message or look at the pop-up that your free web host popped over your site?
Go get a good web hosting package right away.
You must have at least one text-based link to all the pages that you want to link to. And the anchor text (the visible text on the site) should contain your important keywords, not "Click here".
6. Stuffing lots of keywords in the keywords tag
Do you have a keywords tag that lists all the words related to your product in a big long series? This is a certain recipe to invite negative points.
While many search engines have already started to ignore keywords tag precisely because of this misuse, you should have the keywords tag for the search engines that still use them. It also serves as a reminder of the keywords that you are optimizing for.
However, put only the 2-3 most important keywords in there. Here's a quick test - don't put any term in the keywords tag if it does not appear at least once on the body copy.
7. Not having any outgoing links
Do you know why the Internet is called the Web? Because the web sites link to each other. If you are only having incoming links but don't have any outbound links, it is not appreciated by the search engines as it violates the web-like structure of the Web.
Because some people try to conserve PageRank (a proprietary index used by Google to measure link popularity), they avoid having any outbound links. This is one big myth. You can get very good points if you have some outbound links with keyword-rich anchor text and preferably keyword-rich target URL also.
Of course, you should not turn your web page into a link-farm. There should be a few good links amidst some good content.
8. Insisting on session variables and cookies to show information
Session variables are used extensively by ecommerce-enabled sites. This is to trace the path used by the visitor. Shopping cart and various other applications also benefit by using session variables. However it should be possible to visit the various information related and sales pages without needing to have session variables.
Since you can't put cookies on the search engine spiders, they can't index your pages properly if the navigation requires cookies and session variables.
9. Regularly submitting your site to the search engines
"We will submit your site to the top 250,000 search engines every month for only $29.95." Who has not seen these ads or received Spam with similar messages?
And which are those 250,000 search engines? There are only about 8-10 top search engines worth bothering about. And a handful of directories.
With most of the search engines, you only need to submit once to get spidered and then they will keep your listing fresh by crawling your site at regular intervals. All you need to do is to keep adding fresh content to your site and the search engines will absolutely love you. In fact, Google prefers to locate you through a link and not through the URL submission page.
For some sites like DMOZ, if you resubmit while you are waiting to be indexed, you entry is pushed to the end of the queue. So you can resubmit regularly and never get indexed :(
10. Optimizing for more than 2 or 3 search terms
It is virtually impossible to optimize a page for more than 2-3 keywords without diluting everything. Don't try to work on more than 3 phrases on one page. Split.
Get similar phrases together and work on those in this page. Take 2 or 3 out of the other phrases and develop a new page with entirely new copy. Remember, you cannot just copy the same page and squeeze these new phrases in there. It will look very funny to the visitor.
at 12:04 AM
Building a web site isn't something that is really cut and dry. There's a huge variety of products and services that can either help you get your web site where you want it or simply confuse you. It's also important that you make the right choices upfront so that you don't end up having to restructure your whole web site because of some problem in your design layout. The level of time investment neccessary for mastery in a lot of these software packages can range from little to a VERY significant amount. Because of this I feel it's important to be lead in the "right" direction to make sure you don't spend time in the wrong areas, or learning some software that might not be all that useful for you later on (*coughs* Frontpage *coughs*).
Where you should start greatly depends on what you plan on attempting to do, and how deep you're going to dive in. For a moderately professional, clean looking web site without a lot of automation or intensive animated graphics you can probably get by with some basic knowledge of html, ability with a good WYSIWYG editor, and an image editting program. On the other hand,if you're someone that's looking to build something that will really wow your audience then you might consider spending some major time and developing some animation skills with a program like Macromedia Flash. I personally always spring for what I believe will bring me the greatest amount of profit with a minimal amount of effort, and because of this I usually end up spending all of my time diving in deeper with ONLY my WYSIWYG HTML editor, and my image editor.
## What is a "WYSIWYG" editor? ##
A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor is what allows you to get by with minimal knowledge of HTML. Yes, that means you don't have to know EVERYTHING about HTML to have a decent looking website. When you use a WYSIWYG editor it interprets what you're doing (inserting an image for example) as being a certain series of HTML tags with attributes, and does it for you... Thus, what you see on your screen is what you get. Instead of seeing a bunch of HTML code in text format, you'll mostly see what will actually show up in your browser once your web site is up WHILE you're making it. I highly recommend using the latest version of dreamweaver -- it is well-known as one of the best HTML editors by general consensus. Dreamweaver's interface is very friendly, has a built in FTP client, and is specifically built to be flexible enough to suit both the coder and the everyday amatuer webmaster.
## Image editing? What do I need that for? ##
Okay, let's be realistic here: If you're going to make a professional *appearing* web site it's important that you can make some basic, decent looking graphics. There's a lot of graphics problems that can truly get the job done, but as far as power and flexibility goes I recommend Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop definitely takes some time getting used to, but in the end it's VERY rewarding. I've ended up using my knowledge of Photoshop to make not only graphics for multiple web sites, but also touched up portraits, made business cards, flyers, and other online advertisments such as banners. Infact, I've used it for everything except animation... But it also comes with Adobe Imageready which is very good with animation. This software is amazing, and if you're going to learn ANY image editing software I recommend you start with Photoshop because of it's widerange of overall... usefulness!
## Let's get me some sales! ##
Kick off your new web site you've gotten up from your knowledge of webmastering and image editing with a few new sales... Sounds like a plan? Well a great way to do that quickly is with pay-per-click advertising. BUT WAIT! Doesn't that cost money? Well... Yes. But with the tools brought to us by some of the biggest pay-per-click advertisers out there we should be able to make a good evaluation of how much profit we're going to make without much investment upfront.
The big question behind pay-per-click advertising is whether or not it's worth the cash when you can simply get traffic from regular search engine ranking (otherwise known as organic traffic). Afterall, there are plenty of companies out there that promise to help get you all the traffic you need through optimizing your web site for organic ranking. The answer to this question is quite simple: profit is profit. Through conversion tracking tools such as those offered by Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google Adwords anyone can calculate exactly what their profit is after cost of PPC advertising is taken out. In my opinion, Google Adwords has the most user-friendly interface among the PPC advertisers. Google Adword's interface makes it very easy to see which keywords are pulling you in the most sales, and which ones aren't even worth your advertising money.
Let us not forget, however, that in order to make those conversions we're going to be needing a shopping cart! There's a lot of diverse software packages out there you can use, but I've been using Mal's E-Commerce Free shopping cart for a number of years with great success. The cart's server is hosted on their machines so that means you not only get away with not having to pay for the software itself, but you get out of having to buy an SSL security ticket too! Nothing's a better bargain than free, eh?
## Getting those sales leads you've been building up to BUY! ##
Once you've scored a few sales it would probably be a good idea to start using some kind of lead management services. I highly recommend the use of autoresponders for this purpose. Autoresponders are, essentially, a newsletter sign-up that allows you to strategically determine what you want to send each lead after a certain alotted amount of time. For example, let's say someone visits your web site and you offer them a free newsletter. If you were selling an ebook on some very complicated topic, you might consider sending them only information on the most basic concepts at first to get them interested. Slowly but surely, you can turn those visitors that might have left your web site and never have returned into some serious revenue!
As far as autoresponders go, I highly recommend the use of Aweber. Their customer service is superb (seriously, these guys really know their stuff!) and can be contacted at any point during the business day via online chat or phone. They also offer tons of free information, and guides on making the most of their services. Check out their month long free trial at http://www.getaweber.com/ .
at 12:01 AM