By Jonathan on February 10th, 2011 in Tips & Tutorials
If you’re going to make a big change to your site you need to have a plan in place. Whether you’re installing a new theme, switching to a new CMS or even just make a major upgrade to your existing platform, you probably don’t want to start out by hacking away on your live site.
Working on a live site, you not only risk the public embarrassment of having the world see your growth and mistakes, you also risk losing your data should anything go wrong. For example, if you manage to corrupt your database during an upgrade, you could literally wipe your site off the face of the earth.
All this means you should set up a test site but that, unfortunately, can be a pretty big pain. There are a few ways to set up a test site, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Here are four options to consider, including information on how to do them and what the benefits of each are. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on February 7th, 2011 in Industry News
To most people, especially those who don’t work primarily on the Web, GoDaddy is best known for its racy commercials, in particular those screened for the Super Bowl.
GoDaddy has often stirred controversy with its commercials, but this year the build up was even greater than usual because the company has been promoting the announcement of a new “GoDaddy Girl” for .co domains for at least a month.
The commercial, which aired in the first half of the game, announced that the new girl was 77-year-old talk show icon Joan Rivers, who took the stage with current spokeswomen Jillian Michaels and Danica Patrick.
The commercial is one of the most talked about ads from the Super Bowl.
But whether you view the stunt as insensitive or just harmless fun, GoDaddy, as the largest domain provider and public face of the industry, can have a very large impact on those markets. This ad may therefore have a noticeable impact on the way people buy domains, an impact that could mean a lot more money going to .co domains at registrars everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on February 4th, 2011 in Tips & Tutorials
Swift, a WordPress theme available for free in the theme directory, makes an extraordinary claim in its description:
“SWIFT, as the name says, is the fastest loading, SEO optimized, AdSense ready, server friendly WordPress theme.“
Swift is saying that, if you want a WordPress theme to make your site load fast, theirs is the theme for you. Many may doubt Swift’s claims, or indeed question anyone who claims a theme can improve a site’s load time. However, a test by WP Addict argues that themes do matter and that, while Swift may not be the absolute fastest, it’s among the best options.
So can a theme really make your site faster? And if it can, what makes one theme perform faster or slower than another? Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on February 2nd, 2011 in Industry News, Webmaster
If you live in Canada, bandwidth for your home connection is about to get a lot more expensive.
Recent changes from the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) means that Usage Based Billing (UBB) is coming to Canada. This means that Canadians, previously accustomed to unlimited or nearly-unlimited bandwidth caps on their Internet connections, may be facing caps as low as 25 GB per month.
In the age of online gaming, Steam, Netflix and YouTube it’s clear that Internet users are going to have to either adapt or expect to pay more. However, there are going to be changes for regular webmasters as well. Though Canada isn’t the only country in the world with tightly metered bandwidth, it is one of the first major Internet nations to go this route and others will probably follow if this approach meets its goals.
Webmasters need to start thinking about what they will need to change once visitors start thinking more about bandwidth costs. In other words, how can they improve their sites to ensure they don’t wind up costing customers money and causing them to not come back?
On that note, here are five ways that the Web is likely to change as metered billing, especially low bandwidth caps, becomes more common across the world. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on February 1st, 2011 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials
Finding a good hosting account isn’t just about finding the cheapest account that you can survive on, it’s about finding the best one for both you and your site, meeting your needs at the best possible price.
But while no one likes to overspend on hosting, there are plenty of situations where you should be prepared to open up your wallet and spend a bit more money. There are situations where the extra money is more than worthwhile, making it more of an investment than an expense.
With that in mind, here are five such situations where there’s no shame in paying more than your peers; in fact, you may be the wiser one for it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on January 28th, 2011 in Industry News
Earlier this week, Amazon announced the launch of its new Simple Email Service (SES), which is part of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division that includes components such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and its popular file hosting/CDN services Amazon S3 and Cloudfront.
However, Amazon SES is not an email service like Exchange or even Gmail – it’s not designed for handling day-to-day email exchanges. Instead, Amazon SES is for people who want to send bulk email, such as the kind Amazon sends to its customers every single day.
This means that it probably won’t be useful for the majority of hosting customers, but it could be a revolution for email hosting for large, corporate customers and that impact could, in turn, trickle down to other hosting customers.
Here is what it is all about and why it might be important. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on January 26th, 2011 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials, Webmaster
For most of us, some downtime is pretty much inevitable. Servers fail, networks go offline, sites go down and problems arise. All of these can be minimized, but not outright avoided.
Although a lot of downtime is unplanned (meaning something went wrong), there is also intentional or ‘planned’ downtime. Downtime can be required for anything from updating a theme, installing updates on our site to doing some kind of cleanup.
Dealing with downtime can be very difficult. All downtime, planned or unplanned, can have a negative impact on how Google ranks a site. While we can’t do much to mitigate the affects of unplanned downtime, we can often take steps to prevent damage caused by planned outages.
On that front, Google recently released its suggestions on how to deal with planned downtime and the answer is surprisingly simple. Best of all, they can be fairly easily implemented on your site, ensuring that you don’t accidentally thumb your nose at Google while trying to work on your site offline. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on January 24th, 2011 in Industry News, Webmaster
No matter what kind of site setup you have, it has at least one thing in common with every other site on the Internet: it relies on ISPs and network providers all over the globe to deliver visitors.
The magic of someone visiting your site doesn’t just involve your server, datacenter or network, it’s a matter of possibly dozens of servers working across an equal number of networks delivering information back and forth, quickly and reliably.
For the most part, this relationship works pretty well. However, a recent extended Internet outage at my house showed me that it isn’t always perfect. There were plenty of sites I wanted, even needed, to visit, but couldn’t (at least not outside of my cell phone).
But as critical as Internet access is for many of us, it isn’t being treated like a utility. Extended outages are accepted, purchasing it is confusing and there are risks that companies may attempt to “tier” the Web, making it more like cable television than the Web we know.
The time has come to take home and business Internet access more seriously. In the short time it has been with us, it’s become less a luxury and more a necessity, meaning we have to change the way we approach it, as do the companies that provide it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on January 21st, 2011 in Tips & Tutorials
If your site is feeling a bit sluggish, it might well be time to take some action. Though site-slowness might be your host’s fault or your local Internet provider having an off day, it might also be because you’ve become a bit lax in your site’s maintenance.
Webmasters aren’t often guilty of making changes to their homepages that make them run slower. Though the actions we take might not seem like much at first, they can snowball over time and, when coupled with lack of routine maintenance, can bring a site to its knees.
Fortunately, there is help. You can usually fix a site’s sluggishness by taking a few simple steps and, without the hassle of switching to a new host, can bring it back to life. In fact, even if your site isn’t moving slow, it may benefit from some or all of these steps, making it even snappier than before.
So what can you do to improve your site’s loading time? Here are just a few quick and easy suggestions that anyone can follow. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan on January 19th, 2011 in Beginners, Tips & Tutorials
We talked recently about some of the common misconceptions newcomers have about hosting.
One of the biggest misconceptions made is that they, as the customer, don’t need any knowledge about building or maintaining a website and that the host will handle it all for them. Hosts are dedicated to providing a service, namely keeping the servers online and the network operating. Setting up a WordPress blog might be a feature, but a customer who doesn’t understand the basics of running a site may find their host is not very useful.
That being said, there is a whole class of hosts that target this exact audience- people who either have very limited knowledge or those who simply don’t wish to fiddle with building a site. These services offer and support point and click systems for building a site, integrating hosting, design and content management into one service.
Though these tools have been around for some time, historically they have not been taken seriously. Services such as Homestead might have made it easy to set up a site, but the results were usually mediocre at best. But with services such as Squarespace and WordPress hosts such as Blogetery, these services are becoming much more mainstream, even for businesses.
So is a point and click host right for you? It really depends on your needs. Read the rest of this entry »