What You Need to Know in Choosing a Web Hosting Plan

bandwithThere are various web hosts available and many of them offer the same basic features. When it comes down to it, you need to figure out what features you need for your website, always keeping in mind the long term potential. Also note that it is easier to upgrade than to downsize, so go with the most appropriate plan.

To start off, let’s talk briefly about the few types of web hosting plans that you can choose.

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Digital Millennium Copyright Act – DMCA

DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was passed by the US Congress on October 12, 1998 and was enacted as law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. According to Clinton, the bill was created to protect intellectual property in the online arena. It was also to expand upon the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) conference treaties from 1996. And while many groups such as the music industry and software suppliers welcomed the law, many others felt that it meant to undermine legitimate research and education by making criminals of librarians, scientists and other academicians.

The law specifically makes it a crime to try and subvert security and passcodes in software. For example, code-cracks found on the internet are illegal. Code cracking is when one person gets a copy of a licensed software and figures out a way to give it to others for free. They either no longer need the “key”, or the person (the one who cracks the code) supplies a set of keys so that others can install the software and use it.

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The Importance of a Domain’s Age

Are you trying hard to increase the search engine friendly nature of your website? Have you ever thought about the age of your website? How does it affect the search result relevancy? The niche of search engine optimization is highly volatile. Newer trends keep on emerging and the domain’s age is a primary factor, which will determine the effectiveness of your time spent on tweaking and optimizing the website. No matter how hard you may try to fine-tune your website, you will have to acknowledge the age of the domain in order to make a website more receptive to search engines.

Old ManSearch engine companies tweak the relevancy algorithm periodically. Now they are trying to incorporate the human element into the paradigm. For instance, we will consider a real life scenario. If you wish to purchase an expensive electronic gadget, you will always procure the same from a trusted showroom that has been in operation for many years. The nature of trust that plays into this simple situation is highly relevant. Even if the product of your liking is slightly expensive, you will be willing to shell out a couple of extra dollars.

Search engines employ the same sentiments these days to rank a website. The greater the age of the domain, the better are the chances of it occupying the top spots on search results. This is highly significant because literally anyone can create a website within minutes these days. If they are aware of the SEO paradigms, then they can occupy the feasible spots on the search results. It is originally unfair and in order to uphold the integrity of these results, the search engines give ample priority to the domain’s age.

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What is WHOIS Information?

WHOIS information provides details about domains across the internet. While it is possible to maintain your privacy when registering a domain, if you do not choose the option to keep your domain information private it will be accessible to anyone in the world. The WHOIS system began as a method for system administrators to obtain contact information for IP address assignments and domain name administrators.

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How can you protect your copyrighted images on your website?

There is nothing more discouraging and disheartening than to create fabulous graphics or “shoot” excellent photography and have some thief come along and blatantly use your images on his/her website, free blog, or social media page. Sadly, this is the ilk of the internet. And while plenty of webmasters are honest, law abiding business owners and hobbyists, many others are waiting for the chance to “rip your content”.

We covered the other end of this issue in our page on Web Site photo Copyright issues. Make sure to check that out too!

It seems to be easy to steal on the internet since the web has no boundaries and people do not know one another. Taking from strangers desensitizes individuals. But don’t despair because here are EIGHT steps you can take to protect your copyrighted images on your website.

  1. Behave in a proactive manner when dealing with your images. Do not assume that others will be honest because you are. Clearly state on your website that the material is protected by copyright law. Place the copyright insignia at the bottom of your pages with the years in business and also place a notation under or close to the individual images. To make the copyright symbol ©, hold down your “alt” key and at the same time, type 0169 from your number pad.
  2. If you own the photos, be sure to use a watermark. Your actual photo link can go to a page that spells out what you will do if your images are found elsewhere. It should be noted, that a copyright notice is not required legally to protect your photos, but it does help to deter people who are not sure about the laws.
  3. Also, you might use special code to disable or disallow right-clicking. Remember, though, that a legitimate user may have a need for that function and you might anger loyal visitors so basically weigh your options. If theft is a continual problem, then you will have to react. But if it happens once a year, there is no point in making your users angry.
  4. If someone does steal your photos, you can send a DMCA notice to their ISP and their webhost who are obligated to review the situation. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. (it may be more difficult to find the offender’s ISP than his webhost)
  5. Register your images with the Copyright Office by sending your application and fee to Register of Copyrights, Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. Please check the official website for more specific details.
  6. There are scripts available, or you can have one written for you specially, that will change the URL of your photos on a regular basis. This will prevent some hotlinking.
  7. If you see your images on social media sites or other places where the public congregates, have the site remove your photos.
  8. Some people will try to counter your complaint or justify their behavior by saying that they can legally use the image because of the “fair use” law. This does not generally refer to photos. It specifically refers to quoting a source and giving credit to that source. For example, if you were reporting a news event and you copied two lines from the Associated Press and then continued with your own summary, that would be fair use. You have not plagiarized the material and have given full due or credit to the AP. It is very difficult, however, to use a “piece” or “quote” from a photo and claim “fair use”.

One last point that is quite important. You must remember that these steps to protect your copyrighted images on your website are more deterrents than anything else. You want to make it as difficult as possible for the thief, while at the same time making the experience enjoyable for your clients. Anyone with evil intent will find a way to take your stuff just like they will steal from your house. But taking preventative measures reduces your risks. If none of the above measures help, contact an Intellectual Property Lawyer.

If you’re looking for more information on copyright on the internet – check out copyrightontheinternet.com – it’s a great resource!

How to Avoid Duplicate Content on WordPress Sites

CopierAs we stated in a previous article, duplicate content on the same website is a no-no when building websites. The problem is that many blog themes, and especially WordPress sites, are rife with features that cause duplicate content. Modifying the themes before publishing and choosing themes that recognize duplicate content are solutions to the problem. But how do you know what modifications are needed? To help you, we have created a list of the most obvious ways to know how to avoid duplicate on wordpress sites.

Excerpt vs. Content on Homepage

Some people prefer reading new posts on the homepage. They do not want to bother with clicking on links to get to the rest of the story. Sometimes, however, this can cause problems by creating duplicate content. For example, if you publish your posts in their entirety on the homepage, when users go to the actual post page, the same content exists. This is duplicate content because you see the same article on more than one page. To circumvent this, instead of using the “content” tag in the index.php file, you would use the “excerpt” tag. This means that the home page will show a summary of the posts, and the actual post page will show the complete posts.

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The Importance of having a Privacy Policy on your website

Anyone who has ever browsed the internet knows that many websites contain Privacy Policies. Although there currently is no law mandating the inclusion of Privacy Policies for internet sites, they are very important. Just as important in fact as your Terms and Conditions, Site Map and About Us pages.

Over the past few years, internet spam has become an annoying and progressive problem for many consumers. Because internet users are now concerned about having their personal information scattered about, the inclusion of a Privacy Policy on your website has become a very important factor. Internet users are now, more than ever, concerned about who sees their information and how their personal information may be used when they visit your site. They want to ensure that their identifying information will not be sold or used in any marketing efforts that they have not solicited personally.

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Where to find Copyright-Free Stock Photos on the Internet

Many people are visual and understand concepts better when they see graphics or images. Certainly websites that include some photos make the user experience nicer. But short of hiring an expensive photographer every time you want a photo, posting photos on your website can become a nuisance searching for copyright-free material. Because of this, we feel that we should let you in on some little secrets of where to find copyright-free stock photos on the web.

Microsoft is a haven for stock photos. Just go to their clip art, free images, photos and sounds page and you will find many categories which include over 3,000,000 (three million) graphics! Because of Word, Publisher, and Power Point, Microsoft offers the images online, as there are too many to put on a disk. Plus they are regularly adding new photos so you might just find what you need.

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Promoting your Blog/Site through Directory-Style Review Blogs

Creating a blog or web site won’t just miraculously bring in loads of visitors. There’s millions of web sites on the web, and it’s very likely quite a few of them are talking about the same things you’re talking about. If you want to stand out on the internet, you better do some promotion.

In our online marketing section, we talk about some of the possible techniques such as article marketing, the more expensive Pay-Per-Click option or even social networks like Facebook or Twitter. There is however one more very realistic option: getting your site reviewed or mentioned on a directory-style “website review” blog. Hundreds of blogs post about web sites like yours, and show them off to their readers. For a new site, being featured on a blog like that is priceless, as it not only brings in visitors clicking through from those blogs – but also a link back to your site that the search engines can follow.

Finding sites like this isn’t hard. Type “site review blog”, “review blogs” or something similar into your favorite search engine, and you’re good to go. Most of these sites have a contact page that allows you to suggest your site for inclusion…

The Importance of keeping file sizes of your images small

weight loss imagesPhotos, images and graphics are great additions to any website. A graphic helps people to understand the topic and gives them an instant frame of reference. Graphics also make beautiful headers or logos which instantly define your website. The funny part about images is – people usually think the site with graphics is better. Even if a plain site has better content and more information, visitors automatically gravitate to images.

Despite the fact that images are beneficial, there are rules in their use, and ignoring internet protocol could be a disadvantage to your website. After all, web browsers give users the option of turning graphics off which means there is a valid reason for not loading images.

Unfortunately, many webmasters get carried away with their perceptions of what visitors need. They either think big is good or they do not think at all, and just upload all kinds of massive file sizes to the server. But, the bottom line is if you use a large photo, expect there to be negative consequences.

Following is a list of reasons why you must limit your images and understand the importance of keeping file sizes of your images small.

  1. Big graphics make your pages load too slowly. This in turn forces your visitors to leave and no-one sees your website anyway. You have now lost your chance to make money!
  2. Search engines are seriously thinking about adding “load time” equations to their algorithms. Specifically, this means that a site that takes too long to load for whatever reason (server, large file sizes, viruses), will be penalized because the pages are not useful to internet users. And if you think about this, it makes sense because there are simple ways to avoid these issues.
  3. Probably the most important reason why your image file sizes should be smaller is how people connect to the internet. Although broadband is popular, dial-up on telephones is still the predominant way to access the internet for most users. You have effectively removed yourself from the market if you post large photos!
  4. Also, although you may think that people should get better computers, the truth is many people still use older computer hardware, older browsers, and older operating systems. No-one cares how good your photos are if they take twenty minutes to load.

Here are a few pointers about making the right size image files.

  1. Do not resize your photos in the html. I am not exactly sure why but there was a period years ago when it seemed to be acceptable to upload any size photo to the server, and within the html code, where the image was called upon, to give it smaller width and height attributes. Now, it just doesn’t make any sense to do this. You are creating more work for the server, and are still causing the page to load slowly because the photo has to be crunched before the person sees it.
  2. Use a compression software or utility to make the file size smaller. There are many free ones available and programs like Photoshop have the feature.
  3. Just make the image smaller yourself. This can be done in so many programs and one may already be on your computer.
  4. For the internet, photos should really not be any higher then 72 dpi. And if your digital camera shoots at 300 dpi, make sure to compress those photos for your website.
  5. Photo quality images are usually given the extension (.jpg) whereas clipart is (.gif). If your photos look good as GIFs, then go ahead and do that, otherwise keep as JPGs but follow one of the methods to resize the images.