Can “Start page directories” be valuable?

startpagina

startpagina logoIn The Netherlands, there is an extremely famous website calledstartpagina.nl. It’s a website that does very little other than listing a bunch of links on very specific topics, managed by editors for each category. Yes, we know directories in the rest of the web too; but in The Netherlands these are actually quite unique. A large portion of the backlinks for most domains are comprised of links from “start page directories” like startpagina.nl, and they have a great deal of impact on the Dutch (and Belgian!) SERPS.

There are literally thousands of other directories very much like this. Some are general like Superstart.be; some are very specific to a micro-niche.

Now, can this work in the American SERPS? Is this an outdated method, or can it still work? We think the relatively weak link profiles in the Netherlands and Belgium allow these kind of websites to still have an impact; but honestly, we don’t think this is still viable in the US or the UK. Some high-level directories might still be effective; but it should always be a very small part of your linking profile if you ask me!

What do you think? Do you use these type of directories?

How to: automatically create featured image for a post in WordPress in the right size

featured image wordpressWe’ve all been there: you want to create a simple but pretty featured image on each blog post, but the images you have on your site have the wrong dimensions; or you don’t have the Photoshop-skills to create something with the correct dimensions that works for your WordPress theme. Well; we had the exact same issue on our hair restoration & rejuvination site Union of Barbers. The product photos we used had the exact wrong dimensions; making the featured image look silly and the site look completely unprofessional. We went looking for a nice solution; and actually found a little gem of a WordPress plugin called “Featured Image Generator”.

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Why it is important to track your website’s statistics

statisticsOnce a website has been built and launched, there is still plenty of work required on a regular basis. One of those tasks is promotion, and the other is understanding what the website is doing in terms of traffic. Without traffic, a website is useless, and the only way to know about the traffic is through statistics. Statistics provide website owners with knowledge. Stats help web managers fine-tune their sites and enhance features.

Ultimately, tracking website statistics helps them to make money. Basically, tracking stats is one of the most important functions a webmaster has. Consequently, we are going to highlight why it is important to track your website’s statistics.

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What is the best strategy: One big site, or many small sites?

Without doubt, there is much controversy or debate regarding whether you should devote your efforts to one big site or many small sites. And the truth is that both sides of the discussion have valid points to make. For a webmaster earning a significant income with a specific business model, that is the side of the debate that she will choose. For her, that has been her success and she will vouch for that method.

Since this article is not going to say one side is right and one is wrong, let’s examine the advantages and the best strategy of maintaining one big site versus creating a network or portfolio of many small sites.

Web Development

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Biggest Benefits of Starting an Online Business

Starting an online business can have many benefits for you both personally and professionally. Just the rewards from achieving something different can be stimulating. But, of course, most people want to see other benefits as well so we’ll discuss the biggest benefits of starting an online business.

Tax deductions from an online source are great. When you start the business, you have more costs and little or no income. This means that in many jurisdictions, you can use the losses from your online business to offset or reduce your income from your job. Once you start making more money, the benefits will not be as pronounced but certainly in the beginning, your income taxes should be reduced.

Online BusinessAnother benefit to starting an online business is to augment your weekly or monthly earnings. Today, many families are finding it difficult to cope even with more than one job or more than one person in the household working. Making ends meet has become a burden and being able to earn some extra cash is a real savior to many.

Presently, starting an online business is much cheaper than starting a bricks and mortar enterprise. Basically a nine dollar domain name and a five dollar web hosting account can have a webmaster up and running in a matter of hours. The domain name renewal is not due for another year so that is a one-time cost and hopefully by the next month, you have your fee for the hosting account. Five dollar hosting sure beats rent on an office or store!

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Is SEO the most cost-effective way to market online?

When it comes to anything involving business, long term profits are the overall goal. Making some fast cash is always a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but to have a constant flow of funds allows for peace of mind. When taking the plunge into online marketing, it is a good idea to take the same approach. Fast cash can be made with pay per click, but it is also a very risky process. Each visit is costing you money, and even though the return pays for it, you will be wasting money in the long run. This is where search engine optimization comes into play. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank well for a particular term. One of the main reasons to get into SEO is it’s long term potential.

statisticsSEO can, without too much fuss, be crowned the most cost effective way to market online. Search engines take counts of how many searches each term receives in a given month. The accuracy of these finding are what drives the SEO community. Thinking long term, it is always a better plan to target search terms that have regular traffic, while also being a viable marketing term. Phrases such as “make money online” have a large amount of searches every day, and have the ability to pull in long term profits if you were able to capture a large percentage of it.

Through the process of optimizing your page, you enable your website to gain a new client base that you currently might not target. Every time you take over a new spot in the search engines, you solidify a certain amount of traffic. Every visitor is a potential sale, whether your purpose is to sell or to earn through adsense. Thinking long term, if you are capable of holding a spot that receives 1,000 visitors a day, imagine the amount of possible customers that could be. Now multiply that by weeks, months, years. Other forms of advertisements are short term, and can be good to make money, but SEO is great money for a long time.

The longevity of SEO allows for costs to be extended over a long period of time. It might take time to reach the top of the search engines, but staying there will bring in extended flows of traffic. Buying ad’s can bring in people, but have to be repaid for often. Pay per click can quickly bring in traffic and sales, but forces you to pay for all your traffic. This makes it a dangerous game, at least until you tweak it down to perfection. All other free methods including article marketing assume a quick rush of traffic that will soon die off. The only way to make long term, cost effective, energy efficient income is through the process of search engine optimization. All other forms of online marketing fall short of the long term potential of SEO.

The Difference between Linux-based hosting and Windows-based Hosting

Most people are probably not even aware that there are distinctive types of web hosting foundations, let alone know the names and the differences. But if you do come across the names, you should have a brief idea of what they are about. Plus, if you ever need specialized services, or someone tries to sell you something you don’t need, you will know how to answer thanks to this web hosting advice.

linux windowsThe basic difference between Linux-based hosting and Windows-based Hosting is that Windows is proprietary. In a way, that should be obvious because everyone knows that Windows is owned by Microsoft. Typically Windows-based hosting caters to a specific environment. Companies who use ASP, for example, host on Windows. Usually the database is built with Microsoft Access, and is used in conjunction with Microsoft SQL Server. You will regularly see very large corporations whose website pages end in the extension.

Because Windows-based hosting is built upon an expanded operating system, it is easier for many people to use. They are already accustomed to the traits and features of Windows, so it gives them a sense of familiarity and ease. Plus, the database can built right on their hard drives and then uploaded to the server. For companies who already have their information stored in Access, this is a huge advantage and cost savings in labor.

But, Windows hosting for the general public tends to be more expensive, as licenses are required, and in some instances, specialty hardware. This is another reason why it has been more predominant among large companies than for average users.

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Web Hosting Reviews: can you trust them?


Scrounging the net for a suitable web host, you have come across a few providers that seem to match your criteria. They have all the things that matter, the correct amount of bandwidth and space, unlimited domains, and CPanel. All you need now is a little past customer input and the buy now button will be your next stop. The problem is, every review seems too good to be true. They seem to be written by normal people, but they just lack the unbiased view you need.

So the questions remains, can you trust web hosting reviews? The answer is yes, as long as you follow the right criteria for finding them. The main problem is that most reviews are simply affiliates pushing the service for their commission. This is a regular occurrence, and can be distracting. Finding true honest reviews is a task that takes a little work. The main thing to know is where to look.

reviewFirst thing you should know is to never take into account the reviews left on the web hosting services home page. These are either fabricated, or simply the best reviews they have ever received. Pay them no mind. Now your search will instinctively take you to your favorite search engine. Type in your web hosting company’s name, as well as the word “review”. You will see thousands of different pages claiming to review their astounding service. Most of these will be completely biased, with nothing bad to say about the web host.

The main thing to do now is a get a feel for the fake reviews. They follow a similar format, and regularly use the same look on their pages. Normally, they will be all alone on a single page, with no real depth or content. This is normally a dead giveaway. If you notice the review has a lack of technical information, seems like more hype than fact, and doesn’t even say one bad word about the host, move on, it’s fake.

Finding a trustworthy review can sometimes feel like a pain. The easiest way to find them is to search in the right way. Look for webmaster forums. These places are great for finding an unbiased view on the web host of your choice. Most the users are too smart to sign up under an affiliate link, and as such most users don’t bother putting any in. They simply post to vent out their frustrations about the web host. Simply search for the web host name, and look for anything that could resemble a review. Normally there will be two sides to every argument, but specifically look for the insight on the company’s support. This is the main thing that you cannot find on a spread sheet of facts.

Another place to find unbiased reviews is on large authority sites. They advertise in a different way than small time review websites, and have no reason to fluff the reviews. There are so many different companies to review; being honest will give them more business in the future. To figure out whether a site is an authority, simply take into account its look, the amount of content on it, and its overall tone. These sites look like authority figures. They have a large collection of content to look through, and their review should seem unbiased. Once again, the main thing to take into account is the service and how they treat their customers. If everything seems right, go ahead take the plunge.

Why Get Your Own Domain Name For Your Website?

Picking out the right domain name for your website can be a daunting task. The others have already taken most of the domain names, and you will have to experiment with random names before selecting one among them. Before you venture out into the wilderness, allow me to ask you a simple query – what is the necessity to own a domain name? Why should you pay for the domain name when there are plenty of free web hosting providers who are more than willing to provide you with a custom domain name of your choice?

Domain NameI will start from the very basics and then illustrate the need for a private domain name. Most of you might be aware that the internet domains are actually IP addresses. It is tough to remember all the IP addresses. For instance, the IP address of www.google.com is 208.67.217.231. Now tell me, which one among these is easy to remember – the google.com part or the numerals. Naturally, you will be more inclined to the domain name. After all, who has the time to sit and memorize all the IP addresses? Do you realize the importance of a custom domain name?

By registering a domain name, you are doing more good to the visitors. Instead of learning complex IP addresses, they just have to remember the domain name. If they are aware of your domain name, they can easily input the same on their internet browser to view your website. This is the primary reason to own a domain name. Secondly, let us consider that your existing web hosting provider is charging exorbitantly for maintaining your website. You can easily shift to another web hosting provider without the knowledge of the visitors! In simpler terms, the minions who will be flocking on your website are not going to be aware of the under currents. Give it some thought and you will realize the feasibility of the same.

Thirdly, you will be able to carve a unique space for yourself in the cyberspace. It is perfectly normal for a homemaker to start blogging with one of the free domain name providers. The situation does not seem perfect if you are a budding entrepreneur. Your domain name should reflect the name of the parent company. Only then, you will be able to attract newer clients. High level clients will always look out for such fine features before discussing business.

Finally, you can even make extra money by owning a domain name. For instance, if you are into blogging, you can always submit your domain to advertising networks. Contextual pay-per-click advertising networks will pay handsomely and in fact, many bloggers are making extra sums every month through these networks. Advertisements will be displayed on the various web pages, and if you are diligent enough, you can tweak the website to be search engine friendly. Such a portal can attract lots of internet traffic, and you can expect regular payments from several advertising networks. Please be warned – do not cram the entire website with various adverts. That would be a major turn off for most of the visitors.

cPanel: a Web Hosting Must?

Journeying into the world of web hosting, you have come across a universal law. Your web host must have cPanel. But what is cPanel? For those that are brand new to building websites and choosing web hosting, this is time to pay attention. cPanel is an advanced control panel that is used to manage your web site. The ease of use is unmatched, with a graphical interface that allows users to easily move from task to task, without ever feeling lost. This is much easier for newcomers than in the past when you were forced to use command line actions.

cpanel logoSo why is this a web hosting must you ask? There are many advantages to using cPanel. You can easily maneuver through your email, sub domains, FTP, and web stats. Each of these tasks is marked by easy to see icons, which allow even the newest webmaster to use them without any prior knowledge. This is one of the reasons that cPanel is the most popular web hosting control panel. Anyone can learn the system within hours, and can glide through all tasks associated with their website within minutes.

Other powerful additions to the cPanel interface have put it into another league compared with its competitors. Most web hosts currently have Fantastico which runs within the cPanel. Fantastico is an auto installer that can quickly and easily install php based scripts within your hosting. Themes like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are quickly and effortlessly installed without the need for FTP. A few quick forms and your website’s backbone is completely set up. This addition is a powerful ally to any serious webmaster.

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