How to Choose the Best Hosting Plan for Your Website

I know how difficult it can be to choose a web host.  In fact in my years of being online, I have cycled through at least five different hosts.  Choosing a good host can be a daunting task.  Here, I will outline all of the things that you need to consider before purchasing hosting for your website.

First off, let me explain the different types of hosting solutions available.

Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting that you will see, mainly because it’s cheap.  It means that tons of websites are hosted on the same server, which isn’t a good thing.  If one website uses up too many resources, it can bring down the entire server – with your website in the sinking boat.

Another option is dedicated hosting.  This means that you’re basically “renting” your own server.  So, you don’t have to worry about anyone else using up your resources since you will not be sharing the space with anyone else.  This is also an ideal choice if you want to have full control over your server and the software installed on it.

Lastly, there’s VPS hosting.  VPS stands for Virtual Private Server.  A VPS means that you share the same hardware (server) as others, but you get your own partition (piece) of the server with your own operating system.  It offers a lot of the same benefits as a dedicated server does, except you physically don’t have the server to yourself.  This is like the next step up from shared hosting.

So, what are the different features offered with each?  Here’s a basic breakdown.

 

Email Servers

Dedicated and VPS hosting give you access to your own email server for your domain, thus bringing beefed up security and more functionality.

Platform Control

For those of you who don’t know, platform control refers to operating systems – in this case, it means that with dedicated and VPS hosting, you can choose what kind of software goes on your server.

Performance and Security

Shared servers are best for smaller websites that do not need many features or strict security.

Dedicated and VPS hosting allow for a lot of server set up and customization options with the added benefit of increased performance.  With these hosting plans, you have full reign over most aspects of the server.  These are best if you need your websites to perform well with a great deal of security features.

6 years ago

Principles of Minimalistic Web Design

You’ve no doubt heard the well-worn expression, “Less is more”. With the rapid growth of E-commerce and the increased importance of an Internet presence, effective web design is all the more relevant when it comes to online success. For a time, the predominant trend in mainstream web design revolved around increasingly complex pages. More Flash, more animations and more resource intensive bells and whistles. Inevitably, the pendulum has swung back in the other direction and minimalist web design is now all the rage. Here are a few tips to assist you in designing an understated, low-key web layout that leaves a lasting impression.

The Focal Element

With stripped down websites, the focus should be on the content and nothing else. But you still need your site to be instantly recognizable to any visitor. That’s where a single, strong visual element comes into play. More often than not, it’ll be your logo. Whether big and bold or small and subtle, your header logo allows your site to immediately identify itself at a glance. Youtube and Amazon are fairly minimalistic in terms of layout, but their logos jump out at you and are arguably the most striking aspect of the page. If you need to, hire a designer to specifically craft an eye-catching and iconic logo. With a minimal layout scheme, it might just make or break your website.

Typography


One common saying in web design circles is that 95% of good, effective web design is typography. That’s even more true when you’re shooting for a minimal design. There are few hard and fast rules, but a few general guidelines apply. For starters, don’t mix serif and sans-serif fonts on the same page. Develop a typography “theme” consisting of similar fonts that work well together. Choose three good fonts, and stick with them throughout your website. Don’t bombard visitors with a barrage of different type faces. Too much variety in this department is a bad thing. If you’re on a budget, use Google’s free Web Fonts API. Otherwise, there are plenty of places online like Font Shop where you can purchase professional font licenses for a custom look.

Color and Whitespace


Unique color palettes have always been important in web design. They take on a greater degree of importance when you have fewer elements on a page to work with. One popular route to take is to use a mix of similar pastel shades on a gray background. Using one or two vibrant colors that stand out on a white background is another way to go. Which brings us to our next point. Often times, effective web design has less to do with what you include as what you don’t. Making effective use of whitespace is a crucial component. Implement whitespace to push your main content to the forefront.

In Summary

Web design in general is a broad topic and minimalist web design in particular can be a bit tricky. These tips should point you in the right direction. Aesthetics aside, minimalist web design has additional benefits above and beyond visual appeal. For one thing, it can save you money in the long run. No matter how good a deal you’re getting from your trusted website host, bandwidth and storage is still expensive. Fewer kilobytes transmitted per page from your VPS hosting provider means a lower monthly bill overall. Ultimately, minimalist website design allows you to serve up attractive web pages and improve your bottom line all at the same time.

6 years ago

The Big Difference Between ‘Affie’ and ‘Affiliate’

I have been involved in the online world for years now. I got my start on Neopets, and then eventually moved to a hosted sub domain on someone elses site. From there, I bought my own domain and hosting. This scenario may be all too familiar to other teens out there. People not directly involved with our types of graphic sites don’t understand. But I remember the days of Divergente, and when Outspoken Kate was really up and happening. Swimchick was the place to be, us part of the ‘in’ crowd were friends with each other, providing support as we learned the ways of the web. We blogged about our lives and shared our own unique experiences.

I remember those days fondly, and even now I contemplate getting back into it. It seems as if that scene has come and left, although I’ll never know for sure. Enough reminiscing, I’m here to talk about ‘affies’. Affies is a term us kids used to refer to our online friends or link exchanges. Its just a cute word that stood for affiliates. At the time, my definition of the word affiliate was just so – a person’s site who I linked to and linked me back. A link exchange.

As I grew up and transitioned into the real online world, older people were using the term affiliates in a much different way. To them, ‘affiliate‘ was a company who’s prodcuts they marketed on their websites. That’s a whole different ball game! Link exchanges and selling products for profit. Actually, affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online, and teens and adults alike can benefit.

To give you a better explanation, here’s a definition from Wikipedia.

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network, the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.

I’m going to show all of you how to get into affiliate marketing to make extra money online! Hey, you might even be doing it without knowing 😛

So, if you use the term ‘affie’ or ‘affiliate’ on your site, will you change it after knowing the real definition?

6 years ago

Are You Missing Out By Not Using WordPress?

WordPress. If you have even step foot in the realm of blogging, then you’re sure to have heard of it. This little machine composed of gears ran by PHP power more than 25 million of the worlds blogs. Not only is WordPress as itself robust, there are millions of themes and plugins to make your blog as unique as a fingerprint. It is shown through WordPress meetups and WordCamps that occur all around the world on an ongoing basis and community support is strong and growing day by day. At least for my blogs and websites, WordPress is always the way to go.

I was recently reading an article (I like to read on my kindle, there is a chrome extension that lets me send posts to my kindle for reading. The computer screen just doesn’t do it. This is another one of the reasons that I prefer chrome to firefox.) that mentioned using GoDaddy as a blogging system. What? GoDaddy? I had to read it over to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I guess I can’t blame them – GoDaddy can be very convincing to unsuspecting folk. In my opinion, the only thing worth using them for would be domain registration. Actually, I prefer GoDaddy for domains than anyone else. But other than that, I’d avoid it like the plague for web hosting and such.
 

I guess people out there are intimidated by such a powerful machine. Perhaps others use other CMS’s that they like more. Whatever the reason may be, the question here is, can you – or anyone, miss out on the great things WordPress has to offer by not using it?
 

Let us know what you think – I’d love to hear your opinion.

6 years ago

One Simple Tip that Increased my Productivity

I don’t know about you, but I am on the computer a lot. For homework, business/client work, watching movies, you name it. I’m sitting in the same spot for hours on end.

I have been trying to break into the Internet Marketing world, and this requires a lot of work on my part – writing articles, creating websites, etc. For the past few weeks, I have been feeling so lazy when it comes to actually creating something or writing articles. I even paid people to write articles for me. My productivity was down, way down, until I made one simple change. It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh.

snille-ikea-swivel-pink-chairWell, before this, I used an IKEA chair to be on the computer. It’s pink and cute and matches my room! The only thing is that it’s curved, so you can really only sit in it one way. This had been getting really uncomfortable. I only realized this now. So, what did I do? I ran to my dining room and grabbed a chair from there, and put it in my room. Now, this is a heavy non-rolling chair. So, I put it at a comfortable distance from my desk, grabbed a blanket, put on some socks, and moved my monitor a few inches closer. BAM. Instant productivity boost. Sounds trivial, but it seriously works. Now I can sit in any position I want – criss-cross applesauce, crossing legs, one leg up one leg down, anything! Before I could only have both legs on the ground.

Why don’t you try changing somethings up a bit around your workspace? Get a new wallpaper! Try changing your chair, or seating position. Maybe even move your desktop! These little changes made a big impact for me. I feel so much better and ready to work! (Heck, I’m writing this now! It usually takes me twice as long to write and publish an article.)

If you’re asking about the socks, it’s cold in here 🙁

Let us know if you had any success with making subtle changes by commenting below! If you like the posts on this blog, don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

6 years ago

Does Your Design Company Communicate with You?

When you hire a graphic design company, there are a lot of different things you need to consider. Things like their experience, their level of skill, and their fees are just a few of the considerations that will influence your decision. But one of the most important factors that you should look at when comparing web design companies is something that most clients don’t think twice about: their ability to communicate.

See, the marketing process is an ongoing, complex process. There’s a very important need for consistent communication between the marketing company and the client. If that communication isn’t there, then you’re going to have a serious problem. Without proper communication, your logo design and marketing firm could end up creating a campaign that doesn’t mesh with your vision or help you meet your business objectives.

So, what are some of the ways the best marketing agencies communicate with their clients?

Well, it all starts at the beginning. From the initial consultation, your marketing firm should get the conversation going. They should be committed to learning everything they can about you the client. They should perform an in-depth opening interview to gather as many details as possible about your company, your competitors, your goals, your target audience, your unique selling points, and so on. If your marketing agency doesn’t do this from the start, that’s a pretty big warning sign that you’ve chosen the wrong firm to handle your brand.

After the initial interview, your marketing company should continue to keep the lines of communication open with you, because the next step is the development of your campaign. Depending upon the scope of your project, this could mean the design of a range of marketing collateral (website, brochures, print ads, etc.), the development of your messaging (copywriting), and general strategizing.

Obviously, it’s important that you play a role in this. After all, it is your company, so you should be involved in developing your marketing strategy so that you can be sure it’s in line with your vision and your objectives.

But that’s not all. As your marketing campaign gets implemented, you should still be communicating with your marketing agency. They should be keeping you updated on the current status of your campaign, and they should be measuring results to let you know how it’s performing. This could mean that you have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings with your marketing agency to keep you apprised of all the latest happenings surrounding your brand’s development.

In short, communication is an essential part of the marketing and design process. The best marketing agencies know how to communicate effectively with their clients, helping to ensure your voice is always heard and you continue to remain satisfied.

Photos by: arinas74 and OmirOnia

6 years ago

Firefox 4 vs Chrome: What Sucked and What Didn't

I can recall the day, about two years ago, when Firefox 3 was released. I was ready for a change in my browsing experience — and so it was. I enjoyed using FF3… until Google Chrome came along. Since then, I had been an avid Chrome fan, never looking back at Firefox. Until last week that is. I had heard that Firefox 4 was being released, so I downloaded it to see what all the ruckus was about.

When I finally got around to using it, I liked it. I liked the interface; very sleek. Then I started to notice the little things. The things that sucked.

For instance, downloads are kind of slow to start, and that annoying little pop up comes up and is in your face, screaming for attention. In chrome, I was so used to being able to click download and have the download bar come up. No annoying pop up, just the little bar. That’s it! (Might I add, downloads just seem so incredibly slow compared to Chrome!)

In addition to this, there was a bug. When dealing with heavy sites or flash (like the flash uploader in WordPress), Firefox stalls. In order to make it un-freeze, I had to right click the tab on the taskbar and click ‘Open new tab’. Then I had to close the new tab to continue what I was doing. Now, don’t even ask me how I figured this out, but it’s a tedious and very annoying process.

On Chrome, the bookmark bar was crucial to my browsing experience. It had all of the important links I use on a daily basis. So, when adding bookmarks to FF’s bookmark bar, links are not draggable! This meant that I had to visit the webpage I wanted to mark, press the little star, press it again, and choose ‘Bookmark Bar’ from the dropdown list. Then, I had to position it in the spot I wanted it to be. (By the time I did all this, I forgot what I was doing and became engrossed in the site I was visiting, trying to bookmark) This was too much for me. In chrome, I could highlight the URL and drag it to the bar. Simple. (When I reopen FF after closing, the bookmarks don’t save!!)

These things combined made my browsing experience very… ahem… bleh. But there were things that I liked as well! For instance, sometimes FF is supported by sites that oddly don’t support Chrome. I also like the fact that I can easily see the full title of a webpage if need be.

In Chrome, I also like the fact that the extensions are easily accessible and add to my browsing experience. The themes were also very nice :3

Alas, here we come to the end of this review and I find myself using Chrome. I switch back and forth and back and forth. Sigh

So, what are your thoughts on Chrome and Firefox 4?

PS: Didn’t the Awesome bar used to be more… awesome?

6 years ago

First Steps in Affiliate Marketing: Is Outsourcing the Way to Go?

I have spent the past few weeks fully immersing myself in learning about affiliate marketing, better blogging and the like. Why you may ask? I believe that I have what it takes to make it big out there. (As an entrepreneur in the online world that is).  I want to make money online, and I want lots of it. I am tired of seeing my family struggle month to month. I am tired of not being able to have the things I want (and sometimes need). I know that I can do great things — why not use them to make money?

Well folks, here it is. The time has come and this is the first start of my journey to being rich and famous online. Before I was scared. Scared that I would waste my time, money and efforts, but now I truly believe in myself. I will succeed. I just have to put my mind to it.

As the title says, I’m going to start off my journey by outsourcing. Outsourcing may not be for everyone, but for me: I’m still a teen, which means I have school. That equates to me not having tons of time to do keyword research, article writing, etc. I just ordered two gigs on fiverr.com. I’ll write about my experiences in a few days! Now, if you are considering outsourcing there are a few things you have to ask yourself. 1) Can you afford it? 2) What kind of tasks are you going to outsource? 3) Why are you outsourcing? (ie. are theses tasks you could just be doing yourself)

My first goal is to make $150 online before my 17th birthday (May 14th). That’s 32 days. It’s going to take sweat, blood and tears, but nothing can stop me from achieving my goals. You with me or what?

How I’m going to make this money? I really don’t have a solid plan yet. But this is what I do have.

Find niche -> Do keyword research -> Find products to market -> Build niche site -> Monetize site -> Buildbacklinks and get traffic to site -> Happy ending?

We’ll have to see how my plan works out. Wish me luck! 😀

6 years ago