Some internet terminology

URL
Uniform (or universal) resource locator, the address of a World Wide Web page.


HTTP or HTTPS?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol – which is the language of a web page. All website URLs  have this to start although you don’t see it. I’ve heard the man who originally set up the World Wide Web protocols regrets making it so long.

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol SECURED – this means a web page has a layer of encryption to hide personal information from bad people. If you are entering any sensitive information, be sure the pages starts with “https”.  Some have an image of a lock in the URL as well (such as Facebook.com)

HTML, XML or XHTML?
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language

XML  stands for eXtensible Markup Language – sort of like a cousin to html. xml pages are useful in cataloging text content for robots, which helps with google searches.

XHMTL is a combination of both HTML and XML – very useful in aiding web rankings.

 

IP ADDRESS
Your computer’s ‘internet protocol’ address is a four-part or eight-part electronic serial number. An IP address can look something like ‘216.3.104.565’. Every computer, including smart phones which access the internet have an IP Address – sort of like an internet fingerprint. This is how police track criminals on the internet.

 

ISP
ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. This is the company you pay to host your website and/or email.You may have also heard of WISPs which are Wireless Internet Service Providers which use wifi.

 

WIFI
Wireless internet connections – a popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data wirelessly

 

EMAIL
EMAIL stands for Electronic Mail
Your email is handled through a web service, such as Google or Yahoo, or a computer program like Microsoft Outlook.

 

BLOGS, VLOGS
Blog stands for weB LOG. VLOG is a Video LOG. These are a type of journal posted on the internet. Most blog sites allow visitors to leave comments.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media refers to any form of communication on the internet helping people and businesses interact with each other. Most common are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

How to get visitors to your website

So you’ve built your website, it looks great.
The next question is “how do I get people to visit my website?”

Here are some ways to get people to visit you:

Good and Relevant Content
The first think you should do is to make sure that your website is helping itself. Give people what they’re looking for. Make sure there is enough good, original and relevant content that people want to read.  Answer the five Ws – who, what, where, when, why… If it’s not relevant to your business, don’t put it in. Some people add irrelevant content and keywords just to get searchers to their site. All this does is annoy people and guarantee they’ll never be back. It’s also a great way to get dropped by search engines like google.

What to do… what to do…
Make sure that you have an action for these visitors to take when they get there, such as signing up to a mailing list, click to send you a message or question, get directions, or download a coupon, menu, price list or special offer.

Search Engine Optimization
This is the process where your site ranks at the top of the search engines (like google) for searches related to your website. Companies like google and yahoo send out web crawlers to search for information. We use google best practices to get your site at the top of the list.  We also include a sitemap for multi-page sites. Don’t know too much about search engine optimization?  We can help with that.

Good old-fashioned contact
Pass out cards with your new website name. Add it to your business cards or cash register tape. Have a contest in-store or online.  Collect e-mail addresses from your customers. Then send them an e-mail with coupons, special offers, sale items, and most importantly, your website! Put a link directly into your message (with http:// before your name) Give them a reason to visit, like naming the contest winner on your homepage, downloadable coupons etc.

Social Media
Millions of people are on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social sites lately, so why not use them to get them customers to your site. Create social media accounts and actively participate by submitting blogs, links, videos, etc. with links back to your site, tweeting your blog posts and adding a Facebook page for your business. Now you can even update them right from a cell phone.
Make sure you have your profile links set to go to your new website. When people encounter you and decide to check out your profile they’ll know where to go next – your website!
If you need us to help with this, just let us know. We’re well-versed in social media marketing.

Article Marketing and Blogging
Articles and blogging are great for getting people to your website because it accomplishes a lot of things at the same time.
Firstly, it establishes you as an authority in your field. It also helps with your website’s search engine optimization by building links to your website with keywords relevant to your business.
Have a blog as part of your website where you could write about your opinions on current events related to your business. Blogging about news events in relation to your website’s topic will give you more visitors, especially if you kept abreast of developments and blogged regularly, like once a month.
No time to blog? Contact us and we’ll update your site for you.

Email Spoofing is ruining email

Here’s the problem.
Spammers are using something called “Email Spoofing” – an act of making an email appear as if it were sent from a specific person or company, when it really wasn’t. The FROM line of the email is being manipulated. Pretty smart, huh?

What is spoofing?
Here’s an example… I receive emails all the time from banks saying my account has been suspended because someone was trying to hack into it. What’s the biggest clue? I get them from banks I don’t deal with. The FROM line has the banks legitimate email address in it, making it look very authentic. The email body ALWAYS have a link to login and change your info.

If you learn nothing else, learn this – don’t click on a link in an email!

Most banks have an email address set up for you to report them (it’s usually phishing@) As a courtesy, forward them to the bank before deleting. And remember to make them SPAM or JUNK before you delete them.

Most email providers require authentication to send and receive email, blocking spoofing from most mail servers. Some overseas providers, however still do not… and here lies the problem. Spammers keep finding places to do it and legitimate mail servers end up on blacklists.

Companies like hotmail and yahoo have to counteract the problem by setting tougher restrictions on incoming mail. So if you notice you’re not getting all of your mail, this could be why. Contact your mail server and ask them what they’re doing to counteract the spoofing hacks from blacklisting their mail servers.

Search tips for the web

Ever wonder where an image came from? Or maybe a font used on a website or logo?
Here are a few helpful websites to make the search a little but easier…

Where did that image come from?
tinyeye.com is an amazing website! It can help you search millions of internet images in seconds. Just upload your image or enter the image online address, and click SEARCH button. Poof! Instantly it shows you the image and where it’s used online.
TIP: It’s great for finding out if anyone has stolen your artwork.
http://www.tineye.com/

What font is that?
myfonts.com has a tool that helps you determine which font is used in a word.
Just upload an image of the font or enter the online address, and click Continue button.
You will be asked to verify certain letters. Only enter the correct letters.
You’re given a few choices of which font it could be.
TIP: Sometimes you find a font that’s better than the one you’re searching for.
http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/

Plagiarism rampant on the world wide web
Want to find out if someone has stolen your website content? Try PlagTracker.com Just enter a sentence or paragraph and hit enter. It takes a little while but, hey, it’s free!
http://www.plagtracker.com/

Google translate
Google is still one of the best options out there. It can translate words, sentences or paragraphs instantly. It can even detect which language is being used.
http://translate.google.com/

Rachel Charron
iNeedWebDesign.ca

Unintentionally Innappropriate Domain Names

Be careful when choosing a domain name. Have other people look at it to be sure it doesn’t spell other words.
As an example…
We live in Essex County. When adding essex, the word sex appears in your domain. Be careful what word follows.

See how these people goofed with domain names such as:
itscrap.com, penisland.net, americanscrapmetal.com

http://www.makeuseof.com/tech-fun/unintentionally-inappropriate-domain-names/

Stay away from Link Farms

Link Farms, Web Rings, are various ways SEO people try to improve your website’s page ranking. Beware – Some methods are effective while others will actually damage your ranking.

Google has recently improved their algorithms to ignore fake links sent out by SEO farms. It hasn’t stopped them, just made them get more creative.
I had a request from a Calgary-based company looking for a cheap hosting package to include 80 or more external links.

A web ring
A web ring is a scheme whereby each website participating in a ring features the same navigation bar at the top of every page. They usually have a theme such as music, fashion (to get around google’s improved algorithm). The navigation bar has links to the “next” and “previous” sites in the ring. Eventually, if a user keeps clicking in the same direction, they will end up where they started. The navigation bar will also feature a link to a central site which links to all the others, so that if one link in the chain breaks, the web ring will still function. They may improve the amount of clicks to your site, but not boost your page ranking.

Online networking services
Don’t waste your money to join them. They buy your links, Likes and +1 and could possible damage your ranking – permanently!

Reciprocal Links
are a good thing. I’ll put my company link at the bottom of webpages on sites I create. I then, in turn, will put a link to their new website on my company website as examples. (see http://windsorwebsitedesign.com/websites)

Domain Transfers – a tricky thing!

When it’s time to move your domain you need to initiate a domain transfer. This involves moving your domain from your current registrar to  a new registrar. Transferring a domain should not interfere with your site appearing on the web (unless your old registrar deletes it)

NOTE: Be sure to initiate the transfer within 60 days of your domain expiring. Domain name transfer may take up to 10 days. You may have to renew with the old registrar before transferring if you wait too long.

Here are the steps involved:

Don’t make any changes to your domain name. Some companies (like goDaddy) will lock down your domain for 30-60 days if you change the Administrator Contact or Technical Contact info.  If this happens, you will not be able to transfer your domain name until it is unlocked again. Instead, ask the registrar to forward you any transfer confirmation emails received and possibly mask your old domain to a new url. Be sure the old registrar keeps your email addresses working as well.

To initiate a domain name transfer, you’ll need an EPP or authorization key. EPP key is a security code required by the registry to transfer a domain name, thus this key is unique to every domain name.

Before your domain name can be transferred it must be in ‘unlocked’ status. Almost all registrars offer domain name “lock” and “unlock” feature to prevent a fraudulent domain name transfer.

Your transfer will be sent to the administrative contact email address to approve the transfer. If this is your old registrar, have them forward the email to you. If you have trouble getting it, report the invalid WHOIS data.

Being held hostage?
Unfortunately, some registrars like to hold your domain hostage. This IS against the law. The transfer of registration policy also states that the domain name registration can be transferred without the approval of the losing registrar, and it is required that a losing registrar must transfer the domain name
If someone asks you for a fee to release your domain name, report them to http://www.internic.net/

Common reasons for domain name transfers:
Incorrect EPP/Authorization Key
Domain name locked
Inaccessible administrative contact email address
Time constraints
Expired domain name

Need help transferring your domain? We can help with that.
Contact us.

10 reasons people hate visiting your website

MISLEADING SEARCH WORDS
An overload of SEO to get people to your site will just piss them off… especially if you’re not what they were looking for.

FILES ARE TOO BIG – LONG LOAD TIME
Nothing worse than a 1mb pic on your homepage…. waiting… waiting… gone! Make all pics actual viewing size at 72 dpi.

BROKEN LINKS  – these are as bad as Under Construction pages. People will only be lead the wrong way once or twice before they get frustrated and leave.

POOR QUALITY GRAPHICS – don’t cheap out! If you want to look professional, use professional photos and graphics. Some sites sell them for as little as a dollar an image. Purchase the smallest files available for a website.

CONFUSING LAYOUT – POOR NAVIGATION
Lead the users through your site. Make the message obvious. If they get lost, they’ll just close the window.

TOO MANY ADS – trying to make money is okay, just don’t put so much that it detracts from your own message.

ANNOYING POP-UP OR POP-OVER ADS – some viewers will leave a site as soon as a pop over ad appears. If you must have one, make it professional, appealing and have a large X close button.

LACK OF INFORMATION – Provide pages to answer your visitor’s questions. Have a clear message on who you are and what you offer.  A lack of information could cause them to go elsewhere…. like your competition.

NO CONTACT INFO – ever go to a website and it takes you to a contact page with no phone number? People don’t just want to fill out a form. Always supply email addresses and phone numbers.

NO BLOG FOR FREE INFO – people search websites for useful information all the time. Provide free good quality information about your product or service to establish yourself as an expert in the field.

Under Construction can harm you

What does editing HTML files have in common with shovels, hard hats, big trucks, and construction work? Nothing! This icon page says a lot about your business… but not in a positive way.

“UNDER CONSTRUCTION”  pages are a bad idea. If you don’t have the content for a page, leave it out. If you only have a homepage finished, leave it at that until you have more to add. If you insist on putting one on your site, please consider one of these alternative expressions from the Utah School of Computing…

Alternatives to “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” :

1. “I have a great vision that one day this page will actually be finished and complete. Please share in this delusion.”

2. “My company realized yesterday it had better make a web page for itself. Too cheap to afford the services of a professional web designer, they volunteered me to be the web person. All I can say in defence of this page’s current appearance is, I’m trying. I really am.”

3. “I update this page frequently. To indicate this fact, I’ll show you a picture of one my favourite toys from my childhood.

4. “I have a persistent fantasy about being able to eloquently express exactly who I am with this page of mine. Until that comes to fruition, please view my lack of expressive power as merely a temporary phenomenon.”

5. “You see, we haven’t really come to terms with the web as an extremely fluid and dynamic information technology.”

6.  “I have high standards for my work. So high, in fact, that no matter how much I work on this page, I’m never quite happy with it. Like everyone else, I resort to using an under construction icon.”

To get that pesky  “UNDER CONSTRUCTION”  page finished, contact Rachel at info@ineedwebdesign.ca or the Contact page

Why use WordPress for your website?

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging tools available. But many people don’t know it’s a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that can be used for more than just blogging, if done correctly.

WordPress designers are constantly rolling out new themes, ensuring a wide range of options for layout, customization and functionality. Another bonus: with Categories and Tags, it all makes for easy publishing and organic search engines.

With a WordPress site*, your custom website can be built with an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to add your own content, blog, or make changes. You can easily keep your site fresh and up to date. You’re not at the mercy of a web designer’s time frame and priorities, waiting for edits.

There are many free themes from which to choose (WordPress.org) as well as many more available for purchase. There are also many free add-ons (Plug-ins) to help get your website found and place it top of mind. Trust an experienced designer to help you figure out which theme is right for your needs.

NOTE: I also offer a short CMS training session to each customer, teaching them how to update their website and make it their own.

SAMPLES:
Customized WordPress website with CMS sample – venting.ca Starting at $40 a month.
Password protected website – cupe1358.com – Starting at $30 per month

*pertains to single WordPress sites on private server – not free WordPress.org sites