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Design Services

Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years.   People see a pre-built theme, and say to themselves well, that looks easy.

But if Pinterest has taught us anything, it’s that “easy, step-by-step instructions” can be deceiving.

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

A do-it-yourself website can quickly escalate into a lot more work than it appeared to be.  And then after you put in your sweat and tears, you end up with a generic, broken, and/or ugly website.

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Not how you should react after seeing your site

So, finally, you decide to bring a web designer into the mix.  Because even with the wealth of website building tools out there, a great custom design will always look best.  Not to mention it will better represent what it is that makes you you.

But before you run off and hire the first name you see pop-up in Google, there’s a few things you should know before you hire a designer.

1. Have They Designed a Website Before?

Maybe this one should be a given.  Or maybe you think that if they can design cool graphics or logos, that creating a website is basically the same thing.  That’s like saying to a refrigerator repair man “hey, you fix fridges?  Can you take a look at my washing machine?”

There’s similarities shared, but the details can be quite different.  Not to mention website design files should be laid out in a specific way for the coding and integration process.

Which brings us to the next point….

2. Do You Have a Developer Who’s Going to Code it?

A website design is a pretty Photoshop file made up of colors and images and layers placed over one another.  An actual website, on the other hand, is made up of hundreds/thousands of lines of code working together to display your pretty design in real time across the internet.

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Taking your site from design to functioning status requires a developer.  It’s possible that your designer does coding as well and can do the integration.  Otherwise, you’re going to need to hire someone.

Don’t hire just anyone, though.  It would be a shame to take a great looking website design and have it turned into a glitchy, malfunctioning disasterpiece thanks to a mediocre developer.

3. Do You Need a Logo?

Speaking from pretty extensive experience, let us tell you that an ugly/outdated logo will kill the greatest of website designs.  The logo is the foundation of the websites design.  Build a house on a weak foundation, and you’ll end up with a crumpled mess.

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

If you don’t have a logo, get one designed.  If your logo is not good looking (and you might have to ask for some external feedback on this one), get it redesigned.

4. Do You Have a Vision for Your Site?

Imagine going into a random restaurant and being like “alright, I’ll have something that’s not poisonous and make sure it tastes good.  I’m not really a food person, so I don’t know.  Just make me something.”

For people who will eat anything, that might work, but for many of us, we could very well end up with something we find to be disgusting.  And that’s what will happen when you give vague, unhelpful design requests.

Website design has increasingly become a DIY project in recent years Four Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Much like a good chef, a designer is going to add their own flavor into the mix.  They’re going to use their recipe.  But they work best when they know what you’re in the mood for.  Obviously you’re not a designer, but you probably know what you like.  Or at least, what you do not like.  Sometimes, knowing that can be just as useful.

And just like with food, the pickier you are, the more specific you need to be up front.

Are You Ready to Hire a Web Designer?

If so, we’d love to talk.  We have an experienced design team that can do just about any style (not to mention logos).  And we have developers, meaning we’re able to provide both custom web design and development.  That takes care of the first three questions right there.

Contact us today, and we can get the process started.

Any other questions you think should be added?  Let us know below.

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Domains Uncategorized

Security Beat: Questioning the Credibility of IoT Security Threats

In the first documented attack of its kind, the Internet of Things was misused to send out more than 750,000 spam mails through a common household appliance- the refrigerator.

The Internet of Things has uncovered remarkable possibilities. Smart air-conditioners, smart TVs, smart washing machines, smart lighting have made life convenient, simple & futuristic. With huge data influx, unparalleled connectivity & never-before-imagined potential, the Internet has opened the floodgates of a new era in connectivity. But what happens when the good is used for the bad? In this edition of Security Beat, we bring to light the incidences of the misuse of the Internet of Things – a serious security threat or a few stray incidences?

The Refrigerator Attack

The smart refrigerator allows you access to the Internet, calls for servicing, monitors your energy consumption & even sends you Twitter updates. So, how do such smart devices act not-so-smart when it comes to cyber attacks? Is it lack of malware protection, exposing it to attacks? Could it be due to the inadequacy to foresee such attacks? Some manufacturers do not have adequate safeguards in place to prepare for such attacks.

Security company, Proofpoint discovered a botnet attack in the refrigerator incident i.e. an attack where a device is hijacked remotely & sends out spam. The refrigerator sent out over 750,000 e-mails in bursts of 100,000 e-mails at a time, thrice a day! Reports found that the “victim” devices had misconfigurations & default passwords, leaving them open on public networks & vulnerable to such an attack. While this may seem like a major concern with IoT, botnet attacks have been known to operate on common, everyday devices like mobile phones as well making this an issue not just sprouting out of the Internet of Things but rather, a security threat, regardless.

The Linux Worm

In another documented incident, a Linux worm, Linux.Darlloz attacked home routers, set-top boxes, security cameras, industrial control systems, printers etc. The worm exploited a PHP vulnerability & infected devices that run Linux on Intel’s x86 chip architecture and other embedded device architectures like PPC, MIPSEL and MIPS. Symantec found 31,716 infected devices. China, USA, South Korea, Taiwan & India were among the more severely affected countries.

How Credible are these Threats?

While refrigerator attacks might seem like something out of a science fiction comic, it is important to assess the credibility of these threats. With the International Data Corporation predicting that over 200 million devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2020, the risk seems greater. However, on closer examination of these attacks, it becomes clearer that the IoT does not pose a security threat in itself. In other words, the risk of misusing any devices or any appliance is always present. Be it a pair of scissors or a knife, every object/appliance/device can be misused. It’s up to users, engineers, manufacturers, software engineers to adopt adequate safeguards for operation.

The Solution

What can be done to prevent security threats from devices? ICANN and the government can together ensure customer durable making companies follow standardized protocols for manufacturing devices inclined to such threats. Additionally, protected devices, strong passwords & constant monitoring can avoid security compromises and advance the technology reign.

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Hosting Marketing

The role of your Domain Name Web Host in SEO

Everyone wants their websites to be SEO friendly . Efficient Search Engine Optimization(SEO) helps to increase your page rankings  and the end result is web users viewing your website. But SEO is no magic wand that one waves; it’s not like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It is absolutely necessary to understand how and why it works. Before that let’s try to label the components that go into making a website online.

Domains have always been associated with plots of land. People buy domains and sell them with an intent of making profits. In other words, domains are considered to be the real estate of the internet. Top Level Domains (TLDs) form the very foundation of your website because they are used in URLs to identify the web page.

Keep that analogy aside for the moment and assume that your website is a feature film that needs to be screened. A theater is the most obvious venue that comes to your mind in order to screen your movie; a no-brainer.

Thus, the cinema theater is nothing but your web hosting service. A web hosting package is what gives your website space on the internet and web servers are what keep it up and running. Your website and the domain concerned with it are practically useless without an efficient web-hosting package.

Now that you know the gist of what puts a website live on the internet, let’s look at it from another angle. You need to decide how you want people to find you on the web. SEO is one of the last things to be neglected. It aids in keeping your website on a high priority when it comes to search engines, inevitably increasing the number of visitors on to your website.

Domain:

A Second Level Domains (SLD) is the text that comes right before your gTLD (say a ‘.com’) in the URL structure. You will be surprised to know the various factors that are involved in keeping your website URL SEO friendly.

  • Relevance – The domain name associated with your website must be in context with your professional establishment or whatever may be the purpose of the website that you have created. SEO specialists prefer to purchase exact match domains, which are meant to match the preference of keywords that inputted by internet users. For example, if an NGO wants a website up and running exclusively for stray animals to be put up for adoption, it should ideally purchase a ‘www.adoptastray.ngo’. Search engines have no trouble in filtering out words that have no spaces in between (like the above example). Hyphens and underscores count as alphanumeric characters and not word spaces. Therefore, they must only be used when it is necessary to separate words. Also keep in mind that excess hyphen use could come across as spam for search engines.

  • Length – The shorter and concise the domain name, the better. You wouldn’t want to keep one that is pointlessly long because people show a tendency to click on shorter URLs (say bitly links that you come across on social media) than those long, nasty ones. Long URLs could also lower your Search Engine Ranking.

  • Easy to remember – Once you’ve kept the above pointers in check, make sure you incorporate easy to register words that do not take much time for web users especially your customers to recall.

  • Defensive Registration – Businesses register multiple domain names that are relevant with their products or services to ensure that they are not registered by others and used for their own purpose. Keeping the domain – real estate analogy in mind, think of it as a form of aggressive expansion. From a business point of view, it is essential and not really an SEO tactic.

  • TLDs – The introduction of the new gTLDs was to help internet users associate the same with the functionality of a website. For example, people know that a .tv will be about a sitcom or any television show in general. .BEER will be for brew fanatics and beer lovers.

    New gTLDs do not directly influence positive SEO. Although Google is indifferent to gTLDs by themselves, it highlights all the search keywords that are a part of the URL. Say you own a website www.fitness.club and the search includes ‘fitness club’ then the chances of your search engine ranking is definitely higher. In spite of ‘club’ coming after the dot, it is still highlighted because it is recognized as a keyword in this case.

    If you are planning to purchase a domain from the after market, be pragmatic and consider if it is worth the purchase. One of the most important factors to consider is if the domain name that you are wanting to purchase gives a good brand association.

Hosting:

People normally do not associate web hosting with SEO. But don’t be surprised about the fact that Web hosting plays a pivotal role in boosting your search ranking. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Uptime & Downtime – Uptime refers to how long your website is online and active because of your hosting provider. The most obvious criterion you would need from your hosting provider is to stay live and running on the web 24×7. If you have an e-Commerce website, even 99% uptime could make you lose out on customers. Downtime refers to how long your is unavailable. Another factor that affects your search engine rankings is web site availability. Search engines and especially Google don’t like to redirect their users to websites that are not available.

  • Website speed – Search engines have now made page load speed into their over all ranking algorithms. In other words, search engines prioritize websites according to the their overall loading speed and is thus crucial for your search engine ranking.

  • Easy SEO features / Plugins from the host – If your web hosting provider offers you Content Management Systems like Softaculous or WordPress which are well tuned for SEO, it could be advantageous to opt for them and use them to help you boost your search rankings.

    There are also a few SEO scripts that web hosts may provide in their web hosting packages. These scripts are bundled with tools to help you track and increase the performance of your websites. Here are a few examples of SEO scripts that you could use:

    1. Phplist

    2. SEOpanel

    3. Open Web Analytics

  • Type of Web hosting package – Shared hosting is the cheapest available package but is least efficient from the perspective of SEO. That’s because websites hosted on a shared hosting server share a common IP address. This could obscure your search engine visibility and thus decrease your rankings. The other option is to choose a VPS hosting where you basically pay to have your own server, thus having your very own IP address with dedicated resources and isolated from any other websites.

Now that you understand the various components of a website and the impact it provides to your SEO, you don’t really need a magic wand or rabbit out of a hat. Follow these simple ‘must knows’ and feel free to share your thoughts on this.

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Categories
Domains

New gTLD Report – September

While September came with some expected results, it even witnessed a couple of significant developments in the TLD space.  Through the month of September, .SCIENCE, .XYZ and .PARTY held their Top 3 positions from August with a percentage share of 23, 9 and 7, respectively, making .SCIENCE the most popular TLD for 7th month in a row! .FAITH and .DATE also made it to the list of Top 15 for the first time since their launch in July this could be due to the amazing promo price of just $1.49 for both.

While .SCIENCE & .PARTY saw a marginal growth increase of 0.01% and 0.02%, respectively since August, it’s interesting to note the 13.76% growth increase in .XYZ registrations. This mammoth increase could be attributed to the Internet giant, Google launching their newest venture, Alphabet Inc. on the .XYZ extension. According to Daniel Negari, CEO of .xyz, prior to Google’s announcement, there were 3000 registrations on an average per day. Post the announcement, domain registrations per day have accelerated, with approximately 10,000 occurring on Aug. 14 alone, said Negari. This trend seems to have only continued in the month of September, reflecting in the growth increase.

.ONLINE was launched in the tail end of August and despite being a slightly more expensive TLD than others, it has done phenomenally well throughout September, indicated the steep demand for it. The launch day itself saw a whooping 37,544 registrations, a major milestone for new top level domains (TLDs).

Here’s a glimpse of the report for this month with the Top 15 TLDs.

New gTLD Report – September ’15 | Create infographics

*Registration Numbers facilitated by ResellerClub

We predict .ONLINE may still feature in the Top 15 list for October as well.

Which TLDs do you expect to see in October? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Uncategorized

The Extra Mile 33: Omer Baris Ayaz

Today marks a year since we started these Extra Mile posts and we have so many outstanding employees we cannot wait to write about. We are extremely proud to have employees who love what they do and go the Extra Mile to accomplish what is given to them.

Omer Baris Ayaz, our Account manager from Turkey does exactly that. He takes a keen interest in listening to each client and gains understanding of their needs, in order to direct them to the appropriate product or service. He has been at the helm at always providing valuable service to our channel partners. At ResellerClub, we aim at not only offering advice, but also providing the required support and understanding of the market to enable you to launch & run your business!

Today marks a year since we started these Extra Mile posts and we have so many outstanding The Extra Mile 33: Omer Baris Ayaz

 

Why do we think he’s outstanding?

Reseller: Aylin Çelik

Company: Radikal Bilişim Sistemler Ltd. Şti.

Aylin’s customer was not able to send emails through his IPAD. He kept getting an error while sending emails stating ‘relaying is not allowed’. Baris had escalated it to the hosting team but they checked and could not find anything wrong with his email services as we were able to send/receive through webmail.

They asked him to check if his customers had configured the email correctly on his IPAD. Baris went through the entire process of configuration with him once but realized that even after the email is being configured correctly, the reseller was getting the same error. Baris however did not give up and assured him that it will be fixed immediately. With the help of his colleague from the Hosting team Baris investigated the issue and they found out that the emails were being blocked by the third party RBL. Aylin’s customer was able to find out the same and he whitelisted the domain from sending emails. The issue was fixed and he appreciated the efforts taken.

In the reseller’s own words:                  

I can easily count on Baris whenever I have a problem, and that makes me feel very safe and gives me the confidence to carry on my business with ease. The support is extremely quick, efficient and solution focused. Thank you so much for going out of your way and helping me out with whatever the situation is. I am forever grateful.

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Tech and Software

Common Causes of Website Crashes

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their Common Causes of Website Crashes

When your website goes down, it’s a big deal.  Your website is often your showcase, your sales floor, your point of contact, your resume, and so much more.

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their doors during open hours.

That’s probably why one of our most popular blog posts has become our “Why websites crash and what to do about it” post.  It provides a general overview of the how, why, and what to do of website crashes.

Today, we’re going to dive a little deeper in the why.  There are a lot of reasons why your website experiences an outage, but here are some of the most common ones.

Most Common Causes of Website Outages and Crashes:

Plugin Error

Plugins (often used interchangeably with extensions) are additional pieces of code and software that, wait for it, plug in to your website, giving it additional functions or features.  This can range from a simple contact form to an event calendar to an entire social networking system.

As great as they are, however, because plugins are typically made by third-parties (and quite often, individuals sitting in some basement halfway across the word), they’re not always the most stably built.

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their Common Causes of Website Crashes

Additionally, some plugins might have been great at one point but their creators abandoned them, leaving them to become outdated and buggy.  In the case of a WordPress website especially, it’s not uncommon to install and activate a plugin, online to have it cause or a crash.  Or you might update your WordPress install to a version your plugin is incompatible with, causing a crash.

Code Breaking/Errors

Similar to the plugin error, this one involves web code being broken.  However, it’s usually the fault of someone working directly on the website.  If you or your website providers were making an update to the website and it broke shortly after, this is most likely the cause.

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their Common Causes of Website Crashes

Server/Hosting Provider Error

These are a very common, yet frustrating cause of website crashes because they’re generally out of your hands, both in terms of causing them and fixing them.  Your website is being hosted somewhere, and that host provider may be experiencing server troubles.  They might be running scheduled maintenance.  They might be experiencing severe weather that’s affecting their hosting facilities (it’s happened to us before).

The good news is they’ll get it fixed eventually.  The bad news is, you have to sit and wait while they do.

You Need More Hosting

There are different hosting plans based on the size of your website and how much traffic you get.  If you’re on a small, shared host plan and your website starts to grow, don’t be surprised if your website suddenly locks up.

Massive Traffic Spike

Traffic to your website is awesome, right?  Well, yes, but if the sudden influx of traffic is too large, it could crash your site.

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their Common Causes of Website Crashes

Think of your website’s hosting environment as one of those old-fashioned rope bridges.  People come from the internet to your site and it carries them over no problem.  You’ve got a good, solid bridge that people can walk across, one or two at a time, see your site, and then head out.

Now take that bridge that’s built to handle a few people at a time and send a mob of 100 people sprinting across it and jumping up and down.  There’s a good chance that bridge is going to snap in half.

If you have a post that goes viral or you make the news and suddenly your website crashes, there’s a good chance it’s because of the traffic spike.

Brute Force Attacks

This is someone similar to the traffic spike except for two key differences:

  • The traffic you’re receiving are spam bots and virus software
  • They’re trying to break into the backend of your website

All across the internet, there are endless little bots crawling through different websites, trying to find vulnerable ones they can break into.  If there’s something about your website that attracts them, it’s like blood in the water and all the sharks come swimming.

Enough of these fake programs try to break into the admin area of your website, and the whole thing will come crashing down.   Even if they don’t actually break into the site!

An extended website outage at the wrong time is no different than a business locking their Common Causes of Website Crashes

Even if the attack misses, it can break your site.

Expired Domain

In case you didn’t know, your domain hosting is separate from your website hosting.  If the hosting for you domain expires (which happens quite often without people realizing it), your website will stop showing up.

Don’t let your domain expire.  This is something that should never happen.

What Do I Do About It?

For more information about that, check out our original post here.  And if you’re looking for better service and support in your website, contact us today.

What has caused your website to crash?  Any horror stories you’d like to share of your site going out?

Categories
Domains

Do Your Bit with .NGO/.ONG

Public Interest Registry (PIR) launched the .NGO extension a couple of months ago and the TLD is more important and relevant today than ever before. The global situation underscores the need for organisations and individuals to rise to the occasion and get involved.

In a time when the world economy is in turmoil, North Africa and Europe are roiled in a refugee crisis & inequality is on the rise everywhere, the TLD it is an apt choice to be able to distinguish the wheat from the chaff for potential donors and philanthropists. The extension gives them a wider reach, helps them fulfill their noble goals & adds value to any registered charitable organization. The rigorous verification process and amount of value it adds to any registrant charitable organization justifies the price it is set at. Furthermore, the .NGO is also complimented by the .ONG TLD, all within the same price so the cost isn’t as high as it initially appears. Here’s why you should consider these TLDs.

Why .NGO/.ONG?

Validation: A rigorous verification process allows only registered NGOs to buy the domain hence eliminating the possibility of fraudulent activity & allows charities to establish their credibility to potential donors.

Demonstrates Trust: Since the .NGO can only be bought by a registered NGO, credibility and trust are synonymous with the extension. Trust is crucial for NGOs especially when monetary donations are involved.

Global Reach: The three letters ‘NGO’ is a universally recognized and acceptable acronym for Non-Governmental Organisation’. Hence, the .NGO extension by itself is complete and credible. Additionally, .NGO is complimented by the .ONG TLD, the translated equivalent for regions where Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) are most prevalent, extending your global reach even further & deeper.

Visibility: There is immediate worldwide recognition with the .NGO for organizations that seek to make a positive impact. It’s a great way to distinguish yourself from the others. Donors will be able to search for your organisation through PIR’s online search directory with filters such as name, location and cause. The search feature will enable your organisation to have greater visibility to those looking to make a donation for a good cause, encouraging higher donations.

.NGO helps distinguish your organization, validates it among the online crowd & connects you to the global community. We offer .NGO + .ONG for a special promo price of $31.99 only at ResellerClub. Make use of this price. #DoYourBit to help make the world a better place.

NGO extension a couple of months ago and the TLD is more important and relevant today than Do Your Bit with .NGO/.ONG

 

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