6 Tips to Make WordPress More Secure

Barbed wire fence, the best securityWordPress is one of the most popular content management systems today. Because of this there are some people who want to hack into your website and use it for their purposes.

So how do you prevent people from hacking into your WordPress web site?

You will need to stay ahead of the hackers. They keep up to date on the latest versions of software. They constantly learn new ways of getting around the blocks you put into place. They are motivated by profit. Understanding who you are fighting is half the battle.

The other half of the battle is doing the things you can now and then improving your plan as new information becomes available.

Here are 6 Tips to Make WordPress More Secure

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Trends in WordPress Theme Designs

If you are anything like me, I am not a trend setter. I wait for enough people to be following some trend before I look into it. I am the same with website design. I want to see what works with other websites first, then I’ll make changes to the way I do things.

Windows 8 Design Trends

Microsoft released Windows 8 and has defined a new standard that web designers and developers must take into account. The old thought about how your web page should look was to provide navigation at the top and along one side. Your web page contained some graphics, but was mostly text. You used a color scheme that was pleasing on the eye and not outlandishly colorful.

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5 Tips for Quicker Post Formatting

I write a lot in my daily life. Quite a bit of that writing is in WordPress.  I don’t like to use my mouse when I am writing. It takes too long. I find myself wondering if there is an easier way to format my posts in WordPress. The developers of WordPress have made it easy for us

The Visual Editor

WordPress has a fairly nice visual editor when you are adding new posts. Depending upon your theme, the editor will show you how your post will look. It provides your normal options for creating professional looking posts, such as bold, Italics and strikethrough. There is a more complete menu bar that is available if you press the kitchen sink icon in the menu bar. By pressing this button you have access to more elaborate options.

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How Do Search Engines Work?

Engine

Search Engines find web pages that contain the information you want. How do they know what pages are best for you? Where do they find all the web pages? Who decides what page appears first?

There is a lot of talk about SEO these days. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. People sell their services as SEO experts to optimize your website for search engines. This is great if you know what search engines are and how they work. For the new small business website owner this may seem like a new language.

This article seeks to help small business owners understand how search engines work. …Continue Reading

How Do I Only Include Child Pages of the Current Page in a Menu in WordPress?

WordPressI ran into an interesting problem the other day. I wanted to have a menu on the left side of the screen that only displayed the title of pages that were sub pages of the current page. In other words the current page title may be About US. On the left I wanted the sub pages listed. The titles of these pages may be Our Vision, Our Leadership and Contact Us. It seems pretty simple. I only wanted the first level of sub pages. If Our Vision had any child pages I didn’t want these sub pages until I was on the Our Vision page.

What I needed to do was to create a new PHP file called sidebar_left.php.  Then include this file where I wanted the sidebar to appear. This can be done using the following code in the PHP file that controls the page I want to add this menu. In this case that was the page.php file:

<?php include(TEMPLATEPATH."/sidebar_left.php");?>

Now I had the way to include the file all I needed was the code that would give me the menu. The following code is what I decided on:

 

<div id="sidebar_left">
    <?php
      $children = wp_list_pages('title_li=&child_of='.$post->ID.'&echo=0&depth=1');
      if ($children) { ?>
      <ul>
      <h3><?php echo $children; ?></h3>
      </ul>
  <?php } ?>
 </div><!-- #sidebar_left -->

 

The line of code that accomplished what I wanted was

wp_list_pages('title_li=&child_of='.$post->ID.'&echo=0&depth=1')

 

The code that says:

        child_of='.$post->ID

specifies to only include pages that have the current page as the parent.

 

The section that says:

         depth=1

will only include the top level of pages, so no grand children pages will be displayed.

 

The section that says:

         echo=0

tells WordPress to return an HTML text string to be used in PHP

 

If you have any unusual problems with either WordPress or PHP email me. I am available as a consultant. I also create custom websites from the ground up.

What does the Best Technical Support Look Like?

The most important thing to me when I purchase an item is to make sure that if I ever need a question answered quickly that I have a place to call and will get in contact with a competent, live person immediately. I would like to talk about two very different experiences I have had recently with calling support, one good and the other poor. Both of these experiences happened the week September 5, 2012.

What does poor customer support look like?

Samsung DVD PlayerLet me start with the not so good call. I own a Blue ray DVD player that I use to stream movies from Netflix. Recently I began to have problems watching movies. I could connect to Netflix and look at my selections fine. When I made my choice the movie wouldn’t play.

I called Samsung, the manufacturer of the DVD player. I was on hold for 20 minutes. When I did finally got a live person, they were difficult to understand. They tried several different things and nothing worked. Finally they told me to call Netflix. It was even worse with Netflix. I finally fixed the problem by looking online. It seems to be a common problem. I can now watch whatever title I want.

What did I learn? Neither Samsung nor Netflix provide adequate technical support. They are examples of what not to do.

What does excellent technical support look like?

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What is the best green web host?

What is the best green web host for small business? That depends on what criteria you use to define green.

In a previous article I talked about what green web host is. The objective in green hosting is to make no impact on the environment through the use of polluting fuels to generate electricity such as oil or coal. The Green hosts do this by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) and by using whatever energy they do use efficiently.

How do you evaluate green web hosting?

solar panelMy initial criterion for the best green web host is a web host that uses as little if any traditional energy sources. I found only one web host that meets that criterion. That was Green Webhost out of the UK. They have a solar data center located outside of Los Angeles, CA.

I decided to further define my criteria. I am looking for reliable web services provided by a company that has been in business for at least 5 years and has over 100,000 hosted domains. I also opened up my criteria to include those companies that use REC’s to offset their traditional electric consumption at least 100%. I also require that the company use whatever energy they do use in the most efficient way.

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What is Green web hosting?

In the good old days we could use our natural resources any way we wanted. It is becoming more and more apparent that we must use all our resources wisely. This applies to our energy consumption of our web hosting companies as well. We need to find web hosts that provide green hosting.

What is green hosting?

wind farmGreen hosting is when a web host does whatever they can to use renewable resources such as wind power to power their data center. They also need to be as efficient as possible in the use of all the energy through choosing energy efficient computers, lighting sources and HVAC systems.

The objective in green hosting is to make no impact on the environment through the use of polluting fuels to generate electricity such as oil or coal. This is a high and worthy goal.

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Is a Small Website Better for SEO?

Baby

Effective Small Business SEO

Many small business owners have asked if it is better to have a small website for better SEO. The idea is that if you only have a few pages you can make changes to each page to increase the page rank in search engines. It sort of makes sense to have fewer pages so you can affect more of your pages at once.

This idea will actually backfire on you. Search engines are looking for websites that are growing and providing more relevant pages each week and month. This would mean to Google that your company is growing and adding more information as your company grows. Their search results would be better because your company is better at answering the questions they receive.

SEO Steps to Take Before You Upload Your Web Pages Online

On page SEO should be done to each page as you create the page. Make sure you have a descriptive title that uses your target keywords. Use your target keywords in your heading tags (h1, h2 and h3). Your heading tags should help your visitors and the search engines to determine what you page is about. You should have links on your page to other pages on your website that are related.

You should also make sure you are using META tags correctly. Create a unique META description tag for each page. Many search engines use the META description tag to display in the search results page. This description should be less than 160 characters. You can also use the META keyword tag to provide relevant keywords. Some search engines ignore this tag, but many still look at it for reference.

SEO Steps to Take After Uploading Your Pages Online

Updating your existing pages to add more information is also useful for SEO. Every time you update a page or add a new page you should send and XML sitemap to the major search engines. There are several plugins for WordPress that will do this automatically. I use Google XML sitemap. It automatically notifies Google, Bing and Ask.com when you update your XML sitemap.

Every time you contact Google or other search engines they visit your website and re-index your pages. Making small changes to your pages on a regular basis improves your reputation with search engines. They like to see up to date information, just don’t overdo it.

Only make changes that improve the readability or relevance of your pages. Always make sure you are making changes that are really improvements. Correcting spelling or grammar errors is always recommended, but you should make sure these errors are not included in the first place.

Is it better to have a large of small website?

growing plantsMany small websites appear on the first page of search engine results. The size of the website is not the most important factor. What is important is relevance. What is also important is whether your website is growing and providing more and more unique relevant content.

If your website is not growing neither is your business.

10 Tips for Better Small Business SEO: Get Links to Your Website Free

chainIf you have spent any time trying to get your website listed in Google you have probably run across the SEO experts advising you to get as many relevant links as possible to your website. This is great advice, but how do you do it? Do you have to pay for links? Are link exchanges always bad?

There are many ways that you can get people to link to your website or web pages that are free. Since I like free that is where I will focus my attention.

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8 Steps to Select a WordPress Theme

WordPress LogoThere are thousands of WordPress themes available on the market today, many of those themes are free, while others you need to pay for. Out of the paid themes there are two options. Purchase a predefined theme or pay a developer to create your theme from scratch. So which option is best for your small business WordPress website?

Should I Choose a Free WordPress Theme?

Free WordPress themes have been the option of many small business website owners. Many free WordPress themes include unwanted code. This code is often imbedded to make it difficult to find. The code often provides the designer of the theme with some benefit. Often it is free links or some other traffic oriented benefit. This is a tradeoff that you need to be aware of.

Before you choose a WordPress theme for your small business website you need to know what you want to use the theme for. WordPress was originally developed for managing traditional text blogs. This is no longer the case. WordPress has many uses.

What can WordPress be Used For?

A few uses or WordPress are:

  • Photo blogs – Many photographers use WordPress to present their portfolios online for perspective customers to view.
  • Business websites – WordPress can be used for any business owner such as dentists, landscapers, consultants or online schools.
  • Video blogs – more and more people are using video only blogs to share their thoughts with the world.
  • Product websites – these websites focus on a single product rather than a company. A company may have many product websites, each one containing only one product.
  • Corporate websites – Ford motor company created a blog to describe their story. They create articles to engage their visitors and build relationships.
  • Magazine websites – Many online magazines use WordPress to manage their websites and provide a mechanism for visitors to comment on their websites. People magazine’s style watch is a good example.

The type of business and use of WordPress will vary depending on how you plan to use it.

What Criteria Should I Consider when Choosing a WordPress Theme?

  1. SEO Friendly. No matter what your website will be used for you will need to be able to be found in search engines. Most free themes are not SEO friendly. The SmallBIZ theme by Expand2Web is excellent for SEO and small businesses
  2. Customizable color schemes. Most people have corporate colors or just a color preference. Does the WordPress theme have the option to change the color scheme, such as background color and accent? This is simple to accomplish, but very powerful.
  3. Easily customizable header. Everyone wants to include their own logo on their website. The header is the obvious place to put it. Does the theme you are looking at allow you to use your own header or modify the provided header to include your logo?
  4. Widgetized. Widgets add easy customizable areas such as sidebars or menu areas. WordPress has many widgets installed by default that make your website user friendly. Does the WordPress theme include areas that are wdgetized?
  5. Well reviewed. Read reviews on independent websites to determine if the WordPress theme is popular and well received.
  6. Support. Once you install the WordPress theme you may run into problems. Is there any technical support available? How easy is it to get in touch with someone?
  7. How many blogs use the same theme? If a theme is used by thousands of different websites how likely are you to be able to stand out in the crowd? Check other website in your niche and see if you can tell if they are using WordPress and what theme are they using.
  8. Can you grow with this theme? Are there features that you may be able to use as your website grows? Can you add new functions or areas as you grow?

Once you have decided what features your want and need the next step is to look at each WordPress theme. There are a few WordPress Theme designers that rise above the rest in my opinion. You can use this list to start your process. It is not a complete list, just the best that I have found.

What Are the Best WordPress Themes?

expand2web logoExpand2Web has the best interface for small businesses. They have a completely seamless interface for ensuring proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You can easily switch between 8 different layout options. There are 16 different banner styles to choose from or you can upload your own. This theme is just what a small business owner needs to manage their small business WordPress website and plenty of room to grow. To find out more or to purchase the SmallBiz theme click here.

Studiopress LogoStudio Press offers the best all around options for WordPress themes that I have found. Their Genesis Framework themes are search engine optimized (SEO), offer 43 turnkey designs, provide unlimited support, provides the best security you can find in  WordPress Theme and is easily customizable. These guys are the best. To find out more or to purchase Studio Press click here.

elegant themes logoElegant themes has made a good reputation They have put a ton of time into making the themes not only elegant, but user friendly and versatile. They provide full control over Search Engine Optimization (SEO), navigation and layout.To find out more about their themes or to sign up click here.

Theme Forest has created some very professional looking business themes. Their themes are affordable, professional and easy to use. They have a theme called RT-Theme 5 / Business Theme 10 in 1 for WordPress. This is a highly customizable set of themes for business web sites. They are clean and fast. To find out more about their themes or to purchase them click here.

WPZOOM has created some impressive themes. They are Search Engine optimized (SEO) so that your visitors will be able to find you better when they look for you on Google. Take a look at the WPZOOM – Premium WordPress Themes here.

How to Use CSS3 to Create Smooth Transitions for Mouse Hover

Cascading style sheets 3Cascading Style sheets have been used to control the look and feel of a web page for years. They are useful for defining transitions in properties like the background color when the user’s mouse either hovers or focuses on an element like a link or menu option. Prior to CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets version 3) these transitions happened instantly.

This article is a little more technical than most of my writing. It is meant for people who are comfortable writing styles in CSS.

In CSS3 there are new effects for the : hover or :focus elements that allow you to control the transitions from not having the mouse focused or hovering to focused or hovering. These new features allow you to control the CSS property (or properties) to be transitioned; the duration of the transition; the timing function of the transition; and an optional delay.

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Which scripting language is better for SEO ASP.net or PHP ?

ASp.net logoIf you are like me you want the best, fastest and easiest platform to work in that also provides the best search engine optimization (SEO) possible. Is there any advantage to using PHP over ASP.net? Many SEO professionals have said that ASP.net is slower to be indexed than a page that has an html or PHP extension. An ASP page has a .ASP or .ASPx extensions. Paul Anthony posted on SEOMoz,“ASP.NET , generally speaking – is a web spider’s worst nightmare.”

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What is the Best Database for a Small Businesses?

Small businesses have many pieces of information that can be stored in a computer. There are many options available to store this data. This data can be stored in a spreadsheet or a database. Microsoft Excel is an excellent choice for storing and maintaining spreadsheets such as tables of sales data, or demographic data.

A SQL database would be a better choice for dynamic websites. There are many options available for free. MySQL and PostgreSQL are the two most popular and are available with many web hosting services. Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server are also excellent database management systems (DBMS). They are not free however.

What is a Database?

A database is a collection of information. Data is information. It can be names, addresses, locations of other information such as URLs. This website uses a database to store all the information you see, including the links.

Which Database is Best for Small Businesses?

If you are looking for a database to run on your PC and have no plans on sharing it online you are limited to a few options. Microsoft products pretty much answer most database questions well. Microsoft Access is my choice for storing data that is only used on my PC. It is able to be very simple or as complex as I need.

Sharing data from a database on a network or via the internet opens your choices. There are excellent options available for a high price such as Oracle, but small businesses don’t have the resources or need for this much power. I suggest using one of the free options.

What Are the Free SQL Database Options?

MySQL is very common and free. There are many applications that have been developed to use MySQL such as WordPress and Moodle. It runs on Windows and Linux servers, which are the two most common and popular servers.

If you will be developing your own database applications MySQL will be great for simple applications and environments. There are some problems when you get more complex. One issue that you may run into is that you need to lock tables when you add a new column. This is not a problem if you don’t need to add new columns while your database is in production.

PostgreSQL seems to be able to handle more complex environments, but also seems to be more difficult to use. You don’t need to lock tables to add columns for instance. The interface resembles Oracle more than MySQL’s does.

Conclusion

The best database for small business depends on what you want the database for. The best database for a standalone windows PC is Microsoft Access. The best database for a larger corporate environment would be Oracle. The best database for the most common web applications is MySQL. The best free SQL database for your own complex web applications would be PostgreSQL.

I use a database for this website. Since I run WordPress that database is MySQL. The web host I use is BlueHost. They provide more options for hosting websites than I need. This means I can grow as my needs grow. To find out more about why I chose BlueHost click here.

How Do You Customize the Look of a Moodle Website?

Moodle logoA Moodle website can be customized is a couple of different ways. The look and feel of the Moodle website can be customized to look like the rest of your small business website using either a cascading style sheet that you can include in the header of your pages or by using a theme or a combination.

Customizing Moodle using CSS in Header

One way to customize your Moodle website to look like your small business website you can include a cascading Style sheet (CSS) in the header of your Moodle page. To do this you need to be an administrator. You can add additional HTML to every page in Settings > Site administration > Appearance > Additional HTML.

You must know the location of your CSS style sheet and include a preference to it in the first line of your heard. The syntax of this line will look similar to this:

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”http://www.website.com/wp-content/themes/themename/style.css” type=”text/css” media=”screen” />

You may notice that I reference a style sheet that is from a theme in WordPress. I uses WordPress and Moodle on the same website.  Moodle and WordPRess provide different features. It is very difficult to create online educational material of the same quality as Moodle using WordPress. That is why I use both. My advice is to select the best tool for the job.

Now your Moodle website will have the same look for all your text. If you use a menu or navbar in your main website you will need to copy the code for that menu. The same is true for your header image. You will need to include a link to your header image. The code may look something like the following:

Image

<img src=”http://www.website.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_clear.png” alt=” Website name”>

Navbar

<div id=”navbar”><div><ul><li><a href=”http://www.website.com/“> Home</a></li></ul></div>

I found this code by right clicking on my main website home page and then selecting view page source. You need to have some idea of what HTML code you are looking for. Using a CSS to customize your Moodle website takes some skill in HTML in order to format your pages. This option should not be attempted by HTML beginners.

Using a Theme to Customize Moodle

custom chopperMany things can be customized. We all seem to want our cars, homes, motorcycles and websites to be unique. Themes are one way to customize Moodle websites.

An administrator can set a theme for the site in Settings > Site administration > Appearance > Themes > Theme selector. You can select any of the 16 or so themes listed. You will see a preview of the various themes. You have a choice of selecting each theme for use with modern browsers or older browsers.

Click on the button next to the theme you want to use for either modern or old browsers. In the next screen you have a description of the theme along with a preview of the theme on your website. If you like the way it looks press the continue button.

Each theme also allows you to customize certain features. The number of features and the particular features vary by theme. While you are in Settings > Site administration > Appearance > Themes > you can select the name of the theme you want to customize. This will bring up a list of the features you can customize.

Some themes allow you to specify a logo. This is the logo that you use for your main website. You must provide the whole path including the domain name such as:

http://www.yoursite.com/path/to/logo.png

With a little work and some experimentation you can modify the themes to look just like your main website. Using your CSS from you main website and using themes are the most powerful ways of customizing the look and feel of your Moodle website.

4 Common SEO Misconceptions of Small Businesses

SEOThere are many misconceptions about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that small businesses have. One is that every web designer or developer knows how to perform great SEO. Other misconceptions focus on the platform that the website is created in, such as whether Linux or windows is better, or which web host is better, or whether WordPress of Joomla is better. This article will help to dispel these misconceptions.

Every web designer or developer knows how to perform great SEO

Web designers are trained in how to create web graphics. They know how to make things look right from a visual perspective. This entails designing and creating images and layouts. Is there a menu on the right or left or both? Is there a navigation bar at the top or bottom or both? Web developers or coders create the HTML and Javascript and PHP to implement the design of the web designer. They know how to create all the programming code that makes your web page look the way it does.

Neither a web developer nor a web designer would have specific training in SEO by default. The concepts of SEO do not fall under either category, but in a category of its own. Knowing how to use keywords and what keywords to use is not usually taught to these professionals. You need to make sure you have a professional SEO expert to help you in these areas, or learn as much as you can yourself.

Which operating system is best for SEO?

The two most popular operating systems for web hosts are Linux and Windows. The operating system provides a transparent platform for delivering your web pages to your visitors. Both Windows and Linux have their advantages and disadvantages. The operating system you choose should be the one that best suits your needs. If you will be using ASP.net then you will need Windows.

What governs SEO is not the operating system, but the web pages and the links from other websites. Do the web pages use the best keywords in the text and headings? Are these keywords also in the title of the page? How many other websites do you have linking to your website and what words are they using to link to you? All of these affect SEO. The operating system does not.

What is the best web host for SEO?

A web host is a company that provides you with a place to store your web pages and website for your small business. They may offer either a Linux or Windows server. They may provide several Content Management Systems (CMS).

The web host you choose does not affect your SEO. Most of the work done for search engine optimization is done on the web page itself. Some of it is done through the links from other websites. The web host you choose does not define how you create your web pages.

I use BlueHost as my web host. BlueHost is the best small business web host in my opinion. They provide the best support in the industry. They are always available and competent. Every person they have is able to solve your problems. I would not use any other web host other than BlueHost.

What Content Management System (CMS) is Best for SEO?

A content management system (CMS) provides a way for you to easily update and create web pages. There are many CMSs available on the market today. Some are designed to create a blog (or web log) and others are designed for a more free form web page. Most web hosts provide several options for you.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are three examples of free content management systems. They can all be used to create a professional. Well designed web site. They can all be used equally to create great SEO. It is not the CMS that you choose, but how you use it. They differ in the complexity of the application. WordPress is the easiest CMS by far. Drupal is the most complex, but also the most versatile. It will require you to hire a specific Drupal developer to create your website.

All of these misconceptions can confuse you. What you need to focus on is good SEO practices. I have written a few articles on SEO and also offer free eBook on SEO Tactics that will help you to develop your own SEO practices.

25 Tips for Small Businesses to Succeed

deskIn the current small business environment we all need to make the most of what little resources we do have. Here is a list of the top 25 small business tips to help your small business thrive. The list covers internet suggestions and best business practices. I have included some links to external websites that can be very useful for research purposes.

  1.  Know your competition. If you don’t know what your competition is doing you will never beat them. You must know what others in your industry are doing. How well are they succeeding? What are they doing that works? What are they doing that doesn’t work? Study your competition. Look at their website and try to find out as much as possible about them.
  2. Know what you do best. You should focus on what you do best. Look at how you do your business. What makes you unique? Is there something that you do better than anyone else in your industry? Look for the unusual. These are things that you can focus on to brig traffic to your door.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be different. When you are able to think differently you may be able to create the next big thing. Google thought differently. That’s why they are who they are. …Continue Reading

Introduction to Moodle

moodle logoMoodle is an open source application that allows you to create online courses. It is free on most web hosting services and easy to install. Moodle can be installed in its own directory so that it can be linked to other applications on your domain such as WordPress or Joomla.

How is Moodle Organized?

The heart of each course contains activities and resources. There are about 20 different activities including forums, glossaries, wikis, assignments, lessons, quizzes and databases. You can use activities to build upon other activities. You can build a community of learners by using the various activities.

Resources are items such as files, folders, URLs pages and labels. These are used to provide the student with an organized course and other resources to help them learn more. For instance a label can be used to provide outline information on the main course page or in the topic or week main pages. A label can also be used to display text or images any place on the page.

A file resource can be used to provide a syllabus for your course. A URL resource can be used to provide other websites that have vital information for your students. You are limited by your imagination.

How can Moodle Help you?

Moodle is a toolbox that can be used by teachers to make use of the power of the internet. They can start out simple and then progress to more complex courses and communities.

A course in its simplest form may have a label or two, an outline or syllabus, a lesson or two, perhaps an assignment and a quiz. It can be as simple as you want. As you get used to Moodle you can create a glossary, add a forum and perhaps include a survey. You may also want to include links to other resources on the internet.

How do I move items after I have placed them?

Once you have created a few activities and resources you may want to move them or change the order they appear on the page. This is as easy as clicking and dragging.

moving a moodle resource

  • First turn editing on.
  • Then select the item you want to move by clicking and holding the cross to the right of the item you want to move.
  • While holding down the mouse button drag the item to the position you want it to move to. You will see a thin horizontal line appear between your items. This is where the moved item will appear when you release the mouse button.
  • Once you have the item where you want it, release the mouse button.

How to Use Labels to Separate and Organize

You can use labels to make titles to separate and organize your course. Your label should use one of the heading settings such as heading 2 or heading 3. The higher the number you choose the smaller the type size you will have.
moodle heading examples

Experiment with the different headings. You can see examples of the font size when you click on the arrow next to the word paragraph on the top of the text window.

Web Hosting 101: Tips and Advice

Web Hosting BasicsI have written about various issues in web hosting for small businesses. They range from installing WordPress to choosing the best small business web host to what’s the best plugins for WordPress. In each individual article I have done my best to provide the most accurate and complete information possible.

There are many how to articles in my posts and pages. Te only problem is that you have to look for the pages.

Many people have asked me if there is one place that they can go to get a step by step description of how to get their small business website on the internet. They have asked for in depth information that I have not provided elsewhere. They want a guide to walk them step by step from an idea to a website that is on the internet.

I will explain in my eBook all you need to start your own small business website, including:

  • What is a web host?
  • What is a DNS server?
  • What is a URL?
  • What do you need to get a website on the internet?
  • How to choose a domain name?
  • How to choose a web host?
  • What are the various types of web hosts?
  • How do you create the actual website?
  • How do you put your content on the website?

I have responded to your requests and produced an eBook that I will offer free. You can have a copy of the free eBook, just click the link below to download it now.

Web Hosting Basics free eBook download

How to Use The Improved Permalink Performance in WordPress 3.3

Permalinks are what WordPress uses to refer to your posts. They are the URL that your visitors see in their web browsers. Version 3.3 of WordPress has greatly improved the processing of permalinks. In previous versions of WordPress my suggestion was that you use a structure that looked like this:

http://example.com/2012/post-name/

Why did we have to use an ugly permalink structure?

In my previous post:

http://www.thewebhostadvisor.com/wordpress/how-to-set-up-permalinks-in-wordpress/

I had commented on the structure you need for your permalinks in WordPress. I said that WordPress has troubles indexing non numerical information values for the first part of the permalinks. This was true.

WordPress itself said “The reason is that these are text fields, and using them at the beginning of your permalink structure it takes more time for WordPress to distinguish your Post URLs from Page URLs (which always use the text “page slug” as the URL), and to compensate, WordPress stores a lot of extra information in its database (so much that sites with lots of Pages have experienced difficulties). So, it is best to start your permalink structure with a numeric field, such as the year or post ID”

The structure that WordPress suggested was not as descriptive to your visitors as it could be. Numbers in a URL mean nothing to most people. Most people want a URL to say what the page is about. Search engines like this as well, to a lesser degree.

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SEO Tips for Small Business: Part 2

Small business websites need to contain articles that will appear on the first or second page of search results in search engines such as Google and Bing. This is easier said than done. SEO Tactics need to be applied to accomplish your best results.

If you read this whole article you will find out how to download a free copy of SEO Tactics eBook. This is a $25 value.

In the first part of this article I talked about content being king. This is true. One thing to keep in mind is that content can be presented in many different ways. There is a good way to display text information and a not so good way. I hope this article will help you to decide the best way to present your pages to your visitors.

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Best SEO Tips for Small Business Websites

Small business owners need to create the best website they can, that scores well with search engines and also provides the value people want when they come to visit your website. This is a tall order. You not only need to satisfy your customers or visitors, but also Google, Bing and other search engines.

SEOThere are a few ways to do this. The first is to make use of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. If you have an email address you probably have received an email trying to sell you SEO or some software that automates the whole process.

You don’t need to purchase an expensive software application or hire a well paid consultant to do a good job at SEO. SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines.

The best advice I can give is to forget about the search engines. Start by creating the best content that you can. Provide engaging articles that are unique. Write about what you know best, your own small business.

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What is ASP.NET?

There are many different ways to create dynamic websites. A dynamic website is a website where the pages are generated at the time a visitor loads the page. They can be a result of what the person does or clicks on to get the page to load. They may require that a person enter some information such as their location to provide location specific pages.

ColdFusion is an example of a software application designed to do just that. Microsoft wanted to develop their own way of creating dynamic websites. Their answer was ASP.NET

ASP.NET was developed by Microsoft to provide a way for programmers to create dynamic websites. ASP stands for Active Server Pages. ASP was designed to provide a server side script engine for creating dynamic web pages and was later improved and released as ASP.NET.

ASP.NET was built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR) allowing programmers to use any language that is support by .NET. Some examples of these languages are C#, Jscript, J#, Visual Basic, Chrome, Cobra, C++/CLI, IronPython and IronRuby. This means you are not limited to one specific scripting language to develop in.

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Which is Better a Windows or Linux Web Server?

When you are looking for a small business web host you may run into several different options. One of the options is what operating system runs on the web server. The two most common operating systems for small businesses are Windows and Linux.

Why choose Linux for small business web hosting?

Linux is an open source operating system. This means it can be downloaded, installed and copied to as many computers as you want for free. The web server, Apache, the most popular database, MySQL and the most popular scripting language, PHP are also free to download and install.

This means that you can setup a web Linux server very cheaply. Linux is very versatile and stable. There are also many tools that have been developed to make Linux very easy to manage, such as cPanel.  CPanel isolates the end user (that would be you as a small business owner using a webhost), from the operating system. Most of what you need to do is point and click for most tasks. Your job is made very easy.

Why choose Windows for small business web hosting?

Why run Windows on your web server if Linux is so efficient and cheap? There are applications that cannot be run on a Linux server such as asp.NET. These can only be run on w Windows web server.

Since there are versions of MySQL and PHP for Windows servers, they can do whatever a Linux server can do. Many technicians are certified in Microsoft Windows. There are many companies that only use Windows servers. Even WordPress can be installed on a Windows web server.

So which one is best?

Linux is the more cost effective operating system. In theory this cost savings is translated to the customer. You save money by choosing a Linux web server for you small business website.

If you will be developing websites using asp.NET you will need to choose a Windows web server for your small business website.

The easiest way to choose a web host for your small business is to choose the features and options you want and need. Don’t worry about what the operating system is. Find the best rated web host that offers the options you want and sign up with them.

To find the best small business web host for your needs please visit our home page. You will find tips and advice to help you make the right choice

What is the Best Image Plugin for WordPress?

WordPress gives you so much versatility in designing your pages and posts you are limited only by your imagination. Adding images and managing them can be difficult at times. This is why I use a WordPress plugin to help me.

I have used many different image management WordPress plugins over the year. The best WordPress plugin for images is NextGEN Gallery.

NextGEN Gallery is a fully integrated Image Gallery WordPress plugin with dozens of options and features.

If you’re looking for a plugin designed for all your image needs, NextGEN Gallery is your answer. Why?

  • You can create a gallery of images to be displayed.
  • You can create a slideshow using flash.
  • You can also display your images in an image browser.
  • You can even display a single image.
  • It is easy to use
  • There are lots of options
  • It is well designed
  • The author is constantly working on it to make it better

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4 ways to reduce spam from comments in WordPress

If you have had any visitors at all to your website you probably have had some spam comments posted. How do you reduce or eliminate spam from your comments?

What is spam?

Spam is commenting on blogs to get URLs posted on legitimate sites in order to increase the Google rankings of their sites. This can be done manually or automatically by using bots.

Bot is short for robot. A bot is a program that posts comments automatically.

Almost always the comment adds no value to the post and includes links to get rich quick schemes or something like that.

There are several different ways to reduce spam on your website.

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7 Reasons to choose a paid web host vs. a free web host


Free Vs Paid Web Hosting

If I can get my website hosted for free why would I pay to have it hosted? It seems like a straight forward question, but the answer is anything but simple.

First we must understand what you get and don’t get with free hosting. Most free web hosting providers give you enough space for a fairly small sized website. This is enough for some small businesses.

Google LogoThen you usually get some kind of webpage creator software that lets you fill in the blanks and it creates the pages for you. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s the best of point and click. Google does a great job with their implementation.

Many free web hosting services don’t even force you to host their advertising. By this I mean that there are many that force you to have their banner across the top advertising whatever they want on your website. More and more, free web hosting sites are doing away with this.

This all sounds great doesn’t it? Why would anyone pay for web hosting?

What do you get with paid web hosting?

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What is a Database and why do I need to know about them for small business web hosting?

DatabaseA database is a collection of information. Data is information. It can be names, addresses, locations of other information such as URLs. This website uses a database to store all the information you see, including the links.

A database management system is a piece of software that allows you to communicate with the database. The database is just the information stored in a computer in some structured file or files.

The database management system used on this website is MySQL. Other examples of database management systems are PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, IBM DB2 and SQLite.

A database is useless without a database management system. It is just information sitting in files on your computer. A book is useless if you can’t read it.

Why is it important to know about databases for a small business website?

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What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth: image of speedometerWhat is bandwidth and why is it important to you when choosing a small business web host?

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of information you can communicate at a given time. What I mean by this on a website is how much information your visitor can get all at once. This also means how many visitors can come to your small business website at the same time

In the old days of using dial up modems the bandwidth was 56 kilobytes per second. Many businesses today use a T1 line. A T1 line has a bandwidth of 1.544 megabits per second. A very large corporation may use an OC3 line. An OC3 line has a bandwidth of 155 megabits per second.

What does bandwidth translate into for your visitors?

It is speed of downloading your web pages and pictures.

Many web hosts confuse bandwidth with their monthly transfer statistic. You will usually have to dig to find out more about bandwidth.

BlueHost claims to have unlimited file transfer per month. This means that as long as your visitors can get to (Bluehost is up 99.9% of the time)  your small business website they can download all the information they want.

BlueHost uses an OC-192 as their backbone. An OC192 can transfer 9.6 gigabits per second. This is about 9,000 times more information than a T1.

This bandwidth is shared among all the websites hosted by BlueHost. Speed is especially important to BlueHost’s business and ecommerce customers.  Those customers need bandwidth solutions that can handle high volumes of traffic.  They need websites that load quickly and that are accessible as close to 100% of the time as possible.

BlueHost has responded well to their customer’s needs for a fast and reliable network at an affordable price. This is why I chose to host my website with BlueHost and continue to stay with them. To find out more about why I chose BlueHost click here.

BlueHost is the best web host for small business websites. Click here to sign up today.

What is Disk Space?

Hard diskDisk space is a term used to describe how much information you can store on a computer. When you are considering a web host you will want enough space to store all the information you want on your website.

Most web hosting providers will quote the amount of disk space that you will have in Gigabytes. So how big is a gigabyte?

About 114 minutes of uncompressed CD-quality audio can be stored in 1 gigabyte.

Most web pages are very small. They are usually measured in kilobytes.  A page out of an encyclopedia will be about 10 kilobytes. There are 1 million kilobytes in 1 gigabyte. You could store 100,000 pages of an encyclopedia in 1 gigabyte.

Most images, or pictures that you will see on the internet are less than 1 megabyte. There are 1,000 megabytes in 1 gigabyte.

A 1024×1024 pixel image with 256 colors is about 1 megabyte. Most images on web pages are much smaller. The images on most of my posts are about 300 X 200 pixels or less. These files are less than a third of a megabyte.

I can store about 3,000 high quality images in 1 gigabyte.

You will need to look at what type of information you will provide on your web page. If you will only be providing web pages and images you will be fine with 20 gigabytes.

If you plan on providing high quality videos you will want as much space as you can afford. Another option for providing videos is to use Youtube.com to host your videos. They are free and almost everyone knows them. You can also embed your videos in your web page so that people do not leave your website to view the videos.

Many shared server web hosts provide unlimited disk space. Bluehost is one example of this.

To find out more about the offerings of various web hosts visit my web hosting review page by clicking here.

Can I use Moodle and WordPress on the same website?

Moodle LogoIn short the answer is yes. The key to hosting more than one application on your website is to install them into 2 different directories. Moodle and WordPress are applications that can be installed on many websites using simplescripts.

BlueHost provides a very simple interface for installing your applications.

By default WordPress gets installed into your root html directory. This means that when a person visits your site they will see your WordPress managed website. So when they type www.yoursite.com into their browser they will be connected to WordPress on your site.

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