What is Green web hosting?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

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?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

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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.

What is the Best Database for a Small Businesses?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

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.

25 Tips for Small Businesses to Succeed

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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. (more…)

SEO Tips for Small Business: Part 2

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

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

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

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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Which is Better a Windows or Linux Web Server?

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

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

Friday, May 11th, 2012

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’s the Best Small Business WordPress Theme?

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Small Business WordPress ThemeI have been asked about my website design. Did I design it? Am I using a theme? I use the SmallBiz WordPress Theme that was created by Don Campbell and Thomas Hasch from Expand2Web.

I have developed quite a few themes on my own, but I was looking for more. I wanted an easy to use, fully customizable, SEO integrated and well designed theme to bring my site to the next level. I found the SmallBiz theme to be that and more.

The one thing that was most important to me about this theme was that it was designed for the small business owner. The most important features for small business owners are built in. Your business location, map, driving directions and hours of operation are integrated into the theme.

The colors, headers and layout are fully customizable. The interface is so easy to navigate. It is so intuitive that most people who is semi computer literate can use this theme right out of the box to create a professional website in a couple of hours.

The theme is Facebook integrated and mobile enabled. I read an article today that said up to 15% of all eCommerce traffic this holiday season will come from mobile devices! Our small business websites must be able to be viewed on mobile devices appropriately.

Your website will automatically detect when visitors are using mobile devices, and deliver special touch-enabled landing pages making it easy for them to call you or visit your business.

Think about it. A potential customer is driving down the road and is using their iPhone to look for a business in your area that sells widgets. They find your company after searching in Google (since your site is search engine optimized you appear on the first page of results). They click on the link and it loads perfectly on the iPhone. With the directions and map loaded on your site it your website directs them to your door.

If you are a small business owner looking to create a website for your business and want the best WordPress theme available for you, then the SmallBiz WordPress Theme is it. You can find more information by clicking here.

Who Has The Best Technical Support in Small Business Web Hosting?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Yesterday morning I was trying to make my WordPress safer by changing some permissions on my files. I had read that I should change the permissions on the .htaccess file to prevent anyone form being able to read this file except the owner, which is the administrator for the server.

When I did that I could no longer access any of the panels in WordPress. I tried to set the permissions back several times, but for some reason I was still unable to fix the problem. I was getting desperate.

It was 4 AM EST. I called Bluehost technical support. They answered right away. Within 2 minutes I was able to get back into my admin screens in WordPress. All I can say is these guys are there when you need them.

They are knowledgeable, competent and courteous. They are the best web host I have ever dealt with. If you are looking for a small business web hosting service Bluehost is the one to go with. They have never let me down.

To sign up for bluehost click here.

They are the best web host in my humble opionion. But what is a web host? Click on the question to find out more. In short they provide a place for your website to be connected to the internet.

If you want to know why I chose bluehost click here.

By the way don’t change the permissions on your .htaccess file to be 640. That was my problem. You will need to set up password protection on the directory first. This automatically sets the permission to 640 and allows you to have access via a password. Always do things the way the system wants you to.

9 tips to help you choose a domain name for your small business

Friday, October 28th, 2011

How do you choose the right domain name?

A domain name is the address that people will type into the browser to find you on the internet.  There are some things you need to keep in mind.

The first thing to do is to sit down and describe your business in short statements. Using two to five word phrases describe what you do. This will help you to determine the key words that describe your business. It will also provide a starting point for your domain name.

If you have a company then the company name.com should be your first choice. If you have a long company name then if you use some abbreviation commonly in your industry then that would be best. A good example of this is bbb.com for Better Business Bureau. There are times when your company name may already be taken. In this case you need to look in some other area.

Maybe you are starting a business and are looking to drive some web traffic to your new website. Choosing a name that includes your target keywords may be useful here. If you have a new video store perhaps watchvideoonline.com may work.

Four Things to avoid:

  1. Don’t end one word with the same letter as the beginning letter of the next word such as tagginggnattoday.com. People will misspell your domain name more often than not.
  2. Don’t make the domain name too long. Try to keep it down to 10 characters or less.
  3. Don’t use other characters for letters, such as the number 0 for the letter o or hyphens.
  4. If you must shorten your company name down, don’t truncate words. Use the common shortened form of your company name.

Five Things to remember:

  1. Make your domain name relevant. If you are in the painting business your domain name should say something about painting.
  2. Make your domain name memorable. It should be easy to remember.
  3. For business web sites choose only .com as a domain extension. As a last resort you can settle on .net, but most traffic goes to .com and people will assume the .com anyway.
  4. Make sure your domain name is unique. You want to stand out. You don’t want to look like all your competitors.
  5. Make sure your domain name is easy to type. The letters on the corner of the keyboard are the most often misspelled. I would think these would be “q”, “z”, and “p” .

With these tips you should be bale to narrow down the options. You need to find out if you chosen domain is available. You can go to one of many sites like Ajaxwhois that will help you find out if the domain is available. Just remember you don’t have to register your domain there. It is fast and easy and good for your process.

The next step is to select a web host.

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