Tag Archive | "Web Hosts"

Is Magento E-Commerce a Good Solution for Beginners?

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Is Magento E-Commerce a Good Solution for Beginners?


If you are building an e-commerce website, you basically have two options. The first one would be to simply build a static site and add payment buttons for a service such as PayPal. While this may be OK for some people, it is not the best solution, especially not when you are building any kind of serious e-commerce site. You therefore need to use a type of content management system that will allow you to do things such as add and remove products, put some products as “featured” on your home page, etc.

 

There are dozens of different e-commerce platforms available out there. Some are free, while some cost thousands of dollars. One free e-commerce platform that many people talk about is Magento. It is included in the automatic installers for many web hosts and is touted as the most advanced free e-commerce platform. But is it really the best choice for you? Especially if you are new to e-commerce?

 

Well, to be honest, it is not. The first thing that you need to know is that Magento is an enterprise class e-commerce solution. Powerful, yes. But it is also very complicated to use for new users. But what about support? Isn’t there a knowledge base or something? Well there are support forums that are provided for users of the software. The problem with them is that there is not much “support” going on there. Mostly users saying “Oh! Darn this doesn’t work” and others joining in with “Yeah! It doesn’t work for me too! Bummer”. Magento staff rarely answer any questions on the forum and there is a reason as to why: the software is free. The support isn’t. If you want support from them, well then you would need to pay for it.

 

There are also a few other issues with Magento. The first thing is that the admin panel is quite slow. Sometimes it takes up to one minute for a page to refresh after you have made a change. It is not my hosting or my server that is a problem, believe me. I have tried with a cloud server and a shared hosting account. Both have given the same results.

 

What about customizing it? Magento says that you can customize their software fully to fit your exact needs and make the site look and work just like you want. Well, this is not a lie. It IS possible. Just extremely hard. There are some templates provided with the software, but they will not work for everybody. You can download some free ones or pay for premium templates, but the issue is that many of them are buggy and have problems working. You can also modify the code, as it is open source software. But you better be an expert on the Zend Framework. Otherwise, expect to spend several months (that’s right, months) learning it before you can accomplish anything useful with it. Quite simply Magento is not the best solution for beginners… unless you just want to take the default template and add a few products for your e-commerce site.

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Creating Your Membership Site: Selecting Your Hosting

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Creating Your Membership Site: Selecting Your Hosting


We’ve seen that running a membership site is a great way to make some money on the internet and to give your product more value to your customers and potential customers that are looking at your sales page. But how do you actually start a membership site? What do you need to accomplish this? There are certain things you need to get before you start developing your site. Here are some of them:

 

  • Good Web Hosting

 

Now, what exactly is “good web hosting” when it comes to powering your membership site? The thing is, almost any kind of web hosting will support applications and scripts designed to run a membership site. Shared web hosting, the one that costs about $5 per month, is the most popular kind of hosting out there. However, it is not recommended for this purpose? Why not? It says unlimited everything, so you should have no worries, right?

 

Well, unfortunately this is wrong. Shared web hosting is NOT unlimited, despite what the marketing materials for the web host say. And this is really NOT something that you want to find out the hard way after you launch your site.

 

You see, shared web hosts impose certain limits on your account, such as the number of files, databases and simultaneous connections to your site. Even though they may say they have unlimited bandwidth, if you start to use too much (say more than a few GB per month, which is quite easy to go over if you host several videos on your site), they will simply cut you off. They do this not out of greed, but simply because a site that is too big will use up too much of the server’s resources, thus making it slow and unstable for the other websites that are hosted on the same server in a shared hosting environment. Shared hosting would only be good if you were planning to get just a dozen or so members to your site each month.

 

What you should get as a hosting solution instead would be a VPS web hosting account. This basically means that you would be getting a portion of the server allocated specifically for your needs (CPU, disk space, bandwidth and RAM). Your hosting will run on a virtual machine, similar to what you would get if you would be running Windows under MacOS on your home computer. That way, you will not have to worry about competing for resources with other sites on the server and you will also never have to worry about getting your hosting suspended because you used too much bandwidth or RAM.

 

VPS web hosting is a bit more expensive than shared hosting. However, if you plan to make some money from your membership site, you must be willing to invest a bit of money in it. If you are planning to get a few dozen members to your site each month, then a mid range VPS would be the solution. This will cost you between $35 to $50 per month, depending on the provider that you will be using.

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Using a Blog for Internet Marketing

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Using a Blog for Internet Marketing


If you want to make some money online by promoting affiliate offers, then there are various ways for you to accomplish this. You could building landing pages for each offer you push, or even link directly to the offer depending on which advertising channel you use. But one of the ways to push affiliate offers online is by simply creating a blog.

 

Blogs have many advantages. They make it very easy to add unique and new content, which will help them remain interesting with readers and also make SEO easier. With blogging platforms such as Joomla and WordPress, creating your own blog has never been easier. So how do you make one for affiliate marketing? Here is an example scenario:

 

Let’s say that you are promoting web hosting affiliate offers. The main topic of your blog will be web hosting, or issues that are of interest to other internet marketers or webmasters. You would make regular posts such as: web building tips, reviews of particular web hosts, comparisons between different types of web hosting, SEO advice, etc. Basically, anything that is related to being a webmaster.

 

There will be various ways for you to “plug” the affiliate ads into your blog. You can, of course use classic banner ads, or text ads placed in prominent locations. But it is also possible for you to include affiliate links inside the text of your blog. For example, you could link the name of a web host that you talk about in a blog post to the affiliate offer.

 

But one important thing to remember when you are creating a blog for affiliate marketing is to not make it look like this is the only purpose of your blog. Sure, for you the main objective of your blog would be to generate money for you. But your readers come to your blog in order to be informed about something they care about, not simply read post after post that is singing praises of various different companies and products.

 

So back to our example of a web hosting blog. Sure, it is fine to have certain posts talk about how great a certain web host is, or that inform readers of a special promotion that a hosting company is having at this time. But you also need to include some informative content as well. So you could make some posts that talk about web design tools or posts that explain how VPS web hosting is different from shared hosting, etc. If your readers notice that your blog is nothing more than an advertising platform, chances are they won’t trust it very much. They will probably leave to go to another site and the chances that someone would click one of your ads and sign up for one of the web hosts that you are pushing are quite remote if your blog is structured that way. Basically, the key to success is having regularly updated and informative content.

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Choosing A Web Hosting Provider – Part 2

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Choosing A Web Hosting Provider – Part 2


Technical support and customer service

In most cases, you simply won’t need to interact with your hosting provider’s technical support or customer service departments. However, if something goes wrong or if you need help, you will need to make sure that they are responsive and available to help you when you need them. Hosting providers have many ways to contact them, such as phone, email and live chat. Before you sign up for service, try contacting them to see if they are able to respond to your questions in a timely manner and most importantly of all, if they are able to respond correctly to your questions. Naturally, getting an off-topic answer in broken English is not a good sign.

Site building tools and templates

If you don’t already have a site pre-built, these will be very useful to help you set up your new web site in a few minutes. A lot of web hosts have site builder software in the control panel as well as many site templates for you to select from. Not everyone will need those, but obviously they are a big plus and can make building your site go a lot faster.

Additional software

While a lot of site features, such as guest books, can be added quite easily by downloading some free scripts off the web, a good web host will have a number of add-ons that can be instantly added to your site from their control panel. This includes blogs, counters, forums, guest books, form mail scripts, etc. If you think these will be useful on your site, make sure that you go with a web host that offers them.

Email features

While nearly all web hosts will give you a main you@yourdomain.com email address, you may find it useful to have more email addresses at your disposal, in addition to various other email related features. Some things to look for are the number of POP3 email accounts given, web mail access, email aliases, auto responder tools, as well as mail forwarding and mailing list tools. Your web host should also use spam filtering software that is effective, otherwise your inbox risks being filled with dozens of unwanted messages each day.

Website statistics

Do you want to know as much as possible about your visitors, rather than just the number of hits that your website has received? If so, be sure that your host provides you with good web statistics tools such as Webalizer and AWStats. These will let you see exactly where your visitors came from, which country they are from, which pages they have visited on your site and how long they have stayed on each page. Knowing this will allow you to optimize your site better and know how your traffic sources are performing.

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Choosing A Web Hosting Provider – Part 1

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Choosing A Web Hosting Provider – Part 1


If you are going to do business online, chances are you will need to put together a website. Whether you will only have one main website for your business or will need several different sites in order to promote products, you will obviously need a place to host your site. Here are certain things to look for when selecting a web host:

Bandwidth and storage

Today, many web hosting providers offer unlimited or very high storage limits. If your site is just a few pictures and some text pages, this won’t be much of a concern for you. But if you plan on running several sites, or include content that takes up a lot of space like videos or interactive games, it is something to look at. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred to and from your site every month. It won’t be much of a concern if you are just getting a few hundred hits a day or less and your site is relatively small in size. But if you host multimedia content such as streaming videos, or your site gets immensely popular all of a sudden, you may get close to your bandwidth limit. Note that if your bandwidth usage goes through the roof, even a host with supposedly “unlimited” bandwidth can kick you out.

Reliability

Everyone wants their site to be available at all times. After all, every minute that your site is down could mean lost money for you. While every host will advertise something like 99.9% reliability, it can be quite difficult to determine whether this is actually real or if it’s just an advertising gimmick. The best way to find out is to read some reviews online from some other webmasters to see what they think about a particular web host.

Price

Of course, this is a main point in making a decision about signing up for any service, including a web host. With decreasing costs and competition in the industry, the cost of web hosting has gone down in recent times. Do take note that certain web hosts require that you prepay for a certain amount of time. Some of them also give monthly rates, but they could work out to be more expensive than if you had taken a plan and paid in advance for a year or more. But you also need to consider as to whether you still plan on having that site up during all that time. Note that even if you decide to build a new site and get rid of your old one, you could still keep your hosting account. You would just need to get a new domain name and set it to point to your hosting account. But note that price should not be your main concern. Even if a host gives the best rates but their server goes down for hours each day, it will not be much of a benefit for you to use them.

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