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December 2011

Shhhh... 25% off X-Mas Coupons for TheGreekMerchant.com

TheGreekMerchant.com, an official Namhost partner company, is having a massive Christmas special with up to 25% off on many of their super cool T-Shirts. Forgot to buy someone a present vir Christmas? Why not get them one of these:




 

 

 

Visit The Greek Merchant's Store Today!

 

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Which Hosting Type Should You Choose For Your Website?

When it comes to website hosting, you will need to consider the type of hosting that is best for you. This will have direct implication on your website and what you can do with it. Here are just a few options that you have.

Free Hosting

Free hosting is something to consider if you just have a personal website that is not going to generate money. Free hosting is limited and usually means that you have the hosting site as part of your domain name. However, this is a great way to start out your personal site and offer information on a very limited budget.

Simple Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest option available and is perfect for basic websites. The idea behind shared hosting is that thousands of websites are on one server and they all have the same IP address. This is something to consider if you have a small website but there are some limitations.

The problem is that you only have access to a limited size of the CPU, which will mean that you need to limit your website design. Another problem is that you could be limited to the countries that your website reaches to, due to other websites on that IP address.

Business and E-Commerce Hosting

When it comes to a business website, you will need to opt for something that costs slightly more. Business and e-commerce hosting usually offer dedicated IP addresses, so you are not limited, and there are some that will offer more CPU usage.

E-commerce hosting also makes it possible to add a shopping cart to your website without having to worry about PHP coding. This is something to consider, especially if you have limited coding skills. This also helps to keep the server side programming to a limit so you do not need to worry about your CPU usage.

Dedicated Hosting

This is a popular option for those who want a server all to themselves. This does cost a lot but is worth it if you have a large business website. This is something for large businesses to consider. Dedicated hosting means that you will definitely have a dedicated IP address, so only you can affect your website’s worldwide range.

You will also be able to gain much more for your money, including extra email addresses, more sub-domains and more CPU usage – since you will have a server all to yourself.
 

 

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5 Reasons Why SEO Is Important for an Online Business

When you want to start or take your business online, it is very important to consider and make your website SEO friendly. It will help others to find your website and can increase your revenue into many folds than conventional business methods.

1. SEO Content Will Increase Traffic

SEO copywriters will craft the contents in such a way that it will read well for humans but is also perfect for the search engine robots. The keywords are phrases that people will type into the search engines and the algorithm will determine which content is most relevant. Don’t think twice to hire an expert SEO writer to write the contents for your site.

2. Better Quality SEO Will Increase Traffic

When SEO is done with proper guidelines, the content will be found on search engines. This means that more people will be able to find it, so there is an increase in traffic. This is the best thing for your business, since more traffic will mean that you increase your business prospects. This will help to keep your business alive and out of trouble.

3. Helping with a Local Search

There are some people who will search for local businesses, which is something that SEO can help you with. SEO shall also be done with geo-tagging and localized phrases. This is something that search engines will pick up on when someone types the localized phrase in the search bar.

There are many ways that you can make your site more localized – one of those is by using Google Pages.

4. Letting People Know About You

If you have just created an online business, your name will not be recognized. This means that people will not know who you are to search for you. The good thing is that SEO will help you with that. The algorithm will look for the most relevant information and as long as you have followed the good SEO practices, you stand a chance of gaining a higher page rank.

Of course, this is something that will take time and something that you will need to work on over time – but you will gain from the benefits and SEO

5. SEO is Free – but Experts Know how to do it Effectively

As just stated, SEO is free and is a form of marketing. This is great for an online business, which is likely to have a small marketing budget. You should use as many free options as possible so that you can spend your money on other aspects of your business – such as development and the products that you offer. But when you want to see greater results, it’s better to hire a SEO consultant and provider.
 

 

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The Internet: empowering the individual

Gone are the days when the main stream and governmental media corporations reigned supreme. The internet and the social networks have taken over. It is the complete empowerment to the individual. No longer do we need to get spoon fed and brainwashed by a few. Now it is up to you to choose what you want to learn, want to see, want to explore. And there is something for everyone on the web, you just need to find it. (ok, there is also a lot of cr*p on the net aswell)

Life is and always will be a peoples’ game, in every single way.  Every project, every success, every dream and even every failure results from the interactions between people. With the help of the internet the ease of interaction with more and even international people from all over the world has increased drastically. A quick google search reveals the contact details of anyone in the world, the CEO of this company, the marketing director of that organization, etc. You get the point. The whole world has just gotten a bit smaller.

Base Jumping

So in order to realize your idea or dream, you first of all need to follow it, have faith, courage, and never back down, but you also need the help and interaction with the right people. However, it has become easier to find the right people. It has also become easier to paint a picture about someone by looking at his website, Facebook profile, photos, previously accomplished projects, videos and other links. This can be good and can be bad. Good if you have an awesome website, awesome pictures and it looks like you are having a blast in life. Bad if it’s the opposite.... Which means that in order to be successful in these times, and you rely on the marketing of your idea via the www, it is very important what your digital media presentation looks like. If you have an awesome project, but a crappy website, you are more than likely to hit resistance along the way.

Base Jumping

My buddy Nicholas Louw and me, are in the process of hosting an adventure roadtrip through Namibia and South Africa. We are inviting 6 people (skydivers and B.A.S.E. jumpers) from all over the world to join us on this mad roadtrip, which includes the awesomeness of travelling, a ton of skydiving, some BASE jumping and a whole lot of other crazy stuff. The trip is called Footloose in Africa, check it out at www.footloose.com.na and tell us what you think.

We have put in a lot of effort to create the website, so that we can attract people from all over and that they have faith in the project and one can immediately get a feel for what the trip is about. Without the internet, this project would almost be impossible to pull off, and so far the worldwide feedback has been very positive. Ok but I have to admit, that to create awareness for your site is a mission in itself. Don’t expect to have a massive amount of hits on your site just because it looks great.

Base Jumping

But this is where Nico Lourens and Ardi Cotzee from Namhost Internet Services can help you and can tell you all about getting that part down, it’s their area of expertise. Their domain hosting is also superb, professional and quick. Keep it up guys.

As for our designer, a very big thank you for hooking us up with this mad artwork. You are a genius.

I wish all of you awesome holidays, and a successful start to the year. Make use of the internet, keep on dreaming and don’t let anybody keep you from following your dreams.

 

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5 Usefull jQuery Plugins for Your Website

Our team of experienced and talented web designers have the skills and ability to give your web site that special touch by using any of these 5 nifty jQuery techniques:


1. jQuery lightBox Plugin

jQuery Techniques in Web Design

Overview: http://leandrovieira.com/projects/jquery/lightbox

Download: http://leandrovieira.com/download/7

Lightweight simplicity overlays the image on the current page while darkening the background and without slowing down the page's load time. This plugin is simple yet elegant, giving your page a more professional look. It is a no-hassle, unobtrusive web design technique that many users enjoy.

2. jQuery Suckerfish Plugin

jQuery Techniques in Web Design

Demo: http://be.twixt.us/jquery/suckerFish.php

The Suckerfish plugin creates drop down menus, much like the DTHL drop down menus that were coded with large amounts of javascript, easily corruptible and not always compatible with all browsers. The major difference is that the Suckerfish plugin is much smaller in size, more easily modified and cross-browser compatible. The design is aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.

3. jQZoom

jQuery Techniques in Web Design

Demo: http://www.mind-projects.it/projects/jqzoom/demos.php#demo1

Download: http://www.mind-projects.it/projects/jqzoom/archives/jqzoom_ev-2.3.zip

The jQZoom plugin helps you utilize smaller spaces when you have large images to display. It is a tool that allows you to magnify any image as you hover your cursor over it. The script can be modified for a number of different zoom effects such as standard, standard with thumbnails (as shown above), reverse, drag, inner and more.

4. jQuery Cycle Plugin

jQuery Techniques in Web Design

Overview: http://jquery.malsup.com/cycle

Download: http://jquery.malsup.com/cycle/download.html

The jQuery Cycle plugin creates a slide show effect using an order of consistent components that are not limited to only images. The coding allows for customization of transitional effects from one slide to the next. You can display more content in a smaller space while still being stylish and visibly pleasing.

5. Orbit jQuery Image Slider Plugin

jQuery Techniques in Web Design

Overview: http://www.zurb.com/playground/jquery_image_slider_plugin

Download: http://matt.zurb.s3.amazonaws.com/orbit-1.2.3.zip

The Orbit jQuery plugin allows you to create sliding images with multiple customizable elements for each individual slide. This powerful tool can display a larger amount of content while taking up around only 4 kb of space.


Feel free to request a quote from our team of web designers here!

 

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5 Simple Website Design Tips

Designing your own website is becoming much easier. There are now plenty of Content Management Systems available, such as Drupal, WordPress and Joomla, to be able to do everything without having to know the code. The trick is to know the best ways to design a good website, which will have people coming back for more. Here are 5 simple tips that anyone can follow.

Tip #1: Know What Your Website Is About

The first thing that you should do with web design is know what your website will be about. Are you setting up a business website or is this a personal online calling card? This will determine the basic design of your site as well as the amount of pages that you will need.

Take your time to decide on your needs for your website before you start designing. A home page is required for all types of sites, but you will also need to determine other pages that you need – do you need a gallery for photos? Do you need a shop for your products on sale?

Tip #2: Avoid Distractions

While you may think that the animated banners at the top of the screen work well and show off your talents, there are high chances that they will be distracting to your viewers. You want to avoid anything that could turn people off, including bright colors and scrolling text.

Tip #3: Don’t Use Popup Windows

When you go to a website, do you get annoyed at popup window? There are high chances that the answer is yes, which mean that others will be annoyed at popup windows. So, do not use them on your own website!

Tip #4: Make Your Menu Easy-to-use

When it comes to navigating around your website, you need to make sure that the website design is simple and user friendly. Avoid having different menus on different pages and lots of different extra pages. Keep everything simple with just one menu bar that leads to what the titles say so. This will help your users find exactly what they want.

Make sure that this menu is available on every page and that it is always possible to get back to the home page.

Tip #5: Keep Your Images a Reasonable Size

People hate the horizontal scroll bar and this is usually created due to images being too large. Another problem with large images is that they take a long time to load up. To make it much easier for your vistors, consider the image size in your website design. Keep them reasonable so that anybody can load them at a reasonable time – no matter how slow their connection is.
 

 

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100 Ways to Submit your blog / website / rss feed and get more backlinks

The purpose of this blog post is to create a resource where you can easily submit your site to directories and search engines. There aren't 100 just yet, but this will increase over time.

Current total ways: 3 (Last updated: 12 Dec 2011)

RSS Submission

Search Engine Submission

Online Directory

Blog Submission

 

Yahoo

Namsearch

     
 

Google

     

 

 

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5 Types Of Internet Scams To Look Out For

1.  Phishing

A phishing scam is when a scammer dupes the unsuspecting victim into divulging their personal information such as passwords, social security numbers, account numbers and more, without even realizing they have done so.  The victim believes that they are in contact with the legitimate company or organization that the information may pertain to.  This commonly happens when the victim receives an email from a company that visibly looks official asking for them to authenticate their information.  Most companies will never ask you to do such a thing through email, and if you have any doubts, contact the company directly and make sure to refrain from downloading or viewing any attachments or clicking any of the links they provide.

2.  Identity Theft

There are countless ways a scammer can steal your identity over the internet.  Using multiple methods they obtain your personal information such as your name, birthday, birthday, social security number, bank account, passwords etc.  The scammer then uses this information to falsely obtain loans or make purchases with no intention of payment.  They walk away with the goods and still you with the bill.  Be careful when using your personal information online by making sure the sites are verified and secured.

3.  Malware/URL Shortener Scam

The term malware originates from the combination of “mal” meaning “malicious” and “ware” meaning “software”.  Malware attempts to change or disrupt a computer, essentially infecting it with a harmful virus.  Scammers will use url shorteners like tinyurl.com to create a shorter url that forwards you to a site whose url is most often long and full of gibberish.  Once the user clicks the shortened url they are taken to the website that automatically attempts to infect the computer.  Not all shortened urls take you to sites with malware, so always make sure to be careful when clicking them when they are supplied to you from sources you aren't familiar with. 

4.  Money Transfer Fraud

This scam can present itself in many ways.  It may appear as someone claiming you've won a lottery from foreign countries or a long lost relative you've never heard of has passed away, leaving you a large inheritance.  The promise of it is that there is a large sum of money for you to claim, but the catch is that you have to pay for processing, handling, taxes or any other number of excuses.  The reward is usually hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and requires a few thousand to be paid upfront to cover the other party's costs.  The victim happily sends the money, eager to get their prize.  They end up sadly disappointed when they realize that the scammer is gone and so is all of their  money.  Be wary of anyone asking you to give them money. to pay you.

5.  Pyramid Schemes

There are many forms of pyramid schemes, but the end result is all the same.  The victim looses all of their investment.  The scammer suggests that the victim make an investment in some hot new product that just mhit the market.  They sign the contract agreeing to purchase a number of the items up front, and enroll in an automatic plan to receive more each month regardless if any of the previous products have even sold.  The quotas are impossible to keep up with, so the victim ends up spending tons of money investing, hoping for huge profits.  Instead they end up with empty wallets and load of overpriced junk that nobody even needs or wants.

Just be careful with how you use your personal information online.  If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

 

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Your business, what is lurking behind the scenes?

It's very easy to hide behind a website nowadays. Download a few nice themes from a few decent websites and everyone thinks your the coolest kid in the neighbourhood. Other than people starting to catch on and identifying fraudsters themselves, there should be a different reason you want to do things the right way behind the scenes: because it's the right thing to do!

Okay, so not everyone has values. What about: if you don't offer a genuine service that has your client's best ineterest at heart, you won't survive in the business world? You can only go on for so long before getting a bad name which will no doubt destroy your reputation and make you very disliked in general.

Unfortunately, many companies choose the alternative route. As much as I wish this article was about how we can identify these companies, I can unfortuntaly only focus on how you can do some introspection and make sure you're doing your best to be part of the solution and not the problem, and that there are no skeletons in your closet.

Some tips to make sure your closet is clean:

  1. When you source your products or services, are you buying the cheapest or are you buying the best?
  2. Is your product dangerous to the environment and if so, are you doing something to counter your effect?
  3. Are you doing something good for the environment anyway?
  4. Are you helping any charities? Students? Anyone?
  5. Are you doing everything in your business legally and safely for yourself, your staff and your clients?
  6. Do you try to meet your clients halfway when trying to resolve a dispute?
  7. Do you offer good enough after-sales support?
  8. Do you have enough ways for your clients to get hold of you?

Please feel free to comment if you can think of any. Contributors will given credit.

 

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Ultimate Blog / Website Checklist

The idea of this post is to add items and grow it as big as possible overtime. Originally the heading was "Things every blog must have", but I realised that many of these points also count for normal websites. So here is the complete list that more or less counts for both.

  1. Cater for on and off-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  2. Good, relevant and Search Engine Optimized domain and blog name (good: myblog.com, bad: myblog.wordpress.com)
  3. Use anti-spam software for comments (e.g. Recaptcha, Akismet etc)
  4. Include service links. (any link that can share content on your website is a plug, so that includes: Facebook Like buttons, Twitter Retweet buttons etc) (we used the Drupal Sexy Bookmarks module for a while as well as the Service Links module, both are good and both support all the popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Technorati etc) (TweetMeme is also very good and used on this blog)
  5. An RSS feed
  6. Categories or section divisions
  7. Automatic content publishing (we use "Scheduler" for Drupal)
  8. Make use of statistics (nothing beats Google Analytics)
  9. Elegant and personal design (even a business blog can be slightly more personal than the rest of the site. some people that are getting it right:
  10. Stick to a clear genre or theme surrounding your blog
  11. Author information (in case people really like your post)
  12. Write or buy (constant-content.com, elance.com, etc) good content (without this, your blog will fail)
  13. Emphasize hot posts / content (by showing a list of popular posts, or adding flames at the top of hot posts etc)
  14. Legal stuff (privacy policy, terms of use, disclaimers etc)
  15. Search
  16. Blogroll (link to people with similar interests)
  17. Post frequently (at least once a day), or pre-write content and use scheduling as per point (7)
  18. Do all the links work?
  19. Do all the forms work?
  20. Does everything else work?
  21. Links to your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc)

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you can think of more?

 

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