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10November

YWM Offers Virtual Private Server Hosting for Joomla

VPS hosting for JoomlaLast month Joomla announced a critical security update that needed to be performed to prevent websites running on versions lower than 3.4.4 from being vulnerable to hacking. A researcher at Trustwave Spiderlabs discovered that Joomla versions 3.2-3.4.4 contain a bug that allows full administrative access to any Joomla site. This type of access would allow a hacker to delete pages, block users or even add malicious code into existing pages. And once hackers locate a vulnerability, they generally post it somewhere allowing other hackers to see and wreak their own havoc.

 

The vast majority of websites run on something that’s called shared hosting - meaning your website files are on a large computer called a “server” along with several hundred other websites. Many people choose shared hosting because economically it makes sense. It’s more cost effective to spread the resources of one computer among several hundred clients, resulting in lower fees to the consumer. However, the disadvantage to shared hosting is that all sites on a particular server are competing for space and bandwidth. In addition because the sites are all sharing resources, you are limited to the amount of customizations you can make to pre-installed apps, content management systems and even your site’s security.

 

YWM is now offering managed Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting for Joomla sites. With a Virtual Private Server, your site is hosted on YWM’s virtual machine which gives us complete control over the hosting environment. This gives us the freedom to take extra steps for security such as blocking ports, making file permissions stronger, assigning your site it’s own ip address and a host of other features to keep it running safe and secure without having to submit trouble tickets to a hosting company for changes.

 

And remember because your site is not competing for resources with hundreds of other sites, your pages will load significantly faster, which is a huge plus for you as Google has indicated that page speed is a factor in determining site rankings. VPS also significantly faster which helps page load speed. Speed is now a factor in Google search results as is indicated in an excerpt of an official blog post below:

 

For our maintenance clients, we’ll be offering a special rate of $25 per month with automated billing set up via credit card or ACH. For non-maintenance clients, you can move to our virtual private server for $42 per month.

Act today to take advantage of these great introductory rates for Managed VPS Hosting for Joomla sites.

 

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Written by Nicole Hill, Posted in SEO

08January

Weird Ways to Improve Traffic to Your Website

Just about every website owner wants to get more traffic to their site. You might hire a SEO company to “optimize” your site or you might spend money on advertising, whether its pay-per-click (PPC) or other mediums. Like many others, I routinely look at my Google Analytics to see how these things affect my traffic, hoping for that upward trend line that lets me feel like my website is doing something for my business (umm, especially since my business is web design).

A little while back I saw this huge spike in traffic. From one day to the next, my traffic went up 500% and sustained at that level for two weeks. What was it that brought all these glorious new people to the land of YellowWebMonkey Web Design? It was a CraigsList ad I had posted, looking to hire some part-time data entry help to finish a backlog of projects.

Traffic Increase

That peak got me thinking, “what are some other EASY and FREE ways to get more traffic to my site?” Doing some more research, here is what I came up with:


JOB POSTINGS

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the economy is slow and a lot of people are looking for work. That is a large population that are actively searching numerous sites looking to learn more about businesses that are hiring. If you have openings, that makes it easy. Some free places to post job listings are:

  • CraigsList.org
  • Misc Job Boards (search “free job listings ”)
  • College and Alumni Boards
  • Local Newspaper website
  • Professional Association pages
  • State commissions (such as Texas Workforce)

Even if you are not looking to snatch up another full or part-time employee, you might have “gigs” that you would pay money for.

ywm-jobs

Some gigs you might be able to post are:

  • Office Cleaning
  • Shredding
  • Handing out flyers or other promotions
  • Handyman work
  • Copywriting for newsletters/blogs
  • Translating in Spanish

POLLS/CONTESTS

Now, polls and contests are not really a new idea for attracting people. However, here is a new spin on it. When I was working on Austin Music City's website, I looked at the page views for their different articles. Most band reviews and announcements had about 300-500 page views. However, their monthly monthly band poll for the best new song had around 70,000 page views. That’s quite a difference. That is because that page gave other people a reason to promote the page for Austin Music City. You may not know a status update from a re-tweet, but your goal is to that audience that lives on Facebook and Twitter to do it all that work for you. Come up with some type of contest, relevant to your business and let the “contenders” market your site for you. Come up with a topic, have a time period when people submit to win (preferably with a note that lets you know how much they want to win which correlates with how hard they will market), choose finalists, and let them do the work. Here are some ideas:

  • Lawn Care: Best Lawn or Best Christmas Lights
  • Promotional Items: Funniest/Weirdest Logo
  • Contracting Company: Best DUCT tape fix
  • Car Wash: Dirtiest Car

(Send other good ideas in the comments of this blog)

 

GIVING TESTIMONIALS TO OTHERS

Almost every business has done business with another service-related business. Reward those that have provided quality services with a testimonial from your business. Just ask that when they put it on their website or print it, that they include the link to your website. Especially in the case of web/graphic design, because any of their potential customers will click that link to evaluate that company’s work on your site.

USEFUL REFERENCES

Content is King. If your website only has a paragraph saying how great your business is and your contact information, it is going to be much harder to get hits from search engine results. Not to mention, you give visitors no reason to go back to your website more than once. If you haven’t already spent the time to write out a description of your target client, then you should take five minutes right now. Once you have that, think about what type of information those people might be searching for.

references

By providing that information, you are doing several things:

  1. bringing ideal customers to your website
  2. establishing yourself as a Subject Matter Expert
  3. by assisting them you are suggesting you care about helping customers

Here are some ideas:

Business Audience References
Roofing Company Homeowners - List of local home inspectors
- How to file an insurance claim
- What you should know before putting up Christmas lights
Motorcycle Dealer Motorcycle Riders - Maps of good local routes
- Calendar of rallies/events
Fancy Restaurant - People going out for a special occasion
- People who appreciate good food
- How to make your Valentines/Anniversary special
- New and Notable Wines you Haven’t Heard of

 

(Send other good ideas in the comments of this blog)

HELP A CAUSE

What will motivate people even more than trying to win something? Trying to help a good cause. (ok, ok, it will motivate some people more). How many times have you gotten an email asking to you help find a missing child, help raise money for a good charity, or donate items. You can use your website to provide an easy way to help a good cause.

If you have an employee that is competing in an event to raise money, add an article highlighting what they are doing with a link to sponsor them for a certain amount. You might also consider some incentive like matching funds or saying if they can raise $2000 (or whatever), then your company will donate an additional amount. That will encourage others to forward the link out to get more people to come to your page.

If there is a cause that is encouraging people to write their congressman, etc (and is not a topic that some potential clients would not support), you can add an automated form to your site to make it easier for people to submit their comments. A good example of this would be the expansion of I-35 through Central Texas. Most people are very supportive of getting more funds from the TX Dept of Transportation to help the area grow. A local organization called 1000 Friends of Waco have a page about this issue with a link to make comments to TXDOT. If you add something similar or an actual form for comments, you will get others actively marketing your site to others.

Another idea is to collect items for a cause. On your website you can provide information about the cause and the specifics of what is needed. Some examples might be:

  • Clothes donations for a family whose home burned down
  • Canned goods for a food drive
  • Toys for Tots

You will get the extra traffic from people looking for information and can add a good-news story after you turn in the donations. This is an especially good idea if you have a business where you would benefit by getting more people to walk in the front door.

All of these causes help get more traffic to your site as well as help your reputation as a business that contributes to the local community.

CONCLUSION

If you think these ideas sound good, but you have no idea how to implement them; consider using a web developer as a consultant to figure out how to make your website work better for you. You can find ones that will help you develop a plan, help train your employees, or build a package to provide those services for you. Many companies like ours will write eNewsletters, blog entries, setup contests, and maintain social networking accounts for our clients for a monthly fee. Most fees are less than most companies spend on YellowPages advertisements and lets be honest, the phonebook is disappearing about as quickly as phone booths are. The good news though, is that the majority of people that used to use them, are now walking around with their own cell phone that they could look at your website on; if you give them a reason to.

Posted in SEO

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