Blog – Web Image Designs https://webimagedesigns.com Wordpress Websites Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:22:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 WordPress HTTP To HTTPS https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-http-to-https/ https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-http-to-https/#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:02:29 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2923 I will assume that you already understand the many benefits of changing WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS. Therefore, I will focus on describing the steps to make this change. I have used these steps to change a lot of WordPress website ...

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I will assume that you already understand the many benefits of changing WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS. Therefore, I will focus on describing the steps to make this change. I have used these steps to change a lot of WordPress website from HTTP to HTTPS with success. However, every website is different and you may need to do things differently. If this is helpful, please let me know. If you need to take different steps please share so it can help others.

1. Dedicated IP address

A dedicated IP address is a unique IP addresses for your domain name. For example if you type https://64.233.187.99/ it will take you to https://www.google.com. This is their dedicated IP address that uniquely identifies the domain name google.com. When using HTTPS protocol you need to uniquely identify your domain name so the proper SSL certificate can be severed.

Depending on your hosting account you may need to purchase a dedicated IP address. You will then need to assign the dedicated IP address to your website in your host account and update your domain name’s DNS to point to your dedicated IP address. The timing of these updates is important. Until your DNS is fully propagated some people may still get your old IP address and will not be able to access your website.

2. SSL Certificate

You need to purchase a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate and install it in your host account. A SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. There are many providers and types of SSL certificates available. The key is to make sure that you are purchasing a SSL certificate from a reliable provider and select the type of SSL certificate that best meets your needs.  If you are hosting your website from a quality host provider then it may be easiest to purchase a SSL certificate through them.

Once you purchase the SSL Certificate it is important that you pay close attention to all email messages and follow the instructions carefully to install the SSL certificate correctly.  File any email messages and instructions in a safe place for future reference.

When the SSL certificate is installed properly, you should be able to visit your site at either HTTP or HTTPS and have it come up fine.  But you are far from done, keep reading.

3. Back Up your Website

Do a complete (database and files) and store the back-up in a safe place in case you need to restore the website.

4. Force HTTPS in WordPress Admin

To force HTTPS in the WordPress admin area, put this line in your wp-config.php file at the root of your WordPress install:

define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);

Test that this is working by going to https: followed by //yoursite.com/wp-admin/ or use your custom url login path (be sure to change the HTTP to HTTPS). If that work then continue to the next step. If it does not work remove the line from your wp-config.php file and make sure your SSL certificate is properly installed.

5.Change WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) from HTTP to HTTPS

In your WordPress Admin go to Settings -> General. Change both the WordPress Address URL and the Site Address URL from HTTP to HTTPS. Save Your Changes.

url https

6. Change Your Existing URLS To HTTPS

It is highly likely that you have URLs specified as http://yourdomainname throughout your website. We need to change them to https://yourdomainname in order to avoid mixed content errors (see more on Mixed Content Warnings below).

Install the WordPress Plug-in “Search & Replace” by Inpsyde GmbH. It can be found at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/search-and-replace/

Once the Search & Replace plug-in is installed and activated in your WordPress Admin go to: Tools -> Search & Replace

On the Backup Database tab. Create a backup of your database by clicking “Create SQL File”. Then download the SQL file and store it in a safe place in case you need to restore your data base. Note: in a future step you will create a SQL file that will be used to change the domain name from HTTP to HTTPS. This file will have the same name as the database back-up so it is important that you store the database back-up in a location so you do not confuse the two files.

On the Search & Replace Tab. You will now change all of the domain name urls from http to https.

“search for” enter : http://yourdomainname

“replace with” enter: https://yourdomainname

Click on “Select all tables”

Make sure “Dry Run” is clicked on so you can review your results to make sure that the changes look correct. Once the dry run is finished the dry run details will be displayed above the tabs.

change url WordPress

Click on View details. Review the results to make sure the new urls look as you expected. If they do, then close out of the details file and you will go back to the Search & Replace tab.

Now you are ready to create the SQL file to make the database changes.

Click on “Select all tables. You will need to click this on again or you will not get any results.

Click off “Dry Run”

Click on “Export SQL file with changes”. A SQL file that contains the changes will be created. Note: The plug-in will not allow you to change the domain name directly to the database.

Download the SQL file with the database changes. Make sure not to override the SQL file that contains your database back-up.

On the SQL Import tab. Select the SQL file with the changes and click on Import SQL file. Try not to freak out as this can take a bit of time. Once the import completes you will receive a message above the tabs that hopefully says the SQL file was successfully imported. You can also use phpMyAdmin to import the file if you prefer.

SQL Import

Note: I recommend that you remove the Search & Replace plug-in when you are done.

7. Verify Your Website Is Fully HTTPS

While viewing your website you should see a green lock with the words Secure and https://yourdomainmane in the URL area

secure https

If you do not see this, make sure you entered https://yourdomainname and not http:// and try again. Still no green lock – go to step 8.

8. No Green Lock

If you do not have a green lock then you most likely will have a circle with an i in the middle – info icon. This means that you are not fully HTTPS yet. You will need to fix the URLs that are not HTTPS.

If you are using Chrome as your browser click on the info icon and then click on the details. You will most likely see “mixed content” and “blocked” information. The information detail will tell you which page on your website was trying to load an insecure url. The insecure url is using HTTP and not HTTPS. I find that this often occurs if images are being loaded in widgets or TablePress where the full path to the image was specified. The full path will contain HTTP and unfortunately the Search & Replace plug-in does not change these URls to HTTPS for you.  I am sure there a lot of other places where the HTTP protocol can be lingering, so the only thing to do is read through the warning file and fix all of them.

 

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Website Copyright FAQ https://webimagedesigns.com/website-copyright-faq/ https://webimagedesigns.com/website-copyright-faq/#respond Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:00:27 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2600 As a website developer I frequently get questions related to the website copyright, which often is found in the website’s footer, and the legal use of images on a website. To help answer these questions I sat down with Barbara ...

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As a website developer I frequently get questions related to the website copyright, which often is found in the website’s footer, and the legal use of images on a website. To help answer these questions I sat down with Barbara Ingrassia from Manage Copyright. Barbara is certified in Copyright Management and has over 8 years of experience helping people understand the basics of copyright and how to comply with the law.

At the start of our discussion Barbara shared that our discussion would focus on general situations and was not legal advice. If there are questions related to a specific situation, it is recommended that you schedule a consulting engagement with Barbara. Barbara can also provide group training or present to your organization.

Here are the fruits of our conversation:

Is my website content copyrighted?

Works created before 1923 are in the public domain due to copyright expiration. Works created between 1923 and 1989 without a copyright are not protected and are considered free use. Works created since 1989 are covered by the intellectual property law and are automatically owned by the author. This means that your original work website content created after 1989 is covered by copyright law the moment it is created (in a fixed tangible form). If your website content has not been updated since 1989 then copyright law is probably the least of your worries.
Although copyright violation is illegal, it can be difficult to prosecute offenders unless you have registered your works. However, website content is often revised frequently, and each revision made on separate days may need to be registered individually. The details related to copyright registration can be found here from the Copyright Gov website.

Putting a copyright notice at the bottom of your website is recommended because it makes it clear to all that your website content is owned by you and should not be used without your permission.

How do you know if an image can be used on your website?

Google makes it easy to find pages and pages of images, but that does not mean that you can just use any image. The copyright laws that keep your website content safe from misuse also cover images. Therefore, to make sure that you have the legal right to use an image on your website it must have been created by you, purchased by you from a stock photo provider, or has a license that explicitly states that it can be used for your intended purpose.

Flickr can be a good place to find images that can be used on a website free of charge. You can search images based on a variety of license types. Once you find an image that you are interested in using it is important check to see if the image has license restrictions.

public-domain-imageThe license information for this red space car image is highlighted in yellow. The image is in the public domain and can be used on your website. Other images, may list use restrictions.

In summary, the best practice is to assume that images, or content, found anywhere on the web cannot be used unless it is explicitly stated that it is available for use. Mark your website with a copyright notice to make it explicitly clear if you do not want your content or images used without your permission.

 

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WordPress Website Designer Selection https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-website-designer-selection/ https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-website-designer-selection/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:23:46 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2533 WordPress website designer selection is a very important step in your website project. There are hundreds of website designer to choose from, and unlike some professions, there is no exam to demonstrate a minimum level of competency. Anyone with a ...

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WordPress website designer selection is a very important step in your website project. There are hundreds of website designer to choose from, and unlike some professions, there is no exam to demonstrate a minimum level of competency. Anyone with a computer and a basic understanding of websites can call themselves a website designer. Working with an inexperienced website designer can end up costing you far, far more than you expected if they do not build your website correctly.

To select a qualified WordPress website design partner who can build a quality website, advise you, and support you through the full development of your website design project and beyond, ask the six questions below before selecting your WordPress website design partner.

1. WordPress Security – How will you make sure my website is secure?

All websites, large or small, are a target for hackers and malware. So do not dismiss website security as unimportant because you think nobody would want to hack your website. There is big money behind website hacking, so they are motivated to hack any website.

A professional website developer will be able to explain:

  • secure hosting options,
  • https protocol,
  • proper file security settings,
  • security hardening plug-ins,
  • secure ways to manage user accounts and passwords,
  • back-up strategies with off-site storage options for disaster recovery,
  • upgrade strategies,
  • how to clean or recover a website if it is hacked or attacked with malware

If your potential website designer cannot explain these website security measures then they may leave your website vulnerable to attack and most likely will not be able to help you if your website is infected.

2. Website Design and Customizations – How will you meet my marketing needs? How will customizations be done to ensure that your website can be upgraded?

Your website design needs to showcase your brand and present your content in a manner that will make it quick and easy for your target market to understand what you do and why they should engage with you. This sometimes can be achieved with a pre-built WordPress theme, or it may require that a custom WordPress theme be developed. A professional WordPress website designer will take you through a website design process that will help determine which solution will best meet your needs.

If a pre-built WordPress theme is going to be used you need to understand why a specific theme is being suggested and ensure that the theme author is reputable, that theme is being maintained, and that it is compatible with your version of WordPress. All customization must be done in a theme area, or child theme, that is not overridden on upgrade. Unfortunately, we have had people come to us with a broken websites because their “website developer” customized files that are overridden on upgrade. This can be a budget buster if the website owner now has to absorb the cost to have the work done correctly. It is often less expensive to hire a professional website developer to do the work correctly the first time.

If the website developer is creating a custom theme for you, ask them if they are using a starter theme, such as Underscores, to ensure that they are following all WordPress theme development best practices.

3. WordPress Plug-ins – What plug-ins do you plan to use on my website and why? How do you select plug-ins?

WordPress plug-ins can provide important functionality to a website, such as a contact form.  However, before installing plug-ins on your website, you should ensure that the author of the plug-in is reputable, that the plug-in is being maintained, and that the plug-in is compatible with your version of WordPress.

A professional website developer will be able to tell you the main plug-ins they expect to use on your website, what functionality each plug-in provides, and how they select plug-ins to be installed. If a website developer cannot provide this type of information they are likely inexperienced and you should move on.

We often have WordPress websites that come to us as maintenance clients and the website is loaded with unnecessary plug-ins or plug-ins that are deactivated. Plug-ins, like WordPress, need to be upgraded on a regular basis to keep your website secure. If you have unnecessary plug-ins installed this adds to the maintenance of you website and provides unnecessary avenues for hackers to access your website.

4. Website Performance – What steps will you take to optimize the performance of my website?

Google’s PageSpeed Insights  is one tool to measure the performance of a website.  Their website performance includes how fast the website loads on desktop and mobile devices and the usability of the website on mobile devices. Websites with good performance will rank higher in search engines and will provide a better user experience. We all have left a website that simply took too long to load.

A professional website designer should be able to explain what steps they will take to optimize the performance of your website and demonstrate what they have done on other websites to improve performance.

5. Search Engine Optimization – What on-page SEO steps will you take?

Search engine optimization is a very large area and is often a whole project on its own. However, fundamental decisions made now will build a sound SEO base and can save you a bundle in the future.  Any website project should plan the website structure, use of heading tags, meta tags, page descriptions, categories, tags, and sitemap xml. Any public website, unless you take active steps to forbid it, will be crawled by search engine bots and indexed in search results. Basic on-page SEO gives you more control over what is shown in search results. However, this work needs to be done correctly. We have had clients come to us and we discovered that the “SEO expert” actually did things that could get the website penalized by search engines.

If the WordPress website designer cannot explain what on-page SEO steps they will take and demonstrate the effect of these steps on other website that they have done, then you would be wise not to select them as your WordPress website designer.

6. Past Performance – What other project have you done? What did you do on the project? Was the project successful – why or why not?  What would you do differently on the next project and why?

The step of checking on past website design projects is often skipped, and it may be the easiest step for a person not familiar with website development to perform.

Ask the WordPress Website designer to show you at least two past website development projects that are similar to your project and explain what they did on each project and why. This allows you to understand the website designer’s communication skills and level of knowledge.

Request client contact information for the same website projects and communicate with the reference to understand their experience with the developer, the quality of the work performed, and the developer’s work style.

The time spent reviewing past website projects and checking references could save you a lot of time, a lot of money, and frustration in the long-run.

In summary, asking these six questions will help you separate out the professional WordPress website designers from those whose knowledge does not go beyond a one click WordPress install and adding a theme.

 

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WordPress Admin Menu Not Working With Chrome 45 https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-menu-not-working-with-chrome-45/ https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-menu-not-working-with-chrome-45/#respond Tue, 08 Sep 2015 20:53:11 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2116 On September 7, 2015 I started noticing that when I was logged into WordPress that the dashboard menu items seemed to disappear and overlap one another.  It took me a bit to figure out that this was only happening when ...

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On September 7, 2015 I started noticing that when I was logged into WordPress that the dashboard menu items seemed to disappear and overlap one another.  It took me a bit to figure out that this was only happening when I was using Chrome 45 as my browser. Thankfully, I found this blog post http://wptavern.com/a-bug-in-chrome-45-causes-wordpress-admin-menu-to-break. I followed the instructions provided in the article and now all is good. Hopefully, by passing this on I can help spread the word and save your a lot of time figuring out what is going on.

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Buttons-for-website and Semalt SpamBot Referral Traffic https://webimagedesigns.com/buttons-for-website-semalt-spambot-referral-traffic/ https://webimagedesigns.com/buttons-for-website-semalt-spambot-referral-traffic/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:51:41 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2087 In Google Analytics Under Acquisitions, All Traffic, Referrals you can see the list of sources that referred traffic to your website. Under normal conditions you are happy to see lots of sites sending lots of referrals to you website. However, ...

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In Google Analytics Under Acquisitions, All Traffic, Referrals you can see the list of sources that referred traffic to your website. Under normal conditions you are happy to see lots of sites sending lots of referrals to you website. However, if buttons-for-website.com and semalt.semalt.com are listed, you should not be happy, these are SpamBots.

Why Are SpamBots Bad?

Sambots are computer generated programs who go to your website most likely with ill intention. Some may steal data, email harvest, content scrape, or perform some other unsavory action. If the volume of SpamBot visits is high enough it can put a heavy load on your server, which can slow the speed of your website, and consume bandwidth.  This could cause you to have over-charges with your host provider or you account could be suspended depending on your hosting contract.

On client sites where I have found these SpamBots all of the traffic has 100% bounce rate, which means that they go to one page and leave. Google favors websites where visitors spend time and look at multiple pages because this indicates to Google that visitor find your website interesting. If visitors find your website interesting then Google is more likely to rank your website higher in search results so that more people can find your interesting website. If the SpamBots are increasing your bounce rate they are telling Google that you website is not interesting. So SpamBots are all-around BadBots and it is in your best interest to block then from your website.

How to Block of SpamBots From Your Website

There are multiple ways to block SpamBots from your website, but I am going to show you how to use the .htaccess file because the block happens server-level before any files are sent from the server to client.

Here is a .htaccess file for a WordPress Website that will block the buttons-for-website.com and semalt.semalt.com Spambots:

** Important: the line “Options +FollowSymlinks” below is commented. Uncomment this line if your server isn’t configured with FollowSymLinks in its <directory> section in httpd.conf, and you get a 500 Internal Server error when using the code with this line commented **

# block referer spam
RewriteEngine On
# Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons-for-website.com [NC,OR] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*semalt.com/ [NC] RewriteRule ^.* – [F,L]

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L] </IfModule>

# END WordPress

 Where to Find Your .htacess File

Your .htaccess file is located in the root folder of your website. You can use FTP or CPanel’s file manager to access your root level – be sure to check show hidden files. If show hidden files is not checked you will not see the .htaccess file. I recommend that you make a copy of the original .htaccess file so that you can revert back if necessary – this is a good practice for any change. Once you have updated the .htaccess file be sure to reload your website to make sure that it is working.  If you get  a 500 Internal Server error – refer to the section above where I recommend uncommenting the “Options +FollowSymlinks” line in the sample code.

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Domain Name Whois Data – ICANN’s Big Stick https://webimagedesigns.com/domain-name-who-is-data/ https://webimagedesigns.com/domain-name-who-is-data/#respond Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:32:32 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2065 If you own a domain name then you have received email in the past asking you to update your Domain Name Whois data. Many of us have ignored these message and nothing has happened. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned ...

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If you own a domain name then you have received email in the past asking you to update your Domain Name Whois data. Many of us have ignored these message and nothing has happened. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (and/or the associated ccTLD authority) has decided that it no longer wants to be ignored and they have implemented Whois Accuracy Specification, which will suspend or even delete your account if you do not verify or update you information.

I recently had a client who had her domain name suspended because she had not responded to her Whois email. The suspension caused a large ICANN domain suspension page to be displayed instead of her website. On the suspension notice page she could enter a code, which was displayed on the page, to resend the Whois verification notice to the email address listed as the domain Registrant in the current Whois data. Thankfully, her email address was correct and current, she received the message, she verified her data and her website was back up in a matter of seconds.  If you find that this process does not work for you, potentially because the Registrant email  address is no longer correct, there is a Whois Service Complaint Form that might assist you.

My recommendation to avoid a suspended or deleted domain name is:

  1. log into your domain name account and make sure that you Registrant email address is correct
  2. do not ignore ICANN’s request, or you domain provider’s request, to update your Whois data. ICANN is carrying a big stick and they are not afraid to use it!

 

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Web Image Designs Celebrates 10th Anniversary https://webimagedesigns.com/web-image-designs-10th-anniversary/ https://webimagedesigns.com/web-image-designs-10th-anniversary/#respond Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:14 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2052 Web Image Designs, a Massachusetts-based web marketing firm, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the 10 years of business technology has changed greatly, but Web Image Designs’ commitment to the highest quality customer service has not changed. Thank you to ...

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Web Image Designs, a Massachusetts-based web marketing firm, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the 10 years of business technology has changed greatly, but Web Image Designs’ commitment to the highest quality customer service has not changed. Thank you to our loyal clients for growing with us and helping us grow with your referrals and testimonials.

“Over the last ten years, Web Image Designs has grown despite the difficult economic climate,” says Judy Vedder, CEO and President of Web Image Designs. “I attribute our success to two things: First, we listen to our client’s goals and provide trusted advice to help them achieve those goals in the most efficient manner possible. Our clients know that our primary goal is for them to succeed. Secondly, our focus on truly understanding the technology and internet marketing tools that we work with. These two things combined set us apart from our competition in this crowed market space.”

Web Image Designs’ 10th anniversary celebration will include September client appreciation month. During September 2014 current clients can receive 10% off a new service; simply use the code 10410.

About Web Image Designs

Web Image Designs marketing services help you attracting customers who are ready to engage with your business. Our web design provides a clear navigation path and calls-to-action to actively engage visitors with your business and turn them into customers.  Our innovative and best practice use of technology makes your website secure and performing on all internet devices from smart phones to desktops.  If you are ready to get the most out of your web marketing budget contact Web Image Designs at 774-275-0391.

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WordPress Service Plans Are A Good ROI https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-service-plans-good-roi/ https://webimagedesigns.com/wordpress-service-plans-good-roi/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:25:12 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=2035 Every business knows they need a website; however, it is surprising how many of those same businesses don’t do regular website updates to keep their website performing well and to keep their website secure. Regular updates get pushed off to ...

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Every business knows they need a website; however, it is surprising how many of those same businesses don’t do regular website updates to keep their website performing well and to keep their website secure. Regular updates get pushed off to “later” because businesses get busy or the business may simply not know what they should do to improve the website. To help with this problem Web Image Designs offers WordPress Service Plans. Our WordPress Service Plans include a monthly call to focus on your website and to guide you in deciding what updates should be made, a block of hours for work on your website, and a discount on our standard hourly rate.

Our Basic WordPress Service Plan is designed for the client who wants to know that their website is secure and that Web Image Designs is keeping a watchful eye on their website.

Our Partner WordPress Service Plan is for the client who is looking for an active partner to monitor their website, perform monthly analysis, and work with them to develop and implement strategic plans.

To learn more about our WordPress service plans please contact us.

As you consider if one of Web Image Designs WordPress Service Plans is right for you, here is a list of what regular website updates might include:

  1. Software updates – WordPress releases software upgrades that include functionality improvements and security patches. It is highly recommended that you keep WordPress and your plug-ins upgraded to the latest release to take advantage of the security patches and functionality features.
  2. Fresh content – to keep the website interesting to visitors and search engines.
  3. Blog articles – not only provide fresh content for your website, but they allow you to go into more depth on a single subject, which provides real value to your visitors. Regular, quality blog articles on a subject matter over time will make you, and your website, an authoritative resource. Websites with a lot of original, quality content on a subject matter rank higher than websites with little content or superficial content. Visitors also have a higher level of trust if you website demonstrates your subject matter expertise and they are more likely to do business with you.
  4. Linkable content – see points 2 and 3. Search engines still value links to a website as a vote for content value. So the more quality links you have to your website the higher your website will rank. Make your content sharable, push your blogs and special offers out to social media and look for quality link opportunities.
  5. Keyword review – keywords in meta tags, urls and content need to work together for your website to rank well. It is important to do regular reviews to see how your keywords are performing. You may be ranking well for specific keywords but you are not getting people to actually go to your website. Or, they may be going to your website but leave before going to additional pages, which can mean they are not finding what they were seeking. Regular review of your analytic and webmaster data will help guide your website to more productive keywords.
  6. Competitive analysis – your competitors are probably not letting their website “rust in place” so it is important to periodically review what they are doing and do it better.

Do not let your website “rust in place” regular investment in your website does pay off!

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What is a Domain Name? https://webimagedesigns.com/what-is-domain-name/ https://webimagedesigns.com/what-is-domain-name/#respond Sun, 15 Jun 2014 23:45:32 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=1948 Getting a Domain Name should be one of your first steps in establishing an internet presence for you your business. A domain name must be unique much like a mailing address must be unique. A mailing address is made up ...

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Getting a Domain Name should be one of your first steps in establishing an internet presence for you your business. A domain name must be unique much like a mailing address must be unique. A mailing address is made up of a combination of street, city, and state and this allows letters and packages from anywhere in the world to be deliver to you and only you and a domain name serves the same purpose on the internet. A domain name is made up of at least a top-level and a second-level domain. My website’s domain name is webimagedesigns.com and the “com”, the portion to the right of the “.” Is the top-level domain (often referred to as the extension) and “webimagedesigns”, the portion the left of the “.” is the second-level domain. It is the combination of the top-level and second-level domain that creates the unique domain name. so webimagedesigns. net is a completely different domain name than webimagedesigns.com and could take you to a different website. To make sure that my clients do not accidently end up on the wrong website I have purchased both webimagedesigns.com and webimagedesigns.net and I point both domains to my website. This is an important point of clarification – the domain name is unique but multiple domain names can point to the same website.

For each domain name there is a domain name server (DNS) zone file that points to the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the physical server where the website is hosted . An IP address is a series of numbers and dots (xxx.xxx.xxx.xx) that identifies a server on the internet. This server is usually referred to as your web host server  and your website’s files are physically on this server. A DNS is a directory that links your domain name with an IP number. Domain Servers are spread across the internet and they are continuously synchronized with one another to reflect new and updated information. This process can take between 12-36 hours. As a result anyone from anywhere in the world (with open access to the internet) can simply enter your domain name into a browser to find you web site – now that is pretty amazing!

Now you know what a domain name is and how it “finds” your website, how do you pick the perfect domain name?

When selecting the second-level domain you may decide to put several words together, but be mindful of what the combined letters may spell. Pen Island or Therapist Finder may both sound like fine domain names until you combine the letters and then you end up with penisland.net or therapistfinder.com – I am sure if you look close enough you will see why both of these are bad choices for domain names.

The full list of available top-level domains can be found at ICANN’s List of Top-Level Domains.  The most common unrestricted top-level domains are .com commercial, .org organizations, .net Originally intended for use by domains pointing to a distributed network of computers, or “umbrella” sites that act as the portal to a set of smaller websites and .info information.

I recommend researching the full domain name (top-level and second-level) for at least .com, .org, .net and .info and see what website, if any, is associated with the domain name. If any of these domain names brings up a website that could confuse or be offensive to people who are looking for your website then you may want to look for a different domain name. If no website is exists for any of the domain names you may want to consider buying multiple top-level domains with your second-level domain to reduce the possibility of clients becoming confused or offended in the future.

Domain names can be purchased from many places. Web Image Designs is a reseller of domain names and you can purchase a domain name through us at by clicking here.

Domain names can be purchased for one or more years, but it is critical to renew your domain name at the end of that period of time. Failure to do so can result in you “loosing” the domain name, meaning that it could be purchased by someone else. If this was to happened then your website would no longer be available on the internet with that domain name.

If you have questions about domain names please contact Web Image Designs at 774-275-0391 and we would be happy to assist you.

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Web Hosting Services Explained https://webimagedesigns.com/web-hosting-services-explained/ https://webimagedesigns.com/web-hosting-services-explained/#comments Sun, 04 May 2014 20:35:13 +0000 https://webimagedesigns.com/?p=1941 Over the years I have had a lot of clients question what web hosting services provide and why they receive a recurring charge for the service. Within the last month I have had two clients who have web hosting accounts ...

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Over the years I have had a lot of clients question what web hosting services provide and why they receive a recurring charge for the service. Within the last month I have had two clients who have web hosting accounts with a third-party and they unfortunately let their web hosting account expire. Thank goodness they contacted me as soon as their website went down and I was able to assist them in getting their hosting account re-established and their website back-up. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful if I explained what web hosting services are and why it is important to renew this service when notified to do so.

Web hosting services allows you to put your website on a server that is accessible via the World Wide Web. This means that anyone who has internet access can see your website, which after-all is the whole point of having a website. The server should be located in a professional data center that is managed 7 days a week, 24 hours per day, and 365 days a year (7×24 x365).  The data center will house many servers and many websites and it will have redundant high-speed internet access so that visitors can access your website, and all of the other websites that they are hosting, anytime from anywhere in the world. The data center will have fire walls and other security methods to keep bad-guys from accessing your website. In the majority of cases the data center personnel configure and service the server’s hardware, operating systems, and other software. The data center will have Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for emergency electric power, fire suppression, cooling to keep the servers from overheating, and other equipment and devices all designed to keep your website available and safe.

Your web hosting fee is basically rent so that you website can reside in this safe, internet accessible location. If you do not pay this “rent” then the web hosting company will turn-off your website, which can mean delete your website. This is just one more reason why you should have regular back-ups of your website.

The cost of for web hosting services will vary based on the type of web hosting plan you have and the amenities that the plan has – such as back-ups, disk space, bandwidth, etc. We explained some plan differences in a previous blog article called “Five Benefits of Virtual Private Hosting over Shared Hosting”. If you would like to learn more about web hosting plans and the web hosting plans offered by Web Image Designs please contact me and I would be happy to discuss it with you.

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