Domains 101 – Everything you need to know

websites 101

Perhaps you’re thinking about getting a website or starting a blog? Well, the internet can be a confusing place to most, even some seasoned veterans find it all a bit difficult to understand the technical terms. If you’re wondering exactly what a website or blog is, or what you are purchasing when you register a domain and how hosting works, you’ve come to the right place. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about website stuff: (more…)

Why I hate Flash

If you want an expensive website that is slow to load, bad for your SEO ranking, costly to maintain, crashes browsers, drains battery life, invisibly to most viewers and annoys those who actually can see it, then sure — go ahead and use Flash.

As a website designer and developer, Flash presents so many issues for my clients that I refuse to work with it anymore. A quick Google search for the term “Flash sucks” and it’s easy to see that it’s not just designers; most users hate it too.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. It was a successful business for Adobe and it was fun while it lasted, but the mobile era now is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

Why Flash Sucks

Slow loading — It’s simple. Nobody wants to be annoyed by having to wait forever for some fancy doodad to load — if it even works at all. Not only does it load slowly, it doesn’t scale, and it’s cumbersome. It might seem like a great idea to add a 2-minute long introduction video to your site to demonstrate to your audience how credible/clever/current your business is. But don’t do it. 80% of your visitors will close the browser tab before your intro finishes because they don’t care. Seconds count. (more…)

Don’t waste your money on SEO

While there may be some reputable SEO companies out there who offer a good service at a fair price, in my opinion, most of them are nothing more than a way for you to waste money. You would be amazed at the number of SEO companies still using outdated tactics without anyone exposing that they are doing nothing effective to improve rankings. (more…)

Search sites without search box

How to Search Through a Website Without a Search Box

So what do you do when you want to find something on a website but there is no search box? Or if there is one, it’s almost impossible to find? All you need to know is one simple trick. Simply append the URL of the website with this string: ?s=keyword

For example to search this site for all pages that reference the term “webgoddess” you would type in the URL area at the top of the page:

Try it and see what you get for a result 😉

For multiple word queries just add the + sign. For example if you wanted to search this site for pages that contain the word “webgoddess” and “spam” you would type this into the URL area:

See, easy peasy!

Why I hate Internet Explorer

When a developer creates a website for a client it needs to be compatible (look and work the same) in all popular browsers. For most every browser, this really isn’t that difficult a task. They all play rather well together. All, but Internet Explorer (IE). IE has been so bad at staying up to par on web standards, we have to hack and tweak the website code to make it compatible with IE and still appear the same in Chrome and Firefox. As a website developer, I can tell you that IE has been nothing short of a nightmare. It has an awful reputation and it’s well deserved.

Here’s what usually happens — you spend days/weeks/months designing a website. You test it out in Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and even Opera. It looks awesome! It performs flawlessly. Everything is where it should be, and it all comes together in a seamless delight. Then comes the moment of truth — you must open it up to test it in IE. More often than not, in IE the page looks like somebody put it into a blender, hit the mix button and forgot the lid. So now you have to spend double the amount of time trying to fix it to look tolerable in IE, meanwhile begging your client to please try a different browser. Of course, you could design for IE first, but then it would horrific in all the other browsers, so there really is no winning scenario here.

So, why does this happen?

Websites all follow certain standards, currently HTML 4 is the one mostly used (HTML 5 is coming on strong). JavaScript and CSS are other standards. Most website browsers such as Chrome and Firefox strive to follow these standards as much as possible. This ensures that a website will look exactly the same no matter what browser you use. But in the case of IE, Microsoft doesn’t follow the those standards. And because of that, it forces developers to create specifically supported IE versions of each website page.

Then why is IE so popular with users?

The only reason most people use IE is because Microsoft has made IE the default web browser for Windows and the average customer starts using it blindly. Often times, they simply are unaware that there are much better browsers available. Even when a developer or a web savvy person suggests a better browser to IE users, many IE users don’t really understand the benefit of changing even though all browsers are free to download and use. However, once a person has even limited experience with a better browser, they usually switch never to return to the land of IE. Why? Because no one wants to browse through the internet slower, or see web pages with missing links. And I haven’t even mentioned the security vulnerabilities of Internet Explorer. That’s a whole blog post in itself.

To be fair, IE 9 is the current version and I’ve been told it supposed to be faster and safer than the previous versions, and Microsoft is already hyping up the next version — IE 10. All that is fine and dandy, but from my stats tracker, I can see that the vast majority of visitors to my sites are still using IE6 and 7. In fact, no one visiting this WunderWebs site is using IE9. Not a one. So that means I am still forced to design for the old versions until rendering standards of IE and other browsers finally converge. And since IE6 has been out for over 10 years now, this convergence might not happen for another 10 years time when all IE users everyone will at least be upgraded to IE9.


Why do I get so much spam?

There are several reason why you are getting so much spam, but the main reason probably is that your email address is nekkid all over the internet. Just Google your email address and you’ll see what I mean. If you are like most people who have had their email address for a while, most likely it’s everywhere as a hot link or text. That means spam bots can easily find it and harvest it for their collection of active email addresses.

How did my email addy get nekkid?

Unfortunately, more often than you realized, you may have posted your email address in public on a web site. For example, let’s say you mention your email address in a comment you posted on someone’s blog. Spammers regularly scour the internet looking for anything that looks like an email address, and they start sending spam to it. Or perhaps you posted your email address in public on a newsgroup or forum. Many forums still display publicly whatever email address you give them. Many do not, so it’s important to know the difference.

One unintentional way is that a friend of yours may have forwarded an email of yours without removing your email address from it. I see this all the time with forwarded humor – people hit forward and then fail to take the time to remove all the email headers from the body of the message. That email frequently ends up getting forwarded to people who then scan the email body for anything that looks like an email address.

There are many more ways that spammers can get your email address; Spam is, unfortunately, inevitable.

So, what can you do?

I know it makes it difficult when you want to market your site and services all across the internet, or sign up for deals and steals, but every time you place your email address out there you are inviting spammers to come harvest it. It’s always best to try to hide your email address in a form if possible. But sometimes that simply cannot be done. While I have set up an email form for each of my clients on their Contact page, that only helps disguise it on their own website.

You can sometimes reduce the amount of spam by making sure your ISP and/or your email program has a spam filter, and that the filter is enabled. There is sometimes an added fee for this service, but if you get a lot of email, it’s well worth it.

Of course, you can always change your email address periodically. But this can be painful since all your contacts need to update their information in order to contact you.

The real answer is that there is no one answer. There is no single solution that will make spam stop without also preventing legitimate messages from getting through.

The good news!

The good news is that by following a combination of actions, you can greatly reduce the amount of spam you do receive. As the WebGoddess, my email address is all over the internet, but fortunately by using the recommendations listed below I have been able to keep my spam to a very reasonable level. Perhaps one or two a month. I can live with that.

  • Use a contact form on your website instead of a hotlink or plain text.
  • Disguise your e-mail addresses posted in public places. use the word AT and DOT in place of the @ symbol and period.
  • Carefully read privacy policies at sites asking for your e-mail address and look for opt-out choices.
  • Use multiple e-mail addresses, including ones for specific purposes such as posting to newsgroups.
  • Consider a spam filter if your Internet service provider offers one.

Of course it helps a great deal if you have an email address that isn’t gmail or yahoo or hotmail or verizon or att or wowway or, well you get the picture. Those are the email types spam bots actively seek out. If you can, buy a domain name, create an email associated with that domain, and then set it up so you can access your email either through Outlook or your favorite browser. Need help with this? Contact me and I’ll be glad to set up something for you;-)

As always,

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