Saturday 25 March 2017

Most web hosting companies use one of two operating systems: Windows or Linux. If you are looking to purchase a web hosting service, it is crucial consider certain factors before you are able to make a decision. Windows and Linux offer very different services. In this article, we’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of both these systems.

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Windows Web Hosting

Windows web hosting is the preferred operating system for large companies. Since it is a commercial operating system, it is also the more expensive of the two. At the back end, Windows servers run Plesk, while Linux uses cPanel, or WHM (or Web Host Manager).Some of the important features that come with Windows are as follows:

Microsoft SQL Server Hosting: This is the feature of Windows Web Hosting that makes it possible for big businesses to sustain their websites. It has a very high level of reliability, thus making it perfectly capable of handling the backend of your website. SQL is exclusive to Windows and aims to ensure that you will be able to make the most of the operating system’s features. This guarantees stability thus ensuring that your SQL server databases are accessible 24x7.

ASP.NET Support: ASP.NET is the framework that Windows developers use to develop their websites in. The advantage of using this framework on the Windows platform is that you can create web applications that function almost in tangent with the Windows OS. This enables you to add extended functionality to your windows web applications. 

Microsoft Access hosting: This is similar to the SQL server mentioned above with the exception of being a purely desktop database. MS Access is also used with ASP.NET websites on the Windows platform. Since it is a desktop application and not an SQL server, MS Accesscan only be used to implement small changes. It is suitable for temporary implementations. MS Access databases are cost effective and easy to implement. But due to limited scalability, you might have to eventually shift your data to an SQL server database. 

Although Windows web hosting allows you all these features, you can only make the most of them if you have sufficient experience with Windows web development. In should also be mentioned that apart from offering Microsoft SQL server hosting, Windows can also run MySQL, the SQL component found in Linux. But all the same, it is rare to find MySQL on Windows. With Windows, you might also be likely to face certain security troubles. 
However, this is something you might experience even on Linux. Another difference between Windows and Linux is case sensitivity. Unlike Linux, windows servers do not pay too much attention to upper and lower cases. You might have noticed that even if you entered an incorrect casing for a website on a web browser, the browser would still take you to the site you want. 

Linux Web Hosting

Many developers recommend Linux because it is inexpensive and quite easy to set up. At the back end, Linux servers use cPanel. Linux servers also offer WHM, or Web Host Manager, but these are not available on shared Linux servers. Other important features of Linux are listed below:

Low Cost Web Hosting: This factor makes Linux web hosting popular among small businesses when compared to Windows. The reason for Linux being low cost is that it is an open source operating system, meaning you do not need license to use Linux. You do, however, need a licence to use a Windows operating system, thus making it significantly more expensive. In addition to this, Linux has a full-fledged server and even desktop applications such as FTP, Web Server, and DNS Server, which come free with the operating system.

Stability: Linux has had a strong reputation for being one of the most stable operating systems in the market. If you host your website on Linux, it can have an extremely high up-time. But then again, factors such as network admin skills, power supply, and network load also affect the up-time of your website.

cPanel Hosting: In the previous section, we’ve mentioned how Windows operating systems use Plesk, wherease Linux operating systems use c-Panel Hosting. CPanel is easily one of the best web hosting control panels in the market. In fact, some people choose to host their websites on Linux simply because of this feature, because cPanel is exclusive to Linux operating systems. Many are of the opinion that the features provided by cPanel are far more effective than those provided by the control panels offered for Windows web hosting.

Ease of use: Linux is quite easy to use. It even allows you to use Windows based tools such as Front Page, provided those extensions are enabled. Linus web servers allow you to use almost all types of web extensions. Some of the common extensions used on Linux are .html,.cgi, .pl, .php, .htm,.shtml, and .xml to name a few. In addition to this, websites designed to be hosted on a Linux based web server can also be easily hosted on a Windows web server. But the reverse is not always true.

We’ve talked about case sensitivity in the previous section. To reiterate, file and directory names are case sensitive on Linux. For example, if you name a page Home.html and another page home.html, they will actually be two completely separate pages. People visiting your website will have to be careful about this. This does not hold true for Windows web hosting. 

Friday 17 March 2017

If you are a professional or a business owner looking to showcase your talent to the world or to scale up your business by setting up a website, then this blog will help you understand web hosting and its implications. For newbies just starting out with a website of their own, terms like web hosting, cloud servers, hosting plans, domain names etc. can be unnerving and confusing. By the time you finish reading this write-up you will have a working knowledge of web hosting and why it is important to choose the right web host.

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Let’s start with the basics first,

What does Web Hosting Mean?

A website contains pages full of text, images, and videos. Web hosting is what makes the website available to a worldwide audience. To make your website available to the general public, all those pages need to be hosted on a web server, which is nothing but a specialized computer which stores your website and makes it accessible to users on the internet.

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A website contains pages full of text, images, and videos. Web hosting is what makes the website available to a worldwide audience. To make your website available to the general public, all those pages need to be hosted on a web server, which is nothing but a specialized computer which stores your website and makes it accessible to users on the internet.

To make this happen, you need purchase space on a web server in order to store your website on it. There are many companies which provide web hosting services and are called web hosts. A web host rents out space on their servers for website owners to make their website accessible on the internet. A lot of web hosts don’t own their own dedicated web servers and rent them from large companies which might own data centres, which is a collection of servers, and in turn rent out the space to people looking to get their website on the internet.

What is a Web Server?

As mentioned above, a web server is a dedicated computer which is used for storing your website and thereby making it available on the internet. A server is called so because it serves the website to users through the internet. A web server is not your average run of the mill computer, it is a computer which has top notch specifications and is connected to the internet through a very fast network, which allows it to make the website accessible to users through the internet. Web servers typically store thousands of websites. There are also many different types of web servers

Types of Web Servers

Have you ever wondered why some websites take a long time to load on your browser compared to some which take less than a second? This is mainly due to different types of web servers that websites use. The requirements of every individual and business regarding their website is different, hence, web hosting companies offer multiple options to website owners. Here are the three major types of web servers that are in use these days

Shared Web Hosting

Under shared web hosting, several website owners share server space on one server. Shared hosting has its pros and cons, but this mainly depends on the requirements of your business. For small business owners and for simple websites that are not riddled by features and typically don’t see a substantial amount of traffic, shared web hosting perfectly suits the bill. Compared to dedicated and cloud hosting, shared web hosting is relatively cheaper. But if you have an ecommerce website or one which has a lot of features and sees substantial amount of traffic, then shared web hosting might not be suitable for you as it tends to get affected by other websites stored on it.

Dedicated Web Hosting

A dedicated web hosting server is one which is completely dedicated for your website. These servers are faster than shared servers and are great for websites that attract a substantial amount of traffic like ecommerce websites or ones with a lot of high performance features. The difference between shared and dedicated hosting can be compared to living in an apartment complex versus living in an independent house. The latter, obviously, is going to be more expensive. That’s why dedicated hosting is more expensive as the cost of the server is not shared by other website owners.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is midway between shared and dedicated servers. It relies on a number of servers which are interconnected but act as a single system. Cloud web hosting has many advantages and is becoming the preferred hosting service due its cost effectiveness. It offers more flexibility to users and also since a website does not rely on a single server, it offers more security as well. Web hosts offering cloud hosting provide users with the option to increase or decrease their resources as they are charged on the usage, making it cost effective.

Services Offered by Web Hosts

Apart from web servers, web hosting companies offer customers with a number of services like website building, programming, and numerous customer support options along with free domains, content management systems, email accounts etc.

Before you select a web hosting company, ask them about the disk space (for storing your website), bandwidth (amount of data that can be transferred), and the uptime (the time a server stays running) that they offer. Most web hosts offer many different plans for personal websites, small businesses, and large ecommerce websites. Therefore, always compare web hosting companies, the features and costings before you choose the hosting service.

Monday 6 March 2017

Email marketing is one of the most popular and reliable methods to engage your website’s audience and increase your profits. In fact, the only downside to email marketing is that it can be quite difficult to jump into, due to all the information and tools you need to juggle.

The good news is that if you know how to compose a solid campaign, you can make the most of whichever tool you have chosen. After all, what subscribers care the most about is the content itself.

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In this article, we’ll teach you the three core elements that make for an excellent email marketing campaign, and how to implement them. Before we get to that, let’s take a minute to discuss why email marketing campaigns are such a useful tool.

What Email Marketing Campaigns Are (And Why They’re Important)

Marketing campaigns are ubiquitous these days. Different companies and individuals are always trying to promote new products and services via every channel, and email is no exception. The example below shows a section of a promotional email offering subscribers a discount.

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While marketing campaigns are platform-agnostic, they lend themselves particularly well to email due to the following reasons:

➤ Short-term results. Marketing campaigns are usually designed around long-term strategies, but email enables you to take immediate action thanks to analytics. They can also provide a fast Return on Investment (ROI) since they’re a direct form of marketing.
➤ Easy to share. Email campaigns make it easy for recipients to share them, which translates to an expanded reach.
➤ Precise targeting options. Some email marketing tools enable you to segment your audience according to specific criteria (like engagement with past messages) and target future campaigns accordingly.
➤ Inexpensive. In some cases, email marketing can be exceedingly cheap – certainly much more so than traditional media alternatives.
➤ Personal touch. Email is, at its core, much more personal than most traditional marketing methods. It enables you to provide a personal touch and engage your subscribers by making them feel like you’re reaching out to them directly.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of reasons why you should consider giving email marketing a go (if you haven’t done so already). Now that we’ve highlighted how effective the platform can be, let’s review what makes for an excellent email marketing campaign.

The 3 Main Elements of an Excellent Email Marketing Campaign

Each email marketing campaign is unique, but there are a few maxims that hold true for the vast majority. Regardless of the topic of your campaign, it could definitely benefit from implementing these three elements.

1. A Solid Headline

When it comes to email marketing, your headline will be the first thing that readers see. In fact, it’s one of the key factors when it comes to determining whether your email will even be opened. The headline below, targeted at a specific audience, is very explicit about what to expect from the content of the email.

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There’s no single headline that will convince every user to click on it, but there are several ways you can increase the chances. Here are three elements most great headlines share:

➤ Relevancy. They are relevant to the topic of your campaign. Readers shouldn’t be left wondering what the contents of your email are after reading your headline.
➤ Actionability. Headlines that make it clear you’re offering a solution to a particular problem often convert better than generic titles.
➤ Length. An ideal headline shouldn’t be too long or too short. Studies show that titles around the 55 character mark perform better among readers.

Once you’ve incorporated this advice into your next headline, we recommend that you use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool to check it over. This service analyzes and scores your headlines according to several criteria – including word balance and length – to give you an idea of their effectiveness.

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That’s it for headlines, so let’s move on to the meat of your campaigns – the content itself.

2. Relevant Content

It goes without saying, but it’s crucial that you keep the content of your marketing campaign relevant to your subscribers. In most cases, they subscribed to your email list for a reason, and it’s up to you to make sure they don’t come to regret it. The best way to do this is to provide them with information they’ll find useful.

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Furthermore, focusing your email marketing campaigns on relevant content for your readers can help position you as an authority in the long term. There are several ways to go about providing relevant content for your subscribers, but let’s focus on three simple methods:

➤ Interesting posts
. If you’re a decent writer or constantly on the lookout for interesting pieces, you’ll always have something to share with your readers.
➤ Free resources. Everyone loves a freebie – especially if it’s something relevant to their interests. Think free e-books, online courses, or even product trials.
➤ Update notices. If someone signed up to your list, chances are they’re also interested in your website. Keeping them up to date with the latest developments regarding your site and the products or services you offer is bound to interest them.

When it comes to email marketing, there’s no wrong approach to content – as long as you’re not pushy and focus on providing relevant content to your readers.

3. A Compelling Call to Action

In case you don’t know, a Call To Action (CTA) is a prompt that encourages readers to perform a particular task. It usually comes in the form of a button with a brief, punchy message like Sign Up, Buy Now, or Find Deals Now (like in the image below).

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CTAs are a critical element of any email marketing campaign since they enable you to achieve conversions. If you’re working on a campaign, chances are you’re trying to market a product or service. A compelling CTA can increase your chances of convincing users to buy or sign up.

Most email marketing platforms provide you with the tools necessary to create attractive CTAs. MailChimp, for example, enables you to add them using a drag-and-drop function, alongside plenty of customization options:

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Simple CTAs can be as effective as great content when it comes to increasing conversions, so they’re definitely worth paying attention to.

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Simple CTAs can be as effective as great content when it comes to increasing conversions, so they’re definitely worth paying attention to.


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