verisignA quick notification for my readers. As VeriSign is increasing the registry fee of .com by about $0.5 by Jan. 15, 2012, you may want to renew all of your existing .com domains by then. The name registration fee is on a rise ever since the dawn, depending on your personal finance, renewing earlier is probably better that later.

dynadotIt’s about to be Christmas so do search for “*registrar* renewal promo code”, coupons, etc. for your registrar when you are renewing your names. Dynadot was kind enough to offer a renewal promo code “HOLIDAYRENEWAL” for $0.25 discount off one year renewal of any .com name. It’s the best chance to renew all your names before the prices increase at the beginning of next year (2012).

Currently the best promo code I can find for Godaddy is “cjc795dom” which is $7.95 for .com renewal. Do share in the comments if you have a better find.

Use this code for $7.49 / year .COM renewal: Zine10

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<IfModule></IfModule> in .htaccess

by Yang Yang on December 2, 2011

I was debugging about some mod_rewrite errors caused by the .htaccess file on one of my sites and couldn’t solve the problem myself so I opted for a help thread on the SitePoint.com forum. Turned out it’s not the problem of my mod_rewrite rules in .htaccess but some incorrect file permissions that were causing the trouble.

Dklynn was very nice to help me in this regard and offered a gold advice that I thought I should share with you.

You Should NOT Use <IfModule></IfModule>. Why?

He pointed out that I should get rid of the <IfModule> conditional from the .htaccess file. It’s useless and a complete waste of server resources by all means. No excuses.

Considering the fact that all HTTP requests (including those to trivial assets such as .css, .js, .gif, .jpg, etc., thus each web page download would trigger about 10 or even more HTTP requests) to the Apache web server are handled by the rules in your .htaccess file, I think I should get rid of all such <IfModule> conditionals from all .htaccess files on all my sites, or the server would be doing useless check of “If Module xxx Is Enabled” every time a HTTP request is received…..

With a site receiving 1000 page visits per day, your server would have to do 10,000 such useless checks at the cost server resources and performance.

Many famous 3rd party scripts such as WordPress has <IfModule></IfModule> in the .htaccess file by default. This is to prevent potential errors should the module was not installed on the client’s production site / server. You should try and remove it. If the mod_rewrite and SEO friendly URLs are working, you can remove it without any problems.

This is pure gold advice offered by Dklynn. Check out his site about Apache mod_rewrite.

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Turn Your Blog or Business Into A Marketing Machine

by Yang Yang on December 1, 2011

These days it seems everything is automated. Some marketers even try to automate the two way conversation of the so called social media revolution, but there’s always got to be a human sentiment and senetient being behind communications. Especially the closer our network interactions become.

However, despite the need for up-close-and-personal two way communication, there are ways in which business, your website, your SME, any brand can be funneled into the new age.

Leads are always the focus of the so called sales funnel, but your whole marketing plan needs to reflect the best combination of automated marketing tactics, along with tools that help humans interact with humans. The infographic below show some clues as to how any business might accomplish this.

Understanding Marketing Automation

HubSpot Marketing Automation Software

The graphic above courtesy HubSpot, shows a clear path for many large and small businesses to engage with better marketing balance. Putting any such plan into shoe leather, this is another story. Check back for more insight into how you can integrate all these tools and strategies, make your blog or outlet as powerful as it can be.

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http://www.nationalgeographic.com/nyunderground/docs/nymain.html

It was 2001 when I first got on the Internet and this was one of the first web pages that I visited.

It’s been 10 years. And it’s still there.

new york underground system

How many more 10 years could I have……………

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Data centers are the fastest-growing energy vacuums in the IT industry in the UK, Europe, and beyond. As data centers grow larger to store the world’s data, their energy us is growing, too. Utilizing more environmentally-friendly power sources is tremendously important for the data center industry. Using renewable energy saves money, conserves natural resources, and contributes to keeping our planet cleaner for a longer period of time.

Check out this awesome infographic for some rare facts about data center power usage and green energy adoption in world’s top data centers and SaaS providers.

This infographic is created by Peer1 Hosting.

Energy Efficient Data Centres

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Shopify Review

by Yang Yang on November 26, 2011

shopify - create your own online storeWhen I was trying to find an eCommerce solution for my wedding dresses store, I tried Shopify for 30 days and then been a paid customer for 10 days before I canceled my plan (NOT in a negative manner). Have something to say about them so I come up with this brief review, which, hopefully can be helpful to those who are in search of a fine way to build online stores.

What I like about Shopify

  1. Beautiful. Anyone who has used Shopify would agree that it’s the a beautiful and graceful eCommerce solution. People behind it are working their heart out. The free themes available for you to choose from for your store are eye-candies, simplistic and highly brandable. They SHOULD make more of them, though. Currently there are only about 10 free themes. If you want more, you’d have to pay. Commercial themes at their theme store cost about $100 – $300.
  2. Proactive and personal support. I got emails offering to help from their support team every once a few days ever since my trial sign-up. Friendly, helpful and very personal. Of all the companies that I dealt with, Shopify is the only one that proactively asked me if I needed any help, REGULARLY. WiredTree comes second by asking for my feedback every 3 months. Magento Go comes last by offering unparalleled ridiculous support.
  3. Very easy to use. It only took me a few minutes to set up the whole store with an attractive look and add the first product. The control panel was intuitive and texts (tab names, section titles, field names, etc.) were straightforward. I didn’t have to think to do something. It’s simply there when you need it.
  4. Unlimited bandwidth. I specifically asked about this offer in one of the emails I exchanged with Chris, my client representative at Shopify, and he assured me that this was as TRUE as it’s promised. I never had the chance to have an online store that got hit by 100,000 unique IPs per day so I don’t know. But I sure like it. Who wouldn’t.
  5. Premium yet affordable. While it may seem that a month-to-month SaaS eCommerce solution would cost more than buying a permanent license that could be hosted on your own server, it may not seem so when you scale up. When you hit the mark of 20,000 unique IPs per day and got over 20,000 products in your store, Shopify’s offer of $179 / month for unlimited bandwidth, storage and SKUs is simply irresistible. With licensed shopping cart software that’s hosted on your own server, you would worry about security and upgrade (it can be painful, believe me) which take time and money. However with Shopify, you don’t have to worry about them at all because underneath details are all taken care of. You get a store that’s silently self-evolving without your custody.
  6. They refund. This is the single most valuable thing in any business. I was charged for the first month before I realized that I would be charged after the end of the trial period (30 days). After corresponding with my support staff Chris, I was able to get my money back without a hassle.

What I don’t like about Shopify

  1. First off, they didn’t make it clear that I would be automatically signed up with paid membership and be charged for a month after my trial period ends. After talking with Chris, it seemed that the terms were in there, in fine print, and I needed to click to open the complete, tedious terms and conditions to find it. Well, I believe it would definitely be much more customer-friendly to get the text in the sign-up page in large print, like what Microsoft did with Office 365 so I know I have to cancel my trial contract to stop them from billing me when it ends.
  2. Shopify doesn’t have effective product filtering. Or they probably have it but it takes quite some work to have it up for my store. For instance, the left side “Narrow Your Choices” product filtering at Zappos Women’s Clothing. I asked Chris about this and he said they had it and could give me an example store that had it. He never did.
  3. Custom made products that are made to order are not well supported by Shopify. For example, a store that sells custom tailored wedding dresses where customers can freely select any of all the possible combinations of options: “Color”, “Size” and “Belt Color”. With 15 possible colors, 15 sizes and 15 belt colors, there would be a total of 15 x 15 x 15 = 3375 distinct combinations of product options (“Color”, “Size”, “Belt Color”) for each wedding dress. The problem with Shopify is, they treat every product as in the inventory rather than custom made, therefore I have to add all 3375 distinct combinations of product options one by one for each of the products. It’s simply an unrealistic job.

All after all, Shopify is among the top 3 most usable and beautiful online store solutions out there after I tried many of them. I would definitely recommend it to people I know and would very probably use it for some of my future ecommerce projects.

4.5/5.

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www.facebook.com facts

by Yang Yang on November 26, 2011

Facebook world mapStop! For a minute of break, feed yourself with these very interesting infographics, numbers, statistics and facts about www.facebook.com, the zoo of people. There are also data and survey about other social networking sites such as Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace that are listed in comparison with Facebook for your curiosity.

An Average Day on Facebook – What do People Do?

  1. What do people do everyday on Facebook?
  2. What are your categories of friends?
  3. Engagement with the Facebook platform compared to that of Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace?

Average Day on Facebook

Google vs. Facebook on Privacy and Security

  1. With the launch of Google+, Google and Facebook now compete in even more areas.
  2. Comparison of Google+ and Facebook on income, unique visitors, etc.
  3. Privacy checklist and security checklist against Google and Facebook.

google vs. facebook on privacy security

Facebook vs. Twitter – Breakdown of Demographics

  1. Facebook users gender, income, age, education, location, etc.
  2. Twitter users gender, income, age, education, location, etc.

facbook vs. twitter demographics

Facebook Random Stats, Funding and Top Likes

  1. Facebook is available in 70 languages.
  2. 75% of Facebook users are outside the U.S.
  3. 250 million photos are uploaded on Facebook every single day.
  4. 2 billion posts on Facebook are liked and commented every single day.
  5. There are 800 million users actively engaging on Facebook and 50% of them log in Facebook every day.

infographic graphics facebook numbers

Facebook’s Criticisms, Missteps and Outright Failures

  1. Facebook persuaded millions of people to share stuff about themselves under the guise of privacy.
  2. It remembers everything you do and make them publicly accessible.
  3. Blah blah blah….

Facebook's criticisms, missteps and outright failures

How Many People are Obsessed with Facebook?

  1. There 500 million active users on Facebook, which means 1 in every 13 people on earth actively use Facebook.
  2. 48% of 18 to 34 year-olds check facebook right when they wake up.
  3. Blah blah blah….

How many people are obsessed with facebook?

A World without Facebook

Yeah, right….

World without facebook

Facebook Generates Business for Companies that Use It.

Businesses are found to get positive results engaging on Facebook with their own pages, by a recent survey conducted among small business owners.

Facebook survey for businesses 2011

The Demographics of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter

A demographic breakdown of who uses the most popular social sites against the U.S. Population: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter.

The Demographics of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter

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Reducing Bounce Rate, A Quick How and Why

by Yang Yang on November 19, 2011

It is vital to have a web presence in today’s digital world. With the large availability of high speed internet providers, it is also crucial to provide content that gets the attention of the visitor right away and makes them want to stay on the site.

Bounce rate is the amount of “single page” visits a site receives and this number must always remain low. The following list outlines ways for a site owner to reduce bounce rate and improve chances for success.

Focused Content

Site visitors will not be inclined to stick around if the content is not focused. It is better in the long run to choose a niche and write about it well rather than be more general and aim for hits. Also, the content should be based in fact and not opinion. The audience can always tell the difference and will also want to see facts backed up with evidence.

Post Presentation

The way a topic itself is presented in a post can make or break a site. The reader’s attention must be engaged from the first word or that person will not stay. Good presentation not only reduces bounce rate but also encourages the visitor to promote the site to friends or other interested parties. Word of mouth is the best advertising and it is free.

The right approach to presentation also promotes engagement through comments, subscribing to the site and sharing the link on social media. A high level of engagement can improve search engine ranking, as well, as site statistics improve with each visitor that doesn’t leave the site.

Good Navigation

Any website can be the most beautiful on the internet but if it does not have proper navigation, it will fail. Inability to find what is needed quickly is one of the top contributors to a high bounce rate. It is frustrating for both the visitor and site owner.

Let’s discuss some benefits of reducing bounce rate.

Conversions

Keeping visitors on a site can result in higher conversions for things such as sales, services, signups, downloads, etc. This can translate to greater PPC, as well. Offering digital downloads is a simple and convenient way to deliver goods, especially with most people using high speed internet providers.

Content Sharing

As discussed above, presentation is king and will encourage sharing of content. A link shared on Facebook or Twitter has the potential to go viral and lead to a huge increase in traffic. This in turn can translate into more conversion and more sharing. Proper presentation is invaluable and can only build upon itself.

Search Engine Ranking

A harsh truth about web presence is if a site isn’t well placed in the search engines, it can struggle to be noticed. Search engines can ultimately take into account a site’s bounce rate during indexing. This is why keeping the bounce rate low is so vital.

The online world is a very competitive place and this is especially true when running a website or blog. Taking some very simple steps to create an interesting presence will go a long way toward long term popularity and profitability.

Blake Sanders is a writer of news and information on high speed internet providers at broadband comparison site Broadband Expert. He also specializes in wireless internet, cell phones, and other technical news.

 

Note: Photo courtesy of Alaskan Dude via FlickR Creative Commons.

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A Brief History of Video Games [Infographic]

by Yang Yang on November 18, 2011

Gaming sites. Of all the money making blogs, eCommerce, or even corporate websites on the web, perhaps none is more effective at bringing in the cash than those hosting game communities. The “why” of this is pretty obvious, kids and grownups spend huge sums at play, particularly digital playground play.

So, the reader is asking; “How did all that game frenzy thing start?” Well, games are about as old as mankind actually. But, for the digital age, or at least the age of electronic equipment, games and the graphics that support them have made an amazing journey. Perhaps the best way to understand why games and the sites that support them are so popular and profitable, is to take an insightful look at just how graphics have played their role.

What exactly are human beings able to put up with in order to play pretend they are really snuffing out those aliens, hitting that tennis ball back at an opponent? The cool infographic below reveals the graphical trip games have made into our lives and minds.

COLOURlovers History of video game colors

Created by COLOURlovers

So, as you can see, a lot about playing games early on was about “tweaking” the imagination only.” Not many people would sit and play pong for hours on end nowadays, not with Wii Sports around, not to mention Kinect by Xbox. One has to wonder what the next progression into graphical child’s play will be? But, for anyone considering starting up their own blog, the game space has to be a top choice if making money is the goal. Make no mistake though, the competition is tough out there.

Be sure to find more infographics at my W3EC blogs.

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Moredays: Cool Productivity Tool That’s Fun

by Yang Yang on November 4, 2011


Productivity tools don’t necessary make money for you, but they save money, especially those that help you keep organized, and save large amounts of data in one place so that you won’t have to access multiple sources to get much needed information. For people on the go, there’s no better, and more affordable solution, than productivity tools designed to sync between various devices, such as PC, tablets and smartphones.

Moredays is such a productivity tool – a cool calendar-cum-scrapbook  time management application based on photos and drawings. While many users will probably focus on creating cutesy calendars for their families, the business mind might reject it – and that would be a mistake. One of the best features of Moredays is that it records everything that is important to you.

When you add a new contact to your address book, Moredays can save complete information about the record, such as; when you added the contact, as well as notes, pictures and everything important related to that person. You can easily keep track of when you met your contact, and when you consult your notes related to that person, you will learn exactly what you were doing. To put it simply: Moredays is your personal diary, that can be accessed anytime, anywhere – because the information is saved safely in the cloud. Moredays is also a time saver, because, it’s so easy to use that even a child could figure it out, and because instead of having to type thousands of irrelevant tags to organize data, you can use a set of virtual “stamps”.

Another potential “cool” use for business, at the end of a contract with a customer, you can send her a printed version of your Moredays calendar together, as a reminder of the way you two conducted business every step of the way. A much better corporate gift than a keychain, if you know what I mean.

Moredays was designed to sync with Google Apps and Evernote – in the current beta these features don’t work yet, but they will with the public beta release in two weeks time. There are other features curently missing, like apps for iPhone and iPad – we expect to see them soon as well. In the meanwhile, why don’t you give Moredays a try? You’d be among the “early adopters.”

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