Recent Posts

SEO vs SEM: which is better?

By Alex J | Friday, 22 July 2016
Even though social media is steadily dictating users' browsing habits, a lot of us still rely ...

SEO vs SEM: which is better?

By Alex J | Friday, 22 July 2016

Even though social media is steadily dictating users' browsing habits, a lot of us still rely on search engines.

In fact, people rely on Google so much that the name was included in the Oxford Dictionary. As a website owner, you still need to rely on search engines in order to attract viewers to your site.

But with a new site to manage, it can be hard to determine which marketing strategies to try – even harder to determine which of them would work.

One of the common questions new site owners ask us is when to implement SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing) strategies.

The truth is the two are very similar.

Both strategies heavily rely on search engines to attract more viewers (SEO is actually a component of SEM). The differences between them are SEO aims for more organic results while SEM takes advantage of paid ads on search engines.

Now that we know the key differences, the next question is whether to implement SEO or SEM strategies. To help you determine the answer, here's a run through of the pros and cons:

SEO

Pros

Cost-efficiency

You can spend less to earn high rankings. You just need to be aware of effective trends.

Conversion

As long as you play your cards right, there is a chance that visitors will become your customers.

Authority

If your site lands on the first page (especially along the upper half), it could be recognised as an authority domain.

Cons

Time-consuming

This is especially true if competition is tough. It could take a while before you achieve the same results as your competitors.

Risky

You are constantly on the whim of search engine updates. For example, when Google rolled out the Panda and Penguin updates, previous authority sites not only lost their ranking but were also penalised.

Unpredictability

As mentioned previously, you never know what to expect with these software updates. What works one day might not work on the next.

SEM

Pros

Visibility

Even if your site does not rank high in the organic search results, there’s a chance that your paid ads will still land on the first page.

Control

With paid ads in particular, you can set the time, date, and even device.

Specificity

You can input specific keywords relevant to your ads and your business.

Cons

Costly

Depending on the niche or industry, the price for ads might be expensive – even more so if competitors’ ads are dominating the first few pages.

Tedious

It can be a hassle to keep tweaking your ad settings just so they rank.

Reputation

In terms of reputation, most users actually prefer the organic search results over the paid ones.


Ideally, it would be better to implement both SEO and SEM marketing strategies. However, if you can't do both, it's best to analyse which of them is easier to do given your current situation. You could always take advantage of both SEO and SEM strategies once you have enough money or following.



Branding hacks: boosting your business’ social media presence

By Alex J | Friday, 15 July 2016

Nowadays, social media presence is almost a prerequisite when you start a business. This makes a lot of sense considering most consumers spend a fair amount of time posting and tweeting. However, in order to have a thriving Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn presence, you must first establish a solid and loyal following.

Just how do you increase and retain followers? Creating several social media accounts is one way. But with several of them to maintain, managing them all can get overwhelming. In order to fully optimize your social media accounts, you must:

1

Keep track of the online activities of your followers

Take note of the time they are usually active and which platforms they frequently use. From there, you can determine which accounts you need to monitor and manage more than usual. You should also assess their posts, likes, and shares so you can determine their habits, personalities, age group, and all other defining characteristics. You can then come up with posts that would catch their attention.

2

Post relevant content

Just as you should get to know your consumers, they should also get to know your company in return. One of the most sure-fire ways of doing so is to share relevant information. This should not be limited to just news and updates. You can also share about recent studies, prominent personalities, how-to's, trivia, and all other related information pertaining your field – as long as they don't compromise your company's reputation.

3

Jazz up your social media profiles

Make your social media accounts user-friendly and presentable. Upload an eye-catching profile and background photo for all of them. This is where graphics comes in. For example, you could come up with an attractive logo for your budding business and use it as a profile picture. For your background photo, you could use an aesthetically pleasing picture of your establishment or products. Last, but not the least, do not forget to include a memorable description of your company and services.

4

Interact with your followers

The goal is to connect and establish a relationship with your target audience. One suggestion is to acknowledge followers that mentioned your business in their post, tweets, or shares. Personally thank those that commended your company and apologize to those with negative feedback. Aside from directly responding to whatever they share about your business, try to engage them in conversation. For instance, schedule regular live discussions and FAQ sessions with your followers. You can make these events more exciting by handing out prizes and rewards.

5

Connect with key players in your industry

These people or groups do not necessarily have to be direct competitors. Some examples are bloggers, award-giving associations, and licensing bodies of your industry. When your followers notice that you are affiliated with these people or groups, by default they would associate your company or brand as an authority figure, too. This is also the first step in making your company visible in these movers-and-shakers' radar. So go ahead and start following them.

6

Make your website's content shareable through social media

Sharing is the keyword here. Whenever you post an article or send a newsletter, make sure that social media buttons feature prominently. Nowadays, online traffic is not only generated through search engines but also through direct page visits. More often than not, this is achieved through social media posts.

And there you have it. These are just several ways you could increase your followers and boost your social media presence. However, if you do not have the time, you could always hire a social media manager. What is important is to cultivate your social media presence so that you can reach people who matter and extend your brand's reach.



Help! My site has a security violation

By Anand D | Friday, 8 July 2016

The warning that your site has a security violation means that suspicious activity has been discovered there. This means that somewhere in all of the files that make up your website, there is a piece of code that is performing a malicious function – serving spam pop-ups, redirecting your users, stealing their data, or any of a number of other possibilities.

When this happens, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways of solving the problem – and, better yet, there are ways of making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. In this article we’ll be looking at all of these things.

The first set of instructions is what to do if you have a working backup of your site. If you don’t have one, skip to the next set of instructions. Please note that if you do not have a working backup, cleaning up your site is going to be far more difficult and may require a level of technical expertise. For this reason, we urge you to always create backups.

What to do if you have a backup of your files

Many site owners think that if they have a working backup, then all they need to do is re-upload it after their site is hacked.

The problem with this approach is that while it repairs the damage that has been done, it doesn’t repair the vulnerability that was exploited in the first place.

So, after you upload your site from a backup, you have to check a few things.

First, check all of the passwords that you use to log into your site. This includes CMS passwords, FTP passwords, and your hosting manager password. Any of these may be the weakness.

Second, make sure that no extra accounts have been created – again, this refers to CMS accounts, FTP accounts, and any other services you use to log in. Often, hackers create backdoors when they exploit a weakness that allows them to infect sites again once they are cleaned. Make sure that all of your accounts are under your control with fresh passwords.

What to do if you do not have a backup

If you do not have a working backup of your uninfected site, then the process of cleaning it is much more difficult. Because each hack is performed differently, there are no standard solutions – the number of solutions is vast, and beyond the scope of any article.

The solution offered here is triage – it is fairly ugly, but it will solve the problem.

First, you need to create a backup of your site. Then take it offline.

You can do this by deleting the contents of your hosting account. We recommend setting up a temporary page that says you are doing maintenance while it is unavailable.

This may seem extreme, but it is better than having your users compromised because your site is not secure, especially if you conduct ecommerce.

Next, you will need to find the malicious code. This is not simple, and can involve a great deal of rooting through every file that makes up your site.

Then you will need to re-upload the cleaned version on your site, and change all your access passwords as outlined above.

If you do not have the technical expertise to delete the malicious code on your own, we recommend hiring a technical specialist to do it.

Alternatively, you can use our Site Protection service, which scans your site for malware and deletes it. This is cheaper than hiring a technical specialist.

Additionally, using it you can avoid taking your site offline, as it will clean the files in your hosting account.

How to avoid future hacks

Now that your site has been cleaned, you are probably wondering what can be done to avoid this in the future.

There is good news on this front.

Most of the hacks that are performed by a person (or, often, a group of people) sitting in a room looking for security flaws are against government or large businesses. Small websites are more likely to be targeted by automated bots – programs that search for well-known security flaws and try to exploit them in predictable ways.

This means that as long as you close these well-known holes, you are most likely going to be safe.

The best way of keeping up to date with security is to always use the latest version of any plugins, themes, and content management systems. Out of date versions of this software are some of the most common security risks. You can check out our WordPress-specific article on security for more information.

Second, you need to avoid responding to phishing emails. These emails ask you to log into a known service using a particular link, or simply ask for your password. Never answer these emails directly or use the links they provide. They are almost always disguised and lead you to copies of sites that you use, where you enter your password, which is then given to attackers.

Lastly, make sure that your passwords are secure and high-quality. Check out our previous article on this topic.



Isn't Flash dead yet?

By James C | Friday, 24 June 2016

Last year, in the blog post Is Flash Dead, we speculated that Google might have killed Flash. It seemed like a reasonable assumption. After all, the tech giant has made no secret of preferring HTML5, and with AdWords and Doubleclick phasing out Flash, it was badly injured.

Things haven't got much better for the embattled plugin.

Microsoft has bad news for Flash: the Energy Estimation Engine service in Windows 10 will give the Edge web browser a much needed battery life boost for laptops. Why is this bad? Edge will pause Flash content, like ads and animations, that are considered to not be central to the browsing experience.

This news from Microsoft follows Mozilla's stated position that they will "continue to work with developers to encourage adoption of safer and more stable technologies, such as HTML5 and Javascript."

It gets worse, with news that Apple's latest release of its Safari browser will pretend Flash doesn't exist.

In the blog post Next Steps for Legacy Plug-ins, Apple explain:

When Safari 10 ships this fall, by default, Safari will behave as though common legacy plug-ins on users' Macs are not installed.
On websites that offer both Flash and HTML5 implementations of content, Safari users will now always experience the modern HTML5 implementation, delivering improved performance and battery life. This policy and its benefits apply equally to all websites; Safari has no built-in list of exceptions. If a website really does require a legacy plug-in, users can explicitly activate it on that website.

Apple plans to do this by not disclosing to websites what plugins Safari has installed. When a website displays a "Flash isn't installed" message with a link to download, and there's not HTML5 option, the browser will give users the option to run Flash either once only, or on every visit.

Adobe knows what way the wind blows, and already shows signs of moving partially away from Flash.

Flash Professional, Adobe's tool for developing animations and multimedia content, was renamed Adobe Animate CC, with a focus on developing HTML5 content while also supporting the creation of Flash content. In further support of HTML5, Adobe announced last month that its Primetime HTML5 player framework would soon be generally available.

However, Adobe isn't sunsetting Flash quite yet.

"HTML5 alone doesn't support everything that broadcasters need in order to manage multiscreen video distribution," the company says, describing it as a partial solution. Similarly, Adobe says it is "committed to working with industry partners, as we have with Microsoft and Google, to help ensure the ongoing compatibility and security of Flash content" and that "while standards like HTML5 will be the web platform of the future across all devices, Flash continues to be used in key categories like web gaming and premium video."

With Apple's Safari choosing to use HTML5 over Flash, joining Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft marginalising the Flash plugin, surely there can't be much life left for the once-speedster plugin Flash?



The crazy easy way to pick the right template for your website

By James C | Friday, 17 June 2016

The forest of available themes for your website, whether you’re using WordPress or our very own Website builder, can seem intimidating at first. Luckily, by using a systematic, thorough approach, it is possible to make sure that you end up with a website that looks good and works well. The steps in this article are one such approach.

1

Know what you need and what you don’t

The plethora of options available to you can make you think that you need a theme with more – more features, more pages, more sliders, more gadgets. This is wrong on several levels.

First, having too much information on your website is confusing. Your site has a purpose – whether that’s signups to your email lists, phone calls, or direct sales through the site, nothing should distract from its essential reason for existing. Do people really need a Google Maps widget showing the physical location of a store that only works online? No, but that won’t stop some site owners from embedding one.

Second, all the bells and whistles can slow your site down. This makes for a worse experience when people use it – nobody likes a website that loads slowly. Why make it less pleasant to use your site just to add things that you don’t really need?

2

Make sure it works well technically

This is the part of the process that many new site owners think they won’t be able to test. However, there are a few technical issues that you can clear up by yourself – and very easily, at that.

The first of these is making sure that it displays properly and looks good on different devices. Open up a link to it on your phone or tablet and see if anything goes wrong. This is called responsive design, and it’s often quoted as a vital part of modern website design.

Another test you can perform yourself is opening the template in multiple browsers. This is another important way of making sure that its technical specifications are up to par.

3

What maintenance is required?

This is a close relative of point number two. If the template requires a lot of technical tweaking and you don’t know how to do it, then managing your site can become unnecessarily stressful. If, on the other hand, you find it simple to add or take away content and elements as you need to, then this is a template that you can rely on, one that will make your site management as simple as can be.

4

Is it well-supported?

Every website eventually runs into some problems that require help. It’s the nature of the problems that they face. If you downloaded a theme for free, then you probably don’t get support with it.

You need a responsive, caring support team to make sure that your site is always shown to everyone in the best conditions.

5

Does it look right?

This is, when all is said and done, the most important thing to worry about when you create your site. Does it look the way you imagined it – and if not, can you change it to make it look that way?

There are many templates and themes available, meaning that no matter what type of site you want to create, there is going to be a theme that reflects what you want it to look like, and that’s the way it should be.



Answering your top 5 questions about email

By James C | Friday, 10 June 2016

There's something about having your own email address that can't be matched.

More than just that feeling of when you got that Hotmail name you wanted, it's having your own name or business – something that matches your website, and tells people you contact who you are or what you do.

You already understand that it has a value greater than any free web-based email could... But you have some questions.

Luckily, we've dug out your Top 5 most commonly asked questions about email and email hosting and are here to save the day. Read on!

5

What is email hosting?

If you have standard web hosting, you may not realise that you already have email hosting, and up to 100 email addresses for your website! These can be name@yourdomain.com, admin@yourdomain.com sales, marketing or just about anything you can think of.

With email hosting you can manage and create emails with just about any mail client you choose to use.

4

Can I receive emails sent to names other than the ones I've specified?

You've got email addresses for marketing, sales, finance… but you're worried you might miss emails sent to names you've not thought of. What if someone emails corporate@yourdomain.com?

Normally if an email is sent to an unknown address on your domain name, the sender will receive a bounce back.

With a catch-all address, any email that is sent to an unknown account at your domain name gets automatically rerouted to your catch-all email account. All accounts are automatically assigned a default email address: user@yourdomain.com which you can change. Note this can increase the volume of spam you receive, so use it with caution!

3

What's the difference between POP and IMAP? Why should I care?

You've seen the terms POP and IMAP used with regards to your email, but don't know what they are, or even why you should care about the difference.

In simple terms, POP is a mail protocol that downloads your emails to a specific computer – be that your desktop, laptop or tablet – while IMAP keeps them saved on a remote server, and allows you to access them from anywhere.

The added benefit of using IMAP is that it allows you to use Webmail to view your sent and received mail, wherever in the world you are.

2

Why can't I receive my emails?

There's a few things that could be wrong and stopping the mail from getting through. First, do the obvious. Check your internet connection. Sound silly? You'd be surprised how often it's overlooked.

Next, if you've confirmed you can get online, check your email settings. Here's quick guide that might help:

Some ISPs can block the normal sendmail port 25, so the easiest way to check this is to contact them, and ask for the Outgoing Server SMTP setting which you will then replace (Outgoing Server: mail.yourdomain.com) with the above info. For more information, check this.

1

What can I do about the amount of spam I receive?

We discussed above catch-all email accounts. If you have seen an increase in spam, you might want to consider using email forwarding instead, for catching things like a common misspelling of your name.

You might also want to consider domain privacy which, depending on your country, can make your personal details (include email and telephone number) private. Or check out our Automatic Spam and Virus Protection.

People are nine times more likely to give their business to companies that represent themselves with professional email addresses. It creates a trustworthy impression and shows that you really mean business.

Got more questions? Our friendly staff are on hand 24/7! Get in touch via email, live chat, telephone or social media and they will be happy to answer any questions you have.



The Crazy Easy guide to DNS Hosting

By James C | Friday, 3 June 2016

When you decide to create a website, you brush up against the infrastructure of the internet – the basic apparatus that allows computers to be interconnected and share information with each other. DNS is a perfect example of exactly this type of thing – it's something that we use every day without even suspecting what it is.

What does DNS mean?

DNS, or the Domain Name System, is the way that computers find each other.

Think about it:

All the information we access is stored somewhere on a physical computer. All the metaphors we use about information floating in a cloud are just that – metaphors. In reality, there are banks of servers humming away, sending messages through physical coils of fiber-optic cable.

In order for this information to find its way from a server to your computer, smartphone, or whatever device you happen to be using, it needs to know where to go. And in order for your device to make the request for information to the right computer, it needs to know where to ask.

That's where the IP address comes in. But nobody wants to remember strings of numbers – they're difficult to recall and not very descriptive, like good domain names are.

DNS allows the IP address to be translated into domain names, but that requires large databases of these names to show which IP address they correspond to. These databases need to be spread out all over the world to make sure that they can serve everyone and that they can't be knocked out in case of power outages or other unforeseen circumstances.

When you type a domain name into your browser, your computer asks the nearest DNS server what IP it matches. If the DNS server has this information stored in its memory (or cached), then it responds right away. If not, it asks up the chain of other DNS servers, finally reaching the root name servers, which are the ultimate databases, containing all the registered domains.

So what does this mean for my site?

Other than being quite interesting, the quality of DNS services can make a large difference for regular site owners.

The first thing to remember is that the system – the way that the information is routed and the way that it's secured – was created when the internet was still new. There was not commerce online, no private information, nothing that could be abused. That's changed.

While the infrastructure of DNS lookups has become much more secure, it doesn't hurt to have a little bit of extra security. Our lookups are engineered to be fast and secure, with DDoS protection and safeguards against cache poisoning – when DNS records are manipulated to take people to the wrong website.

Second, think about geographic location. Since information has to move physically, being closer is better. DNS hosting servers have to be geographically dispersed to ensure that people from all over the world can access your website.

Lastly, for those who want more control over things, you can edit what are called the DNS records – not all providers offer the same access to all of them. Using these, you can point your domain at different files, change the mail provider – all kinds of cool stuff.

If you're not already using our DNS hosting services, check them out here. Our DNS hosting is free – we like to think that it'll convince you that we're the way to go when it comes to our other services.



Is your domain worth millions?

By James C | Friday, 27 May 2016

Big-money domain names are making the news.

In the article 'Honey, how would you feel if I was having an affair?': Making a pitch for a $250,000 domain name ABC.com.au talks to people who have spent or been offered large sums for a web address.

kanyeforpresident.com

The owner of kanyeforpresident.com was offered $80k for the name, while someone else convinced his wife they should spend $250k on a domain.

.com domains have a flat pricing structure, making them ideal for people hoping to buy low and sell high. But newer gTLDs take a name's potential value into account with premium domains.

The benefits of search

It's no secret that while Google doesn't give new gTLDs any kind of preference in search, the right combination of keywords will see you placed higher organically, and receive a boost from more clicks. A recent study has shown once again that keyword-rich domains that match a search query are more likely to get clicked in search results.

If you're going to Sydney for the first time, and want to find a pub to visit, you might just type into Google "pub Sydney." It would make sense that if you want a name for your own Sydney pub you'd see the value in domains like pub.sydney or sydney.pub.

Or you might want to snap up the name to join a growing group of domain investors.

Domain registry .CLUB even have a startup program, to allow people to get a high-value name – like Coffee Club did, snapping up coffee.club for $100,000 – on a payment plan.

What's available?

What other Premium domains, like pub.sydney, are waiting out there for a canny investor? All of the below were available to buy at time of publication.

What's the benefit of a Premium domain name?

The domains come with premium price tags, so what's the value?

  • Avoid long, confusing names with a web address that demonstrates who you are and what you do. Think coffee.club
  • Premium domains are specially selected to target specific keywords that users search for – like pub.sydney
  • Redirect visitors rom a new Premium name to your current name, even if it was hard to remember for customer
  • Resell value! $4k might seem steep, but when that trendy new pub opens in Sydney and wants the coolest domain name, you could find yourself sitting on a goldmine
  • Whole businesses are built around reselling domains – this could be a second income for you, or a small business that could turn into a whole enterprise.

What are you waiting for?

You don't have to shell out thousands. Start small, but think Premium…



PHP 7 now available with Crazy Domains cPanel Hosting

By Anand D | Friday, 20 May 2016

We are pleased to announce that, after a lengthy and extensive testing process, Crazy Domains cPanel hosting now supports PHP 7.

This is part of our commitment to use only the latest technology and industry-leading standards in our hosting solutions. While prior versions of PHP will still be supported, the introduction of PHP 7 gives some important upgrades to developers who use our services.

If you would like to read a highly technical description of the new features introduced in PHP 7, we recommend the PHP documentation, which can be found here.

For a slightly less technical discussion of PHP 7, click here.

Here are some questions that might be troubling you.

1. Will my website still work?

Yes, it will. All the versions of PHP that we supported before are still available.

If you would like to migrate from an older version, we suggest this documentation.

2. What is PHP?

PHP is a scripting language that was designed for web development and is most often used for this purpose. It can also function as a general programming language. It helps people build dynamic websites – ones that have functionality beyond just displaying text and images.

3. I don't understand. What does all of this mean?

Programming languages are evolving constantly with the needs of the web. The newer versions can patch security holes, introduce new functions, and make things run faster. However, with existing server code, they sometimes create problems. That's why things needed to be tested a lot before we rolled out PHP 7 support.

This is only really important for web developers, though. If you have a site that's built with WordPress, any of the other applications that we offer, or with our Website or eShop Builder, you don't have to change anything. Just continue, safe in the knowledge that we're continuing in our efforts to be the best.

If you have any questions, please contact us.



Everything you need to know about Wordpress, but were too afraid to ask

By James C | Friday, 13 May 2016

We discussed previously Everything You Need to Know About Website Building - that aside from building it yourself from the raw code or paying a web designer you could also use our drag-and-drop Site Builder.

There is another option you need to know about: Wordpress.

Step one: Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org?

You've registered your amazing new web domain for your website, and got your web hosting. To make your site you have decided that the best option for you is to use Wordpress with your hosting. But, wait: you've seen the option to "install" Wordpress. What does this mean? How is this different to Wordpress.com?

Bloggingthing.com has a very handy infographic detailing the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Go check it out.

The simplest explanation is that on wordpress.com you can have your blog or website for free, ending wordpress.com, but it has limited support for themes and restricted plugins.

Wordpress.org is self-hosted, meaning you pay for your own web domain and hosting, and are responsible for your own site maintenance, but you also get greater support for themes, and more freedom with plugins. There are many more features and advantages than just those, too.

Wordpress.org: you're not alone

Installing wordpress.org doesn't mean you have to design your website from scratch.

You aren't on your own, with the themes available to you, you are able to customise your site as little - or as much - as you like.

Many people start with a standard free theme, before moving on to premium options, and then as they become more experienced and learn to do more, start customising their themes and design, and designing their own template.

A big difference between using Wordpress.com and installing Wordpress software for yourself is the responsibility.

Where Wordpress.com is free to use (with some exceptions) and comes with the benefits of automatic updates, backups and spam protection, when you install Wordpress you take these on for yourself.

But, just like Spider-Man, with great responsibility comes great power: including the power to add jQuery elements and edit the PHP code.

The question of how professional you would like your site to look is an important one to consider.

Wordpress.com: advantages

With a site on Wordpress.com at the most basic level you are limited to a web address ending .wordpress.com, you're fairly limited with design, and have ads on your site.

If you're setting up a blog or a website dedicated to LOLcats and Doge memes, this might be just what you need, and you don't need to look any further.

On the other hand, if you're setting up a website for yourself as a professional, for your startup, or for a bigger business, give serious consideration to the right look.

You already get the importance of the right domain name, and the advantages of new domains when it comes to getting the name you really want. For a fee, you can get this on Wordpress.com.

But when you consider what a visitor to your website sees, what do they think? Do you look like a business that should be taken seriously?

Installing Wordpress software is crazy easy to do, and it gives you the advantages of using Wordpress with complete control. Including the best tools to look completely professional.

Pros and Cons

If weighing up the pros and cons has you wondering why Wordpress at all, it's worth recapping some of the main points.

  1. Quick
    Wordpress is quick and simple to install
  2. Templates
    Wordpress comes with thousands of templates and designs, ready to use, and easy to change
  3. Easy
    Wordpress is easy to use and learn, with support available via forums
  4. Mobile-friendly
    Wordpress is mobile-friendly, and endorsed by Google, giving you a basic advantage in search
  5. Embedded media
    Wordpress makes it simple to embed different types of media - whether it's music, photos or video

If you are self-hosting your website, and want that middle ground between making it all yourself from the ground up and using our drag-and-drop Website Builder, you can't go wrong with installing Wordpress.

Check out the Wordpress Showcase to see for yourself who is using Wordpress, then get Wordpress for your Web Hosting today.