Monday, July 7, 2008

Dreamhost Coupon

What's the deal with the Dreamhost coupon lists?

Dreamhost coupon codes provide a multiple benefit to everyone involved in the purchase of shared server space. Its a great way for customer, salesperson (affiliate), and the company to get together and find a deal that can make everyone happy and provide the best services at the cheapest price.

Customer:

The customer can choose the Dreamhost coupon that best fits the hosting plan they're interested in buying. Coupon codes like Saves50 give the maximum cash discount of $50 off any hosting plan. For a standard plan, this is the best deal. But what if the customer's website needs a unique IP address for e-commerce and other online financial transactions? A coupon code like BIZCODE provides this in addition to a $20 cash discount - creating a total savings of over $60 for customers who would purchase the unique IP anyway.

Salesperson (Affiliate):

The salesperson gets a refferal fee of $97 for every customer they bring to the company. The Dreamhost coupon then lets the affiliate share some of this with the customer - up to a maximum of $50 (it can go a little over with some of the optional addons). Of course, this brings the affiliate's share of the commission down, but it makes the service competitively priced and it lets the affiliates customize their sales strategies.

Dreamhost:

Dreamhost has the benefit of finding new customers without personally getting involved too deep with advertising. Salespeople work independently, and they're only paid when they bring in a paying customer. This creates the maximum efficiency for marketing, and the Dreamhost coupon allows them indirectly to charge less, and spend more of their revenue on upgrading servers and services.

What's the downside?

I have no idea! As both a customer and as an affiliate, I am happy with the Dreamhost coupon program. It saved me $50 when I signed up, and now I've paid for the rest of the year's worth of hosting with other webmaster's I've referred. I can only assume Dreamhost benefits as well, because they've expanded the Dreamhost coupon list to include special limited-time offer discounts. I don't have any of these special Dreamhost coupons at the moment, but the next time I do I'll let you know!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Choosing a Hosting Provider

If you or your business is thinking about starting a website but don't know where to begin, the first step is choosing a hosting plan. These are the basic types to consider:

Free Hosting: Not a viable business plan, typically. Free hosts will put burdensome limits on how you can use your websites, they will probably force you onto a pre-existing domain, and you can virtually count on down-time, slow loading speeds, and general technical problems or limitations. This website is hosted with free hosting on Blogspot - definitely not a bad deal for a quick blog, but it lacks some of the functionality and customization that prevents me from turning this into a full-blown website.

Shared Hosting: The lowest cost level of service that is viable for a business. Shared hosting operates by placing several domains and user accounts on the same computer server. Users "share" the resources for a nominal monthly fee - typically $5-$9 per month. If you're a novice to website building, make sure this has an auto-installation script for online software like Wordpress and Blogger. This will allow you to set up a site like this one in just a few clicks, on your own domain, with better reliability and fewer restrictions on how you can monetize the pages.

Dedicated Hosting: Dedicated hosting is one user account matched up to one computer server. The advantage is speed, reliability, and improved customer service from the provider company. The downside: cost! Dedicated servers are extremely expensive compared to the other choices: they can cost hundreds, even thousands a month depending on traffic volume (of course, if you have enough traffic to spend >$1,000 a month in server costs, its probably worth the cost to keep that web site online.

Host Re-selling: The entrepreneurial take on shared hosting. A user buys hosting, and then turns around and sells some of his or her resources to the end-client. This is usually cheaper than shared hosting, but its possible that someone could lease 50% of a dedicated server - so the price fluctuated in a wide range depending on the specific offer at hand. This could be a great deal if you're using a professional web designer. A point of negotiation could be to ask for free hosting through an existing account of the web designer. Dreamhost is one well-known web host that provides an option for re-selling, and they also offer steep discounts in the form of coupons and promotional codes.

It is important to consider these pros and cons before signing a contract, paying the bill, and committing your new websites to a certain server. Changing servers after establishing a site is a time-consuming and somewhat risky process.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coding Counts

One of the most fundamental and essential aspects of SEO is the use of proper coding.

Page titles should accurately reflect the target search keywords, and the meta description should be about 160 characters and act as an attention grabbing short description of the data in the web page. One of the faults of this free hosted blogger platform is the inability to modify all of the meta data - each page should have unique meta data content.

Images should use alt text - this will help the picture show up on image searches. Title attributes could be helpful for your users, but it is not as essential from a pure SEO standpoint.

Any broken links or buggy code could hurt the rankings for the website. Inactive URLs should be re-directed to relevant pages.

These are the basic things to watch out for in the actual source code of a website you're trying to optimize for SERPs. It is much easier to get it right the first time before the page is published then it is to go back afterward and find problems.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jacksonville Late-Night Restaurants

I was driving home late tonight and I thought: I would love to know about late-night restaurants in the Jacksonville area. A quick web search for these terms returns some nation-wide directory that lists a few local results on each of their many sub-domains. Based on this typical user's search, I would be forced to conclude that Denny's, Taco Bell, and Sonic are the only local restaurants in Jacksonville that stay open "late" at all.

Now, I feel like we might be missing out on something here. I know there are some breakfast joints that open hours before dawn, and they could be advertising to night-owls like me.

For a city of the size of Jacksonville, I would also expect there to be more all-night, 24-hour eateries. I would kind of hope so anyway!

Forget these paid directories and pay per click links. The best way to market a late-night restaurant online is with SEO. Why sit on a list with a dozen alternative diners? Ideally, you want your own website, with your own copyright - your 24 hr. menu, or your late-night hours, and probably some pictures reminding the readers why they are so ready to jump up from their seat at a crazy hour of the night to go get some food.

Great. Now I'm hungry. And I still can't find a good restaurant!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jacksonville is Growing - So is the Internet

The pace may have slowed a little bit, but Jacksonville is still growing. The citizens and the city council are barely able to keep up - and sometimes interests come in conflict to slow down that growth to a more moderate pace. Whew, that's good news if you ask me! Construction is starting to slow down, but there's hope with new deals on a port or the proposed airport re-configurations. Yet again, Jacksonville is set to handle the coming economic changes with new strategies and public investment. Of course, if you've set up a business here you probably already knew that!

The good news is that the internet is still growing, too. Every day, people are logging on for the first time and plugging their computers into just-installed connections. The benefits of internet marketing and online advertising presence will only increase, but the downside is that prices will also rise as competition becomes more fierce. As more companies compete over a few keywords, more effort will be required to influence results - and truly awesome content will be required to reach the top as search engines become more refined and begin to study user reactions to certain pages. An SEO needs to keep up with the latest trends just as the business needs to be up to date on its customers' tastes.

Jacksonville Commercial and Business Domains

Real estate investments aren't doing so well this year but virtual property is still hot.

Instead of four bedrooms, think about investing in four new .coms.

Domain registrations only cost $10-20 a year and hosting can be obtained at about the same cost. This is ideal for businesses with multiple dimensions and specific targeting. Domains can be built around events - as these are ideal "link bait" or they could be used to house a company blog, CEO blog, or even a customer service and review forum.

Multiple domains with unique, specific content can work together to bring your users to the most specific and accurate content. There are numerous benefits with keywords in domain names, and they can build value in and of themselves as they get older and your business may look to liquidate some assets and investments.

Many Jacksonville website names have been taken, but there are definitely some good ones left, too! Don't wait, because you can forget about $10 a year if someone else beats you to it.

Jacksonville Political Campaigns - Online Strategies

The 2008 presidential elections show us that the internet is here to stay - and its been growing as a political force since the last time around. Ron Paul and Barack Obama have found huge support, millions of dollars in donations, and tons of voters and activists for their causes. Other candidates have benefited as well, just not to the phenomenal and record-breaking quantities of those two in particular.

What's the secret? Well, a lot of times its the message. Internet users tend to be a little more libertarian about social issues than the general public. A candidate with even hints of a libertarian outlook could get page after page of viral (free) SEO just by having a popular message.

Of course, libertarians aren't the only ones that go online. The internet represents most of the demographics your campaign might appeal to, and once you find the right audience your fellow-minded citizens are likely to take up the cause to the forums and chat rooms. Why do I know this? Well, because I'm one of those online activists. A lot of political people like to debate topics online and when they happen to hear about a candidate they like they'll advance the cause for their own self-interest of having the right person in the job.

Jacksonville is no different, we have our political chats and we have our online activists. Of course, its a different demographic than the national stage but I'll try to keep my political analysis on my political websites :)

Bottom line, your campaign needs an SEO strategy because unless they're broke your competitor has one too.