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Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.

Filling Out Surveys Could Equal Free Stuff! Did you know that you could get great freebies simply by filling out surveys? It's true—while you may not be able to get rich off of filling out surveys, you will certainly be able to get your fill of great freebies. Here are some tips for filling out freebies so you too can get great free stuff. One of the Web's Best Sites for Filling Out Surveys for Free Stuff There are many fine websites that offer freebies. One of the best websites for finding free stuff is known as MyPoints BonusMail. This website operates as a shopper's reward program. It is fast, easy and totally free to join MyPoints BonusMail. What can this shopping rewards program do for you? It is easy, and did we mention free? All you have to do is to fill out the registration form. After signing up with MyPoints BonusMail, you will begin to receive offers in your email inbox. You set your own personal preferences when you sign up about the number of emails you wish to receive on a weekly basis. In order to complete the registration process, you will be asked to take a short survey about your shopping preferences and general interests. You will only receive emails in your in box regarding the preferences you have indicated. The programs works through point accumulation. When you have accumulated a certain number of points, you will qualify for gift cards to some of your favorite retail centers and merchants, including big names like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and many others. How do you accumulate points? You get points by making purchases directly through the MyPoints website. You also accumulate points by reading emails and clicking on the promotional links. Finally, you can also gain points by filling out surveys. MyPoints BonusMail is a long-established website that has helped shoppers get something back every time that they make a purchase. Finding the Best in Freebie Surveys Why does filling out surveys often result in free stuff? Filling out surveys is an easy, efficient and relatively accurate way for companies to find out what is on the mind of the general consuming public. Many companies will often offer free samples or products to consumers who are willing to take the time to fill out a full survey. Thus, filling out surveys can be a great way for companies to get some relatively cheap market research done. Don't expect to get rich off filling out surveys, but do expect some kind of compensation, even if it is only a free sample of a popular product. Freebie Sites Are Often a Good Place to Find Freebie Surveys There are many well-regarded websites that specialize in web freebies. If you already have a good spate of freebie websites bookmarked, these sites are wonderful resources for finding legitimate freebie surveys. Many of these sites offer a compendium of the latest surveys and companies offering freebies and product samples. Word to the Wise – Be Wary if It Seems Too Good to Be True If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. This is the rule in life, and it rings true when it comes to the practice of filling out surveys for freebies. Here are some short and easy guidelines for avoiding non-legit surveys. Never fill out a survey that requires you to divulge too much information. You should especially avoid surveys that ask for personal contact information, as the survey may be just a front to gain sales contact information. Is that free sample of detergent really worth getting on telemarketers to-call lists? Be careful to whom you hand over your information.

Making Effective Web Publishing Content (web publishing content) Web publishing content is important for a successful website. The content of a web site can often make or break that site, and it is important to make the site as attractive as possible, without over doing it. The content of a web site must be updated on a regular basis to keep web surfers coming back. Updated web content not only keep surfers coming back, but is also indexed more frequently by search engines. Fresh material is one of the key aspects of successful web publishing content and may generate fresh faces to a web site. One way to update the content of a web site is to update the existing web pages. Providing new content could include updating the conditions of a service, adding a new product or service, or creating a turnkey solution that will save the customer’s money or time. The web content should reflect the most recent information about a business. It is simple to provide changes to the web content, but many web sites provide updates without providing a notice. So, it is indicative to provide a notice of change each time web publishing content is changed. The announcements should be displayed prominently on the web site so that all surfers are able to see. It is also important to write articles for the web site. Articles can be seen as a valuable source for a web site’s success. The articles can be used to educate visitors on the web site and the business, while showcasing the owner’s expertise. Articles can be posted on the web site or used in a newsletter and submitted to other newsletters and web sites for syndication. This web publishing content can be used by other web site owners, which will provide leverage to the articles while generating publicity for the author and the author’s web site, while exposing them to new audiences. Writing an article seems simple enough, but there are many web site owners who are unable to find topics to write on. However, topics may be more evident than most web content writers may think. Topics for articles can be found in the news, in conversations with clients and colleagues, in networking events that are attended, and even in speeches. Blogging is also an excellent way to expand your list of web publishing content. Most web site owners can benefit from learning to blog, learning to start a blog, learning how to gain readers, and learning to make money from blogs. Blogging is becoming one of the most popular tools for showing new content on a web site. A web log can be used to answer web site visitors’ questions, inform users about new services and products, and to keep them up-to-date on industry news. Blogs are a great resource for sharing opinions and displaying expertise. The blog can be used to help an owner connect with their web site visitors while generating new web site content. Updating web publishing content on a regular basis is vital to the success of a web site and very important for many web site owners. Articles, newsletter, and blogging should be a part of a regular business schedule, and will work perfectly in keeping a web site owner connected to their visitors. The quality of the web content on a web site can make it more attractive to users or can make it very unattractive to users. Owners should use their expertise to provide writing that is interesting and necessary. Visitors will appreciate the extra effort and owners will get the rewards of maintaining good web content for their users.