Website Designers and Webmasters

Dedicated to all the tasks Webmasters, Website Developers and Website Designers find themselves facing.

By: Ashton Sanders

The Problem with Web Developers

Aug 13 2007

Filed under: Rant,Webmaster

This post has been dwelling within me for the past couple days.

I’ve been trying to find a responsible ASP.net programmer for a three-week project. Unfortunately we have a problem with one of those words: responsible. How do I know they are responsible? How do I know they won’t put me off for another project, even though I’m paying them top dollar to do this project right now?

Ask for references… Great, this guy made 50 websites in the last 10 years, and three of them are happy. I guess that means he’s responsible.

It’s a very tough situation, especially since it is very hard to switch horses mid-stream when you get into the complicated and extensive programming projects.

I think I’ve heard so many bad guys say this in movies… and I’ll go ahead and repeat it.

-“If you want it done right, you got to do it yourself.”
-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

Speed Tip – Selecting Text

May 18 2007

On the subject of how to get things done as quickly as possible, here is the first Speed Tip.

Increase Speed while copying text

The web is full of tedious work, from having to manually input eight thousand products into a database to converting a site into a new format. Yes, it is totally impossible to work on the Internet and not end up having to do some extremely tedious work at one time or another.

Take today for an example: I had 70 straight HTML pages that I was converting into a PHP-included layout where the page’s title, meta description and meta keywords were all variables. So I had to go to the page source, copy the title, go to my new page, and paste the title… go to the page source, copy the meta tag… etc., etc., etc.

While selecting text (the “<title>” for example), you normally have to go the start the line (right after “<title>”), drag to the end of the line (right before “</title>” and then copy.

Heres the Speed Trick
If you double click on the first word, it will automatically select that entire word. If you hold down that second click, you can drag to the last word, and select each word at a time (; not each letter at a time). This way you only need to go to the first word and drag to the last word to make your selection.

“Whoa.. big whoop… save twenty pixels of mouse movement….” No, it’s better than that, you don’t have to waste time trying to get right to the front of the word. It gives you a much larger target, and thus it takes less time to “aim.”

-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

1and1.com – Service Review #2

May 3 2007

Filed under: Review,Web Hosting

Today was my first day of real annoyance with 1and1.com. (Click to see my last Service Review of 1and1.com.)

Today, all of my website I had hosted with them went down for about 2 hours. When my server crashed, I was on the phone with a client doing tweaks on a website, and the site would not come up any more…

But the worst part of it all was I had just convinced a client to switch over to 1and1.com, and they had just published an ad in the LATimes. So they had all these people coming to their site… and it was down for two hours…

Of course I can’t really blame 1and1.com. Electronics fail all the time, but still… for three years with GoDaddy, I never had my site go down (that I know of=]).

-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

1and1.com – Service Review

May 1 2007

Filed under: Review,Web Hosting

*This post is more than two years old and may be out of date.*

1and1.com is a hosting company who claims to be “The World’s #1 Web Host.” (Who doesn’t these days?) I switched over to them a month ago from Godaddy.

In an earlier post, I discussed my original comparisons of the two companies. For a quick overview: Godaddy.com is inexpensive and well worth every penny. Their online programs are very extensive and always being updated. Their help support is always on top of any problem. 1and1.com is the cheapest website hosting and domain registration I’ve ever seen in my life.

1and1.com

Positive: Domains are $6/year (for almost every TLD).
Negative: You can only buy one domain at a time, so if you want to buy 20 domains, as my clients have asked me to do a couple times recently, you have to buy each one individually. That has wasted a good 2 hours of my life.
Positive: Website Hosting is very, very cheap: $3/month, and you can host up to 25 sites on that one set of hosting! so instead of paying $3.50/month for each site at GoDaddy, I can host all of my sites on one hosting account for $3/month. (That is their smallest account and they have 10GB storage and 300GB Bandwidth!)
Negative: You can’t choose your username for anything. Not for your FTP, SQL database, Control Panel, etc.
Positive: The 1and1.com Control Panel is pretty extensive, and you can do just about anything. And if you can’t figure it out the FAQ is very extensive.
Negative: Their 24/7 Technical Support is horrible. I’ve been on hold for almost an hour before giving up, and another time, when they did pick up, they knew less about hosting than I did. You get what you pay for in tech support.

Summary

If you are computer-savvy, 1and1 is for you, but if you are one who needs tech support and/or don’t have more than one site to host, go with Godaddy.

-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

Google Webmaster Tools

Mar 13 2007

Filed under: SEO,Webmaster

Yet another reason why Google is awesome: Webmaster Tools

Webmaster tools is the greatest tool for anyone wanting to get their sites up in the search engines. Search Engine Optimizers who don’t know about this tool, aren’t really search engine optimizers.

You prove to them that you own your website in one of two ways: 1) uploading an .html document to the server with a certain name like Google2903ncvd90nk30.html or 2) add a meta tag to your home page with a similar random name. After that, Google will get you all the information that they have about your site!

The program will tell you all of the crawl errors that the Google bot has while crawling your site! So if your site has gone through a couple redesigns or upgrades, I guarantee there are pages that used to exist that Google can’t find. And everyone of those pages create a 404 error for the Google bot – which, by the way, is not good. But you’ll never know unless you get this tool and find out!

Its got endless tools like that. It has a robot.txt analysis page that will tell you if you have any problems with your robot.txt.

It will tell you how your pages are ranked by Google. It will tell you like 50% of your pages have medium page rank and the other 50% has low page rank. It will also tell you how many links you have directed to your website, and where they are coming from.

Google Webtools also has a place for you to submit your website’s site maps! (Get gsite crawler to create your sitemaps… It makes it as easy as pie.)

And I barely scratched the surface on all of the different tools available to you through webmaster tools.

Check it out
-Ashton Sanders

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You have found the semi-coherent ramblings of Ashton Sanders: a website designer, developer and webmaster. This is primarily Ashton's place to save notes about techniques and things that he learns in his never-ending conquest of the internet. Hopefully it's coherent enough to be useful to you too.

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