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The quick and easy way to create a .mobi site for your blog

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The .mobi domain was introduced in 2005 and was made available to the public in September 2006. The domain extension was intentionally created for mobile phone users who browse the internet and has strict guidelines on how a site is designed.

More specifically, .mobi sites must :

  • Be optimised for viewing on a mobile phone
  • Must not use a lot of bandwidth
  • Use XHTML-MP (XHTML Mobile Profile)
  • Not use frames
  • Not require www before the domain ie. example.mobi should work and the user should not have to enter www.example.mobi. This is to reduce the time the user takes to enter a domain and speed up browsing.

The domain initially had tremendous support from all the major mobile phone operators and internet giants such as Google and Microsoft although unfortunately, many companies, including some mobile operators, have been slow to show the same support. However, there are millions of people who use .mobi sites such as FoxNews.mobi every day.

Most phones which have been released in the last year or so have larger screens for browsing the web and some even have wifi so you might be asking if the .mobi domain is necessary and if it perhaps came a little too late. However, you need to remember that nearly all mobiles still require the user to scroll both horizontally and vertically. More importantly, data usage is still extremely expensive with many operators charging by megabyte instead of gigabyte therefore reducing the bandwidth for mobile phone users is essential.

This is why creating a mobile version of your blog is a good idea and the .mobi domain is the perfect place to put it.

Checking your blog from a mobile phone users point of view

The more I looked into this domain the more I wanted to create a mobile version of BloggingTips therefore I registered bloggingtips.mobi. With the domain secured the next step was to find out the best way to develop a .mobi website however before I did that I wanted to check what BloggingTips was currently like for mobile phone users. Therefore I used the mobile visitor test tool at Mobi Site Galore. The tool lets you see the bandwidth your site uses and the average cost for viewing a page on your site.

Here are the results :

As you can see, the results were not good. Whilst BloggingTips might be pleasant on the eye to broadband users, the number of images on the page is high which means there is a lot of downloading for the user. Wi-fi users will be fine however those on the standard GPRS will have to wait 435 seconds for the page to download. Even 3G users will have to wait 100 seconds for the home page to load (this figure was much higher than I suspected).

The cost of downloading the page is also surprising. A person in Europe would have to pay €5.36 whereas users in Latin America would have to pay a whopping €30.38 to view the page. I think that in reality these costs are much lower however I’m sure they are still very very expensive. It effectively means users cannot view your website with their mobile phone as it is too expensive.

The results told me one thing for sure : BloggingTips needs a mobile version of the site!

Creating a .mobi site for your blog

There are many great websites on the net which show you how to develop a .mobi website however I was looking for a tool or service which would create a .mobi site for me using my RSS feed. I didn’t find such a site however I did find an alternative which was quicker and easier to set up. The alternative is a WordPress plugin though I am not sure if a similar hack exists for other blogger platforms such as Blogger or Typepad (please let me know if you find one similar).

Alex King’s WordPress Mobile Edition is a fantastic plugin which strips away all your graphics and shows your blogs pages and recent posts to mobile phone users. It is configured so that mobile phone browsers are automatically detected so all you have to do is activate the plugin.

The plugin created a mobile version of Blogging Tips at https://www.bloggingtips.com/index.php?ak_action=force_mobile. This version of BloggingTips has no graphics* so mobile users should find it easier to download (* of course, images within blog posts will still show). One of my favourite features of this plugin is that when the ‘Mobile Edition’ link is clicked it converts the current page to the mobile friendly version ie. it doesn’t redirect you to your mobile friendly home page.

Here’s a preview of the mobile version this plugin generates. As you can see, it’s very basic, but that’s exactly what you want with a mobile friendly site.

All I had to do after installation was setup a URL redirect for bloggingtips.mobi to this more mobile suitable URL.

Let’s see what bandwidth costs are like for mobile users using this mobile version of Blogging Tips :

The mobile version has improved our mobile rating to 3 which according to Mobi Site Galore, is fair. Fair seems pretty harsh to me when you look at the figures. The size of the page has went from around 1800kb to 5.41kb, the speed of the page has went from over 400 seconds to just over 3 seconds on a GPRS connection and the maximum cost has went from €30.38 to €0.09.

I don’t believe that there is any good way to reduce the fair rating since the majority of the download is text. It would be good to disable images in the mobile version and put a link asking the user if they want to download the image as this would reduce bandwidth costs in blog posts with a lot of pictures. However, the mobile version is still a massive improvement for the mobile user. Infact, it is a massive improvement for any reader where bandwidth is a concern (ie. those who may be using a dial up line to connect to the web).

If you have a WordPress blog I strongly encourage you to download the WordPress Mobile Edition plugin from Alex King. It’s free and takes 2 minutes to download and setup so you really have no excuse!

Why bother registering a .mobi domain for your blog?

I am sure many of you are wondering why you need to register a .mobi domain name in the first place. Infact, many domainers are questioning whether the domain is dead already due to the lack of support from major corporations.

The short and blunt answer is you don’t to register a .mobi for your blog. The Mobile Edition plugin will automatically detect mobile browsers and direct your readers to the mobile friendly version of your blog.

However, there are a few good reasons for securing the .mobi domain for your blog.

  • Browser Detection – Alex King’s plugin claims to detect every mobile browser however with new phones and new mobile phone software coming out every year there is no 100% guarantee that the plugin will detect that a user is browsing using a mobile phone.
  • Branding – It is much better to direct all mobile readers to site.mobi than site.com/index.php?ak_action=force_mobile.
  • Securing your identity – There is nothing to stop a rival registering the .mobi version of your domain and redirecting it to their website.

With sites like GoDaddy charging less than $10 for a .mobi domain, it isn’t a huge expense to get the .mobi domain name for your blog. New bloggers migh find it hard to justify this expense however those with blogs which have a few thousand subscribers should strongly consider securing their .mobi identity for such a small cost.

Good luck 🙂

Kevin

* Don’t forget to check out BloggingTips.mobi on your mobile! 🙂

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Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and .

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Protecting Your Online Business with Cloud Access Security Brokers

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No matter if you are a blogger just starting out, or have a full time business online, you need to make sure your site is up at all time ans that your data is also secure. This is something many individuals and brands think they have in place, until a new security leak and hack comes into play. One of the best ways to make sure your online business and customer data is safe, is to make sure you are hosting your site with a reliable solution. As ‘cloud computing’ also becomes more accessible and at cheaper prices, it’s yet another option for keeping your online brand and business safe at all times,

A cloud access security broker (CASB) assists with cloud-based security concerns. While you may have outstanding security measures in place both within your organization and with your cloud service provider, there is still a point of vulnerability between the two. A cloud access security broker helps you protect your data everywhere from the point of origination to its final storage place in the cloud. There are several options available for service providers in this area, so it’s important to know how to assess them and make a fair comparison across all your potential security brokers.

Data Security Measures

The primary purpose of a cloud access security broker is to enhance your data security as information moves between internal or external storage devices and the cloud. While the cloud itself may be safe and secure, the transmission of information can create a weak point where cybercriminals have the opportunity to snag sensitive data en route to its next destination.
When you’re comparing cloud access security brokers, you must assess the details of their security measures. How do they control access? What measures are in place to prevent data leakage? How do they handle encryption key management? Compare providers evenly at this point to see which offers the most comprehensive data security services.

Visibility

Enhanced visibility is one of the key services offered by cloud access security brokers. Your broker should monitor all content moving in and out of the cloud, performing regular security audits. It’s important that you, as the consumer, have access to data and security logs and regular reports. Your CASB should also provide helpful alerts that will draw your attention to any potential weaknesses and guide you toward the best solutions. Find out how much visibility a CASB provider offers and what form it comes in.

Threat Protection

How does your cloud access security provider handle threats? You will inevitably come across cybercriminals who are attempting to access your data. What measures are in place to analyze user and entity behavior and capture these criminals? How does your provider detect data theft, and what steps do they take to then block the criminal from accessing your information? Your CASB should not only protect you from potential threats but also aid in the investigation of suspicious activity.

Compliance

Discuss compliance requirements with your cloud access security broker. Are they knowledgeable about the latest requirements for legal compliance with data management within your industry? Do they have smart solutions to help you monitor and maintain compliance throughout the cloud? While compliance is an issue that will still ultimately fall on the shoulders of your company, a cloud access security broker should have the knowledge to assist you in this area, and they should always be on the alert for any compliance concerns that you need to be informed of.

Research your options carefully to make sure you’re working with a cloud access security broker that is well-equipped to assist with your industry-specific needs. The best option should suit both the size and scope of your company.

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Domain Names & Hosting

Five Free Web Hosting Providers for First-Time Webmasters

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When you’re first getting ready to launch a website, the web hosting provider that you choose is one of the most important decisions that you make. After all, the web hosting company is in control of the infrastructure that powers your website and which serves it up to visitors from around the world.

The problem that many would-be webmasters come up against is that hosting can quickly become expensive, especially if you start to pay extra for optional addons. Not everyone has the money to pay for it all up front, especially if they’re just starting out. It’s usually easier to pay for your website when your website itself is up and running and making money.

That’s why free web hosting is such an attractive choice. Sure, it might not be powerful enough once your site starts to take off, but it can save you from hemorrhaging money when you’re starting out. And so with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at just five of the best free hosting providers and noted down everything you need to know.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

  • FreeHostingEU

As you can probably guess from the name, FreeHostingEU is a European web host that offers up 200 MB of disk space and 4 GB of bandwidth for free, as well as additional features like email accounts and FTP access.

The venture itself is backed by FreeDomain.co.nr and AttractSoft GmbH, two well-established German companies which also offer paid hosting options for customers who want to upgrade to a more robust plan. True, their paid plans are potentially better suited to other German businesses just from an ease of use perspective and to avoid problems with the language barrier, but their free plans are an attractive choice for users from across the globe.

Better still, FreeHostingEU is one of a number of free hosts which offers powerful one-click installation tools for content management systems like WordPress and Joomla. That’s all you really need to get started, and they also offer support for PHP, MySQL, Perl, Flash and other technologies and programming languages.

All of this combines to make it an attractive choice for those who are looking for free web hosting, and for those who are targeting European markets in particular. At the same time, though, it’s up against some tough competition.

  • 000webhost.com

000webhost.com takes its name from the fact that it charges $0.00 for web hosting, and they’re trusted by over 16,000,000 users from across the world. They’ve been going strong for over ten years and promise to be free forever, which is probably why they rank consistently high both on search engine results pages and in lists like these.

000webhost offers a 99% uptime guarantee for their users and they even allow you to view historical logs to prove it. Openness is a theme at 000webhost, and it’s reflected by how open their platform is to different technologies and languages, with support for PHP, MySQL, Curl, GD2, Zend, XML, fopen(), PHP sockets, .htaccess and more.

And if their auto-installers and choice of over 50 popular scripts isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you can also use their inbuilt website builder software to make whatever your heart desires with no coding or graphic design expertise required. They also offer near-unlimited disk space and bandwidth, which is good news if you’re looking for a heavy duty free hosting provider that you can rely on.

If you’re the kind of person who makes purchasing decisions based on user reviews then 000webhost is probably the best choice for you. They have an army of happy customers who are quick to sing their praises on third-party review sites.  

  • Awardspace

Awardspace is another free web host that’s owned by two parent companies (this time it’s AttractSoft GmbH and Zetta Hosting Solutions Ltd). They offer “completely ad-free hosting” and also throw in a free .dx.am domain name, allowing their users to create up to three subdomains for blogs, forums or other areas.

As with FreeHostingEU, Awardspace will allow you to create an email account that’s associated with your website and you can install WordPress and Joomla with a single click. They also have a web-based file manager so you can download, edit and upload files, but you can also just use their free website builder if you prefer the point and click approach.

With 1 GB of SSD storage and up to 5 GB of monthly traffic, Awardspace gives you enough resources to run a small-to-medium-sized website, and they also back up their offering with a 99.9% network uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer service. Those are nice added bonuses from a free host that really has no obligation to guarantee anything.

Awardspace is a good choice if you’re looking for an overall all-rounder with pretty good resource limits and decent customer service. It really depends what you’re looking for, and while Awardspace isn’t about to win any awards for the amount of space it offers, storage space isn’t everything.

  • FreeHosting.com

If you’re looking for heavy duty hosting then FreeHosting.com is the choice for you. That’s because it comes with a whopping 10 GB of disk space and 250 GB of bandwidth, and they don’t even compromise the integrity of your site by running advertisements. You’ll even have access to FTP uploads and more powerful tools like cPanel.

It does have its limits, though. You can only use it to host a single website and while you can create an email address that’s associated with your account, you’re limited to just the one. You’ll also need to purchase your own domain name unless you use a subdomain such as http://yourdomain.freehosting.com.

FreeHosting.com also offers paid upgrades for users who exceed the impressive resource limits and need unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Upgraded users also get access to unlimited email addresses, which makes it worth going for if you’re using it to host a business website or something similar where multiple people need an email account.

This host is without a doubt the best choice for those who require large amounts of storage space and bandwidth. In fact, some people even use FreeHosting.com purely as a tool to store backups thanks to their generous resource allocations and the fact that they have no limit when it comes to individual file sizes. If you want to upload a 10 GB zip file, you can do.

  • Freehostia

Freehostia will give you 6 GB of bandwidth and 250 MB of disk space, but unlike FreeHosting.com they’ll also throw in three email accounts. Better still, like Awardspace, they guarantee 99.9% server uptime and offer 24/7 customer service.

They’re able to do this because they also offer paid hosting plans, which is good news if you run out of resources and want to upgrade without jumping to a different provider. Better still, because they provide paid services as well, they take customer service pretty seriously. They even promise to respond to any support tickets within an hour, which you’ll be glad of if you run into any problems or if your site goes down unexpectedly.

When it comes to actually getting started with your website, Freehostia offers a tool called the Elefante Installer which enables you to set up WordPress, Joomla and other CMS software in just a couple of minutes. They’ll even allow you to run a phpBB discussion forum if you’re creating a community site as opposed to one with a commercial focus.

Freehostia is another pretty good all-rounder, and it’s particularly good for non-profits, community organizations and other small teams thanks to the ability to create up to three different email addresses. Plus it’s always nice to have the option to upgrade if you need to.

Conclusion

When you’re first starting out with your website, free web hosting can be a godsend. It allows you to get your site up and running and to start growing it way before you ever need to pay for extra resources. If nothing else, it’s a great way to buy some time so that you can launch with your minimum viable product and test the waters. And honestly, for 90% of websites, free hosting is good enough. People often start out with free hosting and then never upgrade because they never need to.

Perhaps one day you’ll want to upgrade to paid hosting and maybe even a dedicated server all of your own. By that time, though, it’s likely that you’re already making money from your website and so it’ll pay for itself.

In the meantime, you can still get yourself off to a good start with one of these free web hosting providers. It’ll be enough to get your site up and running and to launch it to the world and then you can see how it goes from there. You might even find that free hosting is good enough to power your site indefinitely. Only time will tell.

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How Beneficial is Web Hosting to Your Blog and Business Website?

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With so many websites and blogs on the internet today, it’s likely that you will come across various businesses and brands that have old sites and content online. Unfortunately, with web hosting costs being so cheap these days, many site owners will leave old content up and just forget it even exists. This can lead to poor customer engagement, low quality in branding and also just a lot more junk cluttering up the internet.

Such website owners that are ignorant about the importance of content and are far away from experiencing the reality “Content is King” oftentimes fail to yield the benefits of blogging. But not all of them are ignorant.

Next question is whether or not you must host the blog on your very business website?

In this write-up, let us discuss why doing so is the best option you can avail and how it benefits your online business too. So, delve deeper into the subject.

Picking-the-Right-Hosting-Service-for-Your-Blog-image

What difference does it make to have a blog and not have one?

Experts have stated and many business owners have also experienced firsthand that online business benefited immensely from blogging while the ones that did not opt for this marketing tool were left behind in the rat race.

The successful businesses have the following characteristic features that make them enjoy an edge over their counterparts or competitors. These aspects are as follows-

  • These businesses invest hugely in content strategies, experimenting throughout with ideas and tools for the best outcome.
  • They regularly update content
  • Do not use black hat SEO strategies. Instead bank heavily upon White Hat SEO strategies since they target audiences (prospective clients) for the long term so that they are able to retain their existing clients as well as convert visitors into prospective leads.
  • Develop content that is mobile indexed too. In other words, the content that they develop also caters to the mobile-friendly audience.
  • Select topics (sub topics) after careful analysis and research pertaining to the type of business they offer.
  • Most importantly, the content developer is able to identify its target audience, which is one of the prerequisites because unless you identify your audience, you will not know for whom you are writing.
  • The content is relevant, crisp, to the point, and useful and informative. Most importantly, it adds value to the reader’s knowledge.

Such is the blogging technique of the businesses that have yielded benefits from blogging on their business websites.

The fact that these days, blogging has become easier due to the presence of apps has allowed many to turn bloggers. Also, you can exploit or tap the potential of many CMS or Content Management Systems that are user-friendly and easy to use.

Just as investment apps allow you to explore options in investing, similarly, writing apps allow you to explore your options as far as blogging is concerned. So, it will not be wrong to say investment and writing apps have made life much easier for all.

What are the benefits of blogging?

The benefits are many and these can be summarized in short as follows-

  • Increases visibility

Many experts are of the opinion that “blogging is like fishing”. Through blogging, you can lure your visitors and make them return to your website again and again. More digital footfall means your website gains visibility.

  • Brand promotion

With the help of your blog, you can promote your brand virtually. Once your brand becomes popular, you will not have to exert much for your brand to be known. Eventually, you will get more web traffic by default.

  • Social media visibility

These days every website debuts on social media platforms. Through this media, you are in a better position to reach out to your clients and connect with them.

Basically, there are 3 Ps that will determine your success online and these include Patience, Perseverance, and Promoting policies. It’s up to you to decide which of the three you focus your efforts on — though it should be your personal and business mission to go after all three.

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