301-redirects

Using 301 Redirects to Improve Website Sales

So after working at my new job for a few days I’ve been thinking of a couple of ways I could help improve their conversion rates and ultimately earn the company more money. After having a look at how the website is structured in the search engine rankings I noticed that a few of the pages that were ranking very highly and giving the site traffic weren’t product pages and visitors would have to click on that and then click through to a product page before any actual conversion could take place. My main goal would be figuring out a way I could combat this and effectively increase revenues.

My initial thoughts were that using 301 redirects would solve our problems, so I decided to do a bit of research into it and make sure I was making the right choice before implementing it.

301 Redirects – What are they?

Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to a different URL and there are currently 3 types of redirection. 301, 302 and meta refresh.

301 Redirects are away of sending both search engines and users to a permanent new URL. These pass roughly 90-99% of the ranking power back to the redirected page.

302 Redirects are the temporary version and don’t pass any of the ranking juice back to the redirected web page.

How Can They Help Us?

301 redirections pass 90-99% of the link juice from the old page to the redirected page and as a result they are a perfect way for webmasters to point new visitors away from old deprecated content and towards fresh new content. In the past, I’ve used 301 redirects to redirect people away from my old headset reviews towards new headset reviews and seen good results.

Redirecting Low-Conversion Content to High-Conversion Content

Whilst inspecting my current employers website in the rankings I noticed that the search engines were ranking low-value content such as small-text news posts were ranking higher than actual product sales pages. In an ideal world the product sales page would be ranking higher than the news page or even instead of the news page.

This would be the ideal situation to use the 301 redirects to redirect visitors instantly from the news page straight to the product page. Having less content to wade through before finding an actual product page should in theory result in higher product conversion rates and thus more revenue for the company.

External Resources – Source (moz.com)

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Why Brackets is the Most Exciting Web Development Tool Out

Adobe have just recently released the 1.0 version of their editor Brackets and having just had another look at the editor I’m incredibly excited about what this means for web development. Some of it’s features are incredibly impressive and I have to say I’m already a convert from my old favorite editor Sublime Text 3.

Extracts

This is one hell of a tool and quite frankly the one I’m most impressed with. It allows you to open PSDs within the text editor and to top it off, it will even give you code hints and auto completion within the text editor. This will save me an incredible amount of time in switching between both photoshop and another text editor and I can only really say good things about what I’ve seen from it so far.

The Extension Manager

I was never a fan of the way Sublime Text handled it’s packages and I was please that when I opened up Brackets package manager first time I saw popular packages such as emmet already available.

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Live Preview

This will create a real-time connection to your browser and this is fantastic news for those of us lucky to have more than one screen. Currently I use my laptop for everything and having an extra screen at my desk to plug it into means that Live preview will be invaluable when I’m developing any new sites. I will be able to have Brackets as my editor on my larger screen and be able to see my changes happen in real time on the smaller screen without having to ever leave the editor. This is just another small feature which is just going to make my workflow that little bit more efficient.

Inline Editors

I absolutely love this feature as it means I no longer have to jump back and forth between both my html and css files or split the screens and waste some of my valuable screen space. I can simply right click an element that I wish to change and select edit rule and if there is a rule for that item it will open it up right below that element.

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It’s OpenSource and Free!!

One of the best things about this editor is the fact that it is completely open source. It’s one of the most popular git repositories up right now and has over 18,000 stars. This basically means that if you aren’t happy with any part of the editor you can go into the code and change it yourself, this is an incredible amount of freedom for such an incredibly powerful bit of software.

Having such a huge crowd behind it will also mean that extensions will come thick and fast and it’s likely that anything you need added to the editor will already have been added by like-minded coders.

I’m incredibly excited to actually get my teeth properly into the editor and I’m optimistic that it will answer all my needs as a web developer. I’ve yet to see how it handles JS and other languages but I can’t see any reason why this exceptional editor will fall down when using these.

You can check out Adobe’s Brackets site here: brackets.io

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Why WebPush is the Most Exciting New Way to Drive Traffic.

Push notifications on your phone are an incredible powerful way to let users of certain sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc… know that they’ve got a new notification and this is an incredibly powerful way to drive these users of Social Media sites back onto them to check what exactly the notification refers too.

hero-safari-push-notification_2xWhat is it?

WebPush is a new concept that will look to effectively transform your one-time visitors into valuable repeat readers and more importantly, it will be able to instantly notify these readers every time you publish a new post.

Now this is incredibly valuable to anyone in the blogging/web publishing industry and it’s quickly becoming one of the best go-to tools for high-profile bloggers to drive traffic to their sites.

Users of your site will be given a one-time pop-up asking them if they’d like to receive push notifications from your site. This will not require any email or input other than a click of the ‘Yes’ button from your users and because of this we’ve already seen much higher rates of conversion when compared to building a mailing list.

The conversion figures are around 15% which is almost 10 times higher than what we’ve seen with mailing lists.

How Can I Get it?

Currently this new technology is only available on the Safari web browser but it’s soon to available on both Chrome and Firefox.

You can visit Apple’s site on it here: Safari Push Notifications

WordPress:

WordPress users are in luck as there is currently a plugin for this sort of thing but it’s still only available for Safari.

Link: Roost Web Push for Safari

The Impact?

Driving traffic to your websites is about to drastically change. This new technology is not only supported by the desktop versions of these browsers but also the mobile versions. Now imagine this: You post a new blog post and instantly a thousand people are notified wherever they are, whatever they are doing. You should already see the sort of power this technology will give to bloggers and the sort of impact it will have on traffic.

This will quickly become one of the best methods for driving traffic to your site and you can guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the near future.

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The ShellShock Bug Explained – What is it and how can you protect yourself?

I first read about this on HN and I was incredibly interested to see exactly how this bug works and what could potentially be done with this bug. So I thought I’d try and research the bug a bit more and try and provide a small breakdown of what it is and how a server admin could protect themselves against it.

What is it?

From my understanding the ShellShock bug is essentially a bug that allows you to remotely execute some seriously damaging pieces of code that could bring down your entire server. This is incredibly bad news for *nix system administrators and anyone running a *nix device based off of the Bash CLI.

The bug has been sitting in these systems for roughly 22 years since the 1.13 version of the Bash shell was released and allows anyone with a POV access to perform a wide range of attacks such as Forkbombs, DDOS attacks and it can even be used to steal passwords and other sensitive data.

The bug is incredibly easy to get past and even an unskilled hacker can have full control over a system by just piecing together the bits of code already on the web. The more experienced hackers managed to exploit this vulnerability in just about an hour after it had been announced so the damage that could have been done already is frightening.

How Dangerous is it?

The new Shellshock vulnerability makes heartbleed look quite harmless as the potential attack surface for Shellshock is incredible. Already we are seeing reports that hackers have been orchestrating botnet attacks using this newfound vulnerability.

The difference between Heartbleed and Shellshock is that the heartbleed bug would try and scan for private keys and then once these were found you could decrpyt any traffic as you would have both keys necessary for decrpytion. This would allow you to retrieve sensitive information such as passwords and bank details but wouldn’t let you do any serious damage to the server that data was sitting on.

The Shellshock vulnerability is a whole different ball game in the sense that it allows you to have almost full control over any system running an unpatched version of Bash. The potential avenues a hacker could then take after gaining access to a server is unlimited and this is raising serious alarms right now to all system admins.

Protecting Yourself:

In order to check if your systems are vulnerable ssh into your servers and paste the following line in:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo hello'

If you are able to see the following then your system will be at risk:

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In order to protect yourself from these threats you should immediately patch Bashe

Ubuntu + Debian Builds:

Use the following command to patch Bash:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install –only-upgrade bash

CentOS, Fedora, Red Hat etc..

yum -y update bash

Once you have performed these commands check again to see if the word ‘vulnerable’ appears and if it doesn’t you should be all clear.

Examples of ShellShock:

These are a few of the examples of Shellshock I’ve been able to find on the web so far:

Examples of Forkbombs, DDOS, Theft of data: StackExchange

A Proof of concept Article: TrustedSec

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Brilliant Posts That Every Budding Freelancer Should Read!

So with my latest foray into the world of freelance development I’ve been reading up a lot of different articles on how to improve myself as a freelancer and acquire more clients and thus become more successful! Whilst I’ve read a few brilliant articles(and some not so brilliant), I’ve found that what seems to be missing is a list of brilliant articles that I feel every budding freelancer (like myself) should read.

So what I thought I would do because I’m so kind (read: looking to gain exposure) is build an incredible list of posts that I’ve thought have helped me the most and thus the posts that I feel would be most beneficial to other budding freelancers.

So to begin:

Acquiring New Clients

  1. How to Land More Clients With Persuasive Fees
  2. Stop Freelancing
  3. How to guarantee more clients for your freelance business
  4. How to avoid problem clients
  5. Hacking Elance -The Step by Step Guide to How I Made $23,700 in 4 Weeks

General Freelance Articles

  1.  How to become a freelance web developer
  2. 6 Not-So-Obvious Mistakes Freelance Web Developers Make
  3. 10 Resources to Help you become more attractive in the web design community
  4. How to become a successful freelance web developer (and not kill your career)
  5. Making the Leap to Freelancing
m4s0n501

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Essential Web Developer Tools

Long gone are the days where you could just throw up a new website and watch the traffic roll in with little to no other work needed. These days generating traffic from the likes of Google and Bing takes a bit of hard graft and elbow grease in order to get your website ranking high up on the search engine rankings.

This list of essential web developer tools will hopefully help make that elbow grease and hard graft that little bit easier. These tools will hopefully help you revolutionise the way you do your work and help you towards success.

Google Analytics

Of course this is going to be at the top of my list. Google analytics is an analytical tool that has become the corner stone of every web developers arsenal thanks to the power that it bestows upon the user! Not to mention the fact that it is, in fact, 100% free and nothing can really get better than that!

Use Google Analytics to analyse how traffic is currently being directed to your websites and use this information to better optimize for these keywords. Discover keywords that you have ranked for and have gained a little bit of traffic from and then optimize your web page or post to try and boost your rankings for that keyword and gain yet more traffic.

Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

Another set of invaluable tools courtesy of our friends Google and Bing! Google and Bing’s Webmaster tools are a great way to see how the two giants see your website and they both allow you to submit sitemaps that help the two search engines index your web pages quicker. This is definitely a great tool if you are just starting a new site and are wanting to get your site visible online as soon as possible.

Another great thing about both of these tools is that they, like Google Analytics are completely free. So you can enjoy the benefits of utilizing such powerful tools without spending a penny!

WordPress

This has got to be one of the best content management systems out when it comes to creating arrays of different websites then using WordPress means that you can get your sites up and running in a matter of minutes. It handles absolutely everything so all you have to do is find a theme or build your own custom theme in order to make your site look individual.

The learning curve for WordPress is minimal as it hides most of the complexities of running a website and handles pretty much everything for you whilst still giving you the option to start working on the more complex side of things at your own pace.

Coupling a WordPress site with a decent SEO plugin can pretty much guarantee you that your on-page SEO performance will be almost as good as it can get! All you would have to worry about after that is making sure the content you put up on your sites is up to scratch and that you constantly keep working on your off-page SEO!

wordpress-cms-backend

 WooRank Site Analysis

This is an excellent tool for tightening up your websites performance and can show you numerous areas in which you can improve upon. Site analysis tools are excellent for testing whether everything on your site is in check and WooRank is one of the best free ones on the market right now.

Testing my own blog I was able to see several different things that could be improved upon and I have already taken action against as many of the faults as possible in order to make this blog as fast as possible!woorank

 

Inform.ly

This isn’t exactly a great web developer tool but it’s certainly a great tool that all web developers should know about. This is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to keeping clients updated with monthly reports about how well their site is doing. The reports are generated from all sorts of sources and the cost of using it is roughly $1/month per client. If this makes you seem even a little bit more professional when dealing with clients and it keeps the client that wee bit happier with your services then it is most definitely worth it.

Google Webmaster Help Videos

The collection of Google webmaster videos on Youtube is an incredible resource which all web developer should take a look at if they are wanting their websites to fully comply with Google’s white hat techniques and thus rank highly.

 JsFiddle.com

Javascript is one of the biggest languages in web development and JsFiddle is one of the best simple and free tool to help you with your javascript development. If you haven’t already used it then I would definitely guarantee checking it out.

 WhatFontIs.com

This is an absolutely excellent site for finding out what font is used in images for things like logo images etc. This is perfect if you are looking to find the name of a good looking font for one of your newest projects or maybe even a redesign.

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Installing Python Modules onto a Dedicated Server

So I’ve been doing a bit of Python recently on my server and noticed there wasn’t really a definitive tutorial on installing new Python modules onto a server!

Create a Directory + Download the Module

Create a directory somewhere on your server where you can download all the modules you require by using the following commands:

mkdir devfiles

Once you have this done you’ll want to download the source files into your new directory and the command to do this is:

wget http://location.com/ofthesource/code/latest.tar.gz

After you have done this you’ll want to extract the files by using this command:

tar -zxvf latest.tar.gz

Installing the Python SetupTools

After you have extracted the files you should see the folder for that module, cd into that module and then perform the following command:

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools

This will install the necessary components you need to install the modules on your server.

Finally, Installing the Module

After you have done everything else installing the module is pretty easy! Make sure you are in the modules directory and when you run ls you can see setup.py and then just run:

python setup.py build

python setup.py install

And after that is done that should be everything installed and ready to use!

 

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WordPress Plugin FTP Problem And How to Fix It

Recently I have been developing a few new WordPress sites on a new dedicated server and I came up to the following problem when trying to install plugins or themes.

Wordpress FTP Plugins Problem

So I thought I would help other people out and have this as my very own personal reminder.

Open up your SSH client of choice and connect to your server after you have done this you are then going to want to input the following snippet of code:

chown -R www-data /path/to/example.com/public

Here the chown command changes the ownership of your websites’s public folder so that changes can be made to these files from the www-data group.

And that’s all folks! You should now be free to install as many plugins and themes as you require through your WordPress backend.

 

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