Technology

Best Domain Name

7 Tricks To Grabbing The Best Domain Names

Depending how you look at it, registering domain names can either be easy, or really, really difficult. Sure, technically it’s as simple as searching through GoDaddy but finding the perfect domain is the hard part.

If you’re hoping to find single-word domain names, such as any word in the dictionary, you’d be out of luck. Dictionary-word .com domains have all been snapped up. If you do happen to find one available, grab it quickly because it will be worth a fair bit of money.

It is possible to buy dictionary-word domains at auction, but unless you have very deep pockets, this may be out of reach. Instead, we can be creative and come up with our own unique domain names that represents our business or blog.

Choosing a brand name for your business or blog goes hand-in-hand with choosing domain names. We discussed this in Why Good Blog Names Unleash The Power Of Branding

Localized Domain Extensions Can Get You Out Of Trouble

There are many different types of domain name extensions available, such as .com, .net, .org, .au, .nz, .in and thousands of others. If your target audience is outside of the United States, for example a registered business in Australia can purchase a .com.au domain name. Some countries do have restrictions on who can register a domain name, so you’d need to check the policies.

Domain Extension Perception

There is a common perception amongst Internet users that .com is a ‘global’ domain, rather than one specifically for an American audience. If your target audience is USA or worldwide, try grab a .com domain name.

Other extensions such as .net, .org or even .info and .biz are all perceived to have lesser value than the .com. These extensions have their purpose, but if you are on a branding exercise and trying to establish your blog as being credible, I recommend sticking with .com

Finding Good Domain Names

Finding the best domain name is hard. A good domain is short! A good domain can be spoken out aloud easily, and read just as easily without ambiguity.

Your choice of domain may come down to the topics you will discuss in your blog. These are the keywords you may choose to include in your domain.

A word of caution though – creating a brand for your blog is less about keyword focus and more about uniqueness. Stand out from the crowd. Be creative when using keywords in your brand name – and likewise, your domain names.

Here are some tips to finding perfect domain names. You can see if any are available through GoDaddy

1. Remove a letter.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Flickr, Tumblr and Inscribd 😉 Remove a letter from keywords that end in ‘ed’ or ‘er’.

2. Add a suffix.

Try using a keyword/topic and add ‘er’, ‘ed’, ‘ing’, ‘y’, ‘ie’ to the end and see if that’s available. Also make keywords plural by adding ‘ies’ and ‘s’.

3. Replace ‘s’ with ‘z’.

Use this suggestion with care because it may come across as a bit tacky in some circumstances. It would work with some words, and not with others.

4. Add numbers.

Often, the easiest way to grab a keyword domain is to simply add a number at the start or end. Commonly, you’ll see 247 to mean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes though, a number’s meaning is not immediately obvious to visitors, so only do this if it fits within with your brand image.

5. Add abbreviations and titles.

Try add ‘HQ’ for headquarters. Add ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ in front of personal name.

6. Clever word play with keywords.

Try joining two or three keywords together to form an entirely unique word. You’ll need to be clever though and make sure you can still say it out loud. Best to ask your social network what they think before you go ahead and register your funky new domain though.

7. Add a hyphen ‘-‘ between words.

This is a common trick for lazy domain hunters that I only recommend as a last resort. Adding a hyphen between keywords in your domain has much less benefit for SEO purposes than it used to. It also adds to the length of the domain, which is contrary to my recommendation of keeping them as short as possible.

Search for available domains through GoDaddy and let us know what you came up with!

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

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Tags:  domain namedomain namesdomain registration

Windows Media Player Alternative

5 Windows Media Player Alternative Applications That Dont Chew CPU

 

There is a high likelihood that you have a version of Windows Media Player installed on your Windows computer. Not by choice though, because Microsoft have bundled it into the operating system. Finding a Windows Media Player alternative will not only allow you to play a wider variety of video formats, but in many cases, also give you a better viewing experience.

Microsoft Windows Media Player, which is a video and audio player, suits some of us just fine.

Others who prefer to branch out into non-Microsoft applications, expect more features from their player. Often, video and audio can actually be played back at higher quality because the Windows Media Player alternative software uses less CPU and memory, giving the video itself more juice to run.

There are plenty of alternative Windows media players to choose from and it just comes down to finding the perfect one that meets your criteria.

Here are five free downloadable software alternatives to Windows Media Player.

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player will suit those of us who are wanting an open source cross-platform multimedia alternative to Windows Media Player. Simply put, VLC Media Player will play pretty much all multimedia files, DVD, Audio, VCD and CD.

It also has a wide range of add-ons to choose from, including skins, extensions, internet channels and plugins. VLC media player can run on all platforms and it plays most codecs, such as MP3, MPEG-2, MKV, WebM and WMV.

VLC can also stream across computer networks, has a modular design so it is easy to include plugins and as the interfaces are each on their own modules. You can use more than one GUI (Graphical User Interface) at a time.

Like many Windows Media Player alternative applications, VLC Media Player also has its own Easter Eggs, which are hidden features or bonus you are not likely to expect. Around Christmas time, the VLC traffic cone symbol wears a Santa hat, which automatically disappears in January. :)

Winamp

Winamp is a well-known Microsoft Windows Media Player alternative due to its significant ability to be customised by the user.

You can choose your own skins to change the way the interface looks, install plugins to play with, visualizations to use when your music plays and a wide range of online services to help you in many ways.

Winamp Standard is a free MP3, video and music player which runs on the Windows operating system. It will show you whats ‘Playing Now’ on songs, artists, video and radio as well as allowing you to organize and play your iPod tunes.

The Shoutcast plugin can also help you turn DJ and stream your collection to your listeners, or alternatively, listen to other radio streams.

If you don’t have Windows, never fear. Winamp is also available for use on Andriod and Apple

Audacity

Audacity is another popular free, open source alternative to Windows Media Player. It is a high quality digital editor and music player. It can run on Linux/GNU, Windows and Mac OS X.

The low number of plugins is counterbalanced by the large number of built in features. Audacity will allow you to record through a microphone or mixer, edit or mix up tracks, import and export sound files, alter, add or remove effects and use screen readers.

If that wasn’t enough and you have the know-how, you can write your own plugin for this Windows Media Player alternative.

Foobar2000

As an alternative to Windows Media Player, Foobar2000 offers the Windows operating system user an audio player which is highly customizable.

Foobar2000 is also modular based allowing the GUI to be customized and third-party developers to replace the entire interface if they want. As it is solely focused on things audio related, it has plenty of features which allow us to organize our files and folders and metadata.

It supports a wide range of audio file formats including MP3, MP4, WAV, CD Audio and WMA. Audio CDs can be ripped using its Converter component, one of the optional features you can also download.

SM Player

SM Player is a media player which will play almost all audio and video formats on Windows or Linux OS. It does not require you to install any codecs, as they are already built in ready for use.

However, this is one smart Windows Media Player alternative! SM Player will search, download and play YouTube videos, as well as downloading subtitles from www.opensubtitles.org for people needing visual aids.

It also comes with a selection of skins to choose from, is available in over 30 languages and uses MPlayer, an award winning powerful but hard to use media player, as its playback engine.

As a final big plus for SM Player, it has an easy to understand and use website for those of us with not so much technical knowledge!

So if you are not completely satisfied with your Microsoft Windows Media Player, try downloading one of these free alternatives.

Tags:  audacityfoobar2000media playersmicrosoft windows media playersm playerVLC Media PlayerwinampWindows Media PlayerWindows Media Player alternative

Expired Domains

New SEO Strategy: Grab Expired Domains With High PR


When a website with a high Google PageRank score links to your website, some of that PageRank score gets passed on to your site. This can be very beneficial to help your website gain “authority” and trust in Google’s eyes, and therefore increase your ranking within the search engine results.

This successful strategy is guaranteed to earn your website a high PageRank.

How to get quality backlinks from websites with high PageRank?

Google pagerank

Many folks in SEO circles struggle with this problem every day and it’s only getting more and more difficult as time goes on.

Well, do I ever have the strategy for you! Ready?

It’s so simple you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it before. I’m not going to waffle on too much, so you can jump right in and get to work.

This strategy is time-critical. Delaying only leads to missed opportunities, so take action while reading through this guide.

Firstly, you’ll need a GoDaddy account where you can register for domains that are about to expire.

Stage #1. Find Expiring or Expired Domains

For whatever reason, some domain owners either forget to renew their domain name, or their business goes bust, or they simply don’t care anymore.

When those domains fall out of the redemption period (the time when the original owner can still renew), the domains are released for public registration and anyone can grab them.

It does not matter who originally owned the domain, or what it was used for. Once a domain has expired, you can re-register it for yourself without any concern about legal ramifications.

It’s their bad luck if they want it back. Perhaps you could even sell it back to them for a little profit.

Go to expireddomains.net

First you will see a list of random junk domains, so you’ll need to filter this list for good domains.

expired domains

Click on “show filter”, and you’ll see these options:

expiring domains

Be sure to select “only with DMOZ entry”. Why? Because the DMOZ directory is a human curated list of websites that is a highly trusted source for Google. It is very difficult to get your website listed in DMOZ, so finding domains that are already listed is a HUGE bonus.

Apply the filter and sort the columns by PR (PageRank) or Alexa (3 month traffic average).

SEO Note

You’ve probably got a website in mind that you want to use to earn some money, either by selling your own products or earn through an affiliate program or make money with AdSense. Let’s call this your “money site”.

You want to get as much traffic to your “money site” as possible and that means you want to get great backlinks to it. You could use software like Backlink Beast to automate your backlink building efforts to boost your new domain’s reach.

On the wide expanse of the Internet, there are so many different domain ‘names’ that it doesn’t really matter which ones link to you.

What I mean is that the domain address doesn’t matter, whether it’s perfectmatch.com or somethingirrelevant.com

With this in mind, it doesn’t matter what the expiring domain name’s URL is. All you need to care about are the number of backlinks the expiring domain already has, how much traffic it was receiving prior to expiring and it’s PageRank.

Stage #2. Backorder The Domains

godaddy

If you don’t have a GoDaddy account, create an account first (you’ll find the link at the top of their page).

Now, from the list we’ve generated from expireddomains.net, you’ll want to choose a few of these domains to put on backorder. What does that mean exactly?

GoDaddy offer this service where they are constantly pinging the domain registry and waiting for the very moment a domain is released back for public registration. Not many other providers can do this, because there are over 19 million domains expiring at any point in time. That’s huge!

So, what you can do is ask GoDaddy (through a “domain backorder“), to watch the registry for you and when the domain is available, grab it. Grab it QUICK.

Guess what? This is EXACTLY how I registered inscribd.com. Someone already owned it, but I put it on backorder with GoDaddy. When I got it, I was ecstatic. :)

Anyway, login to GoDaddy.

To get to the backordering section, click this link again, or you can find backordering through the menu:

All Products >> Domains >> Domain Backordering (under Advanced Domains).

domain backorder Scroll down a bit to see the green box with pricing.

You can enter the quantity to equal the number of domains from your list you want to try grab.

Go through the ordering process and come back here to read on.

Stage #3. What To Do With High PR Domains

Alright, so you’re pumped to get some high PR domains in your possession. Now it’s just a waiting game. You may have to wait only a few hours or it might take a few days or even weeks. It depends on the exact date the domain expires and whether GoDaddy successfully grabs it for you.

If GoDaddy doesn’t get one of your desired domains, you get a credit so that you try grab another one. You don’t lose anything.

So, now here’s the fun part. Please excuse my crude photoshop diagram.

high pr network

What we’re setting up is our own private high PageRank network of blogs that we are in full control over. You’ll only need a handful of these domains to pass on high PR to your money site.

On each domain, setup a new WordPress website (or whatever is easiest for you).

If you don’t have web hosting, have a look at Blue Host‘s packages.

GoDaddy also has WordPress hosting if you want to keep everything under one roof.

I recommend choosing a good looking template and do not fill the website with Ads. The purpose of the domains you’ve just picked up are not to make money directly, but rather their purpose is to pass on link juice (pagerank) using your target keywords to your money site.

I also recommend setting up these website to look entirely independent and separate from your money site. Don’t use the same template and don’t use the same AdSense or Analytics account as your money site. Yes, really. I think it’s good to be cautious and not “tell” google the sites are intimately associated.

If you’re not sure what your money site should be, I recommend reading my article How To Make Money Online With Google AdSense

Stage #4. Article Writing and Target Keywords

Each of your new websites should have a series of articles relating to the topic of your money site.

Don’t duplicate content between sites. Don’t use the same content as your money site. You should spend some time creating unique content for each of your newly acquired domains.

Read 8 Google SEO Mistakes That Will Choke Your Search Ranking

Within the contents of each new site, you can link back to your money site using your target keywords.

BUT…

It is very important that the anchor text you use within the links going back to your money site look “natural” to Google, and not spammy.

The general rule is to spread the type of link text such as:

  • 25% target keyword phrase
  • 15% similar but different target keyword phrase
  • 30% URL, eg “inscribd.com”
  • 30% “click here” or “see more” or other generic links

Read Why Keyword Anchor Text Links Got Smashed By Google

Strategic Conclusion

With this strategy, you can build your own highly targeted, high PageRank network of blogs that are already indexed in Google, have been receiving traffic previously, and have established backlinks.

Very quickly, your money site will start ranking for your target keyword (depending on competition of course) and you can experiment with your new network by changing anchor text to rank for different keywords, increase the PageRank for your money site and – the ultimate goal – get more traffic and more revenue.

For more backlinking strategies, read 10 Easy Ways How To Get Backlinks To Your Website

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

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Tags:  backlinksbackorder domainsexpired domainsexpiring domain namesexpiring domainsmake money onlineSearch engine optimizationseo

One Billion Dollars

Spare A Billion Dollars? Top 10 Enormous Internet Acquisitions

Household brand names are worth a lot of money to big business and often the sale of these companies can reach 10 figures; well over a billion dollars.

The internet opens the door for many opportunities to either earn a bit of money on the side or to build a wildly successful business that is acquired by a larger company, leaving you laughing all the way to the bank.

While most of us could only dream of our business being sold for a cool million bucks, for others, that’s just not enough.

“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? … A Billion dollars.”The Social Network

Let’s take a look at some high profile Internet companies that have been sold for over a billion dollars.

A Billion Dollars Plus

a billion dollars for alibaba

 

1. Alibaba : $1 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Yahoo! in August 2005

Alibaba.com is a business-to-business e-commerce company that primarily serves as a directory of Chinese manufacturers, connecting them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers.

Yahoo is currently a 40% share holder in the parent Alibaba Group.

They operate two marketplaces; the first is an international marketplace based in English tailored to global importers and exporters in China; the second is a Chinese marketplace that focuses on suppliers and buyers trading domestically in China.

a billion dollars for instagram

 

2. Instagram : $1 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Facebook in April 2012

Developed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram is a free photo sharing application that first appeared on the iPhone.

Instagram allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it across social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and Posterous.

The application is compatible with any web-enabled device running iOS or Android.

tumblr

 

3. Tumblr : $1.1 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Yahoo! in May 2013

Tumblr functions as a subset of blogging that allows users to post quick streams of consciousness in the form of short writing, pictures and video.

Tumblr is very easy to use and is popular with 18-25 year old demographic.

What makes Tumblr different is the “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet, which allows other Tumblr users to ‘re-blog’ the post on their own tumblr.

Read more: High School Drop Out Demands Yahoo Give Him $1 Billion For Tumblr

yammer

 

4. Yammer : $1.2 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Microsoft in June 2012

Yammer is a social network that integrates with other systems such as Microsoft SharePoint and enables a “virtual office” for the businesses by connecting employees, content, conversations, and business data in one location.

Employees can create groups to collaborate on projects and share and edit documents. Yammer enables users to collaborate in real-time, using any web-enabled device.

popcap games

 

5. PopCap Games : $1.3 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Electronic Arts in July 2011

PopCap Games create easy-to-learn and irresistible games for all ages including award-winning hits like Bejeweled, Zuma, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies.

Their games can be played everywhere on PC and Mac, iPhone and iPad, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Facebook.

paypal

 

6. PayPal : $1.5 Billion Dollars

Acquired by eBay in October 2002

PayPal is a money transfer and payment service that allows individuals and businesses to send and receive money via email, phone, text message or Skype. PayPal connects directly to bank accounts and credit cards.

PayPal created the Gausebeck-Levchin test, which is the blurry box of letters and numbers, created in the early days to help prevent unauthorized access by automated systems.

eBay already had an online payment system called Billpoint, which was quickly phased out after the acquisition of PayPal.

youtube

 

7. YouTube : $1.65 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Google in October 2006

YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google) and provides a platform for users to create, connect and discover the world’s videos.

YouTube has partnered with major movie studios, record labels, and web original creators to fill paid channels as well as free, ad-supported video watching.

Read more: 10 Youtube Alternative Video Hosting Sites

doubleclick

 

8. DoubleClick : $3.1 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Google in March 2008

DoubleClick is a provider of digital marketing technology and services. Companies use DoubleClick for expertise in serving advertising, media, video, search and affiliate marketing

aQuantive

 

9. aQuantive : $6.4 Billion Dollars

Acquired by Microsoft in May 2007

The second largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history (the largest being Skype), aQuantive became part of Microsoft’s newly-created Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group.

On July 2, 2012, Microsoft announced that it would take a $6.2 billion writedown, mostly related to the 2007 acquisition of aQuantive.

The group is now simply called Microsoft Advertising

skype

 

10. Skype : $8.5 Billion Dollars

Acquired by eBay in September 2005 for $2.6 Billion
Sold to Microsoft in May 2011 for $8.5 Billion

The Skype software allows users to make voice and video calls over the Internet. Skype-to-Skype calls are known as VOIP and are free, while calls to landline and mobile phones are charged at competitive rates.

Skype reportedly had over 665 million registered users prior to Microsoft’s acquisition.

Skype’s original name “Sky peer-to-peer” comes from the use of it’s peer-to-peer system (similar to Kazaa/Bit-torrent) rather than a client-server system.

Skype is now available across PC, Mac, web browser, iOS and Android devices and xBox.

Credit: All figures sourced from Crunchbase

Tags:  a billion dollarsalibabaaQuantivedoubleclickinstagrampaypalpopcap gamesskypetumblryammeryoutube

David Karp Tumblr

High School Drop Out Demands Yahoo Give Him Billion For Tumblr

 

Tumblr’s creator and CEO David Karp is one of the most successful entrepreneurs on this planet. With his bank balance looking healthy due to the 2013 US$1.1 billion sale of Tumblr to Yahoo, the question on all of our lips is, “How did he do it?”

Like many entrepreneurs, his background and schooling are not typical. David began learning HTML when he was 11 years old and started offering website design services to local businesses.

“I would run around the neighbourhood building little storefront websites. I didn’t want people knowing I was a teenager, because I didn’t want to be sending the wrong impression. I tried to deepen my voice on the phone, but I’d still get mistaken for a girl.”David Karp

David’s mother Barbara Ackerman, encouraged him to quit high school at age 14 to be home schooled. She said,

“It became very clear that David needed the space to live his passion. Which was computers. All things computers.”

David has since reflected on this decision and he feels that in doing so he missed out on a lot of his childhood and the social scene.

“If somebody else had that opportunity…well I wouldn’t not encourage them to take it. I don’t know that I’d be the one rooting for them to drop out of school.”David Karp

During his three years of home schooling, David at age 14, entered into an internship at Fred Seibert’s Frederator Studios, an animation company in New York. At first he went there a couple of times a week, which quickly turned into a full time working week.

The start of David’s career was an “it’s not what you know, but who you know” scenario.

Fred Seibert’s wife became friends with David’s mother Barbara, who was a science teacher at the school which Seibert’s children attended. When Barbara commented on how David was very bored at school, Seibert’s wife told her to send David over to Frederator’s office to meet with Fred.

David made such an impression at Frederator Studios that when an employee heard that entrepreneur John Maloney needed some technical help for UrbanBaby, an online parenting forum, he recommended David for the job.

David Karp Tumblr

When David completed that job in four hours, days ahead of schedule, Maloney consequently hired him as UrbanBaby’s head of product and gave him a small amount of shares in the company.

When UrbanBaby was sold in 2006, David aged 20, cashed in his shares and walked away with several hundred thousand dollars in his pocket. He put this to good use to start up his own company called Davidville, which he based at Frederator Studios.

Davidville, a software consulting company, hired Marco Arment and when he and David had a two week gap between contracts, they started work on their own tumblelogging platform – the early form of “micro-blogging” – a quick and unfiltered stream of consciousness put into writing.

David and Marco were not the first to invent a tumblelog however.

David got the idea from Chris Neukirchen, a 17 year old German national who created a website with a tumblelog called Projectionist. Instead they revised the original concept and turned it into what we now know as Tumblr.

“Tumblr started pretty modestly. I had tried to set up blogs, I tried to tweet, used Flickr and Delicious, I wanted something that allowed me to be more expressive, to present myself in a way I was proud of.”David Karp

David and Marco launched Tumblr in February 2007 and were blown away by the success of something David had only really expected himself to use.

“The day Marco and I launched Tumblr, we set up this stats page to watch registrations. That was a really fun day :) Overnight we had, like, 30,000 registered users.”David Karp

Tumblr continued to rise in popularity and 2008 saw 25,000 new users register every day. Consequently, in October 2007 David closed down his consultancy business to focus totally on Tumblr.

Davidville was renamed Tumblr Inc. and twenty five percent of its shares were sold to small investors to raise capital to expand Tumblr’s reach further.

With over 108 million blogs on it’s site, in 2009 David was named Best Young Tech Entrepreneur by BusinessWeek and in 2010, he was named as one of the best 35 entrepreneurs under 35 years of age by MIT Technology Review TR35.

David’s big payday came in May 2013 after many months of discussions, Tumblr was sold to Yahoo for US$1.1 billion in cash, of which David is said to receive approximately US$250 million.

He remains working for Tumblr as the CEO.

Does David have any advice for the rest of us about how we too can become sensational entrepreneurs?

“There are enough people in this world, like, ready to screw you, but if you really keep your head up and focus on the things you love, you’re going to do wonderful things.”David Karp

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Bitcoins

Bitcoin Mining Goldrush Has Begun

Bitcoin mining is as simple as installing software on your computer, but is the time and energy investment worth the effort? Bitcoin is a digital currency, known as a cryptocurrency, that can be bought and sold for ‘real’ currency such as US Dollars.

Created in 2008 or 2009 (depending who you ask) by Satoshi Nakamoto (not their real name), but first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, bitcoins exist as a string of letters and numbers, stored digitally, created digitally and have no physical form.

Bitcoins can be used to pay for physical goods and services online and major brand names are jumping on board as a sign of legitimacy for the digital currency.

The creation of new bitcoins is an automated process accomplished by servers, called bitcoin miners, that operate on an internet-based peer-to-peer network that is not centrally managed by any single authority, like a government.

Anyone with a computer can be a bitcoin miner by simply installing software that generates bitcoins out of thin air.

How can this be of any value in the real world? Read on, my friends.

What Is Bitcoin Mining

The term ‘mining’ refers to the computational process involved in solving mathematical transactions that keep the bitcoin system up and running. Transaction blocks can be processed by a multitude of different miners who work together, and each get paid in BTC (the bitcoin currency) for a proportion of the work they have done to ‘solve’ the transaction.

Solving blocks and creating new bitcoins takes a lot of computational power. Currently, 25 new bitcoins are generated with every 10 minute block. This will be halved to 12.5 bitcoins during the year 2017 and halved continuously every 4 years after until a hard limit of 21 million bitcoins is reached during the year 2140.

The effort in generating bitcoins is usually achieved by a pool of miners, rather than one solo operator.

Mining for bitcoins can be risky business due to the value’s volatility, cost of hardware, drain on electricity and the rising difficulty in solving transactions.

Selling mined bitcoins is easy enough through trading platforms such as LocalBitcoins that allow miners to sell bitcoins directly to others safely and anonymously.

As far as currencies go, Bitcoin’s exchange value is like a roller-coaster ride, fluctuating wildly, sometimes by USD$100 in a day as experienced in April 2013. From trading as low as $2 per bitcoin in late 2011 to the giddy highs of 2013 valued at $260 a pop. Values are sure to rise and fall, but record highs are likely to be broken again.

Some enterprising folks are approaching mining with a business mindset, pouring cash and mining revenues into more and more hardware for the purpose of increasing their mining turnover.

How To Start Bitcoin Mining

It’s possible to can get your computer mining for bitcoins in just a few minutes. It depends on your computer’s capabilities and if you have a powerful graphics card. If you are not familiar with computer hardware, bitcoin mining may not be for you, but you can still be brave and jump in anyway.

To try mining for bitcoins using your computer’s CPU or GPU (on your graphics card) – grab a CPU/GPU miner, like GUIMiner, make an account at a Mining Pool such as BTC Guild

bitcoin mining

You’ll need a digital wallet to store your bitcoins. Just like a physical wallet to store your banknotes, a digital wallet keeps your digital currency safe. It is either stored on your computer, USB stick or with an online service (which I dont recommend).

Choose your wallet at the official Bitcoin website

Bitcoin Mining Hardware

Technophobes, look away now.

bitcoin mining machines
 

If this room of digital snakes excites you, bitcoin mining could be your thing! Pictured above, is an extreme set up of a GPU-based bitcoin mining operation. To get a sense of scale, see those racks with a fan sitting on top? That’s a normal PC fan usually found on the back of desktop computers. That whole setup is sitting on a big desk.

While you certainly don’t have to be that extravagant with your mining operation, to earn any serious coin, you need serious hardware.

There are some companies who sell hacked together GPU-based mining machines but those are already ‘old hat’.

The new breed of mining machines are called ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) which are designed solely to mine bitcoins and are vastly more powerful than GPU-based systems and consume a fraction of the energy, saving on electricity costs.

If you are considering purchasing an ASIC super computer, get ready to hand over your real hard-earned dollars because it will cost you. From Butterfly Labs, the lower end starts at a few hundred dollars ranging upto $30,000 per machine.

Bitcoin’s Advantages

Bitcoin has some major advantages over government backed currencies.

No Government Can Claim Ownership Of Bitcoins

The bitcoin transactional database is distributed and copied across hundreds of thousands of servers and computers in a peer-to-peer network. These redundant copies make seizing the bitcoin currency near impossible.

Governments can’t seize anyone’s bitcoin wealth because bitcoin transactions are anonymous, untraceable and only the owner can know their true wealth.

No Taxes

Since bitcoins are a global digital currency, there is no viable way to implement a bitcoin taxation system. The only time you would be taxed by your government would be at the time of selling your bitcoins for local currency. In most cases, this would be classified as income, therefore taxable.

Anonymity

Bitcoin transactions are untraceable to any specific person. The amount of bitcoins in an owner’s wallet is also private.

Unlike the traditional banking system, 3rd parties don’t have access to your personal financial data.

No Transaction Costs

Sending and receiving Bitcoins between users cost nothing. Once bitcoins are sent to someone, the transaction cannot be reversed.

Bitcoin’s Disadvantages

Bitcoins also have some disadvantages over government backed currencies.

Not Widely Accepted

Bitcoins are only accepted by a small group of businesses, however the numbers are growing. WordPress, Etsy, OKCupid (the dating website), many web hosting companies and other online merchants have begun to accept bitcoins as valid payment.

Government Bullying

As seen in the Paypal case against Wikileaks, governments have shown the willingness to interfere in legitimate business operations. In the Wikileaks case, the US government pressured Paypal to stop accepting donations to Wikileaks. The same pressure, theoretically, can be applied to merchants who accept bitcoins as payment for services.

Bitcoin Wallets Can Be Lost

If the hard drive storing your bitcoin wallet dies, or a virus corrupts data, or you forget your wallet’s encrypted password, your bitcoins have essentially been “lost”. Those bitcoins would be “lost” to the system forever, never to be recovered or used by anyone else.

Wild Fluctuation In Value

Some may see bitcoin’s value fluctuations as a disadvantage, and others may see it as an trading opportunity to “buy low, sell high”.

The value of Bitcoins is constantly fluctuating according to demand. This makes it difficult for online merchants to set a fixed price for products or services, which adds to confusion if a refund is to be made.

Dishonesty And No Buyer Protection

Since all bitcoin transactions are final and cannot be reversed, what happens when you’ve paid for goods that never arrive, and the seller refuses to refund or disappears entirely? Nothing. Kiss your sweet bitcoins goodbye.

Hard-coded Deflation

Currently, one block transaction is worth 25 BTC until 2017, at which time it will be halved. This is no speculation. This halving mechanism is built into the system to cause deflation of the currency.

Each bitcoin will be worth increasing more as time goes on until the total number of bitcoins maxes out at 21 million.

This system is designed to reward early adopters.

No Valuation Guarantee

If there is a run on the currency and a large group of investors decide to dump all their bitcoins, it’s value would decrease sharply and hurt other investors in the currency. It is entirely possible for bitcoins to be worth USD$0.01 each (conversely, it’s also possible to be worth USD$10,000 each).

Where To Buy And Sell Bitcoins

The Euro currency crisis piqued investor interest in digital currencies, who began to consider using bitcoins as a safe haven for their money. The wildly fluctuating values are also being eyed by currency traders looking to make a quick buck.

One of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges and online trading platform, Mt Gox, has encountered a lot of regulatory trouble and lost their position as the market leader for buying and selling bitcoins

New entrants like LocalBitcoins allow people to buy and sell bitcoins directly with each other, effectively bypassing regulatory hurdles faced by the big exchanges.

Timing is everything when trading bitcoins as much can be lost or gained within a short period of time. Some say trading in bitcoins is a gamble, so be tread carefully.

*IMPORTANT* This article does not constitute financial advise and you are fully responsible for your own decisions.

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

Tags:  bitcoinbitcoin miningbitcoinscryptocurrency

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Basics. Earn Hefty Commissions The Easy Way

Every good entrepreneur should be using affiliate marketing to build their passive income. All you need to get started is a blog or a website and the world is your oyster!

Affiliate marketing is the process of making money online by promoting other people’s products on your blog or website. It is simple and free to do, but it’s usually not a way to make money quickly.

Instead you need to think of affiliate marketing as a long term strategy for gaining an on-going passive income.

4 Basic Steps Of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing works a bit like this.

  1. You provide a website or blog which is regularly visited by people who are interested in the topic you are writing about.
  2. You then go out and find products related to that topic to use, review and promote to your audience.
  3. People then see that you have recommended a product and then they go and buy that product.
  4. You then receive a percentage of the product sale from the seller.

Still with me? Phew!
It is free, easy and once you have set it up, you can earn money by promoting those products. After all, that’s the “marketing” side of it.

But, like all good things, it takes time to create a sustainable income.

Essentially you will need to have a website or blog that has a lot of traffic coming to it, mostly from search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.

To get a lot of traffic, you need to provide quality content on your site. To provide quality content you need to know what you are talking about and build a good and trusted reputation.

Affiliate Marketing Networks

Once your site is all good and you have regular traffic, then you can start looking at the different types of affiliate marketing networks you want to work with.

Each network sells different things and you will need to choose products that match the content on your site, or appeal to your audience.

It would be no good choosing TVs and DVD players if your site is about children’s shoes! You would not make any sales at all as the visitors to your site would be interested in shoes or clothing rather than electronics.

So choosing relevant products is essential, as is being able to give an honest review or recommendation about them. It is best if you actually own or have used the product yourself, as your readers will be able to tell the difference between a true and a made up review or promotion.

Then you need to sign up to your affiliate network.

They will give you a code to copy onto your site, together with a banner image, advertisement or text link to place on your page.

Your visitors will then click on this link to go to the website belonging to the seller and when they purchase from them, you will be credited as having sent them via your site.

Consequently, you get a percentage of the total sale cost given to you as a commission!

Percentage amounts vary between networks and different sellers, so shop around when you are deciding which ones to promote.

Top 4 Affiliate Marketing Networks

Here are a few credible affiliate marketing networks to get you started;

Clickbank

clickbank affiliate marketing

Clickbank is one of the most highly ranked affiliate marketers in the United States. It works by providing a connection between the sellers (in this case of digital content) and the affiliate marketers (us). Clickbank claim that they have paid affiliates over US$2 billion in commissions.

Commissions range anywhere from 10% through to 90% of the sale.

One of the most popular courses that teaches you how to earn commissions using Clickbank and other affiliate programs is Google Sniper

Commission Junction

commission junction affiliate marketing
Commission Junction has over 1000 different advertisers selling many different products. Once you have signed on as a member, you get to choose the products you wish to advertise on your site.

CJ have branded advertisers like Kmart and Starbucks, however each advertiser has the right to accept or reject you as a marketer. The choice is theirs, rather than yours.

Commissions vary and can be paid as a fixed fee per lead, fixed fee per sale or as a percentage of the sale price.

Share-A-Sale

share a sale

ShareASale offer a wide range of products to advertise on your website. Unlike many other marketing companies, you are able to see some of the product categories before you join up to the program.

As well as Pay-Per-Sale and Pay-Per-Lead, they also have an area on Green Products, where you can promote products related to environmental sources.

Commissions vary and each advertiser has the right to accept or reject you as a marketer.

Amazon Associates

amazon affiliate marketing

Amazon Associates allows you to join up, and then promote products from Amazon on your site. You then receive a commission on any of those products your visitors buy, when they link through from your site.

You will also receive a percentage of any other products they buy during that same visit.

Due to the sheer size of Amazon’s product range, nearly everything can be sold for commission and Amazon even provide storefronts to help you sell items.

However, commission percentages paid for beginners start at just 4%. Only the top sellers can earn up to 25% commission of the sale price.

Remember that affiliate marketing is like running a business. You need to have a plan in place and choose products carefully.

Create valuable content that visitors will find interesting to read. Choose the products that you promote wisely and truly believe they provide value, rather than just eyeing the commission.

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

Tags:  affiliate marketingamazon associatesclickbankcommission junctionshare a sale

Market Research Target

Why Market Research Is Vital For SEO

Why Market Research Is Vital For SEO

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Your target audience – your customer – the buyer – the person who will hand over their hard-earned dollars to you. Who are they? Market research is an essential ingredient to running a successful website and can impact your SEO efforts.

A target audience profile is a detailed assessment of your visitors characteristics, attitudes and behaviors. This information can be broken down into two main categories: demographics and psychographics.

  • Demographics describes who your visitor is, including their age, gender, occupation, location, marital status, income, education level, and nationality.
     
  • Psychographics describes why your visitors act the way they do. For example, you might determine that you have price-sensitive customers who choose the least expensive option. Another example is of trend-conscious customers who prefer the newest, most fashionable option. Likewise, the early adopter is someone who is open to choosing new, unproven options.

Market Research

By doing market research and profiling the people you expect to visit your website or buy the product you are selling, it’s important to understand exactly how to effectively communicate the products features, benefits and availability.

Once you know your audience, you can tailor blog posts and page titles for better click-through rates.

When you profile your audience correctly, you can save time and money by minimizing missteps stemming from inconsistent knowledge about the customer base.

Target Audience Profiling

market research

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Who is your target audience? What type of person are they? What is the purpose of their search? You may need to create multiple profiles to cover different types of demographics.

In the market research world, visitors can usually be segregated into two categories: decision-makers and influencers.

It is usually the decision-maker that will purchase your product and mostly isn’t interested in telling the world about it. Meanwhile, the influencer may share and discuss your product with their inner circle by clicking on your sharing buttons (go ahead, influencers – like and tweet this post!).

The decision-maker see’s what the influencer is enjoying and ultimately clicks through to your site to read a post or make a purchase based on the inherent recommendation from the influencer.

Let’s say, for example, we’ve decided to target the keyword phrase “homemade dog food recipes”. Who is searching for this and why?

This is all a bit of guesswork so we’ll make some bullet points to make it clearer.

WHO

  • More females than males.
  • 35 – 60 years old.
  • Occupation: Stay-at-home.
  • Status: Married.
  • Income level: below average to average.
  • Education level: K12 (High School, no University).

WHY are people searching for “homemade dog food recipes”?

  • To save money
  • They enjoy cooking.
  • They don’t trust big brands.

Regardless of how much information you gather, it’s usually not enough. You almost always have to make some assumptions and estimates based on your experience. It’s just part of the SEO process.

In this example, I estimated the average age of females searching for “homemade dog food recipes” to be 35 – 60 years old. I’m guessing the younger crowd may be more focused on socializing, education or full-time work rather than cooking.

I am guessing they are staying at home where they have time to cook while their partner goes out to work, ie a married couple.

Don’t rush your market research and customer profiling process. The information you gather will be the foundation for many significant decisions, so it’s worth doing well the first time.

Once we have an idea of who the customer is, we can tailor our website design, graphics, colors, imagery, the copy (all the text on the page including page titles and meta tags) and how best to present offers that encourage visitors to purchase the product or just visit your website.

Targeting the right keywords in your backlinking strategy is also a vital component to market research. I use Market Samurai to analyze SEO competition and find untapped keywords.

When the targeted visitor lands on your site, they will feel like they’re in the right place and you have “captured” them.

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

Tags:  Search engine optimizationseotarget audiencetarget audience profile

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Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama Quotes A Guide To Happiness

The Dalai Lama XIV wrote the book on happiness – literally. It’s called The Art of Happiness. The Dalai Lama is always smiling and laughing and his joy is contagious for everyone else around him. Dalai Lama quotes inspire millions to better themselves.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”Dalai Lama

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He says happiness is a choice that comes from within.

Even the wealthiest person in the world could be a whining wreck while a homeless person out on the street could be totally at peace with themselves.

Happiness doesn’t come from money or fame. It doesn’t even come from other people or material possessions. The Dalai Lama will tell you that happiness is a choice and happy people have a different outlook on life.

Dalai Lama Quotes and Recommendations

Here’s how to nurture happiness in your own life.

Accept What Can’t Be Changed

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”Dalai Lama quotes

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To be at peace with yourself, consider whether your situation can be changed. Not if you had done something differently in the past, but whether you can in the future. If nothing can be done, stop obsessing over the unfairness of life and just focus on what you can control and improve that instead.

Be Grateful

Being grateful for what they have is the moniker of happy people. Happy people may not have everything they want, but they are pleased with what they do have. Count your blessings and recognize that there are people in far worse situations than yourself.

That being said, don’t compare yourself to others in order to feel superiority over them. Treat people as equals.

Forgive People

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”Dalai Lama

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Happy people live by the phrase “it’s better to forgive and forget”. Feelings of resentment can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress. Don’t let the people who have wronged you take over your mind. Let go of grudges and gain a clear conscience. Some people do awful things. Let karma do the dirty work so that you can get on with your life.

No Excuses

Don’t blame other for failures in your life. Happy people are in control of their own destiny and don’t make excuses. “Live and learn” is the motto. Happy people own their mistakes and try to improve for next time.

Problems Are A Temporary Roadblock

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”Dalai Lama

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Instead of cowering at the first sign of problems, happy people view them as a challenge. When difficult problems are overcome, happy people feel rewarded, positive about their abilities and more confident to tackle problems in the future.

Aim High

People who dream big and aim high have a focused and positive state of mind. People who nurture this habit are more likely to accomplish their goals, or at least get close to it. If you aim just a little bit higher than you believe you can achieve, then getting close will still be extremely rewarding.

Don’t Worry About Little Things

Life’s too short, right? Don’t cry over split milk, and all that. Happy people tend to recognize that inconsequential things tend to happen from time to time, and for the most part, those things simply don’t matter. Not now, not ever.

Let it slide. Clean up the mess. Say sorry. If spending a few moments fixes the problem, why make a big deal out of it? There’s more important things in life.

Be Kind

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”Dalai Lama

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Clinical studies have shown that when a person performs a selfless act, the brain produces a hormone called serotonin that makes give the person a mild high and feeling of happiness. Yay for science!

Treating people with dignity and respect also helps build stronger relationships and the feeling should be reciprocated back to you.

Listen To Others

The difference between listening to someone speak and merely hearing noise exit their mouth shows you have compassion and care about what they’re saying. Don’t just wait for you turn to speak. Engage and listen to what people are saying to you. They might impart some great wisdom.

Don’t Judge

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”Dalai Lama quotes

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People may be going through turmoil in their lives and you wouldn’t know it by their outward demeanor. Just like the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, the same goes for people. Happy people tend not to judge others, but rather show compassion and think positively.

Be In The Now

Happy people live in the present moment, cherish the good times and take a mental snapshot to remember the good times being had. They don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They stop to smell the roses.

Engage With Positive People

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”Dalai Lama

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Like attracts like and that’s why it’s important to hang around with optimistic people. Their positive energy lifts the spirits of people around them and create a cycle of positivity and appreciate for one another.

Nurture Relationships

Happy people understand that strong and healthy relationships with family, friends, and colleagues is a vital ingredient to the recipe of happiness.

Meditate

“Irrespective of whether we are believers or agnostics, whether we believe in God or karma, moral ethics is a code which everyone is able to pursue.”Dalai Lama

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The Dalai Lama recommends meditating each day to silence your mind and find inner peace. Even if it’s just for 30 seconds at your desk, close your eyes and try think of nothing. It’s really difficult but once you master it, you’ll be able to calm yourself in any situation, no matter how frustrating.

Eat Well

Try avoid eating junk food, smoking and drugs. Happy people have a healthy state of mind and a health body. Good food improves your mood, energy, and mental focus.

Exercise

Exercising is great for burning off excess energy, punching out accumulating frustrations and gives you a sense of self-accomplishment.

Live Minimally

Be organized and remove clutter from your surroundings. Keep your house clean, keep your desk tidy and help your mind focus without distraction. Having too much stuff can weigh you down and make you feel stressed by having to maintain, clean and put the stuff away constantly.

Truth

The truth will set you free. Lying only leads to stress, erodes your own self-esteem and makes you unlikeable to others who see through the lies. Honesty builds trust, appreciation and respect.

Choose Your Own Destiny

Happy people tend to choose their own paths and own their choices. They don’t take orders for others trying to influence their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

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Tags:  Dahli LamaDalai LamaDalai Lama quotesDali Lamahappinesshappiness quotes

Website Hacked

Website Hacked? 10 Things You Need To Do Right Now

You’ve had your website hacked and you’re wondering “How the firetruck did that happen?”. It’s not such a simple question to answer but you must fix and secure your site as soon as possible.

If you’re currently in this situation right now, please take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Yes, it can be stressful and you may be worried about damage to your business or reputation but this is a time when you need to be strategic and not just run at brick walls.

Google has put together a site to help webmasters fix a hacked site. The tasks range from user experience of beginner right through to advanced.

View Google’s Help For Hacked Sites

To scan your website for malicious software hacks, use the free scanner at Sucuri

Most Common Website Hacks

In my experience as a webhost, the most common type of website hack is done through exploiting flaws in popular Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla. While I’m not bad mouthing these two CMS’s as the only culprits, it’s their popularity that makes them an easy target for hackers.

Since WordPress and Joomla are open source, that means hackers can simply download the code and study it, test it and exploit any security flaws they discover. Not only that, but these CMS’s also enable the user to download 3rd party plug-ins and add-ons. This is where the trouble starts.

Third-party plug-ins can often be coded by bad programmers who do not care about security. Their plug-ins can have gaping holes for hackers to just breeze right in and take over your website.

Only install TRUSTED 3rd party plug-ins that have HIGH RATINGS from other users.

Step #1. Scan Your Computer

When your website was hacked, was your first thought to go ahead and change all passwords? You’re only half right, but you’ve just taken a false leap and it’s vital to be strategic about every move you make. If your computer is infected, it is possible that changing your website passwords will not help because the hacker could be notified about the password change – so, what did you achieve?

You may think your computer is virus-free but are you sure without thoroughly checking first? Are you aware that there are objects on your computer that a virus scanner will not pick up? They are called trojans or malware and you need to use a separate piece of software to scan for them – not a virus scanner.

Download and install this free software from Malwarebytes. Run a full system scan and accept any prompts to delete bad objects found.

Now you should also scan for viruses. I’ve used both AVG and Avast that offer free versions.

Additionally – you can never be too careful here – scan using Microsoft Security Essentials

Step #2. Restore Your Website From Backup

You’ve got a clean copy of your website, right? You don’t?! Ouch!

If you have a WordPress website, backing up your entire installation is as easy as installing a plugin called BackupBuddy

If you paid for your website to be designed by a firm, ask your website developer if they have an original copy. Since they created it for you, they should have it. The quickest remedy for this hack may be as simple as uploading the original files to the server.

If your web developer has dropped the ball, speak to your web host. Most web hosting providers have some form of backup. Depending on the time that has passed since the hack, your host may have an archived copy from before the problem began. If they do, you’re in luck. Ask them to restore the website files.

NOTE: Just because you have restored the website files does not necessarily mean you have fixed the problem. The hacker’s code may be residing in the database. We’ll get to that.

If you have successfully restored clean website files and your website does not have a database, you can skip to Step #7.

If you’re in the unfortunate position where you do not have an original/fresh copy of your website and neither do your web designer or web host, put the kettle on and pour yourself some calming matcha green tea, strap yourself in and get ready for a rough ride.

This is about to get technical and you may need professional help. The rest is not for beginners unless you are confident enough to pull out your trusty Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass and delve into the website code itself.

In some cases, your web host may be able to help but the tech support staff of larger hosts simply are not trained to do this sort of thing. Smaller hosts may not have enough experience.

Personally, I’ve never had any formal training. I’ve learned through years of experience dealing with website hacks and server attacks. It’s near impossible for a beginner to effectively clean a hacked website and I’ve seen unfortunate folks throw their hands up and actually walk away from their online business – seriously – because of a hack.

Please don’t walk away. You’ll get through this.

If you have no-where to turn, go to the professionals. Sucuri is web monitoring and malware clean up service who do this stuff every day. Their pricing is quite reasonable and they are fast and professional.

If you’re the adventurous type and enjoy snorkeling and deep oceans of code, let’s go diving.

Step #3. Dive Head First Into Code

I’m afraid I have to be quite general in my advice because each host’s system might be slightly different. Each hack is slightly different. My advice to you – try to understand from a technical level what I’m explaining so that you can proactively investigate where the hack may reside. This is not for beginners.

Login to your web hosting provider’s control panel and access the online File Manager. Your host may be running Plesk or CPanel. Both have a file manager where you can see the list of your website files. If not, you’ll need to login through FTP.

First, take a backup of the website files and database. Don’t be a cowboy and start editing files without having a local copy to restore in case you make a mistake.

In the online file manager, sort the order of files by date

Any file that has been touched by a hacker will have a recent timestamp. The files may include html, php, js, htaccess and even images gif, jpg, png. Also look for unusual zip and tz files. You’ll need to go through every folder and sub-directory including in public_html or httpdocs and also cgi-bin.

For files you find that have a recent timestamp, view the contents – the PHP or HTML code. Even with a hacked file, the code may look normal and that is why you need to look closely.

Start at the end of the file. If you see weird looking javascript or an iframe, you’ve found the hacker’s code. Save the weird code to a file for later. You’ll need it.

Look for any links that reference unknown domains or externally hosted javascript. Save those URLs to a file too.

Remove any weird code from every file you discover. In some cases, this in itself may be a monumental task – several hours of work.

Step #4. Check The Database

If you are using a CMS, you’ll have a database. You’ll need to gain access through your webhost’s control panel.

If you have the type of hack that has inserted code or text into blog posts, check the page source and locate the dodgy code. You’ll need to search the database for that code. Also search for the links, javascript or iframe code you may have found when you were checking the files.

What I do first is to save a backup of the database to my computer, for example into a .sql file. Make 2 copies of it because you will be editing one of them, store the other for safe-keeping. Open the database file in a text editor and search for the dodgy code. Remove all instances of the code from the database – it may be in there many times.

Once you’re confident you have killed all bad code, remove the online database (or drop all tables), then re-insert your clean database. This is an advanced step. Check with your web host if you’re unsure.

Step #5. General Server Scan

I’ve seen some hacks where PHP code is disguised as an image. The best way to search for this type of hack is to ask your web host to run this command (for linux servers only):

grep -iro --include=*.{jpg,gif,png} '<?php' /var/www/vhosts/domainname.com/

The last part “/var/www/vhosts/domainname.com/” should be replaced with the host’s directory structure.

Any images that are discovered in the above scan are dodgy and should be deleted.

Also, perform a second scan to search for a portion of the dodgy code you discovered in the files or page source.

grep -iro --include=*.{js,htm,html,php} 'insert dodgy code here' /var/www/vhosts/domainname.com/

This scan should tell you if you have missed any files that still need to be cleaned.

Step #6. Update Your CMS

If you’ve made it to this step, you deserve a slap of the back, a firm handshake and a cold beer. Well done. The hard work is over! Your website is now clean – hopefully.

However, let’s not get too comfortable just yet. At this point all we have done is get your website back to it’s original state. The vulnerability still exists and if you just stop now, you’re giving the hacker a free pass. You still need to FIX the underlying problem.

If you’re running WordPress, Joomla or any other CMS, you should update the software to the latest version. In most cases, this is easily done by logging into the CMS admin section and clicking Update.

If your website has been heavily customized, performing a CMS update may be more problematic. If you are unsure, speak to your web designer.

Step #7. Website Hardening

We’re still talking technical here. On the server, we need to look at the permission levels of all folders used by your website. The permissions allow a user to either read, write or execute files within the folder. There are also certain levels of user such as owner, group, public. This may not mean much to you, but that’s OK.

A hacker will look for folders that have permission levels set to full read/write/execute, or 777 attributes.

Through your control panel file manager, find all folders that have full permissions and change them to 755 attribute. NOTE: You may find that some CMS’s may not be able to upload files after doing this. Just do a quick test to make sure you can still upload.

Step #8. Change ALL Passwords

You’re on the home stretch and the only thing left to do now is change ALL passwords:

  • WordPress / Joomla / CMS admin password
  • Webhost Plesk / CPanel / control panel password
  • FTP password

Read our article How To Create An Unhackable Password You’ll Remember

Step #9. Back Up Your Clean Website

You can breath a sigh of relief. If there is just one lesson to take away from this ordeal, it has to be this:

BACK UP YOUR WEBSITE !

Do it now. Get a backup of all website files and your databases. Save it to your computer harddrive. Save another copy onto a USB stick and put it in your desk drawer.

If you have a WordPress website, I recommend using BackupBuddy which automatically backs up all website files and databases. You can choose whether to email the backup to you, FTP it to another location, save it to dropbox or upload it to BackupBuddy’s servers for safe keeping.

Step 10. Monitor Your Website

No-one is immune to hacking and if you’ve experienced it once, you really do not want to experience it ever again. The sad reality is that you might!

For peace of mind, monitor your website with Sucuri Security who will alert you to problems and also clean the hacked code for you.

Always keep a virus scanner running on your PC.

You may think it’ll never happen to you … until it does.

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

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