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Website/Computer Questions... I got answers

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host-gator is what jack started out on. it's ok. use a virtual server for now, cheaper per month. you can get it with cpanel on it for configuring it. there are tons of other virtual server providers out there that can do cpanel/wordpress. Do a search on 'virtual private server wordpress' or something like that.

and i strongly agree with Smurfie about outsourcing your payment system.


--- Quote ---1. Website domain: Check.  I'm leaning towards buying my domain (vs. free from hosting) because technology changes to fast. 

--- End quote ---
As long as the ICANN registration is in your name, you own it, even if it was "free with hosting service". However, some companies which "anonymize" the who-is info actually buy the domains for themselves and lease it to you, sometimes at a flat service rate, sometimes they hike the rate if the website becomes popular, and in rare instances some have sold domains out from under the business owners. Just make sure it's your name on the registration and you will be fine.

--- Quote ---2. WordPress: I'm leaning towards using this for design. I'm a computer nerd in real life, so no fears. But I dont have alot of time. So, this seems to be the fastest, cost effective choice.

--- End quote ---
Personally, I hate wordpress. Some of the addons open up big security holes (you really have to do your homework, and by the time you've read and tested the addon code, you could have just written it, lol). Vanilla installs are pretty secure as long as you stay current with updates.

The problem is, nobody will hack you via wordpress, they'll compromise 100,000 sites running the same version of wordpress all at once using a kit. This is how some of the nastier malware has spread, including things like CryptoWall. The authors hijack hundreds of legitimate websites with fake ads that look just like the regular google AdSense ads, but initiate an XSS attack to install the malware. The sites then host the ransom screens, and if you look at the people serving the ads, the "malicious" site is a taxidermist in Wyoming, or a shoe store in London (really, the last two cases I looked into, that's who was hosting it). The admins of these sites were running wordpress, didn't do their updates (or were hit in the zero-day window) and had no idea they were infecting their customers. They just trusted cPanel and their host to auto-install critical patches.

It's the popularity of things like Wordpress that make it vulnerable. You need to manage it closely and routinely or hire someone to do that for you. Using a less common platform can save you a lot of headaches in the security department. However, Wordpress has enough users, when things like this happen, there's an immediate response from the community, making it easy to get help and solve the problem, it just happens after the fact (not good for business). It's unlikely you'll run into this problem, the TSP has been using Wordpress for years and I've not heard of a single mass exploit affecting anyone here, but the admins also know what they're doing and are attentive.

My opinion, don't use it. Others may disagree, and there are valid arguments for and against it. I may be biased as I work with people who have been hacked almost exclusively, so everyone I deal with has security problems. It's very common, but they are in the minority. Just do your research and use your best judgement.

--- Quote ---3. Hosting: Ok, this is where I need help. I want to post files, blog, be able to email, and later accept SSL transactions for products. I dont want spam ads to hit my website, nor those annoying ads when viewing sites on your phone.  I suspect my blog might be photo heavy. So which hosting company would work best for my wants?
--- End quote ---

I agree with the others, outsource the payment system.
With regard to ads, unless you're usings some shitty "free hosting" service, none of the hosts should be injecting ads. Those are at the owner's discretion.

Here's a trick if you need to start with an ad-heavy free host:
Prefix your Div Tags with some random characters (but use the same characters in all Div IDs).
<Div ID="header"> & <Div ID="footer"> become <Div ID="_lwfrg3_header"> & <Div ID="_lwfrg3_headerfooter">

Now add in some javascript to hide all div (and span) elements not containing that prefix.

--- Code: ---<!DOCTYPE html>
<button onclick="myFunction()">Hide Divs without "_Token_" prefix</button>
//"Token" is a prefix you can choose for any divs on your page. Just replace that with your preferred code, like "lel23el2rebdfc".
function myFunction() {
    var divs = document.getElementsByTagName("div");
    for(var i = 0; i < divs.length; i++){
        if (divs[i].getAttribute("ID").indexOf("Token") != 1){
          divs[i].style.display = 'none';
<div ID="_Token_valid">Valid Div Containing the Token Code</div>
<div ID="adInjected">Ad Injected Div</div>

--- End code ---

That code should provide you a sample, implement as you like. Now if the hosting company tries to stick an ad on your page, it's automatically hidden. This also helps prevent exploit-kit code injections on things like wordpress, and if your customer has malware (think malicious toolbars like grandma used to get) that is injecting ads, your page is immune, lol. This should be implemented in some form as standard course on any website just for the added security.

To use this code, instead of linking it to a button, add it to run a second after the page finishes loading (after any injections would have occurred). If you use any approved ads to monetize your site, you'll either have to add your prefix statement to those elements manually, or write a white-list function (only a couple of lines of code, pretty easy).

--- Quote ---4. Add ons: I'm not crazy about affiliate links, although I suspect I will want to use a few.  I would like my webpage to appear on the first pages of a google search. Which add ons should I be exploring
--- End quote ---

That's a huge question, there are many, many books written on the subject. Search engine ranking is complex. I'll give you the bullet points:
• Get a good domain name which is descriptive of the content of the site.
• Get sites with related content to link back to you directly (not through things like Blogroll addons).
• Leverage Social Media, as they drive a lot of the ranking these days. Facebook, Twitter & YouTube are the big ones.
• Keep the site on-topic. The more diversified the content, the more competition you have in categorically based algorithms.

--- Quote ---5. What questions haven't I asked? You don't know, what you don't know.
--- End quote ---
That's the broadest question of all. What do you hope to accomplish with the website? What kind of business is it?
If you'll have local products or services, definitely include your business name, address, phone number etc on the footer of every page to rank higher for people in your area. Really work the local shop angles first. Google has their own listing system for local businesses. Also get active on Craigslist just for the location-specific links back to your site. In business social media accounts look to affiliate yourself with other groups in your area. Join them all, even if you don't contribute to those groups. You're just linking metadata at that point to boost your ranking.

Cave Dweller:
I would like to set up a website to promote a fiction novel I wrote.
My goal is to direct traffic to the website by doing interviews, promoting online and possibly facebook adds.
Once a person visits the site they will be prompted to sign up for a free copy once the book is released on amazon. Amazon will allow me to offer a book for the first five days for free and I would like to use this option to boost it’s standing.
When I release the book I can send out an email blast telling people to go download their free copy.
I know Jack has talked about a plugin he uses for his web site to collect info.
I am open to sugestions, I want my own domain name and I want to own the website so when and if I grow I can shop around for deals and just move the whole thing to a new hosting service.
I’m thinking Ipage for hosting and wordpress for site building.
Does anybody see a problem with this plan? Ipage has a good intoductory offer if I buy three years in advance, I’m sure it will go up but by that time I can just move the site if I want.
What plugin would you recomend for building a customer database?
What questions do I not know to ask?
Did I post this in the wrong place?

Mr. Bill:

--- Quote from: Cave Dweller on November 22, 2018, 03:41:19 AM ---Did I post this in the wrong place?

--- End quote ---

Yup. ;D  I've tacked it onto the end of a very long discussion of website/computer issues.

--- Quote ---I want my own domain name and I want to own the website so when and if I grow I can shop around for deals and just move the whole thing to a new hosting service.
--- End quote ---

This is a good plan.

You said this is your first website, so I assume your experience level is newbie.  WordPress is probably a good choice, but it depends on how much material you intend to put on the site.  If you are only providing some basic info about the book, plus an e-mail signup list, there may be simpler software available.  But WordPress gives you a lot of expandability, between the core features and the zillion available plugins.

--- Quote ---I know Jack has talked about a plugin he uses for his web site to collect info.
--- End quote ---

Jack is using AWeber for his mailing list.  They charge $19/month and up, depending on the size of your mailing list.  (I know he ran into some sort of bug involving AWeber a few months ago, but I don't know about the details or how he fixed it.)

AWeber doesn't even require WordPress.  There's just a bit of HTML required to implement the signup list.  So you could even use it on an old-fashioned website that consists of nothing but pure HTML.

AWeber has lots of competition.  You can, in theory, send e-mails directly from WordPress with an appropriate plugin, but this may not be your best choice:

I don't have any comments on Ipage since I've never done business with them.

Cave Dweller:
Thanks Mr. Bill,
I see constant contact as a good value, although I might only send out one email blast a year. Maybe two if I get buisy. This is in adition to an automatic confirmation email when a visitor signs up and gives consent.
You’ve almost talked me out of using wordpress to send the emails, but $20 a month (at the low end) is pretty steep for what I’m wanting to do.
Do you see any problems with using a plugin to collect info and manage consent forms but exporting the list to a mass mailing service like constant contact when I want to promote the big release?


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