5 Great Resources to learn about .htaccess

Being able to properly configure your .htaccess file very useful if you work with websites. With this single file, you have the power to redirect users to different domains or pages. You can fix multiple 404 error pages, so that whey redirect to a single useful page or perhaps just your homepage.

Speaking of your 404 page, you can customize this page very easily by writing some lines in the .htaccess file.

Here I present to you 5 great resources to get you started learning all about the .htaccess file:

  • Redirection at moz.com - this is a fantastic post about redirecting pages. Read it and you’ll be a master at redirecting the proper way.
  • .htaccesseditor.com – A great tool where you can input some values into this handy tool and it will output what you need to write
  • Create your custom 404 page – A great post about creating your custom 404 page
  • Have a look at this huge collection of great custom 404 pages on Smashing Magazine
  • Master RegEx in combination with .htaccess to really same some time – check this post for an intro to RegEx

Simple Random Image Script

Sometimes you just need to do simple stuff on the web. Here is a simple script written in JavaScript using jQuery, that looks at <img /> tags with a class of ‘random-image’.

<img class="random-img" src="1.jpg" />

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.9.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

$(function(){

var number = Math.floor(Math.random()*3+1);
var filename = number + ".jpg";

$('img.random-img').attr('src', filename);

})();

</script>

This script creates a random number between 1-3, this you can change depending on the amount of images you need to randomize. It then takes this number and adds the ‘jpg’ file extension to it. With the help of some jQuery, it’s easy to select the <img class=”random-image” /> and change the source attribute.

Hope you find this usefull.

Using local date and time in PHP

If your trying to display your local language, when outputting a date there is an easy way to do exactly this. Don’t use date() as you usually do, this will only output it in English.

Instead you should use the setlocale() function to set your local language when executing your script. Have a look at the PHP manual for more info on this. I’m giving your a brief expample of how to use it when setting the langugage to Danish.

//change output language to danish
setlocale(LC_TIME, 'da_DK');

//outputs Onsdag 03. April 2013
echo (strftime("%A %d. %B %Y"));

There you go, that should help you out. If you have any questions let me know in the comments.

Sell Online with E-junkie

Do you have digital products you want to sell? Do you not have knowledge about creating a website? Are you stuck in a rut on what to do? Have E-junkie help simplify your selling online without needing a website. Here is how.

When selling online, whether it is real items you can touch, digital products and services, or even your own services, you usually get a domain name, find a company to host your website, and either use a template for a starter website or pay big bucks and make a website and upload to the web hoster. This can really cost money when you decide to sell online.

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Why I chose Aweber

update: After writing this post I’ve since decided to go with GetResponse. The reason is that GetResponse has mentioned they will make it possible to change the submit button in the future – a must have feature. So take this post as my experience in choosing an autoresponder, hope it helps you in making a decision.

 

If you don’t know, choosing an autoresponder (newsletter) service is a crucial part of online marketing, to be able to communicate regularly and consistently with your audience. It’s fine to be on the 1st page of Google search results, but this is never a consistent thing, so you have to make sure to build a list of people that are interested in your information, which you can later provide useful information and updates to.

 

What should you consider?

This is probably one of the most difficult questions. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to pay extra for some timesaving features, or are you willing to put some effort and time into this yourself?

If you are new to this online marketing business, you might say “I don’t need the bells and whistles” and you might go for the cheap option. I went this route myself and went for a relatively cheap service, compared to Aweber.

That autoresponder service was ImnicaMail. I tried them for 2 weeks and I REALLY tried to like this cheap but decent autoresponder service, but I realised this wasn’t for me. They aren’t the size of some of the other services, which is pretty obvious when you start using them. My support ticket wasn’t answered in several days and there is no chat support either. Furthermore they only have 3 web signup forms.

The 3 singup templates at ImnicaMail

I must say however, they did have some server side issues recently, because of the popularity of their service, so it’s not all their fault. In the end, my biggest disappointment was the the lack of options compared to Aweber and GetResponse.

 

The GetResponse option

I really needed something different after ImnicaMail, something which was easy to use and straight forward. GetReponse provided these things for me. They are an excellent autoresponder service and have lots of signup forms as well. One of the great things they have is an online storage of 1GB for each account. You can store your files here, when you need to share some documents with your list. This is very useful, as you don’t have to attach or store them on your own server. I also like the 1000 free iStock images you get, which would be useful in your newsletters. As if this wasn’t enough, you are also able to send surveys to your list!

 

Multimedia options at GetResponse - click for larger version

 

All in all a great autoresponder, but there was one thing I didn’t like about GetResponse. Their signup forms are lacking in design and creativity. I might have chosen them if you could easily change the signup button, to an image of you choose yourself. But unfortunately this isn’t an option, you have to use their plain and boring signup buttons.

Why is this important you ask? Well, over the past 7 years of web development, if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s this: design matters. When you present a stylish and cool looking button to your visitors, they’ll feel more compelled to click on it and sign up. I know this from myself, and I’m sure you think the same when visiting web sites. This has also been tested and proven numerous times with splittesting. It is a crucial aspect of web design and how people interact when using websites. Have a look at this book for further reading on this topic.

 

Hello Aweber

Some Aweber forms

 

So I decided to go for Aweber in the end. The decision was based on a few factors. Let me list the pros and cons here:

Pros:

  • They have lots of web signup forms
  • CRUCIALLY you can easily customise the signup button with your own image
  • They have great word-of-mouth going for them, there must be a reason
  • It’s easy to setup and use, much like GetResponse
  • Integration with lots of 3rd party software

Cons:

  • No online storage space like GetResponse
  • The user interface is lacking and in need of a refresh, GetResponse looks very modern compared to them
  • The Price

 

For me this was a very close race between GetResponse and Aweber. Especially when you get 100 free subscribes with GetResponse and they are cheaper as well. But as I had to choose an autoresponder soon, I went for Aweber. Especially as so many online marketers are happy with them. But I don’t think Aweber is that much in the lead as you might think, GetResponse could easily be the superior service soon.

I hope my experience has provided you with some useful information, when choosing your autoresponder service. This is NOT my way of saying you SHOULD choose Aweber. Your might love to spend time in a HTML editor to customize your web forms, I like the easy approach. This is just my experience of how it all played out, after having spent some time experimenting with these autoresponders. I just hope I might have helped you a little, when making this important decision in your online marketing journey.

7 Amazing Online Communication Tools

The Internet is built to socialise and collaborate with each other. From the early days of chat rooms to now Facebook and twitter, it’s always been a part of the Internet. This collaboration aspect is very important as it makes it possible to work or keep in touch with each other, even if your miles away on the other side of the world. Not to mention the benefit of saving time and money as well, which as we all know are two important factors in any business.

Enough talk, lets get to the 7 tools you can use to communicate online. These tools are complete free, however you can pay to have some extra features if needed.

 

Coveritlive

If you followed the iPad 2 launch, I’m sure your familiar with this great tool. They make it extremely easy to hold a live chat with your audience. They allow you to post comments on a page, with images as well. This makes it very easy to follow along, as it automatically updates without your visitors needing to refresh the page. People can also leave comments or ask questions, and you can pick and choose the ones you would like to show. Check it out for a more involved experience with your readers, maybe a Q&A each Sunday? How about a weekly chat show about a specific topic? Have a play with it and see what you can come up with.

Screenr

If you do any sort of screencasting, you should really consider giving Screenr a try. It is an online screencasting tool, where you can publish and share your videos. It doesn’t get any easier than this if you want to start sharing stuff you do on your screen. I just wished it had a few more advanced features like using text and zooming into specific elements. But considering this is all done online, you can’t really complain.

Zopim

If you are selling goods online, where people need some help with question, this is the ideal tool to implement on your site. Zopim adds a chat clients to your website, where customers can easily type a question to you. This even works on your iPhone! So there is no excuse in not helping your customers anymore.

Teamviewer

What can I say about this awesome support software. It has helped my friends numeros times when they need some IT help. You ask your friend to send the ID on his end, this software then created a powerful support system, where you are able to control the mouse cursor on his computer and see his screen. There is a built in chat client as well, so you can communicate that way.

Google Docs

Need to share documents with your collegues. Maybe you need to edit some documents together, but can meet up. Well for these purposes Google Docs is essential. One of the most cool features of this product is the ability to live edit a documents. You actually see the other users cursor as he edits and types in new text. Try this once, and you’ll get hooked into it. Amazing that Google is offering this for free.

Twitter

I know twitter is a great tool to find new and breaking information about your particular field. However it’s also very good as a business tool. It’s important that you have a connection with your audience. Sure people could send you an email, but that is mostly a one-on-one communication channel. Twitter makes it very easy to announce to your followers, of any problems you might have with your site or updates etc. They can then easily reply or ask questions right on twitter. Twitter is a very useful announcement and support tool for companies.

Skype

I’m sure you know about Skype. Let me just briefly say, this has made it very easy to talk to anyone, no matter where they are. No one needs a phone line anymore, as long as you have an internet connection your good to go.

 

Do you have any favorite communication tools you use? Share yours in the comments below!

My Adventures in Exploring the Web