Just What IS Google+? Social Media? The New Facebook?

Googgle+If you’ve not yet heard of Google+ you must be living underneath a rock. It’s been touted as the new Facebook, the latest trend in Social Media and the best thing since sliced bre.ad.

But, as many are still asking, what exactly IS Google+?

Google+ is sheer brilliance. Google are not competing with Facebook, and they’re not going up against Twitter. In fact they’re not even going to try and grab a marketshare of that side of Social Media. What Google have done is found unmarked territory in the Social scene and filled it with the truly first all-in-one cloud system.

As you can see, it’s far more than just a button Google+ Button

Impressed? You should be, because Google+ is, as i have already said, sheer brilliance!

Click the image below to load a presentation that explains Google+ in detail.

What Is Google+?

If you have not yet been joined Google+ or need an invite, please send me a message using the Contact page and I will forward you an invite. Please note, you MUST tell me your Gmail email address to get an invite.

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5 Essentials To Building A Successful Online Identity

Whether you’re a business owner looking for new customers or someone simply looking for your own small place online, getting, and having an identity is much easier than you may think.

Here are 5 essentials that you will need if you wish to develop or enhance your identity.

1. A Domain Name That Represents You

If you are serious about getting our own piece of the web, your first stop should always be to secure a domain name.

These days you can get domains incrediby cheap, although I would suggest being picky who you get one from. All of my domains are purchased through the same company I host with, Allynne. There prices are incredibly competitive and less than $10 a year will secure you your own website name. IGS also offer domains for a good price. More on them below.

As for what to get, there really aren’t any hard and fast rules about domain names anymore. I would suggest a .com domain though, and choose words that are directly relevant to your website. For example if you wanted a website about coffee, using words like coffee, brewing, grinding, etc in the domain can always help. See point 4 below for more information.

Feel free to contact me if you require help selecting a quality domain name.

2. Hosting For Your Domain

Allynne Hosting and DomainsOnce you have a domain name you need to host it. Hosting refers to the actual storage location for the files you would use for your website. Hosting can be found very cheap these days, however I would strongly warn against seemingly great bargains as they often end up being terrible quality. As mentioned above, i host all my websites with Allynne, and have never had an issue in my 6+ years with them. Hosting will cost less than $10 a month for unlimited space, bandwidth, databases etc, and it does come with great support if you ever need assistance. As with domains, IGS are also an option.

3. A Way To Deliver Content

So you have a domain name and you’ve got hosting. How you need a way to get information from your mind to your potential readers. While static websites are still used, a much better quality way to deliver content is by using content deliver scripts. There are countless options in this area depending on what you need.

joomlawordpress

WordPress offeres the worlds #1 blogging script and is incredibly easy to use for regular journal / blog type updates. For a more complex system that can be used as both blog or full featured site, I recommend Joomla, the worlds #1 Content Management System (CMS). I use Joomla for this website and WordPress for my hockey website, LizardInsider.

igsIf you wanted a membership type site for business reasons there are many options also, however I would strongly recommend taking a look at the Instant Guru Script (IGS). This is a full featured membership website system that is still in development, but only weeks away. IGS promises to the #1 membership / affiliate website script on the market. I work closely with the developer and have seen this script i action, and to put it bluntly, it’s damn incredible!

Purple Paw Web Design can help with any design and build needs if you’re not comfortable with building your own website.

4. Branding Who and What You Are

Branding yourself the the quintissential, #1, best way to ensure you build an successful identity. Branding is often seen as something that only multi-national corporations can do, but this is not true. Sure, Nike has “just do it”, and McDonalds has “I’m loving it”, but there is nothing stopping YOU from branding yourself.

What are you involved in? What is your website about? Branding doesn’t have to be about slogans, it can be your name, a symbol, or anything you wish. The key to branding however is to choose your keywords carefully and make sure you use them strategically in your content. Over the past year I have been branding my site with the phrases “PPM Guides” and “Powerplay Manager Articles”, and have found an increasing number of hits coming from search engines from those particular search phrases.

If you have a brand in mind, try and incorporate that into your domain name. Be wary of course of things like copyright etc when doing this.

5. Enhance Your Brand Via Social Media

social-mediaThe last step is an ongoing process that involves taking your branded website and populating it across the social media universe. You should have Facebook, Twitter, DIGG, etc accounts and you should make a point to publish your content on those websites. If you are building a business brand, be sure to create new accounts specifically for your business, including a Facebook Page.

Social Media drives the world right now and you want to ensure you are tapping into that very successful market.

These 5 steps are of course just a start, and there are so many more things you can do to help build or enhance your identity online. If you’re not yet in control of your own piece of the web, get involved today!

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Is Your PPM Soccer Keeper A Head Above The Rest?

How much do you pay attention to how you train your keeper on your Powerplay Manager soccer team? As with most team sports, a good keeper can make or break a season for your team.

The guide suggests that technique and speed have a major influence on a goalies skill, and the passing and head attributes have a small, or little influence. But the guide is just that, a “guide”. Research done by others and myself however suggests that the head attribute may have a much larger influence on a keeper than many believe.

Edwin Van Der Sar makes a saveThe “head” attribute influences a players ability to play the ball off the head, which also means a players ability to jump for the ball. So the argument could be made that the head attribute could also influence a keepers ability to jump for the ball to make a catch or save.

Do you think top flight keepers like Manchester United’s Edwin Van Der Sar (right) don’t train in jumping? Of course they do.

Which brings me to the attributes themselves, and the ratio allegedly best used. The most common attribute used for goalies at PPM is 4-3-3-1-1. This is based purely on the suggestion in the guide as I mentioned at the top of this article. I believe however that a goalie performs better if the head attribute is increased to 50% of the primary, which would lead to a 4-3-3-1-2 attribute ratio (goal-tech-speed-pass-head). Does this mean the guide is incorrect? Not at all. PPM make it clear that the guide is a reference only, not a “set in stone” sure fire way to train your players.

Something to think about next time you train your keepers.

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Potential JoomlaStats Component Exploit Could Drain Server Resources

An urgent update to anybody who is using the Joomla component called “JoomlaStats”.

My server host and I have discovered a potential exploit in the JoomlaStats component that could heavily drain your servers resources and possibly leave your site at risk.

The issue was discovered earlier today when my hosts data center suspended my account due to excessive resource usage. This should never have happened of course, as there had been no new updates to any of my websites in recent days. Upon review of the Joomla Stats component, we found the following data, which as you can see, is completely out of the ordinary for my website.

JoomlaStats Exploit 1

On the 5th and 6th of July the number of visitors / hits to the site jumped by OVER 1000%!

Looking deeper, we found that the majority of the hits came in blocks of IP’s, such as the one below.

JoomlaStats 2

This is not necessarily a sign of hacker, script or bot, but for my site, this type of traffic is heavily out of the ordinary. Also, as you can see, the hits all came from the same host in this example, but different IP addresses and are all just seconds apart. What this image doesn’t display is that they were also from a range of differnt operating systems and browsers.

joomlastats03The graph on the right shows the sites total server usage for the month of July so far. The first few days of the month are as expected, but as you can see, the jump is quite drastic on the 5th and 6th.

To further add to the confusion, Google Analytics are not displaying a huge increase in visitors to the site. Why, we are not yet sure, but are looking into whether the JoomlaStats numbers are accurate, or if they are caused by this apparent exploit.

The Server Load

At the point the server suspended my account, the server load was almost 4 times what it should have been. Since disabling and removing the JoomlaStats component that has dropped back to what it should be.

My suggestion, if you use JoomlaStats, is to keep a close eye on your data and if possible, server load. The exploit may simply be a one-off thing, but it is always best to be safe when it comes to things like this.

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