Site Successfully Migrated

As some may have noticed my site was recently taken offline.  This was due to some low-life piece of crap hacking my site and using it as a way to scam others! I had been a Joomla user for many years but to be honest have grown very tired of the constant security issues.

I am very pleased to say that Joomla is gone.  All posts from the old site have been migrated over to this new one.  You may experience a few broken links, and for that I apologise.  I’ve tried to do the best I can ensuring all links and pages work correctly.

To the company I am hosted with and the server I am hosted on, I thank you for your help  getting my site back online.

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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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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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Purple Paw Is Live: Affordable Professional Web Design

As many of you know, I have been involved with Website Design for a number of years and have often talked about launching my own business. I am very pleased to announce that I have indeed succeeded in this goal.

ppwdIntroducing… Purple Paw Web Design.

Purple Paw is a Joomla website solution specialist. While I do work with other methods of site build (static sites, CSS, WordPress, etc), Joomla is my area of expertese. Joomla is a solid web solution and can be used for a number of purposes, from single sales pages, full content information websites and even fully customized ecommerce solutions.

Purple Paw is a registered business in Australia and my details can be found on the Australian Business Registrar.

If you are ever in need of a new website, or have a current one that is in need of a do-over, please do not hesitate to drop by Purple Paw Web Design and give us a call.

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Seyret Vs HWDVideoShare Part 2: User Features & Usability

*** This article is part of a series comparing 2 very popular Joomla video components; Seyret & HWDVideoshare. ***

Part 2: User Features & Usability

In the first part of this series I talked about the administration features. In this followup article i’m going to touch on the public parts of the scripts, and those accessible by the general membership.

A) Categories

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, both components have a very similar category structure, allowing for parent and child categories to help breakdown the full list of videos. From a user point of view, the categories are very much the same; they display the categories including the number of videos held in each.

As you can see HERE, HWDVideoShare’s category structure is very straight forward, however through basic PHP and HTML editing, the template is fully customisable.

I am going to give Seyret props here as it comes standard with a category module for your sidebars. HWD has a category module as part of the pro features only. As such, Seyret gets the nod but only slightly.

B) Upload / Add Videos

The upload features of Seyret and HWD are very similar in nature; that is, both of them are designed to either upload a video from your PC, or to add a video from a third part service such as YouTube. The procedure to add videos is straight forward for both, enter the entire video URL (ie. YouTube video URL you want to add), select a category you want and hit submit.

At this point, HWD has a feature that puts is well ahead of Seyret, and it’s something so simple many would overlook it. Quite simply, on the next page you don’t have to do anything at HWD. The title, description and tags are all completed for you. You can edit them if you please, or simply leave them as they are.

In Seyret at this point you generally have the title and description completed but no tags, so you end up having to manually tag the video, literally adding in an entirely new step in the proceedure.

Seyret does offer to redeem itself however, as it is compatible with a very large list of video servers from around the world, possibly giving it a greater reach globally.

From purely YouTube, Google Video etc HWD is always going to get the better rating.

C) Groups

As mentioned in part 1, Seyret does not offer anything like groups, so HWD gets the default win here. From a users point of view, when you are looking at videos on HWD you are able to share the videos, and add your favorite videos to groups you are members of. Say for example you are a member of the Dallas Stars Ice Hockey group, then you can add videos relating to that group from the video view page. This helps build the community and generates more interest in the videos.

D) Commenting, Rating & Sharing

With regards to commenting, but applications require the use of third part commenting components. Personally I like to use the JComments component as find it the smoothest to use and best looking. Of course, the choice of commenting system is purely personal. Both components are compatible with the main commenting components available including the JoomlaComments, JComments and in the case of Seyret, the Fireboard discussion forum.

Both systems have a 5-star rating system for the videos allowing users to rate how good or bad a video has beeb. I have found the HWD Ajax system to be much more streamlined and better to use.

From a sharing point of view, both the components come certain sharing features right out the box. Seyret offers the primary sharing options and allows you to turn on or off depending what you need. HWD has what appears to be more sharing features, including the main social webs, email and bookmarks.

Winner? In all honesty btoh components do exactly the same thing and offer virtually identical features. I will call a draw here.

Summary

In part 1 I came to the conclusion that HWD was on average the better of the 2 components. While Seyret looked to redeem itself in the usability aspect of this review, it came up short of an HWD component that is both solid and very usable.

HWD or Seyret, which is it? I personally prefer HWD after using it for some time. Seyret is a very nice system though, and should never be looked over if you need a video website.

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Seyret Vs HWDVideoShare: Intro

Those familiar with Joomla may have heard of the Seyret Video Component, an addon to Joomla that allows you to essentially create your own Youtube style website. Seyret has been the premier Joomla video component for a number of years and is feature rich, easy to use and looks great. We even use it here on succeed2k for our video reviews and guides section.

There has however, another component that has been very quietly gaining popularity: HWDVideoShare.

Like Seyret, HWD allows you to create your own video streaming website. It allows users to upload videos, rate, comment and view videos. It also, like Seyret allows users to add videos from third party sites such as Joomla, Google Video and Metacafe.

Which brings us to the point where we have to ask… which one is “better”? This is purely subjective of course as the definition of “better” pretty much depends on the users on opinions, needs and preferences as to the look at feel of their website.

Over the next few days I am going to be writing a series of articles which will highlight key aspects of the 2 different components running a comparison between then. This 4 part series will consist of:

  • Installation & Administration Features & Comparison
  • User Features & Usability Comparison
  • Modules, Plugins and Third Party Extensions Comparison
  • Summary

I look forward to any comments you may have so please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or leave a comment at the bottom of the articles.

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