I build websites for a living. I mostly get paid to build websites for people. However there are a lot of people who either arent able to afford my services, or they're interested more in my advice about how to build a website themselves. There are a lot of free services that allow people to build websites on their own. I've decided to write a few articles that teach you how to build a nice looking website on your own with limited resources, in your spare time.
What software should I use?
There are a lot of different bits of software out there that all allow you to build a website. There's stuff like coda, dreamweaver, eclipse, frontpage, and other pieces of software that allow you to edit HTML and CSS and PHP. These are not going to be particularly useful for you at this point unless you've studied these languages. Also, most of what I have used these tools for is similar to what I could use notepad to do, although they do it in a much nicer way.
So, skipping over those tools, I'd suggest using a tool that allows you to download themes and plugins and edit content right over your browser. This is called a Content Management System, or CMS. I've used weebly, Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress, and I've heard of others such as site build it. I highly recommend using WordPress to build your website and the reason is that it handles both blogs and static websites tremendously well. It's free software and runs a huge percentage of websites on the Internet. Because it is so popular, it is very well supported and there are a wide variety of themes and plugins to allow you to easily do just about anything. I would caution against using WordPress for an ecommerce store, but building a shopping cart is beyond the scope of what I want to cover in this article series.
I absolutely loathe and detest the word "App". Whenever anybody says it I die a little bit inside. It's very similar to how I used to feel about the term "Web 2.0". Apps are just the current fad. I'm constantly bombarded by articles about some asshole or other who made a million dollars by publishing some bullshit "App" in the "App Store".
App is just short for Application, which has been in the computer lexicon for decades. It's pretty much just another way of saying "Program", or "Piece of Software". Whenever someone approaches me by saying "I had a great idea for an App..." I scream in my head at them and fight back the impulse for murder. Now, if someone approached me and said "I had a great idea for a program..." I'd actually take them seriously.
I think my issue with App is that it's this bullshit yuppie slang invented by "App"le. I mean seriously, I understand that the word Application is pretty long and could be shortened. But Apple's created this whole concept. Not only have they shortened the word Application, but they've shortened the whole program. Now it's just a fancy little icon that you pay $0.99 for that does fuck all once you've put it on the phone. They're mostly good for wasting time while you're taking a dump.
Now every prick in line for a latte at Starbucks thinks they can make a million dollars by spending $3000 hiring Indians to write code and then unleash their horseshit on everybody who has a smart phone, which is everyone.
And just like that, Apple commoditized, yuppified, and took all of the remaining dignity out of programming as a profession.
I had an issue with one of my servers going down repeatedly. This is very bad news for someone like me who makes a living as a web developer. Hosting websites and keeping my pages up and my clients happy is something that is very important to me, and when a server goes down, my clients are not happy and I am not happy.
I took a look at the server and the issue was that all of the available hard drive space had been used up. I deleted a bunch of files and cleared up several gigabytes of space. A couple of days later the server went down again. Same issue.
I also got an email regarding spam emails being sent from one of my IP addresses. I went looking for the largest files and directories on my server and discovered that my mail logs had been going crazy. I discovered then that my server had been compromised to send spam email.
I set about looking to discover what I could. I searched google because I know that sometimes hackers like to post about their accomplishments, sometimes hackers work in teams with other hackers and leave their chat logs open and searchable to the internet. I took a look through google and discovered a conversation showing how they had gotten into my server. I discovered that I had stupidly left an old account on that I had created for a customer that had the same username and password based on a dictionary word. I realized that I was an idiot.
I searched around and did what I could. Deleted the mail queues. Deleted the logs. Deleted extra users. Deleted the insecure user. Yet still my server continued sending email. I looked through the crontabs for all users and couldn't find any processes or scripts. I then asked for help.
I found a very skilled programmer on twitter named @wh1zzz0 and approached him for help. He helped me go through and secure my server and then also showed me how to search for rootkits. A rootkit is something that a hacker can leave on a server for him to gain access later even if you've changed your passwords.
He told me about rkhunter (short for rootkit hunter), which is a piece of software that allows you to search your server for rootkits.
I downloaded and installed rootkit hunter from sourceforge: http://rkhunter.sourceforge.net/
Installing and running this searched for hundreds of commonly used rootkits and helped me discover the source of my problems.
I hope that my mistakes may help someone else learn and protect their server in the future.
I don’t want to build websites anymore. There, I said it. I’m tired of putting time and effort and knowledge into making a pretty little storefront or a cute little portfolio. I’ve built too many websites for small or medium sized companies or individuals which never get used. Everyone’s told that they’re supposed to have a website for whatever venture they’re going with. If you don’t have a URL to put on your business card, you’re not considered legitimate anymore. Problem is, everyone’s got a website. The thing is, not everyone has a successful website. People are missing the entire point of having a website.
What is it I want to build, then? Communities. The websites that I’ve worked on that have truly been successful are based around building a community or a group of people. These communities don’t always have to be people commenting and interacting with each other directly on the website. Not every website needs to be social media web 2.0 tagging liking friending commenting in order to be a community. Some communities are based around a single voice that puts out information, like a blog or an e-mail newsletter. Some communities ARE based around people sharing and talking with each other; forums can be incredibly useful for these purposes. Regardless of the interaction, whether the interaction is one-to-many, many-to-one, or many-to-many, the website is only a tool for people to interact.
So, I’m past the point where I want to just build isolated billboards in the desert. I want to build online towns and cities. Why does newegg get so much business? It’s because there’s a community of users that has grown around newegg that purchase their products. Newegg isn’t a discussion forum or a blog, but it definitely has a community nonetheless. A group of people who when they’re hanging out say “Hey, look at what I bought of newegg the other day...”. I want to build sites that are not only a joy to use, but cause people to join together.
I hope that you’ll all join me.
On a train north out of Eastbourne, a grumpy-looking lady sits across from me gazing out the window, watching the landscape go past angrily, as if the world has wronged her in some way. The last few weeks for me have been exceedingly interesting and crazy. I packed up in Santa Monica, put them all into a trailer, and headed off east a couple of Sundays ago with my dad and everything that I own, kicking off an exciting trip around the world. We drove through desert the first day, sand, dirt, cactuses, 108 degree heat and even some rain. We passed Las Vegas, screamed through Utah, and wound up in a desert town for dinner. Got to a hotel in Colorado for the night where a drunken redneck and his dog were sitting outside to greet us. The second day was filled with rain. Driving up steep Denver mountains in second gear to carry the trailer up, I drove through torrential rain. Whenever I went to make a lane change, the first end would lift up and I would hydroplane for a few terrifying seconds. I gunned it to Frisco to meet a friend in the afternoon and almost completely ran out of fuel. After a short visit, finished crossing Colorado into Kansas. That night when I tried to check into the hotel room, an elderly man at the counter took twenty minutes to struggle with the computer to check me in. That night I stayed up talking to Dan-Tam and asked her to be my girlfriend on official terms. I've been incredibly happy since.I The third day started off with Kansas. It sucked. In the afternoon we crossed into Missouri, Saint Louis, Illinois, Indiana, and into Kentucky for the night on my grandmother's farm, and on the Fourth day we rested. The fifth day my father and I crossed Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. I spent a couple of nights at my parents' and then went to New York city to depart for Budapest by way of Brussels.
When I was younger, one of my first forays into computer technology was building a desktop with my father. We did research and looked up all of the parts, figured out what we wanted to buy, purchased a case, the parts, and put it together over a weekend. Building your own computer is something that's actually kind of deceptively simple, but it's something that's very cool and gives you a totally different feeling of ownership over the hardware you're using.
I'm writing this post because I saw somebody posted it on reddit, and I wanted to answer his question in a little more detail than the comments provided. I'll be linking to my site on the comments, but I want to answer his question fully. His post was:
I've been wanting too get a new computer for a while now, because my family's desktop is very bad and slow for gaming and rendering. My friend online has helped me find parts for the desktop I want to build, but I don't know how to finish finding compatible parts. Here is the list:
Processor $105 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103921
RAM $45 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145218
Motherboard $110 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157244
Hard Drive $40 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136770
I'm not sure what else the computer will need, other than a graphics card and monitor. Can someone teach me?
He's pretty much got the basics down. It's been a long time since I've built a desktop, but there's a few parts that you'll need at a minimum:
Processor is the brains of the computer. They're typically around $100 for a decent one. The more money you put in, the better you'll get. These typically have a couple of different measurements of performance.
1. Cores. Cores are basically other processors that are on the chip. If it's a dual core processor, it is essentially two processors in one. If it is a quad core, it is essentially 4 processors. This allows the computer to multitask, or to run multiple programs at once.
2. Cache. Cache is memory that is available to the processor directly for read/write information. If the Cache is small, it will slow down the processor, as if it runs through all the stuff in the cache, it may take time to replenish the cache. Don't skimp on the cache. It's probably better to get a slightly slower processor with more cache, than a faster processor with less cache.
3. Speed. Speed is typically measured in Gigahertz. The larger the number, the faster the processor. It seems that most of the processors have kind of slowed down in the past 5 years, and the development is in loading multiple cores on a chip.
The Motherboard the piece of the computer that links all of the other parts of the computer together. The things that you need to check while choosing a motherboard is that you need to make sure that the processor is compatible with the motherboard. Typically there will be a list of compatible processors in the literature accompanying a motherboard. The second thing, is that you need to check that the ram you're looking to purchase is compatible with the motherboard as well. There are many different types of RAM, and you want to make sure that the type of RAM you purchase is compatible with the motherboard. Again, check the literature on your motherboard.
The Hard Drive, is the storage for the computer. There are two basic measurements for a hard drive:
1. Size - This is typically in Terabytes these days. Obviously, the more storage space, the better. If you're building a new computer these days, it probably doesn't make sense to purchase anything that's less than half a terabyte. (500 gigabytes is half a terabyte)
2. Speed - Hard drives have a read speed, typically measured in seek time in milliseconds. There's also an RPM speed. You do not want a large hard drive with a slow RPM, or it will slow down all of the operations on your computer, no matter how fast your processor is.
The Graphics Card is something that can be built into the motherboard. If your motherboard has a built-in graphics card, you don't necessarily need to purchase a new graphics card. If you are planning on playing games, then you won't want to use a motherboard integrated graphics card. The major players in the graphics card industry are ATi and nVidia. These are typically very high quality products. It used to be that graphics cards were only measured in RAM, but now graphics cards have their own onboard processors called GPUs. The main measurements for a graphics card are going to be the speed of the GPU and the amount of ram it has. It is my experience that graphics cards are constantly coming out, and it is difficult to keep on top of it. Check for reviews of cards to see what you will need. Typically video games will tell you what kinds of video cards will work best with the game.
The sound card is something that is typically now integrated on most motherboards. You can always purchase a sound card however if you need more advanced features that aren't provided on your motherboard.
You'll also need a power supply. Power supplies come in different wattages. Your motherboard will tell you what wattage is required to run all of the devices. DO NOT use a power supply that has less available power than is required. Also, check to make sure that the power supply has a connector that will work with the power plug on the motherboard. It will typically tell you a number of pins that the power connector needs, along with a wattage. Just make sure to match these and you won't have a problem.
Cases are important, because you need to put everything in a case. Cases have a type, and motherboards have a type. There used to be like, AT, and ATX. You can't mount an ATX motherboard to an AT case, or vice versa. Make sure to match the motherboard to the case type. You will also typically need to purchase fans and install them in the case as well, to provide adequate cooling. There are a number of different cases to meet any stylistic preference.
I hope that this has been a good overview of the different parts of the computer and what you need to check to make sure that they are compatible. As far as the specific parts that the original poster selected, I would say:
The processor is a Socket AM3, and the motherboard matches the AM3 type socket. These are compatible. The ram is 240pin DDR3, and the motherboard accepts 4 240 pin RAM slots, so this should also be compatible. It says memory standard (DDR3 1333/1066/800) and the ram selected is DDR3 1333. This should also be compatible. The hard drive connector type is SATA, although I'd recommend choosing a bigger one since it's only 320gb. The motherboard also takes SATA, so this is compatible.
There is an onboard videocard and sound card on this motherboard, so he doesn't actually need to purchase a sound cards or video cards. If he does want more power, he needs to select a Video Card with that is of type PCI Express 2.0 x16, to get the most out of it.
For a power supply, NewEgg suggests purchasing the motherboard together with a Thortech Thunderbolt 650W Power supply, and suggests a combo. The link is here http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.660456
Anyway, Good Luck, feel free to ask questions in the comments.
As a web developer, I've built quite a large number of websites for different clients. In my experience building these websites, I've discovered that there is one major mistake that a lot of people make when starting a website. Frequently I'm asked questions like "Can you make a website for my business?". I certainly can. When I ask them my next question though, not everyone has a good idea. My question back is "What is the purpose of your website?" Now, I'm not asking this to be rude. I'm not even implying that there are thousands of websites out there that do the exact same thing. I'm asking because this is the most important thing to know before starting to build a website. If your webpage's purpose is to spread ideas, then a blog or wiki format will work, and these are design choices that I need to make, and they should be dictated by the purpose. If it's a website for your business, what exactly do you want visitors to your site to do? Is it to increase brand recognition? Is it to generate leads? Is it to actually make sales on the website? Once you know the exact purpose of your website, then you can begin building, because all of the other little questions will answer themselves.
The internet is and has been a gold rush. For the past decade and a half, huge fortunes have been made and lost online. There's the monsters, like Google and Facebook, and then there's the individual millionaires. The supposed stay-at-home moms who make six figure salaries online. This post will teach you about the different ways to make money online. However, a note of caution: This blog is not about how to become a millionaire overnight. I'm not trying to sell you any sort of get-rich-quick scheme, because those are inevitably false. At the time of this writing, I don't even have this blog monetized. This is my personal blog, and as such, I am writing merely to teach what I have learned. Without further ado however, the four ways to make money online are: 1. Collect Donations 2. Sell Advertising 3. Sell Your Own Product 4. Sell Someone Else's Product That's it! Those are the ways in which people make money online. I think you'll find it pretty all-encompassing. (However, if you have an additional method I'd love to hear it. Please reply in the comments.) I'll now go into a high-level overview of each method: 1. COLLECTING DONATIONS There are a number of websites which take in most of their revenue through donations. The most obvious are non-profit organizations or charities. The ASPCA's website, which I have chosen for the puppies and kittens factor (www.aspca.org) is designed almost entirely around collecting donations. Examples of this are: A: The middle of their navigation bar has a Donate link, which is also the only link with an icon, and it's front and center. B: They have a rotating slideshow banner which presents a large orange DONATE button C: The top item in the left navigation is Donate D: The bottom icon in the left navigation is Donate There's a number of other donate links on here, but the point is, non-profits and charities bring in an overwhelming amount of income through donations on their websites. Please note: I do not specifically support the ASPCA or have any affiliation with them. It's not just charities and non-profits that collect revenue through donations, however. Many hobbyists, or people who create content just for fun collect donations to help support their hobbies as well. I'm the webmaster for Mordeth13, over at www.m13online.com. Mordeth collects a number of donations on his website from fans who like his videos and help him support his hobby of shooting videos. Donation collection is a great idea, if you want to build a website where you share something that you create as a hobby and collect donations in exchange for it. 2. SELL ADVERTISING This is probably the biggest thing that's currently happening online right now. Almost all of google's revenue comes from selling advertising online. Advertising revenue is what the social media companies make their money off of too. Plenty of bloggers put up adsense in order to make an income off of their blogs as well. Other sites like forums will typically use a combination of advertising from google, as well as direct forms of advertising, such as sponsorships or so-called "Media Buys". The way to make money is specifically to find products that are relevant to your site's visitors, and then to sell advertising space on your website to companies who have products relevant to your visitors. If your visitors don't find any relevance or desire to click on the advertisements on your site, then you won't make any money. A word of caution about selling advertising, however. I frequently hear people tell me that they're just going to put up a blog and put google adsense on it, and that they'll be raking in the dough. None of these people have ever actually come to me and told me that they ARE indeed raking in the dough. Adsense payouts are relatively small. You have to have a huge amount of traffic to your website to quit your day job if you're using adsense. YouTube partners are probably the best example of this. I work with David Choi of www.davidchoimusic.com, who is a popular YouTube personality. He has millions of video views. You need to expect to be in the tens of thousands or millions of views per month in order to make Adsense pay anything substantial. 3. SELL YOUR OWN PRODUCT Personally, I think that selling your own product or services online is the best way to make money. I believe that if the entire internet is just made up of free content paid for by advertising, then it's just advertising money chasing around advertising money, and pretty soon you'll lead to a collapse, since nobody is actually purchasing anything to create money. So, the alternative to this is selling your own product. Most small businesses who have a website are doing exactly this. There's physical products (like a TV or a Car), there's services (like web development, legal services) and there's informational products (ebooks, music downloads, movies). Most of the websites that I work on and produce are built around selling an actual product. I am the senior web developer for www.stylelife.com, and Stylelife sells a number of physical and informational products. There's a subscription product for the Stylelife Academy, which is aimed at teaching guys how to attract women. There's also sales of conference tickets, books, and other materials as well. I've also worked on websites that are designed around getting leads for a brick-and-mortar business. One example of this is www.rigidgarage.com. Rigid Garage is a company who specializes in garage door installation and repair in the San Jose area. Their website is designed around collecting user information so that they can then follow up and provide visitors to their site with quotes on installation, and sell their product that way. 4. SELL SOMEONE ELSE'S PRODUCT The last option is to sell someone else's product. This is the so-called "Affiliate Marketing". Basically, you sign up as a reseller to someone else's product. You create a website that is relevant to the same kinds of people as would buy the other person's product (Similar to the advertising) and then they give you a special link to their website which contains your affiliate ID, and then they are able to track the amount of people who come from your site and purchase something on their website. This can be as simple as sitting down with a friend who has a business and offering to send them sales, and them paying you per sale. This can also get very complex as there are Affiliate Networks, where the network essentially acts as a middle-man between many different sellers (affiliates) and many different products. There are different types of payment structures, but the two main ones are CPL (Cost Per Lead) and CPA (Cost Per Action). The type of payment structure determines if you get paid when someone actually purchases a product, or if you get paid when someone just submits their information. IN CONCLUSION, I hope that this has helped better your understanding of the different ways to make money online. This is geared fairly specifically at people who are building or own a website, but you can use other avenues online as well, such as Craigslist (Typically selling your own product), EBay (Again, your own product), Google Checkout (For sales or donations), etc. There are many different outlets to make sales online, but I have covered the main methods, and will go into more detail on each method in future posts. Please comment if you have any questions or there's something that I missed.
I remember before google, and before we took the internet seriously, if I wanted to find a local company like an Ice Cream store, I would check the Yellow Pages. Once in the Yellow Pages, I'd go through the list of phone numbers and call each one until I came to a company that had what I wanted and interested me. Now that we have google, if I'm looking for a business, then I google for it. If I'm specifically looking for a company that's in my area, I'll do a google maps and target by location. If I google, I get results based on my keywords based on relevance determined by google's proprietary algorithms, and paid links that will appear at the top or on the side. Something I've worked on for several small to medium sized businesses is building their websites so that specifically they generate search engine traffic, traffic to their pages, and then spent a lot of time studying page layouts, optimizing pages, using marketing tools to get people to submit their information. That's what most company websites are about - generating sales leads. But most company sites are terrible still. If I want to buy something I'll typically go to google or amazon for consumer goods. However there's not really a good website out there for business to business purchases. If I wanted to buy Lumber, for example, I'd have to punch it in google and search around for all lumber providers in the area. This isn't something that I can just purchase on ebay. I'd have to then go to the top 5 or so companies websites and email them all asking for a quote (if I can't find one on the website). This is incredibly time consuming. I believe that if there were a website that was similar to the yellow pages, or amazon, or google, but had a specific layout and specific company information and that the website made it easy to compare companies, offered third party opinions about these companies, etc, that I would spend a lot less time on searching as far as Business to Business type transactions go. I would also be more likely to request a quote, or submit my personal information to a company which is verified as reputable by a site I consider reputable. The advantages to sellers would be pretty large as well. If all that I had to do was put up specific information about my company and sit and wait for leads to roll in, this would be great. I wouldn't have to worry as hard about throwing a ton of money at web developers and marketing copywriters, etc. Especially if this website already had a userbase of customers that I would be tapping into by registering with this company. If then I heard my friends and other people I know saying that their business has really taken off after getting on this website, I'd definitely join and wouldn't mind paying money for preferred listings or other features that would allow me to do more business. As a freelance web developer, I've used sites like elance and rentacoder to try to get work. I've also used craigslist. I've also used other websites where I've had to "sell" myself, like online dating sites. If someone built a site for me where I could sell my freelance development, these are the things that I'd look for:
- Easy to use (sign-up and information gathering process baby-steps me through putting in relevant information
- Large user-base
- Search engine indexing for my company page
- Ability to receive sales leads from people requesting quotes. (Even if someone didn't specifically look at my profile, but they indicated to the site that they were interested in having a website built, and I got an email informing me of this and giving me the opportunity to contact this person and try to sell myself, this would be huge)
- Ability to take the conversation off-site, especially after first contact is made. E-lance and Rentacoder force you to do all communication through their interface, and I find this incredibly restricting.
- Ability to perform tasks and distinguish myself from other developers. I'd like to be rewarded for spending time on building my company profile. I'd like to be directed towards how to get the most value out of my information.
- Actual customers contacting me