Hosting websites at Local webservers.

Most of the Bangladeshi website are hosted either at USA or at UK servers. There are many reasons for that. Those web servers are secured, fast, reliable and can handle much traffic and process load. Besides, those are powered by high speed internet connection yet at lower price than anywhere else. Those hosting service providers are experienced and technologically far ahead. Probably this is the reason why everybody prefers USA or UK servers.

Since the demand for web services are growing day by day, it is becoming an important issue to ensure data security and privacy. Think of a government site where it will consists of data which is confidential. Hosting such sites in other country’s web servers will definitely be a catastrophic decision. Fortunately in Bangladesh, the government sites are hosted locally (at BTCL web servers).

Now that web services and E-commerce sites are becoming popular the importance of where these are hosted – becoming an important thing to consider. In many cases the target user group of these sites are solely Bangladeshi users residing in Bangladesh (e.g. Hosting these types of websites locally will not only ensure confidentiality and security but also maximum up time for the local users. How? We have seen our national pride the submarine cable snatched a lot of time. We are disconnected from the sites that are hosted at USA or UK servers. Instead, if the sites are hosted locally these will still be available for the Bangladeshi residence although the submarine cable is down. That’s because locally hosted servers will still be available and the DNS servers will still be able to point us to the locally hosted sites. It will actually act like an intranet service inside the whole country. Besides these, if the sites which provide download services like mp3 download, Drama download etc, are hosted locally, a huge amount of bandwidth pressure on the submarine cable will decrease resulting more bandwidth available for other usage.

I remember when I used Sirius Broadband they used to provide users an intranet site/server from where the users were able to download movies, mp3s, natoks, softwares, videos etc. Normally if that service wasn’t there the users would download those from other sources using internet. But the above intranet server could save Sirius Broadband precious bandwidth by restricting users by diverting them to intranet server.

Now If we consider the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited to be the national ISP, they will be able to save bandwidth if the sites are hosted locally since the traffic requests and sources are both running locally. It will somewhat act as what Sirius Broadband did.

Now let’s focus on what are the hurdles. The bandwidth cost in Bangladesh is too high to run an web server smoothly. Although the above procedure will hardly use the submarine cable bandwidth the ISPs have to pay to BSCCL (Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited) since BSCCL acts as an Internet Exchange (HUB). I am not sure about whether govt has given the charge to any other company to maintain the Internet exchange through which all the ISPs and other companies willing to have local web servers will be interconnected among themselves in the same way the telecom companies are connected. Rather than buying only Submarine cable bandwidth they will be buying local bandwidth through which one ISPs will be able to transfer information with websites hosted at other ISPs end. Submarine cable connectivity will still be required since website browsing request can still be generated from outside the country. For example, the trace route from in the following image.

trace route from a server situated outside the country

It is like the telecom industry. All the local and NWD calls are generated and terminated at the telecom operators end except for ISD calls. Only ISD calls require outbound bandwidth to connect with telephones in other countries. All the local and NWD calls are routed through multiexchange servers through which all the telecom operators are interconnected among themselves. Only for ISD outgoing/incoming calls these operators depends upon BTTB which has the only connectivity with international exchanges.

There fore local bandwidth is to feed requests from Bangladesh and submarine cable bandwidth to feed requests from outside the country. The local bandwidth should be in negligible cost. Thus people will be encouraged to host websites in local servers. Moreover this will ensure maximum uptime causing maximum exposure for e-commerce sites. This is the way how the e-commerce culture in Bangladesh can really emerge.

I am not sure whether this methodology has already been established or not, but this really can be a boom. Many companies will come forward with an intension to have a website or web based online operation system. This will not only automate and increase the total output but also will create opportunity for web developers and software firms.

Disclaimer: The above statements are sort of top view of a system and I really can’t dig any deep because of my knowledge limitation. It is possible that the system has already been deployed and I am unaware of it. Constructive replies will be encouraged pointing out whether I was wrong in any point or if the recommended system is not deployable at all.

Importance of SEO – Some facts

  • 93% of all Internet traffic is generated from search engines
  • 99% of Internet searchers do not search beyond the top 30 results
  • 97% of them never look beyond the top three results
  • Top 10 positions receive 78% more traffic than those in positions 11-30
  • 65% of online revenue is generated from websites in the top three positions on search engine results pages
  • 93% of global consumers use search engines to find websites
  • 76.7% of Google users use the natural search links (organic, unpaid listings)

*Source: Forrester Research, 2006

Earn money from your non-professional websites

Commercial organizations tend to have their own websites as a part of their product’s marketing, cataloging, display or information sharing purposes. Some websites do provide web services and earn money from those services. But some sites are there which neither belong to any commercial organizations nor provide any web services. For example: Photo sharing site, personal websites, blogs, forums etc. Although the purpose is not anything commercial, still the author of the sites can earn some money if their sites are really popular and have some good traffic. I know many people don’t like the idea of having advertisements in their website for various reason. First of all the ads really disrupts the theme of the  site and secondly it is not easy to influence someone to put their advertisement in your site. Both the problems are solved now a days. Some third party advertisement agencies have solved these problems. They collect advertisements from the advertisers and puts those ads on your site. They just don’t put anything in your site, rather they have algorithms which selects random ads that matches the content ant theme of your site. For example, if your site specializes on photography, then the ads that will appear in your site will be something related to photography. The doubt that you might be having is something whether you’ll be paid or not and how… The third parties are some companies like google, yahoo, msn, adbrite which really do have some value with their name upon which you can rely on. Moreover, this advertising system is getting so popular now a days that you should really rely on the ad agencies.

Let’s consider some popular sites like facebook and HI5. Now let’s consider some E-mail address providers like GMAIL, HOTMAIL, YAHOO. I’ll not believe if you say that you are not part of these social networking sites or don’t use above mentioned free email addresses. Did you pay anything to these sites? or do they have any offer which requires you to pay to get those? No…. You don’t have to pay anything to get those services. Still those sites are growing in terms of their asset and revenue earning… Where do they earn from?  Yes, advertisements… Some other things are ofcourse there- like a big network of people and their information. But still their major portion of revenue do come from the advertisement they serve in their pages.

You might not earn that much, but you’ll definitely feel the urge to develop your site and enrich content of your site which will increase traffic or visitors to your site ultimately resulting more clicks on the advertisements that you’ll serve in your website. More visitor, more clicks, more earning- really interesting when you apply those to your site. Yahoo Publishers Network/ Adbrite  / Google adsense do have some easy and convenient way of payment which definitely gives you a chance add something to your wallet, and If you can ensure a great number of visitors, you can expect the amount to be a decent one.

Look at the right side bar in my blog, and there are numbers of advertisements there. If you click there, I’ll get about 4 cent per click. These are advertisements from Adbrite network. Adbrite’s advertisements do have something interesting like- If you want to provide a portion of our site for advertisement you can have ad from advertisers for continuous display of which for a fixed time you can earn a fix money regardless of if someone is clicking on the ad or not. Moreover you can your own bid as well as allow advertisers to put their bid and you get the power to choose whose ads to approve. I’ll write an individual post on Adbrite’s advertisement policy. Till then try these advertisement system in your site, and if you don’t have a website  but would like to have one at very low cost, you may try offers by BDWEBTECH .

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Search Engine Optimization ( Part-3)

As the Internet dependency for getting information trend is widening everyday, optimizing your site is also becoming important. It’s obvious that you would like to see your site’s link in top position for your site’s relevant searches in the Search Engines like Google, Yahoo or others. Most search engines employ methods to rank the results to provide the “best” results first. Because, Search Engine users like to go through only first few links in the result page. Therefore, it is also important to know some techniques used by the search engines and tweaking your site as per search engines techniques.

The White Hat SEO are the methods which are according to how search engines allow you to optimize. White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility.

On the other hand, Black Hat SEO are methods which might bring you some desired improved result but are not approved methods by the search engines. Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines’ algorithms, or by a manual site review.

Greyhat SEO tactics are those which have some genuine use however are subject to abuse by unethical SEOs and webmasters. Again there is a chance that search engines may penalize for implementing some of grey hat SEO tactics.

However, the following are some of the tactics of White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO:

Black Hat SEO Tactics:

  • Keyword Stuffing

This is probably one of the most commonly abused forms of search engine spam. Essentially this is when a webmaster or SEO places a large number of instances of the targeted keyword phrase in hopes that the search engine will read this as relevant. In order to offset the fact that this text generally reads horribly it will often be placed at the bottom of a page and in a very small font size. An additional tactic that is often associated with this practice is hidden text which is commented on below.

  • Hidden Text

Hidden text is text that is set at the same color as the background or very close to it. While the major search engines can easily detect text set to the same color as a background some webmasters will try to get around it by creating an image file the same color as the text and setting the image file as the background. While undetectable at this time to the search engines this is blatant spam and websites using this tactic are usually quickly reported by competitors and the site blacklisted.

  • Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are pages added to a website solely to target a specific keyword phrase or phrases and provide little in the way of value to a visitor. Generally the content on these pages provide no information and the page is only there to promote a phrase in hopes that once a visitor lands there, that they will go to the homepage and continue on from there. Often to save time these pages are generated by software and added to a site automatically. This is a very dangerous practice. Not only are many of the methods of injecting doorway pages banned by the search engines but a quick report to the search engine of this practice and your website will simply disappear along with all the legitimate ranks you have attained with your genuine content pages.

  • Redirects

Redirecting, when used as a black-hat tactic, is most commonly brought in as a compliment to doorway pages. Because doorway pages generally have little or no substantial content, redirects are sometime applied to automatically move a visitor to a page with actual content such as the homepage of the site. As quickly as the search engines find ways of detecting such redirects, the spammers are uncovering ways around detection. That said, the search engines figure them out eventually and your site will be penalized. That or you’ll be reported by a competitor or a disgruntled searcher.

  • Duplicate Sites

A throwback tactic that rarely works these days. When affiliate programs became popular many webmasters would simply create a copy of the site they were promoting, tweak it a bit, and put it online in hopes that it would outrank the site it was promoting and capture their sales. As the search engines would ideally like to see unique content across all of their results this tactic was quickly banned and the search engines have methods for detecting and removing duplicate sites from their index. If the site is changed just enough to avoid automatic detection with hidden text or the such, you can once again be reported to the search engines and be banned that way.

  • Interlinking

As incoming links became more important for search engine positioning the practice of building multiple websites and linking them together to build the overall link popularity of them all became a common practice. This tactic is more difficult to detect than others when done “correctly” (we cannot give the method for “correct” interlinking here as it’s still undetectable at the time of this writing and we don’t want to provide a means to spam engines). This tactic is difficult to detect from a user standpoint unless you end up with multiple sites in the top positions on the search engines in which case it is likely that you will be reported.

Grey-Hat SEO Tactics:
The following tactics fall in the grey area between legitimate tactics and search engine spam. They include tactics such as cloaking, paid links, duplicate content and a number of others. Unless you are on the correct side of this equation these tactics are not recommended. Remember: even if the search engines cannot detect these tactics when they are used as spam, your competitors will undoubtedly be on the lookout and report your site to the engines in order to eliminate you from the competition.
It is definitely worth noting that, while it may be tempting to enlist grey-hat and black-hat SEO tactics in order to rank well, doing so stands a very good chance of getting your website penalized. There are legitimate methods for ranking a website well on the search engines. It is highly recommended that webmasters and SEO’s put in the extra time and effort to properly rank a website well, insuring that the site will not be penalized down the road or even banned from the search engines entirely.

  • Cloaking

There are times when cloaking is considered a legitimate tactic by users and search engines alike. Basically, if there is a logical reason why you should be allowed to present different information to the search engines than the visitor (if you have content behind a “members only” area for example) you are relatively safe. Even so, this tactic is very risky and it is recommended that you contact each search engine, present your reasoning, and allow them the opportunity to approve it’s use.
Arguably, another example of a site legitimately using cloaking, is when the site is mainly image-based such as an art site. In this event, provided that the text used to represent the page accurately defines the page and image(s) on it, this could be considered a legitimate use of cloaking. As cloaking has often been abused, if other methods such as adding visible text to the page is possible it is recommended. If there are no other alternatives it is recommended that you contact the search engine prior to adding this tactic and explain your argument.
There is more information on cloaking on our black-hat SEO tactics page.

  • Paid Links

The practice of purchasing link on websites solely for the increase in link-popularity that it can mean has grown steadily over the last year-or-so with link auction sites such as LinkAdage making this practice easier. (You can read more about LinkAdage on our SEO resources page.
When links are purchased as pure advertising the practice is considered legitimate, while the practice of purchasing links only for the increase in link-popularity is considered an abuse and efforts will be made to either discount the links or penalize the site (usually the sellers though not always).
As a general rule, if you are purchasing links you should do so for the traffic that they will yield and consider any increase in link-popularity to be an “added bonus”.

  • Duplicate Content

Due primarily to the increase in popularity of affiliate programs, duplicate content on the web has become an increasingly significant problem for both search engines and search engine users alike with the same or similar sites dominating the top positions in the search engine results pages.
To address this problem many search engines have added filters that seek out pages with the same or very similar content and eliminate the duplicate. Even at times when the duplicate content is not detected by the search engines it is often reported by competitors and the site’s rankings penalized.
There are times when duplicate content is considered legitimate by both search engines and visitors and that is on resource sites. A site that consists primarily as an index of articles on a specific subject-matter will not be penalized by posting articles that occur elsewhere on the net, though the weight it may be given as additional content will likely not be as high as a page of unique content.
White-Hat SEO Tactics:

  • Internal Linking

By far one of the easiest ways to stop your website from ranking well on the search engines is to make it difficult for search engines to find their way through it. Many sites use some form of script to enable fancy drop-down navigation, etc. Many of these scripts cannot be crawled by the search engines resulting in unindexed pages.
While many of these effects add visual appeal to a website, if you are using scripts or some other form of navigation that will hinder the spidering of your website it is important to add text links to the bottom of at least your homepage linking to all you main internal pages including a sitemap to your internal pages.

  • Reciprocal Linking

Exchanging links with other webmasters is a good way (not the best, but good) of attaining additional incoming links to your site. While the value of reciprocal links has declined a bit over the past year they certainly still do have their place.
A VERY important note is that if you do plan on building reciprocal links it is important to make sure that you do so intelligently. Random reciprocal link building in which you exchange links with any and virtually all sites that you can will not help you over the long run. Link only to sites that are related to yours and who’s content your visitors will be interested in and preferably which contain the keywords that you want to target. Building relevancy through association is never a bad thing unless you’re linking to bad neighborhoods (penalized industries and/or websites).
If you are planning or currently do undertake reciprocal link building you know how time consuming this process can be. An useful tool that can speed up the process is PRProwler. Essentially this tool allows you to find related sites with high PageRank, weeding out many of the sites that would simply be a waste of time to even visit. You can read more about PRProwler on our search engine positioning tools page.

  • Content Creation

Don’t confuse “content creation” with doorway pages and the such. When we recommend content creation we are discussing creating quality, unique content that will be of interest to your visitors and which will add value to your site.
The more content-rich your site is the more valuable it will appear to the search engines, your human visitors, and to other webmasters who will be far more likely to link to your website if they find you to be a solid resource on their subject.
Creating good content can be very time-consuming, however it will be well worth the effort in the long run. As an additional bonus, these new pages can be used to target additional keywords related to the topic of the page.

  • Writing For Others

You know more about your business that those around you so why not let everyone know? Whether it be in the form of articles, forum posts, or a spotlight piece on someone else’s website, creating content that other people will want to read and post on their sites is one of the best ways to build links to your website that don’t require a reciprocal link back.

  • Site Optimization

The manipulation of your content, wording, and site structure for the purpose of attaining high search engine positioning is the backbone of SEO and the search engine positioning industry. Everything from creating solid title and meta tags to tweaking the content to maximize it’s search engine effectiveness is key to any successful optimization effort.
That said, it is of primary importance that the optimization of a website not detract from the message and quality of content contained within the site. There’s no point in driving traffic to a site that is so poorly worded that it cannot possibly convey the desired message and which thus, cannot sell. Site optimization must always take into account the maintenance of the scalability and solid message of the site while maximizing it’s exposure on the search engines.

Web Analytics – An important section of Web development

Now a days, most of the commercial institutions have their own website which are used in several ways. Some of the commercial websites perform the role of product featuring, order placement and share company information and other details with potential customers. On the other hand some companies run on commercial websites by providing different services to the customers through their websites (eg. yahoo, msn, bdjobs etc). Even personal sites can be a source of revenue earning for individuals ( implementation of google adsense, yahoo publishers, msn AdCenter). Therefore it is very important for any website publisher to understand the usability, visitor characteristics and effectiveness of different sections of their websites.

Web Analytics is the study of the usability or effectiveness of a website. It actually deals with the data collected from a website to determine which aspects of the website work towards the business objectives. Data collected almost always includes web traffic reports. It may also include e-mail response rates, direct mail campaign data, sales and lead information, user performance data such as click heat mapping, or other custom metrics as needed.

There are two main ways in which web analytics data can be collected:

  • Log file analysis
  • Page Tagging

Log File Analysis:

The web servers has some application software where information for the hosted websites are stored. For example, linux servers have cPanel and windows servers have Plesk control panels where there are tools for analyzing website traffic, bandwidth transfer, landing pages, referral pages, requested files and etc etc. This reports can be collected in daily basis or even monthly basis to analyze the visitors, most viewed sections/files/forlders/sub domains, emails, unique visitors, visitor’s IP addresses, geographical location of the visitors and even errors occurred during browsing.

Page Tagging:

This method uses JavaScript on each page to notify a third-party server when a page is rendered by a web server. Concerns about the accuracy of logfile analysis in the presence of caching, and the desire to be able to perform web analytics as an outsourced service, led to this data collection method. The web analytics service also manages the process of assigning a cookie to the user, which can uniquely identify them during their visit and in subsequent visits. With the increasing popularity of Ajax-based solutions, an alternative to the use of an invisible image, is to implement a call back to the server from the rendered page. In this case, when the page is rendered on the web browser, a piece of Ajax code would call back to the server and pass information about the client that can then be aggregated by a web analytics company. This is in some ways flawed by browser restrictions on the servers which can be contacted with XmlHttpRequest objects.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both the methods but both are equally important and are used in different web analytics processes depending upon necessity. Even there are some web analytics program which implements both the methods together as a hybrid method. There is another method which are not widely used now a days which integrates the web analytics program into the web server, and collecting data by sniffing the network traffic passing between the web server and the outside world.

Web Analytics are often necessary for internet advertising and promotion which involves Search Engine Marketing ( SEM ) and Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ). I hope to write more on the advantages and disadvantages of the Web Analytics methods and try to share something regarding SEO and SEM also.

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Search Engine Optimization ( SEO – Part2)

I remember I wrote an article in this blog on the same topic. I tried to illustrate the importance of Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ). The knowledge and information is spreading through Internet several times quicker than any other mean. And people are getting more and more dependent on information search using Internet. Internet is infact making a bridge between the information seeker and publishers. This is why it is equally important to know how to reach the information seeker as well as to know how to get desired information. If any one wants to draw more and more attention to his/her site he/she should provide the relevant information with adequacy and also make a proper plan to reach the right people. Therefore, I believe that the most important thing for a successful website is to be rich in terms of content or information. It really doesn’t matter that much if your site is on top of the search result, unless there are plenty of things which will attract people to get back to your site at a later time. The more the contents (the more the keywords) the more it is likely to be searched and viewed by the people. So I will conclude here saying that increase the amount with diversified information, the search engines are waiting to link those to the people.