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Saturday, November 22, 2014

10 Reasons to Update your Web Site

We just published the new web site for On the River Golf and RV.


The previous site's home page looked like this.

Using this site as an example, here are 10 Reasons to Update your Web Site.

Reason #1: Your information is probably out of date. As we converted this site we corrected old information, corrected grammer and eliminated unneeded text.

Reason #2: Today's photo can be larger and higher definition.  Nothing says your site is old more than a small grainy photo.

Reason #3: With modern web languages even larger photos can load faster. With our hand-coded pages, the time to load a page will be faster than your older site.

Reason #4: Database driven pages let you create your own content.  All of our sites include user-controlled database tables. Any information that is updated routinely can be controlled by you.  Of course we'll still make any changes as requested.

Reason #5: Your site will be tested with all four major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and InternetExplorer.  You'll know that all computer viewers will have a good experience.

Reason #6: With modern web techniques your pages can be modified quickly. All our sites use "divisions" not rigid "tables".  This means that any information on the page can be added, changed, deleted or moved to a new location with ease.

Reason #7: If you need a mobile version of your site, the data from your site can be reformatted to fit a tablet or phone, without having to duplicate the data. Therefore, it will be accurate and take less time and money to make changes.

Reason #8: Google Analytics are included in all site conversions. Now you can see how many guests come to your site, from where, what pages they view and much more.

Reason #9: As your site is converted, we apply the latest SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques. Your site will quickly move from lower pages toward page one and perhaps position one.

Reason #10: Every site we create is unique; no templates or copying other sites.  Your site will stand out as one-of-a-kind, beautiful to view with consumer information where it such be and easy navigation to other pages.

You can see more site conversions at UsaMotorHost Porfolio.

Enjoy, Pete . Ellen


Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Don't Waste Your Bandwidth

Bandwidth as used here refers to how many megabytes of data our hosting allows your site to download in one month.  Each time a site visitor views a page, that page and all of its data is downloaded to their device.
The total amount of data downloaded is accumulated for the month.  Each hosting account has a limit on bandwidth. When limit is reached your site could be shut down until the end of the month.  We watch these limits weekly and will increase your maximum bandwidth as needed.  It is reset at the beginning of next month.

There are plenty of websites that waste their bandwidth.  Perhaps they pay a larger hosting fee or have an unlimited bandwidth account.  Wouldn't it be great if your account was unlimited?  It would cost more but you could automatically play videos and music when your site is launched.  You could post huge pictures on every page.  This sounds great!  The problem is that everyday more and more viewers of your web site are connected through a cellular phone, tablet or hot spot.  Cellular companies put limits on their customer's bandwidth.  If you gobble up your viewers bandwidth with large amounts of unwanted data, you can cause your viewers money when they exceed their limits.  This will drive viewers away from your site.

At UsaMotorHost we do not waste your bandwidth.  The web trend today is to present "photo sliders".
Sliders are a group of photos that scroll automatically.  We suggest you don't ever use these. Not only do they use up bandwidth, but they are distracting to viewers.  The first photo appears and you see it and then perhaps a second photo. You start to read the text about the product or service you are interested in. While you are reading, another photo shows up and distracts you from your reading.  While 80% of new sites today are adding sliders, we find them useless in most situations!  When clients do request them, we scroll the photos very slowly to lessen the distraction. And we provide page controls to stop the scrolling and advance manually if desired.

Just this month PayPal has added a video background to their home page.  The video is the same every time, eats up your bandwidth and adds no value to the viewer and cannot be turned off.  This is hideous and we believe PayPal will shut this down soon.

UsaMotorHost is considerate of your resources and want to create the best web experience with the least investment. Not wasting your bandwidth is part of this service.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Search Engines

Google This!

This is a Craftsman Adjustable Wrench, not a Crescent Wrench.
"Crescent Wrench" is a brand name, not the type of wrench.  An adjustable wrench is a single wrench that can fit multiple sizes of bolts and nuts.  The Crescent tool company has been around since 1907 and its adjustable wrench became so popular that everyone called it a Crescent Wrench even though Crescent made hundreds of tools.

Likewise Google is so well known as a search engine, that people say "Google this, Google that" rather than "search this or that". And we do the same, simply because Google is the most popular by far.  There are others: Yahoo, Bing, AOL and Ask to name a few. But frankly, we don't find a need for them as Google seems to bring us everything we need.  67.5% of users seem to agree.  Check out this chart from College of Marketing

The lessons in this posting are how to use Google to search. Many of these tips will work as is for the other search engines as well.

To launch Google, enter www.Google.com in your browser's address field.  Then enter the phrase you want to search. Suppose you are looking for a company that will do "Web design at your location".

On July 6, 2014, you would be the following response searching from Atascadero, California.

You really did not find any company that mentions coming to your location.  What now?  Try putting quotation marks around "at your location".  This forces Google to only return sites that have those three words in the listings.

Note that "Web Design" may or may not have been in the results.  To force the entire phrase, move your quotes to the beginning of the phrase, "Web design at your location" and voila, every listing has the entire phrase, a perfect result.

Next, suppose you are an RV traveler and have visited www.BigRigBible.com many times.  This site has over 650 pages and 10,000+ photos.  You want to revisit the pages of BigRigBible with information about Niagara Falls. But with 650 pages, you want help to quicken the search.  Try this "niagara site:bigrigbible.com".  Using the keyword site: and then the domain name tells Google to only look at BigRigBible.com.

There are many more advanced types of searches that can help you find things quicker or with more accuracy.  For the final search today, suppose you want to find RV parks between $10 and $30 on BigRigBible.  Try this phrase "rv park $10..$30 site:bigrigbible.com" and you will get:

Happy searching and if we can be of any help, just go to our website Web Design at Your Location and send us an email.

Pete.Ellen Mattson











Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dangerous Links in Email Text

To all Internet users:

A web site address is a URL or "Uniform resource locator". BigRigBible.com is a URL. When placed into a browser's address bar and sent to the Internet, computers called DNS or "Domain Name Servers" translate the URL into an IP or "Internet Protocol" address.  All version 4 IP address are of the format of ###.###.###.###.  The IP address of BigRigBible.com server is 208.180.26.21.  Newer format 6 IP addresses are much more intricate.

Links embedded in email text can be Dangerous as they might take you to some place other that what they say.  When you click on a link in an email, it does not have to link to where the email text says.  We use Thunderbird email client to read and write our emails. In Thunderbird, Gmail, Yahoo and other email programs, when you hover over a link, the actual link will be displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen. Here are some examples:

www.BigRigBible.com - this link will take you to www.BigRigBible.com  The first link was created using Thunderbird's "Insert Link" tool and it takes you to where is says.  The second link on this page was automatically created by Thunderbid and it also takes you to http://bigrigbible.com/

www.UsaMotorHost.com - this link will also take you to www.BigRigBible.com We created the first link on this line using the Insert Link tool, but we re-directed UsaMotorHost.com to BigRigBible. And we re-directed the second automatically created link to go the MattsonExpress.com.

Re-directions can get you in trouble, starting up sites or programs such as viruses or malware or advertisements you do not want.

So what to do?
1. First, do not click on any links unless you absolutely needs to access what is offered.
2. If you receive an email from a trusted source, e.g. WebDesign@UsaMotorHost.com, then you know you will not be damaged.
3. However, scammers have ways to fake a trusted source. Therefore we recommend only clicking on email links when you have verbally spoken with the source beforehand.
4. If is safest to never click on an link, but to copy the URL, e.g. http://bigrigbible.com/ from the text of the email to your browser address. Then you know there are no tricks involved.

You need to handle attachments in a similar fashion.  We have never gotten a virus from attachments using the following rules.
a. Never open attachments ending in .exe.  These are programs ready to run on your computer and possibly do damage.
b. Never open any attachment unless you have requested a file to be sent to you.
c. Always confirm the attachment name and content with a trusted email sender.
d. When opening the confirmed attachment, stop and cancel if anything looks amiss and re-contact the trusted sender.

We hope these keeps you out of trouble.

Pete & Ellen

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Web Programs Explained

All computers use a variety of programs to process your web site requests. Computers include desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Understanding what program you are communicating with will help you and us to train you or help to resolve problems.  Here is some of the more common programs that you should be aware of.

Operating Systems:
The operating system (OS) comes with your computer. The OS is the foundation of your computer and allows other programs to run. While you can switch your OS, not all OS work on all computers.You will have opportunities to upgrade at times. For PC's we recommend to NOT upgrade to Windows/8. If you have it, deal with it, it will get better over time. Apple's current OS is OS X.

Browsers:
A browser is the tool that allows you to see a web site.  Whether the web site is informational like UsaMotorHost or a blog like Web Design Blog or a search engine such as Google Search, you need a browser to see it.  Our favorite browser is Google's Chrome browser. It loads the fastest, loads web sites the fastest and provides the most viewing space for your selected site. Other browsers include Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer.  You can download any and all of these at Get a Better Browser.

Email Clients:
Your email can be web-based or client-based. Web-based emails are those such as @gmail.com or @Yahoo.com, @Hotmail.com, @AOL.com and others. If you use web-based emails, then your browser is the program you use to access the email.  Note that web-based emails and your address book remain on the web and do not reside on your computer. Hence, they can be accessed from anybody's computer given that they know the password.

Client-based emails are accessed by an email client such as Thunderbird, which is our favorite.  Your client-based emails will reside on the internet email servers for a short period of time, which you can determine. Once you "get" your email, the emails on the internet will be deleted, again depending on how long you decide. We keep our emails on the web for 14 days.  This allows us to access them from any computer (if the password is known) until they are deleted. They will stay on the web indefinitely until you download them onto your computer.  While the NSA probably has access to your email forever, using a client-based email takes them off the web so the typical hacker cannot get access to them.  Other client-based email programs include OutlookExpress, Outlook, SquirrelMail and dozens more.  We highly recommend Thunderbird which is similar but better than OutlookExpress.

A Final Note:
Web sites are not programs. Yahoo is not a program but a web site. You do go to www.Yahoo.com to access your email, but your actual email program is the browser you are using. Get informed, know your browser and your email program; it will enhance your web experience.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bandwidth Explained


Bandwidth has several meanings. One is the speed of your Internet connection. But, for web hosting your bandwidth is your total monthly allowance of characters (bytes) that are transferred from your web site to your viewer's.  Our BASIC hosting package allows for 500 megabytes of transfer.  A web-site-width large photo is about 1/5 of one megabyte.  Therefore your monthly allowance could download 2,500 large photos. Since most photos are much smaller you can download many more than that with BASIC hosting.  Text downloads are negligible compared to photos. Ranking from largest to smallest in size are 1) videos 2) audio 3) photos and then 4) text. 

UsaMotorHost staff checks your monthly bandwidth totals every week.  If you are about to exceed your limit, we temporarily increase your limit and then set it back at the beginning of the next month.  If you routinely exceed your limit then you would need to upgrade your hosting to a larger bandwidth package.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Domain Names Explained

Domain Names: All web sites have a domain name and it is unique throughout the world. UsaMotorHost.com is a example of a domain name. Today it cost about $12.00 to obtain the name and must be renewed every year.

We pay for the domain name for our hosting clients. Why? To avoid your company being scammed. Our clients receive ALL web services from us.  Therefore, you should never pay any other company for any web service without first contacting us for approval.  Every year we receive an email telling us that your domain name will expire. It comes from our host company. We know them and they know us.  We expect the email and pay the renewal fee.

All domain names are public knowledge. Thus many unscrupulous companies will broadcast emails to millions of companies, telling them that their domain name renewal is due.  Most of these will ask for $35 for the renewal.  Your company staff will see these emails and might just automatically pay it knowing that keeping the name is important.  Sadly, you would have just paid the wrong company and overpaid at that!

We repeat that you should only pay MattsonExpress.com (parent company of UsaMotorHost.com) for web services.

IP Addresses: In reality your web site is found by its IP address, e.g. 208.180.26.21.  This IP points to the physical location of the host company.  To find an IP address there are millions of Domain Name Servers. These computer servers have all of the world's domain names and the associated IP address.  When a user requests a specific domain name these DNS servers look up the name and hand back the IP address. The user's browser then uses the IP address to find the host computer.  If your host company changes, it can take 24 to 72 hours for the DNS servers to have the new IP address.  This is why your new site may take a few days to be seen.

Multiple Domain Names: Suppose your domain name is Number1PropertyRentals.com.  But you also do property sales.  Will you get more traffic by having the second domain name Number1PropertySales.com pointing to your web site. No, most likely not.  Using keywords in your domain can affect web site ranking. But the current wisdom is that the keyword must be first.  So "sales" being on the end of the domain name will probably not be of value.

Which is better, Number1PropertyRentals.com or N1PR.com? The first as it has the keyword "property". However, you might want to purchase N1PR.com as well.  Being shorter it will be quicker to communicate verbally or on a business card.  Or you might also want NumberOnePropertyRentals.com as then you don't need to spell the domain as "Number, then the digit 1, Property Rentals.com".  An entirely better name would have started with the keywords "PropertyRentals".  It is getting very tough to pick a good and short name, good luck.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scram from the Scammers!

The Internet is an amazing tool. But we are sure that you are aware that are are those out there trying to steal your wealth through a variety of scams. We have some simple rules to avoid being scammed.

1. Do not pay any company except MattsonExpress (Pete Mattson) for any web services unless we have reviewed such a service and given you our blessing.  For the majority of our clients we provide 100% of all web services they need.

 We bill our web site services using an invoice that looks like this.  Invoices from any other company will not look like this.

And our statement uses the same email address, logo and bank address. By the way please pay by statement. We will send new invoices every week. The statement will be an accumulation of all invoices due.

2. If you are approached for any web service either by phone, email or in person, contract us immediately.  We will review the service at no charge. Either we provide this service already or we can analyse what is being offered and let you know if it is a worthwhile service.  If we offer a new service by email, we would never billed for it without a verbal confirmation followed up by a confirmation email.

3. For all our clients we provide:
a) Hosting service including email accounts
b) Free domain name renewals
c) Basic SEO services
d) Optional Google Plus (Google Places) Listings
e) Submission to Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines 

Here are some scams that we are aware of

A) Offers for hosting or email service. You already receive this from us.

B) Offers to renew your domain name, usually for about $35 / year.  This only costs about $12 and we provide this free.  The main reason we do it for free is so you never receive a legitimate invoice from any web service company other than MattsonExpress.

C) SEO services.
 i) Basic SEO. Only MattsonExpress can modify your web site pages and database. Therefore no other company can provide the "On page SEO". Note that you own your pages, images, content and data. At any time you can use your username and password to access these files as we do. 
ii) There are hundreds of "SEO experts" that claim to get your site on top of page one.  If you feel anyone is offering a legitimate service, then we want to talk with them.  There are legit SEOs. But for every one that is legit, there are probably a few dozen who will take your money and provided little or nothing in return.
iii) A classic SEO scam is to try to sell you "inbound links" to your site.  The more links to your site from related sites, the better you will rank with search engines. But scammers will  sell you hundreds or thousands of links from unrelated sites, e.g. A Vaccum Cleaner store linking to your RV Park.  In the short run, this can at times improve your rank. But then when Google crawlers determine you are linked to from "link farms", they will trash your ranking and it might be months before you return to your previous page ranking.

D) A Google Plus listing (formerly Google Places) are those free Google listings that show your business on a map.  A view may search for "Bend Orgeon RV Park" would yield this display.
Google may have already listed your company.  If you prove you own the company then you are allowed to enhance the listing with accurate information (Google's data may be wrong) and photos. We provide this service and since we already have your copy and photos, we can do this faster than anyone. And Google does not charge anything to host your listing.

E) Submission to directories. This is old school.  It used to notify Google and other search engines that your site is up and running and should be indexed. But today the web crawlers are so fast and up to date that you don't need to submit your sites. We still do as it only takes a few minutes. Do not pay for this!

Recap: To avoid getting scammed:
1) Pay only MattsonExpress for current web services.
2) Have us review any new service you are offered.
3) Know that we already provide most services and add more every year.

Thank you for your patronage.

Pete & Ellen Mattson