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A URL Shortener: Why Do I Need One?

September 20, 2020 - By 

Over the coming weeks I will be writing a number of articles on URL Shorteners. I have been using Shortened URL’s for some time and it wasn’t until people started asking me about that I realised that they are only really understood by people engaged in On-line Business. So this series of articles aims to provde something for the beginner and, hopefully, something for the more seasoned Online Professional.

In this first article I will cover What is a URL Shortener and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using one. I will also provide an ‘Initial’ list of URL Shortening Providers (there are over 200 in existence today!) which, over time, I will provide further information on… so check back if you want more details… or let me know if you want a particular provider reviewed a bit quicker.

In future articles I will cover, in addition to the provider reviews, a look at Free vs Paid for services; how to check and validate a shortened link and then on to some tracking information.

What is a URL Shortener?

A URL Shortener is simply a technique on the Internet for taking a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and making it substantially shorter in length whilst still directing to the required Internet page.

This is achieved by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the Internet page that has a long URL.

What are the Advantages of Using a URL Shortener?

Social Media
With the advent of Social Media sites like Twitter and that only allow a relatively small number of characters in a message, using long URL’s meant that there was little or no space for the actual message. Shortening the URL allows longer messages to be included alongside the URL.

Shortening the URL allows the originating web address to be disguised. This has some disadvantages which I will cover later but, from a positive perspective, it does allow an address to be made ‘more presentable’ i.e. by removing all those seemingly random characters and also to hide the originating domain name that, for whatever reason, people may not choose to click on.

Long URL’s are sometime difficult to read and if you need to write one down then the chances or recording the URL incorrectly are high.

In the same vein as readability the shortened URL is far more memorable. In many cases it is possible to format the URL with a description of your own choosing. Making URL’s memorable has obvious advantages from a marketing perspective. It is much easier to remember rather than

Accumulate Statistics
For Internet or Affiliate Marketers URL Shorteners provide a mechanism to track when, where and how many times a URL is clicked upon. Knowing these statistics is essential to the success of anyone working on-line as you have to know your target market and when they are likely to be online and what types of product they are likely to purchase. I will come back to tracking and statistics in a future post.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
A good URL shortening service will pass along information to the target page by using something called a 301 redirect. I won’t go into the technical details in this post but this will help your page to rank with sites such as Snapshare.

Free Service
Many of the URL services are free of charge. For most uses e.g. Social Media, a free service is absolutely fine. I will discuss in a future post the advantages and disadvantages of free vs paid for URL Shorteners.

What are the Disadvantages of Using a URL Shortener?

Like most things in life there is normally a balance between advantages and disadvantages. The same is true of URL Shorteners.

The fact that you cannot see the details of the link is used by spammers as a way of getting people to open links that they might otherwise ignore.

URL Shorteners Get Closed
Some URL Shorteners get closed down precisely because they don’t control the level of spam that emanates from their service. If this happens and you have been using the service then all of your links become useless.

Using a Third Party Provider
The URL Shortener is effectively another third party in the process between you creating a URL and sending it to your audience. You should therefore choose your provider carefully.

Some Sites Do not allow Shortened URL’s
Due to the level of spam associated with some URL Shorteners, some sites will not accept shortened URL’s. This is important for Affiliate Marketers as some providers will not allow shortended links that refer to affiliate products, as they class this as spam!

Redirection Could Result in Performance Issues
To resolve a shortened URL requires an extra translation between the shortened URL and the target URL. Whilst this should be negligible it will also depend on the provider you use to shorten your URL’s.

Are URL Shorteners Good or Bad?
In my opinion URL Shorteners have a valid role to play, particularly where the life expectancy or a URL is not long… which is particularly true of Social Media.

Some of the disadvantages around spam and phishing can be true of any URL, not just shortened ones… the same is true with all links, be careful what you click on!

My rule of thumb is that I use a URL Shortener for Social Media and for short term affiliate campaigns. If I write articles or e-books that I expect to live for a longer period of time then I will use the domain name… and mask this if it is too long.

Top URL Shorteners
The following is a list of the most popular URL Shortening Providers. In subsequent articles I will add specific reviews for these services and also add more providers… my aim with this article is to bring the available information together in one place and make it as comprehensive as possible.

· Google


· Stumble Upon

· Bitly

· TinyURL

· BudURL

· Is.Gd

· Tiny

· Cligs

· SnipURL

· Owly

I hope you have found this information useful. If you want to follow the subject then head over to my blog where I will be posting more details.

To your success


8 Different Types of Websites

September 14, 2020 - By 

Defining websites is more complicated now than ever thanks to the diversification and development of resources and technology. Below is a breakdown of different types of websites you can encounter on the World Wide Web.

E-Commerce Websites

E-Commerce websites are online stores making it convenient to shop from the comfort of your own home. E-commerce websites enable business owners to run and maintain their store from a home or office environment without the need of an expensive shopfront. This type of website also incorporates a checkout cart in order to allow you to purchase directly from the site.


Blogs (shortened from web log) came to the mainstream forefront in the early to mid 2000s. This kind of website operates in reverse-chronological order and can either support a second website or stand alone in its own right. Blogging is very popular as it allows a direct and personal interaction with your readers who can provide comments directly on the website.

Personal Websites

Personal websites are generated by individuals for friends and family to share information and pictures with each other. This kind of site has limited use for businesses (even micro businesses) as they are generally not search engine friendly in their setup.

Photo Sharing Websites

These websites have one sole purpose – which is to allow for the uploading and sharing of photographs online. Generally free to use, they have many practical uses particularly for those in the artistic and photographic industry.

Mobile Device Websites

Trying to view full size websites on a mobile can be difficult however there are now websites being created specifically for this purpose. As more and more people are using their phones to surf the internet and view web pages, then the number of these sites will only increase in the future.

Informational Websites

These are identified as sites which strive to provide information on a particular subject or subjects to the reader. Online dictionaries, local councils and real estate companies are examples of informational websites. They provide you with information that you may be seeking as well as further details on how you can contact the company in question if applicable.

Brochure/Catalogue Style Websites

An online brochure based website is more than just for informational purposes as it goes further in depth to provide information about products which are available to purchase. This differs from the traditional e-commerce website as it doesn’t have the checkout facility available online to purchase immediately. A website such as IKEA offers a perfect example as you are able to browse stock online and check availability, however to purchase you must visit your nearest outlet.

Social Media and Networking Websites

These websites are a combination of networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, although they can also integrate online forums (whether for business or personal use). They are created purely for socialising and discussing topics. Social websites enable one to one connections between individuals.

Therefore before you launch into a redesign of your current business or a new business venture entirely, think about which website may suit your purposes so you can clearly identify your website requirements.


dHTML – Advantages & Disadvantages

September 13, 2020 - By 

dHTML is merely a browser feature that provides your browser (Web page) to be dynamic. dHTML is not Javascript although it relies on it, but Javascript used in webpage relies heavily on the fourth generation browser features. So, in short although it is Javascript and HTML but can’t be called so because of its reliance on the browser features. Only those 4th generation browser allows over web page to be dynamic.

So what exactly is dynamic when we say dHTML?

By dynamic we meant to say that the webpage ability to modify itself on certain functions when activated by users. Change can be either content or the layout on the fly.


1. Fast and Zippy: – dHTML loads content on fly. Your whole page does not loads but only the content part that needs to be altered, so saving the crucial time for the users and giving the snazzy look to the website.

2. Plug-ins, we don’t need them:- dHTML uses most of the features already present in the browsers, so there is no need to download any sort of Plug-ins.

3. Great Utility:- The dynamic features possessed by dHTML are helping web designers to create Web pages that posses compact looks, downloads fast, have graphic effects, provides greater functionality and can hold much more text or content all at the same time.


1. Costly Editing tools: – although dHTML provides great functionality but the editors’ available for that in market are pretty expensive. Examples of dHTML editors are Dreamweaver and Fusion.

2. Long and Complex coding: – dHTML coding is long and complex. Only the expert Javascript and HTML programmers can write them and edit them with good degree of functionality.

3. Browser Support problems: – dHTML suffers from browser support problems for different browsers. For example, a code written for Netscape might not work in Internet Explorer and Vice-Versa. The problem arises due to the different features of browsers.


dHTML is a great utility that a website can posses although its still in development phase. You can always use small dHTML features to enhance your website utility and make it faster. We can expect much more in the time to come.


Issues to Consider When Localising Your Web Site

September 13, 2020 - By 

In this article, I’ll give an overview of some issues to consider when translating or localising your web site. From my experience as a translator and IT specialist, I’ll try to highlight not only various linguistic considerations, but also some subtle practical and technical issues to bear in mind.

Why is a web site different to a “normal” translation project?

In the simplest case, translating a web site may not be significantly different from translating regular documents. You may find you can supply static copy to the translator in a Word file, and then extract and upload the text when you receive back it in the same format.

However, many web sites don’t consist of a few pages of static text, meaning that a web site translation project may require some special consideration and additional skills on the part of the translator:

  • you may have pages constructed “on the fly” from a database rather than existing in static files;
  • you may have a server application, e.g. for processing form input, which itself generates text visible to the user;
  • from a linguistic point of view, it’s rare for web site content to just be about one field: some IT terminology will almost certainly creep in somewhere.

For the first two of these reasons, it’s not uncommon for your web site to involve text in different formats held in different files. You might have some raw HTML files or text that you can easily extract to a text file or word document from your content management system, plus some data in a database that you may need to extract to a CSV file or SQL dump, plus some properties files used by your back-end server. In the initial stages of getting a quote for the project, tell the translator what file format is most convenient for you to work with (and send a sample) and ask if they can work with that format. (In my case, for example, I’ve seen clients spend time attempting to convert CSV files into word documents and mangling the text in the process, when I would have been quite happy working with the original CSV files.)

Linguistic issues

Although most web sites will involve some IT terminology at some stage, this should probably not be the main linguistic issue involved in web site localisation. My reason for saying this is that given the technical issues we’ll look at below, I strongly recommend contracting web site translation to a translator who is IT-savvy in the first place.

An initial linguistic decision, but one which the translator will probably be able to make for you, concerns form of address: as you may know, various languages use different verb forms to address the reader/listener either “informally” or “formally” (e.g. the tu vs vous distinction in French), with some languages having even a three-way distinction. Which form of address is appropriate will depend on your target audience and the customs of the countries you are targeting; the translator may therefore need to consult with you on who your main target audience is and what impression you want to give (do you want your text to sound “serious” or more “hip and trendy”?).

Other linguistic issues come in translating short items from a database or properties file, where there is sometimes the lack of context. Do you mean a “check” as in a “cheque”, or as in a “verification”? Do you mean “up” as in “higher price” or as in “go to the top of the page”? And in the case of strings that can have parameters (denoted by the sequence {0}, {1} etc in property files in Java and various other languages), what are the various values that these parameters might have (since they can affect the translation)?

Sometimes resolving these issues will require you to answer direct questions from the translator about the interpretation of your text. But as a simple measure that can save some time and questions, I recommend using multiple properties files. Let each major area of your site/application have its own properties file. And in particular, let sections of your server/site that address different people have their own properties file. Crucially, if you can possibly avoid it, don’t mix in the same file strings aimed at the web site visitor and strings that are part of your back-end administration system.

Practical and technical issues

When you get the translated material back from the translator (or indeed, ideally beforehand!), there are one or two practical issues you may need to consider. You may have already observed the differences in word count that can occur between one language and another (typically, text in languages derived from Latin such as French and Spanish is about 20-30% longer than its English counterpart). This could have an effect not only on your page layout but also on database field sizes. More subtly, the character count in another language may be similar, but the word count could vary drastically if that language uses compounding more extensively than English (for example, you may find that a translated text in Finnish has a similar character count to the English, but half the number of words). A layout with narrow columns that works on your English page may suddenly look disastrous when applied to the German or Finnish translation.

If your site is interactive, then you have the added issue of accepting the input that users will expect to be able to supply in your web forms etc. This will include, for example, the ability to enter accented characters or a greater range of characters, plus some more subtle changes to your site’s validation. In English, you might have disallowed spaces in the Surname field. But speakers of various other languages typically have multiple surnames and would expect to be able to enter a space in this field.

Two other, sometimes related, issues are character encoding and collation. The first essentially refers to the way in which characters are stored/represented by the computer (how characters are translated into bytes). The second refers to how characters and strings are compared and sorted: for example, whether an e with an acute accent is considered equal to one without the accent for the purpose of searching, and in which order they appear when sorting. These issues don’t usually arise when dealing purely with English, but will typically need to be considered when dealing with text in another language.

Character encoding differs from system to system, with some common standards including ISO-8859-1, UTF-8 plus other encodings such as Mac OS Roman. Depending on your web site/application, you may need to ensure you have the correct character encoding configured at various layers:

  • when reading in the translated file;
  • when reading/writing to your database via JDBC or other application-layer framework;
  • when reading data input by the user via the Servlet API etc;
  • on the database field definitions themselves, to ensure they can store the range of characters necessary.

How do you know if you have the correct character encoding? A tell-tale sign of the wrong character encoding in various Latin-based languages like French and Spanish is if you frequently see sequences of two accented characters next to one another, possible including a capital letter in the middle of words. (This happens when a file encoded in UTF-8 is incorrectly interpreted as though it were in ISO-8859-1 or Mac OS encoding.)

The issue of collation (sorting/matching) may be dealt with at the database layer (most DB systems allow collation modes to be configured for a particular column/table/database). Or it may be dealt with at the application layer (in Java, look at the Collator class as an alternative or extension to the raw Collections.sort() and String.equals() methods).


I hope in this article to have highlighted some of the main areas of concern when localising a web site, and shown that such issues can go well beyond the translation itself. Working with a translator who is aware of these issues could save you time and effort in making your business available in the different countries you wish to target.


How Does Hyper VRE Work?

September 13, 2020 - By 

The Internet provides a fantastic opportunity for small to medium sized businesses to grow and reach to millions of customers worldwide. By putting the products and services to be distributed online, a lot of cost can be cut down. Outsourcing specific business functions to specialists helps in putting the efforts in the right direction to build a business portal quickly. Marketing is expensive when considering the cost of placing advertisements on prominent places in search engines and other related websites and blogs. If the budget is a problem, tools like Hyper VRE can help a small outfit to achieve desirable results in a short span of time.

Template based niche sites are easy to deploy and manage. Businesses are often using this type of web creation for getting a quick response due to the designing process and powerful application facilities such platforms provide. The ability to quickly populate web pages with content targeting specific niche keywords, using provided templates to customize and apply to the website and using marketing tools to advertise when the website is completed make these tools indispensable. A new venture must adopt these types of solutions because they can easily market their products with the help of template based niche website creation.

Hyper VRE offers exclusive templates to the users. The choice of professionally designed website templates for the clients to build their sites from, the ability to generate keyword rich content pages and the ability to make dynamic websites are some of the highlights of this useful tool. A niche website is premised on these two main principles; a website venture that requires little or no overhead cost and requires no physical storefront. Secondly your customers are those millions of internet users who might just be interested in the products you offer.

Putting a website up is not enough. Getting the word out to users is perhaps more important than the creation itself. Optimizing the website using SEO tools and techniques will ensure that the search engines give a favorable rating to the website and it soon bubbles to the top on the specific keyword search. There are thousands of tools for making the search rankings of the website better. Website rankings usually depend on content as well as the design. Hyper VRE provides users with SEO optimizations of the website created by using dynamically created pages, RSS feeds and AdSense embedding to make the portal stand out.

Businesses are always trying to find ways to stay ahead of their competitors. Having a killer instinct and recognizing which product is in hot demand at the right time is important. More important, however, are the tools which should be used to capture the market share before the other people join the bandwagon. Hyper VRE can help low budget business make optimized use of the resources while not compromising on quality and quick turnaround. Bundled with a host of tools and informative material, this is a must have for any virtual entrepreneur.


Advantages of Buying an Existing Website

September 13, 2020 - By 

Why create a new e-commerce business from scratch when you can buy an established website which is already successful. Such established websites can be a smart move for those who are looking out for an assured income from day one.

Here are some amazing advantages of buying an established website online: –

1. You will have to do less hard work as someone else has already done for you!

Since you are thinking of buying an established business online, you can simply erase the responsibility of designing or coding the website to get started with the business. You can revamp the acquired website whenever you want, it is not mandatory to do it immediately as it still makes sales. You will not have to pay anything from your pocket as you will start getting cash flow from the first day if you are opting for an existing website.

2. It’s okay if you have a limited knowledge.

It is the best way to own and run an existing business rather than building a website, especially when you are an all-rounder or expert in various required skills. It’ll be a great idea to take advantage of someone who wants to sell the website instead of spending effort, time and money on creating the entire set up from scratch.

3. Existing websites have consistent traffic.

Most of the existing website will get traffic majorly from SEO rankings, Social media, or old Marketing campaign. With the help of some marketing skills, you can easily monetize the existing traffic that you are getting on the website without any effort.

4. An established website has a customer database.

Generating a customer database with potential customers can be difficult and time-consuming as well. Those websites that are doing well will have a ready-to-use customer list. Once you acquire the ownership of the existing business, you will be provided with the access to the lists of customers so that you can contact your customers directly in case of deals, offers, and promotions.

5. An established website offers revenue from the first day.

We all are aware of the fact that there is no instant success in any new business. However, it can be quite profitable if you are buying a website that will offer revenue from the very first day. Here you will only have to focus on how you can expand the business while accelerating the flow of income.


Technology – Need of the Hour

September 13, 2020 - By 

The technological innovation has always provided the humanity with the sudden advancement that has always served as the path for progressive developments. The invention of personal computer and availability of internet has totally revolutionized world in impactful manner and has empowered the user at every end with power of ultra-fast virtual world. The smartphone has also proven to be a key to this ongoing revolution which has enabled the user to get benefit with power of connectivity.

The internet for definition is just an interconnected network of networks which enable the user to interact and share data with one another. The invention of ‘WWW’ in 1989 or World Wide Web has conceded the real power to connect and interact with internet using various protocols which comes under TCP/IP. The World Wide Web has opened the gates for various users to share information through web pages or websites. A website is a collection of related web pages including multimedia content which could be identified with a common domain name. A website/webpage is what an internet is made up of.

Website development professionals – a must

Today in this era of internet, the websites/webpages are major elements on which an organization, institute or people are judged. These web pages are not only used to get information but are also served as a primary element which presents the first impression about an institute or work and sometimes serve as the medium to get connected. Therefore it is of utmost importance to have the website designed by trained groups of professionals which are not only responsible for content on the webpages but also for the overall interaction and behaviors of a webpage. These professionals use various complex languages to write and set the attributes of a webpage such as java, HTML etc.

The recent digitalization has opened wide avenues for website designing. The major shift to digital technology has let many small to large business holders to create digital signatures for their work through a website that has directly or indirectly created demand for webpage developers/designers. A sudden rise in demand for website development and designing also led to the inception of numerous startups that provide the users with the promises of impressive work.

For instance, website development companies could be named as one of the best examples of new startup companies which provide services like designing, development, maintenance to their users thus stabilizing the raised market demands. A website development company plays the role of a key catalyst in the overall progress journey of any company. Not only do they help in creating the base for any company’s face for the customers but also lets the company stay instrumental in keeping up pace with the rapidly moving times to flourish and survive in the market.


PHP Encryption For Generating Fixed Length Encryption Strings

September 13, 2020 - By 

Let’s start with the actual PHP function:

1. function XOREncryption($InputString, $KeyPhrase){


3.     $KeyPhraseLength = strlen($KeyPhrase);


5.     // Loop trough input string

6.     for ($i = 0; $i //SALT

$salt = ‘my_special_phrase’;


$crypted = base64_encode(XOREncryption(‘my string’, $salt));

echo “Encrypted: ” . $crypted . “

 The variable ‘ $salt ‘ plays a crucial role here.  It is essentially the ‘key’ to your encrypted string. The salt value will always generate the same values when the same mathematics are applied to it.  It provides the constant needed to generate randomness.  This goes to say that if someone uses the salt that was used to generate the encryption and applies the same mathematics they can undo or reverse the encrypted string back into the original string text.

In order to decrypt an encrypted string that was generated by using this function use the invoccation code below:


$salt = ‘my_special_phrase’;


$decrypted  = XOREncryption(base64_decode($crypted), $salt);

echo “Decrypted: ” . $decrypted;

As long as I use the same salt I can reverse an encrypted string that was encrypted with this function.


How To Make Money From Your iOS App

September 13, 2020 - By 

Once you are done with the development and fine-tuning of your iOS app, the obvious question that comes to the mind is, how to make money now? Selecting the right channel of revenue is crucial and depends on how you want to make money out of you iOS app. The app may be put with a price tag or have a subscription. Some of the ways of making good returns have been discussed below.

Pricing the app sections for advertisement allows the iOS application development to feature an app for free. Advertising space within the app is auctioned to different brands where they can add their promotional content in order to make money. This has become a popular and easiest mode of making money from the app. If the app has a good number of downloads, you can expect a lot of money cashing in without much efforts.

Putting a small amount of data for free and pitching for the sale at a later stage is an emerging trend. This process is quite among magazine or newspaper based mobile apps. Usually, iOS developers put the apps on the App Store in such a way that the app gives some of the content of a product for free.

Yet, all the exclusive features are unlocked and can be availed only by a paid subscription. So, the app can be downloaded for free, and the users need to buy a subscription to access the content. Paid subscriptions is always a reliable way of generating uniformly revenue on a long-term basis.

Offering paid virtual products is yet another way of making money out of your app. This method works best in gaming apps, where a user can buy points or pay to go to the next level. In this method, the primary functions of the app are free and the users can buy products or services as they use the app.

Some app developers prefer to go upfront and use the simplest method of putting the app for a certain price. This means the interested app users have to pay to download the application. All the functions or features of such apps are unlocked and the new updates are also available without additional charges. But, asking the users to pay upfront needs a certain level of marketing skills.

Enabling sponsorship is yet another way of making good money from your app. As the owner of the app, this might be a new concept to you. This is how it works. If you put your app for free on the store, you can authorize certain app sponsors that give rewards to the app users when they do a certain task within your app. In return, you get to enroll into a percentage of what your advertisers are paying. For example, playing a promotional video rewards extra points or unlock a new level and so on.


Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) And Its Importance To SEO

September 13, 2020 - By 

Accelerated mobile pages or AMP as it’s popularly known is an open source framework that fastens the rate at which mobile pages load. The framework allows people reading your content on their mobile phones to read it fast. This increases the number of people that read your content. The framework increases the loading speeds of the sites by stripping out elements that cause web pages to load slower on mobile. These elements include JavaScript and third-party scripts.

Importance of AMP in SEO

The obvious importance of this framework is that your mobile pages load faster. As a publisher and marketer, your content is visible to many people. Studies show that up to 40% of people will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Now since your site will be loading fast, the bounce rate will be low thus your content will be seen by plenty of people.

Another importance of the AMP framework is that you get to rank high in the search results. If you are keen on Google algorithms, you must know about the Mobilegeddon algorithm. This is an algorithm that rewards sites that are mobile friendly. Since your site will now be mobile friendly, you will be ranked high. High ranking not only means more readers, it also means more money.

Is AMP for you?

While AMP has the obvious advantage of increasing the site speed, it comes with many restrictions. Since the framework doesn’t permit JavaScript and other third party elements, you won’t be able to have on-page comments, lead forms and other elements.

To accommodate the restrictions that come with the framework you will have to rewrite your site’s template. You should rewrite your content so that the content in CSS is less than 50KB. You also need to address your images where you have to ensure that they utilize the amp-img element. You also have to embed the videos using the amp-video custom tag.

When it comes to the article, you have to include a special tag that lets search engines detect the AMP version of your article.

How to get started with AMP

If you are ready to go along with the restrictions of the framework, you should go ahead and set it up on your site. The first thing that you should do is install the AMP WordPress plugin and then activate it. You should then edit the .htaccess file. You should also edit the CSS to make the AMP look and feel like your site.


AMP increases your site speed thus increasing your views. It also gives a better user experience. As mentioned above, for your site to take advantage of these features you need to follow a set of strict regulations. If you are comfortable with the restrictions you will definitely have a bump in your search results.

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