23 November

Win tickets to see The Killers with RSAWEB!

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Win Killers tickets with RSAWEB!

It’s only a matter of weeks before multi-award-winning alternative rock band The Killers will be performing their first-ever South African tour, commencing on Friday, 4 December 2009 at the Coca-Cola Dome Johannesburg and Sunday 6 December at Val De Vie Estate, Cape Town.

RSAWEB is giving away two pairs of tickets – one pair for the Johannesburg show and one pair for the Cape Town show.

All you have to do to stand a chance to win is upload your ‘Killer Fan Photo’ on our fan photo album on our RSAWEB facebook fan page. The photo must demonstrate to the world just how much you love The Killers. The photo showing the most love from fellow facebookers in the form of ‘likes’ will be awarded the tickets. Remember, creativity will help you get the most votes, so don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild.

Some suggestions:

- Shave ‘I love The Killers & RSAWEB’ into you cat’s fur.
- Build a 40 foot statue of Brandon Flowers out of lego.
- Etch ‘I’m going to see The Killers on the 4th of December’ into your boss’s car door.
- Name your newborn baby ‘Mr. Brightside’

All we need to see is the photographic evidence. And yes, you may upload multiple photos… but keep it clean please.

Upload your photos on our facebook fan album.

Start uploading now!

11 November

RSAWEB Soccer Clinic

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With 2010 just round the corner, we were inspired to invest in South Africa’s future soccer stars. To achieve this, we partnered with Upward Sports to provide a soccer clinic for the children of the Ocean View community in Cape Town. Some of our office super stars also pitched in to lend some of their skills to the clinic…

RSAWEB TV was on hand to cover the action. Take a look…

09 November

Making a success out of your website

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RSAWEB WordPress Tutorial Series

Getting heard above all the noise on the web is becoming harder. The old mantra of, “build it and they will come” certainly does hold true on the web in many cases. There are many obvious success stories of this, ala Google, but as more of your competitors or even other websites compete for your customers eyeballs, standing out of the crowd is what you need to get right.

What is certainly true for all sites/products/services on the web is that information is king. He (or she) who holds the data and presents it in the most useful/usable format normally wins. Data can come in multiple forms: text, images, video, maps, news etc and can be presented in multiple formats: blogs, news sites, Facebook, Twitter, email, newsletter, etc.

So, how do you become successful?

1. Be interesting
Ego plays a massive part in developing a good web presence. Tell your visitors that you are good. A good way to do this with industry recognition, testimonials from customers etc.

So to stroke your ego, get connected on Twitter & Facebook and talk about yourself, your product and your site. Build up your network of followers to some decent numbers and compare yourself against your competition. Entice customers & new Twitter followers with interesting campaigns, maybe do a product discount when you increase your twitter followers to 100 (for newbies) or up it by 10% or some other strategic number.

2. KISS – Keep it simple stupid
Simplicity and usability are two of the most important factors on the web. It’s one thing having great data, but if your delivery mechanism isn’t good, it’s worth nothing. Change things slowly, introduce new concepts and see how they perform. Are you getting more visitor traffic through a new page or menu item you created since last week?

3. If you can’t measure it, how can you manage it?
Tracking is one of those vital feedback mechanisms. You need to know how people are getting to your site, what they are searching for, how long they stayed for, how many pages they viewed etc. (you need to track this via Google Analytics)

Analytics provides a FREE & amazingly powerful tool to track your users. You can also track ‘conversions’ and evaluate how these customers got to your site. Conversions can be a specific page view, like a contact form submission or a newsletter signup or even a product order.

4. Build, release. FAST (for online applications)
If your development cycle is months, by the time you have finished building it, is your product even going to suite the users? Taking a lesson from the Agile/Scrum approach to development, build something quickly and release it. Get user feedback comments and see if they like it. Customers know what they want, you can make an educated guess, but that’s exactly it, a guess. Stop guessing, release new features quickly, take a features poll from users and stop trying to understand the customers needs, get them to tell you what THEY want. Decide, build, release, get feedback, reiterate. (in 1-2 months cycles max)

5. Leverage your user base
Engage your users on Facebook, Twitter and other social media applications. Happy users are great promoters of your products. If you are selling something, create an affiliate marketing program, giving them a % of the revenue from the sale. The power of Twitter and other social media allows interesting products/services to go viral. When a new user signs up, encourage them to follow you on twitter. Possibly offer new features in advance to users that ‘retweet’ your message to their friends (this is a great way to get followers)

6. Offline Actions
The biggest debate always revolves around what offline actions one should take. Talk to as many people as possible about your product/service. Get networking, attend conferences, get invited to speak at conferences (this happens when you become the ‘expert’ in your field) and tell friends & family. Be passionate.

7. The bigger picture
Don’t expect overnight success, all these things take time to get right. Quality content & good presentation is the key, the more useful information presented in a good format, the more success you can expect to have.

Summing up
We often see companies advertising “Get listed on Google” or some other marketing tool, used to entice customers to signup for a website or web hosting, don’t be tempted, if it actually worked, everyone would be using it (even us and we don’t!). Customers also get a website built by someone else and then wonder why they don’t get any visitors.

Realistically it’s all about your content and who links to your content. Be interesting, put some effort into marketing your website and people will come, be boring and people won’t. Google Adwords is also the fastest way to get your website out there (you pay money for people clicking on adverts).

Read up on SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing) – start implementing these strategies, they do require a lot of time and energy, but they do really work.

09 November

Making your wordpress website secure

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RSAWEB WordPress Tutorial Series

Securing WordPress has become a major challenge, it is certainly true that WordPress’s success is it’s Achilles heel. As new bugs/hacks are discovered, hackers, spammers and the like are quick to pounce on these opportunities to infect blogs with rubbish content and junky backlinks. Securing your WordPress based site is a crucial step to keeping your site online, your traffic flowing to it and protecting that all important Google ranking. (Google will penalise you for link to spam.)

Keep WordPress updated
Simple yet extremely effective. Updating WordPress is usually really simple. The WordPress guys have made it as simple as possible, there is an auto upgrade function built into WordPress, which makes it ultra simple. A word of caution, if you have hacked the WordPress code, your task just got massively harder. So my advice –> don’t. Keep it simple.

WordPress plugins
Definitely keep these updated. WordPress plugins do have security flaws from time to time. Rather keep them updated, again via a simple upgrade in your plugins manager.

Secure WordPress
There are some nifty plugins that can help you secure WordPress that are easy to install and work like a charm. Secure WordPress plugin

Secure your passwords
For heaven’s sake, why did you make that password for your admin user ‘password’ when you reset it? This is the easiest trick in the book, its called a brute force attack and a cracker will simply keep testing your admin or other users passwords, its just a matter of time. Make sure you use long passwords with multiple characters. Then install this: Login lockdown plugin.

Remove the WordPress version string in your theme
This prevents hackers seeing which version of WordPress you are running. This makes it harder for them to determine where they should start attacking your site. This and other smaller but very useful tweaks can be done easily by installing the WP-Security-Scan plugin.

Server Security – Intelligent blocking
This is harder to achieve if you don’t actually own or manage the server. Modsecurity is a great plugin for the apache web server and there are specific rules that can be added to your apache config to protect it even further. ModSecurity is a module for open source web servers, like apache, that acts like a detector & firewall. It works by providing protection from a wide range of typical attacks against web applications on a web server (like WordPress). For RSAWEB Hosting customers, speak to us for help around this.

For top-class WordPress Web Hosting go and check out RSAWEB. Anything from a small WordPress site to  super-large WordPress sites are catered for.

06 November

Amazon Kindle Unboxing

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Today, to my amazement a shiny new Amazon Kindle arrived on my desk. While not totally unexpected as I had ordered it online last week, I was expecting customs to give me a call first. Resisting the urge to tear open the packaging, I took a few photo’s of the beautifully packaged e-book reader for your enjoyment. Below are the first photo’s of Amazons little wonder taken at my desk.

Amazon Kindle Box
More

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