Get a Free WordPress Sales Page Plugin For Your WP Site

Here’s a free wordpress sales page template which is easy to setup and makes creating a squeeze page or sales page a breeze.

I recently came by a free wordpress sales page plugin from the warriorforum. I’ve read about themes that can create a squeeze page or sales page with ease. Squeeze pages usually are simple one-column pages and are also mostly plainly designed with no distracting unnecessary decorations or images, it’s main purpose being only to draw the reader towards the sign up box or the buy now button.

My current theme doesn’t natively have the capability to create its own squeeze or sales page, unlike some themes, mostly the premium ones, like the flexsqueeze theme which Sire is using on his wassupblog site. Eventually, if I do find the need to buy a premium wordpress theme, I’d buy a wordpress sales page theme, or a theme that can create a squeeze page easily e.g. flexsqueeze.

Meanwhile, although I still don’t have an actual squeeze page of my own, I have downloaded a free wordpress sales page plugin which is offered free at this page from the warriorforum. Should I need to create one anytime in the future, I know I can readily make one because I’ve already tested it on a local server and found that it works perfectly.

It isn’t strictly a plugin actually, but more of a template since you don’t install it like the usual way you install a wordpress plugin. Instead, you just upload 3 files into your wordpress directory, and voila, you no longer need to change your theme to any free wordpress sales page theme because you now have the capability to make a squeeze page on your wordpress site.

At the time I downloaded the files, there were 4 wordpress sales page styles to choose from.

WP Sales Page Styles

  • Cash
  • Ghost
  • Ink
  • On Target

Like I always do when it comes to plugins and scripts, I tested it on my local server using MoWeS Portable to see if it works. We need to be careful in installing these scripts/plugins because some plugins can simply mess up your site sometimes due to incompatibility issues or clashing with another plugin or script. Well, to make a long story short, it worked wonderfully.

I only tested one style, the Ink style and here’s a screen shot of the test page:

test wordpress sales page look

With some tweakings of the corresponding style css file, you can make it as cool and professional as the fancy high priced sales pages out there.

Here’s what the other styles look like.
styles of the wp sales page templates

Images taken from peterj’s warriorforum page.


So, if you feel like you don’t have the necessary funds to buy a premium theme or don’t want to change your theme to some other free wordpress sales page theme, this template should work for you in the meantime.

If you want to check it out, download it here: free wordpress sales page.

What Really Is The Panda Up To?

What the hëll is Panda really up to now? A lot of ‘SEO experts’ have done their share of analysis and shared them to us. Do you have some ideas of your own?

Because of the Panda Update, I sort of got disillusioned and almost gave up on my ventures into earning money online. I felt like I’ve come to a dead end where I have no idea how to proceed. Which probably is not unlike what Hubpages CEO Paul Edmondson felt when the Panda first struck. But unlike him, I have no employees and millions at my disposal to do the dirty work of searching for remedies to the predicament. I stopped working on my sites for fear that what I do, especially backlinking, might further bring them down. My postings on this blog even almost slowed down to a halt.

The latest news was this ‘freshness’ update purportedly made to encourage webmasters to produce fresh content on a regular basis. This is actually an offshoot of the Caffeine update, but ever since the Panda came into the scene, I see all updates henceforth as a Panda update.

Here are some facts (and speculations) I’ve gathered about the Panda update.

What Google Really Said


“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”


“you should evaluate all the content on your site and do your best to improve the overall quality of the pages on your domain. Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.”


“Google’s new Freshness Update affects 35 percent of queries. It prioritizes recent and timely results, and it’s based off their Caffeine infrastructure.”

What SEO Analysts are Saying

Knowing that Google never really reveals anything specific about the updates, SEO analysts are all over each other in giving their own interpretations and suggestions on what the new SEO game should be.

Panda is a content update, not a backlink update.

This should put to rest the debate about some specific backlink types (see ‘Does Google Hate Profile Backlinks Now?.’) I personally don’t think Google should ever tinker too much with the backlinking battle field because this is an area which can be abused by webmasters to either (of course) boost their own sites or (horror) destroy their competitiors. But then what’s this I hear about some backlinking service offered by someone and advertised through the warriorforum where he has currently suspended his services because a lot of his clients are complaining that instead of raising their rankings, the service actually effected the opposite. Their sites have dropped and some have even been sandboxed. Is this a google oversight? So, we can now destroy our competitors by generating thousands of automated backlinks pointing to their sites?

Google is basing its ranking re-structuring on the likes and dislikes of the ‘quality raters’ (the ones they gave questioners to regarding user experience ) they employed. And Google is incorporating the logic and process that these quality raters are using into their algorithm.

Google must have utilized a lot of people for this job. Google must have called on people who are knowledgeable in the finance field to properly rate the user experience for finance related sites. Google must have called on folks who know about photographic scanner technology to rate sites on this field. Google must have called on adepts in theosophy to rate theosophy sites. Google must have called on…what? They did not? You mean those users who rated Perez Hilton’s gossip site with a thumbs up (inspite of thin, poor quality content, crowding ads, etc.) are the same users who rated sites about structural engineering technology and sites that focus on, say, the theory of relativity?

And they now know the equations and code to use to duplicate the human raters’ system of judgement? Aesthetics wise, can they now program a robot to pick its favorite color? Would each robot pick the same color, or would each pick a random one?

Any low quality pages within a site can bring down the general ranking of the whole site.

While in the past, it was assumed that Google rates each page as a separate page independent of its mother domain, they now take into consideration each page relative to the whole site. This is what Hubpages believed to be the case when their site was first hit a few months back. After almost giving up because ‘no amount of SEO works anymore’, they found that converting author pages into subdomains, which separated the poor quality ones from the best, worked to recover their previous rankings.

Thus, it must be safe to assume that the above premise, about low quality pages within a site bringing down the high quality pages, is true. But with regard to the subdomain technique, there are talks that imply Google being not happy with this loophole.

Suggestions involve the use of robots.txt file to block search engines from indexing your low quality pages. Another is to totally remove any low quality pages with your site.

Panda penalizes content that has obviously been made for SEO purposes. It wants content that makes everyone who see it want to share it and say, wow. It wants content that makes readers want to stay longer on the page.

Does this mean that it will penalize all pages that has a keyword density of 3 to 5 %, as this has been generally considered good SEO practice in the pre-Panda past, and people who know SEO never fail to implement this on their pages?

In the case of scientific sites, what might the scientific users see in the site’s presentation of tabular data that would hold their attention more and want to share with their peers? Engaging writing? If this is the case, hiring writers who can translate a scientist’s knowledge into something engaging would be a requisite for every scientist who wants to share their knowledge to the world through their blogs. How would the quality raters rate, say, 35 different pages (each from different domains) displaying the same table of elements? Ok, this is where the consideration of the whole site as a whole comes in, I suppose.

Bounce rate. A low bounce rate means readers stay longer in the page and explore other pages within the same site. Here again is where user experience quality is given emphasis. People would want to share quality pages to their friends. Of course, this has been in Google’s algorithm since the beginning of Google time.

Some SEO practices that were effective then are now busted by Google.

Some of these SEO practices, they say, include blog commenting, link exchange, and link wheels. Links from sidebars and footers also are said to have less effect now. Apparently, contextual links carry more weight than other forms of links.

Contextual links. So, how do you get contextual links? Off the top of my head, I’d say you can get them by:

  • Guest blogging.
  • Everyone knows about this form of backlinking and how it draws traffic and Google love.

  • Link baiting. Just simply posting great articles on your blog can endear others to point everybody to your pages through links from their own blogs and sites.
  • Buying through Pay Per Post and other related sites.
  • Ezinearticles and other article directories. The problem with this is that a lot of article directories have been hit and marked by Google in their Panda update. Which means that links from there might not carry that much weight anymore. Unless of course these directories manage to recover.

Google wants everyone to side with them and not the competition. Google wants us to use only YouTube platforms for publishing our videos. For free publishing platforms, it wants you to use blogger/blogspot.

Why? Because as you can see, Google favors itself. See? Blogger (in spite of the fact that it hosts a lot of spam sites too) and Youtube were unaffected and in fact were listed among the winners who benefitted from the update. This development can thus be considered as a Google invitation that new SEO practices should involve more submissions of videos to YouTube and using them in our blogs/sites. Mark A. Lockwood, elaborates on this in his book ‘Mechanics of SEO’.

Google is taking social media more seriously this time.

Hint: Google +1

Personally, I’ve decided to try doing most of the above suggestions. Quality content? I’ll try my best then. Otherwise, the other best option would be to outsource. Let the games begin.

What, do you think is the Panda really up to?

Fatcow Review: Fatcow Sucks!

My Fatcow Review. All I want to say for now is Fatcow sucks.

After a year of buying webhosting service from fatcow, I am posting this fatcow review and my verdict is ‘fatcow sucks‘. Be warned however that I’m only focusing on one aspect of fatcow and not all of their services and products. I have yet to check out how they fare in other areas like uptime, support*, etc. And treat this post as a personal rant by me to release some pent up anxiety after a particular experience.

Researching for a new webhost to place my future additional websites on, I remember having read about fatcow from some blog which gave glowing praises and accolades at the company. Most importantly, the blog mentioned fatcow’s “Free Domain For Life” for anyone who purchases webhosting from them.

fatcow review fatcow sucks

I thus went to fatcow’s website and indeed emblazoned on their main page was that ‘free domain for life’ enticement for all prospect clients. Of course there are other webhosts that offer free domain for life but fatcow at that time also offered a promotional low first year rate. Needless to say, I was hooked.

fatcow scam fatcow sucks

Fast forward to one year later.

Fatcow emailed me about my webhosting account about to expire and so I checked the billing and lo and behold I found out I am to be billed for my domain for $12+. What the…! What happened to ‘free domain for life’? I researched further and I found that one has to enlist the domain in fatcow’s DomainGuard for it to qualify as free domain for life. I went searching for fatcow’s domainguard and found out it’s been non-existent for God knows how long ago.

All hairs bristling, I emailed fatcow’s support and started asking questions. Here are some of the messages that transpired.


05/19/2011 11:48 AM EDT
What happened to Domain For Life?

My account is to be renewed on June 13. When I browsed around my account, I found that the ‘DomainGuard’ has no entry for my supposed free domain and ‘DomainGuard’ is no longer to be found and that I am to be billed $12+ for my domain wirelessii.com.

I got convinced to get an account with fatcow firstly because of the free domain for life bait. Now, is that only a trick to fool us into opening an account?

Please help me register my domain into your domainguard.

Thanks.


05/19/2011 12:01 PM EDT
Updated Ticket: Work in Progress
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Support.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Unfortunately, we do not provide the DomainGuard feature now. We have discontinued this feature. We do provide only one year of free Annual Domain Registration with the new hosting package. You can register the domain name or transfer the domain name using that. However, from the next year onwards you need to pay for domain renewal.

I could see that the renewal type of the domain ‘*****.com’ is set to Automated Domain Renewal Service. On our platform, if the credit card is up-to-date, the Automated Domain Renewal Service will renew the domain automatically 15 days prior to the expiration date.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

P_____ S_____y
Customer Support

(Then they marked the above post ‘Resolved’)


05/19/2011 8:30 PM EDT
In that case, I think I was duped into believing your bull of ‘free domain for life’ crap.

“Great Webhosting. No Bull.”

Well, I think I’ll have to live with this. I’ll charge this to experience and take care not to fall for misleading marketing next time, eh?

The promise sometime ago was free for life domain. And since it is free, it can’t be transfered to another webhost. Now that I am paying for my domain, can I now be able to transfer it someday to another webhost?

Please respond.

(This exchange would be good blogging material).

fatcow scam updates


05/19/2011 10:06 PM EDT
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Support.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Per the information provided earlier, we do not discontinued the DomainGuard feature on our platform. The renewal type of the domain ‘*****.com’ is set to Automated Domain Renewal Service. Hence, we will renew the domain automatically by charging your credit card.

If you wish to transfer the domain, then you need authorization code of the domain. To get authorization code, please follow the steps given below:
1. Log into the control panel with the account username and password.
2. Click on ‘Domain Central’ under the ‘Domain’ section.
3. Click on the domain name.
4. Click on the ‘Transfer’ button.
5. You will get the Authorization code in the textbox. If the Authorization code is not listed in the textbox, the ‘Send Auth-Info Code’ button will be displayed. Click on that button to send Authorization code.

To unlock the domain, please follow the steps given below:
1. Log into the control panel with the account username and password.
2. Click on ‘Domain Central’ under the ‘Domain’ section.
3. Click on the domain name which you want to lock.
4. Click on ‘Security’.
5. Click on ‘Lock Domain’.

To disable Domain Privacy, please follow the steps given below:
1. Log into the control panel with the account username and password.
2. Click on ‘Domain Central’ under the ‘Domain’ section.
3. Click on the domain name for which you want to disable the Domain Privacy.
4. Click on ‘Security’.
5. Click on ‘Disable Domain Privacy’.

Could you please let us know what exactly you wish to do?

Thank you!

Sincerely,

C______ K____n
Customer Support

fatcow knowledgebase scam


05/20/2011 9:12 PM EDT
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Support.

I am writing this email as a reminder on the Support ticket #8319544. I had requested you to get back to us with more information on your issue; however, there has been no response from you. We would be happy to assist you on the issue, but we are unable to do so without your follow up on the ticket.

For the time being, this ticket will be resolved. However, you have the option to reopen the ticket by going to your Support Console.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

C______ K____n
Customer Support

(And they marked the above ‘Resolved’)


05/21/2011 12:56 PM EDT
The issue is about the ‘free domain for life thingy’. I thought my domain was free as long as I continue my hosting account with fatcow. Why is there a $12+ renewal fee for the domain?


05/21/2011 1:06 PM EDT
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Support.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I have checked the account ‘*******’ and I was unable to find ‘Domain Guard’ feature. We provide 1 year of domain credit using which you can register, renew or transfer the domain. This is the reason we have charged for the renewal of the domain.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

A____ B____n
Customer Support


05/21/2011 1:14 PM EDT
Can you just tell me straight? Does fatcow actually implement ‘Free Domain For Life’? Is this just marketing crap? If there is such a thing as fatcow’s free domain for life, how do I avail it? This damn free domain for life, again, is what drew me to fatcow. Answer me straight now.


05/21/2011 2:00 PM EDT
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Support.

We apologize for providing you with inaccurate information earlier, and we regret any inconvenience that it may have caused you. we do not provide the DomainGuard feature now. We have discontinued this feature. We do provide only one year of free Annual Domain Registration with the new hosting package.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

D____ L______
Customer Support

(‘Marked Resolved’)


05/23/2011 9:09 AM EDT
Then for Pete’s sake bring all those pages within your website about your furqin’ free domain for life’ and ‘domainguard’ down as it has duped more than enough people already. As of this moment, all those pages in your website are still there bragging about non-existent services and promises.

If the ‘free domain for life’ was in effect at the time I purchased webhosting, my account should have locked in on the offer and my domain would be free for life. Fatcow however reared its fat arrse instead. Or, more likely, they have discontinued their fatcow ‘free domain for life’ a long time ago but continued to market it to lure unsuspecting folks into buying from them. This is evident in the pictures I’ve captured from their pages which are in effect as of this month. If you can’t find it now, they’ve probably scrambled to take it off before the evidence gets exposed. Because a few days ago, the pages I captured images from were still there.

I’d like to reiterate here that I really am irked at being duped in believing their crap about ‘free domain for life’ . Other than that, I still have to find some fault in their services as webhost. So far, things are going smoothly in my site, which tells me that fatcow, in fairness, may not be that bad as webhost. Perhaps, the marketing department of fatcow needs to be revamped. They’ve been sleeping on the job and leaving a lot of work un-updated. Yeah, their ineptitude brought some naive clients (who believed their marketing crap) but also earned them irked folks who now looks at them with distrust.

——————————–
*I actually had prior experience with fatcow support. That was a few days after first buying webhosting from them. I remember rating them 9/10 then. Now, I am not sure whether to give them the same rating or not.

Chop a Portion of a YouTube Video and Embed or Share

You can chop or cut a portion of a youtube video and share to your friends or embed into your blog. Read on to see how.

Say, you found an awesome video but you only want to show your friends a specific portion of the video. It can be done by chopping that video and creating a link to it so your friends can watch it online. This way, your friends won’t have to go through the agony of watching the whole video.

Here’s how:

  1. Copy the URL of the youtube video from which you want to chop a portion of. Say, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo0Cazxj_yc ./li>
  2. Then, go to http://www.tubechop.com/ .
  3. Chop a Portin of YouTube

  4. On the textbox to the left of the ‘search video’ button, paste the youtube video’s URL.
  5. enter url of video to be chopped

  6. Press the ‘search’ button.
  7. After the video is loaded in the page, fill up the time start and end boxes at the bottom of the video box
  8. Then click the ‘Update’ button below the boxes.
  9. The video above will update itself and will now contain only the chopped portion.
  10. Add some short message for your friends on the box just above the ‘chop it’ button.
  11. Title of chopped video

  12. Click the ‘chop it’ button.
  13. The resulting page will now have the embed and chopped video link you can copy to embed or send to your friends.

Original Un-chopped Youtube video

Here’s the youtube video I tried to work on with tubechop.com:

Chopped Youtube Video

And here’s the resulting chopped portion of the video:

Of course, the above is for example purposes only. That portion is not exactly the coolest part of the video. Fact is, I think the whole video is awesome. In this case, I won’t chop it but instead show the whole video to my friends. But I’ve seen a lot of instances where friends would tell me to watch a video and say ‘go to 3:21’ or something. Now, you could just say simply ‘watch this!’.

Note: The resulting chopped video will now be accessed (and hosted I think) via tubechop.com, and not youtube.com. Please correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

Alternative to Chopping Youtube Video

Automatically Start YouTube Video at Certain Time

If you find chopping videos a chore, you can opt to use another method where you add a time-start element to the video’s url like so:

If the above video automatically started at 20 seconds, it’s because I added “#t=0m20s” immediately after the video’s url. This however doesn’t always work as I want it to be. But it just might work for you. Check the procedures here for more information.

Can’t Embed YouTube Videos Anymore?

The ’embed’ link in youtube is gone. Where the heck is it? It’s still there of course.

How do I embed youtube videos now? I used to find it so easy to embed youtube videos in the past, but now I found myself facing a blank wall as I can no longer find the embed link in youtube.

I tried searching for answers in google but all I found are old tutorials which no longer apply now. I don’t know exactly when this new youtube format change took effect. Only yesterday did I found out about it.

All you’ll see presently under the youtube video itself are 4 buttons:

  • Like
  • + Add to
  • Share
  • Flag

The ‘Add to’ button drops down and displays 3 sub links:

  • Favorites
  • New playlist…

The embed feature, it turned out, is now hidden under the ‘Share’ button. When you press the ‘Share’ button, a hidden div box appears under it and shows the link to the video, the ‘Embed’ button, the ‘Email this video’ button and the facebook and twitter buttons. The ‘Show More’ link will display other social network buttons, from Google Buzz to StumbleUpon.

So, how do you embed youtube videos now?

Having clicked the ‘Share’ button, click on the ‘Embed’ button. Another set of hidden content will reveal itself. It contains the familiar embed code box and other embed parameters.

Where’s the embed link in youtube now?

Whew! I thought youtube had removed all embedding features from their videos. Having copied the embed codes, you can now go ahead with the usual procedures on embedding it on your webpage.

An Embedded YouTube Video of Awesome People

Favorites of the Month – April

Here are my favorite reads from various blogs for the month of April.

I wonder why I haven’t done this on a regular basis. I mean why I haven’t posted my monthly favorite readings since the start. A long time ago, I’ve made a list of my favorite blogs I love to visit as often as I can. In some of these, I post comments but in most, I don’t. And there are also blogs that I visit through the results returned by a google search I make. This means that, when I say these are my favorites for the month of April, I meant I read them on April and not necessarily that they were published on April.

It occurred to me that perhaps some readers, whether the passing by types or the avid followers (cough), just might like knowing where I’ve been roaming around the net these past few weeks. Most importantly, they just might find some of what I read, helpful, or at least entertaining. Heck, if other folks can tweet “I’m watching a silly 3 Stooges CD”, or write on their facebook ‘wall’ “Feeling bored…”, I can post on my blog what I’ve been up to these past few weeks.

On Paid Posts

  • Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid Posts?

    This is just a poll post where you are asked to vote yes or no on the issue of whether it is ethical for bloggers to do paid posts, but the real gold is in the comment section where Sire’s readers pour out their thoughts on the matter. There is a scarcity however of thoughts from the ‘No’ voters. As of today, there has only been one No vote. If you think it’s not ethical to do paid posts, it’d be interesting if you go vote and post your comment at Sire’s article and express yourself.
  • Top 10 Paid to Post Sites for Blogs

    After reading Sire’s post, I did a search on paid to post sites on google and I landed on an old post from brilliant4biz about the top 10 paid to post sites. This may no longer be true in terms of the sequence of which one is better than the other. I know about Payperpost for instance which the author placed at number 3, but a lot of folks today think is number one. I do paid post with PPP every now and then (when I feel like it, meaning when my lazy bones aren’t that lazy).

Blog Content

  • Finding Your Voice as a Blogger

    Depending on the niche of your blog, it is always best to write in a style that is most natural to you. I liked it when she mentions about feeling free to break some of Strunk and White’s ‘The Elements of Style’ rules. Mariana Ashley however suggests about giving a twist to your blog by changing styles every now and then, or at least changing the format of your content sometimes.
  • The Uninspired, Unencouraged and Unmotivated Guide to Unblogging

    This one is a post that I find funny and practical. At times, I do find blogging kind of dreary and really a chore to do. I sometimes find myself uninspired to get on my dashboard and do what needs to be done. Dave has come up with a method of ‘jobifying’ your blogging, or how to unblog your blog.
  • What to do When Not In The Mood

    First off, about the picture in the post, it’s not very often that I see a cat and man’s best friend, the remote control, together in loving embrace in a picture. Now, on to the content of the post. It’s somewhat related to Dave’s unblogging post. What Kristi wrote was very familiar. I have read the same thing about that ‘unwritten idea causing writer’s block’. Only it’s about artists who sometimes lose their drive and inspiration to paint for months until something happens to get them up and running again. Perhaps, Kristi is an artist who paints in words. Here, Kristi tells us about the way she overcomes writer’s block or when she just isn’t in the mood to write. And again, her commenters supply their own interesting methods/techniques of getting over their mood swings.

Photo Fun

  • How Photoshop and ACDSee Can Improve Your Photos

    Here, Sire (yes, the same Sire of wassupblog) highlights a couple of software he used to improve a photograph. The final picture looks like its brightness and contrast (and perhaps some other parameter) has been adjusted. In Photoshop, I usually have to drag a slider left and right and see at which point the image would look more satisfactory. ACDSee must be some kind of software because Sire said it took him only one click to do it.
  • Earth Day 2011

    I commented that I would have preferred James to have titled this post as ‘How to Float A Bulb in Mid-air’. Here, James took a self portrait while floating a live light bulb with the power of thought. Yes, he ‘thought’ of a clever way to make a live light bulb float in mid-air on earth day. Of course, he was only a few inches from electrocution. That’s why he warned kids not to do this at home.

Video Blogging

  • How to Start a Video Blog

    This is a very informative 4-part tutorial about how to start your own video blog. Elaborates on the hardware upgrade one needs to be able to handle the heavy duty work, the required software, blogging platform, and other factors to consider.

SEO

  • Unusual Traffic Strategies for 2011

    This is another very generous post by Kim. She’s known for never holding anything back especially when it comes to sharing her blogging experiences, and to some extent, even her secret seo tricks. Kim is the author of the crazy low priced course/membership called Traffic Dashboard where she again over delivers by spilling out all she knows. Here, she shares ‘3 unusual traffic strategies for 2011’ which most likely you haven’t heard about yet.

There you go folks. Those, so far, are my favorite reads for the month of April.

MoWeS Portable: How To Use As Portable Web Server

I use MoWeS Portable webserver as my portable web server so I can do wordpress theme tweakings or plugin tweakings anywhere anytime.

Ever since I used MoWeS Portable as my portable web server, I’ve never looked for any other application for my web testing purposes. I’ve tried several other portable web servers like XAMPP and other similar applications. These other web servers work too but, sometimes, they act up such that if you’re not a PHP expert, you’ll need to scamper and look for another replacement, like I did many times. My search for what I consider (for my purposes) the best portable web server ended when I found MoWeS Portable. I installed it on my USB so that I could bring my work anywhere and open them from any machine. This is particularly useful for site developers who would want to show their work to their clients anywhere, anytime.

Installing MoWeS Portable Webserver

  1. Download the mowes package with at least the following other packages:
    • PHP5
    • MySQL
    • Apache
  2. Extract the zipped file.
  3. Move the mowes_portable folder to the D:/ directory or on a USB
  4. Click on the mowes application to install.
    • click on mowes.exe
      MoWeS exe
    • choose english and click ok
      MoWeS english
    • accept and ok
      MoWeS portable accept
  5. Click on the ‘Install’ button when prompted.
    • install
      MoWeS portable webserver install
    • if bitdefender, zonealarm, or some other app asks if you
      want to allow mowes portable, mysql, apache to connect to
      the internet, allow it.
      MoWeS Allow
  6. When the mowes window changes to this
    MoWeS install Status
    you can now open your browser and type
    “localhost/mywptestlab”

Subsequent Use of MoWeS Portable Webserver:

  1. Double click the mowes executable. That’s the mowes.exe under the mowes_portable folder.
  2. When you’re prompted to install applications, click cancel.
    MoWeS portable webserver install
  3. When the mowes window changes to this
    MoWeS install Status
    your portable web server is now ready to use. If you create, say a folder called ‘test’ under the ‘www’ folder in the main MoWeS Portable directory, and created a file called index.html or index.php in it, then you could now run that file by opening your favorite browser and typing ‘localhost/test’. Alternatively, you can install a wordpress test site in your MoWeS Portable web server.

Setting Up A WordPress Site To Run Under MoWeS Portable Webserver

After having installed the MoWes Portable web server on your your USB or hard disk, you’re ready to work with wordpress installations on your localhost server.

  1. Download the latest wordpress platform zip file into the www folder of your mowes_portable directory.
  2. Unpack/unzip it and rename the newly created folder into your planned test wp installation, say ‘mywptestlab’.
  3. On your browser, type the url address: localhost/phpmyadmin/
  4. On the ‘Create new database’ textbox, type ‘mywptestlab’ and click the ‘Create’ button.

    MoWeS phpmyadmin
  5. Your db has just been created.
    MoWeS db created
  6. Click on the mywptestlab folder and open the wp-config-sample.php file into wordpad (right click, open with wordpad)
  7. Find the section where the following lines are located:


    /** The name of the database for WordPress */
    define('DB_NAME', 'database_name_here');
    /** MySQL database username */
    define('DB_USER', 'username_here');
    /** MySQL database password */
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here');
    /** MySQL hostname */
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

  8. Change ‘database_name_here’ to ‘mywptestlab’
  9. Change ‘username_here’ to ‘root’
  10. Change ‘password_here’ to ”. Meaning, no password.
  11. Save as wp-config.php
  12. type localhost/mywptestlab/wp-admin/install.php on the browser’s url address box.
  13. The welcome page will present itself with a few textboxes you need to fill.
    • Site Title: My WP Test Lab
    • Username: admin (leave as it is)
    • password: mywptestlab
    • email address: youremailhere@gmail.com
  14. Press ‘Install WordPress’ button
  15. Success page displays, Click ‘Login’ button
  16. Input login data
  17. You’re now in your WP Dashboard
    Now you can try themes, plugins and other edits before you apply it on your online blogs or sites.

Note: I iterate that I only use MoWeS Portable for testing purposes e.g. testing out a wordpress theme, or testing how my tweakings would look on a plugin or an existing wp theme.

Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in …

Here’s how I conquered the “Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…” error in my wordpress test blog.

Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…

This is something a regular wordpress update would have corrected immediately. Thing is, though your site works and displays normally, you can’t get to your dashboard through wp-admin. When you try to access your dashboard through wp-admin, you get the ‘Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…’ error.

If you have a cpanel, you can avail of your fantastico’s automatic wordpress update there. Or, you can use your favorite ftp application to manually replace the old files with the newest versions.

I met this error when I got into the localhost version of this blog using mowes portable. It’s been a long time ago since I last messed with it, so the wp platform was old…may be still 2.9. It opened nicely when I typed http://localhost/moralde/ but when I typed http://localhost/moralde/wp-admin, this ‘Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…’ error appeared instead of the dashboard.

The suggestion I found in wordpress.org was to replace only the wp-admin and wp-includes with their newest versions. But when I did that, not only can’t I see my dashboard, I can’t see the main page itself anymore. It displayed:

Warning: require(…/wp-includes/classes.php) [function.require]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in …\www\moralde\wp-settings.php on line 68

Fatal error: require() [function.require]: Failed opening required ‘…/wp-includes/classes.php’ (include_path=’…\mowes_portable\php5′) in …\www\moralde\wp-settings.php on line 68

Solution to ‘Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…’

Looks like the right procedure is to manually replace all of the old wordpress files (not just partially) with the newest version (which you can download from wordpress.org), which is what I did naturally. Of course, I saved the wp-config.php file first before doing it because this is the file that contains the username, databasename, and database password.

Now, this time, it worked. When I typed http://localhost/moralde/wp-admin, it said:


Database Update Required

WordPress has been updated! Before we send you on your way, we have to update your database to the newest version.
The update process may take a little while, so please be patient.

What followed was a piece of cake. Clicked the ‘Update WordPress Database’ button; then the ‘Continue’ button; and voila!… back to the regular dashboard.

There’s however that little yellow bar on the top portion of the dashboard that said:


An automated WordPress update has failed to complete – please attempt the update again now.

Clicked on the ‘please attempt the update again now’ link, and… were back in business.

Now, all these I did on a localhost server. However, should this happen on a really live site of mine, I already know what to do.

‘Cannot redeclare wp_load_image() (previously declared in…’ error problem solved.

What I Did After My Blog Got Hacked

Some friend bloggers’ hacking experiences brought me back to the time I got hacked. Perhaps, my experience could help others deal with theirs, or better yet, help prevent it happening to them.

the hacker
Back in January 2010, my blog got hacked. You can read about it in a post called h-a-ck-e-d and hacking begginers. Had that hacking experience not happened, I would still be evading or postponing much needed anti-hacking security measures, the way I evaded anything that, though important, entails a lot of work. Hmmm, this reminds me of some other matters that I have put off for a long time, like CPA, listbuilding, and other undertakings which may prove to be profittable. This post itself is long overdue, as some blogger friends had long invited me to guest blog about my hacking experience and what I did about it. Procrastination. Yeah, i even procrastinated about the need to overcome my procrastination.

Post Hacking Damage Control

First off, “I told you so”. I had browsed through a lot of blog security articles before but never really took them seriously. I thought I was an exception to the rule and my blog wouldn’t be hacked. After all, who would be interested to hack a blog that doesn’t have that much following? So, after finding out about the hacking, I had to wallow in the proverbial “I should have…” moment.

After a speechless minute, I proceeded to contact my webhost. Following protocol, they have suspended access to the login page to prevent further damage. I contacted my host and I was given back access to my site.

The first thing I did was to search for that hideous page that replaced my original main page. It was an index.html file that usurped my index.php page. On refreshing, the original main page flashed back to life and I realized how beautiful it was. Then, I had to browse through each file and folder in my account to restore proper permissions. Following the rule of 755 for folders and 644 for files, this exercise took me a painful couple of days to restore just the file/folder permissions structure of the main domain site. I have yet to check the files and folders of the subdomains and add-on domains under it.

I thought that was it. For a few days, the blog continued on its merry way, only to be totally suspended again after the webhost received feedback that my blog has been tagged as a phising site. This time, the blog and all my other add-on sites, both earning and non-earning, took unwanted vacations for a little over a week. My webhost did their own scans and found a script which had been planted in an interior folder (in the default theme folder! How clever!). The script was the culprit for the phising activites. It has something to do with trying to fool email recipients into revealing their paypal data, using my domain as the source of the scamming stupidities. The webhost renamed the file to stop it from executing itself but left it up to me to delete it. Thus, I promptly deleted it and its zipped version. Imagine someone using a sledgehammer to smash a trapped mosquito. That’s how I felt back then.

Whew! Finally it’s over! In its 8 days of non-operation, I only lost the opportunity to earn a little less than a thousand dollars, ok, kidding, actually just a few measly dollars (as my websites are relatively new and not earning much yet). I can only imagine how much the more established webmasters would have lost in the same period.

Wait! A week later, I received an email from my host that I have exceeded the email sending limit. What? At first, I thought it was my test self-hosted autoresponder that’s probably gone bonkers, but after deactivating it, the sending limit warnings kept on coming. After another combing through, Lunarpages pointed out an experimental email sender file I had installed a long time ago. The hacker, it turns out, had exploited and continued using it to send emails pretending to be sent from a Canadian bank. So, without hesitation, to the trash bin it went.

Defense Installations

My primary suspect that breached my security was a keylogger that got through due to my earlier hacker-friendly online lifestyle. Thus, I made sure this time that my internet security application imposed stricter measures against probable illegal incursions. In fact, I have really become paranoid enough to the extent of always having my task manager in view so that I could monitor every cpu usage spike and see who’s causing it. I also intended to buy a full version of BitDefendfer Internet Security but put it on hold again after finding out that the bug that caused some firefox plugins to not work has still not been resolved by Bitdefender.

I also installed the free version of Zone Alarm. It does get to be annoying sometimes with its popups but it makes you feel secure and protected at the same time.

I was advised about using Login Lockup to protect my login page. As with all plugins, I tested it first on a localhost server test site. It didn’t work as expected, and instead messed up my test site making it inaccessible anymore. Needless to say, I did not proceed with the Login Lockup plugin installation on my blog. Too bad, it would have been one good ‘first line of defense’ for my blog.

While in the past, I used to wait for months before I update wordpress to its newest version I now procrastinate only for a week or two (because I research first for reports about the new version’s bugs and discrepancies) before updating.

Whereas I used to be click-happy when it comes to links in my emails, I am more cautious this time. I have stopped my practice of satisfying my curiousity for each email that comes my way (even from the spam folder). Instead I hit the delete button more often now.

Additional Defense

Just recently, upon the ‘heads up’ of Sire of wassupblog I found a working alternative to Login Lockup. The ‘Limit Login Attempts’ plugin worked when I tested it. Another plugin passed my testing too – the ‘WordPress Firewall’ plugin. Proof that both plugins are working are the multiple emails I receive everyday about attack attempts being made on my blog e.g. ‘directory traversal attacks’*, etc. Now, I shiver at the thought of all the still unprotected wordpress blogs out there without these 2 plugins.

how to fend off hacking attacks

Summary

To sum it up, I believe the following are the basic things one should do in the event of a hacking situation.

1 – Contact your webhost immediately and pray that they are as helpful as Lunarpages, or better.
2 – Ask your webhost for help in scanning your whole website to locate malicious scripts hidden within your directories.
3 – Once you regain access to your site, change passwords. Use stronger passwords this time.
4 – Check the dashboard and make sure that the (User) owner’s email is still your email address reflected in there.
5 – If you are still using ‘admin’ as your username in wordpress, change it to something else.
6 – Check your directory structure. Follow the permissions rule about folders and files.
7 – Check your domain’s email account (the one you configured to be your email; e.g. james@watchamacallitx.com). If it has lots of bounced emails, or sent emails that you didn’t send yourself, proceed to change your email password or completely delete that particular account and create a new one. Then check your directories for some possible mail sending script.
8 – Update your wordress version.
9 – Install ‘Limit Login Attempts‘ plugin.
10 – Install ‘WordPress Firewall‘ plugin.

I’m sure there must be some other things I should do to make my sites more hack-proof. So far, these are the things I’ve done. How about you? What measures have you taken to protect your sites? Or, are you going to wait, like me, until it happens to you? Remember, the attacks are not necessarily made by humans. Most are robot apps that were programmed to find and exploit weak points and doorways in anyone’s sites. Thus, it doesn’t choose; it just razes through all sites that are on its path.

*Directory Traversal: is exploiting weak or insufficient security validation or sanitization of user-supplied input file names, so that characters representing “traverse to parent directory” are passed through to the file APIs. (source: wiki)
UPDATE:

Latest WordPress Security Measures

Here’s a video I found just recently which prodded me to insert this update to this post.

IMPORTANT!

Watch the above video to know the importance of creating appropriate user accounts for your wordpress site. Using your admin account for every activity you do in the dashboard is risky.

The expert speaker, Dre, will tell you what to do on your server side and on your wordpress admin side to secure your site even more, and a lot more strongly suggested things you can do e.g. using stronger passwords and utilization of password managers, disabling some features in your wordpress dashboard, really important security plugins you must have in your arsenal, etc.

Post-hacking Fun Un-related Video

Other Keyword Research Techniques

I’ve learned about another method or technique in keyword research. It’s free of course.

market samurai

micro niche finder

Actually, this post should have been called ‘Another Keyword Research Technique‘ or method, because I’m expounding on only one of the methods below. After all, the first few methods are already very well known and well over-used by both beginners and experts.

So, most of you already know the following methods of keyword research. Of course, there’s a lot of methods out there. I’m just showing off some of the techniques I’ve learned in my almost 2 years of blogging after office hours. 🙂

  • Google Adwords Keywords Tool:
    • The mother of all keyword tools.
  • Spyfu.com:
    • Shows number of advertisers, search results, daily search volume, cost/click, top ppc domains, and related terms.
  • EzineArticles.com
    • Using the proper search terms will yield some interesting results where you’ll find the number of views an ezine article has gone through. The more number of views, the more searched the article is. Of course, what’s left is for you to find which keywords are being used in the article. The title often gives enough clues to find the keywords.
  • Google Products:
    • The auto-suggest feature of Google products gives ideas about new keywords for further research. I use this for creating sites selling physical products from Amazon.
  • keywordspy.com:
    • go to keywordspy.com
    • type in a seed keyword in the search box
    • select ‘keywords’ among the options below the box
    • click Search
    • In the ‘Overview tab, you’ll see statistics for your chosen keyword
      • you’ll also see keywords related to your seed keyword with search volume and CPC
      • listed also are PPC competitors and organic competitors
      • you can also check (spy on) any website’s keywords
  • Micro Niche Finder:
    • A keyword tool that’s not free. I use it as my primary keyword research tool. Versatile and has more than paid for itself.
  • Market Samurai:
    • Having relied on MNF for keyword research, I use Market Samurai more to spy on the competition backlinks-wise and to monitor my sites’ rankings. I have yet to explore it’s other features though.

The Other Free Keyword Research Technique

And finally here’s the other Keyword Research Technique/Method I was talking about.

  • Checking newly registered domains

other keyword research techniques
One site I found out which can do this is nsspy.org. If you go there, you’ll be presented with 50 most active name servers for the day you are checking it. Or, if you click on the ‘Browse all monitored name servers’, you’ll see all of them. Clicking on any of the links shown will bring you to a current month calendar page that has clickable day dates. Clicking on a date will bring you to a page listing all newly registered domains for that date.

There are 2 things you can get out of this:

  1. You’ll get ideas for new keywords. If the competition is not steep, you may jump into the melee, by buying the .net or .org domains, or some other variation of it, and try to out-SEO the others.
  2. You could use the new keyword as a seed keyword and search for its long tails.

I’ve tried it, and of course, I have to admit that it takes a lot of patience as you browse through the endless list of new domains starting from 0 (zero) to A to Z. And that’s just for one name server e.g. lunarpages. Last time I checked, nsspy.org is monitoring 514 name servers. If you have lots of time on your hand, and you’re not the impatient type, then you could try this technique out.

Other Keyword Research Resources

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