The internet is moving quicker and quicker each day, with items and services which cost hundreds of dollars yesterday, now available free. This move towards attracting traffic at the expense of short term income has been very beneficial in the do it yourself market.

Web site coding was for years seen by many as something for the experts to write, something you paid someone else to do and never got involved. Thanks to major changes over the last couple of years we are now seeing masses of ebooks, tutorials and even seminars available for the learner – with many available for free.

While the initial ebooks, the courses and the tutorials may be free, there is always a catch , whether this be the need to pay for the next instalment, or even participate in a number of market research surveys, there always seems to be some kind of pay back. Is it actually worth taking up the free offers?

For many would be coders these free offers give them the chance to see if they really do have a genuine interest in the subject, whether they might be able to do it and it also gives a general perspective on the industry as a whole – all of which can be invaluable in the long term. What have you got to lose by taking up these free offers?

For those who may be looking for something a little more structured from the beginning, and those who are sure that coding is for them , there are always a vast array of paid seminars and courses available. However, it is strongly advisable to research the company operating the service to see if they do deliver. These courses can be very very expensive, and you need to ensure that every dollar is working for you and your sites.

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The internet has spawned a massive amount of different styles, different themes and different types of website, all of which are support by large chunks of coding, but do you really need unique code, or will mass sell do you?

It really depends how unique you want your code and your site to be, and whether there is actually something on the market which can do the job for you, at an acceptable price. What are the pros and cons of unique v mass market code?

Some points to consider include :-

Unique Code

While the code will be yours, and nobody else will have anything quite like it, unique code can be very expensive and some what time consuming to complete. Some of the most difficult unique code can take months to finish, and often hold back a project, effecting your cash flow and ultimate profitability.

There is also further downside with the testing process, as some problems may not materialise until a long time after you have begun using the code – ultimately leaving you with potential problems. You also need to balance up the need for unique code against copycats, and those whole will rip-off your idea for their own means. Ground breaking sites such as the milliondollarheompage suffered at the hands of copycats, who had their own versions on the market with in days.

Mass Market

While there are a number of negatives to using mass market code (i.e. code that is not unique), these are probably over shadowed by the positives. On a positive side the code is likely to have been fully tested, both by the original coders as well as the vast array of users, ensuring very few problems. Indeed, many coders will actually release updates on a regular basis to keep the code in the public eye.

On a negative note it can be tricky to find something which does exactly what you want, and unless you make an effort to introduce a different design to your site, it can begin to look like any other site which uses that code – taking away that unique look which can often improve your traffic.


There are a number of factors to consider when looking for that special code, and it will come down to how much you can afford and how different you want your site to be from the main stream. Not an easy decision for many……..

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There will be very few internet users or website owners who have not come across, whether knowingly or inadvertently, the popular blogging software package known as WordPress. This is an open source code, which effectively means that there are no copyright issues with any aspect of the code, something which has spawned a massive market in WordPress add-on’s, designs and “widgets”.

While the code did not appear in its current form until 2003, it has quickly become one of the most popular packages on the internet, a popularity which seems to be growing. There have been a number of official updates since the first version was released, with the latest being version 2.2.1 which was released in June 2007.

As we have mentioned in other areas of this blog, it is vital that you keep up with the latest versions of any software you use, types of software which include WordPress. As you would expect from one of the more popular blog packages on the internet, there have been numerous security fixes released for WordPress along the way, enabling the user to “shut, open doors to the hackers”.

The official WordPress website have a number of full time developers working on the software, alongside Ryan Boren and Matt Mullenweg who have been involved in the project for some time.

The area of customised WordPress templates has become a very hot topic of late with many SEO experts highlighting the potential for many many backlinks if you “sponsor” a theme in exchange for your link being inserted on the template footer. As some of the more popular themes are downloads by thousands of users, this is an area which can have an amazing effect on your Page Rank.

How long before the likes of Google look to reduce the benefits of template links?

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Joomla is a content management system that you use for building websites and web applications. Joomla makes it possible to perform simple tasks and to update your website without having to call in a technician. The reason that you do not need to be a programmer to use Joomla is because the program is automated so anyone will be able to use it easily. If you are able to use a word processor then you can use Joomla.

Joomla is easy to install and customer support is available for people who need assistance with the software. Users work with a browser based interface to manage the content on their website. Adding content and updating existing content is simplified for all users. Its free even with cheap web hosting packages.

When you install Joomla, you receive templates for creating your site. You are also able to install and manipulate templates that you have gotten somewhere else. You are able to design the layout of the modules that you place on your page, which gives you some freedom at customizing your page. You are also able to use the templates on different pages of one site and assigning multiple templates for your website is easy using the menu option. You can assign templates to certain pages and to different parts of your site through the Joomla interface.

Because it is possible to find free and open sources of scripts, add-ons and templates, it becomes easier and less expensive to use Joomla instead of a technician for building your website. However, if you choose to install Joomla and use a technician, your fees will be reduced because of the automation that Joomla offers to a user.

You can organize, update and add more functionality to your website with Joomla and you can use Joomla for the creation of simple pages to more complex web applications. Personal uses for Joomla include personal and family websites. Community uses for Joomla are websites for non-profit organizations, organization web sites, school websites, church websites and community portals. Businesses can use Joomla to create their business and E-commerce sites. Professional uses of Joomla are corporate websites, corporate portals, government applications, corporate intranets and extranets, magazines and newspapers.

While Joomla is not a program that will help you to design a site, it will help you to develop your site. You will be given the tools to create a basic structure, navigation system and a structure that can be added to with other features using an autoinstaller for prebuilt components which is easier than building a page entirely from the ground up.
A static web site can be converted to Joomla in a matter of hours. You just have to replace the content with Joomla applications and then use this interface to add your content.

System Requirements

You must have these minimum requirements to run Joomla: PHP 4.2 or higher, MySQL 3.23 or higher or Apache 1.13.19 or higher and MySQL, XML and Zlib functionality must be enable within your PHP installation. Joomla supports database drivers for MySQL 4.1 on PHP 5 and for MySQL 5.

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Ever since the first version of the PHP programming language was released in 1995, it has been a tremendously useful language for website owners because of its ability to create powerfully enabling and interactive applications. PHP is the acronym for PHP HyperText Preprocessor. PHP and its descendants have remained a popular programming language for both users and programmers.

By 1998, 10% of all servers were using PHP. Since then two of the original version’s children are now widely used, which are PHP 3.0 and PHP 4.0. Today, there are over 20 million domains that use some form of PHP and PHP ranked fourth in developer popularity in 2006.

PHP is used for Interactive Applications

PHP has the power to create interactive applications for web users and website visitors. PHP can deal with advanced security features, output buffering and sessions. A couple of features of PHP 3.0 that makes it so popular are its abilities to work with databases and it objects oriented nature which made it easy for programmers to build applications with it. Website owners love PHP because of its ability to provide them with pre-built scripts and auto-installers.

PHP Applications for the Website Owner

As a web site owner, you will be making decisions about PHP applications that can be divided into two main categories that will be used by either the end user or you, the website owner. Web site owners and end users may use the same type of PHP applications such as blog tools, communication tools and documents.

Website Visitors love PHP Applications

You can attract web site visitors through the different PHP applications that you have on your site. Your visitors can interact with the PHP based content on your web site and your content’s appearance is enhanced by PHP programming. Visitors will be able to communicate with you and each other through PHP software. You can conduct E-commerce on your website with PHP based files. Here is a list of PHP applications that your website visitors can use.

Discussion boards
Contests and awards
Groupware Tools
Image Galleries
Games and Entertainment
Graphs and Charts
File Manipulation
Free for All Links
Communication tools
FAQ and Knowledgebase
Form Processing
Flash and PHP
Form Processors
Classified ads
Bookmark management
Chat scripts
Error Handling

PHP Applications for the Website Owner’s Use

PHP applications offer website owners the necessary tools to make a site productive and customized to the web site owners desires. Your website visitors do not see these particular tools of the website owner although these PHP applications can be crucial to your website’s functionality and management. Here are typical PHP applications that are available for website owners to use.

Email Systems
Date and time
Development tools
File Manipulation
Content management
Database tools
Financial Tools
Ad management
Affiliate programs
Click tracking
Communication tools
Customer support
Flash and PHP

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