9 Options for Tracking Downtime

Having your website go down is not only frustrating to you, it can also be an inconvenience for your visitors and customers. Most of us aren’t on our sites all day long in order to know when it is down and how often it happens. Fortunately there are a number of tools and online services to accomplish this task for you. There are some basic free tools that will get the job done for most of us who simply want to know the status of our website. However, there are also much more advanced services for larger companies that may want to track downtime for all of their systems. We’ll take a look at several of the options.



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Killer Domains: Helping You to Find the Perfect Domain for Your Next Website

About two weeks ago Daniel Scocco released his ebook Killer Domains: Tools and Techniques to Find the Perfect Domain Name. Daniel owns and manages Daily Blog Tips, Daily Writing Tips, and Daily Bits. In Killer Domains he reveals all of the information that he has learned through the past few years of buying domains and building profitable websites.

Because many readers of this blog are actively involved in building websites, I thought that Daniel’s book would be of interest to many of you. Daniel kindly provided me with a copy of the book so that I could review it here.

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30 Beautiful and Innovative Flash Designs

This post was written by Jacob Gube of Six Revisions.

Flash is unparalleled when it comes to providing users a highly rich, memorable, and interactive experience. For developers, nothing matches Flash’s relative ease in allowing them to develop dynamic, complex web-based applications. For a vast majority of users, the required Flash Player plug-in is already installed, making it the most popular choice when it comes to animation and effects on the web.

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April's Best: This Month in Web Design

It’s hard to believe that April is almost over. Here is a collection of the best design-related articles of the month.

Celebration of Vintage and Retro Design from Smashing Magazine.
Smashing Magazine always provides great resources for inspiration, and this one is no exception.

Vintage and Retro Design

60+ Unusual WordPress Blog Designs from Noupe.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for creating something unique with WordPress, Noura has put together an excellent categorized collection.

Unique WP designs

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5 Steps to Improved Client Feedback

If you’ve done much design or development work for clients you know that getting effective feedback from the client is critical to the success of the project. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a challenge. Depending on the types of clients that you work with, you may find that some of them are difficult to communicate with, not because they don’t have opinions, but because they don’t understand very much about the process of building a website.

From my experience these clients can be a bit more difficult to work with, not because they are hard to please or unreasonable in their expectations, but simply because they don’t always understand how much of an impact they need to have on the process. They hire a designer to create the site and they just assume that the designer can do what is needed.

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Tips for Attracting Local Clients


Most web designers work with clients from all over the country or even all around the world. While it certainly allows the designer to expand his or her marketplace, there are sometimes competitive advantages that exist when targeting work from local clients. Because local marketing is sometimes overlooked, I wanted to put together this list of suggestions for doing more work in your own backyard.

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3 SEO Tools Worthy of Your Time

In recent weeks I’ve come across three SEO tools that I’ve found to be very useful. Here is a look at each of these (free) tools.

Rank Checker

Aaron Wall of SEO Book recently released a powerful new Firefox add-on called Rank Checker. If you’re working on moving your site up in the SERPs, you’ll obviously want to know where you stand and to be actively tracking your progress.

As a Firefox add-on this tool is both free and very convenient to use. With Rank Checker you can input the URL that you want to track and a list of keywords that you are targeting (or just researching). You’ll then be able to choose which search engines to check (including all of the international versions of Google). The tool will then go out and get the data and bring it back to you in one convenient place.

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How Design Impacts Social Media Success

Web design and social media marketing are two topics that I enjoy studying, and the two certainly impact one another for website owners and bloggers who are attempting to increase traffic to their site. While social media is intended to put a spotlight on the best and most popular content, the look and appearance of a page will often influence social media users and their decision of whether or not they should vote for a particular submission. The design of a site can be either a positive or a negative influence on the voting decision, and social media marketers need to consider appearance as much as they consider the content and headlines.

8 Ways Design Influences Social Media Users:

1. First Impression

The first impression of any visitor, regardless of how they arrive at your site, will be heavily influenced by the appearance of the site. Generally, opinions are formed in a matter of seconds, not minutes, so creating a positive impression is critical. While most of your website’s visitors will have a short attention span, social media users are notoriously quick to leave a site that doesn’t impress them right away.

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