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Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.

Assistance on Filling Out those Online Forms for the Free Stuff So, you?ve found a great freebie online, or a free trial of some service you have been wondering about, but the form you have to fill out has left you scratching your head. Sometimes the paperwork involved in getting some free stuff can seem a bit like applying for a mortgage or filling out your life insurance policy, and in fact, many people decide the freebie isn?t worth it after all when they?re facing down an intimidating form to fill out. The good news is that you don?t have to miss out on the free stuff just because the form leaves you a little perplexed. This guide will walk you through filling out these online applications, even if this is your first trip around the Internet. Once you get the hang of things, you?ll be filling out these forms in no time at all. First things first: once you have the form open on the screen in front of you, you have to move your mouse so that the cursor sits in the very first empty space on the form, and then click the mouse once. Some forms will automatically place your cursor there when you open them, but if you are not sure, moving the mouse there and clicking won?t hurt anything at all. All you have to do now is start typing, filling in the information they ask for in that field. Filling out the form the entire form is merely a repetition of this process. Of course, you have to be able to move between the fields easily so you can fill in the rest of the form. On some online forms, the cursor will move automatically when you have finished filling in a field, which makes life easy on you, but others do not. To manually move between fields, all you have to do is either hit the ?tab? key on your keyboard or use your mouse to move the cursor to the next field, just like you did to start typing in the first field. Hitting ?enter? may seem like a natural thing to do, and while it can work on some forms, other forms will submit themselves when you hit enter, meaning you will have submitted a blank form. It is best to stick to ?tab? or your mouse to be on the safe side. This technique should allow you to navigate a freebie form fairly easily. There are a few other things you may see on a form that you have to know how to handle. You may be asked to ?check? a box or indicate in a little circle (called a radio button) that you accept the company?s privacy policy or some other thing. To do this, all you have to do is move your cursor over the box or circle and click ? the check or the dot will then appear. This can also be handy when forms ask for a billing address and a shipping address - if they are the same, you can tick a box stating so and avoid having to type the same thing twice. If a form has several pages, be careful to save your changes for every page as you move along. Usually there will be a button to click at the bottom of the page that allows you to save the work you have done. Especially long forms usually have some kind of side navigation that lets you skip around from section to section instead of moving through the form systematically ? this can be helpful if you need to find some info for one section, but want to take care of all of the other work first. Most forms are reasonably user friendly and contain info to walk you through the process. If you get stuck, look for a help icon on the page ? this info should clear up any questions you may have.

Big Time Experience with Small Time Publications (writing newsletter articles) When you start writing, you may have ambitions of getting your name on the front page of newspapers and on feature stories in magazines, but you will soon find out that it takes time to get there. Even the best writers have to make their way through the ranks before making it to headline status. Don?t be discouraged though. Even though you may have been rejected more times than you could have ever imagined, there are still many places that will be accepting. Even if you feel like you?ve exhausted all of your creative power, there are publications that are ready to help you develop even further. The buildup is not leading towards riches or fame, but writing newsletter articles can be a great step in that direction. The first thing that any writer should realize is that there is more to learn. Even knowing all of the grammar and all of the clarity rules will not make you a good writer. Only experience can bring you to that place. Newsletters are a great place to start getting cleaning up your writing and to start learning to write for different audiences. Who Prints Newsletters? Why are newsletters such a great place to start earning publications? There are plenty of organizations and groups that print them. The printing money and the circulation are already in place. The other great thing about writing newsletter articles is that there is almost always a high demand for newsletter writers. The pay is not great and is most often non-existent, but the newsletters must go out all the same. Hit up any organization in town that you know prints a newsletter. Some of the printing is done nationally for the larger organizations, but many will be done locally. Try volunteer and non-profit organizations as well as university and church groups. These organizations will all have news that they need to get to the public. Many of them survive based on public donations. What that means for you is that there is plenty of demand for talented and interesting writers. The Expert in Print If you have any sort of claim to expertise along with your writing skills, you will be a fantastic candidate for writing newsletter articles. One great draw for a reader is the pull of a well researched and authoritative article. Imagine the thrilled group of environmentalists when you approach them with evidence that the developmental process for non-stick pan coating is connected to the decreasing population of Asian tortoises. You?d have a job in no time. Regardless of whether or not you got paid for your work, you can expect that you?d get repeated assignments, growing experience and bylines galore for your next step of job applications. Being knowledgeable about a certain subject will give you many writing opportunities. If you have any experience in a subject area, be sure to add it to your resume. As you write newsletter articles, you?ll only add to you?re your expertise. Other Newsletter Articles If you don?t necessarily believe that you have an area of expertise that is not a problem. There are many other ways to get into writing newsletter articles. A big part of newsletter content is just content. Newsletters need to be made up of interesting and varied articles. There are usually volunteers that head up the projects and they in turn hire various writers to fill in the titles that they choose. If you can be flexible in your writing and if you can find a newsletter that works with a topic you care about, you will be well on your way to building your resume with bylines and great circulation. Writing newsletter articles will probably not be a career in itself because of the low pay scale, but it will take you closer to a lucrative writing career. Think of writing newsletter articles as a type of community service. Even after you have added paying pieces to your repertoire you may continue to write for the newsletters that you care about.

Writing on the Fly (freelance writing jobs) Writing is a fascinating way to explore the world. You can write in your free time about anything you wish to know more about. You may write fiction in order to delve into abstract topics of your world. You may also choose to write poetry to take that concept further. Non-fiction writing will help you understand more objective topics in order to have a clearer picture of the natural and created world. Writing is enjoyable and aids in learning, so what if you could enjoy yourself and get paid for it? This is not to suggest that you quit your job and become a writer, though you could do that as well. The possibilities in freelance writing jobs can give you the flexibility you need to write for money in your spare time. Defining Freelance Writing Freelance writing is writing that happens for an employer without any long term contract. Freelance writing jobs are very different from your typical day job because the trade off for labor and pay does not function in the same way. Freelance jobs are accepted one at a time. There are many different employers that seek out freelance workers. The writer will have the ability to produce a quality product in a desirable amount of time. The employer usually pays based on production rather than hours or weeks. Freelance paychecks come in irregularly, based on the work available. The great benefit to being able to freelance is that you basically get to work for yourself. You can work as much or as little as you wish, only being limited by the freelance writing jobs being offered. As you continue to write, your qualifications will continue to be more impressive. Where are the Jobs? So, maybe you?re interested in finding some freelance writing jobs. The potential to work on your own time, doing something you enjoy and getting paid for it is an appealing one. Where do the jobs exist? There are a few places that you can start looking. A great place to start, to find out what the job market looks like, is the internet. Many employers advertise freelance positions online. They are looking for people all over the country, and potentially all over the world that can work from a distance. Another great benefit to freelance work is that it can happen anywhere. No matter where the hiring company is, the freelance writer can participate in the production of the needed product. Magazines and newspapers both hire freelance writers. In order to find those jobs, it is often appropriate to query the publication in question. First you need to find out about submission guidelines and then send in an article idea. If it is accepted, you are on your way to even more freelance writing jobs. What Does It Take to Be Good? What it takes to be a good writer is not in question. You all know about grammar, style, voice and coherency. What does it take to be successful in the freelance writing category though? There are a few things to consider. First, you will need to be able to be flexible. You may not always be able to write on subjects that you are necessarily interested in. In order to build your resume though, and be able to pick and choose your work, you will have to start out doing whatever needs to be done. Second, to be a great freelance writer, you need to be able to work quickly without sacrificing quality. Oftentimes freelance assignments will go out last minute. You will have a better chance of success if you can honestly take assignments and get them turned in again by deadlines. Finally, a good freelance writer is able to market his talents. The most effective way to prove your writing talents is to introduce yourself in your resume and cover letter in a way that impresses prospective employers. No one will believe you are a writer if you cannot write an engaging cover letter. Freelance writing is a fun way to add a little income to your current pay. It is possible to make a career out of freelancing, but it is not for everyone. If you are interested in writing and want to try your hand at a few different kinds of projects, consider freelancing for awhile.