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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.

To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Short Trips: Articles are Great Ways to Enter the Writing Market (writing articles) Not everyone who loves to write is destined to become a writer. Most people define a writer as a person who makes a living from their writing. Writers are committed to a career of difficulty and very hard work. Not that every other job doesn?t include work, but writers make up a group of individuals who are less recognized for their contributions. Certainly there are famous writers who are appreciated for their efforts, but they do not represent the majority of those who take up a pen for their livelihood. If you love to write, but you?re not sure about taking the leap into becoming a writer, there may be a perfect option for you to use your skills. Writing articles is a writing job that can be taken up to whatever degree you would like to do so. Types of Articles to Write Because articles are such short pieces, each one can only cover the smallest piece of information that the world contains. Depth and length are limited by each other and so writing articles allows you to focus on just about anything you?d like. If the articles cannot cover the scope of material that you?d like to cover, you can write more. Articles come in all kinds of packages. They are written for magazines. A magazine will always have a general topic that it strives to cover. Within the broad topic though, there are thousands of possibilities for the creation of articles. Newspapers are more directed towards current events rather than interesting tidbits or random information, but they also must buy articles in order to be printed each and every day. There is also the possibility of writing articles for the internet. In that genre, the topics expand exponentially as time goes on. The opportunities are out there, so how do you start writing articles? Getting Hired for the Work To get hired to write articles you mostly need the ability to market your writing skills. There are many, many good writers in the world. To get hired to write, you must be better than good. You must be able to use your words to describe, explain and convince. You must let an editor know why you are the right writer for a particular job. If you can write effectively enough in your resume and cover letter, an editor will know immediately that you have the skills and abilities to write equally convincing and interesting articles. If you are interested in continuing in the process of writing articles, you must know how to construct great content into a great finished product. Writing Great Articles If you can allow your curiosity to drive you, you will never run out of the ability to create great articles. The first rule in writing articles is to be ever ready to learn something new. You never know when you?ll need that piece of information to back up your writing. The idea for writing articles is only half of the battle though. You also have to actually do the engaging writing. This is where you pull out all of your literary tools. Write with enthusiasm so that your reader will be enthusiastic. Write with variety and slight complexity so that your reader will not be bored. Add a little bit of suspense as you are writing articles so that every reader will keep going until the end. Writing articles can be a career, but it doesn?t have to be. The beautiful thing about article writing is the short term nature of each project. You will move from one topic to the next as you continue to learn and expand your writing abilities. Writing articles can take you from your front yard to across the world in as short of trip as you need it to be. If you are considering the possibilities available to you in a writing job, investigate the possibilities of article writing. If you are a writer, you?ll love the work.

Want Free Baby Stuff? Visit Favorite Baby Company Websites Are you, or someone you know, expecting? Impending motherhood is a very exciting, but often stressful transition, and also quite an expensive transition. When it comes to becoming a parent, the expenses can often seem overwhelming. But did you know that there are many freebies aimed specifically at the expecting couple? Here are some ways to find the best free baby stuff. General Tips for Getting the Best Free Baby Stuff If you are already familiar with baby companies or have your own favorite baby products, you will find that you can probably finagle some baby freebies. Your first step is to check the website for your favorite baby products company. Many baby product companies will give you a free sample, or other fine freebies, from your favorites. Sign up for baby products company newsletters. Put your name on their mailing list. This is an easy way to receive coupons, special offers, and yes, freebies, from your favorite baby products manufacturer. Get the Latest and Greatest in Free Baby Products from BabyCenter Do you wish you could find a website dedicated especially to finding the latest and greatest in free baby products? If so, you will definitely want to check out BabyCenter. This website features a library of freebie offers directed especially to the expectant parent. Check under Free Stuff and Great Deals for the best freebies, as well as the best in baby product coupons. One of the best things about the BabyCenter website is that it offers you the ability to search according to age or stage of your pregnancy. There is information and freebies for mothers who just learned they are pregnant to toddler parents or mother of young children. A Great Place to Find Free Baby Stuff If you are looking for a website that offers you some of the greatest and latest freebie deals in the baby department, check out Babiesonline.com. This website offers a whole section dedicated to free baby stuff. Here you will find a compendium of some of the best free baby websites. You will also find a link to free baby product samples. You will also find an offer for free pregnancy wristbands. Other free baby offers include free baby photo prints, free baby coupons and you can even sign up for the latest baby freebie alerts so that you never miss out on another great baby freebie. Looking for More Great Baby Freebies? If you still don't have your fill of great baby freebies, here are some more great places to find the best in baby freebies. The website babytobee.com offers many fine resources for the expectant father, including a collection of baby freebies. This is an also a great website to learn more about baby products and equipment. There are a whole section of free baby products, and you can even register for your own personal baby page. Count Down to Baby Time with Free Baby Web Resources Are you blogging your way to parenthood, or simply keeping a family page where you can relate the latest news of your pregnancy with friends and family members? If so, you will be glad to hear that there are many baby web freebies to be had. Check out the Lilypie baby ticker, a free baby due date countdown clock that you can place prominently on your website. This is a fun and easy way to countdown to the expected due date. You can also find free baby blogs, free baby-themed web design features and web hosting services as well as free baby photo upload services. You can create your own online haven for welcoming your newborn into the world.