Thursday, April 24, 2008

Save $100 in 5 Minutes Backing Up Your Web Site?

Here's an easy way to backup your web site's files and
database (worth thousands of dollars, no doubt) that costs
$0 to learn and perform. It only takes seven easy steps.

You don't need to know a lot about how to use Unix or how to
use databases like mySQL. The only real tool you need is a
telnet client. Also, you need to know a few commands which
I'll show you now. (You could even write the commands I'm
about to give you on a cheatsheet.)


The web host you're trying to back up needs to allow shell
access (most do these days).

If you have a Windows computer, download a program called
"PuTTY" which you can use to login in your web host's shell.
Search for "putty ssh" on Google or get it here:

Open up PuTTY and at the top type in your hostname (your web
site address without the http or www, just "").
Your web host either uses SSH or telnet, first try logging
in using SSH and if it won't connect try it using Telnet.
Click the "Open" button at the bottom to connect.

When it connects you will be asked for your account's
username, and after you enter that, it will ask for your
password. If these both take, you'll see a command prompt
of sorts. What you have to do is browse to the document
root, depending on your host it's usually a folder like
"public_html" or "wwwroot".

If the wwwroot or public_html folder has more folders inside
of it, in the form of, don't browse into them
yet, just stay in the folder you're in.

Browsing in the Unix command prompt is just like DOS, to
view a folder type "dir" or "ls", and to go into a certain
folder type "cd foldername". If you messed up you can type
"cd .." to move up one level.


The first step if you're backing up a site is to dump your
mySQL database. To do this obviously you need the mySQL
username and password you want to back up. If your mySQL
username is "myuser" and the mySQL password is "mypassword",
you'd type:

mysqldump -umyuser -pmypassword -A > dump.sql

mysqldump is the program we run to dump the database into a
file, then we type "-u" followed by the username (no spaces)
and "-p" followed by the password (also no spaces). The
uppercase "-A" tells the program we want to dump every
database this user has access to. It MUST be an uppercase

The ">" afterwards says we want to put this program's output
into a file (otherwise it would show up on the screen) and
"dump.sql" is the name of the file we're going to dump to.

This may take a while depending on the size of your
database. Be patient. Once you have a command prompt
again, it's done.

If you don't have root on your server, it may show databases you don't have access to. What you'll have to do here is "force" mysqldump to keep doing the backups even if it gets error messages. The flag for "force" is "-f".

mysqldump -umyuser -pmypassword -Af > dump.sql


Now you can put everything into one big file, which you can
easily move over to the new host in one go, instead of one
at a time. Unix doesn't let you create Zip files, but you
can create a TAR (Tape Archive) which just rolls a bunch of
files together without any sort of compression.

To create your TAR archive, type:

tar -cvf dump.tar *

The "-c" tells the program to create a new TAR archive, the
"v" following right after says to be verbose, in other
words, give us the name of every file that's being added to
the archive. "f: means we're saving this to a file, as
opposed to showing it on the screen (you'd just see junk).

"dump.tar" is the name of the file we want to save into, and
the "*" means we want to put everything into this TAR
archive -- files, folders, everything.

You may get some sort of warning about not adding dump.tar
to the archive, that's no big deal because we don't want
this file to add itself.

Your files are backed up. At this point it's time to move
things over to the next host. There's a way we can do this
without you having to download the whole thing, and
re-upload it.


Remember how I said when you were in "wwwroot" or
"public_html" not to browse into the folder containing a
domain name? Well now it's time to move that dump over into
one of them so it can be picked up.

If one of your folders is, say,, type:

mv dump.tar

This moves "dump.tar" into the folder "".


Login to your new host. Browse to its "wwwroot" or
"public_html" folder.

Most hosts include a program called "wget" which works sort
of like a browser in that you give it a URL to pick-up that
it loads. Only this browser also saves the file you want to

If your old host was at, you'd just type:


This will load that URL and save it as "dump.tar". You'll
probably see some sort of progress indicator as it goes.


Once you have the file, you use that same TAR program to
decompress it. Type:

tar -xvf test.tar

The "v" and "f" are still there, but instead of "c" (create)
we use "x" (extract). This will unpack each file and let us
know which one it's working on.


Before you can put the mySQL dump back into the database,
you have to go into this new web host's control panel and
create blank databases with the same names as you had

You also have to create a mySQL user and make sure that user
has access to all those databases you've created.

Once that's done find the dump.sql that was unpacked with
all of the other files.

Instead of using the program "mysqldump" to dump the files,
we use the program "mysql" which let's us put commands into
the database. That's basically what a dump is, a file full
of commands that, when run, will recreate the old database

This time we don't type in the database name right away. To
get into mySQL from the command prompt, type:

mysql -umyuser -pmypassword

Where "myuser" and "mypassword" are your mySQL username and
password. Once you're in you'll get kind of a weird looking
prompt. All you have to do at this point is type:

source dump.sql

This says, open up the file dump.sql, read through it and do
whatever it says to do in that file. You will see a bunch
of lines telling you a command has been entered (0 Rows
Affected, 1 Rows Affected, something like that).

If everything goes smoothly, type "quit" and you will be
back in the shell.

You've just moved one site (or a bunch of sites) over from
one host to another in about 5 minutes.

About the Author

Article by Robert Plank

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

How To Accept Credit Cards Online

Anyone with an online business, whether for auctions,
services, or virtually any type of product, has asked the
same question at some time during their quest to create
the ultimate online business - "How do I accept credit

Since over 90% of all transactions on the Internet
involve customers paying by credit card, accepting
plastic money rates a must for almost any business.

The problem for most small online business owners
involves the high cost of setting up and maintaining a
credit card merchant account.

With startup fees ranging from $200 to $500, minimum
monthly fees of at least $40 to $50, plus per transaction
fees and a percentage of sales, most people who want to
supplement their income online or test an idea can't risk
that kind of money.

Add in credit checks, 48-month service contracts,
expensive equipment purchases or leasing, financial
statements, and last 3 years' tax returns and most people
throw up their hands and give up before they even get

Fortunately several companies responded to this problem
with unique solutions that enable smaller online
merchants to accept credit cards at a fraction of those
high startup costs with no long-term commitment, no
equipment purchases, and zero minimum monthly fees.

~ ~

PayPal has gotten some negative press over the last
couple of years, but that press has been mostly

PayPal makes it easy for you to collect money for your
online sales, send money to merchants, bill people
monthly, collect dues and donations and integrate a free
shopping cart into your site.

Of all the payment and money transfer services online,
PayPal ranks as the absolute lowest in cost and the
easiest to set up.

PayPal allows merchants to sell physical and downloadable
products along with personal services.

~ ~

For a $50 one-time fee ClickBank enables online ebook,
software and other electronic information sellers to not
only accept credit cards, but provide instant delivery of
their products to online purchasers.

ClickBank allows any merchant to accept virtually every
major credit card on the planet.

The online merchant simply adds a purchase link to their
site, the customer clicks the link, fills in their
payment information and the credit card gets authorized
on the spot.

Once the card gets approved ClickBank redirects the buyer
to a page that enables them to download the ebook,
software, or other product they have just purchased.

ClickBank also operates a fully integrated affiliate
program that automatically pays affiliates who sell your
products for you.

ClickBank heavily restricts what merchants may sell
through the service and does not allow the sale of
physical goods.

~ ~

Of the three, Paysystems behaves most like a traditional
credit card merchant account.

The service allows the merchant to integrate with a
number of third-party shopping carts as well as use the
PaySystems shopping cart system.

Merchants pay a small transaction fee and a percentage of
the sale, but don't sign up for any long-term service
contracts or equipment leases.

(c) Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the
co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how
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Credit Card Merchant Account Basics

Knowing which credit card merchant account to get can be very confusing. There are thousands and thousands of banks, merchant account providers and third party sales teams that can offer you all kinds of incentives. Billions of dollars are transacted online every year and you want your share. Where do you turn? What do you look for? Read on to find out...

Third party payment processors

The easiest way to accept credit cards online is through a third party payment processor. Companies like Paypal and allow you to offer your customers the option of paying by credit card while not having to go through rigorous credit checks or putting down big deposits. Both of these companies include the option of putting a short business name alongside their name of your customers' credit card bill.

Out of the two, Paypal has no up front setup fee while 2Checkout asks for a one-time $49 USD setup fee. Paypal is also cheaper per transaction. 2Checkout works differently than Paypal does when processing orders.

2Checkout is considered to have purchased your product or service and is simply reselling it to your customer at a profit to them. They will handle the initial customer concerns with regards to the transaction but will refer the product or service specific questions back to you.

Paypal on the other hand, simply processes the initial transaction in their name once you've upgraded your account to a Premium or Business account. Your customer doesn't have to register for a Paypal account if you live in certain countries like the US and Canada so it is very simple to use.

Invoicing your customer

Paypal allows invoicing but doesn't allow you to send a money request to someone without requiring your customer to open a Paypal account. On top of that, most new Paypal accounts are subject to a send limit restricting the amount of money you send. Now in most markets that Paypal operates in this send limit is up to $1000 but it is still a limit.

Because 2Checkout is purchasing the product or service from you, they don't have an account creation requirement that they impose on your customer. They have an invoicing function and as long as you have shown to 2Checkout that you process reliable transactions through their system, the process is hassle free for your customers.

Which is right for you?

I use both processors. I tend to process initial transactions through Paypal and regular invoicing through 2Checkout. Either way though, you can't go wrong with either option if you choose to have only one credit card merchant account.

Joe Duchesne is the webmaster for a website dedicated to helping people with their credit card merchant account needs. Reprint freely as long as you keep this resource box intact and provide a keyword rich link back to

Building eCommerce Websites That Work - Part 1

You want to succeed at eCommerce? Welcome to a very big family. Right off, let's be clear - there are lots of ways to do business on the internet. And lots of ways to both make and lose money. Successful eCommerce websites come in all shapes, kinds and colors and while I can't cover every type of site in this series, I will present the basics you need to consider and apply for an eCommerce web site to be successful.

Let's begin by assuming you have some of the fundamentals, that you understand the language and that you are serious. I'm not going to tell you how to set up a web site or get a decent hosting account. We're beyond those basics. The basics here are the factors which will influence the success (or failure) and the degree of success your eCommerce web site experiences.

First and foremost, you need to provide value for your customers. Absurd as it seems to have to repeat that, a lot of so-called eCommerce sites provide no or very little value for their visitors. Pretending to offer value is not the same thing as providing value. Promoting miserably written, hackneyed, cloned ebooks filled with questionably useful and/or outdated content doesn't make a high value web site. Sure you might make some money. Once. And you'll end up with a high refund rate - and an unhappy credit card processor. That path means you're taking advantage of inexperienced customers and abusing their willingness to trust you. This isn't the way to a long-term business with steady repeat customers.

Value on the net is not very different from any kind of off-line retail sales -- a quality product line that will attract potential customers and a competitive price that will lead to purchases. An honest, quality product that will meet the expectations you've created in your buyers. Hyped junk just doesn't cut it.

Next, you've got to have a smooth, user-friendly, easy to follow process all the way to your thank you page. The simpler, cleaner and clearer you can make the process, the better. Where it makes sense you can augment this user-responsive site profile by adding live-response chat.

If you do decide to use call-in or live chat, it's imperative that your operators be well-trained, understand your products and your system and be customer friendly. This can be a problem if you outsource. The less expensive out-source call centers can turn out to be very expensive in terms of lost sales and customers who never come back.

You'll need to check very carefully and be 100 per cent certain the operators actually speak and understand the primary language(s) of your targeted customer group. You'll need to provide extensive background information and highly flexible, well-written scripts.

You should collect your own customer evaluations - separately. Don't rely exclusively on any monitoring or customer satisfaction surveys provided by the call center. Track your ROI to be sure it's money well-spent. Don't stop monitoring just because the results looked good for the first two or three months. Things change. Make sure you're tracking desired actions linked to the call center separately from those NOT related to call-in or live chat. Mixing outcomes leaves you in the dark about what's really happening.

You probably should have an attractive website. An ugly site can work, but to do that you need to absolutely know exactly what you're doing and why it should work. And you'll have to test like crazy to optimize (of course, you should be doing that anyway). The ugly site tactic is not for the inexperienced. Very few individuals really have the grasp of marketing, market and customer psychology that makes for a successful "ugly" site.

To provide a pleasant experience, you need to be careful in what you use - colors, text-size, graphics, animation and white space can add value to your site or turn it into a user nightmare. Test your site with people who will tell you the truth. Just because you love it doesn't mean anyone else will. In general, aiming for a professional appearing site is your best option. Look for the highest ranked, busiest sites in your business area and study the layouts they use. Extract the common features that you see on those sites. While other factors heavily influence traffic and ranking, appearance has a strong effect on visitors and sites that do testing evolve toward optimizing visitor behavior.

Keep in mind that a site's desired actions affect the design and layout. You'll want to study sites where those actions are most similar to the desired actions you target on your web site. If your goal is direct product sales, there's not much point in emulating a site that's optimized for newsletter sign-ups or AdSense.

If your main goal is direct sales (and if it is, then you need backend products too), provide incentives for customers to buy AND to return. The return factor is critical to a long-term strategy for success. Anyone who buys is your best possible future customer. Keep them, track them, make them special offers. Use coupons, discounts, special deals, customer-only offers and back end sales. Your customer base is your gold mine. Since they've shown enough faith in you to buy, do your utmost to never damage that faith. Treat them like the priceless resource they are. Think long-term: successful eCommerce websites are all about value and customer service.

Copyright 2005 Richard Keir

Richard teaches, trains and consults, on and off-line, on business and professional presentations, eCommerce, site building and programming. And writes a lot. Visit for articles, information, resources and links and check our blog at http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites/blog for opinion and ideas.