Announcing, Password Protected Pages on Zoho Sites

Posted by Posted on by
1

Here’s announcing another update to Zoho Sites; Password-Protected Pages. You can now restrict access to pages on your website using passwords. This lets you share relevant content alone, with a closed group of people.

Password Protection:

There are two types of passwords to use based on the instance:

  •  Site Password
  •  Page Password

Site Password is ideal when you want to share multiple pages with a group of people. One password for all the pages, so you share only one password with everyone.

On the other hand, Page Password lets you set separate passwords for each page. With each page having its own password, there is no possibility of accessing such pages with one common password. Read our help section on how to protect your webpages.

Linking External Pages:

Another feature that accompanies password protection, is linking your pages to external links. You can now link your pages to any other external websites. Particularly, if you own multiple websites, you could link to each of them from every other website.

Both these features have been repeatedly asked for, so we are eagerly looking forward to hearing your comments on them.

Elementary SEO: All about robots.txt

Posted by Posted on by
0

SEO is about making your pages rank higher on search results. But there are certain pages on your website which you don’t want users to arrive at from search results. The robots.txt file is used to exclude such pages from showing up in search results.

Search engines use bots or robots to crawl websites and learn about them, so that they’ll know which websites should show up for a particular keyword. Whenever such bots arrive at a website, the first thing they look for is the robots.txt file, because it contains instructions from the website’s owner. Now, there are good bots and bad bots. The bad ones especially, like the malware bots that are on the lookout for security vulnerabilities, pay no attention to the robots.txt file.

What is the role of robots.txt?

It contains two important information. Which bots are allowed to crawl this website, and which pages on this site should not be crawled.

How to create a robots.txt?

It can be created using any text-editor. The name of this file is case-sensitive, so it should be lower-case only. The robots.txt file should be put in the root folder of your website, along with the index or welcome page, so that the path of this file always is, www.yourdomainname.com/robots.txt .

It usually has two commands. User-agent is to specify the bot to which the following instructions apply. Disallow specifies the pages which are restricted.

A simple example of a robots.txt file is as below.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

So, in the example above, the “*” beside User-agent says, the following commands apply to every kind of bot that lands on this site.
The “/” beside Disallow, represents all sub-directories in the root folder are restricted to bots. That means, no page inside the root folder should be crawled, by any bot.

Here are a few examples. To permit select bots, and keep the rest out,

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

To restrict select directories on a website from being crawled, the commands would be,

User-agent: *
Disallow: /directory/

To block files of a specific type,

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.gif$

To block a particular directory, and everything in it,

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

Alternate method – META TAG:
You can also include a robots <meta> in the header of every page on your site. The syntax is,

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, FOLLOW”>
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

The FOLLOW / NOFOLLOW attribute is for the links on that page. If it is NOFOLLOW, then bots should not be following any links on that page. If no meta tag is included, then it implies INDEX and FOLLOW, so there is no need to explicitly mention this.

As with Zoho Sites, you can access the crawler specification in the SEO settings page.

The commands entered here will automatically be saved in the robots.txt file of your website, and can be accessed at www.yourdomainname.com/robots.txt .

Now register your custom domains with Zoho Sites

Posted by Posted on by
3

We have made minor changes to how you select a domain for your website. We believe this will streamline the process, and make it easy for you to choose between options. And of course, it is yet another reason for you to pick our PRO Plan. PRO users can now register their custom domain with us. When a domain is registered with us, all the mapping and configuration is automatically taken care of. The domain is ready to be used soon after registration.

When you attempt to publish your website for the very first time, you’ll be prompted to choose a unique domain name. Choose from the three options as in the image below.

Free subdomain:

This is ideal for beginners to get started with. You can learn the ropes of website building with a subdomain.

Map the custom domain you already own

Choose this option if you have an existing domain that was registered elsewhere and you want it hosted with Zoho.

Register a new domain now

Choose this option if

  • you don’t have a custom domain already
  • you are a PRO user.

By registering your custom domain with Zoho, you can escape the process of domain mapping and configuration. We handle it all for you.

Whether you choose a custom domain or subdomain, there are no restrictions on your creativity to building a great website with Zoho Sites.

 

Why Mobile Websites Matter

Posted by Posted on by
1

Couch commerce is another term that is gaining a lot of attention in recent times, just as mobile internet. Thanks to the exponential growth of smartphones and tablets, people are no longer chained to their desktops. Both, commerce and communication, are carried out on the go. Of the consumers in your locality who web-search for a commodity or a vendor, nearly 50% are likely to do so on a mobile device. And mobile web usage has been predicted to surpass desktop internet usage by 2015. That’s how fast mobile web is taking over the browsing arena. If you still don’t buy it, eBay sells 4 Ferrari cars in a month, through mobile. So, without a dedicated website to cater to mobile internet traffic, you might lose to your local counterpart who is no better than you, but was smart enough to be mobile device friendly.

Why have a separate website for mobile devices?

Why not the same one for all devices? Mobile devices have relatively smaller screens, but their users are as potential as desktop users. That means you’ve got to deliver the same convincing browsing experience, in a much limited space. Mobile websites do just that.

The regular website, with all its images would take an awful lot of time to load on a mobile device. Despite that, the horizontal scroll bar makes it hard to navigate through the pages, and requires you to zoom in for better viewing. On the contrary, mobile websites are thumb-friendly, have compressed images, are easily navigable, and load much faster. This certainly enhances the mobile web experience of users, and lets you make the most of the rising mobile web traffic.

Websites for everyone, and every device

That is one of the best thing about Zoho Sites; it gets you ready on the mobile front, without any extra effort from you. When you publish your regular website, a mobile website is generated automatically; NO CONVERSION SOFTWARE. Both these versions believe in one URL. Prospects using mobile internet, need not access a different URL. The same URL, when accessed from a mobile device, takes the user to the mobile friendly version. See for yourself. Create your free mobile website.

Search Engine Optimization: Elementary Essentials

Posted by Posted on by
0

The topics discussed here are very simple changes to your webpages, which when combined, have a notable impact on how your website is treated by search engines.

Here is what matters most, and why.

Keywords:

It all starts with this, even though it is not exposed to users. It is the term that people search for, in order to arrive at a website. You first need to identify the keywords which are both, relevant to what you offer, and are likely to bring you traffic. Keywords of a page are different from keywords of another page, because each page has its own focus terms. Identifying keywords is the most important task of them all, because the title, description and URL of that page depend on, and contain the keywords.

The more specific your keywords are, the better. For example,if you own a bakery in Seattle, and specialize in muffins, then Muffins in Seattle is a better option than Cakes.

Users are more likely to click on a search result that contains the term they just searched for. That is why the title and description draw attention if when contain these keywords.

Title:

The title of your page is enclosed in <title> tags, and is exposed as marked in the image above. There are some guidelines an optimum title would always follow.

1. Uniqueness – No two pages of your website should have the same title.
2. Readability – It should be a meaningful sentence, long enough (preferably 65 characters), and is not spammy.
3. Keyword – The title should contain the keyword which that page focuses on. The sooner it appears in the title, the better.

Description:

Description appears below the title on search results, and should support the claim you’ve made in your title.

1. Preferably 160 characters long.
2. Should also contain the keyword focused on that page.
3. Should be unique, informative and interesting
4. Should sum up the content on the entire page.

URL Structure:

Easily understandable URL’s have two main advantages. They make your website easily navigable to users, and simplifies managing your pages. The characteristics of a good URL are,

1. few, easy words, no numbers
2. Not too long
3. Use specific keywords like home.html, contact.html, etc. instead of generic ones like page1.html, page2.html, etc.

Headings:

It is best to have only one H1 heading tag per page, which should contain the same keyword used in title and description tags.

SEO with Zoho Sites:

All these are enclosed in meta tags like <title>, <description>, etc. If you are managing your own HTML files on Zoho Sites, you are probably familiar with these tags. Otherwise, if you are using the drag-and-drop builder, things are even easier. Zoho Sites lets you enter meta details for every page on your site.

In the Settings page, you have SEO options.

Pick the page from the list, and enter the meta details for that page. Once done, save the changes, and pick another page to optimize.

In addition to these meta information, there is another essential optimization technique, but that happens automatically on Zoho Sites; the sitemap. For every website published, Zoho Sites automatically generates the sitemap.xml file. A sitemap helps search engines to identify the entire structure of your website, so that no page goes unnoticed. It also helps in identifying the navigation path to every page.

All the above parameters focus only on the text on a webpage. There are numerous other techniques to drive more traffic into your website, which we will gradually get into. Try optimizing your web pages by filling these parameters, and see how it affects your site’s ranking on search engines.

Zoho Sites And The Database Connection

Posted by Posted on by
0

A website is the online face of a business, and act as a repository of information. They are the first point of contact for random visitors, and play a vital role in helping them decide on using your service, so it’s got to be really impressive. Call it the front-end of your business activity.

Then there is the back-end, which is the critical business data obtained from these visitors. This collected data is a source of wisdom that teaches you about visitors and trends, enabling you to make smarter projections in future. Collecting and storing data, and more importantly, mining information from piles of collected data has to be done using databases; Zoho Creator databases, in this case. But how do these two ends meet?

When it comes to business process management, the relationship between these two services is blazing, though not very obvious. Zoho Creator databases are pre-integrated into Zoho Sites, and serve two scenarios.

1. Data Collection through Custom Online Forms
2. Dynamic Webpage Content Management

Online Forms:

Be it contact details, event registration, survey or any other unique data collection requirement, Zoho Creator forms can be customized to suit every need. The forms can be inserted into your webpages just by dragging them into place, and they blend with your website’s color theme, so that it appears to be a part of it.

Best thing about forms is that you can configure condition-based actions to make it as intelligent as you wish. For example, you can instantly show or hide a set of fields based on the value of a previous field. This makes sure that only the relevant fields are displayed to users, thus establishing a connection. And every time a visitor fills up a form on your website, an email notification is triggered automatically to keep you informed.

The data collected would be of less value without filters to manipulate it. Searching, sorting and filtering options help you to mine out that essential piece of information from the entire database, without having to write complex combination code.

Dynamic Webpage Content:

This is yet another major implementation of databases on a webpage. Some pages on a website need to be continuously updated with information. So, instead of having to modify the webpage every time, you setup a database for that page, which holds all the frequently changing content, and the layout in which it is displayed on the webpage. Every time you need to add, alter or remove data, you do it on the database, which is simple as filling up a form. The corresponding webpage automatically reflects the changes, without even the slightest delay.

This is especially useful when the website is being collaboratively managed by many members. This database, which is actually a Zoho Creator form, can be shared to all these members, enabling every one of them to keep the website up to date, from independent locations.

These are just the gist of how databases can be used to leverage your website. Both Zoho Creator and Zoho Sites stand up for customization, and cater to unique requirements, so the limit is always what you put on it. Oh, and now is a good time to begin experimenting, because we have Payment Buttons for Dynamic Pages up next, so you’ll want to be familiar with databases by then ;)

New in Zoho Sites: PayPal and Google Checkout Payment Buttons, and more.

Posted by Posted on by
3

This being the first feature update since the release of Zoho Sites, we tried to introduce something for everyone who wants to set up a free website. The most important feature is payment buttons from PayPal and Google to enable monetary transactions. Others include Duplicate pages, Sitemap and RSS feed.

Paypal and Google Checkout

Paypal and Google Checkout buttons are the first step of the e-commerce journey. Accepting payments and donations is now possible in Zoho Sites. Buttons are of three types – Add to Cart, Buy Now and Donate. We believe this will benefit all the non-profit organizations and websites specifically set up to receive donations for causes. Sellers can also find comfort in processing payments from within their website.

 

 

Duplicate Pages

If you have been using our free website builder you know now how easy it is to build a website. Now wouldn’t the ability to duplicate pages be absolutely perfect? Duplicate Pages – saves time and is extremely helpful when you have to create many pages with a similar layout.

 

Sitemap.xml

A sitemap gives your website an SEO advantage. How? Adding a sitemap to your website helps search engines to easily crawl, find and index pages on your site. With support for sitemap.xml, we are making websites primed for search engines. Take advantage of this feature to pull in more traffic.

Blog RSS feed

Your blog page too has an enhancement – The RSS feed. Followers can now subscribe to your blog. The feed eliminates the need to remember a  web URL or bookmarking a page to catch up on later. A visitor has the simple option of subscribing to the blog via the RSS feed to receive all your blog updates through e-mail.

While we work on taking this higher, do try these features out and tell us what you think.