HostGator Web Hosting Blog | Gator Crossing

HostGator Blog!

Web Hosting Made Easy!

  • Top Tips For Spotting Comment Spammers

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by
    Top Tips for Spotting Comment Spammers
    User generated comments and reviews are a good indicator of the quality of any blog or site. Engaged users creates a more dynamic website which is both more inviting and valuable. Yet, not all comments are genuine. Link builders and competitors often use comment spamming as a tool for link building and reputation management. So how can you tell if a comment is genuine or if your blog is being used for someone else’s marketing efforts? Be aware that deleting every negative review or comment you don’t like could result in a page that is too polished and users will mistrust. Only delete as a final resort when you are sure it is fake. Here are some top tips for spotting fake reviews and comments.  

    Look At The Text

    Before anything else, read the comment; you will already have a feeling if something is off. Link commenting is oftentimes outsourced to countries where English is not the primary language. If the comment has broken English to the point that you cannot make head or tails of it but it has a link, it is most probably the work of a link builder. These you should delete as it lowers the quality of the page. You should also select the text of the comment and do a search of it, oftentimes link builders reuse the same text across multiple sites for both comments and reviews. Keep an eye out for links to unrelated sites or download pages. Merchants and their competitors will oftentimes comment spam as a strategy for reputation management or to tarnish the competition. You can easily spot this by looking out for blatant ‘Marketing Speak.’ Merchants will include their brand name in addition to the product name several times across the review, no organic user would do this. They will also do a shoebox broadcasting of features rather than discussing the product. A review like this is a clear red flag: “I was a loyal (insert ‘name of competitor’) user for years, a friend made me try (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) and I was totally blown away. I especially loved feature ‘X’, (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) is the only one for me. I am never going back to (insert ‘name of competitor’).” Merchants will also often go for the oversell so keep a wary eye for overly impassioned users. You should look primarily at 5 star and 1 star ratings as well as any reviews that are written in ALL CAPS. So reviews that read, “THIS IS TERRIBLE IT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!” Or, “These headphones are NOT as advertised! It said it would last 2 years guaranteed. Well I have been using it for 4!!” Also be suspicious of a vague review that is not specific to the product, but rather a push for the company.  

    Look At The User

    One of the advantages of managing reviews and comments through WordPress and similar platforms is the ability to easily eyeball who is commenting. You can easily see if different reviews are from the same IP or email address. Keep a wary eye out for obviously fake email addresses and usernames with 3+ numbers in them, these are oftentimes computer generated bots and pretty easy to spot. The comments or reviews would be generic and of no value with something like, “This is great, thanks!” Or, “really interesting read.” For these bots the comment would sometimes contain excerpted text from the article the comment is on, or sentences that drop off in the middle. If you are unsure of the user, do a quick search for other comments or reviews they have written. Link builders will have used the same username across multiple sites. Not only will you be able to spot carbon copy reviews across sites but the same will show obvious inconsistencies such as the recommendation to try product X came from interchanging genders, ‘when my husband recommended’ then, ‘when my wife recommended’. All in all just trust your instincts, you will be able to smell a fishy comment a mile off. Deleting comments should never be a first choice, but if they are of no value than you are better off without them.  
    Author Bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
    Image source:
  • What Makes Ruby On Rails Special?

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 by
    What Makes Ruby on Rails Special
    Ruby on Rails (ROR) was first released on December 12, 2005. Since then, it has been a hot commodity for developers and users alike. It’s an open-source web application and full-stack framework using the programming language called “Ruby,” hence the name. What are some of the engineering patterns it uses? Here are just a few:
    • Convention Over Configuration (CoC)
    • Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY)
    • Active Record Pattern
    • Modern View Controller (MVC) –organizes application programming
    Why do developers choose to use ROR? For the most part, it can take hundreds or thousands of hours to create the app of your dreams. ROR cuts down on work with faster development time. Additionally, it has an extensive library of what are called “Gems,” that can add a bevy of functionality. Moreover, automated testing is available to let you test code as you write it.  

    What Ruby Offers

    With Ruby On Rails, the learning curve is relatively short. Its’ syntax makes the constructs stream logically, and with vibrancy. Currently there are over 200,000 sites supported by Ruby On Rails. There is also the benefit if offers with its modular design. For instance, the gems library is similar to that of a WordPress plugin. You can use gems to perform actions such as creating PDF files, displaying map data, and social media interactions. Additionally, you are given login/logout options as well as integrations with email and/or text messages.  

    What Can It Do?

    The depth that comes along with using Ruby is mind-boggling. Here are some of the features available:
    • URL – You can adapt or develop search engine adaptive URLs
    • Active Records – This development program includes database active library and will automatically map tables to rows and also classes in objects.
    • Debug Applications – Ruby on Rails gives you specific and detailed error logs so you can easily debug all your applications.
    • Tightened Security – Ruby takes away the burden of having to use the ‘h’ method. It now escapes all input by default and if you want to ‘un-escape’ data you simply use the ‘RAW’ method.
    • Bundler – This is a useful new feature to Ruby and helps you manage your dependencies. Just add a line for the gems you need within your gem file, and it will download & configure all gems you need for the project.
    • Action Mailer – This function has been simplified to send mail with ease. Default settings can now be optionally overwritten. It comes with cleaner APIs, and you can also retrieve and manipulate ‘mail’ objects before their delivery.
    • Store Components – Create modularized templates and add components or store your reusable code.

    Quicker Development

    Convention over Configuration does exactly as it states. With other programing languages, developers need to spend an extensive amount of time on how their code will communicate with the database. This is also true for the exact file structure for the project, and the wide variety settings needed for configuration files. However, CoC offers what is called “sensible defaults.” These are conventions that already work with a number of applications. This means you spend less time setting up the project and can focus more on any possible issues. Moreover, with the DRY feature, you no longer have to worry about replicating code over and over again. Instead, you write the code once and can use it where needed. It also makes things more convenient for future code changes.  

    What You Need To Know

    If you already have basic or advanced knowledge of HTML and CSS, then learning ROR should not be an issue for you. If you don't, then you should start learning those two languages first. The good news is that they are also quite easy to comprehend and practice. Once you learn the ins and outs of ROR, it might start feel like second nature. Not to mention, it is quite enjoyable. There are a wide variety of resources available, whether it be taking online courses or reading instructional books. Most tools offer straightforward approaches to learning the structure of this dynamic language. In addition to its many advantages, ROR can make it more cost-effective to create and maintain a site and/or application. You will be able to create feature-rich constructions without as much output as one might have expected. Then, if you want additional features, they can be added rather quickly and conveniently. When you consider the power and convenience of ROR, it’s no wonder why they were chosen in the development of platforms such Twitter, Shopify and Basecamp. Their active community is helpful for those new to ROR, making it even more enticing for intrigued developers to test out.  
    Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
    Image source:
  • 5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Off Your Customers

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by
    5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Off Your Customers
    You know that having a website is an important asset for your business. However, if you have very low conversion rates, or have been seeing a steady decrease in traffic it might be time to fix your website. The web is constantly evolving, and your site needs to be up to the current web standards and user preferences if you want to keep your visitors happy. Below you’ll find a series of problems that a lot of websites currently fall victim to. If you’re committing any of the following mistakes it’s important to fix them as soon as possible.  

    1. Slow Loading Speeds

    Most web users are becoming more and more accustomed to fast loading speeds. This means that when your site loads slowly you’re testing your visitor’s patience. In most cases they’ll hit the back button, instead of waiting for the site to load. Having a website that loads slowly can also lead to lowered search engines rankings, as Google factors in page loading speed into their search engine rankings algorithm. Put simply, your website must load quickly and cater to the fastest internet connections.  

    2. No Mobile Optimization

    Our world is becoming increasingly mobile. Mobile Internet usage is only continuing to increase and it shows no sign of slowing down. So, if your site isn’t optimized for the mobile web your users aren’t even going to attempt to navigate your website. When creating a separate mobile website, or are optimizing your current website it’s important that you consider every possible interactive element and piece of your website. For instance, some ads may not display properly, so you’ll want to ensure they won’t display on certain screen sizes.  

    3. Poor Photography

    Stock photography is dead. If you’re using dated stock photos your visitors will be able to tell and it will make your website feel cheesy. However, keep in mind that not all stock photography will have a negative impact on your website. Using images is a great way to create a more emotional experience for your user, but just make sure they’re high quality, unique, and showcase your actual business or products.  

    4. Keyword Stuffed Copy

    Over a decade ago you could get away with having walls of keyword stuffed text across your website. Most web copy was written for the search engine robots, not human beings. However, those times are long gone and your copy needs to reflect this. If your web copy speaks to the search engines more than your readers, you’ll actually see your rankings start to decline. Keywords are still important, but even more important is making a connection to your visitors. The only way to do this is to write copy that’s geared towards your visitors and their needs.  

    5. Too Much Clutter

    When it comes to your website less is always better than more. Even though it can be tempting to hit your visitors with everything at once, and embed interactive widgets, this will lead to nothing but overwhelm. Think about your visitor every step of the way, and engineer your site towards the best user experience for them. By taking time to fix the mistakes above, your site will start to see higher levels of traffic, and increased levels of engagement across the board.
  • Snappy’s ProTips, pt. IV

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 by
    The inspiration for today's ProTip is going to be the following KB article, which addresses how to modify DNS information from within cPanel: However, we're going to drive a little bit deeper into DNS; how the various parts function and we'll even be sharing some of our internal documentation on DNS. snappy_protips04