Repairing Broken Links: A How-To, + Recommended Tools

Likely none of you will need to be made aware of just how important links – both inbound and outbound – are for the functionality of your website and the overall vitality of your online presence. In particular, link building is an integral part of effective SEO and there are a whole host of other reasons why you want to make sure your links continue to serve their internally or externally-oriented purposes. Unfortunately, it’s not a ‘set it-and-forget it’ process, as links that were once active can be made inactive and many times you won’t become aware of that until valuable ‘downtime’ has passed.

Here at 4GoodHosting, a part of what makes up a quality Canadian web hosting provider is the fact that we take a genuine interest in your well being out there on the Information Superhighway. We imagine any information that’s especially helpful for optimizing your website is going to be welcome, so here goes.

Why Breaks Are Bad

Let’s start with a reminder that the web is named as such because of the ability of pages and sites to link to other sources and relevant information. A broken link is defined as ‘a hyperlink which is linked to an empty or non-existent external webpage’, and some people will refer to them as dead links.

Most commonly when a link is broken you will receive a 404-page error instead, with the page telling you that the webpage or file you are looking for is not available. Websites that neglect to address broken links for a long time will suffer from ‘link rot’ – a term used to describe sites with many broken links.

Causes of Broken Links

Broken links can be the result of many causes. Sometimes the fault is on the webmaster, and other times they are the fault of the site a link ‘points’ to.

A short list of possible and more common causes for broken links:

  • The wrong URL is entered by the website owner for the link. Often from a simple typo or mistake when entering the URL into the <href> tag
  • The destination website has removed the resource you intended to link to
  • The destination website has permanently moved to a new URL
  • The destination website no longer exists. Interesting stat here – the average lifespan of a webpage is 100 days

Your intended link destination is located behind a firewall that prevents access to the content, or a ‘paywall’ that requires subscription of some sort to move further.

Understanding what causes broken links makes you less likely to make those mistakes in the first place. By reducing the chances of your link breaking from the outset, you are minimizing the likelihood that they will be detrimental to your website in the future. Yes, a few broken links aren’t going to crush your SEO efforts, but they certainly aren’t going to help either.

How Harmful?

Here’s a quick look at how broken links can be harmful to your website:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engines look very unfavourably on broken links. If you are linking to a page within your site and that link is broken, those search engine spiders are going to have trouble finding it. When they come across that ‘page not found 404 error’, they’re not going to be displeased with your site. That and any successive pages that are not crawled do not get indexed. Pages that aren’t indexed will not receive a ranking, and surely you can see where this is going. Not good.

Another way broken links harm your search engine optimization is related to how long visitors stay on your site. If they encounter broken links they are likely going to look elsewhere for the information they need. After all, they can’t find it on your site, and pages with high bounce rates don’t rank well. Enough said – broken links are decidedly detrimental for SEO.

  1. User Experience

Users are easily frustrated. If pages don’t load fast enough they leave. If there are too many advertisements, they split. If there is a paywall, they turn around right quick. Broken links are a surefire way to frustrate your visitors and prompt them to leave. Again, enough said.

  1. Reputation & Revenue

Relatedly, when a visitor encounters a website that is full of broken links, they will simply avoid it in the future. They won’t trust that site to provide the information they need, and if that’s you then your reputation is pretty much permanently in the mud.

The magnitude of this potentiality is made even bigger when you consider that a recent study that showed 44% of people are inclined to inform their friends of unpleasant or time-wasting experiences online, and when it comes to e-commerce in particular another 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from that site again.

Finding Broken Links

It’s recommended that you check for broken links on a monthly basis, if not more often even.

Those of you actively building your site and its reach are going to want to check more frequently.

As broken links are a problem for webmasters and businesses, there are a number of different tools available to check for them. Some are free, others are not.

  1. Google Search Console

Free and effective!

Open this tool click on Search Traffic in the right-hand menu and then Internal Links. If you are missing an important page, or the number of links looks off, it could be due to a broken link.

Next, click on Crawl -> Crawl Errors. Scroll to “Not Found” Section. You’ll receive a report of all the missing pages on your site with both internal and external links pointing to them.

  1. Xenu

Xenu is also a good choice for finding broken links, and it is also free. Since its primary focus is looking for broken links, it is also much easier to use and provides you with a complete report about the links on your site.

Start by opening Xenu and clicking File and then Check URL. The following window will open for you and you’ll then be prompted to enter the URL of the page you wish to check. You also have the option of only checking for internal links that are broken. To do this, uncheck the Check external links box. Once you run the tool, you get a report of the links it has found and their current status.

Xenu also allows you to export the report, build sitemaps and perform some other tasks. You can also check local files before you upload your code to the web, and examine a list of URLs for checking your entire site at once.

  1. Domain Hunter Plus

Domain Hunter Plus is actually a Google Chrome extension. This allows you to analyze any current location page for the presence of broken links. Once you add the extension you will see a small green target on your browser.

Navigate to the page you wish to check and click on the target. It will run a check on that page and provide you with a report of all the broken links it finds. You then have the option of exporting this report to refer to later.

Repairing Broken Links

Now that you have found the broken links on your website, you ought to start repairing them.

Start by examining why exactly they are broken:

  • Did you mistype or mis-copy the URL? If so, make certain you type it in correctly this time.
  • Did you rename or move a page? The link will need to reflect the change.
  • Did you remove the page from your website? You now need to either remove the link or find another piece of relevant content to link to

The process for repairing external links tends to be a little more intensive. If the site you were linking to is gone, you will need to find another destination or remove the link altogether. If the link was to content that supported a claim or statement, it’s important to find another resource so you keep your credibility intact.

Incoming Broken Links

If the links pointing to your site are broken, you will lose any SEO benefit you would otherwise be enjoying, and most notably improved rankings in the search engines and more visitors to your site.

Keep track of any links you earned through guest posting or other link building strategies and audit these links from time to time to ensure that they are still working. When you find broken links, reach out to the site owner and ask them to fix them.

Some tools you can use to keep track of and monitor links pointing to your site:

  • Ahrefs
  • Majestic
  • Raven
  • WebMeUp

These backlink checkers are paid tools, but most offer free trials to help you decide if they will be beneficial for your website. Often they’re a smart investment, particularly if you’re in e-commerce.

Repair those links, as the old Field of Dreams saying is true – ‘build it, and they will come.’

Bitcoin Mining: Any Interest?

A month or so back we follow the lead of nearly everyone in the digital world by discussing the Bitcoin phenomenon. Since then the rabidness of interest in Bitcoin has waned somewhat, and while that’s to be expected it is still is a representation of the new frontier of digital currencies and still a worthy topic of discussion. Yes, it’s not going to be the ‘get-rich-quick’ investment opportunity many thought it would be, but it’s safe to assume that it will be a legitimate player in the e-commerce world eventually.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we follow the lead of any good Canadian web hosting provider by keeping our customers up to date on trends that will be of interest to them. It’s safe for us to assume that many of you will have an interest in the development of cryptocurrencies, and some still may want to actually get off the sidelines and get into the game.

So, for those of you who are interested in ‘mining’ bitcoin as the verb goes, let’s discuss exactly what you’ll need to do. This is an easy to follow, step-by-step tutorial to get you started with 5 steps; choosing your mining software, acquiring a Bitcoin wallet, getting in on a Bitcoin mining pool, purchasing with your Bitcoin, and then verifying Bitcoin transactions.

What Kind of ‘Mining’ is This?

Bitcoin mining involves a software process where Bitcoin is earned depending on what you do. It’s referred to as ‘mining’ because the process associated with acquiring it is quite similar – figuratively – to what you’d do to try and find gold or another precious metal in the earth. Sometimes you dig or pan in the right place, most of the time you don’t.

First and foremost you need to understand that you exchange processing power for this cryptocurrency. Your computer is used to mine Bitcoins, but understand that there are a limited number of Bitcoins available to be mined. Of a total of 21 million bitcoins, it’s currently estimated that there are a little over 4 million left to be claimed.

Yes, the early birds have got most of the worms.

Your mined bitcoins are then generated into circulation using the proper software (we’ll touch on this shortly), which works to solve difficult math problems that would be indecipherable for 99% of us. When problems are successfully solved, the ‘miner’ receives new Bitcoins. This process also verifies transactions.

So where to start?

Step 1: Choose Your Bitcoin Mining Software

It’s necessary to run specific software to mine Bitcoins and verify transactions. You can choose from several different Bitcoin mining software programs. Each of them offers its own set of features and works on different OS platforms. Here’s the most well known of the bunch currently:

GUIMiner: GUIMiner is a GPU and CPU mining tool that lets users to work independently and pool mining through a simple graphic interface. It’s solid with both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs (graphics processing units) and works on Windows platforms.

CGMiner: CGMiner is an open source ASIC/FGPA cross-platform software, meaning that it works on Linux, Windows, OSX, and other platforms. CGMiner is categorized as a command line software, meaning it doesn’t have a graphics interface.

BFGMiner: BFGMiner is especially popular as an open source command-line software program that lets you mine Bitcoin on any platform. Attractive features include dynamic clocking, monitoring, and remote interface capabilities.

Ok, now you’ve got your ‘miner’ on board. What next?

Step 2: Get a Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin miners will need a bitcoin wallet to store all of your coins that you earn. Your wallet will have its own address, and that address is yours exclusively. Payments are also directed to your wallet. That bitcoin wallet will have a public address you can pass along to anyone who wants to direct a payment to you.

There’s more than one type of wallet for you to choose from. If you intend to be more of a bitcoin ‘hoarder’ who’ll wait for a good time to sell them, there are web-based wallets such as BitcoinPaperWallet that will be a good fit for you. Bitcoin Paper Wallet makes your profits safe in the form of ‘paper cash.’

If you’re more the type to be regularly cashing out or making payments, you’ll be best served by desktop software that keeps your Bitcoin funds stored on your computer. Be aware though that you should use this type of wallet via a computer that is offline exclusively. If not, you risk losing money if someone hacks into your software. We like Electrum, one of the most popular solutions and compatible with virtually every desktop OS.

Ok, you’re set up with your virtual wallet.

Step 3: Join a Bitcoin Mining Pool or Go Solo

Working solo is best if you’re aiming to be profitable with your Bitcoins. However, it will require some serious hardware resources. Anyone not ready to spend a few thousand bucks or more on powerful mining hardware will need to join a mining pool. They allow multiple miners to consolidate their processing power and generate blocks to earn Bitcoin together. The profits are then split based on how much of your processing power you’ve contributed.

You can join a mining pool by choosing one, creating a user profile, dedicating a worker, and then adding your Bitcoin Wallet’s public address so you’re set up to receive funds when the profits are divided and paid out. Inform yourself about all the possible options and pick the one that best suits your needs.

If you think you want to go solo to earn more Bitcoin than you would collectively in a mining pool, you’re going to have some extensive hardware outlay costs as we’ve mentioned.

Step 4: Buying Products or Services with Bitcoins

So what about actually buying products with Bitcoin? The number of companies around the world accepting Bitcoin for products and services is growing every day, and here’s how you can purchase from them with Bitcoin.

Debit Cards: Funding your debit card using the Bitcoins from your Wallet is now possible and is the most flexible way of making payments, withdrawing cash from ATMs, and sending payments to another account. There will be fees however, and some services insist that you convert your Bitcoins to a flat currency before making payments. This process can result in certain payments ending up being more expensive, but that’s the price you pay for the convenience of it. And it is very convenient!

Gift Cards: Bitcoin can be used to buy gift cards from certain stores. The main benefit of gift cards here is that most businesses offer discounts attached to them. Yes, you can buy gift cards for birthdays, Christmas, etc. and pay for them with gift cards.

Online Shopping: Your Bitcoins can be used to buy directly products from online retailers who accept them. The numbers of those retailers are growing rapidly.

Step 5: Bitcoin Transaction Verification

Your Bitcoin will never be ‘attached’ to any physical address, so its record is open to everyone, and the information related to it is universally available to the same level. It’s completely transparent. Sending a Bitcoin payment required inclusion of three pieces of information:

  1. Your Bitcoin address.
  2. The number of Bitcoins you are transferring to the recipient
  3. The recipient’s Bitcoin address

That’s pretty much it. If we’ve peaked your interest in mining Bitcoins then we’re happy to have helped you with the discovery and we wish you well with your mining.

7 Recommended Java Web Frameworks for 2018

As we move into 2018, web app frameworks continue be the figurative utility knives for web developers, buoyed in large part by the fact that ever increasing facets of our lives are tied into the digital world and we need devices and apps that allow us to manage them effectively. They are essential for the development of different web applications like web resources, web APIs, and web services, and can serve to relieve some the extraneous tasks by – among other benefits – promoting the reuse of code, a HUGE plus for developers for whom time is a precious commodity.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a leading Canadian web hosting provider who – not surprisingly – strives to have our thumb on the pulse on trends in the web development world given the fact a great many of our customers are also the ones getting their hardhat on when it comes to building and maintaining websites.

Java continues to be one of – if not the – construction platforms of choice for web development, and we thought it would be helpful to this week have a look at some of the better Java web frameworks that are ideally lined up with what web apps are going to need to offer in the coming year.

Let’s have a look at 7 of them, with both pros and cons:


  • JSF (JavaServer Faces)


JSF is a net utility framework of Java, and it benefits greatly by being supported by Oracle. While it’s not the most ideal framework for Java development, it is easy to put to work because of documentation supplied by Oracle. Further, if EE environment Java is what you’re after then there will be no extra dependency on JSF. It enables a number of quality tools and rich libraries for expanding upon the complexity of an application. JSF uses server pages of Java and can support different technologies of Facelets and XUL.


  • JSF is an important part of Java EE and will likely be a very ideal match for developers who use IDE software


  • JavaServer Faces can be a little daunting to those without prior skills and experience with Java web development
  1. Struts

As its name might suggest, Struts is a framework designed for building the base of a web application. It is a set of interfaces and classes that work in conjunction for overcoming particular common hurdles when laying down the foundation of an app. It functions on an MVC (model-view controller) pattern. Struts also sports a net framework for numerous Java applications, and it has been strengthened by contributions from various supporting communities. In particular, it gets high marks for creating dynamic responses.


  • Efficient with promoting internal organization architecture that allows better control and building of MVC-based applications.
  • I-18-N support is built in
  • Struts is constructed in extension validation and authentication
  • Allows for modular development and integration with additional components


  • Framework is inflexible for the most part
  • Framework imposes set coding, designing and thinking
  1. Spring MVC

The Spring MVC framework is designed to be a layered J2EE/Java framework that easily integrates specially applied sciences. It is a good fit for a broad range of ingenuities. Following design and expansion, Spring MVC introduced a number of changes to become a full-scale framework Java for Internet applications. First in line with its advantages is a useful toolkit for development and configuration of web applications, and it’s a good choice for security projects too.

Spring is highly regarded among programmers for its thoroughly developed ecosystem. It has numerous add-ons, such as SOAP services, REST APIs, and security authentication.


  • Spring is definitely near the top of the best Java frameworks
  • Enhanced modularity to improve the ability to read code
  • Test data through POJOs with a simplified injection
  • Use of DI (dependency injection) is made very flexible
  • Loose coupling among different modules


  • Can be a handful for a newbie developer
  • Steep learning curve
  1. Hibernate

Many of you in the know reading this might have been wondering when Hibernate was going to make its appearance in the list. It is one the best Java web frameworks, essential being an object-relation mapping device for programming language within Java. It provides a mapping framework for a domain model (object-oriented) to one relational database. Hibernate can deliver solutions to object-relational impedance incongruity problems, doing so by substituting persistent and direct databases with high-level object controlling functions.

In addition, the fact it is a free software distributed under public 2.1 License of GNU Lesser General is a big plus too.


  • Hibernate allows optimized communication with any database via tiny alternations in code
  • Like MySQL, Db2 or Oracle, Hibernate is DB independent
  • Ability to cache instrument to bug catalog with same queries
  • N+1 or Sluggish loading support
  • Risk of data loss is very minimized, and it requires less power


  • Power outages can result in loss of data
  • Restarting can be especially slow at times
  1. Google Web ToolKit

Next up is the one the majority of you may already be familiar, due in large part to the massiveness of its provider. GWT (Google Web Toolkit) is an open source tool set that sets up web developers nicely for maintaining and creating complex JavaScript front-end applications. The entirety of your JavaSource can be built on a supported platform with integrated GWT Ant construct files.

The application is licensed under the Apache License 2.0 version, and Google Web ToolKit puts focus on reusable approaches to tasks that are common to web development, including cross-browser portability, internationalization, UI abstraction, bookmarking, history management, remote procedure calls and asynchronous operations.


  • Impressively easy to learn
  • Ideal for creating significantly responsive web application that put more on the client side and less on the server side
  • Good variety of JavaScript libraries out there thus making developers appreciate the true power of GWT
  • Built-in IDE support to directly refactor Java cryptogram/code helps maintain solid design at all times
  • Ongoing project with regular update rollouts


  • May not get all interfaces and functions due to the speed with which GWT evolves
  • GWT compilation is slow, and proprietary methods are required to define structure
  1. Play! Framework

Nothing’s better than when work is play, and while this framework doesn’t make development QUITE so enjoyable, it’s still pretty darn good. Play! framework makes it easy for you to build web applications with Scala and Java, being based on stateless, web-friendly and lightweight architecture. It is built on Akka and provides minimal and predictable resource consumption (threads, memory, & CPU) for highly-scalable applications.

The Play framework is especially friendly for developers needing to make changes to text editor and browser. It utilizes a fully asynchronous model designed to go along with Akka. Also, while being stateless it still scales predictably, and is a nice match for the needs of modern mobile and web applications.


  • Improves overall productivity for nearly any developer
  • Quick reload for configuration changes, templates and java code
  • Designed on Netty and supports non-blocking I/O
  • 100% open source, with excellent function
  • Zenexity and Typesafe offer commercial support
  • Able to handle errors in dev mode for runtime and compile errors
  • Scala and Java use type-safe language, reliable and JVM performance to scale to various developers and users


  • Essentially a functional rewrite of the Play 1
  • Constructed around I/O async with need to write code and execute later, leading to unidentified inner classes
  1. Grails

Grails gets the final nod on our list here today, being another useful Java Web Frameworks that excels with giving you the ability to multiply productivity towards convention-over-configuration, opinionated APIs, and sensible defaults. It assimilates smoothly with JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and gives you much more in the way of productivity while also providing powerful features like asynchronous programming, compiling time meta-programming, and working with run-time and domain-specific languages.

You can also interact and integrate with Java, Java EE containers, and JVM seamlessly.


  • Ideal for dealing with medium or small-size project
  • Rapid development cycle
  • Variety of plug-ins
  • Easy to manage CSS
  • Dynamic configuration allows changes without needing to restart server


  • Must work with runtime language
  • Problematic at times to work on multi-threaded application

Important Information on Meltdown and Spectre Security Flaws


Some of you may already be aware, but we figure it’s likely best to still put this piece of news out there. Arguably the largest security breaches ever affecting electronic devices were reported last week, on Jan. 2nd. Labeled as Meltdown and Spectre, these similar but slightly different security loopholes take advantage of security vulnerabilities in CPUs (central processing units) with hackers becoming allowed to access systems and read / copy highly-sensitive and private data, like passwords and more.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we believe that part of what makes us a premier Canadian web hosting provider is the level of accountability we have towards the wellbeing of our customers in as far as their online interests are concerned. That said, we understand that each of you are also everyday people using digital technologies to make your life better just like anyone else and so we make an effort to share information like this with you.

It seems that the consensus among web security experts is that these 2 security flaws are encompassing a new realm in security flaws, and may be indicative of worse things to come in the future. That’s not really cause for more concern than necessary, however, as the struggle between hackers and those charges with implementing effective protective measures has been going on for decades now.

It’s jus that it may mean a need to dig a little deeper in the pushback this time. Let’s get into the specifics of Meltdown and Spectre.

We’ll start by saying that as of 3 days ago there are no reported cases of this vulnerability being exploited on a large scale.

Facts on Meltdown and Spectre


To put it simply, meltdown is a hole in programming that allows unauthorized access to the memory of an operating system like Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux etc., as well as the programs that run on it. History, passwords and other sensitive information can be accessed and taken.


Spectre makes it possible for hackers to pass through the security walls separating different applications. The most pressing concern here is that the greater number of security measures in place, the greater amount of potential access points there are. This equation makes it a much more difficult problem to address effectively.

Here’s a list of devices and programs that are affected:

  • Devices like post—2006 model iPhones, iPads, and Macs
  • Android phones
  • Operating systems: Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS and macOS
  • Browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari
  • Processors: Intel, AMD most notably, and others (Meltdown)

Specific Concerns for Canadians Regarding Both

It’s a fact that the majority of personal computing devices run on Intel or AMD processors This includes your smartphone in the same way it does you computer or tablet.

At present, patches are being created (or have already been put into place). Apple has offered up patches for iOS 11.2, and macOS 10.32.2 to protect against Meltdown. An effective Safari patch is apparently on its way in the coming days.

Amazon is keeping pace, having already released the Meltdown patch for its AWS cloud computing services, which brings up another issue that should be seriously concerning – many are finding that these patches seem to cut processing speed.

Most of you are going to be displeased at the prospect of slower performance by 5% to 30% for certain tasks across patched devices and programs, and that’s what we’re being told to expect by more than few reputable sources. Of course, all of this is conjecture at this point.

Suggested Protective Measures

Most Canadian web hosting providers are always active with patching their servers as necessary, and as you’d expect that includes us here at 4GoodHosting. For anyone responsible for such measures on their own, we recommend a full kernel update and system reboot. Advanced system administrators can see to this by logging in to your Linux server via command line (SSH) and entering the following commands on CentOS and CloudLinux 6 and 7 operating systems:

  • yum update -y

Other Ways to Stay Safe

Safeguard yourself more effectively against these new major security flaws by:

  • Making sure that you enable system updates on your devices and for all installed programs, even if that means checking any programs that do not feature the ability to enable auto-updates. Plus, check for updates daily over the next month or so.
  • Enable two-factor authentications (2FA) whenever possible on your devices, plus for password protected application.
  • Create new passwords immediately, and do so semi-regularly for the next 6 months. Password managers such as Lastpass can help make this much easier for you.

Happy to make you aware if you weren’t already, and we hope the storm passed quickly as it usually does. Until then, onwards and upwards with the continued day-to-day we say.

Feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

The Continued Importance of Content Marketing in 2018

We’ll start this week as we should – by wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2018 and hoping that the coming year is a prosperous one. When it comes to Internet marketing there are a number of truths that don’t change in the slightest no matter which pair of digits are at the end of a calendar year. The importance of smart content marketing is most certainly one of them, and as such it makes for a good refresher topic for us to hit the ground running with as January arrives.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re proud to be a top Canadian web hosting provider and we also enjoying seeing our valued customers have success with making themselves more visible to prospective customers of their own. It’s safe for us to assume that you’re already creating valuable content for your site, but are you doing so most effectively?

The aim is always to be nurturing the public with quality content – whether that’s with text, video or audio – in order to educate it, foster relationships and provide the types of necessary information that creates an informed consumer that will accredit a portion of their becoming informed to you on the way to becoming a loyal consumer.

Here’s the consensus most impressive and recent statistics on content marketing that will give you even more motivation to revisit your content marketing strategy.

Genuinely Informative, Well Written Blogs Generate Traffic and Leads

Creating, writing, and maintaining a blog related to your website or e-commerce site is always going to be priority number one for anyone who wants to increase traffic, but without a good supply of content for the consumer and the ability to write (and produce) quality materials for readers is an absolute must. There’s 2 sides to this equation, the knowledge / insight AND the ability to share it in attractive, readable form.

If you can cover both sides of it, great. If not, you need to connect with someone who can take care of that for you. That may become an expense, but it’s entirely worth it.

Look no further for proof than a Hubspot survey showing that companies that publish at least 16 posts a month have 3 and a half times more traffic than those who post 4 times or less per month. Companies that put up 16 posts or more are also able to generate 4.5 more leads than those who serve up only between 4 and 6 posts.

Looking at it elementally, a blog is intended to generate content that interests the public and is – ideally – then related to your market and products. You make the connection stylistically and indirectly, and writing skills do have a lot to do with that. With a good volume of traffic comes a greater number of visitors who have the makeup of potentially becoming a consumer.

It’s also important to consider leads. Visitors who demonstrate a clear interest in what you have to offer through a registration are essential for any business. Being in possession of submitted contact information means you can keep in touch with that individual until the time is right for your business team to offer one of your products or services. And with continued quality content, you increase the chances of this even further.

Bearing out that point – Survey information suggests that 47% of consumers only contact a sales representative after consuming between 3 and 5 brand content they are reviewing.

Quality Strategic Content Positions You Better on Google

We imagine there’s not even one business that doesn’t entertain hopes of being at the top of Google’s search pages. Not something easy to do, but content marketing is also a good tool to help you get as close to it as possible.

Consider this. Do you make an online survey before making a big purchase? Right, we do too and nearly everyone does. When a brand is presented among the first results, they’re more likely to choose it. Having quality content that informs, helps, and educates the user is one of the most important requirements for Google to position your site highly and make you increasingly visible to prospective customers.

Long story short – producing relevant content is the most effective tactic for making your site one of the highest ranked on Google.

Content Marketing is Increasingly Less Optional

It would be a mistake to think that producing brand content is something that only small businesses do as means of keeping up with the big players. Content marketing is a priority for everyone, and well it should be. Consider this next:

According to yet another Hubspot report, 53% of professionals tab blogging as their top priority for business development. Not that you likely to be convinced, but consider the following important points as well as the primary one of simply getting down to creating your content:

  • Content distribution
  • Creating more interactive content
  • Creating more visual content

Video Itself can be Valuable Content

Video has emerged as a very interesting and potentially powerful content format for brands, and many companies and professionals are now giving it more focus when it comes to their content marketing strategies.

Look no further than the ever growing popularity of product reviews on Youtube. It’s a fact that prospective buyers do put significant value on them, with a sort of ‘real person’ belief in what they’re seeing regarding the product and its quality and suitability.

Content marketing has proven to be an effective way to convey information to the customer before he or she buys a product, and similar data is indicating that the income of companies that use videos can expand up to 49% faster than those who do not create content in this type of media. 48% of companies want to invest more in YouTube and 46% also have plans for videos on Facebook, the most popular social media network for consistent disposable income and specific buying prerogatives.

Making your content marketing efforts more a priority is as good a new year’s resolution as any. We look forward to meeting all sorts of new customers throughout 2018, and never hesitate to be in touch regarding anything related to getting the most of out of your online presence.

Forecasting the Cloud for 2018 as 2017 Draws to a Close

A full year ago, at the close of 2016, it wasn’t going to be much of a stretch to say that cloud computing will continue to dominate headlines in the web world throughout the coming year AND beyond. Of course that turned out to be entirely true, and the ‘beyond’ at the end looks to be pretty accurate too with the fact that the Cloud is still front and centre as a newsmaker moving now into 2018.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we buy in entirely to the belief that the best Canadian web hosting provider will always be one with their thumb on the pulse of digital and web publishing technologies. Accordingly we’re always immersing ourselves in every permutation with which cloud computing is affecting the daily lives of those with vested interests in their online presence.

Look no further than the fact that that by 2020, it’s estimated that public IT cloud services will account for 58% of the $355 billion combined spending on traditional plus public cloud applications, development and deployment tools, infrastructure software, storage, and servers. Public cloud services aren’t going to be everything though, as the dominant cloud model in coming years will revolve around hybrid cloud systems.

There seems to be a consensus on what the coming year will have in store as regards the Cloud, so let’s have a look at in detail for our last blog of 2017.

Keeping An Eye on the ‘Edge’

Edge computing will become a part of your business, whether you choose it to do so or not. Many digital business projects create data that is processed more efficiently when the computing power is in close proximity to the thing or person generating it. Edge computing solutions make it impossible to embrace all the benefits of localized computing power. Those responsible for IT infrastructure and operations should understand the associated business value and risks when managing these solutions, and this applies to much more than just content. Advanced devices like IoT and IIot will be front and centre with the edge, with approximately 43% of IoT data likely being processed at the edge by the time 2020 rolls around.

Questions to ask:

  • How good is your user experience?
  • Are you supporting new business initiatives?
  • Are you intelligently distributing resources and content to users?
  • Are you able to legitimately decentralize your data centres?

Limited Order from Chaos

Chaos is truly the only word to describe security in the cloud age. Nearly every one of the ever-increasing numbers of breaches comes with conjoining problems. We can’t even define cybersecurity the same way any longer. As we move forward, don’t expect there to be a silver bullet for your security requirements. Sure, there’s been progress with predictive security analytics, machine learning, security process automation, and even security AI, but they’re not anywhere near what we’d call sufficient so far.

What you can do is make sure your security architecture isn’t complex or fragmented, and leveraging more than one security tool is a great idea. Having too many, on the other hand, will be detrimental more often than not.

Check out the new solutions which help with cloud-to-cloud security, advanced sandboxing, and even threat telemetry based on intelligent contextual engines. The best put their focus on security intelligence, data integration, and focusing on root causes around security holes. Leverage these tools, and start with them ASAP.

Control WAN for Significant Cost Savings

Today’s digital transformation and cloud computing trends are creating a need for significant changes to enterprise WAN architectures. We’re seeing the adoption of SaaS, IaaS, and other cloud services accelerating and heightening the need for significant architectural changes to WAN, and there’s a very real accompanying need to reduce the complexity and cost of WAN provisioning and management.

Some means that have shown recent promise for doing so include software-defined technologies help organizations abstract key services from hardware systems. They can be deployed for greater WAN control, content delivery optimization, and for better remote data centre controls as well. The best ones are entirely flexible, agile, easy to deploy, and help optimize the way you deliver content.

You’ll be able to closely monitor user performance and experience, how your WAN is operating, optimize specific applications, and I highly recommend you take a look at these systems. Deploying a couple of virtual appliances to test out new WAN solutions isn’t difficult or overly expensive.

Pay Serious Attention to IoT, Data, and the Connected World

Estimates suggest that around 10% of enterprise-generated data is currently created and processed outside a traditional centralized data centre or cloud. Get ready for that number to reach 50% within 4 years. Growth in machine-to-machine connections and applications is also driving new data analytics needs in response to the trend. This is why it’s critical to understand IoT technologies, as the applications tend to be night and day different.

The bulk of them and all their ins and outs would be an entire separate post on its own, but the most important thing to understand is that you will be creating more data. That in itself likely isn’t surprising, but what may well be is that most of this data will be ephemeral in nature and neither saved nor stored.

Long story short? There will be approximately 10 times more useful data being created (than will be used in the near future. This will prompt advances in machine learning, data intelligence, and even IoT analytics engines. Be ready for more connected devices that leverage their data much more judiciously.

Welcome the Mobile Workforce

Our level of connectedness – independent of location – will only continue to increase. A recent study showed that leveraging apps and mobile tools helps with improved employee productivity. Some findings:

  • 30% of respondents said apps improve business processes
  • 23% reported having apps increasing their productivity
  • 20% said it gave them a competitive advantage
  • 14% reported greater satisfaction as employees

No shocker here, but the global mobile workforce is set to increase, and in fact it’s forecast to grow from 1.45 billion in 2016 to 1.87 billion in 2022, a jump from 38 to 42.5% of the global workforce.

Those of you who will be keeping up best will be deploying new wireless technologies that help users connect and be productive, and delivering apps, desktops, and services to users contextually. In the bigger picture, organizations that embrace their user’s connected state will see the biggest benefits from enabling a more productive mobile workforce. Organizations not on the public cloud will be increasingly isolated from the world of tech innovation.

In summary, it’s important to define what cloud means for you organization and user base. This year you should make sure to work with solutions that fit your specific use-cases, aligning business processes with strategic IT goals, and working with end-users to understand collectively how to best manage your resources.

From all of us at 4GoodHosting, all the best to all of you in 2018.

Colocation: What is it, and Why it’s a Good Fit For Bigger Mid-Size Businesses

Businesses without an online presence are few and far between these days, and there is a vast number of options for web hosting for those who’ve joined the majority and taken their business online. The bulk of those business owners won’t know one type of hosting from the other, and that’s perfectly fine – we may well know little to nothing about the ins and outs of your industry also.

Here at 4GoodHosting, part of what’s made us a top quality Canadian web hosting provider is the way in which we’re entirely receptive to the differing needs of businesses when it comes to optimally locating themselves on the World Wide Web. Web hosting is most certainly not a 1-size-fits-all utility, and we offer different options accordingly.

Which leads us to this week’s discussion. Collocation is something of a ‘buzzword’ in the industry these days, and as such we’re going to lay it out in detail in this week’s blog. Conventional shared hosting will be fine for small businesses with a stable number of visitors, but a large multinational – for example – will probably have its own web servers. Those of you who are somewhere in between may want to look at colocation.

What Exactly is Colocation?

It’s when companies locate their own privately-owned web servers and IT equipment in a 3rd-party data centre. They don’t own the space, they rent it.

The total space available will be rented out to many different companies, and the provider will offer day-to-day support to accommodate the entirety of the clients’ web presence needs. You’ll get bandwidth, power, cooling, security (physical and cyber), and as many IP addresses as needed. Client companies are responsible for maintenance and upgrades, but some data centres will offer this service for an additional cost.

How much space is available in a colocation data centre? That’s a measure of racks and cabinets. The physical server equipment is kept on a rack, and most measure 1.75” high. On average, 47 racks make up a cabinet and clients typically can rent out full or half cabinets.

Advantages of Colocation

There are plenty of advantages to choosing colocation over shared or private hosting.

For starters, colocation tends to be a very reliable way for larger businesses to be optimally hosted on the web. There’s a number of reasons for that; power outages are rare and most data centres will have the means of quickly overcoming them if they do occur.

In addition, the data centres tend to be extremely reliable when it comes to backing up data. Add the fact they’re nearly always especially secure with strongly-locked cabinets, CCTV, and in-person security staff and you needn’t concern yourself with data security.

Colocation generally offers a more fully-functional web service than you’d get with shared hosting. That’s primarily attributable to greater bandwidth and lower latency when it comes to loading your web pages.

Moving right along, colocation also offers more flexibility in comparison to most web services. You’re more able to choose a plan that really suits you, and upgrade as needed when your business grows. Keep in mind that the expansive bandwidth you get with colocation is often cheaper per volume than you’d get with shared hosting.

Added control is a plus too. Although you’re responsible for your own server equipment, it means if you want to upgrade anything, you can. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

Finally, colocation is a great way of saving office space. No need for a big rack room anymore. Choosing a maintenance option, if available, can also save IT staff and logistics costs.

Colocation Disadvantages

Colocation does have some specific drawbacks, however.

This starts with the fact that most colocation data centres are found in major metro cities. If your office isn’t in one of them, you may struggle to find a colocation centre that works for you. You can still go with colocation, but you’ll have to travel to that data centre, at least in the beginning. That’s because you’ll need to install and maintain your equipment. Like any office, the colocation centre will have office hours and you’ll have to work around those hours.

For some, that takes away from the practicality of going with colocation for web hosting in Canada. Another consideration is that you’ll likely have a lease with the data centre (definitely the norm) and you’ll be tied to them for the duration of it. If you move cities, this could be problematic.

Last in our list of potential drawbacks is the fact that while bandwidth is often cheaper through colocation in comparison to shared or VPS hosting, with colocation you have no choice but to buy all the hardware yourself. That’s an added cost, and typically not a small one. Depending on your plan, you may have to pay extra as your business grows and you begin to receive that ever-welcome increase in web traffic.

Who is Best Suited for Colocation?

Those of you simply running a personal website or blog won’t need to invest in colocation. On the other hand, if you’re running a large business, then you will probably want to own and run your own web services. Some of you may be between those 2 stages, and it’s you who’ll benefit most from colocation for your web hosting. You can sport a large, professional-looking web presence, while having your data centre take care of the grunt work of day to day web operations.

There are pros and cons to colocation. However, if your business is at that formative middle stage of its growth, it can be just right for you.

As always, don’t hesitate to be in touch with us here at 4GoodHosting if you have any questions regarding which type of web hosting is best for your business.

Smart to be Secure: Choosing the Right SSL Certificate for an E-Commerce Site

Now more than ever before it’s very important for any website that allows for transactions between vendor and purchaser to have an SSL certificate. This is in large part because Google’s newest update is now geared to make any site without one very visible to anyone visiting it. In fact it’s actually even taking punitive measures against sites that don’t feature an SSL cert. In previous versions, websites with an SSL would get an SEO boost, but now any HTTP websites with any kind of text input will be tagged with a “Not Secure” warning prominently – and painfully – displayed in the address bar.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we pride ourselves on being a Canadian web hosting provider that has something for everyone when it comes to taking your venture, business – or even just yourself – onto the World Wide Web. A good many of our customers are in business online, and we’ve been offering quality, affordable SSL certificates for many years now. Some people many not like this new reality, but it is what it is and in the big picture of things it’s a positive as identity theft and fraud are ever-increasing threats to those making transactions online.

Let’s start with a little self-diagnostic tip. If your website is displaying the ‘Not Secure’ status, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Is your website set up for taking text input? This can include contact forms, search bars, login panels, etc.
  2. Are you using HTTP://?

Answer “yes” to both of these questions and – long story short – you need to install an SSL certificate for your website. But let’s dig into this deeper.

Difference between a Shared SSL and a private SSL Certificate?

There are differences. The two types of SSL available for a website are Shared SSL and private SSL certificates. Free SSLs are a third one, but there are plenty of reasons why you should stay away from free SSLs and we’ll get to that.

We’ll start by making clear that there is no difference between a Shared SSL and a private SSL certificate as far as the level of encryption is concerned, or how effective that encryption is.

The difference between a shared and private SSL certificate lies primarily in the URL of the encrypted website and the cost of purchasing them.

Shared SSL

Shared SSL means the SSL certificate is installed on the web server, and that means you are sharing the SSL with other hosting accounts on the web server in a shared hosting environment. Rather than, your URL will then be

While a shared SSL certificate is an affordable site security solution, it’s not always ideal and here’s why.

  1. The SSL not installed on your domain name

Due to the fact you’re using your web server’s shared SSL, the SSL is not linked specifically to your domain name, but instead to the shared server’s domain name. This may resulting in the web browser sending an alert or certificate warning to your visitors when they try to access your site – the problem being that the domain name they are visiting doesn’t match the domain name listed there on the SSL certificate.

To summarize, shared SSL certs are best used in situations where the need is for a secure connection to the server that will not be seen by the general public. This could be when logging into webmail or the admin area of your website, as one example.

  1. No business name is on the certificate

Another drawback to a shared SSL certificate is that your business name is not on the certificate. While there is a lot of information found on an SSL certificate:

  • Validity period
  • Issuing certificate authority (CA)
  • The domain of issuance
  • The company operating the website

The business name isn’t one of them

SSL Certificate details can be viewed on your web browser. I you are using Google Chrome, you can get the scoop on a website’s SSL certificate by going to More tools > Developer tools > Security.

You can also view a SSL certificate’s details in other browsers – Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer – depending on your preference.

Making this information available to your visitors will help them make a comfortable determination who they are doing business with, as well as assuring them that the website is safe. Keep in mind though that because the shared SSL is issued to the shared web server, your business name will not be on it. Yes, your website is protected by the SSL certificate, but it will not have foster the same of level of trust in the visitor that a private SSL certificate will.

  1. Some shopping carts require you to use a private SSL

There are many other eCommerce solutions out there that work well with a shared SSL, but shared SSL is not recommended for any eCommerce website. It’s worth nothing that a number of major banks will not issue internet merchant accounts to business utilizing a shared SSL certificate.

It’s helpful to understand further that in order to accept credit card information on your website, you must pass certain audits and validations showing you to be in compliance with the PCI (payment card industry) standards, and one of the requirements is a properly installed SSL certificate.

  1. Google offers more credit to private SSL certificates

These days some are asking whether a shared SSL would affect search engine rankings, and the verdict seems to still be out on that one. Many experts, however, believe that Google favours websites coming with their own SSL certificate.

What about free SSL certificates?

It’s not difficult to find companies that offer free SSL certificates. Avoid, and here’s why:

  1. They maz not come from a globally trusted certificate authority, and Google might not actually trust the certificate at all. By the time you become aware of that the damage may well already be done is as far as your SERPs and lost customers
  2. They might not be insufficiently encrypted. SSLs come in various encryption strengths. Any free SSL certificate is going to be of the weakest possible encryption.

Private SSL Certificate

Purchasing a private SSL certificate is the smart choice, and decidedly affordable too.

You can purchase an SSL certificate and a dedicated IP (which is required for the SSL installation) as an add-on to your current hosting plan. Purchase both from 4GoodHosting makes the process quick and easy,, but SSL certs purchased elsewhere can be installed through your cPanel.

Another cost and time effective option is 4GoodHosting’s Advanced Hosting plans. Included as part of the plan is a private SSL certificate which will protect the domain with 100% reliability.

You can find more information about our advanced plans here.

Let’s keep people darkening your virtual door, and keep you standing in good stead with Google!

Dead Drain: Staring Down the Zombie Server Problem

What’s that, you say? This week’s topic may seem a little ‘surreal’, but there is, in fact, such a thing as a zombie server and there’s increasing numbers of them out there draining away power and resources that could otherwise be put to more productive purposes.

It’s certainly a power efficiency problem, but it’s also an environmental problem as well as a capital resource problem. Zombie servers have now become a major hassle for data centres around the world. Comatose devices running with no external communications or visibility, and contributing nothing in the way of computer resources.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we like to think that staying on top of major trends in the industry is a big part of what makes us a good Canadian web hosting provider. And considering that estimates now suggest that there are over 10 million zombie servers worldwide, this is definitely one that we’d prefer to never be discussing again.

These 10 million+ servers are wasting the equivalent of the electrical power generated by eight major power plants. Reliable research indicates that 30% of servers are comatose, and that means that almost one-third of capital in enterprise data centres is squandered. Then you add the security risk posed by zombie servers because of how they aren’t patched or maintained.

The Horde is Growing

It’s a fact that identifying a zombie server isn’t easy, and particularly for those who don’t interact with them frequently or extensively. More and more data centres with hundreds and thousands of comatose servers are completely unaware of the power these devices eat up. Many of these ‘zombies’ remain anonymous, devouring energy while providing no real active function.

Example of their evil ways include dozing off for months at time, generating heat for no real reason, and accelerating the power meter simply for the sake of doing so. And more often than not the only way to identify them is to walk up down the aisles of a data centre with a clipboard taking notes of the transgressors. That’s something few operations managers have the time to do.

Consider as well that another massively problematic issue related to these zombie servers is the physical space they take up. Keep in mind that servers are huge machines that occupy precious and often pricey real estate in city centres. Hyperscalers understand this and are pushing forward to design the most energy-efficient data centres. For example, in 2011, Facebook launched the Open Compute Project. The initiative to rethink and re-implement hardware design was prompted by the company’s determination to design a data centre that could handle unprecedented scale, while being cost-controlled.

Taking that lead, Apple has announced plans to build a $1.3 billion, state-of-the-art data centre that will be located in less-pricey Iowa and run entirely on renewable energy. In this era of energy-consciencous data centre operations, it seems we’re finally taking aim at zombie servers.

Rabid Consumption

Data centres around the globe host vast and ever-growing silos of information. Supplying the needed energy for these centres has become a MAJOR expense. Long story short, tens of billions of dollars are wasted on these walking dead, and eliminating them would free up some 2 gigawatts to support new IT loads performing real work instead of wasting electricity and space.

A 2012 investigation turned up some 20,000 zombie servers. Shutting them down resulted in a 5 megawatt reduction in IT load and an additional 4 megawatt drop in cooling and infrastructure load. If we put these savings in a global context, eliminating all the zombie servers around the world might just create a 4 gigawatts of combined IT and infrastructure load reduction. All of this redirect able infrastructure could support new IT loads that deliver real work instead of simply wasting electricity and space.

This is a big deal no matter how you want to look at it, especially when it’s estimated that U.S. data centres consume over 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy on average each year. By 2020 that number is expecting to jump by 53%. Eliminating zombie servers and boosting energy efficiency could cut electrical usage by 40%, and it’s really something that’s both necessary and attainable.

Time to Go

Fortunately, energy remains the one cost data centres can reduce via proper facilities design and management. Some centres have taken the lead in finding, waking up, or shutting down zombie servers. Proper facility management means many servers that are no longer needed can be identified and shut down, while others are oriented to now run their software on the cloud. It’s quite telling when some companies report cutting their energy consumption by over a third by taking these steps.

Any operations manager that’s up for that challenge will find that it takes a coordinated effort to see these energy savings happen. Only an IT technician will know which devices can remain live, and which ones can be turned off. Those decisions should only be made by a person who is explicitly in the know and entirely aware of what they’re doing! We’ll need both of them walking the server tunnels, and making a joint decision on which zombies get their plugs pulled.

Unfortunately, this day or reckoning rarely comes for most of the zombie servers.

Yes, data centres are eager to solve the problem, but they’re impeded by the need to keep idle servers running lest they accidentally make a mission critical server inoperative. Yes, in many cases the zombies are kept alive ‘just in case’ there’s been an error in their identification.

Some new data centre tools, however, allow their operators to easily spot and shut down zombie servers, and that includes physical, virtual or even cloud versions. Doing so creates a dramatic improvement in the sustainability of their infrastructure, with a marked increase in both economic and environmental efficiencies. Next-generation software can optimize on-premises infrastructure, including IT servers, storage and network, plus virtual machines (VMs) and off-premises cloud constructions.

We’ll guess the majority of data centres will keep their heads in the sand about zombie servers. Some may continue to attack the problem with half-hearted combat efforts – shutting down a server here and there – but not really making much of a dent in the problem. Without a truly holistic and far-reaching approach to the problem, the efficiency and very existence of many of these data centres may eventually fall victim to the undead hordes of the web computing world.

7 Tips to Steer Your Marketing Emails Away From Spam Folders

It’s safe to go ahead and assume that nearly all of us have sent an email to a prospective client or colleague and – without our being aware of it – had it end up in a spam folder when we thought it was received in their inbox and thus ready for viewing. Add the fact that people typically don’t search through their spam folders for emails that might’ve been misdirected there and it becomes a serious issue for anyone who’s putting considerable efforts into their email marketing campaigns.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a top Canadian web hosting provider who can absolutely relate to this because we’ve no doubt had a few or more of our own ending up being auto-deleted over time from a spam folder. That’s an opportunity lost, and like you we also put a lot of effort into our email marketing efforts.

So what to do, what makes certain emails get caught in the spam folder when there’s nothing – at least to your understanding – ‘spammy’ about them at all? Of course, it’s because of spam filters. But how exactly do they work, and more specifically what are common triggers for them to take a legitimate email and label it as spam?

Let’s discuss this today, and start by having a look at how spam filters work.

Avoid Accumulating Points!

Spam filters are software programs that scan emails as they flow into device. It is programmed with a specific set of criteria about filtering these emails. When the filter finds an email that matches the criteria, it is summarily sent to the spam folder. All good internet mail servers are equipped with a spam filter, and they can also be installed on network servers and individual PCs.

The filters work with a point system, but of course you don’t want your email accumulating any of these points. When a certain limit or point value is reached during the email scan, the email is termed as spam and it is flagged or deleted depending on the user’s preference settings.

So it now begs the question – how are these points calculated? Every email spam filter will be looking at the following criteria closely:

  • Subject line of the email, looking for common words or phrases that suggest ‘spamming’
  • Content, looking for the presence of suspicious links, low text-to-image ratios and other hallmarks of a ‘spammy’ email
  • Metadata, scanning the To/From/CC fields of an email, scrutinizing the sender’s domain and embedded code
  • Verifying IP addresses, checking if the email is sent from any of the IPs that have already been flagged as spam or blacklisted

Right. So how does one avoid this when your intentions are entirely legit and you’re not looking to ‘spam’ anyone? Here are some tips that will help you avoid the spam folder:

Acquire a Professional Email ID

Having a professional email ID linked to your domain name will create a positive impression in the minds of your mail recipients. It lends credibility to the domain name and it is less likely to be marked as spam. Free email services are commonly the target of spammers and malware, and so emails sent from a free email ID are more likely to be marked as spam. Creating your own professional email ID with your domain name and through an established web host will effectively limit the number of important email communications that end up being bounced or getting sent to spam folders or directly to the trash. Those of you who communicate with your clients and colleagues through emails on a regular basis are advised to get a professional email ID without delay.

Control The Number Of Emails Sent

The majority of spam filters keep a count of the number of email you send at any one time. When sending regular email updates to a large contact list, it is important to use the drip email method even if you have a fast and efficient server delivering your emails. This method will make sure that the emails are sent out at specific and regimented time intervals, thus preventing your emails from getting marked as spam. This is a very easy tip to follow, and it is very effective in seeing to it more of your email end up being received and read.

Test Emails

Test the email once before you adding it to your mailing list is highly recommended. If you have a professional email ID, the general consensus is that you should send test messages to free email IDs on Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, AOL etc., as well as to one generic office email ID that uses the Outlook Client. Be sure to send the test email with the same server and information that you will use for sending emails to your mailing list. Should your test email lands in the junk folder, you obviously need to revisit it and work on the subject, title, content, links etc. of the email before testing it again. Once you are confident that your email is safe to be sent to your clients and isn’t bound for a spam folder, go ahead and send the emails to your mailing list.

Sound Like A Spammer, Be Seen as One

This is pretty straightforward in our opinion. You need to make sure that you are not using words or phrases that will give these filters the impression that you are a spammer. There is a free online software website where you can check the ‘spam score’ of your email content. Here are some basic tips to adhere to when creating the content for your emails:

  • Limit the number of times ‘free’ is incorporated into titles and copy
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS.
  • Avoid using coloured fonts extensively
  • Use only one exclamation point at a time at the end of a sentence
  • Avoid the use of words that tend to be marked as spam – examples; sex, drugs, guaranteed winner, earn money etc.
  • Ensure all your contacts are the ones who have ‘opted-in’ to receive emails from you

In addition, check your own email spam folder and determine what type of emails are getting marked as spam. Hopefully yours have no similarities, but if they do you must see to it that you are not using any of those words or phrases in the subject line or content of your own emails.

Do as Promised

For example, when subscribers have opted for monthly newsletters and you are sending them newsletters every week, they are likely to think that you only want to promote your products / services and are not acting as a legitimate professional. This goes a long way in emails being marked as spam and not being read. Instead, be very clear in letting your subscribers know what you are going to be sending them and how often you will be doing so. Other content like blog post updates, special offers and promotions etc. should be created and sent out as separate groups in your mailing list so that subscribers have a choice as to what type of content they want to receive from you.

Go Small with Attachments

Generally speaking, .jpeg, .gif, .png and .pdf can be considered as attachments that are safe to send. This is only true, however, if they are in context with the email content. Attachment types like .exe, .zip, .swf should be avoided entirely, all the time. Further, sending attachments to people in your mailing list who are not expecting them is inadvisable. If sending a large attachment with your email or an attachment type that might be flagged as spam is important, using a professional service like DropBox is highly recommended. In any instance where the attachment contains sensitive data, it is advisable to use your company’s secure FTP server to send out the email.

Include Text Versions Of Emails

Including a text version of your email is important when you are sending HTML emails. A lack of one is a common cause for the email to land in a spam folder. Text versions of emails are not difficult to generate, and incorporating one for an HTML based email will go a long way to keeping it out of the spam folder AND backing up your communication’s readability if your recipient is unable to view the email as HTML for whatever reason.

In conclusion, it is important to review all the small details related to your emails – even if it takes some of your valuable time to do so. Getting the right attention and response from your email recipients is important, but you won’t even have that chance if they don’t see it sitting there in their inbox. It’s really that simple. Again, we imagine you put great time and effort into crafting your email marketing and newsletter campaigns and you don’t want to see even a fraction of that energy go to waste.

Leave spam filters for REAL spam, agreed?