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the cynic's FAQ: October 2008
some recent questions answered candidly
httpwebwitch

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 7:02 pm on Oct 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

some FAQ from the past couple of months

"hey, you're an internet guy, so, you know how to make money on the internet, right?"

the Internet isn't a field full of ripened money waiting to be harvested. If it's a field (metaphorically) you need to sow a gallon of sweat, and if you're lucky and diligent and smart, you'll harvest something back at the end of the season.

"... so - I'd like to quit my job [at the grocery store] and start doing what you do, making websites"

Then start spending your evenings playing with HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP instead of watching reruns of CSI. Motivation comes first, followed by a massive amount of learning, possibly some pro bono or academic work. Eventually you'll accumulate a portfolio, and earn enough cred to get a job. Working in the internet industry is like jogging - if you really want to do it, you would already be doing it, right? All you need is a computer, access to the WWW, and Notepad. and a membership at WebmasterWorld. Barrier to entry is almost nonexistent, but the slope from amateur to professional employment is long and shallow.

"I need $1000 to cover my rent next month - what's the quickest, easiest way to earn money online?"

The quickest way to make money online is to sell your car on craigslist or kijiji.

Seriously - there is no magic URL you can type in to earn quick cash. There is no way for you to earn $2000 in 2 weeks, starting now. Shills who try to tell you so are usually selling an e-book telling you to sell e-books. Con artists love the smell of desperation. If you are desperate for money, you'll find all kinds of people making promises with their palm out. Don't become a sucker.

The turnaround time for any advertising-based income is 45 days, usually longer; affiliate programs have a similar, if not longer, payback latency; both are businesses that take quite a lot of time and effort to build, certainly not feasible for someone looking to get some cash quick to pay off gambling debts to ward off a visit from Nick The Collector and his Persuasive Fist.

If you have something enticing to sell on etsy or ebay, then you could get more immediate rewards landing in your paypal account.

I registered a bunch of really really awesome domains. I can't believe someone didn't own thejuicemonkeyfarts.com!

Sorry... the bad news is: those aren't the kinds of domains that increase in value. You can sell "LogHomes.com" in the aftermarket, but "thejuicemonkeyfarts" isn't likely to get a lot of serious interest.

The good news is: It's fun to have some of those in your domain menagerie. Hopefully it'll inspire you to create something worthwhile and use that domain for branding... or at the least you could hook it up to a blog or use it to set up some alternative email Inboxes.

I want to build a site that's exactly like [successful web2.0 here], but mine will be better because [insert buzzword]. I'll run the business, you do all the development work, and we'll be 50/50 partners in the company which will some day be worth kabillions. We might even get some VC cash! You in?

no thanks.

How do I rank higher in Google?

For a start, make a better website than all your competitors. Then when you're really satisfied that your site is the best it can be, go hogwild on SEO with all the nifty tricks, tactics, and tweaks. Search Engine Optimization is a bottomless barrel of fun.

Why aren't more people clicking on the ads?

Take a look at the ads. Would you click on any of them? Assuming the target audience for your website are a bunch of people just like you, are the advertisers actually pushing products or services that you covet? The fact is sometimes ads aren't enticing, and all the CSS tweaking, visual embellishment and in-your-face heatmap-optimized placement won't help.

Maybe people are coming to your site to find something, they do find it, and they're done. The advertisements snuggle neglected in the user's huge blind spot. Ironically, past experience has taught me that sometimes you should be asking "should I make my site less useable? more ugly?"

The newest gadget I added to my site has produced a bunch of Javascript errors in IE7. Does it matter?

Yes, it does. Fix them.

My site doesn't validate. Does it matter?

It matters less than sorting your recyclables, but more than aligning your spoons in the drawer.

How can I prevent XSS and SQL injection attacks?

Validate, validate, validate. All user input at every orifice must be validated, and you should use a tainting metaphor to examine all the places where attacks can creep in. Use a combination of whitelisting and blacklisting. If your site uses AJAX, the risks are pretty much the same as with a non-AJAX application, but the surface area of an AJAX app is greater, which increases the chance that security-minded validation will be neglected.

Can you recommend one book that every web developer should read?

RFC 2616 [ietf.org]. It's the specification for HTTP 1.1.

I recommend this because lots and lots of people have read "Don't Make Me Think" or that book by Jeff Zeldman or a shelf full of O'Reilly books, but plenty of people who build websites don't understand HTTP. RFC2616 is the pinnacle of education for a web developer; As Newton's Principia is to Physics, or Darwin's Origin of Species is to biology, RFC 2616 is to developers for the web.

Is it stupid to say "Lawl" (LOL) out loud? What about "Roffle" (ROFL) or "el-may-o" (LMAO)?

If you need to ask then the answer is yes. Generally, saying "LOL" out loud is geeky, and you need to gauge whether you can pull off the delivery such that it resembles comedy. Else you sound like a tit.

A while ago IMHO it was kind of funny, especially if you were being sarcastic. Then it became not funny. Now it's back to being a little bit funny again but it won't last long.

Roffle, roffle, roffle.


I'll post another installment next month, if anyone reminds me

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 7:47 pm on Oct 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

It hurts, but it's very funny! There should be a stand-up comic night at Pubcon - i'll bet you'd be a big hit.

Receptional Andy



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 7:54 pm on Oct 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Very good :)

I don't think I could call you a cynic yet, though ;)

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 8:27 pm on Oct 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

My new goal is to make thejuicemonkeyfarts.com the biggest site on the web.

rocknbil

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 6:03 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

IMHO, rofl, rofl, rofl. What an odd coincidence, not 20 minutes ago had this very conversation. I was a bit less direct. :-)

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 6:38 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm sending this over to a certain person in my life who is convinced he can create websites for a living because he's an out-of-work musician with two myspace profiles to his credit, and "YOU do it... so how hard can it be?"

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 6:42 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll add:
"hey, you're an internet guy, so, you know how to make money on the internet, right?"

Yep. And I sure ain't gonna tell you how and create another competitor!

"... so - I'd like to quit my job [at the grocery store] and start doing what you do, making websites"

Can you live for a year or longer with NO income? Assume that's what it will be. It's going to take a few months before you get money coming in, and most of that will need to be put back into the business to keep it going.

"I need $1000 to cover my rent next month - what's the quickest, easiest way to earn money online?"

Register with an online prostitution site.

Why aren't more people clicking on the ads?

Maybe because you don't have any visitors in the first place? You're not going to reach $100/month with 5 visitors/day.

Gomvents

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 12:57 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

has anyone put thejuicemonkeyfarts.com into their url bar yet? LoL

httpwebwitch

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 6:45 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Gomvents you cheeky devil. Cracked me up, that did.

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 8:59 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am never sure if I should laugh or cry when I see posts like that from people already selling their services as web designers. On another board I saw one a couple of days ago.

Why does my site look different in IE and Firefox? The client is complaining (paraphrased)

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 9:02 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Mine is better than yours."

"Kewl! How much you making?"

"Secret." Then. "How'd you do that...thingie?"

Reply, with a grin: "Secret. But if you read html for real dummies you can figure it out."

Wlauzon

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 2:02 pm on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

You mean all those "Internet Millions" sites I have won't make me rich?

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 2:37 pm on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

They will, just very very very very slowly.

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 4:36 pm on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

This one is my favorite:

My site doesn't validate. Does it matter?

It matters less than sorting your recyclables, but more than aligning your spoons in the drawer.

Gomvents

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 11:09 pm on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

httpwebwitch, if you want the domain let me know, I'll transfer it to you for free - I had my fun already. Was hoping for more reaction from our community here but people just KNEW it couldn't be a real site. where as if you put "some-reasonable-sounding-domain.com" people might have checked it out... oh well.

wolfadeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 11:24 am on Nov 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe thejuicemonkeyfarts.com would be a good target for an SEO competition. So far, WW ranks top (surprise)

Great post!

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3775250 posted 1:15 pm on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)


You mean all those "Internet Millions" sites I have won't make me rich?

That reminds me of one that I see occasionally: I signed up for example.com affiliate scheme, why haven't they sent me any money? Typically the only visitor is the site owner.

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