Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What is .htaccess file??

Although .htaccess is only a file, it can change settings on the servers and allow you to do many different things, the most popular being able to have your own custom 404 error pages. .htaccess isn't difficult to use and is really just made up of a few simple instructions in a text file.
This is probably the hardest question to give a simple answer to. Many hosts support .htaccess but don't actually publicise it and many other hosts have the capability but do not allow their users to have a .htaccess file. As a general rule, if your server runs Unix or Linux, or any version of the Apache web server it will support .htaccess, although your host may not allow you to use it. A good sign of whether your host allows .htaccess files is if they support password protection of folders. To do this they will need to offer .htaccess (although in a few cases they will offer password protection but not let you use .htaccess). The best thing to do if you are unsure is to either upload your own .htaccess file and see if it works or e-mail your web host and ask them.
You may be wondering what .htaccess can do, or you may have read about some of its uses but don't realise how many things you can actually do with it.

There is a huge range of things .htaccess can do including:
  • password protecting folders
  • redirecting users automatically
  • custom error pages
  • changing your file extensions
  • banning users with certain IP addresses
  • only allowing users with certain IP addresses
  • stopping directory listings
  • using a different file as the index file.
Before beginning using .htaccess, I should give you one warning. Although using .htaccess on your server is extremely unlikely to cause you any problems (if something is wrong it simply won't work), you should be wary if you are using the Microsoft FrontPage Extensions. The FrontPage extensions use the .htaccess file so you should not really edit it to add your own information. If you do want to (this is not recommended, but possible) you should download the .htaccess file from your server first (if it exists) and then add your code to the beginning.
U can find more info about htaccess here : http://www.freewebmasterhelp.com/tutorials/htaccess/

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Difference between a media release and an advertisement

If you have written many press releases and very little have been picked up by newspapers, it could be because your releases are seen by the media as a pure advertisement or plug for your business. Differences between media releases and advertisements are explained below:

Media Release:
  • Uncontrolled form of communication. As you are not paying for an amount of space, you are not guaranteed it will get published. If it does get published it is at the mercy of the journalist as to what they include and what they don’t include about your organization.

  • The aim of a media release is to be published by a news channel to obtain validation from a third party.

  • Incorporates a strong news angle. It is used to generate third party credibility. For example if you are successful in getting a media release published in the Brisbane Courier Mail and readers see that Courier Mail’s Travel Editor, Mike O’Connor endorses this wine tour as a great experience, people may be more inclined to remember the name of that tour.
  • A controlled form of communication that you pay for and can therefore have full control over what is said in the advertisement.

  • No news angle needed, as you are simply plugging your organization.

  • May not be as effective in gaining readers’ attention, as it is not validated by a third party. People are exposed to hundreds of advertisements every day and therefore may not be remembered by your target market. There is a danger of people dismissing advertisements, as they know organizations can tell them how good their product or service is but how do they know the organization actually delivers on their promise. This is where a media release it appropriate; as it provides an endorsement from a third party telling readers the organization lives up to its promise not the organization simply giving itself another plug.