Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts

Mar 24, 2014

A Guide to Creating Awesome E-Book Covers


A content based website like a blog is always dependent on its readers for fame. Such websites strive for quality and try to provide as much new knowledge as possible. But alas, webmasters can only do this much. 

This is where having an eBook comes in handy. Some distinct advantages of an eBook are often forgotten by people. In this article we'll first talk why do webmasters need eBooks on their website and secondly some of the best E-Book covers and what you could learn from them.

Why E-Books?

Lets first discuss, why would a webmaster/ owner/ blogger ever need an E-Book. 
Is the website not enough?
  1. An eBook is never crawled by a Google bot. So in short you could write anything and everything in an eBook. You can badmouth others, you can give away links that you could never ever host on your website, hell you could even plagiarize from your competitors, take their images, text etc. But a worthy and ethical person would never do that, (and believe me, only the people in the latter category succeed). 
  2. Another reason for hosting eBooks or pdf materials at websites is that psychologically people are happy to download an eBook because they feel a sense of superiority as well as achievement as they downloaded a material that was not readily available on the internet. A sense of attachment starts towards the eBook and hence the website too.
  3. Another reason for websites to use eBooks is because they stand out in the world of bloggers and web enthusiasts, the race towards unique content and quality material has never been tougher, hence an eBook that would set them apart.
  4. Though an eBook is a less popular method of disseminating information than an embedded video, it still is an effective method for targeting visitors and converting them into a regularly visiting/loyal readers.
  5. Finally, E-Books are currently one of the niches where marketing geeks have just stepped into. E book websites like bookboon is speculated to earn a lot by just allotting some space in their eBooks for advertisements. So you can earn from eBooks too!

Famous E-Book Covers..

Now that we're talking about eBook, we must also know that no body would read an eBook if it does not look interesting. So here are some examples of famous eBooks and what their cover designers did to attract visitors.


The first example could be Bookboon, just because of its sheer size and output that the website provides. It has a really simple yet elegant way of creating their covers. Almost all books hosted on bookboon have the same cover page template. Orange background, Really large text "Bookboon" and simple space in between displaying a really simple image relevant to the contents of the eBook. All in all, a really nice but average type of eBook cover.



Let us take another type of cover for our discussion. Let us take "Access to Information Act, Canada" for the same. Keeping the content aside, one must first acknowledge how color combination can set a really different mood. Complete Front page is of a single color, lined with matching colors. But as is evident, The document is a part of series. Hence the book number in huge font and the book title as well as other information in smaller fonts (However, It looks microscopic related to the number itself, but who are we to judge)




For many books color isn't that important, psychologically too black as a color denotes completeness and creates a sense of awe in the mind of readers. Check out, for example the book E2, written by Pam Grout. Based on its content, Pam had to choose the cover image as something between awkwardly mathematical or unrealistic photoshoped abstract, So he chose something in between. If your content is something like this, you too can experiment.




Same is the case with the Fiction, "Hunger Games", The ebook's frontpage dwlves on human psychology that often humans judge a book by its cover, and as expected the cover goes perfectly well with the book. Complete black background with golden words and an insignia at the center, preping its readers for a journey into the unknown.




E-books do not always use monochromatic backgrounds or Orange and red stripes to woo their readers. Some, like "The essential Guide to customs and culture, Ireland" also use images as the front page. You know a really detailed and colorful image can go a long way in attracting readers. Also, since its an eBook, one does not have to pay extra for printing such high resolution images. But images like these can become the perfect way for Authors to showcase their book. Take this for examples willfully placed the word Ireland  on the shores depicted in the image. In short, the images do not look awkwardly hanging in the air but look properly supported (in this case on sandy beaches). You too can try, this out, However you much choose your background image carefully for the effect to look authentic.



But as a website, you cannot afford to have an image like the above on your webpage. It simply does not go with the content. So you create something much simpler, something that you could change with the flick of your hand. Copyblogger's ebook front pages are popular in this matter. The front page is usually red with simple images at the back as if it has nothing to hide. Then it has a small strip at the bottom for the website name.




If you do not have enough images and you are releasing eBooks in a row, you can take you inspiration from United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) eBook. It is less minimalist from the information Act document discussed above, as it provides much more information than its counterparts. One look at the eBook and you know its contents. If you too hate highly minimalist front pages, you should go for this. Replete with images, logos and text, It can be called as a really comprehensive front page.

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Jan 20, 2014

8 Best Online Form Creation Websites (Study Part 2)

8 Best Online Form Creation Websites (Study Part 2)Consider a case when you really need to create a form for your website, and so you need to decide which online service would suit you best. Though the reasons for creating an online form were discussed in an article before. Different websites have different USPs, some are suited for the general non programming public. Some are for more advanced users who actually know about the nitty gritty of coding and are willing to go the extra mile for providing awesome service to their customers or visitors. Some Form creation websites are meant for people who don't have the time and can do without the petty details which most people fret about.

So here is a list of all websites that can perform the task of creating an online form. Codemakit Website Research analysed them perfectly for your perusal so that your time is saved

Jotform

If you think of form creation with the speed of light, You would probably consider jot-form as the best. One visit to jotform would change you perception of form building forever. This is the first time I personally considered buying one of the premium packages that the website offered. The simple drag and drop functions bundled with easy edit and move options, jotform can be the site to look for.

Cons- The free subscription offers just 100 submissions in a month. No option of dedicated hosting of form. you must embed the form on your website for it to be functional. The responses are mailed separately but not as a spreadsheet which has found to be useful for most web masters and statisticians. There were speculations however that jotform domain was temporarily shut down once by the US Government.

JotForm

FormSite

As is evident from businesses around the world, one man's thrash is another man's treasure, The disadvantages in jotforms were completely removed when the developers were creating formsite. Formsite understands that people actually need to use the information that they gained from the forms filled by the visitors. Formsite offers you services that helps you convert the responses into pdf /xls or similar spreadsheets so that you are spared from manual entry into spreadsheets for further processing or record keeping. Wiki entries boast about formsite into the top 5000 websites in terms of daily unique visitors. With more than 500 million form submissions, formsite is one of the most popular form creating destination for developers worldwide.

FormSite

FormStack

Formstack can be called as just another form creating/maintaining website. Some of its USPs are better control  for the information flow by the form creator. The only major con for formstack is its 14 day trial. The website seems hell bent on converting nearly ever visitor into a customer. It is because of such low return on investment (ofcourse the functions wouldn't work afer the trial period.), codemakit decided to give it a rating of B3. Final verdict, If you are a freebie and want little fucntionalities for your blog/website, you woulnd'nt want formstack. It is for corporates and big players in the internet sphere.

FormStack

Wufoo

Though Wufoo brags about cloud storage as its USP, It is interesting to note that Google drive is the only sensible enough competition for the same. Thus If you want your form data to be automatically stored at cloud storage. You can either use the ever free Google Drive forms or Wufoo. Since both are in the same battle field now, Let us compare them further. The one thing that Wufoo offers apart from the others is that you can personalize the pages to an extent that the form would look like an inhouse creation. With really high PageRank, SERP and an acceptable CWR (see Codemakit Website Research Ratings document) rank, WuFoo has been crowned the best in its class.

Wufoo

The Analysis

The following is an analysis for the eight Form Creation Websites from codemakit Website Research. Four different Rating Systems were employed for determining the overall worth of each Website; Webutation, known for providing users with the actual reputation of a website analysed by it. Page Rank, as you might know is one of Google's most overused methods of determining which page should be ranked first. The Third CWR rating is Codemakit's way of analyzing websites based on several patterns (You should first read the CWR Document about how codemakit analyses websites), Website Planet also works towards finding the importance of a website. Wind Rose diagram for Form Creation Websites is shown below.

WindRose Diagram

Rockforms however was given a 40% rating by Webutation and so it comes at the end of our list. 
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Rank Website Name Webutation Page Rank Website planet CWR Rating
1 Wufoo 100 8 8.5 A3
2 Coffeecup 100 6 8.5 A3
3 Formsite 100 7 7.5 B1
4 Jotforms 100 5 7.5 A2
5 Formstack 100 6 7.6 B3
6 Email-me-form 100 7 5 C1
7 Form-to-go 40 5 8.8 B3
8 Rackforms 100 3 8.6 B2

To find the actual stabilized table (Which was actually used for analysis) you might want to take a look at the following PDF document containing tables and the charts in the occasion when I might have left anything.

If CWR has left a form creation website that you think should be studied and analysed here, post it in the comments.

This was a list on,

Jan 13, 2014

Why Online Forms? Best Online Form Creation websites (A Study : Part I)

Why Online Forms? Best Online Form Creation websites (A Study : Part I)
Forms are tools by which any web owner/developer/designer wants to communicate with its intended readers. So having a form on your site is as important as having a label system or a subscribe button (Which itself is a form). 

codemakit ran an article on "How to create easy online Forms with Google Forms?" when the service was first Launched. By far google is one of the most easiest and most economic ways of creating an online form. But, free services are bound to have drawbacks and lower fucntionalities. And so comes the need for other form creating websites which shall be discussed in the next article. But first we must understand why do webmasters need online forms? Why aren't they happy with their websites? What more are they trying to achieve? Consider the following examples.

Times of India Political Polls1. You need to determine which photo or image would look great on your website. You put up a form collecting votes by showing both the pictures together and asking the users which one do you like. You put up a voting form on current topics to attract visitors showing interaction.


2. You need to put up a survey for your visitors as you need to know what age group do they belong to, what do they like, what don't they like. So that using these questions you could mold your website content to suit your readers. Result? increased visitors who are content with your content. No need for SEO, keyword study or best content practices.

3. You need a form which collects email addresses and related information from users in exchange for premium information.

Financial Times Tax Calculator4. You need forms so that people may comment on your articles which they found interesting. More comments would surely attract more comments (even the spam ones).

5. You might have a plethora of content and would like to share the same with other users, but the website is too large for them to find just be clicking.So you create a form which takes inputs from the users and displays a list of those pictures/videos/content which matches the most.

6. You want some extra functionality added to your website making it more interactive and user friendly, by adding a tool/calculator. E.g. Financial calculator, bond returns calculator (A really great example is tabelizer which itself is a tool for converting xl data sheets into html code)

7. There are yet smaller forms available with just one or two fields like, the subscribe us form, change language form (Which has been incorporated on codemakit since 2011 or change currency form etc.

Related Articles, Create an Auto-Responding Google Form

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Jan 6, 2014

The Best Office Websites of 2014

The Best Office Websites of 2014 (For Non Programmers)
Often, the working population of a country finds itself in a place where a work needs to be executed and that too swiftly. The best and the brightest minds often use shortcuts at their workplace to make their job easier. This lets them focus on the important issues pertaining to the job leading to better quality and lots of pats from the boss. Find websites that can help you achieve your targets in 2014.

For executing a job normal executives have have just two choices, either work it out in the conventional way, i.e. the tedious and mind numbing procedure of entering data and analyzing it or the second and more effective method of using a website to do most of the grunts for you while you sit back and relax with a hot cup of coffee.


Obviously the first method has no place on codemakit.com, so let us look at the second method. Let us find out the best and the most useful office websites of 2014. A list which will be updated with time and would find its way into the bookmark list of most professionals.

Save Webpages

PdfmyURL

CWR Rating Value 6 Website http://pdfmyurl.com/ USP Effective html to pdf converterHow many times have you felt the need for storing a website for future review but didn't want it as html? As storing in html leads to the storage of supporting files which you obviously do not want. Saving as pdf led to the storage as a single file. So you would need a webpage to pdf generator. Though I would recommend a printer known as dopdf, one of the most powerful print drivers available, but the offices usually disable the installation of any program and hence you would not be able to use it. 

Here comes pdfmyurl to your rescue. Just insert link in the exceptionally big bar and click the awkward looking button, lo and behold you are good to go! It however has a con, pdfmyurl has been found to display errors for larger files.


pdfmyURL

CtrlQ Screenshots

CWR Rating Value 7.5 Website http://ctrlq.org/screenshots/ USP The fastest and the most vivid website screen capture tool
But then again there comes times when a pdf just wouldn't do and you need an editable copy of the webpage. What would you do when you need a png or a jpg image for a website? You would probably use an online tool created by the famous Indian Blogger Amit Agrawal. The webpage is aptly named Screen Capture, and it would put many functional websites to shame with its detailed images.


Screen Capture

Convert to different Formats

Online Convert

CWR Rating Value 9.8 Website http://www.online-convert.com/ USP Most versatile and highly functional free websiteSo people obviously have more than just a url to convert, they might need to convert images to pdf, or word to pdf or mp4 to mp4 or wmv to mp4..phew.. list tends to go into hundreds. However, be prepared to have your beliefs shattered as here comes onlineconvert.com, The mega site with the largest set of functionalities I have ever seen, is known to make all of them true! Online Convert has the ability to convert almost anything to just about everything.


Online Convert


Optical Character Recognition

CWR Rating Value 8.5 Website http://www.newocr.com/ USP One of the best free OCR websites in the world.Everything has its limitations, the downside of onlineconvert.com is that it lacks the ability for an accurate and quick Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Sometimes you get a printout or a printed text that needs to be typed or made editable so that amendments can be made but for that to be possible, you would have to read and type, which in some cases is excruciatingly boring and time consuming. Instead, you could scan the page and run an OCR on it, this will recognise the characters and display as text, Now you can just copy and paste. newocr is the website you would be looking for in such cases. One of the best OCR websites ever seen, newOCR can convert nearly any scanned document into its corresponding textual components and with such agility and celerity!

newOCR


XPStoPDF

CWR Rating Value 6.5 Website https://xps2pdf.co.uk/ USP Fastest free online xps to pdf converter
A trend has been observed in offices, where people cannot simply convert their documents into a pdf file, They usually have the ability to convert any document into .xps using the inbuilt Microsoft xps Document writer. 

But finally you get a file in .xps and not .pdf, ofcourse online-convert.com will not provide a flawless OCR on the document, so what should you to to convert? You use xpstopdf online converter which is one of the fastest file conversion tools I have ever seen. Within the split of a second you would get a pdf file on your browser for viewing.

XPStoPDF

Pass your Time

igHome

CWR Rating Value 7.6 Website http://www.ighome.com/ USP Perfect Alternative for igoogle users
Not all offices have employees working day and night, Some have lenient employers who let their employees have some time of their own. What do they do then? In their free time, most of them do not start playing games to maintain a decorum, so they read news. 

For this they need a news aggregator which finds news headlines from hundreds of websites and mix them according to their relevance and popularity. Unfortunately the most popular one of them, i.e. igoogle.com has been discontinued. So now we need to find an alternative. Fortunately a website which looks and is named a lot like igoogle has crept up, known as ighome, (igoogle Alternative). The website function exactly like its discontinued counterpart, where you can open your mail, access calender, search and many more.

ighome

Other Useful Websites

Here's a comparison of 8 Best Online Form Creation Websites
Here's a rank wise comparison of 7 Best Websites for Downloading Images

This was all about,
The Best Office Websites of 2014 MohitChar

Dec 16, 2013

The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service

The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service Front
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free”, Joker, The Dark Knight Rises.

Even you would agree that the dialogue is super cheesy. Fortunately the meaning holds perfectly true for current blogging atmosphere.  Take examples of bloggers, the one of the things they’re good at is writing, so the obvious question, Why not use the skills and get something done for yourself. 

Usually bloggers benefit from their writing skills through advertisements. But new concept dictates the use of this indispensable skill as a barter system. In simple words, “You do something for me and I’ll write an article for you”.

The same was true until an unnamed blogger decided to barter his services for something he wanted. So he went in search for the same and one day found a suitable firm which was ready to provide a service unless and until he agreed to write an article for the firm.

What went Wrong?

But little did he know about THE PERILS OF TRADING AN ARTICLE FOR A SERVICE. Here is an email thread between the firm and the unnamed blogger, The names of the entities have been changed to protect identity. Find the Email Thread about Sam and Sue here.

How did it go wrong?

Let us discuss what went wrong and how could it be rectified. The major reason why such arrangements fail is because; neither party is willing to work with full efficiency in the beginning. This is because there exists no monetary transaction. This was the precise reason why barter system failed in history. For that failure the reason was you cannot equate fixing a window and a sack of rice. Similarly you cannot equate an article and a service unless there is professionalism in both the parties. What do I mean by professionalism? 

Professionalism in any task is shunning the informal way of working and adopting a mean result oriented approach towards things. It the main reason why corporates thrive and small businesses do not. 

How could it be Rectified?

So how do you get into professionalism? 
Easy, you make sure that you follow the following points.

Before agreeing to work

  1. This is not a deal, neither the party is working for free, nor are you. It is best if you could determine the boundaries of your relationship, i.e.. What you are planning to do and what you are expecting the party to do.
  2. It is better to create a proposal document (just one page) stating the responsibilities you and the party are going to undertake. Sign the document and send them the signed copy asking them to sign on the document. When both have consent for the jobs to perform on a paper, both the parties will have an incentive to complete the job in the best way possible. Also a signature would save you from legal difficulties afterwards (If they arise)
  3. Preserve the email threads between the parties
  4. Always set a deadline for the job to be completed. Break the job into parts. And include penalties in the proposal document if a part of the work is not completed within the stipulated deadline.
  5. Also work out about the license of the final product, you can look at some articles on creative commons or thy types of licenses you can use.


On English and communication

  1. You must write proper English. People won’t take you seriously if you write like a kindergarten student.
  2. You write complete sentences and no abbreviations unless absolutely required. Remember you’re writing an email and there is a difference between email and a text.
  3. Try and keep informalities out of the equation. This is a business deal and not a social network.

After and during the work

  1. Periodically inform about the progress of the work. To keep things simple, try and give the progress report in a tabulated sheet at the end of the week.
  2. Once the job is completed inform about it and ask about their portion of the work.
  3. Always reply to a mail, a bucket full of misunderstandings can be avoided if you just reply or acknowledge
  4. If you have made the proposal document, after completion of the works from both the parties, drop an email stating that the agreement has been carried on in the desired way and tell them it was a pleasure working with them.


Show your availability for future jobs if you genuinely find the party to be a delight.
Front image credit HDW

This was about,
The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service MohitChar

Sep 16, 2013

How is bounce rate calculated?

How is bounce rate calculated?
First off, what is bounce rate? Google’s support pages have provided a very nice and crisp definition about bounce rate, 

“It is the percentage of single page visits in which a visitor leaves your website from the landing page”


Now how important is bounce rate to you? If you have a small business or a passion website containing few webpages then visitors bouncing off from your website will not have much effect because you have a few webpages only (What do you expect, The people will just hang around for a while?). 

But if you’re a professional blogger or have a business website containing many pages, bounce rate might just start to be a headache for you. For a large website you might have a high page rank and hundreds of pages with a book worth of content. But if the visitor does not read them, what use is the content anyway?

Looking carefully, for any professional website, the bounce rate threshold must be set to 40-60%, which of-course is a really tough target. If your bounce rate is less than 40% then you’re going in the right direction. But the moment it crosses a threshold you must understand something is not right. It is your SEO techniques, content or your keyword tactics or some others.

Let us understand how is the bounce rate is calculated. Let us suppose, 10 visitors landed on your site and 4 people left the page. So the bounce rate will be calculated as (4/10)x100=40%, so you will have a bounce rate of 40%, which is acceptable of course but can always be improved upon.

How is bounce rate calculated, formula

To know if your bounce rate is good enough read a previous article on the range of values your bounce rate might fall in, depending on the type of website you own.

If you have a high bounce rate, never be disheartened, there are 4 sure shot ways of improving your bounce rate. That too in just minutes.

This answered,
mohitchar How is bounce rate calculated?

Sep 8, 2013

Is my Bounce Rate Normal or does it change with the type of my website?

Is my Bounce Rate Normal or does it change with the type of my website?
Bounce rate is one of those web-metrics which have always baffled webmasters. Bounce rate determines the fate of a website, whether it will grow or not. Forums and comment boxes are filled with questions like "Is my bounce rate good enough?" or "Does bounce rate change according to website types" or "What should I do? My bounce rate is too high!!". 

Just know this, Yes bounce rate changes as per the type of website you run, and there is nothing high-class Google wizardry in it, just simple logic. As you know websites are of different types, the bounce rate for any website is different as per the functionality. So an online web store will have a different bounce rate than that of a personal blog. 

The following article is particularly useful if you doubt your bounce rate or if you are not sure whether your bounce rate is normal. Here is a complete range of bounce rates for different websites as per functions.

Online Shopping/Services Websites

You run a website which offers products and allows users to purchase the products online through a payment gateway.

Ideal Bounce rate percentageSuch websites are highly popular with the world swarming up with a huge number of examples like amazon, ebay etc.  An online shopping website should be having less than 35 % bounce rate. The obvious question is why such low value? The only logical answer is because of the huge number of steps in the transition. (For example, You select on a product to buy, you’ll be redirected to the webpage for selection/entry of address for shipping, then comes confirmation of order, then another webpage for the actual monetary transition where you will be directed to your credit card/bank’s website and then finally the confirmation of purchase). So bounce rate must be less than 35% for the website to prosper.


Online service website


Offline Shopping/Services Website

You run a website that offers a catalog of products but allows users to purchase only through offline methods like money order, VPP, telephone etc.

Ideal Bounce rate percentageA new business would not directly plunge into online services. They would have a tendency to keep their business out of the web sphere. Also certain services involve huge transactions which are highly risky for the client and the provider to be allowed on the website. So such transactions need to be done on phone or through email correspondences. For example a housing developer’s website looking for people to invest Or a mattress specialist not ready to indulge in online trading etc. Such websites must have a bounce rate of less than 40%.



Directories and online Encyclopedias


Ideal Bounce rate percentageYou run a website which functions like a dictionary where users can search and find information. You cannot expect to have a bounce rate of more than 20-25% for such type of websites. Since such websites have each and every thing a person needs or might need, he/she is not expected to leave the website for another one. So that explains such low bounce rate.


Directory


Blogs

Ideal Bounce rate percentageYou do not run a website but a blog which is updated regularly with new posts. If you have a blog where you publish content from time to time, you are in for a surprise. Content based websites and webpages tend to have huge bounce rates in the likes of 50 to 70%. If you have it below 50%, you’re in a very safe zone and you need not worry, cause with such low bounce rate, your PageRank would be high too.


Video Blogs or PodCasts


Though most people assume both are the same, one must understand that those are two different things. A video blog is a conventional blog on popular platforms like blogger or wordpress with video(s) hosted on it. A podcast on the other hand is a page with actually hosts videos only (like you-tube). You run a YouTube page or a website which hosts either video or music or similar media.


Ideal Bounce rate percentageWebsites which host videos/music or similar media, bounce rate tends to be very low. As one the user lands on the page, there are a lot of entertainment/infotainment options available to the users. Also the user is on the page for a lot of time which opens him up for new options. So a bounce rate of 20 to 30% is not a value to be raised an eyebrow on.


Some exceptions

If you have very high bounce rate i.e. near 90 to 100%, do not lose heart as there are some exceptions to the above mentioned rules.

  1. A website with only 1-5 pages, will have a bounce rate near or above 90%. This is because; a website with low number of pages will not provide any incentive to the visitor to visit other pages. For example, a website with a single web page will have a bounce rate of 100%. So it is not a bad thing if your low webpage website has unbelievably high bounce rate.
  2. New websites/blogs need not worry, as their bounce rate will stabilize in a few weeks. For new Blogs there is a problem, your bounce rate will not decrease unless you have a decent number of blog posts which users might visit after the landing page.
  3. Certain Blogs also tend to have a bounce rate of near 70 to 80%. This depends on the number of articles already present on the blog and the amount of time the blog has existed in the web sphere. This is because; readers come to the website in search for information for a particular topic and leave when satisfied. So bounce rate tends to be high. For such situations, I would recommend using the related posts technique, where links to related articles is displayed at the end of the article.

Where You Went Wrong

After reading this, if you still think that your bounce rate is on the higher side, There might be reasons behind it. I have listed down a few of them, comment if you know another.

  1. You are lazy, (either a potato blogger or a lazy one)
  2. You are not posting recently (Learn what happens when a daily post blog is left untouched for a week)
  3. Not giving enough attention to the content of your website or the steps that come after good content
  4. Lack of External and Internal Links
  5. Higher Page load time which might be, so high that your users leave before your website loads.
  6. You have not read the article on 4 sureshot ways to improve your bounce rate.


This must have answered your question
Mohitchar Is my Bounce Rate Normal or does it change with the type of my website?