Call for Input

Assalaamu’Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu,

We here at Islam in Action are looking to move this website onto an independent platform, for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons will be self-evident to many regular visitors: Google Ads. While we appreciate that the website is popular enough to warrant ads on the site, the ads are not of our our choosing or desire; they are automatically placed by (and for) WordPress on the more traffic-heavy blogs in order to “recoup some of the hosting costs.” This is well and good, but being that the ads are not requested by us, and nor do we have control of the type of ads that are placed here, it is of no surprise that many ads are found to be offensive to many of our readers.

So, our questions:

  1. Who would you recommend, based on your experiences, for domain registration?
  2. Which company would you recommend for web site hosting? The company will need to be able to support WordPress, MySQL and PHP.
  3. We have a couple of domain names in mind, but if you have something that you think we could use, feel free to write it in :)
  4. Any other advice/ideas/recommendations re: web-site building/design will be deeply appreciated.

JazakumAllah khairun for your assistance and input, and for making this site successful enough for all of us, together, to move on from WordPress. InshaAllah, on the new site, we will be able to implement an expansion in the vision for this humble website of knowledge.

Wassalaam

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16 responses to “Call for Input

  1. My answers to 1 & 2 are (I do not know I am not an IT professional).

    Domain name

    http://www.Mutaqeen.com

    http://www.Texting-Islam.com

    http://www.Islamicresponse.com

    Design recommendation

    Make it simple and search-able, also highly appreciated would be an addition of any translation ability so the answers can be translated into multiple languages.

    Thank you
    Wasalaam

    • IslamicResponse is a real good suggestion, I like it. Unfortunately it looks like it is unavailable. IslamicResponse.net is available, great suggestion retaane.

  2. Asalaamalaykum,

    As an SEO Consultant, and a Internet Marketer my recommendations for the following are:

    Hosting: HostGator – they are a reliable well respected hosting company with 24/7 live customer support. Also they support WordPress, MySQL, PHP and more.

    Domain: GoDaddy.com – They are a reliable company with good customer support. (My suggestion if you are going to have only one domain name and one website than purchase the domain name from the Hosting provider. It will save you the trouble of transferring the domain to the hosting.)

    Domain Name: Islam-In-Action.com is available, however I would stay away from hyphenated domain names, simply because it is difficult to tell others your website name.

    *The following domains are available

    1) IslamInAction.net
    2) IslamAtWork.com
    3) LivingTheIslamicWay.com
    4) LivingInIslam.com

    For wordpress themes I would use WordPress theises theme. Also I would stick with a wordpress blog software simply because they are SEO friendly, easy to edit, and allow interaction from your visitors.

    Hope that helps,

    Walakumusalaam,

    Asim

  3. Assalamu alaikum,

    May Allah, the Exalted, reward you for your service.

    First: Keep similar structure of posting question and answers, it is more educational and unique in reaching both the elderly and the young.

    Second: Keep it simple and not overwhelming with too much info.

    Third: We are in need of not only educated but most importantly sincere scholars who do not use the people for their gain. You have been kind to us, please keep it that way.

    Barakallahu feek. May you find greater success and may Allah reward you.

  4. Talib-ul-Ilm

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

    I agree with retaane’s design recommendations…since the world visits this site, it’d be nice to impart more knowledge via various translations (bit tricky on being 100% correct when translating though).

    I agree with Br. Asim’s suggestion of GoDaddy.com, they have a lot of different options regarding how large a website you want (X amount of pages), various features, storage and memory capacity, etc.

    Also, with GoDaddy, you can experiment with them for a month or two months and see what you want to keep and/or discard. As Br. Asim mentioned, their customer service team is one of the best and allow for virtually any changes to the contract in a reasonable amount of time.

    Br. Asim’s suggestions of #1, #2, and #4 I agree with, simply because they are the shortest. #3 is a bit long but can also be used. Ideally, #1 should be used just because it’s very similar to the current domain name (minus the wordpress part).

    Regarding the website, if possible, to make the Search bar more accessible…Google has a weird way of searching for specific queries.

    Along with the question/s of the day, to make the same question/s accessible in the future, to put a few words that summarize what the question is (e.g. regarding fasting, taraweeh, etc.) so it can still retain it’s ‘cool’ name of the day but also, if needed for future reference, is readily available. This would hopefully limit or eliminate repeat questions sent to the site.

    For audio, all that is really needed is to have a link wherein we can download the lecture/Khutbah/speech, etc. so people can listen at their leisure instead of having to listen online.

    Pending other suggestions, everything else should stay the same (daily emails, general setup of site, etc.)

    جزاك اللهُ خيراً for all that you guys do, may Allah reward you immensely.

    و السلام

  5. JazakAllah khair for all the great responses! It may take some time to implement some of the more nifty ideas like translation ability, but those are awesome goals for us to work towards. We like all the suggestions being given for simplicity in design and usability, so inshaAllah we should give you something different soon.

    Also, really liking the domain names!

    Please keep the suggestions coming till the end of the week. They’ve all been incredibly useful already :)

    Wassalaam

  6. Assalaamu’Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu,

    Just a comment regarding translation capability. Google already provides free translation service as part of their browser and API’s and it’s all free.

  7. As salaamu Alaikum!

    I Would agree with Asim, as he has experience in network marketing, and using a domain that’s easy to interact with audience should be the key feature. Questioners are prone to hear other peoples views and perspective on their matter, and word press can easily provide that..

  8. Wow, great decision to move away from WordPress’s hosted website; it’s slow, it’s limited, and wordpress has all of your data!!
    As far as the hosting provider, domain registrar, and domain name suggestions are concerned, I think the comments above are excellent!  One thing I would like to add is that we must look at the new website project from a 20,000-foot perspective. We should ask what the main goal/purpose is of the website and then use technology to reach that goal.  We shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying and implementing technology just for the sake of it; we would much rather have a functional website than a fancy one [although, a fancy functional website would be ideal! :) ].  Based on the aforementioned point, we must focus on a couple of areas.
    Questions & Answers:This (to me) seems like the most widely used and the most successful feature of this website. There are always new questions and answers which are extremely beneficial to the questioner and anyone else who stumbles upon them searching for answers in a given category or while simply “question-hopping”.
    This is where we can greatly improve the usability. We must break it down into use-cases and then analyze how easily each group can benefit from the webiste. 

    The “Questioner” has an easy time, all that is required is to press “Submit Questions” and voila!, the form comes up.  However, a feature which provide auto-emails with answers will be a good reminder to know that the answer has been posted.
    The “Admin (Imam)” has some unknowns (since admin section is restricted of course), but I’m assuming that answering questions can use some upgrades.
    The “Searcher” has a real tough time on the current website. 

    The “Search bar” is not easily spotted and even when it is, the keywords aren’t always relevant and populate too many results.
    In addition to that, since questions range from a whole plethora of topics, it is difficult to find similar already-answered questions.  As a result, the “Searcher” gives up after browsing a category or two and ends up becoming a “Questioner”.  Consequently, a repeat question is posted; causing more work for the Admin, and delaying the answer. 
    To resolve this the “Questioner” should be asked to select from pre-filled categories that the “Searcher” can later use to reach answers. All of these categories should be linked such that each new sub-category is populated based on the previous category’s selection. For example, the “Questioner” selects “ZAKAT” from the 1st general category.  Immediately, the 2nd category should auto-populate with: -“Zakat vs. Sadaka“, -“Zakat of Eid Al-Fit (Fitra)“-“Assets“, -“401K“, -“Who Must Pay Zakat” etc.And when the user selects “Assets“, the 3rd category should be populated with-“‘Saved’ for 1 year“, -“Cash & Jewelery“-“Gold“, -“Platinum“, -“Cars/Houses on mortgage” etc..  Atleast 4 levels should be available for all questions.  Key: As the person is making his/her way selecting each category, a grid below should constantly update itself with related questions.  This way, as the “Questioner” is selecting the categories, at each level the list of questions below are getting less in number and closer in relevance. In many case, the “Questioner” may find the EXACT question he/she was looking to ask in the first place.  If they don’t find the question, however, they can still go ahead and type their question; their categories will not go to waste but instead will be used to “tag” their question for future “Searchers”.  In short, each “Questioner” must start off as a “Searcher” to allow for easy access to this goldmine of information.  For this to be possible, it is imperative that we must host the website on our own server to gain full access to the SQL database.
    Audio Lectures:You have a lot of Audio Lectures posted on the website but they are hidden, you have to search for them.  An easy “Audio Lectures” link should provide a page with all Audio Lectures.Also, an  “XML feed” should be added (excuse the jargon).  This will enable users to allow their iPods, phones, computers, laptops to actively “listen” for new lectures to be posted and as soon as they are, the device will auto-download them onto their pertinent devices.  All radio shows and many religious centers are now using this to quickly dessiminate their recordings to the public at large.  This way, the lectures are “pushed” to me rather than demanding that I periodically check the website for a new recording and “pull” it on my own :)
    Hope all this reading wasn’t a complete waste of time for you.Wasalam.

    • Wa’Alaykum Salaam,
      No, not a waste of time at all! Thanks for the very usable input.

      Wassalaam

  9. Great point Zuhaib, also one suggestion with the audio files. I think you should try to also add them to the podcast directory on iTunes. That way it would be easier for those who use iPods and iPhones to upload the audio files. Also, Podcasts is part of the Social Media Marketing category, which is a distribution channel that can possibly attract more viewers to your website.

    Basically you would be able to attract more people and viewers when using podcasts.

  10. I was the general manager of a web design company in cairo for more than 2 years
    suggest that you if you would like,
    I can help with domain registration on godaddy.com
    I can help with a muslim web designer who can also help with hosting and he is a wordpress genius. He is in Cairo still.

    email me if you want more info.

    • Thank you for your offer of help. We may need assistance from the wordpress genius :) so you might be getting an email from us one of these days…

  11. Shahid Chohan

    If you do decide to use godaddy to host the site, you can use the coupon codes found on this page

    http://www.theyoungturks.com/godaddy/TYT_GoDaddy.com_Promotion.html

    Sorry if this is a double post

  12. WOW!! MASHALLAH!! The new look is great.. but i miss the old one a lot! This new colors are different, and kind of hard to find what you’re looking for.. :)