PHP is one of the most popular web programming languages and it's particularly useful for internet marketers.
In this article, I'm going to explain just why this is.

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PHP - A Good Choice For Internet Marketers

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by Ian Traynor © 2008

"PHP" is one of the most popular web programming languages and it's particularly useful for internet marketers. In this article, I'm going to explain just why this is.

Before I do this, I need to give you a little background to web programming languages.

A web programming language is a set of instructions which enables web pages to be displayed in a web browser. The most basic of web programming languages is "HTML" - HyperText Markup Language.

"Client Side" Languages

HTML is a good example of a "client-side" language - with your computer being the client. The web server sends the HTML page to the web browser, and it is the browser (on the client's side) which interprets the HTML and displays the page according to the markup tags in the HTML code.

Another popular client-side language is JavaScript. Again, the web server sends a web page with JavaScript embedded in it, and the script is interpreted on the client computer and displayed accordingly.

One disadvantage of these client-side languages is that the code is clearly visible when the user views the source code of the page. So if, for example, you, as an internet marketer, use JavaScript on a web page to display a date, the source code reveals the JavaScript code.

You might have set up your page to read "Order by x date to receive a bonus", where x is tomorrow's date. The wise visitor to your page who inspects the code can see that it is not a real deadline, but just a device which takes today's date from the user's computer and adds one day to it. Your credibility is tarnished!

"Server-Side" Languages

Whilst client-side languages interpret the program code after it the web page has been sent to the browser, "server-side" languages translate the code before it is sent to the visitor's browser.

"PHP" is a good example of a server-side language. If you set up the date mechanism described above in PHP rather than JavaScript, both the visible page and the source code will show tomorrow's date. There is no way that the visitor can tell whether the deadline is real or faked.

Server-side languages have the advantage that the ability to use and interpret their code depends on what is installed on the web server, rather than what is installed on the client computer.

If you send JavaScript code to a visitor's web browser, and they have opted to disable JavaScript (easy to do through a browser's tools), then your code will not work.

Server-side languages do not have this drawback, which is why one of the original server-side languages, "CGI" (Common Gateway Interface) became so popular.

Today, although CGI is still used, PHP and ASP have become much more widely used.

A little about "PHP"

PHP was developed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. It was originally called "Personal Home Pages" and later became the recursive "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor".

The current version (2008) is PHP 5, and PHP 6 is currently under development. If you want a full techie description, you can find the Wikipedia article here.

PHP is a free open source language, and is installed on almost all Apache web servers - and that means it's on the majority of web servers in the world! ASP - "Active Server Pages" is favoured by operators of Windows servers.

OK, that's enough background! So why is it a good choice for internet marketers?

The advantages of PHP

Many of the advantages listed below apply to anyone with a website, not just internet marketers. But they are the reasons why PHP is used by so many internet marketers.

  • Your code is hidden from the outside world! This isn't just to hide your sneaky tricks, but also to protect your valuable code, which you might have paid good money for.
  • If you like tinkering with code, there's a huge array of free ready-to-go scripts available. Just google the phrase "free PHP scripts" and help yourself!
  • If you prefer to hire a coder, PHP is so popular that there's a big choice of PHP coders to choose from. And, because PHP is relatively easy to program in, you'll find that the charges for coding are low compared with other web programming languages.
  • It's extremely flexible and, with a large library of functions built in, you can do almost everything in PHP. Many of the large and powerful internet marketing scripts, such as "Butterfly Marketing", are written in PHP.
  • If your website is on an Apache server, it's almost certain that you can use PHP on your web pages.
  • Some of the uses that internet marketers are putting PHP to include:
    • Keeping track of the visitor’s activities on your site.
    • Sending out emails to the subscribers,
    • Aiding users upload files or images to the site
    • Driving content on your site dynamically, using databases (useful for AdSense oriented article sites

In conclusion

I hope that I've helped to improve your knowledge and understanding of PHP, and that you'll use this powerful web programming language to enhance your websites and generate more cash!

About the Author:

Ian Traynor is a professional webmaster and internet marketer. Amongst his many activities, he runs the Marketing Magic website, publishes a high-quality weekly ezine, "Marketing Update", and develops tools for other webmasters under his Webmasters CheatKit brand.

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