Date archives "July 2007"

Top 5 On-Page Optimization Tips

When most people think of search engine optimization (well ok, only those that are actually nerdy enough to know what it is of course!) they immediately think about meta tags, keyword density and doorway pages.

Like many things when it comes to SEO, what once worked no longer does.

Take meta-tags for example. Way back when the internet was still a baby, meta tags were introduced to help search engines (at the time the big search engine was AltaVista…Google hadn’t even been invented) work out what the site was about. It wasn’t long before people started abusing the Meta Tags and when the next generation of search engines came about the importance of the meta tags diminished forever.

There are some self styled gurus that will tell you that you need the optimum keyword density to rank well in the search engines. The truth is, if there were an optimium density then it would be very easy to rank in the search engines. The best thing to do is to keep your writing natural and focus on the reader first, search engine second.

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Climate Change & Offsetting

Recently I watched a program that casts some serious doubts over many corporations claims that they are green or carbon neutral. A couple of years ago it was Avian Flu that was going to decimate half the world’s population, before that it was SARS that was going to be the biggest killer of them all. Now it’s global warming and climate change – you can understand why there might be detractors.

Although there is no doubt that global warming is happening, I can’t see it as being the catastrophic disaster that the media is portraying it to be – simply because they’ll sensationalize any bit of bad news to make more money.

Nothing quite sells like bad news. Telling people “You are all going to be worse off! Find out why by buying our newspaper”. It’s a sure fire winner.

Anyway, climate change is now the buzz word and even the people living under rocks will be aware of it (you may have heard them comment that rocks are not like they used to be).

Never too far behind to miss a trick to make more money, many corporations are now jumping on this green bandwagon to give their corporate image that fluffy happy look. To be “carbon neutral” is the big thing. To leave the smallest possible “carbon footprint” is the goal.

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Are You Making These Top 5 SEO Mistakes?

To the average internet user the acronym SEO is just yet another bit of gobbledegook internet jargon tossed around by web geeks and nerds. To some of us web geeks and nerds SEO is the be all and end all of internet promotion. The holy grail of appearing at number one spot on Google is a dream many of us aspire to bring in to reality…but often fall dismally short in Supplemental Hell.

So often the different between getting a good ranking and a bad ranking is down to how you approach the optimization of your site. As with most things in life there’s a right way and a wrong way. Do it the wrong way and you’re looking at a life in Supplementalville, do it right and you get to live on the converted home page bringing in so many visitors you won’t know what to do.

Sidenote: Google’s Supplemental Index are results that it gives when it can’t find anything definite that you are searching for. Web pages in the supplemental index are pages that don’t have enough inbound links for Google to ‘trust’ the page enough to serve it up as a main result.

If you want to get good rankings, then make sure you avoid these top 5 SEO mistakes:

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GoDaddy Update: I Am Not Alone!

A few weeks ago I posted about how bad I though GoDaddy were and how bad the website interface was.

Well, I was doing a bit of reading the other day and it turns out that I’m not the only one who has issues with GoDaddy (we should probably all sign up to therapy and get a group discount). While the whole RegisterFly saga was unfolding, there was one site that everyone went to called RegisterFlies.com.

They were one of the first sites to break the (bad) news that GoDaddy was buying the RF customer database and transferring all the domains.

Anyway, I came across this post:

http://www.registerflies.com/myblog/godaddy-and-shady-transfer-policy.html

Which talks about GoDaddy’s shady transfer policy that is allegedly in blatant breach of ICANN’s policy (ICANN is the American based non-profit organisation that overseas and controls all .com domains – often referred to as ICANN’T due to their inability to take action).

Amongst some of the comments to the above article I came across some gems:

Here are some other reasons godaddy sucks.
1 they lie on there website and make you agree to not transfer your domain if you update your whois. This is just dishonest. Nothing in ICANN policy allows for this.

2, They have a reputation for shutting down sites based on uninvestigated complaints.
If someone complains that you are spamming with your domain they shut you down without any investigation. The burden is on you to prove you weren’t

3, They have a link in there whois to report false whois. Let me ask you; what qualifies any joe blow who looks up my domain in the whois to determine if the whois is false. This is asking for abuse. The type of abuse that led to the theft of familyalbum.com

By the way, and this is an aside. I found a domain I wanted the other day at godaddy that had false whois- bad email. Nothing can stop me from puttiing in a back order for it with godaddy and then reporting the false whois.
But I degress, let me go on.

4, Their control panel is the worst in Biz.

5 when You try to renew you have to deal with nonsense like having the renew auto set to 2 years and being upsold tons of junk on the long road to checkout.

6 [snip]

7. There is no grace period after your domain expires. The day it expires they will charge you a boatload of money to get it back. Reputalbe registrars dont pull this kind on nonsense. Why would anyone who knows anything about domains put up with this.

8 When you buy a domain at Godaddy or change your DNS to Godaddy, they steal your traffic for at least three days. That’s right folks you heard it hear first. They steal your traffic for at least three days. At any ohter registrar you can start using your domain right away. By the way this is grounds for a class action lawsuit and I am sure some clever attorney will get on it eventually.

The list goes on, but if your are stupid enough to use godaddy you probably already stopped reading

You can read the rest of the comments on GoDaddy on this page:

http://www.registerflies.com/myblog/godaddy-and-shady-transfer-policy.html

Many people seem to have issues with the frustrating checkout process that GoDaddy have where they attempt to upsell you every product and service they have, try to get you to buy other domain extensions, default the registration period for two years and so on. For seasoned webmasters and domainers this is just tedious and infuriating. Definitely at the very least I think they should have an option in the users profile to have a quick checkout option that bypasses all that crap.

I’ve also come across this site that gives various horror stories about GoDaddy:

http://www.nodaddy.com

Top 5 Places To Buy a Website Template

A website template is a pre-made design and layout that you can adapt to your own needs. For a designer it saves lots of time in coming up with a design, for the webmaster it’s a quick and easy way to get an attractive design for your website and for the small business owner it’s a cheaper way of having a professional look to your website.

The drawbacks to using website templates are that your design will never be unique – there may be lots of other websites out there with the same design – maybe even a competitor. Next, a template may not have the exact layout that you require (maybe the nav bar is in the wrong place or there’s not enough room for your logo or the menu has too many options that you don’t need) in which case you would end up paying a designer to modify the layout anyway.

However, given that there are tens of thousands of pre-made website designs available on the internet the chances of you having the same design as a competitor are extremely remote. Infact, given the cost advantages of pre-made templates, I think the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

There are dozens of different website template stores online so knowing which is the right one can be a difficult task. I have composed a list of the top 5 website template stores that I highly recommend from personal use.

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The New AdSense Referrals

In the past couple of weeks, Google has revamped it’s referrals program to not only include Google products, but hundreds of other products too! It can literally mean the difference between a 1 cent click and a $5 click.

With the new referrals program, Google has moved into an area traditionally dominated by the likes of Commission Junction and other smaller companies like ClixGalore and ShareaSale. By adding banners and links to your page you can now get paid through Google’s AdSense program for leads and sales generated from your website (as well as the traditional pay per click revenue).

The Pay Per Lead opportunities are a great way of making some fast extra cash. 99% of the time the companies paying you for a lead just need the name and email address of the person you are referring. So now, when you write an article, instead of putting normal PPC (pay per click) ads at the bottom, you can tell people to find out more by sending them to a page where they have to give their email address and you get paid up to $2 for sending that lead. Sure beats sending someone to another site for a measly 20 cents!

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Let’s Go Galaxy Hunting

Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a galaxy hunter? Ever looked up at the stars and wondered if you are alone out there? Well, never mind the second question, but if you want to help classify over a million galaxies, then Galaxy Zoo could probably use your help.

They have taken photo’s of around a million galaxies (each one contains billions and billions of stars like our own sun…do the maths, it’s not hard to realize there is going to be at least one other ‘Earth’ out there capable of supporting life) and need help classifying them all.

You have to take a short tutorial explaining the different types of galaxies (Eliptical or Spiral) and then have to take a nerve racking test to find out if your galaxy hunting skills are good enough for what they need. If you pass then you are allowed to start classifying real galaxies.

The whole concept of letting people around the world help out with scientific studies is growing in popularity. Classifying the galaxies has been difficult to do with computers because they are not adept at spotting patterns, and getting a few people to so the classification would take time and resources. By letting hundreds, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people around the world help out they can complete their study in months rather than years.

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My Work Has Been Recognised By Time Magazine!

Stockpicker website screenshot

Well here’s a turn up for the books (and about bloody time!), my work has been recognised by the world renown Time Magazine! I’m not directly recognised (boo!), but one of the sites that I worked on has made it to the Time Magazine Top 50 Websites of 2007. This has put such a big grin on my face and my ego has been inflated to biblical proportions. So…forgive me while I have a little boast 🙂

The site in question is called Stockpickr and the aim is to allow people to enter their top 3 stock picks and then the site puts you in touch with people that have chosen the same stocks and people that have similar stocks. You can also check out the ‘gurus’ picks and find out who the best stock pickers are.

You can see the full article here: Time Articlel

I was responsible for the development of the site, having a large amount of input on how it was to work, what information was needed etc. I also created the layout and content architecture of the site which means deciding where everything should go, what text was needed, how the pages interlinked with one another and how everything fits together. Finally I created the programming requirements document which outlined everything the site had to do so that the programmers could understand the functionality that is required.

I’ve uploaded some screenshots of my original (1st revision) mockups for the site below…

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What Sort of Facebooker Are You?!

It seems that if you are a 20 something in the UK you can’t have a conversation with someone for more than 5 minutes without the dreaded words Facebook being mentioned.

Since it opened it’s doors to the general public in September 2006 it has seen a wild fire like growth in the UK. I don’t feel as if MySpace ever really cracked the 2nd generation of internet users (people that came online around 1995 – 2000), certainly amongst my circle of friends MySpace was never mentioned. With the garish profile pages, unreadable fonts and eyewatering backgrounds it was something that I feel appealed more to the teenagers than us college grads (being the sophisticated grownups dontcherknow).

Now here we are, July 2007, not even a year after Facebook opened it’s doors to the general public and I think 70% of my year group from high school is registered and a fair amount of people from my university. Most of my mates from back home have a profile and it’s growing day by day. Considering that there are were an estimated 1.3 million UK users in March 2007, I reckon there must be 2 million or more now.

So, with the meteoric rise of Facebook, certain types of users have emerged, which one are you?

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I’m A Winner!

I never win anything. Even if I enter a competition where everyone’s a winner. I’d come last. It’s something I’ve learned to accept and get on with.

However, that all changed this morning when I received a text message from GameMobile.co.uk informing me that my recent review of the Lemmings Return game for mobile phones had won the monthly contest and my prize was a free game. Yeah, ok, the games are only worth £3.99 each, but it’s a start. Maybe I can review the free game I get and win the July review contest and get another free mobile game. I’m thinking the new monopoly game.

If you like playing games on your mobile (or if you are so bored on your daily commute to and from work) then check out GameMobile.co.uk for hundreds of games for your phone. They even have some freebie games like Snake and Doom.

So I guess you are probably wondering what amazing piece of literally I penned to win the monthly review competition. Well wonder no more, I’ve added it below:

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