Monthly Archives: August 2008

Social Networking: MySpace

my_spaceMySpace was launched in the year 2003. Within these 5 years, it has gained a good rank compared to other social sites. With more than 114,000,000 registered users, it ranks 6 on Alexa page rank. MySpace has been able to fulfill most of the social networking requirements and is popular among various age groups. If you browse through MySpace, you can see most Hollywood celebrities are equally involved in it as any other member. Various television shows and movies have also launched their official MySpace profile for their fans to participate and leave their comments. Music bands, singers also make use of their profile to update their fans about their concert schedule.

As I keep repeating the advantages of social networking sites, MySpace is a platform where you can promote your product or service. You need to start off by creating a profile with a good outlook. You can put your company’s logo and make your profile look attractive (could be professional or fun-filled). You can search for MySpace layouts and backgrounds in order to change the layout from plain white to match your taste. You need to fill your profile with all the possible details that people interested in your product or service might find helpful. If you have videos to display or you want the visitors to listen to some audio piece you can add this on your profile. The disadvantage of doing this is that in places with slow internet connection it might take more time to load which could drive them away before getting into your profile. After creating the profile you can take part in groups, place advertisements on the classified and socialize to get your message through to other users. MySpace optimization is all about building your network or in simple language making as many friends as possible. There are more than 3 million groups covering almost anything like computers, cooking, art etc. on MySpace, giving you enough choices to be the member of any group related to your field and increase your friends circle. You can even create your own group if you think your area of interest is missing.

It is essential to have good network of responsive friends in order to promote your product or service on MySpace. It is quite easy to build your friends list on MySpace. You can do this by searching other users’ profiles, participating in forums and by joining groups. You can even go through peoples’ profiles and make direct contact with them. Continue reading

Which one’s better for your website: Dedicated IP address or a Shared IP address?

There has been an age old debate over which one’s better, a dedicated IP address of a shared one. A dedicated or a static IP address is a unique IP address that represents your website. Whether you type in your IP address or your webpage name it’ll open the same page. A shared IP address on the other hand is the one where you website will reside on a shared server and share the same IP as the ones on the server. On the shared IP you have to type in your web page name. Relying on the definition alone having something personalized is always luxurious than having to share it. With this luxury comes the price. Dedicated IP is more expensive (few bucks extra) than the shared one. But the debate over which ones better is not only about the price but from the SEO point of view as well.

In general, having a shared IP address does not harm your site rank at all. However, SEO experts usually suggest a dedicated server. According to them, search engines give more preference to a static IP. After a bit of research this is what I found out about how search engine spiders like Google bots differentiate between the IP addresses. When these spiders come across your site they divide it with basic html 1.0. With a dedicated IP address the spiders are able to do so with html 1.0 alone and they get indexed as soon as it is parsed. On the other hand with a shared IP these spiders may have to use html 2,3 and so on until they are able to find the address for your site taking as long as 3 months or even more. During this phase the spiders will use the IP of the main site on the server, usually the host’s site. They keep crawling back until they find your site. The links build by you for your site during this phase is accredited on the main site rather than yours. You will get these links back after that phase is through. So the bad thing here is some other site gets all the credit for your hard work, which could be frustrating.

The other advantages of having a dedicated IP are as follows: Continue reading

Blog Optimization

Blog Optimization

Blogs = Mushrooms! Yes blogs are popping out like mushrooms these days. Many companies own blogs but they have the least idea what to do about it. If you happen to be among those who already own a blog or at least planning to get one then well you need to make sure your blog stands out in the crowd, otherwise it’ll be just another blog in the World Wide Web. The best way to let your blog be SEEN is by optimizing it.

Difference between Blog and Website:
There is a difference between optimizing a blog and a website. Following the traditional method, optimizing a website is more about getting links by all means where as a blog focuses more on grabbing attention from people and giving them something to talk about. The enhanced features of blog are what make it better or informative than static sites. The enhanced features include:

  1. RSS feed makes it easier to notify and keep the readers updated about the latest posts.
  2. Readers can comment of posts. The comments on each posts acts as a unique content giving it better page rank.
  3. Social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and digg lets the readers bookmark and rate your article by voting whether they like it or not. The more like its you get the better traffic there will be.

Why Optimize?
Optimizing your website is so much work, you must be wondering why optimize your blog. Well here are the reasons why optimizing a blog could be a better idea:

  • By optimizing your blog you can increase the search engine rankings both regular as well as blog or RSS.
  • The other reason to optimize your blog is to get more traffic from social bookmarking sites and social search.

Optimizing your Blog:

  1. Domain name, blog hosting and URL structure:
    The first thing you need to check on is the domain name of your blog. There are many services like TypePad and Blogger available that provide hosting for your blog as their subdomain. This applies on websites as well. It is not a good idea to create your site or your blog under these free services. The disadvantages include: limited features and prohibition on placing ads. So it’ll be wise to start off with your own domain name provided by reliable hosting. It is also important that the URL structure of your blog doesn’t contain numbers and extraneous characters. Try to use sensible words that are short and easy to remember.
  2. Page Title and Heading:
    You can use different page title for different post. Try to use the searchable keywords on the page title and relevant to your post. The headline of the post could be different from that of the page title but make sure they make sense. It is better not to stuff your page title and heading with keywords. Sensible, relevant page title and heading will works best for everyone.
  3. Keyword Selection:
    You can make use of the free keyword research tools like wordtracker and google adwords keyword suggestion tool to find the popular key phrases. You can include these keywords on your post few times. Make sure the content is readable by humans and sounds natural. This theory applies on website optimization as well.
    Blogs being a bit different from websites, you need to know what is in vogue. You can always keep yourself updated with the help of Technorati, Google News which provides you list of sites that can give you tons of information on the related topic. You can also make use of stumbleupon and bookmark the ones that interest you the most.
  4. Categories:
    You can make use of the keywords while creating categories for your posts. Make sure the default category title is general and is relevant to all the post on your blog. If possible choose multiple categories for one post with regards to its relevancy.
  5. Comments and Trackbacks:
    It is important that you provide a comment form at the bottom of each posts. These comments as mentioned early can help in great deal to get more traffic.

Advertising your blog:
Social bookmarking sites are the best place to advertise about your blog. You can also submit your blog on various RSS and blog directories. While reading blogs of others, you can always leave your valuable comment along with your blog address giving other users to link to you. Blogging could be a lot of fun if done in a proper manner. Happy Blogging!!

AUGUST 14, 2008 ISSUE #23

 

W3C Validation

You have probably heard about W3C validation many times or came across its icon on many sites. If you don’t know what W3C stands for, it is World Wide Web (3 Ws) Consortium and was formed in October 1994 by Tim Berners-lee (he is the inventor of the World Wide Web). The W3C validates your website by checking your documents against a formal Standard for HTML, CSS and XML derived web documents or by the WapForum for WML. They oversee internet development and bring standards and practices when designing for the internet. W3C also aims to make websites accessible to handicapped people. You can find more information on their website.

w3c

Validation, is it really important?

It is a terror to most website owners to go through the validation process as you need to make your website confirm for these sites which includes following the standard specifications and practices for languages like HTML, CSS and XML. W3C validation might give you better search engine ranking but before the errors in your code can cause big problems Over 90% of websites don’t conform to these standards as so many programs and scripts run on websites these days. Some famous sites like Amazon.com fail W3C Validator.

To be able to pass the validation and fulfill client’s requirements is a huge problem for web developers. While clients might want to add some features in their website, this might fail validation. On the other hand there are so many browsers these days and each might interpret the code differently. It becomes a tedious job to be able to design a website compatible with all these browsers and pass the validation. I personally prefer browser compatibility over W3C validation.

It is important that people focus more on the objective of the website than the W3C validation. It’s always better to let your customer find what they want in your website than just giving them the assurance that your website passes the standardization. It is however good if you can fulfill both, but validation should not be the goal of your website. Your website should focus more on browser compatibility, better traffic and client satisfaction.

NOTE: It is important to note that validation has a very precise meaning. Unfortunately the issue is confused by the fact that some products falsely claim to “validate”, whilst in fact applying an arbitrary selection of tests that are not derived from any standard. Such tools may be genuinely useful, but should be used alongside true validation, not in place of it.

AUGUST 8, 2008 ISSUE #22

Web Content Management System (WCMS)

Web Content Management System is a computer software system which can be used by anyone, with or without IT background to create, manage, edit and publish the content of a website. The user can do this without the help of the web master. With CMS you can even generate new pages, manage users, modify the layout, categorize the content and manage many other things. There are two elements of CMS front-end and back-end. The front-end is the one which represents the appearance of the website as viewed by the users like the web pages, images, content, forms and other content. The back-end is the interface with the system’s database that holds the content and the templates that define the outlook of the website. Only the authorized users are able to reach the back-end of the website. These are protected by passwords. The figure below shows the principle elements of the content management system.

Benefits of using WCMS:

  • With WCMS you can manage and update the content of your website without having any HTML knowledge. Most WCMS software use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing tools for people without any technical knowledge.
  • You can create standard automated templates which could be applied to new or old content.
     WCMS software comes with easy and frequent upgrades.
  • You can provide specific or selective content access.
  • You can manage the life cycle of a document with the help of WCMS software from the creation time till the document destructions.
  • You can enhance search engine optimization.
  • WCMS provides better consistency and security for your website.
  • With this there is lesser possibility of duplication of content.
  • You can also provide backup with version control with the help of these content management software. Continue reading