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:
- RSS feed makes it easier to notify and keep the readers updated about the latest posts.
- Readers can comment of posts. The comments on each posts acts as a unique content giving it better page rank.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
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 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
Few days back a friend asked me about Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. She had heard a lot about these terms but wasn’t really sure what they were all about. We were busy packing her stuff and could not really talk about it then. So I decided to write this post to let people know about the growth of the World Wide Web (www). This post is dedicated to my dear friend (who might be reading this from U.S.A) and all the readers who are anxious to know about the web 1.0 and web 2.0. Web 1.0: First I’ll start with the definition, “Web 1.0 is the first state of World Wide Web which was in the basic Read Only hypertext system.” According to Wikipedia Web 1.0 is a retronym which refers to the state of the World Wide Web, and website design style before the Web 2.0 phenomenon, and included most websites in the period between 1994 and 2004. Web 1.0 pages have the following characteristics:
- They use basic html (hypertext mark-up language) for publishing content on the internet. These are static web pages.
- They have Read-Only content.
- The web master is solely responsible for updating users and managing the content of the website.
- They do not support mass-publishing.
- Webmaster manually assigns all the hyperlinks to the content of the web page.
- The contact information provided by Web 1.0 is email, fax, phone number and the address.
- They use framesets.
- The Web 1.0 pages can only be understood by humans (web readers). They do not have machine compatible content.
Web 2.0: Web 2.0 encourages creativity, communication and networking among the internet users. It is the read write networking platform where the internet users will be able to interact and communicate among each other. Web 2.0 uses XML over HTML which makes it user friendly and machine compatible. Wikipedia’s definition, “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform”. The characteristics of Web 2.0 are:
- Web 2.0 promotes user interaction and communication where web masters and the users could network in a better way.
- It uses SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). The examples of SOA are RSS feeds, web services which defines how Web 2.0 application exposes functionality.
- Web 2.0 is all about social web. Social networking sites, blogging, podcast, wiki all come under this. The social web service has turned out to be a huge success on the internet.
- It follows the phenomenon that web is open to all. Anyone could be the author and start their own blog or drop their opinion on somebody else’s pages.
- Web 2.0 includes technologies like RSS (Rich Site Syndication), wikis, forums, blogging.
JULY 24, 2008 ISSUE #20
A podcast is an audio file which could be downloaded by readers from their favorite blogs and listen to it on any audio compatible device like an Ipod, a mp3 or windows media player. Podcasting is distributed via RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication). Podcasting is a great new method of audio file distribution which helps build good communication between the producers and the consumers. It is an easy way of delivering your messages to the listeners. Unlike TV or radios, podcasting can reach targeted market. Podcasting can be easily accessed anywhere and downloaded online anytime which makes it an effective and portable source of media. Podcasting spreads its popularity on various fields:
Music: Podcasting has become really popular in the music industry. With the help of this you can promote albums, music demos, broadcast interviews, promotional clips. It is hard to explain music in words. It is better heard that read. Hence podcasting is beneficial for anyone promoting or interested in music.
Education: Podcasting could be used for training and educational purposes. Some people find it hard to read from the computer screen. Podcasting lets them learn things with the help of video and audio.
Tutorials: Podcasting could be used for various tutorials. These have been famous for teaching foreign languages.
Story Telling: Podcasting can be used to tell stories to children or visually impaired. When a story is being told, it adds emotions to it, making it a better form of conveying the message.
Podcasting first started with the idea of user being able to distribute their own radio shows. With the advancement of podcasting, it has been used in various fields. The advantages of using podcasting are:
Podcasting is the most portable form of media. Any person from any part of the world can easily download media files and sync them with any portable media players automatically.
Podcasting uses RSS feed which means if you have subscribed for podcasting you will be notified about the updates in the content. You need not visit the site regularly to check on the latest news, you subscribe once and the software will automatically check for the new content and keep you informed. This does not occupy space in your email inbox and ensures you never miss out on anything important.
- No Spam:
RSS feed or podcasting does not make use of your email address to send the updates ensuring 100% spam free service. The subscribers receive only the messages that they wish to. Unsubscribing is equally easy.
- Scheduled downloads:
Listeners can schedule the time to download the podcast files with the help of podcatching software. This method is good for people with slow internet connection as they can schedule the download at appropriate time.
- Using existing technologies:
Podcasting does not use any new or complicated technology. It uses the existing protocols and standards like a web server we use to host our website. It is just like RSS feed that is used by websites to syndicate content.
- Simple and easy to create:
Podcasting is really simple and easy to create. All you need is recording device, web space and a podcatcher. Following few simple steps you can easily create podcast for your website.
You can easily measure the number of times your podcast has been downloaded.
Podcasting is relatively a new marketing medium. Many people are not aware of this technology, thus it is hard to reach everyone through podcast. If podcasting is encouraged, there’ll be more software oozing out to support it. With the advantages podcast has to offer, it will definitely be beneficial for your business.
JULY 17, 2008 ISSUE #19