Canonical Issues on Windows

If you are looking to make sure your site is as optimized for search as it can be, you have probably been told to do a redirect from your non-www domain to your www domain. This is not too difficult when you are hosted on Linux, but can be a little more tricky when you are on a Windows based hosting plan. Even more troubling if you are on shared Windows hosting. Here is a quick how to if you are leasing a Windows based server and have IIS access.

The method below will do the redirect without any additional software such as ISAPI Rewrite. I am not saying you shouldn’t purchase and install ISAPI Rewrite. I am just looking to provide an install free method.

I will use example.com as the domain name in the how to. Obviously this is where your site name needs to go. This will allow requests for http://example.com/mydirectory/detail.cfm?myid=555 to be 301 redirected to http://www.example.com/mydirectory/detail.cfm?myid=555.
Continue reading Canonical Issues on Windows

Free Website Template Search Engine

There was a site that came up today at Del.ico.us and Digg. It was a collection of 40+ sites offering free web site templates or skins. If you are like me (a bit right brain challenged) you will appreciate this nice list of sites. There is even a nice section including wordpress themes.

I could just reprint here, but I decided to do something a little different. I have wanted to try something out in Google Co-op for a while and this was the perfect candidate. Google Co-op allows you to create a custom search engine and even use it on your site. I am not going to integrate it into the site, but this will allow you to search the complete list of free template web sites using Google.


Search this custom engine for a free web site template:


I plan on using this myself since I often find myself looking for a template in a particular niche (real estate, furniture). Going through all of these sites would be a bit tedious and this custom search engine using Google Co-op is the right answer. Not perfect, but nice. I haven’t looked into it, but an image search using co-op would probably be more suitable.

BTW does anyone else find it funny when a “design company” uses one of these canned templates to pitch their “design” services. In any event, I hope this is usefull for someone. I know that I will use it to find web site templates that will help generate some new ideas.

Read more to get the full list of free template sites. Continue reading Free Website Template Search Engine

Google Video with Matt Cutts

It is nice to revisit Google from time to time to look at some of the things in the lab and to view some of the API’s that are available.

Google offers this really simple video search control wizard that provides you some nice cut and paste code that you can include on your site. If you want to get fancy with it, you could dynamically pass keywords from your blog post and provide a little added widget for the visitor. With the wizard, you can pass your own keyword list and output a list of videos that match your list. I wanted to keep the list on a topic that people in the SEO world would like. What better person to view than Matt Cutts.
Continue reading Google Video with Matt Cutts

Yahoo Pipes Pisses Me Off

Are you like me? Do you get upset every time the veil of technology is lifted and a once difficult (or tedious) process becomes easier for the masses? It must be some sort of character flaw, but it really disappoints me and sometimes it even pisses me off.

I will probably file this one more under disappointed than pissed off.

It used to be a little more difficult to grab feeds from other sites, parse them out, and spit out the data as usefull information that just happened to help your site rank well in the search engines. Yahoo Pipes makes much of this easier. Maybe it makes my job easier and I can focus on a new level of control over the data and content. Pull it all together and spit it out with a better mousetrap. We shall see. My hunch is that it will help the webmaster who doesn’t have a great deal of coding experience but wants to put up another worthless MFA (made for Adsense) site.

Please note, I am not calling MFA sites worthless. I am categorizing the expected result of easy feed integration and expecting many people to attempt to enter the game with worthless sites. A scrape, an rss, post site and make money, right? “That is what the eBook that I bought on Ebay said.”

Who will adopt and use Yahoo Pipes? Will it be the masses or users of myYahoo? Will it be the blog community (this could be the big market)? Will it be coders and SEO’s who now find that their job becomes easier?

Were you one of the many who weren’t able to use Pipes in the first couple of day? It must be very difficult to gauge the demand for a new product like this. As a developer on the inside of a company the size of YHOO, it must be daunting to learn that your product will end up on the Yahoo home page. Is there a way to gauge the level of traffic that will come. How about the amount of traffic that you can anticipate from all of the press. It has been so long since Yahoo was out in front and not introducing an “also ran” product that they might have forgotten what comes of it.

On the business front, and an owner of some YHOO stock, I was surprised to see Yahoo get out in front on a new tool. This is great news and perhaps an attempt by Terry Semel to rule with less of an iron fist and start listening to the developers rather than the marketers. Who knows. Semel is not exactly on firm footing at Yahoo. He needs to shake things up and I hope that this is the first of many announcements and products. Even if they piss me off!

PS: Is Pipes crashing Firefox for anyone else?

Mod Rewrite Wizard

Don’t people in the SEO world always talk about link bait?  This mod rewrite tool is just that.  I have used it a number of times and found it be useful, although limited in some ways.

This is for those who aren’t experts with Regular Expressions and Mod Rewrite.  It is a wizard that allows you to enter your own URL along with some other parameters and the tool will spit out the rule to use in your .htaccess file.

http://www.mod-rewrite-wizard.com/

Dual Monitor Setup

Dual head 2 go - Matrox Graphics As a webmaster, or web marketer, you probably wear a lot of hats. Any bit of productivity that squeeze out of your day means a lot and really adds up at the end of the day,month, and year. If you haven’t ever used a dual monitor setup (or multiple monitor setup), you don’t know what you are missing. It isn’t just the “cool factor”, or being able to show your friends your geekness, it is a legitimate productivity boost. For those of you working for others, it might be a hard one to prove to your boss, but worth the effort.

Look, even Danny Sullivan has a multiple monitor setup.

Danny Sullivan’s multiple monitor setup

With the price of LCD’s crashing to the ground, there is not much of a reason not to head this way. Even if you are a laptop user, your system probably has multiple monitor support. You can purchase a 19″ LCD for under $200 from a number of retailers. I like to shop at TigerDirect.com since they ship quickly and the items reach me within 2 days, even with standard shipping. Some of the best deals on the name brand LCD’s can be found in your Sunday paper. Check the flyers for the office supply stores (Officemax, Staples, Office Depot) and Compusa.

Continue reading Dual Monitor Setup

Logo Design for the Design Challenged

As a webmaster I find myself in search of a logo for many new projects (obviously not this site). I consider myself a technical person who doesn’t have a great sense of design. I can look at a logo, or a site, and I generally know when something doesn’t look right, or doesn’t look as professional as it should. A designer, on the other hand, can look at that same logo or site and start off with comments regarding the amount of white space here, the gradient there, etc.

If you are like me, you should like this site. I have no affiliation whatsoever, I just think that they provide a terrific service at a very reasonable price ($125-$150). The site is www.designoutpost.com. The design process happens in a forum after you post your project. It is very different than the traditional design process where you are working one on one with a graphic designer. There are a group of designers who are trying to earn the project. Again, unlike other design services, the project isn’t earned until the work is virtually complete.

Read through some of the threads and you will see that the designers take in the feedback and usually come back with sommething good. Since there is more than one designer, you will see a slightly different take on the feedback which results in a better design. I have even seen projects where the client asks everyone to start fresh after a week of revisions. Not bad for <$200.

I have used eLance.com and a couple of independent designers in the past but in those cases it is someone like me, looking at proofs and trying to tell the designer what to do when I am not really sure why things don’t look right. The design outpost site has everything in public view.

Take a look through some of the current and completed projects to get a sense of the level of work. For those Jason Calacanis follwers (or haters), you can view one of his projects (luxist.com)

Skype Hacks

If you have been a skype user for any period of time, you might be a little set in your ways. Personally, I use skype as a chat client and recently added a Skype in number as a secondary office phone. There are some great handsets so that you don’t have to use a headset and be tethered to your computer.

There are many things that Skype can do that you might not be aware of. The people over at voip-news.com have compiled a list of 25 great Skype hacks. Before you start, you should download the latest version of Skype. My favorites from the list are: Continue reading Skype Hacks

How Google Could Game the Markets

Google holds enough information to game the financial markets like we have never seen before. The search data alone provides a treasure trove of information when extracted and analyzed properly.

As John Battelle put it, the search engines, Google in particular, hold the “Database of Intentions“.

The Database of Intentions is simply this: The aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result. It lives in many places, but three or four places in particular hold a massive amount of this data (ie MSN, Google, and Yahoo). This information represents, in aggregate form, a place holder for the intentions of humankind – a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, supoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends. Such a beast has never before existed in the history of culture, but is almost guaranteed to grow exponentially from this day forward. This artifact can tell us extraordinary things about who we are and what we want as a culture. And it has the potential to be abused in equally extraordinary fashion.

This data holds a great deal of value for any number of reasons. The holder of this data could use the aggregate the data to build a financial model like we have never seen. Let’s watch the returns on that Google cash hoard to see if perhaps they are using it. Wouldn’t you? It isn’t illegal. Think about it. As an investor, what has value to you? INFORMATION. Obviously, GOOG has some pretty smart people working there. If you were to build a financial model, and then incorporate the one thing that no one else has, do you think you could achieve a pretty good return? Bet you could.

Who, within the search companies, has access to this data? Is it nameless, faceless? Tie it to an IP. Oh wait, an IP from a large M&A (Mergers and Aquisitions) firm. An IP from a large investment banking firm. Link up the search data from those two users and guess who is buying who? Heck, you don’t even need personalized search enabled to come up with that one, hostnames are just fine.

Google stock chartI know that this sounds very big brother, but it really isn’t. It isn’t even insider information. It is not illegal. In fact, it is a brilliant way to return the most value to your shareholders and organize the world’s information at the same time.

Google Personalized Search

Google announced in their blog that personalized results would now be active for all users when they are signed in to any Google service. I don’t necessarily like this feature, for an SEO, but for the general user population, it probably has a lot of benefit. My own engine.

As an SEO, will you now have to profile a particular user group the way an advertiser traditionally does? Will this segment the market. Perhaps. Only time will tell.

Business Idea: Who wants to create a database of user profiles. Real people who share the personalized results with you. Infosearch, you interested? Someone with a lot of users who can be segmented. This would provide a flavor or results that wouldn’t be easy to recreate.

I wish that Google would provide a way, other than logging out of your account, to disable the personalized results feature. Perhaps if I am clicking through to page 2, they are providing a poor result set and should ask if I would like to disable personal search.

What a treasure trove of information Google now has. They are tying a users intentions with an actual user. A name a face, a credit card (with Google Checkout), documents, Email, etc. You get the picture.

Big brother? I know that they intend to “do good”, but let’s hope every single person who has access to that data is just as well intentioned.