There may be some weirdness, and some angst. There usually is. Hopefully the blog won’t be down for long.
This is not my favorite thing to do . . . *sigh*
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There may be some weirdness, and some angst. There usually is. Hopefully the blog won’t be down for long.
This is not my favorite thing to do . . . *sigh*
I finally got FireFox 3 installed this morning, and I’m giving it a good workout.
There were a couple minor annoyances in plugin installations. I had to manually find some of my fave plugins (with one exception noted below) on the mozilla.com site, and upgrade them one by one, since the updater doesn’t seem to be working properly for all plugins (though maybe it’s just the jump from 2.x to 3 that makes that happen on some.) The ones I’m specifically talking about are Colorzilla, and Firebug. This was especially irksome since the mozilla.com site search doesn’t seem to recognize the search strings “colorzilla” or “ColorZilla” or “Colorzilla” or “Color” or “Color Picker” or “color picker” as having anything to do with this plugin, which is located here. I had to use “site:addons.mozilla.org ColorZilla” in google to find it. Is that an irony or what?
Aardvark, which is one of my favorite web dev debugger plugins has been updated but requires a trip to Rob’s site to download it, since the powers that be at mozilla.com have yet to review it. I had written to him on download day, and he very sweetly notified me when the plugin was updated this morning (Thank you, Rob!)
My initial impressions are that firefox 3 is a lot faster at loading pages. That’s wonderful. Even more wonderful is it’s so significantly faster that I can notice it on my already fast broadband connection.
I am less than thrilled with the changes in the bookmark interface though. It now takes me three clicks to do what I used to do with only one or two clicks. So file this one under “Why did you fix something that wasn’t broken?”
The “Awesome Bar” is not. It’s a bit annoying, but not so much that I want to download the plugin to revert to the oldbar, at least not yet. It’s been mentioned by a few people on the dev lists that this is a “trainable” bar and becomes significantly more useful after it learns your habits. So I’ll give it a go for awhile. If it still annoys me in a week or so, I’ll revert it.
In looking to see if there was an add-on to revert the bookmarks interface it took me a lot longer to find the link within the add-on interface to the Mozilla webpage that has add-ons listed. Seems to me a couple versions ago it was right on the bottom of the add-on window and could be clicked immediately after opening tools/add-ons. Now they show me lame “suggestions” first, which are so far from my reality that it’s ludicrous, then they make me poke around for the damn link, which is buried at the bottom of a scrolling menu. Stupid and unfriendly. If anyone knows of a skin or something that solves that issue, please let me know.
In general FF3 is good, no slowdowns with my max number of windows open, no surprises yet (though I have yet to get TOO crazy with it!) But those few changes in the GUI are not what I would call optimal, though they weren’t nasty major changes like the ones that pissed me off in IE7. The bookmarks thing is pissy though. I wish I could revert that.
The upgrade/installation went very smoothly, with the exception of the plugin thing noted above, and some of them did upgrade fine.
So I’m reserving judgment until after I’ve made the rounds of the fiddle sites and gotten a lot of flash and quicktime animations and scripty things running and see if I get the crashes I used to get while doing all this in many multiple windows.
I do think that Mozilla Firefox’s GUI Design team should keep in mind that making people click three times to get to something they used to be able to do with one click is a STEP BACKWARDS, not forwards. And there are two places that I’ve found so far that do that. We’ll see if I find others as I use this more.
[tags]FireFox 3, FireFox Add-Ons, Aardvark, Mozilla GUI design[/tags]
Well, I hope they got their Guinness record.
Me, I downloaded Firefox 3, installed, and ended up uninstalling, realizing NONE of the plugins I use every damn day will work in FF3. I enjoyed it for all of five minutes. Though I will say this, that “awesome bar” appears more annoying and distracting than awesome. FF3 is FAST though, and if indeed the memory leaks have been cured, then I can’t wait for the add-ons to catch up.
Which add-ons don’t work in FireFox 3? Almost all the important Web Development plugins– Aardvark, Firebug, & Web Accessibility Toolbar immediately come to mind, since those are the three I use extensively that didn’t work, and that made this a dealbreaker for me. And apparently that about:config editing thing you could do in the beta to allow un-updated plugins to work has been totally DISABLED in FF3, which is annoying to me, though I guess I can understand it, since if people can make the plugins work that way, they won’t put pressure on the add-on developers to upgrade. If anyone knows of a way to get around that, I BEG YOU to tell me about it!
I also wonder about how the downloads can reflect any real number. For instance, I downloaded and I’m not using it. Others download and install it on multiple machines. But if it’s just a publicity stunt, I guess they got their press. The servers almost melted down yesterday. They were reporting something around 14,000 downloads a MINUTE. That’s pretty amazing.
Firefox Add-On Devs, hear my plea! Get your add-ons updated soonest so I can enjoy new Firefoxy goodness!
[tags]Firefox 3, Firefox Add-ons, Firefox 3 Download Day[/tags]
A little over a week ago I wrote an article entitled “The Three Most Common Web Design Mistakes“. It started some discussion about what mistakes are made on websites, but a couple of the comments had to do with onsite problems that did not fall into the area of the Design. Design of a site is its look coupled with how user friendly it is. Design has nothing to do with the CONTENT of a site. Whereas Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing have EVERYTHING to do with the content of a site. I’ve also been reading a thread on WebProWorld with opinions on whether Onsite SEO is dying. My thoughts on both have led me to write this follow up article.
First of all, this is an analysis of the mistakes my clients make over and over and over again, no matter what I’ve told them they should be doing. Yes, most of them don’t listen to me about these things, after I’ve handed them the keys to the kingdom and the bill has been paid. They should. I rank within the top ten for a lot of niche keyphrases on the top three search engines, and make my living off my websites.
There are a lot of mistakes that others make that don’t exist on my client websites, and I’m not going to go into detail about them. We who design websites have a leg up over others, since we know what proper coding structure and semantic site structure and navigation can do to boost our sites up. But I build much of that into the sites I build for my clients so they don’t have to think much about it. The use of content management systems of all sorts automates all those SEO chores so that they’re automagically done for you by the web software. I also create their websites so that the tools are there to automatically create backlinks into their websites. Yes, they can do more with that by submitting to directories, and writing for the article banks, but even if they have no time for this sort of activity, their website software will, if they use it properly, help to generate backlinks.
So . . . what are most of them doing wrong?
There are five basic areas where all of them can improve.
The first item, adding new website content frequently, is without a doubt the most important of all, and the one that my clients pay the least attention to. Why is this a problem? For many reasons.
The frequency of content additions will determine how often your site gets spidered. If you add three articles in one week, then don’t add an article for two months, the spiders will not be spidering you often after they’ve not found new content for awhile. And that new content, if crafted properly, is presenting new niche keyphrases that are going to create new opportunities for people to find your site, since new content that contains new niche keyphrases can also be compared to putting a new door on your building. Every time you add a new page of content, you are creating another page that will be indexed and that people can enter your site through. People rarely come in through my “front door” on my site. Much more often they’re coming in through one of my hundreds of “back doors”. The more back doors you have, the more chance you have of growing your traffic. Also, the more good content you have, the more likely it is that others will link to it.
The second item concerns the actual copywriting. Not everyone is good at this. If you aren’t, then finding someone who is and who can do it for you will pay huge dividends. Web articles should be relatively short, in the neighborhood of five to ten paragraphs, and from 300-800 words in length on average, though occasionally breaking this “rule” is acceptable if the scope of the subject warrants it, though breaking longer articles up into subsections with the use of subheaders or bold print, as I did in this article, is a good idea.
Each article should be written to either answer a specific question or solve a specific problem that a visitor has. The copy should be very easy to read, and free of spelling and grammar errors that would make you look unprofessional. If the article is one where you can market your service or product, then a call to action should be included, whether it’s a form on the page or a link to either the product page or the contact page. Whenever the form can be put directly into the page in question that’s preferable, rather than linking to a form in another page. The less clicks for a user, the better. If you don’t include the call to action, then your website won’t convert.
The third item is turning your Industry Shorthand into Niche Keyphrases. In my industry it’s “site” for website, “SEO” for Search Engine Optimization, “SEM” for Search Engine Marketing, “spider” for Search Engine Spider, “design” for website design, “WP” for WordPress, “Theme” for WordPress Theme, etc. Problem is that few outside of my industry will use my industry’s shorthand words to find me, and the people outside my industry are the ones who purchase my service. So after I’ve written copy following the guidelines in item two, I then edit the copy to rephrase all that shorthand into meaningful keyphrases that people outside of my industry routinely use in the search engines to find people like me. No matter what industry or endeavor you’re in, you have a lexicon of shorthand jargon you routinely use. That’s okay when speaking with co-workers or industry insiders, but it’s death in a website if you’re trying to get listed well in the search engines and have outsiders find you. So a second edit of your copy to include better keyphrases in a natural and flowing manner will get you better rank and better indexing.
The fourth item is creating killer article titles that contain the one main keyphrase for the article. When I configure a content management system I set up the templating so that the article title is also the html page title. Html page titles are important for good Search Engine Optimization, since they tell the spider what the article is about and how it should be indexed. So if you have a site about golf, and you’re writing an article about golf clubs called drivers, then don’t title your article “Great Drivers” since that doesn’t give enough information, and in fact falls down because it uses Golf industry shorthand. “A great Driver will improve your Golf Game” would be a better title for both the article and the html page title.
The fifth item is using carefully crafted Technorati Tags. I really had this point brought home to me when I upgraded the bitchslappin blog’s WordPress installation and started using the integral tagging system . . . and my traffic was cut by a third. Why? Because the native WordPress tagging system doesn’t create technorati style tags. I installed a plugin to convert them and it instantly fixed the traffic flow issue. I am a nutcase about technorati tagging. It gives me a chance to strut out all the secondary niche keyphrases that relate to the article in question, and in such a way that they’ll generate a huge chunk of traffic and very targeted backlinks for me. So, to use the example above, if in your article about golf drivers you have named your five favorite drivers by brand name and model number, those make and model number combos should be your technorati tags. I just wish my clients would remember to put technorati tags in the little textbox at the bottom before they click the publish button. Their traffic would increase pretty quickly if they did.
And to tie things together, you should also, within the body of the article, link each brand name and model number you used in the golf driver article to either your product page, or to more information elsewhere if you don’t sell these golf clubs. That link text will further help the Search Engine spiders to figure out what your site is about, and give you more back doors into your site.
None of this stuff is rocket science. None of it is hard to do. But doing it all a minimum of weekly will guarantee you a leg up in the search engines and a steady climb in your traffic and conversions. So why don’t my clients listen? Maybe I need to start charging them for this info so they value it more.
[tags]SEO Mistakes, SEM Mistakes, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing[/tags]
An acquaintance, who is an attractive young woman, is having a problem with her relatively new Dell Laptop, purchased at the start of the school year, and is now showing a fairly large black spot on the screen, right in the middle. My friend, Jesse, who is computer savvy, was on the phone with me while Elisa had Dell Support on chat. Jesse and I both had a “WTF?” moment when the chat person asked her to let him take over her computer, and we both told Elisa to tell him he wouldn’t be able to see dead pixels on her screen from his screen, so there was no point in him doing that.
Apparently this isn’t the first time this has happened to her, a young woman with an obviously feminine name. The last guy told her she was really cute, after he activated her webcam remotely so he could see her, which was an amazingly ballsy thing to do. I suspect the second CS rep was intent on doing the same thing, since there is no way in hell he’d be able to see any dead pixels on her screen by accessing remotely.
This is an incredible invasion of privacy. It’s also points up a lot of repercussions. It’s possible these guys are just woof-woofs looking to catch sight of the skin they’ll never be allowed to touch. it’s also possible they’re criminally minded, and they have access to all your information. Whether they’re looking to catch a good bit of video to sell to the nudie sites, or casing your living room to see if you have valuables, you do NOT want this happening.
And it makes me feel that a built in webcam is the one feature I might not want on any new box I buy. If it’s a peripheral, it can be unplugged before getting in touch will Dell Customer Service. Or any other computer CS for that matter. I doubt the Dell CS reps are the only ones doing this.
[tags]Dell Customer Service, Invasion of Privacy, Web Privacy, remote computer access, built in web cam[/tags]