Thursday 30 April 2009

Content is More Important than Look and Feel

This is a short post to remind ourselves that content is more important than look and feel. It is far less fun for some people but in terms of getting traffic, look and feel is much less important than content. The way I see it is this. The website, be it a blog or a conventional website must meet a minimum standard on look and feel. By look and feel I mean the overall appearance of the site. It should give the impression that it is professionally produced. But once that standard has been met, leave it alone.

But, and this is a big but, ultimately, people are searching for information and once they have noticed the look and feel (in passing) they are searching for the information that they want and they want it quickly.

Sometimes the look and feel and design of the site can get in the way of finding information. It should really be pretty plain and well organised. Sounds boring but a simple set up and design is best. You have only got to look at Google to see how the experts do it.

Playing and tinkering with look and feel can be fun but it is taking you away from the more difficult stuff – producing good content. Content is god.

I see some websites that are fabulous looking but no one is looking because no one is finding it. So, if you want some fun designing a great site, you are doing it for yourself because very few other people are going to see it.

And lets remember this. The internet is not static. The opposite, in fact. Every day there is more competition so you have to focus on the god of content and get through look and feel fairly quickly. Or treat yourself to a look and feel tweak after you have produced some content.

Content is More Important than Look and Feel. There are many sites with plain and poor looks but they are a thousand times more effective and visited than the fanciest of blogs.

Content is More Important than Look and Feel to Home Page

Wednesday 29 April 2009

How to Get Traffic to Your Blog

How to get traffic to your blog. This is what most of us think about. There is no point, really, in writing a blog unless someone is reading it and the more the better if you are trying to make a bit of money at the same time. These are my points in getting traffic to your blog:
  1. Content and patience are king. Keep writing genuinely useful content that people want to read and look at. Have patience to allow Google and the other search engines to list and find your blog. It will take months to get any real traffic. This is a kind of test for us. Google weeds out the people who do not have staying power. I am sure that part of the very complex Google Algorithm is a formula which asks if the blog has been around for “x” amount of time and whether new posts have been added over that time. Google is far bigger than the others so you’ll need to be found and listed by Google in a search. That is one reason why I use Google Blogger. Google understands it’s own products and I say it will tend to favour very slightly Blogger over, say, WordPress.
  2. Keep post fairly snappy but content rich. The attention span of modern visitors is short!
  3. Use Keywords (What are Keywords). These tell you what people are searching for and you can research supply and demand of keywords. Supply in this context means the number of websites that provide information on a particular subject and demand in this context means the number of people looking for information on a particular subject. You might try Wordtracker. I use SBI (Sitesell) Brainstorm It!
  4. Although less important today, the title to the post should be a selected keyword that has high demand and low supply.
  5. The keyword referred to at 4 above should be used in the post (but not over used) and as “alt” tags on photos.
  6. The keyword should be used in the first line or two of the post.
  7. The keyword should be in a link in the post.
  8. You should get inbound links to your blog to improve Page Rank. This helps to get your blog listed higher by the search engines. This will come in time if the blog is good as people will want to link to it but initially it means pushing things along by (a) submitting to article sites (b) making comments on other blogs and leaving URLs to your blog (d) getting your blog listed in directories and (e) participating in link exchange agreements.
  9. If you can get friends to link to your blog.
  10. Join and participate in forums, where your blog is relevant. Include the URL of your blog when appropriate.
  11. Search engines may index your blog using the site feed so make sure it is activated.
  12. Submit your blog to the search engines, for indexing.
  13. Make frequent posts, say one or two a day. As mentioned make the posts as good as possible. Take your time and think long term.
It is hardly ever possible to achieve success on the internet without patience, persistence and determination. Here is another post of the same subject: How to Publicise Your Blog.

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Write Blogs with Windows Live Writer

This is a post about Windows Live Writer. Microsoft are following Google (late in the day) in producing free downloadable products like Windows Live Writer to write posts and articles for your blog. I usually write the posts using the Blogger compose window. I guess 99% of us do as it is very efficient. It is deliberately slightly limited, though. For example, you can’t do tables in Blogger compose mode unless you write the code in Edit Html mode or drop the code in. Or as I mentioned in an earlier post, you can use Google Docs to write the post and build the table (see Creating Tables in Blogger Blogs). You can transfer the finished post extremely easily and directly to the blog. I talk about the process of building blog pages using Google Docs here: Google Docs to Create Blogger Posts.

As compose mode in Google Blogger is slightly limited in functionality it seems Microsoft have used this as an opportunity to create a post editing tool in Windows Live Writer which has greater functionality and, of course, you can use a full computer screen rather than a smallish compose window in Blogger.

Windows Live Writer can be downloaded for use on your computer or used online (cloud computing). I am creating this post on my computer using Windows Live Writer. It is the first time I have used it, having just this minute downloaded it. The download page is here:

This is a sample table:


How about inserting a picture? Here is one I inserted:


OK that went well. It ran very nicely, in fact. The cat in the picture, incidentally, is an Oriental Shorthair kitten – really very cute indeed. It was taken at a cat show in Oklahoma and is in fact a still image of about 1 MG from a video taken with the new Flip HD video camera. The person who is holding the kitten is the cat breeder, Marty Young. She was kind enough to let me video her kitten while holding him. Thanks Marty.

Windows Live Writer handles pictures extremely well. This is a real bonus for people like me. Blogger is is not bad on photo handling as the photo can be positioned but Live Writer goes a lot further and I love that facility. It even adds an alt tag automatically based on the file name. That saves time but just make sure the file name is good. I am warming to this program a lot.

So far so good. More than that, very good indeed. As you can see I am exploring this program as I go along. You can also add plug ins, maps, photo albums, tags and videos. When you are done, just click, “Publish” and it uploads the page to your blog. The page can be edited in Windows Live Writer and re-uploaded.

Another very impressive feature is the way Windows Live Writer reads your Blogs formatting and matches it. Uploading the finished or amended page to your blog is fast and reliable. In the language of the young, this is a cool product. Nice work MS!

My initial conclusion is that this is a program that I would certainly highly recommend. It is light, clean and easy to use. It is a very modern program, perfect for blogs. I would write bogs with Windows Live Writer.

Write Blogs with Windows Live Writer to Home Page

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Flickr Photostream for Your Blog

It is very easy indeed to create a Flickr photostream for your blog. It need not be a Google Blogger blog. You can drop the code into any blog or webpage. First, of course, you have to be a Flickr member if you want to show your own Flickr photos. That's easy and I'll leave you to work that out - just follow the instructions.

Once you are a member and have posted (uploaded) some photos to your home page and/or joined some groups you can make a slide show (photostream) from the pictures and place that slide show on your website or blog. The photostream can be of your photos or the photos of photographers who are members of a group. A "group" in Flickr terminology means a group of people who have joined together to show off their photos that are all part of a theme.

I am a member of a Flickr Group (Black Cat Brigade) and I formed a group called cat-photo-technique (this is on my site Pictures of And see the Flickr page here: Flickr cat-photo-technique). You can make a Flickr photosteam from your own group or any other group. Here are the steps:

Flickr Photostream for Your Blog - Your Photos
  1. Go to your home page.
  2. Click on the tab labelled "You".
  3. Select Your Photostream.
  4. Your photos come up.
  5. Top right hand side you will see two options, "Slideshow" and "Share This". Select "Slideshow".
  6. Your Slideshow comes up against a black screen.
  7. Top right of the screen you will see some options, select, "Share".
  8. A window opens and select, "Grab the embed HTML".
  9. Drop this code into your blog. In Google Blogger just paste the code into"Edit Html" mode and return to compose. That's it.
Flickr Photostream for Your Blog - Group Photos
  1. Go to your home page.
  2. Select "Groups" from the horizontal menu at the top.
  3. Select "Your Groups".
  4. This takes you to groups that you have formed or just joined.
  5. Select the one of your choice.
  6. When you get to the group photos select, "Group Pool" which is just under the heading for the group.
  7. This takes you to the group's photos.
  8. Top right hand side you will see two options, "Slideshow" and "Share This". Select "Slideshow".
  9. Your Slideshow comes up against a black screen.
  10. Top right of the screen you will see some options, select, "Share".
  11. A window opens and select, "Grab the embed HTML".
  12. Drop this code into your blog. In Google Blogger just paste into in "Edit Html" mode and return to compose. That's it.
You can see the photostream to cat-photo-technique below:

If you simply want to add photos to your Blogger blog using a widget the steps are very easy:
  1. Go to Layout page.
  2. Select "Add a Gadget".
  3. In the search box (top right of window) type "Flickr" and press enter.
  4. A list of almost 300 photostreams comes up.
  5. Select the one of choice. This will be widget sized photos though. The better way is as described above as it gives more control.

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Flip Camera Problem

This is a report on a Flip camera problem. The problem is that after some use the amount of recording time available left is reduced. It can be significantly reduced to the point where the device is unusable. The Flip camera is a fantastic video camera for the reason that it is very small indeed (something like 5" x 2" and about half an inch deep, so it is very portable) yet produces HD video of good quality. This post is not about the camera but the flip camera problem.

Flip camera
photo by photine

This is the problem in more detail:

You buy the camera. You make a video. You store the video on your computer and delete the videos on the Flip camcorder to allow more videos to be made and stored on camera. The maximum amount of recording time is 60 mins. You expect to see 60 minutes of record time available after all the files have been deleted from the Flip camcorder. But on some occasions this isn't the case. The problem seems to be dependent on how the video files are saved to the hard drive from the camera.

Update late March 2011: At the date of this post (see date above), there was and perhaps still is a problem. It may have been fixed. If that is the case, great. 

Note: In discussing this "problem" (and I am not completely sure that it is a problem) does not mean that I don't like the camcorder. I would highly recommended this video camera. It is very easy to use, the quality it very good, it is very tolerant of poor or color cast lighting and is extremely portable. Portability is very important as it means you can capture those shots that would otherwise have passed you by. It is also inexpensive. Mine cost £147 at Heathrow.

There are two ways to save the video files:
  • In my case, when I first used the camera, I saved all the videos on the camcorder in one go using the icon within the Flip software (bottom left of screen) and I then deleted the videos on the camcorder. The files are saved in a new folder created by the Flip software. The manufacturer says that the files are saved deep within the hard drive for security. When the files are saved and deleted this way the camera doesn't seem to recognize the fact that all the files have been deleted and only allows less than the full 60 minute recording time. In my case this was about 30 mins. This seemed weird. For some reason there were files left in the camcorder.
  • The next time I saved the files I did it this way. When the videos show up in the Flip software I click on the video (or a large number of them by clicking on the first one and then clicking on the last one while holding down the "shift" or capitals key). This puts a blue frame around the video. I then right click and a menu comes up. I select the "export" function in this menu. Click on this. I then save the selected videos to a folder that I have opened on the desktop. Once saved (you can see progress on a bar that is bottom left of the screen) I deleted the files using the same menu referred to above (there is a delete function on it).
OK, the second method (a more manual type method) avoids, it seems, the Flip camera problem. A full 60 mins of record time is available after the process. This method of saving files is also required if you are going to make a video with software other than Flip video making software (e.g. Windows Movie maker).

If the problem does come up however, for what ever reason, I have found that the simplest way to solve it is as follows (using MS Windows):
  1. Make sure there are no videos in the camera..
  2. Connect the camera to your computer.
  3. Go to "Computer" and you will see the hard drives including the Flip storage drive (a flash card I believe). It might be labelled, "FLIPVIDEO (G:)".
  4. Right click on the FLIPVIDEO and select "format" from the menu.
  5. A small window comes up. At the bottom of the window click on the check box labelled, "Quick format" and then click on "Start".
  6. It takes about 3 seconds to format.
  7. Then disconnect the camera in the usual way.
You will have a full 60 mins record time for use. One last point. There may be an update to solve the Flip camera problem.

Michael Avatar

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Photo: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License -- this site is for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue.

Monday 27 April 2009

Ruddy and Blue Abyssinian Kittens

Ruddy and blue Abyssinian kittens are adorable and Helmi is about to photograph them all together but on the second day of the Oklahoma City Cat Show it has been busier and more complicated that expected. Ken Flick had said that we would finish at 2 pm but a we had a lot of people who requested photos late in the day and we are still going strong at 3pm. The complication is that there is a storm coming and it is scheduled to come through the area at about 4 pm.

We are going to Ponca City after the show to meet with Kathrin and Martyn Stucki of A1 Savannahs. The question is whether we are going to be inconvenienced by the storm. The journey to Ponca City is less than 2 hours from Oklahoma City. It takes about 1.5 hours to pack up so it looks like we are leaving at about 6 pm. Then we go back to our hosts (Helmi's cousin) for a clean up. This all adds up to getting to Ponca City late. Anyway we did warn Kathrin that we would be late.

We are staying overnight at the home of A1 Savannahs and leaving them Monday to get back to Bedford, Texas.

For the Flicks a good cat is one that performs well in front of the camera and some are and some decidedly aren't. The better cats are usually the ones that are experienced with being shown.......Moving forward to the next day....As I mentioned, Helmi photographed 6 Abysinnian kittens at the same time. They were bred by Pat Harbert. Here is a snap shot from a video that I am making - please excuse the color cast! It is from a video and taken in florescent lighting.

Three Blue Abyssinian Kittens on Helmi Flick's
studio table being photographed. This photo has a slight colour cast.

Two Ruddy Abyssinian Kittens. Photo copyright Helmi Flick
The person is the breeder: Pat Harbert

See more on this: Two Ruddy Abyssinian Kittens

Why are there three Abys when I spoke of 6? Well, there are three more blue Abyssinian kittens, making 6 in all, and they were all photographed together but Ken and Helmi also like to reduce the number being photographed at one time and I think you can realise why! There are always some cats that are more able to perform in front of the camera and Ken tends to pick these out and focus on them. But the photo session of these kittens covered all 6 together through to individual portraits and they were adorable. Here they are waiting to be photographed:

abyssinian kittens
Three Ruddy and 3 Blue Abyssinian kittens in a cage waiting to
be photographed by Helmi Flick. The 6th is on the left

Update: We are now in Ponca City and in an hotel about to get up and get over to A1 Savannahs to see their fantastic cats and meet Kathrin and Martyn Stucki. I'll get back on that and with a video on the making of the photographs of these gorgeous ruddy and blue abyssinian kittens.

The Photos: These are stills from a camcorder. There will be a video soon.

Update: Here is a video of these gorgeous kittens:

Saturday 25 April 2009

Bengal Cat Photography

Bengal Cat Photography -- Here is a short clip from a part of a video that I am going make. It was taken about one hour ago at a cat show in Oklahoma, USA. This cat, in fact, did not like being photographed and made that completely clear. He growled and as a last resort, for a cat, he scratched, Ken, the cat wrangler.

The cat's name is Kopa owned by Dana Zauf. You know photographing cats can go very well. It can occasionally be trouble free. But what they say about working with animals and children is true. This fine purebred cat did not like cat shows, apparently, and was a different cat in a cat show and being photographed at a cat show than he was at home. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get a good photograph but if it can be done Helmi and Ken will do it. Bengal cat photography can produce some spectacular photos though as they are so athletic. This is shown in this short video clip.

I'll come back to this page and show you the finished still photo from this photographic session.

From Bengal Cat Photography to Home Page

Thursday 23 April 2009

Creating Blogger Blog Subdomain

Creating a Google Blogger blog subdomain is relatively easy, although it does sound daunting. This Blogger blog is a subdomain of the website You can tell that by looking at the website's address at the top of the page. The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is The dot in the middle separates the main site (to the right) and the subdomain. If this was a pure Blogger blog site using the "blogspot" URL it would be

What is the point of making a blogger blog a subdomain of another site you may have? Well these are the reasons, rightly or wrongly why I did it:
  1. Blogger allows you to create a nice friendly website extension to a conventional website. It is a place where you can tap into all the great facilities of Google Blogger. And if you are not too geeky and have built a conventional (non blog type site) on your own, I think, people like us need some tech help! And it's all free. So the first benefit is that it allows us to create a blogger site with all the advantages that brings as part of our website.

  2. I have concluded in this post that hits to subdomains are counted by Alexa and that they contribute to the Alexa ranking although they are not listed separately.

  3. You can link from subdomain to main site. It is a satellite site that can bring in traffic to the main site.

  4. It is very easy to create pages on a Blogger site. If you are working alone it is difficult to compete with websites where more than one person build the site. The ease and facility of Google Blogger translates to increased speed.

  5. A subdomain URL is arguably nicer than than a blogspot one but and this is important, you shouldn't (in my view) create a subdomain of an existing and successful Blogger blog because you change the URL. If your blog is successful there will be inbound links to it and that helps create Google Page Rank. All that will go if the site's URL is changed. OK, it will come back in time but it might not return to the past level because over the period when it is recovering its inbound links other sites march on and progress. This may result in losing customers and they may never come back. Also it is irritating for those people who have linked to a successful blog to then find that the link is broken. They might not repair it, which could leave the Page Rank permanently lower than before. Don't mess with a successful website. That is what I say.
OK, here are the steps to creating a Google Blogger blog subdomain:
  1. You need to enter data into both Blogger and your main website. You will need then to check with your hosting company whether they allow subdomains and if so what the procedure is to create a subdomain. I can't talk about individual companies except my personal experiences with SBI who host PoC. With SBI the process is simple:

  2. This is what SBI says, "All you need to do is create and name a subdomain, map its “CNAME” to the provider you have selected....." The two primary pieces of information required are, CNAME and your blogger website name:

The CNAME is provided by Google and it is always as indicated in the picture ( The subdomain name is the name chosen by you and the text that precedes the URL of the Blogger blog (indicated in red below): Both these will be needed by the hosting company who hosts your main site. As to Blogger this, as usual, is easy and the steps are these:
  1. Find your way to the control panel for your blog. You can get there from the dashboard and click, "layout" or from "customise", top right hand side of the navbar. Once there, select "Settings" and then "Publishing".

  2. This is how the screen looks for a blog I have on "Cats in Paintings":

Next click on "Custom Domain". Then click on "Switch to advanced settings". In the page that comes up you will see the panel into which you type the subdomain URL. It follows the words, "Your domain". For this website the finished result looks like this:

This is the screen when you have entered the subdomain URL and saved the settings by entering the word verification and clicking "SAVE SETTINGS". Incidentally, I leave "Use a missing files host?" as default.

That is essentially, it, except you have to wait for a while. It might even be a day or two during which the URL cannot be reached. The time delay will come from your main website host company. I think Blogger acts almost immediately. The key to Creating a Google Blogger blog subdomain is to get the main hosting company settings correct as the Blogger side is very user friendly.

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Do Subdomain Hits Improve Alexa Ranking?

Update July 1, 2022: This is still a useful resource but you probably know that Alexa no longer exists! And I think I might have caused it 😎. I wrote to the chief executive of Alexa and asked for his help as Alexa had made a mistake on inbound links. They would not fix the error. I was forced to go over their heads to the top and I wrote using snail mail. I did not receive a response but Alexa pronounced on their website that they were 'retiring' soon afterwards. I think they knew that there were accuracy problems which were unsolvable so they closed. About 3 days before they closed my site was dramatically reduced in its ranking in an act of spite by the Alexa employees. I did not care less by then as it was game over for Alexa. I found them to be arrogant and unhelpful. Typical of all big internet companies. They are high-handed and don't know the meaning of customer service.

April 23rd, 2009: Do Subdomain Hits Improve Alexa Ranking? For the big sites Alexa lists out the sub domains and it says, "Where people go on..." followed by a list of sub domains. Here is an example. It concerns a site that has a high Alexa ranking:

Alexa subdomain tracking

This site is a subdomain of (PoC). You can see that in the address bar at the top of the page; there is a dot before the pictures of cats url and the address before the dot is the subdomain. It is important for me to know if this subdomain contributes directly to the Alexa ranking. In other words, do the hits and pageviews per visitor etc. to this subdomain website get added to the hits from the "main site" (PoC) to produce a combined figure?

Well, when I first built this Blogger site and made it a subdomain, Alexa used to list it (just like it lists the subdomains for Sitesell above). And it provided a percentage contribution as well.

That at least means the Alexa was and is (judging by the above) measuring hits from the subdomains. Otherwise it would not be able to tell us the percentage of people who visit them. At the moment Alexa does not show this site as a subdomain (as it used to) but Alexa does refine and change what it shows us (update at March 2011 - it is now showing subdomains, see image below). The recent changes bear that out. The point I am making is that Alexa is still measuring visits to subdomains but unless your site is ranked very highly it won't show the percentages as for

March 2011: Showing subdomains for PoC

Alexa say this about subdomains:
"Alexa's traffic rankings are for top level domains only (e.g. We do not provide separate rankings for subpages within a domain (e.g. or subdomains (e.g.

All this says is that Alexa does not rank subdomains separately. In other words it just ranks one website, the main site. This actually gives us the answer, I believe. We can infer from this statement that it balls the figures for subdomains and main domain together as this is the opposite to ranking separately. That in any case is my assessment of the matter and I think it makes sense. Do Subdomain Hits Improve Alexa Ranking? Yes, in my view. One last point.

Another subdomain to PoC is this site: I asked this lady, Valley Girl (VG), if she would join PoC as a subdomain. She had just started her Blogger blog. She agreed, I am pleased to say, as she is a great asset. Her blog achieved a Page rank of 4 in about 4 months. This is better than PoC (PR 3) and this site (PR 3). I wondered why there was no great improvement in my Alexa ranking. I think the answer is the commonsense one. VG has a nice site and a damn good PR but not much traffic. Lets say she gets 100 visits a day. PoC gets about 6,000 unique hits a day (Google Analytics). This site gets over 2,000. So VG's contribution currently (and this will change) is small in terms of Alexa ranking. 100 hits represents 1.67% of the total hits and will not show up on Alexa, which is not that accurate anyway for sites outside the top 100,000 (PoC is ranked about 117,000). Even if she gets 600 hits a day it represents 10% of the total.

Update: Here is a screen shot of the Alexa web page in relation to

subdomain keywordsSome of the keywords come from this sub domain, namely:
  • cat poison
  • alexa algorithm has been changed
Indicating that Alexa is reading sub domain information.

Feb 2011, update: Below: this shows Alexa statistics in relation to subdomains at as at this date. It is clear from this that Alexa recognizes subdomains and it is worth noting that the founder of Sitesell, Dr. Ken Evoy is a talented SEO expert. Would he jeopardize the SEO of his website and subdomains? He likes a good Alexa ranking and his site has a good number of subdomains. What I am saying is that Alexa recognizes subdomains and in doing so subdomains will improve the Alexa ranking if they are worthwhile web pages that collect hits. The forums at SiteSell are probably the most visited part or SiteSell and it is a subdomain (see below):

Screenshot from Alexa
One last point. Google sees subdomains as a different website to the main domain. So, if I have two similar pages on the same subject one on the main site and the other on a subdomain, Google might list them both out, one below the other in a search result. See below:

Google search result for "norwegian forest cat" Feb 2011

Michael Avatar

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Embedding a Spreadsheet into a Blog

Embedding a spreadsheet into a blog can be extremely useful. It's usefulness need not be confined to mathematicians and statisticians. Spreadsheets can be a great way to present information as it is concise and easy to read. In addition you don't need a massive amount of spreadsheet knowledge to build a simple one. Here is a simple spreadsheet about cats!

These are the steps for embedding a spreadsheet into a blog - note: Google improves things all the time so changes are possible but the basic process remains the same as described:
  1. Open a Google account if not done already. This can be done by invitation from a person with an account or from this page:
  3. Create Google as home page when browsing the internet. This is not obligatory but sensible. The best home page is Google's iGoogle. This home page allows widgets to be placed on the page that do things like translations, conversions of weights, reception of feeds, time and calendar, weather etc.
  4. Top left of the screen on Google search home page is a menu, select "more" (second level menu drops down) and click on "documents". After you have been to Google docs for a while the Firefox browser (the best) will remember this and all you have to do is type "docs" in the URL box at the top of the page. Google Chrome, another browser, does this even better. (You can get into Google docs through your Google account as well).
  5. In Google Docs, using the far left menu select "New" and drop down to "Spreadsheet" and select.
  6. Create the spreadsheet. If this is the first time I would just play around and keep it simple. As my example shows even a two line spreadsheet can be useful, in part because you can incorporate a chart as well that is based on the spreadsheet to jazz up the presentation.
  7. You've got your spreadsheet. Go to the top right hand side of the page and select "Share" and click on the down pointer. A drop down menu comes up and select "Publish as web page". There are two buttons on the new page. Click on the top button that says, "Publish as a Web Page"
  8. When that is done Google creates a URL for that document (a website in effect). You are given the URL and options below. Click in the check box "Automatically republish when changes are made" (this is not necessary for this exercise but handy for the future).
  9. Below the check box Google asks, "What parts?" and below that it has selected "All sheets". This can left as it is. At the bottom of the window is a link to "More publishing options". Click on this link, which takes you to:
  10. A fresh pop up window on which the top line of options says, "File format" and to the right is a drop down menu, in which their is already one option selected, "HTML". Open up the drop down menu and select the second option down, "HTML to embed in a web page"
  11. Then click the button "Generate URL". The code to embed into the blog comes up.
  12. Copy the generated code.
  13. The code can be dropped into you blog post. You do this in "Edit Html" mode if you are using Google Blogger. Of course the code can be used in any website, blog or not.
  14. I center align the embedded spreadsheet by typing in, before the code for the spreadsheet, the tag <div align="center"> and after the code the tag, </div>
  15. That is it. I will leave it to you to play with creating a chart but start by selecting, "Insert" in the Google Spreadsheet and select "chart". It is pleasantly easy. Embedding a spreadsheet into a blog is also pretty easy as you can see.

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Monday 20 April 2009

Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic

Twitter helps Blogger traffic? Yes, perhaps. It took me a week to figure out what Twitter actually did! Now I think I know. It is a kind of high speed mini blog/social network/rss feed type thingy...........Of course since writing that opening line Twitter has become very well known!

You probably know that with Twitter you make short posts of no more than 140 letters. This constitutes a "twitter". Definition of "twitter" = To speak rapidly and in a tremulous manner: twittering over office gossip.

The main point is this. After you have signed up, you search for people who have similar likes, ideas and tastes and follow their twitters (their short posts). Posts can contain links. The links are not, it seems, conventional in that they probably don't provide "inbound links" that Google recognises in terms of Page Rank.

The people you follow are told that you are following them and they may reciprocate (follow your twitters). If they do follow you, you build up a network of like minded people. Then as a Blogger blog person you add a TwitThis button on your blog (see one below the post). Next, after you make a Blogger post you click on your Twitter button and this automatically saves a twitter (plus link to the post just made) to your Twitter home page (***note: make sure you are on the post and not just homepage by clicking on the title to the blog post, which loads the post not the website***). The automatically produced mini Twitter post is picked up by your Twitter followers who then click on the link in the post, which takes them your Blogger blog post. Eazy peazy lemon squezzy........Kinda - in theory. (***note: when you click on the TwitterThis button you go to a new window where you sign in. Twitter then asks if you want to twitter the post and choose yes!). Of course the main objective is for Twitterers who are visitors to do the same thing in large numbers!

A similar model is the well established Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Groups works on Email though. It is a network of people connected by email. It looks a bit outdated compared to Twitter.

With Twitter helping your blog, the important point, as I see it, is to follow as many people as you can. This will please the people who own Twitter as it generates activity and will get more traffic to your blog. Twitter helps Blogger traffic provided you participate on Twitter to a high degree. One blogger has apparently 26,000 followers and he follows a similar number! You gotta do it big.

Update: 21-4-09: The 26,000 figure above is incorrect. It is meant to refer to John Cow's Twitter but I checked and although he has a high number of followers (and he follows a similar number) it is about one fifth of this figure at 4,000 + followers. That is very high and he has a Blog that is successful (Alexa 46,000). So he thinks that Twittering is useful, obviously. This must be a good recommendation.

Further update!: 23-4-09: There is a John Chow and a John Cow! The former has over 20,000 followers and makes big bucks by blogging and the latter has as stated about 4,000 followers and also makes big bucks! I got 'em mixed up.

On the RHS of this blog I have a Twitter updates widget, if you want to, have a look at Twitter.

From Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic to Home Page

New Model Cat

New Model Cat. Retro Chic. All mods. Fantastic performance. This cat breaks with convention. At a time when people are talking about the environment and economy we have here a cat that eats more than a person, jumps higher than a Serval wildcat and messes up the environment.

From New Model Cat to Home Page

Fat Cat Wont Eat Mouse

My fat cat won't eat the mouse she caught. Good thing I guess. This is the first mouse she has ever caught! True. I was more proud than her than she was of herself. But, yes, I am thinking of the mouse too. But it is natural isn't it. At least what cats do is natural, ain't it. Yeh. She is a cool dude.

And yes, she is overweight and yes again it is partly my fault. And partly her fault. She is a very static lady. And I iz a very lovin boy. One problem recently is that I am feeding 3 time share cats who pop in sometimes and that means food gets left out for them, which she snacks on.

In the past I could control her diet more accurately. I am working on a way to recapture that despite the time-share cats.

From Fat Cat Wont Eat Mouse to Home Page

Sunday 19 April 2009

Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post

Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post

One thing that is important is the positioning of Adsense ads. By embedding Google Adsense in Blogger posts you have some control over positioning that is close to and/or directly above the post itself.

If you have a Google Adsense account, as you know, you can make a bit of dosh (money) by putting up Adsense on your Blogger website. The modern version of Adsense widget is excellent. It is very easy and Google matches the colors for you etc. The only criticism that some people might have is that the ads are placed in widgets (blocks of code around the actually post) rather than actually in the post. It is debatable whether this is important but some people think it is, hence this post. You can see the text adsense in this post and throughout the blog. I also have some adverts from an advertising agency. Why? Because with Adsense you can have only 3 pieces of Adsense on the page at one time. Using another form of adverts allows more advertising on the page.

The only places you can place the embedded code is at the top and/or bottom of the post. The top position as you can see from this post is just above the title, a place that cannot be missed by visitors. In order to achieve that two thing need to be carried out:
  1. (This is not in controvention of Adsense or Google rules) change the code. This means changing certain elements of the code and;
  2. Placing it in the right place in the template.
Both steps are relatively easy.

Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post - Changing the code:

Here is a piece of Adsense code (you will need your own, with your own account number in it so don't use this):

<div align="center">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9258716987841758";
/* 468x60, created 6/3/08 */
google_ad_slot = "2680821816";
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;
<script type="text/javascript"

We need to change these elements:
  • <
  • >
  • "
This chart shows the substituted symbols:

What you want to showWhat you replace it with

Once you have done that you get what likes like a jumble of code like this:

&lt;script type=&quot;text/javascript&quot;&gt;&lt;!--
google_ad_client = &quot;pub-9258716987841758&quot;;
google_ad_host = &quot;pub-1599271086004685&quot;;
/* 468x60, created 10/1/08 */
google_ad_slot = &quot;9782827967&quot;;
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;
&lt;script type=&quot;text/javascript&quot;

Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post - Placing code in correct postion

Next go to Edit Html page of your blog. Save the template (download it) and open the widgets by clicking on Expand Widget Templates. Using the Ctrl F search facility paste into the search box this code: <data:post.body/>

The code should come up painted in green. Paste the modified code just below this line of code. You might need to put in a line break or two to lower the Adsense. This will place the Adsense at the base of the post. To place it at the top just above the header, for example, search for this code using Ctrl F: post-title entry-title. Then paste in the modified Adsense code just above the line of searched for code (the full line might look like this: <h3 class='post-title entry-title'>). You might put in a line break (<br/>) inbetween the post title code and the Adsense to separate it. Then review the changes.

Always review the template before saving. This works well and I have just checked it out on a new Minima template and it worked fine. Another point. You won't need to manually add Adsense as it will automatically come up in these places each time you make a post. If you put up two pieces of code this way you can use one more Adsense widget if you like, making three. Now the last point. If you request that Blogger show more than two posts on the home page at one time the third post will have gaps where the Adsense was as only three pieces of Adsense is allowed on the page at one time, as mentioned. If the Adsense is slim as is the case for me this doesn't matter.
Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post is pretty easy but go slow and check!

Saturday 18 April 2009

British Shorthair Cat Tails

British Shorthair cats seems to be fascinated with each others tails! Maybe a Brit SH tail is particularly pleasant to play with. And I am serious. The Brit SH has beautiful dense and plush fur which is very pleasant to stroke. The Brit SH is noted for great fur so maybe that makes the tail more manageable and pleasant.

Then the next is a blue Brit SH:

I love the way the tail is nibbled and grabbed and the owner of the tail seems to like it! And the guy or girl in the background is totally out of it. Of course a cat is never so totally out of it to not be in a position to wake up in about half a second and play as well. And that tail. A lovely solid chunky thing of beauty it is!

And finally we have simply gorgeous Scottish Fold (note the ears) playing with her tail. I think Japanese people like the Scottish Fold. But they have their own national cat, the Japanese Bobtail.

From to Home Page

Add TwitThis Button to Blogger Post

Add TwitThis Button to Blogger Posts

I added a TwitThis button to blogger posts and it works. It was very simple, actually. The button is added to the bottom of each post. So, simple that I had sort forgotten how I did it. But here are the easy read steps:
  1. Go to Edit HTML page of your blog layout page.
  2. Make sure your code is saved. If not save it using "download full template".
  3. Click on the "Expand Widget Templates check box.
  4. Open the search box by pressing Ctrl F, the box appears bottom left of the screen.
  5. Copy and paste this code into the box: <div class='post-footer'>
  6. You immediately get to the code painted in green
  7. Place the code indicated below in red below the piece of code you just found. This is how it looks:

<div class='post-footer'>
<!-- TwitThis Button BEGIN --> <a href='javascript:(function(){;title=%22+((document.title)%20?%20encodeURIComponent(document.title.replace(/^\s*|\s*$/g,%27%27))%20:%20%22%22),%20%22TwitThisPop%22,%20%22width=600,%20height=500,%20location,%20status,%20scrollbars,%20resizable,%20dependent=yes%22);%20setTimeout(%22TwitThisPop.focus()%22,%20100);%20})()'><img alt='TwitThis' src='' style='border:none;'/></a> <!-- TwitThis Button END -->
<p class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'><span class='post-author vcard'>

Then preview and save in the usual way. It is pretty damn easy to add a TwitThis button to blogger posts.

Update March 2011: things change. Twitter has moved on and expanded. I have not checked this out recently. Please leave a comment if it doesn't work and I'll fix things.

Align Blog to Left

Align Blog to Left

Why align your blog to the left? It kinda looks a bit odd and old fashioned. Maybe, but one thing we (and I) forget sometimes is that not everyone has wide screen modern computers. A lot of people in the world have old computers and small screens. And Bloggers tend to like bigger and bigger blogs. Sure a center aligned website will compress to the left automatically on a smaller screeen. However, there are a large number of customized templates about. Some of the blogger customing templates don't function that well (they look good though). And it may well be that in an old version of Internet Explorer, for example, the website does not move left automatically, in which case the viewer will have to scroll right and that is a No No. Also, personally, I like the practicality and functionality of a left aligned website. Many important sites are still left aligned.

I think it pays to check what we do on an old computer with an old browser. This will show up faults that Firefox hides. Firefox is smart and tolerant. Old I.E is awful and renders websites relatively poorly but we have to accommodate these computers.

So this is what you do to align your site to the left:

  1. Go into the Edit HTML window
  2. Make sure you have a saved version of your code on hard drive (use "download full template" if you haven't)
  3. Press Ctrl F to bring up the search box bottom left of screen
  4. Cut and paste this piece of code into the search box: #outer-wrapper {
  5. You immediately get to that part of the code (painted green).
  6. Scroll down slightly and place the red code in the position indicated (the code comes from the modern Blogger Minima template):

/* Outer-Wrapper
----------------------------------------------- */
#outer-wrapper {
width: 960px;
margin:0 auto;
float:left; margin-left:20px;
font: $bodyfont;

The left margin can be reduced or enlarged by changing the number of pixels. So for example a zero left margin would be:


Then preview before saving the template. This website is left aligned because I found that in old IE it did not left align automatically in a small screen on an old computer.

Friday 17 April 2009

Cats Can Swim

People in the cat fancy know that cats can swim but not all cats like to do it. The ones that do tend to be the wildcat hybrids. Some of these cats relish it and jump in the bath or the shower. This comes from the wildcat background. The Asian Leopard cat lives near water and you've got the Asian Fishing cat. He just lives in the water, practically.

But this video is something different. The cat appears to be a doll face Persian (chinchilla). In any event the cat is a long hair and he or she swims in the swimming pool in a calm and competent way. Although they don't do this out of choice. I think that is the key difference.

Perhaps the lesson is that all modern domestic cats can swim instinctively when called upon to do it. But by choice they avoid water.

From to Home Page

Thursday 16 April 2009

Alexa Contact Info Contact Us

I am finding that there are a number of broken links to For example the Alexa contact info contact us page is broken. There is another page about changes at Alexa that is likewise broken. This is weird for such a big company. It indicates that all the changes made recently have been hard to manage. The link goes to a page where it says, Oops! There was an error on the site. Do you think they have problems at Alexa? Are you OK you Alexa guys and girl? I still look at the stats all the time! And get upset most of the time!

I don't think that you would get this with Google. I guess it will settle down but when you get Google listed Alexa pages that simply don't work, it is odd. These are the broken links at the time of this post:
Lets hope they can sort it out quickly.

From to Home Page

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Summary of Blogger Terms and Conditions

Summary of Blogger Terms and Conditions

This is a summary of Google Blogger Terms and Conditions. Some parts are quoted verbatim, most parts are in my words. Very few people read them. Me included. But we agree to abide by them. Do we? Yes 99.9% do. Google Blogger is extremely popular because it is extremely good. It is very proficient and the person(s) who devised it should get a knighthood! I won't go over all the terms and conditions just the ones that catch my eye. But please read them. We owe it to Google to read them and to make sure that we comply with them. Note: this page was written in about 2009. The terms may have changed.
  1. You have to be 13 years of age to use Google Blogger. Not many know that, I think. There are some very savvy 12 year olds out there who could and might use Blogger. For example there are a lot of young girls who use the social networking sites.

  2. Google has the right to suspend, terminate the service and/or your account without notice and liability. Comment: This seems onerous. But Google wouldn't bin Blogger unless there was a massively good and pressing reason and it would warn people. Notice how they politely warn us of pending outages. This term is playing safe for Google. And fair enough. It is free. They can have any terms they like. As for individual accounts this might be a problem because the work would be lost (some may be saved) but it would only happen I would suggest if the person had been in breach of the Blogger agreement.

  3. Violation of content policy may result in termination of the blog. Comment: The content policy is extremely sensible. It is basically common sense. It can be seen here.

  4. Google explains its Privacy Policy. The video below does to. Comment: This refers to how Google use the information that we enter into Blogger about ourselves:

  5. Google can limit the storage space of Blogger. Comment: This wouldn't affect 99% of Bloggers but is worth knowing. For example it might limit the size of a blog. I don't know.

  6. Google can if needs must access your blog to read it etc. Sounds fine and sensible to me. It has to reserve the right to do this for obvious reasons.

  7. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. Comment: This is reproduced verbatim as it is important. This term protects us the user. It allows us to retain rights over our work. However, Google retains the right to use the content -- "you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services" Fine, I would love Google to use my content!
  8. Blogger responds to breaches of copyright. This is important to me as I publish the fantastic photos of Helmi Flick on this site and she is a professional photographer. They have a page on the subject: Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Blogger
  9. Note: I don't see a term relating to whether we can remove the navbar at the top of the blog page. A fairly large number of people do this. A lot of the templates circulating on the internet delete the navbar. These blogs are not removed so I presume it is allowed. But, I think it is useful and should stay. The way a site looks is less important than the way it works and the content it contains.
This list is not comprehensive. As I said I have just picked some that stand out.

Showing Code on Your Webpage

Showing Code on Your Webpage

I am not a computer geek. I just learn by experience and trial and error and find stuff that works. Sometimes we want to show code on the page. If we just write this in the usual way it won't show because it is active. I have found two ways of presenting code on the page. The first is to change the symbols such as "<" or ">" (the beginning and end of the tags) with a replacement symbol. They are set out below.
What you want to showWhat you replace it with
'&apos; (except IE)

For example, for the title tag <title> you type in &lt;title&gt;

The second way is easier - use Google Docs. Just prepare the Blogger post in Google Docs and ignore any problems with code. Type it as if it was ordinary text. Then publish the document to Blogger per these instructions. This page was prepared in Google Docs.

Here is some code that makes a simple table that I just dumped into this page:

<table style="text-align: left; width: 50%;"
border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2">

What happens is this. When the document is published from Google Docs to Google Blogger the active code is deactivated. In the compose window you will see all the symbols changed automatically for you! Man, this is cool as it saves so much time and is far more accurate. It is very fiddly substituting bits of code with odd meaningless letters and symbols.

P.S. Thanks to for the list of code subsitutions in the table on this page.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Google Docs to Create Blogger Post

Google Docs to Create Blogger Post

I have not seen this on the how to do it Blogger websites. But you can use Google docs to create Blogger posts. This is a very relaxing way to write a Blogger post. One major reason why it is what I call "relaxing" is because the window input area is the width of the computer rather than a smallish Blogger compose screen. One important thing we forget is this. Google can under their terms and conditions discontinue Blogger at no liability to them. If we prepare pages in Google Docs they are there to be used elsewhere if we choose. Your work is saved. There are other benefits:
  1. You can use all the powerful and easy tools that come with Google docs. There are more tools than for Blogger. And lets not forget it is all free! Google docs is what is called, "cloud computing". The program and the file that is saved is on Google's servers. There is no saving to your hard drive. It works like all things Google, bl**dy well.

  2. Google docs have improved over the years and are now full of very nice and very useful tools. And dare I say it they are all easy to use. Perfect for the fearful internet user. I don't want heavy, over bloated MS Word and the like. I like simple, easy, functional and useful. And I think most people think the same way.

  3. Another great benefit. You can upload your Google doc direct to your Blogger site. It is easy peazy lemon squeazy. And, as I said, Google docs is now full of great tools. Great tables are a breeze and they format perfectly once uploaded into your blog on Blogger. Another fantastically useful tool is the form builder. This is very easy. I created two quizes using this tool (a) Lion Quiz and (b) Tiger Quiz. You are not, incidentally, restricted to uploading to Blogger blogs. This is a very flexible system. You can upload to other hosting services.

  4. And I love the next tool in Google docs. Never seen it until today. You can create a drawing in Google docs and it transfer to Blogger with the document in the same easy way. Note: at the time of writing this the images produced by this great tool only work in Firefox browser. Both Windows IE and Google Chrome surprisingly do not render the image. I am looking in to this and will get back asap.
google docs drawing

I love the way you can use Google Docs to create Blogger blogs. You can also write blogs with Windows Live Writer. Is this better?

Add third column to Minima template

Add third column to Minima template

These instructions relate to adding a left hand side bar to the two column Minima template with a right hand side bar. I used the procedure to build this site. I have found this method more sound that finding a template on the internet and changing the whole lot. Sometimes these customised templates have glitches and this is a hands on mod that works perfectly with no glitches. One glitch that can be encountered is line spacing which can become compressed after tables or bullets. That can be annoying. If you want to see the result of all the instructions carried out - the finished product - and are starting from scratch with a new blog, you can copy the template from this page:
  • These instructions also relate to the layout version of Blogger. You can check by going to the dashboard screen and find this section:
  • Update 17-11-09: Note: if you have an existing blogger site with widgets you will find that when a new third party template (non-Google Blogger template) is uploaded there will be a warning that says widgets will be lost. This is normal and applies to the upload of all templates like these. You should accept that and rebuild the widgets once the template is uploaded if they are standard templates or save the code and reinsert in a new widget if they are specialized widgets (html code that you have added yourself). I think one or two of the comments refer to this problem and that is why I have written this update.
  • OK...onwards.....when in dashboard click on "layout" and then "edit HTML". This takes you to the template code. You now have to find pieces of code to change slightly. The changes are easy. But before you do I would download the template. You can do that using the "download full template" link under the heading "Backup/Restore template". The downloaded template will go to downloads in Windows. I usually drag it out to desktop and put it into a folder to find it more easily when needed. It can be uploaded using the buttons just below the "download full template link referred to.
  • Staying on the edit HTML page, we need to find some code. This is best done using a search facility. A search box can be brought up bottom left of the computer window by using "Ctrl F". That is hold down the Ctrl key and then the F key.
  • Drop this text into the search box: #header-wrapper {
  • That takes you to the code immediately and it is highlighted in green.
  • We need to change the width of the blogger template to accommodate the third column like this at the point where you are at in the template:

Instructions for changing code
Stage 1 - change width where and as indicated

#header-wrapper {
margin:0 auto 10px;
>border:1px solid $bordercolor;

#header-wrapper {
margin:0 auto 10px;
>border:1px solid $bordercolor;
Stage 2 - either scroll down about 10 inches of text or search using Ctrl F for this: #header .description { then change the code as shown below, marked in red:

#description {
margin:0 5px 5px;
padding:0 20px 20px;
border:1px solid #eee;
border-width:0 1px 1px;
font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif;

#description {
margin:0 5px 5px;
padding:0 20px 20px;
border:1px solid #eee;
border-width:0 1px 1px;
font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif;
Stage 3 - Next using the search box mentioned above search for this code: #outer-wrapper { - this stage means adding some code where indicated and changing widths

#outer-wrapper {
width: 700px;
margin:0 auto;
font: $bodyfont;

#main-wrapper {
width: 410px;
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#outer-wrapper {
width: 960px;
margin:0 auto;
font: $bodyfont;

#left-sidebar-wrapper {
width: 220px;
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#main-wrapper {
width: 500px;
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

Stage 4 - search for this code: #footer { - change width where and as indicated

#footer {
margin:0 auto; 10px
line-height: 1.6em;
text-align: center;


#footer {
margin:0 auto; 10px
line-height: 1.6em;
text-align: center;

Stage 5 - search for this code: <div id='main-wrapper'> - this stage means pasting the code in red into the place indicated

<div id='content-wrapper'>

<div id='crosscol-wrapper' style='text-align:center'>
<b:section class='crosscol' id='crosscol' showaddelement='no'/>

<div id='main-wrapper'>


<div id='content-wrapper'>

<div id='crosscol-wrapper' style='text-align:center'>
<b:section class='crosscol' id='crosscol' showaddelement='no'/>

<div id='left-sidebar-wrapper'> <b:section class='sidebar' id='left-sidebar' preferred='yes'> <b:widget id='Gadget1' locked='false' title='Geo IP Tool' type='Gadget'/> </b:section> </div>

<div id='main-wrapper'>

Then check with preview. All should be well. Save template and go.......!

Creating Tables in Blogger Blogs

Tables are useful but I find that they are rarely used or seen on Blogger sites. Tables allow a lot of information to be presented in a very readable form and are therefore suitable for a blog as people tend to want to find information quickly and move on.

On this page are some tables that I made up using Google Docs. That is the best way to create them. You can then upload them direct to the Blogger site from Google Docs. These are the steps to take when incorporating a Google Docs document that includes tables into a Blogger website:

  1. Prepare table of choice using the menu in Google Docs. It is extremely user friendly. One tip: keep the table tight to the text, don't space it as it seems that the spacing is added in the transfer to the blog (although this may be a glitch particular to my blog). Also note: as you are using Blogger you have a Google account so it is easy to start using Google Docs and when you do you won't go back to MS Word! If you haven't got a Google account get someone who has to invite you. You can ask me if you like, by leaving a comment.
  2. Once the table and document has been prepared, go to the top right of Google Docs page and click on "Share"
  3. Select "Publish as web page"
  4. Select "Post to blog" if you have one blog, If you have more than one blog you can select which one to upload to:
  5. Select "change your blog site settings"
  6. Complete the form that comes up. It is self explanatory
  7. Click on "OK"
  8. Click on "Post to blog"
  9. Go to your blog and you will see it
  10. Edit the post on the blog or on Google docs and republish as before

This post was made that way. I have produced three full width tables. These automatically fill the post section of the blog. Incidentally the tables below can be copied into the text entry box of Blogger. Follow these instructions:

  1. Place cursor over the top of the table
  2. Hold down the left button on mouse
  3. Drag mouse over table - there will be no highlighting
  4. Don't move the mouse but right click
  5. Select copy
  6. Go to the new post input window (the Compose window) of your Blogger blog and right click. note: do not drop html into the "Edit Html" window. Blogger compose window is very capable. It accepts almost anything you paste into it.
  7. Select paste
  8. The table will appear perfectly formed in the window
  9. Add text in compose mode
  10. Change width of table in edit html mode. You can see the width tag clearly, just change the figure to a smaller one as this is at max.

Note: In preview mode the tables look different. Don't worry about that. They look "as is" when published.

Update: 25th May 2009: Google Docs creates probably the best tables. Windows Live Writer also produces tables: Write Blogs With Windows Live Writer. Since writing this I have built another page on preparing tables that are more refined (not to detract from Google Docs tables which is an easier overall process). Tables like this one:

This That
One Two

Go to this page to see a discussion about the above tabling: Html Table Codes.

How Useful Are Keywords?

How Useful Are Keywords? Keywords used to be the be-all-and-end-all of website building as it gave the webmaster a tool to target customers and find the best words or phrases around which a web page could be built that was search engine optimized. It meant being seen by the search engines rather than being invisible and God there is no joy in being invisible. There is no point in doing it if we are invisible.

If you are not sure what keywords are, you might like to read this post: What are Keywords?

Things are changing or have changed, though. For example, this Blogger site tells us what we want to know as to whether keywords are useful or not. In Blogger you can totally ignore them and still get found by Google provided you have a decent site with decent content and inbound links. The last is very important and is a consequence of the first (i.e. good content). I have built nearly all my pages on keywords but it is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Even the guys at Wordtracker said you can ignore them! (Wordtracker is the number one keyword search website).

So you don't have to knit keywords into articles with the same kind of earnestness as before. But they are still a great market research tool. Keywords tell us as surely as a market research company what people are interested in. That I guess is obvious. What people search for tells us what interests people. We should supply what is demanded. Currently one area that is demanded perhaps more than any other is information on internet marketing and by that, in this instance, I mean how to get your site to be effective and actually do something. Only a very tiny percentage of websites actually do something worthwhile.

If a site gets 30 visitors a day, what is the point except to have some fun building it? And as competition hardens day by day it get harder to be seen. So in response to "How Useful Are Keywords?", the answer is they are useful, indeed essential at least at the initial stages of building a site and particularly with a non Blogger site. Over time the old rules apply. If what you are selling is good, eventually people will buy it. In other words if your content is good in the end people will find it. It just takes longer if the pages are not SEOed well. And keywords form the backbone of SEO work.

I use keywords like this:
  1. I have an idea for a topic.
  2. I check the keywords for that topic. SBI provide that service or you can use Wordtracker for instance.
  3. I pick a keyword that (a) has high demand and low supply (b) can be used in the article - some are simply unsuitable to be used in an article.
  4. I use the keyword in the article (a) as a title (b) in the first line (c) a little more than average in the article (d) in a link (e) perhaps as an alt tag for a picture.
But as I said Google is more flexible particularly with Blogger sites so using keywords in a formulaic way is less important but still useful.

From to Home Page

Alexa Measures Page Views Inaccurately?

For this site there is a massive difference between the page view data provided by Alexa and the page view data provided by Google Analytics and those provided by SBI, the company who host the main website. This site is a sub-domain of the I say that Alexa measures page views inaccurately.

Here is a comparison between these three sets of data:

sbi page views
This shows the SBI data. There was a drop on the 11th April by a about 10% for visitors but page views went up (12,560). The figures are pretty stable, almost a straight line. These figures are for the site. This blogger site gets about 3,500 page views per day.

alex pag views
Sorry this image is hard to read. But importantly you can see that "yesterday" the page views figure is .000004% while for the 3 months it is .00005%. The daily figure, the first figure, is 8% of the average figure. So page views dropped by 92%!! That is clearly completely incorrect. Page views are very stable for this site and the figure large enough, surely, to be able to make them reasonably accurate.

People will say that you have to be in the top 100,000 of Alexa to be accurate but being just outside that mark should, I would have thought, allow Alexa to at least provide accuracy better than this. Particularly as it is so important to webmasters who want to progress and eventually get some good advertising.

Google page views
This shows a 10% Easter drop in page views on Google Analytics. The actual figures are higher as a number of pages don't have the analytics urchin code on them so are not counted. The point is the drop is a tiny fraction of that measured by Alexa.

What is upsetting is that the Alexa figures are the ones that count! Don't get me wrong, I like and am addicted to Alexa! But isn't it possible for Alexa to work with other companies to make figures more accurate for those sites that on the margins of the 100,000 mark or worse? These are often very good sites with great content. After all to get to Alexa 118,000 (the ranking at present for this site) takes a hell of a lot of work. Don't people who work that hard deserve some degree of accuracy? The Alexa page view figures are ruining the Alexa ranking. Because of the inaccurate page view figures the Alexa rank for yesterday was 666,000 or so, a dramatic fall that will hurt the 3 month average (note: things have changed one month later. Alexa ranking is now under 100,000 and getting better for the time being, but what I say above did occur and it is indicative that something was wrong at least at that time).

If Alexa can't make things accurate people won't use them. OK the people who have benefited from the recent changes will love Alexa but the bottom line is that Alexa must be built on accuracy otherwise the whole thing lacks meaning. Is it just for the big boys, who represent a tiny fraction of one percent of the total number of internet users? That can't be correct surely?

Update: things have changed for the Pictures of Cats org website for the better! Not sure why but the Alexa ranking is climbing and page views are too. I have always had difficulty with Alexa but maybe things are improving. If so good on Alexa.

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