Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

Content is More Important than Look and Feel

Image
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

How to Get Traffic to Your Blog

Image
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: 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

Write Blogs with Windows Live Writer

Image
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 fun

Flickr Photostream for Your Blog

Image
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 Cats.org). And see the Flickr page here: Flickr cat-photo-technique ). Y

Flip Camera Problem

Image
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. 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

Ruddy and Blue Abyssinian Kittens

Image
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 Sav

Bengal Cat Photography

Image
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 phot

Creating Blogger Blog Subdomain

Image
Creating a Google Blogger blog subdomain is relatively easy, although it does sound daunting. This Blogger blog is a subdomain of the website http://www.pictures-of-cats.org/ ( PoC ). You can tell that by looking at the website's address at the top of the page. The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is http://cat-chitchat.pictures-of-cats.org/. 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 http://cat-chitchat.blogspot.com. 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: 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!

Do Subdomain Hits Improve Alexa Ranking?

Image
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 SiteSell.com a site that has a high Alexa ranking: This site is a subdomain of http://pictures-of-cats.org/ (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 b

Embedding a Spreadsheet into a Blog

Image
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: Open a Google account if not done already. This can be done by invitation from a person with an account or from this page: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount 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 c

Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic

Image
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

New Model Cat

Image
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. moar funny pictures From New Model Cat to Home Page

Fat Cat Wont Eat Mouse

Image
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. moar funny pictures 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

Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post

Image
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

British Shorthair Cat Tails

Image
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: Go to Edit HTML page of your blog layout page. Make sure your code is saved. If not save it using "download full template". Click on the "Expand Widget Templates check box. Open the search box by pressing Ctrl F, the box appears bottom left of the screen. Copy and paste this code into the box: <div class='post-footer'> You immediately get to the code painted in green 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(){TwitThisPop=window.open(%22http://twitthis.com/twit?url=%22+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+%22&amp;title=

Align Blog to Left

Image
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 t

Cats Can Swim

Image
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

Alexa Contact Info Contact Us

Image
I am finding that there are a number of broken links to Alexa.com. 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: http://www.alexa.com/company/contact?&qterm=&p= http://www.alexa.com/company/announcement Lets hope they can sort it out quickly. From to Home Page

Summary of Blogger Terms and Conditions

Image
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. 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. Google has the right to suspend, terminate the service and/or your account without notice and liabi

Showing Code on Your Webpage

Image
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 show What you replace it with " &quot; ' &apos; (except IE) & &amp; < &lt; > &gt; 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

Google Docs to Create Blogger Post

Image
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: 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. Google doc

Add third column to Minima template

Image
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: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcwcsr3b_588gbwdrddx 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 fin

Creating Tables in Blogger Blogs

Image
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: 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 ac

How Useful Are Keywords?

Image
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 sa

Alexa Measures Page Views Inaccurately?

Image
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 Pictures-of-cats.org website. This site is a sub-domain of the http://www.pictures-of-cats.org. I say that Alexa measures page views inaccurately. Here is a comparison between these three sets of data: 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 www.pictures-of-cats.org site. This blogger site gets about 3,500 page views per day. 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