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From time to time we'll be posting articles and other information that we find interesting and that we think many of our visitors such as yourself might find beneficial.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writing Content for Your Website is Like a Conversation

Today's An A List Apart article titled Writing is Thinking describes the struggle that many of us have with writing - whether it's an essay or content for our websites. Author Sally Kerrigan gets right to the point:

Writing is intimidating. There’s this expectation of artful precision, mercurial grammatical rules, and the weird angst that comes with writing for other people. You start with a tidy nugget of an idea, but as you try to string it into language, it feels more like you’re pulling out your own intestines.

Good writing is like a good conversation. And while chatting with someone can be fun, it often fails to get to the point and it can feel like rambling.

You want to be a friend to your readers here, in the sense that you want to respect their time and attention. Except in rare literary circles, there’s no good reason to make your readers work hard just to understand what you’re trying to say.

The entire article is worth the read as it provides an excellent way of approaching writing as an exercise that over time gets easier and better. 

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Friday, March 29, 2013

New Feature in DISQUS Called Discovery

It looks like Disqus added a new feature called "Discovery". This feature will pull in either external links to your Disqus comments area or pull in links to other pages of your website.

The Discovery box is our latest discovery feature in Disqus. It is a native place for users to find new discussions, stories and other content on your site and from other sites across the web.

You can read "Introducing Promoted Discovery and F.A.Q." here.

You cannot control the links that Disqus pulls in. If you are not interested in having links to third party websites in your Disqus comments area, you will need to deactivate this feature by logging into your Disqus Account and then following these steps:

  1. Login to your account
  2. In the upper right hand corner, click on the Admin tab
  3. Click on Settings
  4. Click on the Discovery Tab
  5. Select "Just comments"
  6. Scroll down to the bottom and click the "Save" button

Disqus Discovery Deactivation 

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Favorite Holiday Albums

It's less than a week before Christmas so I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of our favorite holiday songs.

What are some of your favorite albums that help put you into the holiday spirit?

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Best Practices When Naming Files for the Web

adobe document file iconDid you know that when you name files for the web that you should follow a slightly different formula then when you name files for your computer?

When preparing documents or photos to upload to your website, the best way to name your files is to make sure that you do not have any spaces in the file name. The reason for this is because if you have spaces in your file name, then the URL string to your directory becomes very messy. Instead of using a space to separate the words, you should use an underscore ( _ ) or a dash ( - ) .

File Naming Examples For the Web - Right & Wrong Way

If you upload a document to your website and replace the spaces with underscores in the file name, example "the_name_of_my_file.pdf”, the URL string would look like the first example below. But if you upload a file to your website with spaces in the name, example “the name of my file.pdf”, the URL string would look like the second example below. 

  1. http://tastycms.com/file/the_name_of_my_file.pdf
  2. http://tastycms.com/file/the%20name%20of%20my%20file.pdf

It's important that the URL string is clean and easy to read. This especially comes in handy when you make files such as brochures and information packets available for download on your website. What if you wanted to email the link directly to someone? Based on the 2 examples listed above, the first URL string reads better and is clearer.

Please note that the file name should be all lower case letters. Additionally, the file name should be a short description containing key words of the file.

If you are going to submit your URL for tracking purposes, it is best to make sure that the URL is clean and friendly before you start this process.

Recap of the Best Practices for Naming Files on the Web

  1. No spaces in the file name
  2. Letters should be all lowercase
  3. File name should be a short description containing the key words of the file

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Google's SEO Tips For Startups

If you're starting a new business, or even if you've been around for awhile, it's important to work on your website's Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Maile Ohye, a Developer Programs Tech Lead for Google's Search and Webmaster Tools Team, just released a video discussing some of the key initiatives that any business, not just a startup, should consider.

The video covers many topics in just 10 minutes but some of the key take aways are:

  • If you're looking to rank high in a few keywords, try to keep your website under 50 pages so you can remain focused
  • What are 301 Redirects and when should you use them
  • Using Google's Webmaster Tools for SEO
  • Following Webmaster Guidelines
  • Directing your audience with useful Call to Actions
  • Best Practices 

One thing that was really great to hear Maile say is to avoid shady so-called SEO Experts. 

"If they guarantee any rankings it is too good to be true."

We always tell our friends and clients to avoid hiring a SEO expert unless they come highly recommended from a friend or colleague.

SEO for startups in under 10 minutes

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Monday, May 21, 2012

CD & DVD Recycling

According to the CD Recycling Center of America, “Each year, billions of CDs and DVDs are manufactured, while millions of these discs end up in landfills and incinerators.”

Over the years, I had collected unwanted CDs and DVDS with the intention of recycling them so that these discs would not end up in the garbage. I did a little bit of research and I was thrilled when I came across this CD & DVD recycling website.

The CD Recycling Center of America’s website makes it very easy for you to recycle your old CDs and DVDs. By clicking on the recycle now page, you can search by state for the best location to mail your discs to.

This service is free of charge except the cost of the shipping box and postage. They do accept donations via PayPal so I made a small donation to support their organization.

This organization works with more than just individuals/households. Below you will find additional programs they offer:

  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Musicians
  • Recording Studios
  • Radio & Television
  • Duplicators/Replicators
  • Small Businesses
  • Recycling companies

For more information about the above categories, please visit the programs page of their website and click on the section that pertains to you.

You can also find the CD Recycling center on Facebook and YouTube.

“When not recycled properly, discs will last forever in a landfill or emit harmful gases into the atmosphere from an incinerator.” - CD Recycling Center of America

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