Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a term that is thrown around quite liberally in the world of website development. It is an integral part of moving your website up in the Search Engine ranks and is, therefore, essential for you to understand.

A Search Engine is a tool that is designed to look for specific information from all over the internet. Common Search Engines include Google, MSN, Bing and Yahoo! When you have a website, your goal is to move it up in the Search Engine rankings so that it appears as near to the first item as possible. This will increase your chances of people clicking on your site when doing research on the internet. It will also increase the demand from advertisers to have their products on your page, for which you will receive payment. The process of ensuring that your website moves up in rankings is called Search Engine Optimisation.

This is done primarily through the repeated use of the most common words and phrases that you expect people to enter into the search field. For example, the Kruger National Park will choose keywords and key phrases such as “game reserve South Africa”, “game parks”, “Big 5” “South Africa holiday”, “South Africa accommodation” and so on. These words need to appear throughout the pages of the site in order for the Search Engine to recognise them and move the page up. As a page becomes more recognised by the Search Engine, it will attract a number of links from other sites. Link building carries much weight in the ‘eyes’ of the Search Engine.

Other writing tips to ensure optimal Search Engine Optimisation include:

  • Using bullets and headings to break the text and including the keywords or phrases in them
  • Repeating these words three to five times in every page without sounding repetitive
  • Writing articles of at least 200 words each
  • Adding links wherever possible

The text has to be original to ensure that your page is not blocked by the Search Engine on grounds of plagiarism. This is taken very seriously and is not worth the risk.

Ensuring that your website becomes respected and used by the Search Engines in a way that works for your advantage is a time-consuming task that requires patience and innovation. However, it is well worth the effort as your service or product enters the global market through a trusted Search Engine.

Mobile Websites

There is a never-ending demand for information. In addition, this fast-paced world demands that this information be readily available, at the fingertips of every single person, regardless of age, location or financial abilities. In the last few decades, communication and information distributing technology has exploded in terms of scope, capabilities and accessibility. The Internet is a phenomenal tool. It has allowed a completely open source of information sharing and communication. Although sometimes damaging, this has led to opportunities and access that we will never be able to survive without again.

A .mobi domain is very much the same concept as a .com domain or a .co.za one. The exception is that a .mobi domain has been formatted and built to be viewed and navigated using a cellphone. It is viewable on a normal PC browser, but is simpler and smaller (in terms of the actual size of the data that needs to be downloaded). By guaranteeing that users are viewing a site specifically formatted to be viewed on their mobile phones, they are assured that it is smaller, taking less time and space to download and, therefore, costing less. They are also saved time as .mobi sites do not require that navigators type the http://www in front of the domain name.

The information on a .mobi site has to be direct, punchy and to the point. So, users are not forced to read through the more flowery, detailed language of the internet, but get instant access to relevant, necessary information.

One of the main advantages to using a .mobi domain is that there are vastly more cellphone owners than people who have access (at home and / or in the office) to the Internet. So, even large corporations that can afford the best website is not guaranteed that their target market will see it if they are not part of the group that uses the Internet on a computer. However, by creating a .mobi site, their market is able to visit their site and access vital information by using their mobile phones. This increases the range and potential reaches of their marketing campaigns exponentially.

Today, cellphones are the main medium of communication all over the fast-developing globe. The conveying of information is just another form of communication. Therefore, it makes sense that we use the mobile phone to access information, whether it be by word-of-mouth or on the Internet.

Some sites are even making it possible to purchase goods and services online via a .mobi site. This means that buying and selling can literally be done anywhere, at any time, by anyone. Even electronic banking is transformed by the potential opportunities that .mobi sites enable.

Another feature of .mobi sites is that telephone and mobile numbers and email addresses can be hyperlinked so that the user is able to call them or email to the addresses directly from the website. This makes for the ultimate convenience and access.

.mobi is supported and managed by key global players, such as Google, Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Microsoft, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefónica Móviles, Telecom Italia Mobile, Orascom Telecom, GSM Association and Visa, amongst others. This lends it an added sense of credibility.

Internet users and businesses that have their own website are encouraged to explore the .mobi domain, its benefits and opportunities a little deeper to ascertain the world of advantages that it opens up to you.

Tips for Environmentally Friendly IT Companies and Individuals

Global warming is very much a reality and something that we hear about almost daily. So, if you want to do something to help, then read on…

While doing some research on the internet the other day, we came across an article on “Green Web Development” which raised the thought on how us as Web Developers can be environmentally friendly and / or decrease our carbon footprint.

Computers have significantly reduced the amount of paper that used to be used in certain industries, but they have also increased the use of power / electricity.

So, we’ve put together some ideas to help you with ideas on reducing your carbon footprint whether you are in a general office space, you’re a web agency or simply someone who has a computer that you work on from home.

Tips to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

  • Avoid printing your emails. Emails are electronic and more often than most, really don’t need to be printed, so avoiding printing if you don’t have to.
  • When printing, opt for the option to print on both sides when printing more than 1 page. Alternatively, keep paper that you have previously printed on only one side and print on the other side for papers that are for personal use.
  • Use a laptop where possible. Laptops run on battery therefore reducing the amount of electricity required at a given time. Reducing your electricity usage, decreases your carbon footprint.
  • Use LCD monitors which uses less energy – go for the size monitor you REALLY need and not for a larger monitor because you “feel like it”. The larger the monitor, the more energy consumption.
  • Turn off your PC and monitor at night to reduce electricity usage.
  • If you keep your laptop plugged in while you work, then make sure to unplug your laptop when it’s off. By keeping the charger unplugged, you reduce the amount of unnecessary electricity being consumed. The same applies for cell phone chargers.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs which have become increasingly popular and more available than ever.
  • Use the natural daylight we have available opposed to switching the lights on.
  • Make use of vendors who use the same practices as you.
  • Make sure to have a recycle bin in the office and make sure you RECYCLE wherever possible.
  • Try and use your machines as long as possible and reuse components where possible. If none of that appeals to you, then donate your PC to someone who is in need and don’t just throw it out. The same, again, applies to your cell phone.
  • Make sure your website has been optimised to be fast and quick to load. Web pages that take longer to load as more CPU time is used which uses more power – who would have thought?!

View 100 Serps in Google

If you often use Google to search for something, or if you are just keeping an eye on your website’s search engine rankings you might find the following tip helpful.

Instead of having to keep clicking to the next page, do the following:

Add &num=100 in the query string after you have done a search. This will enable you to view 100 at a time, instead of 10 at a time!

So if you look at the URL for the search “south africa web design”:

http://www.google.com/search?q=south+africa+web+design&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enZA240ZA240

Tweak it to look like this:

http://www.google.com/search?q=south+africa+web+design&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enZA240ZA240&num=100

Also, make sure you read Daniel’s post on 6 Better Ways to Search Google.

Mozilla Firefox

Fire-what?

Mozilla Firefox is a fast, secure and customizable web browser. Mozilla is not a traditional software company, they are a global community and a public benefit organization.

Why Firefox?

Firefox is light-weight, secure, a lot faster than it’s competitors. More of the Firefox awesomeness includes:

  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Spell Checking
  • Search Suggestions
  • Live Bookmarks (RSS Feeds)

Read more on the Firefox Features page.

Addons:

Firefox has since it’s inception opened itself up to developers of the community, to help improve the browser. From here, Firefox Addons surfaced. With Firefox Addons you can do almost anything with your web browser. Let’s go through a few Addons we use daily:

  • Web Developer – Web Developer is a Firefox Addon that offers you an amazing set of tools to help you develop websites, and debug your mistakes!
  • Screengrab – How many times a day do you take screenshots? Screengrab enables you to grab portions of, or the entire web page, and saves it as an image.
  • ForecastFox – For all of the commutors who need to know the weather! ForecastFox has the latest weather information and keeps updating it throughout the day.
  • Vertigo – Manage Tab Jam by stacking your tabs vertically!

Alternatives:

Whilst we are die-hard Firefox supporters, here are some alternatives: