Well I was advising a customer on SEO and we were working on a WordPress site and the questions came up on how to do tags and titles, which made me catch up to this blog and install SEO Ultimate to handle my SEO. It seems to handle everything I need, based on my half-hour of user experience. I’ve had a peek at the source and that looks good as well.
RSS, Really Simple Syndication, kind of snuck up on me and then became a valuable tool for me as I started to use the Social Web. Put simply, RSS is syndicated news, your news.
I’d added a few RSS feeds to my browser menu bar for commercial news and such; then one day I thought I’d create an RSS feed for myself. My first feed was created by hand, lovingly crafted in notepad, after that I moved on. I added it to my web site as an RSS chiclet like this:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Emporian" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/MikeAllenSystems" />
Which brings me to feedburner.com, now owned by Google, this is a handy way to distribute a feed and gives you some stats. I put all my feeds through feedburner now.
The other problem I had was how to create a quality feed, and I use Feed Writer, which is pleasant to use, affordable and allows a free trial.
I then realised that my WordPress blogs all came with automatic feeds, just put /feed on the end of the URL. I added an RSS plug-in to my blog, so that the feed can be seen on the blog, have a look in the right column of this blog and you’ll see a feed. Then I added my blogs to feedburner, which makes the posts, but not the pages visible on the feed. Then I started playing with facebook and used RSS Graffiti to update my facebook page with my feedburner feeds.
Then I had a bit of a brain wave and I thought I could fix my own web sites with a page using RSS feeds to provide updating content. This news page uses a combined RSS feed on one side and a blog feed on the other to give me a news page that updates itself.
This only scratches the surface of the possibilities for RSS, it’s just a technology that I’ve fallen in love with, because it’s such a simple, cost effective, tool for communicating on the Social Web.
My message is simple:
- Start with a blog
- Syndicate it with RSS and feedburner.com
- Publish everywhere
Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or get in touch if you need some help.
I don’t generally spin myself has an SEO expert, but I also recognise that a lot of people who claim to be experts have their limitations. A client asked me to look at an e-Commerce site for SEO and I came up with a dozen of so suggestions for SEO. I added meta keywords and descriptions to products myself, as part of the job, and we added google analytics to the site. This was a collaborative effort between myself as a business analyst, the site owner and the web master.
Once we had google analytics I could start analysing traffic, we’re only a few weeks in and traffic is changing in response to the SEO changes. I’ve also added a single goal, just to get an idea what is happening with conversion.
Just as we introduced keywords, the site owner ran an email campaign, without telling me. I looked at the bump in the traffic and diagnosed the cause after a while. Next time we’ll have the Goal in place to see how effective email campaigns are, but they seem to be effective for this site.
Then I started looking at referrals and found some unexpected traffic coming from another related site. I speculated that traffic is going to the ‘wrong site’ via organic search, so we will enable analytics on the other site and see what is happening there. There were also excellent referrals from an article that appeared on a related site, and we can do more of those. With half the traffic coming from referrals this is an area that needs ongoing work and we will keep at it.
So we’ve done the SEO, but really it is just the beginning of the job of improving visitors and conversions. The key to it all is getting involved in the business itself and how it relates to clients and sells the products. We can already see results and we know how to get some more.
The Australian government is sponsoring a new National Broadband Network (NBN) for Australia. The NBN promises, in more ways than one to, deliver affordable broadband to the vast majority of Australians. The NBN corporation will have a monopoly when this is completed. Plenty of people have discussed the costings, business plans and cost benefit analysis. My feeling is that it is the right time to do this and that Australia needs this for business. I currently pay a fair bit for an indifferent ADSL line and there is no way I could be worse off.
What irritates me is when people start to tell us what we should be using the internet for, not for the first time, people are saying that we shouldn’t be watching videos on the internet. I think the internet is now a consumer product that reaches beyond it’s original purpose. Much as the telephone evolved from primitive patch-board systems to modern exchanges and mobile phones.
We should allow people to do innovative things on the internet even if this is not mainstream.
Here are some things that I can think of:
- Online backup, running all the time
- Video Phone systems, you’d better get ready for this one!
- Online video collaboration without special tools
- Instant voice translation on (video) phone calls
- Remote monitoring of farm equipment such as gates, irrigation and cattle trough’s
- Online driving assistance
- Remote presence using robots
- Aids for disabled and aged persons
- Saving that drive to the video store (Yay!)
- Virtual holidays all over the planet and into space!
Uses for the NBN are only limited by our imaginations we should not be discouraged by technologically illiterate politicians and crusty technocrats. The internet is evolving and we should be taking advantage of this. Next time someone tells you that the NBN won’t be used, suggest that they save some money by abandoning their mobile phone!
This is my blog about me, computers and life in general. I also use twitter and facebook but this is for a more ‘published’ feel, and to support my web site. My focus on computers is to make them useful and I have a strong believe that computers should be a tool for business and not a burden.