Tips on Google webmaster tools URL exclusion and inclusion

Google allows you, as a site owner, to exclude URLs that have got into their index

  1. By mistake
  2. They are part of an old structure
  3. They are causing duplicate content

Probably as important Google allows you to cancel these instructions as well

Blocking a URL from Google

You need to use webmaster tools

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools and select your site

On the left menu select “Remove URLs”

Google Index URL removal

There you can request to remove a file or whole directory.

If you choose to remove a directory it is very important to remember to put the trailing “/” on the end of the URL

i.e. http://www.mywebsite.com/tools  is different from http://www.mywebsite.com/tools/

The first will remove all directories that start with “tools” the second will remove just “tools”

Unblocking a URL from Google

If, like me, you did a http://www.mywebsite.com/tools to watch your site disappear in a stroke there is a remedy

Select to show “All”

Where to file URL exclusions

If the block is still active you can elect to Cancel the block

I hope this helps – it did for me.

Creating a graphic skin for your website

Want to create a skin around your website to make it more appealing – a little like this?

homepage

Simple

Create a graphic like this where the centre is empty

This is two similar strips 140px wide and 700px deep that are placed either side of a 1200px centre. I have added a shadow to the left for effect.
Skin background

Add this to your body tag using this style

style=”background-image: url(bg.png); background-attachment: fixed; cursor: pointer; background-position: 50% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;”

Your website centre will scroll within this skin and look really good.

Adding PayPal buttons to your WordPress Blog

Adding a PayPal button to your WordPress website is really useful but can be tricky so here is how it is done.

  1. Log into Paypal
  2. go to this link https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_button-management
  3. “Create new button” on the right.
  4. Fill in step 1 only
  5. Do NOT customise the button
  6. Click “Create” at the bottom
  7. On the “You are viewing your button code” page select the “Email”  option. Copy that code and use it as the link to the buy option on you page.
What I usually do is add a text box widget somewhere on the site and then do something like this

Code looks like this

<b>Full Price Tickets</b>
<a href=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=X7B7W7E5YT324&#8243; target=”_blank”><img alt=”” src=”https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_GB/i/btn/btn_cart_LG.gif&#8221; border=”0″ /></a>
<b>Concession Tickets</b> <a href=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=E3PLJF65D58DJ&#8221; target=”_blank”><img alt=”” src=”https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_GB/i/btn/btn_cart_LG.gif&#8221; border=”0″ /></a>

paypalbuttonexample

Best Times to Post on Social Media and an INFOGRAPHIC

Social media is 24/7. Someone is always tweeting, posting on Facebook, or uploading a new picture to Instagram. However, for social media managers and businesses alike, this can be quite of a challenge. We obviously can’t be online all day, even for those of us who are social media managers or strategist. But how do you know when to best reach your audience? There are a couple different ways to determine when your audience is online:

Best Times to Post on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] | Social Media Today.

Making the most of the web content you already have

Too many of us do not make the most of the content we already have on out website and blogs. In my experience this is a mistake so there are some quick tips that could really help.

Look at your analytics and see which of your posts are the most popular – take the top 10 – and then do the following

  1. Run a quick topic analysis to see what is more popular.
  2. Look at any calls to action (CTA) on these pages and make sure they work and are up to date.
  3. Cross link from these pages to other relevant or popular content so that the users starts a discovery path.
  4. Make sure the content on these pages is up to date and correct. Correct this page do not write a new entry.
  5. Ensure the page is optimised correctly – if you change the title make sure the URL does not change. Optimisation may require just adding in a few more keywords (see The trade off between SEO and Website Usability)

You might as well get the content you already have working harder for you.

Best way to use Google Maps while abroad

I have recently come back from three weeks in India and found Google Maps on my iPhone to be invaluable for getting around. When abroad, data roaming costs can be expensive and Google Maps has some features that really help. If you do not have Google Maps for your iPhone then load it now – it is so much better than Apple Maps.

This is the technique I used as we moved around from a local base. When on Wi-Fi locally open Google Maps, get your current location and zoom out to the area you will be covering. The map will now be cached on your iPhone and you can use it when out and about without needing access to the internet. Google will allow you to add one location pointer, which is also cached.

The other trick I used was taking screen snap on the iPhone to save a picture of our current location. To take a screen snap on your iPhone press the home button and sleep at the same time. I used this to save snaps of where our hotel was or a restaurant I saw that I fancied for later.

 

How to organising and structuring your blog content

Topic and Title
As ideas for blog posts pop into your mind, jot them down. You can come back later and expand it into a full title.

Look at products like Content Idea Generator where you can expand a theme and idea

Body Content 
Add some notes about the body content and the key point you want to say. This is especially useful if you have multiple bloggers in your company. It is essential that the content is connected to the title, is concise and to the point. Be engaging and interesting as possible.

Keywords
Suggest what  keyword or key phrases you are targeting with this post. Blogging plays a major role in driving specific web traffic to your website. Integrate the keywords your company is trying to rank for into your blog posts.

Audience
You know who you want to sell to, but you also need to be sure you’re publishing content targeted to them. Try not to post content  for the sake of it. Make sure each post is something that your target audience will want to read and follow through with.

Call to Action 
Make sure there is a clear call to action that encourages the user to move off social media on into your website. Think about what action you would like the user to do when on your website – so the path of the user is clear.

The trade off between SEO and Website Usability

A site without serious Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is either for personal use or is so big that people use it by default (like Google and Facebook). Good SEO helps search engines to understand what your site and its pages are about and which elements are more important. But there is a snag because a site written purely for search engines will have poor usability. Search engines are not humans, they are simple beasts not needing structured sentences, navigation in the right place and images.

SEO is what every site needs before a user gets to a site; Usability is what is needed once the user has arrived. There is a fine balance with a trade off between SEO and usability. In the struggle SEO needs to win because is a user never gets to a website in the first place then it doesn’t matter how usable it is. On the other hand when the user arrives on a site we want them to easily find what they are looking for, stay and return. Search engines are now using popularity as a measure of ranking so the experience the user has on site bringing them back is important.

Other methods are available to get people to your website – social media, newsletters and link building – but not be fooled the vast majority of websites are found by using search engines and this is where most of your budget needs to be spent.

What does Google see on page?

To get an idea what a search engine like Google sees when it looks at your site take the following steps.

  1. Enter site:www.yoursitename.com into the Google search box
  2. Hover to the right of a listing and you will see a double chevron which generates a preview of that page.
  3. At the top of the preview you will see the Cached click on it.
  4. This opens the cached version that Google is actually looking at and at the top it tells you when it cached it.
  5. In the top grey box to the top right you will see Text-only version click on it.

This is the text only version that Google is actually seeing – ignoring the layout and images – and showing tags as they are actually expressed ignoring style sheets. This can come as a big surprise and you will quickly see how well your pages are really constructed.

What are the common on page mistakes?

  1. Missing key header tags <h1> <h2> <h3>. Many modern sites use style sheets for everything, which is good but often at the expense of key search engine tags. Make sure your designer is using these header tags.
  2. Over use of <h1> <h2> <h3>. Some designers realise that header tags are needed but then over use them on the wrong parts of the site. Take control and make sure header tags are used sparingly on the right content.
  3. Repeated content. Poorly designed repeated page to page content can make every page on a site look the same. For example many sites now have a common navigation across all pages. This loads the page with large amounts of content that is the same across the site. It also pushes key content down the page reducing its significance. To solve this move common navigation in javascript blocks so they are loaded with the page but hidden from the search engine.
  4. Key content too far down the page. The higher up the page (as seen in text mode) key content is the better – it raises its significance.

As always there is more to just building a website and it is always worth considering how a search engines see your website balanced with how the user sees it.

10 Basic Design Elements to Consider When Optimizing for Mobile

More of us are designing for mobile. There are few tips we have come across when advising clients.
  1. Less is better. It  may seem obvious but  it can be the hardest part of a mobile design. The space you have to work with is precious and you have to be exact about what you want the visitor to see and do.
  2. Use bigger touch targets. The entire story needs to be tappable do not expect users to be precision tappers – research generally shows that the smaller the area to tap the more you are likely to loose the visitor.
  3. Use full headlines – do not truncate headlines. This will give the biggest design improvement, because the full headline provides substantially stronger information trail than  few words.
  4. Enhanced scannability by highlighting key words in the headlines.
  5. Always show a short story summary. Show it under each headline to increase the strength of the information trail and encourage the user to move to the next step.
  6. Using unique thumbnail photos wherever possible. This adds visual interest, enhances scannability and information trail. A picture says a thousand words and the visitor recognizes a picture faster than they can read a headline.
  7. Use your space very carefully. It is OK to use tighter spacing to get more information onto in first mobile page. Users do scroll down but the more they can view in less space means that they work less for each new story.
  8. Try and cut out repeated information. Information redundancy is a poor use of screen space – this is true for any web design. Consider whether certain information is really needed – categories, tags, dates etc.
  9. Ensure sufficient spacing between the navigation options. There is nothing more frustrating than touching the wrong option.
  10. Label your drop-down menus instead of using just a triangle to denote options.

Setting up a WordPress website on EasySpace for Plesk Control

There are a couple of tricks you need to know to get it EasySpace and Plesk and WordPress to seamlessly work with each other.

Change your A record on EasySpace to as follows adding in the IP to your Plesk server.

Now add a domain from your Plesk Control Panel but do not tick the “www” box.

The URL for your new website is http://yourwebsite.co.uk – which is how WordPress wants to see it.

Now setup a subdomain for your website (tick Physical Hosting), leave the “www” box un-ticked and make the subdomain “www”.

Lastly upload this (modified) index.html

<html><head>
<meta http-equiv=”Refresh” content=”0; url=http://yourwebsite.co.uk/” />
</head><body>
<p>Please follow <a href=”http://yourwebsite.co.uk/”>link</a&gt;!</p>
</body></html>

As long as the you set the timeout of 0 (zero) seconds it accepted by Google as a 301 permanent redirect and will not affect SEO.

This means that  http://www.yourwebsite.co.uk will also work as  http://yourwebsite.co.uk

Done.