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Glyn Darkin Posts

Make the Home Page the most important page

Google says:

“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40349&hl=en

Sometimes we forget this. In an attempt to make our sites look really nice a lot of attention goes into creating homepages with loads of images. The site I am currently working has a homepage made up predominately of images for campaigns that they are currently running. As a result there is very little content for Google to index. Plus what content there is is campaign focused, thus it changes all the time.

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Use image ALT & TITLE tags

The site that I am currently working on has a large number of product images. None of these had either ALT or TITLE tags. From the Google webmaster blog i found this excerpt:

“Some of you have asked about the difference between the “alt” and “title” attributes. According to the W3C recommendations, the “alt” attribute specifies an alternate text for user agents that cannot display images, forms or applets. The “title” attribute is a bit different: it “offers advisory information about the element for which it is set.” As the Googlebot does not see the images directly, we generally concentrate on the information provided in the “alt” attribute. Feel free to supplement the “alt” attribute with “title” and other attributes if they provide value to your users!”

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/using-alt-attributes-smartly.html

I had not thought about about the difference between ALT & TITLE tags, but when its put like that it kind of makes sense.

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Prevent Google from indexing your search results pages

Matt Cuts has blogged that we should be preventing Google from indexing our search results pages.

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/search-results-in-search-results/

“Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.”

Although you may use the Robots file to prevent Google from indexing your search results pages they may still get indexed via inbound links.

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Selecting ASP.Net controls with jQuery

Problem: Selecting ASP.Net controls with jQuery can be difficult due to the horrible id tags created by ASP.Net

Solution: Using xpath for your selector you can get direct access to controls.

example:

$(“*[id$=’controlId’]”)

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How to read pdfs on your iTouch

Problem: I read alot of books, and lately I have downloaded a couple of the Manning Early Access Programme  books in PDF format. However I wanted to read them on my way to work. (A cramped ride on the London Underground)

Solution: iPod Touch & Stanza. The touch is an incredible piece of hardware and creates an excellent ebook reader. Stanza is an application that you can use to conver your PDFs into ebook format and then share them with your touch. Unfortunately the conversion process does remove alot of graphics, tables and formatting, but apparently this is intended as its trying to get the optimum layout for a micro screen. Any how, this has turned out to be an excellent solution which I am really happy with,

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Commerce Server CatalogTypes

I can never remember what the different “i_classType” are in the “CatalogProducts” table for Commerce Server 2007, so here they are.

Classification Value
Category 1
ProductVariantClass 2
ProductClass 4
ProductFamilyClass 8
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Posting to Basecamp using Powershell

Problem:  I want to report to the “business” from our webapplication without having to get involved in the massive nightly reporting process.

Solution: The “business” is already familar with Basecamp, so with a little Powershell and a couple of scheduled jobs we can post summary reports to Basecamp for everybody to see.

$request = "<request><post><category-id>10574251</category-id><title>This is a test message</title><body>This is the body of the message</body></post></request>"

$uri = "http://yourbasecampurl/projects/yourprojectid/posts.xml";
$username="username";
$password="password";
$usernamePassword = $username + ":" + $password;
$mycache = New-Object System.Net.CredentialCache;
$uri = New-Object System.Uri $uri ;
$credentials = New-Object System.Net.NetworkCredential($username,$password);
$mycache.Add( $uri,"Basic" ,$credentials);
$encoding = New-Object System.Text.ASCIIEncoding
$headerValue = "Basic " + [System.Convert]::ToBase64String( $encoding.GetBytes($usernamePassword)  );
$req = [System.Net.WebRequest]::Create($uri);
$req.Method = "POST";        
$req.ContentType = "application/xml";
$req.Credentials = $mycache;
$req.Headers.Add("Authorization",$headerValue);
$writer = New-Object System.IO.StreamWriter $req.GetRequestStream();
$writer.WriteLine($request);
$writer.Close();
$response = $req.GetResponse();
$receiveStream = $response.GetResponseStream();
$reader = New-Object System.IO.StreamReader($receiveStream, [System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8);

Write-Output $reader.ReadToEnd();
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