0       Google Chrome Browser

Ok so it’s a little bit long since I wrote for here… but I had a ‘I don’t have the foggiest idea what to write about’ moment, again!

Can you believe that on one given day in a street if you asked a bunch of people they wouldn’t know what a browser was?
Video 1: What people think a browser is – Youtube video 1
Video 2: What a browser is – Youtube video 2

There are a multitude of browsers on the web to download right now and new things are being added to them all the time. Some browsers, like Firefox, have add-ons which are little applications that you can use whilst you surf the web all by loading up your browser!

Anyway, with all this talk of browsers, I thought I would draw you to the new Google Chrome app store, which has apps for everything (sound familiar??)… Yup now Google have taken charge of their own app store right in the browser.

You can download social apps like Facebook and Twitter to update what you’re doing whilst checking up on the world, or if you are a gaming person or just want something to pass the time you can install games that work directly from a browser window. They have just added Angry Birds and there are ones for the spelling bee in you with word games but I want to review a few of the ones that may actually be useful to a web designer like yourselves…

So you have got a blog and people visit, but how can you get even more people? Here are some really great things that you can do if in need of a blog read count boost!

Before I give you the suggestions, identify what you would like to achieve and what the problems are right now. This will determine what sort of action to take.

Do:

Number 1: Submit your blog to forums and post to Facebook/Twitter friends

This will allow real web designers to give you help on design, content, and spelling mistakes!
When submitting it there, put it in ‘Website Critique’ sections and read the posting notes before you post anything.

Number 2: Make a viral video and post on Youtube

If you make a viral video you can bring more potential customers to view your work and you may get all over the world!

Number 3: Email advertising

Once you have a blog set up you can send emails out to your readers/subscribers and tell them what they will expect each month. You can include your video viral in emails. It is great to look professional so make your email stand out from the crowd. HTML emails are great, but provide a plain text email option too.

Number 4: RSS and Apps

If you want to you can learn how to make an app for your iPhone/iPod. This will let your audience read the blog without being stuck infront of a PC to read it! Also you may make a page on Facebook or any other social network to help your blog grow. And when you have that page you must engage with your fans/followers and post often, relevant content. No spamming though.

Number 5: Blog Awards

If your blog is good enough it may get onto other sites and win awards.

Dont:

Number 1: Pirate Content

Copying other sources word for word to make it look like your own is illegal and will not look good, so may damage your reputation. If you are going to copy then put what you want in quote marks (those are those things that look like a single/double speech mark).

Number 2: Don’t Spam

Spamming other blogs with your links will not look cool, and it is not clever either and will also damage your reputation. By all means post a link, but only one and make sure it is relevant to the blog that you are commenting on. Also on social sites spam may not be tolerated by people.

Number 3: Don’t Neglect

Once you have a blog, do not neglect it! Post things that you want people to read, but dont post till you have something worth while that people want to read. Read other magazines and articles telling you how to get the most out of your blog and treat your users with respect!

I’m sure there are things here I have forgotten to mention but if there is then I’m not perfect!
Please leave comments below and add any ideas that you wish!

Simple Jargon
Dashboard: The main blog interface where it is all managed from.

In this post I want to give a rough guide to the blog environment. I’m using WordPress to do my blogging because it is known all around the world.
Although I am pretty good when it comes to technology I was scared to delve in at first as I didnt know the software, but I am glad I did because I now use it on 3 websites of my own.

WordPress is free and you can get your own URL for your blog. I recommend buying a domain to host it on but that is the easy part. WordPress can be accessed from anywhere as it is an online platform. Usually your website address for logging in to your blog will be:
http://www.yourdomain.co.uk/blogname/wp-login.php
From there you can do all your normal blogging and maintenance and start to build yourself a mini community.

Here is a lowdown to get you understanding WordPress:

Posting

Big topics can be split into groups and categories. WordPress lets you assign your own categories and tags.
Categories are different from tags. Categories are to do with what groups a certain number of posts together in a wider range and tags are to do with what sort of things are mentioned in the blog.
For example if I had a blog about celebrities, I would have each celebrity I wrote a post about as a category and in each post I’d have tags to give a quick brief single word ‘summary’ of what you would expect from that post.

Media uploading

You can upload media (pictures) to make your blog pretty and break up text on your blog. Media is a great way of helping your readers to understand what it is that you are blogging about.

Blog themes

You can use blog themes to ‘wallpaper’ your blog. When you are ready for a challenge you can mess around with these themes and change anything that you want. If you are even more clever you can write your own.
There is a big library of themes to choose from and explore, and you can buy themes later on when you cant see any free ones that you like.

Plugins

A Plugin is a mini program that sits inside your blog till you want to use it. You can use a Plugin to stop spam occurring when people comment. Spam is usually comments that are not related to the post or blog and must be deleted. You have complete control of this in WordPress. Remember to check back often to see if the Plugin that you have got has been updated. Sometimes there will be a complete WordPress update and that may give you new features.

Blogging with WordPress is the easiest that I have come across yet. There is so much out there to help you have the best blog on the web!

In this trilogy of posts the things I’d like to cover are:
Why people blog
Tips for blogging
Tools to use
Marketing your blog

Simple Jargon
Blog(n): Where you write your valuable information
Blogging(v): A way to convey thoughts and feelings to the world
Blogger(n)/Bloggers(plural n): Someone who writes content
Post: A single article on a blog

In this first part I cover essential tips for blogging, with my simple 4 part strategy known as EAPI.
In the second part I talk about WordPress and special features to make your blogging life more stress free.
Finally, in the third part I sympathise with bloggers and share ways to keep your blog stable and how to market your blog.

My simple system should get you well on your way to starting and maintaining a great blog: Remember – Experience Audience Point Inform

Blog To Share Experience

Blog on a topic you know about, and be sensible about the information you write. Explore and experiment with your blog content as putting the barriers up will stop exploration onto similar subjects. Keeping an open mind is great for blogging. Also, if readers understand what you are talking about you will gain respect and praise and maybe people will comment on your work. Research is key!

The phrase KISS will come in handy: Keep It Simple Stupid/Silly

Consider Your Audience

Be yourself and be chatty to make people feel at ease. Writing with passion will help your readers relax. If you need to be serious then this is also nice occasionally to keep the balance. Blogging for a teen audience is different to blogging for the older generation.

If your blog is for young people you can make the blog look funky and let your creativity flow. Older people may find that a blog with a hundred different colours is confusing. Avoid colour clashes with older audiences, instead go for subtle colours.

Keep To The Point

Keep each post short and to the point. If needed you can split the topic that you write about into multiple posts so you can post the rest another day. This prevents confused readers getting overloaded with information and navigating away from your site. This is mainly why I am splitting this blogging topic into 3 posts. Highlight key areas in BOLD to illustrate really important things.

Keep Audience Informed

Deciding to blog is a great thing and once you know what sort of atmosphere you want to create you are well on your way to success. However, blogs get forgotten if you haven’t written anything for a long time. Keep people up to date with news items and you will be popular and you may even see other bloggers write or talk about your work.

Escaping Bloggers Block

Keep a notepad handy to write post ideas in for later. This way you can jot down what interests you which will help posting when you lack content.
Look on other forums/blogs (search on Google) for advice and think about the future of your blog. This will help you to decide on the direction of future posting.

Good Luck!

0       Firefox 4 : Beta Great Kit!!

I have downloaded Firefox 4 Beta version 8 and I never really touched Beta’s before much as the problems with bugs they might encounter…

However I must say I love this new version.

I think that Mozilla have got the tabs in the correct place this time to allow for the new App Tabs, which are absolutely awesome must I say… I like it because you can have as many of these things as you like and you dont have to even install anything extra! What a great idea! App Tabs give you room for all your tabs so you dont have to close them to work on other sites which uses, yes you guessed it : more tabs! I think that this should have been in the 3rd version of Firefox because I am a very heavy Firefox user and working on a computer doing my daily routine of Twitter and Facebook and Email etc became IMPOSSIBLE when I also had several Youtubes and other interest sites up as well!!

All your bookmarks come in automatically which is great so you dont have to worry about importing them.

In this new version of Firefox you can group your tabs in relevance so you only see the items in that particular window at one time. For example if you had a load of Youtube videos that you wanted to watch and you had not got round to doing it you could group them and store them for later and continue working on other things without tab-clutter!
Managing them is easy: just drag the thumbnails in Panorama view to a free space in Firefox to make groups and then add more thumbnails to the groups by dragging thumbnails onto other thumbnails. Even make thumbnail space by drawing the box first! You can even name the groups so that you know what is in them.

However in this version there is no status bar and if like me you like to see how well the page is loading you can download add-ons for it. Firefox may change this in the future but until a proper 100% stable Firefox 4 comes I dont think we will see a change!

These are the some of the biggest and best changes to the browser to date with the option of it evolving into something even greater in later versions! Sadly it wont cook your dinner or sing to you yet, but I daresay Mozilla are working on that right now ! 😉

0       Adios Hotmail…

I am getting really annoyed at my hotmail friends accounts which keep on sending me spam emails…. so I urge now for people to use Google Mail (Gmail in the UK) for their Emails. Here’s why:

  • Users can create documents online and share them with friends
  • Users have a cleaner less hectic mail space (useful for businesses!)
  • Users can easily see and add people to their buddy lists
  • Users get less spam and more space (and counting.. (google says))
  • Great mobile access
  • Quick loading
  • Threaded conversations in Emails
  • Ability to have Youtube account linked to your mail
  • Google Buzz (Video of GBuzz)
  • Share photos and much more!
  • Save chat history online instead of on your PC…Also download a desktop client for chat if you want to!
  • Vacation responder – for people when they are away from a PC
  • Forwarding for emails (POP and IMAP)
  • and loads loads more!

So there is lots of different things to try out in GoogleMail so go and sign up, have a play and tell me I’m right!

Free website building has been availiable for years and years since the web was born. Yahoo had their own package called Geocities as many may know and that has closed due to everybody mostly using the pay sites to make their own website.

I decided to go look at another free webs package from webs.com to see how free for all designing has changed and what you can expect from them. Will free website hosting completely disappear because of the lack of interest and wanting more options or will they continue to thrive into little online cities that govern themselves!?

When I made an account on Webs.com I was pleased at how easy it was to set up and get started adding things.

The things I like about it are:

  • Easy quick photo albums… no code to worry about
  • Ability to upgrade to a .com address if your site takes off well. (charges may incur straight away to your bank/building society)
  • Stats for website which is hosted by a company called Clicky.com and it even allows for Twitter search. You can easily opt out of this. But I wont be going into detail about that as it isn’t what I am focussing on…
  • Easy file uploader that can have multiple files sent in each upload… The files are shown in a nice clear way. In this website builder you can upload files by email which some free hosts will not allow… Even the free Geocities wouldnt let people connect using FTP!
  • The format for a free site on Webs.com is http://yoursitename.webs.com/. Personally I think that is rather good as on Geocities free it would be your email address as the url which is a pain in the neck as people can spam your email and you can end up on a black list. so format for that is http://youremailaddress/index.htm
  • Some Google account abilities from Google Webmaster.
  • Email notification for numerous things including guestbook comments and new site members.
  • WYSIWYG editing which is useful for people who can’t code in straight HTML.
  • Community Forum where topics surrounding your site can be discussed and evaluated by others….
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for adding your site to Google and Yahoo etc which helps to be found easier. Site linking and sharing are part of the deal.
  • Add social networks to your site so others can see what you are doing elsewhere: Twitter and Facebook integration. Members integration with Email Blasts so you can notify of new posts. Facebook Connect available.

Payments may incur when you decide the following:

  • Google Adwords and custom display ads with iPromote.
  • PayPal E-commerce (package details vary accordingly to what you have decided upon.)
  • There are premium packages for more webspace and tools. Domain names only available on the Enhanced and Pro accounts. Multi email addresses also.

As a free website maker the free tools that are available are quite advanced to what other free makers are. If you want the site forever then I’d suggest you pay to get premium benefits and ways to enhance your site.

0       Silence Is Golden

Sorry about the silence, I have been working on my other site at DSHeaven.com and not really been able to write any posts for here as I have had web design blog brain freeze!

BUT I AM BACK now with a few posts which I think that you will love!

Please see what I am getting up to by following GoldChoiceUK Twitterfeed

0       Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers day or if you are an American it is actually 3.14 making it Happy Pi Day!! (well someone had to say!!)

Hope that all mothers have a great day and get treated well.

I’m going ton share with you something I made for my mum… a sort of e-card… in Flash! :)

Happy Mothers Day

Anyone for a BLT?

Ah, only kidding. I am not giving away food nor even talking about the classic Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich, but I am talking about cyber blog-food… SPAM.

As I go through my blog comments this is what I have been reading:

a) I am definitely bookmarking this site and sharing it with my friends
b) Very outstanding site
c) The message here is genuinely important
d) I will invite my friends
e) I usually don’t post in blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work… beautiful
f) I am reading this article second time today
g) Keep up the good work
h) Look forward to read more from you in the future

Question is: Do I or do I not post them? I’d like to think that they were really thinking that my blog was amazing and had some genuinely important messages but I dont feel it is because the real people arent stepping forward…
I know spam means that it is usually bad, but at times like this when you see an excellent comment you want to post it because you like it when people like what you have said and understand your reasoning behind the article…

I’m not asking for sympathy or even a reason why this is happening. I think it is great my site is being found, but not if only by bots, droids, martians, dodos, daleks and anything else that is programmed by hackers etc. My blog is far from being a spam ground for the insects to feast on… It is however a haven for all the real people who wish to gain advice and knowledge on most easy to moderate web publishing/editing tools, and the tricks of the trade!

I have had this blog/site since July 2009 and I have had a mass of spam. Most of it being about things totally unrelated to this site. It has really annoyed me and I have enabled the necessary spam catcher, in my case Akismet, but not sure if I want to go the whole hog with a capture too. I would like something like I have seen on other blogs where there is a sum like 2+2 and you have to put 4 in the box… but would that turn posters away or would it make them feel safer because they knew the site was safe and capturing spammers?

I hope to have some ideas on this please, so feel free to comment. Bots comments of course will be EXTERMINATED!!