What's new? In terms of the internet: a lot. Some interesting things have been happening online lately, so I've got a rundown of some of the more interesting online news for the past few days.
• Bloggers looking to get heaps of traffic to their website rejoiced with the release of BlogRush, an automated traffic exchange blogroll.
• A new study reports that Americans can go without sex longer than the internet. Just another step closer to Internetitus becoming a legal disease.
• On Monday rumors began stirring around about Google launching a virtual world similar to the infamous Second Life online world.
• Fans of Microsoft's Live search can expect to see something similar to Google's universal search (searching images, videos, websites, blogs, etc. all at the same time with one search query) when Microsoft adds universal search to Live search.
• And finally, while it doesn't pertain exactly to internet news, it's a great blog post and will definitely have influence over the internet in oncoming years... I'm talking about the 11 trends that define logo design in 2007.
September 26, 2007
What's new? In terms of the internet: a lot. Some interesting things have been happening online lately, so I've got a rundown of some of the more interesting online news for the past few days.
September 25, 2007
"Every time you search for something on Google your information is recorded, sorted, and stored in a database. Should you be worried?"
Is it any wonder why Google is the fastest growing brand for the second year in a row? They are a company focused on people, run by brilliant, friendly people. They spend millions of dollars researching what you and I like and don't like. They are a business that aims to make you and me happy.
Yet, in order to successfully operate as the top search engine, Google has to spend millions of dollars researching and evaluating you and I.
You may not know it, but every time you search for something on Google your information is recorded, sorted, and stored in a database. Should you be worried?
Exactly what information is stored? Only everything that anyone else has access to: what internet browser software you are using, where you are located, what you have searched online for in the past, what websites you frequent the most, and - in a lot of cases - your age, gender, education, income, etc.
This technology brings up the question as to whether or not Google knows too much.
While there is no easy answer for whether or not Google is putting the information of every single user/searcher at risk, we can evaluate the question by asking ourselves a similar question: does your bank know too much about you?
After all, chances are that your bank holds 80% - if not more - of your entire financial savings. They also know where you live, everything you spend money on, and if you travel, etc. But we trust banks with this information. We have for hundreds of years.
We trust banks, like we should trust major corporations like Google.
It's safe to assume that Google is taking every measure possible, and spending millions of dollars more, to protect our information from crooks and other corporations. Just like you would trust your bank with all of your money, trusting Google is a great way to calm your internet woos.
September 24, 2007
Link trades, link swaps, reciprocal linking, link exchanges, or whatever else you want to call them, are NOT bad. Like everything mankind has created, they can be bad if used inappropriately.
I'm talking about two or more websites that trade links to and from each other's websites.
There is a lot of talk about why webmasters should avoid reciprocal link exchanges, and even more talk about how reciprocal link exchanges are just not right.
Let's put an end to all the ranting and raving. Let's finally answer the question of whether or not reciprocal links are beneficial to websites, and if they are morally legitimate.
So, are reciprocal link exchanges - or the trading of a link on a website for a link on another website - beneficial? Will they affect a websites ranking in a search engine? Is it a online sin to exchange links with a website? The answer is easy:
Yes Virginia, reciprocal linking is more than ok. It's a necessity for all websites.
The truth is that everyone exchanges links in one way or another. Most people are too prideful to admit it, or are too arrogant to realize they are even doing it.
Google, the leading search engine at the moment, has even been caught exchanging links - as well as selling links. Major corporations like Apple Computers, use a strategy to highlight well-known professionals in articles, then the professionals often link back to the Apple website.
The fact of the matter is: link exchanges are natural. Whether you like them or not, they exist and they always will. If you have a website you NEED people to link to you and you NEED to link to them.
If you don't link, and if you avoid link exchange e-mails like the plague, then you truly degrading the value of your website.
For example: if you run a website that sells t-shirts and you get an e-mail from a website that designs t-shirts, you should definitely take one minute to look into it. Your website visitors may be able to benefit from visiting that t-shirt design website. Your business could greatly benefit from linking with them.
In the end: the internet is a network, not an ant farm. Instead of watching, poking, prodding, and laughing at all of the websites around you, consider networking with them and expanding your visitors experience.
And whatever you do as a webmaster: don't mock link request e-mails. A lot of links will never make themselves known to you unless they e-mail you. Ignoring that fact makes you look stupid.
As for those who are sending out link requests, be sure to avoid bad link request problems.
September 21, 2007
Are web standards absolutely necessary for a webmaster or web designer? This is a question every webmaster and every single web designer should be asking themselves, if they haven't already. It's a question that I have considered answering multiple times...
In it's youth, the internet was a place where almost anything was possible. Websites were designed for one reason and for one reason alone: exposure on computers.
Fast forward to the present day. We now have phones, navigation devices, personal data assistants, laptops, and things with all of the aforementioned in one package, that are accessing the internet and browsing through websites from almost any location in the entire world.
This new technology, and the ability to access the world wide web from practically anywhere, opened new doors for internet users like yourself. But, this new technology and these new abilities closed doors for web designers.
In previous years, web designers had to set-up multiple websites for different viewing devices.
Something that looked practically magical on a desktop computer monitor may have looked like literal crap on a cell phone screen. Eventually webmasters got smart, and web standards were born.
Allowing a set of standards, policies, and philosophies to be the governing authority over web browsers on any device, web standards made it easy for web designers to create one website that would look good on any device, from anywhere.
But webmasters and web designers now face new problems within the web standards themselves.
Which brings us back to the original question: are web standards absolutely necessary? What if a website does not validate all of today's web standards?
If web standards are necessary, how is it possible to get away with not following them?
The internet needs web standards so that websites can be designed to fit the needs of every person who browse the internet.
Obviously not everyone is the same. Not everyone uses Internet Explorer or FireFox to browse the internet. And because people are using different web browsers with different technology on different devices - all of which look at web code slightly different - web standards make it easy to design websites that will look great in all browsers and on all devices.
Web standards are needed, but there are ways to get around the latest web standards and still have your website load properly on different browsers/devices.
As an example: there is a way to create rounded corners using web code. It's a method that complies with the latest web standards, but is easy to get around.
Instead of using code to create a rounded corner effect online, someone could use a simple image. It's that simple.
And there's nothing wrong with cheating the standards.
If a web designer knows what they are doing, and they following the web standards to the best of their abilities - and if the website they are designing loads properly on different browsers/devices - then there is nothing wrong with cheating the system a little bit.
But it's always a good idea to validate a website's markup and make sure it's coded well.
September 20, 2007
When Thomas Edison began working on building the first light bulb some people thought he was crazy.
After hundreds of failed attempts at successfully harnessing the power of electricity, Edison was quickly making a name for himself as a mover and shaker of innovation and technology.
No matter where you go or what you do, there will always be movers and shakers like Edison - those people who decide to break the boundaries of regular thinking. They are those who inspire us to become better than we are. They are those who, despite ridicule and even praise, are determined to change the world.
In the rapidly growing field of search engine optimization, there are a select few who are making an tremendous impact on the world of search optimization and marketing. So I present to you today, the top movers and shakers of search engine optimization. In no specific order.
Tadeusz Szewczyk. Tad, as he likes to be called, offers search engine optimization for the new age. Search engine optimization 2.0 is Tad's ranting grounds where he presents inspirational, informative, and ground-breaking information into the world of online marketing and SEO.
Shana Albert. Shana has been actively participating on the SEO playground known as Sphinn for a while now. A lot of the articles she submits become "hot" and get on the front page within no time. She's got a fun, innovative approach to online marketing and networking, and she really knows how to make any community shine.
Sebastian. Sebastian is quickly making a name for himself in the SEO community. His helpful approach to new search engine topics easily catches the attention of many, and his approach to blogging is both unique and innovative.
Lyndon Antcliff. Lyndon is definitely one of the most recognized SEO Sphinners to date. Always on the look out for new and ground-breaking information, Lyndon is definitely someone to keep an eye on over the next few years.
Maki. Maki is the writer for DoshDosh, an incredibly interesting blog about SEO and all things marketing, and networking. Maki's fresh approach to content and invigorating outlook on search engines makes for a great read that you do not want to miss.
Aaron Wall. I've had a few run-ins with Aaron before, but despite our different beliefs Aaron remains a strong, prominent leader in the SEO field. His website and best-selling book ranks number one on all search engines for SEO book. He's definitely someone who should be looked up to when dealing with search engines.
Rand Fishkin. Rand is the number one face in search engine optimization right now. Because of his fresh, fun, and effective approach to marketing through SEOmoz, Rand has made a great image for himself. Rand has also been responsible for changing the way major press and the "outside world" looks at SEO.
There are a ton of people who are shaking the way SEO is looked at, performed, and changing, unfortunately I don't have the time - or energy - to list all of them. So take some time to check out the movers and shakers I've listed here, as they will definitely be people you won't be able to miss in the near future.
September 19, 2007
The internet can be a complicated place - especially for anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience or knowledge about modern technology. Yet, despite the advancements and changes taking place online, there are still a few very simple insights that everyone already knows. Let me put it this way...
Everything I needed to know about the internet I learned from my neighborhood growing up. The internet is, after all, just one big neighborhood.
Here are some great points that you should understand when browsing around online. Even if you are an expert when it comes to internet knowledge, it's a good idea to remember these points from time to time - in order to better benefit your online experience.
When somebody new joins the neighborhood, it's always a good idea to bake them some cookies.
If you find a new website that you like, just as if you had a new neighbor move into your neighborhood, it's a good idea to make them feel welcome and appreciated.
You can let them know how excited you are to know them by writing them a simple e-mail or message. If you're feeling really adventurous, ask them for their real address and bake them some real cookies.
You can't trust everyone on the block.
Just like that creepy neighbor of yours who always tried to give you gross candy when you walked by (you know, the candy that no kid wanted), a lot of websites will try to give you things that you probably don't want.
Even if they look friendly and are dressed up nice, don't immediately trust every website you encounter. Get to know them before you go inside and give them any of your information - including your address, and especially your credit card number. And whatever you do, don't take anything they give you unless you are sure they are trustworthy.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
When you were a child, running out into the street was just a quick trip to the other side. But there were dangers shooting back and forth that your parents always warned you about. The same goes for the internet.
Before you sign up for a website, an e-mail list, or an online service, read up on it. "Look both ways," and find out what users are saying.
The same can be said for online ventures. If you're going to start an online business, or if you're looking to start your own website, be sure to look both ways and acknowledge any oncoming danger before jumping in.
It's best to make friends rather than make enemies.
Whenever you were bored as a child, you could always count on your neighborhood friend. Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the block and good times could be had. The same goes for the internet. Making friends can be beneficial to you in more ways than just entertaining your boredom.
Online friends can help you find resources that you may require, they can provide you with other types of help as well, they can promote your name/business/website, and they can be there for you when you need someone to talk to (virtually).
The internet is your neighborhood. Make the best of it, and above all: have fun, get to know your neighbors. But don't forget these points, because the internet can be daunting at times, and remember that everything you need to know about the internet has already been taught to you when you were younger.
September 18, 2007
What do you get when you put a bunch of the worlds best internet marketers together in a room and tell them to make a website?
You get SEOmoz, one of the fastest growing, most prominent online resource for search engine enthusiasts.
From the launch of SEOmoz.org in February of 2005, the SEOmoz team has been hard at work making themselves not only a distinguished SEO agency, but also one of the most prominent online resources for anyone interested in web marketing, search engine optimization, and online social media.
The fact is, SEOmoz does internet marketing exactly how it should be done.
If you are trying to optimize your website, marketing a website, or interested in SEO in general, you need to keep an eye on SEOmoz and what they do.
The best thing about SEOmoz is that their methods to climbing to the top aren't a big secret. On the SEO Blog SEOmoz not only offers great insight into the internet marketing field, they offer in-depth strategies, tutorials, guides, and anything else you can imagine that would be helpful to internet marketers and SEOs.
They practice what they preach. And, fortunately, what they preach is perfection. It's no surprise that SEOmoz ranks at number 23 for the keyword "seo" in search engines.
Whether you are into search engine optimization, trying to optimize your website for search engines, or starting an online marketing campaign, you could learn a thing or two from SEOmoz.
September 17, 2007
"Generate more attention, that is more traffic, more inbound links, more bookmarks, more feed subscriptions, more revenue, and whatnot."
If you want to be an expert in something, it takes dedication and a lot of work. If you want to be known as an expert in something, you also have to know how present yourself as one. Bloggers who are known experts write in way that enforces that image.He continues with a very good writeup defining five basic types of posts that experts write:
- The Definition Post
- The Resource Post
- The Tutorial Post
- The Story Post
- The Opinion Post
- I couldn't resist and submitted type #6 in the comments, The Authoritative Joke,
- and here at Internet Hunger I'd like to discuss The Debunking Post along with a method to find a myth worth debunking.
The debunking post is more or less a subclass of the resource post coming with an advantage: due to the controversial character of its topic it will generate more attention, that is more traffic, more inbound links, more bookmarks, more feed subscriptions, more revenue, and whatnot.
A good example of a debunking post is Danny Sullivan's recent rant on the keywords meta tag. Actually, that's a perfect example because it demonstrates that the facts you're presenting to debunk the myth don't need to be fresh nor unavailable on the 'net. To write a debunking post you only need to be an expert.
I'm not a rockstar like Danny, and I'm far away from ever reaching his authority on search, not to speak of his awesome verbal skills, but I can write a debunking post on a search related topic what should prove that you can do that too in your area of expertise. The recipe of a debunking post isn't complex: roast a myth or a somewhat controversial discussed uncertainty with a few facts you as an expert probably know or can gather from sources on the Web, then serve the dish with authority.
A good procedure to discover the major ingredient, the myth or common uncertainty, as well as an audience interested in it, is participation in forums etcetera. Look at longer threads with many authors where the topic gets discussed without consent. When you know the answer you've dug out a little gem you can grind. It doesn't hurt when you contribute your take before you write your blog post. Later on when you've published your post leave a link and a very short summary in the mine, er thread, and promote your post at other places too.
Here is an example. The myth was "search engines treat meta refreshs as spam so better don't use them to move content". The truth is "search engines treat an undelayed meta refresh as poor man's 301 redirect and it's completely safe to use it for example when leaving a free host". In Google's official Webmaster forum I stumbled upon a thread discussing whether or not the meta refresh is a bullet-proof method to move URLs on free hosts permanantly. In Webmaster circles the meta refresh still is considered fishy due to its massive abuse, and most folks believe that the engines interpret it as an attempt to spam. In knew that all the major engines treat an undelayed meta refresh like a 301 redirect, hence I posted a recap off the top of my head. My reply had everything a debunking post needs, besides an official statement from Google. A few days later I was in need for content. While I polished up my forum post I asked Google for a confirmation, quoted the answer and posted it on my blog. Meanwhile my post was picked up at a few places and the link got dropped in forums. Unless Google updates their help files I own the URL of a unique resource.
Don't try that with search related topics, because you won't earn a ton of green from Webmasters well trained to keep the mouse pointer far away from ads. Also, in our industry the big guns know what they do and will outrank your blog for nearly everything. Better become an expert blogger in another niche.
Thank you Tanner for the opportunity to spam your nice blog with my guestwhore™ propaganda.
September 12, 2007
Have you heard of social media? It's the future of the internet - where users gather, collaborate, chat, vote, and do everything else together. One of the most innovative and powerful of all social media sites to date is known as StumbleUpon.
But don't assume that the greatest thing to happen to the internet is a positive thing. I'm here to give you a warning: StumbleUpon is dangerously addicting.
If you don't know what StumbleUpon is, head over to stumbleupon.com and sign-up - it's free and takes no more than one minute. But before you do, ask yourself if you can afford to waste your life browsing the web.
Once you've signed up to be a stumbler, you can add a "stumble" toolbar to your Firefox browser and start "stumbling" around the internet.
StumbleUpon uses preferences that you personally set to randomly send you to websites that would be of interest to you. Because StumbleUpon lets you personalize what websites you are taken to, you can never lose.
Or can you?
Because of the unique customization abilities of StumbleUpon (and the ability to make friends based on things you like) you are almost guaranteed to hardly ever do work, watch the kids, go out with friends, or do any real-life socializing once you sign up for StumbleUpon.
Don't take my word for it, head over to stumbleupon.com right now and sign up. Once you've done that, add me as a friend and start exploring the abyss of space.
September 10, 2007
"Money can literally flow into your bank account through online services - and all it takes is access to the internet."
If you are online, you can make money. It's true.
There are thousands of discussions about making money online, most are inaccurate in their findings. I'm going to put an end to the questions right now - but I'm not going to tell you how to do it, that's for you to figure out.
All it takes is an internet connection, and you can make money online. There is no catch. Money can literally flow into your bank account through online services - and all it takes is access to the internet.
I know from experience. I'm making $10 extra a day through the internet.
The internet is a great resource for businesses. Companies understand that the internet can be harnessed to help their businesses connect with people, and they're willing to pay for it. I'm not talking scams or ad campaigns. I'm talking networking, surveys, product-testing. All online, for free.
It's not very difficult to find these online campaigns either. If you want to make money online, you can do it. Use Google to find resources - but make sure to do your research first and never provide credit or banking information.
I'm tired of reading articles and posts about people completely ignoring the fact that it is extremely easy to make legitimate money online. Making money online is easy and best of all: won't cost you anything but a few minutes of your time.
September 6, 2007
In-fact, the internet is one of the worst (if not the worst) places to promote an altruism lifestyle. If anything, the internet has shown us how lazy we can be.
The internet makes communication easier than ever, with services like e-mail and instant messaging. Instead of picking up a telephone and dialing a few numbers to plan a meeting, we can simply message all of our friends and family with a few clicks of a button. Instantly. Because we're lazy.
We use to spend time to write a personal letter to someone, then sealing that letter in an envelope, licking a stamp, driving to the post office - or nearest mailbox - to send the letter off. Now we just open our computer, type what we have to say, and click a button.
We use services such as Google's Feed Reader to get all of our news in one convenient place. The internet has made things easy for us, and we like it that way, because we're lazy.
So when I find events such as Blog Action Day (which Internet Hunger is proud to be a part of) I can't help but smirk. The truth is that: the internet cannot and will not help save the world.
Sure, the desire is there, but it's safe to say that less than 5% of internet users who feel like helping out the world, actually do something about it. The "call to action" affect just isn't reaching an audience that is devoted to taking steps outside of the usual "click a button, get results" plan.
The internet is a great way to make a problem known. The internet is a perfect place to have a group of activists network together to discuss problems. The internet is really useful for selling products such as PRODUCT(RED) to promote a better world.
But the internet will never be a good place to try and promote the idea of people taking action on their own to change the world for the better. It's just not possible.
So the next time you get a great idea of how to help promote AIDS awareness in Africa, or how to save starving children in Indonesia, or prevent 30% of pollution, don't spend money putting together a web campaign.
If you really want to help save the world, take personal action, do something about it. But don't expect the online communities to get actively involved - unless, of course, you figure out a way to have the simple click of a button solve a lot of the worlds problems.
September 5, 2007
"The internet is not only a valuable resource for networking, it's a necessity to life. Think about it."
How often do you use the internet? Whether you're checking your e-mail, reading the latest news headlines, collaborating, or just chatting with your friends, you are using the internet almost every day.
So what happens when the internet goes away? What do you do when you have no access to the world wide network?
Not only did I have to recently ask myself those same questions, I had to deal with the dilemma of having no internet access.
I do 100% of my work through the internet, so last night when the power to my home went out, I had no way to get my work done. No e-mail. No instant messaging. No web access at all. Nothing.
When the internet is unavailable to us, we have to resort to "primitive" methods of work. Instead of writing a quick e-mail to say "thank you," we have to pick up the phone and dial a few numbers. Instead of instantly reading the top news headlines from all over the world, we have to pick up a newspaper and check what news events have been happening over the past few days.
The internet is not only a valuable resource for networking, it's a necessity to life. Think about it.
Imagine what your life would be like if the internet ceased to work. Would you feel comfortable with the methods you would have to use in order to do the same things you did when the internet was available?
The truth is that access to the internet is becoming more and more easily available. With technology like Apple's iPhone, and satellite internet services, almost everyone can access the internet from almost anywhere.
But there will be times when the internet isn't available to you. There is a very real possibility that the internet just won't be there at all.
So what do you do? How will you get your work done? How will you let your friends know about your plans?
Right now is the time to think about those questions. Right now is the time to have a plan. Obviously losing the internet isn't the end of the world - in fact, it's often a much needed break to go to the park or clean around the house or office - but it will impact your life.
So start thinking, how would your life change if the internet "went down," and what would you do differently?