SEO long tail: use it to your advantage

One of the keys to a successful web presence has nothing to do with search engine optimisation. Though SEO techniques can certainly benefit the exposure of your site, what really counts is making sure the site has direction. Indeed for most websites, paying good money for a SEO consultant would be about as productive as posting junk mail to yourself. Search engine algorithms are being more aware of over-optimised sites and penalising those who attempt black hat strategies. Giving a specific direction, making sure your site stands out will help more than SEO for a generic direction. 

Usability and SEO of hyperlinks and link text (Reflections on Jakob Nielsen)

Jakob Nielsen is proclaimed as the guru of web usability, analysing and writing about usability and SEO methods any web designer, developer or author can apply to their site. He is both adored and panned by the web community for his insightful and informative, but hideously designed website*. Ranked very highly in the community, his work (when you ignore the shameless promotion of his pricey conferences, reports and books) quite often presents a particular argument followed by a very short counter-argument.

Quick steps to improving readability (Reflections on GCD post)

As well as a couple of simple steps to take to improve readability of sites (below), this is just a short post to flag up an article I found recently by Gail Diggs at GCD Marketing: When “Bad Writing” is Good. Essentially, the old rules of copy writing are “thrown out the window” because of the way that users read text on screen in short, scanning ways and are often impatient to find the next web page to read. This compared to the paper-based format of ‘leisure reading’.

Beware the fold – Designing for netbooks

Web designers need to be more aware of the popularity of netbooks as cheap, low-tech, laptop notebooks. This popularity has suggested that a significant proportion of web users are quite happy with low-power processing (hence longer battery life) in order they can check their email and favourite websites on the move. This has spelt an end, or if not an end then a fork, in the ever increasing screensize theory.

Radio broadcasting – URY Breakfast

The second of two flagship shows on URY I have been involved with (the first being URY Gold). I have presented Sunday Breakfast (Oct-Dec 2005) and Tuesday Breakfast (Oct 2006 – Jun 2007).

The show normally comprises a mix of the latest chart hits and a couple of 80s/90s oldies. Most of the content comes from the tabloids all too often featuring a strange story about an inept criminal from Germany. Anyway, the show has some other second-rate features but the pace of the show is kept quick, with plenty of music, as there’s only so much you can do on a Breakfast show on your own.

Listen to URY Tuesday Breakfast

Radio broadcasting – Early Breakfast

The first regular show I presented on URY which ran from 2004-2005. It originally started at 7.30am until I got lazy in the second term and switched it to 8am. The show had a mix of pop music, laughable features and a small fan base in the electronics department.

Which… Came First?

Two songs by the same artist (or some other relevant link), all that needed to be decided was which one was released first as a single in the UK. Data provided by Guinness Hit Singles & Albums.

Radio broadcasting – Radio Cabin RSL

I began work on the RSL project at Radio Cabin with my On Air team back in March 2003. I wrote out the application which was rapidly accepted and so lots of money went to the Radio Authority to pay for it all.

Susan Torevell gathered up the sponsorships while James B worked on finding some jingles. The week before we went On Air, I sat at home and in the Cabin studio frantically constructing 15 adverts, hundreds of personalised ID tags and was very grateful for Susan’s friend Kamal’s hidden voice over talents. I want to also thank Matt Curtis of Folkestone who also runs a Hospital Radio Station for his help in getting voiceovers for us. Thanks should go to all the team for their commitment and enthusiasm during the two week broadcast.

Radio broadcasting – URY Gold

I began presenting URY Gold in October 2005 and over two academic years continued a show steeped in URY tradition. Bringing back old music to the airwaves, the show encompasses great music you know, great music you don’t and not-so-great music you wish you never heard. Song and artist information is provided intermittently from Wikipedia, EveryHit and Songfacts. Not forgetting my unique comments on the tracks.

The show has four inherited features: The RecSegue, Artist of the Week, Three Minute Thrill, Long Player. Other features I threw into the melting pot included The Gold Star Song and Golden Years. More details on these below.

Playlists from this show are also available here.

Plain English to help SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

The highlight of the week just gone was the issuing of 200 banned words by the GLA: BBC News Story, List of Banned Words. This reminded me of the importance of plain english, the sort that the Plain English Campaign hark on about. These people write some very useful guides which help those writing for the web avoid inane jargon and write normally. The principle is straightforward when applying plain English to websites:

Social networks: Drawing the line between professional and personal

See also: Top ten tips on using social networking sites.

You might think I have something against Facebook and the like with this second post on the topic, however this post takes a slightly different slant looking at the way Facebook and other social networking sites are becoming more important to employers. So this post is focused on the users rather than the service itself.