Jan 27

I don’t know about you, but the short title necessary to fit the page name in the list of pages across the top navigation bar, really chaps my butt.

You have to keep the page *name* small (like one or two words max), but that means the *title* is displayed with that one or two words. And before you write in to tell me there are plugins to override the browser title area for a page, let me mention, that’s not what chaps me. I mean the main title displayed on the page.

Let me give you an example you have probably seen: There is an ABOUT page, and even though you can stuff *About Cenay Nailor* in the browser title, only About is displayed on the actual page.

Like most programmers plagued by some stupid behavior, I came up with a way around it. Let me share that with you.

Add a custom field to the page (in my example, I named it customtitle) and place your more descriptive text here. Then pop over to the theme editor and update the page.php (for most WordPress installations and themes) like so:

(Original line)

<h1>< ?php the_title(); ?></h1>

(Replace with)

<h1><?php $key="customtitle"; echo get_post_meta($post->ID, $key, true); ?></h1>

I also added the original line just below my new line, but changed the h1 to an h3 tag. This gives me custom text in the larger font, and the actual page title in the smaller header tag.

Jan 22

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, has two major factors which govern your success, or failure.

On Page Factors

The first major factor is really the simplest to master. But first, you need to know what those creepy little *spiders* look for when they come and *crawl* your site. Oh wait.. I didn’t tell you about the spiders?

Spiders (bots, robots, crawlers ) are small programs that the search engines employ to go read your site so it can *index* your content. The index is how they are able to return results when someone types in "digital camera for sale" or "best marketing company". The spiders job is to review your content, and build an index of keywords that relate to the content.

A spider views your site a little differently than a real person, but providing a good experience to the spider is every bit as important as making sure your human visitors find what they are looking for.

Things like page titles, headings, bolded text, tags, keywords in the meta tags and a good site map are things that make the spiders get all giddy. So are things like your content being viewed *first* and your keywords being within the first 50 words and the last 50 words of what it does read.

If this sounds hard, don’t despair. I promise, we will cover each aspect thoroughly in the coming articles. I will even show you things you can do to help with this, especially if you have a WordPress blog.

Off Page Factors

Off page is a little more difficult and time consuming in the overall scheme of things. Off page refers to other sites and how they link to you. See, Google rates your site based on the number and quality of links that point to your site.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "I just started my site, how in the world are people going to know to link to me?" That is what you were thinking, right?

Inbound links come in a variety of flavors, shapes and sizes, and you can generate a lot of them.

Inbound links: Links from other sites that point visitors to your site.

Forums, newsgroups, signature lines on your social profiles, partner sites, comments you leave and other sites you own can all point to you. Articles you create (we will cover this topic in depth real soon) can contain a resource box that contains links to your site.

Google views links to your site kind of like a vote for your site. Search engines use the number of incoming links that a site has as just one of the factors for determining your ranking, but incoming links to your blog or website also means more visitors to your site. In fact, inbound links will directly affect your Google Page Rank, that coveted but often misunderstood *rating* that everyone talks about.

So, getting a link from a site that Google crawls on a regular basis, one that has a high Google Page Rank has some impressive benefits. Sites can *leak* some of their good page rank your way.

So, until next time, keep your eye open for potential linking partners, sites that have good Page Rank already, or sites that get a lot of daily traffic. Try to think of ways you can add value, and get links in exchange. And no, I don’t mean link farms… those really don’t work since Google takes a dim view of them.

Source: Secrets To Web Success
A blog dedicated to Small Business Internet Marketing and Consulting

Jan 17

As a part of the ongoing effort to educate small business owners in the value of Internet Marketing Techniques to their business, I will be presenting SEO articles here at The Software Answer. I also write for a blog here on the web called Secrets to Web Success on the subject of search engine optimization, and thought I would share those posts with you.

It’s a digital world.

In 2009, the population at large is connected via cell phone, iPod, PDA’s and personal computers. At any given moment, a digital device is close at hand to most of us. The Internet is home to more than a billion surfers daily. It has enfiltrainted our world to such an extent, that the act of looking something up has turned the name of one of the number 1 sites on the Internet, into a *verb*.

People say "I’ll just Google it ", and everyone knows what they mean. More importantly, everyone knows how to Google something. Well, okay… not your 2 year old neice or your 108 year old grandmothers, but pretty much everyone else.

We have discovered the joys of *being connected*, the bliss of reaching out and getting instant connection. And if you aren’t speaking to your market-place on the Internet , you are missing literally hundred’s of thousands of potential clients.

And this relates to SEO, how?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the science or ability to get your *link* (blog, website, articles, products, etc) in front of those that are looking for you.

When a surfer (your potential client, remember? ) types something in Google, the results that they see are called search engine result pages (SERPs). And this is where you want to be listed, right?

SEO is also a process.

You won’t be SEO optimized in the first 20 minutes of starting your SEO efforts. You won’t be completely optimized in the first 20 weeks, either. But each new thing you do to refine or *tweak* your site, brings you more visitors. Period.

These SEO articles will be focusing on exactly how to optimize your site. If you follow along, and do the steps we discuss, before you know it, that trickle of visitors will become a stream. That stream will become a brook. That brook will become a river. A river of fresh and return visitors flowing to your site, all eager to see what else you offer.

So, plan to check back often. In fact, go ahead and subscribe to the feed for this blog now, while you are thinking about it.

Don’t know what a feed is? We’ll cover that too.

Source: Secrets To Web Success
A blog dedicated to Small Business Internet Marketing and Consulting

Dec 20

With the increase in Web Enabled software designs, it’s becoming more and more important to know when a client machine is actually connected to the Internet, before taking some action. I ran into this situation recently myself, and thought I would display my solution in the hopes it helps a struggling code-head out there.

I read, tried and experimented with a number of solutions with varying degrees of success. The route I choose was one that allows me to detect a connection with a fair degree of accuracy.

I test for a valid connection (just before I am about to take some action that requires the Internet) by trying to open a known URL and validate the returned handle is not NIL.

NOTE : in D7 some constants were not declared in WinInet.pas so you might have to add them to your routine.

uses WinInet;
function IsConnected: Boolean;
//:[ Local system has a valid connection to the Internet, but it might or might not be currently connected.
//:[  Local system uses a local area network to connect to the Internet.
//:[  Local system uses a modem to connect to the Internet
//:[  Local system is in offline mode.
//:[  Local system uses a proxy server to connect to the Internet
// Local system has RAS installed.
InetState: DWORD;
hHttpSession, hReqUrl: HInternet;
Result := InternetGetConnectedState(@InetState, 0);
//:[ So far we ONLY know there's a valid connection, so see if we can grab a known URL
hHttpSession := InternetOpen( PChar(Application.Title), INTERNET_OPEN_TYPE_PRECONFIG, nil, nil, 0);
hReqUrl := InternetOpenURL(hHttpSession, 'http://www.google.com', nil, 0,0,0);
Result := hReqUrl <> nil;
Result := False; //:[ We know for sure we are offline so return false

Oct 25

Successful software development is a series of processes. While the processes are the same for a small quick utility or an Enterprise-wide suite of applications, they will often take different amounts of time, depending on the size of your project. We will be working with you every step of the way to ensure you get exactly what you need.
1. Business Requirements Review

Your personal account manager will work with you to determine exactly what the business requirements are and document them so that everyone involved is working from the same understanding. We will watch how you work (where applicable) to ensure we understand what you want and need. This process will also allow us to create the functional specifications so it’s clear to you what technologies will be involved and why.

For the small project, this might be covered in a short phone call. For the larger projects, this could take days. Either way, we will cater to the business requirements so everyone can agree on the work to be performed.

2. Design the Solution

This process takes a closer look at your expected growth, technology you already own, budget requirements which might impact technology selections and possible growth avenues the solution will provide.

This process will address how our custom software will affect your computers, network, databases and any support and maintenance programs you currently use. Obviously, for the small to medium sized project, there might not be impacts to your current environment so this step could be quickly completed.

3. Code the Solution

While we have favorite technologies we like to use, we will review coding alternatives with you. You might already own some software tools. Perhaps you like products from a certain vendor. The Software Answer typically creates the software in the most popular computer languages such as Delphi, C#, ASP, Java, JavaScript, Visual Basic, and HTML. We also use SQL and XML. These technologies are affordable to small businesses, and they will continue to work as your company grows.

The Software Answer uses what is called an iterative approach to coding. This means that as we finish major parts of the software, we test it ourselves, and we will meet with you for your preliminary review. By using an iterative approach, we avoid "surprises" at the end of the project. We want you and your employees to try out the software as we are developing it so that we can confirm that the business requirements are being met.

4. Test the Solution

Obviously, this is an important step to delivering a successful solution . While our programmers test it throughout the life cycle, it is also standard practice for you to try out the software as well.

We will deliver the solution in logical modules (where applicable) to help with the testing. A common practice is to setup a single machine (or small group) which runs the new custom solution and allow the various departments or employees to each spend time doing their jobs using the new application. An integrated "Bug Tracking" module will be provided (for most platforms) to allow users to record their findings, make suggestions and report a problem.

Detailed reports are available from this tool so that management and staffers are all up to date on what was found, in process, needs work or signed off on. For the smaller solution, generally all that is needed is a single user performing the task or function the solution was designed for to determine applicability.

5. Documentation and Help Files (optional)

Not all custom software providers spend very much time on this step, however, here at The Software Answer , we know that detailed documentation and help files are critical to reducing the learning curve for the user community. And since we make it a practice to use extensive comments within the source code, maintenance and revisions to the code in the future are much easier. If you opt to get Help files , you will receive CHM and HLP files that are content sensitive and provide the information needed to effectively use the software.

6. Implementation on your system(s)

The final process necessary to deliver a successful solution is implementing it on your PC’s and network or web site. During the testing phase, any problems should have been defined and over come so this last step just brings it all together. And if you do find something wrong or want to add a new feature, we will be there.

When this step is complete, you will have the solution you need to move your business forward in today’s competitive markets.

Get Started Today!

To see exactly what it would cost to get the solution you want, contact us today and Request a Quote for your business problem, and let us provide you with the specifics to your business solution.