Monday, 31 December 2007

Bargain Electronics from Second Act

I love gadgets HiFi, HDTV's and the like and I also love a bargain... I found a retailer who sells refurbished goods, factory closeouts, end-of-line, overstocks etc. and they have some great brand names on offer too.
One feature they have is their Deal of the Day feature where they have a special deal (currently a Sharp 37" HDTV for $75 plus carriage).
My favourite section is the Audio section (as I am a bit of a closet audiophile) where I saw a very smart Denon surround sound receiver for just $199, with current exchange rates that's less than UK£100...!!

I have spent a lot on refurbishing my PC recently and plan to spend some more on restructuring my home office, after that I'm going to be sorely tempted to start browsing through this website (Second Act) to upgrade my audio-visual equipment. What's even better is that they appear to take Paypal, so my online earnings can be used to buy the Hi-Fi equipment of my dreams... They are HDTV specialists, so if Santa didn't bring you that HDTV of your dreams, pay them a visit and see if you can pick up a bargain.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Website Design

I am currently redesigning my '' website and am employing some totally new tactics that I thought I would share with you. These are not new to good established website developers, but new to me as a keen amateur...
I am using Dreamweaver, but the principles would be the same for any similar software. For the first time I am using proper templates where I can make a change to the single template and the change takes place site-wide. previously I have just created a page called 'template' and built every page around this template. This method is time-consuming when changes need to be made, but the strict template (extension .dwt [dreamweaver template]) option means that you have to know pretty much what your final layout will be before you start working.
I have built the navigation into the template and copyright info (and google analytics tracking - nearly forgot it!). I also placed my high-rise adsense banner in there too along with site title and logo. I made a cell (middle top) for my title which I placed as a background image - I was pleased to discover that I could then make this an editable region of the template even though the background was fixed. This means that each page could carry a SEO aware sub heading right at the top of the page. I have yet to discover if the template element needs to be SEO aware, but will play with that idea later.
I have found that I can arrange the whole template to sit in the centre of the page so that viewers using different screen setting won't get a lop-sided view with the page pressed to the left-hand side of the monitor.
I think that all future sites that I shall build will be done in this way and I have started to make a site here for which I don't have a use yet, but I want to prove that I can make a nice-looking site with the tools that I have and no formal training....

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Light up your life

I have made some money through internet activities over the last month and bought myself some 'toys' to aid me in computer related tasks. First I bought a flat-screen from e-bay, then a hard-drive and a DVD writer. I still have some cash left, so I have been planning to re-arrange my home office completely and nothing creates a good working ambience better than good task-lighting. I found a great website with loads of different light fixtures for every type of situation. My favourite one is the one I have shown below, this is both elegant and functional and will suit the style of my new office.
The same website even has a section for chandeliers and kitchen light fixtures in fact every type of lighting requirement that you might have around the home (or even in the garden) is covered on the website. Navigation is made easy as you can search by 'style', 'brand', 'finish', 'price', and with the amount of products they have, you really do need a good search function. Online shopping with this site means you can take delivery of products that are in stock in just one or two days (within the US).

With home offices becoming more part of every day culture, why not bring a bit of class and functionality into your office with some really nice fixtures and fittings helping to set the tone for your working environment.

Friday, 7 December 2007

SEO - pages to add to your site

I have written before about the importance of having a site-map, whether that be in HTML form,XML or ROR - a site-map helps search bots to effectively index your site. There are two other sections that you also might consider adding to your site:
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and a Glossary of Terms. Initially you might see why this helps your visitors, but how does it contribute to SEO?
I have a FAQ section on my cassette2cd website (you can see it here... at the time of writing, this needs a LOT of work..) but I never thought about how it could be optimised. The trick is to phrase the questions to match search terms, so that it's possible for your FAQ section to pick up search traffic that your main site might miss.
I have added some explanation of terms to my site, but have not yet gone along the complete 'Glossary' route.. However I should because again having all these terms that are relevant to my website all in one place, will help the site to appear in search results. Not only that, but by linking from the main site to the glossary and then back again (include a BACK button on the glossary page - or make it pop-up) helps to give authority to your main site too.
If you need some ideas for your FAQ section, just look at any correspondence that you have received from your visitors and use the questions that you really have been asked..