Almost since the internet was born, people have been using it to share ideas and offer their opinion on a wide variety of subjects. Blogs – or “web logs” – are hardly a new idea, but they have become something of a phenomenon in recent years as businesses and personal writers realise the potential they offer to anyone looking to share ideas or information.
Blogs fill a niche which ordinary websites cannot cater for:
A focused piece of software designed to efficiently organise and publish information.
Built-in search engine submission and pages which are easily crawled by bots.
Optional comments by readers allow you to get instant feedback.
Categorised posts allow different subjects to be written about, and readers to choose those which interest them.
So, a blog is a sure way to get my voice heard on the internet? Well… no, not really. It is however a powerful tool if used properly. At Primate Designs we specialise in helping small or new businesses find their feet on the internet, so here is a short list of bloggy things to consider:
Separate it from your website: Whether your blog is visually seamlessly integrated with your website or noticably separate, remember it is there to allow you to focus on specific topics. Properly written, you can drive good traffic to pages on your main website.
Choose your content wisely: Give readers something they actually want to read. If your blog is informative or entertaining, readers will keep coming back for more.
Get involved: There are plenty of other blogs out there on a wide variety of subjects. Be sure to read others and do not be afraid to comment on them. Remember, if you leave a useful comment and your website address, people may visit your website to find out more.
Keep it up to date: Blogs are typically search engine friendly because they often represent fresh information and are updated regularly. Regular blog posts can really help your search engine rankings; Alex’s post on our blog the other week regarding the Internet Explorer security risk ranked on the first page of Google for several search phrases!
This post could go on for pages and pages, discussing everything that is possible with even the simplest blog, but hopefully this will give you a taster. As with many things, the best way to find out is to get stuck in and see for yourself… happy blogging!
While browsing for some information on surfers still clinging to Internet Explorer 6, I came across a company providing free information about software vulnerabilities on their website. Secunia have published some excellent data and advice on security, and while a lot of it is fairly technically written they do provide some neat features for the more casual user such as their online software update checker which can scan your computer and tell you if you have any insecure software which needs to be updated. Handy!
As for those still using IE6? Take a look for yourself: Internet Explorer 6.x Security Advisories – 142 vulnerabilities and 135 advisories, 16% remain unpatched and up to “moderately critical” in importance. By comparison, Firefox 3.x has 39 vulnerabilities and 8 advisories, 0% of which are unpatched.
Whichever browser you choose, use the latest version and keep it updated. Identity theft is on the increase and it’s simple steps like updating your browser which will help protect you online.
I’ve noticed recently that many people who use the variable font/text size feature while surfing the web are quite unaware that modern browsers provide a much neater alternative: Zooming the entire page in and out.
I was never a fan of text zooming. If it allowed people to read the text better that was of course a benefit, but too often it just didn’t work. Layouts weren’t always built to cater for varying text sizes and could become even more confusing to understand.
So cue the idea of not zooming just the text, but magnifying the whole page and therefore keeping everything in proportion. Genius! Not a new idea granted, Opera has featured it for years, but it’s an immensely handy feature not only for people with poor eyesight. Users with large screens at very high resolutions, or for developers to take a closer graphical look at the positioning of elements on the page. Controls can usually be found in the “View” menu or by handy keyboard shortcuts:
Zoom In: CTRL +
Zoom Out: CTRL -
Reset: CTRL 0
These days page zooming is becoming more widespread with good support in mainstream browsers Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, as well as lesser-known Opera. Apple Safari and Google Chrome have yet to implement it, which I’m surprised and a little disappointed about.. Come on guys, catch up!
It seems a lot of people – myself included – are having problems with USB mice in Windows Vista. After a Windows Update, my mouse simply stopped working. The laptop’s touchpad was fine and the USB socket was also fine. After a bit of googling I found JustSomeGuy1’s thread on techguy.org with an apparent fix. The only problem was Vista wasn’t even leaving me a broken entry for a USB Browser Mouse in the Device Manager, to go and manually delete the bad drivers. Deleting things out of the System32 folder seems like a rather hands-on, roll-your-sleeves-up and get stuck in approach anyway – this is 2009 after all!
In Device Manager select the “Unknown Device”, right click and “Update Driver Software…”
Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.
Choose “HID-Compliant Mouse”.
Click “Next” and Windows will install the new driver (successfully I hope!).
Enjoy clicking on things once again.
It’s a much friendlier fix for less savvy PC users, so I hope it works for you. I for one could not spend another day giving myself finger cramp with the touchpad on my laptop.