Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Internet Explorer 's cookie is starting to crumble?

.. now competitors start to nibble?

The news is out: Dell UK is shipping Firefox on it's systems. Confirmed by Blake Ross (one of the creators of Firefox) in his blog. However, at this moment Dell only ships Firefox in the UK. Dell Australia has no plans in that direction.

Similar plans come from Hewlett-Packard. HP plans to ship Netscape's Web browser on new PCs and notebooks starting early 2006.

With the move of Opera of disbanding the ads in their browser this might bring even more momentum to the alternative browsers. The competition is on the move. Microsoft may just be too late with IE7. In many reviews so far the IE7 upgrade has been called too little too late.

Now, the largest PC manufacturer of the world, Dell, is pre-installing Firefox on new systems and removing the IE icon from the desktop. This will give users direct access to Firefox and indirect access (somewhere in the Start menu) to Internet Explorer. This will mean that more users will start to use Firefox. If HP does the same with their Netscape installation then a lot of convenience users will probably just use the first browser available.

All, this should give a boost to these browsers and it will bring about the slow demise of the sleeping giant's browser.

On top of that the news earlier this month that Microsoft is dropping the Internet Explorer for Apple completely after having ignored development for it for years. They even promote the use of the Safari browser.

These are signs that things are drastically changing in the browser market. I think the era of world wide web domination for Microsoft and Internet Explorer (the 90% and more market share days) are over. Microsoft had fallen asleep and ignored the little people outside, who were hacking together real compliant browsers. They have ignored the users who had to suffer under numerous attacks and security issues. They may have sit back just a little too long and enjoyed the view from their palace window to look at a Teletubbie landscape.

The times they are a-changing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The "In between days"

.. are all over me

The days between Christmas and New Year are filled with usefulness and laziness. I need input from functional designers and others to keep going with my current projects and apparently these guys have way more leave than I because they can take off much much longer than I can. True, I have to admit that I will be away starting Friday for ten days, but they were already off well before Christmas.

Since, they have a large say in the web applications I am now building I am stuck. I have hit some problems that have multiple possible solutions. Each of these have different implications and they need to make the decision. On the one hand in order to know the consequences. On the other hand so I will not be blamed for doing everything the way I want without consulting. And then finding myself undoing all the nice changes I had made.

Again true, I have now some experience with their decisions: they always pick the option that I rule out completely. So, using that knowledge I could go for the most unlikely option and have their blessing afterwards. But only once every so often they select the better option and I cannot as yet predict when such a unique moment occurs. That would mean that just bluntly going for the less intelligent option will still have big chance of wasting my time on it.

I feel another version of Murphy's law is active here.

Roho's first variation of Murphy's law
When there are multiple options to choose from you will always pick the wrong one.

Years of experience have also taught me the following.

Roho's second variation of Murphy's law
The easiest way to solve a problem is always the most difficult to undo.

So, which ever option I implement I will always fail. If failure is guaranteed then why start at all?

Even more wisdom has shown me that which ever option you pick it is never the best one.

Roho's third variation of Murphy's law
When you pick a way to solve a problem your solution will always be the most elaborate one and will not solve the problem in the end.

Anyhow, Murphy always beats you.


Take a deep breath and surpress any urge to start work.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

SEO at a glance

.. for your convenience

OK, this is hardly an original post, but one the gazillion attempts to rake together the SEO factors in a simple list. Compiled from numerous sources around the web and NO it will not offer too many new things. To be used as a simple checklist when building a new website or doing search engine optimalisation on an existing one.

Build validating pages

Make sure the correct html is used and more importantly use the html for the right things. Semantically correct as they say. Use the H1-tag for a header text. Although, search engines can cope with not-validating pages it is advised to use correct markup.

Choose Domain Name

When you own a company with a well known name like Nike or CNN choosing a domain name is easy. But otherwise create a domain name that uses keywords related to your sites main theme. Separate these words in the domain by hyphens rather then underscores. For example: rather than

Secure and redirect similar domain names to your theme. Do not, however, provide multiple domains with exact content. This is considered search engine spamming.

For existing sites it is not a good idea to abandon the current domain and start anew with a new optimized name. You will drop from the rank you already had achieved and will have to wait until you appear in a search engine. In this situation it can pay to set up a second site with an optimized name that has slightly altered content that is linking to your primary domain.

Do Keyword Phrase Research

When you want your site to be found you need to find out how people are searching for your site. If your site is about selling "mountainbikes", people might use phrases like "mountainbikes", but also "mountain bikes", "ATB" "offroad bicylces", "terrain bikes " or whatever. Be creative and above all ask other people and study your website logs to see what phrases people use who find your site.

Some tools that can help:

Finally, do consider using typos as well: "moutianbike".

Create Keyword Optimized Pages

From your keyword phrase list, create groups of two to three related keyword. Each group can then become the topic of a page on your website. These can be seen as view points to the products of your website. Getting back to our mountainbikes example you can think of subjects like: "Taking your bike off road", "Mountainbike parts", "Getting your bike out in the terrain ".

A lot of these pages will have largely overlapping content. Be creative and rewrite your content.

The more of these optimized pages you have the better. I would suggest a minimum of 10, better even, try to create at least 25.

Site Structure

A web site has a depth and width. Usually this can be viewed by having a look at the menu structure used fro navigation. The width is the number of options in a menu, the depth is defined by the number of nested menus. Both should not be too big. The depth should be no more than 3 layers. The width should be such that it is still easy to navigate.

This is not really a direct SEO aspect but it improves the overall performance of your site. It will make the site more attractive to users and thus they more likely will link to it. And that is good for your ranking.

Use simple navigation

Make your navigation simple and clean. Every page should have a link to home page. Every page should link to the level above itself. Linking between related pages within your site is also encouraged as it distributes the page rank evenly across your entire site. Finally, remove all broken links from site.

Design fast loading pages

Even in this era where almost all users seem to have a broadband connection it is still good practice to create lean, fast loading pages. Don't use a lot of graphics. Keep image sizes less than 100k. Keep the total page size below 100K. If your pages are longer consider breaking them apart.

Keep a high content to HTML ratio

Your pages should be filled with content and not with loads and loads of HTML tags. Use CSS rather than tables. Use semantic markup.

Keep your content at the top

Format your HTML so that the important content occurs high in the HTML source before other less important content. The related links, ads, banners should preferably appear after the main content in the html. Search engines rate content in the beginning of the pages higher.

Use internal linking

Again link all related pages within your site using properly formatted keyword rich link structure.

Get as many inbound links as you can

Work and work on getting as many inbound links as you can. Get them from related sites with high page rank. The best incoming links will have your keywords in the anchor text as follows:Website design and SEO in Steenwijk. Building links at relevant sites is a lot of work but it pays. It does take some time before the effects are apparent, but be patient: link building does work.

Take a good look at your site statistics

With the arrival of Google Analytics there is hardly any reason to not use site statistics. Enormous amounts of information comes to you for free. Take the time to study these and then take action. Modify and tweak your site to take advantage of traffic patterns. Extend popular parts of your site. Improve poor performing pages.

Update your content regularly

As many already know: it is all about the content of your site. A good visual design is nice, but does not necessarily help you popularize your site. People will not keep coming back just to look at a nice picture. They will return because you have interesting stuff.

Regularly provide fresh, updated content. Depending on the type of your site do this daily (for blogs), weekly or at least monthly. This will keep your site up to date and will give continuous new ways to your content.

Good advise

.. for all you would-be entrepeneurs

I found the following quote on a website very useful. For all you out there that consider making money by building websites or doing other web related work.

An anonymous philosopher
HOW-TO make a small fortune making Web sites...
... start with a large fortune ...

There you go with all your New Year's resolutions about starting for yourselves.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Just having fun

.. in the dark days before Christamas

Yep, if you happened to stop by today on my blog you may have noticed all different kinds of background images flying by. Sorry, for that. I am just restyling my blog. Just for fun.

Anyhow, check back every now and then to see the progress.

Drop a comment whether you like it or not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A touch of football

.. and a little smile

In an attempt to clarify the infamous offside rule, after a disputed decision last weekend, the BBC dedicates a page explaining the rule.

the BBC website
Like most things in football, the offside rule is pretty simple - that is until it gets changed each year.

Hmm. The off side rule is getting so confusing why not just drop the rule? I am a (field) hockey player and the offside rule was abolished many years ago and the game has become even more attacking and faster. The same should apply to football.

Monday, December 19, 2005

JavaScript Debugger for Firefox 1.5

.. Venkman is back

With the coming of Firefox 1.5 some of my beloved extension had stopped to function. Slowly most of these have recovered now. One was still missing from this list. The JavaScript Debugger aka Venkman had stopped functioning. I have used this tool to find out what went wrong with my dynamically created scripts for an e-commerce site that me and my colleagues are building like forever. Without I had to get back to using many alert() statements. Not much fun.

But that problem is now gone!

An updated version is now available and better it seems to be working!

Venkman for Firefox 1.5

Getahead has a download available. Find out more at the Getahead site.

One more extension can be crossed of the missing list.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The world according to Neuro

.. putting new extensions to work

Funny that some entries inspire others to do the same.

Even though getting the casing right is still a problem: it's Roho!


BTW this comments was created with the Blogger Web Comments extension that I discussed earlier.

I used the extension to make this comment and then saved as a 'Draft'. The html produced is a bit overloaded with whitespace and there is an additional div around it, but since I tend to always edit my comments in the Blogger Editor (with the help of some Greasemonkey scripts) I think that is not a problem. When using Flock's Blog This option I have the same approach.

More extensions for Firefox

.. when will it fall over?

Today the Official Googleblog announced some new extensions for Firefox. And being a Firefox aficionado I had to check it out.

I installed the Blogger Web Comments extension and tried it out. This is absolutely great! On every page I visit a little box pops when there are comments found on Blogger relating to that page. You can also add comments yourself.

By clicking on the title of the comment the corresponding page opens in a new tab. This is just great.

Creating a comment very much reminds me of the Blog This context menu from Flock.

I haven't even tried the other extension: Google Safe Browsing extension, but I just might install that on my home PC as that is more likely to ever get targeted by phishing sites.

Google: you are doing it again!

What's in a name?

.. or there is no coincidence

In November I ran the Seven Hills Run in Nijmegen and I did a few posts about that. Nothing special to that.

Now some weeks later an anonymous reader of my blog posts a comment to one of the entries.

i don't know how you came up with roho2003, but my high school cross-country team won the New England competition in 2003, and our team cheer was "Roho"... crazy.

The weird part is that for reason people are shouting "Roho" as encouragement to each other. Even weirder is the fact that this lead to winning the New England cross-country competition.

However, miracles and coincidences do not exits or if they do, the exist for a reason. Taking this a bit further leads me to some powerful conclusions:

  • "Roho" is a strong word.
  • "Roho" is a worldwide spontaneous expression having the same feeling of success about it.
  • "Roho" is associated with achieving things, sports and winning.
  • "Roho" can be shouted.
  • "Roho" is stabilizing factor in the hectic world of today.

OK, I might just run away with my enthusiasm now, but hey it's about me!

Feet back on the ground

Let's get back to reality. I have used the name "Roho" since my days at the Dutch equivalent of high school (yes, more and more coincidental links) and have kept these up through my time at the Delft Technical University. Back then people even called me by that name.

I have always wanted to start my own business, become my own boss. (Just so I could argue with myself about how bad things were organized.) And I always knew that that business would be called "Roho Products". And indeed in 2003 (!) I set this up. The main focus of my company is building websites. Though I do some basic system management and Windows development as well.

Coming back to what "Roho" stands for. It is quite simple the first two letters of my first and my last name. The "2003" bit is just the year that I add at the end. In 2003 I started this blog and only recently I have found enough time to keep it updated on a regular basis.


Finally, I would like to know how anyone can come up with using "Roho" as way to cheer a cross country team to victory? Please, any member of that team enlighten me. I could not find out quickly which team it is, but if someone would add that as well I am prepared to include a photo of that victorious lot.

Now, back to work. First some coffee though. It is still early.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Study of Markov Models

.. finally finished

After many (and I do mean many) attempts at finalizing my scientific paper I have eventually succeeded. So with some proud I present the report here today.

Deck's embedded study

I am as always happy to receive comments.

You can download the PDF here.

Link is broken.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Learning a trick everyday

..helps to keep boredom away

Today a colleague asked if he could hide something when printing a web page. Well yes, css can do that easily. Not too difficult as well. Add a class of donotprint to the element in question. Then add a print stylesheet with the following rule.

.donotprint {display:none;}

Yes, but no. He just wanted to add some style to the element in the html. Adding a stylesheet was not an option. There was a quick fix needed in an old site.

So I gave my mind a twist and decided to give something a try. I added the following to the html page.

<style type="text/css" media="print">
  .donotprint {display:none;}

Much to my surprise: it works!

I never knew that one could use the media attribute like this in the head-section of a page. I seemed possible, that's why I tried it, but I thought it would fail. I certainly had not seen this trick being used before.

I have learned something again. Though probably something I might never use again, but still.


Monday, December 12, 2005

A less than productive day at the office

.. so why not blog a little?

Just, had a great long, long weekend. Four days in total. Loved every minute of it.

Now, on Monday I returned to the office and logged in. I noticed some programs not starting. Hmm. I looked a bit further some of my desktop items were missing. Uh oh!I started Firefox and it asked which settings to import. Uh oh! My extensions and everything so precious were gone. Uh oh!

helpful supportdesk personel

Uh oh!

So, it was getting on the phone to the dreaded support desk. I start at seven they start at eight.Uh oh! Wait a while. Finally, I get them on the phone.

Flamboyant support person
Have you tried rebooting your system?

Uh oh! Yes, I did. I'll do it again. I suggest to do restore of my profile.

Flamboyant support person
I think we need to do a restore.

Uh oh! I make it clear that I need it rather quickly or I can not do any work.

After waiting another while there is a restore. It's from the same day as was already present on my machine. Uh oh!

Flamboyant support person
I think we need to do another restore.

More time passes and I have finished reading about anything with letters on it. Then the second restore is done. Still not much has been found. I decide I'll leave at this. They are wasting my time as well as their own.

I am now seven hours further and still trying to fix my broken installations of Visual Studio and Firefox. Luckily I had documented my extensions and my Greasemonkey scripts.

Just a little time remains before a meeting and then I can go home and be a coach potato. Sigh!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

John Lennon

.. twenty five years today

Twenty five years ago some crazy person ended the life of a great man.

Let's never forget John Lennon.

Give peace a chance.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Customizing Firefox

.. adding some grease for a smooth ride

Over a month ago I blogged about how I pimped my Firefox. In the list of extensions that I use I also have the Greasemonkey extension. I only very briefly described it:

my blog entry
Last but not least

This one is one of the best. It adds the possibility to run user scripts on any page. There are so many user scripts created by so many people that probably at least one will suit you.

This is way, way too little information to get anyone as excited about Greasemonkey as I am. So I will follow up and will tell some more.

What is Greasemonkey?

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension which lets you to "user scripts" to any web page to change its behavior. In much the same way that user CSS lets you take control of a web page's style, user scripts let you easily control any aspect of a web page's design or interaction. You can add extra functionality or delete unwanted ads. There are hundreds if not thousands userscripts available.

User scripts are bits of JavaScript that can use the DOM to access the page to add or rewrite links. Rewrite URLs. You name it. If you want to create scripts on your own then go to Dive into Greasemonkey for an excellent tutorial.

As said, there are numerous scripts that can be easily installed. Here is the list that I currently use.

General user scripts
  • Linkify Plus
    Turn plain URLs into links. Supports http, https, ftp and email addresses.
  • Zoom Image
    Displays a small popup over images that allows zooming in or out.
  • AutoDelicious
    Adds Auto-Complete capabilities to the posting page.
  • delete item
    Adds a "delete this item link" while viewing your items.
  • TagRenameDelete
    Allows you to rename or delete the tags on the front page.
  • skin
    Adds a skin to
  • undupe
    Remove redundant entries from a page, leaving only the first entry for a given URL.
  • Blogger enhancements v1.1
    Keep current time on posts. Handy when you start a post and finish it later.
  • Blogger large post editor
    The Blogger post editor really is too small. This user script sets the editor's width to 100% and makes it higher and also makes the title field wider. It works for both plain and rich editing.
  • Blogger large template editor
    The template editor is also too small. This user script hides the navbar setting and doubles the editor's height.
  • Blogger tag adder
    Add Technorati tags in the Blooger post editor.
Specific user scripts
  • Dilbert Lite
    Removes unnecessary ads from Dilbert.
  • Nu Compact is a Dutch news site. This user script deletes pictures from the frontpage stories so only the links are visible.
  • Google Media Search
    Gives quicklinks for search strings to find directories of media files.

Now, go and give it a spin. Install the Greasemonkey extension and go and find some useful userscripts.

You're browsing will never be the same again!

Ford gives in to conservative group

.. glad I don't own a Ford

To me this sums up much what I do not like about people imposing their views and morals upon others.
Ford Motor Co. faced sharp criticism from gay and lesbian advocacy groups for agreeing to stop advertising in gay-themed publications in the face of a boycott by the conservative American Family Association, according to a report Tuesday.

No, I am not gay. But that does not matter anyway. To me Ford has given in to blackmail. A group of people with a view of life that differs from others are imposing their views on Ford by means of force. The force being a boycott threat.

Ford has no become the gay-unfriendly car. Ford has now become the pro-Christian Family car.

Or perhaps not?

On the website I found this press release. website
  • Ford Fund pledges $250,000 to the construction of a new Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center in Ferndale, Mich.
  • The organization plans to break ground on the estimated $5.3 million facility in the spring of this year. Spokespeople for Affirmations organization say the new center will be open to the public in early 2006.

All right, let's not boycott Ford for not being gay-friendly.

But I think we should try to stand up against these way-of-life imposing organisations who are entitled to their own view but should never force these onto others.


.. bringing all your stuff together on one page

So you are into the fast lane. You are paddling along with all the others at the forefront of the web. At least you think you do. You have started a blog on Blogger, you upload your pictures to Flickr, you keep your bookmarks like forever already in You are sure that you have all sorts of RSS feeds of all these sources. You have even combined the lot in a single Feedburner feed. So anyone can now keep track of all your interests, opinions and pictures.

Wow, you are web 2.0 savvy.

But many of your friends are not that savvy. They do not know what RSS means or what they can do with it. What's a RSS feed reader?

Once again there is a solution. You can now use superglue to stick all this together. At you can sign up and add your feeds and have these "glued" together into one web page. Send the URL to your friends and they have an easy way to know all they should know about you.

This is my Suprglu page.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Macromedia is fading

.. TAFKAM, The Application suite Formerly Known As Macromedia

This morning a colleague pointed it out to me. I was just sipping my first cup of coffee (or was it my second?). Macromedia was now completely fading away. I immediately pointed my browser at and shock and horror: it was true! is no more

Adobe has begun with the dismantling of the name of Macromedia. Soon we will be silently redirected to and in a few years time the name Macromedia will only linger in the Walhalla together with Ashton Tate and the likes.

formerly macromedia

On the site the logo has almost completely disappeared. Only the favicon is still present. Maybe just because my browser cached it or maybe they have forgotten or maybe a very friendly webmaster left it there on purpose. If so, many many blessings to that man or woman.

I was just on the blink of buying Studio 8. Now I will probably have to rush to get a real Macromedia branded version. If left unopened could make me a millionaire on e-Bay, I guess.

It is a sad, sad day for everyone.

And another one bites the dust ...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Intelligent Deity design

.. or may your deity be with you

Sometimes you come across the most weird sites on the Net. Since the Net is huge there is always another site that is represents any other view of live, universe and everything. So, I am bound to find almost any strange opinion by any strange person if browse long enough.

With the risk of abusing anyone I will bluntly put forward this link: The Do-It-Yourself Deity.

My sincere apologies to anyone who is abused by my smiles.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Get Firefox 1.5

.. and take back the web

After having installed the latest version of Firefox I may have temporarily lost some of my experience. I still think that Firefox is a much better way to browse the web than Microsoft Internet Explorer.

So, here is some shameless publicity for Firefox. Look in the sidebar for links taking you directly to Firefox download sites.

Go get Firefox and take back the web!

Wear a Google t-shirt

.. and get a job

Trisha Weir

I just read this post on the Official Google Blog. In it Trisha Weir (see picture) relates how she landed a job at Google.

It goes to show that non-standard application letters can get you a long way.

BTW the Official Google Blog is the place to look at to get all the official latest from Google.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions

.. but how?

If you have a website you are a company. That's what most of website owners think. And when you have a website you also must have a purpose for it. A business goal. Something derived from the mission statement.

A great mission statement
Making the world a better place for everyone who buys our products.

So, then in the final stages of the creation of the website someone proposes to put information onto the website. Something that provides visitors with the option to find answers to any questions they might have. So, they do not need to wait endlessly while on hold.

The FAQ is born!

So, the Frequently Asked Questions section is born. Someone wraps the questions up in some categories and there it is. The answer to all the Frequently Asked Questions.

These Frequently Asked Questions are compiled by some people from marketing and do not hold questions like:

A non-Frequent Asker
Why don't you %$#@@&! send me a working product!
Why do I have to wait for fifty minutes on the phone before I get disconnected?

That's what happens on a lot of sites. But what strikes me as odd that after browsing through the list of FAQs and not having found any that applies to my question there is no way to ask the question. There is no form or email address available. Sometimes after long, long searches I cannot find it.

That leaves me with a very irky feeling and so my FAQ becomes:

How can there be any Frequently Asked Questions if no one can ask one single question?

I saw a good quote on the Douglas Adams site:

Douglas Adams site
Frequently Questioned Answers

Translation is a job for humans

.. ooh babe, Babel me!

Just for fun I pulled a page from my Dutch website through AltaVista Babelfish. The result is just great. I never knew I had it in me.

The late Douglas Adams cannot be thanked enough for the invention of the Babelfish!

Pulling the text back and forth between various languages makes for even more fun.

Or this is definitely more fun.

Firefox 1.5 is out

.. cannot wait for all the extensions to work again

I have just installed Firefox 1.5, the Dutch version. I had tried a Release Candidate before but had switched back to the current version because so many of my beloved extensions were not compatible. I hoped this would improve once the real version 1.5 officially set loose.

But not all are compatible by a long way.

I am not complaining. These extensions were build by clever guys and gals around the world and donated to the public. Without them receiving anything for it, except the eternal anonymous fame from numerous downloads and installs. I thank the makers for each and everyone I have tried and found useful.

I think this problem (which it not really is) will resolve over the next couple of days maybe weeks.

Perhaps some evil minded persons will show some rage about it and say that this exactly the reason why not to use open source. I think these people are silly. There is a new version out which is slightly altered to the previous one. Enough to break some extensions. So fixing these will take a bit of time. This happens with closed source applications all the time.

This time I will show patience and see how the extensions will come back to live over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ThinkFree Office Online [2]

.. free, free, set me free

There is a Dutch song from Paul de Leeuw that goes like this:

I have moved a stone
in a river on Earth,
Now I know I will not be forgotten
I delivered proof
of my existence.

All right, maybe this feeling is a bit too dramatic.

I wrote a post about ThinkFree Office online. I thought it was an interesting concept, but was bit disappointed when it appeared that I needed to download some 74MB worth of software for a Windows machine and even more for a Mac or a Linux box.

I then moved away from the site in the apprehension that ThinkFree had completely missed the boat.

Until I got a comment on my blog posting:


I apologize for the confusion. The 74MB download was for the offline version of ThinkFree Office 3, Desktop Edition. We have since deleted this information to avoid any future problems. Thank you for pointing this out to us.

If you click on GO ThinkFree Office Online you will be able to access the application suite and document management system. We are in the process of modifying our site.

If you have any further questions please let me know.

Jonathan Crow
Product Marketing Manager

I quickly moved over their site and yes! I have moved a stone!

I then decided to give it a REAL test drive. I uploaded some documents and had a little spin.

You do need some patience for the Java applets to start and load (and the applets are understandably quite big)), but then you can roll.

Being Java applets, they are slower than native compiled code, but all Microsoft Office functionality you ever need is available. Online, documents are stored online. Collaboration is possible. This is absolutely something to consider for use when working around the world or around the corner.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Writeboard and Basecamp

.. are made from the right stuff

I briefly mentioned it in a previous post: Writeboard.

It's an online collaborative word processor with version control. Limited maybe when compared with Word when looking at the make up possibilities, but way better in the collaboration area and miles ahead in versioning. And who needs all the fancy font styles when working together with someone maybe many miles away. Or in the office next door.

Oh yes, this sure is something very clever. The guys from 37Signals are clever

Basecamp is a great project manmagement tool. That does not have the 253 options of the Swiss Army knife named Microsoft project, but it holds the bare essentials. Anything you need to set up a project and keep your project members informed about everything. Anything you need but nothing you do no need.

I know, I am not the first to find or use it. But so far, I am absolutely impressed by the sheer genius that these applications hold: simplicity on the outside and probably also on the inside. I can but guess about the inside, but performance of the applications is plain outstanding.

Basecamp logo Writeboard logo Ruby on Rails logo

Every thing is build with Ruby on Rails. From what I have seen so far and after having created my first Hello World-like applications I conclude this is a very interesting way of developing.

Ah, so many great things to do and so, little time to do them.

I didn't even mention Backpack and Ta-da List yet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Playing with Google Analytics

.. and having fun

The first results are in and oh boy there is so much to explore. Just a few glimpses of resulting graphs below.

Overall Keyword Conversion
Overal Keyword Conversion

This shows all the keywords used by visitors who landed on my blog. A funny feature is that by clicking on the colored square in the legend you let that part of the pie slide out.

Besides that, this is a very interesting statistic. Not only does it show what keywords people use, but also the unexpected results that show up. I would have never guessed that anyone would ever use the searchterm:

formula one celebration champagne size

And yes, apparently my blog is optimized for that ;-)

Referring Source
Referring Source

The referring sources show how good your link building is succeeding. Not too bad, I should think.

Geo Map Overlay
Geo Map Overlay

This Geo Map Overlay chart should maybe better be named Ego Map Overlay! Since I can now show off that I have readers of my blog all over the planet. Even just off the coast of South America.

So, I am a man over the world, I've been around,eh. Nudge, nudge, say no more!

Seven Hills Run 2005

.. luckily we still have the pictures

Around the 13km mark pictures were taken from all the runners. With the use of digital cameras and the Internet this is possible nowadays. Great.

I have ripped some of the pictures to my Flickr account and here's a nice slideshow of me near the 13km point.

For the really interested people: my number is 12387 and I wear a wit cap and an orange shirt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

ThinkFree Office Online

.. maybe not so free

So I found the ThinkFree website. They offer a Microsoft Office alternative. Always good to have choice. I had a good look and found that they also have an online version. That triggered me!

I decided to give it a go. For free I would get 30MB of disk space. This would be something for working in every available location with Internet connection. A way to also collaborate on a document. Many, many options. Yeah! Groovy baby!For the umpteenth time I entered some credentials and I was admitted to the next screen. And I saw the screen of which I have reproduced a part below.

It was a bit of a disappointment to say the least. I still had to download 74MB worth of software for a Windows machine and even more for a Mac or a Linux box.

I then decided to NOT give it a go. This is simply not something one would want to use.

I have seen something like Writeboard and that seems a much better solution.

I think that is much more lightweight and enough for most things I can think of now.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Google Base - add a new channel to your shop

.. at a minimal cost

I have updated this entry with some comments from John. Thanks John.

With the launch of Google Base last week Google did it again. Another potential killer app is set loose on the Internet community. Chances are big that the community will embrace it with all arms available. So, do not stay behind and join the ever expanding rat race.

Google Base
What's all this, then?

Well first let's quote the makers themselves:

If you have information you want to share with others, but aren't sure how to go about gaining an audience, Google Base is for you.
If you don't have your own website, we'll host your content for you. You'll be able to choose labels and attributes that can draw more attention to the content you're showing. And, based on their relevance, your items may appear on Google, Froogle, or Google Local.
Google Base is free. Plus you're always in control: you can edit or archive your items at any time.

They talk about information which is as vague as you can get. But what is meant: anything. If it is possible to somehow describe it and you want others to know of its existence then you can put it up on Google Base. It can be a product you want to sell or a recipe you want to share. Or a link to your website, because you feel it is the best in its kind. Well, anything you can think of. And then some.

Maybe you have thought of something to add to Google Base already. That's cool.

OK, so how do we use it?

Basically, there are two options:

  1. Doing it by hand, one by one or
  2. Doing a bulk upload.

Which ever of the two options you choose you will need a Google Account. But if you already have used Google Sitemaps, Google Analytics or G-Mail you already have one. If not then get one.

The first option is the simplest. It takes you through a simple online form. You fill in the form and your ready. Easy as that.

The bulk upload is perhaps a little bit more work. First of all you need to create a file of all the items that you wish to upload. There are various formats the file can be: Tab-delimited, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and Atom. Depending on your situation you pick your format of choice.

There are again a couple of ways to create such a file:

  • Doing it by hand, on by one or
  • Use a clever tool to create an extract from your site.
  • An automated extract from your site's CMS.

The first, boring option I will not discuss here.

There is a great tool GSiteCrawler from SOFTplus that is basically used for creating Google Sitemap files, but by using a special export format file you can create Google Base bulk upload files. I haven't tried it, but it looks promising. Extra attributes can later be added by uploading the tab separated file in Excel or tool of choice and editing it. Great idea to reuse something for something else. My compliments!

Another way to attack the problem when you have a database driven web site. Maybe some open source CMS or something custom build. You may even already have implemented an RSS or Atom feed in it. If you have some skills you could quite easily adapt the feed module to add in the Google Base specific fields and attributes and create the Bulk Upload file automatically. You only need to tell where Google where to find the url and the upload file will be completely up-to-date when Google Base picks it up. Much like the automated dynamic Google Sitemaps.

You could also use the SOFTplus approach and adapt a Google Sitemaps module.

If you do not have the skills to create such an adapted module or plugin then you can try to find one. Seeing the pace that modules emerged for Google Sitemaps it will probably note take too long before these will emerge. Or why not hire someone to do it for you?

Update:There is already a plugin template available for MovableType.

Some quick hints
  • Items in Google Base remain active for a maximum of 31 days. After that you should renew them.
  • A quick look at the search results shows that using images is very important. The first images associated with an item appear on the results page.
  • You can upload your bulk file everytime you have changed something. You can do that on a daily basis. Note: If you leave out items in a subsequent upload, theu will not be automatically removed from Google base (yet).
  • You can upload up to 1,000,000 items at the moment (when you contact Google and ask them) but the file has maximum of 10MB.
  • The more info you can add to your items the more ways you give to potential searchers to find your items. Google Base lets you drill down easily into the results by filtering on location, price, brand or any other attribute someone added.
  • Some wicked black hat SEO chaps will probably find a way to abuse it for spamming search results. Please, do not abuse it.

Have fun with Google Base!

Seven Hills 2005 was a success

.. although without a personal best

Yesterday, 21st November 2005, I ran the Seven Hills Run for the third time. And I think it was a success.

I did not train as much as the last years so I didn't anticipate to run a personal best. I set my aim for a time within 1:15. So making an average of just under 5 minutes per kilometer.

I ran an exceptionally flat race. Which is even more exceptional considering the seven hills ;-) I finished the 15 km after 1 hour 14 minutes and 48 seconds. Which makes for an average of 4 minutes 59.2 seconds per kilometer.

Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia did the same distance in 41 minutes and 56 seconds. An incredible average of 2 minutes 47.7 seconds per kilometer!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Google Sitemaps - updated

.. or how much new things can Google introduce in a week.

Well, this week we saw the surprising launch of Google Analytics. I have already expressed my love for that.

Then there was the launch of the anticipated Google Base. Other than just creating my own entry I haven't really had too much time with it to write a comment.

And now I have found out some changes to Google Sitemaps!

Some time ago I created a couple of posts (1, 2 & 3) about the experiment I did with Google Sitemaps on my site. I mentioned that there were some benefits. Most important one:

a website master has the possibility to view reports on the last crawl results. This can be achieved by placing an html file with a name provided by Google to verify that you can manage the site. Google then provides you with a list of failed pages. Pages that no longer exist or have another error.
Always good to find out some missed missing links.

And now there is more. There are more reasons to use Google Sitemaps.

What extras are hidden in the Google Sitemaps console?

  • The most popular queries that your Website shows up for.
  • The top queries from which you get click throughs.
  • Crawl statistics: Pages successfully crawled, pages blocked by robots.txt, pages that generated HTTP errors or were unreachable.
  • The PageRank distribution within your site.
  • Various indexing stats (pages indexed, etc.)

If you, for a completely obscure reason, do not wish to create a Google Sitemap, you can rest assured. You do not need to have Google Sitemap to be able to use this functionality. All you have to do is create an empty HTML file and upload to your site to verify that you own the site. And tada you start leveraging the benefits. For free.

This is an absolutely awesome troubleshooting tool for all webmasters. Something that the other search engines will copy soon, I hope. And then maybe I will spend more time working on improving my position with them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Need help with picking blogging / CMS tool

.. TextPattern, WordPress or anything like that.

With the risk of getting hopelessly lost in comments I have a question for the all people out there.

I am currently brooding on a plan to set up a new community type portal web site which should include a blog. As the plans as to what will be there are beginning to take shape I am now starting to look for the right type of software to use to get it going. What I want to be able to do:

  • set up one blog, possible more
  • be able to have other pages than blog entries, like tutorials, portfolios and the like
  • have multiple contributors
  • open source
  • preferably PHP (although other options are possible)
  • the resulting HTML should be easily made fully W3C compliant and NO TABLES for layout

Anyone can advise me on which solution or combination of solutions I should use?

Google Analytics - first impressions

.. can leave big dents!

I was a bit impatient I must admit, but sometimes twelve hours can seem like forty. (Which they actually were and thus increasing my impatience.) But the first results are in. Google Analytics has delivered my first report. And man, I am impressed. This looks horribly cool and there is so much to explore.

Ok, the numbers are not impressive, but I am not one of the Internet Big Shots (yet). I have only just started to make some more relevant content on this bog. At least trying hard to do so. Hard work is needed to get these lines going up and staying up. I now have another tool that gives me an incredible amount of information my visitors. Which will help me to find out how to make things better.

Those hoping for a full review I must disappoint. I haven't looked closely at all the reports and the possibilities, but I know that for most websites this could be more than they would ever need. For the really big sites with multiple on-line wizard-style buying forms the number of funnels (4) might be a problem. But there is so much to explore.

I will try to go through the reports and find out what the use for me or the not so average website owner could be. When I have raked together some insight I will get back on this.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Google Analytics

.. is Big Brother watching you and me?

The word is out for a day now. Google has presented Google Analytics. It's a Googlefication of the recently purchased Urchin statistics software. They once again offer it free.

But is it free? Or does it come at a cost?

Bogle's Blog already has an entry about the terms of service and privacy policy. In this he utters some reserves to the contents of that document.

Some quotes from the Google document:

The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales.

Clearly this is weird. I can not use it to increase traffic. Well, my main purpose of doing website stats is analyzing my visitors behavior in order to serve them better and server more of them. That's obvious.

We may use personal information to provide the services you've requested, including services that display customized content and advertising.

As far as my personal information is concerned that is OK by me, but hey, we are talking about the personal information of people visiting my website. Should I warn visitors that I have Google Analytics switched on? Will that scare them off?

Just, like Bogle's Blog I come to the conclusion that Google Analytics promises to be a valuable tool. And yes, I have already switched it on on this blog. So Big Brother Google is watching you! Your visit is being analyzed and maybe you will be spammed, harassed by appropriate AdWords ads and maybe I will hunt you down to the end of the Internet. No, I don't think so, too much hassle.

Does it work?

Bottom line for me is: does it work?

Well, as many website owners have jumped on the Google Analytics bandwagon, the service seems a bit stressed. I only see the message below now for the last 24 hours.

I'll just wait for further results.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another Firefox extension

.. a great way to waste time

I have fallen for it. I did not want to install it. I heard about it. I was warned. Yes, I am guilty as charged.

Today I installed the addictive Firefox extension StumbleUpon. Cicking a button takes you to more or less random sites all over the Net. It is so addictive, that you will forget time, lunch, dinner, work, your wife, your kids, your reason to breathe.

DO NOT INSTALL!!!! It is like selling your soul to the Devil.

Do not say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Working in a hen house

.. is like going crazy in a solitary confinement: no one listens to you.

In a previous post I mentioned women in relation to chickens.

Quoting once again:

You can get a couple of women out of the hen house, but you can't get the hen house out of a couple of women.

But I must admit that this was slightly female unfriendly. I have come to the conclusion that it's not just women who can dabble endlessly. I know a couple of men who keep me from thinking straight. Which is a big problem while doing some object oriented development.

So, many apologies and I have to correct my words:

You can get a couple of women out of the hen house, but you can't get the hen house out of a couple of women. However, it's the rooster that makes the most noise.

Improving traffic to your blog - RSS and Content

.. cause you want to spread the news, don't you?

In the previous articles of this series I focused on links and keywords. Now we will cover the last two subjects: RSS and Content.

RSS feeds

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (terms also used: Rich Site Summary and RDF Site Summary) and is part of the XML family of communication standards. These programs or scripts can allow you to have your news and updates from your blog broadcasted on other sites that are willing to post your RSS feed.

RSS feeds are a way to syndicate content, to share content it with others. Others can be sites or people using RSS readers. Sites like Feedster live on them. But there are plenty of RSS reader clients one can use. I use SharpReader. Modern browsers like Firefox and Flock can work with them. And so will the upcoming Internet Explorer 7.0.

Using a RSS reader you can keep up to date with a lot of news and blogs. Right now I have some 40 to 50 feeds that I keep track of on a daily basis.

RSS is just another channel to promote the content of your blog. Costs are low, as most blog software support it already.


The final subject is the most important of all. People will not read or link to your blog if it does not have anything of value. You need to sustain quality and quantity of content.

Content is King and will always be King. Keep the flow of blog entries going. Be sure to blog regularly. At the very least once a week. Better daily. But do not blog just to blog. It should contain some relevant content. Yes, you can side step from the main subject of your blog. Add some short funny bits now and then. Or comment on current world affairs.Georg W. Bush, which should be easy ;-)

Keep the blog entries coming. And remember to link between your own items.

Wrapping it up

There is so much more to write about this subject. Much of the SEO tricks for normal websites apply to blogs and vice versa. Using good common sense without any tricks will give good results at the end of the day.

This is part of a series of articles on improving traffic to your blog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Create more accessible web-sites and get found more easily

.. just proving: common sense works all the way

I am always eager to read a new A List Apart issue. Usually they come up with interesting aspects of web design. This time they have interesting article: High Accessibility Is Effective Search Engine Optimization. In it is made clear that making your site more accessible will also make it more search engine friendly.

I find it almost amazing that so much of the good practices in web design come down to just using simple, common sense. It is no rocket science.

When you try like me to create

  • fast-loading,
  • accessible,
  • maintainable and
  • findable web sites,

you will find that these different aspects do not cancel each other out. Aiming for the one does not mean missing the other. In fact the same solution applies to all. A solution for one problem is a benefit to the other. This article shows how making a site accessible also benefits your findability. Building with the Standards in mind gives so many benefits you wonder why not everyone is doing it.

Yet another business case!

The fact that creating an accessible site also gives a better and more search engine friendly page is great business case that we can show to our customers. It's a win-win situation: a better accessible site for visitors and a site that is easier indexed by the search engines and thus found by potential customers.

Yet another reason to not do Black Hat SEO!

Many black hat SEO consultants use all sorts of hidden links and texts which makes the pages less accessible for screen readers and the like. Abandoning these tricks will maken better pages and in the end the pages will score better in the search engines.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Corporate lessons

.. or corporal punishment

It's a long post, but anyway.

Corporate Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over which one should go and answer the doorbell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel that you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 dollars and leaves. Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower, "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbour," she replies. "Great!" the husband says, "Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story
If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk in time with your stakeholders, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.
Corporate Lesson 2

A priest was driving along and saw a nun on the side of the road. He stopped and offered her a lift which she accepted. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to open and reveal a lovely leg. The priest had a look and nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun looked at him and immediately said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest was flustered and apologized profusely. He forced himself to remove his hand. Changing gear, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" Once again the priest apologized "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak." Arriving at the convent, the nun got out gave him a meaningful glance and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to retrieve a bible and looked up Psalm 129. It Said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."

Moral of the story
Always be well informed in your job, or you might miss a great opportunity.
Corporate Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one." "Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone. In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the Sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone. "OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story
Always let your boss have the first say.
Corporate Lesson 4

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of sudden a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
Corporate Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy." "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who promptly shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.
Corporate Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story
Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy; Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend; and when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut.

Pimp my Firefox

.. and give me an extension

I am a fan of Firefox for quite sometime now. Something I am proud of. Well, OK, that's a bit over the top. But I am very pleased with Firefox. One of the main reasons for using it is the simple way one can extend the functionality with all sorts of extras.

Yes, I have fully pimped my Firefox. It's not completely bling-bling, but it has many features that makes my life a bit easier. At least while browsing the web. See the screenshot below that I Photoshopped together. I have a rather long list of extensions installed which I use on an almost daily basis. Firefox extensions

For anyone interested I categorize them below and explain a little bit about each of them.

Web design & development

Does a lot more than just pick up colors. Adds zooming and info about elements in the status bar.

View formatted source

It shows a very nicely formatted tree of all the elements of page. Great tool for finding out where you misplaced that closing div.

View Rendered Source Chart

When JavaScript makes changes to the DOM you can see what is resulting HTML is rendered.

Web Developer

Well, this is an absolute must have for web developers.


Measure elements on screen.

Html Validator

Puts the page through the validator and shows errors and warnings.

Document Map

Show the outline of a page in the sidebar and navigate quickly through it.

JavaScript Debugger

It has it's idiosyncrasies and maybe a bit slow, but it is a great debugging tool.

Fangs Screen Reader Emulator

Shows a text version of what a screen reader outputs. Great for accessibility testing.

Search Engine Optimalisation
Google Pagerank Status

Shows the Google Page Rank in the status bar.


Basic SEO tools.

SEO Links

Adds more SEO info in a tooltip like window, from Yahoo and MSN as well.

View Cookies

Well, the name says all.

Add n Edit Cookies

Again, very good name.

Browsing ease

High lights field that can be filled automatically.

Inline Autocomplete

Like IE also has.

Customize Google

Enhancements to Google research pages.

Google Suggest

suggest search terms while you type.


Preview the target of a link in a small tooltip window.

CuteMenus - Crystal SVG

Adds nice icons to menus.


Saves your session when closing Firefox, so that all opened tabs come back on restart.

CruiseControl Monitor

When you use Cruise Control this one beats the icon tray application.

Last but not least

This one is one of the best. It adds the possibility to run user scripts on any page. There are so many user scripts created by so many people that probably at least one will suit you.

Take cover!

.. he's doing it again!

Neuronix has done it again. Every time I just jokingly make some weird remark about something that probably might never have happened, he manages to find the unbelievable fact.

He had an entry about covered songs scoring a hit after about 18 to 19 years after being a hit the first time. He proposed that this might be an ideal time to pass for a song to be covered. Interesting theory, could use some more research. Anyhow, I was triggered by 19 and I recalled Paul Hardcastle's hit 19. A great song from the eighties and probably impossible to cover. So I mentioned that in a comment on his blog.

What happens next?

He comes back with a new entry: A tribute is not enough for some and in that he mentions a band that has actually covered the song!

Neuronix, go get a life ;-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's a cover for talent

.. or maybe a lack of inspiration

If you hold an interest in song covers than the CoverBlog is for you.

Interesting facts about songs that you may never know that were recorde by artists we all know.

Just, plain fun to see who ever did 'Mrs. Robinson'.

Show your ID!

.. this is mine

Flickr Photo

Well, now it's official I guess. This is me. I guess I can now gain entry to almost any important rock concert and G8 meeting with this one.

Hmm, where to go next?


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Improving traffic to your blog - Keywords

.. cause you want to be found, don't you?

At the end of the day one would like one's blog to be read. That is an assumption which I think might be true for most of the millions of bloggers. The intended readers might be just a small group of friends, but maybe also a larger audience is hoped for.

This is part three of the series and focuses on keywords.


What keywords are is a subject that one can write shelves full of books about and several people have written pages and pages full of it.

First one remark: this is not about the META-tag that sits hiding in your Head-section. It is largely accepted that the value of that META-tag has been devaluated and has little to no significance. Abuse of this tag by stuffing it with multiple instances of the keyword has rendered it useless. This is the fate of most blackhat SEO practices where tricks are used to raise the importance of a page. In the long run any page and site will punished for this.

So what are keywords then?

Relevant keywords

I tend to think of keywords as the words a visitor enters in the search box of a search engine. The keywords therefore should be present in the content and also relevant to your content. And vice versa: the content should be relevant to the keywords. It is easy to add a sentence like:

Equipe claims, Lance Armstrong innocent in Tour de France drugs scandal.
And by adding some mark up to the text I have added some more weight to the words. But these words are totally irrelevant to this subject. But hey it could raise the importance of this page.

This is reminiscent of the old days when adding multiple hot keywords to your keywords META-tag could help you up the ladder of the search engines. (And yes "sex" was a hot keyword in those days.)

Choosing keywords

Now try to figure out what someone would type in a search engine to find information about that subject. And then make some variations on the words used, make some deliberate typos. Now try to use these words in your content. Put them in important places, like headings, lists, make them bold. That way not only are they easier spotted by the reader, but also by the search engine spider.

Keyword density

Next piece of semi science regarding keywords: how many times should keywords be on a page (aka the keyword density). There are many ways to calculate this. Rule of thumb, use them throughout the text but do not let it be annoying

Keywords research

A lot of common sense can bring you a long way in determining relevant keywords for your content. But you can never guess what people type in the search box of the search engine and make them end up on your site. One way to find out what is bringing people now to your site is by examining your web server's log files. Most web statistics packages give you specifics on the search queries and search words used. This list of words can already give some wonderful insight in what people use as search terms. You can consider to use these terms more often in your content, in other words get the density up for those keywords.

Also the results from this research can trigger you think of some more synonyms and alternative keywords.

Keyword research tools

There are many tools out there that can help you find more keywords and the possible effectiveness of these keywords. A few of these tools:

Many tools are available to play with. Some of these are free, others not.

To cut myself short

Bottom line of this is quite simple: you have blogged about a subject that you wish to be found. People use words to search, use these words and you might get found.

This is part of a series of articles on improving traffic to your blog.