This is a blog that was created to talk about web design. The both of us hope people can learn from this, even learn something ourselves maybe.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Finished Site, Added New Features, Read Here

Helllooooo! I just finished up the major recoding of an old site I have given a facelift to (www.theinfoexchange.net). It used to be ALL white, which was kinda lame. I changed it over to be more ordered, now all the menu action is at the top, static and more organized. One major thing I added which I think will prove useful is the Site Search; I got it at A List Apart. It uses perl which pretty much all servers now have, and it doesn't take any recoding. I had to make one or two tiny adjustments on my script but other than that it worked beautifully.

Sadly I couldn't code it to XHTML 1.1 Standards, because of some odd behaviour with ampersands in the validation process (from the ad servers). But that is not a big problem, XHTML 1.0 Transitional is just fine with me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Useful Sites

I am going to be changing the look of nodename, so we can include a lot more links, and more importantly, organize them properly. But for now, here is a couple of sites I thought everyone could benefit from:

Searchbliss - find out your site's link popularity
Future Pagerank - find your pagerank
Lycos Top 50 - very useful for watching web trends
Colors! - this is a BEAUTY

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Argument Against CSS

Don't kill me Rich, but I found this article very interesting.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Couple of Updates

Hi Just a couple of updates I wanted to mention, I have recently completed a recode of The Snood Factory. It is now on it's own domain name, which makes life a lot easier for updating code, and I installed a new Paypal cart which is very configurable.

I also finished the write up of Rankpro, a site designed to be a "Top 100 Sites" site, where site owners can add their site, and encourage visitors to vote for them. This in turn generates more traffic, from people who go there and browse the list of sites.

Taking Advantage of Google

Ok bear with me on this, might take a bit to explain.

I'm sure you are aware that the methods of "ranking" that Google uses are quite complex, algorithms that would make Einstein's head burst. They USED to do these ranks based solely upon META tags, back in the Search Engine Dark Ages (1997/98). Unfortunately this can easily be fooled, and people just started abusing the META tags, repeating phrases to increase the keyword concentration.

As we living beings evolve, so does the code, and Google now uses methods that parse out the text in the page, then parse out the headers (h1, h2, h3) to see what is "weighted". H1 should appear first, H2 second, etc., in a real semantic flow down the document. Someone who adds in H1 all over the place will actually suffer because of the malformed document.

There are tricks though, which are very useful. Let's say you don't want to use a section header, or you want all text to be the same size, no h2, h3, etc., Well here's one way to have them in your document but NOT show up; put this in your document:


<h1><span>Some Header Here, Widgets For Sale!</span><h1>


This is an H1 with a span inside it. Then put this in your css file:


h1 span {
position: absolute;
overflow: hidden;
clip: rect(0,0,0,0);
height: 0;
padding: 0;
margin: 0;
}


What does this do, and more importantly, what's the point? Well the position:absolute; sets the H1 span outside of the "flow" of the document. Using the clip:rect(); attribute we set the size of the H1 span to 0, especially in IE5.5 which doesn't recognize the height:0; directive. And the height:0; is there because clip:rect() doesn't work in IE6.

When the parser (google) comes across the page it correctly "sees" the H1, lending it "weight" in the ranking system (because it's there). Make it relevant; if your page deals with widgets, add like I did, "Widgets for Sale!" in the H1. Preferably, if you have a paragraph (<p>) after the H1, also add "Widgets" in the first line, which will help with the page rank too.

All in all, this is an effective way of helping your pagerank, even if you don't want to use H1, H2, H3 (or if you can't, or it's not applicable). It's hidden from everything except the parser, even the Command Line Browsers such as lynx.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Be Nice To Opera

Having been confounded several times by the supposed compliancy of Opera I have been digging a little bit for some Opera tricks. I found this beauty which I will never forget, so I thought I would share it with you. Opera apparently has some positioning problems, and one image I was working with appeared some 20 pixels above where it was supposed to be, here is the solution, insert this into the HEAD of your (X)HTML document:


<style type="text/nonsense">
Your Opera Code Here;
</style>


Most of the CSS2 Standards Compliant browsers will not apply stylesheets that have a MIMEtype other than text/css, this is perfect for Opera, which WILL. This works for OSX Opera, Win Opera, Mac Opera, and the Konqueror browser (for unix) too. How neat is that!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Menus

I found this wonderful menu the other day, thought I should share it with ya! I am experimenting with swapping out the "box" for an image, might prove interesting.

Slide Menu