Thursday, 15 January 2009

Stick two RSS feeds together

Yahoo Pipes logoUse Yahoo Pipes to take any number of feeds, mash them together and get one feed out the end.

I've just started experimenting with Yahoo Pipes, an online programme that allows you to collect data from different sources (RSS feeds, searches, websites...), filter this information (by date, type, size...) and then output it into a single feed (if that's what you want).

All the brackets in the above sentence highlight the flexibility of this programme and the functionality is huge, I’ve just been shown three different ways one of my colleagues is using Yahoo Pipes to mash-up data on our websites. Anyway, I’m just using it for RSS combining for the time being.

I have two feeds i want to stick together. They are:
So i 'fetch feed' for the two RSS feeds above. I then combine them with a 'Union' operator. I want them to be mixed up and sorted in date order so i 'sort' by date ('item.pubDate' to be precise).
Screenshot of joined up feeds in Yahoo Pipes
I finally connect the pipe output to produce:Done. You can now stick this feed through feedburner if you wish so that you can track subscriptions and let feedburner handle the caching.
There's loads more you can play with in Yahoo Pipes and also many ways to get the desired results. I had to play with the 'sort' to get the date order i wanted. Yahoo Pipes discussion boards have loads of tips which helped me figure this out.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The meaning of web words, acronyms and terms

A glossary of internet marketing buzzwords, acronyms and terms invented purely to make you go :-s (that means confused).

You'll also notice that there's lots of links to other posts of mine. This is an environmentally friendly post as it recycles content i've already written, much like they started to do in later series of Friends. This list was last updated on 14th January 2009.
  • ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol) - an initiative by content providers to add rights information on all copyrighted material.
  • Backlink - An incoming link to a website. How to check your backlinks.
  • Batphone - A high priority phone line. Full definition.
  • CMS - Content Management System
  • Cybersquatter - People registering domains similar to a well known domain to try and get traffic from people typing in incorrect URLs, often sending you to porn.
  • Favicon - The little icons in your browser's address bar. They're easy to make too!
  • Hard 404 - An error page that returns a 404 error. This is the correct response, a soft 404 is the wrong response for SEO.
  • Link juice - Ah the magic Google love. As Google's algorithm is partly based on the number and quality of links to your site, each link will provide a little boost to your ranking (some more than others), this is their link juice.
  • Meta tags - An all encompassing phrase that covers data placed in the code of a web page. Useful for SEO is the 'meta description' attribute. A title tag is not a meta tag.
  • Pagerank - Named after Google founder Larry Page, this is another name for Google's algorithm which provides the ranking that Google gives each page to prioritise where they appear in search results. More on the 'pagerank' given in Google toolbar.
  • Phishing - People trying to get confidential information from you such as credit card details, usernames, passwords. 7 top tips to avoid being phished.
  • Rickroll - I'm not going to tell you the answer to this, you must ask my identical twin.
  • SEM - Search Engine Marketing
  • SEO - Search Engine Optimisation
  • SERPs - Search Engine Results Page
  • Social bookmarks - the 6 little icons at the end of this post that let you bookmark or favourite a web page for others to discuss and read or just for your own benefit so you can find it again.
  • Soft 404 - An error page that returns a 200 OK error, this is not good for SEO.
  • Spamdexing - Spamming a search engine to manipulate their results. Wikipedia article.
  • Tag cloud - see the left of my blog. It's a way of displaying information or links based on their various importances by using font size or colour. Quintura is a good example.
  • Title tag - A HTML element essential for SEO. Defines your web page's title that appears at the top of the browser and in search results. It's also not a meta tag.
  • Top level domain (TLD) - The last bit of a URL following the final dot. Like .com, and .org.
  • Universal search - Google's term for a search engine that returns more than just standard text results, like video, images, news, flash, shopping and more.
  • URL - Unique Resource Locator. In web terms this means the EXACT web address (including http:// at the beginning)
  • W3C - The World Wide Web Consortium. Holder of the web's protocol, standards and guidelines.
  • Web 2.0 - Who knows? Wikipedia calls it the "changing trend in the use of World Wide Web technology... blah blah blah".
  • WYSIWYG - What you see is what get. As opposed to inputting HTML in directly, a WYSIWYG editor will just show you the finished product as you type and you can make changes such as bolding, underlining and adding images without touching the code.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Get a list of how all your pages rank in Google

Discover what order your pages rank in Google using the following search operator (type this into the Google search box):
Example: inurl:bbc
The order is not completely accurate but it does highlight which pages on your site are the most valuable.

I discovered this tip on a fantastic post on SEOmoz (with a very dodgy buzzwordy title) which provides an easy to tick off list of 10 SEO improvements you can make to your site.

The use of this Google operator in tip number 2 is so that on finding your top ranking pages you can place internal links on them to provide some link juice to lesser ranking pages. However there are many other reasons why this information may be useful to you.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A tea colour chart on a mug

MyCuppaTea - the colour matching tea chart mugPart three of my tea-related internet sites moves further away from any vague link the previous posts might have had to internet marketing. This is just a mug for sale on the internet.

A very clever mug though, it avoids the problem of tea-making imbeciles incorrectly mixing the milk and tea by giving them a colour chart to create that perfect colour and taste.

My personal preference is for about half way between milky and classic British. The only problem i can see is that the strength of tea isn't mentioned. You can obviously get a milky tea by making strong tea and adding lots of milk. But you can also get the same colour by having very weak tea and adding very little milk.

So to avoid this problem, i have an ingenius tip. Tell the tea maker the time the tea bag should stay in the cup and the quantity of stirs and squeezes then all they have to do is add appropriate milk to reach the desired colour.

Or, and this is a far more ridiculous suggestion, you make the tea yourself.

Other tea-related internet sites
Part one - A random tea-maker generator
Part two - A tea mat with sugar and milk preferences