Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

Something I fervently wish existed is a standard “unsubscribe” method for mailing lists - both discussion and broadcast. Something that an email client could hook into, in order to display a great big “unsubscribe” button in the interface.

I’ve been cleaning up a few mailboxes during the early part of the new year, and looking at email tactics for our own marketing efforts. It’s becoming clear that the plethora of unsub methods is not a good thing. Some systems just want you to click on a link. Others want you to click on a link, then fill in an email address and hit submit. Some want one of the above, and then they send you an email which you reply to, or further still, click on another link in to fully opt-out. Some have a range of tickboxes about remaining on their alert list rather than their newsletter list, and so on, and so forth.

An awful lot of people resort to hitting the “report spam” button instead of making their way through the maze, and that doesn’t help anyone. The trouble is that with at least one major newsletter out there, I tried for months to unsubscribe - and eventually had to mark the thing as spam to stop it appearing.

I assume there are technical issues with introducing an unsubscribe standard - so what are they? Is there a way to get around them?

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

Something that I see over and over again is a confusion regarding descending date pagination. That is, when you have the newest item in some particular context at the top of the page, with older ones further down. Like most blogs, for instance. But when you get to the bottom, of, say, your last 20 posts, and you want to give a link to another set, the 20 you posted before them. Are they “next”, as in next page? Or “previous”, as in previously posted? You can argue either, and I’ve seen both in steady use. Try as I might, none of the design principles I’m aware of can guide me on this one. Anyone got any solid ideas on which is better?

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’ve just finished a redesign of The Wizard of Duke Street. There might be some tweaks to go, but the core of it’s done. Your comments and criticisms will be welcomed.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for SnapNames‘ Most Active Live Auctions email. Basically, this service emails me every day around noon, with a list of domain names that are being bid on in SnapNames’ system. It’s fascinating. There are names in there that were plainly grabbed on speculation, names that could only belong to real companies that have gone out of business, and just plain odd stuff.

sniffmagazine.com, for instance, is currently available. These are two English words stuck together; an awful lot of domains are formed that way. You could do a very fine blog about perfume, BPAL, or scratch-and-sniff technology on that domain. Perfume advertising is big business, so you’d have no problem monetising it. A nice modern design, some swirls and patterned backgrounds in the latest web styles, and you’d be off at a run.

Likewise, anglerandarcher.com is available. If I was rich, I’d buy that for my father, because it matches his interests very nicely, and it’s a great domain name. An outdoor sports blog could do very nicely indeed off that, and there are lots of affiliate things you could work in to cover your costs.

And then there’s gangofneon.com. That’s begging to be an EVE Corporation site, or maybe a Shadowrun campaign. Or maybe a flickr/Google Maps mashup concerning neon signs in South-East Asia. I’ve had a notion for years about a blog of photographs of Dublin street ironwork. You know, the covers over sewers and utility maintenance thingmajgits. They say things on them like “Hammond Lane, 1888″, or “Brewster and Major Ironworks”.

s-i-n.net is good to go. Ideas for that one shouldn’t be hard to come by; I’d envision a webcomic about heaven and hell, but maybe that’s the Sinfest influence. Or possibly there are goth cheerleading groups out there who could make use of it. Or maybe we should snag it as a promo site for Graylion.net

gothwalk: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2007 02:24 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

We’ve some server down time in work, so I’m clearing off tabs I’ve had open for a while, meaning to record them someplace.

I have Design Melt Down on my sidebar, but I’d like to draw your attention to it now as well - it’s a site that looks for trends in web design. There’s some fascinating stuff there; I’m particularly enamoured of the Ornate Backgrounds.

Serious Eats is a well-designed, well-written food blog, focussed on New York. Quite apart from its content, I really like the design and layout - the multi-column, content-filled footer fascinates me, and makes me want to rip apart several of my sites and redesign them. In fact, I might just do that…

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’ve just posted six articles on making money from your website, something that I’ve been working on for a while now. This post is to serve as an introduction, and an index. The articles are:

Making Money From Your Website: Content
Making Money From Your Website: Analytics
Making Money From Your Website: Search Engine Optimization
Making Money From Your Website: Google Adsense
Making Money From Your Website: Link Sales
Making Money From Your Website: Affiliate Programs

This is a fairly basic introduction to the ideas involved; it assumes you can put together a simple website. It’s been published before on livejournal under a special filter; people who’ve been on that filter have tried out some of the stuff there and found it useful, so I’m now posting it for general use. I’m always looking to improve things, so if you’ve any extra ideas, suggestions, or the like, please do post them.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Oct. 4th, 2007 12:55 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

So I posted stats for The Wizard of Duke Street and In Ranelagh for August at the beginning of September, and people seemed to like it. So here’re stats for September, and a note to myself to post more, because otherwise I’ll vanish into an auto-analytical black hole.

The Wizard of Duke Street: In the month of September, there were 15,859 visitors (up around 850 from last month), who looked at 19,945 pages. 95.88% of that was from search engines.

The top ten search terms were “torchwood season 2″ (2,883 visits), “torchwood series 2″ (1,075), “doctor who series 4″ (772), “doctor who season 4″ (496), “freema agyeman” (371), “world of starcraft” (273), “lotro music″ (261), “japanese monsters” (221), “dr who series 4″ (205) and “time and chips” (180). That’s almost the same as last month, save for the order, and a slight increase on the Doctor Who-related terms. There was a peak in the traffic around the 22nd for such terms, with most of it originating in North America, which trailed off over the next week. I’m guessing Series 3 finished showing on some US channel around then.

The referring sites are a touch over 2% of overall traffic this month. Notable ones come from imdb.com, where a discussion about Torchwood linked to my very short article on the Torchwood Magazine, and The Ancient Gaming Noob.

Inranelagh.com: In Ranelagh got 1,337 visitors in September, viewing 2,530 pages. Just over 75% of that was from search engines, 11.33% from referrals, and 13.65% from direct traffic.

The search terms are an odd assortment again, divided between the main site and the blog. “ranelagh” comes in first again (132 visits), followed by: “ranelagh dublin” (56), “superquinn ranelagh” (28), “mcsorleys ranelagh” (18), “css z-index ie” (15), “nevada plane wrecks” (15), “ranelagh ireland” (15), “dublin ranelagh” (12), “css ie z-index” (10), and “css z-index internet explorer” (9). I guess IE’s z-index stuff is bugging a lot of people.

Notable referred traffic (32 visitors) came in from virtualireland.ru, where something was presumably asked about Ranelagh.

Overall, there’s little enough change in traffic or interest, which is nice and steady, but probably indicates I should look to expand into a few other areas - steady is good, growth would be better. I’m noting a definite difference between the interest shown in articles by searchers, and the interest shown in articles by people who provide links. One article on Now Is A Long Time too, about disabling nofollow in Moveable Type, has more links to it than any other page on the site, and yet it gets very little actual traffic. Some of the difference there, I suppose, is between reference material and a quick solution.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Sep. 15th, 2007 10:33 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’ve had a few conversations lately about my various websites, and how much traffic they get, and so on. So I figured I’d do up a post discussing that.

The two sites that get the majority of traffic are dukestreet.org, and inranelagh.com. Most of the traffic for both comes from search engines.

Dukestreet first, then. In the month of August, there were 15,052 visitors, who looked at 18,873 pages. 96.3% of that was from search engines, the remaining being between site referrals and direct URL entry. I suspect that links from within email, IM, or the like may look to Google Analytics like direct entry.

The top ten search terms were “torchwood season 2″ (2,287 visits), “torchwood series 2″ (937), “doctor who series 4″ (919), “world of starcraft” (435), “lotro music” (335), “freema agyeman” (312), “doctor who season 4″ (291), “time and chips” (275), “dr who series 4″ (256) and “japanese monsters” (161). As you can see, there’s a definite slant in the interests there.

The referring sites are less than 2% of overall traffic, and most of them consist of search engines that analytics wasn’t able to identify properly, or links from discussion boards. Essentially, referral traffic could go away tomorrow, and I wouldn’t miss it at all.

Inranelagh.com doesn’t have the same weight of traffic, by any manner of means. 1,226 visitors in August, viewing 2,273 pages. Just under 78% of that was from search engines, 9.79% from referrals, and 12.23% from direct traffic.

The search terms are an odd assortment, divided between the main part of the site and this blog. “ranelagh” comes in first (91 visits), followed by: “ranelagh dublin” (64), “dvi vs vga” (30), “superquinn ranelagh” (21), “ranelagh ireland” (15), “better than myspace” (14), “steampunk parts” (14), “ranelagh, dublin” (13), “kelli ranelagh” (11), and “facebook better than myspace” (9).

The referring sites are obviously much more important here than for dukestreet. Again, some of these are search engines, but wikipedia tops the list, sending me 31 visitors from the entry on Ranelagh.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Sep. 12th, 2007 08:04 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been threatening to build this new site for a while: How To Survive Winter.

With thanks to bluedevi for the initial idea, and kamaitachi for provoking me to finish it!

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

So I was in at a little after half-past eight this morning. My machine had slowed to a complete crawl, so rebooting was the first thing. After that, I set into some work that needed doing, but found that there was something wrong with some javascript. In starting to debug the javascript, I found that there was something wrong with the session management on my local copy of the development environment. In trying to fix that, I found there was something wrong with my local installation of Cold Fusion. Then I had a meeting. Then I fixed the local install of CF, fixed the session management, grabbed some lunch and got back to work, fixed the javascript, and went to work on some CSS. Found I couldn’t reach the files. And now I’m waiting for the network administrator to fix something on the network so that I can get to the files I need.

Total time in work: five and a half hours. Total useful work done: ten minutes. I hate days like this.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I have two identical monitors on my workstation in work. One of them is connected to the video card by DVI, the other by VGA. The differences are quite astounding.

DVI seems to have sharper, clearer colours. In’ve no idea if this is inherent to the connection, or if it’s something on the video card, but it’s making life interesting around now. One one of my two screens, I can distinguish black from a dark navy - that’s VGA. On DVI, they look almost identical, but orange and grey colours that are almost invisible on the VGA monitor stand out bright and clear. There’re a range of shades of light grey that look white on VGA, too. Given we use all these colours in our new designs, making things usable for everyone is going to be tough.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

Jill Whalen’s High Rankings Advisor newsletter carries some breaking news about an “unavailable_after” tag, for use by Google to determine when information is past a nominal “sell-by date” - the special offer is over, the event is past, or that article is gone into the subscription-only archives.

It’s not clear yet, however, if that’s going to be a meta tag, for use on a per-page basis, a tag in the proper HTML sense that you could use for a section of a page, or something else entirely like a class or a command in a robots.txt file. If anyone knows, let me know - in the businesses I’m working in, that functionality would be gold.

UPDATE: It’s been confirmed by Google as a meta tag.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Jul. 11th, 2007 01:28 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’m finding it terribly irritating that the sum total of CSS 3 features we can use is: zero.

There are several dozen aspects proposed and very nearly settled for CSS 3 which I could use on a day to day basis, which would make my life a lot easier. As it stands, however, it’s going to be years before I can use any of them.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

We’re in the process of a major site design here, and as we get to grips with better and better CSS, there are some odd issues coming up. The main one is working out where the styles go, and the thinking for that seems to take more time than any other element. Is that a 10px padding on the containing div, or a 10px margin on the p tag inside?

So far, I’m settling for whichever is more universally applicable - it’s not going to happen that the div has contents which fall outside that 10px “inner margin”, but the p tag might need other rules - so the padding goes on the div. I’d like to abstract that out to a rule I can communicate to other people, though, something like “apply styles to the outermost element possible” - but I’m not sure if that can really be done.

It’s all complicated by the existence of an IE7 bug, wherein floated elements have the bottom margin completely ignored, so that you have to put the padding on the containing element…

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’m pleased to point you all at Nina’s site, Rocking Grass, now returned to action with a new design. I may be posting a bit there as well in the future, when food-related topics strike me.

gothwalk: (Default)
( May. 24th, 2007 09:14 am)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’m having an extremely grouchy day. The cats were PvP-enabled from about five this morning, I have a persistent headache, the Irish news is going to be full of the mechanics of voting for the next few days, and a million small details are annoying me.

However, I’ve found a few interesting bits of web development stuff knocking around that I’m finding interesting, so it’s not all bad.

Roger Johansson has developed a way to make shrink-to-fit graphic buttons in CSS, which look like they actually work properly. His code ends up using four nested spans, which is far from semantically ideal, but I’ll be keeping it in mind for getting out of tight design corners.

And Eric Meyer has developed an ultimate CSS reset,  which I suspect I’ll be putting to use sooner rather than later.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I Took The Survey

This is ALA’s annual survey. It’s good and useful. If you work in web design or development, go ahead and fill it in.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Apr. 26th, 2007 04:27 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

In Firefox, and now Internet Explorer as well, you can open a new tab by holding down the “Ctrl” key and hitting “t”. In Dreamweaver - my production environment of choice - open files look like tabs. So I keep on hitting ctrl-t in Dreamweaver, when what I mean is either ctrl-n for a new file, or ctrl-o to open one. The nearly-the-same-but-not-quite tabs are driving me nuts.

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

Since I was beating my head off this problem all weekend, I figured I’d post the solution for the benefit of anyone else who’s looking for it.

The Problem: Moveable Type (which I’m using for The Wizard of Duke Street) changes links so that they have the attribute ‘rel=”nofollow”‘. This is annoying, as when I post a link, or allow through a comment which has a link to the commenter’s site, I intend that link to be seen by search engines as a mark in favour of that site. Nofollow prevents that from happening - while the search engine spider sees the link, it won’t credit it in terms of the algorithm that calculates how popular a page is.

Solution Part 1: Disable the “nofollow” plugin in Moveable Type’s plugin page. This will allow links in the body of your post to function properly, and depending on how MT is configured on your server, may also work for links to commenters’ sites. If it doesn’t do the latter, though, leaving in a redirect function rather than a direct link, you’ll have to move on to part 2.

Solution Part 2: There’s an almost undocumented attribute which you can apply to the MTCommentAuthorLink tag, which you can do under Templates -> Archives -> Individual Entry Archive. Your tag should look something like:

<MTCommentAuthorLink no_redirect=”1″>

Rebuild your individual entry archives, and you’re done! Links should now have no nofollow “functionality” attached, and should go straight to the target sites, with no clumsy redirect.
Credits: I eventually found mention of the no_redirect attribute on Eat Drink Sleep Movable Type

Links: You can find more about how to disable nofollow on various blogging platforms on Andy Beard - Niche Marketing.

gothwalk: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2007 12:18 pm)

Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.

I’m in the process of setting up a site for Dublin 8, similar in intent to In Ranelagh. If you run or are involved in a business, club night, church, exhibition, institution, or whatever, anywhere in Dublin 8, please drop me a line. And if you know anyone else fitting that description, please point them at this.



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