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Multiple domains pointing at one site – good or bad for seo?

April 9th, 2014 by Edward

From time to time clients ask me if its a good idea to buy up a pile of domains and point them all at the same website. What effect, they want to know, will this have on their seo. Since this question comes up regularly, but not often, I keep forgetting the answer – so here’s a blog post.

Having researched the issue (again) it seems that there are different answers to the question:

Have the domains ever pointed anywhere else? If they have, there can be a ‘carry over’ meaning that if they linked to a badly rated or even a site with a bad reputation (maybe badly built) the effect can be negative. The reverse can also be true – for a time. If the domains have never pointed anywhere else then there will be no effect.

Make sure the secondary domains redirected to the primary url. Imagine you have www,greatsocks.co.uk as you main domain and buy up www.fabsocks.co.uk and www.awesomesocks.co.uk If you then just point these secondary domains at the same site google (other search engines are available) will see duplicate content. IE www.greatsocks.co.uk/about and www.fabsocks.co.uk/about will be identical, but under different domains. You are very likely to be penalised for this – google will allocate a “preferred or canonical” domain, which oculd be different for each page – this potentially leads to your site being penalised for devalued internal linking. This is where the 301 redirect comes in. When your visitor types in www.fabsocks.co.uk they are re-directed to www.greatsocks.co.uk - so google et al do not see duplicate content. In technical terms – user a 301 redirect.

Don’t dilute external links.Another problem is that you dilute your external links. Ideally links pointing to your site will all point to the main domain. However, if you run a pile of different domains for the same content you can’t control so easily where the backlinks point to. This will then dilute the effectiveness of the links – you could have 2 to each of the three sock examples whereas you could have 6 back to the main one!

It can help when you have a difficult to spell url – or a business name with a hypen in for example

It can be useful to stop the competition getting the domain

So it looks like for most cases the benefits of  having all the different domains are minimal. If you do, make sure they all point to the one, main domain. Make sure all you links to your site point to the main domain.

 

There are many sources but I used these for this short post:

http://moz.com/community/q/is-pointing-multiple-domains-to-a-single-website-beneficial-for-seo-or-not

http://www.hostway.com/web-resources/search-engine-optimization/can-i-use-more-than-one-domain-with-my-web-site-for-seo/

 

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php update and joomla 1.5 – solving a couple of errors

March 28th, 2014 by Edward

Many of my clients are still running joomla 1.5 . Recently the hosts that I use upgraded their php to 5.4. This is good news… but has caused some problems with the sites.

Firstly here’s what happens on the front end:
loads of lines of nasty php error codes

Lots and lots of nasty strtotime() errors. Older version so php weren’t so strict about setting the time zone .

Put this in the top line of the configuration.php file – get rid of all the front end

date_default_timezone_set(‘Europe/London’);

… and bob’s your uncle

Secondly I found an error in the back end, but only very occasionally – for example on the list of articles page.

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in … administrator/components/com_content/controller.php on line 97

This time php doesn’t want to use an empty value so just add $section = new stdclass; before $section->title = ‘All Articles’; on line 96 thus:

$section = new stdclass; //edward addition
$section->title = ‘All Articles’;
$section->id = 0;

And again, bob’s your uncle.

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Ten reasons why ee-web can help!

February 26th, 2014 by Edward

 

You’re looking for a web professional to help you develop your web presence?

There are lots and lots ot choose from out there. So…

why pick ee-web design and development?

  1. I love my work
  2. I make bespoke solutions
  3. I know as much techie talk as you want to hear
  4. Been making websites for 14 years
  5. Don’t have an expensive London office
  6. Pile of happy customers who keep coming back
  7. Wont try and sell  you more than you need
  8. Am here for the long haul
  9. Have a network of professionals to bring in
  10. Enjoy problem solving

And now the detail:

read more Read more…

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Voluntary Sector Training – a re-build and a re-fresh

February 11th, 2014 by Edward

 

Since November 2013 (approx!) I have been involved with a really enjoyable project based in Great Dunmow, Essex. Voluntary Sector Training (VST from now) had an existing site which was based around an “Off the shelf template” and an old version of joomla. VST offer training services for the voluntary sector, and while the old site did enable them to take bookings, it was quite old, had a few layout problems and wasn’t responsive.

Read what VST thought about ee-web

read more Read more…

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Long bits of text – how to “Soft break” them

February 4th, 2014 by Edward

The more that responsive websites take off, and just about every job I do now is responsive, the more I came up against the same, silly little problem.

Namely – how do you avoid long email addresses sticking out of their containers?

Like this – you can see how the long string at the bottom has pushed the table outside of its container.

In the pre-responsive days you used to be able to get around this by careful use of a
tag or font-size. But as virtaully all my work is responsive now the need to sort this problem has become more pressing.

There are several complex ways of doing the job, with js and/or regular expressions for example. One way that is talked about is simply to insert the tab <wbr> which stands for “word break opportunity” and therefore lets the browser insert a break, if its needed. So you’d write something like hellofromavery<wbr>veryverylongstring

However, this doesn’t seem to work across the browsers, or at least not for me. Apparently the tab has been adopted by hhtml5, but IE hasn’t got there yet…

So then I tried inserting &#8203; into the string thus:

hellofromavery&#8203;verylongstring.

This was much more successful and seemed to work across the board – and best of all, when I stuck it into the middle of an email address, so it was on two lines, and clicked it the email still worked. FAB

So job done, at least in this case!

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Are we getting too generic – spotting wordpress and bootstrap …

January 31st, 2014 by Edward

It’s all the same to me…

Just recently one of the designers I work with came to me with his usual starting point “Give me a ball park figure for …” and sent me off to a link.

When I got there I was impressed, at first. It looked great, using bold greens and blues, and large photos with lots going on. Indeed, it was arresting.

So remembering my mission, I went to work to come up with a ball park figure to produce ‘something with the same spec’ – no, not a copy.

Things fall into place…

After a couple of minutes I thought – ‘I know what this is… its a wordpress template stuffed through the bootstrap frame work.’ All it took was a few seconds poking around in the code to see that, yes it was wordpress, and yes it was bootstrap.

I was quite pleased with myself – I’ve been wondering if I could recognize how things were put together – and here I was, doing it.

Disadvantages of bootstrap…

I have several projects on the go using bootstrap – it is such a time saving library. But, you do have to be careful …. disadvantage… well, it looks to to me like things are in danger of becoming generic? That I believe is one of the problems with bootstrap – it comes so stuffed full of goodies, that before you know it, designers and developers have taken the easy route and – hey presto, it’s all starting to look the same.

Is this a problem? How is this is going to be avoided…

As a web professional you have to adapt – bootstrap, has in effect, opened another market for us.

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Bootstrap in Joomla 3

January 21st, 2014 by Edward

I have used joomla since approx. iteration 1.5.7. With the recent release of the 3.2 series bootstrap has been included.

Bootstrap, at least according to me(!) is a library of pre-built css styling and JavaScript that enables you to construct a fully responsive layout based on a 12 column grid. It’s a half way house really between building your own template from scratch (which I love to do) and using an off the shelf template. It has been developed by twitter.

Initially a sceptic

I was quite annoyed about this at first – even wondering for a short while if my joomla days were coming to an end. In retrospect that was a  bit of a knee-jerk reaction of course. I still have concerns though, given that bootstrap includes pre-built responsive menus, glamorous buttons and font-styling - could things could start to become a bit generic in the look? I sometimes think I can spot a wordpress site…

read more Read more…

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Decorative Supplies – website launched

October 10th, 2013 by Edward

At last, its launched.

Decorative Supplies is a cornucopia of delight, based in Chase Side Enfield. If you have any interest in cake, and lets face it who doesn’t', you need to check this out. It’s an Aladdin’s cave selling everything you could possibly need for decorating cakes. Just take a look  at what Liz’s happy clientele make on her brand new spanking website. What they don’t know about cake decorating isn’t worth knowing,.

This was a pretty quick job – about 8-10 weeks, and over the summer too. Liz, who works hard (!) at Decorative Supplies was keen to get a “Brochure” type site which adapted to mobile phones. I particularly enjoyed this job because Liz was able to give me a strong steer on the colour – oh yes, it had to be purple (have you seen the shop…) I decided that a “Sweetie Shop Awning” effect was the way to go, so I made up various versions of the graphics and logo and we ended up with what you see.

The only potential snag was getting the pictures for the site. Mobile phones are good, really they can’t handle studio photography. In the end I did the pictures using a light box and a number of white reflectors.

Here’s what Liz had to say:

We’re very pleased with the appearance of the site and the layout – it really does make it feel like “us”.  Our customers have also commented on how great it looks, which is, of course, the whole point.

We have been very happy with the service from ee-web design – no unusual requests from us seemed a problem and the patience shown in helping to set up e-mail and teach us how to use the site was very useful. We would definitely not hesitate to recommend ee-web design to anybody or organisation looking to set up a website.

Can ee-web design help you?  Advice is free!!!

Drop me an email at edward@ee-web.co.uk or give me a call on 07760 392284.

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Why I wont do package deal websites anymore!

August 8th, 2013 by Edward

About a year ago I met with a business development guru. He was very kind  and helpful, and spent ages talking with me. One thing he seemed very keen on my doing was having packages of the “bronze, silver and gold” variety. Users would see this, and feel more secure in contacting me.

Feeling that this was something in this I dutifully added a starter package page to  my website. You know, 10 pages, image rotator, google, bespoke design and a slice of cake for £500.  It was a good looking page, and got some hits too.

But guess what – one year down the line not one inquiry has come to me saying “I want a £500 package please”. And do you know why? I think I do.

You can’t squeeze these things into a package. Well, that’s the conclusion I am coming to.

No Sites Sitting on Shelves

We’ve just had a loft extension. We felt we had a unique shaped space up there. I wouldn’t have dreamt of using a company that said “For £25000 you can have this” or for “£30,000 we can add a do dah for you”. If I was going to spend my hard earned cash I wanted them to listen to what I wanted, and then provide me with a quote. We said “No thanks” to a builder simply because he didn’t want to really listen to what we were after, look in the loft space,  but still felt able to give us a quote. Got to be a package mentality!

Its seems odd to me that you just as you can’t buy an “Loft extension” because every loft is different, so you can’t buy an “Off the shelf website”. Not if you really want it to reflect what you do with any level of accuracy and insight.

So, its “Bye bye packages”…

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Writing for your website – 001 – Five Reasons why its Hard

August 3rd, 2013 by Edward

Many clients appear daunted by the prospect of writing their copy, the “Words” for their site. Few of them have the option of employing a copy writer” or the luxury of a “media department”.

This post is the first in a short series, currently planned at being four in number, aimed at helping my clients to write the copy for their site.

Why can it seem like climbing a Mountain?

writing text is like climbing a mountain

Writing the text for you website can be quite an uphill climb. I have know clients who have absolutely agonized over it, spending hours (yes hours) over their 200 homepage words, tormenting themselves over every phrase. I can’t think of a example of the other extreme to be honest. Most clients are aware that its important, but seem a bit, well “Scared” of it.

Why is this?  I’d be interested to know what you think? Did you find it really easy? Did the words just “flow”?

Here’s are my top 5 reasons why writing web site text is not viewed as a walk in the park! Its not meant to be exhaustive though! In later posts ‘ll look at ways through the problem.

Don’t want to get it wrong. This is a biggie. The agonized client I mentioned above was almost petrified of getting it wrong. What if I say the wrong thing about  my business? What it people who come here simply leg-it because I messed up the text? I can understand this, you’ve given a lot of time and commitment to your business, you want to reflect it accurately. We’ll look in a later post at just “What is wrong” anyway.

Google oh google. Much paralysis is caused by this one. People worry that getting the text “Wrong” will seriously affect their ranking in google. Many have heard conflicting things about how search engines work, and can’t sort out their “tags” from their “keywords”. Relax, its not that hard …

Don’t know what to say. A recent client of mine had a really good idea about what pages they wanted on their site. Great. Very soon the text arrived for those pages, consisting of an informative 20 words per page. Not great. Despite running a successful business for several decades this client couldn’t think of anything to write. With a few simple pointers however, they came up with some great content.

Got too much to say – this is the opposite problem. Some people want to write huge amounts of text, detailing every aspect of their service. Its a bit like one of those sites that is trying to sell you a “book and a cd and a lifestyle” for £99.99 – you know, were you scroll down and down and down getting more and more bored. Too many words dilutes the message and can be really annoying. Click.

You don’t like writing. I have great sympathy for this one – some people find writing plain hard work. I hated writing for most of my life. It was a necessary evil to me. But “Hard work” is often a good thing… The aim of this series, as it appears, is to help the hard work bear fruit.

 

Help is at hand.

Good text makes a great difference. I believe that its within everyone’s reach too.

Why not subscribe to this blog to get the “Help pages” when they are ready. I plan to release them on a weekly basis (roughly).

I’d also really love to hear your stories – were you like my client above, plain scared – or did it just flow out of your fingers as you typed in confidence!

 

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