Archive for Tutorials

Getting the most out of Lessn

September 23rd, 2009 | 31 Comments | Tutorials

As I wrote about a little while ago, I’ve been using my own URL shortener, powered by Lessn (app install notes here, and info about the update here). If ridiculously hyper sentences like that aren’t convincing enough, linking and how we link is very important. (more…)

Easy DIY HTML Emails

September 14th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Tutorials

Every so often a web project will have a campaign that requires a mass email. This may be called a “Newsletter”, an “e-blast” or “HTML Email”. I want to explore some of the pitfalls of this trend. If that doesn’t talk you out of it, we will talk a bit about how to pull it off.

Warning One: Why?!

This isn’t the kind of marketing that should be done “because you can” in my opinion. As someone who gets a lot of email I admit that getting a newsletter or any email with embedded images usually has me scrambling for the Unsubscribe link. In 2009 there are many effective ways of engaging your audience online without emailing. Before we begin ask yourself; “is an HTML email the most effective way to communicate to these people?”

Warning Two: Spam?

Once you have your message together, who will you send it to? Where are you getting your mailing list? Have these users opted-in on your site (like this), or have you simply collected the addresses independently?

If your registration form didn’t indicate there would be mailouts, or (and I have seen this happen) if the mailing list is from another site or campaign entirely, you are working against your privacy policy! This is essentially spamming, which no sane person will respond favourably to. You may be doing the brand or campaign a disservice in this case . (more…)

Doing Group Emails – The Hard Way

September 8th, 2009 | Comment | Tutorials

Recently I was asked about managing an Emailing list, and the best ways of distributing newsletters to your group.
I think

Recently I was asked about managing an Emailing list, and the best ways of distributing newsletters to your group. I think the answer that was expected would be either sharing about some mailing service (like this one, but there are many others that also Google well) or to give a step by step on free distribution methods (Update: I have written a post called Easy DIY HTML Emails).

What I want to share is a smarter and much more impacting way – and I don’t think it’s what the average client wants to hear:

Email your newsletter one at a time. (more…)

3 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Site

August 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Tutorials

There is a harsh reality that a website owner must face once their site is up: It’s not simply enough to have the website. The Internet isn’t a Field of Dreams; just because you built it doesn’t mean they will come.

So your site is built – now what? The truth is building the site is the easy part. Now you have to work on it. Don’t dismay! This is the fun and engaging part. (more…)

Migrating data from ASP to WordPress

August 5th, 2009 | 12 Comments | Tutorials

My personal site has been an ASP site for about six years now, but the time has finally come to port over to WordPress and PHP. A lot of the heavy lifting was done over a year ago when I experimented with using Blogger as an RSS powering blog engine, but there was still some content fueled by a Microsoft Access Database.

In early 2004 I started a database of my Top5 high rotation songs of the week. This was a very simple database table with eight fields. It’s been very rewarding to see this progress kept, so naturally I want to bring it into the new site. On the former version of the site ASP calls the database, and repeats each row of data in a table. I could just copy and paste the HTML tables after they’ve been rendered, but where’s the fun in that? I’d prefer to have each table fall into my blog on the appropriate date for the last five years. (more…)

Using Dreamweaver FTP with a Team

June 26th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Tutorials

The Problem

When you have a site that multiple designers, developers or contributors might be working on you run the risk of stepping on one another’s toes, losing data, and at its worse; breaking something on your website. This can happen very easily. Take the following image as a very basic example. Let’s say you have a yellow page with an A on it. Person 1 decides the page should be blue, Person 2 decides the letter should be B. Both changes are done at once. Who ever uploads last has their change live on the site. (more…)

Username SEO

May 25th, 2009 | Comment | Tutorials

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is as important today as it has ever been. We’re well beyond a trillion web pages on the Internet now; and the more crowded it gets the harder it can be to be heard. SEO can be a complicated beast; Google was reported as changing their search engine algorithm over 400 times in 2007. That’s more than once a day! 

There is a lot of documentation on improving your sites SEO; and it is often broken down into a few key practices: (more…)