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Posted By Doteasy

What is PageRank?

PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a web site is on the Internet. It believes that the most important pages on the Internet are the pages with the most links leading to them. PageRank thinks of links as votes.

This makes sense, because people will link to relevant content, and pages with more links to them are usually better resources than pages that nobody links.

But PageRank doesn’t stop here. It also looks at the importance of the page that contains the link. Pages with higher PageRank have more weight in “voting". This also makes sense as pages that are important are probably better authorities in leading web surfers to better sources.

How important is PageRank?

PageRank is Google’s way of deciding a page’s importance. It matters because it is one of the factors that determine a page’s ranking in the search results. It isn’t the only factor that Google uses to rank pages.

Note: Not all links are counted by Google. For instance, they filter out links from known link farms. Some links can cause a site to be penalized by Google.

How is PageRank calculated?

PageRank is measured on a scale of zero to ten and are assigned to individual pages within a website, not the entire website. Very few pages have a PageRank of 10.

To read more on how PageRank is calculated: Web Workshop.

How can I increase my PageRank?

  1. One-way inbound links from websites with topics that are related to your website’s topic will help you gain a higher page rank.
  2. The number of links outbound from the website that links to you also determines the value of the link. For instance, a related website with 10 outbound links that links to you is much better than a related website with 100 outbound links that link to you.
  3. The more pages that a site has, the more PageRank it has. Note, that the only pages that count are the ones that Google knows about. Good internal linking and navigation will help.

To read more on how to improve your PageRank: GoogleGuide.com.

How do I check my PageRank?

There are many PageRank checking tools you can use to check your PageRank. Here are a few you should consider:

Page Rank Checker

  • checks PageRank of a page
  • provides a PageRank button that can be placed onto a webpage

CheckPageRank.net

  • checks PageRank of a page
  • provides other information including PageRank validation, Google and Yahoo listed status, the domain age and history

FreePRChecker.com

  • checks PageRank
  • provides other information including PageRank button, PageRank validation, backlinks (including Alexa, Google, Yahoo), Google and Yahoo listed status, Alexa traffic status and graphs, host data center location, etc.
  • it also extracts backlinks and check each backlink pagerank value. This great feature allows you to find out which website is linking to your web page and their respective pageranks

Remember, PageRank is only one factor. It is not uncommon for a PR6 site to rank above a PR8 site on search engines with the appropriate keywords and quality content.


 
Posted By Doteasy

Sitemaps, as the name implies, are a map of your website. There are two types of sitemaps:

  • HTML – a web page you show the structure of your website. This type of sitemap is created for visitors to your website. (Example: Doteasy Site Map)
  • XML – a file you list all URLs of your website. This type is called “Sitemap” and is created for search engine crawlers

XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps offer the opportunity to inform search engines about your website.

Search engine crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

  • Your site has dynamic content
  • Your site uses rich Ajax or Flash (not normally processed by search engines)
  • Your site is new and has few links to it
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or not available through the browsable interface some areas of the website

In addition, Sitemap allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the website. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

NOTE: Sitemap does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines nor does it influence the way that web pages are ranked in search results. By submitting Sitemaps to a search engine, a webmaster is only helping the engine’s crawlers do a better job of crawling their site.

Sitemap Generators

You can use a sitemap generator to create your sitemap. Google has a sitemap generator for creating a sitemap for a static web site.

Other sitemap generators and services:

Manually Creating a Sitemap

You can also manually create a Sitemap based on the Sitemap protocol.

1. Create a text file and save it with a .xml extension (ie. sitemap.xml)

2. First lines of the file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

3. Create an entry for each URL. The <loc> tag is required, the others are optional.

 <url>
      <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>
      <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>
      <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
      <priority>0.8</priority>
 </url>

4. Last line of the file:

  </urlset>

5. Upload the file to your server and then submit it to the search engines.

Element Definitions

Element Required? Notes
<loc> Y Provide the full URL of the page, including the protocol (ie. http, https). This value must be less than 2048 characters
<lastmod> N Provide the date that the file was last modified, in YYYY-MM-DD format.
<changefreq> N Possible values include: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and never. This is only used as a guide for crawlers and is not used to determine how frequently pages are indexed.
<priority> N Allows webmasters to suggest to search engine crawlers which pages are considered more important. Valid range is from 0.0 to 1.0 (highest). The default value is 0.5. Rating all pages on a site with a high priority does not affect search engine lists.

Guidelines and Limitations

Keep in mind when creating your Sitemap file:

  • Sitemap files have a limit of 50,000 URLs and be no larger than 10MB when uncompressed.
  • The Sitemap URL can contain only ASCII characters.
  • Sitemaps can be compressed using gzip.
  • A Sitemap can be contain a list of Sitemaps (a Sitemap index file serving as an entry point for no more than 50,000 Sitemaps)

Submitting Your Sitemap to Search Engines

There are different ways to submit your Sitemap to search engines:

1. Adding the following line to your robots.txt file

Sitemap: <sitemap_location>

The <sitemap_location> should be the complete URL to the Sitemap, such as http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

2. Submitting directly to a search engine (aka. pinged)

  • Google – http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=location
  • Yahoo! – http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/ping?sitemap=location
  • Ask.com – http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=location
  • Live Search – http://webmaster.live.com/ping.aspx?siteMap=location

Replace location with the complete URL to your Sitemap, such as http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

For example, http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap= http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

Additional References


 
Posted By Doteasy

We will end this CSS Menu Series by learning how to turn this:

  • Home
  • Services
  • Products
  • Support
  • About
  • Contact

into this:

buttonmenu

1. Let's start with the HTML code for our CSS menu:

<div id=”mainmenu”>
    <ul>
        <li><a href=”#”>Home</a></li>
        <li><a href=”#”>Services</a></li>
        <li><a href=”#”>Products</a></li>
        <li><a href=”#”>Support</a></li>
        <li><a href=”#”>About</a></li>
        <li><a href=”#”>Contact</a></li>
    </ul>
</div>

2. Then, we will have to remove the bullets by creating a new CSS rule:

#mainmenu ul {
    list-style: none;

    padding: 0;
    margin: 0;
    }

3. Next, to get these menu items all on one line, we will insert this CSS rule:

#mainmenu li {
    float: left;
    margin: 0 0.15em;
    }

4. Now that we’ve got the menu items all lined up next to each other, we need to make the buttons. We will be using a background image to create the buttons.

#mainmenu li a {
    background: url(background.gif) #FFFFFF
    bottom left repeat-x;
    height: 2em;
    line-height: 2em;
    float: left;
    width: 9em;
    display: block;
    border: 0.1em solid #DCDCE9;
    color: #0D2474;
    text-decoration: none;
    text-align: center;
}


The Full CSS Code

So, to achieve the menu, you will add the following lines to your CSS code. The below example is for an internal stylesheet, if you are using an external stylesheet, simply add the lines between to your CSS file.

<head>

    <style type="text/css">

        #mainmenu {
            width:30em
            }

        # mainmenu ul{
            list-style: none;
            padding: 0;
            margin: 0;
            }

        # mainmenu li {
            float: left;
            margin: 0 0.15em;
            }

        # mainmenu li a {
            background: url(background.gif) #fff bottom left repeat-x;
            height: 2em;
            line-height: 2em;
            float: left;
            width: 7.5em;
            display: block;
            border: 0.1em solid #DCDCE9;
            color: #8CC919;
            text-decoration: none;
            text-align: center;
            }

    </style>

</head>
*NOTE: You can specify any hover effect for these menu items, including changing the background image or the text color. Simply make a copy of the entire #mainmenu li a CSS rule and change the selector to #mainmenu li a:hover

Example, as in our image above,

#mainmenu li a:hover {
    color: #333333;
}

Resources


 
Posted By Doteasy

Must-knows of SSL and SSL Certificates:

  • SSL, short for Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol for transmitting private information via the Internet
  • SSL is all about encryption; some of us might even know that SSL uses two keys to encrypt data, a public and a private key
  • SSL is a must-have for e-commerce websites
  • We know we’re on an SSL protected page when the URL begins with “https” and there is a closed padlock icon on the browser

Now, let's take a look at the good-to-know’s of SSL and SSL Certificates.

How does it work?

An SSL-encrypted connection is established via the SSL "handshake" process.

SSL_handshake

This process is transparent to the end user. The "padlock" icon in the browser and the "https://" prefix in the URL are the only visible indications of a secure session in progress.

SSL_handshake

By contrast, if a user attempts to submit personal information to an unsecured Web site (i.e., a site that is not protected with a valid SSL certificate), the browser's built-in security mechanism triggers a warning to the user, reminding him/her that the site is not secure and that sensitive data might be intercepted by third parties. Faced with such a warning, most Internet users will likely leave the unsecured site.

What information is contained on an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate contains the following information:

  • the certificate holder’s name
  • the certificate’s serial number and expiration date
  • a copy of the certificate holder’s public key
  • the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority (ie. GeoTrust)

Does it matter if the encryption strength is 40-bit or 128-bit?

Encryption strength is measured in key length – the number of bits in the key. To decipher an SSL communication, one needs to generate the correct decoding key. Mathematically speaking, 2n possible values exist for an n-bit key. Thus, a 40-bit encryption involves 240 possible values. A 128-bit key involves 2128 possible combinations, rendering the encrypted data impossible to hack. In simple terms, the difference between a 40-bit and a 128-bit encryption is akin to securing your financial information behind a deadbolt vs. a bank vault.

But, the actual encryption strength on a secure connection is determined by the level of encryption supported by the user's browser and the server that the website resides on. The majority of browsers support a 128-bit encryption. In other words, if you have the GeoTrust QuickSSL (up to 256-bit) on your website and your visitor’s browser supports 128-bit, information transferred between your website and your visitor’s browser will be encrypted with a 128-bit encryption.

How do I purchase an SSL Certificate? What do I need to know?

Doteasy is a reseller of the GeoTrust Quick SSL Certificate. We offer the 1 year QuickSSL certificate for US$159.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that the dedicated SSL Certificates are created to function with one unique domain name. For example, if the certificate is issued to the domain www.yourdomain.com, the correct secure URL will be https://www.yourdomain.com. A visitor going to https://yourdomain.com or https://shop.yourdomain.com will not see the padlock icon and instead will see a mismatch certificate error message.

I am not running an e-commerce website, do I still need an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are used to prevent hackers from stealing private information. Here are the reasons why you should consider using an SSL Certificate even if you're not running an e-commerce site:

  1. Keep your visitors information private – If you process sensitive data such as address, birth date, license, or ID numbers (ie. as part of a signup or login form), an SSL Certificate will keep your visitor information private and help ensure that their personal data is not stolen or tampered with (aka. identity theft)
  2. 2. Give yourself a competitive edge – A secure site will help you gain a competitive advantage over those who do not secure their customer data. Savvy customers will click away from a website when conducting transactions or giving private data if the site does not appear to have secure areas.
  3. 3. Help your site appear legitimate – An SSL Certificate will help your site to appear legitimate and trustworthy.

I have an SSL Certificate installed, but the padlock icon is not displaying in the browser?

This issue will occur if your webpage is displaying images, banners or scripts that are coming from a server that is not secured.

To resolve this issue, you will need to make sure all items on the website are secured.

  1. If frames are being used, ensure that the entire website is being secured, and not just the framed page
  2. If images are being used, ensure all images are secured (referenced with https:// prefixes rather than http://)
  3. Ensure scripts and codes (ie. JavaScript) are not being referenced from a non-secure source

 
Posted By Doteasy

Creating a pop out menu is very similar to creating a dropdown menu.

We'll start by adding a nested list to our basic list menu.

<ul id="mainmenu">
    <li><a href="home.html">Home</a></li>
    <li><a href="services.html">Services</a></li>
    <li>

        <ul>
            <li><a href="services1.html">Service 1</a></li>
            <li><a href="services2.html">Service 2</a></li>
            <li><a href="services3.html">Service 3</a></li>
        </ul>

    </li>
    <li><a href="products.html">Products</a></li>
    <li><a href="support.html">Support</a></li>
    <li><a href="about.html">About</a></li>
     <li>

          <ul>
            <li><a href="history.html">Company History</a></li>
            <li><a href="staff.html">Staff</a></li>
            <li><a href="press.html">Press Releases</a></li>

        </ul>
    </li>
    <li><a href="contact.html">Contact</a></li>
</ul>

With this nested list in place and without changing the CSS, the menu will display as follows:

popout menu 1

By modifying the CSS, we can move the submenus to the right and hide them until the user hovers over one of the parent menu items. Here are the steps

1. Set the position of the main menu items to relative.

    #mainmenu li {
        position:relative;
          }


2. Position the submenus absolutely and hide the submenus.

    #mainmenu li ul {
        position: absolute;
        width: 150px;
        left: 118px;
        top: 5px;
        display: none;
        }


3. Style the submenu options.

    #mainmenu li ul li {
        font-size: smaller;
        }

4. Display the submenu when the user hovers over the main option.

    #mainmenu li:hover ul {
        display: block;
        background-color: #8CC919; /*for IE7*/
        }

Note: the background-color declaration is necessary for Internal Explorer 7. Without it, the submenus can disappear while the user is hovering over them.

5. Position a tags relatively. This is another fix for Internet Explorer 7. If the a tags are left statically positioned, then they won’t fill the full width of their parent list items and the menus will only work when users hover over the text of the link.

    #mainmenu a {
        position: relative; /*for IE7*/
        }

The Full CSS Code

So, to achieve the vertical menu, you will add the following lines to your CSS code. The below example is for an internal stylesheet, if you are using an external stylesheet, simply add the lines between to your CSS file.

<head>

        <style type="text/css">

            ol, ul {
                 list-style: none;
                }

             #mainmenu {
                margin: 10px;
                width: 120px;
                font-family: Tahoma;
                }
 
            #mainmenu li {
                position:relative;
                display: block;
                border: 1px solid #333333;
                border-top: 0px;
                }
           
            #mainmenu li:first-child {
                border-top: 1px solid #333333;
                }

             #mainmenu a {
                  display:block;
                  padding:3px;
                  text-decoration:none;
                  background-color:#333333;
                  color:#FFFFFF;
                position: relative; /*for IE7*/
                }
 
             #mainmenu a:hover {
                  background-color:#8CC919;
                  color:#FFFFFF;
                 }

            #mainmenu li ul {
                position: absolute;
                width: 130px;
                left: 79px;
                top: 5px;
                display: none;
                }

            #mainmenu li ul li {
                font-size: smaller;
                }

            #mainmenu li:hover ul {
                display: block;
                }

        </style>

    </head>

And your pop-out menu now looks like this:

popout menu 2

Resources:

Next week, we will end the CSS Navigation Menu series with "Menus with Background Images"


 


 
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