Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CaSe Matters

abc Budding young web designers and developers usually learn this pretty quick, when creating a page on Windows and not using the same case as the files and folders they are linking to. They often will use lowercase in all the URLs, regardless of the case of the actual file and folder names. And this will work fine when viewed on their Windows machine. But as soon as they upload it to a server that is running something else, like Linux, it stops working. Their page is full of broken images and dead links, because they used something like mypicture.jpg in place of the actual file name of MyPicture.jpg and about.html in place of the actual file name of About.html.

Or they upload an Index.html and wonder why when they visit their site they still see the default index.html page provided by their web host and why when they check on the server there are now two index files and not one.

For the domain name part of the URL it doesn't matter. That part is not case sensitive.

example.com is the same as Example.com is the same as EXAMPLE.com

For the rest of the URL it could matter, depending on what operating system is being run on the server that is hosting the site.

 

windows-logo_c If the server is running Windows, case doesn't matter. The reason for this is because you can only have a single file or folder of a particular name in a folder, regardless of the case used in that file or folder name.

index.html is the same as Index.html is the same as INDEX.html

All three will lead to the same page.

In Windows, adding a file or folder of the same name with a different case to a folder, overwrites the original. Only one can exist.

 

linux-penguin-full1_2If the server is running Linux, case matters, as you can have multiple files and folders of the same name within a folder, each having a different case.

index.html is not the same as Index.html and not the same as INDEX.html

In Linux adding a file or folder of the same name with a different case to a folder, does not overwrite the original. Linux will allow all three to exist in a folder, and each are considered different. If you change the case of a file or folder in the URL path and the server is running Linux, and that variation does not actually exist on the server, it will result in a 404.

And if you upload a file of the same name but a different case, it will not overwrite the original. You will have both on the server, and lowercase is the default index file. This is the reason why the place holder index.html supplied by your web host is still seen, even though you have uploaded your Index.html file, and why you see two index files when you view it in your FTP client.

 

It is always best to assume the server runs Linux when creating links to pages on the web and when typing URLs into the addressbar of your browser. It is the only way to ensure that if case matters, that you are using the correct URL.

It is also best to use all lowercase in the folder and file names of your website when creating the files and folders, regardless of what operating system you are using locally. Always assume the site will be run on a server that is case sensitive. That way there is a set standard of practice you follow that leaves less room for error.

Step 1, before you begin coding, should always be to fix all your file and folder names so you won't have to worry about it later.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free Art Download: Blame Game (CC-BY)

sample
What you get: This image, about twice the size, without the watermark text, on a transparent background, in both PNG and PSP vector formats. 

Released under a Creative Commons Attribution license, suitable for personal, non-commercial, and commercial use.

This item has been moved to my art site.
Blame Game mug
Blame Game by app103
Create mugs at zazzle.com

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Free Image: Instant Photo (CC-BY)

instant-photo-sample
What you get:

This image (drop shadow is included), about twice the size, without the text, on a transparent background, in both PNG and layered PSP formats.

On the layered PSP, you can easily insert the image of your choice over the black area.

Released under a Creative Commons Attribution license, suitable for personal, non-commercial, and commercial use.

This item has been moved to my art site.

Friday, July 02, 2010

How can you rank well on search engines, without fussing with SEO?

380_wpm_hires If you want to rank well on search engines without fussing with SEO, then pretend it's 1995 and there are no search engines that will list you, because you can't afford the high fees for inclusion.

Now, how are you going to, in an ethical way, make people want to visit your site, stay awhile and explore, come back often, and share what they find with others?



Your site should work well and not be broken.

  • Make sure all links to pages on and off your site actually lead to where you want them to.
  • Make sure you don't have broken images.
  • Make sure the content loads correctly in all the major browsers.
  • Make sure your pages adhere to W3C standards and they validate.

Your site should be designed for people.
  • Make sure your template is pleasing to the eye and not painful to look at.
  • Make sure it has good navigation and is easy to discover and find the content your site has to offer. Good use of sidebar links to important stuff. Links to similar content pages on your site.
  • Make everything within 2-3 clicks of the main page.
  • Break up huge amounts of text with related images to help the eyes stay focused where they should be,
  • Your site should load fast. Use real thumbnails for your images and not just merely resizing with HTML.
  • Don't overwhelm people with ads.
  • Remove spam promptly.

Your site should invite people back.
  • Give your visitors multiple ways to be notified and access new content (RSS feeds, email subscription, follow on Twitter, a Facebook fan page.) Make sure new content reaches them wherever it's convenient to them.

Your site should encourage sharing.
  • Make sure you don't use frames. Every page should have its own unique URL that shows in the address bar.
  • Use Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Google Reader/Buzz buttons.

Your content should be unique and of high quality.
  • Don't copy other people's stuff, write your own.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Put thought into what you write.
  • If you post YouTube videos, add some unique commentary that doesn't exist anywhere else on the web.
  • For every sentence you quote from another source, write 3-5 of your own. So if you quote 3 sentences, you will have to write 9-15 to balance it. Don't quote in every article. Don't quote any more than what is necessary, less is much better than more.
  • If you are supplying information, make sure it is complete, accurate, and up to date.
  • Write about stuff people will care about enough to want read it. Don't write about what you had for lunch unless your a restaurant critic.
  • If your site is a blog, link out in every article to quality related content. Linking out to pages on other good blogs has the bonus in that it may earn you a trackback link on that page, or at the very least attract the eyes of the author of that blog who will stop by and check out who is linking to him.

Interact with your visitors and make them feel important.
  • Allow commenting and respond to comments as soon as humanly possible.
  • Give your visitors a means of contacting you privately, either by supplying an email address or a contact form.

Paper Chain Spread the word.
  • Become a highly respected member of a large community with similar content.. Put your link in your profile and signature. If people respect you, they will click the links.
  • Reach out to blogs by reading and participating in discussions. Never leave a "nice post" comment. Put some thought & work into your responses. You want to catch the attention of other readers and the bloggers themselves, and make them ask "Wow! Who is this guy?" so they will click your name and visit the site it links to. Always make your comments increase the value of that bloggers page.
  • Participate on social media sites and interact with people in a positive way. Get conversations going. Again, you want to make people ask "Who is that guy?" which will lead to them checking out who you are (your profile) and where you came from (your site).
  • Find an ad network that gives away free advertising. (I happen to really like Project Wonderful, personally)

If you do all of the above, quality inbound links will happen on their own and between the fact that others think high enough about you and your site to write about it and link to it, combined with having a great site, structurally, that makes it easy for spiders to find your content, you will get the ranking in the search engines that you deserve.

Above all, be patient, work hard, and don't engage in any "evil tricks". Good ranking does not happen overnight.