Monday, 13 February 2012

Beware of dirty techniques that Web masters use to boost traffic

As webmasters or website owners, I am sure that we have seen some dirty tricks that owners use to boost their traffic source.

Here are some of them and some solutions to work around them
  1. Spamming comments in blogs or article posts

    If you're a blog owner, you have probably seen much of such comments, consisting of totally irrelevant content and a link to some website. Thankfully, Google's Blogger and Wordpress contains comment management system for you to weed out such comments.
  2. Spamming contact forms that link to your site's users

    To reach out to your site's users (if you are running a community site), some might use spam bots to send out solicited emails. However, some seem to be done by humans or very smart spam bots as anti-spam features are bypassed.
  3. Spamming Forums

    If you own a forum, this is a common occurrence. Methods to overcome this include a stringent check on forum members to ensure that their email accounts and IP are not blacklisted. If you use Vanilla Forums, there is a Stop Spam plugin useful for combating such problems.
  4. Offering to write a free guest post

    If you've ever received an email from a certain blogger offering to write guest posts, well, its a trap to get you to check out their website in a bid to boost their traffic. The email consists of a template which is identical for such mails, probably through some marketing spam software.
  5. Proposed Link exchange

    Proposal emails offering to exchange links with high PR rate websites to boost your Google's Page rank. If their PR is already that high, there would not be a need for them to do such link exchange. And who knows what their proposed sites are blacklisted for by various search engines. Furthermore, Google's search engine now places more emphasis on relevant content. Opt for good and quality content coupled with SEO techniques (your META tags, page title, good content structure)
The list goes on and on. Dishonest Proposals and Spam make up the bulk of such techniques to gain traffic for their website. Fellow webmaster and bloggers, beware of such tactics and as a rule of thumb, avoid "quick" ways to get traffic and rely on quality content together with good SEO practices instead.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Starting Mobile Development for Web

In the past, mobile websites were a good thing to have to optimize user experience for mobile viewing. However, with the flooding of iPhones and Androids, not forgetting tablets, Mobile Apps are very hot right now. Giving users that app-like experience is a great way to gain a wider audience that comes back for more.

Objective C and Java might be huge obstacles for Web developers to overcome in order to push out native iPhone and Android Apps respectively. Well, fret not, because HTML5 and jQuery is here to make your life much easier. While creating Apps that have full functionality of those native apps might be a far stretch, getting something that works almost as well that runs across all mobile devices is something to be happy about.

Welcome jQuery Mobile + PhoneGap = HTML5 Mobile Web Apps!

With the power of this power packed configuration, you get to create Mobile Apps that runs across platforms and access some native hardware features. Let us review each part

jQuery Mobile
jQuery mobile is a framework which helps you build mobile web apps easily. Its inbuilt ajax and ui makes it very easy to code navigation and functionality for your web app. Check out their theme roller, where you can customize your web app's theme with almost any colour theme you fancy!

Google Maps V3 works well for mobile apps and you can check out the demos at jQuery. You can easily code "Get Directions", interactive maps, geo-location easily.

HTML5 is introduced here as PhoneGap runs on it. Furthermore, HTML5 has some cool nifty features that is gaining cross-browser compatibility. It is worth it to check out new stuff you can do with HTML5.

With PhoneGap, you get to access the native features of mobile devices through their API which is in good old Javascript. You can deploy your app to native platforms once your code is ready. Joining PhoneGap for free allows 1 private app and others which they state as 'public'. Paid plans give more private apps and collaborators. Although I haven't got the faintest idea what that meant, since its not really written clearly on their website plus my enquiries to them were left unanswered.

Personally, I have played around with mobile apps using jQuery mobile. My lowly lg android p500 runs jQuery Mobile websites noticeably slower than native apps. Transitions between pages weren't as smooth as they were supposed to be. On the iPhone and faster android phones, performance was quite good and passed off well as native app alternatives for simple applications.

However, I have not had a chance to try out PhoneGap's features yet. The access to the mobile device's camera, accelerometer should give rise to many fun possibilities for you to play around with. Performance-wise, I am unsure of how it'll fare.

Excited and ready to get started? Check out the links below to start coding away!

Stay tuned for more updates and tutorials for Mobile Web Development
Timzstudio - Singapore Web Design & Development

Friday, 3 February 2012

Adding A Static Google Map Image to your Website / Blog

You are on the right post if you want to learn how to add a map of some place in your blog or website without the hassle of heavy coding. In this post, I'll teach you how to add a Static Google Map Image to your website or blog.(yes even with the free blog accounts at blogger or wordpress)

This method involves using Google Maps version Static Maps API V2. Yes, the current version is V3 but if you do not need the bells and whistles of the latest Google Maps, this will suffice.

Also, we will not be using lat and lng coordinates. Instead, we will be entering address places or postal codes directly.

The Code

Well, its all in a link actually. To query the Google Map that you want, you will need to use the link format below :[place to center map at]&zoom=[zoom level]&size=[widthxheight]&maptype=[type of maps]&marker[size:(size)%7Ccolor:(red)%7C(place)]&sensor=[true or false]

Let us go through each parameter one by one

  • Center - This gives you to place to center your map at
  • Zoom - This gives the zoom level
  • Size - This gives the zoom size (there is a maximum size for the free version, for Google Business Maps, you can scale to very high resolutions)
  • Marker - Adds markers to the map, you can add more than one
    • size
    • colour
    • place
  • Sensor - Option to select whether your device has a location sensor
For the full list of parameters, you can visit to check out their developers guide.

The link

Embedding the Google Map

<img src=",singapore&zoom=14&size=512x256&maptype=roadmap&markers=size:mid%7Ccolor:red%7Corchard+road,singapore&sensor=false" />

As you can see, we simply wrap Google Map link with an image html tag. This makes it very easy to add a Google Map to your blog or website as it can be used as an image source.