Category Archives: How to

How to Offset the Carbon Emissions of your Website

How to

Some of you might have noticed a logo on the left hand side of the blog that looks like this:

This means that we have offset the carbon emissions produced by the website WebEden.co.uk.

Its a little known fact, but PCs and web servers consume a vast amount of energy. Whilst your own PC uses plenty of electricity, all websites sit on servers in datacentres. Each server is basically a computer that is on all the time. And a data center is a vast room full of servers, which requires huge levels of air conditioning, due to the heat created by the servers.

All these factors combine to make sure that each website consumes a not inconsiderable amount of electricity. And of course where there is electricity consumption, there are carbon and CO2 emissions.

Most recent estimates are than a single server produces over 2 tonnes of CO2 every year. When you consider that the average UK household produces 5.5 tonnes, you can see the size of the problem. In all, the Internet is thought to consume 5% of the entire world’s electricity.

So we decided to offset the carbon emissions of WebEden.co.uk through the COCO2.org service. For a small annual fee, you can offset the emissions from your website. This means you get a nice COCO2.org logo to put on your website, which shows your visitors how green you are. In addition, you get a listing in the COCO2.org directory of carbon neutral websites.

The great thing about the directory is that you get a link to your website from a highly authoritative website, in a category that’s relevant to you. And as anyone who has read the link building chapter of our Search Engine Optimisation Guide will know, that can really boost your website up the Search Engine Results Page.

So how do you sign up to COCO2?

1.    Follow this link to start to offset your carbon emissions.
2.    Click on the ‘make my website carbon neutral’ link on the right hand side.
3.    Fill out the form about you and your website. At the bottom of the page you get the option to choose, shared, VPS or dedicated server. It looks like this:

Choose Shared.

4.    Pay using your credit or bank card.
5.    When filling out your entry in the directory of carbon neutral websites, be sure to concisely describe your business or website. Not only will this help boost you up the SERPs, but its also useful for people browsing the directory looking for carbon neutral websites.
6.    At the end of all this, you get a access to the logo to put on your website. You’ll need to use the HTML widget to display this logo accurately.

And that’s it! Good luck offsetting your website’s carbon emissions. And let us know if you have any problems.

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How to Slice Through Spam on Twitter

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Last week we had our first guest posting here on the WebEden blog. Its was from Alison Cross, a self confessed non-techie webby. As part of our attempts to get to grips with Twitter, Alison discussed how to spot spam on Twitter.

Well Alison is back, and this time she’s talking about how to slice through – and get rid of – spam on Twitter.

How to Slice Through Spam on Twitter

When Sting warbled: ‘I never saw a miracle of science or progress that didn’t turn from a blessing to a curse’, he could have been singing about Twitter.

The handy little micro-blogging tool has rapidly become a magnet for spammers.

What’s a spammer?  The people who keep trying to make you visit sites that you’re not interested in; the people who want you to watch Britney Spears doing something unmentionable with a courgette.

Although Twitter mount regular pogroms against spammers, there are a few things that you can do to slice your spam.

1. Follow @spam. This is Twitter’s own route for rooting out the spam accounts.  When you follow @spam, any Twitter announcements about spam activities will drop into your timeline, allowing you to take their suggested action.

2. Stop hoovering up thousands of followers via advertised apps to artificially boost your popularity – this is a sure-fire way to voluntarily attach yourself to spammers.

Robert Scoble, self-confessed social media addict, had some 7,000 spammy accounts following him. Read his account here.

3. Vet your potential followers by using one of the many Twitter applications available.  I use Tweetlater (if Ken lets me, I’ll come back to evangelise about it!).  This app allows me to block, ignore, accept and report followers as spam.

4. Watch what you tweet! I call this the Law of Twitter Attraction. Out there are millions of tweeters, some just ready to pounce on you if you tweet their magic word.

For example, if you tweet off a complaint to a friend ‘sick of cash generator spam!’  What happens? Yup, you are suddenly followed by a slew of ‘cash generator’ tweeters.

If you have an automatic follow set up, then their tweets will enter your time line, diluting your product/services message and interfering with your conversations.

To combat this, don’t tweet the proper spelling of the trigger word.  Sticking with the above example, I’ve found that if I don’t type ‘cash’, but ‘c4sh’, that will, for now, keep me beneath the spammers’ radar.

Even better, simply adopt the New Age philosophy and only tweet about things that you WANT in your timeline!

Now that we’re nearly at the end of this guest blog, have a think about my definition of what constitutes a spammer.  No, not the Britney/vegetable people, but ‘people who make you visit a site that you’re not interested in’.

If you are not discerning enough with your Twitter marketing campaign, if you contact uninterested twitterers about your product or service….YOU’RE spam.

About Alison Cross

Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice, contact see her website alisoncross4webs.co.uk.

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How to spot Spam on Twitter

How to

Last week we invited everyone to submit articles and ideas for a guest posting on the WebEden blog. To kick it off, we’ve a couple of articles by Alison Cross from AlisonCross4Webs.co.uk on how to spot Spam on Twitter. Over to Alison.

How to spot Spam on Twitter

This is a screen shot from my own new Twitter account.  This area of an account can help you slice your spam.

1    See my ‘friendly web maker’ logo?  Real people load up logos or photos.  Spammers tend to keep the brown double-circle Twitter logo or have a ¾ pose of a really pretty girl. Beware; she may be a spam lure!  Look for additional clues…

2    Look at the yellow bio column, you can see that my followers/following ratio looks reasonable.  Spammers follow thousands of people and have few followers.  The followers they do have are accounts that have an automatic-follow set up, or worse, just other spambots.  Exceptions to this rule are well known names or brands.  Join the hundreds of thousands following Stephen Fry with gay abandon.

3    My postings are a mix of replies, questions and broadcast information. Anyone who just has solely broadcast information MAY just be spam….or a business whom you are following purely for info, not to chat with – eg @bbc @cnn.

Note: Many spammers have no tweets at all.  They are just building up a list to sell off the ‘parked’ twitter account to an advertising company ;-)  Am I sounding cynical?!

4    RT spam (retweeting spam). This is when spammers retweet one of your postings and, because you are flattered that someone thinks you’re so informative or witty that they share your comment with their followers.  You may be tempted to follow them (after all, they have shown some discernment by retweeting YOU!). Don’t be fooled, zip over to their timeline and check the above points – you’ll find that lots of them are spammers.

Finally, don’t block someone just because you can’t see an obvious reason why they would want to follow you. Twitter is about building up links, either for chatting or for business. Not every stranger is a spammer, some of them might turn out to be future customers.  Have fun!

Next week we’ve got the second part of this guest article: How to slice through Spam on Twitter.

About Alison Cross

Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice, contact see her website alisoncross4webs.co.uk.

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Time to raise your (Google) Profile

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We’ve talked a lot about Search engine optimisation here on this blog. Boosting your website’s rank in the Search Engine Results Page is an important way to increase relevant traffic to your website.

But what about your own personal profile? It’s not widely appreciated, but ‘people search’ – searching for people online – makes up a large amount of search queries on all the major search engines.

This is another opportunity for Search Engine Optimisation. If you’re well known, or even moderately known – in your industry, your local area, or your business, then people may well be searching for you rather than your business.

But if they search for you, will they actually find you? The thing is, unless you’re called Zaphod Beeblebrox, the chances are that you share your name with a few other people.

Worse case scenario? Lets say your name is John Smith. Here’s what happens when I search for John Smith.

Am I looking for the Book Shop, the Beer, the Folk singer, the Admiral or the Politician?

So how do you make sure that people who are looking for you are able to find you?

Enter stage left: ‘Google profiles’. Google profile is a single web page created and edited by yourself that includes information about who you are and what you do.

To set up a Google profile page for yourself, you will need a Google account, which you can sign up for here. Once you’ve got one of those, click ‘create a profile on the upper left hand side. You can now start creating and editing your personal information.

You can include personal information such as a short biography; your interests; links to your social profiles on place such as Twitter and Facebook; facts about yourself; and even a few photos. Your profile also offers a way for people to contact you without giving out your email address.

If you want to use your Google profile to help people find your website, then it’s important to include links to your website. It is of course an opportunity to promote your website too.

Once you’re happy with your listing, hit save. It should look somthing like this:

It will take a couple of weeks for Google to index your Google profile page, but once it does so you should see it appearing in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) when you search using your name.

Since it is Google itself who are providing this service, you can expect a ‘Google’ profile page to appear high up the SERPs. So unless you share your name with a celebrity of other high profile industry veteran, you can make sure that people searching for you will always be able to find you.

Set up a Google profile, use it to promote you Sitebuilder website, and leave your comments below!

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Why should I create members to my website?

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We’ve been speaking quite a lot recently about how you can introduce things on your site that make it more interactive. These include things like adding a poll to your website, or adding a forum.

All these features are part of a website movement that the media have dubbed ‘Web 2.0’. In the original (Web 1.0!) vision of the Internet, websites were places where a 1-way process took place. A company would give out information about themselves, or a newspaper website would tell the news.

In web 2.0, the interaction between visitor and website is two-way. Not only does the website distribute information, but the website visitor also contributes to that information. The communication is two way between website and visitor. And the communication can also be between one website visitor and another.

One of the principles behind Web 2.0 is that if a website visitor contributes to and interacts with a website, then they are more likely to come back to that site later. It improves the ‘stickyness’ of the site. In addition, if a website visitor contributes to a website they are more likely to feel ‘part of it’, and will recommend it to others.

One of the great new features we introduced with our most recent update is the ability to create members to your website, and allow those members to add to and sometimes edit your site. This is another fantastic Web 2.0 feature.

Members have their own login that they have created by signing up and getting an account with your site. These members have a close relationship with your website, and are highly likely to both return to the site, and also recommend it to others. One of your main objectives should be to look after your members, so that they in turn will sing your website’s praises to other people.

In order to get members to your site, you need to give website visitors a good reason to sign up. This could be exclusive access to members-only pages on your site, pages that have unique and valuable information on them. You might want to grant them editing privileges for some pages, so that they can shape the content there. Additionally, it might be that they can join in on certain discussions. Another idea is that they can get a regular newsletter that gives them access to valuable new insight. Most importantly, you need to give them unique information, advice or ideas that they cannot get elsewhere.

Whatever you do, however, don’t force people to sign up: the last thing you want to do it alienate them.

Here are the four main rules to follow in order to grow your site membership:

1. Give your members access to unique content and information that they cannot get elsewhere

2. Give your members MORE than general website visitors e.g. members-only content, discounts or communities

3. Communicate with your members using newsletters, Facebook & Twitter…

4. Listen to what they say, and given them a forum for their feedback. This helps them feel valuable and valued..

Have any of you managed to create lots of members so far? What pitfalls or successes have you encountered? Leave us a comment below.

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Is this the Idea that makes Twitter worthwhile for Business?

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We’ve written quite a lot on this blog about Twitter: what is it, how do I use it, and what, frankly, is the point? Well a business practice is emerging that might finally be able to answer that last one – what’s the point – and make Twitter a good place to do business.

The potential to use Twitter for business all lies in its ‘real time search engine’. Whilst you can search on Google for all information added to the web on a particular topic, ‘Twitter search’ allows you to search for what people are saying right now.

And that becomes quite interesting if people are either talking about your product or service, or asking a question that you can answer by pointing them towards your website.

For example, if you run a B&B in the West Country (yes, I’m back to that example!), then you could try looking out for any searches to do with ‘B&B west country’ or similar. When someone asks for a recommendation, then get in there and point them towards your site. Something like ‘have you had a look at Dave’s B&B in Somerset?’. This might get some direct sales, but is also an opportunity to promote your website to their followers.

You can have a look at Twitter search here.

But who has really got the time to be searching on Twitter, spending time waiting for potential customers to ask a relevant question? The good news is that there are a couple of services that will do this for you. These services send you an email alert for specific twitter searches. One of the better known of these is called tweetbeep.com, but we’ve also come across twollow.com too.

Here’s the personal bit. Since receiving this recommendation we’ve been trying it out. Whenever anyone mentions that they want some help building a website, then we ask them if they have had a go at webeden.co.uk. The upside is that we’ve generated a few sales through this. The downside is that you really feel like you’re intruding in other people’s conversation, and trying to sell them something. It’s something equivalent to listening to a conversation in the pub, and then interrupting to sell them a packet of peanuts.

If people are genuinely looking for help, then that’s fine. But how many of those ‘need help’ Tweets are a just rhetorical?

Is this the idea that makes Twitter work for business? Are you using Twitter to promote your website? Want to follow WebEden on Twitter? Leave us a comment below.

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How to use HTML on your WebEden website!

How to

More exciting news here at WebEden! This time its strictly for the advanced users amongst you.

Our Sitebuilder developers have been burning the midnight oil and have produced an ‘HTML widget’ that lets you place pieces of HTML on your WebEden website. You can find it in the File manager and its called ‘HTML Snippet’. Beware though – its still in BETA, and there are some very good reasons why its not on full release yet.

What does it do?

It allows you to add HTML snippets to your site! Add your Amazon links, web rings, banner ads, friends list from Facebook or try any other snippets you find on the web. We can’t guarantee it will work for everything but it’s worth trying.

How does it work?

Place the widget on the page and using the ‘Setup’ tab on the ‘Editor’ paste in the HTML for  your snippet and click ‘Apply’. If a height and width is detected in your code you will be given an option to resize the widget accordingly. To view the HTML widget use the ‘Preview’ button on the ‘Editor’ or click ‘View my site’ on the toolbar. If a visitor is using a browser that doesn’t support the widget it will render as a broken image link and the HTML will be displayed just below your site along with instructions on how to fix the problem.

Issues

There are known bugs with this widget.

Currently the HTML widget only works correctly if you view the site using Internet Explorer 6 or above, with Flash Player 10. So for Firefox users, it displays the HTML content below the site so they can still see it, but its not ideal.

We’ve had some exciting news from Firefox that the bug that prevents the HTML widget correctly displaying in your site for Firefox users will be fixed in the 3.1 release of the browser, due sometime in the next couple of months (hopefully). This is great, as this bug was something we couldn’t fix ourselves.

The main bug that we’re looking at on our side is why some HTML snippets don’t load correctly, which seems to be mainly those that use external JavaScript files in the HTML. Hopefully we’ll be able to fix that too and open the net wider.

Once the HTML widget is fully robust we hope to be able to offer many different pre-configured flavours of it. There will always be the generic ‘paste in any HTML’ widget, but we’ll also do some that are focused on particular services.

Have a go, and let us know what you think!

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How to delete your cookies in Internet Explorer

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Once again, if you don’t know what a cookie is then read our post on ‘what is a cookie‘.

For those of you I am yet to convince to change to Firefox, here’s how you delete cookies in Internet Explorer (IE).

Go to ‘Tools’ and then ‘Internet Options’. You’ll get a dialogue box like this:

Half way down, where it says ‘Browsing History’, press ‘settings’. The new dialogue box will look like this:

Half way down choose ‘view files’. You then get a massive list of files that Internet Explorer has downloaded from websites that you’ve visited. Some of these will be your cookies; they’re usually listed as ‘text documents’ under ‘file type’.

This is where Firefox has the edge. In IE you have to go through these files one by one to find the cookie for the website that you want to delete. Once you’ve found the cookies for a particular website, right click on it and then choose ‘delete’.

The easy option is to just make the switch to Firefox ;-)

Good luck!

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How to delete your cookies in Firefox

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If you don’t know what a cookie is then read our post on ‘what is a cookie‘.

The easiest way to delete your cookies is to use the browser called ‘Firefox’ from Mozilla. If you’re still using Internet Explorer then we’d strongly recommend switching over. If you prefer to continue using Internet Explorer then read our post on how to delete your cookies in Internet Exlorer.

In the case of Firefox, go to ‘Tools’, and then ‘Options’, and then choose ‘Privacy’.

This is what the dialogue box looks like:

Half way down the dialogue box choose ’show cookies’.

You then get a box that looks like this:

You can see you will have 100s of cookies attached to your browser, mostly from websites you have visited in the last 30 days.

In the search box type a word that exists inside the domain of the website whose cookies you want to delete. In the case of Alison’s website, I searched for ‘pagan’, since her domain name is paganmoontarot.com.

This will select all those cookies that start with the word ‘pagan’. Choose those ones for paganmoontarot.com, highlight them and then press ‘remove cookies’.

Then press ‘close’.

You then need to clear your cached version of the page, so press F5.

That process will have cleared the cookies attached by the website ‘paganmoontarot.com’. You can of course repeat the process for any website whose cookies you want to delete.

Good luck, and let me know how you get on.

Thanks to Alison for recommending this post.

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How to use Google Sitemaps

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All users can now publish a Google sitemap. For details on how to check for the sitemap, read on…

Google Sitemap is a technique whereby you can quickly update any search engine spiders visiting your website. You can tell them where all the pages on your website are, whether they have been updated, and how important they are. This is done by uploading a small file onto your website that is just for the spiders to read.

The WebEden website maker system automatically generates an XML file which search engines will index when ever they visit your site. We automatically publish all pages visible in the menu and withhold those that are hidden.

If you wish hidden pages to be published you will need to visit the hidden page, click on “Edit” and then go to “Page Settings”. You can then select the check box for “Include this page in my Site Map”.

To see your site map, you only need to add “/sitemap.xml” to the end of your website address (or URL) in the web browser address bar e.g. www.mysitename.com/sitemap.xml

If you see the message: “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below”, don’t panic! This is being generated by the browser (most likely Firefox) and relates to ‘how’ the information is being displayed in your browser and does not affect what the search engines ‘see’.

What happens if I see the message “URL restricted by robots.txt “

In short, don’t panic! What we’ve done is to stop the web crawlers (spiders) reading your website’s application directories and throwing up ‘errors’. However, since we have blocked these directories you will probably see a report from Google that says: “URL restricted by robots.txt ” and listing a series of ‘…/_app/…’ directories.

Don’t worry. Google themselves recognise that some directories can be restricted for a logical reasons, so the spiders then simply continue crawling your site for valid content and links.

Just to reiterate, seeing a ‘restricted’ message is not a cause for alarm and this will not affect your site being indexed or impact your page rankings.

If you’re interested, check out your Sitemap now and leave us a comment below

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