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Optimize Your Website Using YSlow

January 5th, 2011 . by Anup



Have a lot of people leaving your site too fast ? Your high bounce rates could be due to a slow loading website. People these days simply don’t wait for 5 or 10 seconds for a page to load.  A slow loading page affects everything else you do . You can say bye bye to those sales and leads. Therefore it is important that you optimize your websites. Lets forget usability or anything else that would affect sales. We’re going to concentrate on making your site more responsive i.e load faster. Want another reason ? Okay then .

Here’s something that happened to me a while back.Now serving niches is a relatively small site / blog. There are only a few 100 posts. You don’t exactly see it and expect it be heavy on the server.

As it turns out I had just deleted older posts which I thought were longer relevant and some I thought didn’t live up what we are trying to achieve here. Now as it turns out the blog was loading a bit faster after I had deleted a lot of older posts, atleast I thought so.  I felt content and logged out.

Next day I check my email and there’s an email from my hosting provider.

First I sit there and scratch my head thinking what on earth could they be emailing me about on this day of the week.

Turns out my small site was so slow loading and so heavy on resources and the server, it was starting to affect the other sites on the server. So they had to temporarily suspend my account and stop all traffic to it until I speed it up.

Needless to say I was shocked. Well okay first I was confused and then I was shocked. My teeny blog is causing problems ? So they agreed to let me in provided I fix stuff or lease out an entire server. Of course they weren’t exactly going to throw me out. There weren’t going to let in any traffic unless I had fixed the problem.

That is where YSlow came to the rescue. I ran it and well it gave me an F . But it also told me how to go about fixing the blog and site .

The next few blog posts are going to be all about Website and Blog Optimization. First we’ll begin with Yslow. We’re going to take it a bit further than that in later blog posts. But first YSlow.

Today is the simplest part . Installing Yslow and related Components.

You need to get the Firefox Browser first . Download the browser from http://mozilla.org and install .

Now you need the firefox browser and and add on called firebug. YSlow is  a plug in for Firebug. Firebug is pretty cool itself but its features are out of the scope of this blog post. Back to installing YSlow.

Go to http://www.getfirebug.com and install Firebug

Then go to https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/5369 to install YSlow

Once all these are installed , You are now ready to run Yslow. Restart your FireFox Browser.

You should see something like the picture below at the bottom right of your firefox browser.


Once you have restarted Firefox, open your website.

Go to “Tools > Firebug > Open Firebug”.

A split window should open . Click YSlow . Choose appropriate Ruleset. It doesn’t really matter .

It will analyse your website and give you a grade.

We’re going to work on improving that Grade in the next blog post.


To learn more about Firebug check out

http://www.packtpub.com/article/installation-and-getting-started-with-firebug

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Build A Free Survey’s Website

December 30th, 2010 . by Anup



First off I have to mention this. To get a digest of Serving Niches’s valuable posts in one easy to read PDF , go here.

The link will take you to a Landing Page where I talk a bit about the new ebook I’m going to be putting out very soon. Sign up to the list to get it for FREE when it becomes available.

You guessed it . I’m currently building up a list to build up interest for this valuable ebook.

A survey website is perfect for the beginner or anyone else. It is easy . Of course there is no such thing as a sure shot. But this ebook does its best. It discusses how to build one around the powerful membership site business model. There is unfortunately a bit of work when it comes to building one. Most marketers I’ve seen mention this don’t tell you how to go about building one. It isn’t easy if you don’t know how. Not to mention have any applicable strategy .

I mention how anybody can go about building one.

Also :

Why the membership business model is amazing .

Where to get Surveys for FREE .

And of course when I mean building a Survey Website I mean building a survey site that makes you money.

So click here to go sign up to the list if you would like to find out how.

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WordPress Child Themes – Theme Development Made Easier

December 12th, 2010 . by Anup



WordPress Child Themes – Your Gateway to theme development paradise

Child themes are a fairly new concept. I’ve been hearing about them for some time now. Never really bothered to check out before. But luckily for all of us, I have now. This is not complicated. This is somewhat easy to understand . So don’t fret about all the lingo.

Basically, you create themes that rely on other themes as templates. Now that it turn means you only have to change the child theme to make changes to your WordPress theme .

So why bother you ask ?

As it turns out what most wordpress theme designers do is build on top of existing themes they like. I’m guilty of that myself. Why write everything from the beginning when you might need only a few things changed. For example Serving Niches itself it built on themeorrhea by JTK. I loved the way his theme was built. It was simple and didn’t have too many files cluttering up the back end.
Minneapolis St. Paul WordPress User Group #1

The basic layout for any theme doesn’t have to be different. Now previous to WordPress 2.7 I would have had to change the theme files using editor and add my embelishments. Everytime a new version of the theme was released , I would have had to copy paste all my changes to the new theme. Almost rewrite the whole thing. If you had seen the serving niches theme files , you wouldn’t recognize themeorrhea. There were way too many changes made. So imagine having to write all that again on top of the new theme. It would take time.

See now I don’t have to do that. Now with the concept of child themes , I could simply put all my changes in its own folder , so when I upload a new version of the original theme , I’ll only be rewriting the theme’s files not my changes.

So how do you make use of child themes ?

Child themes are put in the same folder as any other theme on your wordpress installation.

wp-content/themes

To build a child theme , you will first need a mother theme or a main theme to build a child theme on.

All you need to do is to make changes to the style.css file . You need it to tell wordpress that this theme is a child theme.

Neat huh ? Imagine all those hours you’d have to spend rewriting and testing and playing and rehashing and indenting and what not all that code if you were to update the mother theme.

The mother theme style.css. Below is the beginning of a typical style.css .

/*

Theme Name: Your Theme Name

Theme URI: http://your-theme-homepage.com

Description: Oh what a lovely description of your theme you'll put here!

Author: Your Name

Author URI: http://your-website.com

Template: If this is a child theme, you'll set the template theme's folder name here,   otherwise don't put this here

Version: A version number

.

Any general information, license statements, plugin requirements, or any other information you

may want to share.

.

*/

You do need to make a few changes to the child theme’s style.css . The one file it needs is style.css . You need to put the basic information below in it. Below is an example of how you’d want to fill out the child theme style.css file.

Theme Name: will the child theme’s name

Theme URL: url of your theme if you choose to upload it somewhere so that people can download or purchase it

Description: small description of the child theme

Author: your name or nick name

Author URL: if you have a website. Get a free one atleast mate if you don’t have one.

Template: This is the important option. This is where you mention the location of the mother theme. So say the mother theme is located in wp-content/themes/themeorrhea/ .

You’d write “themeorrhea” here. So it would be Template: themeorrhea .

Version: this is you first child theme ? Call it version 1.0 . you could call it 10.0 if you wanted. It doesn’t really matter.

An example of what a child theme’s style.css would look like.

/*

Theme Name: Sandwich

Theme URI: http://anupvasudevan.com/sandwich

Description: This is Sandwich, a child theme for themeoreaa.

Author: Anup

Author URI: http://anupvasudevan.com

Template: themeoreaa

Version: 1.0

.

You need to have both Sandwich and Themeorrhea in your wp-content/themes/ folder for this

theme to work.

.

*/


This child theme will be like any other theme . You’ll be able to activate it like any other theme from the Appearance page in wordpress admin .

So what about the remaining files ?

Simply add them to the child theme folder. The child theme’s files get precedence by default over the mother theme’s files. In other words, should you add a header.php to the sandwich folder at wp-content/themes/sandwich , it will be chosen over themeorrhea’s header.php . Thereby replacing it. The rest of the files will be used as is. If you choose to use the mother theme’s files , do not make an empty file in the child theme folder.

That is all . There you’ve made it to the end.

You should be able to use child themes on WordPress installation now.

An example use of this would be during the holiday season. You want to change the look for maybe December 25th alone or even the week leading up to December 25th .

This way you don’t have to write the code all over . You just need to build a child theme. Maybe just change the background image to something with leaves and bells.

You are limited only by your imagination.

image credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamperegrino/2913018697/ WordPress stickers & stationery
http://www.flickr.com/photos/myklroventine-events/3832855830/ WordPress screen

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Building iPhone Apps

December 5th, 2010 . by Anup



Mobile marketing is broadly defined as “the use of the mobile medium as a means of marketing communication”[1] or “distribution of any kind of promotional or advertising messages to customer through wireless networks”. More specific definition is the following: “using interactive wireless media to provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas, thereby generating value for all stakeholders”.[2]

— Wikipedia , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_marketing

Mobile marketing  is a big deal these days. Every major fortune 500 company , start up and everything in between has an app out for the iphone. Heck  even servingniches has people visiting it from an iphone or a Internet enabled cellular phone.

Without wasting much time I’ll get to the point.

If you know HTML , CSS and some javascript  ; you can build an app for the iphone.

http://ofps.oreilly.com/titles/9780596805784/

O’reilly has put up their title ” Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript ”  for FREE online. You can access it at http://ofps.oreilly.com/titles/9780596805784/index.html .

The book explains how to build apps using HTML, CSS and Javascript (mostly JQuery) . Normally you’d have had to learn iPhone’s Cocoa Objective C Programming Language. Now you can use your existing knowledge to build an app.

http://ofps.oreilly.com/titles/9780596805784/

Additional Resources on Mobile Marketing :

How to build an iPhone app without hiring a developer http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-build-an-iphone-app-without-hiring-a-developer-2010-1

The Email Marketer’s Guide to Mobile Marketing  http://www.lyris.com/lunarlanding/default.aspx?source=3973

Mobile Marketer ‘s Classic Guide to Mobile Commerce  http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/commerce/6222.html

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User Interfaces Designed to Trick People

November 2nd, 2010 . by Anup



This barely appears as a problem if you were to wade through the brands involved.  Its almost a practice.

Ironically some us do tend to do these ourselves. Some just evolve into similar patterns .

We’re talking about using psychology in user interfaces . We’re talking about sneaky practices some websites use online to get you to opt in and pay more. The author of this here article decided to name practices – Dark Patterns. It sounds good and I don’t mind. After all these dubious patterns tend to show up all over the place. They are legal or atleast a grey area. They are not breaking the law. They are designed deviously with an understanding of human psychology.

Quoting 90percentofeverything Blog

To understand and see real world examples,

Check out the Dark Patterns Wiki here.

or type http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/wiki/Home into your Browser

In some cases the trick ups the conversion by a lot. Personally I never recommend tricking people . Respect your customers. Understanding your ideal customer and giving them what they want will give you everything you’ve ever wanted.

Happen to know any similar dark patterns or sites that use these clever techniques ?

Once again we’re not looking for obvious scams. We’re not looking for scams . We’re I’m looking for techniques used by known or branded products and services that trick users into doing things.  Just out of curiosity and the need to not be ordinary of course.

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