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How to make Images more Search Engine Friendly

February 20th, 2014

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We think he is right in saying this because you can keep writing to express something but an image can convey the same message in just a second.

We all know how important images are with respect to web design but off late it has been doing wonders for content development. You can relate a large column of text to an image making it easy to digest complex reading. But did you know that you can now generate a large amount of traffic to your website using your images? Here’s how you can do this:

1] Add ALT Text: Search engine spiders that crawl your website, can understand the text that you have displayed but it cannot understand the image. Say for example you have a picture of a shoe, the search engines cannot understand what the image is about. That’s where ALT TEXT steps in. For the above example itself you can use an alt text like “this is a cool shoe” and to represent it with the image simply add alt=”this is a cool shoe” to the image tag.

<img src=”cool-shoes.jpg” alt=”This is a cool shoe” />

2] Image Name: Choosing a descriptive image name, over a generic one can do wonders for your search engine rankings. This also includes keywords thus helping a user find what he is looking for through an image search engine. For example Branded_Cool_Shoes.jpg will sound and work much better than DSC0906540.jpg

3] Go on a Diet: Images are great but only downside is that it contributes to the page load speed. Larger the image size slower your website will load. There are many online image editing programs that will help you to cut down heavily on the file size with very little loss in picture quality. Dynamic Drive’s Image Optimizer Tool is one of the tools that can be used for the same purpose.

4] Geo Locations: Search engines are ranking pages higher depending from where the search is made and the local keywords. The same logic applies to images as well. For example, if you are displaying an image of the TajMahal, then it makes more sense to name the image as India_TajMahal or Agra_India_TajMahal to give it more preference for a local search. You can also do the same for the ALT Text and add “TajMahal in Agra, India”

Honestly this is one power of SEO you should probably not lose out on. It has great potential of getting good traffic to your website. You might be following a few of the steps above but a combination of all the steps should do wonders for increasing your website rankings.

Do share any other best practices that you follow with your images. Let’s together make images more search friendly :-)

Tools to check if you are Plagiarizing Content

January 30th, 2014

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Good quality content is very difficult to generate. There is already so much information about each subject on the internet that it becomes difficult to create unique content. Some take the wrong route by copying content from other peoples work and try to make it their own. Google calls this a plague which they want to eradicate completely. They have started this campaign by penalizing such offenders and dropping them to the bottom of the search rankings.

But sometimes people can have similar ideas and there might be a possibility that you will unintentionally end up churning content which will be considered plagiarized by Google. To help ensure that you do not get penalized for no fault of yours we looked up some tools that you can use to verify your content for plagiarism.

DupliChecker: This is a free tool that can be used to check a maximum of 1500 words at one go. It compares the text with the pages on the internet to find similar content. If there is any major similarity then it will share the links of that page for you to compare. There is a limit for the number of times you can use this tool in a day but a quick sign up on their website will allow you to use it as many times as you want.

Plagiarisma: This tool can be used to check large columns of words for plagiarism. You would need to sign up to check the content against all pages in Google. You can only use it for a limited number of times in the day but if you need to verify more content then you would need to buy a paid membership with them. Hence use this tool wisely. You can also download browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to use this tool.

Plagiarism Checker [from Small Seo Tools]: This is one of the simplest Plagiarism tools that you can get over the internet. Simply add text up to 3000 words and hit the button “Check for Plagiarism”. It will quickly check for documents over the internet and show you the text which has been plagiarized along with the link to the document where it was first written. It also gives you a percentage of unique content from the text that you have entered for checking. The best part about this tool is that it is free and you also don’t need to sign up to use the tool.

Well there are many other tools similar to the ones mentioned above, but we feel these are all you need to get your work done. It is advisable to check your content before you make the post to avoid any penalties from Search Engines. By the way this article is also checked by Plagiarism Checker and we are proud to say it is 100% unique content 😉

Do share with us any other free tools to check for plagiarism that should have been mentioned here.

Why backing up your website is a good idea

January 24th, 2014

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Have you ever come across a situation where you have lost all the files from your computer? We know how painful it can get especially when you don’t have any backup of your precious files. This situation is true even for websites. If you feel that your data is safe online then we are sorry to break your bubble.

Websites have been the most vulnerable to hacker attacks and we get to hear a lot of high-profile brands being a victim almost every day. Even the best security measures have failed to assure that your website is safe. The only way that you can save the hassle of starting your website all over again is by backing up your website regularly.

But before you actually get busy backing up your website; it would be great if you knew a little bit about the predators:

1] Hackers: We all are aware that hackers attack website to get user sensitive information. But of late simple sites have also become a target of their activities simply to cause trouble or prove their identity. In simple words, no one is safe from their attacks.

2] Malicious code: A lot of times, you might rely on third-party templates or plugins for your website. If they are not downloaded from a trusted source, chances are they are rigged with malicious code capable enough to make your website go off the hook.

3] Updates gone wrong: Content management systems are updated quite often for added functionality. Sometimes, due to some manual changes made on your website the update might not compile well. This can cause some of the features on the website to run incorrectly or crash the whole website altogether.

4] Delayed Updates: If your website is dependent on a lot of plugins, then you probably know that there are regular updates that are released for them. These updates are not only to improve functionality but to block loop holes through which hackers can get easy access into your website. Avoid an update and there are chances that your website might get attacked by a hacker. The attack would primarily be for stealing data but it could also be possible that it is an attempt to crash your website completely. If you don’t have a backup at this point then you would probably be pulling your hair out.

5] Unreliable Hosting Company: This is rare but if a hosting company does not meet compliance then they stand a chance to be shut down completely, taking your precious website off the internet too. Your only option would be to switch to a different more reliable hosting company.

6] Human error: “You ain’t human if you don’t make mistakes” There are Chances that you are having a bad day at office and unintentionally clicked on the wrong button and ended up getting your website all messed up.

Well our point here is that even if your website loses an arm to these predators, you can grow it right back again, only and only if you have a back up of your website. There are many back up tools available online that can help get your website backed up and even save a copy on cloud storage platforms like Dropbox. Here is simple way that you can backup your website through the cPanel.

How many times should you back up your website?

If you have a static website then one backup is all you need. It’s always great to take a backup of your website even after a smallest update is made to it. We have heard of websites with constant data traffic to have backed up their website every second.

You can restore your entire website in a matter of minutes, only if you have a backup of your website. So if you have not taken measures to back up your website, its time you gave it the attention it needs.

Do share how you are backing up your website. We would love to hear from you :-)

5 Tools to test your Website’s Speed and Performance

January 20th, 2014

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We know how important your website is for you. You spend time, money and resources to try and build a great website. These days a successful website is attributed not only because of great content but also because of its usability. A major aspect of usability is the page load time. So important is this aspect that a second delay in the load time of your website could result in a person leaving your website for another one. But how do you go about benchmarking your website? How can you find ways to significantly improve you page speed?

To find answers for these questions, we went through a large list of online tools that can be used to test your website’s speed and performance. Here is our list of the top 5 tools:
Pingdom tools: This is currently one of the most popular online tools for testing a website over the internet. It does a full-page test of your website, giving you a performance grade, the load time and the page size results. Your results can be viewed in a Waterfall model [“The waterfall model is a representation model in which development is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through several phases”] and gives you a fair idea, on how much time each element takes to load. You can also go through the recommendations as to how you can improve your website speed. The most unique feature of this tool is that it gives you a graph representation of your page load, page size and page speed (available only if you have used this tool earlier to test your website)
Page Speed Insights: This web tool is a part of Google Developers and can be used to test the performance of your website. Page Speed Insights has this unique feature to test the performance of mobile and desktop versions of your website and gives you insights to improve speeds for both. The test is based on how each of the elements of your page responds to the query sent from Google. This tool generates the fastest results when compared to the other online tools mentioned here.
YSlow: Unlike the other online tools, you would need to install a plugin for your favorite browser in order to run the YSlow test. It Grades the website alphabetically as per the performance with “A” being the best. It summarizes the page components and also suggests a few tweaks to improve the website’s performance. Very useful, since you can run a quick test through a shortcut on your browser and don’t need to load another website to run the test. Usability has been the key to success, for this tool.
GTmetrix: By using GTmetrix for testing your website, you not only see your YSlow grade but also get page speed on the same screen (two performance tools in one). The online tool also recommends a few things to do for improving the websites performance, depending upon the test results. You can use this tool over YSlow, just in case you’re not keen in installing a plugin on your browser.
WebPageTest: Out of all the five tools, WePageTest is the only online one that allows you to select the country from where you want to run the test. Just like Pingdom tools, WebPagTest also provides you with a waterfall model of the test result. Another really cool feature is that you can do a visual comparison between two urls. We tried to test a feature within the tool, to test your website for a mobile device but for some reason there was a huge wait time to actually start the test, so we gave this feature a pass.

These are some of the tools that you should use to understand if your website is performing up to the mark or not. We personally use these tools, almost every hour to understand if there is any element that is causing the page to load slower than usual.
So what are you waiting for? Start using them now. Do share your test scores with us and let us know how do you plan to improve it?

Top 10 Joomla extensions to Easily Build your Website

January 9th, 2014

When it comes to Joomla, we all know that it is not one of the easiest Content Management Systems to work with. But thanks to a large number of Extensions, creating your website with Joomla is much easier now. We went through a large number of available extensions and would like to share with you our list of the top 10. All the extensions mentioned below are free to use except for the Jsitemap. Do remember that the below list is not in any order of ranking and each extension has its own capabilities.

1. Content Builder
This has been considered to be one of the best Content Construction Kit for Joomla today. Very easy to install and get started. The primary role of Content Builder is to structure Joomla content while preserving the Layouts. You could do a lot more with this extension including image galleries, classified ads, contact forms, paid content etc. Content Builder also offers an easy to use form builder which can be linked to any database of your choice.
2. SH404SEF
SH404SEF is the best Search Engine Optimization extension for Joomla. There aren’t too many extensions for SEO building but we think SH404SEF fills this gap. The most important element of this extension is to convert long obscure URLs to keyword rich SEO friendly URLs. Google Analytics support is also included in the extension.
3. K2
Joomla is a great CMS with many advantages but content editing has always been its downfall. But thanks to the K2 extension, article and page creation is now an easier task. Other notable features of K2 are video management, comments, tags, drag and drop media manager etc, which makes it a must have extension for your projects.
4. JCE
This is the Joomla community’s favorite WYSIWYG editor. You don’t need to know complicated coding to edit the pages, thanks to JCE. If you’re very new to the Joomla CMS, then this is a must have extension, for your projects.
5. Jtouch
This extension allows Joomla Website owners to add responsive web design template for mobile devices. It is light weight and compatible with most mobile platforms like Android, iOS, Windows etc. It is extremely easy to get started, thanks to the extensive documentation. So if you are looking to make your website mobile friendly, then this is the extension for you.
6. Akeeba Backup Core
Akeeba has introduced a host of extensions for Joomla, but the one that stands out is the Akeeba Backup Core. Its primary functionality is to take a backup of the site that can be restored on any Joomla capable server. It also supports backing up of the website to popular cloud storage platforms like Dropbox.
7. Component Creator
This Joomla extension was built with a purpose of allowing you to easily develop components. A component is a kind of Joomla extension or you could simply call them mini applications. The Component creator is a builder that allows you to generate a Joomla component in minutes, which is ready to use and fully functional. If you want to save time building those complex components, then this is the right extension.
8. AllVideos
This is an all in one multimedia management solution that you would need when you are using Joomla to build your website. Embedding of videos and even sound clips from some of the popular services like YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo etc have become very simple, thanks to this extension. AllVideos also has fully responsive video players, thus making it suitable for the content to be displayed on mobile devices as well.
9. Jsitemap
This extension is a one stop shop for all sitemaps (Video, Image, News and Mobile). You can customize your site maps and once set up; you can automatically make them available to be indexed with popular search engines. It deserves a 5 star rating, for the ease of use and prompt support. This extension is definitely worth your money.
10. Kunena – forum solution for Joomla
If you’re looking for a good forum for you website then, Kunena is the ideal solution for you. Kunena is an open source solution and may not be perfect as other forum extensions like phpBB, but it’s the only one that provides a fully native integration.

There are so many others that are worth a mention, but these 10 extensions truly deserve to be in our top list for the kind of functionality, ease of use, support system and regular updates. If you have not used any of these extensions, then you should definitely try them out and see if it will be handy for your projects.
Do share with us any Joomla extensions that you have tried and deserve a mention here.