Thursday, November 11, 2010

Restricting Blogger links to the home page

For those of you who have sites on Blogger, one of the great advantages is that you don't have to know HTML or any other programming language to have a site up and running in minutes. While you can use Blogger-supplied code (called gadgets) to add or subtract extra content into a sidebar like blogrolls, polls, or a search box, you don't usually have any options when it comes to where those widgets will be seen. Typically, once a Blogger gadget is added, you will see the content of that Gadget
in the sidebar of every page on the site.

If you have a handful of links that you only want on the home page, one option is to use the HTML/Javascript gadget (my favorite for adding plain text links) and to change how that gadget operates so that it only shows up on the home page. This involves changing the template that controls the look and feel of the site. By adding a couple of lines of code, you can change this gadget so that it is only visible on the home page.

Note:If you haven't done any kind of web site or blog coding before using HTML, and feel unsure about changing the code, either find someone who can do it for you or practice this on either one of your inactive Blogger sites or on a site that you put together for testing changes like this.

The following instructions are taking from an article on the Blogger Tricks site:
  • Sign into Blogger dashboard and click on the Design link for your blog, click on the Add a Gadget on your blog's layout, and then select the type of gadget you need (for example HTML/Javascript). Add the content that you want, and save your changes.

  • Next, you have to add a small piece of code to that gadget so that your content only displays in the Homepage. Just clcik to Edit HTML and then select the box next to 'Expand Widget Templates'. Now would also be a good time to save the template just in case.

  • Find the HTML/Javascript gadget, which should start with code that looks like <b:widget id='HTML1' locked='false' title='' type='HTML>

  • Just below that line of code, You should see a "b:includable" tag that looks like <b:includable id='main'>

  • Under that line, add the following: <b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'>

  • Just before the line </b:includable> tag, add the line </b:if> to close the "if" statement.

  • Save your template and test your blog. If everything went well, you should only see that gadget on the home page.
The same Blogger Tricks article also shows you how to do this for other types of gadgets, and also how to do this so that the gadget content shows up everywhere except the home page.

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Easily Clip Web Pages to Evernote Using Your iPad

If you are one of the millions of new iPad owners, and you want to use it as useful tool, I recommend using the Evernote application to help you take notes and keep them online. The Evernote application works best if you can both cut and paste content of a web page as well as write notes.

One weakness of the iPad is that it is hard to select, copy, and paste large blocks of text, or an entire web page. The folks at have solved that problem in an elegant way. The Evernote application on the iPad acts as a mini-browser in combination with Google.

It is a simple process. First, make a new note and type in the Google home page URL and save the note using the 'Clip to Evernote' option. The next time you need to copy entire pages into Evernote, open up that Google note and select the Google URL and go to Google's home page. Navigate to the page you want, and when you find it, open up the option menu in the lower right and choose the option to safe the page. When you are done, you can quit or you can go back to the Google page and do it again.

By the way, this technique will work with any search engine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Google vs. Bing and Real Time Search

When it comes to search engines, the two most important resources are Google and Bing. Both perform well when it comes to traditional search, but only Google currently has a useful option for real time search. While I knew that from following various news and information sources about search engines, sometimes it takes a real world problem to understand the what those differences really mean.

In my case, I was at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle earlier today, at a presentation titled SEO For Google Vs. Bing: How Different Are They? As is the case for many Internet-related conferences, many attendees were furiously updating Twitter during the presentation, and using the hashtag #smx, anyone could follow the comments coming from the presentations.

Regular visitors to this site may recall my article from last December when I discussed how much I used to follow fast breaking news items, and for a few minutes, I was able to follow the sometimes insightful comments from the other attendees. Suddenly, we were all frozen out of the service because Twitter saw too much search traffic from one location and apparently suspected that there was some kind of a problem.

With my favorite Twitter tool out of action, my first reaction was to go over to Google to see if I could do the same thing. I typed in the #smx tag, selected the "Latest" option, and I was able to see the stream of tweets. Since the session was about comparisons with Bing, I went there and tried to do the same. No luck.

Later, after I spoke to Danny Sullivan and others, I realized that Bing had not real time search capabilities, at least not yet. I'd read articles earlier about the Bing real time search situation, but I never gave it much of a thought because I normally only used Now that I know Google has it, I'll use that option more. When Bing gets around to adding that capability, I'll try that too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Creator of Dilbert on the Future of Free Content

Scott Adams, creator of the long-running comic strip Dilbert, earlier this month posted an article on the future of content where he proposed what he calls the Adams Theory of Content Value, that the value of content will approach zero as our ability to search for media content improves. It is worth your time to read, since it touches upon many of the issues faced by content creators, especially those who combine information or content from many sources to create web sites, blogs, online videos, and podcasts. He also talks about the role the iPad may play in making it harder to charge for online content.

At and AirSafe Media, our response to this reality is to invite sharing rather than fight it. While all material we create is copyrighted, we've embraced the Creative Commons concept, allowing everyone to use the material any way they want, so long as they do so in a noncommercial way and allow anyone else to also reuse their modified material.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Keep Your Emails Short and Effective

In AirSafe Media's online marketing business, customers and vendors are located around the world, and email is the most effective way for everyone to communicate. Since a particular advertising deal may be active for months or even years, it helps everyone if emails have a similar and predictable style and format. By following a few basic rules, AirSafe Media staff and affiliates can ensure that their emails provide clear and concise information. Even if you are not involved with AirSafe Media, you can use these basic guidelines to make your own emails more effective.

Use a AirSafe Media email account
This is one of the easiest rule to follow. By using an AirSafe Media email account (ending in, it makes it much easier to go back and reconstruct a conversation. If for some reason this account is not working, it is likely that the problem is only temporary. Send a copy of any email to that address so that it can be recovered once the account is working again.

Use a consistent subject format
Because many email programs display only the subject line of an email, make sure that the subject includes the following key pieces of information:
  • A web site URL (if the email deals with a particular web site)

  • The date the email was sent (using the format DD MM YYY, for example 16 May 2010)

  • One or two keywords that describe what the email is about

  • The words "AirSafe Media" to indicate the source of the email
An example subject line might be "New advertising offer for - AirSafe Media 16 May 2010"

Include only key parts of previous emails
Often, there could be several emails going back and forth on a particular subject. For example, negotiating the placement of a particular ad, or dealing with a technical problem with a web site. When replying to an email, most programs attach the body of the previous email. After a few exchanges, you could have a two page email where only about four or five lines have all the information that you need. Take a little bit of time to cut out what you don't need. Leave in enough to say what needs to be said, and leave out the rest.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How acceptable is online gambling? - ask Ellen DeGeneres

A common issue for many web site owners is what kinds of advertising are acceptable to their audience. Most sites would not even consider for a moment advertising that promotes something that is illegal or that they consider immoral. Sexually oriented advertising, as well as ads promoting the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs are rejected outright by most.

Less clear for many are advertisements for products or services that are legal, but that are largely rejected by traditional advertisers. Gambling related advertising is clearly in this category. Gambling online, and even gambling online with money is legal in most parts of the world, and with rare exceptions is legal in the US. However, a combination of public perception, strict laws in the US against using electronic banking transfers to fund gambling accounts, and severe restrictions on gambling ads by Google and other major online advertising providers give most web site and blog owners the perception that accepting advertising is risky or potentially damaging to the site's reputation.

Perceptions can change, especially if if a well-know and well-regarded web site leads the way. Enter Ellen DeGeneres.

On a recent show, a pop-up on the side of the TV screen invited viewers to play games at her web site at The biggest graphic on the page was inviting viewers to play online poker:

Below the graphic were several options for either playing poker online or learning how to play online poker. While there were many non-gambling or casino related games on the site, the most prominent links were to poker, blackjack, and Texas hold-em links. Also, it was clear that several of the links were associated with some of the biggest names in online poker such as Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Mike Caro.

What should a site owner do?
As was pointed out on the site, playing a gambling type game online is legal, so web sites and web site visitors are not a legal risk when they place ads or follow those kinds of links online.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to placing advertising for legal products and services. Whether a site owner wants to accept this kind of advertising will depend on several factors, including how an owner would answer the following questions:
  • Would the links or the content be useful or entertaining for your audience?

  • Do the links go to a site that is offering legal products or services?

  • Do the links go to a site with content that is in conflict with your site's goals?

  • Is the destination site associated with any controversy or suspicious business practice?

It will be interesting to see if Ellen's web site becomes the norm rather than the exception--a non-gambling web site with significant and prominent gambling content. If you want to join this club, take some time to think it over before you make a move.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to write newsletter and blog articles using a few basic templates

Writing articles for a newsletter or a blog is easy if you are really motivated and enthusiastic about the subject. But even the most motivated and knowledgeable person on a subject can use some guidelines to make the process of writing the article a little smoother.

One way to do that is to use a template to give you a basic structure for writing your article. Just as you can use the format of a recipe to describe how to make thousands of different dishes, a template can give you a basic structure that will make it easier to create many different kinds of articles. To take the recipe example a bit further, you don't need to use a recipe to bake a cake, but if you don't use one, you have a greater chance of missing a step and messing up the final result.

The blog for the site provides several different templates for making different types of articles, including how-to articles, year in review articles, and articles with a holiday themes. If you write articles on a regular basis and you want to avoid making basic mistakes that may make your article less useful for our audience, take the time to check it out.

Learn from good examples
In addition to checking out some of the templates offered by, you can visit their main site and check out their archive of thousands of articles in dozens of subject areas. If you come across an article in an area that interests you, and the article seems to be very well writing, then use that article, in addition to an appropriate template, to guide your own writing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

US National Archives Channel as a Resource

One of the great things about most of the output of the US federal government is that it is in the public domain, meaning you can use it without cost and without asking permission. One of the great resources for this kind of material is the US National Archives, which also has a YouTube channel featuring a number of films going back to before WWII. If you see something that you want to use, for example some audio or video content to add to your project, go ahead and take it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Check for User Name Availabilty

Problem: You have a great idea for a user name to use on a bunch of social networking services, but you don't want to start signing up for services just to find out that the name was already taken.

Solution: Go to to see if the user name or URL you want to use on is available on the more popular social media services. The home page lists dozens of services. You just plug in the name and in seconds you see what's available.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great Conversation about Online Marketing and Measuring

Avinash Kaushik is one of the world's most influential people in the world of online marketing. He is the author of two very important books on web analytics, and is one the forces behind the Google web analytics package. No matter how much you know about online marketing and measuring, Avinash will open your eyes a little bit more. Check out Mitch Joel's Six Degrees of Separation podcast featuring Avinash.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Does Getting an Inbound Link Do for a Site?

The other day, one of the web site owners that works with me asked a simple question: What benefit does a site owner get from having a simple inbound link? It was a simple question without a simple answer. The short answer is that I'm not sure, but I have a general idea of how an inbound link can benefit a web site, but as you will see, it is about a lot more than just links.

I've had over a decade working in online advertising, including a few months in a failed start up that had a business model that required a flood of advertising dollars to succeed (actually, a moderate flow of dollars followed by an IPO in the pre-Internet bust years would have been been perfectly acceptable to the owners), and my most recent experiences developing online content and marketing web sites,my opinion is that there are two benefits to the site that is the target of the link: a small amount of traffic from the the site hosting the link, and a small boost in the influence the site has within the algorithms that run search engines, especially the major engines like Google and Bing.

Although the boost to the search engine algorithms is small, the cumulative effect of all incoming links can be quite significant. If inbound links are combined with other efforts, such as creating a web site with compelling content and incorporating a number of other often subtle efforts both on a web site and outside of a web site (for example, having a related network of blogs or other social media, and perhaps marketing the site outside of the Internet), then that site may become a first page or even a number one result for relevant searches on major search engines.

As many of you know, I've run the site, for almost 14 years. I've done many things to make that site a useful resource for airline safety information, and the site and my related online efforts often bubble up to the top of relevant search results (see what happens if you search for 'airline safety'). It has literally hundreds of links pointing to it from around the web, and it gets traffic from a variety of sources, included articles in traditional printed publications both large and small (usually very, very small).

The site was up for several years before I even knew what the word SEO meant. While my design and development process happened to have many elements currently associated with optimizing a web site for search engines (keyword use, linking to relevant content, etc,), my objective for the site was to make it useful for its audience. To do that I was constantly improving the content, looking to see what the competition was doing, and taking advantage of online technology developments.

In the last few years, some of the changes to the site were subtle, like updating HTML tags and changing the naming structure of URLs to be more search engine friendly, but most have been outside of the site. Among the major changes was creating separate online content such as podcasts, opt-in mailing lists, online videos, blogs, and other social media resources like Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds to enhance traffic to the main site. While some of those resources had the option of creating relevant direct links, most of them indirectly increased awareness of the main site, which in turn may have caused others to place links to the site form other web sites, from online news articles, and other locations.

The site has many natural advantages that have come with time, the development of closely related online content, and audience familiarity. Newer sites that don't have these advantages can make up for it in part by creating a large number of inbound links from relevant locations. Some site owners literally place a lot of value in these links, given the very active market for text link online advertising. While these kinds of links may turn out to be useful, the benefit would be much greater if the site owners combine those inbound links with useful and compelling content, a site design that makes the site more attractive to search engines, and other efforts to expand the audience for what the site has to offer.

Evolution of Social Media at (7:01)
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Most Important Search Engine Ranking Factors

The search engine world is constantly evolving with respect to what factors will get your contact to rank highly on the major search engines. Whatever worked last year may not work that well this year. While no one person knows all the answers, there are some organizations that try to figure those answers out for the rest of us who are trying to get our minds around the most important things to know about search engine marketing and search engine optimization.

Every two years, SEOmoz surveys top SEO experts worldwide on their opinions of what elements drive search engine rankings. Their 2010 survey asked 72 search engine optimization experts to rate more than 100 search ranking factors, and also asked them about the most important hot issues in the SEO field.

Top 4 Positive Factors
According to the survey, the top four things that will enhance your search engine results are:
  1. External links containing keywords that are relevant to your site
  2. Having quality and quantity of your external links
  3. Having a diversity of your link sources (unique domain names)
  4. Using your site's keyword in the title tag

For more details on the survey, including things that affect your site's search engine rank that have nothing to do with keywords, check out the details of the study.

For more insights about this survey, check out this recent podcast from Marketing over Coffee, one of my favorite sources for insights about online marketing trends.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama vs. iPad - No Contest on Twitter

This past week saw two very high profile events dominate the mainstream media, President Obama's State of the Union address, and the public unveiling of Apple's iPad. After exploring the interesting Twitter relationship between Mariah Carey's and her breasts, we decided to ask a different question: What did Twitter users talk about more this week, Obama or the iPad?

As the Trendistic chart below for 27-29 January 2010 illustrates, there was no contest:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review of the Podcast for the Book "Read This First!"

I just had an informative few minutes listening to the first chapter of Ron Ploof's new book Read This First!. The book was made for people, especially corporate managers or anyone involved with marketing, who are faced with the challenge of dealing with new media like Twitter, YouTube, or podcasting, but have very little idea of what it is all about.

While Ron Ploof's book may not answer all of your questions, he does make it easy to for you to get in touch with his ideas. You can read the book, or be like me and listen to the podcast for free. Podcasts are a mystery to you? No, problem, just go to and play the chapters right on the site.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How Studying the NFL and Mariah Carey's Breasts Makes You Smarter about Twitter

The recent O'Reilly and Milstein book The Twitter Book is filled with all kinds of fun things to do with Twitter and Twitter related tools. Trendistic is one of the tools mentioned at the end of the book, and it allows you to compare how words or phrases trend over various time frames, including 24 hours, seven days, and 30 days for the basic version of the service. If you register, you also have a 90-day and 180-day trending option.

Just for fun, I ran a 30-day trend for the words, jets, colts, saints, and vikings. For those of you who don't follow the NFL too closely, these are the four teams entering the final round of playoff games before the 2010 Super Bowl. As you can see below, there were spikes in Twitter traffic that happened on the days that these teams played, with the Jets, representing the biggest NFL market, having the biggest spikes three of the four weekends. The one weekend where that wasn't true, was the day the Jets beat the Colts, and the word 'colts' had the biggest spike. To see the relationships easily, you may want to click the [hide] links below the graph to take out one or more of the terms.

Jets, Colts, Saints, and Vikings Graph

A much easier to understand graph that tracks the words "mariah" and "boobs" over the past week (14-21 January 2010), with both spiking last Sunday. The Golden Globes was on Sunday, and Mariah Carey wore an outfit that made it very, very, very easy to notice her breasts. The graph shows a not too surprising traffic relationship.

Mariah vs. Boobs

To see why this may be so, check out the following shot from the Golden Globes.

You may ask why do the comparison on 'boobs' and not 'breasts,' 'tits,' or any of a number of other well-known terms for female breasts. The answer is that when it 'boobs' was a far more popular term during the week the Golden Globes aired. However, the popularity of 'boobs' as a Twitter term rises and falls, as this 30-day trend for 'boobs,' 'tits,' and 'breasts' for 23 December 2009 - 21 January 2010 shows.

Breasts vs. Tits vs. Boobs

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Four Good Resources on Fair Use

One of the best recources anyone has when it comes to creating for web sites, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and other content is the concept of fair use. Under some circumstances, the concept of fair use gives you the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment.

Three publications from American University's Center for Social Media provide a very good overveiw of many fair use issues that should interest creators of online content.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video helps helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use.

This document also tackles some common myths about fair use:

- If I'm not making any money off it it's fair use.
- If I'm making any money off it (or trying to), it's not fair use.
- Fair use can't be entertaining.
- If I try to license material, I've given up my chance to use fair use.
- I really need a lawyer to make the call on fair use.

The study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video brings some order to the legal chaos that is user-generated video. Because of easily available editing tools like iMovie, and easy publication options like YouTube, all kinds of coyprighted work ends up in other people's videos. Using many well known online videos like The Evolution of Dance and Leave Britney Alone, this study describes nine common ways that people use the work of others in ways that may fit within the limits of fair use.

The video The Remix Culture: Video Fair Use Is Your Friend (see below), explains why the Code for Fair Use in Online Video got created, and how the Code can help you create online videos that employ fair use of copyrighted material.

Other resources that may be of interest include the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Fair Use, which discusses what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the fair use doctrine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Resources for Finding Free Online Documents

One of the things that I do to track who is reprinting my online content is to set up a weekly Google Alert for various article and page titles. That is how I came across these two resources for finding free downloadable article: is an online document search engine that allows you to look for PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files. This service doesn't host any of the documents, it only provides a search service. Although it looks like this site launched only last August, it is already a very high traffic site, ranked as one of the top 5,000 domains by Alexa.

The site doesn't provide any information about its ownership or history. Although its servers are hosted by Google's servers, there is no indication that it is owned or controlled by Google. A article describes a test of the search engine with Google and found that the results for the same search was similar, but beyond that they had no further insights about this site. is a more narrowly focused document search engine, focusing only on PDF files. It provides more information to the user, including an index of previously searched files.