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Holiday thinking time

Soon I’ll be off to southern France for a couple of weeks (so prepare for unmoderated forum [lol]). How I will cope with being away from the net (forums, email etc..) I know not. However, it’s good to take a time out, re-invigorate the creative juices, take loads of photos of the area, and think big thoughts.

The ‘big’ thoughts are about setting up a business as a full time freelance designer and developer. Not yet, but in about 6 months time. What I need to sort out in my head is an overall strategy, future plan (where should I be in 5 years), and what possibilities there are for partnership with a medical eMedia company I do work for. If I can think these thoughts casually and without normal day-to-day preasures, just a cold beer and a swimming pool (OK I’ll try to ignore the screaming kids, wife and in-laws) then perhaps the great ideas fill fall into place. Then when I get home, get it onto paper and them start approaching the right people for helps and advice. Keep you posted.

This is something that needs a link () but not sure how it works or what it’s for. Some sort of blog link thing.

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Waiting for Google

So this, FWDX and the Freelance Forum have been up for a while but still no Google PR. I know these things take time but surely Google has spotted me by now. I think MSN search like me. Type in ‘freelance web design forum’ and I get top spot! Do the same for Google and the forum is not even in the top 50. Likewise for Yahoo and AskJeeves. Funny that. In fact, ‘web design glasgow’ in MSN: number 5. The rest: dunno.

Added a introduction to ASP article to FWDX resources. Such a large subject it’s hard to known where to start. The best bet is really to link out to the usual sources of good tutorials like webmonkey and W3Schools.

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Conversion rates….

…or lack of herein. The conversion rate of a web site is a measure of how many visitors actually do what what you want them to do when they visit your site. Amazon want you to buy something, at the Xerxiam Freelance Forum I would want you to register and submit/reply to posts. The calculation is easy: number of visitors who do what you want them to do divided by the total number of visitors (multiply be 100 to get a percentage). The point is the freelance forum conversion rate is what mathematicians would term “tends to zero”.

The solution? Get out there and leave my linked signature over many forums. Keeps writing articles too I suppose. And just when is Google going to update its PR – I still have nothing I’m sure I could earn at least a 2 or 3 (well, maybe).

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Google world

I read that Google are filing a patent in the US for their latest search algorithm that determines the “truth” of a news story based on a number of factors such as “amount of important coverage produced by a source, the amount of traffic it attracts, circulation statistics, staff size, breadth of coverage and number of global operations” (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1509281,00.html). This may on the face of it seem like a reasonable idea since the web is awash with information that is of questionable accuracy. The problem to me seems that what happens when a genuine news story of real importance fails to get reported to the world at large because the big news outlets won’t carry it. This sounds like paranoia and conspiracy theory but you’d be suprised about what doesn’t get put out by the the likes of CNN, BBC, etc… Also, much depends on the cultural background of the news agencies. They almost all US/Europe based (in English). Reporting news like the build up to the Iraq war (or invasion depending on you point of view) was clearly slanted towards the “war on terror” vision of the world. And that’s the problem: point of view. The “truth” depends greatly on who’s telling it, and who you’re telling it to.

Returning to the main point, Google are in a very powerful position to control what the world at large sees as news. I just hope that the independence of the web (which is not strictly a reality anyway) isn’t further eroded into bland corperatism and govermental control. Control of information is what goverments like to have and they’ve never liked the web much. Funny how Google have happily colluded with the Chinese goverment to control what sites Chinese citizens can find. What about everyone else? I think I’m lurching into paranoia again and that isn’t the impression I want to give. I’m just saying keep your eyes open.

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Adding more articles

I’ve added: An introduction to relational databases to the XFWDX site. Now I realise I’ll also need an introduction to SQL go along with it. And probably database connection, querying and manipulation using ASP and PHP.

That work needing done aside, I think a useful and relatively urgent think to get done is to collect a pile of good related links, like W3C Schools, DevGuru, ZenCSSGarden, and so on. Get them catagorised. This will also mean I’ll have to restructure the Resources page. Catagories will just have to link to the list of links and articles for each. Nice if I could do this dynamically. And that makes me think I ought to have the links themselves stored in the database with the admin option of adding/editing etc… There just isn’t enough hours in the day!!

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SEO addition

So I’ve added a couple of articles on the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO). One SEO article is about basic SEO techniques that can be applied to the web site that you’re building. The other article is about using linking to improve SEO of your site (like I just did there – did you spot it?).

Still working building up the freelance web design forum (I just did it again!!).

In the meantime I need to get back to working on Maerex medical web design site, a VB.NET web application I’ve been working on for a while but has had to take a bit of a back seat lately.

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