Monday Morning Marketing – Must Have SEO Plugins For Your WordPress Website

Monday Morning Marketing – Must Have SEO Plugins For Your WordPress Website

Online Web MarketingSearch engines and search engine results are a major source of traffic for your website.  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best strategy for positive, effective search engine results!  One of the best things you can do to start you search engine optimization campaign is to install plugins on your site to help you with on-site optimization.  It may come as no surprise that there is no shortage of SEO and SMM plugins available, however here at Shadowbend Studios we have been using a handful of the industry leading offerings to great effect and would like to share them with you!

Yoast SEO
If you have only one plugin on your site, this should be the one.  From Yoast’s website:

“Since 2008 Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines. This WordPress SEO plugin helps you with your search engine optimization. Are you not entirely convinced? Yoast SEO is the favorite WordPress SEO plugin of millions of users worldwide!  As Yoast’s mission is SEO for Everyone, the plugin’s users range from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet.”

Yoast SEO is easy to use, intuitive and very very effective!

Download Yoast SEO

Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets
In my opinion, this is a fantastic and terribly underrated plugin!  Snippets are the portion of a website that Google displays in search engine results.  Under normal conditions, Google just takes a slice of text from the top portion of a web page and displays it.  With Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets YOU create and control the text that is displayed.  The plugin also works well with Yoast SEO for a great one-two SEO punch!

Download Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets

As I said, there are many more but these two are the heavy hitters that no WordPress website should be without.  If you’d like more information, more recommendations or you’d like help installing and configuring these plugins on your site, contact Shadowbend Studios today!

Take care,
Skip & Sandy

Microsoft Word for Mac image issue- Quick Tip

As a happy, satisfied and devoted Mac user, I’m legally bound to love everything that Apple does right?  Right? (are my lawyers listening??).  In any event, I HAVE noticed (as have a handful of my clients) that there tends to be an “issue” when you import an image with transparencies into Microsoft Word for the Mac (okay this really is a Microsoft issue….. Apple is off the hook once again).  Images imported do not read properly and can even show up as a simple black box.

Quick Tip:  Depending on the image and how you are presenting it, saving the image as a pdf file will correct most of the transparency issues.

Advertising Directories- the wave of the future?

Hello everyone….

I recently visited ClickZ and found an article that interested me entitled “Advertiser Directories: The Key to Successful Online Ads”

Now let me start off by being completely honest here… Online Advertising is an area that I am just getting my feet wet in and as such some of the concepts and terminology are a bit alien to me.

Having said that, somewhere around paragraph 10 the “light went on” and I went back and re-read the whole article. The basic idea was to take the concept of Advertiser Directories which are typically found in magazines, usually in the latter portion of the magazine there is an area which list advertisers and which keeps the advertising in the “main” portion of the mag to a minimum thereby allowing the reader to enjoy the content much more, and apply the idea to online advertising.

One of the ideas that was provided was the Marketing Web Site set up by Architectural Digest, which features not only straight forward online advertising, by mini articles which link to advertisers sites as well as contest and sweepstakes.

At first blush I think that this is a tremendous idea. Personally I am not a big fan of the current “crop” of online advertising offerings which seem, at least to these eyes, to be focused more on “glitz, animation and annoyance” then anything truly informative. Also, I had to chuckle when I read the article authors comment:

“If only I had a dollar for every time I caught a glimpse of an interesting banner just as I was clicking off a page, to search for it in vain (curse tight frequency caps). I can only imagine consumers are doing the same.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a banner ad that I was actually INTERESTED in, just as I was clicking off the page only to sigh and resign myself to the knowledge that it would take an eternity to go back and rapid click in the hopes of finding that same ad again.

While I haven’t sat down and thought through all of the ramifications of online advertiser directories, it just seems to me setting up a directory system where you have access to all of the advertisers that a particular site or company wants to promote and that would be topical to the site would be incredibly well received.

I can imagine a situation where you would have a site that is lighter in advertising content and heavier on topical content but included links (via the banners etc) to the Advertisers Directory portion of the site (or a separate site in the case of the AD example) where visitors could view all of the adverts together. Not only would that be more convenient for the visitor, but advertisers would know that, when a visitor clicks on the directory link, they are in the mindset of wanting information on a product, in other words…. they are there to buy a product or service rather than trying to find the clickable area on the latest popup banner that will CLOSE the window!

Take care everyone,

Skip

Affordable Web Design in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Epson Printer Universal Chip Resetter

Great find for Epson Printer owners
If you are like me, you own multiple Epson printers and absolutely love them. However, you may have also encountered an episode involving a cartridge that you know is full or nearly full yet the printer is telling you it’s empty.

Enter the Universal Chip Resetter from MIS Associates Inc. This handy and inexpensive (about $20 USD) device is a lifesaver when you consider the price of printer cartridges nowadays. Clip this on the cartridge and it will reset the chip so that the printer will read it as full. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers,

Skip

PostScript- The Final Installment

Here is the final installment of the PostScript article by Mark Barnes. …When lines join for example, there’s the question of how should they join at the point? If you “zoom in” on a line, the pixels are square, so a line is really something of a long, thin, rectangle, depending on your line thickness. When two of them meet at a 90 degree corner, for example, if the endpoint of their centerlines meet perfectly, then you get a little notch at the tip of the corner. Well you might not want that, you might want it to fill in that little notch. PostScript has an operator to define that. Or you might want a nicely rounded curve at the corner. It can do that too. PostScript is really powerful and you can describe pretty much damn near anything with it on a page.

Obviously it would be tedious to write a PostScript program every time you print a page, so that’s why we have printer drivers. Computer operating systems generally have their own way of describing graphic elements on a screen, so printing often has to interpret that and translate it to PostScript. That’s what PostScript printer drivers do.

Here is a quote from an article published TODAY that highlights some of the things I was telling you today about printing from Windows computers:
“Many people make PDFs in the application they are working in, and they print to Distiller or to something else, and what’s happening underneath is that the application is printing through the Windows print subsystem through a thing called the GDI [Graphic Device Interface] print subsystem. A print driver converts that to PostScript, and the PostScript gets converted to PDF.

However, there are a number of features that PDF supports that you can’t actually get into the PDF files through that route. An example of that is transparency. Applications like PowerPoint and Word in Office 2003 support transparency, but if you try to make a PDF from those, you don’t get that transparency information even though PDF can support that transparency.”

And finally, one last thing you will encounter when talking about PostScript: the RIP. A “RIP” is a Raster Image Processor. A printer must have a Raster Image Processor to take the PostScript code that defines what a human wants printed on a piece of paper, and map those lines and curves and graphics into the pixel space supported by a specific printer. An imagesetter may have a resolution of 3000 dots per inch. The RIP is a chunk of code and a computer in the printer that maps out what dots of the 3000 x 3000 dots in every square inch of your page get ink, and then sends that as a bunch of raw data to the print heads as they pass over the page.

So some RIPs are built into a printer. But since computers are pretty damn powerful these days, RIPping can also be done on a computer, and indeed, many companies write a software RIP that takes PostScript files and eats them, and do lots of calculations to figure out what dots to ink, and then spit that directly to a particular printer. They also build stand-alone devices that do this. Check out the Canon ColorPASS Z600 here:

http://www.canon.co.nz/products/copiers/controllers.html

It is used to turn an expensive Canon color laser copier into a powerful network printer, too. Look at this whole line of stand-alone RIPs here:

http://www.copydynamics.com/colorpass.htm

Neat, huh? -Mark
Well, there it is! I hope you got something out of it, I know I certainly did.

Take care everyone,
Skip

PostScript… Episode III

…100 scalefont sets the font size. Fonts are, by default, defined as 1 point tall. A point is 1/72 of an inch. So at a scale factor of 100, our font should be about 1.38 inches tall. But remember that font characters have ascenders and descenders, so the actual letterform sizes will be somewhat smaller, maybe 2/3 of an inch or so typical, for a 100 point font.

Setfont specifies the font dictionary to be used by subsequent character operators. Since “Palatino-Roman” is on the stack, it is used for the setfont operator.

100 100 moveto defines the location of the “current point”. The Current Point starts out at 0,0 in Cartesian coordinates, that is the lower left corner of a piece of imaginary paper. 100 100 sets it at 1.38 inches up and 1.38 inches to the right. This is where the baseline for the following text will start.

“show” is an operator that takes a string from the stack and paints the characters identified by the elements of the string on the current page, starting at the current point, using the font face, size, and orientation specified by the most recent “setfont” call. The default character spacing is set by the character’s width, which is an X,Y displacement that is part of the character’s definition. So basically, the line paints “Hello World!” on the page.

Finally, “showpage” transmits the current page to the raster output device, causing any marks painted on the current page to appear. After that, it performs some clean-up duties, like erasing the current page and re-initializing the graphics state (resetting the current point to 0,0 and the like.)

And that, in a nutshell, is a very simple PostScript program.

As you might imagine, a typical word-processor page worth of printed text an graphics is considerably more complex. Also, PostScript “painting” occurs on a theoretical page before “showpage” actually sends it to the printer. In the PostScript world, a page is “piled up” of its elements. So for example, if you coded a circle in the middle of a page and filled it with the color black, and then you coded a smaller circle centered on the first circle, and filled the smaller circle with white, the white would “overprint” the black, and thus you’d get something that looks like a donut on your page. This is a good thing, because white is printed on paper by *NOT* printing ink, and if it didn’t work this way, you wouldn’t get a donut, because the first circle would have been inked solid. Anyway, this a just a really simple example so you can see that a “real” PostScript program has lots of elements that handle lots of different things a person might want to do…

Cheers,
Skip

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