Posts Tagged Uniform Resource Locator

Cool Sites : Nike Better World & Ben The Bodyguard

So much for keeping up the planned “Cool Site of the Week” section on my blog eh? I haven’t posted anything since the 10th of June 2009 no less! Well in fairness, that’s because I rarely see anything that seriously impresses me enough to do a blog article.

Over the last couple of weeks that has changed though. I have found not one, but two seriously cool websites.

Both sites use the same “scroll down” interaction, but one in particular just blew me away the first time I saw it.

Yes that was the Nike Better World website (www.nikebetterworld.com) – now I know this site certainly isn’t the best way to approach web design from a usability point of view, but you can’t but respect what the creative team at Nike have achieved with this website. Not only is the vertical scrolling a pretty neat effect, the parallax effect just blows your mind the first time you see it. Technically it needs a well thought out vision of how it should work in theory, but coming up with the idea in the first place is just amazing.

Another good site on a similar theme is the Ben the Bodyguard www.benthebodyguard.com website. This has been around longer than the Nike Better World site as far as I know and it too is pretty impressive in it’s concept and delivery.

Both sites are using nothing else in terms of plugins – which makes it hugely impressive.

Check them out now, you won’t be disappointed!

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Convert Typo3 mod_rewrite rules to Zeus rewrite rules


We encountered a problem for the first time ever today and that was that a client wished to host their website with Register365.

Well that wasn’t really the problem, the problem was that the site was built in Typo3 and that Register365 doesn’t support the Apache mod_rewrite rules on their server because they use Zeus Web Server.

In effect, all the lovely mod_rewrite rules we use for making those lovely search engine friendly URLs on Typo3, no longer worked… bummer…

Luckily enough, the basics of Zeus Rewrite scripts are pretty straight forward, albeit daunting when you first encounter them. Register365 give a great example of how to convert a basic mod_rewrite rule to a Zeus Rewrite rule, this is what it looks like:

Mod Rewrite
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^[^/]*\.html$ index.phpWould convert to:

Converts to:

Zeus Rewrite Rule
match URL into $ with ^/[^/]*\.html$
if matched then set URL = /index.php

Pretty cool and simple we thought – but unfortunately when you try and strive to look for the best way of doing things, this was a little too basic for our requirements. This would have worked perfectly if we used the standard simulation of static documents within Typo3, but we much prefer the RealURL’s extension as it does a great job of handling the news plugin aswell as many others. So we had to go an extra step further to make it work for us.

RULE_0_START:
map path into SCRATCH:DOCROOT from /

set SCRATCH:ORIG_URL = %{URL}
set SCRATCH:REQUEST_URI = %{URL}

# We need to check for any additional requests in the querystring

match URL into $ with ^(.*)\?(.*)$
if matched then
set SCRATCH:REQUEST_URI = $1
set SCRATCH:QUERY_STRING = $2
endif
RULE_0_END:

RULE_1_START:
set SCRATCH:REQUEST_FILENAME = %{SCRATCH:DOCROOT}
set SCRATCH:REQUEST_FILENAME . %{SCRATCH:REQUEST_URI}

# RealURLs rewrites everything, but we don’t want it to do this for images, css, etc.
# So we must check that the requested URL are not to actual files, if they are, do not rewrite.
look for file at %{SCRATCH:REQUEST_FILENAME}
if not exists then
look for dir at %{SCRATCH:REQUEST_FILENAME}
if not exists then
goto QSA_RULE_START
endif
endif

goto END
RULE_1_END:

QSA_RULE_START:
# If there was a query string, we need to append it so it knows what to do.
# the same as [QSA,L] for apache mod_rewrite
match SCRATCH:ORIG_URL into % with \?(.*)$
if matched then
set URL = %{URL}&%{SCRATCH:QUERY_STRING}
endif
goto END
QSA_RULE_END:

Don’t forget you’ll most likely have to add this through your hosting control panel. G’luck!

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Facebook for Business

Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

There was a time when everyone believed that having a blog was one of the most critical elements to web success. In fact even today, I still have clients who have been informed by “buzzword driven web experts” that they must have a blog or else they are doomed to failure.

The problem with this was that a lot of businesses, for one reason or another, just aren’t suited to having a blog. Many businesses have only now realised that after many hours of painstakingly hard work, trying to create relevant and unique content on a regular basis is a lot harder than they first thought or were lead to believe. Never-mind the fact that they probably never once saw even a small return for all this hard-work they had endured. And just when all the “buzzword driven web experts” had convinced you to get a blog, they now have a brand new buzzword for you… Roll up “Social Media Marketing“…

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Social Media Marketing, but yet again I see more and more businesses who want a Facebook or Twitter presence without even understanding how they should engage with this new medium. And that’s exactly what it is, a new medium. Therefore nothing is proven just yet, but it’s clear from others success that Social Media Marketing with sites like Facebook and Twitter is a simple and cost effective way of marketing your business online.

So, how do you get on this Social Media Marketing train? Well why not let’s start with Facebook. Facebook has over 1 million users in Ireland now, so it’s very likely that many of your customers have a Facebook page or at least know someone who does. That fact alone is enough to make me believe it is a medium you simply can’t ignore!

To get you started, here are my top tips for getting your Facebook for Business strategy up and running:

  1. Create Your Business Profile Fan Page
    Even if you haven’t decided what you plan to do with your Facebook campaign just yet, get your business profile page up there as soon as possible. If you have a Facebook account already, it’s pretty simple go here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the instructions.If you are new to Facebook, it’s probably best to familiarise yourself with how it works and how you engage with other users. Sign up for a personal account and start adding your friends. Follow other businesses so you can see what their Facebook strategy is.One key point to remember is that you should NOT use your personal profile for your business. You should only use “Pages” for business  and “Profiles” for personal use.

  2. Claim Your Vanity URL
    A vanity URL is a Facebook website address with your name attached to the end, for example, our business vanity URL is www.facebook.com/2bscene. The sooner you can claim your “vanity URL” the better to protect your brand. Irish business will need 25 fans of your business fan page before they can obtain theirs. To gain your first 25 followers why not ask all your “friends” from your personal Facebook profile?  

  3. Synchronise with Twitter
    If you already have a Twitter account, you can synchronise your posts with Facebook. You can do this both ways, for example, if you post a message on Twitter, it can automatically appear on your Facebook fan page and vice-versa. Personally I would suggest the latter. Facebook is a lot more personal than Twitter. Twitter is a public networking medium, whereas Facebook is very much a personal circle of friends network. The last thing a Facebook user wants is their Facebook homepage to be bombarded with messages from your Twitter account.

  4. Include Links to Your Profile Where-ever You Can!
    Fairly self explanatory. If you want people to know about your business profile page… tell them!! You should include links on your website, blog and even email signatures!

  5. Engage!!!
    Like every other Social Media Marketing option, it’s all about engaging and socialising with your fans or followers. If you can think of your Social Media Marketing profile as one big networking event. Talk to people, ask questions, respond to their questions, give free advice etc etc. But again, be careful at how many updates you post. Try keep your interactions to a reasonable level, maybe one or two interesting posts a day.

There are certainly many businesses that are much better suited to Facebook than others – but with enough thought and planning you should be able to find an angle that suits your business best.

To give you an idea of how others are using their business pages to great effect, I have put together a list of some good ones below:

  1. Ben & Jerry’s
  2. Pizza Hut
  3. Victoria’s Secret
  4. iTunes
  5. Starbucks

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Fight duplicate content with the “Canonical Tag”

Duplicate content is something that has been an issue for quite sometime in terms of search engine optimisation and now Google, Yahoo! and MSN have introduced a new way for webmasters to deal with this issue in the form of the “Canonical Tag”.

In simple terms it allows webmasters to specify the preferred version of a URL. Using the Canonical Tag, webmasters can now sleep safely in the knowledge that Google knows that there is a preferred URL and that it should not penalise the site for having duplicate content to due an obscure URL structure created for programmatic purposes.

How do you use this tag?

Well simply add something like this within the head area of your HTML:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/page.php?idname=web-design”/>

More information

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