I don't say much, but what I do say, I say right here

I'd really rather work, than blog about working, but sometimes I trip across useful tidbits and like to share them.

You can stop me from writing further drivel on this blog by hiring me to make you somthing. Really, you'd be doing the online world a favour...

Quick and Easy 301 for Parked Domains and Dub/Non-Dub

I’ve been asked a couple of times about this recently, so thought I’d share it here.

The two most common times I have to use 301 redirects are in the prevention of potential duplicate content issues. The first is the old non-www to www (or vice versa) chestnut and the second is to prevent parked domains from looking like seperate sites.

There’s a nice little bit of code that can handle both of these, without filling up your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.pixelpunk\.co\.uk
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.pixelpunk.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

Basically we’re checking to see that URIs begin with www.pixelpunk.co.uk – if it does, all fine and dandy, our work here is done. If they don’t, we redirect to www.pixelpunk.co.uk/whatever_else_they_might_have_entered.

As you can see this handles both a request to pixelpunk.co.uk, which is missing the www, and any parked domains, say puxelpink.co.uk.

As always with mod_rewrite – your particular needs may mean you need to handle the two bits seperately, but I find this a good one-size-fits-all for around 70% of the sites I work with.

Neat eh?

Announcing: WordPress Guerrillas

As a few of you are aware, since launching PixelPunk in November of 2009, I’ve been fortunate enough to be continuously busy with projects.

In fact things have become so busy that on occasion I’ve had to turn down really interesting projects, which breaks my heart.

So this year, I’ve teamed up with my good friend and former colleague, Mr Samuel Jonathan Smith of Specific Gravity Ltd to launch WP Guerrillas.

We’re both crazy about WordPress as a platform and are dedicated to delivering brilliant design and super code, so if you’re looking to get your project launched in a hurry, why not drop us a line?

Huge thanks to everyone who’s helped make the last 18 months an amazing success!

Happy Birthday ORG

The Open Rights Group is 5 years old today! For half a decade they have worked tirelessly to ensure that the civil rights that most of us hold dear in the physical world are protected and defended in the digital world.

This year alone they have been tackling such diverse issues as the flawed Digital Economy Act, the secretly negotiated international ACTA agreement, and proposals for the BBC to embed DRM into their HD broadcasts.

Many of these fights are ongoing and there are many more on the horizon, so if you can, and if you care about civil rights regardless of the medium in which you’re interacting, maybe you could support the Open Rights Group.

I designed the 5th birthday icon for ORG as part of their celebrations and in support fo their great work.

Availability: Booked until December

It’s great to be busy, but it can go too far! I believe in giving my clients the time they deserve, so I’m not taking on any more projects until December this year.

Thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word and made PixelPunk a huge success this year!

Bag a Google AdWords Voucher

I’ve got two Google AdWords vouchers to give away, one for £50, one for £30.

They are for new accounts (less than 14 days) only and expire soon, so if you haven’t tried AdWords before, this is your chance.

To bag one, just submit a comment on this post. The first two valid commenters will be emailed the vouchers codes and expiry dates.

If you miss out this time, don’t be sad, there will likely be more in the next few months so keep your eyes peeled!

ShowbizSpy Site Redesign

We’ve just completed phase one of the site redesign for celebrity gossip site ShowbizSpy.com. They were already running WordPress (clever chaps) and wanted a zingy, tabloid feel for the new look. In addition to designing and developing the new site we also provided a spanky new logo.

ShowbizSpy screenshot

Disable WordPress’ Built-in Canonical URL

If you’ve upgraded to the 2.9 track of WordPress (and if not, why not) you may have noticed that the new built-in canonical URL function is a bit hinkey.

Thankfully most of the common SEO plugins for WP already handle canonical URLs quite nicely, so the best thing to do for now is to disable the built-in URL generation.

You can do this quite simply by adding the following to your theme’s functions.php:

# Remove WordPress' canonical links
remove_action('wp_head', 'rel_canonical');

Simples!

Flavour Radio Site Redesign

I’ve just launched a completely redesigned site for internet radio station Flavour Radio. The project required a new logo, a fresh web design that suited the urban flavour of the Hip Hop and R&B tunes and was built on my favourite platform, WordPress, with integration of their DJ scheduling software.

Flavour Radio Web Design Screenshot

How to be a DIY SEO Superstar: Part the Third

So, you made it through the basics in Part the First, tackled the optimisation tasks in Part the Second and you’re back for more. You have come far, my young padawan, and now it is time to reveal all the secret tricks that comprise the Jedi art of link building! Actually, it’s not that big a secret…sorry.

Link Building

Put simply, you get people to link to you by offering something that they want to link to. Yeah I know, it’s a pat answer, but it’s true. There are a number of things you can do to make your site linkworthy:

  • Offer something for free – knowledge, basic level accounts, a weekly comic…the list is almost endless and will depend on what you do and what you have.
  • Create a conversation – every industry has it’s hot topics, create a discussion about the issues that affect your market and engage your customers and suppliers.
  • Ask satisfied customers to write about their experience on their own site – it doesn’t hurt to ask and can be the start of establishing brand evangelists.
  • Create an affiliate scheme to encourage new customers, reward the referrer and the referee with a discount or other incentive
  • Sponsor an event, support a charity, get involved with your communitiy – helping others will encourage them to help you.
  • You can also look at partnering with companies and organisations that are in parallel sectors to yours – if you’re a commercial printing company, for instance, look to partner with local graphic designers. This is a great way of getting more business, as well as links.

There are other things that you can do, especially when you are starting out with a new site, the most sucessful of which (in my experience) is spending time ensuring your site is in good quality directories. Now don’t run off and buy that “we’ll submit your site to 10000 directories for £1.20″ package that you found on the web, keep your £1.20 and keep reading!
There are hundreds of millions of web directories out there and a huge proportion of them are rubbish, but there are some good ones. Directories I’d consider submitting to are:

Some of these are paid inclusion, some are free, but the common denominator for all of them is that they are carefully moderated. This means that a site has to meet specific quality criteria before it is listed and means that the search engines consider an inclusion in these directories to have some value. Because these directories are popular, you can also get some great referral traffic from them.

There may also be quality directories that are specific to your niche, lookout for quality sites being listed in them and see if they are properly moderated before you submit your site.

Needless to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities, spend some time thinking about your market and try to think outside the box. In otherwords…use the force.

I’ll be back with analytics, judging your competitors’ link strength and how to keep tweaking your site for further improvements in Part the Fourth!