WordPress 2.6 – Upgrade complete

We have successfully rolled out the upgrade to version 2.6 of all WordPress sites we host. The upgrades were smooth and the feedback so far is good.

If anyone has any questions regarding the new features in version 2.6 please let us know.

Regards,

The ThinkSynergy Team

Stumbleupon, part II (one month on)

Having used Stumbleupon for a month or so I thought I would write a post about my Stumble experience.

Surprisingly to me I am still a regular Stumbler. I did think this would just be another fad that I would tire of and uninstall, but it seems not. I am surprised by the quality of some of the stumbled sites out there ad find myself regularly hitting the Stumble button to pass a few minutes (or hours).

I must admit the main benefit for me is the sharing aspect. I hit Stumble a few times, find a good site, then immediately hit the “send to” button to share it. This makes it incredibly easy to surf the web with someone else, even though they are 5569 miles away!

I occasionally hit the “thumbs up” button, but mainly as it adds it to the bookmarks when you do that. In my mind making the adding of a bookmark default is a good move, otherwise I would be tempted just to hit stumble again.

After this relatively short space of time I am finding I now have a huge collection of bookmarks and have experienced an enormous amount of new sites that I never knew were out there. more than this, I now have subscriptions to a handful of great blogs which I check via RSS every day.

Thumbs up for Stumbleupon!

Ranking in Google, important?

A question we get asked all the time is “how to get on page 1 of google”? There is no easy answer but what I tell people is that is not necessarily the Holy Grail of web marketing, it is more a by-product of a successful marketing campaign.

Imagine you run a normal “physical” business in Harrogate (i.e. not on the web) and you partnered with a company who designed you flyers, leaflets, adverts or whatever it may be. Imaging also you were listed in the phone book. Would you rely on the phone book to generate your income, probably (hopefully!) not.

When a business starts up it is important to spread the word as far and as wide as possible. New start up’s get their adverts put in as many local places as they can and rely on as many mediums as possible, shop windows, letterboxes, local publications, word of mouth etc. In this case you would target local Harrogate publications, Harrogate Advertisor etc.

Now imagine the following:

  • The Yellow Pages: Google
  • Local publications: Harrogate Council websites and business directories
  • Letterbox advertising: Emails
  • Word of mouth: Forums, comments on websites, actual word of mouth!

Each of these are as important as the other, and a business cannot succeed without them.

Now imagine that the Yellow Pages would not list your business unless you prove you have done the other advertising too. Yes, you guessed it, that’s pretty much how Google works!

So, in essence what you need to do is focus less on Google and more on making your business a success. If you do the other aspects of your campaign right your Google ranking will look after itself!

You Comment, I Follow (what does it mean?)

I happened upon a great post by Sailor at Nice2all.com about speeding up WordPress the other day. As I always like to do when I find something good, I like to leave a comment and show some appreciation. I scrolled down tot he comment button and saw an icon in the corner.

Logo designed by the guys at Biotek

I did a little research (ok, I clicked on the icon in Sailor’s sidebar) and found this post.

It is something I have thought about before. Doesn’t it seem rude that you take your time to compose a comment for someone’s site and they decide that you are not worthy of a little “link love”?

Allow me to explain

The no-follow attribute basically means that although the link works when you click on it, it is effect a dead end for Google and the search bots. This means your own site will not gain from the link you just created.

This was originally designed to prevent spamming, and yes it does occur occasionally, but to be honest it happens if you have no-follow or you don’t. There are more effective ways of tackling spam without punishing the commentors.

For this reason I have decided to implement this feature on all my blogs, so that if you leave a comment you will get a genuine, Google enabled link back to your site. It’s the least I can do considering you have given up your time to post on my site.

If you have a blog and would like to know more about it, please feel free to comment, or visit the sites I linked above.

Thanks go to Sailor at Nice2all for inspiring me to do this.

WordPress 2.6 is out

WordPress have announced the release of version 2.6 of it’s software. There are some major changes in this release that will enhance the user experience.

Here are a few:

Press me now

A bookmark that when you press it opens up a new window and allows you to grab content from that page and enter it into your blog post.

Gears

This allows you to store copies of your javascript and CSS files locally on your laptop, amking working on your blog easier. This is great for low bandwidth connections ling GPRS.

Word Count

There is now a live word counter on the right of the screen… useful for some I guess.

Versioning

This is a nifty feature. WordPress now stores versions of posts, so you can go back and see what was done when, restore to previous versions, or even compare two versions. This is a great feature and very well done!

Gallery adjustments

If you upload multiple images into a gallery on your post you can now re-order them using drag and drop. Simple yet effective!

Theme Previews

You can preview what a theme will look like before you set it live. This is useful if you want to see what a theme will look like before you unleash it on the public.

There are a few more features in the 2.6 release that I won’t go into right now. If you want to know more drop a comment on this post and I will do my best to answer.

We will be upgrading all our customer’s WordPress installations over the coming weeks, if you would like further details on this please drop us a line.

Thermometer goals chart – FREE

We are proud to announce our new image based thermometer charts. Simply reference the inage on the thinksynergy server along with some variables and the customised chart will appear on your site.

In order to use these charts simply add the image to your HTML page in the usual format:

<img src=”http://www.thinksynergy.co.uk/scripts/thermometer.jpg?currency=£&template=4&max=1850&current=1525&text=Title” />

Note: If you cut/paste the above, please make sure the “” are pasted correctly, and dont end up curly quotes!

As you can see, there are some variables on the end of the image. These are as follows:

template = Choose 1 to 5 for different themes. We will be adding new themes and a gallery soon

max = This is the maximum (target) value of the chart

current = The current value on the chart

text = The title of the chart

currency = Enter the currency symbol you wish to use e.g.$

That’s it for now. Enjoy using this chart and please add a comment if you decide to use the chart of have any ideas for how it could be improved.

License: These charts may be used freely on any non-profit website. All I ask is you give me some feedback and a link to this site.

Top 10 Most Common Passwords

I came across an archived post by Stuart Brown at Modern Life detailing the statistics of the top 10 most common passwords on the Internet. It is shocking how lax people are with passwords. Are they so relaxed about locking their car or their homes, I think not.

What is it about the internet that makes people feel they don’t need to be secure? Is it safety in numbers or what? Do they think they won’t be “chosen” to be hacked? Who knows

Can you guess what the most common password is?

Click the link to find out

More Firefox tips – copying text

The more I use Firefox 3 the more I like it. I recently found out 3 features for making copying text easier:

  • Selecting Multiple Areas Of Text
  • Selecting Multiple Words
  • Select An Entire Paragraph

I will explain each one in turn

Selecting Multiple Areas Of Text

Select the first bit of text you want to copy, then press control (or command on macs) and highlight another area of text. You can continue highlighting different areas while holding control. When you are done right-click and choose copy to copy the text to your clipboard to paste into your document.

Selecting Multiple Words

When you highlight text you click and drag the cursor. To select on a word by word basis double-click and drag. This will highlight the first word and add words as you drag. This works really well if you want to select to the end of a line. Sometimes if you do this via the single click method you can copy too much. This way you have more control.

Select An Entire Paragraph

Simple one. Triple click anywhere in the paragraph.

Easy when you know how!