Web Jive - The Buzz on Web Development

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Getting Video off of YouTube

I had to go through the process recently of trying to figure out how to download video from You Tube for a video my brother was putting together. A process like this can sometimes be difficult since you don't know what to download and what's going to install spyware on your computer. So here's a sure-fire way to download video off of YouTube.

So, here's the process for taking video off of YouTube:
  1. Download and Install the Riva FLV Encoder here - http://www.download.com/Riva-FLV-Encoder/3000-2140-10320097.html
  2. Copy the URL of the You Tube Video you'd like to download (ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2kJZOfq7zk)
  3. Go to Video Downloader here - http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php
    1. Paste the You Tube Video URL in the textbox
    2. Select "You Tube" from the dropdown
    3. Click "Download"
  4. While still in Video Downloader, select "Download Link"
    1. Click "Save"
    2. Be sure name the file with the .flv extension (ex: mymovie.flv)
  5. Next, open Riva FLV Encoder
    1. For the "Input Video", select browse to find the flv file (mymovie.flv)
    2. Select the proper "Output Directory" for where you want the file to end up.
    3. In the "Destination video file" box, change the extension to the file you'd like to covert it to (ex: mymovie.flv to mymovie.mpeg)
  6. Finally, click the "Encode" button (this process may take a couple of minutes depending on the file size)

And there you go! YouTube video at your disposal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Online Sitemap Generator Tool

If you haven't heard already, Google, MSN, and Yahoo have joined forces in support for a single xml sitemap format - Sitemaps 0.9. In the easiest terms, sitemaps are xml formatted files that provide a way for a website to list the URLs (along with related data) so that search engine spiders can index the website in the easiest way possible. It's basically an easier way for us (webmasters) to talk to search engines and recommend to how we'd like to have our websites crawled. This is great news! There is now a common sitemap protocol which will alleviate the drudginess of having to create different sitemaps for each search engine. In light of this merging of forces, the big three (Google, MSN, and Yahoo) have announced the launch of www.sitemaps.org, which will provide details of the current release of the Sitemaps protocol and will include future updates.

OK, so now that that's out of the way, it's time to create an xml sitemap. This can easily be done in notepad if you have a site with a small amount of pages (50 or less). You just need to follow the correct protocol (syntax). On the other hand, if you're working with a site larger than 50 pages, then you may want to consider a sitemap generator. Google provides a long list of third-party recommendations. My personal favorite is www.XML-Sitemaps.com. It's as simple and inserting your domain and letting it take care of the rest. Depending on how big your site is, you may need to wait for a bit. Once finished, it will spit out a fully formatted and compliant sitemap in several different formats of your choosing (up to 500 URLs). Go ahead and check it out!

Related Links:
Google Sitemaps
Yahoo Sitemaps
Sitemap Protocol
Third-Party Sitemap Tools

Add to Del.icio.us | Digg it! | Furl | Reddit | 

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gears of War Trailer

I'm not sure if I would classify myself as a "gamer", but I recently saw a trailer on TV for the new XBOX 360 game Gears of War and loved it. The part that stuck out for me is that it wasn't just another commercial - it was remarkable and compelling in every way. Not only did I love this commercial but I had to find it on the internet and watch it 3 more times. The brilliance and creativity that went into this trailer is like nothing I've ever seen. The music was chosen perfectly and in 1 minute of time a story is told that intrigues anyone who watches. While I have no idea if the game is truly worth the hype, I have no problem admitting that I am now compelled to buy an XBOX 360 and Gears of War. The amazing part is that I know I'm not alone on this either...case in point - the music used ("Mad World" by Michael Andrews) has jumped into the top 10 songs on itunes within the last two days...it came out 6 years ago. Need more evidence? Gears of War has now become the fastest selling 360 game ever. If I wasn't a "gamer" before, maybe I am now. Check it out: Gears of War Trailer (HD)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Commit Spam Suicide with Email Marketing

So you're at the realms of launching a major campaign and you're realizing that your current email subscriber list is outdated and under-developed. You're confident this campaign is going to be a huge hit - that is if you can just get an audience to check it out. So how do you find and captivate a new audience? The decision of purchasing email lists is a process that gets abused too often. The truth of the matter is that your purchasing decision can really hinder your credibility and push you to spamicide (a status where you or your company is now associated with spam). Sure you can easily go online and buy a list of email addresses from a handful of vendors and move on with things, but do you really know where these vendors are getting these emails from and are they ethically responsible? Let's break it down - if the company you are buying the email addresses from is focused on selling email addresses, then take your que and leave. Once you've taken your ethical leap away from the spam vendors, here's how you build your list.
  1. Determine your target audience - I mean really figure out a group you need to focus on.
  2. Determine the established third parties associated with the target audience - focus on magazines, publications, websites, or companies of interest.
  3. Rent their lists - many third parties will be will be open to negotiating a deal in renting their lists. These companies will most likely verify your credibility before signing off.

Truth be told, some publications, companies, or related online businesses rent their email lists out for a price. Is this ethical? Most of the time - yes. This works because the people on these lists have already agreed to receive newsletters (or offers from third party partners) that have been approved by the company. I've been involved in email promotions where I've rented email lists and have had surprisingly decent results. The bottom line is that it is more ethical and technically "kosher". Overall, I firmly believe you will have better results and you'll be able to sleep knowing everything's right.

Few things to note: On many occasions you usually aren't allowed to send the email out directly. Don't worry, this is actually a good thing. You will need to provide them with your templated email in which they will then wrap their branding around the outside which states something along the lines of "This offer is being presented to you on behalf of ". Think of it as being introduced to somebody rather than introducing yourself. Your initial acceptance will be much more conventional and received.

Monday, October 30, 2006

18 Question Checklist Before Building a Website

So I came across a great article the other day called 18 Questions Your CEO Forgot to Ask When Building Your Website on www.stuntdubl.com. Not only does it hit the mark in outlining a "strategically correct" approach to building a company website, but it also provides some great resources with each source cited. Every web consultant should add this to their collection of resources.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Achieve Google Sitelink Status

About 1 year ago, while surfing the web, I came across a very bizarre but interesting feature in Google’s result pages with a phrase I queried. I noticed that the top result for that query was displaying 4 "meekly" named sub-links for the website. After doing some research, I discovered that they were officially called Google Sitelinks (aka - Google snippets, snippet links, or website categories). I took an interest in trying to figure how I could achieve sitelink status, so I decided to set my sites on achieving this for one of my client's websites. After 4 months of research and testing, I woke up on October 11, 2006 to Google's re-cached version of my client's site - it had assigned Google sitelinks! Whoo-hoo!
Google Sitelinks
I then took it upon myself to analyze what I had changed with the site since I set my sites on this... So what are sitelinks? As Vanessa Fox from Google puts it - Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for... Google claims that the process of generating sitelinks is completely automated based on the website's structure as well as the query relevant to the user. While Google has released very little information about how this process is truly generated, I have discovered some interesting theories concerning sitelinks. How do you achieve sitelink status? So Google claims that the process is completely automated, but I say that is false. The sitelinks under my client's site (as well as a few other sites) are not named in reference to their titles, sitemap links, navigation, or anything that I could find. The names are very clean, simple, and semantic. Somebody must be on the other end validating these and giving the final thumbs up. It is true that your site can lose it's sitelinks upon re-caching. In my research, cambriausa.com came up with sitelinks with the query "cambria". Then, just recently, the sitelinks were gone. I have no concrete explanation for this, but my theories lean towards possible broken links or decrease in traffic. The sitelinks come from the top-visited pages and the pages that have the highest PageRank on the website - false and true. Based on my research, sitelinks are a combination of the top-visited pages, most linked to, most funneled to, longest user time duration pages in addition to other significant benchmarks. Google may also be using it's toolbar for help in establishing sitelinks - possibly through it's "bookmark" feature. Basic Guidelines:
  • The site must show up #1 for a specific proper noun keyword (or keyphrase) - typically involved with a company name or brand Good: "nikon cameras" - Bad: "cameras"
  • The site must have maintained the #1 position for a substantial amount of time
  • The keyword (or keyphrase) must show up in the title and meta-data somewhere
  • Must include an updated sitemap - with no broken links
  • Easily spiderable and good, clean navigation
  • Additional pages must have a significant position in Search Enginer Result Pages
  • Additional pages have unique titles and meta-data
  • Site validates with few errors and few broken links

Tips & Tricks:

  • Avoid changing the site structure
  • Include an XML sitemap in your root directory
  • Heavily validate your site through W3C
  • Include robots.txt in your root directory
  • Create pages under semantic principles and naming convensions
  • Site achieves 1000 or more visits a day (on average)
  • Site must have a substantial depth of pages (25+)
What to do next? Focus on optimizing your website and establish a good plan for the sub-pages you'd like to include in optimizing. The great thing is that Google has expressed interest in possibly expanding it's sitelinks program to include webmaster input in the future. Resources & Articles: - Information About Sitelinks (Google Webmaster Blog) - How do you compile the list of links shown below some search results? (Google Webmaster Help Center) - Google Sitelinks: New Name For Those Links Under The Top Listings (Danny Sullivan) - Google Web Site Categories Explored (Search Engine Watch) - UI Fun: Better Snippets (Matt Cutts) - Google's New Sitelinks (SEO Buzz) - What are Google Sitelinks? (Jonathan Hochman)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Top Web Blogs

This is a compilation and repository for the best blogs of the web based on SEO, Web Design, Web Development, Web Marketing, etc.

Top Web Articles

This is a compilation and repository for the best articles of the web based on SEO, Web Design, Web Development, Web Marketing, etc. The articles are set in chronological order from top (most recent) to bottom (oldest) of when I posted the reference.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rondam Ramblings - Top Ten Geek Business Myths

I recently came across this blog posting by a venture capitalist named Ron Garret explaining the Top Ten Geek Business Myths. If you're looking to start some new business ventures then this is a must read!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Click to Activate Flash Fix for Internet Explorer

Click to Activate

So by now you may have heard of Microsoft’s latest “pain in the”…I mean “patch” for Internet Explorer. Whenever a user comes to a page with embedded flash content, IE will display a “click to activate” message when you hover over the flash object. Here’s the latest fix/workaround for getting rid of the “click to activate” pain in 3 easy steps.

1. Place the following code in an external javascript file called external.js:

function LoadFlash1()
document.write('<object classid="clsid27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab #version=6,0,29,0" width="701" height="214" noexternaldata="true">\n');
document.write('<param name="movie" value="flash/car.swf" />\n');
document.write('<param name="quality" value="high" />\n');
document.write('<embed src="flash/car.swf" quality="high" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="701" height="214"></embed>\n');

2. Put this in the head of your page:

<script src="external.js" language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"></script>

3. Put this in the place you want the Flash to show up:

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">LoadFlash1();</script>

This should remedy your problem until Microsoft comes up with another way to make web browsing difficult on us.