If there’s one often overlooked aspect of deploying a website, it’s email delivery. Sure, you take into account your website bandwidth, DNS, server performance, etc… But email always seems to come low on the totem pole. I suppose this might be due to the fact that it’s ubiquitous. You use it every single day and never really think about all messy underpinnings of it. And, yes, email as it is today is pretty much a mess… I like to think of email as a throw-back to a simpler, more wholesome time when people actually trusted each other. A time before messages from Nigerian princes and bogus pharmaceutical ads filled your inbox. Sadly, those days are gone and the once simple and elegant SMTP protocol now includes a huge pile of kludges and baggage that must be dealt with, such as:
When you think about it, it’s miracle that it works at all. Or perhaps it’s a testament to the resiliency of the original email spec, that it continues to chug along in spite of all the abuse that occurs. I figure it’s probably a bit of both.
On December 1, 2014 Mozilla rolled out version 34 of its popular open source internet browser – Firefox. This may not sound like a big deal as updates to Firefox come pretty frequently but what was included in this new update may very be.
The default search provider has been switched to Yahoo in the United States.
Since 2004 Mozilla Firefox has been in an agreement with Google to use them as their default search provider on the home page and the search box in the top right corner in almost all countries. This has been the main source of revenue for Mozilla over these past 10 years which had forced them to become dependent on Google. (more…)
As you may know we recently re-branded our company and along with creating a new name, website, and logo – we also had to change all of our social media pages / URL’s to reflect the new company name.
Thankfully these days most of the popular social media sights have special tools designed just for this purpose and I will walk you through a few of them. (more…)
UPDATE 10/19: Google has confirmed the rollout of Penguin 3.0
I’ve only got one anecdote to support my suspicion, but a client who was a victim of Negative SEO lost all of their top 10 rankings, and as of today they are all back 100%!
Backstory: This client hired us in December 2013 to figure out why their rankings and organic traffic had dropped overnight on Oct 5, 2013 (date of the last Penguin update). We analyzed their back links using a variety of tools and didn’t take us long to discover they had been a victim of negative SEO. We found over a period of 3 months there were random spammy links added to their site to the tune of about 20,000 links a month! They had never done their own link building nor hired an SEO. Other than these links they had a very small link profile, with just natural links and only a few.
Because the rankings and traffic did drop right in line with the Penguin update, and there were no warnings in Webmaster Tools of a manual penalty, we knew this was an algorithmic penalty associated with these links.
It took us about 3 months to discover and disavow these links, and the reason why is interesting. The links were not showing up on the page every time – they would only occasionally show up upon a refresh. Each refresh of these spam pages was filled with about 100 random links, and each refresh showed a new 100 links. So any link checker would find the links some times, but not other times. We had no choice but to continue to run a link checker, 3 different link checkers as a matter of fact, about 1x a week. Each time we would discover new links that we hadn’t disavowed yet. It was a brilliant sneaky black hat SEO attack.
By around February, we were confident we had disavowed about 90% of the spam links. But no recovery.
As we have all learned since then, a site must wait on Google to update the Penguin algorithm before any changes in rankings or recovery can take place. Unfair? Absolutely. Especially in the case of Negative SEO, which is real and does work. And in this case it took Google over a year to update Penguin. Imagine us reassuring this client that as soon as Google runs their update, their rankings will be back. “When will that be?” “Uh, Google won’t tell anyone, should be within 3 more months”.
In the meantime, we worked hard on content marketing, blogging for the client, getting high quality content published on their site and blog, building out Google Local pages, hoping that when the update hit, their site would be stronger than ever.
SUCCESS! ALL of their previous important keywords are back to the top 10, as of today October 18, 2014. Some of them even higher!
We are torn between being thrilled and being sickened that Google can allow something like this to happen.
AWS makes it easy to take snapshots of your EBS volumes. However, if you have many volumes, a way to automate and rotate snapshots becomes essential. There are many solutions out there to handle automated snapshots. One such excellent solution is the ec2-automate-backup script. Setting this script on a cron job, you can snapshot all your volumes in a specific region. Below is how I’ve set this up.
I have multiple EBS volumes attached to multiple EC2 instances. I needed a way to take a daily snapshot of all volumes. In addition, I needed the snapshots to rotate, such that only the last 7 days worth of snapshots would be kept.
I chose to create a small EC2 instance specifically for running ec2-automate-backup from a cron job that will backup the volumes of all my production instances.
WordPress can make for a great CMS, but sometimes it’s not always feasible or practical to use it for your entire site. One common scenario is to use WordPress for a blog that runs along side a site built with a completely different technology. However, a problem arises in this situation: What if you want to display blog posts on your non-WordPress site?
SEO has evolved so much during the past 5 years that we even renamed our company to Web Moves. I absolutely love some of the brilliance I read from experts in our industry— and this guy could have been speaking words straight from my mouth.
The present trend is that of mobility and the same applies to computers as well and that is the reason why more and more people are opting for internet enabled smartphones as they help them stay connected even while on the move. However, this has posed a certain type of problem for websites and website developers as many of them are not mobile friendly and hence not accessible through the mobile. The inability of websites to connect with the customers through mobiles could mean a loss of customers, which no business can afford. Therefore, website owners and developers have to work towards creation of websites that are available for the mobiles as well.
However, the task of creating or building a mobile version of the website is not very difficult as there are several tools that ease the process of creating mobile versions of websites. Some of these tools are discussed below:
With Google and other search engines increasingly trying to ‘humanize’ their algorithms so that their preference of websites reflects that of their physical users, there has never been a more important time than now for website owners to make sure that the content they use is fully up-to-scratch.
It is no secret to anybody that Google is a bit of a bookworm, with its head of webspam Matt Cutts frequently using his Webmaster Central vlog to point out that, while intelligent use of images, infographics, videos, and audio files helps a website’s ranking, the search engine is still hungriest of all for text.
Content should be viewed as the bricks and mortar of your site. If you view your website in the same way as your house, of course you want it to look pretty and stand out on your street, but there’s no point doing that if it’s made of sponge bricks and uses porridge as mortar. Nobody would want to visit such a house more than once, and it would fail in its purpose. Aesthetic features on your site should be there to accentuate its solid foundation of content – not in place of it.
On the Ecommerce Outtakes blog, we talk a lot about what not to do online. In fact, our main focus is to point out where websites go wrong—with the intent, of course, to help improve the e-commerce experience across the web. One trend we’ve been noticing a lot lately is a lack of good filtering and sorting options. It’s a widespread e-commerce epidemic, and it’s high time we cured it.