Reset your bookmarks for Bizquarium.com

As previously mentioned, I’m going to be covering website optimization over at a new domain. That domain is www.bizquarium.com. I know its been slow going here, and a lot of that has been due to the fact that I’ve been planning where I want to take things over there where I’ll have free range to cover anything under the sun that is important to helping bloggers, niche marketers and other webpreneurs make the most of their websites.

I’d love to see all of you over there or subscribing to Bizquarium’s RSS feed. You can expect an average from 3 to 5 posts per week or so as I’ve been carving out more time from my production schedule to spend blogging.

Also, please note that I’m building Bizquarium from the ground up over there, step by step. This is the embodiment of the long delayed Website Workshop. I think you’ll find this a great way to get the ball rolling on that.

Please don’t get turned off by the “default” look — that’s intentional. I’ve got everything planned out to make Bizquarium a pretty intricate website/blog and really push WordPress to its limits over the next few months. But I wanted to take a look at all the little decisions that are made when growing a site from scratch. So, right now — Bizquarium is just another WordPress weblog. I hope that you’ll join me in transforming it into something a little more unique.

Also, feel free to stay subscribed here if you are interested. I won’t burden your RSS reader any more here than I already have ;-) I’m still going to post here occasionally on topics that don’t quite fit either Bizquarium or SMOblog. Don’t expect it to be too often though.

I see a new domain in our future

Just wanted to give a shout-out to my long-suffering subscribers and let you know that I’m going to be moving the Website Optimization Cafe over to a new domain within the next couple weeks. Hang tight! In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of posts up on the SMOblog about BlogRush, the traffic building tool that is making a big splash in the blogosphere:

BlogRush promotes your blog while you sleep

Customize your RSS feed for BlogRush

I’ll still be posting to mblair.net from time to time after the transition, but its going to be quite a bit more eclectic, less focused on on web development issues an much more personal in flavor.

Take out an insurance policy on your blog

There are times that life throws you a bunch of rotten tomatoes. Chaos starts pulling your strings like a mad puppeteer. All of a sudden your blog hasn’t been updated for so long you can’t remember the password to login.

Sorry for the neglect and thanks for sticking with me.

When life throws you rotten tomatoes, why not make rotten tomatoeade?

While I was lying in bed enjoying fever dreams in Technicolor and Dolby surround, I got to thinking – why, oh why didn’t I plan and prepare for this. Shouldn’t a blog have an insurance policy?

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Grab your hammer and join me in the Website Workshop

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what would be the best way for us to explore together the many different techniques of website optimization. I think I’ve found an approach that should be a bit of fun for everyone.

Let’s optimize a website together!

In this series, I am going to build a website step-by-step that we can use as a central point of discussion for website optimization. This will be an entirely public project and I will keep coming back to this series over time. I’m hoping that by using concrete illustrations, it will make the process of building and optimizing a website easier to understand.

While it really stretches beyond actual optimization, I think it is useful for me to start at the very beginning and build a website from scratch. There are still some people with static websites that might be interested in taking the plunge and moving to a new platform. Starting from square one will give me the opportunity to talk about that and the many other decisions that go into making a quality website.

Now, here is how I can really use your help on this one…

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Happy 1st Birthday eMom!

I’d like to give a shout out and wish a Happy 1st Blog Birthday to eMoms at Home. If you’ve never visited, you should. Wendy Piersall’s is eMom and her blog is full of wonderful tips that will help you to become a better blogger. For anybody (including an eDad like me) that cares about improving their website, it is well worth it to browse her archives for an hour or two. She’s been doing some great stuff over the past year. She also has a wonderful personal story, that I think is quite inspiring.

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Social Media Optimization & Marketing (new blog)

I’ve just launched a new companion blog to this one devoted to social media optimization and marketing entitled SMOblog.

Social media optimization and marketing consists of optimizing the technical infrastructure of a website so that it is well-integrated with social media and marketing directly to online communities, blogs and other social media websites through a variety of methods.

SMOblog is going to take a look at what it takes for a website to successfully market to the social media in a positive, participatory way that is supportive of social media in general, and of individual communities in specific. I’m going to be striving to discern the good from the bad and the ugly techniques of social media optimization and marketing.

I’ll also be covering significant developments in social media from the perspective of the interested webmaster.

If you are interested in social media, I hope you’ll join me over there as well, either in person or via RSS.

Keep your website secure without breaking a sweat


If your website architecture is built using 3rd party software, such as WordPress, ExpressionEngine, or phpBB, it’s important to keep an eye on security issues pertaining to the software you use, or you could find your website replaced with p0rn or casino ads. (WordPress 2.11 users — leave now and read this. Hurry!)

Now even if gambling and p0rn is your thing, you probably don’t want to see it in big all over your home page with a sign in the center that says “h4CkEd 8Y 8R17nEY sPe4r2”.

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Does your domain name have a weak handshake or a crooked smile?


I was reading a great post earlier today by Aaron Wall that really laid out why it is a bad idea to cut corners on your domain name. He told an interesting story about how one of his domain names conveyed such a lack of credibility that when he tried to sponsor and event, they refused to take his money. This had nothing to do with the content, the look, or the feel of the site once you get there. They were afraid of the credibility hit that they would take by promoting his domain name.

If your website has an obscure, easy to forget name like my-really-funky-name.com, is it worth the time and money to change it?

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Google less stealthy? More link info for webmasters

You link, therefore I am.

Considering all the data that we share with Google, its nice that every now and then Google decides to share a little of it back. Today, Google opened up quite a bit more than they had done by sharing more complete information about external links that point at your website.

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Getting past the PhDs up on the watchtower at the Googleplex

Google does everything they can to keep crap out of their system. In a nutshell, the best way to avoid being caught up in their traps is to make sure that your website doesn’t even have a faintest resemblance to crap. If you want the long version, be sure to check out Joe Whyte’s list of Google filters and how to get around them.

Best advice I’ve ever received

This is driving me nuts. I was just reading Scott Horne’s blog (which is excellent by the way) and he’s got people sharing the best advice they’ve ever received. This is great because I love advice like sunflowers love sun. The problem is, I know exactly what the best advice I’ve ever received was but I have no idea who gave it to me or in what book I discovered it. I’m going to share it anyway, and my thanks to whomever’s idea it was.

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Yikes! Static HTML websites are headed for extinction

Website Optimization Toolbok - WordPress 2.1
Optimizing an existing website usually involves making just a few significant changes or additions to a website that leave it in much better shape than it was you found it. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have a few coffee-fueled late nights of tinkering and tweaking, but in general it’s not like you’re going to be sticking your website up on blocks and ripping its engine out.

Unfortunately, that is sometimes exactly what is necessary.

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Can Bill Gates teach your website how to talk?

Think of your website as your ambassador to the Internet. It must make a good impression if you want it to hit home with your visitors. There are a lot of factors that play into how well it will be perceived. I believe one of the most important is how well your website communicates.

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Websites are conversations

Purple OwlI was walking down a dusty road trying to get somewhere. I could hear the traffic from the nearby interstate, but couldn’t see any cars. I walked past an oak tree of some kind. The tree was aged from the weather and was scraggly from lack of care. Sitting on a low hanging branch, was a purple owl.

“Why are you purple?” I asked.

“Never mind that,” The owl retorted. “I’ve got something more important to tell you.”

“What’s that?”

“Websites are conversations.”

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