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Preview: Spy Journal Blog Tips

Spy Journal Blog Tips

Updated: 2007-11-27T19:43:05.518+10:00


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Its finally here. SpyJournal v3.0 was launched this week.
These pages will remain for archival purposes. However please change your link for this site directly to If you are reading via RSS please change your RSS Feed to for the whole site feed, or for a custom RSS Feed design your own.

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Create a Custom 404 Error Page for Your Blog

hen someone comes to a page on your domain that is no longer there (either because it’s been deleted, because they’ve typed something in wrong or because the link that they followed was wrong) they are shown the dreaded 404 ‘page not found’ error page.

This error simply means that the person was able to communicate with your server but that the server couldn’t find the page that they were after.

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HTML Source

Don’t be overwhelmed by the ample bounty of HTML tutorials available, each packed with in-depth expert advice, full diagrams and miraculous wit.

f you are just starting your illustrious HTML career, have a leaf through the two Starting Off sections, if you want more specific tutorials check out the Lessons, and if you’re well-versed in the art of HTML you should read the Advanced stuff. You can also get technical with the Scripting tutorials. Finally, the HTML Reference charts and whatnot are in a table further down this page. If you want to find a certain tutorial fast, use the Search box at the top there.

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The Discussion Network

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Conduct an About Page Audit
Follow the link for the full article
One of the key pages on a blog is the about page. This page is often used by new readers to a blog to gather information about you and your blog and based upon what they find on this page they could be making a decision as to whether they’ll subscribe to your blog or not.As a result, your About Page is a key conversion page on your blog and it therefore needs to be reworked regularly.

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A blidget is a widget that contains your blog. Other people can place your blidget on their sites, increasing your exposure.A blidget drives readers to your site.Many bloggers like to show support for the other blogs they read, and like to provide their readers with related articles they might like. Everyone who goes to their blog is instantly given a sneak peak into yours.Some of our blidgets quickly gain hundreds of subscribers — that is, hundreds of people put your blidget on their site, providing their readers exposure to your content.Every blidget comes with a metrics dashboard to track your blidget’s spread across the internet, see how many people are looking at it, and discern lots of other patterns.


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A snippet from the article:

Goals to Achieve in a Blog’s Launch Phase

Brian has put together a Blueprint for a Brilliant Blog Launch which I think will be helpful for bloggers in startup mode.

Brian’s 3 step process of starting a new blog is pretty simple:

1. Cornerstone - before launching writing some ‘cornerstone’ content that will be a great foundation for your blog. This means that when you launch your blog will have something solid for readers to read when they come and visit instead of just seeing a blog with a handful of flakey posts.
2. Networking - becoming networked within your niche is important if you want to grow your readership via other blogs and sites in it. This means connecting with other bloggers, building relationships with them and becoming a part of the niche.
3. Attraction - doing something to get attention will accelerate your blog’s growth. I’d suggest doing a number of things over a number of weeks. Like Brian says it could include writing a free report, writing some link-bait content etc

The launch phase of a new blog is one where you need to perform a balancing act between a variety of tasks and attempting to achieve a variety of goals simultaneously.

by Darren Rowse

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Adobe Acrobat 8.1 for Office 2007 and Windows Vista

Finally, after a long long wait, Adobe today released an Acrobat 8 patch that makes this popular PDF writer compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 programs and Windows Vista.

[Sorry, but no Office 2007 update for Acrobat 7 users]

Other than the new PDFmaker add-on for Office 2007, the second most exciting feature is the PDF Preview Handler - you can now view PDF files in Office Outlook 2007 as well as in Windows Explorer on Windows Vista without starting Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

And like Mindjet MindManager 7, Acrobat 8.1 too sports the new Office 2007 style Ribbon UI - we are likely to see more and more vendors adapting to the new Office Ribbon especially when their application is tied to Office applications.

Organizations who have shifted to Office 2007 may be desperately waiting for Acrobat 8.1 since the Save as PDF plugin, available for free from Microsoft, doesn't work with Outlook emails which is like a lifeline for most Office users.

User who do not have Acrobat 8.0 Professional or Standard version may download the new version of Adobe Reader 8.1 to view PDF documents.

(Amit Agarwal,Wednesday, June 06, 2007)

Happiness at work

Steve Richards (Jun 05, 2007) writes that "Over the last few years I have paid a lot of attention to improving my happiness at work and it's certainly paid off". Right now life is pretty interesting with the increasing acceptance of consumerization and work life balance and integration as important issues for enterprise IT. I can only see things improving as we see more people working outside the office, further integration of work and personal IT, more work/life integration, and richer IT experiences . Finally I am excited about the gradual recognition within business of the value of a happy workforce. The Happiness at Work Index 2007 Research Report provides a useful summary of the current state of happiness at work and the workbook provides some good tips if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the volume of work.

Steve Richards Jun 05, 2007

Join the B-society

Link to the B-society, check it out!


Link to FlickrStorm which is a better search for Flickr!

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Locate all site visitors. Fast. Free.

See at a glance where your site's visitors are located: instantaneously, even when the numbers are enormous! Visitors don't need to click on anything: just viewing your page is sufficient.

One thumbnail map on your site shows it all: We provide (free) the HTML that gives you a thumbnail map. When it loads, it increments a counter and shows the locations of all the visitors to your page, cumulatively (even for huge numbers). Clicking on it zooms in to a big world map, and (optionally) lets you zoom in to the continents, as in the example below.

Linked In A Box
LinkedInABox™ is a simple widget that can be embedded on any web page and provides a summary of your personal profile, as presented in your LinkedIn account.

Your log-in details will not be stored and will be used only to retrieve your profile details.

Text Link Ads

Publishers: Make more money by selling text based ads. Join over 20,000+ publishers monetizing their sites.

Advertisers: Improve your traffic and search engine rankings. Only TLA can deliver an ad that does both.

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State of Drupal (March 2007)

A recording of Dries Buytaert's State of Drupal presentation given at the Open Source CMS Summit at Yahoo! last month. The talk touches upon a number of points that the people in the Drupal community should take note of.

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Add a slide show to your website of your favorite pictures. has free software that is easy to use and create slide shows that you can then add to your blog.
Thanks Jon and Rufus for the heads up. Theres a good demo on their site also.

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Give away of the day has a great FTP application today thats free for the next 20 hours (at the time of writing this post).

If its not free by the time you read this, never fear. Go to Give away of the day and see what's free today.
RSS feed Give Away Of The Day

They also have a free game give away of the day website

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Quoted from Digital Inspirations
When you upgrade from Blogger v2.0 to Blogger v3.0 Beta, none of your earlier posts will have any labels and it takes just too much time and effort to label the old posts by separately editing them inside the Blogger web editor.

I have not upgraded yet but will be keen to try this out when I do.

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Google has slowly started releasing their beta blogger.
While I have not yet been targeted to transfer any of my blogger powered blgos to the new version I have taken the oportunity to create a new beta blog and will use it to publish how to tips and hints related specifically to the new beta version.
You can view Beta Blogger Spy here

One of the key differences is labels - or categories. I will be writing about how to use them later.

I will reference the posts there on here.

Here is the RSS (atom) feed for Beta Blogger Spy if you want that.

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I am using Delicious now for all my bookmarking and tagging websites as I view them

Check out my cloud here.
RSS Feeds are available for all the tags and you can also join my network if you want to share links.

There are plenty of tags for blog tools, web design and more.

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The use of style in your posts make your blog more readable, more professional, and likely to better keep readers attention. Following is a summary from Google Blogscoped.

  1. Use descriptive headlines
  2. Write in inverted pyramid style (a different suggestion would be hourglass style)
  3. Make the first link your main link
  4. re-introduce core ideas
  5. Use lists, images, tables, sub-headlines, examples, indented notes, indented quotes, icons, colors, bold and italics to lighten up your article and make it easier to scan it.
  6. it’s never a good idea to only use sophisticated words
  7. Credit your sources
  8. Mark updates and changes
  9. Spellcheck your posts, and read them for clarity
  10. Mind the exceptions

For detailed explanations of each point be sure to read the original article.

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Reprinted with permission:Here's the scenario: one morning you open your email and your inbox is flooded with emails that your site isn't working properly. Maybe your text or images don't look right, or even worse maybe your site isn't properly processing credit card transactions. How could this happen when you didn't change a thing? Well, that morning could be the morning later this year that Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 7.How are people going to get IE7?According to Kevin Yank in a recent issue of the SitePoint Tech Times:"Word on the street is that, upon its release (before year's end), IE7 will be pushed out as a forced update to Windows XP users everywhere, as was done for Service Pack 2. The move to IE7 among the end-user masses will not be a gradual migration, but a sudden and significant shift."One night Windows XP users will go to bed using IE6 and the next morning they'll wake up, install a routine update, and just like that they'll be using IE7 to browse the web. That means, that as a site owner, you need to begin preparing immediately for IE7's impending release.What's different about IE7?From a user's perspective, improvements include tabbed browsing, better printing, RSS feed integration, more advanced searching, and better security features, as well as a plethora of add-ons to enhance the user experience (similar to Firefox extensions).However, the most important changes that will have a more direct impact on how your site is loaded and displayed are:* RSS integration IE7 automatically detects RSS feeds and asks you to subscribe. It also gives you the option to have IE7 auto-check for feed updates (even when it's not running). Is your feed properly recognized by IE7?* Updated CSS behavior the IE7 team worked very closely with the W3C workgroup to ensure standards compliance. They made over 200 changes from IE6 to become compliant with CSS2.1. Even if your site is standards compliant, it may not be rendered exactly the same as it is in IE6 or Firefox.* AJAX XMLHTTP Request changes the IE blog states: "to have your cross-browser AJAX work better with IE7, you really should be invoking the native XMLHttpRequest (the cross-browser one) first to see if its available before instantiating the ActiveX control, instead of the other way around."* Added security features everything from more secure SSL defaults to disabling most Active X controls by default has been changed to help make the user's browsing experience more secure. These changes could drastically change your users browsing and purchasing experience.You can get full details on all of the changes by visiting the IE Blog.What should you do?The only way to know for sure how your site will work in Internet Explorer 7 is to download it and try. The IE7 team recently released Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), which can be downloaded on the Internet Explorer web site. I'd recommend downloading IE7 on a computer other than your primary machine (you still want IE6 on your primary machine at least until IE7 is officially launched). RC1 is essentially the final version of how IE7 will display sites when launched, so if your site passes the test now you'll likely be OK when IE7 is released for real.In testing my sites there were a few instances where my site worked flawlessly in Firefox and IE6, but had small problems in IE7. The changes I needed to make were minimal, but regardless of how well you code there could still be some potential problems. It's better to find and fix them now than to wake up one morning and have hundreds of customer complaints!------------------------------------[...]

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Here are some links to free sharepoint webparts. I haven't tried these yet - but will use this as a resource as we slowly add parts to our internal sharepoint site. Will update this when I do.
Bob Mixon
M Kruger

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Reprinted with permission.It is interesting to think that out of the numerous ways in which business owners can advertise their products and services, many of them neglect to place their company's URL in the very advertising they are already paying for.Sometimes simply placing their website URL in their paid advertising is not that obvious. Here are 10 not-always-so-obvious ways to promote your Web site.1. Include your URL on business cards, stationery, brochures and other literature. As silly as it may seem, this no-brainer is often overlooked. You'd be amazed how many business owners either forget to place their URL on their business cards or don't think doing so is all that important. Be sure when printing your company's promotional and marketing materials, to leave off the http:// part and include only the portion. 2. Don't neglect e-mail and e-mail newsletters as a way to bring visitors to your Web site. Utilize the signature file option (company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address) in your e-mail program. Many business owners sign their e-mails with just their first name, nothing more. Moreover, many business owners still send and receive business-related e-mails using a free e-mail account or their ISP's email, like Hotmail, Yahoo, or Ameritech, rather than using their corporate e-mail account - another free Web site promotion tool.While it's a big commitment in time, publishing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter is one of the very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. Don't forget to place your URL in each newsletter you send out.3. Take a moment to use your traditional means of advertising to add your URL. Be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, magazines and more. View your Web site as an information adjunct to the ad - to capture the readers' attention with the ad, and then refer them to a URL where they can obtain more information and perhaps place an order. Look carefully at small display or classified ads in the back of magazines or trade periodicals. Sometimes these ads are more targeted, more effective, and less expensive than online advertising. Consider other traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, post cards, etc.4. Become an online expert in your field. Use your expertise to become an expert in your field and promote your Web site for free. Sign up for Yahoo Answers ( or Google Answers ( and answer questions asked by online visitors. You will have the opportunity to write your company's URL in your profile. This is a great way to gain additional Internet exposure as well.5. Issue press releases. When your business has a newsworthy event, send press releases to print and online periodicals. Use these opportunities to mention your company's URL near the bottom of each news release. There are many online PR Websites, including, and others you may use to promote something exciting happening within your company.6. Promote your site in mailing lists and news groups. The Internet offers hundreds of targeted e-mail based discussion lists, chat rooms and news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Spend at least one hour each week searching for groups where a conversation is taking place. Do not use aggressive marketing and overly plug your company, even if you see some people doing so[...]

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Reprinted with permission.While almost anyone can have a web site these days it’s much harder to have a good website. From design aspects to readable content many sites fall flat. Below I’ve arranged a Top 10 list, because everyone loves a Top 10!1. Detailed About Us page.The About Us page is a good place for visitors to begin building trust in your company.Include contact information or a clear link to a Contact Us page. Be concise and accurate. Add important information and links to other relevant pages. 2. Contact Us pageClearly link to contact information. Include every available communication avenue. Telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, and satellite locations should appear on this page.Label departments clearly to decrease frustration and establish stronger communication.3. Add News, Press Releases, a Blog, and/or Article PagesProvide fresh content often. Maintain content pages to ensure repeat visitors.Search engines seek out fresh content like users. To increase the chance of repeat crawls fresh, relevant content much be available. More crawls equal better rankings in organic listings leading to increased traffic.4. Relevant Page TitleSounds minute, but it’s important. “Untitled Document” or “Document 1” is not sufficient. Neither is repeating the title across the site.Titles should clearly and accurately describe your page. Use keywords in the title if possible.Remember, search engines display page titles on SERPs. Use titles to stand out.5. Relevant Page NameAlso important and often overlooked.Straightforward URLs are best, avoid “?”. You want search engines to find your pages. You also want humans to be able to read your names. Keep it simple and clean.6. Good Grammar, Correct Spelling, Sentence StructureAs important as what your page says is the way it’s worded. Relevant content must be readable or it’s useless. Provide users with readable type or they will bounce.Misspellings, incorrect word usage, bad grammar are all distractions. Don’t distract your client, captivate them. Also distracting, slang and derogatory language.Your site should build confidence. Avoid grammatical errors at all costs.7. Professional Design, Colors, and ImagesDesign should enhance user experience and ease navigation. Avoid clutter and flash.Colors should be inviting, not overpowering. Colors should compliment your brand, product or content. Be careful with text colors, text must remain readable.Images should be relevant, of high quality, and should enhance not distract. People images rate higher than other images. Consider image load time.8. Make Sure ALL Links WorkAn often overlooked no-brainer. Double check your links, fix broken links immediately.Checking links periodically may be necessary, especially for sites providing links to different sites.9. Analyze Log FilesData captured in log files is invaluable. It can also be confusing. Programs are available to help analyze data. This is one of the most valuable and least utilized resources available to you.10. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) CertificatesUse on sites requiring sensitive information. Do not use this on every page.Pages requiring e-mail, names, telephone numbers, addresses, credit card information, social security information or any other information visitors may not readily be giving up online should be securely collected via SSL.Kristen Owen, optimized copywriter, author and creator of ContentWorth, has worked in SEM and SEO for years. SEM and optimized copywriting services informa[...]

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Recently my web host server had a MySQL Patch applied taking it to version 4.1.21

This causes some bizarre problems with some Drupal installations - version 4.6.x. I have 3 sites that it is affecting differently. Fortunately it is only the main page (node) that it affects and so I have been able to limit the problem while waiting for a patch to be appplied.

Basically what is happening is that the main page posts have had their chronological appearance (from newest to oldest) reversed.

Discussion on the problem here.
Technical bug info here.
Patch to MySQL link found here.

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Technorati This is a great blog tracking tool - work out who links to you and what post. Great for looking up the people who link and then thanking them. This technique has helped me develop a wide community of friends and contacts in the blogosphere and the wider web as well.

Google SiteMaps Get Google's view of your website, and diagnose potential problems.
See how Google crawls and indexes your site and learn about specific problems we're having accessing it.
See how your site is performing.
Learn which queries drive traffic to your site, and see exactly how users arrive there

LastHalo Development Website LastHalo is a "last comment" sidebar created for Haloscan users.

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I am one of many that was burned by Blogger by having two years of drafts deleted when the blogger administrators deleted my account after I requested they review my blogs for compliance with the TOS. The lack of professionalism I experienced in the resulting e-mails and inability to talk to a real person prompted me to advise people to stay away from Blogger! With better solutions like Drupal and WordPress which you can put on a trusted host allowing backups and greater control of your publishings, the risk associated with a service like Blogger is not worth it.

That said, Google has made its first major update to the Blogger service since its acquisition from Pyra Labs in 2003.

Google Inc. on Monday launched its first major revamp of its Blogger service since acquiring it last year, adding new ways for bloggers to post content and to interact with one another.

Blogger now offers a comments section on blogs and lets bloggers post content through e-mail and create profiles of their background and interests. Beyond the new features, Blogger redesigned the user interface across its site and publishing tool, said Evan Williams, Blogger program manager at Google.

Doug McCaughan's personal blog is Reality Me and consults as Superior Internet Designs.

Update: The striked reference above may have been a typo in the date. C|Net has the same information with an August 15, 2006 publishing date. So, strike the strike. See also Update aims for friendlier Blogger (which they won't achieve unless they have fixed their customer service issues). From the horse's mouth at Blogger Buzz with an August 14, 2006 publishing date.

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KristyK has posted this fantastic question. I look forward to reading the comments. I wrote a lengthy comment myself. Hop over and give your answer!

I suppose I fear having my character come into question over some satire or by misconstruing my writing. The reality of it is I am who I am. I am happy with who I am. I live honestly and try my best to treat others kindly. I offer my words so you can know me for I have nothing to hide. [Source]