Monday, October 27, 2008
- Use of CMS or Framework: It must be the step one for the websites to have a better image. I sense either they are using a home grown CMS (Content Management System) or a self coded, self made system. Rather than that using a Framework based on MVC (Model View Controller) like CodeIgniter will help them a great deal in management and long term expandability of the websites. A CMS like Drupal or any other can also be used to manage the contents in a far effective and efficient way. Using a CMS will enable various facilities and add-on for a simple example changing the look and feel (theme/template/skin) will be very pain less.
- XHTML/CSS Table-less design: They say table is to show tabular data like no. , name, post in a table looks good but website layouts should be in XHTML/CSS. As mentioned earlier there are various reasons to use XHTML/CSS, mainly it is used to save bandwidth, get clarity in code to point some out. So with use of this tried and tested standard that has become the de facto in modern 2.0 web design and development the Top 7 websites can benefit a lot. Not only XHTML/CCS layout if they can build fluid or even fixed layout targeting 1024*768 px and similar larger resolution than 800*600 px resolution we could see the site in a better way.
- RSS: Stands for Really Simple Syndication. Wikipedia here defines "RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video – in a standardized format." Simply, RSS let's the subscribers know about a website's update as soon as it happens in their RSS reader. Some of the top 7 Nepali websites may not need it but Nepal News and E-Kantipur are in acute need of RSS in my view. If I can get the News in my reader, be it headline only as soon as its posted it will be great. So RSS should be a major feature the sites should upgrade to. It will also open doors to socialize web and be the key starting point in the website going web 2.0.
- Standard Compliant HTML and SEO: Sorry to state but the HTML used in the websites without proper styling and following global standards are not promising. As stated in earlier post the Facebook parser does not get the HTML so it yields unpredictable output when you add the link. I believe with use of out of standard HTML itself the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of the website will be hampered. Some site have OK URLs but some have very bad URL with search engine in the mind. Here also the sites can upgrade to better than what they are doing now.
- Socialize: You might think how can websites socialize. I guess all the 7 Top websites depend very heavily on Direct Traffic rather than search engine traffic and referring websites. If they follow good SEO these sites will get more traffic from the search engines. Another thing these wesbites can do is open up Facebook groups for the sites which will compliment the website. I would certainly join a THT (The Himalayan Times) facebook group or be a fan of THT page. Twitter updates about the website can also be great but it will be easier if these sites have RSS first. Sites like BBC and CNN tweet their stories then why not us. In this regard, these sites can put "bookmark this" or "Add this" button on the content to widen the audience via use of Social bookmarking websites. These sites will surely get more traffic by this method.
One thing common on almost all these sites is "Ad Sense" misplaced, very obstructive and annoying at times. They can place them in a better way I guess and other advertisement can also be put in a subtle way. I'd also suggest some good graphical interface with gradients and Web 2.0 feel in it. If they get more traffic by following above suggestion they can surely boost their earnings. I assume these suggestion are applicable to all the sites that don't follow current standards and trends :-).
Hope this post and its contents are viewed by one of the top 7 sites and they mend their ways. If not they keep this in mind and the next site they develop make use of these easy and free factors for heightened success. Really hope light of Tihar enlightens the minds of the developers of the TOP 7 Nepali websites.
All the links I've mentioned in this post at http://delicious.com/geshan/95
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here let's have a look at what makes Google stay at top in range and variety of services, acquisitions, and being #1 in the best place to work at in 2007. It is the best search engine, the best e-mail service and the best in all other things it has to provide if you take my opinion. Some people even think, if there was no Google there is no point in using the internet ;-).
- Simplicity: is the first and with doubts one of the most powerful tool in the Google toolbox. In this era of information overload one thing most Google products retain is simplicity and user friendliness. Not only online Google has simplified things on other grounds as well for example the Google AdSense PIN code you get, how simply the envelop has been turned in to the letter itself just flip it and get the code. The search at Google.com is also so very simple you only have a search box no other things to worry about just search it and get it.
- Variety of Products: The Wikipedia page here, lists some were around 150 Google products under different headings like standalone, extentsion etc. Google has a very wide range of products from AdSense to Maps to whatever you wish of. With support to it another Wikipedia page here, lists 50+ acquisitions by Google incluidng Blogger, Youtube and Feed Burner to name some. See the above pages and you'll be amazed thinking "Oh it is also owned by Google".
Not only does it provide services but the Application Programming Interface (API)s it provides has also helped developers round the world in great volumes. Imagine developing a Map component, it will multiply the time line you develop a web application but with use of Google Maps its easy. See the Google Product Map here, courtesy rustybrick at Flickr its huge.
- #1 Place to work At: Now this might not be so related to the topic but let me clarify "Google (GOOG) What makes it so great? Our new No. 1 sets the standard for Silicon Valley: free meals, swimming spa, and free doctors onsite. Engineers can spend 20% of time on independent projects. No wonder Google gets 1,300 résumés a day." So if the working environmet is amazing and workforce is great it is bound to give you great products and make our lives easier. CNN Money here tags Google as the best place to work at for the year 2007. Here you find the perks of a Googler and here, life inside Google. There are reasons for those 1300 resumes in a day. A PDF here, clarifies why Google is the best company to work for further more. So to all managers "A great work place makes a great work force that can win you lots of great work".
There are various other reasons why Google is at the top everywhere. Let's wish Google stays at top and provides us with all the services better them time and again and that all for free.
All the reference links at http://delicious.com/geshan/94
Sunday, October 19, 2008
- Social Network(s): Connecting with friends was never so easy, I guess you might have multiple accounts at social networing sites like Facebook, Hi5, My Space, Orkut to name some. But on the contrary the photo comments seems like personal e-mails and the wall or message board also seems to have things everyone should not know. Anyways you can build you web presense with some social networks for me I like Facebook, who doesn't its like your Generation Y identity these days, and yes it also has a cool badge to show off.
- A Blog: typically is a reverse chronological record of posts. Initially used as a online dairy but now people blog for various reasons. You might have a portfolio site but a blog is a must if you want to show you are Web 2.0 aware. For blogging there are many options like blogger, wordpress, typepad etc or you can host your own blog with wordpress or any CMS or a self made blogging system. Let the world know what you feel, start your blog today. Find here, the state of blogosphere as showcased by Technorati. It is a must for every blogger or a wanna be blogger :-). Registering a blog is not a big deal, updating it regularly is one.
- Social Bookmarking: This might be new area to explore if you are not familiar with names like Digg, Delicious and Stumble Upon to remember some. The simple idea is you bookmark the pages you like or want to see later on the web not the browser you are using and access it from any device anytime. You also share with all the users of a network as you have your own URL where you show all the links you save. I use delicious and I like it, for better use of these sites use the add-on tool bar that give easy accessibility delicious is the best in this regard, you can find the Firefox delicious toolbar here. Delicious also has a badge to show in your site or profiles.
- Micro Blogging: is the new wave in current web trends. After the advent and soaring popularity of Twitter, micro blogging has touched new heights. Mainly answering your current status or "What are you doing right now?" question due to easy of use and only 140 character limit, it has been used to maximum limits. More about micro-blogging here at Wikipedia. With the boom of twitter and its endless forms of use there are other twitter like applications but not as successful as twitter. Another thing is the API like that of Facebook which allows many different 3rd party to collect links, display stats etc of a twitter account. If you want to be cool use Twitter. Twitter is the coolest, its badge is also cool showing your latest tweets. You can tweet directly from your Firefox using TwitterFox add-on. Other twitter like services are Pownce, Plurk to name some.
- Professional Profile: Last but not the least, if youare professional then show off your connections, get recommendations, search for new opportunites at Linked In. With linked in you can link in with other professionals, join groups of concentrated discussion and learn more. Its similar to having like minded professionals on the web, fun to be a part of.
Hope to see your web presence assembled and then enhanced in a smooth way.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Wikipedia here, claims "Agriculture remains Nepal's principal economic activity, employing 80% of the population and providing 37% of GDP ", so still Nepal is primarily an agricultural country with loads of possibility in Tourism. Housing 8 of the 14 highest peaks in the world, including Mt. Everest the highest one, with countless picturesque landscapes, lakes, hills etc. Not only natural beauty, Nepal is rich in culture, history and diversity. When will we be tagged a Tourism Oriented country? It will certainly help Nepal fight poverty.
Other than Tourism there are various sectors like technology for instance. Nepal may not boom in manufacturing as it does not have a solid base but in service industry Nepal can excel. If a very good Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is used and with full commitment from all concerned parties it wont be long when the percent of people below poverty line comes to a single digit.
Without doubts there are various other sectors Nepal can excel and fight poverty, let's first hope for a stable political situation then the economic boom can be achieved.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The websites include News sites, entertainment sites, NTC's site may be due to the not working new web-sms and Worldlink's site. The websites in order as per Alexa's Rankings in Nepal:
*No screen-shots, place your mouse pointer over links to get the screen-shots via Snap.
The rankings are given below and Alexa informs most of the traffic are from Nepal for most of the sites below.
* Source Alexa.com as of 14th October 2008, link here.
Leaving all these behind lets look at the front-end (code) aspects of theses sites. Without doubts XHTML/CSS design has taken over the old table design, here are some reasons to use XHTML/CSS designs. But I regret telling that none of the top 7 sites use XHTML/CSS design they still follow the almost obsolete table design. I don't believe all things should be XHTML/CSS there are elements like forms etc that needs table but for the layout of the website XHTML/CSS is the new standard now.
Not only that they do not use any standard HTML tags, like the headlines or titles of the post are not even headlines like H1, H2 etc. Let's take a simple test, put a news or post anything from the sites below and post it to Facebook. The Facebook parser does not parse the title of the post/article/news, why because the web design standard is not up to the mark. Then try it from a blog or any popular site and look at the results the exact title and body will come in place while sharing the link or the post.Most sites have a fixed design not changed for a long time and targeted at 800x600 resolution ex Nepalnews.com. I assume almost none of the above sites use a Content Management System (CMS) or any other Framework. I don't know if the so called top sites have any thing to do with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but they have OK page rank.
It all boils down to a fact what does this portray about the design capability of Nepali web designers and web developers. If the top 7 sites have non standard and loads of errors to offer what do we expect from other sites. I hope all developers of the above sites come to know there are many tools, Content Management Systems (CMSs), Frameworks forJavascirpt, CSS etc etc which they can use to improve their design and even code at the back-end.
Hope we will get to visit better standard compliant Nepali websites in near future.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Leaving these things aside, when you blog on a platform not your own webhost you just seem to have the database space, so where do you host your other files and things. If you need to stream audio or video what do you do? You ought to let your visitors download files then where to host it as your blogging platform does not give you any webspace?? Here is a list of 5+ sites that will be very useful if you use blogger as your blogging platform.
1. Mediafire.com: This site is a very good file host. Allowing files up to 100MB upload for free, with unlimited space, uploads and bandwidth for free users its a great solution to host your files be it MP3, text files or PDF you need you visitors to download. Just register (recommended) and upload your files get the URL to download and put it in your blog posts. I've many files hosted at Mediafire and its a good service provider with download counter as well. The new AJAXy feel makes it fun to upload files. It does not provide a direct link, you can consider lots of other options but I find MediaFire suiting my needs.
2. Slideshare.net and Scribd.com: Both these sites are very useful if you need some I-paper on your blogger blog. If you want to host slides only like I've done for a post here, the description on the homepage reads - "SlideShare is the best way to share your presentations with the world. Let your ideas reach a broad audience. Share publicly or privately."
Scribd.com on the other hand seems a super set of Slideshare it allows uploading of word, excel, powerpoint, pdf and text files with support for open office files as well. For both sites you can embed your docs to your blog or anywhere. Like I have one here.
3.Photobucket.com: You might think Google's Picassa is doing a good job or why not Flickr. A simple reason is Photobucket allows hotlinking and most of the blogger themes have their photos hosted there. My last theme also had the needed header and background images hosted there. So photobucket with code to embed photos may be an easier solution to you.
4.Btemplates.com: This might not be a very useful site as the above but if you think your blogger blog is looking lame and needs a facelift then go no further. Btemplates.com (Runs on Wordpress I guess) is a great site to find a wide variety of blogger templates/themes/skins with user generated content(UGC). Templates are submitted and you can find ports of themes from Wordpress, Drupal etc. Good site to check out if you are in need of a template change, but keep your old template backed up and get ready to loose some page elements as changing template is not so easy in blogger.
Well other helpful sites are Youtube, to embed videos. I've been in search for a youtube for audio but have not got a good one till now. You might want to try Google Chart if you need some graphs on your blog.
A simple graph using Google's Chart API, showing three traffic sources :
Have fun happy blogging, may these sites help you as they have helped me to build a richer blog and better blogging experience.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
You can see the current rankings here.
Then I was again pleasantly surprised when my blog post of the Dostana Music Review made it to No. 1 in Google, see below:
It resulted in good traffic hike.
First week of October 2008 was great for this blog, hope we will achieve new milestones in days and weeks to come.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
- PathAuto: as the name clarifies itself its a module that gives automatic path to your content type/node submission. If you noticed blogger's blog post paths they are based on the title of the post, similarly Drupal node's path can also be beautified with use of this module rather than /node/x - x the id of the node. It can be like /news/mr-abc-won-gold which looks good and is search engine friendly also helping your SEO. Pathauto can be configured to give different path to different content types say you have news and reviews two different contents then you can give path to news like /news/[title-raw] and to reviews like /reviews/[title-raw]. See the settings page for more options on path/URL You can get the module here. See it in action here, look at the URLs.
- Ext Link: is short for external link, is a very straight forward yet useful module. If you have gone through the problem of scanning external links in you blog post to make it open in a new window then you know what headache is it going to each external link and adding _blank to target. But with Drupal just add this module, go to the settings page and make it as you wish too.
External links with icon indicating its an external link is also considered a good UI (User Interface) practice. So use this module to open external links in new window as well as mail to links. See the setting above and grab this module here, the output looks like of below .
- Scheduler: is a module that lets you schedule the date and time to publish your draft nodes. Put you published status to unpublished when submitting and when the time comes this module will publish it. It is very nifty module if you have post early and publish later like you go for a holiday and still make your site updated :-).
Its also handy to publish notices or greetings of festivals or any important things that you can't afford to forget on time. Schedule it forget it. But you must make it active in the content type settings then when you submit the node you can schedule it's date and time of being published. Note that this module depends on the cron run so have a look at the next module. Get the module here, settings on submit below.
- Poormanscron: is a good module to make your cron jobs run at specific intervals. This helps you with the Aggregator update and all other things that are cron depended including the scheduler and other modules. This module relieves you from running the /cron.php when you need it. Therefore grab this module here and relax the cron runs at the time interval you set it to run at.
- Views Ticker: is the best module in my view if you want to have a ticker (news ticker) in you site where you can scroll latest news or updates. Being integrated with views this module is very useful just select the view type to views ticker with the desired and off you go. You might have to do some tweaking to make it stop on mouse-over and there are some flaws but as it works with div and positioning with Jquery not marquee its a
good tool to have a ticker in you site be it vertical, horizontal or one that fades or is of the BBC style.
Get this module here. A ticker video is given below which I used for a website.
Hope you know about the 5 undermined Drupal modules and use it to maximum benefit in your Drupal site, keep on Drupalling.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
“Janey Kyon” I assume can be tagged the anthem track of this album which has a cool groove to it from the word go. Featuring hinglish lyric by Anvita Dutt Guptan it is a song that gets stuck to you head due to the simple composition, catchy arrangement and youthful lyric about friendship. Sung by Vishal, it’s hard to believe it’s his vocals, the duo has done lots of synthesizing in this track for sure which sound artificial at times. The beginning of “Desi Girl” marks the start of a can be item dance number. Effortlessly vocalized by Shankar Mahadevan and Sunidhi Chauhan, this is a fast paced track with India arrangement at start and composition to break a leg. The song’s music takes some retro and synthetic shades in the mid but get back to the conventional instruments. Lyric written by Kumaar depicts he beauty of a desi girl in comparison to “others”. Next “Maa Da Laadla” follows, with a strange starting this track surprises with the vocals of Saleem of the Saleem Sulaiman duo. Lyrics penned by Kumaar again he leaves no stone unturned to criticize marriage. The party feel still continues and the signature Vishal Shekhar speaks louder in this track.
A number that will keep you on your toes is “Shut Up & Bounce”, this is a typical Vishal Shekhar dance track with all the elements to be a party starter. Crooned in a brilliant fashion by talented Sunidhi and well supported by bouncy Vishal this song has the percussion to keep you up all night. Written by Anvita this song is set to be the next disco anthem. After some groovy and disco friendly tracks a light lullaby number “Khabar Nahi” is different from the rest. Effervescent lyric about love Anvita proves her writing skills with two totally different songs. Simple composition and use of acoustic sounds makes this song very easy on the ears but retains a catchy groove. It keeps you up to that extra mile “It’s got to be love coz it’s really got me going” part is really pleasant. Last track is “Kuch Kam” sung by the silk voiced Shaan in a splendid manner. Unbelievable but true over-active Vishal penned such subtle lyrics and the composition compliments the light love favoring lyric. The arrangement is also very minimal yet likable from the first listen.
All in all, Vishal Shekhar prove their mettle in this album with no remixes but the collection of four fast paced tracks and two slow light tracks to end with is first-rate. The singer selection is also very good with the new lyricists the duo has given a different taste in this album. If you liked previous albums by Vishal Shekhar don’t forget to buy this one.
Around 600 Words
Hope the movie will be good, for now just have a look at the promo of “Janey Kyon”.