By William Ernest Henley, 1875.
Out of the night that covers me,
In the fell clutch of circumstance
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
It matters not how strait the gate,
That pretty well sums up my life right now.
My lovely wife bought me an iPad for Christmas. Truly a great surprise!
But what are my thoughts on it now that I’ve had it almost a month?
In brief “I love it”.
Why is the bigger question.
- I’m always doing things on my phone like email, browsing etc. Having the iPad makes life much easier to cope with than before. The iPad email client is great and allows easy access to my email from anywhere I can get a wifi connection
- Browsing is “okay”. The iPad, like the iPhone, do not support flash, so it is crippled on many websites. But after reading several arguments about why they don’t, I’m still on the fence.
- Size and portability. It’s so much lighter than a laptop, I really enjoy it and 90% of my work can be done on it, so I’m good there.
- Programs: I am “thrifty” and hardly buy anything, and I’ve had no reason to with my iPad yet.
- Games (yes programs): They have some really cool games my kids love and so do I.
- Netflix: Ok still another program, but it’s great being able to just haul it around and watch whatever I want in the house (Battlestar’s on Netflix now)
Overall I’m very pleased with it. I love having it at work to help me deal with emails during the day. I play games with my kids, and it is really convenient. I hear rumors of the iPad 2 with front and back camera’s, but honestly I have no desire to have those features. I love the one I have.
If my wife reads this, Thanks Hun!
I showed this video to my kids tonight, I told my oldest this is why we practice and this is why we work towards something we want.
Great inspiration (make sure you turn closed caption on, this guy ends up winning the China’s got Talent)
In all of my days in product management & development, I have enjoyed looking at how different companies split up the responsibilities. In larger companies, every piece of the product life is split up to independent groups. For example at Sears you had the business side that would decide what the product was and what it needed to do to meet the customer needs. Then you had the UX team that “interpreted” what business wanted and received business approval. Then it would go to the FED and to development, which would again cause tweaks and changes. In all it never seemed to allow the Product management to get exactly what they had asked for since collaboration was loose and not tightly intertwined in one cohesive group. Even though we had the same DVP the directors all operated separately. Going to development had a different DVP as well so many road blocks were put up there, but those were the technological boundaries. The boundaries COULD NOT be undone simply because you willed them to be gone. This made these more understandable. To prevent this make sure IT is involved in your product meetings and you are involved in their meetings (especially if they have SCRUM’s be there weekly and daily if needed during the beginning).
Final thought, remember no one is out to destroy a product internally. They all just have different concerns and it’s best to get them out in a kick-off meeting vs. during different level’s of hand-off’s. And the owner of the product needs to have the ability to be involved at all stages so they can champion, answer questions, and make changes as it moves along.
When someone is laying carpet in your house, they cut the carpet to optimize the square footage of carpet actually used in your floor. The remnant is what’s left over, it’s discarded and not optimized for rooms, but it’s fragmented and pieces. Same goes with websites. That is not to say you cannot try to be predictive with the revenue that can be generated by and optimized offering.
The ideal situation is to predict what you are going to sell directly and only then can you equate how much remnant will make. Funny thing about remnant, the less you sell the more it’s worth. Wish me luck
“I’m nimble like a grasshopper, and cast shadows like the moon.”
~ Daniel Coburn
I have worked in several different development environments in my time working on and off line. A consistent problem with any software is the developers inability to determine exactly what a customer is going to experience. Why? Because even if a developer creating a windows application tests it on Vista and XP, the customer might have a newer service pack, or some sort of add-on that might conflict, or a person is running bootcamp on a mac. While this can also be true in web development it works several different ways, both good and bad.
- There are so many different browsers you can regression test only so far before you have to say, “We no longer Support IE 4″
- With the addition of plugin’s to firefox you have no clue what the total environment will be, and there is a slight chance of a user having something “odd” going on.
But where you can control items is in your QA process: Development = QA = Staging = Production.
When I worked at Northrup and developed testing software for the ICBM program we knew that ever aspect of our environments were identical and we never had hiccups (ok once we did, but that was a low level windows configuration). But for all of our testing I knew that the data in test was only 1 week old compared to production, all the images in staging matched all 3 other environments etc.
If I logged into QA a week before a deploy I knew the page would look exactly how it would show up in production.
Why am I bringing this up? Very simply, it’s hard to test a product when you don’t know if it will match production. A particular issue I’m referring too is a server configuration that is really out of the hands of development, and really cause a huge SEO headache over the weekend. What was it? Imagine this you have several top level domains like www.danielcoburn.com and www.bethegamer.com, but for your testing and staging you consolidate onto one domain like: test-daniel.danielcoburn.com and test-gamer.danielcoburn.com. While you can maintain the data and images like I mentioned you lose one function that you would never look for except for today.
The development crew created a great single sign on for all of our systems, and they would share a cookie with the primary domain, in test no problem, they actually all exist on the same domain, but in production they are now separate cookies that could cause other problems. And we found one this weekend. After several back and forths with development we figured out the issue and why we were watching pages fall off of Google daily. The damage was however done, and we are now working to recover. But at the end of the day the lesson here is to try to get your environments 100% in sync if you can. If you cannot, be vigilant in your monitoring of your site, you never know when one will bite you, or you might “save the world”
Several months ago I post a topic on moving from one blog software to another and how I had to use 301 redirects to handle these issues, feel free to take a quick read: http://www.danielcoburn.com/work/updated-blog-software-and-behind-the-scenes/
Right now I’m faced with a fiasco of link changes occurring that are being defined by our UE group, vs. Merchandisers or SEO. A say that with a big side note: the people doing it are doing a fantastic job, had a very good talk with them today, and they are certainly doing the changes with good reason. But as I explained to them and many other people, if you change the URL and don’t tell anyone about it, you lose all your “friends”
The best analogy would be moving from one house to another. If you don’t tell your friends how to get to the new address they will never be able to find you. That exactly how our friends are on the Internet. If a link points to your page, either from another site or the search engine, you simply lose it, it’s gone bye bye. So even if you have little link juice arriving at that page you might still have some history and it will be lost. Remember a little history added up over time increases the amount there, so you don’t want to lose any of it.
What can you do? As the title states, use 301 Redirects. A 301 lets everyone know that you have a new address. All my friends know to pass all my birthday cards to the new address, Google knows where to visit me from and at the end of the day we are all happy.
How do you help taxonomists?
- You work on a tool that will help when they need to make changes.
- You tell them to stop (not always the best idea, or the most realistic)
- Make all changes go through and SEO Screen knowing that it will only have slight impact
- Do what we did at another company we made taxonomy a function of SEO
I think #1 is the easiest short term solution, a tool that allows taxonomist to invoke 301′s when they make changes. Educating them on the potential impact is step 1, step 2 is helping them with tool implementation in order to ensure solid forwarding, step 3 is to limit possible damage, step 4 is to make changes in taxonomy to the SEO better.
We are just starting to really dig into this issue, we’ll see where it goes from here. ”Do No Harm” is a great mantra, but sometimes you have to make a new cut to get rid of a scar.
In recent weeks I’ve been doing a lot of talking at the office about SEO lately, and how important it is to the organization as a whole. I hear many people talk about what I like to call SEO 303, which is “advanced” methods that involve link building, external content, on site content and keyword density. It’s all good, but as I’ve mentioned before you have to build the foundation of your site, in order to support SEO strategies.
In my previous post, I spoke about sitemaps, and those are imperative for you website, if you page isn’t index, it will never be found. But also if your page isn’t found, what does the search engines see?
Another foundation is to solidify your page not found (404) page and use it for good vs. evil. Evil is when you simply put a basic screen that says simply ‘page not found’, even worse is to forward it to our homepage. Where I am currently at we do both! If you type in site.com/blah you go to the homepage, but if you add an extension (site.com/blah.as) you got to a basic page not found error. These are is bad for a couple of reasons:
- If a link into your site is mistyped a person can have a bad experience
- If you have bad links internally you give the wrong information.
So what should a 404 contain?
- An apology
- Something that lets the customer know they are on the right page.
- A search box
- A link to a sitemap, to help customers and bots find their way.
- The proper 404 header
- A link to your homepage
An Apology – I someone got to a 404 page it’s your fault, either you changed a page, typed a link wrong, or have something pointing to your site that is incorrect. It’s important to let the visitor know it was a mistake and you are sorry for the inconvenience.
Something letting them know they are in the right place – A person that gets a 404 needs to know they are in the right place, either a logo, sites name, or whatever, simple is good, or simply make a 404 page out of your site skin for continuity.
A Search Box – The customer is obviously lost, either by their own fault, your fault, or a third party link fault, but regardless of blame they are their to find somethings, so give them the opportunity to search and get more detailed information on things on your site. This could be an ideal way to save a sale and get a person back into the funnel.
Link to a sitemap – Giving customers the ability to browse your site vs. search can also work to your advantage, not everyone wants to search, they might just want to browse. Never a bad idea to give someone a second option on how to find what they want.
Proper 404 header – This is not that important for humans, but it is very important to search engines and analytics software. Your server needs to send the complete 404 error header when it is delivered to a user. If it is not configured correctly, it will send a status of 200 which tells the browser and search engine that everything is OK.
Put a link to your homepage -The homepage is one of the most visited pages on your site, and there is a good chance that a customer is looking for that page. If you have your logo on the page make sure you make it clickable to your homepage, and also give them a link that states something along the lines of “Visit our Homepage”…