Monthly Archives: July 2013

Atahualpa WordPress Theme – A Tutorial

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If you use the Atahualpa theme for your WordPress site you will find you have the freedom to customise almost every aspect of the design of your site.

After you have installed the theme you will find “Atahualpa theme options” added to the appearance menu in your WordPress dashboard.

I always start by setting the width of my site. You will find this under “Style and configure layout”. You can have a fluid width site, that adjusts to the width of the reader’s screen, or you can use a fixed width. I prefer to use a fixed width because text and graphics stay where you put them on the page. I find that anything up to around 960px width will fit most people’s screens without them having to use the horizontal scroll bar.

After you have set the width of your site you will want to look at the order in which things appear at the top of your site. If you look in “Style and edit header area” you will see that you can arrange a variety of elements – your menubar, header graphic, the logo area and a choice of spacer bars. By default Atahualpa puts the menubar at the top of the page, but if you prefer underneath the header image, you can move it.

You can set the appearance of your menubar in the “page menu bar” area. If you want your menubar to blend in with the background, match its background and border colours to the background of your site. If you like your menubar to stand out, use contrasting colours. You can change the size and colour of the font here too. I usually increase the font size to make the menu buttons more obvious for site visitors.

Next you will want to adjust the sidebars. With this theme you can have anything from one column (no sidebars) to 5 columns. You can display some sidebars on some pages and not on others. You can customise the background colour of each sidebar independently. You can also customise lines around the outside.

Then you will want to look at setting the style of your widgets. The options menu shows you a pictorial representation of the area that you are styling. At each step you are customising the area represented in green. You can make your widgets stand out from the sidebars by giving them a contrasting background colour, of blend them in with a similar or the same colour.

If you like to use a background graphic for you site, you can add that under “body, text and links”. Anything you add here will display in the centre column too. If you prefer your background graphic just to display beyond the margins of the site, you will need to go to “style and edit centre column” and set its own background colour.

You will want to design your own header graphic/s. When you styled the header area, you will have set the height of the header image. You started by setting the width of your site. You now know the width and height needed for your header graphic. If you use a fluid width, design a header graphic that is the widest width used.

You can”t import the header graphic from within the theme, you will need to use your ftp software to upload it to the directory wp-content/themes/atahualpa/images/header. By default, Atahualpa comes with three images there. You can delete these and replace them with your own. Make sure there are no spaces in your filename – if there are Atahualpa will ignore it.

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What is "Levels of Software Testing"?

The system is tested in steps, in line with the planned build and release strategies, from individual units of code through integrated subsystems to the deployed releases and to the final system. Testing proceeds through various physical levels of the application development lifecycle. Each completed level represents a milestone on the project plan and each stage represents a known level of physical integration and quality. These stages of integration are known as test levels. Levels of testing include the following:

1. Unit Test – Verifies the program specifications to the internal logic of the program or module and validates the logic.

2. Integration Test – Verifies proper execution of application components including interfaces. Communication between modules within the sub-system is tested in a controlled and isolated environment within the project. String testing is part of the Integration testing level/phase.

3. String/Integration testing – is both the detection as well as the correction of programming/code generation problems. Once a series of components or unit, which must eventually work or communicate with each other have been coded and unit tested, performance of an initial “string” test is conducted. This “stringing” together of the components or units for execution as a unit, tends to be a somewhat informal process directed at finding any communication or parameter passing problems which may not yet have been detected. Since different programmers may have worked on each component or module, or different analysts may have worked on separate action diagrams (for code generation), the possibility exists that problems such as input/output field formatting, switch/indicator setting, or expected status updating may not be consistent across modules. The goal is detection of these coding errors before a formal system test is performed. Adequate data must be created to demonstrate that proper field formatting, accurate parameter passing, and correct event triggering is occurring. A “sign-off” should not be given until the entirety of the connected/integrated units or components are working as a smooth, seamless, and error free module.

4. System Test – Verifies proper execution of the entire application components including interfaces to other applications. Both functional and structural types of tests are performed to verify that the system is functionally and operationally sound.

5. System Integration Test – Verifies the integration of all applications, including interfaces internal and external to the organization, with their hardware, software and infrastructure components in a production-like environment.

6. User Acceptance Test – Verifies that the system meets user requirements as specified. It simulates the user environment and emphasizes security, documentation and regression tests.

7. Operability Test – Verifies that the application can operate in the production environment. Operability tests are performed after, or concurrent with User Acceptance Tests.

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Using HTML Descriptions Tags in Your Web Design Project

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HTML Description Tags: Do You Use Them to Best Advantage?

Description Tags Explained by Web Hosting Provider

Let’s start at the beginning. A conversion is a sale. You, the web site owner, convert a visitor to a buyer. Point one.

Point two: Conversion rate or conversion ratio (same difference) are measures of the percentage of total visitors who actually make a purchase, opt in, request sales information of perform some other desired action from the total pool of visitors who reach your site.

The whole objective of a website is to convert and site owners spend hours and days tweaking their sites to optimize for conversion. But are they using all of the conversion opportunities available to them. Many aren’t.

Your First Chance to Convert is the Search Engine Results Page

A lot of marketers believe that the first chance to convert is the access page the visitor reaches via SERPs or links. Not true. If there’s a link on the SERPs to your site, and the search engine user didn’t click on it, you didn’t convert. Heck, the visitor never even saw your site.

There are a couple of suggestions for improving SERPs conversion, i.e. getting more people to click on your organic links. One is your site’s HTML <description> tag. This tag is part of a site’s Meta data and usually appears between the <Head> tag and the </Head> tag, though the actual placement is less important than what the tag contains.

The HTML syntax for creating a Meta description tag is:

<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT= “A great site to learn all about the fine art of beading. Beads from around the world.”>

Why the sales pitch? Because the content in your description tag is what appears below the SERPs link on Google, Yahoo or other search engines. Now, you’ll see some web owners stuff these description tags with keywords. Which link would you click on?

<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT= “A great site to learn all about the fine art of beading. Beads from around the world.”>

Or

<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT= “beads, bead, beading, beading supplies, beading materials, beading hobby, beading store.”>

Stuffing description tags doesn’t make a sale. In fact, most smart web shoppers avoid these links because of the gibberish contained below the SERPs link.

The Real Functions of Description Tags…

… and how to use them to best advantage.

There’s disagreement within the SEO ranks on everything. Part of it is due to a lack of reliable science. Sure you can test, but the rules of the game change every time Google tweaks its SERPs.

One point SEOs disagree on is whether search engines give any credence to the content of description tags. In an excellent, un-cited post on HighRankings website, the writer states:

“I used to believe that the purpose of the Meta description tag was twofold: to help the page rank highly for the words that were contained within it, as well as to provide a nice description in the search engine results pages (SERPs). However, today it appears that, similar to the Meta keywords tag, the information you place in this tag is *not* given any weight in the ranking algorithms of Google, and only a tiny amount of weight in Yahoo’s.”

Conversely, Danny Sullivan posts on Search Engine Watch:

“The meta description tag allows you to influence the description of your page in the crawlers that support the tag… “

Two SEO professionals with polar views. And, if you want to take the time, you can find divergent opinions on virtually every SEO topic, despite the desire of many SEOs to create a science out of something as amorphous as search engine optimization.

However, the point isn’t which SEO is right and which is wrong. The point is that there is little hard science to back up any aspect of SEO. The best way to determine the effectiveness of description tags is to conduct simple, single-variable testing that will deliver empirical results – irrefutable metrics. Something you can rely on.

Simple A/B Testing

While the focus of this post is description tags, the application of A/B testing is useful in determining which tactics and strategies work and which don’t. There are means for multi-variant testing in which several variables are changed, but if you’re just starting out and metrics analysis isn’t all the fun you thought it would be, stick with single-variant, A/B tests on any changes to your web site. You’ll get understandable, utile results and you’ll get them quickly.

Start by using a couple of top tier keywords in your description tag. These will be highlighted on the SERPs pages as a direct hit. However, avoid description tag stuffing. Bots don’t much care for any kind of keyword stuffing because it dilutes the relevance and usefulness of the SERPs. Still, you see lots of site owners who use their description tag to stuff with keywords. (See beading examples above.)

There’s Bot Territory and Human Territory

Bots crawl the HTML or XML code used to create a web site. It’s all letter strings to these data collector agents. This is where search optimization (designed for search engine bots as the name suggests) takes place. Below anything that will be seen by a human.

Humans only see the description tag on SERPs – but they do see it. Yes, the SERPs were machine generated, but a human is looking over those links now. An attractive, two-line description and welcome will draw many more site visitors than a tag filled with keywords.

Want proof? Don’t take my word for it. A/B test it.

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A History Lesson About Internet Radio

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, inventions of our lifetime is the Internet. It is a way to bring together millions of people from across the world to connect and share information. The Internet offers the user social networking, file sharing, music, and a plethora of information about every subject you want to know about. Radio stations have had to re-adapt the way they operate since the invention and technology of the Internet. Traditional radio has had a long history and now Internet radio is the current story being written. The history of radio online dates back less than twenty years and is considered modern history.

Online radio stations were first broadcast in the early 1990s and did not take off right away. The stations, or websites, had to invent themselves and be presented to reach their target audience. Some radio stations were streaming broadcasts of music, talk shows, and some Internet radio is also considered to be a music library of songs found online. Unlike traditional radio, online radio can be accessed anywhere in the world, and in turn anyone in the world can listen to music from another city, state, country, or continent.

Originally, the Internet was a medium for communication, education, and government purposes. As the popularity of the World Wide Web grew, Congress approved the Internet to be used for commercial purposes. The first radio program to be broadcast online was in 1993, and it was a talk show about computers and the Internet. A year later, the music industry would start to utilize the medium. The Rolling Stones broadcast their concert live on the Internet. After that, radio stations followed their act and started to stream their shows online.

As the music hype started to spread via the Internet, music file sharing and downloading spread like wild fire. There were a lot of controversies from artists and listeners because the music industry took a hit from decreased record sales and royalties. It was not until 1998 that President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which included laws to protect musicians and copyrighted material. This means that Internet radio stations have to also pay royalties for music. This also meant that music found online was not free and had to be paid for.

By the late 90s, there were thousands, and still are, of Internet Radio programs. Radio stations online stream live talk show programs and music stations. There are sites that are genre specific, play a mix of different music, and other that play artists that are unsigned by record labels. Having Internet radio has changed the culture and way that people listen to and find music. Bands can gain popularity through the Internet. It is easier to be heard and get heard.

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