Website Design, Internet Marketing, DC
Written by Stu Kushner

Stop and Block Referrer Spam

 Website Design, Internet Marketing, DCI recently started noticing some new traffic on the websites that we host and manage. What was unusual was that the sites were showing up as referral sites on almost every one of our websites. Our sites all get traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo and such. But the 2nd and third tier traffic usually comes from more industry specific sources. So, when almost all of our sites were getting referred traffic from a single new source, that was a bit alarming.

We were the victim of Referrer Spam. Referrer Spam is created by unscrupulous marketers that create a network of web crawlers that seek out websites and create fake traffic to them. The traffic gets recorded into the analytic logs on the websites in order to fool the search engines in the hopes of creating higher page rankings for the marketers clients.

The traffic that they create does not physically harm the websites. But it might damage the page rank of your site if Google and the rest decide to punish sites that don’t protect themselves against these crawlers. So, I researched how to block the Referrer Spam and found that although I can’t keep the bots from visiting my client’s sites, I can keep them from accessing the logs that record their visit. That way the traffic they are trying to create does not show up in the analytics. So, it’s like they were never there.

Do you have analytics on your site? If you do, look for Referring Visits from the following sites:

  • .darodar.com
  • bestsub.com
  • buttons-for-websites.com
  • casinobonustips.com
  • civilwartheater.com
  • co.lumb.co
  • cukwiki.com
  • econom.co
  • entourank.com
  • ilovevitaly.com
  • make-money-online.7makemoneyonline.com
  • semalt.semalt.com
  • similarpages.com
  • webstatsdomain.org

We had three of these crawling around on our sites. They boosted the traffic but the fake numbers were not helpful. And keeping our sites clean and honest will boost our credibility with the search engines. So, I believe that this was an important task. If any of these are showing up on your site, call your website develop immediately and have them install safeguards against this intrusion.

Or, call us at 202-462-4290. We will look at your site and advise you at no cost.

Written by Stu Kushner

What Is SEO And Why Is It Important?

SEO successSEO, or Search Engine Optimization is essentially a methodology used to increase the amount of visitors to a specific website. By achieving a higher “ranking” your placement in the list of similar websites is higher on the ”results” page of a search engine.

Search engines are programs like Google, Bing and Yahoo! that rank documents a website by  matching  keywords and then ranking them by the number of  “hits” or “visits”, to that site by users searching for related documents and information on the World Wide Web.

Since the ranking is based on the number of hits or visits to a website, it’s essentially a “beauty contest” – the “most appealing” website is the websites with the most search hits and wins first place – that is, they appear on the first “page” of the search result.  In television terms, those websites appear on prime time, all the others are relegated to the “less popular” and “less watched” time frame. Obviously, you want your website to show up on “prime time”;

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Written by Stu Kushner

“Tuned In” or Turned Off?

A recent study found that 66% of online users have viewed an online video advertisement. Obviously, online videos have advantages for businesses. A video can visually display and describe a product in detail. And the display not a static photo but something that can be move and be manipulated virtually. It has depth and is interactive.

Studies have found that 40% of internet users who view online video advertisements have visited the web site mentioned in the video, and 15% subsequently requested product information.

Businesses also gain high recognition for their products by having ads circulating on the web. The most effective form of advertisement is a well-made video 

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Written by Stu Kushner

Why use a Parallax Website?

Why drive a Yugo when you can drive a Ferrari?

Parallax is the cutting edge for websites, and is perfect for businesses relying on the internet for advertising and building a customer base, especially for those customers just entering the market.  Parallax technology creates  a three dimensional effect that engages  potential customers in the same way a movie “scenes of coming attractions” entice movie audiences to see the whole picture.

Just like a traditional web site, parallax websites enable viewers and browsers easily navigate around your website each visit. First, Parallax sites look awesome.

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Written by Stu Kushner

Parallax Web Designs

Parallax means “The displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object”.

Right.  Now in plain English: “In web design, parallax refers to the scrolling technique used to create the illusion of depth on websites.”  

The use of this technique to create the illusion of movement and depth was a breakthrough, but In fact, it’s not really new.  Creating the illusion of depth can also be traced back to older forms of media, like video games for example, but the application, for some reason, has only recently used for web sites. It’s now so common we aren’t even aware of it – it’s seems so natural. Like watching a movie, a parallax website looks so natural and real, the viewer doesn’t even know the effort involved in making it.

Back in the “Stone Age”, which for computers and software was around 1980 or so when Tetris was cutting edge, websites were essentially text and static images: It’s the difference between a poster or sign outside a storefront and an animated neon sign with color and movement to catch a potential customer’s eye and enticing them to come in and see what’s happening.

It’s subliminal. We react to color, and movement, and it’s no accident that web browsing is now the main method for shopping, amusement and even news. Any company that doesn’t have a website that catches the attention of a casual browser – be it for clothes, automobiles or canned goods, is not going to stay long in business in the web.

Web design is on the verge, if not already there, of being an art form in itself as well as a means to reach and engage potential customers and casual browsers far more than TV and magazine advertisements.

Written by Stu Kushner

What is Parallax?

Parallax is defined as “a difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight.”

The Parallax effect or, parallax scrolling, in web design is a technique using layered images that move around at the website in different speeds/perspectives in the website, creating a sort of 3D illusion.

In early video games, images were constructed of independent layers scrolling at different speeds to give the effect of motion, giving some layers the impression of being farther away than others – and thus the illusion of depth. This was called parallax scrolling, but it only worked when the mouse or cursor was moved. Commercial companies are using parallax scrolling techniques to attract customers to their websites .One way to use this technique is a historical timeline, telling visitors to the site about the history of the  company.

Techniques are being developed that will minimize, or eliminate the need to continually “point and click” to get information or to access the website. The program will logically lead users to where they want or need to go. Essentially, the website works like a movie, with sequences of images and action, graphics and motion, to guide the user to a site, a decision or a conclusion.

Mobile sites have different requirements than sites viewed on a desktop, but many mobile sites haven’t been designed for parallax-scrolling.  But that is changing, partly at least to parallax responsive web designs and the increasing use of mobile devices to do more than phone home, requires websites to be available without distortion and excessive “point and click” actions.

But it has its limitations. It’s still not widely used now because of slow load times. It’s an idea that‘s ahead of the time, and it’s waiting for the technology to catch up.

Written by Stu Kushner

Responsive Parallax Webs

It sounds like something the Millennium Falcon might accidentally wander into, but Responsive Parallax Websites are the interactive models for next generation computers. The term merely describes a website that uses responsive design and features vertical parallax scrolling.

OK. Yoda will explain:

Responsive Web Design is a website using HTML5 and CSS3 that provides easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling. It can be used for desktop computers, i-pads, and other small hand held devices. The site automatically resizes to account for varying screen resolutions without losing any of the visual effects. In essence, it will adjust to your I-pad so the same information is as accessible as it would be on your computer. It’s the same website, but is adjusted to the width of your I-pad or mobile device.

Parallax Web Designs are one page websites using a parallax scrolling technique to display an entire multi-page website as one page; merely by scrolling the mouse. Essentially, it’s a complete website on a single page.  Parallax scrolling is used in games to place 2-D objects on different layers and moving them in the same direction at different speeds, creating a 3-D effect.

The benefit of Parallax Website design is a more involved user. They experience not only what it looks like, but also what it can do. It provides interaction – visitors can engage and interact with an object in a website, rather than just viewing a static photo of it. Interaction engages the user in the same way that a computer game engages the player. That interaction makes a viewer become a user, and using something – even virtually – is more likely to make the user follow through by purchasing the product or connecting with the service.

Computers are interactive; now your website will be too.

Written by Stu Kushner

A Short History of The “Website”

The first web pages appeared in August of 1991, as a simple, text-based page with some links.  It basically told what the World Wide Web was all about.

For the archeologically minded, a copy of the the website still exists online.

Early sites were entirely text-based, with minimal graphics and no “layout” to speak of, mostly just headings and paragraphs. Web sites then were entirely text-based with a single-column design and inline links. Initial versions of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and allowed only a basic content structure: headings, paragraphs, and links. Eventually, new versions of HTML allowed the addition of images and later tables were added.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was established in 1994. Its purpose was to set HTML as the standard format for web pages in order to prevent individual companies from building proprietary browsers and programming languages that would minimize the overall purpose and effect of the web as a whole.

“Table-based” layouts came next, giving more options to designers of websites. Designers discovered that it could also add structure to their designs, creating more multi-column layouts.

These table-based designs grew in complexity, with background images that often gave the illusion of a simpler structure to the website. “Spacer” GIFs were used to control whitespace.

HTML sites were very limited in their design options, especially when built with early versions of HTML. The introduction of Flash technology to web design (late 1990′s – early 2000′s), and the popularization of DHTML techniques consisting of several new web technologies such as JavaScript for creating interactive and animated page elements, allowed users to not just read static content, but also to interact with web content as well.

Where is web design headed? We’ll know when it gets here. Enjoy.

Written by Stu Kushner

Responsive Web Design for Dummies

…or at least, the uninformed.

What is Responsive Design? Well, imagine you just opened a blog, a website, or this article on your iPad, mobile phone or desktop. With Responsive Design, you will see the layout of the article automatically adjusted so that it fits the width of your browser. Even on a thin mobile phone the resolution is clear, and the entire page can be viewed – no scrolling or manual resizing required.

The entire spectrum of screen sizes and resolutions has widened since the advent of small hand-held devices like iPads and cell phones that act like mini-computers. In the other direction, computer screen sizes have become larger and more “cinematic”; with wide screen images as large as suitcases.  For web designers, creating a different version for each individual device is not practical; but now, Responsive Web Design essentially sizes itself to adjust to your device automatically.

Responsive web design is not a single piece of technology, but rather a collection of techniques.

The idea behind a “responsive design” is what’s known as a “fluid grid”; a “‘liquid layout” that expands with the page.  Traditional layouts have fixed widths with a fixed number of pixels across and centered on the page. But the number of different screen resolutions today makes “liquid layouts” a necessity.

Fluid grids are an important part of a responsive design, but can only go so far. A complex three-column layout isn’t going to work on a small mobile phone, but responsive design can deal with that. It’s called “media queries”, or “CSS3 media queries” that allows you to gather data about the site, and, in that time-honored tradition of trouble shooting: “then a miracle happens!”

Don’t worry about it. It’s magic, and it works.  That’s good enough for me.

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