Google PageRank Update For January 2011

Google has just begun rolling out the PageRank updates for January 2011. Many websites are seeing increase in their PageRank while some are seeing decreases.

Google usually rolls out toolbar PageRank updates every quarter, however, there weren’t much of these updates in 2010. You can check the PageRank of your website by using our PageRank checking tool.

Google’s PageRank signifies the rank of a website on their toolbar, however, the PageRank does not suggest that your site will show up higher in the SERP. So take it with a grain of salt. There have already been several discussions about what a PageRank is so you might want to read up those to understand how it works.

Make sure to tell us whether you saw a PageRank update or not.

Beware Of Free WordPress Themes On The Internet

When I started blogging, I didn’t have a custom theme and relied on themes which were available on the Internet. I did have my favorite WordPress related blogs which listed out some really good themes and I usually downloaded themes from them.

Unsafe Free WordPress Themes

Every once in a while I also preferred to use Google to search for "Free WordPress Themes". Now that I have my own custom built theme, I do not usually look for free themes anymore. However, many new WordPress users do use Google to find new themes for their blog.

The most common keyword for searching themes is "Free WordPress Themes". Now, this will land you thousands of results, but are they safe? Well, the WPMU blog did a comprehensive research on sites which showed up in Google search results and 9 out of the 10 top websites had Trojans or hidden code in the themes you downloaded from them.

The lone site which did not have any problem was the Official WordPress Themes Repository. The research done by the WPMU folks is a real eye-opener and I believe that many users wouldn’t even bother to look as closely as they did. To top it, many of the available themes are actually stolen and copyrighted from premium theme publishers.

I am experienced and advanced WordPress user, so I can figure these things out. However, millions of users out there are not as tech savvy as me and may be gullible to installing these so called "Free WordPress Themes".

The best thing we could do to stop this menace is to educate new users that it is best to download themes from the official WordPress repository as the themes there are free and also do not have sponsored links or Trojans. Remember, beautiful themes are not always free, they can ruin your website.

Last but not the least kudos to the WPMU folks for running such a research, it was an eye-opener indeed.

Backup WordPress Database, Themes, Plugins & Uploads To Dropbox, Amazon S3

Backup WordPress Dropbox & Amazon S3In the past we have told you about several ways to backup your WordPress database using command line and other techniques, along with backing up your FTP files.

If you find the manual backup process tedious there are several plugins which allow you to automate the backup and email you a copy of the data. However, I just came across another neat WordPress plugin which will allow you to backup your WordPress database, theme files, plugin files and more to your Dropbox account, Amazon S3 or FTP host.

The plugin which is called WP Time Machine, is definitely a neat one if you want to store offsite backups of all your data. The plugin allows you to backup all the files inside the wp-content folder and also your MySQL database. Time machine can be configured to run periodically through a WordPress Cron Job.

In addition to that, it also backs up your .htaccess file so that you can restore it if there are any problems. Visit to learn more about the plugin and start downloading it.

Backing up data is a good exercise which will help you in the long run.  To top that Dropbox is a decent alternative as it provides users with 2GB free space and the ability to access files from virtually anywhere. If you don’t have a account yet, sign up for a free Dropbox account.


Defer Banner Ads/JavaScript To Load After Page Loads

There are many times when you might want a certain banner ad to load only after you page loads fully, however, not everyone is an expert in AJAX or JavaScript for that matter to make change code and make the code efficient.


If you are a webmaster and have been worried about slow page load times, there is a easier way to defer certain banners or JavaScript code to load after the browser has rendered the rest of the page. This trick can be used for both inline and external JavaScript by using the "defer" attribute specified in HTML 4.01 and later.

To defer banner ads or any JavaScript code to load after the entire page has rendered, just add the attribute defer="defer" to the script tag and the browser will ignore the code within the script and load it after it has finished loading the rest of the content.

Here are some examples of using the defer attribute with a script:

//inline JS example
<script type="text/javascript" defer="defer">
//js code goes here
//external JS example
<script type="text/javascript" defer="defer" src="somejs.js"></script>

Using this trick will ensure that your non JavaScript content loads quickly enough so that it does not hinder a user’s browsing experience. However, it may not improve the overall page load times since the browser will continue to load the deferred JavaScript content after the rest of the page has loaded.

You will find some detailed description about Deferred JavaScript and its impact on the page rendering by visiting this informative post.

CloudFail Monitors Popular Cloud Hosting Services

With all the hoopla about the whole world moving to the cloud soon, how does one make sure which cloud hosts are working fine and which have crashed? CloudFail is the answer to that question. It is a free web service that constantly monitor popular hosts and post status updates if there is any down time, maintenance or other issues.

The list of hosts include Amazon Web Services, DropBox, OpenDNS, Google Apps, RackSpace, VPS and many more. Several status updates are posted daily about services going through any activity that may affect users or performance. You can also click on any of the service and see current historical status updates. Each status update also gets a permanent URL so you can share it with your friends.

If you are the service provider or think that the information is not accurate, there is an option to post comments on each update. It is a great tool to keep track of whats going on with your service provider and take appropriate actions to  accommodate  for any down time and  performance  issues.

Visit Cloudfail

NuCaptcha: A Motion Based Captcha That Is More Human

I can’t even remember how many times a website has refused to accept me as human because I could not read the screwed up words in their fancy Captcha. This is probably one of the main things that aggravates users and forces websites to lose tons of traffic. Even if you think you made out the words right, the website doesn’t accept them and there is nothing you can do about it.

Well, if you are a web publisher, NuCaptcha is a nice alternative. It is a Captcha as well but no twisting, tilting, overlapping, dashing, flying of words to by pass bots. Rather, NuCaptcha has a small video in the background and a couple of words flying in the front. As a test to prove that you are human, you are required to enter only the letters that appear in red which seems to be an easy task since the text is straight and clear.

NuCaptcha can be used with PHP, .NET, Java and comes in many themes such as sports, environment and abstract. The API for your website can be downloaded here. If you need to use NuCaptcha with your WordPress blog, there is already a plugin for that.  Even though its not a game-changing technology, NuCaptcha can help tremendously in improving user experience and traffic while still making sure that your website is safe from bots.

Outbrain – Excellent Related Posts Alternative For LinkWithin and YARPP

Outbrain LogoI have been a big fan or Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) which also can be used to display images in related posts and also has a in-built template to do it now. However, I had to drop YARPP from the site due to it being database intensive. After YARPP, I started using LinkWithin, which provided a good solution to integrate related posts through a third-party service.

LinkWithin Related Posts Problem

After using LinkWithin for a while I wasn’t that happy with the performance and also got complaints from out team about it using advertising images as post images if none existed in the post itself. (Check screenshot above)

Now, I was trying to find a related posts plugin which did not use internal database resources and was really good. That was when I stumbled across Outbrain. Outbrain is an excellent third-party related posts widget, which works pretty well and also provides users with an option to view post click statistics and also make money by placing links to external sites in the related sites widget.

The click-through rate on Outbrain is pretty impressive too and users usually see a click through rate of anywhere between 3-12%. Another good thing about Outbrain widget is that it blends into your website without having to do any CSS manipulations.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Techie Buzz Recommended Software

Outbrain Related posts widget can be used on WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, TypePad and almost any type of website you have using a JavaScript code. The plus point of this widget is that it does not use your database and is perfect for a high traffic site and that is also provides you with easy stats. Oh and yes it also has a recommendation widget using which people can rate your post.

New Site Hacked Notifications From Google Webmaster Tools

In a announcement that sounded sweet to my ears, Google Webmaster team has decided to send out messages about hacked or spammy websites to webmasters through Google Webmaster Tools.

Starting this month, Google Webmaster Tools will notify webmasters of potential issues that have detected on websites, including:

  • Spammy or abused user-generated content
  • Abused forum pages or egregious amounts of comment spam
  • Suspected hacking

These notifications can come as a blessing in disguise as not many users are usually aware of infections until Google decides to temporarily remove all the items of a website from the search results.

However, now once a user receives a notification they can address the issues and get rid of the infections immediately, rather than having to send out a consideration request to the Google webmaster team. A sample notification message for compromised websites will look like the image below.

Suspected Hacking Message from Google Webmaster

Bonus Tip

Users can get their Google Webmaster Tools messages delivered to their email address, so that you will get instant updates, rather than having to visit the webmaster console to check your messages.

To receive your webmaster message center notification to your email address, follow the steps given below.

Step 1: Login to Google Webmaster Tools and go to your dashboard.

Forward Google Webmaster Messages

Step 2: In the message section, select Forward to email address, from the dropdown list in the right hand side, and select the language you want to receive your messages in.

That’s it, the next time you receive a new message in your webmaster message center, it will also be forwarded to your email address so that you can check it out without having to visit the webmaster console.

How To Make Kontera Ads Open In A New Window

Kontera is one of the leading advertisement solutions for contextual in-text ads. When you implement Kontera ContentLink ads on your blog or website, a lot of relevant keywords get double underlined and clicking on them takes the user to the advertised website. It is a pay-per-click advertising solution that lets you make money from your website without inserting messy and large images.

By default, when a user clicks on these ads, the advertised product or webpage opens in the same window. A lot of webmasters don’t like that and would rather have it open in a new browser window. Here’s a little trick to achieve that without any hassle. Simply add the following line of code to your Kontera code:

var dc_open_new_win = 'yes';

After doing this, your Kontera code will look like following:

This little tweak will open your ads in a new browser window when clicked by a user and help you retain visitors on your website. However, one should be careful in implementing this tweak as some pop-up blockers might create an issue. A good strategy would be to test the website in different browsers and with different kinds of pop-up blockers after implementing this change.

[Via MyDigitalLife]

Google Site Clinic: Get Your Site Checked by Google Search Quality Team

The Google India blog has announced a site clinic for websites, where your site will be checked for the search quality by employees of Google Webmaster team.


Selected sites will be personally evaluated by the Google employees and suggestions will be given to users. However, not every submitted site will be selected for the clinic and there will be a selection process where few websites will be chosen to take part in it.

Our team will analyze websites submitted to the clinic. The plan is to offer constructive advice on accessibility and improvements that can lead to better visibility for your website in Google’s search results.

To participate in the Site Clinic organized by Google, visit this form and enter the details of your website. There are some catches too, your site has to be a part of Google Webmasters and should meet Google’s quality guidelines. If your site is not part of Google Webmasters, you can sign up for it here before registering for the shortlist.

The site clinic by the Google search quality team is only restricted to Indian webmasters for now, hopefully they will make it available to worldwide audience soon. 

Photo credit: CNET UK