SEOdamian's Blog

Helping others understand & share about technology, search

KISS – Keep It Simple and Short

One of the best practices for website conversion also lines up (often) with better rankings on SRP (Search Results Page) – simple language, and good readability scores.

The issue is that once you get someone to your site it needs to be easy to read. There are exceptions, but how often are the buyers (of your product or ideas) really looking to work hard to understand what you have written? Of course Google is no genius either (although many that work there are). It is designed to look at your site as others without sophisticated degrees and high end language skills would look at your site. Of course, I am like many who like to slip into the shorthand of our vernacular and the jargon of each industry. But I do so at my own peril. And increasingly, at my own laziness. MS Word has had analysis of the reading level of your documents for at least a decade. But there are also online tools available as well. They are often for free, that are quick and easy to use.

Understand that the Wall Street Journal writes its content for 11th grade. Most novels are written at the 8th to 10th grade level (remember we had to read them in high school). However, take a look at most websites, they are written for graduate level. How many websites have you seen with humongous long words, utilizing complex sentence structures reminiscent of academic papers that put everyone to sleep (bad example intended)?

Here are a few based on a quick search (until I get back to finding the best in class):

In fact, the readability of a website is important enough that Google will allow you to control what sites you see in the results based on reading level in their advanced search options: http://www.google.com/advanced_search

Improved readability will also improve your site traffic in other ways – happier readers will recommend your site more often. Easy to read writing allows your content to be shared with a wider audience. Those that can understand more complex writing can still understand your simpler text, and those that don’t have 10 years of reading Shakespeare will also be included. It also makes it easier for all to read and digest quickly. Just because a lawyer can read complex writing in statutes does not mean he or she prefers to read tangled prose to learn about your ideas.

So simplify your writing and widen your audience.

If you don’t believe that readability can help your site, do a little test and then let me know the results in the comments section.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, How To, tools | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memory Prices

A writer asks:

From Simon G./22/M/Livingston, NJ

DDR2 Random Access Memory chip compared to DDR3 RAM

Both DDR2 and DDR3 are small, check the notches for determine which is which

Is it just me, or does computer RAM not follow the same cost over time ratio that other computer hardware does? I bought 4 GB of DDR2 1066 MHz RAM over a year ago for $64 from newegg, and now the cheapest similar RAM is $78. I know that I got a good deal on the RAM I got, but I haven’t seen similar deals for DDR2 RAM recently. DDR3 is more common at this point, and almost seems cheaper. Is demand for DDR2 still high enough to drive prices up? Can I expect DDR2 prices to decrease, or should I just upgrade my system to DDR3 (which would also require me to upgrade the motherboard and probably CPU)?

Actually, because the demand for DDR2 has dropped, so has production. This a allows the prices to rise. It is always a challenge to buy memory at the ‘bottom’, because prices will drop for a while, and then as soon as demand is expected to drop, so does production, allowing prices to rise again. The manufactures are in this to maximize money and they have some incredible economists at play hear. Trying to outsmart them is harder then trying to outsmart governments (investing in many chip makers), Wall Street Quants, and Manufacturing designers.

The other factor is seasonal shifts in pricing. Prices of most technology is lower in December and August (back to school season), June (graduation, Fathers Day) compared to the rest of the year. Of course a companies need to make quarterly profit goals also affect the ratio, as does the last ship to tip over in the pacific. Long story shorter (if only slightly), I would not expect to see significant drops in DDR2 as that is ‘past its prime’, since most memory is sold to ‘new computers’,rather then the upgrade strategy some of us use. With DDR3 being the current standard, your DDR2 is a decreasing marketplace.

The extra $20 for DDR2 will be far less then a new motherboard and CPU. Depending on what your needs are, I would start saving for a new computer all together. A fresh OS install will probably be your biggest increase in speed. Win7 has the readyboost feature as another way to help with cheap speed for older computers. In addition, you will probably get more speed increases on all your other components from graphics card, to the CPU chip. Of course, performance increases depends on why you need the speed, and what your budget is.

Benchmark speed increase of DDR3 over DDR2

Often the speed difference from one level to the next is not that significant. This study shows minimal improvements. It may show up differently in other computers and operating systems. But typically will not be significant increases. In my experience OS and other factors are more significant.

Typically, I am recommending spending $400-600 for  a notebook for most people. If it gets slow in 12+ months, purchase again, sell your old computer for $50. Rinse, repeat as necessary. By the time you get to 3 years, you will still be cheaper with a far better computer then if you tried to future proof your investment at $1,200-1,500 today for far less money. Especially if you take into consideration not having to have all $1,500 up front. It may not be the greenest, unless you are reusing the computers or passing them on to others here or abroad, but it is most cost effective. This equation does not take into account the time to reload your computer with programs and data. But more then a few people recommend the practice even if you are on the same computer periodically. It also provides a measure of solid backup.

What is your strategy for minimizing your cost and maximizing your productivity for computing?  And how has it evolved over the years?

December 21, 2010 Posted by | How To, Purchasing | , , | Leave a comment