Latest news and updates
Welcome to the danwalker.ca weblog! I like to share news and updates from my clients, commentary on what's happening in the online marketing and design world, and random other stuff from time to time. Thanks for reading!
Hey, I have four tickets to the HOPE Volleyball Summerfest, taking place on Saturday July 14 at Mooney’s Bay Beach here in Ottawa. Want ‘em?
I’m putting four general admission tickets to HOPE up for grabs in a sweepstakes hosted with ShortStack and Facebook, and it’s easy to enter to win. Simply visit my Facebook page, give it a “like”, then click the Enter To Win button on that page to find the entry form. Drop your name and email address into the form, and you’re in the draw!
Folks who’ve already “liked” my page are also welcome to enter the contest, though you have to actually fill out the form to be eligible. Simply liking the page does not enter you into the draw.
I’ll be in touch with the winning entrant on Monday July 9. Thank you and best of luck to everyone who enters!
Many of my clients are active on Facebook and recognize its considerable ability to push traffic to their other online properties. Many of my clients are also very excited when we make some changes to their websites and are eager to post their URL to Facebook so that their friends and followers can take a look. Unfortunately, this is where we run into a problem.
Facebook caches site information so that it doesn’t have to go out looking for website information every single time a user posts a link – imagine the millions of times the system would have to go out looking for a thumbnail image, title and description for each link that goes viral! That’s a lot of cat pictures to download.
What this means is that a freshly-updated website does not necessarily get reflected when a link to it is posted in a Facebook update. As such, a new design “look” or updated description does not get pushed to Facebook followers right away, which takes a lot of the momentum out of posting that link for all to see. Who’s going to click to check out a supposed redesign when the link looks the same as it did a couple days ago, right?
As an example, I used Facebook to link to a page that had a photo and brief description of 2003 me.
2012 me totally doesn’t like snow, and the hair thing isn’t very today either. I updated that particular page to reflect my current lifestyle, but Facebook didn’t know that, so it kept returning the old information in my status update. What to do?
I discovered that Facebook provides a tool to force a refresh of their cached data on your page, which I used today to allow a client to link to their brand new site mere minutes after we removed the gift wrap. After performing an update, one can simply enter the URL into this tool, and Facebook will pull all of the brand new information from the page, disregard everything it used to know about that page, and use the new thumbnailed image and description for anyone else who might be linking to the new site as well. Which made the page for 2012 me much more relevant:
And that’s how you ask Facebook to return up-to-the-minute information on your website when you link to it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hold the baby.
If you have any kind of feedback form or contact email address on your website, you have no doubt received more than a few solicitations to increase your visitor numbers by improving your search engine position. These are usually shady come-ons, authored by suspicious-sounding names and originating from freebie email addresses like Hotmail, which make flagging them for the spam folder a no-brainer.
What these messages claim to offer is a link building service that, in theory, could create a better ranking for your site under whatever search keywords you want to target. Google likes to see that many different web pages are linking to yours, because it suggests that your page is an authority on whatever subject you cover – lots of links means that lots of people agree that you’re good at what you do, discuss, publish or sell.
Those of you who have stuck with me through the years (since 2001, when this domain was first put online – getting old) will remember the various incarnations of this site, as a personal weblog, webcam portal, e-newsletter archive and business presence… danwalker.ca has been lots of things, reflecting the life and times of its owner, I suppose.
This latest iteration of my site is not actually all that new.