Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Basics of Using Categories

Categories are important. They're really important. You need them - but how the hell do you use them?

What are categories? Since we're talking about CMSs and blog software, your categories are just a group of words that you pre-defined, and that you choose to apply to each post or page. (Don't bother looking for them here - one of the big failings of Blogger is that it doesn't support categories.)

That description makes them sound like the sort of organisation tool that would only be used by people who kept their colouring pencils in strict order of the spectrum. But on a website, categories have an unexpected power.

Take a look at localization-news.com. On this website, I created around ten categories such as "software localization", "localization tools" etc. Each day I wrote a new post, and on the writing-a-post page, selected one or more appropriate categories from a menu. You can see my chosen categories at the bottom-right corner of each post, for example ( categories: software | tools ).

Now if you, the reader, click on one of those category labels, you'll be brought to a page listing all posts in that category. Presumably you clicked "software localization" because you were interested in that topic - so now you can instantly see everything I've written on the subject, without skipping through all my posts on other topics.

The benefit to the reader is that they get to find the info they are interested in, quickly and easily. One benefit to the website publisher might be to offer more directed advertising on that page (e.g. Adsense will tend to offer more subject-specific adverts).

Of course not every reader is familiar with clicking those little tags at the end of each post. I decided to put links to those category pages, in the form of a menu at the top of the webpage. This was trivial to do. But the result is something that looks less like a one-page scrolling blog, and more like a fully organized and professional website.

As it happens, this position has additional benefits for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But that's another story.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Phuket-live.com - another Drupal website

Okay, so 3 months on, I'm back playing at making a profitable website. This latest attempt came about because I booked a couple of domain names about Phuket, for someone who didn't need them at all. Hey, I spent a few dollars on those domain names, let's see if I can win back my $8.95 paid to Godaddy.

So a quick check on Google confirms the obvious; there are a million and one professional websites on the subject of Phuket. Doesn't sound too good. On the other hand, there are 4 million tourists ...
(That's actually the year before last - last year we had the tsunami, which apart from the traigc loss of life, wasn't great for anyone with a job in the tourist industry - if you're wondering whether it's safe to take your tropical beach holiday in Phuket, please do, we need your cash!)

So Phuket-live.com is up and running, sort of, and currently has around 10 posts covering the major beaches. Each post will be about a destination or activity that visitors are likely to be interested in; if/when I run out of covering those, then I'll switch to keep up with local news on the island.

 Previously:    Basics of Using Categories    Phuket-live.com - another Drupal website    Setting up a Drupal site, day two - Cron jobs    Setting up a Drupal site, day one    Drupal vs Xoops, a personal battle.    Colour-matched Google Adsense    Finding a good web host    Hosting your own website    Getting your domain name    The Story So Far   

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