Using Bad Word Filters to Boost SEO & Productivity

If you’re a webmaster, administrator, or moderator of any large blog, forum, or other community site, you’ll find that a lot of time is wasted spelling out URIs to various useful links, whether they’re to guides, reviews, downloads, or forms. On a big website with lots of members (especially that kind that don’t use the search feature), you’ll find that dozens of hours or more are wasted looking up and writing these URIs for your readers/members to follow.

Compare [url=]Windows XP dual-boot guide[/url] to XP dboot — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which is easier, quicker, and simpler to use. But of course, your readers have no idea what “dboot guide” is or where they can find it – that’s where the “bad word filters” come in.

Most forums, blogs, wikis, and just about any other “web platform engines” have a plugin, module, or admin center feature to enable the filtering of swear words and their ilk. Simply create a new entry that replaces a quick and easy-to-remember “keyword” with a fully-formatted link of your choice. You can replace “qwerty” with “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” or (much more usefully) replace things like “gsearch ” with “” which lets you type things like “gsearch EasyBCD” and have them automagically replaced with the appropriate link.

You can use this to boost productivity (by speeding up the process of finding, posting, and formatting links) and to increase SEO (by converting keywords to internal links to the respective pages). For instance, replacing all instances of “NeoSmart Technologies” with NeoSmart Technologies:

<a href="" title="NeoSmart Technologies" style="color: red; font-weight: bold" rel="follow">NeoSmart Technologies</a>

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Creating a (Unified!) Vendor-Neutral Markup Standard

Take a look at any blog, wiki, forum, etc. Specifically, look at how posts are created, filtered, and displayed. There are dozens of different ways for authors to specify the formatting and content of their articles/posts, and hundreds of ways to render the results. Some blogs rely on now-famous 3rd-party markup implementations like Textile and Markdown, some use bbCode, and quite a few still rely on plain old HTML. Then you have vendor-specific proprietary implementations and many more, popping up as the need arises.

We’re not trying to standardize markup formats, on the contrary, there is no real benefit – and the web can always do with a bit more diversity. But what does need standardization is how post-markup data (the article text) is stored in the database and later rendered. In the past, this wasn’t a problem: each “platform” had its markup format, and stored the output straight in the database. Then the platform triggered the markup language’s bundled HTML renderer and converted the database contents to HTML for display.

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The Difference Between an Acronym and an Abbreviation

Ten to one, if you’re posting an article, creating a web page, or just coding some HTML; and you’re about to code in a <abbr> tag to let people not “in the know” get what exactly it is that you’re talking about, you actually should be using the <acronym> tag instead. Maybe you’re not even doing it for the people, and you’re actually just a benevolent person that cares about a truly semantic web and wants the bots to also grasp just what it is that’s being said.

Either way, it’s good to know when to use an <abbr> tag and when to use an <acronym> tag. At face value, <abbr> is for abbreviations, and <acronym> is for, well, acronyms. ‘But what’s the difference?’ Joe Blogg asks…

NASA is an acronym. BBC is another. But gov’t and Mr. aren’t – they’re abbreviations. In Grammar 101 it was easy to tell the difference, but in real life, it can get kind of confusing. But the general rule is, if it’s pronounced by spelling it out, it’s an acronym. If it doesn’t have a period, it’s an acronym. But most importantly, if you can spell it another way, chances are it’s an abbreviation.

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"Padding-" and "Margin-" – What’s the Difference?

Many intermediate and begginer CSS designers get confused when it comes to padding and margin values. What’s the difference? They both just shift stuff, so why the different names? Don’t they do the same thing?

Although the behavior of margin- and padding- is very similary, there is one important difference: margin- is on the outside of the element, and padding- is on the inside. What this means is, one will apply the whitespace shift “after” the element begins (padding), and the other will apply the whitespace “before” the element begins (margin). Many times there is no visible difference, but sometimes there is – a big one.

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Opera is Good to Bloggers

Generally speaking, the one sector of the online world where websites attract far more attention & traffic than money is the blogosphere. Whereas other websites stand to benefit quite a bit from the meager investments they put into their site in the first place, bloggers must work long and hard for their 15 minutes of fame. And let’s face it: it doesn’t usually pay off (money wise).

That’s not to say that all bloggers are necessarily poor and hungry (ok, well maybe that’s exaggerating it a bit, but you get the point), but if you were to do a survey, you can bet the sites that pay more to stay up than they get via AdSense or YPN are blogs and the bloggers that own them. Another fact of life is that, for most people, seeing a website 5 minutes out-of-date isn’t that big of a probelm – especially when you keep in mind that around 90% of the internet is static, more or less.

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