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Top 10 Tools to Improve Your Website and Increase Performance

You just built the most pixel perfect website / web application ever! Next you need to make sure that your site is optimized, code is valid and search engine friendly. Your visitors will thank you for it. Here are my top 10 tools that I use for every website that I build.

Nibbler Website Test
This tool has a vast amount of features including html, css, social, seo and server configuration feedback. If you use no other tool, this is the one you will get the most out of.

Browser Shots
Check what your website looks like in 100s of different browser versions. We can’t check every single browser version ever made, however this will check most of them for you.

HTML Validator
Make sure your html has the proper format, tags and structure. A valid html website has a better chance of rendering properly across multiple platforms.

CSS Validator
Make sure your CSS is valid and looking good. Valid CSS is important for multiple cross platforms.

Log and report if your website is up and running every minute. This service does cost a little. If your uptime is critical, it’s worth the cost.

DNS Check
Analyze and check your DNS status. Improper DNS can affect your visitors.

Page Speed Test
Analyze and test how fast your webpage is and optimize to improve performance.

Link Check – Missing Pages
Scan your website for bad links or missing pages. Identify where those 404 missing pages and fix them. Either 301 direct to a new page or re-create those pages.

Google Webmaster Tools
This tool has several features and will give a host of knowledge about pages indexed by google, keywords, pages with errors and more. Implement the google site map to ensure they have all pages indexed.

SEO Site Checkup
Scan your site to see how you can improve your SEO performance and increase organic traffic.

Feb 23, 2010

Busy working on DigiSynd Projects

Wow I haven't blogged in a while. I can attribute that to all of the neat and wild projects I have been working on. Since August 2009 I have been working with, a group of amazing, talented, top notch web and application developers. They are mainly geared towards developing facebook applications for several Disney movies, characters, and brands. Also I have been working on many client projects and of course my own projects. I am really enjoying the challenging projects in conjunction with learning how things are done in the DigiSynd arena. ie. Multiple platforms, server load balancing, MemCaching just about everything and all of the different team players involved in application production. I don't manage any of those aspects yet I just have to be a team player while working with the people in those areas.

Ongoing projects are keeping me really busy. I tend to get carried away and work every day. So, one of my goals this 2010 year is to start taking at least 1 day off a week to relax and recoupe away from the computer. Surely that will increase productivity even more. It's a challenge I deal with all the time since so much of my research, work, school, games, and some social are all done on via computer/gadgets. I call that occupational hazards. Every work environment has them.

So I am looking forward to a great 2010 full of a ton of challenging projects!

Occupational Perks:

So to be able to work in a secure web development environment, a mac was required. Secure authorizing to communicate with the servers and a server environment running php, mysql, and the tricky memcached is accomplished much smoother with a mac since it does run on a similar platform as the popular linux servers. So I managed to pick up a 27" imac which I have grown to absolutely love! The transition from a windows environment, which I was very efficient with, to the mac was effortlessly logical. I am not sure what took me so long to switch. I say switch but there are still 3 windows machines here in the house :) - There are so many awesome features about macs that I just can't live without now.

Right at the end of January I had a 2 week work trip to Burbank, CA. so I had to run to Best Buy and pick up a 17" macbook pro.
Another nice perk to working on the web. You don't ever see a shortage of the most up-to-date gadgets and computers. I had to go back through setting up a secure environment with specific versions of php, mysql, and memcached. It can be a daunting task for someone who is a web developer, not a server administrator. None the less, I got it working and 2 weeks in LA / Burbank CA. was a great experience.

After working on the 2 new macs for a little while, Wendy decided she couldn't deal with her "Dell" laptop any longer and so we went to Best Buy and, yet again, bought another macbook pro "13" for portability. She had to have one.

And there you have it... 3 macs and that's all I have to say. Cheers, Ciao, Adios...

Apr 13, 2009

Youtube Site Everything Upside Down

The other day I was watching some music videos on youtube and noticed that everything was upside down. I am not sure if it was a hack or one of the developers wanted to mess around with the youtube style sheet for kicks. Well I took a screen shot of it, and it only lasted for about 20 seconds and was back to normal. I am sure they enjoyed that practical joke. I sure got a kick out of it!

Nov 8, 2008

Villa - Lake Como, Italy

Villa - Lake Como, Italy

My dream home on Lake Como, Italy.

Oct 27, 2008

Doing a Little Sailing

We had a little wind down at the lake so I decided to take out the little sail boat for a few runs around the lake. Wendy took a few pictures.

View My Sailing Gallery

Oct 7, 2008

My Trip to the Northern part of Italy

Italy is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit. Trust me, I have been all over the world. It is truly one of those really special places anyone would love. So Wendy and I decided to go visit some friends Paula and Massimo after we heard they were moving to Italy for work reasons. It just seemed like a good time to see Italy. Visit some good friends, eat some good food, and see some great sites.

Our trip started by flying to Newark airport in New Jersey and meet up with Paula who was on a business trip from Houston TX. This was an unexpected meet up. Who would have thought we would be on the exact same flight with her. So it worked out nicely, we flew to Milan with tons of luggage for 3 people. Arriving in Milan we hopped in a cab to Paula and Massimo's really nice apartment.

This was during the week so Paula and Massimo had to go to work. During the day we walked around Milan checking out the 3 things to see there. The Duomo Cathedral, the Milan Castle, and the Duomo Piazza. Piazza is Italian for Central Square. Once Paula and Massimo got off of work they took us to a wonderful restaurant which was very small and quaint with amazing home cooked Italian food.

Next we hopped on a train to Venice and spent 2 days there. We had a great time getting lost in the winding unorganized little streets :) and enjoyed the sites and great food. While in Venice we toured a Glass making factory of Murano, and went to a Concerto of Antonio Vivaldi. He was an Italian composer who is famous for his music.

Instead of making this story a book, I am just going to finish it up by listing the places we visited: Bergamo, Lake Como, and Florence.

View My Italy Photo Gallery

Jun 18, 2008

Guzer - Video Entertainment Site Redesign received a fresh design. The concept was simple: To keep it simple. Improved comment system using ajax so that when someone makes a post / comment the page does not reload. Also the 5 star rating system was programed using the same concept using ajax. The page does not load when you rate a video or picture. The new site design focuses on getting the user straight to the content without clutter or extra stuff for them to click on. This site is all about the content as well as simple coding for fast loading!

May 18, 2008

Water Wheel Pictures

I have developed a fascination for water wheels and hope to some day build one so I compiled a collection of water wheel pictures. These pictures will be the inspiration, influence, and concepts for my future water wheel project. The project will encompass European old world architecture and generate electricity.

Water wheels have been around since ancient classical times, generating power to drive a millstone or create energy. Water wheels have something special about them. Maybe it is the sound of the water falling, the energy they can produce, or the architecture that makes them so special. What ever it may be, people are drawn to build them.

Water Wheel Pictures

Apr 10, 2008

My 6,000 Square Foot Dream House Comes To Life

Well, thus far only my friends and family know about this project, but I think it's time I wrote a little something about this milestone project for me. I am originally from Alexandria, Louisiana where the climate is hot, humid... The best thing I know there are family and friends.

One day in 2005, I decided to move to an area where the scenery was beautiful and inspiring with the goal of building a dream home. Well... I am quite spontaneous at times, so Wendy and I packed the bags, hopped in our 2 automobiles and off we went to Asheville, North Carolina, which is a hot spot we had visited in the past. It's a nice little city in the blue ridge mountains with great people, fun culture, and amazing mountain views.

December 2005 We moved into a small 2 bedroom apartment and began looking for the perfect land to build on. We soon found a great lot and began construction on this dream house in July of 2005. To make a long story short, there were good times, and there were stressful times. Not because of the simple process of building a house, yet the size and magnitude of this house. This home project is right at 6,000 sq. feet, which to me, this is the size of 3 average homes. So the project felt like I was building 3 houses at once. The project involved many different factors I was not used to when building a house. A steep mountain slope, high labor and material cost, and harsh harsh weather during the winter months. In 2005 this was the real estate boom peak in most of the United States and I think that was one of the factors of costs. So during the next 2 years, we would work day in, day out on this project, making it the most perfect home you could ever imagine.

Read the Full Article Here
My 6,000 Square Foot Dream House Comes To Life