HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

January, 2006

Uses of RSS

January 24, 2006

RSS (really simple syndication) is poised to enter the market this year as another viable outlet to broadcast information. Instead of website "pushing" content to users (via email or other outlets), RSS enables the user to subscribe to certain content feeds and "ask" for the information. No more annoying emails, no more spam emails, no complicated unsubscribe methods. If a user doesn't like the content they are receiving, they simple delete the feed from their feed reader and it's gone!

RSS is starting to catch on, and I believe it can be used in tandem with any type of active website. Note the word "active". The entire purpose of creating an RSS feed to syndicate your content is to let people know you have a constantly evolving website that updates information at least somewh...Read entire article

Comparing Dates in PHP

January 18, 2006

When I first started working with PHP to create dynamic website content, it was mostly for simple directory projects. This included a simple admin with the ability to add, edit, and delete pure text. I remember the very first commercial project I worked on involved a directory listing of businesses, organized by location. Each listing had a name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, fax number, website (if it had one), and main contact.

The directory was location-based, so a viewer could select a state, and then a city to view relevant listings. It started out simple enough, but over time started to grow more complex as more functionality was added (to make the site more compelling to the visitor of course). At one point we decided to add coupons to the site so that v...Read entire article

Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Strategies

January 16, 2006

It is impossible to discuss search engine optimization nowadays without categorizing it under the overall umbrella of online marketing. Optimizing your website for the search engines is just one piece of the puzzle to increase awareness of your site and accomplish your online marketing goals. Online marketing encompasses everything from research to optimization to broadcasting, and analysis. Online marketing is a continued effort, goals are constantly being raised.


Expectations should be based on the kinds of marketing strategies engaged. If strategies are employed that gain quick notice, without any necessarily long-term value, one should expect quick spikes in traffic and activity. Best practice dictates exploring a variety of marketing options ...Read entire article

RSS Feed Server Stat Hits

January 12, 2006

I noticed a surprising trend on one of the larger sites I currently develop and maintain. I check the server stats daily and use three different methods: Webstats (provided by the hosting company), Urchin stats (provided by the hosting company), and Google Urchin (enabled via javascript). While we consider pageviews to be the most important indicator of traffic, by default I also check the hits and requested files stats.

What's happening is that our RSS feeds are starting to register as some of the most widely hit "pages" on the website. We have four different RSS feeds on the site, three unique RSS feeds, and a main RSS feed which incorporates the top entries from the other three (duplicate content, I know). Right now, the four RSS feeds are all in the top 10 most requested p...Read entire article

Tae Kwon Do - The Hand-Foot Technique - A Way of Life

January 09, 2006

Tae kwon do means, literally, "the hand-foot technique". Without going into too much history, tae kwon do was thought to have come into existence over two thousand years ago at the end of the "B.C. era" in Korea. This was a tumultuous time for the region which required everyday people to learn some form of self-defense in case of attacks from nearby villages and surrounding states.

Taking a look at the words "hand-foot technique" it becomes obvious that the fundamentals behind tae kwon do deal with using one's body. The emphasis is on simple but powerful hand movements, kicks, and blocks. Although weapons certainly come into play in tae kwon do (and pretty much any other form of fighting), the basics of tae kwon do all deal with using one's own body as a means for attack and d...Read entire article

Personal Search Engines - The Internet Free-For-All

January 06, 2006

In a previous article I discussed the monopoly that Google has become in terms of Internet search. Basically just about anyone performing a search is opting to use Google to find relevant websites. As a friend has reminded me, monopolies "cause the market to be inefficient by limiting competition therefore limiting innovation". So, we are left with Google's algorithms to determine which sites are relevant, and which are not. With billions and billions of websites vying for the top spot on Google, chances are they will not break into the first page.

I commented that a solution to this "problem" is a Custom Search Engine, and I'd like to discuss exactly what this is.

Custom Search Engines

W...Read entire article

Google the Monopoly

January 05, 2006

Google is the search king. But you already knew that. You know that when you want to find information on the Internet, you type in www.google.com (if it's not already your home page) and type in whatever you're looking for. If you don't get satisfactory results you go back to Google and try again. This is the standard process almost every time anyone wants to find something on the Internet.

That's great, and Google is a great search engine. Most of the time I get relevant results and I can usually find what I'm looking for. In the past I've seen too many "directory" type websites come up at the top of the results, but that is a topic for a different entry. The point is that EVERYONE uses Google (except perhaps those that work for the other search engines...).

In addi...Read entire article

Really Good Graphic Design

January 04, 2006

When I was first introduced to graphic design, I learned about "old-school" book covers from the 50's and 60's. One of my drawing fundamentals teachers at Rutgers had been a graphic designer his entire life and was in fact, at the time, studying for his PhD on the subject. He brought in some of his older book cover designs and I was immediately intranced in the simplicity of lines and colors. Instead of a photo-realistic picture, the designs were illustrative and abstract...there could be no wrong.

Fast-forward about 6 or 7 years and I now categorize any type of visual design as "graphic design". Whether it's graffiti, a book cover, or a Flash animation on a website, it falls under graphic design. Any type of visual artwork put together for a "commercial" reason, or any type o...Read entire article

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