Google Reader now lets you monitor static websites that do not offer RSS feeds

html-2-rssA new feature in Google Reader now allows you to monitor (and get updates) from static websites that do not offer feeds.

Using this feature is as easy as subscribing to a normal RSS feed – simply enter the URL of the site in the Add Subscription box and hit enter. For a feed-less site, Google Reader will automatically show you a dialog box with an option to Create a Feed.

GReader will setup a monitoring service for the page and intimate you of any changes when they occur.

Earlier on, the only options for monitoring a site for changes were third-party services like Page2RSS, Feed43 etc. – which acted as an intermediary layer between your feed reader and the site and provided you with RSS feeds from the target site’s content. To view the feeds, you were required to subscribe to the URL provided by these services using your feed reader.

With Google Reader, you’re essentially able to bypass this middle layer altogether – as both the conversion of a static site to RSS and the reading of RSS feeds will be handled by GReader itself.

If normal feeds are anything to go by, this service may very well double up as an archiving system for a particular web-page by keeping a detailed record of changes of time.

PDFMyURL: One-click conversion of any webpage to PDF format

If you are looking for something that performs on-the-fly conversion of web-pages into PDF format, PDFMyURL may just be the right tool for you.

PDFMyURL User Interface

The service allows for single-click conversion of pages into their PDF counterparts in the following manner:

  1. By visiting their site and entering the URL of the page you wish to convert.
  2. By using a JavaScript based Bookmarklet – that you can drag and drop onto your bookmarks / favourites toolbar and click to convert any active web-page

They also provide a mechanism by which you can embed “download as PDF” style links in your own website. The mechanism is rather simple and involves invoking their service with the target web-page as a parameter. For example, if I want to convert the front page of MindChimes (my wife’s blog) into a PDF, the link I’ll include is:

http://pdfmyurl.com?url=mindchimes.net

PDFMyURL has an exhaustive list of options that can be used to set exact page dimensions, margins, orientation, dpi, quality etc. or add custom cover pages & table of contents or even disable JavaScript in the target web-page. The options can be passed along with the url parameter while polling the service.

Extending the functionality

This can be a handy way of providing PDF downloads of individual posts of a blog and can help you avoid installation of any plugins. In case of WordPress based blogs, just include the following line of code in an appropriate location inside your loop.

<a title="Download as PDF" href="http://pdfmyurl.com?url=<?php the_permalink() ?>">
    Download this post as PDF
</a>

All in all, an useful tool, though it may fail to correctly render sites with complicated CSS layouts and justified text.

[via TechnoSpot]

The eternal question answered…

Came upon something interesting today…

Should I use tables for layout?

Xinu: Your one-stop SEO shop

Xinu LogoWell, almost ! Xinu is this great new “Jack-of-all-trades” tool that analyses and returns a horde of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) related information regarding your site, neatly stacked in a single page. A real time-saver if you ask me.

All you go to do is enter your site’s URL and hit Go. The results are fetched using AJAX – so you don’t have to suffer long wait periods while all the factors are summed up and displayed. In fact, the interface comes up with pre-created tables and SEO factor titles, where the values are simply plugged-in later on.

Among the results provided are:

  • Screen-shot of your site
  • A mini site diagnosis involving your URL’s difficulty-to-remember score, site title score (based on the number of words), keywords & description, HTML file size, number of each types of tags etc. Surprisingly, this section reported that my site doesn’t have a favicon and I need to get one, whereas you can see mine (the blue flask) the moment you land-up at my site.
  • A small domain panel that shows the IP your domain resolves to, the country where your host is located, the site author’s name and if possible the age of the domain.
  • A site ranking panel that displays you Google PageRank, Technorati rank, Alexa Traffic rank as well as the number of DMOZ listings.
  • Couple of lines of information on the type of syndication (feeds) offered by your site and the number of subscribers.
  • Number of inbound links from various well-known Social Bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, Digg, Clipmarks as well as from lesser-known ones like Mister Wong, Meneame etc.
  • Site markup validity information broken up into HTML, CSS and Feeds.
  • Number of indexed pages on Google, Yahoo and Live.
  • Lastly, the number of backlinks from all major search engines like Google, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, AskJeeves etc.

Xinu Interface Screenshot

All in all a pretty good tool – although a bit buggy in places. Hopefully, they’ll fix these soon. What I like best about Xinu is that you can stop scampering around half of the internet just to check on all the important SEO aspects of your site.

Stripemania: A free online striped background generator for your site

Stripemania LogoEver felt like giving your site’s theme a cool, striped look but didn’t know how to go about it? Are the graphics tutorials on stripes too complex for you to follow? Here’s you quick and dirty way out. Stripemania is a free online tool that generates striped background images for use with your site’s theme in just a couple of quick, easy steps.

The interface is pretty simple. To get your desired stripe, you choose the width of the stripes, the distance between each stripe, orientation and a couple of colours and hit refresh. Thats it! Your custom stripe is ready to download. If you don’t like vanilla stripes (alternating coloured stripes) – you can choose multiple gradients for the stripes and get some pretty snazzy effects. There’s a quick full-screen preview option that lets you test your background out even before you download it.

Stripemania Screenshot

Stripemania falls within the recent Web 2.0 genre of online graphics design tools and is one of the better designed tools in this category and pretty much devoid of the ubiquitous AJAX timeout errors. It’s a must-add in any aspiring web-designer’s toolbox.

Calculate your site’s SEO Score with Website Grader

Website Grader LogoIf you’re a webmaster and run your own site, Website Grader can count as a brand new yet invaluable addition to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) toolbox. The site takes your own site’s URL as an input and provides a Percentile SEO Score (on a scale of 100) along with a comprehensive report that tells you the SEO pros and cons of your site.

Additionally, you can enter your keywords/keyphrases along with your competitors URLs to get a relative feedback on your site’s marketing effectiveness.

My blog, Chaos Laboratory, got a score of 96/100. That means my site has a marketing effectiveness that is higher than 96% of all other sites submitted to this service.

A website grade of 96 for chaos-laboratory.com means that of the thousands of websites that have previously been submitted to the tool, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 96% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. The algorithm uses a proprietary blend of over a dozen different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.

By submission, they mean the first time a site’s URL is entered at Website Grader, following which the data is kept stored in their database and matched against all such similarly submitted sites. This also means that the SEO Score for this site isn’t constant – and may vary from time to time depending on the quality of other sites submitted sooner or later.

The only warning I received was regarding the high number of meta keywords I have in my site header.

We believe that though the search engines don’t weigh keywords as heavily as they used to, they’re still important to get right. By using a high number of keywords, it is possible that you are diluting the effect of your most important keywords. We would suggest keeping the keywords to 10 or less. Currently, this site has 21 keywords in the meta-data.

The site sports a simplistic Web 2.0 AJAX based interface and there’s a membership feature, which helps you keep track of your SEO Score as well as get detailed reports mailed to you.

Website Grader is a free service (as of now) and I don’t see any mentions of a paid high-end counterpart anywhere on the site. This can definitely act as a free but great alternative to the Sitescore and the SEOMoz Page Strength tools – which have retracted their free services (at least Sitescore did while SEOMoz has reserved the updated analysis feature for premium subscribers only).

Found via: Quick Online Tips, Our Website SEO Grade is 98/100