Using Google Analytics

on Thursday, February 25, 2010

Google Analytics can tell you how many people come to your website, where they are coming from, where they go once they get there, how long they stay, and much more. You can chart these numbers over any given time period. It is an incredibly useful tool.

Here's how to set it up for your own website.

You need a Google account to start (you just need to provide them with an email address and a password). Then go to Google Analytics ( Click "Add An Account" (shown below, the link is circled).

Next, copy-and-paste in the URL of your site, give it a name, and provide your time zone (below).

You'll go through a couple more screens, asking for your name, and agreeing to their terms of service. Google will then give you a snippet of code (shown below) in a box. Click inside the box, and hit Ctrl+C to copy the code.

Open the code of your index page using Dreamweaver or Notepad. Go to the very bottom of the code and paste (Ctrl+V) the Google code just above the closing body tag. Save the page. Do this to EVERY Page page on your website.

And that's it! In 24 hours you'll have a snapshot of web activity on your site. It'll update every 24 hours. Go to the same analytics page ( to see it. The graph and numbers below it will give you a basic overview. The lefthand navigation allows you to look at specific metrics: traffic sources, browser capabilities, etc. A screenshot is provided below; click to enlarge it.

Free Image Databases

on Friday, February 19, 2010

Need images for your website or brochure?

There are many resources out there that provide free images for websites and print publications. Low resolution images are best for the web, as they greatly reduce file size and thus download time, and are typically 72 dpi (dots per inch). Print publications need much higher resolution, and require a minimum of 300 dpi.

Here is a quick rundown of five excellent free image databases. Please observe copyright notices and requests for credit lines.

The Bugwood Network ( lots of free pictures of, well, bugs and wood, but lots of other nature, agriculture, and whole ecosystem photos as well. Various Creative Commons licenses apply to different images, so be sure and check on the CC license of a specific image. You must register as member to get high resolution images, but membership is free.

Communications and Creative Services (CCS) Photo Resources ( Over 2000 images. Login is CoopExt, password will be provided by Help desk. The Asset>Information menu will provide you with the applicable credit line to use.

CREES ( has photos in all topic areas from Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service. Free and comprehensive.

Natural Resources Conservation Service ( has a very nice searchable database. Requires a credit line in publication or webpage. Images may not be distorted or altered.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( has a collection of photographs related to renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Low resolution images - useful for the web - for free. High resolution images cost $42. Acknowledge DOE/NREL for all images used, and give appropriate credit.

W3C's HTML Validator and Link Checker

on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, the guardians of webpage standards, has two tools worth noting to help you validate your HTML and check your links.

The first is a Mark-up Validation service ( that checks the validity your HTML against current web standards. It gives you the line number and a brief explanation of any errors it finds. If you pass the validator, you get a nifty icon to put on your website!

The second is a link checker ( that looks for issues in links, anchors and referenced objects in a webpage, or on an entire website.

Also available on the site are HTML tutorials, HTML cheat sheets, and much more. Check them out!

Text Link Checker Tool

on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is your website in a bad neighborhood?

The Bad Neighborhood text link checker ( automatically scans the links on your website, and on the pages that your website is linking to, and flags possible problem areas. Cut-and-paste your URL into the box, and the site will examine the anchor text linking to the various pages, and check for parts of certain words within them, such as “adult”, “sex”, and “pharma” (among others). Obviously, not every site with those words is a suspect site, but the tool does help you ferret out potential problem areas.

Clarification of what the tool actually does is available at

A partial screenshot of the results of my own site is shown below. Click to enlarge.