Build a Website News

Welcome to Build a Website News, our occasional web journal that keeps you up-to-date with what's new at Build a Website and what's happening in the wider world of website development.

We'll tell you about...

  • New or updated articles on the website
  • Trends and events in the world of website development
  • Previous articles that may be worth another look.

You can read our latest journal entries below, but you can also have Build a Website News delivered directly to your computer.

How do I subscribe to Build a Website News?

You don't even need an email address. It's easy to set up an RSS feed using the buttons that you'll find on the left-hand side of most of the pages on this site, but if you're not familiar with RSS and aren't sure what to do, please click on the [?] button here or in the left margin, and we'll tell you everything that you need to know.

Jan 29, 2016

Is this the most quoted page on the internet?

Probably not, or at least not now, but for some time it seemed as though my article "What is Alexa Traffic Rank?" might be the most quoted page on the internet. There were at least seventy other pages that quoted my article word-for-word as a whole or in part.

Whilst some of those quotes were made in the spirit of the doctrine of 'fair use', properly attributed and with a link through to my article, the majority weren't. They were used without attribution as advertising copy for monitoring software, or on spammy so-called search engine optimisation sites by some of those 'experts' who use others' words to get your attention, and to convince you that they know what they're talking about.

Charles Caleb Colton said that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", and there can't be many authors who aren't pleased and flattered when their work is quoted in a positive light. I'm no exception, and I'm pleased that my words have been judged worthy of a wider audience.

You're welcome to quote briefly from any of the material on this site if you feel that it will be helpful to your visitors, but please acknowledge your source, and if possible provide a live link through to our site. You'll find a button on most pages that will help you to do this.

Mar 31, 2015

Free Blog Widget

Got an RSS feed? Here's a free blog widget for your site!

If you have an RSS feed associated with your website or blog, our free blog widget will allow you to display it on your web page in a matter of minutes. Provided that you can tell us the name of the XML file that provides your RSS feed, our handy code generator will do the rest for you.

Why not try it for yourself?

Continue reading "Free Blog Widget"

Sep 08, 2014

Google Authorship is Dead

You may have noticed that not only has the author's photograph disappeared from the search results in Google, as we reported at the beginning of July 2014, but the entire byline has gone.

At the end of August there was a further announcement from John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, that they had "made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results", saying that it hadn't been as useful to their users as they’d hoped, and could even "distract from those results".

The truth of the matter appears to be that there was insufficient take-up by webmasters of authorship mark-up to make it worth Google's while, especially as, contrary to both our and their expectations, it seems to have made very little difference to the click-through rate.

So what's our advice?

If you've already implemented Google authorship, do nothing. We don't believe that it will do any harm to leave the mark-up in place.

Continue reading "Google Authorship is Dead"

Jul 02, 2014

Google Authorship: Another Update

Since we published an update to our original article 'How do I get my photo next to the search results in Google?' back in January 2014 there's been a further development. At the end of June 2014 John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, announced that they would no longer be showing the author's photo next to their search results, in order to create a "better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices".

He claimed that it wouldn't significantly affect the click-through rate, but experts are doubtful, and we're inclined to agree. Here's what The Guardian and Small Business Trends have to say about this new development.

We've added a note to our article...

Continue reading "Google Authorship: Another Update"

Feb 19, 2014

BBC News: Linking to free web content is legal, says EU Court

Back in January 2013 we reported that Irish newspapers were attempting to charge webmasters merely for linking to their content, on the grounds that it was an infringement of their copyright. We felt that this was contrary to common sense, and indeed to the newspapers' own interests.

We can now report that in a similar case involving the Swedish newspaper Goteborgs-Posten the European Court of Justice has ruled that websites may link to freely-available content without the permission of the copyright holder. However, to link to material that had not been made freely available would still constitute a breach of copyright.

Continue reading "BBC News: Linking to free web content is legal, says EU Court"

Jan 30, 2014

New Threat to the Web: Net Neutrality

Yesterday I received an e-mail from, the text of which I reproduce below. If you value the neutrality of the internet, you may wish to support their campaign.

"The richest 1% could now control what we all see on the Internet forever. It's the apocalypse of the Internet as we know it, and will erase the democratic promise of an information highway for everyone the founders of the world wide web imagined.

Together, our community has built on that vision, using the web to fight corruption, save lives, and bring people-powered aid to countries in crisis. But the US and the EU are on the verge of giving the richest corporations the right to show content fast, while paywalling or slowing down everything else. Avaaz's ability to show the world citizen journalist footage from Syria, or run campaigns to save our planet is under threat!

Decisions on both sides of the Atlantic are being made now. But tech innovators, free speech advocates and the best web companies are fighting back. If millions of us join them now we can create the largest call for a democratic and free Internet ever. Sign up now and tell everyone:

Until now, any improvements in the speed and functioning of the Internet benefited all of us - if Rupert Murdoch's ultra-conservative Fox News got a faster way to stream videos, it also benefitted independent media showing reality on the ground in Ukraine, Syria, or Palestine. Politicians called this "net neutrality" and laws protecting it used to exist in the United States until a court just struck them down. Now, the EU Parliament is threatening to pass regulation that give ISPs the right to carve up the web and control what we see, by slowing down or charging for sites that don't pay.

But we can stop this. First, we will show up with massive global numbers into this week's public meeting in the United States to decide whether to reinstate Internet protections. Then we will unleash a high powered lobby team to target the EU Parliament to ensure its committees listen to the public. This will be the big first step we need to win these important battles over the next few months.

Web providers like Verizon and Vodafone are lobbying hard for an Internet for the rich. And without a massive response from citizens, they could win, and put our whole community's work at risk. Most of our Internet is located in the US and the EU so this affects us all. We don't have any time to lose. Click below to join now:

When our community was less than half of the size it is now, we rallied and helped kill the ACTA treaty and stopped massive Internet censorship laws SOPA/PIPA. Today, we are more powerful than ever. Let's now join together and ensure that what connects us all stays open."

Jan 30, 2014

Google Authorship: An Update

Since we wrote our original article 'How do I get my photo next to the search results in Google?' many webmasters have reported that they're no longer seeing both byline and photo next to the search results. Following an announcement in October 2013 by Matt Cutts, head of Google's webspam team, that the amount of authorship information shown in their search results would be reduced by some 15% over the coming months, there does indeed seem to have been a change, and we've updated our article...

Continue reading "Google Authorship: An Update"

Jan 09, 2013

Irish Newspapers Charge For Links

We read something this week that we weren't sure whether or not to believe. Indeed, we had to check that it wasn't April Fools' Day.

According to an article in the Guardian on Monday, Irish newpapers are attempting to charge webmasters merely for linking to their content, on the grounds that it's an infringement of their copyright.

In a press release issued last week, National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) stated their view that under existing legislation "the display and transmission of links does constitute an infringement of copyright", and that webmasters should seek their permission before linking "for commercial purposes".

We believe that this is contrary to common sense, and certainly to the newspapers' own interests. We wonder whether NNI really understands how the internet works.

Wouldn't they want people to come and visit their own websites, rather than have other websites paraphrase their stories sufficiently loosely as to avoid accusations of copyright infringement?

Wouldn't they want all those positive 'votes' that would give them a good position in the search engines' results?

Most webmasters would welcome and encourage links from other relevant websites and blogs.

Jun 20, 2012

How do I get my photo next to the search results in Google?

It's becoming more and more important to stand out from the crowd. You've seen those Google search listings with the author's name and photograph next to the search results. Those results stand out from the others on the same page. It's a good way to increase your credibility, build your 'brand' and improve your click-through rate.

To get your name and photograph next to the search results in Google follow our three simple steps...

Continue reading "How do I get my photo next to the search results in Google?"

May 26, 2012

UK U-Turn on EU Cookie Law

With only 48 hours to go before the new European Union 'Cookie Law' was due to be implemented in the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) changed its advice to website owners.

Previously websites were not allowed to store any but 'essential' cookies without visitors' explicit and informed consent. The ICO's new advice is that consent may be assumed if visitors continue to use the website.

This followed the news that 95% of companies and many government departments had not yet complied with the new legislation.

However, we believe that we are already fully compliant, and we intend to continue in our current position.

Our recommendation continues to be that you should accept our cookies to keep the website working as you would wish.

Continue reading "UK U-Turn on EU Cookie Law"

May 13, 2012

The new EU Cookie Law - how will it affect me?

The European Union 'Cookie Law' comes into effect in the United Kingdom on 26th May 2012. Under this new law websites and blogs whose owners are based in the European Union will have to obtain permission from their visitors before storing all but 'essential' cookies, or allowing cookies to be stored on their behalf by third parties.

The definition of what's 'essential' appears to be pretty narrow: about the only cookies that seem to fall into this category are those used to remember your 'shopping basket' when you're buying something online.

What will this mean for you, our visitor?

When you come to our site you may see a banner at the top of the screen which says that the site works best if you accept cookies, and invites you to do so. You should certainly see a button near the top-right corner of the page that says "Cookies Allowed?". If you've not yet accepted our cookies it will show a red cross.

On clicking the button you'll see a panel where you can give us permission to store and use cookies. There'll also be a link to our cookie policy, where we explain more fully how they are used on our site. Once you've given your permission the panel will close, and the red cross will change to a green tick.

If you change your mind at any time, just click the button again, and you'll be able to withdraw your permission.

Just about everything that you see on the internet these days, from your bank or building society's remembering which colour scheme you'd prefer when you visit their website to all those social networking buttons that seem to be everywhere, needs cookies to work properly, or perhaps at all.

If you would still like it to be 'business as usual', we'd recommend that you accept our cookies.

Jan 24, 2012

Keep Google Honest

We trust Google to bring us the best search results. But now Google is betraying our trust...

Continue reading "Keep Google Honest"

Jan 16, 2012

Follow or NoFollow?

I'm often asked how and when to use the nofollow attribute value. Many webmasters are confused about this. However, whilst search engine optimisation (SEO) experts who don't believe in 'keeping it real' may make a bit of a fuss, it's quite simple really...

Continue reading "Follow or NoFollow?"

Jan 07, 2012

Is Site Build It! a Scam?

You may be wondering whether Site Build It! is a scam. You'd certainly be forgiven for thinking that it might be, because there's an extremely visible but rather misleading article out there on the web that suggests that it is. You may have read that article yourself, because it's not been difficult to find.

So what's the truth? Is Site Build It! a scam?

Continue reading "Is Site Build It! a Scam?"

Aug 31, 2011

Stop the Craziness!

Do you have a website or blog? Do you like to visit websites and blogs?

I know that it's a silly question, but something has happened that's going to affect most of us in one way or another.

In May 2011 a law was passed which means that if you live in the European Union (regardless of where your visitors come from, or where your website or blog is hosted) practically everything that you do that involves storing cookies, either directly or indirectly, is illegal unless you explicitly ask your visitors for permission.

You'll almost certainly be affected if you have third-party advertising on your website, or collect statistics about how many visitors come to your blog, or even if you have Facebook Like buttons. That's right: under this new law those Facebook Like buttons that you see everywhere are illegal if you live in the European Union.

Those are just a few examples.

Even if you live outside the European Union you may be affected. Do you like to visit websites or blogs run by webmasters from Europe? If they're trying not to break this law you'll be asked whether you'll allow them to store cookies. That could be annoying the first time, but what if you want to refuse? Under this crazy new law it's illegal to store this information, so you'll be asked again, and again, and again...

Please click here for more information and a video guide in less than three minutes.

So what can you do?

If you live in the European Union it may not be too late to make sure that when this law is implemented in your country all the craziness has been removed. It's not due to be implemented in the United Kingdom until May 2012. Please consider contacting your elected representative about this badly-considered piece of legislation.

Jun 29, 2011

How to use simple CSS

I'm often asked how to use simple CSS to enhance the look and feel of a basic HTML web page, or perhaps one built using a proprietary template system like the SiteSell Blockbuilder. In this article I provide a brief practical introduction to this versatile website development language...

Continue reading "How to use simple CSS"

Jun 20, 2011

What is Alexa Traffic Rank?

Ever wondered what Alexa traffic rank really means? Is it reliable? We explain in simple terms how to interpret it...

Continue reading "What is Alexa Traffic Rank?"

Jun 19, 2011

Build a Website News launches!

We're pleased to announce the launch of Build a Website News, our occasional web journal that keeps you up-to-date with what's new at Build a Website and what's happening in the wider world of website development.

We'll tell you about new or updated articles on the website, trends and events in the world of website development, and previous articles that may be worth another look.

Continue reading "Build a Website News launches!"

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