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Android Gingerbread Ships for Desire Z on Vodafone

The latest update for the HTC Desire Z is now available, for Vodafone customers at least. This update installs Android 2.3 (Also known as Android Gingerbread).

I have downloaded and installed it on my HTC Desire Z this evening.

Check for Android Gingerbread

You can check to see if your Provider has released Android 2.3 by going to:

Menu > Settings > About Phone and then selecting Software Updates and pressing the Check Now button.

You will be notified if the update is available for your phone.

The download and update process took about 10 minutes in total, from beginning to end.

What’s different

You end up with Android 2.3.3 and HTC Sense 2.1

I was hoping that the email client would be updated to support HTML mail on Exchange 2003, but Google still don’t want to fix this problem, so it remains Text only email for SBS 2003 and Exchange 2003 Customers. Exchange 2007 and above seems to to have HTML email support on the HTC.

The phone feels bit faster, but its very early days yet to know if the battery life is going to be any better.

Overall it doesn’t seem to be a major update, but I am sure that I will find out more about Android Gingerbread over the next few days as I spend more time with it.

1 week on with Android Gingerbread

Well I have had Android 2.3 on my HTC Desire Z for a week now and in general I have been very pleased with the update.

  • Battery life seems to have improved slightly
  • The phone is generally more responsive
  • Wireless seems to hold weak signals better
I haven’t been able to test the SIP calling addition as yet, as I have problems getting the phone to register with my VoIP account.  Which is more to do with my VoIP account rather than the Gingerbread upgrade.

Critical Android Vulnerability

Yesterday, researchers from Germany’s University of Ulm reported that some Android applications transmit sensitive authentication data without properly securing it, making people vulnerable to having their private data (e.g. Calendar Contacts, Pictures) accessed by an attacker.

When a vulnerable device transmits its authentication data, an attacker can eavesdrop and view transmitted data if you are connected to a public WiFi network or are using a hostile internet connection. Sending data unencrypted (e.g. via HTTP rather than HTTPS) is analogous to sending your sensitive data in clear envelope so that everyone can see its contents rather than in an opaque envelope. The specific Android vulnerability is found in applications that use Google’s ClientLogin authentication service over HTTP, rather than HTTPS, such as Google Calendar and Contacts.

Read More on this Android Vulnerability

You can read the rest of the article on the Lookout Blog

Lookout for Android Security Vulnerability

Lookout recently patched a security vulnerability in their Android app. The vulnerability, which was first reported by Tavis Ormandy of the Google Security Team, is not known to have compromised any devices or user data. Lookout worked with  Google to fix the problem and release an update through the Android Market and other distribution points.

How do I get the Lookout for Android Security Patch?

The issue is patched in Lookout for Android versions 5.1.1 and above.

To check which version of Lookout for Android you are running, open the Lookout app on your phone, click the menu button, click About and the version number is at the bottom of the screen.

If you are running version 5.1.1 or higher, no action is required. If not, you should upgrade via the Android Market or by downloading the app directly. If you set Lookout  for Android to Auto-update, in the Android Market,  you will always have the latest version and updates installed.

Use Comments to Improve Web Traffic

In my recent post Is My Website Effective, where I was looking at how you can measure the effectiveness and reach of your website, I spoke about the use of both Comments and Backlinks as tools to help improve web traffic. I have a real world example to share that shows the effectiveness of this technique, providing that you choose the right sites on which to place your comments.

How can comments help improve web traffic?

Improve Web Traffic with Comments and BacklinksYou can see that there is a spike in site visitors on November 30th and that after this date the number of visitors returned back to a more regular level.

What was the cause of the traffic increase and how can we sustain the increased visitor numbers, so that we continue to improve web traffic? Using web analytics, either provided by Google or in my case using the inbuilt WordPress statistics it was possible to see that the spike in visitors had all come from the same place. They had all come from a newspaper website, where I had added a comment in response to an article in a Technology Blog.

Increase Web Traffic with Backlinks anIncrease Web Traffic with Backlinks and Commentsd Comments

Compare the Traffic

Compare the 2 graphics on the left, the upper graphic shows the increase in traffic after the first comment posted to the Technology Blog.

In the second graphic the spike from the first graph, Dated 30th November, is more or less in the centre of the traffic graph. So the 2nd post was even more effective than the first in terms of helping to improve web traffic to ComputerSpot. The challenge remains to keep the traffic levels at the higher volume.

Posting a relevant comment to the Technology Blog of another, well known, UK newspaper has once again increased the traffic to ComputerSpot. So this simple 5 minute exercise has helped me to improve web traffic to ComputerSpot.

The comment that you post needs to be helpful and to entice readers to come and look at your blog, so it needs to be relevant to the original article. If the comment is helpful to people they will probably click on the link that goes back to your website, the backlink, to find out more. Its this process of backlinking that helps to improve web traffic to your site.

Backlinks improve web traffic

Its actually the Backlink that we are after, the link back to our website, rather than the content of the comment. So you need to have enough information in your comment:

  • So that it makes sense in its own right
  • That it shows that you know your subject
  • That people are interested in finding out more about the topic, by clicking on the link

The ‘Rules’ of using Comments and Backlinks to improve web traffic?

  1. Post comments that are relevant
  2. Make sure that there is a reason for people to click on your link
  3. Don’t advertise, be helpful with the content of the post.Otherwise your post will be removed by a ‘Moderator’
  4. Add comments to articles that are relevant to your website. i.e.There is no point posting a comment to an article about fly fishing if you are trying to get people to a website about perfume.
  5. Be honest, don’t try to hide who you are or where you are looking to take people.

So be selective in where you add comments and gain the backlinks and you can improve web traffic and gain visitors on a regular basis.

Have you ever wondered ‘Is my Website Effective?’


The Website Grade for www.computerspot.co.uk!

Having spent a lot of time and money on your website you probably look at the Google Analytics and think, ‘Is my Website Effective’? What do I need to do in order to make it more effective and to get more traffic. There are lots of people who do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) who will tell you that they can get you to the top of Google.

The other week I came across Website Grader which gives your website a grade, between 0 and 100, to tell you how effective it is. The icon the the left shows the current grade, or effectiveness, of www.ComputerSpot.co.uk – it was 80% effective when I first came across WebsiteGrader. So you can see that by using the information in the Grader Report I have been able to improve the grade of ComputerSpot in a few short weeks and have helped to make my website effective.

Click on the Grade Icon and you can see the latest full report for ComputerSpot.

Is My Website Effective?

At the moment it is OK, it generates some traffic and it does what I wanted it to do, or so I thought. Now I have seen WebsiteGrader it has given me a lot of ideas of simple things that I can do to improve the effectiveness of the site and get more traffic.

At the moment I probably score round about  B-, OK but could improve if he put in some effort. (Sounds very much like my old school reports) So we know that I can do more to make my website effective and generate more traffic, the question is where to start.

How Does WebsiteGrader work?

The people at HubSpot, who run WebsiteGrader, say:

The website www.computerspot.co.uk ranks 514,158 of the 2,971,275 websites that have been ranked so far.

A website grade of 83/100 for www.computerspot.co.uk means that of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 83% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. The algorithm uses a proprietary blend of over 50 different variables, including search engine data , website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.

So there are things that I can do to make my website effective. The good news is that WebsiteGrader shows you how well you are doing on the different scores that your site has for the 50 different checks that combine to grade the effectiveness of your site.

What do I need to do to make my website effective?

First thing  that you need is good content on your website. You can make your website more effective by including an active Blog, some of the items that add up in the grade of your site include:

  • The number of pages that Google has indexed
  • The Grade of the Blog, this gets run as part of the WebsiteGrader – Yes there is a BlogGrader
  • The frequency of Posts on the site
  • How easy the blog is to read – the simpler the content the better in this case
  • The number of back-links to your posts

Optimise to make my website effective

You still need to use traditional ‘On Page’ Search Engine Optimisation to make sure that when Google finds your web pages it find something that it likes. So that is the stuff that the SEO consultants will keep talking about. This includes getting the Meta data right, using the right keywords and phrases, etc.  All of these techniques will help me to make my website effective in attracting traffic.

If you are using WordPress for your website then plug-ins like SEOPressor and All in One SEO Pack will help you to improve your ‘On Page’ Search Engine Optimisation.

Domain Information to help make my website effective

Where your site is hosted, how long the site has existed and how long your before the domain is due for renewal all impact your website Grade. There isnt much that you can do about how old your domain is, but you can increase the time before your domain registration is due to expire. I hadn’t thought about either of these helping to make my website effective, but they all help.

Backlinks make my website effective

The other traditional item that helps me make my website effective is backlinks. Backlinks are simply links from other peoples websites back to your website. Historically Google used to just count the number of links pointing to your site, now they are much more clever about the use of Backlinks. This takes into account things like:-

  • The ranking of the site that is supplying the Backlinks
  • The domain type that is providing the Backlinks

Social Media helps make my website effective

If you have an active Twitter account that helps improve your website grade. Yes there is a Twitter Grader and this is one area where I need to do more work to improve and make my website effective. So why not go ahead and help by following ComputerSpot on Twitter

Traffic makes my website effective

This one is the obvious thing that will help me make my website effective. The more effective the website the more people will visit it and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. However people will only come back and visit your website again if you keep posting interesting material and keep informing them about the new articles that you have posted, using Twitter, email etc. So just writing good content is not enough to make my website effective, I need to make sure that its found and that people read what has been written.

Human Activity makes my website effective

The way that a webmaster or blogger can quickly and easily see that their blog is a success to by the comments the site receives. Google likes to see activity on a site, so go ahead and leave a comment at the base of this post.

Leaving comments on a site also helps your site, as what you are doing as part of your comment is creating a Backlink to your website.  So when you leave comments on a site you are helping 3 sets of people:-

  1. The visitors to the site – as they get to read your comments
  2. The owner of the site – as they get the activity and benefit from your comments
  3. Yourself – as your website now has another Backlink to it and Backlinks are a good thing

So when you visit a site and read an article go ahead and leave a comment and help everyone, including yourself.

So is my Website Effective?

You can see that WebsiteGrader will help you to see where your site is falling down and what you need to do in order to improve your site. Take a look at WebsiteGrader and enter your website details and see if you can get benefit from the Free Report.

If after looking at the report you know that your website needs some optimisation and traffic generating work then I suggest that you talk to my friend Raglan Tribe over at Clockwork Sales. After all WebsiteGrader just shows you how good a job you have done, it won’t necessarily tell you how to fix everything. You still need a good SEO consultant and Internet marketeer to do that.

Whilst all of the above are important the key thing that I can do to make my website effective is to provide regular good content, so that you keep coming back.

Website Analytics

Google offer Free website tools which help you find out how to optimise your website to improve visitor traffic. If you have a website you should be measuring the number of visitors that your site receives, how they found your website and also how long visitors stay on your site. Knowing something about your site visitors and their activity allows you to work out the best ways of improving your site.

Free Website Tools from Google

Google provide Free Website Tools which enable you to monitor the site visitors and also tell you if there are problems with the site. These tools are:-

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Webmaster Tools

Google Analytics

You can sign up for a Free Google Analytics account, so you can see how many people visit your website and how they found out about your site at https://www.google.com/analytics/reporting/

Free Website Tools from GoogleGoogle Analytics shows information about the number of visitors, where the traffic comes from, how long people stay on the site etc.

It also provides information on how people found your website, if they came direct to your site, if they came via a Search Engine and if so which search phrases they used.

Using the Free Website Tools from Google you can see the trends of when people visit your site and how long they stay on the site.  You also get information on the entry and exit pages and what route they take to navigate your website. All of this information helps you to work out if your website is properly designed and whether it makes it easy for people to do business with you over the Internet.

Don’t forget to regularly check on your website statistics so that you can see what needs to be done to improve things on your site.

 

Free Website Tools from Google

Free Website Tools from Google

Google Analytics is a great tool for looking at the traffic your site generates. It provides detailed insight into the visitors and their use of your website.

Even if your website is a WordPress site, and you are using the Free WordPress.com stats facility the more in depth analytics provided by Google is well worth the investment in time.

The information gained from using the free website tools from Google can help you to improve your website, gain more visitors and turn them into customers..