Internet is part of everyday life for young people

23 October 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

Apparently, 75% of people from the 16-24 age group couldn’t live without access to the Internet. This statistic comes from the report published recently by online charity YouthNet, which runs websites offering advice, information and volunteering opportunities to young people. The surveyed young adults even admitted that they prefer to use online resources in order to seek for advice rather than speak about their problems with a professional. This survey also reveals that despite different dangers of the Internet such as phishing email scams, young people generally perceive Internet as safe as long as one knows what they are doing. However, the YouthNet charity believes that older adults need to become more Internet-savvy in order to be more aware about what younger people are doing online.

So, it comes as no surprise that younger adults worship the Internet and cannot live without it as they have grown up with computer and mobile technology and generally understand it better than older generations. But what is the Internet adoption rate among older adults? Well, the BBC reports that in 2006 the UK government has signed up to an EU agreement to halve the gap in internet use for older adults, by 2010. There is still one more year left before we see the official results of this endeavour, but the future seems promising as, according to the Office for National Statistics, since 2006 4 million new households in the UK started using the Internet contributing to a total of 18.3 million households with Internet access in 2009. Also, the findings of a web watch conducted in 2003 by silicon.com show that the number of older adults using the Internet is steadily growing with the UK having the second highest proportion in Europe. Research by Nielsen shows that older people are one of the fastest growing demographics on the Web as 11.5 million people aged 55 and over use the internet in Europe.

Older generations are typically much slower at using new technology and some of the reasons for slower Internet adoption rates among older adults include unfamiliarity, fear, lack of skills, missing background knowledge, lack of perceived benefit from the net and unusable devices (Melenhorst, Rogers and Caylor, 2001).

Needless slashes – thanks, Tim Berners-Lee!

16 October 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

At a recent symposium on the future of technology in Washington DC, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the famous British scientist who created the World Wide Web and W3C, made a confession that he made a bit of a mistake 20 years ago when he designed URLs with two forward slashes (//). Although he thought that “it was a good idea at the time”, he now admits that he just simply didn’t envisage that the two slashes would cause Internet users “so much hassle”.

A quick history lesson is that the idea of the World Wide Web first came to light in March 1989 when Sir Tim, then a young scientist at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), wrote a proposal detailing the means by which the particle physics research community could easily share and search electronic documents. As we all know today his proposal was accepted. The first website was built at CERN and put on line on 6 August 1991 and as they say… the rest is history (see Wikipedia for more details).

So coming back to the two forward slashes… Although Berners-Lee’s confession is very welcome and considerate of people’s finger presses and trees that would have been saved “if people had not had to write or type out those slashes on paper over the years”, the reality is that nowadays most web browsers automatically fill the two slashes in when a user just types “www”. Also, haven’t we had those slashes, it’s very likely that a certain author wouldn’t have titled his novel “/”, poets and playwrights wouldn’t have had any other sign to indicate a line break and the ‘NetHack’ video game wouldn’t have had a symbol for a wand (see this BBC article for other great uses for forward slashes). So, there is certainly a lot of benefit that came out of Berners-Lee’s silly mistake.

Even though, the usage of two slashes in every Web address is now thought of as not very ‘green’ or usable, I am sure that we can all forgive Sir Tim his little mistake as without his scientific efforts we would not have the wonderful Internet and Kent House would be out of business.

When the campaign ends…paragraph and section headers for SEO

16 October 2009 by Yvonne Conway  
Filed under Search Engine Optimisation

Continuing on from my earlier article the next item down on the list of things to pay attention to was paragraph and section headers. These are a very simple and effective way of letting the Search Engines know what words they should pay attention to and to give your keywords additional weighting on the page.

Traditionally when writing a document, you would put paragraph or table headings in bold and maybe increase the font size to show your readers that the title of the paragraph or table was “Racing Bikes” for example. However, for SEO you should always ensure that it is set as a header. Headers look like the below in their rawest forms:
<h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6>

Most good Content Management Systems will give you the option of making a piece of text into a header rated 1 – 6 within the actual text editor. These should normally be set and styled by your web designers so that they are in keeping with your site’s look and feel. Generally speaking page titles are set as H1’s with every sub-category underneath that being a H2 and so on down to H6. I must admit though that I have never used a H6, at that stage you might want to come up with a different way of structuring your information!

When creating your paragraph headers, ensure you use keyword rich, descriptive text. So if I wanted to create a page on the types of services offered by Kent House with a specific focus on Staffordshire, I would structure the page a little like this:

Kent House, Staffordshire based online marketing agency – our services

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Staffordshire based companies

We have a great SEO track record for clients, helping them to achieve much improved rankings in Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Work directly with our Internet Marketing Manager Yvonne Conway to improve your company’s search engine results.

Website design for local Staffordshire companies

Kent House have been designing websites for big and small companies across Staffordshire since 2001. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you!

And so on through each of our services…So remember when you are creating your pages, ensure you use set headers for paragraph and section headings rather than simply using basic formatting.