Google Webmaster Tools Overview

Google Webmaster Tools provides website and blog owners with a free set of statistics about their site. You might consider using Google Webmaster Tools if your web hosting does not provide a very good statistics program or want to supplement your web hosting stats program with additional information. All that is required to get started is a Google Account and going through the verification process.

Google Webmaster Tools is different than Google Analytics. Webmaster Tools focuses on statistics about your website and how it appears on the web within Google’s search engine. Google Analytics focuses on how your visitors arrive from Google searches, how you place in the search results for keywords/phrases, your click through rate and bounce rate.

We are going to focus on Google Webmaster Tools in this article and cover general information on the following sections information available to you once you sign up for Webmaster Tools:

Messages

Ocassionally, Google will have a message for you about something they found out about your site. By default the message is put into your Google Webmaster Tools acount waiting for you the next time you login. Some of the messages Google sends you are very important. Once you setup your Webmaster Tools account, change the message deliver to the email address associated with the account so you will get instant notification.

Dashboard

When you click the domain name you are tracking in Webmaster Tools you will be taken to the Dashboard.

The Dashboard gives you a quick overview of some stats like search queries, crawl errors, keywords, sitemaps and links to your site. All these are also down the left side of the screen under the different sections with extended information we will be covering in this article.

Site Configuration

The Site Configuration screen is all the information about your Sitemaps, crawler access, Sitelinks, change of Address and settings. Clicking Site Configuration on the left of the screen exposes links to this informaiton.

Sitemaps

Sitemaps are special XML files on your web hosting account that provide information for Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines that support the Sitemaps protocol. This is different than the site map you see on websites when you click the site map link provide.

Once you have created a Sitemap for your site and uploaded it to the web space, you can go to this screen to let Google know you have one.

Crawler Access

This is the screen where you can see the last time Google looked at your robots.txt file, test your robots.txt file and remove any urls Google has indexed that it shouldn’t have.

Sitelinks

You may have noticed that sometimes when you do a search in Google there are some extra links under the results listing. These are called Sitelinks. On the Sitelinks page Google will let you know if they have set any up for your site and what links they have used.

Sitelinks are created automatically by Google. You can not request these but if you have some Google does provide a button to block them being shown (you have to do this one by one).

Change of Address

In this screen Google lets you notify them that you have changed the url of your site. It requires the new domain name and site being setup, the domain name being verified in your Webmaster Tools account and a 301 permanent redirect instruction in your .htaccess file first.

Note: Doing this is not really necessary. The instruction in the .htaccess file serves the same purpose and is used by all the search bots.

This is different from adding and deleting pages from your site. This is just for you main url (web address) only.

Settings

The Settings screen shows what geographic area your site is targetted for in Google, where you can tell Google which version of your url (www.mydomain.com or mydomain.com) to use and set the crawl rate Google uses.

Note: Telling Google which version of your domain name to use in this screen is not going to let the other search engine bots know which version of your domain name to use. You should have an instruction in the .htaccess file for this as this provides the information to all the search bots.

Your Site on the Web

The Your Site on the Web section shows you stats about how your site appears in Google’s search results. Click the Your Site on the Web link on the left to expose more links to these stats.

Search Queries

Search queries shows you your top queries and page in the Google search results. There is information about the number of impressions, number of clicks, the click through rate and average position in the results the phrase/page is showing. They also show you if you are improving or declining for each of these stats.

Links to Your Site

When you first click the Links to Your Site link you are taken to an overview page. It summarizes the highest domains linking to you, the highest pages linked and the phrases. All of this information can be expanded by clicking the more link under each section.

You will ask why these stats don’t match what you see in other stats programs. Google doesn’t want to let all it’s secrets out of the bag. There are people who try to manipulate the search results so Google keeps some information to themselves.

Keywords

The keywords screen shows the single words your site is showing up for in Google. Not really helpful but you can click one to see the number of occurances and associated pages on your site for the word.

Internal Links

Internal links shows you the number of links within your own site that link to other pages on the site. This is important information because the pages are ordered greatest links to lowest. It will show you the pages on your own site that need some more links to it from within your site.

Internal linking is important for your link building strategy and to get your visitors to other sections of your site. Remember, a visitor does not necessarily arrive to your site at the home page. They can arrive on any page on the site therefore you need to help them see other parts of the site.

Subscriber Stats

Subscriber Stats shows you the number of people who use Google’s RSS reader to keep up to date with your site additions. These stats require your site has a RSS feed, which most blogs have and can be added to a regular site also. The numbers do not include people who use other RSS feed readers to follow your site.

Diagnostics

Using the Diagnostics screen you can see issues Google found while crawling your site.

Malware

Malware happens when your site has been compromised or you have installed a third party addon that contains scripting that is harmful to your visitors.

If you see the “Google has not detected any malware on this site.” message this is good! But if it doesn’t show this you need to track down what is causing the message you are infected with malware. Google now shows in the search results that they have found malware on the site, something you don’t want to happen.

Crawl Errors

Crawl errors include pages not found, what files you have restricted with the robots.txt file and if Google Mobile had problems accessing the site.

If there are any errors showing, these need to be fixed.

Page not found errors can be caused by you making a change and not using a 301 permanent redirect to indicate the page has moved or by people linking to the site incorrectly. Either way, this needs to be fixed. You don’t want visitors not getting to where they intended to arrive at.

Crawl Stats

Crawl stats shows the Googlebot’s activity on your site in the last 90 days via graphs. There will be peaks and valleys in the graphs which is nothing to worry about. If the graphs show low activity then that’s something to investigate.

HTML Suggestions

Google will show you meta description problems, title tag problems and pages they couldn’t index under HTML Suggestions. These need your attention.

Each page needs an unique meta description and title tag. Google will point out it you don’t.

Labs

Labs is where Google shows some experimental and new information they are trying out.

Webmaster Tools Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. They may change, break or disappear at any time.

Fetch as Googlebot

Under Fetch as Googlebot you enter a page url and click fetch to see if Google can successfully reach the page. If you click the Success link it will show the code view of the page, which probably doesn’t mean much to you if you are not coding the pages yourself.

Site Performance

Site performance has a graph at the top of the page which has peaks and valleys. These indicate how fast or slow the site was when Google visited.

The slowness of your site can be caused by your web hosting, poor web page coding or third party features you have linked to that were not working properly.

Google itself, at the bottom of the page, recommends you use their Page Speed Firefox add-on for more accurate information.

Video Sitemaps

Video Sitemaps were something fairly new when this article was written. It shows processing issues with your Video Sitemap (if you have one).

Google Webmaster Tools Summary

As you can see from all the information above, signing up for Google Webmaster Tools can provide you with some valuable information on how Google sees your site in their index. Some of this information is not only valuable to getting your site indexed in Google but also points out corrections that need to be made so your site is listed in other search engines also.

Google Webmaster Tools Interface Update

We consistently hear from webmasters that they have to prioritize their time. Some manage dozens or hundreds of clients’ sites; others run their own business and may only have an hour to spend on website maintenance in between managing finances and inventory. To help you prioritize your efforts, Webmaster Tools is introducing the idea of “site health,” and we’ve redesigned the Webmaster Tools home page to highlight your sites with health problems. This should allow you to easily see what needs your attention the most, without having to click through all of the reports in Webmaster Tools for every site you manage.

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Work smarter, not harder, with site health- September 29, 2011

We just launched a new feature that allows you as a verified site owner to grant limited access to your site’s data and settings in Webmaster Tools. You’ve had the ability to grant full verified access to others for a couple of years. Since then we’ve heard lots of requests from site owners for the ability to grant limited permission for others to view a site’s data in Webmaster Tools without being able to modify all the settings. Now you can do exactly that with our new User administration feature.

Safely share access to your site in Webmaster Tools – Official Google Webmaster Tools Blog – March 05, 2012


This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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Which Blogging Software to Use?

So you have decided to have a blog. Great! Now you have to decide which blogging software to use that best suits your needs.

There are lots of different blogging software programs to pick from, we will be covering:

Blog Purpose and Theme

Creating a blog is just like creating a website. You need to do some planning first.

  • What is the purpose of the blog?
  • What will be the topic you will be blogging about?
  • What are the expectations of your targeted audience?
  • Based on what your target audience expects, what technologies does the blogging software need?

    Some of the blogging software options available will have limited features so it’s best to do some research which features you want and make a checklist.

  • The technologies you have determined you need will be the deciding factor as to what web hosting you require. A free blogging platform will do? Or paid hosting and self installed software is required?
  • Blog themes are the templates that create the look and layout of the blog. Do you want a custom unique theme to stand out from the crowd? Or will a pre-made blog theme or free theme work?

    If you go for the pre-made or free option for your theme, will it need tweeking to meet your needs?

  • Next, what budget do you have to incorporate all of the above.

Blogging Software

Free Hosted Blogging Software

Free hosted blogging software has some limitations you should be aware of:

  • If you use a theme (template) provided by the service, you more than likely won’t be able to take it with you if you decide to move. Check the TOS (terms of service) or TOU (terms of use) first.
  • Less configuration options are available.
  • Your web address will include the free service’s name. e.g. website-checklist.blogspot.com

Here are some free hosted blogging software sites:

The above are just a few of the free hosted blogging platforms available.

Self Hosted Blogging Software

Self hosted blogs require that you purchase a domain name, some hosting and install your chosen blogging software. You will be responsible to update the software as new editions come available.

The advantages of a self hosted blog are:

  • You own your domain name.
  • Your domain name doesn’t have anyone else’s name in it.
  • You can find free blogging software to use on your self hosted blog.
  • You have full control over which features you want to use and what design you use.

One thing to consider is the technology required to run your self hosted blogging software. Most use PHP and a MySQL database. These factors will determine what kind of hosting you need.

Your web hosting may have a quick install button in your control panel. We don’t recommend using this as the web hosting company could have had the installation of the software changed and removed some of the features you expected. There is another reason to self install your blogging software, security risks:

When installing WordPress on your own domain, avoid using auto installers that come with your hosting account, such as Fantatisco. Auto installation scripts come with security risks.

Avoid unnecessary security vulnerabilities and malicious hackers by doing a manual installation of WordPress.

WordPress Security Risks Using Auto Installers Like Fantatisco

Always go to the source site to get your self hosted blogging software.

Here are some self hosted blogging software packages:

When you decide to get into blogging there are lots of choices of blogging software to choose from. Just remember to plan first to save yourself having to change platforms later. Don’t go with what’s cool, go with what works for your blog.

This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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What is a FTP Client?

FTPing files to webspace

As a website or blog owner, knowing how to use a FTP client (FTP software) is a useful skill. Instead of relying on your WYSWYG (What you see what you get) software or the interface of your blogging software to upload files, images and other content to your webspace you can use a FTP client and be in full control.

What Does FTP Stand For?

FTP is the acronym for the File Transfer Protocol, a protocol for transfering files.

What is FTP Software Used For?

FTP software (or FTP client) is used to copy files from one computer to another over the Internet.

Your FTP software connects to another computer connected to the Internet using a file host name, user name and password when we are talking about using it to upload (or download) files and content for your website or blog.

FTP Security

Regular FTP transfers are not secure. The data sent over the Internet is not encrypted therefore the file, user name, password and commands sent can be read/seen by a packet sniffer (capture) piece of software surfing the net to find such information.

For better security use a FTPS connection.

Using a FTP Client

First of all, you have to download a FTP program. FTP clients can either be free or a paid version. Comparison of FTP Client Software at Wikipedia has a list sorted by free, freeware, freeware and payware, payware and operating system.

You will need the FTP information from your web hosting firm. Try and get the secure FTP information.

Once you have installed the FTP client on your computer you need to set it up for the site you wish to FTP the files to.

Start the FTP client and enter:

  1. A profile name.

    The profile name can be anything you want. Make it something that will make sense to you later if you will be using the FTP software for more than one site.

  2. The host name.

    The host name will be given to you by your web hosting compay. It can be an IP address (123.123.123.123) or your domain name with ftp in front (ftp.mydomain.com).

  3. Your FTP user name.

    Depending on how your web hosting handles FTP, you could have been automatically assigned a FTP user name or you may have to create a FTP account yourself.

  4. Your FTP password.

    For security reasons, this should be different from your web hosting account login password. If your web hosting company has setup the FTP account with the same password as your main login, change it to something else. Use PCTools Secure Password Generator to create a secure password. Make sure you record it somewhere for safekeeping!

    Also for security reasons, do not save the password to the software. If you do, anyone that gains access to your computer can upload/download or otherwise mess up your site. Don’t worry, you will soon remember the password to enter each time you use the FTP client.

  5. Location of files on your computer.

    To make things easier each time you use the FTP client, enter the path on your computer to the folder that contains your website or blog’s files.

  6. Location of the folder on the web server.

    Like the location of the files on your computer, if you enter the path to the correct location on the web server for your site you won’t have to navigate the path next time you use the FTP client.

Using a FTP client to transfer your website or blog files is a skill each site owner should learn. You can also use your FTP client software to backup your site. You have a backup, right?

More Information on FTP

File Transfer Protocol – technical information about the FTP Protocol.

FTPS – information on the FTPS Protocol

How an FTP Site Works

This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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V7N 30 Day Blogging Challenge

The V7N 30 Day Blogging Challenge starts January 3, 2011 and we are participating!

Participants are to create a blog post each day for 30 days We can post on a single blog or different ones if you have more than one.

This is a great incentive to get back to blogging for your business, hobby or your personal blog. You never know, you just might make it a habit by the end of the challenge (well that’s the goal anyways).

Click the button below to see who else is participating.
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Good luck to all those participating! V7N Administrator Cricket is working on some random prizes.

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How to Create a Google Alert

Google Alert

Google Alerts are a great way to monitor your online reputation, keep an eye on keywords you are looking at and monitor your links around the web. Another use of Google Alerts is to find linking opportunities and sites related to the theme of yours.

Google Alerts is one of the Google services that does not require a Google account to use but you can access it through after logging into your Google account.

This article covers how to create a Google alert without a Google account and after logging into your Google account.

What is a Google Alert?

A Google alert is a notice sent to you from the Google alert system via email when Google has found an instance of the keywords you have setup to monitor. You can send this notice to any email address. It does not have to be a Gmail email address.

You set what areas of the internet you wish to monitor. It can be just news articles, just blogs, the web, a comprehensive report covering all instances, just videos or just groups.

The frequency that you receive your Google alert is set by you. The alert can be sent as Google finds the phrase, once each day or once a week.

In one session you are allowed to create up to ten alerts. Once confirming your alerts, you are allowed to create more. The maximum number of alerts you are allowed per email address is 1000 alerts.

Create a Google Alert Without a Google Account

The steps below are how to create a Google alert without using a Google account.

  1. Go to the Google Alerts home page.

    Over on the right is a series of boxes (form) to fill in.

  2. The top box is where you fill in what you want to be alerted about.

    You can fill in your domain name, company name, keywords you want to monitor, or anything else you want.

  3. The second step is to select what type of alert you want.

    Your choices are:

    • Everything
    • News
    • Blogs
    • Realtime
    • Video
    • Discussions

    For the most instances leave the default of Everything.

  4. Next is how often you want to be notified.

    The choices for the frequency you receive your Google alert are:

    • as-it-happens – Receive your alert as soon as Google finds an instance of your alert.
    • once a day – As it says, you receive a Google alert email once a day. (selected by default)
    • once a week – Again, as it says, you receive your Google alert email once a week.

    If you want to keep right on top of when your phrase is found, select as-it-happens.

  5. Email length is how many results in the emailed alert to you want at a time.

    You have 2 choices:

    • Only the best results
    • All results

    Select All results to get a comprehensive list of notices. Noticed with Only the best results selected it was difficult to get notices for every mention of websites monitored so if you are using this for checking backlinks or reputation monitoring the All results would be better.

  6. The last box before submitting is for your email address you want the Google Alerts sent to.

    Enter your email adddress in the box provided. It does not have to be a Gmail email address.

  7. Check over your selections.
  8. The last step is to left click the Create Alert button at the bottom of the form.

    That’s it, you are done!

Now you will start receiving Google Alerts in your email.

Create a Google Alert After Logging into Your Google Account

If you have a Google account already, you can access Google Alerts from your account home page. Entering Google Alerts this way you can also edit your existing alerts.

  1. Go to any Google page.

    Up in the top right of most Google pages there is a link to log into Google. Left click it.

  2. Complete the sign in process to log into Google.

    Once you do this, you will be taken back to the Google page you logged in from.

  3. Up in the right corner is a link called Settings. Beside the link is a down arrow which exposed some choices. Left click it.

    Select the Google Account Setting option from the dropdown list.

  4. You are now in your Google account page.

    Scroll down a bit to the Try something new section.

  5. Left click the Alerts link (it’s on the left side).

    You are taken to the Google Alerts home page.

  6. The rest of the process is the same as described above under Create a Google Alert Without a Google Account starting at step 2.

    The email portion of the form is already filled in with the email address associated with your Google account.

Now that you know how to create a Google alert without a Google account and if you already have a Google account you can start monitoring things like your business name, your name, your blog mentions or anything else you want. There’s tonnes of things you can monitor with Google Alerts!

Other Google Alerts Information

Google Alerts Help – Frequently asked questions at the Google Alerts site.

Link Building with Google Alerts: A Guide

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Create Account at Google

Create Google Account

To use the services available at Google you need a Google account first.

What Services Can I Access with My Google Account?

Google provides a number of services. Below are a few of the services you might use as a business owner:

Security Note Regarding Google Accounts and Services

Your Google Account is hooked up with all the Google Services you use therefore, if you decide to have someone manage your Google Analytics account for you they will have access to all the other services you use at Google. Consider creating a separate account for the business services you will be using for your website so if you hire someone to manage these services for you, they don’t have access to your Gmail account or any other personal services you use at Google.

How to Create an Account at Google

Before you can create an account at Google you will need an email address and a strong password in mind The password needs to be at least 8 characters long.

  1. Go to the Create an Account page.
  2. The first piece of information they ask for is an email address. This will be part of your login information.

    Fill in an existing email address you have.

  3. Next, they want a password.

    Type in your chosen password in the box next to Choose a password:

    Over on the right of the box where you typed the password it will indicate how strong your password is.

  4. In the next box down retype your password.
  5. Decide if you want to stay logged in.

    By default the stay logged in box is checked. This puts a cookie on the computer where you are working to keep you logged in at Google. This is fine if the machine is your own but if you are doing this on a public machine (e.g. at the library) then uncheck it because you probably will forget to log out when you leave. If you don’t logout at the library then the next person to use the machine has access to your account.

  6. The next thing to consider is Web History.

    Creating a Google Account will enable Web History. Web History is a feature
    that will provide you with a more personalized experience on Google that
    includes more relevant search results and recommendations.

    What this means is Google is going to track what sites you visit and then start presenting sites in the results that they think suit your past web searching history.

  7. Default Homepage is next. It is checked by default to change your homepage to Google.

    If you leave this checked, the homepage of your browser will be reset to use Google’s search page as your home page when the browser is opened.

  8. Location

    Your location is preselected for you based on the IP address of the computer you are using.

  9. Next is the captcha to verify you are a human.

    An image with a word is shown.

    Below the image is a box for you to type in the word. There is a handicapped symbol to the right of the box for those visually impaired.

    Type in the word you see in the image.

  10. The last thing before creating your Google account is to read the Terms of Service agreement.

    Be sure to read Google’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy if you are not familiar with them. The links provided on their page open in a new window.

  11. One last thing to do. Click the I accept. Create my account button.

Once you click the I accept. Create my account button you are taken to a screen showing confirmation that the account has been created.

Within the message on the page it tells you that Google has sent you an email to the address given and you have to click the link in that email to confirm the process.

Verifying Your Google Account

Once you clicked the Create my account button an automated email is sent to the email address you gave at the beginning of the account creation process.

In the email is a link for you to click to verify the account. When you click it you are taken to a page at Google Accounts thanking you for confirming your account signup.

In the email you received it specifically says:

***NOTE*** Please print this page for your records. You’ll need your verification
link if you lose access to your account (for example, if you forget your username
or password).

So heed the warning by printing out the email and putting it somewhere safe!

Update February 10, 2011: Google has implemented a 2 step verification system. Matt Cutts, Google Spam Department talks about this here: Google launches two-factor authentication

Using Your Google Account

As described at the beginning of this article, there are lots of Google services available for you to use for free once you have a Google Account.

If you have not closed the Account Creation Confirmation tab/window yet, up in the top right is a link to My Account.

Once you click the My Account link you are taken to a page showing the Google services and features you have available to you.

Start by setting up a Gmail account or set up your Google profile. Maybe you would be more interested in Google Alerts, Adsense, Adwords or want to find a Google Group to join. None of those services of interest? Click the more link in the bottom right of the page to explore more Google services available.

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How to Email Photos in Windows

Email photo in Windows

You get photos emailed to you from friends and family in all the time. But do you know how to email photos to someone?

We have 2 sets of instructions here for you on how to email photos:

Sending a Photo in an Email

Sending a single photo in an email is prettty straight forward:

  1. Find the image on your computer.
  2. Right click the image.

    A menu appears.

  3. Put your mouse over the Send To option.

    Another menu pops out.

  4. Select Mail Recipient from the list that is exposed in the second menu.

    If your photo has a really large file size or large dimensions (e.g. you downloaded it from your camera and want to send without editing it) Windows may ask you if you would like the photo resized. This is fine for sending to your family and friends but if you are sending this to your web designer or graphics person, tell Windows to leave the photo as it is. It is much better to send photos to your web designer/graphics person in the original state so they can edit the photo with the proper photo editing tools.

    The menu closes and your email program starts up.

  5. A new email message is created complete with your image attached.

    If you look at the top of the message there will be an item added to the usual items called Attach.

  6. Windows automatically adds the Subject line for you when emailing photos.

    The Subject line of your new email will have the subject line filled in with Emailing: name of photo.jpg

  7. The Body of your email will also be filled in.

    “The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
    name of image.jpg

    Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.

    You can select this text, delete it, and fill in your own message.

  8. Fill in the To box.

    Left click the To at the top of your email and your Address book will open. Select the person(s) you wish to email the photos to.

  9. Once you have the To filled in all that’s left is to left click the Send button at the top and your photos are emailed out.

But what if you have a bunch of photos to email?

Email Multiple Photos in Windows

Emailing multiple photos in Windows goes pretty well the same way as emailing a single photo with one change at the beginning, when selecting the photos to send.

  1. Find the images on your computer.
  2. Left click the first image in the group of images you wish to email.
  3. With the Shift key down, select the last image in the group of images to be emailed.

    They will appear to have a blue highlight around them.

  4. With your mouse over one of the selected images, right click.

    A menu appears.

  5. The rest of the procedure is the same as for emailing a single image explained above.

Some Notes About Emailing Photos

Photos tend to be large files, especially when they come straight out of the camera.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) may have a limit on how big of an email you are allowed to send therefore, if you are sending multiple photos break them into batches.

There is also the problem of the receiver’s (person you are emailing the photos to) mailbox limit.

  • Their mailbox is only a certain size and your email is too big.
  • They haven’t cleaned out their email mailbox on the mail server for a while and it’s full.

If this happens, you will get a notice from the mail server where their email mailbox is located saying the message was undeliverable.

  • Reduce the size of your email and send again.
  • Send them an email telling them you tried to send some pictures and please clean out their mailbox.
  • If you can’t send them an email at all because their mailbox is full, you are going to have to phone them and let them know.

So, as you can see, emailing photos in Windows is not that hard. Just be careful your email isn’t too big and everything will work fine.

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The New Yahoo! Search

Yahoo! Search has a new look as of September 22, 2009. Seems they have decided to go for a sleeker look.

New Yahoo! Search screen

The official announcement on the Yahoo! Search Blog says:

“Today, we are launching an all-new Yahoo! Search experience that makes search more personally relevant. We tested the changes in August with a percentage of users, and now the new page is available to everyone. The new page is designed to help you easily find and explore the things that matter most to you. The Yahoo! Search team is delighted to demonstrate our commitment to innovate in search technology and deliver an amazing user experience….”

Welcome to the New Yahoo! Search

Yahoo! Advanced Web Search

Clicking the Advanced Search link under options takes you to a full page of choices to refine your search.

There is a new feature:

  • Creative Commons Search (in Beta as of this writing)

    Limit your search to content with a Creative Commons license

New Yahoo! Search Key Features

  • Intelligent Search Results

    Enhanced product, local, entertainment, reference, social, and tech sites results.

  • Feature-Rich Experience

    Search Scan/SafeSearch (viruses, spyware, and spam protection) and Search Pad (track sites and make notes)

  • Search Assist Expansion

    Query assistance available below the search box and in a column on the left.

Searching with the New Yahoo! Search Interface

As you type your search the search box has a list of suggestions appear the box to help you with suggestions of popular phrases/searches.

On the search results page there’s 3 columns:

  • On the left, the Query assistance column.

    Hmm, when searching for web page mistakes there’s an option to search GeoCities. Yahoo! decided to close GeoCities. Guess that’s just a glitch until they empty the GeoCities section in October.

  • In the center are the search results.

    If you have the StumbleUpon toolbar installed, the ratings for the sites in the results are shown.

  • On the right is a column for sponsored links.

    These vary, depending on your search query.

Going back up to the top of the screen, you have a choice to search:

  • Web
  • Images – Yahoo! Image Search
  • Video – Yahoo! Video Search
  • Local – Yahoo! Local
  • Shopping – Yahoo! Shopping
  • More
    • Answers – Yahoo! Answers
    • Directory – Yahoo! Directory
    • Jobs – Yahoo! hotjobs
    • News – Yahoo! News
    • Sports – Yahoo! Sports
    • All Search Services – Yahoo!’s Search with list of all their services which can be searched.

Looks like Yahoo! has made some changes for the good. We’ll post more as we try out each feature.

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Delete a Desktop Shortcut

Desktop Shortcuts

At times your desktop can get cluttered with desktop shortcuts and program icons making it hard to find things on the desktop and generally makes it cluttered.

When your desktop gets to a point where it is suffering from “desktop clutter” it’s time to delete a desktop shortcut or two.

Deleting a Program Desktop Shortcut

Deleting a program desktop shortcut does not remove the program from your computer. Moving the shortcut to the recycle bin only removes the program shortcut from the desktop.

Windows will remind you of this as you move the shortcut to the recycle bin:

Deleting the shortcut to (program name) only removes the icon. It does not uninstall the program…

Reference: Windows message window as you drop the program icon over the Recycle Bin

Deleting a File or Folder Desktop Shortcut

When you delete a desktop shortcut for a file or folder, unlike a program shortcut, you do not get a message from Windows.

Deleting a file or folder desktop shortcut which you created yourself does not remove the file or folder. It only removes the shortcut from the desktop.

If you downloaded something from the Internet to your desktop, then when you delete the shortcut, you will loose the program or file. See our Saving Downloads article for a better way to do this so you can include the file or program in your backup routine.

How to Delete a Desktop Shortcut

There are several ways to delete a desktop shortcut from the desktop in Windows.

Method 1

This first method to delete a desktop shortcut is quite simple:

  1. Move your mouse over the desktop shortcut you wish to delete and press the left mouse button.

    The icon will become selected and highlighted.

  2. With the icon still selected and the left mouse button still down, drag the desktop shortcut over to and on top of the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.
  3. Release the left mouse button.

    If it is a program shortcut you are deleting, Windows will show a message (as explained above) and ask for confirmation.

    No message appears if the desktop shortcut is for a file or folder.

That’s it! You are done!

Missed the Recycle Bin? Then just repeat the instructions above, making sure this time you dragged the desktop shortcut over the Recycle Bin.

Method 2

  1. Left click the desktop shortcut to select it.
  2. Right click the desktop shortcut.

    A menu appears.

  3. Left click the Delete item on the menu that appeared.
  4. Windows will ask you to confirm deleting the shortcut.

    Just like our first method, you will get a message from Windows about deleting the shortcut if it is for a program. See the beginning of this article if you missed what the message says.

    For a file or folder shortcut, you will see a message from Windows asking for confirmation.

That’s it for method number 2.

Method 3

  1. Left click the desktop shortcut you wish to delete.
  2. On your keyboard, press the Delete button.

    The delete button is in the bottom left corner of the bank of buttons above your arrow keys, if you are using a desktop computer.

  3. You will get a message from Windows asking for confirmation.

    The messages for this method are the same as the ones for method 2 above.

Now that you know how to delete a desktop shortcut, there’s no excuse for your desktop to become cluttered with unwanted shortcuts.

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Arrange Desktop Shortcuts

Arrange Desktop Shortcuts

Continuing with our desktop shortcuts series, now that you have created a custom desktop shortcut, you are probably wondering how to organize all the desktop shortcuts you have.

  1. Right click your desktop.

    A menu appears.

  2. Left click the Arrange Icons By menu item.

    A new menu list appears.

Arrange Icons By

Once you left click the Arrange Icons By menu item, you have a number of choices.

The top section of the Arrange Icons By menu contains:

  • Name
  • Size
  • Type
  • Modified

The next section contains:

  • Show in Groups
  • Auto Arrange

    This is selected by default by Windows.

  • Align to Grid

    Align to Grid is also selected by default.

The third section in the Arrange Icons By menu contains:

  • Show Desktop Icons

    Selected by default

  • Lock Web Items on Desktop
  • Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard

Arrange Icons by Name

Select Name from the Arrange Icons by menu to arrange your desktop icons by the name underneath the icon.

Your standard Windows icons remain in the top left of the screen. Any other icons added by program installation or you added your self will be arranged in alphabetical order right under and to the right of the standard Windows icons.

If you have not edited the name of your desktop shortcuts you created yourself, then all the Shortcut to icons will be bunched together.

Arrange Icons By Type

Left clicking the Type menu item under Arrange Icons By will sort your icons by type, putting the applications first, right under the Windows default desktop icons.

Arranging by type would be useful to group all like icons together. i.e. all your Excel file types would be together, all your web page desktop shortcuts would be together, etc.

Auto Arrange

With Auto Arrange selected in the Arrange Icons By menu, if you wish to move icons around on your desktop (e.g. manually sort the icons into groups) you will find that Windows wants to pull it back over to the right and to the end of the group of icons it created. Frustrating! But you can arrange the icons any way you want…

To arrange the icons in any order or on any spot on the desktop, deselect Auto Arrange from the Arrange Icons By menu. Now grab the icon with your mouse and drag it anywhere you want on the desktop.

Align to Grid

By default Align to Grid is selected. This forces the desktop shortcuts to align to Windows predetermined grid on the desktop.

When you drag an icon to another spot on the desktop, it will snap to the closest grid spot thus creating typical spacing between icons both vertically and horizontally.

If this isn’t working out to your satisfaction, deselect the Align to Grid item in the Arrange Icons By menu, and then you can put the icons anywhere you like. With Align to Grid deselected you can put the icons closer together if you wish.

Show Desktop Icons

If for some reason your desktop icons have disappeared, select the Show Desktop Icons item in the Arrange Icons By menu. Your screen will flash and the icons will reappear.

Arranging desktop shortcuts is great way to keep your desktop icons sorted and organized. Play with the Arrange Icons By options and see which arrangement works for you.

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