Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News
30Mar/120

Six Resources to Fight against Broken Links

Have you ever been on a site and clicked on a link that only led you to a "404 - Not Found" error page? These are called broken or dead links. They come up more often than you realize and as a user, this can be frustrating especially when you're trying to access information only to be disappointed when nothings shows up on your screen. On the flip side, as a content producer of any sites, this can lead to many negative consequences like a missed opportunity to reach a potential customer or a chance for a new user to find your site. Your current customers may get frustrated and in turn, lose respect in your brand and your online reputation in the process as well. Finally, having dead links on your site also affects your website's rating with major search engines.

A recent survey (below) shows that even Fortune 500 companies run into this problem. They have an average of 2.4% dead links per website including Verisign, Cisco, Apple, HP, Sun and Oracle with more then 3% of all links broken.

Chart by LinkTiger

 

To get you started on fixing any of your broken links, here are six resources that you can use to prevent broken links:

LinkTiger: their dashboard provides a quick overview of the status of all links on your websites with three pie-charts with the pages status, the link status and the error types of the dead link. The detailed reports include search tools, easy to use wizards, summaries on several accounts and configuration edits. This is a paid tool.

Screaming Frog: this allows you to quickly analyze, audit and review a site from an onsite SEO perspective. It’s particularly good for analysing medium to large sites where manually checking every page would be extremely labour intensive and where you can easily miss a redirect, meta refresh or duplicate page issue. There is a light version that is free or you can purchase an individual licence to get full access.

Google Webmaster Central: this tool is more comprehensive as it can help you increase traffic to your site, get data about crawling, indexing and search traffic and even receive notifications about problems on your site. This is a free service.

Xenu's Link Sleuth: it checks websites for broken links. The link verification is done on links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URL's which can be sorted by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time. This is a free tool.

IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit: the toolkit includes a site analysis tool which has a large set of pre-built reports to analyze the sites compliance with SEO recommendations and to discover problems on the site, such as broken links, duplicate resources, or performance issues. The module also supports building custom queries against the data gathered during crawling.

SEOMoz Crawl Test: This tool sends out a crawler (identified as RogerBot) to crawl the links on a given URL. Crawling each link on that URL, the bot crawls up to 250 pages and emails you a CSV report with data on each found URL. This tool is free for members and pricing may vary depending on the amount of links that you're checking.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

21Mar/120

Afternoon Recap: Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (Part 2 of 2)

Session 1 Workshops

Last week, I enjoyed curating the Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (part 1 of 2) organized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) and since then, they've compiled a few more posts including the panel and keynotes along with six reasons why a doctor should consider social media. Below are some of the sessions' recaps extracted with the use of the speakers' slides:

Social Media & Twitter 101

The "Poetry" of Tweeting

It was nice to see some familiar speakers and to be able to support them by being in attendance: Janet Madsen from the Positive Women's Network and Kemp Edmonds from Hootsuite, who's also the current Social Media Club Vancouver president, both covered the basics of social media.

  • Janet started by asking us if our audience understood our message and to figure out who they were, then to engage with them. The use of hashtags were useful to connect with topics or other chat communities on Twitter. Words matter. She emphasized how important it was to choose the right words and that reading a message out loud could help avoid making mistakes. The language should be concise, precise and engaging. Giving credits to others and thanking others in the social media community shouldn't be underestimated.
  • Kemp started off his presentation by saying that if you're going to be on social media, you should be helpful and create value. The first few tips were related to common sense and included being responsible, being transparent, taking ownership, respect, brand protection, and to not forget your day job [unless your job is social media]. He continued by warning beginners that you must understand the language for each platform. For example, a tweet will come across well on Twitter but most likely not on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Relating the talk to healthcare, he went on to remind us that as our society starts to spend more time online, we also grow our influence to our family and peers; online reviews are becoming very influential. For health professionals, social media can help connect stakeholders, new apps can be preventative, and can even help manage our own health.

Video: How To + Success Stories

Videos for healthcare professionals can be extremely effective and this session helped us understand the basics, in's and out's on how to leverage this medium, and how to get started. The two speakers included Abisaac Saraga from Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Andrew Nguyen from Lemongrass Media.

  • Abisaac showed us several creative videos made by several health organizations. The first one was on prevention and showed an entire hospital staff washing their hands in different locations. It was playful, entertaining and with the music, the message came across well. Another one was a humourous rap song delivering another health message with several people playing different acting roles. Another way to engage with videos were to create video contests where your audience would be the one submitting entries and the public would be the ones voting on YouTube. Your communities will feel engaged and even get creative in their participation.
  • Andrew started off by having us consider three main questions: 1) What is my story? People remember stories, not facts. Consider the hero, the challenge and the triumph in a story. 2) Who is my audience? There are a primary and secondary audiences. You must find a way to make your story stick. 3) Who can best tell your story? They could be experts, advocates or actors. If you decide to hire a production company, it's important to ensure that they understand what you're trying to convey, so the story comes across clearly on screen and is received correctly by your own audience.

Understanding Web Analytics

For the analytics session, the two speakers were Ben Johnson from Frontier Consulting and Michaela Montaner from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.

  • Ben introduced social measurements by saying that your organization must choose its primary goals or purposes. Different digital strategies will lead to different behaviours. One way to track certain behaviours is to look at heatmaps and by running tests and experiments, heatmaps will show you where your users are clicking the most. If you want to test your creativity with search, you can experiment with Google ads by testing new ideas or concepts and by segmenting locations, interests, etc...He went on to go over Google Analytics where you can view advanced segments, visitor flow and multi-channels funnels.
  • Michaela discussed knowledge translation, how one of their stories that they ran got picked up by a Mexican media and how that translated into more hits. Two questions that she brought before even diving into the world of analytics were: 1) What's your goal? 2) Is social media a fit for you and your community? Once you figure those out, then you can talk about what you'd like to measure.

What are your hopes for a better health care system?

This was a full day of learning and you can also view the session highlights put together by BCPSQC or view most of the presentation decks from that day. In the world of healthcare, there is definitely a strong potential with the development and growth of social media and technology. In conclusion, this was a definitely a great way to connect with others in the healthcare industry and share your thoughts and ideas to further the progress of this industry as a whole.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

15Mar/120

Morning Recap: Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (Part 1 of 2)

Quality Forum 2012 - Healthcare 2.0: Social Media Camp

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure to attend the Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp organized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) which Canadian Web Hosting proudly supported.

What is Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp all about?

This all day event held at the Four Seasons Vancouver hotel, trended online throughout the social media landscape in Canada, and brought together healthcare communicators, Quality Forum participants and social media experts with a health focus. The discussions surrounded the current state of healthcare, where it was going and the importance and role of social media in our present time and in the future. The BCPSQC team (on Twitter: @BCPSQC) encouraged all of the participants to tweet using the official hashtag #SocialMediaCamp; about half of the room raised their hands when asked if they used Twitter or not. In addition to having a big screen projecting the live tweets (a hit!), they collected all of the tweets for later viewing or for those attendees who missed out. My recap below captures and organizes several key points from the keynote and the panel by using their archived feed to make it easier for you visually to sift through the packed content from this full morning.

Join the #SocialMediaCamp conversation on Twitter

Opening Keynote: Pat Rich (Director & Editor-in-Chief Online Content from the Canadian Medical Association)

Pat noted that this was one of the first conferences in Canada to focus on social media in health care - a great accomplishment for BCPSQC that we applauded! During this talk, he brought up Health Care Social Media Canada (on Twitter: @hcsmca) that hosted a tweet chat every Wednesday at 1 pm EST (2 pm AST, noon CST, 11 am MST, 10 am PST) using the hashtag #hcsmca for anyone who wanted to join a lively discussion. Other hashtags brought up were #cdnhealth for Canadian Health/Health Care and #bchc for BC Health & health care social media Canada. Pat helped launch social media guidelines for physicians and is a great resource for anyone in the healthcare industry. He talked about getting doctors involved in social media and how we needed them on there. Funny enough, Pat claimed that he'd rather be tweeting than talking and that he was also having a hard time not getting distracted by the Twitter Wall. A current lack of information surrounded a lack of comprehensive data on physicians' (and other healthcare providers') use of social media especially in Canada. On the other hand, in the United States, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions found that 6% of physicians reported using social media to interact with patients. Despite this new need, 80% of doctors say social media poses risks especially about preserving the patient-doctor privacy; the current data is not showing benefits yet and the regulatory environment is definitely a current barrier. Social media is effective to communicate with patients, the public and for monitoring public health trends and also for research. Posting videos to YouTube makes a great educational tool and shouldn't be overlooked. Towards the end, he recommended a list of top physicians on social media (Twitter) including @CanadianEMR, @WCBADoctorBrian, and @docmikeevans.

Panel: The Potential of Social Media To Change How We Do Health Care

The panelists included Katherine Dodds (Founder & Creative Director from Hello Cool World), Pat Rich (mentioned above) and David Hume (Executive Director of Citizen Engagement from Government of British Columbia) and moderated by Pamela Fayerman (Medical/Health Issues Reporter from Vancouver Sun)

From left to right: Pat (@cmaer), Katherine (@katatcoolworld), David (@dbhume), & Pamela (@medicinematters), Ajay (@masalapuri)

Social media is conversational and ought to be shared. Aside from the fact that Pat joked about tweeting while on the panel at #SocialMediaCamp (shown above most likely tweeting). He quickly concluded that it would probably not be practical but also impolite, meanwhile, Alissa Sadler (one of the Health Talks participants later that night) responded in a playful manner saying that if there was any conferences to do so, the Healthcare 2.0 Quality Forum would have been it. Even before the panel started, it's easy to see that social media is about having (or jumping into) a conversation - personal, conversational, collaborative, interactive, and it's for people who want to engage with you, or hear from, per one of the popular retweeted tweets. One of the best quotes from Pamela is that "all information is social." She also emphasized the fact that podcasts were essential components to embed in your social media campaigns.

Do's and dont's with blogging, social media best practices and your own audience. When it came to blogging, Pat recommended to not use your blog as a press release and to not use ghostwriters - this comment got the crowd going. Diving further into the blogging conversation, if your own CEO was going to blog, the main tip was to make sure that he or she actually wrote it, not your Public Relations department because it would make the conversation more authentic and successful in the long run. Telling a great story is always important, however, in the world of healthcare, while there is huge value to sharing patients' stories, one could only do so with their blessings and approval. One participant (@researchgirlca) added that no matter which industry you're looking at, this rule applies to all types of media "in response to David's smart comment on expectation of responsibility." David made his own point by saying that "we trust employees to hold info in confidence across the board. So, why should social media be any different?" An interesting point made was that within this space especially, one shouldn't underestimate the power of social media since it is a way to connect for those who might otherwise be alone. Our friends from Ayogo Games that we recently sponsored grabbed an important comment by tweeting that "social media will force doctors to revisit and wrestle with boundaries between personal and professional." The idea of focusing on your own customers applies across any industries and without any surprise, this very important point comes up again with a mention saying that an organization should always focus on what your client needs first! David adds that if social media doesn't work for your audience, then you shouldn't use it! For example, one question to ponder as you decide whether to utilize social media tools is: "do you want to talk to seniors or to the people who support them?" The main points to consider are who you're trying to reach and then the ways that you'll go about that.

Social media and technology challenges and constraints, and monitoring it using champions from your team. As BCPSQC summarized, the panel covered the hidden costs of social media and how tech literacy and the divide affected its usage across borders. A recurring theme was that social media wasn't free and that it needed to be maintained all the time rather than setting it and forgetting about it like a Crock pot per one of the participant's analogies. Embedded videos were another ways to reach your own community and while measuring stats were important, Kat made a great point that qualitative results mattered just as much, since stats didn't always tell the story. One other barrier was that adopting new technologies meant budgetary constraints and concerns about privacy to health authorities. Pat advised health organizations to identify their own social media champions within your organization. In the end, social media must be part of a broader strategy, not a stand alone task which is why it was highly important to identify the hard outcomes that you were after. Regarding Facebook, Pat advised to not start a Facebook account for your organization only because others were doing it.

Pin board: how can social media be better leveraged for your work?

Key takeaways from the panel: audience, participants and strategic goals. The last question asked for one single takeaway that could fit in one tweet. Kat said "audience" first, David said "participants first and Pat said that he would tweet it and proceeded by tweeting "my view - consider your goals and use strategically."

Following the end of the panel, BCPSQC led us to choose one of the breakout sessions to attend, split in three levels, and since BCPSQC's team had some avid skiers, they used entertaining ski run symbols to help us navigate which sessions to attend - quirky and creative. Finally, since this was social, BCPSQC made sure to record the keynotes, the panel, and the Health Talks (in Part 2) to share and distribute later. Please stay tuned by checking out the BCPSQC site and feel free to check out the speakers' short biographies' information for the day including Twitter handles, websites and other social media ways to connect.

Part 2 will cover some of the break out sessions and the Health Talks from that evening, so please check our blog again in a few days. Meanwhile, I invite you to get social with us on Twitter at @cawebhosting or by checking out our full photo gallery on our Facebook Page. Maybe, you'll find yourself in the crowd.

Below are other recaps from around the web:
Hello Cool World Goes to Camp! by Hello Cool World
Taking HIV Connections and Community Online by Positive Women’s Network
Social Media: Why It Matters for Health! by ImmunizeBC

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

9Mar/120

Intel Xeon E5 Chip – What You Need to Know

Intel Xeon E5 Chip

Anytime Intel releases a new server chip, it usually is a time for celebration.  What this means for server customers is more power for their servers and new technology integration that creates additional avenues for improved performance and design.  Earlier this week, Intel officially launched their latest Xeon E5 CPU platform, which delivers an estimated 80-percent performance gain over the previous generation of Intel's server chips.  With this platform, server customers like Canadian Web Hosting have seen more than a 100x’s improvement in raw performance and processing power over the last 10 years.  As a comparison, in 1995 Intel was just releasing the "Pentium Pro."

For Canadian Web Hosting customers who are interested in some of the technical specifications, with the new E5 Xeons each processor now has a maximum of 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes, with each lane running at a top level of eight gigatransfers per second — roughly equivalent to 6.4Gbps. The amount of power consumed by the chips has grown slightly, with thermal design power (TDP) for the E5 family ranging from 60W to 150W.  A new feature targeted at high-performance computing and supercomputing, named, Advanced Vector Extensions, which essentially doubles the floating-point performance of all the processors.  This is significant especially for customers with compute intensive applications like medical imaging, heavy database read/writes and customers working with heavy visuals.

I/O

One things we are excited to see, and this is a significant reason to upgrade, Intel is also improving I/O (input/output) with a new system called Intel Data Direct I/O. Intel says that with the E5, the I/O hub has been directly integrated with the processor.  "With this integration, Intel has reduced the latency of data traffic by 30 percent, so data gets where it needs to go faster than ever before.  With Data Direct I/O we have re-architected the system such that the process is the primary location for network traffic thereby reducing the latency between the processor and the network adapter.”

Security

Another new capability is the new Trusted Security capabilities, which gives end users the ability to do full data encryption and decryption. Intel noted that previous to the E5, data encryption wasn't always possible for all workloads, as servers took a performance hit.  "With E5 it is now possible to encrypt using the ANS instructions and can encrypt and decrypt with no performance impact," Intel stated. "Data can be encrypted both at rest and in transit."  For Canadian Web Hosting customers looking for a more secure hosting environment this is another promising capability that works to protect our customers data.

Energy Efficiency

With the new Xeon E5 platform, Intel also takes aim at making servers and the data centers they're in, more efficient. It is anticipated that end users will see a power consumption rate that has been reduced by as much as 50 percent.  Does this directly impact web hosting customers?  Absolutely, the more we are able to reduce our power consumption the lower the rack and power rates associated with hosting those servers becoming.  In today’s day and age, it takes more than just “hosting’ a dedicated server to meet various business requirements.  With enhanced power monitoring capabilities on the E5 you now have the ability to monitor CPU utilization. As such, if a CPU is not being fully utilized, the processor can throttle back when not needed, which reduces overall power usage.  We can now even go a step further enabling our server administrators to dynamically see what utilization is to help optimize and balance performance and power requirements.  Again, the more control you the various components of the server the better performance each web hosting user will see in their server performance.

If you are interested in getting a server with the new E5 platform, please give us a call and let us know at 1-888-821-7888 or by email at sales@canadianwebhosting.com.

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting