Friday, 13 January 2012

Search Engine Submission - only 2 required

"We will submit your website to hundreds of search engines!" sounds like a scam. It is. According to NetMarketShare, Google has 79% of the search market. In some countries it's a lot higher. Second is the Chinese search engine, Baidu on 11%. Then we have Yahoo on 6% and Bing on 3%. That adds up to 99% of the search engine market. The biggest player in the tiny bit remaining is Ask.

So, whilst it is true that there are hundreds of other search engines, virtually nobody is using them. OK, there's a few that may be be important in specific geographies - like Yandex in Russia, for example.

Yahoo search results are now supplied by Bing: if you can get listed in Bing, you will be listed in Yahoo. So to get 88% coverage - or more if you ignore the huge Chinese market - you just need to submit to Google and Bing.

If you don't want to ignore the huge Chinese market, Baidu has a submit page but when I recently created a brand new site the Baidu spider came to index it without any invitation from me, even though there were no other sites linking to it. I'm guessing it's somehow monitoring domain name registrations or DNS changes. All my older sites are listed, even though I've never done anything to submit pages to Baidu.

So how to get listed in Google? Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and click the big red Add a Site link. To take full advantage of all the useful information that Webmaster Tools offers you will need to verify that you own the site. Google supplies a tiny XML file that you upload to your website and then you just tell Google it's there. It's all explained once you're registered.

To do the same for Bing (and therefore Yahoo) the process is virtually identical.  Sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools - name sound familiar? The Bing Add Site button is blue and Bing supplies a tiny XML file that you upload to your website and then you just tell Bing it's there. It's all explained once you're registered.

Now you should get spidered by the world's largest search engines and your fortune is made. Well maybe not, but you've certainly saved some money by not signing up for some "We will submit your website to thousands of search engines!" program.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Whizzywing has landed

Whizzywing is a new WYSIWYG editor, descended from Whizzywig but written anew in the age of HTML5. It has rethought the interface, putting the most common formatting in two dropdowns so that almost every format change can be done with a single click. It is very small - just 7k gzipped - but you can activate it without installing a single thing on your server as the code can be served from Just add
<script src=""></script>
in the head section of your HTML and any element with a class="WYSIWYG" will be turned into a rich text editor. It's not limited to textareas. It's rich in features, too: correct me if I'm wrong but no other editor this small provides table editing. That's if there is another editor this small. With just 9 items on the toolbar you can do most of the formatting that you could do with CKEditor or TinyMCE but using a fraction of the bandwidth and without the installation headaches. It is easy to pick up and is more than powerful enough to use in a CMS.

Look carefully and you will see that network traffic is minimised by using no images on the toolbar - those little icons are all drawn using standard entities and CSS. It's faster even than using an image sprite. But everything is tailorable, so if you want to design your own icons, or use a a fancy set from elsewhere, you can add your own. Simple changes like excluding unwanted items from the toolbar can be done without using any javascript at all.

There has been a lot work under the bonnet to keep the generated HTML sane, no matter what browser you are using. There won't be a load of browser specific classes or deprecated font tags. Hit enter after a paragraph or a heading and you will get another paragraph - not a div, or orphaned text separated off with extra break tags. That means there won't be problems if you come back and edit the same text in a different browser.

The code is licenced under MIT and LGPL. You can download it, or create your own fork, at github. Try it at Whizzywing.