Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Interview Killer – What Goes in the Head Tag?

As a department that designs, develops, and constructs web sites and web applications, one of the skills necessary is HTML development.  There are lots of other technical skills that are important – database development (i.e. Oracle or SQL Server), SQL and PL/SQL, C# .Net, ASP.Net, JavaScript, CSS, Java, Struts, and so on.  But since this is web development, it is critical to be able to understand and develop HTML that is interpretable by modern browsers.  To that end, it is important to ask technical questions about that technology.  And it is always good to start at the top.  So, one of the questions we typically ask in our interviews is, “in an HTML page, what goes in the Head Tag?”  Now, you would think that technical professionals with over 10 years in the industry would be able to answer this basic question with ease.  We have struggled to get an acceptable answer with this question.  Here are some of the ones we have heard:

  • “You put tables in the head tag.”
  • “Bold tags.  Bold tags go in the head tag.”
  • “Dynamic content goes in the head tag.”
  • And the only answer that we have gotten that was accurate… “the Title goes in the Head Tag.”
  • None of the items (which I will not list here) that go in the Head tag were ever mentioned.

Typically, the delivery of this question is the Interview Killer.  People realize that this is an easy question, and that they should have answered this without problems, and get nervous, and the interview takes a dive from there. 

Do you have a question that is an Interview Killer?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Week(s) in Review – Test, Test, Test!

It has been a bit of time since I have posted, and over that same period of time, I have been lax in reading the blogs I am subscribed to. The last 2 weeks the team has spent lots of time implementing Watin UI tests on one of our new sites. We have started to flush out a shared reusable library and leveraging that to develop site-specific unit tests. Roy Osherove has written three articles over these past two weeks that are very interesting, and directly relevant to the realm of Automated Unit Tests. One article is about A New Unit Test Platform called XUnit, which has many improvements over nUnit. The second article is about Code Reuse in Unit Tests. And, the third article is about Throw Away Test vs Tests That Last.

Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman have also written two great articles in the Continuous Integration arena. ScottGu’s article was regarding Automating Environment Specific Web Config Settings. Scott Hanselman wrote an article about Managing Multiple Configuration File Environments With Pre-Build Events.

Take a look at these articles They are great reads.

The 6 Test Styles of Google Website Optimizer

So I attended the Google Website Optimizer webinar this Tuesday afternoon.   I did not know too much about the feature set of this particular tool, so I thought the webinar would be a good way for me to find out more. 

The class was moderated by ROI Revolution.  They are a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant and AdWords Qualified Company, and offer webinars and training classes for Google products.  You can find more information about them on their web site. 

Essentially, Google Website Optimizer is a tool designed to track results of content changes to your web site before you commit to them.  It works in a similar way to Google Analytics – you tag your pages, your content blocks, your action items, and your goal pages.  Google Website Optimizer will then randomize your content or your page to test it how you choose. 

There are 6 different types of tests that you can use:

  1. A/B Testing – this is essentially a test to determine if one page layout is more effective than another
  2. Multivariate – this tests if different content blocks (copy blocks, headers, images, etc.) are more effective than others
  3. Split Path – this will test if content changes will affect the navigation through your site
  4. Multipage Multivariate – this test will measure if content changes on one page will affect navigation on other pages, and if there are any other cross-page interactions that change
  5. Linger – this test is good for sites that have no clear conversion, and will measure time on the page instead of number of conversions
  6. Anything – an open ended type of test, particularly if your site has multiple conversion points

There was also a brief demo on how you can intertwine Google Website Optimizer, Google Analytics, and Google AdWords to measure how changes in your page affect your AdWords advertising campaigns.

Did anyone else attend the session?  Has anyone used Google Website Optimizer?  Is this a tool that you would think is useful?

The Truth About Plurals in Keywords

So I was reading through some forum postings on SEO and came across a question on about plurals in keywords.  Everyone agreed in the forum posts that including plurals in your keywords will give more accurate search results. 

They recommend testing it yourself.  if you search for “search engine” and search for “search engines” you will get completely different results. 

I poked around some more, and found this great article on about plural vs. singular keywords.  Sumantra Roy outlined how each search engine handles the difference between singular and plural keywords.  And all twelve search engines reviewed have different results for singular and plural keyword searches. 

So there you have it.  When building a list of keywords, include singular and plural versions of keywords. 

Google Reader Gets an Upgrade – Search!

Google Reader now has a fantastic new feature – the one I have been waiting for – Search!  It now is just as good as any desktop feed reader.  The only drawback is that it can only search what is in the RSS feed.  If the feed is a partial feed or title only feed, that is all the search feature sees.  But that is better than nothing.  Yay Google!  Check out the post on the Official Google Reader Blog

Free Google Website Optimizer Demo

I read about this in an article on Kathy Scott’s Unofficial Google Analytics Blog.  This webinar is hosted by ROI Revolution on September 11th at 2pm ET (1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT). 

From their web site:

This 60 Minute Free Webinar on Google Website Optimizer Will Cover:

  • How to overcome the odds — continual website improvements you can do to slingshot past your competition.
  • How to set up a test with Google Website Optimizer in 3 simple steps.
  • 6 tests to run on your site with easy to follow example layouts.
  • Key questions to ask yourself in order to use Google Website Optimizer for valuable improvements.

Special Google Guest: Tom Leung
Tom Leung is Google’s Business Product Manager for Google’s Website Optimizer. He was also a Business Development Manager for Microsoft from 2002 to 2004, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to hear Tom Leung speak live about the Google Website Optimizer tool!

Space is limited.  You can sign up on the ROI Revolution website.  I have.  It’s free.

You can also check out the Google Website Optimizer Beta Tool.