4th October 2007

iSkin RevoClip Review

Back in August I posted a review of iSkin’s revoCase for the iPhone, which I love. There are times, however, when I really need a belt clip for my iPhone, but the clips available (until now) would not fit over my iSkin Revo case, which wasn’t acceptable (I’ve had problems with clips for previous cell phones that left my phone crashing to the floor more than once), so I chose safety (with the revoCase) over convenience.

RevoClipNow, to my delight, iSkin has created a belt clip that fits over the revoCase, named [appropriately] the revoClip. So naturally I ordered one.

First, the good: It has a nice, snug fit – no worries that your iPhone will accidentally slip out and hit the floor. The clip is good and solid too – it won’t accidentally come off of whatever you clip it to, so you iPhone will be safe from accidents. It has cut-outs for the top (on/off button and headphone jack), bottom (so you can sync or charge with the clip on), and even a cut-out on the backside for the camera lens. You can easily use your iPhone without removing it from the clip if you choose to. And in my opinion, the best feature is the most obvious one, that it’s designed to fit over top of the iSkin case, so my not-cheap-even-with-the-price-reduction iPhone is as protected as possible while still being functional. I suppose I could keep it in a safe under lock and key, but that makes it hard to show off. And lastly, a really nice feature is that the clip itself becomes a desktop “stand”, holding the phone at a good angle for landscape viewing of video.

The bad: The clip design does not leave a cut-out for using the volume up/down control, or the ring silencer switch. You could, of course, put the phone in the case the opposite way if you use those two controls a lot, but then the camera lens cut-out is in the wrong spot. For me this is a non-issue, because I don’t use those controls at all. On the rare occasion that I might need to, those settings are always also available by clicking on the Settings icon on the Home screen.

Because I know that there are some folks who might need access to those two controls, I can’t give the revoClip a 5-paw rating (perfect), but since it’s perfectly solved my own needs, and very nicely, I am happy to give it 4 paws.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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3rd October 2007

The Truth About FrontPage and SEO

While recently reading one of my favorite SEO e-Newsletters, HighRankings Advisor, my brain got stuck on a letter asking the newsletter editor (Jill Whalen – one of the foremost authorities on SEO) a question about Microsoft’s FrontPage HTML Editor, stating that they’d been told by an SEO firm that “the problem was that their site was written in FrontPage”……….

For those who don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is simply designing your site and writing your content to help the search engines index it properly (and understand what your site is about) so that you can get good “ranking” in the search engine results, and thus get more traffic to your site. Over the years a huge number of SEO firms have sprung up to help site owners with this, for a fee of course. Some are good, reputable companies and others are, well,…not. There are definitely things you can (and should) be doing to optimize your site, as well as things you should not do, but none of it is difficult to learn, and HighRankings.com is a good place to start learning.

What got my blood boiling was that the SEO firm in question (that told the letter-writer that FrontPage was their problem) is clearly either a) highly ignorant, or b) highly unscrupulous. If you come across any SEO firm that tells you that your HTML editor is a problem and they offer to “fix it”, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Either they don’t know what they’re doing or they’re trying to scam you.

Granted, FrontPage is not a *great* HTML editor, nor is it even a *good* one, it is at best, mediocre. It creates messy HTML, and there are much better applications out there – some are even, like FrontPage, free. If you have the budget to buy an HTML editor, Adobe’s (formerly Macromedia’s) Dreamweaver is still the very best there is.

But all that aside, SEO has to do with how well you write your content, not how clean or messy your HTML is. If you spend the time to research your keywords and phrases (what folks use to search the internet to find your product or service), and structure your site to be easy to navigate and use, and write good content that speaks to your potential customers (consider hiring a copywriter if writing is not your strong suit), you should be able to achieve good search engine ranking regardless of what HTML editor you use.

The point is this: Anyone, even an SEO firm, can slam FrontPage just for being a crappy application, but for anyone to imply that it will “hurt” your rankings is just plain outlandish. Every good web designer needs to educate their clients about SEO *before* any site design work is started, and to steer them away from unscrupulous SEO companies.

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