16 September 2015

Find Out How Much Traffic a Website Gets

Would you like to know how much traffic (or page views) other websites in your niche are getting for competitive analyis? While it will be difficult for any third-party to accurately measure the traffic of a site, there are a bunch of traffic estimation services that can give you a better understanding of the popularity of a website. Here’s a list:

1. Alexa – Enter the website’s domain and Alexa will reveal the ranking of that website based on a combined measure of unique visitors and page views. The rank isn’t based on a site’s traffic alone but is relative to the traffic of all other sites that are monitored by Alexa. Webmasters are often skeptical of Alexa number but they the rank is still a good indicator of a website’s popularity over time.

2. Compete – You can use Compete to estimate the total US traffic (unique visitors) for nearly every site on the web. Compete uses data from ISPs, their own toolbar and other data sources to measure the traffic. It offers other metrics like Page Views, average stay duration, demographics, etc. but these are only available to paid users.

3. Similar Web – It started out as a tool for finding similar sites but now offers a range of data including traffic analysis in a clean interface. You get to know the site’s traffic over time, the countries that are sending the most traffic, what search keywords are bringing the organic referrals, how much time users are spending on a site and so on. The traffic reports can be downloaded as PDF files for archiving.

4. SEM Rush – It offers plenty of information around search (organic) traffic for any website. Put in the website URL and you’ll instantly know how the site has fared in organic search over time. The data can be split by country, you get to know which sites are sending traffic and also the keywords that are bringing the most visitors. Open Site Explorer is another popular tool in this category.

5. QuantCast – Like Compete, you can use QuantCast to determine how many people have visited a selected site during a give period from desktop or mobile phone. For sites that have implemented the QuantCast tags, you get more accurate metrics including visitor demographics, traffic by country, and the split in mobile and desktop traffic.

Also see: Know Everything About a Web Site

Website Traffic Chart

Find Website Traffic with Google AdWords

Few years ago, Google Ad Planner and Google Trends for Websites were the go-to tools for estimating a site’s traffic but they have since been discontinued. You can however still use the Display Planner tool inside Google AdWords to get a good idea of a site’s traffic and demographics. Here’s how:

Go to Display Planner and sign-in with your Google Account. You need not be an AdWords advertiser to use this tool.

Next put the site’s domain in the search box, set the Campaign targeting to United States (or remove geographic targeting to see global traffic) and click “Get Placement Ideas.” Google will now show you the average impressions per week for that domain and if you multiply that number by 4, you get a good estimate of the site’s monthly traffic (hits).

The story, Find Out How Much Traffic a Website Gets, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 16/09/2015 under SEO, Internet.

Download Mac Apps and OS X Updates Once for Installing on Multiple Computers

Mac OS X updates are huge with the installation files running into several gigabytes. The same is true for Mac apps like iMovie or Microsoft Office that have massive installers. The problem is compounded when you own multiple Mac computers and you need to upgrade them all to the latest OS X update. It will not just take too much time but you may end up consuming your monthly download bandwidth.

A simple and obvious workaround to the problem is that you download the installer files on one Mac machine and then transfer the downloaded apps to all your other systems through AirDrop or WiFi. The Apple website says that “Apps [downloaded] from the Mac App Store may be used on any Macs that you own or control for your personal use.” This is however easier said than done.

Installing Mac OS X on Multiple Macs

You download a 5 GB Mac OS X installer from the App Store, the machine restarts, your system is upgraded to Mac OS X Yosemite or El Capitan but wait, where has the installer disappeared? Your Mac, in a bid to save space, deletes the original installer automatically after the upgrade and thus you cannot reuse it on other machines.

To get around the problem, after the installer has downloaded, quit the installation routine and do not restart the machine. Go to the ~/Applications folder on your Mac, find the installer file and Option+Drag it to another folder like ~/Downloads to make a copy that will stay even after the machine is restarted.

For minor updates, like OS X 10.10.8 or 10.10.9 updates, Apple releases standalone installers as .dmg files that you can download once and install on multiple machines. The releases are available as incremental updates (containing only changed files) or combo updates (all changed files since the last major release).

A simple Google search for “download mac ox x 10.10. combo” will reveal the direct download links for the .dmg files on the Apple support website.

Mac App Store Download Folder

Installing Mac Apps from App Store

In the case of apps downloaded from the Mac App Store, you’ll find the .app files in your /Applications or /Users/username/Applications folder that you can easily copy to your other Mac machines. Internally though, the App Store downloads the installer as a package file (with a .pkg extension) and this will not reside in the Applications folder but in a separate hidden folder.

You can grab these Installer Package files and install the same Mac app on other machines without having to download it again thus saving data. To get started, open terminal on your Mac and run the following command to know where the App Store has downloaded the installer files:

defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true

Now open the Mac App Store app and you’ll see a new Debug menu (see screenshot). Click the “Show Download Folder” menu and it will open the location of the download folder inside Finder where the Mac apps are temporarily download. You can find the .pkg files inside one of the sub folders that you copy to your other Mac systems via Airdrop.

[Bonus Tip] If you are upgrading to a new version of Mac OS X, like the upcoming El Capitan, press Cmd+L at the installation screen and it will open the installation log so you know what’s exactly happening behind the scene.
The story, Download Mac Apps and OS X Updates Once for Installing on Multiple Computers, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 16/09/2015 under Apple Mac, Software.

14 September 2015

How to Print Multiple Gmail Messages in one go

John Q. Public is an attorney at a law firm and, as part of an ongoing litigation, the court has asked their clients to produce hundreds of email conversations associated with a case as hard copies. They are using Gmail with Google Apps and all the emails are safely stored in the mailbox but how to automatically print them all on paper?

Gmail doesn’t offer an option to print multiple email threads in a batch but that feature is available in Microsoft Outlook, the desktop program. You can import Gmail emails into Outlook, select several messages and then hit the Print button. Outlook will group all the selected email messages into a single PDF file or you can send them directly to any connected printer.

Bulk Gmail Printing
There’s an alternate approach as well. You can select multiple emails in Gmail and apply a common label. Next use an add-on to save these emails as neatly-formatted PDF files into your Google Drive. Once the PDFs are ready, you can either print them through Google Cloud Print or download the PDF files to the desktop and print to the local printer.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to print email messages and attachments in Gmail in bulk:

  1. Go to Gmail, select one or more email threads and apply a common label (like To Print) to all the selected email threads.
  2. Go to Google Drive and create a folder, say Gmail Files, where the selected Gmail messages would be stored as PDFs.
  3. Download and install the Save Emails add-on for Google Sheets.
  4. Inside the Google Sheet, go to Add-ons > Save Emails and Attachments > Create New Rule. Here select the Print Gmail label from the dropdown and then select your Google Drive folder.

Click the Create Rule button button and the add-on will save your marked Gmail emails into Google Drive every hour. Or you can go to the Manage Rules menu and run a rule manually to immediately save the marked email threads (including attachments) into Drive.

Print Gmail
Once all the emails have been saved, right-click the “Gmail Files” folder in Google Drive, and choose Download to save all emails to your desktop. And now you can send them all the emails to the printer with the simple Ctrl+P or (Cmd+P on Mac) keyboard shortcut.

Also see: How to Edit PDF Files

The story, How to Print Multiple Gmail Messages in one go, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 14/09/2015 under GMail, PDF, Print, Internet.

How to Hide AdSense Ads on your Website

Google AdSense supports Responsive Ads which means that the size of AdSense ads on your website will automatically change based on the visitor’s device. Thus, if they are viewing your pages on a desktop computer, they may be served the bigger 728×90 leaderboard while the same ad unit may serve a smaller 468×60 banner to visitors who are on a tablet.

There’s no need to change the code as the AdSense script smartly detects the browser’s width and serves the right size accordingly.

Now consider a slightly different scenario where, instead of showing a smaller sized ad, you would like to completely hide the AdSense ad if the screen width is less than ‘n’ pixels. For instance, you may have a 160×600 px Skyscraper unit in your website’s sidebar but it should be displayed only when the site is being viewed on a desktop computer and not on a mobile phone.

There are two ways to achieve this. You can either write a CSS media query that will completely hide the sidebar on a mobile phone and thus the included AdSense ad will also be hidden from the visitor. This will however be against AdSense program policies because the AdSense ad will still be rendered on the visitor’s screen though hidden from view.

How to Hide AdSense Ads with CSS Media Queries

What we therefore need is a mechanism where the the AdSense ad is itself ‘blocked’ from rendering on a small screen. This is also possible with CSS media queries but the big difference is that we need to apply the CSS rules to the ad element and not the parent container (which in our case is the sidebar). Let me explain:

AdSense Ad Code

What you see above is a standard AdSense code snippet that will render a 160×600 pixels ad unit. The size (height and width) of the ad is specified as an inline style.

If you copy-paste the above ad unit as is into your website, it will always download and render the ad irrespective of the visitor’s screen size. If you however need to prevent the AdSense ad from showing on small screens, we need to make a few “officially permitted” changes to the default code.

The modified code will look something like this:

Hide AdSense Ads

If you carefully notice the two snippets, you’ll find that we’ve added a new class sidebar_ads (you can give it any name) to the default AdSense snippet. Next we’ve added a media query that will hide all elements of this class if the screen width is less than 480 pixels. That’t it.

With this approach, no ad requests is made to the Google server and thus no ad is shown to the visitor. The ad area will be hidden and the content below will get pushed up leaving no whitespace, just as you’d like it to be.

The story, How to Hide AdSense Ads on your Website, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 14/09/2015 under Google AdSense, Internet.