Go wild and make your website background an image or video

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I love “mounting” my websites on background images. It adds depth and used properly it can enhance the whole user experience or take a relatively simple site and make it appear so much better and of a much higher quality.

So – I typically find a rights free image – one of my own photos or buy a nice high quality image to go on the site background. (You can see one I did here for my local irish football team -  Arctic Spas or on Costa Gaels)

To do this its REALLY simple.

Under the opening body tag in wordpress header.php – just add this little line of script:

<img src=”” alt=”Hot Tubs by Arctic Spas” class=”bg”>

<img class=”bg” src=”<?php echo get_bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’);?>/images/imagename.jpg” />

Change imagename.jpg to your actual imagename and extension in the line above.

Then add this snippet of CSS to your style.css file:

img.bg {
min-height: 100%;
min-width: 1024px;
width: 100%;
height: auto;
position: fixed;
top: 0;
left: 0;
z-index: -100;
}

I originally got this from the brilliant CSS-tricks.com website and you can see a full explanation of this technique and a few other variations here.

All good right? Nice! Then I got an email from a friend who got me thinking that maybe I could change the image to an animation… but they didn’t say animation – they said VIDEO. (it’s coming up to Christmas and they suggested falling snow or something similar) and that got me to thinking!

A few searches later and I cam across this code. Again, just add this in the header.php of your wordpress site after the opening body tag:

Now just change the words “youtubeid” to the id on the youtube video you want to add in.

*Note – I have no working example of this right now as I’m still refining the code and figuring some things out, but read on!

So, for example, if I wanted to add this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuqVnqNPyC0

Now simply change youtubeid to RuqVnqNPyC0 and it works quite nicely.

Just an explanation of some parameters in the script:

autoplay=1&loop=1&controls=0&showinfo=0&autohide=1

This tells the video to autoplay (set to 1 for show) that the video controls, play/pause and the loading bar, should be hidden (set to 0 for hidden) show the video info is hidden (set to 0 for hidden) and autohide is set to disappear (set to 1 so they disappear after the video begins playing – which is automatic so it’s almost immediately)

The problem that you will encounter is of course that the videos have to be quite long and if they have audio then that will play as well so this isn’t ideal unless you produce the perfect video yourself.

As I was playing with the video above I wanted it to loop continually as well (even though its ten minutes long!) so by adding in &loop=1 to the parameters I “should” keep rolling – but this hasn’t bloody worked for me so I’m still fiddling with it so if you make it happen then let me know ( or I will update this post, whichever comes first!), this means that right now I’m getting the end of video suggestions and whatnot so I hope to figure out how to avoid that also.

A full list of the parameters available for playing around with is in this nice little list here: https://developers.google.com/youtube/player_parameters

The original code came from the site Labno. Thanks!

Using a Vimeo Video

As a further step I decided to see how Vimeo worked with this little exercise. So lets try this one.

http://vimeo.com/32629949

1. Click the share button the top right of the video and wait for the poop up to appear.

2.On the embed line click more options.

3. At the bottom click the loop video and (4.)auto play to add the parameters similar to the ones I described above.

5. You may notice a tiny little link at the bottom of the pop up saying “use old embed code” – but I stuck with the new one (for now!) and got it working using this script below.

6. Copy the embed code and add it to the script below from <iframe to iframe>

Go wild and make your website background an image or video

And your sorted.  Again – I m playing n with this code at the moment and working on the Vimeo embed parameters (all available in another nice little list right here: http://developer.vimeo.com/player/embedding) top try to achieve things like removing the “widescreen” effect in the video so no black bars appear and getting it to loop etc. But haven’t quite finished that off just yet. Feel free to pipe in if you find a solution for it!

And there ya go, not really anything ground breaking or whatever but it might make for something a little different on your site and better that you know you can do it!

SEO Champion of the World

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SEO Champion of the WorldJust a little bit of a rant and a sprinkling of common sense maybe. Every industry needs a champion and in the world of SEO is no exception. But what makes someone a champion of any given industry.

Is it the proactive person who profits little but aims to change the perception of the industry to the outside world? Or is it the entrepreneur who makes a success of their business venture and lays it solely at the feet of being good at doing SEO and making it work?

Both are champions in their own way of course but neither becomes a champion of the industry without one major factor. Peer Recognition.

The industry we work in is young, by any standards, and with that youth there is obviously an opportunity for people to step forward and fill the role we refer to as “champion”. The champion of the cause (in this case – SEO)  will be someone who represents all the aspects that our industry aims to achieve, adhere to and reflect in the purest form.

It is the face that the industry wishes to be associated with, the voice that speaks for the people who work within its parameters and the sentiment that, in the vast majority,  reflects a consensus among their peers of what we should be and what we strive for.

Does SEO have a champion? I believe it does, it has many, but there are also those that will claim that title with little or no real substance behind the claim and herein lies the danger. Without peer recognition you are never a champion.  Simply saying it does not make it so (no matter how loud you shout about it!)

I can claim to be a champion of SEO, the world, the universe, thought and time itself…. This self substantiated claim probably makes me look like a total idiot to my peers though, and everybody else.  I may as well to be a Champion of Bread Sticks. But some people out there read it once and believe it… wise up.

So please – if you meet someone and they have to tell you that they are the best, greatest, top dog or champion of any particular thing. Use your common sense. Ask around, do some Google searches. Research the claim a little.  You may find out very quickly that are they are is a champion… in their own dreams… and be especially wary if they give you a naff DVD with “Champion of SEO” on the cover.

Champion of any cause are the people who never mention it, because they don’t need to, but the rest of us know your names.

Im a bad SEO

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Yep I admit it – I am a bad SEO.

There, its out there. Pretty weird thing to say isnt it? On a site that offers the very same service!

So let me clarify.

I have been a bad SEO because I have been neglecting my own site for about a year now due to commitments to clients – where I have been working on their SEO, which has actually served to make me an even better SEO than I was just one year ago.

Im a bad SEONo excuse really.

I worked DAMN hard on this site, testing it, changing it and moving it forward for over 3 years before I became engrossed in the work on the Arctic Spas website that’s had me up to my eyeballs in hot tubs (never a bad thing :P) as we redeveloped the site, reorganized infrastructure and other systems, arranged training protocols, implemented new marketing campaigns (online and offline) and basically got on with moving the business and brand forward.

So its time I stopped being such a bad naughty SEO and got back to giving a bit of what I have learned to you guys, who I know have wondering why my site has been off the grid (I get enough of you asking me to get back to blogging).

Also, I seriously intend to give this site another fresh, HTML 5, CSS 3, responsive theme overhaul as well.

So here goes. I’m not gonna be silly and over commit to churning out content every day or even twice a week – but its time I got this baby rolling again – so to begin with, as I rediscover my rhythm, I will be back at it at least once per week from this point on with the usual range of observations, funny shit, rants, advice and whatever else I believe you may find useful or entertaining.

…maybe then I wont feel like I’m such a bad SEO!