Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Auto reply email script - LotusScript

Today I had to write a script to run in a Lotus Notes database that generates an auto reply email when a form is submitted. The email is sent to the email address specified in the "Email" field on the form. This script is relatively simple, written in LotusScript and works a treat. One tricky thing that I had to work out was to be able to send the email from a specific email address, as setting "From" field did not work. When the email hit the Domino server its value was set Anonymous. This causes problems as allot of spam filters reject the email, including Google's, which was what I was originally testing with. I have commented out the "ReplyTo" as even without this set, when you click reply in your Inbox the email still replies to If someone out there knows why this is I would be interested.

Sub Initialize

Dim Session As New NotesSession
Dim DocWeb As NotesDocument
Dim DBCur As NotesDatabase
Dim tmpEmail As String
Dim EmailTo As String
Dim rtitem As NotesRichTextItem

Set DBCur = Session.CurrentDatabase
Set DocWeb = Session.DocumentContext

tmpEmail = DocWeb.GetFirstItem("Email").Text

Set WorkApps = New NotesDocument(DBCur)
Set rtitem = New NotesRichTextItem( WorkApps , "Body")

WorkApps.SendTo = tmpEmail
WorkApps.Principal = ""
WorkApps.INetFrom = ""
WorkApps.DisplaySent = ""
'WorkApps.ReplyTo = ""
'WorkApps.From = ""
WorkApps.Form = "Memo"
WorkApps.Subject = "Job Application Received - Munch Technologies"

Call rtitem.appendtext("This email is to let you know that we have received your job application.")
Call rtitem.AddNewline(2)
Call rtitem.appendtext("If you are required for an interview, a member of the Munch Technologies Management Team will contact you directly.")
Call rtitem.AddNewline(2)
Call rtitem.appendtext("Thank you for taking the time to complete the application form. Your application will be kept on file for 3 months.")
Call rtitem.AddNewline(2)
Call rtitem.appendtext("For any further information please contact us directly through the contact us section at")
Call rtitem.AddNewline(2)

WorkApps.send True

End Sub

Hope you Lotus Notes heads out there find this useful.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Search Engine Optimization tips

I'm always trying to keep up to date with the latest techniques to achieve high listings in the search engines. Here's a couple of search engine optimisation tips that seem to work;

- The first couple of paragraphs on a page should be heavily populated with your desired keywords. On top of this include keywords throughout the remainder of your copy, however it does seem to be these first couple that really make the difference.
- At the top a page of content include some anchored links to the relevant sections on the page. Try to make the link, and respective 'alt' text include your keywords. Also make the title of the section of the page you are linking to contain the keyword as well as the first line of the paragraph.
- When adding sections to your pages content divide them with titles using <h1>, <h2> tags rather than a CSS class. Search engines can identify these as titles to your pages copy then and pay them more attention. Also include keywords in these titles .
- Incorporate some social bookmarking tags (services such as and Digg ) at the bottom of each page so that users can create inbound links to your pages. At the same time specify the tags to be your keywords. The more links to you site including your keywords the better. These will also create back links to your site which ultimately increase your sites link popularity.

Click on the SEO category at the bottom of this post to check out some of my other search engine optimisation tips. I hope to build up quiet a bank over time.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Keyword saturation tip

To obtain high rankings in the search engines for your desired keywords you have to repeat your keywords throughout your content. Doing so without careful thought can lead to a poor reading experience for users, as you end up with repeated phrases throughout your content, which can make your copy quiet unnatural to read. I was reading an article by Karon Thackston, a specialist in optimising website content for search engines. She discusses keyword saturation a technique used to include as many keywords in your content without destroying the quality for you websites content. One point that she makes is that you can split up your keywords with punctuation and the search engines still treat the you keywords the same as if there were no punctuation. For example you use the keyword "Sydney City apartment complexes". You can split this up to read "there are some great opportunities in Sydney City. Apartment complexes are some of the..." and the search engines will treat this the same as if there were no "." there. This tip allows you to include your keyword in your content a few extra times without reducing the quality of sites content.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Add This - Bookmark & RSS buttons

If you have a website then you will know that maintaining shortcuts for your users to bookmark your site to their bookmark manager or RSS feed to the feed reader of their choice has become become a bit of a task. Which bookmark manager or RSS reader are your visitors using? If I add a shortcut to bookmark with one tool should I add one for the other tool. There are that many out there now that if you were to include links to them all then you would end up with a huge amount of icons on each page to perform these simple operations. There is "Google Bookmarks", "", "Digg", "Furl", "Diigo", "Technorati", "Shadows" just to name a few.

Now there is one button that you can add to your site that allows your users to bookmark your site using the bookmark manager of their choice and another button to add your RSS feed to the feed reader of their choice. The website that provides this service is called Add This and boasts they have over 2,000,000 buttons out their on peoples websites, some of these being quiet well know sites. As you can see I have subscribed to their free service and now have these buttons on my blog (down on the right hand side - click on them to check out the full list of providers they support). I'm happy with the service they provide as I will no longer have to keep adding these sorts of buttons to my blog as these two button cover all of the bookmark manager and RSS reader services out there.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Google Apps Premier Edition

Google have updated their Google Apps service so that they now offer a Premier Edition of the service. You get all of the offerings of the Standard Edition (access to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Docs and Spreadsheets) along with more services and guarantees. These include 24/7 support for critical issues, 99.9% up-time guarantee for Gmail, 10 GB email quota for each account, no adds, API for setting up an email gateway to conduct a deployment pilot or for archiving of email and compliance, API for integrating single sign-on services, API for migration of calendar data (email migration is coming) and partner technology and services. All of this costs $50 per account which is quiet reasonable if you think of how much other technology providers would charge for all of these services. I believe that the added support and guaranteed up-time for the mail services really make this a serious service to be considered for businesses looking to outsource these core business services. Check out the Premier Edition at