Tag Archives: Google

10 Free Tools for Data Visualization

It has long been proven that we are visual  creatures.  Data is much easier to digest when  displayed in a visual form than to read large amounts of lists.  Taking data from it’s natural form and making it into colorful charts and graphs can be a daunting task. Fortunately there are many tools to help you convert your data.

Lets explore 10 free tools to help you get your data into a visual form.

  1.  Google Charts

screenshot of Google charts

Google Charts

Google Charts  has a large gallery of interactive charts which are customizable.  Connect your data in real time using Google’s data connection tools.  Google makes it easy to combine multiple charts in the dashboard and gives you interface widget controls to manipulate the data.   Google Chart Guides top bar menu explains how to connect your database to Google Charts, how to ingest data from other sources and how to implement a new type of datasource among many other helpful topics.

 

2.  ZingChart

photo of ZingChart

ZingChart

Download  and modify your chart template from the large gallery.  Some coding skills are necessary to use ZingChart. Interactive tutorials are on the site http://www.zingchart.com/try which allow you to practice using this tool.  The basic free service includes access to the entire ZingChart library of charts, maps, modules and features. For more features and support, paid subscriptions are available.

3. Visualize Free

screen shot of Visualize Free

Visualize Free

Visualize Free uses your uploaded data file, spreadsheet or CSV file with their drag and drop user interface.  Choose your chart type and custom controls.  This cloud-based tool by default is private but can be changed to share with anyone.  To share datasets and visualizations, change the Protected mode on the detail page and email the link or embed on your blog with the iFrame code.  Free tutorials are offered on the site and a helpful FAQ section will hopefully answer any questions about how to use Visualize Free.

4. Timeline JS

screen shot of Timelines JS

Timelines JS

Timelines are used in advertising and web posts as a quick and easy way to get a lot of information to readers quickly.  Timeline JS  by knightlab is an open-source tool to build interactive timelines.  It works on any site with 4 easy steps. Use their template to build a Google spreadsheet and drop your data in. Publish your file to the web.  Copy the URL that will appear in the window and paste into the box next to the Google Spreadsheet URL.  Embed the code by pasting it onto your site.  Timelines JS recommends up to 20 slides at most for readers to slide through.  Pull your media from any social media platform like YouTube, Vine, Flickr, Twitter and more.  Visit this free tool at timeline.knightlab.com.

5.  Modest Maps

screenshot of JpGraph

JpGraph

Need to make an interactive maps ?  The Javascript based Modest Maps gives you the basic controls to have an interactive map by allowing features like ranger sliders to animated zooming and setting the boundary on how far your map can be panned out.  Other features include adding popups, zooming levels, track points on your map and highlight specific regions on your map.

6.  Kartograph

screenshot of Kartograph

Kartograph

Kartograph  generates  inactive maps with Kartograph.py  which creates maps from its Python library using SVGs and Kartograph.js which runs on a stand alone basis, no server needed.   Download the framework from the site.  A basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is a must and Python and Javascript experience may be necessary in order to utilize the full potential of this tool.

7. Jp Graph

screenshot of JpGraph

JpGraph

Looking for a simple graph or line plot chart ? Jp Graph is an object-oriented graph creating library for PHP and can be used in any PHP scripts.  Plot types supported by Jp Graph include Line, Pie, Bar, Scatter, Geo Maps, Radar, Contour to name a few. This tools also supports creation of  anti-spam images which prevents automatic sign-ups to mailing list or on-line services. There is a pro-version available which supports Barcodes, Windrose and Odometer graph types.

8.  Dygraphs

screenshot of Dygraph

Dygraph

These inactive charts are a open source Javascript charting library.  They can handle large data sets with millions of plot points.  It works in all browsers and zooms down for mobile devices. The quick links menu has free tutorials to bring you up to speed to use Dygraphs. Customize your graph with the many options available.  Zooming, panning and mouseovers are all on by default.  New features of Dygraphs include being  retina compatible and dropped point optimization.

9.  Online Charts

screenshot of Chart Tool

Chart Tool

Anyone can use this tool to make colorful charts and graphs. No experience in coding or extensive computer knowledge is needed. First pick your chart and follow the easy to use the data menu.  Customize your font colors, background appearance, transparency levels, grid line colors and more.  Over 12 types of charts to choose, just add your data and preview your chart before saving and sharing on-line.

10. ChartGo

screenshot of Chart Go

ChartGo

This on-line chart maker is for anyone who wants to make a colorful data chart or graph. It’s  for simple applications of data.  The format is easy to follow. Click the Create Chart link on the Home page. The Create Chart page is where all your data will be entered.  Two important  sections on this page are the Settings section which contains options that control what your chart looks like and the Data section where your data is entered. Hit the Results page to see your new chart and share it with others.

There are many more visualization tools out there and I hope you try some of these great tools. Some tools are more suited for the developer but as you can see here, there are great tools for average person who wants to spice up their data.  Remember, all the tools I have mentioned here are FREE ! So try them out and find the one you like.

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Successful Social Media Tip of the Day . . . Good SEO Practices

Are you trying to boost your SEO for your Blog or Website?

Fall Traditions

Fall Traditions

Start with good SEO practices to enhance your rankings and search engine visibility. Here are a few tips to try –

1. Are your post to long ? In today’s busy world, our attention is drawn in every direction 24 by 7 hours a day.  We don’t have the time to read long winded posts that keep restating the obvious. Most of us have become experts at skimming articles or posts to pick up the most important take aways.  A good average is between 300 and 1000 words per post.

2. Have you been posting?  Don’t let your site go stale. Google likes a site to be fresh and see that action is happening on it.

3. Are you duplicating your content somehow on your site ?  This confuses search engines. I am guilty of this with photos sometimes so be aware of placing content in more than one area on your site.

4.  Are you linking to other sites ? The best links are in-bound links but you can also link to other sites you like and try not to link to spam type sites which could lead to a bad link.

5. Are you using a site map so search engines can find all your pages?  All your pages should be linked with a HTML link. Avoid using to much JavaScript which can be difficult for search engines to navigate.

6. Are you checking your links ?  Links can go bad and search engines do not like broken or bad links.  This is another reason to be careful if you are posting content from other  websites.  Their content  could end up becoming unsupported and now you have the content on your site.

7. Are you using a social media analytics tool to discover which content is being shared the most? There are many analytic tools out there.  Depending on what social media sites you use the most, many offer their own free analytic dashboard.  WordPress, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook all do.

8.  Have you verified your site with Google ?  You can do this for free through Google’s Webmaster Tools. This will give you information about traffic through your site and it’s free of course!

Improve your SEO with good practices and keep posting ! Search Engines like Google or Bing like to crawl all over new content.  Happy Indexing !

Successful Social Media Tip of the Day . . . SEO Tips for WordPress

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a way to have search engines notice your site.  There are good SEO practices know as “white hat” and bad SEO practices known as “black hat”.  You want to stay on the “white hat” side.  Here are a few ideas to help your SEO . . .

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Page Rank – good SEO practices will raise your page rank position and help your website get noticed. How do you do this?

Google is one of the largest search engines with the most search traffic on the web.  Google uses a formula to create a Page Rank for web pages.  This assigns a value to your content based on Google searches.  The exact formula is secret but there are a few knowns about Page Rank.

– links to other sites – more isn’t always better – Google likes to see links to pages with high page ranking, the higher page rank of the links on your site, the better off you will be.  Just having a lot of links that do not lead to sites with value will not help your Page Rank.

– links back to your site – this is what you want to have happen, visitors linking back to your site will help your SEO

How do you find your Page Rank ?  If you use Google Chrome, you can add a plug in to your browser or use a Page Ranking website like http://www.prchecker.info

Don’t worry if you don’t get a page rank, if your site is new you may not have a rank yet. Also, keep in mind that the scores from page ranking websites are an estimation not the actual Google page rank score, Google keeps that secret!

To use the page rank checker you will need to know your URL which starts with the http://  or https:// for most sites.

Permalink – What about your permalink? WordPress gives each post something called a permalink. You can see your post permalink listed just under your post title in the post editor. If your post title has words in it like -the,a  or any non essential words that could mislead search engines, this is where you can remove those words and replace them with Keywords or simply just shorten the post title.  For example, if your post title is “the day I walked the dog by the store and got my big showbiz break”, the permalink would look like this – http:// xyzstore.com  / the-day-I-walked-the-dog-by-the-store-and-got-my-big-showbiz-break. You could edit the permalink to look like this instead – http://  xyz.com / day-I-walked-dog-got-showbiz-break.  (NOTE – there are extra spaces inserted into these examples in order to prevent them from actually being a link to a site).

SEO and images you use – don’t forget about any image you are using in a post – make sure to use keywords in the description of your image.  Be sure to fill in the details in your media library with the image title, alternative text -( which is for visitors using assisting devices to read website pages)- and a caption.

Categories – make sure the categories you are using are the correct.  WordPress automatically fills in the last category you used so if you have several on your site, make sure the right one is checked.  You can use as many of your categories as you like if they are appropriate for the post.

Lastly for today, Tags – this is just under the Categories Box on the right side of your post. Tags are a way for others to find your content. Searchers will use certain keywords to find what they are looking for on the web and your tags will help your content surface in searches.  Do not over use Tags, search engines and searchers will not like it if they are searching for vacation home and you tagged your post about feeding birds with a vacation home tag.  Most posts do well with search engines if they have between 3 and 10 tags per post. WordPress keeps a record of previously used Tags, just start typing the tag in the Tag Box and WordPress will automatically recall your tag so you don’t have to re-type the entire tag.

For search engines like Google – good SEO is honest SEO – no tricks, no spam, keep your content fresh and honest and you will find the search engines will like you.  

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Successful Social Media Tip of the Day . . . Maximizing Your SEO on Google

SEO stands for search engine optimization.  If you have a website or blog, knowing a little bit about SEO will be a benefit in aiding of the design and content for your site.  Google is a top indexer on the web at this time.  Here are a few things to know:

 

Each time someone does a web search, the search engine, such as Google will pull up the most relevant information to match that search.  Here is how Google indexes for the web.

Google has little spiders or bots, they call them Googlebots.  These Googlebots crawl out on the web, over billions of pages. They use an algorithm process to determine which sites to crawl too.  When they discover new or updated pages, it will look for links on the pages and add them to the list of pages to crawl on Google’s  Sitemap.

Google does have tools such as AdWords but it will not use that to find pages.  All this searching is used to update the Google index.

After finding your page, Google will index it.  This is a process which will put every word on your page and its location in an index. Keywords and key content tags like Title tags will rank higher in the indexing process.

Google uses over 200 attributes when a search inquiry is made. One of the most important attribute is Page Rank.  Page Rank shows the relevancy of your page to Google.  The way to increase your page ranking is to have links from other websites link back to your site.   Google does not rate all links as equal and Google is good at identifying spam and other negative practices so they give  searchers  the best results possible.

One of the way Google does this is with the Google Autocomplete is a tool  that helps searchers save time by doing several things.  It will automatically correct misspelled words, save past poplar search inquiries and will display common terms relevent to the search. Why is this important to you ?

Google’s web crawlers or Googlebots use the keywords generated by the Autocomplete features. If your page ranks high, it is because the Google algorithm determined your content relates to their keyword in a more relevant way than other sites.  This is a good thing, a very good thing to achieve.

There are many things you can do to improve your chances of ranking higher and being indexed by Google.  Here are just a few to note.

1. When  your website is ready, you can submit a site map go Google.  Why do this ?

A site map will help Google know all your pages and URLs on your site which might not be uncovered by Google in the regular web crawl process. This is particular helpful if your site is new.  It will allow Google to rank you much faster.

2. Make sure your content is of quality information.  It should be clear, useful and accurate.  Double check for grammar errors and misspellings.

3. Check for broken links.  Google doesn’t like that.  Remember, some links can go bad, so plan a quick weekly review of site links.

4. Chart out your site so it makes sense in a hierarchy. If you use dynamic pages, do not use to many.  Search engines like static pages better.

5. Test your site in different browsers  to make sure it works the same in every browser.

6. Make sure your site load time is optimal.  Google will not show you in search results if your pages take too much time to load.

7.  Use Google’s robots.txt to make sure advertisements are not affecting search engine rankings.

8. Avoid tricks to try to boost ranking.  Be yourself on your website, this is the best way to show your value and it is an honest way to have useful and engaging content.

Knowing a little SEO can go a long way in assisting your web efforts.

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