Way back in 2000 I decided to learn to program in Microsoft Visual Basic. At that time I was experimenting with HTML; knocking up a web site here and there. I even made a website to advertise my apartment for sale when realtors and estate agents hadn’t really got to grips with how the internet could help their business. The ubiquitous Dreamweaver software was in its infancy back then and hand coding was the only way to go for those of us without big budgets, although I did dabble with an early web design software tool called ‘Hot Metal Pro’; remember that?
Back in those days getting visitors to your website was just as much an obsession as it is today and meta tags, inserted into the header code of a web page, played an important role in getting your site indexed in the search engines and more importantly getting to the top of search engine results.
As a hand coder I always found myself looking up meta tag syntax and was concerned that I would either type it incorrectly or miss out an important tag and damage the chances of my site getting found. This is when I turned to my copy of Microsoft VB6 and created a small software app that simply guided you through a series of simple steps that at the end of the process churned out perfectly coded meta tags to insert into a web page. I called this software The Meta Maker Wizard because that is exactly what it was.
I used this small app to create meta tags for every web page I coded, even after I eventually laid my hands on a copy of Dreamweaver. I decided to offer up this software program to a number of popular download sites as freeware. To my surprise it became quite a hit and started to appear on CD cover discs on internet related magazines all over the world. It even won a few awards and a good number of rave reviews; not bad for a simple wizard style application. I even started a small software business around it and called it Pixel Persuasion – I use the term ‘business’ loosely because it never made me any money; after all I was giving away my software.
The last version was created in 2006 and I haven’t touched it since and I’m afraid I have no desire to continue its development. Why, you may ask?
Early SEO (search engine optimization) was rife with black hat tricks and techniques such as clever doorway pages made only for search engine crawlers but pretty much unreadable to a human being. The keyword meta tag was particularly abused, so much so that it is now largely ignored by all the search engines. The search engines, led by Google, soon got wise to anything added to a web page that tried to give it an unfair advantage. Google and its ilk wants to give users relevant, quality results and their crawler and indexing algorithms are getting better at reaching this goal with each and every update.
A few years ago I took The Meta Maker Wizard off my website. You can still find it all over the internet and it still gets downloads. Is it still relevant? Well, I believe it is. Meta tags are still recommended for SEO with more emphasis now on the title and description tag. More importantly this little app still does what it set out to achieve; and that is effortlessly and reliably code meta tags for web pages. Therefore I’ve put it back online for those that still want to use it.
Do I still code in VB6 – I’m afraid not. I’m a dabbler and generally flit from one thing to another. However I’m quite proud of my first ever attempt at a software program and while it still works I think it deserves to be left online for those that may find it useful.
PC running Microsoft Windows™ 95/98/ME/XP/2000/Vista/7/8/10 – for 64 bit operating systems see the FAQ, 2Mb hard disk space and VB6 Runtime Files installed (to limit the size of the download back in the days of dial up VB6 Runtime Files were not included, however you may already have these files on your computer, especially users of Windows™ XP and Vista). Once the download is complete you will need to unzip the compressed file using a suitable program such as WinZip, then run the setup.exe program to begin the installation.
The Meta Maker Wizard will work on 64 bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10 if you follow the steps outlined in the FAQ.