Category Archives: Web Stuff

Everyone’s Got An Opinion

Yesterday I was going through some of the forums with my little bit of advertising on my writing services. When I’m posting those articles, I always include a link to some article samples so people can see that I can write different ways on different topics. None of them are overly long, as it’s only supposed to be a sample.

I ended up getting a response from one guy on one of those forums. He wasn’t looking for a writer; he was looking to basically be a jerk. He wrote that he didn’t like my presentation and that no one would ever hire me as a writer if that’s all I could do.

What did I do? I went back to that forum and thanked him for his comment, and moved on. I figured there was no reason to get into a back and forth with the guy because, after all, what would it have solved? My articles are what they are, on my website that I really market the writing services from, and that’s that.

Now, what he could have been griping about is my website, and if that’s the case, well, then that’s only one person’s opinion of what they expect certain websites to look like. Now don’t get me wrong, because something I’m known to do is look at websites and judge them on how well I think they look. However, what I look for is more balance and readability than whether I overly like something or not.

There are things that put off many people, and one of those things is a lack of balance from page to page. Another is multiple fonts on a webpage, and images that suddenly show up without any rhyme or reason. Or content with lots of spelling mistakes. Or a lot of flash or too little flash or, or, or… you decide it.

The truth is there are many different websites, over 120 million at this juncture if we include blogs. Many that look the same are template websites, and many of us hate those because, well, they’re template websites. There are also websites on free platforms, although many of those are starting to go away. There are people who put a website together using programs like MS Publisher, which isn’t really a website tool, and, well, you get what you get. Usually those people haven’t studied some of the nuances of what might make a good website, but still, it assaults your senses.

With that being said, not every webpage is going to be pleasant for everyone. And not every style is supposed to be the same either. My SEO website looks like it does because I wanted it to look that way. Every page is outlined the same, and the menu is in the same place on each page. I marked a couple of my products on each page also; that’s fair, since they’re my products.

No, I’m not asking people whether they like that page or not. I probably should, since it’s supposed to be a business website, but I’m not. It is what it is, just as your site is what it is, and your blog is what it is. I like it, it’s doing okay, and until I get sick of it, that’s just how it’s going to look.

Because, in the end, everyone has an opinion; how often are we supposed to bend to everyone else’s opinions?

SEO And Multiple Web Pages

Check out my Big RSS Subscriber Contest after reading this article.

When I wrote my online goals for 2009 post, one of the things I had down as a goal was to come up with three more series of posts I could do for the year. I thought that I would write a series on SEO, or articles that are related to SEO in some fashion, although it’ll probably not start out as a series, but will end up being a series for the year. I also write articles for my other site, so I’ll want to balance which articles I’ll write for here, and which articles I’ll put on that site.

How to seo your website Google
SEOPlanter via Compfight

There was a question that came up on Twitter earlier today that somewhat relates to SEO and marketing, and I thought this was the perfect place to address that question. It actually came from a marketing friend of mine who didn’t understand something. She found a website that supposedly was listing the 50 Top Websites Of 2008. It’s a nice article, but they only talk about one website per page, and she wondered why they would do that. I agreed it was irritating, but I knew the answer.

The basic idea of marketing online is, obviously, to make money. With a website, the more pages you have, the more opportunities you have to make money by advertising. It’s easier to get an advertiser to pay money if you can tell them you can put their ad on 100 pages as opposed to 10 pages. And, with each page that you can add to your website, you have the opportunity to optimize that website using traditional SEO (search engine marketing) principles, which also includes deep linking principles. More pages also helps build up your prominence online.

If you notice, the top 10 webpages on all the ranking companies have tons and tons of pages, probably in the tens of millions at this juncture, and always adding more. Even our local newspaper’s online site will do a trick where they have a limit on the length of an article that they’ll allow to be on one page, and often they’ll make you go through multiple pages just to read that one article.

However, they, like some other online newspapers, also always offer you the chance to click on a link that will give you the “printer version”, which means you can get the entire story on one page. And you don’t even have to print it; you just have to find the link, which isn’t always easy.

So, even though many of us would like to see all 50 of those websites listed on one page, or maybe even 10 or 5, the truth is that it behooves the site to have only one per page, and to write content on that particular site for that page that they can optimize. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember whenever you’re creating your own websites; more is better. However, if you’re writing short articles, breaking them up over multiple pages is just going to drive people nuts. So, do it judiciously.

Now, a question you could probably ask me, knowing this, is why, whenever I write really long blog posts, I don’t break them up into multiple pages. I’m thinking that to do that with a blog would have to get really irritating. If a long post, such as the one on the psychology of gambling, were broken out on a blog, would anyone really read both pages (for that matter, how many folks actually read that article in its entirety, and I mean those of you who didn’t comment on it?) if I put it on two pages, but posted both articles at the same time?

If it were really one complete article, and I posted the first part at one time and the second part at another time, wouldn’t that irritate you also? To me, I’d rather the one long article, which also allows it to be printed if some feel that’s necessary.

Anyway, the SEO part of this is easy. Each page gets to stand on its own because each page gets optimized, but each page is also linked internally to multiple other pages in some fashion. The reality of what a lot of people like to call “link love” is that a website can attain a page rank of 5 or higher without even being linked to other websites. What they need to figure out are better ways of linking internally to themselves and finding ways of making each of those links relevant to each other.

Don’t believe me? Look at this site. Notice that it’s got a page rank of 5. Except for listing a few events on its main page, it’s not linked to any other site throughout the rest of its pages. And there are over 550 pages on this site; I know this because I did an evaluation of this site. The topic also isn’t something that’s common; this company pretty much has an exclusive on what they do.

But here’s the other thing about this site. The main page has a page rank of 5, but most of the internal pages don’t have a page rank at all. And it’s got a terrible Alexa rank. However, the main page still gets a 5, and since it’s the main page that counts, this site is a great example of what can be achieved with great internal ranking. It could be better, but that’s a tale for another time.

And there you are. I hope it’s helped to enlighten a few people, and I also hope this is the start of a fun series that I can compile later on in the year.
 

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Purchasing An Existing Domain Name

Today was a day of interesting frustration as it pertains to doing some things online. I’m sure I’m not the only one to go through something like this, so I’m sharing my tale with you. On Friday, I purchased an existing blog, which I’ll be bringing up pretty soon. Actually, I’ve already tried bringing it up, but I don’t want to jump ahead in this story.

On Tuesday, someone posted on Twitter that there were two websites that someone was selling for a relatively low amount. I’m the curious sort, so I figured I’d meander over to see what all the fuss was about. Indeed someone had posted on the Warrior Forum that they were selling two websites, and one of them was a blog. This particular blog is something I know a little bit about, but want to know more about, and it was relatively new. The owner had decided he didn’t have enough time to work on these two projects and decided to unload them. I wanted this one, so I wrote him. Actually, I had to write a comment on one of his blog posts, because he hadn’t created a contact page, so I had no other way to reach him.

The next morning, he responded to me and said that no one else had put in a request for it, and if I wanted it then it was mine. I was happy; I figured this would be an easy conversion, it already had a couple of posts, and because he had written basically every 10 days or so I could take some time with it, as it hasn’t really built up any following yet. I finally wrote him and asked if we could take care of the transaction over the weekend, since I was packing so I could go to my mother’s for the Thanksgiving holiday. He agreed, so we said we’d contact each other on Saturday.

Instead, I ended up coming home relatively early Friday afternoon because I had another commitment planned, but that got canceled. Sitting around on a Friday night with nothing else going on, I wrote him to see if he was available, and he was. So, here’s the process of purchasing and transferring a domain name to someone else.

I started off by paying him the amount he’d requested for the domain. He gave me his Paypal email address, so I went into my Paypal account, clicked on the option that said “Send Money’, put in his email address and the amount, and away the payment went. I got an almost immediate notice saying the payment had gone through, so I felt pretty good about that. Then I sent him an email mentioning the payment, and I gave him my GoDaddy account number, since that’s where he’d purchased his domain name. That’s all he needed; he didn’t need my password, which was a good thing. Now, if we hadn’t had accounts at the same place, I’d have had to create one wherever he’d purchased his domain from, and then I could have transferred it to whomever I wanted to at that point.

Within minutes after he’d set the transfer in motion, I had an email from GoDaddy saying there was a transfer in motion, and I had to sign onto the site to accept it, which of course I did. About five minutes later I received an email saying the transfer was complete; it can take up to 48 hours in some instances, so I was pretty happy.

The next step for me was to go to my host and set it up for acceptance of the new domain. As usual, when you do this you get the DNS servers for you to put in where you’ve temporarily parked the domain name, and while you’re doing that your account is being created by your host. I went to GoDaddy and did what I needed to do, then waited. The first notice I got was from GoDaddy saying the nameserver transfer had gone through. I then went back to my host, 1&1, and saw the message that my account had been created and was ready for full processing; sweet!

I went into the domain account, created a directory and set up a password, waited about five minutes for it to be created, then I started loading the database that the guy who’d sold me the domain name had backed up. That took awhile, since it’s a WordPress blog (most of you know it’s an easy process, but can take awhile sometimes). When it was finally loaded, I was ready to go see the fruits of my labor.

This is where the problems started, but they’re not going to be what you thought; don’t jump ahead. I typed the domain name in, expecting to see the blog fully set up, and instead I had this message that said “Error establishing a database connection“; I was not a happy man. I thought that maybe I had done something wrong, and indeed I had, as I hadn’t saved the correct files in the correct place. So I had to load all the files again, knowing that this time around it was all going to be good.

Nope; I still had the same error message, and now I really wasn’t happy. I wondered if I was supposed to run the blog process through the host first, as they have a program which will create a WordPress blog for you on your domain. So I signed into my account and selected that option, figuring that I didn’t mind if it overwrote what I’d uploaded, since I could always upload whatever I wanted to again. This time it was going to work, right?

Nope; it still didn’t work. Now I was frustrated, so I called the hosting company to ask for some assistance. One of the problems you sometimes have with customer service when it’s based in another country is that you may be using the same words, but you’re not speaking the same language. In this case, the person on the other end first said that I’d created the wrong kind of directory, which didn’t make sense since I’ve done this many times before, and then he said that maybe I need to make some corrections in my data.

I took that to mean that I needed to go into my account through my ftp server and delete some files. I ended up deleting all the files, which, unfortunately, takes much longer than uploading them, because you can’t delete a folder until you’ve deleted everything in that folder first, and of course some folders have multiple folders themselves. I spent pretty much just over 3 hours deleting every single file I’d uploaded so I could try the process again.

This time, I decided to call customer service back to ask about this directory thing, which I knew had to have been correct the first time around. I got someone else, still in another country, but we were understanding each other better. He said the directory was fine, but said he didn’t see anything in it. I told him that was because I’d deleted everything in the directory, based on the previous conversation with another representative. He then said the system was showing that the full transfer of the new domain to the new nameservers was still in process, and could take from 24 to 48 hours. I said I thought it had already completed, and he said no; that explains why I couldn’t see anything online. Ugh!

So, I had to upload everything again, and this time I guess I’ll be patient and keep checking over the next 24 to 48 hours. I hope it’s sooner than later, but until I see it for myself, I’m not going to mention the name. But there’s another lesson learned, and now I hope I’ve helped y’all learn a thing or two also.
 

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Another Blog? Another Website?

So there I was, minding my own business while reading Garry Conn’s post where he Adsense questions from his commenters, who were asking about placement and such on their sites, when he said something to one of them that got me thinking again.

Rising Into the Sun
Dave Edens via Compfight

Actually, he said two things. The first thing he said to someone is that he felt it was better to have three different blogs with one post a day than one blog with three posts a day. The second thing he said was that there are some blog niches that just won’t draw the types of visitors needed to make money on either Adsense or any other product, and one of those niches was internet marketing.

His thought was that anyone in internet marketing already knows a bunch of stuff, and probably owns a lot of stuff, and also is already hosted somewhere and selling something, so if you give them a tip, they’re less likely to buy what you’re selling, but definitely not going to click on your Adsense ads.

My head has been hurting ever since, because there are a lot of truths in his statement. As I wrote in my post on rethinking Adsense, I’d been thinking that having more than one Adsense block on the side of my blog was a bad thing, especially since the blog generated almost no income from Adsense, and that I was thinking about replacing one of those blocks, which, for those of you who stop by often, I’ve done up there at the top left. The first two wouldn’t necessarily be common to the thrust of this blog, although the first one is an affiliate program of it’s own.

I started thinking, and I’ve been thinking about it all day, even while reading and commenting on a lot of blogs. It’s not the concept that’s bothering me, mind you. It would be easy enough to start another blog, or even another website, as I do have plans for that, especially as I’m seeing the kind of success that my site Medical Billing Answers gets with Adsense.

The problem is what else could I write about, that interests me, that would keep people coming back for more. Not only that, but just how many things are there that I could consistently write about? I go back to my own blogging tips, where I say that one should think ahead about picking a niche that they won’t run out of anything to say, and thus far, I’ve already picked the two niches that I know something about, even if I’m not overly successful in one of them (but I’m going to get there).

I figure it has to be about me if I’m going to write the blog. I could do what some people recommend, that being go to article submission sites and use someone else’s content, but that’s not my style.

I could set up a scraper site; nope, not happening. I could pick a niche that’s popular, then spend my days researching different stories on those topics and write about it, but if it’s something I really don’t care about, where would my credibility be? And y’all know I’m all about credibility.

A website would be much easier. I don’t think there’s a topic in this world I couldn’t do some research on and write a 20,000 page paper on it. That would give me 20 initial pages for a website, all credible information that’s been researched, and I could put it up and then go away, worrying about adding one new page a month, and it would probably be fine. But do I really want to do that?

Consternation is my friend right now, because obviously I have three choices. One, create a new website. Two, create another blog. Or three; stay right here and keep working on it only, adding more and more content and working towards becoming an authority on so many things that people will finally realize they absolutely must come here to learn what they need to learn, buy whatever they need to buy, and generally just have fun. What say you? Will a little bit of fun, courtesy of the Muppets, help you help me out? 🙂


https://youtu.be/szcLd2y1hME

 

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Planning For Building A Commerce Website

Let’s get this out of the way; I have Spidey senses. Yup, that’s right, I’m the kind of guy who can meet someone or talk to them on the phone and pretty much know what’s coming. I’m not Kreskin, but I sometimes amaze myself on how accurate a strong feeling I get very early comes to fruition later on.

website ideas
Sean MacEntee via Compfight

Thus was the case when, yesterday, I got a call from someone who wanted to talk to me about the possibility of my creating a website for them. When people call you about the possibility of contracts, usually you’ll get that little spark of interest (okay, big spark of interest) and you become animated, even when you’re trying to stay in control of yourself.

In this case, within about 10 seconds, I knew he wasn’t going to be a buyer. He hadn’t stated it, but the Spidey senses picked up on it. Still, I went ahead and made an appointment to meet him for breakfast this morning at Denny’s; not that I necessarily feel Denny’s is the best restaurant in the world, but it was a convenient place for both of us, plus I knew they’d always have tables available.

I met the “potential” client, and I kind of knew what was coming. For the next 90 minutes, we talked all sorts of things, mainly website things, but he wasn’t really listening. He had his ideas and thoughts on things, but none of it had to do with what I’d tried to tell him as far as steps were concerned.

When he got around to asking about price, I tried telling him that he had a lot of work to do as far as deciding how he wanted his layout, what he wanted to do, etc. Then I gave him a price, and at that point he started quoting me prices from other websites that he’d been visiting, and of course they were all lower than what I charge. He even gave me the domain names so I could check them out later, which I took because I always like looking at websites, even of people who do what I do, as a point of comparison.

I probably need to learn to charge for this kind of access to my time, even on a Saturday. I gave him 90 minutes of consulting that I’m sure he’s not going to use even 10% of. It was a major waste of my time; at least he decided he didn’t want to eat anything, so I only had to pay for my meal. He was a nice guy, and we talked about a couple other things, so it wasn’t a total waste. But I could have used that time for other, more productive things.

Pick me
Aftab Uzzaman via Compfight

By the way, I have checked out the two websites he told me about, along with the pricing. My thought on the site going in, that he said would build him a total website, with everything he wanted, for only $500, was that they’d start off with a template that he’d have to use. Instead, what they offer are website packages based on the number of pages you want, and, based on what they’re showing as examples of their work, they’re not going to be able to give him what he wants for the prices they’re quoting. He saw a low price, but without understanding exactly what his needs are, which I tried to tell him, he’s not going to end up with what he wants.

I’ll charge to go back in and fix things, which I’ve done on a couple of occasions, including some optimization, but it’s so much easier to work on getting the whole thing correct the first time since, as with the project I highlighted above, I just might have to go in and recode things. The other site was only a hosting site; nothing much more to say about that.

Looking to cut corners on price won’t do you a lot of good if you can’t get what you want. If you’re not sure what it is you want and someone is offering you advice, especially free advice, usually it’s a good thing to do more listening than talking, unless they ask you a specific question.

I definitely need to learn to start charging something for my time, in advance, if I think it’s going to go long because, as a consultant, I believe I offered some very good and specific advice. I could have told him everything he needed to hear in 30 minutes and been done if he would have only listened; if that was free time, I wouldn’t have minded so much.

He also took 3 calls during that meeting. I would bet I’ll never hear from him again, but there’s no way he could ever tell anyone that I didn’t give him superior information; I’m like Joe Dimaggio in that regard. Reputation has to always be maintained, especially when someone recommended you.

Enough of that; I know what you’re asking me: “What did you tell him?”

I’m not going to recount the entire conversation, because we’ll never get out of here, and I’ve already been accused of writing some very long posts. Here are the basics if you’re going to have a commerce website:

* Realize that, at the very least, you need to have an idea of what color you want the background and fonts to be

* You need to list how you want your products to be aligned. For instance, if you’re selling shoes, do you want a page of all blue shoes, all size 7 shoes, all Hush Puppies (only brand of shoe I know off the top of my head), designer shoes, sneakers,… in other words, how do you want to categorize your inventory

* How do you want your inventory to show on a site: big or small images; 4, 8, 16, etc, number of images on a page; rotating images on a page; descriptions on each item or one major description for each page

* Is your inventory replaceable, or are you selling one of a kind items

* How you hope to price your items; will each item have a flat rate; will you offer coupons or discounts based on different criteria

* How are you hoping to market your site, or how are you hoping to use it

imag0232

These are the things I told him he needed to think about before moving forward with a plan on wanting a commerce website; he didn’t write any of it down, which is why I’m thinking he’s not going to get what he wants. If you think of these things first, then it’s easier to talk to someone about building your commerce website for you, or even for you to build your commerce website yourself if you have the knowledge on how to get it done, because everything else can be discussed on the back end.

I also told him two other important things that don’t necessarily need to be discussed up front, but are very crucial:

* One, who’s going to write the content for the site. If you as the client write some of the content for your own site, it’s much easier for the person creating the site to either just plug in what you wrote or, if you have someone trying to optimize your site, it’s easier to optimize and alter something else that’s already written. If the website creator has to do it, you then impact number…

* Two; pricing for building websites is always based on time. If someone tells you they can build you a website in a couple of hours, it probably means they already have templates available, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you want custom websites, all the variables you might want adds to the time it takes to build one. I actually wrote an article on whether people should have a website that talks about some of this, along with an outline of things one should consider.

I’d love to hear other views on this concept of planning before one builds a website. I can honestly say that I’ve done that for all my websites except one, and right now I’m in the process of thinking about how I can modify that website so it’ll start doing for me what I was always hoping it would do. I wish I’d had someone who could have given me even 30 minutes before building that one; oh well,…
 

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