The Web Authority
We've Got A New Name
It's official, just this last week we changed our business name from McCord Web Design to McCord Web Services LLC. After very strong growth in 2007, it seemed like a good idea to incorporate to grow our business even more.
Previously operating as a sole proprietorship and one man show, our business now employs seven people and is now generating over six figures in sales volume. In an effort to continue growing this year, McCord Web Services plans to roll out a new service for press or news release writing in April, a feature article service in May, and possibly a podcasting service in August.
Our news release service is almost ready for launch and site pages and pricing will be posted this week or next. We'll point you to it when it out. In the meantime, we're also getting ready in the next several months to revise our website and utilize some new technology.
One thing will never change, and that is our corporate motto - "Our Focus is On Your Success!"
Production Blogging Is Social Media Blogging!
Social media blogging will not get you the results that on-topic authoritative blogging will. Click our post title to read why the content matters for your blog and read examples to choose which style you want for your own blog.
Getting great results is not about "having" a blog, it is about "great content" on your blog.
Labels: blogging for search engines
N-O-O, Don't Do It! Don't Use A Splash Page
Don't even go there! Splashes are better left at the pool and not as the home page of your website. If you want to pay for traffic you absolutely must steer clear of them. Find out why, from Nancy's post today at Design-World Watch.
Labels: web designs
Effective Blog Posts
Just how long should an effectively written blog post be? In this post on Blog-World Watch, we'll tell you based on our professional blogging experience how long the best blog post should be and how long you should make your paragraphs.
Click our post title to read the blog post now!
Labels: blogging for search engines, effective blogging
Global Strategy For Google AdWords
One of the biggest mistakes that we see is an AdWords advertiser showing their full campaign with global geotargeting. Typically an account set up this way is bleeding cash and the account owner is moaning about a lack of conversions.
One of biggest concerns when we see an account set up this way is that non-premium markets are sucking out the cash for the campaign and ads are not being shown to the premium market due to global time zone variations.
One of the very first things that we do is to ask the customer to give us percentages of sales from the various global regions. Sometimes we find that 1% of sales may come from Europe and Asia and yet nearly 80% of the click budget is being spent here.
We recommend structuring and account into groups: North America, Europe, Asia & Australia and then assigning a campaign budget for each based on historical sales. We additionally set up the ads to run within the time zone based on local settings so your ads for that region may be only running from midnight to 2:00 pm your time, but prime time in that geographic region.
Global targeting can work for your account, but be smart about setting it up to give you maximum account control.
Labels: AdWords Tips
Microsoft adCenter Excel Plug-in
Click our post title to go to Microsoft and download the Excel 2007 plug-in for keyword research.
I have downloaded the plug-in and used it and I have to say what an excellent keyword discovery tool to use in conjunction with others in creating your keyword list.
Although you cannot use this plug-in like AdWords editor, it still warrants consideration. Why?
1. Allows you to query the Microsoft keyword database for potential keyword click, impression, and cost activity.
2. Allows you to create and efficient keyword list that can be used on all engines although the data is only pulled from Microsoft's servers and database. Yet there is great value in creating your list with this tool.
3. Make sure to watch the videos, lame as they are, to get you up to speed fast.
In no time you'll be creating new keyword variations that you can use on all of your pay per click accounts. If you are not using Wordtracker, this is a must have. If you are using Wordtracker, this is a good addition to use with your other research.
Labels: Pay Per Click Advertising
When to Use Music on Your Website
In this post published at Design-World Watch, we consider several important factors to consider before adding music to your website; copyright infringement, commercial use, annoyance, and controllers
. Make sure that you are considering all options before you add!
Labels: Web Design
Best Practices on Writing Effective Blog Post Titles
If you are serious about getting more search engine and reader traffic on your blog, you'll want to check out Nancy's post today on Blog-World Watch and read her five tips to writing effective blog post titles
Labels: blog traffic, effective blogging
Webkinz - A Game Review For Parents
If you are a parent of elementary school aged children then you know what a Webkinz is - a stroke of marketing genius to help separate us and our kids from our money.
These fuzzy stuffed animal pets, that aren't really even pretty, have become the rage with the elementary school set. Buy a Webkinz animal and get a code to logon to Webkinz world online. Although I think that the push of the website is to encourage our kids to buy more and more, that is your decision as a parent to feed that or not, but what about the website, is it safe and fun?
The online games are fun for kids and very easy even for the youngest Webkinz fan. As bad as the Webkinz animals look in real life online they are adorable and their actions and movements are cute in the online world. One of the big features of the site is the addictive and fun games. The Webkinz dollars you win are used to purchase items for your Webkinz house and garden. I found the house stuff to load slowly and be annoying as a parent to watch load, but my two girls age 11, are absolutely ga-ga over them. Webkinz encourages kids to log on every day to search for gems, that you install in your Webkinz crown.
I took a look at the games and for kids, they are fun and creative. There is a chat area, but you must select the sentences and cannot write your own text guaranteeing a safe environment for all. The kids love this site and I think that it is nice, fun, and safe.
My one big issue is the focus on consumerism. Some parents may be sensitive to this and others not care at all. The site features a pet of the month, encouraging kids to buy it each month so that they will have greater access to unique items and games if they have the pet. Encouraging kids to log on every day to get the gem of the day is another ploy. Oh and how about the discount and extra perks to own three, ten, and twenty Webkinz. Each Webkinz costs between $13.99 to $16.99 so the dollars start to add up fast!
If your kids have just told you they don't care about all of that, the least expensive place we've found to buy them is at Hallmark. There we paid $13.99 versus $17.50 at Limited Too. So Webkinz can be fun, is surely safe, but you may be spending more than you want for the stuffed animals to feed your kid's desire for more. For us, I have now limited the animals to three each!
Labels: Game Review, Webkinz games
Building Traffic for Your Blog or Website
There is no silver bullet sorry. Building your traffic is hard work and requires commitment.
Here are several things you should not do as they do not work:
1. Do not buy traffic from sites on the Web. What they supply are scammy redirects, fool people into visiting your page, embed your link in spam. You will not reap real site visitors. The traffic that is generated is there by accident and typically will stay under several seconds.
2. Do not use PPC content networks to build traffic to your website. The truth is that content clicks are notorious for not converting into sales. Typically these clicks may come in as well for a few seconds and surf off. If you are paying under $.25 per click it may be worth the expense, but make sure you have limits on what you will spend in content. When you stop paying, your traffic will drop like a rock.
Here are several things you should do as they do work:
1. Work over your content, make sure that it is user centric. Provide value to your readers and make your site the very best that it can be.
2. Create informational pieces that you give away for free that instructs people on hot topics in a helpful way. In our case we have Outlook tips and computer tips. Use these pages to garner site traffic in a legitimate way as well as build your overall site authority and organic placement in the process.
3. Work forums and industry blogs. Leave helpful and meaningful comments with links to your site in your signature. Do no be an infomercial in your post. Again, offer something meaningful.
4. Blog a minimum of five times a week and make your content great! Focus on helpful and informational. You will find that a well written blog will add to your site, keep readers engaged, and will over time improve your organic as well as traffic results.
It is hard work to build your site traffic, but you need to make a commitment and really work your program. Do it in a haphazard fashion and you will simply reap haphazard results.
Labels: blog traffic, building traffic, website traffic
How to Be a Productive Blogger
I've got six great tips on how you can become a productive and effective blogger
. You'll want to click our post title or link to find out what you can do to write more quickly and more effectively to really make money blogging professionally.
Labels: effective blogging
How to Add Pictures to WordPress Blogs
It is not complicated, but seems like a mystery to some people. Click our post title to read the easy instructions and start adding photos to your WordPress blogs.
Labels: blog photos
Domain Name Expiration - Don't Let Your Domain Be Held Hostage By Your Registrar
We've had a great response to our article last month on protecting your domain name and why you should not let your webmaster own it on your behalf. This month's article is about domain name expirations and what you should know to keep your domain name safe.
It is very important that you keep your domain active. When you get a renewal notice from your domain registrar, you must take it seriously. Check immediately in your domain name control panel that your credit card information is accurate and up-to-date. Don't assume that your registrar will auto-renew your domain. We've just had a client experience a problem on that issue. He was set up to auto-renew, but his credit card had expired. The registrar turned off his domain breaking his access to email and "taking down" his website. Fortunately, our blogger found out his site was down when she went in to post, and the client was able to work with his web host and domain registrar to get back up online the same day, but others have not been so lucky.
Make sure that you keep your contact information current in the accounts you have for your domain name and for your web hosting. Supply two email addresses whenever possible so you will make sure to receive these very important renewal notices to prevent problems.
If you don't respond to the emails to renew or update your credit card information, after the expiration date of your domain name, and there an expiration date for every domain name, your registrar will allow you for a time to quickly repair the situation, pay up, and get back online. Wait too long, and the registrar will hold your domain. We've had a situation such as this and the fee to return the domain to the chastised owner was over $300. Sometimes the fees are so high that it is best to abandon the domain and select a new one. The registrar is not violating any laws or rules by charging a return fee.
Don't think that to keep from paying this "hostage fee" and that you can rebuy the domain in a few days or weeks on the open market. Registrars know this, and some will actually hold your domain for several months under their own name hoping to charge a big "return fee" to you the original domain owner. If you have gotten to this juncture, at some point the domain may return to the open market, but only if someone has not placed a hold on your domain name to buy it when it becomes available. The reserve applicant will have the first opportunity to buy your domain name. Then and only if no one else wants it and sometimes after months have passed, your domain may actually appear back on the open market allowing you to rebuy it for $7 or so. But just think, you've been out of business throughout the whole process.
Don't think this disaster could happen to you? Well, I have actually helped several clients in this situation and it is really a mess when it gets this far. My recommendation is start domain name renewal 30 days out. I recommend this as sometimes you have forgotten the login information to your renewal control panel, or possibly you don't even own your domain name and you didn't know it and need time to remediate that issue first. Don't wait until the last minute to renew and risk being shut down and having to go into a "crisis repair".
My next recommendation is that when you do renew your domain name, renew for a minimum of five years on your company's main website domain and two years on peripheral domains. The reason is that Google actually evaluates the length that you have held your domain name and the length of your renewal as just one of the over 150 different and important factors they use to determine your organic placement on the search results page also known as the organic rankings.
So in conclusion, own your domain name outright, make sure you keep your email and billing information up-to-date, and renew 30 days out.
Labels: domain name troubleshooting, Domain Names
Game Reviews for Parents - Club Penguin
Elementary girls and tweens love this game called Club Penguin. Boys like it too, but typically want more action and prefer Runescape, Silk Road or Voyage Century.
At Club Penguin your kids can dress up like Penguins and waddle around and collect pins, play games like Bean Counter and party at the dance room. They can buy items, go sledding on the mountain and play "rock the ice". Also the kids can participate in holiday events, gather unique once offered items, become an agent and solve mysteries, and much more.
My two girls like Club Penguin and want to login every day to collect their pins. Here's where having a computer time monitor is a good idea, we use ComputerTime. As with all online games, kids can easily lose control of the amount of time that they are online and as Club Penguin is fun and can be addictive.
I think Club Penguin is great. It may be too tame for older teens, seventh graders and up, but is wildly popular with the elementary school set. You can click our post title to visit Club Penguin for yourself to see why you too should be waddling around collecting pins!
Labels: Game Review
Using Animated Web People
Should you use them? I am talking about animated avatar characters that talk and watch your mouse movements. Find out from Nancy's blog post for today found at Design-World Watch
Our March Newsletter Is Out
Click our post title to read our March newsletter online. Our topics this month are:
- Domain Name Expiration - Don't Let Your Domain Be Held Hostage By Your Registrar
- Bright Idea Tip: What Are The Most Commonly Used Email Salutations?
- Opal and Sapphire - Two New Blog Service Levels
If you like what you read consider subscribing to our monthly newsletter.
You'll want to click in and read Nancy's post on writer rights and work for hire
at Blog-World Watch today. Find out what you need to prevent a copyright infringement.
Game Reviews for Parents - Silk Road
Continuing our review of online games for parents, today I am reviewing Silk Road. This is a great game for fifth graders and up. It has much of the same charisma that Runescape has but the graphics will really WOW you. This is a 3-D game and is very advanced in appearance.
Kids can go on quests, link to other guests and talk and barter with them, visit new towns, ride horses and other animals including elephants, and join guilds. As the game is more advanced, so are the players. I would not recommend the game for kids under fifth grade, they should stick with Runescape. You will find many teens, high schoolers, and even some adults playing Silk Road.
The time to download the game is steep, typically several hours over DSL, so save it to a network and then install it on multiple computers if you have more that one child who is interested in playing.
Very similar to Silk Road is Voyage Century which I will review later this week but is about boating, maritime trade, and pirates.
In Silk Road, if you abhor violence, you'd better stay away from this game. The violence is not terrible, but kids can battle others and particularly kill monsters and bears. They wield swords and shields and daggers. I have carefully reviewed the amount of violence and I have a low tolerance when it comes to gore and I have approved this game for play by my kids. However, I have found that my kids still gravitate to Runescape based on their age. If you have older kids, you should check out Silk Road but you may want to set time limits for the amount of play. Using a product like ComputerTime (which is what I have installed) will allow you to control the amount of play time that your kids can have on this great online game.
Labels: Game Review