The Web Authority
How to Choose an Effective Domain Name
There are some ways to get your domain name to work hard for you. Read our tips on how to choose an effective domain name
at our sister blog Design-World Watch today.
Labels: Domain Names
The Value of a Good AdWords Account Manager
You can do Google AdWords on your own right? So why would you need an account manager?
Sure, you can do AdWords on your own and even manage your own account and get results, but an effective account manager can help you to get more value from AdWords. Here are a few examples of items an account manager can help you with.
1. Make sure that you have website statistics installed or can help you get Google Analytics installed so you have valid metrics for measurement of success.
2. Make sure that you have conversion tracking implemented for your Google AdWords program and that you have it properly implemented on your website. Again metrics!
3. Perform keyword research to assure that you have the "money" words on your account as well as to make sure that your keyword list is targeted to your services.
4. Set up your account architecture to maximize returns. Grouping ad groups by geographic location, keyword importance to your program, and service theme are all ways that a good account manager will get your account going right.
5. Monitor your cost per click based on the marketplace, evaluating ad position on the query page, positioning your ads based on return on investment so you get exposure but without breaking your budget.
A good account manager will help your account to hit the ground running and to position your program for success. If you are looking for an effective Google AdWords account manager
, I invite you to review our account management program for consideration.
Labels: Google AdWords
Top WordPress Plugins
If you're using WordPress for your blogging platform, you'll want to check out my top WordPress plugins at Blog-World Watch today.
Find out which plugins we recommend for installation of all new blogs. Get the links to the plugins and review them for your blog.
Labels: blog set up, WordPress
What Are Your Metrics For Success With Google AdWords?
There is much more to measuring your success with Google AdWords than how many sales did you get? I consider sales the most important measure of success, but for some accounts success should be measured by more than just that.
Some of the metrics that are important when measuring the success of any pay per click program are:
1. Of course sales!
2. Increased traffic to your website
3. Requests for more information from phone calls and completion of your contact form
4. Subscriptions to your e-newsletter
5. Requests for quotation on your services or requests for your brochure or catalog
For some accounts number 2 to 5 are the best measures of success and are called micro-conversions. Remember Google's measure of success of a program is click through rate and not sales or micro-conversions. This is important to remember when you consider raising your budget or continuing with Google AdWords when you are questioning whether the program is working for you.
I am not an advocate of leaving your wallet open indefinitely to Google if you are not having your measures of success met. However, if you do not have website statistics, scripted contact forms, targeted landing pages, and Google AdWords conversion code implemented, it is nearly impossible to make informed decisions about the success of your program.
Labels: AdWords Tips, Google AdWords
Negative Blog Comments - Let the Fur Fly!
I don't get many, but when I get one, I respond and leave it. Now I am not encouraging hate mail, personal attacks, but when someone has a legitimate and even differing point of view, I leave it.
Find out why negative comments may even be good for your blog
and my candid view. Then let the fur fly!
Labels: blog writing
Website Templates Should You Use One?
Want to get on the Web fast? Want to get on the Web cheaply? Website templates
may or may not be the best choice for you. We have several things that you should definitely consider before investing your sweat equity in a template driven website. Find out what they are and then make your decision on what is best for your needs. Click our post title to read the article on Design-World Watch.
Labels: Web Design
AdWords Maximum Cost Per Click Price Escalation
If you are a regular Google AdWords advertiser, you've seen it - Google AdWords maximum cost per click escalation. If you are not a regular advertiser, prices have gone up for each click on Google AdWords significantly this past year.
Transparency is not one of Google's strong suites especially when it comes to prices on Google AdWords. In fact, there is really no way to know if Google is manipulating cost per click pricing other than to trust them when they say they are not. Google states that advertisers will pay no more than one cent more for a click than the advertiser in the position underneath them as part of their smart pricing program, but can you trust them? Google AdWords has been a huge profit generator for Google. In fact, profits have been in the billions each quarter.
What we have found as an indication of escalating prices is scary at best. We have managed 20 to 30 dentist pay per click account each month for a client over the past two years. Most with monthly budgets of $500 to $1200 each. It used to be that a good starting maximum cost per click for dentists was $6.50. This setting assured the dentist of excellent placement and the average cost per click was actually under $4.50 when billed. Now, for cosmetic dentistry if the maximum cost per click is not set to $9 or higher, you are just not in the game. Even at $9 or so per click some dentists in major metro markets will still see their ads at position 7 to 15 on the page. The actual cost per click that the dentist will pay have zoomed up too.
Not only is Google making more money with zero transparency for the end-user about the real cost per click and what other competitors are paying per click, but market pressure from new competitors has increased.
Everyone wants to be on Google, and some advertisers have a winner take all mentality; whatever it costs, I want to be in the top spot. Well, in Boston if you are a cosmetic dentist get ready to pay over $22 for each click to own the top spot. And even with that due to quality score, the highest you may go is position 2. What is disconcerting is that this is just for a click and not every click will become a new patient. In fact, the conversion rate may be under 1% for clicks for dentists so you've got to have deep pockets to play.
However, the power of Google is attractive for many businesses including dentists, and there are many measures of success when a client is queried and conversions are not always the most important for some. Name exposure, website traffic, newsletter sign ups, office phone calls, requests for brochures and information are just some of the other measures for success.
The bottom-line is, if you want to play on Google AdWords, be prepared to pay!
Labels: Google AdWords
The Reality of Monetizing
If you are thinking of monetizing your blog or your website, you will want to evaluate several things before you add the code. Check out my blog post at Blog-World Watch for two examples and the money actually generated by AdSense.Monetizing your blog or website may be a consideration
, but you may not have realistic expectations of the money that you can generate. Find out more information.
Labels: Google AdSense, monetizing
Why the First Four Weeks is Crucial to AdWords Success
Good keyword research and winning ad text is now not enough when it comes to success with Google AdWords. It is now crucially important to not only have great set up, but careful management of your account in the crucial first four weeks.
This is not an issue of add-on selling or building a sale from my viewpoint, but an assurance of success. Why? Typically when an account first starts rolling Google will strongly serve the ads and sometimes at lower than typical figures. In the first two to three days all seems peachy. Then Google figures out where the new advertiser fits in its mix both by CTR, daily budget, and max. CPC. Typically we will see an account suddenly drop in ad position to 7 or 10 or even lower on the page. If you are not watching the account and making incremental adjustments in the cost per click based on market competition, your program is doomed to start to see the impressions drop and ad position continue to stay low and the program stagnate.
After weeks at this level some self-managers will figure that AdWords is not a suitable program for them. What they do not realize is that the first two weeks in an account are typically rocky. With fine-tuning by a proficient account manager around week three things seem to gel and the program really gets rolling.
What we do as account managers, in the first four weeks is crucial to your success. Sometimes adjustments are made in geotargeting, cost per click, ad text, keywords, negative keywords, and match types. In fact we feel so strongly about helping you start off successfully that now we bundle our set up and first four weeks of management together. We don't do just set up as we know that these programs are doomed in the first week without active experienced account management to bring them to a satisfactory level of experience.
Labels: Google AdWords, Pay Per Click Advertising
It's Time to Link Bait
How can you get links to your website to build organic placement? You can get 48 links in one week like we did for a client with link bait articles
Find out more about link bait and our new feature article writing service.
Labels: content writing, copywriting, link bait
Why I Chose Peachtree Accounting Software Over Quickbooks
In March I moved my manual Excel accounting system to an automated system. I had been so busy that my billing and statements at the end of the month had been taking hours to do. I very carefully reviewed and tested for several weeks each version of software to see what would be easiest for a non-accountant type like me to use.
I tried Microsoft Office Accounting, Peachtree by Sage, and Quickbooks by Intuit. Here is a quick synopsis from my personal experience.Microsoft Office Accounting
I tried this one first as I liked the idea of a tie in with all the Office tools and programs I knew how to use. What I found was the program was not intuitive and did not have the help tools that I personally needed. I needed super simple!Intuit's Quickbooks
This was a good product, but the inablitity to try out what I wanted was the deal breaker for me. I could only download and test the beginner version, which I did not want. To download and try the version that I really needed I would have to pay in full for the software. Then if I did not like it, I could get a refund. I learned a very important lesson from Adobe GoLive 9 that this is totally not a good idea. The time you take to yak on the phone with customer service, time to wait for your refund, and pain and suffering to get your credit is too steep.Peachtree by Sage
I have purchased this product after significant testing of a full featured product download. Although the download time was high, I got all versions at one time, so I was able to actually test two versions that I was interested in using. While testing I was able to understand how to set up custom invoice templates (one thing I really wanted), add customers, take payments and more.
I got hands-on time and liked the product. For a non-accounting type like me, it was very intuitive, the help screens were excellent, and the product appeared to streamline many of the tasks I needed to drop time doing. I went to my local Staples store to buy it and it was on sale. I got a huge discount and bought it. I would have paid hundreds for what I finally settled on and with my rebates I paid under $50 for my software!Peachtree Review
The more I use the product the better I like it. I can now do my billing in under 15 minutes each week versus the 1 to 1.5 hours I used to do. Statements are done with one click! I got even got envelopes that allow me to fold my statements and for addresses to show through the windows so no more hand written envelopes. When a customer pays me I enter the information in one place. The customer ledger is updated, my month income statement updated and my checkbook ledger updated automatically. I have even instituted credit card processing tied into Peachtree and now instead of using PayPal and then manually making adjustments for transactions, Peachtree does it all with nearly one click to take the payment, authorize the card, and transfer the money to my checking account.
I have to say that moving my business accounting to Peachtree was one of the best things I did. I was not experienced with accounting, and Peachtree has made it easy for me. The reporting is excellent, the help information simple to understand, and the help desk staff is very helpful and patient. I would highly recommend your consideration of the product for your own needs. Now I spend more time selling, my invoices and statements look more professional, and I can understand what is happening with my business better with the reports that help me to see my cash flow and expenses.
If your business has grown beyond invoices and statements done in Excel or Word, you need to consider Peachtree by Sage systems
. This is an unpaid testimonial. I just love the product and wanted to share it with you!
Labels: software review
Linking Into Your Blog
Linking from your website to your blog
should not be an after thought. You should consider driving website traffic to your blog top priority and it should be integrated deeply and heavily into your navigation. Find out more on why linking is so important.
Labels: blog set up
Cluster Maps - A Cool New Widget
This is a cool widget you can use anywhere; blog, website, MySpace, Facebook. Click our post title or visit Cluster Maps to check it out
This widget shows a map of the location of your site visitors. Click the map and you can see a bigger map with more information. It is cool to see just how global most websites are when you have a cluster map installed
Installation is very simple, grab a snippet of code and install it in your source code and you have a map. If you hate the ads on the inside page when the map is clicked you can get rid of them for $2 a month.
This is a fun widget. You can see one we have recently installed on the www.SternEnvironmental.com
website, just look for it on the left sidebar at the bottom.
Labels: web tools, Widgets
Is It To Be GoogleY! or Yoogle!
Google is testing running AdWords ads on Yahoo! of all places!
In this limited test; on 3% of Yahoo searches for a three week period, Google will be showing Google AdWords ads on Yahoo. Yahoo will receive a percentage of fees in an effort to fight off the pending hostile takeover from Microsoft.
You need to read my post at Blog-World Watch on this important test that does not bode well for advertising on the Web in generalhttp://blog.mccordweb.com/2008/04/ppc-yahoo-google-test.html
Labels: Google, Google AdWords, Yahoo, Yahoo Sponsored Search
What Do Search Engine Spiders See?
Now you can put on spidey glasses and see just what the search engine spiders see when they look at your web page with this online tool
This tool is valuable as you will be able to see if the code you have in a show-hide layer is visible, if you have the spacing set up properly in your navigation, and what a spider sees right when they hit your page. If you did not think that keyword density was important, you will after you review your results.
All a spider sees is text! Now here's the test, what does the spider see on a Flash site? Nothing! Enter in http://www.katybar.com
in the tool. Then visit the site, you will see that all the spider has indexed is the text that has been added below the Flash image.
Labels: SEO, SEO techniques
Yahoo The Pay Per Click Contender to AdWords
Read our post at Blog-World Watch about why you should consider advertising on Yahoo Sponsored Search
. We've found that you can expect about 1/2 of the conversions that you are currently getting with AdWords on Yahoo, but you will pay less per click.
Labels: Yahoo Sponsored Search
More Blogs Can Get Jade Level Services
We've made a strategic change in our blog writing criteria. After a staff meeting our "Can Do" staff has decided that more clients can be a good match for our Jade Level blogging service at $15 per post
. Find out more and why...
Labels: blog writing
Social Media - Is It Too Much Work?
Social media is the new hot property and big buzz word being shot around on the Web. Some are touting social media as the new "must do" and "must have" as part of your marketing arsenal. My question is, is it too much work to for the return?
Social media for those of you who don't know what it is encompass things like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace; social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon, Del.icio.us, Digg; video sites like YouTube and Google Video. Social media is a way to network, share information, share websites you like and interact with others you may or may not know via the Internet.
Okay, now how much trouble is it to participate in some of these networks? From my experience, you can literally spend hours setting up a MySpace site. In fact we used to offer setup services, but have found the customization, music selection, and background image choosing so time consuming and the information to have the site be a reflection of you so personal in nature, that we do not setup these sites anymore.
Once you have spent several hours entering all your information, the time you need to invest does not stop there. You must actively and aggressively seek new friends, tap colleagues and acquaintances to join your site, post to your site blog, update photos, and in general invest time to really make a go of it.
There are some sites where setup is easier and faster, but the investment of your time in building your network wherever you go, you will not be able to skimp on. To be a legitimate contender and successful linkee, you will need to allocate at least some time every day to add new friends, update your postings, interact with others, and make your site interesting.
I personally find this extremely fatiguing and simply cannot allocate the time to build a social network. For me, and I am sure others, time is my single most precious commodity. The time I have left after work and family is very small. The time that I can carve out during the day I use to write on my blogs, actively work on the optimization of my own website, and market my business. I simply do not have the time to chat or network with others who may be peripherally or not at all interested in my products and services. This is the bite for social media. For the time you invest what will be your return? Although I have found referral business from previous clients is important to growing your business, that is not who you are tapping with social media. You are tapping people with common interests. Will they turn into buyers?
For now, I personally think social media is interesting, but do I buy into the concept and work it for my own business? No, I do not. I consider it great for people who are either not self employed and who have tons of time to chat online - a nice social outlet.
I have heard of head hunters who have built networks and then send out mass mailings of new job openings bordering on spamming your network on a regular basis, and I cannot drop people like that fast enough from my network. I do consider some elements good - yes, do include social bookmarking tools on your website pages to encourage sharing for people who do have time.
Do I consider it a valid avenue for getting new clients and prospects - not at this point, the buying decision still comes down to your price, your salesmanship, and what you provide not is this person part of your friends network. I would prefer, for me to invest my time in improving organic placement with search engines. Some would say that this is the real value of social media; it provides ways for improving organic placement. I would say to them show me the statistical proof. I have seen it improve placement on your name, but how about on keywords and services? I am dying for you to prove me wrong. Send me your whitepaper proving this and I'll post it here.
In conclusion, social media is big buzz, but for the typical business owner, is it worth the time effort? At this time, I think not.
Labels: social bookmarking, social media, social media blogging
Why Use Feedburner?
Read our post today at Blog-World Watch on why you should be using Feedburner.http://blog.mccordweb.com/2008/04/feedburner-tips.html
But remember Feedburner only provides information on about 7% of your real traffic and only the traffic that comes in via a news feed. Make sure you have regualar web stats available for the full traffic picture.
Labels: Bright Idea Tips, building traffic, WordPress
No Don't Do These Things On Your Website
Read our top no-no's so that you won't make a mistake. These items should be included on every website, find out what they are and why you should always make sure to include them
at Design-World Watch today.
Labels: Web Design, web designs
What to Know About Moving Your Website to a New Web Host
Moving to a new web host is never easy. In fact it can be downright hard and fraught with problems depending on the type of technology that your website is using behind the scenes. You should never feel that your website files are held hostage by your web host, but it is important to consider moving to a new host only to solve serious problems.
When Should You Consider Moving to a New Web Host?
Many of the reasons I have heard why a client wants to change web hosts typically have to do with issues that are truthfully not the original web host's fault. Here are a few tips when you should consider moving and when you should not.
You should move to a new web host if...
Your IP address block is linked to a blacklisted spammer and all of your mail is blocked literally shutting down your business.
If your web host does not offer the technology that you really need to run your website. For example if your host does not have Windows servers and your brand new website is all done in .asp, you will have to move.
If your website or e-commerce store has suffered significant service outages due to either high server load and the use of older technology by your host and they cannot accommodate your website traffic.
If your website has been taken down by a virus spread from another user on your shared server because your host did not have the proper security or firewalls in place causing your website files to be trashed.
You should NOT move to a new web host if...
If you have had a spam problem in your inboxes. Unfortunately poor mailbox management is not your host's problem, but is rather an issue that you are not attending to that is impacting your mail delivery. You will continue to have these same problems where ever you go. You should change your procedures and not your host.
If you think you can save money on hosting fees. You may eat up any savings from the money to bring your website or e-commerce store back online. Make sure to read the rest of this article for why.
You have had one incident of poor customer service. Be patient when you have a problem, get another service rep to help you and try to be courteous in helping them to help you. There can always be a one time incident where someone (you or them) has simply had a bad day and not reacted well. Give support another go before you decide you must move.
Cautions About Moving Web Hosts
If you have decided that you absolutely must move to a new web host please be aware that you cannot simply set up a new account and upload your website files and everything will just magically work. In fact everything will break when you move to a new web host!
Database connections, if you have them for e-commerce, as well as the database itself will need to be reset up and the new connection code syntax embedded in all pages when you move to a new web host. Contact forms will need to be scripted again using the new hosts scripting and cgi-bin address, PHP websites will need to have PHP re-enabled and possibly PHP.ini settings updated on the new host to make the site work, and of course all email accounts will need to be set up again and passwords added.
Moving to a new web host is highly complicated for many sites. Even for a simple HTML website, new contact form scripting, and time to set up email accounts and then update the settings on your computers to be able to download your mail again takes time and creates an expense.
In fact, you may find that to move your site will cost you more in expenses for set up, reconfiguration and down time than you had ever even expected. If you feel that you really must move make sure that you are carefully analyzing what the costs actually will be.
Our Top Picks For Web Hosts
We have two recommendations for hosts and use both of them for our business websites and so have real world experience with both. Our top preferred host is Hostway. The majority of our business clients as well as our largest website (500+ pages), are hosted by Hostway. I like Hostway as their control panel is intuitive, easy for clients to use without my involvement, online performance is excellent, and they offer Urchin website statistics.
Our second choice is Network Solutions. (Get a free domain with annual hosting.) For some clients this may be the preferred solution however the control panel, and email application is more difficult to use and I do not consider their control panel intuitive. Unfortunately, they do not provide a good website statistics analytics package. However, they do have a WordPress auto installer that makes setting up a WordPress blog super easy and integrates easily onto your server. I have found website database integration to be more problematic at Network Solutions.
The bottom line is when it comes to wanting to change web hosts, make sure you are changing for the right reason and that you are selecting a new host that will be a better long term choice than your previous one.
Labels: web hosting