Instrumental+Music Percussion+Music Classical+Music

Friday, March 31, 2006

 

More about our Visitors

40% of our Bandwidth goes to visitors form the USA with half that going to UK visitors.

There have been one page visits from such far away places as Paraguay and Madagascar and even Iraq. Despite Google's entry into China we are seeing relatively few visitors form there but I guess that will take time to develop.

Naturally we were also visited by 28 different robots during March - several of the larger ones come every day and it is interesting to note that Yahoo's bot made twice as many hits as Google bot. Is it just inefficient or is the number two just trying harder?

Like any global business our site is working round the clock with a peak at 15.00 UK server time when both Europe and the Eastern seaboard of the US are awake. This peak is four times the trough at 07.00 hours when both the West Coast and Western Europe are still asleep.

For reasons that passeth our understanding Friday is the slack day of the week for us but there isn't really much of a day of week or day of month pattern.

We have now started to use the Macromedia template facilities that we have introduced over the last few weeks to most of the pages of our site and next we need to have a fresh look at the multi track/volume discount shop where we might do some more pricing experiments as well as update some of the content.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

Who are our visitors?

Poking around in the Web Design section of Google Analytics this morning brought out a couple of interesting observations:

1. Over 21% of our visitors now use FireFox - this has been growing steadily since we started getting any kind of tracking and I think was around 7% in the early days so that has trebled. As a member of that fraternity myself I can understand why it has caught on so strongly.

2. Only about 11% of our visitors use dial up connections. There are another 10% that the system can't identify but everyone else is on broadband of some kind. As some one who used to work in the telecomms industry and was in at the start of the R&D for ADSL this is extraordinary. Obviously the MP3 focus of the site leads to a strong self selection bias but it is helpful to know how strong this is. It also means from a practical point of view that we don't need to worry too much about page loading times or the size of downloads.

Oh and by the way it is nice to see that 4% sneaking in from their corporate offices!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

Where are our visitors going?

March has seen a 50% drop in visitor numbers and there is no discernible pattern.

The rate of decline is the same on Google and Yahoo and in the major Keywords there are no obvious victims. Similarly the most frequently visited pages are showing no distinctive performance.

Our updating efforts on the streaming sample pages have brought no obvious benefits. The bounce rates on them have gone up nearly as often as they have gone down.

Just looking at the competitive sites on a 'Debussy MP3' search flags up the changes which have been going on. It looks as if there are legitimate piano recordings on sale for as little as $0.17 and there are amateur piano recordings offered free of charge by an Italian pianist. Where as in the past these offers were not evident we were often the first site you got to with a straight forward download offer. Our strategy from the outset was to take our price from the market leaders - iTunes and it is beginning to look as if we need to seriously reconsider our market positioning.

Meanwhile back at the Big Daddy ranch a Reladvance.com search on 'chopin mp3' combined with 'chopin polonaise mp3' produced 10 different combination and permutations of results across the data centers - not big differences in the search results but evidence of widespread upheavals non the less. It must be nice for them working in the goldfish bowl of webwide surveillance!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Keywords Research

Keywords are a continuing source of facination for us so this article was irrisistable:

Keyword Elite , The Ferrari Of Keywords Research

By Peter Vermeeren


In order to find the right tools to research high paying AdSense keywords, it is important to know what information you want to know about keywords. It would be just great if there were a tool that told everyone exactly what Google pays for each keyword, but that doesn't exist and anyone who creates such a tool is certain to be barred from Google forever because it is a clear violation of the terms and conditions of having an AdSense account to reveal any income information to anyone else.



You can use Adwords keyword tool to select keywords and you'll get some information. But there are many, many great tools out there that will help you select the right keywords for your AdSense campaign focus. Look for only those tools that provide information about the number of searches performed, the number of competing websites and a "guestimate" of profitability.



Keyword elite will do all of that and a lot more. Keyword elite allows you to create keyword lists with the most profitable keywords and thousands of variations. Keyword elite let's you spy on your competitors adword campaigns so you can do better.

With keyword Elite you can find the highest paying keywords for adsense publishing.



WordTracker is probably the best known and most popular tool for finding keywords that are profitable and that have little competition. However, it does entail a subscription fee so that you want to subscribe for the period that you will actually use the tool and no longer. You can subscribe for a day, a week or a month, or indefinitely. Only those people who use the tool frequently should consider an indefinite subscription due to the high cost.



NicheBot is a free tool that is really handy for this. Unlike WordTracker which costs quite a bit for a subscription, this tool has just about everything you need or want and it is absolutely free to use. It is web-based and perhaps not quite as fast as WordTracker, but it works just great. And it is being upgraded all the time with new features.



KeyWordDiscovery offers a free trial period, after which there is a subscription fee. However, it is a reasonably popular tool for keyword researching.



Overture Keyword Research Tool is another free tool that you can use. It gives you the information you need but the output is based on Overture search engines and you would do much better to get Google search engine results.



To find the right tools for you, try several of the free tools you'll find with a simple Internet search. You may find one that meets your needs very well. If not, then it is time to begin using some of the subscription services.



About the Author: Peter is the owner and webmaster of: Keyword Elite, the Ferrari of keyword research - Affiliate Marketing Expert- Keyword Elite Videos



Source: www.isnare.com

Lots for us all to explore - you will need to use your own judgement about the offers Peter is making - as long time readers know we are fans of Wordtraker and have made successful use of it. But as a free option Nichebot is worth a look. It is also worth noting that Peter is concentration on the revenues from AdSense rather than using key words to promote the site content and I have a feeling that this is a different game altogether.

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Big Daddy's Done?

McDar is back and Reladvance is better.

Both are showing very few differences between data centers for key words that have been good indicators of Big Daddy progress up to now so it looks as if that is done. With Reladvance we can also see the variations in PR, Backlinks and Pages indexed which are extant across the data centers but evidently they are incidental to the Search Results rather than causal which is a useful lesson for the future interpretations of what is going on with Google updates.

Our problem is that we have been seeing a steady decline in visitor numbers from all sources over the last several weeks. Big Daddy has seen significant swings and roundabouts for various of our key words and phrases.

While updating the sample pages we have noticed potential sources of confusion between the composer and sample pages and part of that update has been to make the purpose of the sample pages clearer and make their optimisation. We are also working on the Ringtone pages to make their purpose more distinct from the related samples and composer pages. At the same time we are trying to make the calls to action on those pages more focused and put the other links more in the background. We can expect the optimisation to take several weeks to have any impact so yet more patience will be required.

Friday, March 24, 2006

 

Streaming Sample Pages Updated At Last

The steaming pages for the samples of our main music recordings have been completed - phew!

Just couldn't resist a quick peek with Analytics but it is either too early or it has had absolutely no impact.

Never the less we will press on and bring the ringtone streaming pages up to the same standard.

The famous Matt Cutts Google posted yesterday about the current state of Big Daddy and confirmed that it is almost complete with only one or two data centers remaining to be updated.

It looks to us as if we are already benefiting from the first fruits of this change but the emphasis on infrastructure changes suggests that there may be subsequent changes as some of the new functionality is switched on and brought into use.

Still no McDar so we are flying blind to some extent.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

Autoblogger Pro, Content Theft Or Innovation?

This article caught my eye as I was ignorant of this new development - knowing what this human editor excludes from this blog I'm a bit doubtful but read on and see what you think:

First of all, there may be some of you that have never even heard of Autoblogger Pro. So let's examine this new script. Autoblogger Pro is really a very simple concept. It integrates itself into a Wordpress blog and then uses RSS feeds from news sources and blogs to populate the blog with relevant content. For example, if you want to build a blog that focuses on 'Mortgages' then you would simply locate several blog or news feeds that focus on mortgages and then load them into the admin area of the script. Every time the script is executed it will then pull in the RSS feed from all of the sites you've entered, and post them to the blog. In essence, you end up with a blog that contains highly targeted content, blended and unique because it comes from a variety of sources. All maintained by you with the click of a button! (A sample ABP blog can be seen here: http://www.dogs.pn )

Let me say this now. I am an advocate of Autoblogger Pro and I think that it's a fantastic and logical development of the expected use of RSS feeds. It's evolution people, and I think it's fantastic!

But this morning I was surfing the web and I happened to do a search for Autoblogger Pro to see what other people were saying. To my shock and dismay I found many sites screaming that Autoblogger Pro users are 'content thieves'’ , 'content RAPISTS'’, 'Scam artists' ’ etc.

I found this very disturbing, so I researched a few of their websites to see if their content was in some way being actually stolen. To be honest, I really had to laugh when I looked at most of their sites. Prominently displayed on all of them were buttons for their various RSS feeds, asking for syndication!
What exactly did you expect when you put that feed on your site? RSS is defined as Really Simple Syndication. So aren'’t you asking that your content be syndicated when you put the feed link on your website??? Of course you are. Either they are too uneducated to understand what RSS is and put it on their sites without knowing what it is, or they are just ignorant or naive and believe that only a few people with news readers will use the feed.

There's a very simple solution for this if you're one of those people crying foul. TAKE THE FEED DOWN. If you don't want your content syndicated, don'’t put up a feed!


Now there are some responsibilities that must be held by users of Autoblogger Pro, it'’s a very powerful script, and there are options to use it unethically. When syndicating someone'’s content you need to give CREDIT to the source. Remember writing term papers in college or high school? You always have to give credit to your sources. Autoblogger Pro gives you the option in it'’s configuration to give credit and a link back to every post you get from syndication. USE THIS FEATURE. It'’s only right to give credit where credit is due. If this is done properly, all of those blogs you're getting your content from will stay happy, because they are in turn getting quality links back to their site, from another relevant site, and that in turn helps them in their search engine standings. It may even send them some traffic if your Autoblogger Pro site has some.


Like it or not, syndication of content is what RSS was designed for. If you don'’t like how your content is being syndicated, don'’t put up a feed. But if you see the positives for content syndication you'll understand that Autoblogger Pro sites will enhance your site, not detract from it. In the long run you'll be glad to see your content in tons of places on the web!

Till next time,


Chuck Crawford

About the Author: Chuck Crawford is an established expert in web design, traffic development and website financial analysis. He has been helping people design and develop their internet business since 1996. This article may be reprinted freely as long as all links remain active. www.affiliatewebsitedesign.com
www.magicanswers.com
www.thegiftedone.com



Source: www.isnare.com

It looks as if you need a Wordpress blog for this so I think I'll give it a miss for now but it may be something to watch out for in future.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

No McDar - No Comment

Volumes of visitors are a bit volatile at the moment but there is no obvious explanation.

A few key words have fallen back significantly and we can see the impact of that but others have been moving forward or holding their ground.

Without daily access to McDar we can't see if it is Google flux which is at play or some early reaction to the changes we have been making to our pages.

The sample page conversion program is making good headway now and we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. On reflection I think we'll use a slightly different template for the Ringtone products because we have never used the pop-up pages to display them and they are complete recordings rather than samples - just Lo Fi rather than Hi Fi.

Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Identifying your Niche Market

A little bit of Monday morning - back to basics reflection:

The Internet is really just a big gathering of a lot of
little niches. No matter your taste or desire, if there
is not already a website out there catering to you and
those like you, there soon will be. Unlike traditional
media such as print or television ads, Internet marketing
is ideally suited to efficiently convert members of any
niche into potential customers. From search engine
optimized websites to ezine advertising, Internet marketing
is finely tuned and will get the most out of your
advertising dollar. But before you decide on what marketing
strategy to employ, you first must define your niche
market.

For instance, if you want to sell a new method of making
coffee, which will help the customers get more caffeine out
of every bean, you need to decide who your customers would
be. You cannot presume that all coffee drinkers will form
your niche market. You must know the socio-economic level at
which your potential customers unite. Of course, those who
will be interested in getting more caffeine from their
coffee will belong to lower or middle income groups because
they value every penny and they need more energy. Unless you
consider these vital issues you would be wasting money if
you buy ad space in ezines dedicated to gourmet coffees.
Thus, it pays to know the socioeconomic relationship between
potential customers and what motivates them. It is easy to
sell your product when you know how your customers think.

The next step involves attracting the attention of potential
customers in the midst of thousands of websites trying to
sell coffee to people. You need to style your campaign to
capture the attention of your niche market. For that purpose
it is absolutely essential for you to know what unites your
customers on the socioeconomic level, in order to decide
whether a flashy campaign will attract them to your product
or a scholarly explanation of your method would be more
effective. Your aim is to get their attention and you have
to find out what excites them. It is essential to select
your line of approach.

Finally, if your product is really unique and your coffee is
genuinely better than the rest, you should use that as the
central point of your Internet marketing campaign. It gives
you a competitive edge over the sea of others selling
coffee. In case your product is just a different brand name,
then you will have to present it ostensibly and shout louder
than your competitors.

Online marketing today is the most efficient way of
targeting niche markets and drawing potential customers to
your website. However, to identify your niche market, you
need to explore the socioeconomic backgrounds of your
potential clientele, know what kind of marketing gimmicks
appeal to them and once you have their attention, convince
them about the superiority of your product or service. With
this three points covered in your strategy, you will not
only increase your customer base but your profits as well.


Desmond Mantor is the Marketing Manager for
Have Traffic
a business specialising in highly targeted traffic for
commercial websites. If you are looking for traffic
that performs better than pay-per-click visit
http://www.havetraffic.com


Ours is very much a product based niche strategy and we know very little about our actual or potential clientele and that does make it difficult to establish an appropriate tone of voice. So we have generally tried to keep it neutral but informative which may equate to dull - this is going to be a continuing challenge!

Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Streaming Sample Page Updates are Underway

You may well say - at last but it is going to take a few days to complete.

There were still some last minute snags but the Bach sample pages are all updated now.

We will be going through one composer at a time because the composer page has to be modified as well to cope with the larger pop-up file.

One of the last minute snags was Firefox suddenly deciding not to accept pop ups from us even though it was showing the acceptance rule for our site - it has recovered now thank goodness.

McDar is still down so we can't really tell what is happening with Big Daddy at the moment.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

McDar is down for Maintenance

It is strange how dependent one can become on a regular source of information and it is hard to be patient but then again it is free, so I guess that you get what you pay for and we should just be grateful for their kind efforts.

McDar has been down for a few days now and so we have been unable to track the most recent progress of Big Daddy and we are still not sure what the overall impact will be for us even though it has rolled out to most data centers now. Rankpulse is showing exceptionally low levels of activity or flux, as it is often known, for all but one of the last six days.

Our overall visitor numbers are drifting very slowly downwards but we can't see any underlying trend. The spread of key words which our visitors use is so broad it is very hard to pick out what is going on in these circumstances even with he power of Google Analytics.

There are some straws in the wind which suggest that it might turn out OK. Certainly we are getting good coverage but there are a disturbing number of "composer mp3" search terms which are are being answered with a streaming sample page rather than the relevant descriptive page and I doubt whether that is working in our favor.

However it does strengthen the case for updating and enhancing the streaming sample pages so we had better get on with just that...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Google Site: Results Restored

Yesterday's little panic about the site: search results for www.download2mp3.com is over we are restored albeit not quite to our former glory.

The number of links to is back down to 15 after sometime at 38 - not sure what this really signifies since it seems to be a pretty arbitrary although all the guidance says that links are important nobody really comments on the contents of these site search results.

The other elements such as pages from site and sites containing are relatively straight forward and you can see parallels with what the other major search engines pick up.

The more entertaining results are from the similar to or related to: search results . For a while we got a very odd collection of sites but it is settling down to a number of independent music sites. This is quite encouraging because this feature doesn't always work for other sites I keep track of.

Of course when I went back to check a couple of details it had gone again - just a touch of the flux - no doubt.

Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Those dratted pixels!

We were a bit previous on Friday - those last few surplus pixels have proved too elusive and the template still isn't fit for use.... Otherwise it looks great so more tedious experimenting today.

Big Daddy rolled out a little further this weekend and there are only a few data centers that have not been updated now - Google still on schedule.

Sorry, no information is available for the URL www.download2mp3.com
- just a little bit of a shock to the system when this happens as it did this am. Some links from and pages that contain search results are available albeit on a relatively modest scale compared to what we are used to. This hasn't happened to other sites I look out for so we are hoping this is a passing glitch.

McDar is down this morning but things looked OK yesterday.

Perhaps it is just a little ripple to get the week off to an interesting start.

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

Streaming Samples Template Underway

Following up on the template solution for the 'main' pages we have been working on a template for the samples pages. This has been tricky because we have been going from a flexible page width format to a fixed narrow centered one. Lots of fussy table design to get the graphics right. Just the update drudgery now.

The purpose of this is to strengthen the branding on the site and enable site wide update/messages more easily. The caching of the template material by visitors' browsers should mean that there is no significant addition to the download time for these pages.

The composer/ringtone of the week will be changed over today as we swing into the new routine.

On the Big Daddy front there has been no real movement on the data centers for a few days but we are seeing the potential impact of Big Daddy on our pages reduce as the results pre and post get closer together - let's hope Google haven't been doing all this for nothing!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

How to Use Backwards Planning for Web Site Success

I think that this advice is very smart - tough but smart:


Newcomers to the Internet world often begin by asking, "Should I
pay to drive traffic to my website? Pay-per-click? Overture? An
ezine articles service?"

Used wisely, these methods will drive traffic to your website.
But you need to ask, "What will visitors do once they arrive?"

To answer these questions, you have to work backwards.

(1) Create a selling machine.

Before driving traffic to the site, turn your website into a
selling machine. Will visitors convert to buyers? There's no
point in driving thousands of tire-kickers to come visit your
website. And there's even less rationale for paying to get them.

These days, more and more sites have begun to use straightforward
sales letters on all their web pages. They sell e-books,
consulting services, classes and audio products.

The sales letter approach offers two benefits. First, you
probably sell more (if you have a good sales letter and a product
that fits a genuine need). Second, you can track your success
and test as you tweak your sales letter.

(2) Design a way to collect emails.

So, you say, the next step is to develop a killer website, right?

Wrong! When visitors come to your site, you want to collect email
addresses for your ezine list. You want to add them to your
customer base and take the first step to create a community of
raving fans.

So before you create the website that will become a selling
machine, create an ezine concept and a mouth-watering gift that
will motivate visitors to sign up for the ezine.

Without a way to collect e-mail addresses and build a community
of raving fans, your website is like a bicycle: basic transport
but you do all the work. Add an e-mail collection and you've got
a marketing engine - like moving from your bicycle to a
motorcycle. Vroom!

(3) Get testimonials.

You will increase sales exponentially with improved copy. But to
move in high gear, you need powerful testimonials.

Killer testimonials are signed with a real name and identifying
information. They mention results related to money, love or
health. And they emphasize the unique way you delivered
information or service.

(4) Test your target market.

But wait - where can you get testimonials if nobody buys? Do you
know if customers and clients are willing and able to buy your
services?

If you're offering a service, see if you can get a few paying
clients before you open up a website. If you offer a product,
wait to see if customers ask, "Where can I get more?"

Sometimes you have to test aggressively. Offer early-bird
discount coupons (but not free trials). Set up a low-cost trial
and see what kind of response you get.

(5) Choose a target market with spending power.

Now we come to the heart of working backward. You need a
profitable niche: potential customers who want what you offer and
who have the motivation and means to pay.

Some markets are used to spending money. I've been told that
people who make quilts and scrapbooks are often eager to buy
supplies, guidebooks and advice.

But some markets just don't spend. Some have price ceilings so
it's hard to charge enough to earn a meaningful income.

And sometimes they value confidentiality so strongly that you
won't get great testimonials. You'll need to rely on
word-of-mouth - and a website may not be your best marketing
vehicle.

Sometimes you're a really good fit for a market because of who
you are. Twenty years with an advertising agency would lend great
credibility to your marketing consulting services. Someone who
rose from mailroom to vice president in five years could create
an office politics coaching service.

So plan backwards. Starting with a market that values who you are
and what you offer will be the first step in a chain leading to
community of raving fans and a money machine website that
benefits from more traffic.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., helps solo-preneurs, professionals and
small businesses build Internet revenues -- without turning
themselves into techies or high-powered pushy sales people.
Download: 7 best-kept secrets of client-attracting websites.
http://www.copy-cat-copywriting.com/subscribe.html.
goodwincathy@yahoo.com or (206) 819-0989

We are still at step 1 - so there is plenty more to do!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Blogging for Internet Marketers - Define Your Niche to Create Better Blogging!

Here are some thoughts about the art of blogging:

Some Internet Marketing bloggers will post topics that vary greatly. Other Internet Marketing bloggers feel most comfortable when they are posting on a particular topic. The question has often been: which way is best? Studies demonstrate that defining your niche creates better blogging. So, using this discovery, it is assumed that it is best to choose one route to take, and stick with it. This can mean that you choose one large topic and use it to produce your total blog topic list. You will likely get repeated visitors if you are posting on the same subject matter in any case. If you are still not sold however, check out these other explanations for why defining your niche can lead to more successful Internet Marketing blogging.

Knowing the Topic

While it can be monotonous to post on the same topic each day, there is one thing to be said about it. You will certainly know your topic. The more you post on a topic, the more thinking and research you have to do on the topic. When you commit a lot of time to one topic, you will become more and more familiar with it. Therefore, by sticking to one topic, instead of being a "jack of all trades"” writer, you will most likely become an "“expert"” writer on your topic. Knowing a topic sufficiently will eventually make the writing process a lot easier. When you understand a lot of information on a topic, blog posts will come easy to you. You will soon get to the point where you don't have to research any longer and can simply use what you know to write. All writers will tell you that at that point, it will take much less time to do your work.

Variations of Your Idea

Although you will be writing on one particular topic idea, you will be creating variations of your idea for your posts. For instance, when your niche is weddings, you can produce a post on wedding gowns on one day and a post on wedding bouquets on the next day. The list of wedding topics could go on and on for months or years. There is so many variations you can think of that you can stay within your niche without changing topics altogether. This will allow each blog topic to be fresh and new each day. Brides, grooms, gowns, honeymoon site, all can be part of your blog. Even, how to choose your bridal rings will make interesting blogging. You can visit the different corners of your topic and still stick with your niche.

Creating Particular Posts

When you do go within your niche to create posts, you will be able to write specific posts that will draw a more targeted reader group. This will be great if you are relying on search engines to point people to your site. When you have specific posts that will bring in readers that are looking for topics like yours, your blog will be a success. You can bet that these readers will likely keep coming back to your blog in order to peruse other posts, which will be great for you as a blogger. If you are planning to ad advertising to your site, having a specific niche will help bring in more money since the ads placed on your site, will also be specific to your blogs. Choose your keywords carefully and add specific words to your blog. This will generate more traffic and can encourage more clicks on the ads placed on your site. With a program such as Google's Adsense, you can earn money with each click.

So, as you can see, defining your niche is something that you should strongly consider as a blogger. When you jump from topic to topic in your blog, you can confuse readers and never have the chance to create a steady reader group that can maintain your blog. When you do have a niche that you are expert in, you will see that readers will value your information and opinion and your blog will be a hit! Go ahead and think about a topic that interests you the most. Think about distinct variations that you can use for more specific topic posts and try them out. You will rapidly see that trying this approach can work wonderfully.

Paul writes about Blogging for Internet Marketers at http://blogging-for-internet-marketers.blogspot.com

The idea of repeat visitors was something that we hoped for at the beginning and most of our initial articles focussed on the music content of our site and even included some podcasting but it didn't really come off. So we have tended to concentrate on other aspects of developing the site and related issues. The vast majority of our blog visitors arrive from searches on topics that we have covered - very few go on to visit the main site regardless of the presence of embedded links in the text.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

It's just us getting the +'s

There has been absolutely no response to our startling announcement of the great advance of the '+' in our keyword phrases as reported on Analytics.

Not only was there no reaction here - not too surprising but nothing on the SEO forum where you ususally get a rasberry at least.

So it's not happening to anyone else or they don't care.

We've also noticed the impact of Big Daddy diminishing in terms of the differences between results from the different data centers but it ain't over yet.

Monday, March 06, 2006

 

New Template Bedding In

It looks as if the new Dreamweaver template that we implemented on Friday has settled down OK.

Of course it will take a little longer to establish what effect it has on our visitors, if any, and longer still to see what reaction, if any, we get from Google. The new template removes a whole column of internal links from some pages and adds a side bar to others. We have also take the opportunity to remove the new page generator off links to all pages except the reference pages, like our commercial terms, to try and make it easier to navigate around the site.

We have started with Mozart as Composer of the week and The Entertainer as ring tone of the week with prominent links so we'll see what that does. We will use the side bar and the footer for trying out site wide changes and developments because it is so much easier to make consistent changes now. Analytics gives us a good appreciation of the use being made on the links on our pages which facilitates this sort of experimentation.

Google is experiencing more flux in its search results across some of its data centers but not enough to seriously upset Rankpulse and we think we can see Big Daddy rolling out a little further so that they may be passed the half way point now.

Friday, March 03, 2006

 

Analytics Keyword Results Overwhelmed by +'s

Google says:

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it. (Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign.)

And they have been saying pretty much that for years so why is it that our visitors in the last week have augmented the spaces between their keywords with a "+"? This is not just a mild perturbation but a universal picture over the first 100 phrases. Phrases without "+" are sinking without trace.

Don't get me wrong the "+" has always been there but until now it lurked around the bottom of the list of keywords, an indication of the presence of slightly more sophisticated searchers who had been experiencing some mild frustration with their "+" free searches.

When something like this happens you tend to doubt your measuring instrument but we are now looking at a massive week on week change. So you check to see if anyone else has noticed but searches of groups and blogs with 'analytics + "+"' have produced no reports of this phenomena so it is either just happening to us or you heard it here first.

Of course later today that search will produce this blog entry - spooky or what!

As to whether this matters a damn is any body's guess at the moment tests so far indicate that the "+" offers our visitors little in the way of benefit in terms of refined results but I could be looking in the wrong places. McDar seems to ingnore it! Even on something fairly competitive like ringtone + mp3 we are still at 14 out of 3 million plus results.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

Adding Scripts to Your Site

Now that our new Dreamweaver Template based pages are almost ready to launch we can start to look at how best to exploit the facility for change and experiment that they offer. One of the options is the use of scripts to provide more interaction and possibly automated update. So here are some ideas:

For new webmasters, adding third-party software and scripting to
a website can be a really scary proposition. I remember when I
put my first scripts on my own website. Even with my basic DOS
programming experience in high school, I was still intimidated by
the whole process. I was so sure that I was going to screw
something up.
The very first script I ever installed on my website
was a Graphical Counter from BigNoseBird.com
(http://www.bignosebird.com/carchive/counter.shtml). I ended up
spending five days playing with the script to get it to display
just the way I wanted it displayed.
The second script I ever installed was a Recommend This Page
To A Friend script, also from BigNoseBird.com
(http://www.bignosebird.com/carchive/birdcast.shtml).
How Scripts Differ From Ordinary HTML
Basic web building uses HTML. HTML is simply a markup language
that helps you display text and images within a web page.
Most of us know the basics of how to build a webpage in HTML.
Others use website design software that interprets the requests
of the user to build a webpage in HTML.
In its most basic understanding, "scripting" is the process of
programming webpages to perform certain calculations, which will
affect how information is displayed on the webpage.
If you fill out a form on a website and hit send, chances are
that you are engaging a script of some sort to interpret the
information that you have sent to the website. If you return to a
website and it knows your username and password, then a script
has been involved in the process to make your return visit much
simpler. If you see a list of the most recent posts on a website,
then a script was used to make that information appear for your
consumption.
Scripting is most often handled in Javascript, VBscript
(Microsoft's answer to Javascript), PHP or Perl. Each one is
different in its structure and utilization.
Javascript can be added within the actual HTML of a webpage, and
it will fire when the page is loaded or when a request is made.
One way that I have recently seen Javascript used was for a page
that was doing a countdown of how much time remains until their
scheduled event. I have actually used Javascript to put news
feeds across the top of my webpages. Some Javascript is usually
placed in the page header, between the HEAD tags within the HTML.
Other Javascript is placed in the HTML body where the Javascript
activities are intended to appear.
VBscript works in the same manner as Javascript, but needs to
reside on a Microsoft Windows server.
PHP and Perl are more appropriately designated as languages. Both
are file types, and both allow you to design an entire website or
parts of a website to perform specific actions or functions.
A function is defined as, "Functions (also known as subroutines
and procedures) are chunks of code - parts of programs - which
can be called from another part of the program. Generally,
functions greatly enhance the space-efficiency and
maintainability of computer programs."
PHP and Perl Usage
Most servers have PHP and Perl functionality built into the web
hosting accounts. However, not all web hosting companies are
comfortable offering Perl (CGI-Bin) access to their users.
The reason why many web hosts shudder at the thought of making
the Perl libraries available to their users is because Perl is a
very powerful scripting language. In the hands of the wrong
person(s), Perl access in a server can be used to bring great
harm upon the server.
In order to operate Perl scripts, you must have the ability to
change and set file permissions on any file that resides on your
web hosting account. If you have just a basic Yahoo hosting
account, you will not be able to use any Perl applications on
your website. Some web hosts prohibit Perl usage at any level.
PHP is a new language that came about over the last few years. It
has been designed to allow people who do not have Perl access to
still have the ability to do scripting on their domain.
PHP generally does not require that you have access to file
permissions. In Perl, executable files must carry permissions
of 755. In PHP, most files will only be required to carry
permissions of 644, which are the same permissions a standard
webpage carries.
Fortunately for Perl programmers like me, PHP operates in many of
the same manners that Perl programs operate. The learning curve
from Perl to PHP is not very big at all.
Perl and PHP Bring With Them Powerful Libraries of Functions
What makes Perl and PHP as powerful as they are is the fact that
both utilize functions very well. Basically, a function will
carry out one specific task, and it will be able to be called
from anywhere in your software.
Generally, one of the very first actions to be taken in a script
is to INCLUDE all other files that are needed to operate the
software. The additional files generally carry many of the
functions that will be used in the software.
Then the software proceeds to carry out all of the necessary
functions in order to build a webpage in a specific, pre-defined
manner.
Programmers decide that there is a task that they perform often,
and then they build it into a function. In time, the programmer
will usually make his function available to the programming
community. And eventually, if the function is exceptionally
useful, then the function will be bundled in new releases of the
basic Perl or PHP build. All of these additional functions are
made available as the functions library.
How To Find Perl and PHP Scripts to Use On Your Website
There are actually many places you can go to find scripts to use
for your websites. Some websites offer directories of free and
paid scripts. Some websites will let you have their scripts if
they can have your email address.
Additionally, there are literally thousands of websites and
hundreds of books that will teach you how to write your own
scripts in any of these languages.
When I am in the mood to improve my coding abilities, I like
going to: http://www.planetsourcecode.com/ Planet Source Code
offers full scripts and pieces of scripts, with feedback, that
will teach me to be a better programmer.
My favorite place for locating scripts to download for free or to
buy is: http://www.resourceindex.com/
The Resource Index has one part of their site dedicated to Perl
scripts: http://cgi.resourceindex.com/
They also have one part of their site dedicated to PHP scripts:
http://php.resourceindex.com/
Another decent site for locating scripts is at:
http://www.hotscripts.com/
Many individual programmers also offer a lot of good software for
purchase or for free. A few of the good ones will be:
http://www.scriptarchive.com/
http://www.bignosebird.com/
http://www.willmaster.com/
In Conclusion...
If you have ever told yourself, "it would be cool (or useful) if
I could do this for my website's visitors," then you are in the
market to learn how to use scripts on your website.
If you have imagined it, chances are someone has programmed it.
If they have programmed it, then you will either be able to
download it for free, or to buy it at a very reasonable cost.
Before you plunk down your money to buy a program or script, be
sure that the programmer is willing to show you the script in
action. If it doesn't do what you want it to do, don't buy it. If
it does do what you want to do, then by all means, do consider
purchasing the software for use on your own site.
When programmers offer their software for sale, their
documentation is usually pretty good. They will tell you what
steps you need to take to install it on your server, and they
will tell you how to operate the software.
It is very realistic to believe that if you like what the
software does, you can have it live and operational on your
website in less than 30 minutes in most cases.
Good luck. I will be around later to see what cool stuff you have
added to your website. ;-)




---------------------------------------------------------------------
Gavyn Stewart is a writer and programmer. When we needed software
for our websites, we would always go on the hunt for software to
buy. At the end of the day when we could not find pre-packaged
software to do exactly what we wanted it to do, we built our
own. Since most programmers are not business owners, how could
they know what we really needed? We have started making some
of our own software available for purchase at:
http://www.StewartConsultants.com


OK - so we are not totally new to this - a large part of our site is done in PHP and we use a purchased Flash Script to present our streaming samples. But you get the idea.

On the Big Daddy watch front - McDar is down again this morning but there was a spike on Rankpulse yesterday and we have doubled the number of links to the site recognized by Google - quite a few of them from this blog. The rash of +'s in our search terms seems to be even more pervasive but it is not clear what difference they are making.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Slack Water

There are times when everything seems to slow down.

At the moment it looks like Big Daddy is stalled - Rankpulse has gone back to sleep again - the impact so far on us appears to be broadly neutral based on some ups and some downs across our broad range of keywords.

The phasing is quite unusual - normally Google will test an update or an update phase on one or two data centers and then roll it out quite quickly to the rest with a bit of subsequent flux while things settle down. With this one it seems to have stalled after rolling out to nearly half the data centers but there is some evidence of minor flux on some of our keywords using good old McDar. Perhaps there are issues at the remaining centers which need to be fixed before they can take it on - Google Knows!

The template adoption job is progressing slowly but surely, though we are still plagued by an irritating browser clash. The pages work fine on IE but one area is out by a couple of pixels on FireFox. On the other hand the product table layouts seem to be more under control in this environment and this is aided by the snappier BitPass link of 'Buy Now!'. That's a good thing because it was a tedious manual update process over 200+ products.

Onward and upward!

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