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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

 

New Download Problems

Well - not really - more like the reappearance of an old issue.

With IE7 and media players like Windows Media Player or Quicktime downloaded files are played straight away and it is far from obvious if or where they are saved.

Although we recently upgraded some of our PC's to this configuration we hadn't spotted the issue ourselves and by some strange chance two customers raised it this morning.

It took a while hunting around the menus in both the player and the browser, followed by a quick Google enquiry to track down the solution.

This time with IE7 you go into Tools/General/ Browser history/Settings/View files to get to the Temporary Internet folder where your downloaded files are sitting quietly. I suppose that an explorer search set to look at hidden folders might have found them eventually but life is too short.

So thanks to those two customers we'll be updating the site with that advice later today.

If anyone know how we are supposed to keep up with developments like this I'd really like to hear about it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

 

Site Re-focus

For the last couple of weeks we have been reviewing and tightening up our keyword focus.

This involved pulling together our historical targeting information with the new insights we got from Keyword Discovery. We have picked up some new targets from the later which we are trying out on pages that have not done too well on their existing targets.

As you know Google discourages checks on SERPs with automated tools but their personalised search solution completely invalidates manual checks so we've had to bend the rules a little. The free tool which we have been using is slow and unreliable so we are not overdoing this.

With this information to hand we have gone through each page and updated the content to better target a key phrase and then through the pages that link back to it to make sure that they are optimised too.

Following Big Daddy we are not getting pages picked up by Googlebot as frequently as we used to. In fact Googlebot now accounts for much less bandwidth consumption than Yahoo or MSN. So it is going to be some time before we see any results form this effort and we are doing a fresh site map to see if that will hurry things along.

As ever we'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

 

E-mailing Customers

Everyone does it - don't they.

Surely it's not spam - well?

Any how we have taken the risk and emailed them all with an update on the improved link with PayPal and advice about a couple of free recording s which they may have overlooked. So we'll see what if any reaction there is and decide whether we need to ask permission in future.

Having settled that long running performance issue we are having a fresh look at the keyword optimisation of the site. It has all got a bit haphazard over the months so we are sharpening it up not with the use of specific tools but based on memory of feedback from the Web Position Page Critic tool. I realise that it is not up to date but at least it should give us a chance in some of the less competitive areas.

Interestingly some of the product pages are really doing their stuff even though they don,t contain much text - it is very focused.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

 

Keyword Discovery

While tackling the problems with the shop we have also taken a look at the Keyword Discovery Application using the free access they offered us.

Like Word Tracker it is a web based solution and unlike Word Tracker it lets you work out your own work flow for yourself. It took me a little while to get to an optimum approach to this but once there it was quite quick and easy to understand.

Keyword Discovery has its own approach to calculating a scale for the best Keywords to target based on the volume of daily searches and the level of competition and produces comparable results. I also made a couple of cross checks on the estimated daily volumes which were at least in the same order of magnitude, whilst the levels of competition were more a less equal on the few that I compared - not too surprising as they are the result of a Google search.

The big differences are around the way the lists of keywords are generated. Keyword Discovery seems to generate longer lists of possible targets but they all seem to have significant levels of competition. Whereas Word Tracker seems to produce results for narrower less competitive niches. This is probably OK if you have a high profile site that is recognised by Google because you still have a chance of getting on to the first two pages if you optimise your target pages well - otherwise you may be in for a lot of disappointment.

In other words Keyword Discovery looks like a good quality professional tool for larger organisations looking for ways to expand their web traffic in targeted ways but it's price and capabilities probably rule it out for the micro business seeking those undiscovered micro niches.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

 

Bloodied but unbowed

The last few weeks have, as they say, been a bit mixed.

The problems at the shop have taken a lot of effort to resolve but we think we are there now.

None of the small fixes did the job and so we had to upgrade our connexion to PayPal to their Immediate Notification system which doesn't depend on the customer doing what they are told and coming straight back to our site after they have made their payment.

That change went in fairly smoothly but there was a bit of fiddly work to do on defining order status levels in response to the messages that come back from PayPal.

Then came the real pig - download control. We went for the heavy duty option right from the get go but somewhere along the way a small change crept in to the configuration of one or two key directories on the site and the system was broken. But of course we first had to work through all the software eliminating problems before we got down to something so close to the physical layer. The trouble is that in a logical environment it is much harder to spot the loose connexion which has been causing all the problems.

So we are back on the air again properly now.

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