Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

July 27, 2007

Are You Wasting Money On Adwords?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:47 am

Somebody pointed me over to spyfu today and I couldn’t help but play around with some of it’s keyword estimates and competing site features.

I plugged in one of my keywords that I currently rank really well for. (top 3 in all search engines)

What I found was that most of my competitors who don’t rank were bidding on this term. In fact, an identical website offering identical features was bidding $0.74/click to be in the top spot.

Given the industry of the website, that seemed really expensive to me… so I dug deeper into one of my websites.

Speaking hypothetically, I took a week long average of visitors and revenue earned for my site. Last week I averaged about 7,000 visitors a day and made right around $100/day (averages rounded to nice round numbers)

Doing some simply math, it appears that my average visitor makes me just over $0.01. That’s about right considering the only revenue this typical niche generates is when a visitor clicks an ad. There isn’t much revenue in free services that show ads. I’d assume the Gmail click through rates are just as low.

So why are these companies paying $0.74/click when (I assume) they’re losing over $.70 for each person that clicks. I started to think about the possibility of branding and return visitors. Ideally, I’m averaging about 50% repeat visitors every day…. but I don’t think repeat visitors are likely to click too many ads. Are they?

Are my competitors so desperate to compete that they’re willing to lose money to take my traffic? Do they know some way of converting visitors to revenue that I don’t?

Many of these competitors seem to rank well for other terms in our industry – just not all of them. Perhaps they’re making enough money organically that they still turn a monthly profit. If that’s the case then they might not notice their adwords campaigns are cutting into their revenue. When you’re short on cash in between paychecks or have an unexpected financial emergency, payday loans Chicago can help make ends meet or access money quickly.

What’s your take? Is there a reason to run Adwords campaigns that lose money?

July 26, 2007

Building Links With Adwords

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:53 am

Last week one of our clients launched a new line of products on their website. To jumpstart traffic to this new product I launched an adwords campaign. Since the prices were pretty low, I decided to enable the content network as well.

A few hours later I noticed we’d had over 30,000 impressions for our ad and no clicks.

Seemingly right on time, Google launches a new feature that helps me explain it.

If you’re an adwords guru you may have noticed that there’s a new report option available. It’s called the placement report and it basically shows you where your ad showed up, when, how many impressions, and how many clicks, conversions, etc.

It looks like this:

According to my client’s report, all those impressions were coming from our ad showing up on MySpace photo albums. It also reaffirms my belief that nobody clicks ads on MySpace.

That’s not the useful part of the report though. The usefulness comes in the form of showing all the relevant sites that your ad shows up on.

Everybody in the SEO world knows that there’s tremendous benefit in getting relevant links – so what better way to determine relevant sites than by letting Google’s algorithm do it for you! A normal Google search for fire pits turns up a bunch of e-commerce sites powered by Cortney Fletcher who are unlikely to link to a competitor. This report was showing me mostly sites that aren’t selling anything!

I saved my report to a .csv file, visted some of the sites where my ad was showing, and fired off some link requests. To my suprise, I’m getting very good responses to my link requests. I’m actually considering running some adwords campaigns for other sites just to find the sites where my ad is showing up. Ecommerce businesses benefit most when their ecommerce web design is right and attracts customers. And when looking for help to build stunning ecommerce website, let the highly professionals like the ones at Luther.tech get the job done for you!

I can see tons of value in this new report – if you know how to use it.

July 24, 2007

Why Privacy Is Obsolete

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:51 am

“Why come you ain’t got no tattoo?”

If web 2.0 was the idea of user generated content, then web 3.0 is surely being built on the theory of eliminating privacy. I give privacy about 5 years tops before we don’t even need a word for it anymore. The current trends are disturbing. Let’s take a look:

We started in 1999 by posting our journals online with Livejournal. Then MySpace, Facebook, Orkut, and many others came along and we started posting lists of our friends. Linkedin added our job histories and coworkers. With Flickr, all of our photos became public.

Recently, Twitter emerged and now we can provide constant updates about what we’re doing at any given second. Mashup Plazes with it, and now the world can see where we’re doing it too. I’m not even sure it’s necessary though, as most of us voluntarily carry around GPS locators in our cell phones.

Pretty soon we’ll be carrying our medical history, dental records, credit history, and probably our 4th grade report cards around on our drivers licenses and passports.

Recapping, it’s now possible to find out where we are, what we’re doing, who we’re with, what we’re thinking about it, and view pictures of it. Is this the world we want? Do we really want all of this information public?

I laugh at people who still run cookie blocker programs to “protect their privacy” while they still twitter away from their cell phone.

Is society really that far away from implanting microchips into humans? My thoughts race to futurama style career chips. We already put them in pets.

Do we really want to go down the path from the movie Idiocracy – where everybody has a barcode scannable tattoo on their forearm? I’m sure there’d be tons of people in line to do so… if only somebody made a social network around it.

July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Will Cost Companies Billions?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:30 am

Every year around the Superbowl or NCAA final four we always see those articles about how the event will cost companies billions of dollars of productivity. The general theory is that people will spend all this time putting together squares, making party plans, and just talking about the game around the water cooler.

Of course, all of these studies fail to realize that if employees weren’t talking about the game, they’d be talking about something else. I don’t know anybody who goes into work and spends their entire time there being productive. Everybody makes a little bit of friendly conversation.

I was shocked though, when I didn’t see a similar article for the latest Harry Potter book. Articles like these are a surefire way to get mainstream press – almost as good as the annual “AAA says traffic will increase over the 4th of July” article.

But then I realized the true effect of the Harry Potter book – it’s over 700 pages and people WILL read it. So while reading won’t affect people’s time spent at work, it will affect what they do with their free time.

A recent thread at Search Engine Roundtable suggests that webmasters are seeing traffic decreases since the book was released.

I can attest. I not only spent most of Saturday and all day Sunday finishing the book, but I saw adsense revenues on one of my teen-frequented websites drop from $100/day the weekend prior to about $30/day this past weekend. My traffic dropped by about 15% too!

Looking at some of my client adwords accounts, their clicks are down too as compared to last weekend.

It appears that while we all read the latest Potter adventures, we’re sacrificing reading other stuff online. It only makes sense.

Will this cost billions? Probably not. If anything the book will make us all unplug for a while, before hurriedly logging back on to discuss the ending. I’ll give you guys a few weeks to finish reading before I offer my take of the entire epic.

July 19, 2007

Is The Publishing Industry Dying?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:31 pm

One of the reasons I chose Lulu for my book instead of an actual publisher is the shopping process. After you write a book you can spend months submitting it to publishers and waiting to hear from them. I soon learned that most publishers were only interested in talking to you if you a.) had previously published work, or b.) had an agent.

I couldn’t help but chuckle today when I read this article. It’s such a great summary of the problems the current publishing industry faces.

Basically, some young author changed the names and titles of a Jane Austen book and submitted it to 18 publishers. Only 1 caught the plagiarism – the rest flat out rejected the book!!

That’s exactly what I found. Publishers aren’t interested in quality of writing anymore, they’re interested in sales volume. While it sounds like a good short term strategy, it’s going to lead to problems down the road. As more and more new authors are rejected, they’re going to turn to on demand services like Lulu or CafePress.

I was able to not only hit my target release date, but earn an average of $0.75 more per book sold and not have to deal with an agent by self publishing my book. I expect to see these services thrive as time goes on – not just in attracting publishers, but in long tail type sales as well.


July 18, 2007

Google Cache Saves The Day

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 1:04 pm

I made an amateur web designer mistake today, but luckily Google’s cache was there to bail me out. Somebody alerted me to a spelling error on one of my smaller sites, so I opened it up in my editor to fix it. Some of you know where this is going.

When I opened it up, I opened it live… on the server. When I clicked save, the editor crashed. Bye bye went the page of my website. It just so happens that this was the homepage.

Luckily, I designed the site so that actual content was all in include files – separate from the PHP logic. Heading over to Google I managed to do a search for “cache:www.example.com” and view source to get all my content back.

If it weren’t for Google, I’d have had to wait a few hours until I could get my hands on a backup version of the website’s code.

Thanks Google.

July 17, 2007

Essential Firefox Extensions

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 3:48 pm

I recently had to install firefox on a new computer, and I realized I didn’t have a convenient list of the plugins I use on a daily basis. Since I figured others might benefit from this information I’m making it a blog post instead of just a note to myself.

Here’s my essential firefox extensions:
firefox extensions

Some noteably cool ones:

CustomizeGoogle is one that every SEO should have. It not only numbers my search results, but lets me quickly take my searches from Google to Yahoo to MSN with just one click.

Google Global is another SEO must – especially if you have Canadian clients like we at brandlabs do.

Screen Grab is cool too. It lets me save a picture of the webpage I’m visiting without having to do that printscreen + paint stuff.

Web Developer is perhaps the most useful though. There’s no way I’d be able to function without it. I’ve become totally dependent.

It’d be neat if you could package and distribute a version of firefox with a bunch of extensions already selected, settings checked, etc. That way you could have the SEO version, the web developer version, and the my parents version. I think that would greatly expand the firefox market share.

What do you think? What are your can’t live without extensions?

July 16, 2007

Blogging, iApps, & other Snarks

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:03 am

I have to agree with Mike Arrington. The wall street journal is pretty off on their write up of blogging history. They just published an article saying happy 10th birthday to blogging. While the word may be only 10 years old, the concept isn’t.

I myself started blogging in 1998… only we didn’t call it a blog or a journal. We called it a website. Back then though, there were no fancy files like wordpress. You needed to know how to get hosting, and write your own perl (later PHP) scripts. Of course, I didn’t invent blogging either.. I saw others doing it before me and said “hey cool.. me too.” That makes me think “blogging” is a bit older than the WSJ says it is.

Even in dotCULT’s heyday of 2000 we didn’t call it blogging. Maybe they’re talking about the popularity of the word blogging… if so, then it’s not even 10 yet.

Also, I’m tired of hearing the phrase iPhone Application. There’s just no such thing. What you’re really talking about is a website. Sure it may use iPhone style graphics and look really good at 320X240, but it’s still a web page… not an iPhone application. Speaking of which, I DO have 2 iPhone formatted websites: NoSlang.mobi and RPSgame.mobi. They’re not applications, and they’re not just for iPhones. You can use your Nokia too if you want. Let’s stop calling things by stupid names and call them what they are.

July 13, 2007

Server Down = Rankings Gone?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:37 am

Can having your server go down harm your rankings? It appears so!

When apache and cpanel on my txt2day server tried to update itself automatically, something went wrong that required a server reboot. Unfortunately, I was out of town and couldn’t do it until 4 days later.

It looks like Googlebot came through while it was down though – that’s when problems occurred.

Doing a query for just the word txt2day shows a totally different site at the #1 spot. I’m not sure why, maybe somebody can explain.

Doing a site:txt2day.com shows a couple sub pages, but not the home page.

I’m usually willing to give things like this time, but it’s been almost 8 days now… and googlebot hasn’t reindexed.

I’ve re-submitted the URL to google, changed text on the homepage so that googlebot will see it’s changed, filed a reinclusion request for the homepage, and linked to it from several sites (including this one)

I’m not sure what else to do. The site used to be in the top 3 of google for any text message related term. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if and when the rankings return.

To compare, Yahoo picked up that the site was back about 2 days later. MSN has re-listed the site, but with the wrong title and no rankings now.

July 12, 2007

BellSouth – Please Update Your DNS

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:21 pm

If anybody works at BellSouth..oh nevermind you’re probably not reading this.

Nobody with BellSouth DSL can access any of my websites that have jonesy.biz as their DNS servers.

I’m not quite sure why… It’s had this DNS server for over 3 months now… long enough for you to update your listings.

Why is that? It’s not only affecting dotcult.com but noslang.com and feedbutton.com as well.

If somebody could give me some answers I’d be very grateful.

I doubt there’s an issue with my DNS settings, because I’m posting this right now..

So what gives? Throw me a bone here.

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