Archive for the ‘General’ Category


What domains to block in your Yahoo search marketing account

Yahoo recently added the ability for advertisers to block domains in their search marketing accounts. At first I wasn’t sure how to use this feature, but after some investigation and a cross reference with my analytics, I think that it will be a very effective tool to help eliminate bad traffic, if it’s related to a specific domain.

First thing you need to do to make sure you are using yahoo’s built-in analytics or configure your own analytics to report on all traffic from your yahoo campaigns and run a report by the domain that the traffic is coming from. You want to sort that report by the overall clicks from a particular domain.

Here’s an example of the report that you need (signifigantly reduced for readability).

Yahoo 1

Now if you look under the conversion column in this report, you will see that a few of these sites have provided no conversions.

Yahoo 1

These are the sites that you want to block from your PPC campaign. In this case the (3/1039 = .29%) is a conversion rate that I am not willing to pay for, so I’ll block it and others with poor converting traffic.

I would make sure that you have at least one month of traffic and PPC statistics, three months or more if you don’t get a lot of PPC traffic. Remove domains that tend to provide a lot of traffic but no conversions. If a site can’t provide a 1% conversion rate, it’s probably not worth keeping. Depending on your past history you may want to set your threshold above 1%.

Just remember that even if your PPC traffic goes down a bit, your overall cost is going to go down with it, and your overall conversion rate is going to go up.

Warning: If your ads attract poor visitors, it wont matter what website they’re on, so don’t use this method to optimize your account if you aren’t getting sales. This tool is useful only to remove sites that just send bad traffic. You should always be testing new key phrases, and new ads, and eliminating the ones that can’t provide cost effective traffic.

Yahoo also has a Q&A post as there have been a ton of question since this feature was launched.


Showing passion in your product descriptions

One of the most effective conversion boosters is writing personal (but professional) product descriptions for the items that you offer. Manufacturer descriptions are often so chocked with technical terminology, and gaudy self-promotion, that buyers simply ignore them. People want to know that real people are on the other end of a website, and writing unique product descriptions is one of the best ways to show that you are real, and that you care.

Keys to a personal (and professional) description:

  1. Describe the basic features that people are interested in.
  2. Explain what you like about the product.
  3. Explain why the product is better than others.
  4. Explain how the buyer can benefit from the product ***IMPORTANT***
  5. Give appropriate alternatives to the product.

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Three simple optimizing tricks to speed up your site

I’m not going to go whipping a dead horse here because optimizing a website’s speed has been covered so many times that it is pointless to re-post the same thing all over again.

There is more to making a website faster than just the size of pages or html. Sometimes just changing where a script is called can make more of a difference in website loading time than reducing the overall page size by 50%. Here are a few tricks to speed up the actual loading time of a website without making major changes to the website itself. These are very effective and can be implemented on most websites in just a few minutes.

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How to track craigslist ads

Tracking craigslist ads can be a little tricky because javascript, flash and other useful scripting languagaes are not allowed. It is possible however to track ads using a simple image tracking program. This is limited compared to full-featured javascript tracking script, but it will at least give some idea of the amount of views that your ad is getting.

This should also work on myspace, and other networks that allow html, but do not allow javascript or flash.

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10 tips to maximize your ecommerce productivity

I started this out with five and quickly went to eight and finally split into two five part categories, where I’ll stay. This is for the ecommerce businesses that have only one person or just one person that runs all of the online stuff, for webmasters, and for anyone that spends a lot of time developing online. From web design, to marketing, database programming, and shipping, these tips are to help you maximize your efficiency because there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.


  1. Wear a suit to the office.
  2. Optimize your computer monitor situation.
  3. Make a daily schedule, and stick to it.
  4. Work on one task at a time.
  5. Outsource if you can’t do something yourself.

For your website:

  1. Make very good use of FAQ and self help pages.
  2. Properly integrate and automate payment methods on your website.
  3. Make sure you are using a good website host.
  4. Optimize advertising landing pages.
  5. Optimize your website’s structure and navigation.

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Where wikipedia fails

I love the idea of Wikipedia. A user generated encyclopedia, where people decide what information needs to be addressed under each topic. Theoretically, people who are well studied or professionals in a particular field can contribute to a topic and make it a great resource of information. However, I feel that the current Wikipedia is a complete failure.

Wikipedia’s failure can be summed in a single word: ‘accountability‘.

Because there is no accountability for what is written, people write about topics that they have no business writing about. Because there is no accountability for creating false information, people correct topics that they have no business correcting. And because of the lack of acknowledgement due to the lack of accountability, the people who actually do have the knowledge and ability to write informative, professionally and concise, don’t!

Here’s how I would fix it: Give credit to those who write, and penalize those that spam and those that create inaccurate or personally biased information.

I have seen several good contributors driven completely away from Wikipedia because their articles were mutilated, or some passerby thought their resources were spam. The articles that those authors had created or edited to a professional level, have since been reduced to garbage. I myself have downgraded to only removing spam links (which is a daily event) and no longer actively contribute content. When 10-year-olds question the whole concept, maybe it’s time to make some changes!


404 error, File not found: What your custom error pages must contain!

When a visitor reaches a page on your website that doesn’t exist, by default they get a nasty, ugly document, that very well may end any future interaction with your company.

It is extremely important to create a custom 404 error document for your website. More than any other error page, you must customize your 404 error page to hopefully route those lost visitors back to your mainland.

404 error’s are for the most part unavoidable. I have never seen a website that doesn’t serve a 404 error every once in a while. Whether you mistyped a link, the visitors misspelled a page in their address bar, or anything else, at some point your server will send a 404 error.

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Comments Off on My favorite time-saving programs and hardware

My favorite time-saving programs and hardware

Mitch at practical ecommerce posted an article about helpful gadgets for ecommerce owners.

I decided to throw together my own list of programs, and hardware that I currently use that really makes developing and managing websites, and generally using a computer much more efficient. Many of these are not free however, they have all paid for themselves many times over in the time they have saved me.

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Internet Explorer (Auto Complete) stores your passwords unencrypted!

When you check the auto-complete option in Windows internet explorer, you just opened yourself up to a mess of potential problems. Internet explorer stores all of the user names and passwords that you tell it to learn, in a single flat-file that is unencrypted and can be easily read by a variety of program.

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How your website’s style affects your website’s visitors

If you’ve seen the movie ‘The School of Rock’ this video should be pretty humorous to you.

If you haven’t seen the movie, then this looks like some sort of suspense thriller movie about a deranged teacher, when it is actually a comedy.

How does this apply to a website?

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