by avalanchemike | Mar 29, 2011 | News, Web 2.0, Wordpress
I didn’t know tinypay.me existed until today. After reading about it on mashable, I checked it out, and was won over by the viral power this new platform possesses. My wife and I run a second business selling a custom dog toy line called MuttPuppet. So I put their challenge of “Start selling in 60 seconds” to the test. Let me tell you, I would have probably hit the 60 second mark if I had all my photos, verbiage ready and waiting. With that said, I threw one product up in under 15 minutes, and it immediately shared it to my twitter, facebook, and linkedin accounts. WOW! So after about 15 minutes, I have this!
We did discover one issue with their store embed option… There is no way at this point to control the width, so it obviously won’t fit in majority of the blogs out there. The Tinypay logo says free, true … only if you don’t sell anything, otherwise they take 5%, but will match your charity donation, if applicable.
by avalanchemike | Mar 16, 2011 | News, Web 2.0, Wordpress
By default, WordPress websites are a lot like young athletes—skillful and full of promise, yet highly unrefined.
In order to help your site reach its potential, you must provide coaching and assistance in certain key areas:
- To rank well in search engines, you’ll need a great theme with streamlined, standards-based HTML output.
- To ensure page speed and provide a stellar user experience, you should call scripts from the most optimal locations.
- To increase conversions and improve engagement, you should focus on minimalist page design.
- To save bandwidth and improve loading times, you may wish to institute compression and, in some cases, a caching solution.
- For world-class speed, you can set up a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or you can opt for a more exotic dynamic DNS solution.
To a beginner, these points probably seem like a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo, and that’s why I’ve created this simple guide to optimizing WordPress websites.
Regardless of your skill level, you’ll be able to use this handy guide to make effective changes to your site that will improve speed, search engine rankings, user experience, and potentially even sales and conversions!
As you read through the guide, please keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything in order to get positive results. Furthermore, some of the included tips, such as the ones on gzip compression and expires headers, can be implemented in under 5 minutes.
So, what are you waiting for? Use this guide to optimize your WordPress website and unleash its hidden potential!
Finally, if you go through the guide and still find yourself with the need for speed, be sure to check out our excellent guide to website performance and speed.
by CHRIS PEARSON
by avalanchemike | Feb 27, 2011 | Advertising, News, Web 2.0, Wordpress
Google Places – The Reality
Posted on February 7, 2011 by Jim Farnsworth
Google Places is being hyped as the foremost source of local search. Sure, it’s been around awhile, previously as Google Business Center. People are familiar with the format: the map of local businesses that meet the organic search parameters. Placing the listings smack dab in the middle of the organic listings is genius. Google realizes that the majority of people are looking for local businesses.
I first became aware of Google Places last year through the standard email solicitation. The more I learned about the email, the more excited I became. Millions of businesses are not even aware that they have a Google Places Page, which opens up an incredible window of opportunity for consultants to get their clients to Page One of Google WITHOUT expensive and time-consuming SEO. All you have to do is 1.Claim your listing. 2.Add Photos and Citations, and 3.Get Reviews. The more of all three you have, the higher your ranking. The ultimate goal is to listed in the coveted ’7-Pack’…the list of 7 local businesses on Page 1. Simple.
But, Wait a minute, Scooter. In spite of what some ‘gurus’ are saying, it is NOT that simple.
Google Places is still a work in progress. There are still big inconsistencies in its reporting. Places Pages that have not been claimed, with no reviews, photos, or little in the way of information, regularly outrank Pages that are properly optimized. My research shows that the Google Places listings are still pretty arbitrary. In fact, I’m trying to get listed for ‘Akron Internet Consultants’. That search turns up a 3-Pack. The third listing is a ‘Siding Contractor’! The site is not claimed, with 0 photos, 0 reviews, and only 2 citations…neither of which even mentions the word, ‘internet’ Go figure. By the way, I AM on the map for that search.
OK, I signed up for the course touted by the email, and began to learn about Google Places. But when I started to do my own research, I found that the instructor was grossly simplifying how Google Places rankings work. For example, the instructor claimed repeatedly that not claiming your listing could hurt your listing position. There is no proof that claiming or not claiming your listing has any effect on your position. It is certainly a good idea; until the listing is claimed by SOMEONE, it could be claimed by ANYONE. For the sake of security, claim your business listing NOW!
My research was simple. I did searches for various terms; Chiropractor, Glass, Assisted Living, Tree Service, Pest Control, and others. I then took the information of the local 7-Pack businesses, and plugged it into a spreadsheet; Is the Listing claimed; How many Reviews, Photos, Videos, Citations? The results: there was no pattern. Google Places rankings are still quite arbitrary. Listings that have not been claimed frequently outrank sites that are claimed; One site with 33 Reviews, 61 Citations, and 5 photos was #7…behind unclaimed sites, and sites with no reviews or photos, and less than half of the citations.
So, the question you’re probably asking now is, if it’s so arbitrary, why bother?
Because, it will eventually sort itself out. I expect 2011 to be a big year for Google Places, and I see a lot of effort being made by Google to tighten things up. Listings will begin to make more sense, and those accounts that are ignored, are going to get left behind. The 7-pack has room for only 7 businesses. Those businesses that have taken the time NOW, to optimize their listings, to encourage customers to submit reviews, that start adding citation sites, will be in the 7-Pack; those companies that ignore Google Places will be shut out.
If your competition has 5 reviews, you’re going to need 15 to get ahead of them. If you have 25 citations, someone else will need 50 citations to get ahead of you. The 7-pack for Clearwater, FL Dentists have 3 listings that have 116, 89, and 54 Reviews. Get the picture? Get started TODAY!