Performancing Metrics

Archive for July, 2005

WordPress Plugin: FlvPlayer

Here is a plugin to play flash streaming video files on your weblog. The author also has future plans to add support for other media types like .mp3 and .avi

Categories: General, WordPress Plugins

Interview

For anybody who’s interested, there’s an interview of me here

Categories: General

Website Tips – Part Deux

6. Content, Content, Content – I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it couldn’t be more true. There’s nothing more valuable than keeping your content up to date and adding new content. Search engines do keep track of how often your site changes and they like to see that new content is being added and that your site is being properly maintained. It lets them know that you are not letting your site go to waste. In addition, your viewers always love fresh new content. New content adds new pages for the search engines to find you with. There have been too many times where I’ll go to a site and think I’ve found a great resource, but it turns out that the site hasn’t been updated in years. Hence(I love that word), I am more than likely never going to come back to that site again.

Bottom Line – Update

7. Optimize for Google – Google in my experience is by far the most important search engine in existence. On almost every site I have, about 90% of my search engine traffic if not more comes from them. Read articles and forums on how to optimize for Google if you’d like some common tips, although most of the suggestions I’m giving in this article series should help you just fine in your quest to climb the rankings for Google. I’m not saying that optimization shouldn’t be done for other SE’s too, but Google is certainly the most important in my book. Yahoo is usually the second biggest SE traffic provider, and then follows MSN search.

Bottom Line – Google is King

8. XML/RSS Feeds – Feeds are becoming more and more important for websites nowadays. I know all my fellow geeks at work use feed aggregators like SharpReader to keep updated on the latest headlines. Then there are the people who use the online feed managers like BlogLines(which I’m a recent convert to). The idea of a feed search engine like BlogLines has become so popular that they were even recently acquired by AskJeeves.

Having a feed setup and linked to from your homepage can get you listed in a lot more sources than if you were not to have a feed. The feed search engines themselves are only growing in popularity. Sites that don’t have feeds are definitely not obsolete. However, I know if I can find a decent source that has an XML feed, then I am a lot more likely to keep track of them than if they didn’t. I keep track of my favorite blogs, tech news, movie reviews, etc. all through feeds. It’s more important than you would think to gaining repeat visitors.

Bottom Line – Feed me

9. DMOZ – I’m going to throw this one out there just because I think it’s important. Submit your site to DMOZ This is a very controversial issue because many people think it’s not important whatsoever. I, on the otherhand, have to wholeheartedly disagree. While it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get in and you can certainly succeed without a listing in the DMOZ directory, it has always seem to give some of my sites the extra advantage. Of course there are always going to be problems with the system but that’s a whole other discussion in and of itself. Anyway, it’s a good idea to submit if you believe in its power or not. Make sure that you have a decent amount of content before you submit. New sites, or “sites under construction” are in my opinion a little less likely to get in. Always make sure you submit to the right directory and don’t submit repeatedly, the process requires patience. Here’s a useful resource if you’ve submitted and not been approved yet.

Bottom Line – Take the minute it takes and submit

10. Have Patience – Now this, could be one of the hardest tips to follow out of all of them. One of the most frustrating things about creating a brand new website is that it more than likely will not become popular in 1 day. Patience is required. If you have something exceptional to offer your website will grow, slowly, but it will grow. People talk. When people talk, links start getting added. More links means more traffic.

In addition to links coming in time, submissions to directories take time to get reviewed, months sometimes. It takes time for people to respond to your request to have your link added. It takes time for search engines to index your pages. It takes time for you to actually rise in the search engine rankings. After all, you can’t jump to the top of your key terms in just one day.

Bottom Line – When in Rome…..I mean, um, Rome wasn’t built in a day

11. Themed Links – Now this, just might be the most important for climbing the search engine rankings. Since I have so many sites of different topics and different strengths, I have had links pointing to all kinds of different places on the web whether it be through pointing the links to one of my sites or selling them to someone else. As far as I can tell, a completely unthemed link will have virtually no effect on your ranking. Themed links are extremely important. I have seen it first hand.

Bottom Line – Get links from sites related to similar topics

And that, is all I have on this topic for now. Maybe I’ll come back to it later though.

Categories: General

WordPress Plugin: Extended Live Archive

This is a very cool little plugin that allows live browsing of your archives. The author has setup a working example here(in French). It is currently in the BETA so it might have a few issues.

Categories: General, WordPress Plugins

Website Tips – Part 1

Since I’ve been creating sites for a good portion of my life, I just thought I’d go over a few of the most important aspects of building a successful website. Note that these are in no particular order of importance, just what came to mind first. This will be a 2 part series. Hope you find it useful. All of the information I am writing is from personal experience.

1. Domain name – A domain name is important for several reasons. For my example……. we’ll say I want to start a website on the topic CSS. CSSVault.com is the domain name chosen for this example. This was, in my humble opinion, a very nice choice. First, the domain begins with the acronym CSS, which is exactly what this website happens to be about. Not only do visitors find this easy to remember, but many search engines love it when the phrase you are trying to target for is part of your domain name. It helps your ranking and is easy to remember.

Bottom Line – Keep it short and informative

2. CSS/XHTML – I feel this is becoming more and more of an important factor for search engines. I believe that the search engines recognize, and appreciate that your website is complying with the latest in webpage standards(unlike Microsoft’s current browser). There is far less data for them to crawl when the CSS information is in a separate file. They don’t have to look at the same styling information over and over again throughout your site. Then there’s the matter of the HTML being coded tableless which also saves greatly on the bandwidth of both the search engine crawler, and your own web hosting plan. There are advantages on both your side and the side of the search engine. It never hurts to keep the search engines happy.

Bottom Line – Tableless is better

3. Design – Design really has little effect on your search engine rankings, but it is key in gaining repeat visitors and building a sense of community within the website itself. I myself prefer nice simple designs that let the content dictate the website. While I appreciate nice snazzy flashy graphically huge designs sometimes, if the focus is meant to be on the content, then that’s exactly what the visitors should be looking at most of the time. This of course varies from person to person. Anyway, keep your readers happy with something pleasant.

Bottom Line – Keep it simple and to the point

4. SE Friendly URLs – By search engine friendly URLs, I mean avoid urls that look like:

http://www.bloggingpro.com/showpage.php?page=resources&pagenumber=4

Instead, your URLs should look something like:

http://bloggingpro.com/resources-4.html

You’ll notice that the directory was completely removed and the file was put in the main directory. This helps because the SE’s then view the file as more important because it is not in some obsolete directory. The next thing to notice is that a dash is used…..not an underline. This is because SE’s interpret the dash as a space. This is helpful when you are including multiple words in your file name. The SE’s can add extra weight to the correct words when they can pick apart the right words from your URL.

How can this all of this be achieved you ask? This can be done by using mod_rewrite. Here is a good simple article explaining how to get everything working. This is pretty much a widely used technique now. It used to give quite a big advantage in the search engine rankings, but now it has become pretty much standard practice for webmasters. It has almost become a necessary technique to stay competitive in the rankings now. It’s important to at least keep up with the standards, if not staying ahead of the curve.

Bottom Line – Remove query strings and sometimes directories

5. Title – Your webpage title is more important than you know. I have often found that people will find the page a lot easier with the right title. If you use a nice keyword targeted title along with SE friendly URLs, you’ll be surprised how much this helps in the long run. Keep in mind that while you want keywords in your title, you do not want to overload your title with keywords. I myself usually try to focus on a few main keywords relating to the main subject of the site. To find good keywords, I highly recommend the Overture keyword suggestion tool. This tool has been invaluable to me in finding the right keywords to target.

I usually try to focus on 3 or 4 main keywords that people would type into the search engines. Do not overload your title with too many keywords, it only dilutes the value of the other keywords in the title tag. I usually try to keep a page’s title less than 10 words. A technique I like to employ on sites I create is having the main page’s title target the most important keywords. The home page is going to be the main entry point for most people, so it needs to be targeted the best. Example:

Site Title – Keyword 1, Keyword 2, Keyword 3

On the subpages, I like to basically use the format:

Site Title – Page Subject

Bottom Line – Informative titles are key

Categories: General

WordPress Plugin: SimpleTags

SimpleTags has been released. SimpleTags is a plugin to help you tag your posts for Technorati.

SimpleTags is a WordPress plugin that will allow you to easily generate Technorati tags at the bottom of your blog entries. There are several plugins already available for this purpose, but AFAIK, they all require you to use custom fields within WordPress. The SimpleTags plugin eliminates this need, so you can now easily generate tags with your preferred method of posting, be it by email, a blogging tool like w.bloggar or from WordPress itself.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

On the New Server

If you’re seeing this, then you are viewing the site on my server! Hopefully there aren’t any errors. But if you do find any, please report them to me at jumpbug-at-gmail.com

Thanks!

Categories: BloggingPro News

Another Site For Me!

Well, I’ve acquired another big site. Drum roll please……..ForeverGeek.com! That’s right, I’ve purchased another site from good ol’ Paul. I plan on taking good care of it of course. I’ve got a few ideas in mind for improvement.

Where does this leave my financial situation? Well, let’s see…….I’m in debt up to my eyeballs. People probably think it’s a little crazy to go into debt to purchase websites, however, I don’t. In my opinion, there’s not a better investment in the world. I do have a slight advantage because of the fact that I’m not married, so I have no family to support. I’m not putting anybody on the line except for myself. Does the debt hover over me? You bet it does. I can’t wait till I don’t owe anybody any money.

I started doing what I do a little more than a year. With my current sites, I now reach over 20,000 visitors a day. Once I get out of a couple of monthly payments to people(should be done by early next year), I will be pulling in close to 6 figures a year from my sites. Note that I am not bragging nor am I trying to be rude, I tell you this information to show you that anyone can make it in the blogging/website world. I am the ripe old age of 23 years old.

I’m going to try and setup a list of goals for the next year so anybody that’s interested can watch me as try to go through different milestones. I always like watching other people progress, so for those of you that are interested in this kind of stuff, stay tuned! If this is not something people would be interested in, comment! Sorry for telling everyone to comment after every post, I’m just trying to get a feel for what everybody is interested in me writing about(other than WP news)

Categories: Blogging Sense

Valuing Your Website

NOTE: When I started writing this post, I thought it was going to be easy to read, but I think it just became a big jumbled mess of thoughts. Maybe I’m wrong, but you have been warned.

Darren’s post on “How much is an adsense website worth” got me to thinking about how I value websites when I buy them. I thought I’d try and share with the world the crazy little process that goes through my head before I purchase a website.

There are a few factors that determine how I value a website:

Traffic – Traffic is very important. The more visitors you have, the easier it is to start the website on the moneymaking track. What kind of traffic do I like? Well for me, the most appealing traffic is search engine traffic. It is a lot easier to make money off of search engine traffic. Why? Because search engine visitors(as opposed to people who have bookmarked or subscribed to your site) have never seen your ads before. This is an advantage because they are more likely not to have seen the same ads over and over and over again on the site, and therefore more likely to click it. Case in point, CSSVault does terrible on Adsense and Blog Catalog does wonderful on it. This is all simply due to the fact that most of the visitors who come to Blog Catalog have never been there before.

Pagerank & Incoming Links – I know many people think that valuing a site based on PageRank isn’t smart. PageRank will not necessarily live forever and people that sell links based on PageRank risk getting banned by the search engines. Both of those statements are true. However, even if PageRank dies, link buying will not stop. Like it or not, the way that sites climb those search engine rankings is by getting incoming links. Having links to your site will always be important regardless of whether PageRank lives forever or not. Where would the search engine algorithms be without factoring in the links that your site receives. Simple text link selling will never die. The price just might not in the future be determined by PageRank like it is now. I myself don’t like to sell text links that much, but when I do, I like to put them in extremely unobtrusive places(like the footer of a site). A good rule of thumb is to never sell more than 5 on a page. Bottom line is, while I don’t like selling them, they’re an easy way to a few hundred extra bucks a month if you know who to sell them to.

There is another thing about the above 2 points. Both things need to be true. I wouldn’t trust a site with many incoming links but no traffic, or vice versa.

I also like for the site to have good growth potential. What fun is it to run a site if you can’t make it grow.

Another thing I like to know of course is, how much money the site is making. While you might think this is the most important factor in determining a website’s value, it’s not mine. It is only semi-important. I’m sure you are thinking, “but Jacob, of course that’s the most important factor”. It would be, but for the fact that most webmasters don’t correctly turn their traffic into income. For example, when I bought CSSVault at the beginning of the year, I just checked my old e-mails and I never discussed the revenue of the site before Paul and I came to a deal. Not one mention of revenue. How did I come out? It will take me a total of 8 months to make my money back. I’d say that’s a pretty decent turnaround. The only really “rule” I have for myself is that I have to be 99% sure that I’ll make my money back in less than 2 years.

In other words, it’s really hard to have an exact formula for determining a website’s worth. It can be based on a number of factors. Everybody has their own way and own theories on how to value a website. There is no set way or formula to value a website. One person might pay 1 number and another person might pay twice that much. Oh yeah, and btw, I’ll be announcing my new website purchase within the next week :)

Anyway, just thought I’d see what everybody thought of this type of post. Do you like this sort of post? Yay? Nay?

Categories: Blogging Sense

WordPress Theme: Green Marinee

I was browsing through some themes from the Alex King’s WordPress theme contest a few months ago and found this one. It stuck out to me more than any of the other winners so I figured I’d give it a post.

Categories: WordPress Themes