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Feedburner + AdSense for Feeds + Moving a Blog = 301 Disasters. There’s an Easy Fix.

9:26 am in Blogging, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

We recently moved the blog from bgTheory to Certified Knowledge and three really bad things happened:

  • Our FeedBurner account went crazy tweeting one of our blog posts (not even the latest one) every few hours
  • Our Feed wasn’t being read correctly by any program that relied on Google’s Feed Fetcher or feedproxy.google.com
  • Any system that relied on Google products to work (feedburner, email subscription, etc) was not being notified of new blog posts

Whenever I tried to view the feed, I had more than 30 AdSense ads at the bottom of each post in the feed (it’s configured for one).

Whenever I clicked on anything that involved feedproxy.google.com (Google’s redirector for AdSense and some feed programs) I encountered an infinite redirect look.

All of our 301 were perfect (redirects from one site to another one). Our FeedBurner account was configured correctly.

When using liveheaders, I would see feedproxy.google.com continue to redirect to itself until the browser gave up and gave me a redirect error.

When I looked inside my AdSense account, all the feeds and ads were configured correctly.

However, It turns out the culprit was AdSense for Feeds.  It appears as if Google was:

  • Passing the feed from Feedburner to AdSense to add the ads to the feed
  • Then trying to pass the feed back to the old Google feed URL which was being redirected to a new URL
  • Then Google was seeing the feed being moved so it grabbed the feed again to send back to AdSense to add another ad
  • Repeat 30 times, and you get a broken feed with 30 ads at the bottom

I tried to determine what the AdSense issue was; but not being able to see what Google was trying to do with the configuration on their side – there was no way to fix the code. As a consumer you can only fix the code you have access to.

It turns out there was a really simple fix.

I deleted the channels in AdSense and waited for Google to cycle through their feed fetching and refresh process.

Everything worked.

I can now add new channels back into AdSense and the ads appear correctly.

It seems that FeedBurner and AdSense have a very light integration, and Feedburner does not update  AdSense’s information.

So, if you are using AdSense for feeds and move your feed URL, you will want to delete (or make inactive) the old AdSense for Feed channels, let Google’s system flush out the old data, and then add your details back to AdSense.

If you haven’t seen our feeds in a few weeks, this is why. The most important items you might have missed are:

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by brad

Do you miss Google Notebook? Two free fantastic alternatives.

10:20 am in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

The death of Google notebook has caused issues for many.  While Google believes Google docs is the answer, I don’t think docs is a great place for notes. Google Docs is fantastic for collaboration; but isn’t an easy place to save and organize many notes.

Here are two fantastic alternatives to Google Notebook:

ZoHo Notebook

Email Hosting, CRM, Project Management, Office Suite, Document Management and more_1232549765842 ZoHo has one of the best online suites that exists in the marketplace today. Notes, email, calendar, meetings, etc in a single login.

I’ve been a fan of ZoHo for quite some time. Most of their tools have free trials, or some limitations, and there are some paid upgrades. However, many of the tools are completely free. They were one of the first tool sets to have very functional document processors, spreadsheet, and notes on the web.

Email Hosting, CRM, Project Management, Office Suite, Document Management and more_1232549765842

ZoHo recentlyannounced some new tools for notebook. One of them is a Google notebook import. This makes it quite easy to switch from Google notebook to ZoHo notebook. ZoHo notebook functions very similarly to Microsoft OneNote, except it’s online.

Odds are, you won’t pay for ZoHo notebook, but you might be so enamored by other tools they have (ZoHo Meetings is great) that you end up paying for other tools that are quite useful.

image

Screenshot of ZoHo notebook from the ZoHo notebook blog.

Evernote

Remember everything. - Evernote Corporation_1232550294896 I wrote a long article about how applications need to set your data free. You should have access to your data on your computer, a friend’s computer, your phone, online, and offline. Then, you should be able to easily sync that data across all of those platform.

No one has come closer to matching this everywhere-access to your data than Evernote.

Who doesn’t want to keep notes on your computer for offline access? Evernote can:

  • Sync your notes to your online account.
  • Write notes in your online account.
  • Sync your notes back to your computer.
  • And then access your notes via a mobile phone.

It is the absolute best multi-access point and sync application I’ve seen.

Evernote is free for most users. If you sync files, huge amounts of data, etc – then you might want to upgrade to a premium version ($45/year or $5/month).

Evernote justannounced an importer for Google Notebook.

Honorable Mention

OneNote from Microsoft is not a free app. However, it is a fantastic note taking tool. If you want to integrate your notes into Outlook, or other Microsoft products – OneNote is the way to go. It was my favorite note taking tool for quite some time until I discovered ZoHo and Evernote.

Conclusion

Google missed the user need with Google Notebook. There was opportunity for a great product, but the product wasn’t integrated properly across your Google account.

Data storage and access will only become more complex over the coming years. Companies need to learn how to mesh 2.0 applications and real world functionality.

Choose your apps wisely, they may not be there tomorrow.

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by brad

Did you forget about me? How to engage visitors who don’t interact with your website.

9:34 am in Blogging, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

There are visitors who you see in your analytics account each day.

And then there are those you forget.

Those forgotten visitors can still interact with your content, contact your business, forward along your information, and help your business reach it’s goals.

Think about the visitors who see your content off your website:

However, these visitors are not necessarily fully engaged with your site, yet they are still valuable.

Google AdSense - Reports_1231794150483Image: RSS ad impressions for a few days in December. 4700 easily forgotten page views (of users who have java enabled in a RSS reader)

For bloggers, the most common of these visitors are those reading full text RSS feeds.

Engaging forgotten RSS subscribers

Your everyday readers know what change are going on in your company or website. They don’t need to be reminded about a new forum section, new newsletters, tools, etc.

However, RSS or eMail readers are often skimming their feedreader and inbox for interesting content. They will skip some of your posts. Some of your emails will be deleted. Don’t take it personally – we’re all busy. The question is: How do you keep forgotten visitors abreast of changes?

Engage these users where they are currently engaged – in your offsite content.

For RSS subscribers, use a plug-in that will add some additional text to just your feed. This way your everyday readers will not see it, but those reading your content in a feedreader will see it.

WordPress plug-ins such as:

Can add content to the bottom of your feed.

For eMail campaigns, add a ‘recently changed’ section. Don’t rely on a single email to make your announcement. If you’ve devoted part of your website to showcasing these sections, devote a part of your RSS feed or email to continue reinforcing that news. If it was worth a section of your website, isn’t the same true of your newsletter and RSS feed?

Don’t Forget About Your Visitors

It’s easy to get caught up in testing, and testing, and testing some more.

However, what testing tells you is what combinations make visitors more engaged and trusting of your content.

Don’t forget to do the same for your off-site, forgotten visitors.

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by brad

The Best Entertainment Distractions that Easily fit into your Computer Bag

11:13 am in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

Being a frequent traveler you quickly have to learn how to relax on a daily 30 minute commute or a 5 hour cross country flight without carrying a 20lb backpack.

I’ve played with many distractions over time, and these are the best way to entertain yourself for minutes or hours that will easily slip into into your bag.

Personal Video Player

Archos 605 WiFi. This small video player did something unique; its basic version is not that expensive allowing a low cost to entry; and it has many add-ons which do raise the price – but you don’t have to pay for it you’ll never use them. It’s main purpose – watching video. A clear crisp screen and decent battery life will allow you to watch several TV shows or movies on your flight. It supports quite a few formats, more than most players and doesn’t lock you into a single provider like the next selection.

iPod Touch. This is the iPhone for those who don’t want AT&T. While it doesn’t make calls, it’s other features (WiFi, music, video) are top notch. I only have two complaints about the touch. The first is that you’re locked into iTunes (one of the biggest walled gardens ever created). The second is that it does not have stereo Bluetooth support. When it has bluetooth 2.0; this product might leapfrog the Archos just due to the simplicity of use.

CNet did a great prizefight between these two products.

The only product that can be considered in 3rd place is the new Cowon. The last product worth considering is the 80gig Video iPod, especially if you connect it to a set of video glasses. Note: Some people (including me) hate video glasses; they just don’t look right. Some people love them. Make sure you have the option of returning them.

<added>Since I wrote this post, Archos launched a new set of products. They are more focused around being an internet tablet than just a PVP player, however, they are worth a look.</added>

Free Video

For those of you who want free *legal* video; there is absolutely one best option – TiVo.

TiVo offers a desktop software which will let you transfer (via the net) files from your TiVo to your computer. If you don’t have an encoding program, you can also use the upgraded TiVo software to create mp4 files for your iPod that can be managed via iTunes. Easily auto-schedule your favorite shows and movies to be moved to your computer.

Which headset to choose?

Everywhere you look around first class you will see the Bose noise canceling headsets. While they are decent headsets (and heavily promoted by the affiliate-minded airlines) – they are too big to easily fit into our commuter bag. Here’s the best of the small headsets.

The best bluetooth stereo headset is from Jaybird Gear. This headset has nice sound, and easily pairs with bluetooth 1.0 and 2.0 devices. You can also buy bluetooth receivers that work with an iPod, iPhone (which also isn’t bluetooth stereo), or any device with a standard headset jack. If you ride a train everyday, the lack of wires between your iPod and headset that catch on things will make your life much easier.

My favorite bluetooth headset for my phone (while Jaybird gear is a great stereo headset, I don’t find it’s noise canceling technology great for calls) is the Jawbone II. My only complaint is that it does not fit everyone’s ears perfectly; and if you’re trying to adjust the fit, you can accidentally make a phone call.

Since you can’t use bluetooth on a plane, there is a need for a corded headset with a small footprint that sounds great. The Sennheiser earbuds have been my favorite – but not just for the sound. The street and sport earbuds have a version that does not actually fit in your ear. It has a twist clip at the top of the earbud that easily fits into the ear without having to push them into the ear. I find this is better for the changing ear pressure of a plane. Best of all, they’re under $50.

If you want top of the line small footprint earphones, the Shure e3 or e4 doesn’t have a comparison. They are also $300+ depending on the model you choose. Due to the air pressure of planes, I’ve found that my ears will actually push these out of my ear on decent making them unusable for me. So, the Sennheiser’s are 1/4th the price and almost as good for a few hundred dollars less.

Music

If you choose the iTouch under video; you’re probably done picking music. If you choose the Archos, there’s only one reason to carry a second music device – size (the larger Archos isn’t always jeans pocket friendly).

There’s been so much written about iPod vs Zune vs Creative, etc – I’m not gong to rehash the conversation. However, if you carry a larger PVP device, you might want to also carry a small iPod or Zune for music listening; this can be useful if you’re working on a laptop and just want some extra music to drown out the neighbors on a plane.

Portable Games

Nintendo DS vs PSP.  While the Nintendo DS does have some interesting abilities to connect DSs together. The PSP has Wi-Fi, has been known to be hacked for Skype, and includes more mainstream games.  Overall, if this is your first portable gaming unit – take a look at the types of games available for each system – that will help you decide more than a feature comparision list.

Reading – Carry Thousands of Books with You

Don’t want to carry 10 books with you? Don’t even want to carry one heavy book? I don’t blame you; I now carry hundreds of books with me. How? The magical Amazon Kindle. I can’t say enough good things about this device. Easy-to-read screen interface. No LDC to wear out the eyes. Due to the ink technology, I’ve had the battery last two weeks before recharging. Need a new book? Use the built-in wireless technology to shop for new books on Amazon from the device. You can even send your PDF files to the Kindle so you can catch up on all the eBooks you download but don’t read.

There are rumors of a new one coming out before Christmas, so while you might want to hold off buying one; I’d recommend the first generation if they go on sale when the next gen is released.

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by brad

Speed up WordPress by Trimming Your Bloated Database

2:40 am in Blogging, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

<new>I’m slowly cleaning up old drafts. This is one from 5 months ago before the redesign (and I’ve not reintegrated Google search yet). However, for those wordpress users – it’s a worthwhile read.</new>

I love analytics. No where else on the web can you get lost in the purity of statistics.

However, there’s a dark side to analytics – storage space.

Admittedly, I don’t take good care of this blog. However, when I went to back up my database today it was 950 mb. Yes, that’s correct, the database was nearing a one gig in size! It wasn’t spam, it wasn’t the huge amount of content on the site, it wasn’t hacked – it was wordpress analytics programs storing stats in the database.

While it’s fun to have access to every possible analytic stat, there’s also something to be said about the speed of your blog (not to mention one should be more concerned about actionable data).

Using phpMyAdmin I removed shortstat, slimstat, and counterize II tables from my database which brought it down to a much more reasonable 50mb; which still seemed large to me. So, after some more rummaging around the database, it seems that Search Meter (a nice plug-in that saves all the searches conducted on your blog) was taking up the last unnecessary 20+ mb in the database.

It was a tough decision to actually put an ad back on the blog. But, the best alternate to the wordpress search was to add a Google custom search. I haven’t figured out the correct layout for the search yet as on some browsers part of the search box is obscured which I’m sure is against the Google TOS – but I’ve not figured out an OK looking CSS yet. However, searches on this site will now have some ads from Google on them. However, I can now get search stats in my AdSense reporting. Unfortunately, that’s not integrated with any other analytics programs yet. I’m waiting for the day Google’s CSE is integrated into Google analytics. That seems the next logical step. One of the best places for keyword research is search results on your own site.

So, after removing those plug-ins, I made sure that both Microsoft Analytics (review here) and Google Analytics (and soon IndexTools by Yahoo) are installed in the blog for full stats. (More free stat programs found via SEMMYs.)

When installing these scripts, please put them in the footer tag (or just above the </body> tag) so that your content loads immediately. It’s ok if you don’t track all your visitors because the tracking script didn’t load. It’s not ok to have your content not load because some tracking script is taking too long to load.

The accomplishment? This blog is loading about 70% faster than previously. A leaner database means a faster site.

P.S. Please use absolute URls for your Favicons. If you use relative paths, the icons will not show up on all pages of your blog.

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Primer: How to host your own online applications for non-techies

1:55 pm in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

Do you like the functionality of Google Docs, Flickr, Zoho, and Basecamp but don’t like paying subscription fees? Or, are you worried about the applications losing or deleting your accounts?

There’s a simple solution – host it yourself.

While hosting your own applications seems it’s only within the realm of techies, even non-techies can achieve application hosting prowess with some simple steps.

Find a VPS Host

The first step to hosting your own applications is to find a host provider that meets your needs.

What your are looking for is a host that:

  • Has virtual server plans
  • Uses Linux
  • Has Fantistico installed
  • Have an FTP program

The reasons for the above list are quite simple and let’s look at each in detail.

Has virtual server plans

A virtual server allows you the functionality of having your own dedicated server without some of the programming and maintenance requirements. Personally, I like cPanel WHM< as the control panel for the virtual server. You don't need to know the technical specs of cPanel WHM; you just need to see what VPS control panel your host is using. With a virtual server, you can set up and control multiple domains. This is important as once you learn how easy it is to host your own applications, you might have might have sites such as:

  • Personal blog
  • Personal applications (that’s not on your blog domain so it has a bit more security)
  • A friends and family forum
  • Company applications
  • etc…
  • It becomes simple to quickly expand how many sites you want to run, and the possibilities of each

Please note that you should use a different host than domain registrar.

Uses Linux

While many arguments can be made about windows vs linux hosting, for free hosting applications for non-techies there are two main reasons to use linux:

  1. Many freeware apps are easier for non-techies to install on linux
  2. .htaccess will be your best friend

Sites such as Source Forge are open communities of developers and create applications that are easy to install yourself.

.htaccess can be used to set up redirects, password protect files, use includes, and handle some CGI. This is the only ‘programming’ that you will have to learn. However, it’s really not programming, it’s simply writing some instructions for your server. Most of what you’ll want to learn is already on the net and you are just a couple copies and pastes away from having a complete .htaccess file.

Has Fantistico Installed

This is the key to installing your own apps for non-techies. Fantastico is a preinstalled program that sits on your VPS and allows one click installs of many of the top free applications on the web. In fact, applications are so easy to install, you may find yourself installing several types of similar applications just to see which one will become your favorite. Have you always wanted to try Drupal, Joomla, or Mambo but didn’t know where to start? Now it’s easy; a few clicks and your applications will be installed and ready for testing.

Have an FTP program

While you can use a stand alone FTP program, if you are truly a non-techie, you might want something even simpler. FireFTP is a plug-in for Firefox that let’s you run your FTP program within your browser.

Choose Your Applications for Instillation

Once you have your domains setup, it’s time to install some applications. For Fantastico installs, the setup is this easy:

  • Choose where the application will live (subdomain, folder, etc)
  • If it’s a subdomain, then create the subdomain in your control panel (which is generally a couple clicks, one open form, and a submit button)
  • Navigate to Fantastico
  • Choose the application you want to install
  • List the install location (dotproject.example.com)
  • Hit the install button
  • Follow any additional instructions (username, passwords, email notification, etc)

I would suggest starting with dotProject. This is a fantastic project management software with additional plug-ins and an active community. Once its installed, then you can start to create projects around all of the other software you want to install and test.

Here are my favorite Fantastico installs:

  • WordPress for blogging
  • SMF for bulletin boards
  • TikiWiki for groupware (Wiki, Blogs, Images, etc, in a single application)
  • Coppermine for photo sharing
  • phpAdsNew for ad serving
  • Moodle for learning environments

Here’s the full list of Fantastico application installs.

That’s It – Your New Apps are Installed!

Did that sound way too simple? If you already have a hosting account, a website, and Fantastico on your servers – it really is that simple.

If you don’t, then you do need to buy a domain name, choose a host provider, become familiar with your host’s control panel, and if you go the VPS route, learn a bit about that control panel as well. However, learning these interfaces is no more difficult than learning any other desktop application. There’s no programming required, just a familiarity with the settings and what they control.

Additional Considerations

When deciding on which applications you wish to run on your servers, there are some additional considerations that should factor into your final decisions.

How active is the open source community?

Some products are complete and do not need new development. Other products have large communities releasing new features, plug-ins, and security patches. In addition, if your company is relying on some of these applications, you might wish to pay a developer to add some custom functionality to these applications.

Security

As a general rule, if you are non-techie installing and running these applications do not store sensitive information within these applications.

You may wish to pay a security expert to check on your server security and make sure that your applications are as protected as possible. For less sensitive information, many control panels also have some method of password protecting files.

Upgrading

Some applications are free for you to install yourself; however, there are commercial versions that you can upgrade to if your business requires even more from the application. It’s worth investigating if the program is supported by a community or an actual business behind the scenes. An example is Open Office. The application might be similar to a free version of Microsoft Office; however, Sun does have a business model around giving away a free product. (Related article: Wired’s Freemium by Chris Anderson)

Total Needed Space

It’s hard to beat Picass’a 400GB of image hosting for a measly $500 per year. However, most people aren’t hosting hundreds of gigs of files on the web. If you’d like to get a quick snapshot of how many files and file sizes each of your folders contain on your PC to form a webhost comparison, download Windows Directory Statistics.

Advantages of Using Hosted Online Apps

It should also be said that there are definite advantages to using 3rd party hosted apps, such as:

  • You automatically have access to new features when they are developed
  • Tech Support
  • Cross product integration (ZoHo is getting good at this, Google has a ways to go)
  • Usually receive more total space
  • Generally low cost or free options
  • Generally good security
  • Generally good backup of your data

Advantages of Hosting Your Own Apps

Conversely, there are advantages to hosting it yourself, such as:

  • Your account shouldn’t be deleted
  • You don’t have to pay for multiple licenses, installs, etc
  • You can backup your data whenever you want
  • You can try out many types of software to see what you really like
  • If you need more space, just buy a larger hosting plan
  • Experimentation. When hosting your own apps, it’s easier to just play with some apps to see which one really fits your needs
  • Easy to brand as your own business

Personally, I use a mix of 3rd party hosted and self-hosted. dotProject fulfills my project management needs; and since I always have 25+ projects running, I don’t want to pay a 3rd party by the project list. However, I also like GMail; but want to maintain some branding control, so I use Google Apps for some of my email.

Final Notes on Open Source Applications

I’m a fan of open source software, especially for non-programmers who do rely on others for improvement. For small businesses and personal information usage; nothing can beat free. However, always know when the software or information is so critical that you should be either paying for the software support or paying an individual to monitor your servers and open source software. That’s just good business.

Free is nice. Having all your business records hacked is not.

However, if you want to create a forum for your friends, run a blog, keep the big ‘to-do’ list semi-updated, put the house projects in a project management environment, or even put up a shared calendar for your employees to use, nothing beats some free open source software.

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by brad

You Host Provider can Paralyze your Website. Your Registrar can put you Out of Business.

10:21 am in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

Hosts and registrar’s have different responsibilities. They both have supreme control your visibility online, and one should not use the same company for both – ever.

A host’s duties are to make sure your website is up, running, responsive, and give you support when something goes wrong.

A registrar’s duties are to keep your domain name safe, alert you when there are problems, and keep you in the loop on anything strange going on with your domain names. We’ve all heard stories about hosts who suddenly turn off a site and put the domain name on hold. If you host with the same company as is your registrar, you can lose both in a single moment.

If you keep your host and registrar separate, then if the website goes away, you can easily setup your site somewhere else (assuming you make regular backups) and change the DNS at your registrar. If you have many websites, use multiple hosts and keeping your website backed up at another host (behind a login so it can’t be spidered). If the site goes down at one host, change your DNS at your registrar and your site should be back up in a matter of hours (these days it takes a max of 24 hours for a DNS to re-propagate, and sometimes you can see it in a matter of a couple hours).

If your registrar freezes your domain, you’re in big trouble. Always keep another TLD or two of your site (and it’s good practice to own the .net, .com, etc of your websites) so that you can use another version why you work out the problems.

Use more than one registrar for those alternate TLDs. If you keep the .com name with your favorite registrar, the .net with a second registrar, and the .org with yet a third – you can usually recover while the resolution process is ongoing.

Own the alternate versions of your domain (at a different registrar) name pointing to your website. Make sure that those domain names 301 to your site and do not get indexed (you don’t want example.com and example.net both indexed with the same content as that will cause many SEO issues).

If your main domain is going to be down for a while (such as weeks or months during a lawsuit or a shady registrar); remove the 301 and let your site be re-indexed at the new domain. Unfortunately, you will lose most of your traffic as this will be considered a new domain and you can’t setup a 301 from a domain you don’t control (i.e. you can’t 301 your old domain to your new one as you no longer control that domain). When (or if) you regain control of your domain name, put the 301s back in place and return to your original DNS configuration.

If you have PPC or other media campaigns, change them to the new domain immediately. Don’t pay for traffic going to nowhere.

For information about 301 vs 302 see Matt’s post, you should be familiar with the difference depending on the circumstances of your site or domain being unavailable.

I’d also recommend trying to own the .com of your domain (which isn’t always possible).

My favorite registrar is Moniker.com. Register.com has one of the best APIs for bulk managing domain names and DNS entries. Both Google and Yahoo use MarkMonitor.com these days, which is good for large domains where you want to monitor a variety of domain uses (if this is your goal, also check out CSC Corporate Domains, INC which manages live.com). Google has a close relationship with enom.com, which has been a fairly reliable system. (Note: I have relationships with some of the above companies, but as with all my posts, this info is solely my opinions and I don’t receive funds from the above companies).

Worthwhile read (warning PDF file), http://www.cscprotectsbrands.com/pdf/029-031-TW-March_08-Searche.pdf, about domain tasting and searching for domain names.

Hosts can be cheap, and some cheap hosts are just fine depending on your goals and traffic. As with most things, you get a level of support based upon how much you’re paying. Pay for a cheap registrar, and you usually get zero support. When comparing hosts vs registrars, some people can get away with a cheap host. If you site goes down, it’s not that bid of a deal to move websites. Losing or having a domain name suspended can be devastating. Pay for a good registrar. Know your registrar’s policies. It’s easy to recover from a bad host, a bad registrar can ruin a business.

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The SEMMYS, Controversy, and Analytics Blogs You Should Read

9:16 am in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Tracking by brad

Matt has taken the best posts from his feed reader over the past year and organized them into categories for judging the best posts of 2007. It’s usually easier to judge a blog then individual posts, so this is a pretty ambitious endeavor.

Of course, the SEMMYS are highly controversial and generating its fair share of buzz.

Personally, I’m judging the Analytics and Local Search categories.

I also have two blog posts nominated for SEMMYS:

  1. Understanding IP Targeting for PPC Campaigns
  2. How to Lower Your AdWords Minimum Bid

which I find nice for someone who only blogs part-time (at best).

As the awards are based on Matt’s last year’s feed reader – you can see the problems:

  • Matt can’t read every blog post
  • Matt’s reader could be skewed away / towards certain types of blogs
  • How can you nominate blog posts in the future
  • How can a panel share and collaborate on next year’s posts

Regardless of the complications of the first year beta-SEMMYS; Matt has put in quite a bit of work, and he does read a significant number of blogs. Kudos for trying to pull off an ambitious project that involves the actual post over the entire blog.

I’ve already given Matt a few additional blogs (especially in analytics) to read for the upcoming year to expand the SEMMYS for 2009.

I find very few good analytics blogs. What I’ve seen is that more and more analytics blogs are focusing on Google Analytics. While there is a need for GA blogs, there is also a need for non-GA blogs as well.

If you’re looking for analytics blogs, here’s a list to start with:

I’m looking for more blogs that really talk about A/B, multivariate, focus, and other testing areas (as well as good non GA blogs) if anyone has suggestions. I’m sure there is also a good blog about Google’s website optimizer, I just haven’t found it yet.

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Web Based Applications Need to Set Offline Data Free

8:29 am in eWhisper's Notebook by brad

  • Do you use multiple computers?
  • Are any of your computers ever offline (plane flights)?
  • Do you use a mobile phone?
  • Do you write email or notes on your phone?
  • Does your phone sometimes lose Internet connection?
  • Have you ever lost work because you tried to save an online document (even an email draft) and lost the document because you Internet was down?
  • Have you been unable to access your files online because the website was down?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you probably want programs that are not just ‘in the clouds’ but also sync the clouds to your grounded files.

A web based program does not truly set us free unless it has these features:

  • Online access
  • Offline access
  • Online / offline sync
  • Mobile access
  • Offline mobile access
  • Mobile sync

An example of this functionality would be the ‘ideal Google notebook world’. Could you imagine how useful Google notebook would be with this feature set:

  • Online access as current
  • Utilizing Google gears (or even it’s own downloadable program) for offline access
  • Online / offline sync
  • Mobile access as current
  • Mobile program to keep notes on phone
  • Online / Offline mobile note sync
  • Control panel showing which mobile notebooks (or local computer files) to sync

This type of functionally isn’t just adding new features to programs, it’s easy to a major difference between Google and Microsoft when examining offline and online syncing of information.

Offline information is outside of Google’s core competency. Even with the Google Gears integration with GMail, there isn’t an ‘Outbox’ so one can write mail while offline and then the mail sends when one connects. Instead, one can only read some email offline and the functionality pretty much ends there. On the mobile side, while their web access is fairly well done, and very quick; one does not have access to all GMails’s features, such applying a label to an email.

One the other side of the spectrum, Microsoft’s Hotmail might be one of the best examples of ubiquitous access points with cross functional syncing capabilities:

  • Online access via website in browser
  • Online / Offline / Sync access with Live Mail
  • Online / Offline / Sync access with Outlook connector
  • Integrated with product set via Outlook connector
  • Mobile access via website in mobile browser
  • Online / Offline / Sync mobile access by download and send from phone
  • With Active Sync or Wireless Sync one can sync Hotmail (or Outlook) mail, notes, calendar, and tasks with a mobile phone
  • With Active Sync or Wireless Sync and Outlook connector, one can enter new information on a phone, computer, web access, or mobile access and all that information will be shared and synced with each of the other devices and access points.

As it becomes easier to connect to the web, online applications such as Apple’s iPhone/iPod Touch webapps will play a larger part of our life; but our connectivity availability is not 100%, which is required for Apple’s newest useful innovation.

The future might be webapps and cloud computing. However, until a day arrives when we’re 100% connected, the safety net of controlling and syncing our data regardless of access point availability will increase productivity, drive adoptions, and prove a more friendly user experience.

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by brad

eWhisper's Favorite Marketing Newsletters

8:37 pm in eWhisper's Notebook, PPC Marketing Blog by brad

I spend an hour on the train every day riding to and from work. While my little Vaio does have the ability to connect wirelessly to the Cingular network, I’ve found that moving so much makes my net access pretty limited during these trips. That’s where newsletters come in – offline access.

My favorite newsletters are the ones that have all the information contained in a single newsletter as I can read the entire article. The ones that have [continue this story] links are my least favorite as I often have to scan these newsletters before I hop on the train to open the fully story in my browser – or bookmark them for later reading.

Unfortunately, my later reading often doesn’t get done for months, and these articles never get read.

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite newsletters. Many have options to receive full HTML versions that can be read in entirety offline. If you’re involved in search marketing, or wish to keep up with the industry, these newsletters are for you. Read the rest of this entry →

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