RaeSea Internet Marketing Blog

Pronounced “Ray” “Sea”

Don’t forget to think about conversion rates

It’s easy to focus on getting visitors to your site and ignore what they actually do when they get there.  A thousand visitors and no sales is less desirable than 10 visitors and 5 sales. 

Think about a few things if your website is experiencing these problems:

  • is optimization getting in the way?

Meaning…have you focused too much on what search engines want and not enough on what your customers want?  This is a common mistake by those who try SEO on their own or who hire SEO people with little business knowledge. 

  • Do you know your customers?

Meaning…do you have a firm grasp on what your customers are looking for and what type of shoppers they are?  What do they expect?  Are you meeting these expectations?  Can you change those expectations?

  • how confusing is your site?

Do you have a call to action?  Does your site view properly in all browsers and in all resolution sizes?  We find that 40-50% of visitors to our sites still use IE 6…so design for this. 

  • are you actually selling your product on the site

Now, I don’t mean selling in a sense of is it available to buy.  I mean are you selling the positives of your products and addressing the concerns that your buyers may have?  The visitors to your site may not be as knowledgeable as you think or maybe they are much more knowledgeable than you think.  Get to know them. 

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Web Design | Leave a comment

Viral Campaign Tips

Found a good list of tips to pass on. 

Market over Email
I get a few emails every day begging for Sphinns, Diggs, Reddit bumps, etc. Some of these are good, but most are terrible. If you’re going to leverage your network, tell them to be smart about how they reach your story and vote it up – don’t provide a direct link to the Digg story page. Instead, ask them to check out the piece on your site and follow the Digg link from there. Those referral strings are going to look a lot more natural to the Digg editors.

And for those who really want to analyze Google and their patents check this out.  Warning:  Your head may explode halfway through it.

What kind of factors would those be?

The patent describes how it might associate a query with a certain set of geographical locations based upon such things as postal codes, or alternatively it might take the latitude and longitude of the map window when the search takes place while the searcher is looking at a map of the area in question. After that, it might look at factors such as:

  1. A score associated with an authoritative document,
  2. The total number of documents referring to a business associated with the document,
  3. The highest score of documents referring to the business,
  4. The number of documents with reviews of the business, and;
  5. The number of information documents that mention the business.

September 12, 2007 Posted by | Internet, Marketing, News, SEO, Social Networking, technology, Web Site Rankings | Leave a comment

Google Video Ads

We’ve been waiting for more info about this direction and it is slowly starting to come out.

“It’s a topic that’s come up in a lot of internal discussions,” said Fox during a Q&A session about Google’s search usage and trends.

We want to do the best job of conveying information to the user. In many cases that’s a text ad. In some cases it may not be a text ad. It may be an image, it may be a video, it may be something else. The risk, though, is that we don’t want to show things that are garish or flashy, or other things that might cause users to become blind to the ads.

All of these video ads are going to have effects on both users, those that place the ads, and those that make the ads.  Internet marketing companies are going to have to be able to produce quality ads as well as the long list of other services companies demand.  Companies who currently do most of their online marketing in house will now have to decide what is the best way for them to approach video advertising. 

And finally, those using google…will there be a point of too many ads?  I wouldn’t be surprised if video ads will drive people away from google.  I think there is a sense that text is tolerable but when it comes to video, it’s just not something people want to be overloaded with from an advertising standpoint.  I mean, how many times do I need to see someone doing a stupid dance as some company tries to sell me their product?  I can skim a text ad (or ignore) much easier than a video ad.

There is an expectation when watching tv, that you will see commercials.  There is no such expectatin right now on the internet.  Will it become an expectation or will users move to a new search engine?  That’s really the challenge for Google, in my mind. 

I think that’s one reason that blogs have become so successful, the fact that there are fewer ads and for the most part no video ads.  If I visit ESPN, then I’m am bombarded with ads but if I go to a san diego chargers blog then I can find exactly what I want without being bothered by many ads.  To me, that is a benefit and one that is rarely talked about. 

If you think back, google was so different from yahoo because of their homepage…there was nothing there but a box for searching while yahoo had all of their news and ads.  Google’s homepage still looks that way (unless you use igoogle) but their search results are going towards something very different. 

September 10, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, News, technology, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

Forced to Use Windows and Give up Linux

I thought this story was interesting.

In another victory for the Motion Picture Industry of America, a former movie pirate is being forced to switch from the Linux OS to Windows.

It’s almost as if they want to associate Linux with Pirating.

“I had a meeting with my probation officer today and he told me that he has to install monitoring software onto my PC. No big deal to me; that is part of my sentence,” McCausland explained on his blog. “However, their software doesn’t support GNU/Linux (which is what I use). So, he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on.”

It’s hard to believe that there isn’t a sufficient tracking software for Linux that can be used.

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Internet, News, technology | Leave a comment

TIVO and the Internet – what’s the connection?

I was reading the Mark Cuban article today about him believing the internet is dead and it got me thinking about the effects of Tivo on the web.

Everyday, more and more people are using Tivo or DVR or On Demand to watch television.  That’s pretty much how I watch everything now, so I rarely see any commercials.  I think a lot of us are used to fast forwarding right through them.  Now what does that have to do with surfing the web?

I believe that we will start demanding that we can  surf the same way or we will consider the internet to be outdated.  If I get used to not having to sit through commercials, why would I sit through them on the web just to access a website?  I am going to go to another site and many times I already do that.  I just don’t have the patience for it. 

Everytime I visit a site with a landing page or intro page, I just want to yell at the screen “take me to the main site!” (and many times I do yell).  It’s like sitting through the FBI screen when I watch a DVD.  But, designers don’t have to use that intro page. 

I think it goes back to:

  • What do your customers expect to see on your website?
  • What are they seeing?
  • Are those two answers the same?  If not, you better have a good reason.

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, News, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Interaction is Key

Interesting blog post up at reuters talking about how sites that don’t offer interaction with other users are losing ground to those that do.  This author focuses on the music industry. 

Social networking has continued to expand its empire, and music sites have become its latest victims. From January to June of 2007, the sites where listeners are able to listen to music and interact with other listeners for minimal or no cost, such as projectplaylist.com and rhapsody.com, have had a noticeable increase of unique visitors over sites where there is little interaction with other listeners, such as itunes.com and napster.com.

Sounds like people don’t just want access, they want opinions from others.

August 10, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, News, Social Networking, technology, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

A blogging Union?

Ummm, okay.

In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.

Yeah, that will work.  And from the tower.

“The reason I like blogging is that it’s very anarchistic. I can do whatever I want whenever I want, and oh my God, you’re not going to tell me what to do,” said Curt Hopkins, the founder of the Committee to Protect Bloggers.

“The blogosphere is such a weird term and such a weird idea. It’s anyone who wants to do it,” Hopkins said. “There’s absolutely no commonality there. How will they find a commonality to go on? I think it’s doomed to failure on any sort of large scale.”

And the final word comes from Susie Madrak, the author of Suburban Guerilla blog.

“Blogging is very intense — physically, mentally,” she said. “You’re constantly scanning for news. You’re constantly trying to come up with information that you think will mobilize your readers. In the meantime, you’re sitting at a computer and your ass is getting wider and your arm and neck and shoulder are wearing out because you’re constantly using a mouse.”

Your arm is wearing out from using a mouse?  How hard are you clicking? 

August 8, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, News, Social Networking, technology, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

Does your Site work if cookies are blocked?

It’s one of those things that you need to fix if it doesn’t.  This site won’t load if I turn my cookies off.

No landing page or anyting telling me that I need cookies on.  So, I will just never visit the site and imagine how many people out there who block cookies will also never go to this site because no one is telling them why the page won’t load.  It’s just bad design.  Don’t force people to accept cookies unless it is absolutely necessary and even then….let them know. 

 I run across sites all the time that won’t load if I block their cookies…those that tell me to unblock, I unblock..  those that don’t…I go somewhere else.

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Business, Coding, Internet, Marketing, SEO, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Domain Names = 21st Century Real Estate

Interesting article over at CNN on selling domain names.  This industry is exploding right now with some domains selling for over a million dollars. 

At the Manhattan auction, Fischer and Goldberger snatched up four names for more than $1.2 million and a fifth for a client, representing only a handful of the names sold for a total of $12.4 million during both the live and silent auction.

The auctions were held during a domain conference in June that attracts some of the biggest players in this niche business.

One name — creditcheck.com — went for $3 million but paled in comparison to the sale of sex.com, which sold for $12 million last year, according to Cahn, who knew the site’s buyer and seller.

I think the days of getting a decent domain name for 10 bucks are going to come to an end very soon.  It would make more sense for those guys to just auction them off. 

They look for names that hit the “sweet spot” — short words that describe a high-value product or services related to it. Words that allow them to own a category such as bald.com and cardiology.com, two of the domain names they bought at the auction.

To help figure out a word’s potential value, they see how many hits it will produce using Google. They also troll lists of names with domain registrations set to expire, enabling them to get a jump on buying it.

They don’t bother with dot-nets or the others.

“Dot-com is king,” Goldberger said. “Dot-net is worthless.”

An interesting read…makes you want to go register some more domain names.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Google and Duplicate Content

Here’s a list of 15 about how Google handles duplicate content.  Here’s a taste.

4.   There are cases where Google does penalize. This takes some egregious act, or the implementation of a site that is seen as having little end user value. I have seen instances of algorithmically applied penalties for sites with large amounts of duplicate content.

5.   An example of a site that adds little value is a thin affiliate site, which is a site that uses copies of third party content for the great majority of its content, and exists to get search traffic and promote affiliate programs. If this is your site, Google may well seek to penalize you.

July 24, 2007 Posted by | Internet, Marketing, SEO, Web Design | Leave a comment