Our first project was to try and come up with a link-building strategy. I used “dads in the kitchen” as keywords in Google to search for other similar websites and then I looked at a few. I could see that they might be interested in some of the products that we sponsor. I also found that the Food Network had highlighted a segment on men in the kitchen. I went to their contact page and was bold enough to fill out their form and submit it, asking if they would consider linking to my site. I may contact some of the other sites and see if they would consider linking to my site. Last week I thought that we could all just ask each other in our class and link to each other’s websites, but I guess the sites should be related in some way, not just any random site.
Our second project was using Google Analytics to determine where most of our traffic is coming from. When I went to the locations page I had links to US and Canada with the US having a little over half of the traffic so I clicked on US. Then it told me that California was the state with the highest amount of traffic and then Florida so I reported on my assignment as such. Then last night in order to answer the discussion board questions I went in again and this time I decided to click on Canada and found out that Ontario actually had more traffic than California, then California and then British Columbia. I thought that was interesting. I also thought that the demographics were interesting, especially gender, since my website is Daddy Does the Cooking. I found out that just over half of my audience are men. My bounce rate is high though so I need to work on that.
As far as Project #5 goes, my Woorank score was 49, which I think is pretty good. Some of the things that it wanted me to correct are to add a meta description, create a robots.txt file, and an XML sitemap, create a custom 404 page, decrease the load time and work on keyword consistency.
The beginning of the week we were asked to make social media goals. Most of us said that we wanted to create a Facebook business page and link it to our site. We did that and shared it with our friends. We have also added more blog posts. We also said that we wanted to create Twitter and Pinterest accounts and possibly an Instagram account. I need to learn more about using those.
On Thursday we were supposed to post creative ways of using Social media. I felt that we should all share our Facebook links with each other so we could like and share Facebook pages with our classmates etc. Only one person read my post though; so much for that good idea. He did like my page though and I did like his. He cleans carpets and wood floors in Utah near where my daughters live, so I shared his page with them. One of my daughters has already said thanks and that she needs her carpets cleaned. I decided to post in on the Class Questions discussion board though so that maybe I can get more response from others that are not in my group. I think social media will be a great way to get interest. We may have to pay some though. I just wanted to see how it would go without paying for advertising first. I also thought that I might share my Facebook page on the WDD Facebook group and ask for suggestions on how we might improve things.
It was kind of sad to see my Adwords Campaign end. I still had about thirty dollars left in there so I decided to start it up again and run it for five more days to use that money up. I’m still hoping to recoup my investment of $25.00.
The first assignment this week was to optimize our landing page. The main thing was to make sure that everything that you mentioned in your ad is on your landing page. So rather than landing on the homepage, you should land on whatever page has the information on it that you are advertising. We analyzed an ad and landing page about running shoes and found some discrepancies. The main one was whether the free shipping was two or three days. The website said three with a $60 minimum order, whereas, the ad said two day free shipping. It also said that it was a site created by runners for runners, but I didn’t see any evidence of that. I would have liked to have seen blog posts from the owners of the site telling about their experiences with the various brands of running shoes.
The second assignment was on Search Engine Optimization. I did some research and found some good information. I also found out that Google changes their algorithms for how they rank websites so it’s important to keep up with current changes. This is a summary of the information that I found: (my blog post)
According to Search Engine Journal (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/2017s-four-important-ranking-factors-according-seo-industry-studies/184619/), the most important things for optimizing your site for search engines are:
- high-quality, relevant, comprehensive content in natural language,
- mobile-first user experience (don’t launch mobile site until it’s finished),
- other technical factors (encryption, H1 and H2 headings, anchor text, interstitials – Google is “cracking down on intrusive interstitial pop-ups”)
- “Switch to HTTPS encryption,
- Make use of H2 headings, especially if top URLs in your niche don’t,
- Ensure that your anchor text is diverse and semantically relevant,
- Remove all intrusive interstitials from your mobile website.”
This site didn’t mention it, but Google is telling me that a site map is also good so that Google understands how to “crawl the site.”
The first thing we did was to set up a conversion on one of our pages somewhere. I really wanted to put my conversion on a button to my affiliate site, but we weren’t able to get that figured out. I ended up putting it on the blog page because the affiliate links are at the bottom. The thing is that my landing page for my ads is also that same page so when somebody clicks on my ads it will automatically be a conversion. I guess it will tell us which clicks are coming from the ad and which clicks we might be doing ourselves. What is really cool is that Amazon keeps track of our conversions on its site. My campaign started on Monday, March 6th. I didn’t see anything when I came home on Monday, but Tuesday was pretty exciting to see that I had a number of impressions and 9 clicks on Monday, 15 clicks on Tuesday, 13 clicks on Wednesday and 16 clicks on Thursday. On Wednesday, I found out that I have had 4 sales from three clicks to Amazon. So far I’ve gotten 55,542 impressions through Thursday anyway.
After two days, we were supposed to evaluate the effectiveness of our keywords and ads and delete, pause, add or modify our keywords, in other words, optimize them. I paused three keywords that weren’t generating any clicks and only had a few impressions. I’m not really sure if we should keep them as long as they are generating some impressions or not. Or, should we just focus on the clicks. We were also supposed to do the same thing with our ads. One ad is definitely out performing the other. It has more keywords in it than the other one. I decided to try to add some keywords about men cooking and men in the kitchen to help that ad a bit. I also added quite a few more keywords relating to the multi-cooker. It’s been an interesting week.
This week was eventful. On Monday we had an assignment that I couldn’t do for two reasons. My Adwords Campaign wasn’t setup right and I kind of freaked out because I couldn’t follow the basic directions and I thought something was due. It turns out that Google Adwords had changed since the last class and the assignment wouldn’t work unless you were running your campaign. But, I did not have a Keywords tab like I was supposed to. On Tuesday, I called Google for some support. It turns out that mine wouldn’t work because I had created an image ad. For the way we are doing Adwords, we need to have text ads for it to work. The man that gave me tech support from Google was very helpful. He walked me through how to create a new campaign. I felt a lot better. We did our usual discussion boards. Since the relevance and quality scores wouldn’t work in Adwords, we discussed how to improve a text ad about property for sale in Rigby, Idaho.
On Wednesday we had to install Google Analytics and link it to Adwords. That went pretty smoothly. Our second discussion board was about how Google Analytics can help you with your business. It tracks who comes to your site, how long they stay etc. You know if they don’t stay long, you need to beef up your content etc. The donations for the American Cancer Society rose 5.4% due to help from Google Analytics.
Tonight I added a few more keywords and another ad to my campaign. I think it is ready to launch on Monday. I took my screen shots and pasted them into a Word Document – already to submit!!
Kitchen Power Tools
Using your Fagor Multi-cooker like a boss
This was the ad that I created for this week. I posted in on the discussion board and only got one response. This was frustrating for me because I felt that I gave some good feedback, but got very little in return. It was a good response though, in fact, just the response that I wanted. I just wish that more of the class would have looked at it and responded. We learned that we should highlight what makes you unique, free shipping? dazzling variety?; include prices, promotions, and exclusives; empower customers to take action; include at least one of your keywords, match your ad to your landing page, and appeal to customers on mobile.
On another website, it says that we need to target the right audience. I hope I was doing that with the line: “using your Fagor Multi-cooker like a boss.” It also said to refine our keywords using square brackets around our keywords. It said to test multiple ads simultaneously, track the return-on-investment of each ad, include targeted keywords in our ad, sell the benefits, include attention grabbing words in our ads, use words that provoke emotion and enthusiasm, see your Unique selling proposition, link to relevant landing pages, remove common words, and deter freebie hunters by including the price at the end of the ad.
This week we set up our adwords campaign. I found this rather difficult to do. It was not very straightforward and did not work for me like the video. I still don’t know if I did it right or not. When I put in my billing information it automatically started the campaign and I had to figure out out to stop it (pause). It seemed like most of the discussion revolved around whether or not to have automatic bidding or manual bidding. Most of us felt that we did not understand it well enough to do the manual bidding; hopefully, Google will know better. I wish we would have had better instruction on this.
Our second activity was to choose keywords. We had to choose a list of at least 20 keywords and they had to be grouped into a theme. Then our discussion was about what constituted a good keyword. We discussed that they should be specific, but maybe not too specific. We also learned about negative keywords that would filter out things that we didn’t want to come up in our search. We talked about yoga pants and when I googled “yoga pants” I got blogs as well as pictures of girls in yoga pants. Not sure how to eliminate them though. It was a meaningful discussion.
This week we discussed various legal structures from sole proprietors, to partnerships to corporations. Most of us decided that the sole proprietor legal structure was the best to start with. It is easier and less expensive also a husband and wife can be considered together as a sole proprietor. As a sole proprietor, you are entitled to all the profits, but you are also responsible for all the debt. There is unlimited liability and you could lose your personal property if there are liability issues and someone sues you. With a partnership, you have someone else to share the profits as well as the liabilities, but there are often disagreements. With a LLC, Limited Liability Corporation, stockholders have limited liability, they can be transferred to someone else, but they are more expensive and are taxed twice and are closely regulated. https://www.powerhomebiz.com/starting-a-business/business-structure/choosing-the-legal-structure.htm Most of us felt that a sole proprietor was find to start with and that if our businesses really took off, that we may choose to incorporate down the road.
As far as taxes and licenses go, I learned that Oregon doesn’t have any sales taxes. They have higher property taxes instead. Texas has no state income taxes. For a sole proprietor in California, they would need to get a business license, a Fictitious Business Name Statement, and they would have to estimate taxes and pay quarterly. We would also have to pay social security taxes as the employee and the employer (so double) and Medicare tax in federal taxes. I still never really understood what is required in an affiliate business. In some places it depends on the level of income that you generate. I can see that some cities/states are more business friendly.
This week we explored and discussed design concepts. We seemed to agree the responsive design was key. Nobody wants to scroll side to side when reading a web page. We also seemed to agree that keeping things simple was also a good design idea. Some felt that the navigation should be at the top, but that the drop down menu button is not sufficient and not as well known. The design should be consistent in colors and layout so that there is a feeling of unity. I have heard it suggested that you design for the mobile device first and then the computer. I usually design for the computer first, though keeping the mobile device in mind.
We discussed the use of PayPal. PayPal does allow credit card use and does not require a client to have a PayPal account in order to use it. We designed a PayPal button and copied and pasted the code into a word document to turn in. I think I will use PayPal on my website so that they can have the convenience of paying with a credit card; I will also allow them to pay cash after the service is provided. A disadvantage of PayPal is that it takes the customer away from your site to their site to do the transaction. There was a lot of discussion about security and fraud. There was also some discussion about “add to cart” button versus a “pay now” button. Some thought “pay now” was too pushy. “Add to cart” allows a buyer to purchase multiple items; I’m not sure if PayPal’s “pay now” button does.
View Post – B 250: 01 (Online); Winter 2017 – Brigham Young University – Idaho
According to Kissmetrics (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/easy-payment-process/), they suggest:
- Provide a number of payment methods
- Allow payments without requiring an account
- Deliver seamless design – checkout page should have the same design as the others.
- Don’t redirect people, which they say is the main disadvantage of using a service like PayPal.
- Make errors easy to fix. “Ideally, you want an error message to appear in the field in which it occurred.”
- Ask for essential information only
- Provide reassurances on security and privacy
- Keep distractions to a minimum
- Have clear calls to action
Of course there’s more detail if you go to the website above.
This has been another interesting week. We had to research various site builders and possible hosts for our website. When I did the research on site builders, I was quite impressed with Webstarts. I was not able to generate much interest on the discussion board for Webstarts, but then later in the week, there were some considering Webstarts on the choosing a host discussion board. On the page that I looked at, Webstarts cost $7.16/month (but I now believe that is probably if you commit to a year even though I didn’t see it actually say that), they provide a $250 Adwords credit, social integration, a domain name, Google search engine submission, optimized website for mobile devices, 10G cloud storage, membership feature, custom HTML Access, unlimited contact/payment forms, unlimited custom slideshows, and premium phone and email support. But I believe that I found some false information. There is so much competition with these site builders that they update, but comparison charts on the web are still there. So you find conflicting information. One chart I found said that Weebly had no HTML access, but another student found something that said it did. On the discussion board, most people were recommending Weebly, but then when we researched hosts, somebody said that there were reviews where people were not happy with their customer support. Students that were familiar with HTML and CSS were concerned about choosing a builder that allowed HTML editing. A couple of students were really gung ho about Word Press and said that it is very popular in the industry. My husband is recommending WordPress as well and is offering to help me with it. I want to learn WordPress, I’m just not sure there is time to do it right now. So I’m still in a quandry about Weebly, Webstarts, iPage, or WordPress. The consensus seemed to be to stay away from GoDaddy. WordPress seems to be one of the least expensive ways to go.
As far as hosts go, the majority of the class members in our group were recommending BlueHost. Some students already had experience with using them for previous class projects and were happy with them. Some were then second guessing their site builder choice because some site builders are also the host and won’t let you take the site to another host. My husband has his own web server and has offered to host my site as he has my other sites from previous classes. I am concerned whether he will actually have the time to spend with me to get me up to speed with WordPress though so I don’t know whether to take him up on his offer, or go to Webstarts or iPage. I guess I better decide soon.