The clickoholics chronicle…
December 25th GenesisHere we go, this is my new blog, what a day to start the clickoholics chronicle……….. Merry Christmas or whatever flavor of holiday you’re enjoying! This blog is all about clickoholics, the challenges I’m facing everyday starting up and running a small company. You wouldn’t believe some of the obstacles that I’ve needed to overcome just to get this far…. So here’s a bit about what I’ve been up to for the last 48 years…. A Sales and Marketing Professional, I have over twenty years achievement in the IT industry and most recently in Search Marketing. An energetic individual, I’m single minded and renowned for delivering results. I grew up in Southport, England and went to a local grammar school. A talented golfer I attended Wake Forest to further my golfing career and came away with a degree in history “I just bit off more than I could chew, Wake Forest were perennial NCAA Champions and I had to shoot -4 to make the squad when +12 that year would’ve got my tour card in Europe!” I then became PGA Assistant at Chesterfield Golf Club then Shoreline GC in Mountain View CA In 1987 I reluctantly let go of my dream of winning the Open and entered the business world. I then moved to Australia where I joined WordPerfect and catapulted WordPerfect Mac to 28% market share accepting the MacWorld award for most improved software 1991 on behalf of WordPerfect Pacific. 1993 and I crossed the Rubicon, moving to Microsoft then in 1996 I returned to the UK to transform the fortunes of Pan-European VAD Azlan’s Microsoft business. A 1998 move to Gartner came next and I won top New Salesperson in the UK. I returned to Australia in 2001 to work for Meta Group then fulfilled my desire to help others as a sales trainer. In all of these roles I was able to influence positive change and provide innovative solutions to my many clients around the world both large and small. I stood out from the crowd due my exceptional ability to influence at all organizational levels. I articulated my vision with a rare combination of superior technical knowledge and a strong awareness of the business value of IT. A move into Affiliate and Search Marketing followed in 2006 I have recently established clickoholics and am committed to building it into a respected business with a reputation for excellence and ethical practice that will become an industry benchmark for years to come. Wow, who wrote that?! Tongue firmly in cheek…. not much time so a bit of a cut ’n paste job there. I’ll get around to bringing you up to speed about the first few months ofclickoholics later…. I do try and support Google believe it or not, I mean they’re how I make my living and on the whole they’re not too evil!……… for a mega corporation. Would you believe I’m having to give up on Chrome, slowly one application by one I’ve had to switch to Firefox?! First My Google Campaign Management application… How bloody ironic eh? The gears plugin freezes every time I change the data view, which is hundreds of times a day so I can keep real time (well about 3 hours delay) updates of how clients and my! AdWords campaigns are running. I’m constantly changing details to optimize the way the campaign is running from bids, budgets, ad text, new ads the list goes on. Some say software will do the trick – I’m not so sure. I figured I was losing over an hour every day just waiting for Chrome to unfreeze. It killed me but I finally gave in and started using Firefox just for that. Then today I set up this blog, well now, WordPress starts doing the same thing. Before I could get the new post page set up I lost all my menus – a five minute job took over an hour.
Anyway menus back up – with some changes, I just can’t help myself, that’s my intro for now – no rest for the wicked got some SEO work to do on the site. I Want to make sure all the Meta tags and titles are accurate and contain relevant, highly searched on keywords – as ever, no small challenge. If you’re reading this (which unless you’re phsychic or have ESP you probably are) let me know your thoughts, I will respond….. By the way I am not psychic… OK Done some SEO and bingo I’ve just published this blog, submitted the new sitemap to Google and about an hour later I’m already ranked #1 (731K search results) on ‘expert adwords clicks‘, #3 (1,270K search results) on ‘ppc blog expert’, #4 (175K search results) on ‘expert adwords ppc‘, #9 (376K search results) ‘adwords ppc blog‘ and #10 (329K search results) on ‘adwords expert blog‘. Two word phrases are going to be a bit harder! But it’s early days yet and I play it by the book. The key is to keep adding fresh content and working on the SEO constantly. I’m also getting on the old social networking bandwagon - anything for traffic and ranking to supplement my AdWords campaign – more about that later. Got 2 fresh back links straight away, starting to work on my Google Page Rank too! Whoops make that 4 another 2 just came in right now! – you can see the links below. Not a bad days work all in all and as I’ve just said only just started and its Christmas Day – should get a life! More later…….. Been busy registering with Technorati gotta get the word out! Cannot believe how busy my AdWords campaign is today I usually get about 10 clicks a day at an average cpc of 18c or so. Some keywords have a first page bid estimate of over $100….YES really $100. Here are my stats today - Christmas Day ->clickoholics $4.00/day budget, 37 Clicks, 5 Invalid Clicks, 10,311 Page Impressions, 0.38%CTR, 10c Average CPC, $4.12 Total Spend (Over budget again?? Mr Brin), 2.1 Average Position. Yup 10c average cost per click – beat that on an AdWords campaign… How do I do it? Well this is what I mean about getting my clients clicks for less, I’ve got over 2,000 keywords and bid real low, I don’t care about ad position just clicks and the proof of the pudding is in the stats. I mean why do Google go on so much about ad position? Is it cos they make more money? Then they have the nerve to reward you for paying more by giving you a high ‘Quality’ Score……….. which they change whenever their supercomputer farm goes on the blink. That’s the easy part, now all I have to do is get them to convert! Hopefully those same visitors will read this if I type fast enough!! Publish! These stats also got to do with the new display ad I put together the other day, been testing it out and it works. Not keyword driven though, contextual (so Google say!) based, but as I keep saying it comes down to the copy and stylish design……what d’ya think? Just can’t get rid of that horrible white border in the image…..WordPress?? What can you do? If you’re wondering about the logo – well by placing the ‘holics’ below the ‘click’ I was able to get the logo twice as big, which I really needed for the smaller sized ads. Don’t like it too much but compromise is the only way to go sometimes… Anyway I’m done for the time being food and a movie……Saw TRON Legacy last night, can’t believe I waited 28 years for that, great effects, but thats not exactly rocket science these days, can you imagine if Shakespeare was born in the 21st Century??—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
December 26th Boxing DayBoxing Day is what they call it in the mother country, don’t think it’s anything to do with Mike Tyson?? Something to do with ‘Christmas Boxes” of money to the poor…..should be doing a roaring trade this year….. Thought I’d have a quiet day as it’s also a Sunday but went a bit mad with my AdWords campaign got 60 clicks today just couldn’t help upping my budget to $6 but Google thought I’d put $6.99. All those little bits here and there really adds up in extra revenue for them.
Thats why I keep a real close look at the figures throughout the day, I just don’t trust machines. They tell me they give it back as ‘over delivery credit‘ but there are conditions like over delivery must exceed 20% and if you change your budget…er, don’t think so! My CTR has soared to 1.09% since I put out the new display ad which is why I’m getting those clicks through much faster. Anyway it really focuses what I need to do and that’s more work on the site to squeeze conversions from the traffic. But not today, should have a little extra time this week……….—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
December 28th MarathonI’m not going to have the time to update every day, not because I’m lazy just really busy. The break has turned into a work marathon the idea was to do some more work on the site during the quiet holiday period – well once I got started I kind of really got into like a 30 hour marathon, that’s why I had no time to blog. This is basically what I did, follow this checklist and you shouldn’t go far wrong:
- Register the site with all the major search engines. I realized after registering with Google Webmaster Tools that this really was key – you can’t rely on them finding you on their own, they’ve got gazillions of bytes to crawl every day! You must let them know you exist. Then I registered with Yahoo Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools, might as well pick up all the traffic I can for free! Made sure I got verified which was a bit of a nightmare with Google! Basically FTPing a small verification file onto the the root of my server was the best way.
- Check their data and tweak – same with Google Analytics data. They give you feedback as to how they see your site, its’s more than useful, it’s like a cheat sheet of things you need to improve and make sure the whole of the site’s visible and crawler friendly.
- Make sure sitemap has the latest content, again don’t rely on off the shelf settings of the sitemap generator, they do not work – I needed to tweak manually. Made sure you have enough memory for whole sitemap, doesn’t always index everything new needed, so keep rebuilding till it does. Submit sitemap.xml.gz compressed file. Don’t worry about resubmitting as many times as needed. Check back again to see that all URL’s have been indexed and manually add any missing URL’s.
- Finally resubmit bang up to date sitemap to Search Engine’s.
- Follow the rules when creating meta titles, make sure they accurately reflect content and each page is unique, they are about 40 characters long or so and you can duplicate maybe one important keyword – just make sure it’s in context.
- The majority of content on my pages and site is totally unique, my own work – no plagiarism. Try and use as much of your own unique content as possible.
- When you start to build the site plan it carefully and design with logical, straightforward structure. Check HTML code at http://validator.w3.org
- Don’t forget alt image tags, these are text descriptions of images, still more work to be done to bring ‘em all up to date…
- Treat every deeper page as if home page, put in as much effort and no duplicate tags etc – it’s like having an opportunity to add loads more keywords to be found on, if your content is good visitors won’t bounce (says he hopefully!) Google listings don’t have to be top level domains and its quite similar to the concept of linking AdWords ads to specific, relevant landing pages.
- Work on page load time – use cache and sprite images and compressed files. Can’t get those pages loaded too fast eh! This is an instant response world in which we live and people won’t wait around…..next…
- If you use SEO package make sure tags are in the right place, <title> tag in in main head etc. Check, don’t rely on default settings again. If the tags aren’t where the ‘bot’s’ expect to find them they’ll think they’re blank – big no no….
- Share to – Facebook, Linkedin, Digg, Delicious, Google reader etc – as many as you can. All these sites are crawled exhaustively by the search engines. – Don’t worry about doing it yourself.
December 31st HogmanayWell just a short catch up to wish you all ‘All the Best’ for 2011. Another year ticked off on the calender of life – lets all hope for good things in the following 12 months, I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be a big one for >clickoholics. Actually on reflection let’s not tempt fate, as long as we’re still trading in 12 months… I wrote my first article for Technorati yesterday, it’s yet to be published so I hope I’m not jumping the gun and that the editor is not going to rip it to shreds. As I said they’ll be a small delay and then I can republish here, so keep your eyes peeled. I also managed to ‘tart’ up the site a bit. I’ve been trying to give my logo a transparent background for ages and finally figured out a way I could do it. I found a great free program called paint.net, which lets you do loads more than ‘paint’. Anyway it lets you create a transparent fill and then save the file as a .png, the only format that seems to support transparency. This opened up a whole world of background choice, hope you like the ever evolving look. Now I need to get back onto the content! I’m gonna finish off the year with a bit of a rant just for entertainment value, of course! I was looking for some tools online to help me automate the laborious process of building backlinks. One by one I checked out the claims of the top listed sites offers, its only a one off job so I’m not going to subscribe for an eternity and checked out the so called free offers/trials. Why do these guys have to lie to me just to get an extra click?
To my obviously limited understanding free means I don’t have to pay any money?? Every time I found promises of free tools only to find after wasting far too much time, that their claims were lies. Well I’m sick of being lied to – I don’t need it, it’s become endemic in the new world we live in, no one seems to care anymore, no one feels they have to be accountable for their actions, they hide behind their pretty little online pseudonyms, mega corporate processes and behave immorally because we’re not face to face. It’s like online road rage…. We need to fight back and just not support these charlatans, put them where they deserve to be – out of business. It’s always the same the bigger the fish the less they have to rely on keeping your business and the more they make outlandish claims and use questionable tactics to win new business. Why? Because now they can afford to lose the odd one or two new customers and before they couldn’t, simple matter of numbers really. The only reason it works is because like fools, we fall for it and get pulled in hook, line and sinker. So here’s my New Years resolution: Support the smaller honest businesses and lets all do our little bit to stop the slide. Well enough of the ranting. Have a safe New Year’s eve and I’ll see you in 2011.—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
January 3rd Published!Well what a great way to start the new year. My first article on Technorati has been published. It was touch and go for a while, I must confess. I was a little worried I mean I’m hanging with the big boys now and until you get the green light you never know. Had a bit of a problem with their CMS and getting my images and links uploaded properly – it was my first time so the article stayed in the editors inbox longer than I expected… Well here it is…. Article first published as Why Did Skype Tell Me To Upgrade? on Technorati. Today the truth started to surface about the Skype outage and it got me thinking, really thinking. The more I thought, the madder I got. After 25 years working for large corporations, I recently started my own small business. It’s the realization of a long held dream – finally I’m my own boss. No one can tell me what to do anymore, except my clients. Like a lot of small businesses cash flow is tight and that means I have to bend over backwards to keep my small but growing clientele happy. I just can’t afford to lose one client. I must provide the best quality service bar none. If I don’t attend to all my clients’ whims and needs I won’t see them for the dust, that’s my biggest fear. We all know it’s a competitive market out there. I use Skype like a lot of small businesses these days and ironically the day of the outage had a payment issue with a client that had to be solved immediately.
The account had to be settled that day so I could pay my sole supplier. The whole house of cards could have fallen down, right there and then. Luckily I had the foresight to have backup VOIP and was able to make the call. There have been many pivotal moments over the last 3 months and the most powerful supercomputer in the universe couldn’t have predicted any of them. So the Skype outage was caused by the new version 220.127.116.11 of the software that they encouraged me to download. If I hadn’t read the reports today I wouldn’t have downloaded the fix, version 18.104.22.168. What cheek, it’s nearly 2011, aren’t new releases supposed to be improvements and fix bugs? Not cause them. Do these large corporations care about their products, services and customers? Could I treat my customers like that? There’s the rub, we live in a world where the corporations rule and no humans have any accountability any more – the bigger the corporation the less the accountability. These corporations use the media to fool us into thinking we have no power, no choice – but we have. I’ve had enough of being lied to by powerless customer service pawns with no skin in the deal. Whenever I can I’m going to put my business with the small guy, like me, a 21st century online mom ‘n pop who can’t afford to lie. Here’s my New Year’s resolution: whenever I search on Google don’t check any of the listings till page 10.