Web Orders

Well the web orders have finally started, this weekend our site reached the first page for “custom printed lanyards no minimums” and with that we have started receiving visitors and with that orders. I have had to make some adjustments to the site to help our clients understand that while we have no minimums there are additional fees associated with printing that the low volume orders just do not cover.

Many of the orders that have come don’t mind the additional charge they are just happy they can get their lanyards. We also had a chat today that turned into a 1700 custom lanyard order so the site is now rolling.

My very first quote for woven lanyards also closed today, so it was a very nice day for web sales on LanyardsProvider.com!

If only I could get the google analytics conversion code to work…

Orange Soda

Today my Aunt graduated from college so we all got together for a nice dinner at her house. While we were there I had the opportunity to speak with my cousin about SEO.  She is a former orange soda employee.

It was great to talk to her and verify that everything I’m working on is worth while and will win me the SEO points I spoke of yesterday.  It looks like we are on the right track to reclaiming the top spot(s) in the lanyard industry.  Here is to seeing Lanyard Provider as the number one source for custom printed and whole sale lanyards!

Google and the Olympics

No one knows exactly how google does their algorithm.  Everyone is aware of a bunch different factors and has their theories some bogus, others valid.  For instance I’m sure all SEOs would agree that the Title, Description, Header tag, and file-name and unique customized text content have weight on your Google score.  Then there are other site elements that contribute like how long your URL is, how long it has been since it has been registered, how long since it has been transferred, I’ve heard they even look at how many years you purchased the domain for the first time you registered it.  In my mind all of these factors add up giving you points, it oculd be a full point, tenth of a point, or hundredth of a point to give you your final score which in the end has to just be sorted from top to bottom.

As I have watched the Olympics this summer I have likened gymnastics to SEO.  These gymnasts perform the best they can and judges hack away at their score, some win big, others barely squeak by, then there are various tie breakers to give one person a medal and throw the other one to the curve (forget handing out two medals).  I’d sure love how all of the factors add up to give my lanyard site it’s rankings and where my deductions are so i can get to the top.


No Ads No Traffic

So my free AdWord credit from Godaddy is all but up and the site felt it today.  My traffic dropped from the 30-40 visitors it had been getting with ads down to just 2 today.  I’m still waiting for my first lanyard order to go through.  It is for woven lanyards and I really need to close the deal so that I can get some more ad money if I want to continue working on this site.  The Indian SEO team has been “on it” but I’ve yet to see any results and they haven’t been responsive, I just sent them another email to find out what is up.

There are so many options for google adwords, i just don’t know what the most effective way to go about it is.  I noticed that most of my traffic was coming off their affiliate advertising like amazon, ebay, and dogpile.  Very few actually came from google.

Does anyone have any tips on getting the best return on their advertising dollars?

Spam SEO

Today I received the first comments on my lanyard blog, the only problem is that all three were spam! Two came from Asia the 3rd from Brazil.

They left their kind words along with a link to their site. Two of the sites were about shoes, the 3rd was some brazil web mail. I sent the comments straight to the spam section.

These random blog posts on irrelevant sites were exactly what got out first lanyard and name tag websites cast into google hell to begin with.

To all those who outsource your seo be sure to have them report on which back links they are building. It is vital that you only have trusted sites that are relevant pointing back to your website!

Custom 404 Page

As I underhand, to help with the SEO of a website what you call the name of your file carries some weight.  So it is important to name your files something like custom-lanyards rather than products.aspx?categID=105.  To accomplish this what I’ve elected to do is write a custom 404 error page.  The first piece is the SQL table, one of the item’s unique attributes is the page file name.  When the page that doesn’t exist then loads, the server calls my custom 404 page which then looks up in the database weather the filename exists or not.  If it exists, I use the Server.Transfer function to load ItemPage.aspx?id=XXX where XXX is the item’s actual ID.  Doing this i’m able to create page names like wholesale-lanyards, custom-printed-lanyards, red-blank-lanyards etc which then all call the same page on the back-end and dynamically get their content from SQL.

I’m also able to use another SQL table that 301 redirects old pages that google may have indexed to the new page without actually having to keep the page.  This has allowed me to correct the site structure without damaging the SEO value for some of our websites.

Finally when I don’t want to redirect the page i have a nice user friendly page display an error message that lets the user know the page doesn’t exist and links back to the home page.

Setting it up in IIS is pretty simple, you just go into the properties and point to 404 page to your custom page and then you’re done!

Robots and Web Crawlers

So the thing I hate more than anything about web statistics and analytics is that there is always some robot or spider that crawls your site. This inflates the statistics and lowers the presumed conversion rate.  The spiders also request bogus web pages and trip my error monitoring emails giving off false alarms which causes me to ignore the real alarms when they come.  Well recently I have made some major steps in the auto classification and elimination of robots from my web statistics.  Up to this point i had been manually adding IPs to an ignore list.

The key to this was writing a script that requested the company/organization name for the IP address directly from Arin.  When i get back goolge, microsoft, APNIC, RIPE, or LACNIC, or a few of the other web spiders I’ve tagged then I’m able to auto tag the IP as a robot and the bogus error messages stop! I’m also able to use the same classifications to filter out the local traffic and robots so i get a better count for my actual visitors.  It may not be perfect but it has greatly reduced the number of bogus error emails I receive (I have set up a catch in the application error that emails me every time there is an error with all of the page details, referral page, user name, and IP info).

I’ve paired this auto classify with my custom 404 error page to do some real cool stuff, I’ll talk about the 404 page tomorrow :)


Web Analytics

Every business needs to know who it’s customers are and how to maximize the relationship. I would venture to say that most of the search for who the customer is not done with negative intentions. I’m pretty sure most people are naive as to what kind of cyber trail they are actually leaving behind as they browse from site to site. When you visit a page, you tell the new page how you got there, this is known as the referal header. Yes that’s right referal not referral. Some hot shot programmer had a typo on the official documentation. Glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with spelling while programming :)

You also give out your IP which can then be used to track your location and your ISP. So yes when you browse we are watching you. Goggle analytics has made cyber stalking even easier by allowing you to tag events on pretty much anything that happens on the website. For instance, on Lanyards Provider, every time someone types text into the lanyard I log it with GA. Then each day I look at all of the fun phrases people put on their custom lanyard. Some times I hit the jackpot and I get a website, or a team name, or a school and I do a little cyber snooping with their IP and get their location then I try and cold call or email them. Yes it is a little freaky, and of the 3 times I’ve tried so far I haven’t gotten any sales or replies, but until I really freak someone out I will keep monitoring and cold calling the lanyard text.

After all I just want you to buy my lanyards, they are a great deal, cheap but awesome quality, you need them anyway, and I want to take care of you. So won’t you let me be your big brother? :)

Web Design

The feedback I received today about the website was that the design was lacking, so i gave it a face lift with a style upgrade swapping out my red for a color pallet my wife picked out from colorschemedesigner.com.  I also found a random CSS menu that i replaced my red one with.  It is now much cleaner.  So much cleaner in fact that i got my first real lead. A nice lady from Florida first initiaed a chat and before I could respond she already called me.  The funny thing was she was looking for woven lanyards, not printed.  So i had to scrable to pull up all of the information from namify to quote her the pricing.  At that time I didn’t know if I should tell her lanyardsprovider.com was just a feeder site for Namify.  After talking with Chris he said to just bring her in, so I emailed her an official quote.  My fingers are crossed that the sale goes through.  I need some more advertising dollars to invest it our site!

Later today I also got our first official organic link from yahoo.  The individual searched for “United States secret service badge holder”.  Ironically my meta tag on our badge holder page talks about us being a leading manufacturer in the “United States” and mentions our high quality “badge holders” and exception “service”.  The search did come from Virginia, not the middle east, so maybe it was legit… Any way that was good enough for #4 on yahoo :) After this blog post i may own #1!

Any way back to the face lift, thank you Steve for recommending I upgrade it I know it will make a big difference. I also brought an item to the home page to get people to start configuring right away, my hope is to get some more lanyard text captured to see what people are putting on these things and why I’m missing out. Lets get some lanyard orders tomorrow!

Lanyards Provider as up til Aug 2nd, 2012


Lanyards Provider, August 2, 2012


Businesses and Social Media

I still don’t know how to effectively use social media, I know it is critical these days to SEO and establishing an elevated trust level for a company/website, but seriously who just goes to a website where they bought something and says that they “like” it.  Mabye it is my lack of understanding, but from my point of view an individual only likes something when:

  1. The are a friend or family member
  2. It is really funny
  3. It is something they absolutely love
  4. It is for a cause
  5. There is some prize or something in it for them (maybe discounts work)
  6. They truly want the advertising updates that come from the company
  7. Maybe they are just super nice…
Why do you “like” things, give them a +1, or tweet about them?
What role do you see social media playing for businesses in today’s world?
On a side note, today is my birthday, so last night I installed the Like button and preemptively asked all of my birthday wishers to checkout our website and like it, we’ll see how that goes, but hopefully i get some good comments and likes!

Maybe you’re feeling super nice and want to wish me a happy birthday, if so… head over to our lanyard store and like us today!