- See what you can find at andreas.com
Monday, December 24, 2007: Use SMS Google: When you're in a store, use Google on your cell phone to compare prices. SMS the product name (e.g., "price mp3 player"), ISBN, or UPC number ("price 1591841410") to GOOGLE (466453). Google will give you comparison prices. You can also enter a type of restaurant and a city (e.g., "pizza, dallas") and get a listing. Try it at SMS.Google.com.
Sunday, December 09, 2007: Okay, here's the video of the song of the bubble of the boom. You gotta watch this. Very funny song about the Web. 2.0 Bubble
Thursday, December 06, 2007: Here's how to block Facebook's Beacon by adjusting your privacy settings.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007: Firefox Shortcuts: Many people still type out the whole URL in a browser ("w, w, w, andreas, ., com"). There's a faster way: type just the domain name (e.g., andreas), hold down the Control key, and press Enter. The browser automatically adds the www. and the .com part (this also works in Microsoft IE).
If you hold down Shift, you get .net and if you hold down Ctrl+Shift, it adds .org in Firefox.
Monday, November 19, 2007: Analytics: Two years ago, people asked us "why should we use analytics?" This year, analytics has become the main tool in SEO/PPC.
It answers two questions: "What are visitors doing?" and "What can I do about it?", namely, how you make changes to get more conversions, leads, and sales. An improved Google Analytics came out in the spring; if you have a website, add Google Analytics. It's free and it's good. In the new book, we'll show you how to configure and use it.
Analytics tools don't just track PPC conversions; they can track all conversions: SEO, links, banners, email, etc., including offline conversions (newspaper coupons, radio ads, TV, etc). You see what works; you improve it. What doesn't work, you shut off.
Stephanie has agency-certification with Clicktracks Analytics, plus she can install and configure WebTrends and Omniture. We are in the process of getting agency certification with Omniture.
There is also the Web Analytics Association. Stephanie is on the Exams and Certification Committee. She is writing the exam questions.
Sunday, November 18, 2007: SEO Book: 3rd Ed.: We're writing the next edition of our SEO/PPC book. Last week, we signed with McGraw-Hill. They are launching a new series and our book will be part of this. The new book comes out in summer 2008 in all major bookstores in Europe, North America, and Asia. Visit our current book at Insider-SEO.com
($40 per year).
Friday, November 16, 2007: RSS Readers: Do you follow multiple blogs or news sites? You need an RSS Reader. It's much easier. See my FAQ about RSS readers
Thursday, November 15, 2007: Green Energy: In Palo Alto, we can switch to renewable energy sources (solar and wind). This increases my electric bill by a mere 66 cents per month. If you can, switch to renewable energy. By supporting this, it becomes more viable and we can all switch over sooner.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007: There's a comet in the skies. It's very easy to see. I went out and found it right away. You can see it without a telescope. With binoculars, you see a big fuzzball about the size of the moon. Here's a map: How to find Comet Holmes
Monday, November 05, 2007: andreas.com = $12 million? An analyst writes that each unique user on Facebook is worth $300, thus Facebook has a $15 billion dollar valuation. If that's true, then andreas.com is worth $12m. And my cat's page is worth $105,000. But c'mon, we know that isn't real. The analysts are exaggerating Facebook's numbers to drive up the value to make money on the IPO.
Sunday, November 04, 2007: Google Analytics finally turned on Site Search. This lets you track what your visitors are searching in your website's internal search (you do have an internal search box, no?). Various studies show that visitors who use internal search will convert 3X more than other visitors. So... add internal search and turn on Site Search (Here's how...)
Thursday, November 01, 2007: "Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature."
Monday, October 29, 2007: Over the weekend, we made a video ad. One of our clients sells pre-lit Christmas trees (just take it out of the box, fluff it up, and you have instant tree). So we set up the tree in my living room and wrapped up a bunch of empty boxes as presents. I also had two large halogen lights from a previous photography project. Stephanie bought a Sony tripod that includes controls for the video camera on the tripod's grip. I shot the video, she edited it, and we added it to Google ads on Sunday night. We will make another video this afternoon to post to YouTube and various other places, along with the client's website.
Monday, October 22, 2007: Silo, internal architecture, theme structures: it's the same idea. Restructure your website so the pages are clustered in relevant groups. If you're rebuilding Ford.com, all the pages about Ford Mustangs go in one group, pages about F-150 pickup trucks in another group, and so on. This lets Google's spider identify the theme of the clusters so it can index and rank the pages better. I did this for andreas.com (avg. 30,000 unique visitors per month) a few months ago: traffic has increased to 39,000 unique visitors (the last 30 days).
Thursday, October 18, 2007: Thinking of building websites for PDAs? Want to see something new on your Treo or iPhone? Use your PDA to visit my website design tips for PDAs.
I was looking at my analytics this morning and noticed that my PDA site was very popular. I found that it's one of the very few pages at Google on how to do PDA web design, so I updated the site this afternoon and tested it on my Treo. Now I'll add Google Adwords for mobile devices to see how that works. For our clients, we'll do advertising on PDAs.
Monday, October 15, 2007: Two Screens: I added a second monitor to my computer. It's now a 27" wide monitor :-) I can move windows from one screen to another. To do this, you put in a graphics card ($80-$150, depending on quality) that has ports for two monitors. Just add a second monitor. Very useful for work.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007: Can you fool Google just a little bit? A client called us; one of his websites disappeared from Google. It didn't show up anymore for his top keywords. I searched at Google with site:www.NameOfClientSite.com; that showed that his site had been removed entirely from Google. The webmaster and the webdev team assured me they had not added spammer code to the site. So I opened the site's code and began to look for the problem. First, I checked the CSS. It was a simple CSS. No problem there. I looked at the index page. I began going through the site, page by page. In the sixth page, in the middle of the code, I found it. Someone in the webdev team used the ol' absolute:position trick to hide text in the website. By positioning the text ten inches to the left of the monitor and five inches up, the text was "displayed" outside the monitor. Visitors couldn't see it, but Google could. Thus Google blacklisted the entire site. The webmaster now knew what to search for, so with a global search, he found all instances of this code and removed them. The next step is to ask Google to review the site and add it again. Google however takes their time to do this (it's part of the penalty), so it may take 2-3 months, if he's lucky, to be in Google again. That's three months of lost sales. By the way, Yahoo also bans this trick, so he could have been booted out of Yahoo too. Don't fool Google, not even a little bit.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007: On Sunday, a group of us went to Point Reyes. We had a picnic on the beach (very sunny, great weather). We left our stuff on the beach and walked down to the surf. A seagull took the opportunity to raid our picnic and flew off with a Ziplock bag of peanuts (click on pix for a larger image; note the bag in her mouth). We chased her for a bit, but she calmly glided down another 100 yards. She knew we couldn't catch her.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007: Are you running out of space on your digital camera? Memory full? Maybe you have the image size set too high. Consider how you will use the photos. If they will be displayed on your computer or on the web, then 1280 is sufficient; there's no need to take images at 2048 or 2560. By using too-high resolutions, your memory fills up. With lower resolutions, you'll get more pixs on a memory card. 1280, by the way, is still quite large. Here's a photo in 1280 pixel width (Warning: cat pix).
Sunday, August 26, 2007: Search Engine Market Share for USA, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, UK, and Italy:
USA: Google 89%, Yahoo 6%, Microsoft 3%, Other 2%. US population is 303m with 211m users.
Germany: Google 95%, Yahoo 3%, MSN 1.5%. Germany population is 100m with 50m users.
Russia: Yandex 49%, Google 23%, Rambler 17%, Search.Mail.RU 5%, Microsoft 1%, Yahoo 0.4%, Other 3%. Population is 145m with 28m users.
China: Baidu 62%. Google 20%, Yahoo, 13%. Other 5% (Sina.com and Sohu.com). Population is 1.3 billion with 162m users (10% of the population) (USA 211m users). China is growing fast and will soon be the largest number of users.
Japan: Yahoo is the market leader (but I don't have market share numbers). 86m users.
UK: Google 79%, Yahoo 8%, Microsoft 5%, Ask 5%, Other 3%. UK population is 61m with 38m users.
Italy: Google 54%, Alice Search 13%, Microsoft 11%, Yahoo 10%, Libero Ricera 9%, Other 3%. Italy population is 56m with 31m users.
Numbers for USA is based on stats from our clients. Look at your stats: Google is 90%. Numbers for other countries are from "Search Marketing Standard" (Fall 2007).
Tuesday, August 21, 2007: I was at Google tonight and talked with one of the engineers from the RSS Reader team. Someone asked me a few days ago how to add an RSS feed into a webpage. So I asked and he said you can use a Google Gadget for this. So I fooled around a bit and made my own newsfeed.
You can create news topics in Google News on anything you like: people, your company, your company's products, etc., and then create an embeddable feed to put into your website. Very cool, no?
Saturday, August 18, 2007: SES San Jose 2007 starts on Monday. It's the main tradeshow for the SEO/PPC industry. The sessions that I'll attend: Monday: Universal Search (11a). Tues: Analytics (10:30), Site Architecture (4:45). All other hours, I'll be at our booth (10a-7p). Wens: At the booth (10-3:15), Ajax (3:15), SEO Reputation Problems (4:30). Thurs: Analytics (9a), More Analytics (10:45). Next week, I'll post my usual summary of SES. SES SJ 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007: Coffee Without the Coffee Maker: 1-2 teaspoons of ground coffee, add boiling water, and stir. After a few minutes, give it another stir. The grounds settle to the bottom. Works well with a car travel mug. Just dump in coffee & water, stir, and by the time you're on the road, it's time for coffee! Tip: Use coarse grind, not fine. The coarse grind falls to the bottom.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007: I wrote reviews of three books on Web analytics: Web Analytics an Hour a Day, by Avinash Kaushik. Web Analytics Demystified, by Eric Peterson.
Actionable Web Analytics, by Jason Burby and Shane Atchison.
Monday, August 13, 2007: Google Radio: You can use Google to advertise on local AM/FM radio for only $2.14 per radio play.
Via Google, you can get a list of voice talents (people who do the voice for the radio) to do the ad between $100 and $1000. You listen to the result, ask for any changes, and then upload the result. You select the radio markets by city, genre (rap, classical, jazz, talk, etc.), demographics (age, sex, income, education), and other criteria. Use a unique URL so you can track the visits. Your ads will play on the radio.
We've been doing this for several clients. It works great; they get more business. The ads cost only $2.14 to play on the radio.
Sunday, August 12, 2007: Every day, I read 24 blogs to keep up with my industry. How to do this easily? Use an RSS reader. No ads. No popups. You can review headings of only the new items in dozens of blogs. If an item is interesting, you click it.
Blogs and many sites have RSS feeds, which means the content is sent out to RSS readers. You get an RSS reader (such as the free Google Reader at www.google.com/reader ). Open your favorite blog and click the orange tab in the URL bar. Or in the reader, add the blog's URL in the Subscribe box. Or, in the reader, use Search and find blogs that use RSS.
In Google Reader, you can set View to show only headings (click on List View). Instead of all items, see only new items (click New Items). Click on Feed Settings and assign the feeds to categories (these are like folders).
Throughout the day, the reader refreshes itself. New items show up.
This lets you collect all of your favorite blogs into one interface. The reader shows only headings, so there are no distracting photos or ads.
For your company, you can encourage customers to subscribe to your blog and use an RSS reader. When you have product updates, just post to the blog and your customers will see it.
Friday, August 10, 2007: Q. Okay, Google Maps has satellite images. With a good monitor, could I actually see people?
It depends. For some cities, Google has high-resolution images. For countryside and most areas, the images are low resolution.
In Google Maps, go to Palo Alto or San Francisco. Find a sports field at a high school or college and zoom in. You can see people on the track or standing around. Las Vegas has very high resolution images. You can easily see people walking around, laying by the pool, and so on.
Microsoft Virtual Earth has higher resolution than Google, but fewer locations. People are easily visible at the beach. Switch to bird's eye view and zoom in. You can see very good detail. In Microsoft Earth, you can see Stephanie sitting in my backyard. She loves to sit in the sun in a particular spot, and you can see that someone is sitting there. I think this may be the only case of an identifiable person in a satellite image.
These high resolution images has caused trouble: a few countries are furious that their oh-so-secret military installations can be seen by anyone. In some cases, Google has blurred the sites or lowered the resolution. A few months ago, I used Google Earth to find the North Korean missile launch site. North Korea may not like the photos, but Google is bigger than them. Check out Bermuda. Lots of details, boats, etc.
But why just stay on Earth? Go to the Moon! Google Moon And to Mars! Google Mars.
Thursday, August 09, 2007: Facebook is growing extremely fast now. 1.5 million per month. People are switching from LinkedIn to Facebook. It has more features and it's free. Link to me at Facebook.com
For more about Facebook, here's an article by Jeremiah Owyang.
Thursday, August 02, 2007: I'm reading Casanova's diaries. A new edition was published a few months ago. His diary is an endless series of anecdotes and stories of his adventures in business, politics, affairs of the heart, and so on, told in a very charming and witty style. One of his most famous adventures was his jail break. He was imprisoned in the Doge's Palace at San Marco Square in Venice. Nobody had ever escaped, but he didn't care for prison life, so he broke out. Read some of the Comments at Amazon.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007: Where do B2B decision makers look for information to make decisions? 83% always look in Google. 14% use Yahoo and 5% use MSN. Wow. You'd better be findable in Google. (Data from a Marketing Sherpa report, June 2007).
Monday, June 18, 2007: One of our clients just released a new type of help desk. The company is led by people from Remedy. It's web-based help solution, both for internal and external help, with a knowledge base, search, tickets, resolution, tracking, and reporting. We're using it. It's free for internal support. PathworksSoftware.com
Thursday, June 14, 2007: Wrike has a new collaboration tool that's different: it works entirely within email. No new tool to use, no additional tools. It's done via email (Outlook, GMail, etc.) Check it out. You can use this for your business projects, personal projects, etc. First accts are free. Wrike.com
Wednesday, June 06, 2007: Cheap International Flights: Be careful with online travel sites: The prices range wildly. Some give you much better flight times than others. They also often don't tell you the real cost (they hide the taxes, which can be $200-300). The following numbers includes taxes.
- Kayak.com: $1,116. 4 flights. Pick 6am, 8am, 10am, 11am. Very nice.
- CheapTickets.com: $1240. 4 flights. But poor web design; the site is nearly unusable.
- Hotwire.com: $1285. 8 flights. Very nice.
- QIXO.com: $1,286. Only one flight available.
- Expedia: $1,500. Too expensive.
- Travelocity: $1800. Very expensive.
And there's a new kid: Vayama.com. They promise to undercut everyone.
I also built a website in Chinese for my brother's law firm.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007: Just what is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 sites usually include social tagging, user comments, social voting, file sharing, community editing, and mixed media (text, pixs, video, sound, etc.) The services are web-based (ID/PW login) and often work on PDAs and cellphones (SMS). "Social tagging" and "social voting" means that people add keywords to the item and they vote on them. YouTube, Wikipedia, and MySpace are examples (categorized list of 2,000+ Web 2.0 companies at AllThingsWeb2.com
There are several problems with Web 2.0:
1) Most of these companies don't make money. Their goal is to get a large user base and sell the company to Google/Yahoo/Microsoft (GYM). How is GYM going to make money with these? Who cares? That's GYM's problem.
2) The content is usually copied (books, TV, movies, music CDs, etc.) and posted to the sites for sharing. If you remove the copyrighted content from many Web 2.0 sites, the only thing left is videos of cats. Google paid $1.65b for YouTube and got a $1b lawsuit over copyright theft.
3) Social tagging is a great idea... if everyone is honest. But it's easy for small group of people to use social tagging to boost a product or lower a competitor's ranking. This killed AltaVista (remember them? the Google of the 90s). Digg rankings and Alexa scores are worthless.
In "Web 1.0", the idea was to create dotcoms, get VC funding, and IPO them. Their revenue model was a constant flow of investor money. Whether these were sustainable business models was irrelevant. The investors got ripped off. Web 2.0 is the same scam, er, business strategy but instead of IPOing, the liquidity event (the money shot) is a sale to GYM.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007: Scamorama: Speaking of scams, you get all those Nigeria scam emails? ("My father, the late Nigerian Minister of Cat Food, left us $20m and we'll give you $2m if you help us...") What if you turned the tables on them and scammed the scammers?
A bunch of people are doing this. One counter-scammer pretended to be Princess Margaret and agreed to come to Nigeria, but only if she could bring her dog, two pump-action shotguns, a dozen hand grenades, and two Stinger missiles. Another fellow agreed to send money if the scammer converted to Judaism and allowed the circumcision to be done at the airport. ("It is a sometimes almost painless operation. You'll be walking after a few days!") Read a whole collection of these counter-scams. The Nigerians are so eager to steal money that they'll agree to anything, no matter how ridiculous.
Eve Edelson collected hundreds of these emails between scammers and counter-scammers and published them in an extremely funny book "Scamorama" ($15, 216 pages, illustrated.)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007: A.J. Jacobs, an editor at Esquire, outsourced his personal life to a concierge in India. Very funny article.
Sunday, May 13, 2007: The city of Palo Alto recently sent me a coupon for five fluorescent light bulbs for ten cents each. Palo Alto has its own energy company, so if we can reduce demand, it helps. I picked up the new light bulbs and tried them out. I have bedside lamps on either side of my bed, so I tried it in one.
The light is identical. You can't tell it's fluorescent. The downside however is the slight high-pitched hum. It sounds like a mosquito. Luckily, I don't hear high frequencies very well, but most people and dogs in your bed will be annoyed. Use these bulbs where the hum doesn't matter.
On the upside, the fluorescent bulbs don't get hot. A bulb costs $2 and lasts years. If you switch all the lights in your house, you'll save $180 per year. Gov. Schwarzenegger is considering a ban on incandescent light bulbs within the next five years.
Sunday, April 15, 2007: The Palo Alto "buscycle" went by my house this afternoon. It's a bus powered by its riders. They pedal and it moves. A bus-bicycle! Read more about the buscycle, where you can watch it in several videos.
Friday, April 06, 2007: New service from Google: Free 411 info. Dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and use voice commands to make selections. Add this to your cellphone and bypass their 411 fees.
Sunday, March 25, 2007: I watched a documentary about Georges Melies, who made films in France at the beginning of the 1900s (the DVD available at NetFlix.) Melies made over 500 movies from 1890s to the 1910s, incl. Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune) and Infernal Cakewalk.
Melies invented many methods of film. He accidentally discovered the stop-trick, where you stop the camera, substitute persons or things, and restart the camera. He also invented stop-action animation and made the first color films, using hand-coloring. He also used dissolve transitions. His plots are primitive, but there are plots, characters, and development (esp. in his movie Bluebeard (Barbe-Bleu). He also features lots of pretty girls in hot pants (the French invented hot pants in 1890s.)
On the other hand, his films use only one camera, no angle shots, over-the-shoulder, closeups, or tracking shots. Few outdoor scenes. Everything is set up on a stage and the camera faces the stage. Actors walk in and out (or often explode). There is a constant whirlwind of action. The Infernal Cakewalk is five minutes of wild dancing.
We usually think special effects started with StarWars in the late 70s. But special effects was a main feature of film at the beginning. It's only later, in the 30s to 50s, that film developed drama (esp. with German and Danish directors).
Monday, March 19, 2007: Soccer Without Borders is building a soccer league between ten orphanages in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. They work with youths in San Francisco (USA), Nicaragua, and El Salvador. They are also planning programs in schools in West Bengal, India. Visit SoccerWithoutBorders.org
Sunday, January 07, 2007
I wrote a summary of the Iraq Study Group Report
Saturday, January 06, 2007: How Hardcore Can You Be?: Only in SV: Sean and Laura, who are both marketing executives, get married and go on their
honeymoon. During the honeymoon, they find out there's a major project at a large SV corp.
So they come back from the honeymoon, pitch to the company, and return to their honeymoon
afterwards. Who else interrupts a honeymoon to do a dog-and-pony presentation?
If you're looking for product reviews, try blogs. Use blogsearch.google.com. Blogs are by users, not corps, so you see reviews and discussions.
Spring Cleaning: How to Speed Up Your Computer: Is your computer getting slow? See how to use Disk Cleanup, Defrag, Repair Errors. Next, turn off the Special Effects. Windows XP has many special effects, such as animated menus, fade effects, cursor shadows, etc. If you turn these off, the computer runs faster.
1. Select Start | Settings | Control Panel | System
2. Click the Advanced tab.
3. Under Performance, click Settings.
4. Check Adjust for Best Performance and click Apply.