Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Project Wonderful

Friday, October 9th, 2009

I activated a new kind of advertising today called Project Wonderful. You can see it on the right hand column (at least for the time being). I don’t have high hopes for this, but we’ll see.

In this system people bid for your ad and the bidding starts at a penny! It means that unless lots of people want to advertise on my site that I don’t make anything. I have a feeling that there are lots more publishers than advertisers. I may make a few cents a day.

If I had a self published sf book or a website that I wanted to promote, I would use this and put ads on my site with a penny a day bid, because as long as no one bids against you, it is free.

I am going to make an ad for my name a star site and advertise it on a bunch of these practically free sites and see if it generates any interest. I might even make an ad for CthreePO.com and get people coming in who’ll see the ads, generate a small (probably pennies a day) income that I can use to leverage other sites. It just might work.

If this works out it means that I will be getting some free or cheap advertising, and maybe some traffic. If it doesn’t, it will cost me practically nothing.

My WordPress Configuration

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I wrote up all the details of what I’ve done to get this blog running on WordPress. If you have a WordPress blog, you might read it. It is quite a bit of reading, though.

My WordPress Configuration | Wanderings.

Science Fiction Keywords

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The main key to success on the internet is keywords. 99% of all of your readers find their way to your site by doing searches on Google (and now Bing) looking for keywords. If you want to have readers that will  stick with you, you have to have the right keywords in order to lure and trap them.

The Crotchey Old Fan has a post about this. His is in reference to text ads and their keywords, but such talk can get you in trouble, so I will mention no mentions.

I have borrowed his keyword list (in exchange I offer a very valuable link back to his site).

Here is what Steve wrote:

Please bear with me: Science Fiction. Sci Fi. SciFi. Speculative Fiction. Spec Fic. SpecFic. Genre Fiction. Steampunk. Cyberpunk. Greenpunk. Space Opera. Science Fantasy. Urban Fantasy. High Fantasy. Sword and Sorcery. Military SF. Hard SF. New Wave SF. Paranormal Fantasy. Donkey Kong.

Neil Gaiman. Charlie Stross. John Scalzi. Cory Doctorow. Robert Sawyer. Nick Mamatas. Robert Heinlein. Arthur C Clarke. Isaac Asimov. A. Bertram Chandler. David Drake. Mike Resnick. Edward Lerner. Larry Niven. Eric Flint. John Ringo. Baxter. Weber. Ellison. Delany. Silverberg. Piper. Russell. Brown. Ooops! Cherryh. Bradford. Butler. Russ. Wilhelm. Norton. Bradley. Ursula LeGuin.

Tor. Baen. Angry Robot. Haikasoru. Subterranean Press. DAW. Del Rey. Ace.

Fandom. Fanzine. Worldcon. Hugo Award. Nebula Award.

Donkey Kong?

via The Crotchety Old Fan: Science Fiction For Old Farts.

Blog Changed and Traffic

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

I made some changes to the home page and the blog. My intent was to improve the navigation. Of course, I wound up changing the wrong elements and, as of 10 minutes ago, the blog is totally screwed. Since the blog is so big it takes 15 minutes to republish it and any mistakes I make are bound to be seen by a few people.

My weeks of traffic glory are now over. Stumbleupon no longer sends me traffic and the BoingBoing link is not sending any new surfers. Inexplicably my Google Page Rank is now down to 1 on the blog and 3 on the home site. This makes no sense unless I somehow offended the Google Gods. I am worried that my eBay pages, which make a good chunk of money, have somehow polluted the site.

My traffic is back to pre-stumbleupon rates plus about 30%. Gone are the days of 1,500+ viewers a day. I’m back to normal. I did notice that people explore more of the site, which is nice. The average person is looking at 4 or more pages, and that is phenomenal.

The reason that I redid the navigation menus is that I want to see this trend of surfers actually reading pages keep going up.

Hunter S. Thompson is still my most popular entry. My Joke-a-day blog is somehow getting hits, even though it is experimental and I never linked to it. Next is the clich� page. A surprise hit are the blog entries about my poker buddy Jim’s kid Stella Maeve who is an actress and is surprising everyone with her performance in The Runaways.

I just checked and the pages seem unbroken and the menus work again. Any ideas for improving the navigation would be appreciated.

The Scale of the World Wide Web

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

As I went out to get coffee I tried to estimate the number of pages that I own. I have large databases of things like stars, email archives and blues song lyrics. For a while I was producing dynamic pages from any database I could find and my theory at the time was that I needed “shelf space”. I remember from my MBA days that an important marketing concept was positioning for shelf space. Given choices, a shopper often picks randomly from all possibilities, so if your product and its permutations takes up a greater percentage of the shelf, your sales will reflect this. My idea was to make lots of low quality pages and get a large number of total clicks from low page traffic.

If I have a web site that I spend time working on, like this one, that gets 1,000 hits a day, is that good?

To answer this I have to place that traffic on the universal scale.

There are more than a trillion unique web pages on the internet. By one estimate there are about 100 million active websites. About 240 million people have access to the internet and the traffic might be more than 10 billion page requests (hard to find any hard data on pages).

My little corner of the world is about half a million pages with monthly traffic of 310,000 page views (Also includes the odd sites and harmonica stuff). This appears to be a very small share of the total internet – less than 0.00005 percent of the total web pages and less than 0.003 percent of the page views. On the surface it seems that I have the tiniest of fractions of the internet.

The internet is a curve with a small percentage of sites getting most of the traffic and a very large number that get no traffic, which makes the statistical internet much smaller. Actually, I rank 32,521 on Quantcast (composite of all of my sites). That means there are about 32,000 websites ahead of me. Sfsite.com is about 31,000. So my sites are big deals, at least in the SF world, I am rated at near the same percentile as SFSITE where major magazines are hosted.

The next question is: Why aren’t I rich? The answer is that I don’t know, but I’m working on it.

Disappointing Stats – Cthreepo, BoingBoing, Freezine

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The BoingBoing post referencing this blog has pretty much played out. A Sunday in the middle of the summer is not going to be the best time to hit a major site like BoingBoing. Yesterday, three days after the post, the blog is down to 22 hits from BoingBoing related posts. That includes Neatorama and the thousands of sites that clone BoingBoing through their RSS feed. From here on it’s turtles all the way down.

I just had the memory of my late friend Stan sighing “Oh Well”.

I am still hammered by Stumbleupon.com, but the stumblers don’t hang around. The traffic on this site is about triple what it was three months ago, but none of it is important traffic. The traffic from has only grown slowly over the years, and local bumps don’t effect the long term trend.

In similar depressing news, I decided to find out how popular Shaun’s Freezine wound up. I tried Google, Bing, Technorati and Alexa only to discover that there were only three sites giving Freezine any traffic. This site (cthreepo.com) was the main one. I mentioned Freezine multiple times and put a link to my story on about 4000 of my web pages. The Discussion board formerly know as John Shirley’s Board, was another major link to Freezine. I, Shaun and even John plugged Freezine on the Board multiple times.. John Shirley’s web page was the third. John’s blog shows considerably less traffic than mine on Alexa et al, which shows I’m better at SEO and web promotion, even if Shirley is a much better writer. I doubt if there was significant traffic from John’s blog to Freezine. There was brief mention on a few blogs, but I checked a few and they had very low Google page ranks and probably did not send any traffic. Facebook probably sent some traffic, but I can’t measure that.

Freezine was BoingBoinged too, but it was a Friday in mid July, which was probably just as bad a day as Sunday. Believe it or not, most people surf the web at work. People don’t surf on weekends because there are more interesting things to do. I estimate that fewer than 500 people read part of Freezine and a fraction of that, probably less than 50, read my story. Sigh.

I don’t know what I wanted to accomplish by placing a story at Freezine. I hoped to get my name associated with a better class of writers (an oxymoron if there ever was one). It is disappointing to be pretty much ignored.

15 Key Elements All Top Web Sites Should Have – NOT!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

This morning a web article appeared in Delicious.com. Delicious is a social bookmarking site and appearance on their front page indicates a very popular link. I will not link the page because I totally disagree with it. The article lists 15 most important elements of web design.

I think that many are not very important. Some can hurt your page and the order is obscenely screwed up.

Here is the list and my reaction to each.

1. Good Visual Design

Good visual design is the goal of artistic leaning web designers. It has been shown over and over again that nifty graphics and slick design elements get in the way of the content. The best visual design is little or no design. The best visual design creates a memorable page with the minimum of baloney. I would change this to Minimal Visual Design and move it way down the list a ways.

2. Thoughtful User Interface

Just what does this mean? It is as though Thoughtless User Interface is an alternative. Of course, think about the user interface. Use tried and true simple links organized as logically as possible. This is a no-brainer and should not be on the list. Your page should look as much like a standard web page as possible. Users have learned how to use web pages from other sites. Your page should not be different from other site’s pages or the user will not know how to use it.

3. Primary Navigation Above The Fold

This is another weird idea. Users don’t read below the fold. All important content should be above the fold along with the main menu. There should be very little below the fold because 90% of your readers won’t go there. All pages should roughly fit in in one non-scrolling page. The stuff below the fold is for the occasional curious surfer who is looking for additional information. You might even think of having a link to an anchor for information below the page because so few users scroll down.

4. Repeat Navigation In The Footer

Yeah, of course, you must have more than one way for the surfer to get around. A good footer might help, that is if any of them ever went below the fold.

5. Meaningful Content

Duh!!!! Why isn’t this first? This is the one and only reason why a web page gets hits, is read, and then is read again. People come for content. Rules 1 to 99 – Get Good Content. All else is gilding the lily.

6. A Solid About Page

Who cares? The only people who click the about page are salesmen looking to convince you to buy something.

7. Contact Information

I removed my contact info from several sites last year and my traffic still increases. The very few requests that I get for more information are ones that I usually can’t fulfill. If I include a raw email address, I get spammed. If I include a contact form, I get inane requests for things I don’t have or can’t do. For every 500,00 web page hits, I get maybe ten contacts with only one or two being interesting to me.

8. Search

I include search boxes for my bigger sites. Less than one tenth of 1 percent of my surfers use it. Normally I get get new users from Google searches so they have already done the search by the time they arrive. If I took out the search boxes, my traffic would not change.

9. Sign-Up / Subscribe

I am in the process of taking out all my RSS feeds. I want surfers to come to my pages, see what I have to say and read the ads. On some sites I get nearly as much RSS feed traffic as page traffic. I think this is wasted bandwidth. Sure, people are reading my words, but if they are not on the page, they can’t get the full impact of the images and ads. If I get rid of the RSS readers, I lose no money, and I might gain normal readers.

I don’t ask casual users for email and I never spam. I never mail a newsletter that a user might think is spam. I hate sites that do this. If I receive a newsletter that I did not explicitly ask for, the site goes into my spam filter immediately. I have no way to sign up on my sites.

10. Sitemap

I uses sitemaps primarily for search engine optimization. Users hardly every land on them or use them.

11. Separate Design from Content

This is techno nerdy thing. It helps you write web pages, and I use this technique, but it has nothing to do with your user’s experience. I have a feeling that individually hand crafted pages give a richer user experience than rubber stamped pages created from a master template. I have too many pages to hand craft each one. I use server side includes to standardize some things and make it easy to changes headers, footers and navigation.

12. Valid XHTML / CSS

When you page displays correctly in IE and Firefox, it is done. It does not have to validate. The user doesn’t know and doesn’t care if you have a non-compliant page.

13. Cross Browser Compatibility

Can’t be done. Different browsers show slightly different versions of your page. Your page should look OK in IE and Firefox, not the same. Surfers arrive at your site with a variety of screen configurations, software and options. I use the windows large fonts option on my computer so I can more easily read a page. You would be surprised at how many web pages this breaks and the reason is that they are so fine tuned to show a consistent interface that the smallest thing will break them.

14. Web Optimized Images

Finally, one thing that I can agree with. Small images, well compressed. Fewer images when possible. Your web page should load quickly. Words count, Fewer images means more room for words.

While we are on the subject of optimization, eliminate unreasonably large JavaScript libraries and frameworks. Hand code JavaScript if possible. Get rid of slow database look ups on home pages. Home pages should be static. Most pages should be static and load as fast as possible. Dynamic web pages are traffic poison.

Get rid of all the JavaScript doodles, widgets, gewgaws and gimcracks on on your web pages. They just slow things down and divert interest to someone else’s content. They send traffic to other web sites.

NO FLASH! I will repeat. NO FLASH! Nothing good has ever come from flash.

15. Statistics, Tracking and Analytics

I see web pages with half a dozen tracking scripts on them. They slow down web pages, especially Google analytics, QuantCast and MyBlogLog. Pick a tracking script and use it. Get rid of the others. Better yet, learn to use your weblogs.

Now that I have trashed the list here is my own version:

1 Key Element All Top Web Sites Should Have

1. Good Content.

Nuff said.

Switched to Kontera Context links

Monday, October 6th, 2008

I you see light blue links with a double underline on my web pages, that is Kontera dynamically adding context links to the page. From what I have seen the keywords seem to be generic. Amazon’s links were usually much more relevant. I’ll leave it up, but if I decide it the intrusive aspect of the links is not justified by the income I’ll pull them off. The links are on pages that total about 8,000 hits a day. I’ll know in a day or two if they work.

Reciprocal Links

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I’ll link you if you link me? It’s a waste of time. Google’s rank algorithm treats reciprocal links as a wash.

I’ve been getting lots of offers for reciprocal links lately. I ignore all of them. In my case the link would be lopsided. The person begging a link would get a link from a Page Rank 4 or 5 (me) and give me back a 1 or a 2 from a links page buried deep in their site. I would not gain. They would, as soon as they were sure I wasn’t looking, delete my link and get the full benefits of link from my more powerful page.

Here’s my rule: A link must be valuable content. I only include a link if I think that a user on my site will value the link. If a user sees my page as interesting, useful, or valuable, then they will return. A valueless link just drains my own search engine mojo. If it is news that life may be found on mars, then I would include the valuable link and the user will return to MY page to find more valuable information and some valuable links. With a link you are giving another web site a gift. The gift you give must have value to you in return, or it makes no sense to include it on your webs site.