Monday, July 25, 2005

Site Targeting Day 1

This isn't going to be fair, but I'm going to shoot from the hip. Day one (or should I say morning one) of site targeting was a disaster for me. I started with a low budget (which this probably isn't for) because I've had strong success playing low budgets on AdWords before; low budgets are a big part of its appeal. But that was CPC and this is CPM. I one glaring mistake: I was not selective in the sites I chose to have carry my ads. I simply chose a few keywords and selected nearly all of the sites tied to those keywords. The result my budget (A whopping $4 for the day) was spent before I left for work at 7:45am. So this was partially (okay mostly) my fault but at such a low budget I'm surprised I received the number of ad impressions that I did, and so quickly. $4 will get you 2,000 page impressions in a matter of hours with no guarantee of clicks. Compare this to one of my CPC campaigns which so far today has received 1,872 page impressions with 2 clicks at a total cost of 10 cents. So I paid $4 for Zero clicks and 2,000 impressions in a CPM campaign, that was all spent before my audience is awake. In order for this to work I need to be more selective and actively decide when my ads are viewed (since my ads do their best work for me at lunch and dinner time). But it was a nice little experiment and one that I'm happy I took part in, and will reevaluate and perhaps try again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Couple of Quick Notes

Not that any one reads this, but I have made a few changes to Lopico in the past day or so. I changed the title tag so that it is more of a reflection of what Lopico is about than just the name of the site. In my redesign all the title tags (well almost) are being updated. Why you ask? Well if you've read this far and didn't say "title tag, what's that?" then you probably already know the importance of having a descriptive title tag. This is why Cityserch's title is "City Guides by Citysearch" not just, and amazon's says " Online shopping for electronics, apparel, music, books, DVDs & more." Lopico's old tag was simply LOPICO - Local Picks Online. Doesn't really tell you much, and that was a problem, because search engines put such strong emphasis on title tags. The new Lopico title tag reads: LOPICO - Local Business Directory, Find & Vote For Your City's Favorites. This is much more descriptive and puts a couple of key words right into the title tag. "Local Picks" is the heart of Lopico, but an unlikely search term; according to Overture the only close search that was done in May 2005 was "Pick your own local phone number," whereas Local Business and Local Business Directory have much higher probability of being searched for.

I've really been starting to get a more consistent amount of additions and votes, I'm quite happy with the progress. Also this month my revenue from advertising has taken a turn for the better. I'm very happy with what I've been able to do thus far, and only see it getting better in the future.

I've begun using Google Adword's Site Targeting feature (actually just created a new campaign minutes ago). First impression is that it is very easy to use and hopefully will be a good move for Lopico, however I'll update this in a few days. Also it is clearly a good idea for Google, making advertisers pay CPM is more predictable, and guaranteed.

Lastly, I want to congratulate SNAP, the new search engine that I have blogged about often, for receiving a nice $10M kick from Mayfield (I believe). This is great for a number of reasons; First this is idealab, and idealab has great ideas, and gives the world great products (I've already mentioned two former Idealab companies in this blog), Second SNAP is a great search engine in theory and hopefully this will help SNAP become a great search engine in application. That is probably the most critical thing that I have ever said about SNAP, but for now it is lacking in it's SERPS, not the quality of results but the number of returned pages. At any rate hopefully this will be a good step forward in search technology. I thought up a completely new way to search the web the other day, and hopefully I will see it come into reality one day; if not from myself I'd love to have it be from a real innovator like SNAP.

As Always please add your favorites, the more you add the better we get.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why I Blog

In response to a comment on my last post I thought I should explain why I blog and why I say so much.

First of all I blog because it generates traffic. People come here read my blog (maybe) and visit a link to lopico.

Secondly it gives a Lopico visitor a little more insight into what Lopico is all about. I think that when people read that I'm a one man outfit who's self taught in his programming skills that he just started learning less than a year ago it makes them want to see me succeed and to add their favorites. When I express my goals for Lopico, some people think "that's a good idea I'll help this guy out." And in that respect blogging is extremely helpful to me.

This brings me to the amount of information that I put on this blog. The commenter (which I really appreciate, don't get me wrong) said I say too much and a person with more programming skills could easily steal my idea. I think that when I say I don't have a the programming knowledge I'm more referring to more advanced features that are further down the road. I have the knowledge to run Lopico in its current simplistic form. And simple is great, I like the simple format that I use, but some of the things I talk about as being too advanced for me are things that don't even exist yet on the web. These things that I'd have to invent I don't mention, the basics of Lopico I mention and don't believe that what I'm saying here is going to help anyone steal my ideas easier than merely visiting my site. I'm not the first to have a local directory, and I'm certainly not a heavyweight in the field, I'm sure that others have had similar ideas. What I feel that I have that is better than most is my brand. I believe that I have a strong enough business and marketing knowledge to more than make up for any slight programming deficiencies that I may have.

Lastly I want to touch on the comment that I should stay with the original design and not change to the redesign. Well the redesign is not anywhere online currently. What I do have online is inconsistency. I have three different versions of lopico listings currently. Compare Bronx Barbershop (V 1.0) to Akron Barbershop (v 2.0) to Spokane Barbershop (v 3.0). But the new version that I'm working on when I refer to a redesign (v 4.0) is not anywhere online yet. This version (which is almost finished) will be the easiest to use as well as the cleanest looking.

I really appreciate the feedback, I will definitely take into consideration the amount of information I put out, and maybe I have said too much in the past, but that's the only way that this blog is worth reading. I am going to keep it simple, I agree whole heartedly with that statement, and I also appreciate your additions in Manhattan/New York.

I haven't done a June Wrap yet, and may skip it. I can say quickly that it was a pretty good month. My page views and visitors were slightly off where I'd like to be, but still good. Most importantly June was probably my best month as far as additions and votes per visitor. The more people add the more likely future visitor will make additions, and the better Lopico will continue to get. Thanks to all who have helped in this mission.