Thanks New Orleans Saints!

29 02 2012
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This is a bit late going up because I have been pretty backed up with work, but I’ve been wanting to say “thank you” to The New Orleans Saints organization and players since the end of this past season. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the transformation that’s taken place in our team over the past 5 years, and how great it is to be a Saints fan today.

My first memories of being in the Superdome for a Saints game came from the early 80′s when my grandfather started taking me to games, and then going with my dad afterwards as I grew in age. There’s something really special about being in the dome and around the excitement of the crowd there.

It was never easy being a Saints fan though, because we never knew which Saints would show up from week to week, and frequently we just dealt with all of the disappointing losses as “part of the territory” (being a Saints fan). Read the rest of this entry »



Should I trust stats from therapist directories?

23 05 2011
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No, never. Think back to when you were in stats class in undergrad or post-graduate school and you learned about all of the different methods of computing statistical analysis. It was pretty confusing right? The fact is, it is SO confusing that still to this day, many thoroughly written research studies are frequently debunked due to errors in statistical analysis or flaws in their methodology.

Website stats are even worse. So much worse, in fact, that there are virtually no standards by which they are measured, that are shared amongst all of the different analytic tools available. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_analytics#Key_definitions for some basic definitions).

Read the rest of this entry »



Matt Cutts on Adding rel=”nofollow” to internal links

29 06 2010
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The “Who Dat Nation” Celebrates!!!

9 02 2010
651.gifCongratulations to the New Orleans Saints for their first Superbowl win, and to all of the new fans and long time supporters. I grew up in this city and always dreamed of the celebration that would take place if our Saints ever won the Superbowl. Last Sunday night, I got to witness it firsthand and it was better than I ever imagined.

A few great things that happened as a result of this win:

1. The Saints proved that they were the best team in the NFL this year, proving all the naysayers wrong at last.

2. The Saints gave the people of New Orleans hope that yes, it CAN happen to us.

3. The Saints Football Team provided the most positive press to the city of New Orleans and State of Louisiana that we could have ever asked for, and in doing so put an exclamation point on the recovery of our city and left a lasting impression in the minds of all viewers.


Free Website Help for Haitian Business

20 01 2010
651.gifIf you or someone you know has a business in Haiti; I will offer my time and resources to help with their website. I can help with simple design work and website updates. I can host your site for free on my new server. Contact chartwell (at) inlayout.net.


Google is Getting Insanely Fast at Indexing Blog Content

17 09 2009
651.gifI just posted this LiquidWeb announcement on Dedicated Server School, two minutes later I googled the text to see if it was posted anywhere else on the web, and I was amazed to see that my post was already indexed.

See the screenshot:

google-index-speed

Notice the text to the right of the URL that says “2 minutes ago.” While that in and of itself isn’t very impressive, the fact that I posted it 2 minutes ago, the blog pinged Google and it got crawled and indexed that fast is pretty amazing.


Affiliates Go “Cha Ching” with Bing

28 07 2009
651.gifI was just browsing through some of Bing’s search results for “dedicated server” because I have a site in that niche these days, and I came upon something pretty interesting:
bingss
If you notice, the last search result for LiquidWeb’s homepage is indexed with an affiliate tag! I wonder how much commission “sdawkins” is getting off of Bing for this? How many search phrases is it showing up for? Must be nice!

If you look at the backlinks for the URL, it’s nothing but link directories and such. Lucky guy. Bing needs to work on their canonical URL issues here. It wouldn’t hurt for LiquidWeb to have a good SEO on staff either. I can almost guarantee you won’t see this in Google.


WebHostingTalk.com Gets Hacked, Loses 6 Months of Data

27 03 2009
651.gifEarlier this week, WebHostingTalk.com, one of the biggest forums on the web for web hosting discussions, was maliciously hacked. According to a WHT representative, the attacker got in through their backup, deleted it, and moved onto the main server from there. Apparently the reason they lost so much data was that they weren’t making “backups of backups,” something I posted about the importance of a while back. Just more evidence that you can never be too careful.


My Internet Marketing To-Do List

17 03 2009
651.gifA long time ago, I remembered that I forget a lot, so I started making lists.

I realized that I had plenty of great ideas to market my business, but if I forgot them, it could be like losing the winning lottery ticket. How dumb would that be?

The thing that’s really sad about it is the fact that probably 99% of my best internet marketing ideas come to me at a time when I’m completely unable to act on them, and the ones that I can act on right away, usually wind up costing me a lot of money because I don’t let them hibernate on a list for a short while!

How could such a simple, intuitive task escape me for so long?

So I started making internet marketing to-do lists, and to-date, I have 3 running to-do lists (general, blogging topics [this wasn't one btw], and press release topics). I keep them on my PDA phone, so that wherever I am, there they are. Now, I never forget my good ideas, and I actually get most of them done. I can’t begin to tell you how much this has increased how productive I am. I rarely sit at the computer board, trying to think of something to do when I feel like working. Nowadays I just check my to-do list.

The other good thing about the internet marketing to-do list, is that it makes things easier to prioritize. Instead of starting and stopping different tasks I know I should be working on, I just look at the list, and it’s usually pretty obvious what I should be working on.


Review of MySpace’s MyAds Beta

13 03 2009
651.gifIn the past, if you tried to contact MySpace about advertising, you’d be lucky to get a response. Then if you did, you probably wouldn’t be considered unless you spent $10k / month or more. Well that’s all changed with MySpace’s introduction of “MyAds Beta.” I recently tried out MyAds by running some banners to promote my forums, and here are the results. myads Read the rest of this entry »


Getting Started with Google Adwords: The Basics

4 03 2009
651.gifIf you’re a small business who can’t afford to have a professional PPC management company run your Adwords campaign, then use this simple guide to get started on the do-it-yourself plan:

  • First and foremost, make sure you can track conversions so you know how your Adwords campaign is performing. Start by getting a cheap 1-800 number from Kall8.com and forward it to your regular number. Replace your phone number on your website or Adwords landing pages with this one so you can check your call detail to see which calls came from your Adwords campaign.

    Then make sure you set up conversion tracking in Adwords, this usually only requires putting a small bit of code on your “thank you” page.

    It also helps to have Google Analytics installed on your website, with “Goals” setup properly. With “goals” in Google Analytics, you can easily track conversions whether it be a lead submitted through a contact form or purchase through an online shopping cart, and Analytics allows you to see quite a bit of information about the different types of traffic your website receives, much more than what you will get form the Adwords interface.

  • Second, make sure that your site is conversion-friendly. Internet users have short attention spans, and some may not visit more than one page of your website. Since you are spending your hard-earned money to get these people to your site, it’s of utmost importance that you can turn a visitor into a conversion on that first page.

    This may mean setting up landing pages that are targeted for each type of ad you’re running in Google. For shopping carts, the ads should send the visitor to the specific product page or category that they are targeting. For lead generation sites, the ads should send the visitor to a page that deals specifically with the ad and keywords you’re targeting. Most importantly, web pages should have your 1-800 number displayed prominently on the website, and if it’s a lead generation site, there should be a contact form on every page.
  • Read the rest of this entry »


BlogCatalog.com Gets Toolbar PageRank Penalty from Google

19 02 2009
651.gifIn the past I’ve done a few posts about PageRank that may help newcomers understand the difference between “actual” PageRank and “Toolbar” PageRank, along with some of the anomalies you will see if you look at the Google Toolbar for a long time (no, not visions of Mary either, just the little green bar).

One of the things I discussed in my post “Anomalies with Google’s ‘Toolbar PageRank,’” was the fact the sometimes search results will look strange when there is a site with low “toolbar PageRank” ranking high for competitive keywords. This is sometimes due to the possibility that Google has penalized the website’s “toolbar” PR for selling links.

This appears to be what happened to Blog Catalog today. Blog Catalog used to have a PR 6 or 7 homepage, and many interior category pages that were PR5, but if you check today, you will see that they’ve been bumped down to a PR4. Is Blog Catalog really selling links? You be the judge – have a look at the top right of the “Health” section page (click here).

Will this affect BlogCatalog’s search engine rankings? Probably not.

Although it has been argued both ways, I am of the opinion that it WILL affect the “link juice” that gets passed down to all of the blogs listed in their directory.


2009 Best Dedicated Server Company Poll

18 02 2009
651.gifWebhostingTalk.com members vote LiquidWeb, Best Managed Dedicated Server Company (see poll)

If you’ve ever spent any time researching web hosting, at some point you probably ended up on WebHostingTalk.com, one of the largest forums on the web for hosting related discussions. If you venture there at any point in time during a weekday you might find 1500 or so users online reading and posting to the forums. The dedicated server forum in particular, can provide a wealth of knowledge due to the fact that many industry experts routinely answer questions there for newcomers.

It’s been over a year now since I signed up with LiquidWeb for a managed, dedicated server, and I knew it was a great service for me, but since I frequently recommend them to others I wanted to get a feel for what the web hosting community thought as well. Because who knows? Times change and so do companies. I decided to take a poll of WebHostingTalk.com members in the dedicate forum area to see who today’s leader is. Click below to see the poll results:

Best Managed Dedicated Server Companies: Poll

At the point I last looked at it, LiquidWeb was clearly in the lead, even ahead of well-known industry giant Rackspace. In fact, the only company that was even approaching their votes was a company called Softlayer that was put in the poll by mistake (they don’t offer managed dedicated services).

The poll requirements asked that people who vote had used the company for at least 3 months prior to voting, so if they are accurate, I think this serves as a good customer approval rating for LiquidWeb. The only thing I don’t like about these polls are that they are un-scientific – limited in generalizeability due to the fact that the forum software’s polling features are so limited. Another thing to consider is the fact that few so-called “experts” out there would actually use managed services. The real hosting gurus manage their own server if they have the time.



Why You Should Automate Your Marketing Efforts with Aweber’s Email Autoresponders

4 02 2009
651.gifI’ve long known about email marketing and Aweber’s Autoresponders, but until recently, I didn’t have any ideas on how I could integrate one into any of my own personal websites to make them more profitable for me.

Email newsletters are great for reminding customers and potential customers about your products and services. If the newsletters give something away – like high quality free information, discounts on products, or news about something the consumer cares about, they will generally stay subscribed. And when they keep getting that reminder from you, they’re a lot more likely to turn to you when it comes time for them to make another purchase. They also do great at generating conversions from potential customers who were reluctant to buy when they first found your website.

Read the rest of this entry »


301 Redirect Your Domain w/ Apache Mod Rewrite Keeping File Path Intact

3 02 2009
651.gifI’m posting this because I Googled it to death this past weekend trying to find the code for it, and it was nowhere to be found. I’m positive I’ve used it before in the past too, but the code was not in any of my old projects either. After hours of googling for what I knew was a simple mod rewrite for .htaccess, I submitted to defeat and asked (more like begged) an expert on the subject. Here was the problem:

301 Redirect every URL from www.domain1.com to the coresponding URL (keeping the trailing file path intact) on www.domain2.com, when both domains are being pulled from the same directory on the same server, and respecting URL canonicalization issues (www vs. non-www).

This should be a readily available mod rewrite written about on SEO blogs worldwide right? Wrong.

I offered to pay my expert for the consult, but he refused, probably laughing at the trivial request I submitted. So here it is – hopefully good ole Google will pick up this post so the next guy coming along will find this, no problem:
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
#
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.domain2\.com$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain2.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Cut, paste into .htaccess file, use notepad, must have Apache server with mod rewrite enabled, works like a charm :) It worked the first time in fact, not like when I do a mod_rewrite and have to test it out 20 times to get it right!


Anomalies with Google’s “Toolbar PageRank”

14 01 2009
651.gifI wrote this because I was explaining PageRank to someone today, and I realized that my first post on PageRank didn’t do a good enough job of explaining some of the strange things you will see from time-to-time. I also added it into that post.

Anomalies with “Toolbar PageRank”
Another important aspect aspect to consider is that there are a few anomalies associated with the PageRank scale as it’s shown on the Google Toolbar. One is the fact that it’s only updated every quarter, and sometimes less often than that. Because of that, sites that are new, may take a while to get “Toolbar PageRank.” I’ve also seen a lot of cases where the initial toolbar PageRank was higher than what they ended up having in subsequent updates.

Another anomaly is the fact that the scale seems to change over time. If you think about it, it makes sense because the internet is constantly growing while the scale remains a number 1 – 10. That being said, it should follow that websites who were at one point a PR5, that don’t build links over time, will see a decrease in their PageRank as it’s displayed by the toolbar over time. This is something I’ve seen on older websites I own. I used to be able to get a PR5 from the toolbar with just a few hundred average links, whereas these days it takes significantly more link building effort to achieve the same toolbar PageRank. The “kicker” is that these “toolbar PageRank” changes may not be associated with loss in rankings at all.

It’s because of the concept of internet growth mentioned above, and penalties that I will discuss next, that I’ve often seen a website’s search rankings go up, even though their toolbar PageRank went down!

The last anomaly I should address about the toolbar is that occasionally you will find websites whose toolbar PageRank has been penalized. It’s something that is most often noticed when you’re looking at competitive search results, and you find it strange that the top results are all well-optimized web pages, yet one on top has a significantly lower PageRank than those beneath. While this can usually be attributed to on-page SEO factors, sometimes it’s because Google actually penalized the toolbar PageRank of the site because it was selling links at one point in time. The strange thing about these types of toolbar PageRank penalties is that they seem to only affect the toolbar and not the website’s actual search engine rankings. This would indicate that “actual PageRank” has not been affected. Sometimes these penalized websites can get their “toolbar PageRank” back through appeal, but that’s not always the case.

As you can see based on these anomalies, there are quite a few reasons that the toolbar may not be indicative of how a website ranks in the search engines.


Websites for Therapists: TherapySites.com

24 11 2008
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I’ve been seeing some ads around for therapysites.com for a little while now, and I thought it seemed like a great idea for therapists who want to have their own website built. They provide a lot of tools that make website creation easy, using their customizable themes and their pre-built content management system.


For a FREE Month, use coupon code “promoFMC”!

If you read my post entitled “How Much Should My Website Cost?” you already know that decent web design can start in the $2k range, and go up over time with different cost factors. The thing I like about TherapySites.com, is that while more expensive than just plain website hosting, you save all of the money that’s usually spent on the initial design process. Plus you get their content management system so you can easily make your own changes to the site.

The other thing I like is that the company seems focused on the business of therapists, which means they will likely be equipped to deal with common problems that therapists face when it comes to web design; usually companies like this improve over time also.

I haven’t tried their sites out yet, and I haven’t heard any feedback on them from my advertisers, but they offer a money-back guarantee, and a free month if you mention that you were referred by The FMC Directory (my other website), so it may be worthwhile to try if you’re in the market for a new site.



First Solid State Drive (SSD) Dedicated Servers Become Available

1 08 2008
651.gifIt’s no secret that I’ve been a big fan of LiquidWeb’s dedicated servers since I started using them last year. I got my invoice this month, and read a little further down the email where I was surprised to learn that they now have Zero Latency, Solid State Drives available for their dedicated servers! “What is that?” I first though. I put 2 and 2 together, because I know what latency is (and “0″ is a good number when you’re talking about it), and I know what “solid state” means (usually refers to circuitry as opposed to moving parts), so it became clear that they’re offering these brand new solid state drives (SSD) on their servers. Wow!

What’s the Big Deal?
One of the biggest bottlenecks on a computer is the hard drive. If the PC needs to access your hard drive, it slows things down considerably. This is why having enough RAM can speed things up significantly – with RAM, you eliminate the bottleneck of having to search and rescue data from a spinning hard drive. Well, Solid State Drives work like RAM. It’s like replacing your hard drive with a giant RAM chip :) the data becomes instantly accessible to the processor.

Can you imagine how great this will be for websites? Especially forums like mine. It should make them blazingly fast.

I had to call LiquidWeb to find out more. I talked to one of the sales guys, and he confirmed that “yes, the solid state drives are available for the dedicated servers, and LiquidWeb is currently one of only a few dedicated server providers in the world that have them available.”

So the almighty “RackSpace” doesn’t even have these things yet, and when they do get them, RS customers should be prepared to whip out their pocketbook. LiquidWeb will do the upgrade for $150 / mo. right now, with discounts for volume. Not cheap by any means, but I would imagine that it’s a nice performance boost for database driven sites. While it’s not in my budget right now, I can’t wait to try them out. Hopefully anyone with experience with them will post a review.

For more info on LiquidWeb’s SSD servers, click here.


How Much Should My Website Cost?

6 07 2008
651.gifA common question I get is, “Chris, we got a quote from this company for our new website and they want to charge us $XXXXX – is that too much?” “Well, what are they going to do?” I counter. “I don’t know, design our website!”

Simple “Brochure” Type Websites
The fact is, $2,000 can be too much or too little, and so can $20,000. It depends on what the purpose of the website is and what type of functionality you want it to have. The simplest websites to build are like “brochures” or “business cards” on the web. These have static content, meaning that if you want to change anything you need to have web design experience or have your designer make the changes. These types of sites generally go for $1k – $5k, depending on the experience and quality of the designer, and depending on if it will have flash, and how many pages it will have.

Content Management Systems (CMS)
The next upgrade is a site with some form of “content management.” CMS allows the site administrator or anyone else with permission, to login to the site and make changes to content and pages using a simple text editor. Website owners like CMS because it makes them less dependent on their web design company for changes. Changes to content can be made quickly and easily by the site owner or admin. Read the rest of this entry »


5 Good Reasons to Use Website Monitoring Services

26 06 2008
651.gifA few years back I decided to start using website monitoring services, and I’m grateful that I did. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about hosting and how good or bad the services I was paying for were. This was part of the progression that led me to get a dedicated server last year, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a web designer / developer. Website monitoring is also vital if you’re running a search engine marketing campaign.

What do website monitoring services do?
They check your website from different locations around the world during the course of the day to make sure that it is up and functioning. You can usually choose how often you want them to check, and different services have different options. These days I use a company called Alertbot, and I’ve been pretty happy with them so far, but there are plenty of others out there and it’s good to shop around to get the features you want.

Why is monitoring a big deal? Don’t you know when your website is down?
  1. The problem is, I didn’t always know… you just can’t be on your website around the clock. Especially when you have multiple sites.
  2. For search engine marketing campaigns, being unaware of downtime can cost a lot of money and skew conversion data.
  3. Downtime is money. When you have profitable websites, you lose money while they are down, regardless of whether or not you’re running pay-per-click campaigns.
  4. I had no idea how unreliable shared hosting was. Once I started monitoring my sites on the shared accounts, I realized that I was having regular weekly downtime of anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour.
  5. Monitoring services give you information that can be used to diagnose problems through support. When I talk to support about downtime, I now have a record of exactly when it occurred, with the IP of the test site(s), and the length of time it occurred. This information can go a long way in helping to get to the cause of the problem, and it gives credibility to your complaint – especially with shared hosting providers.

I’m glad I started doing this because it’s standard practice for me now. At our firm we always recommend that clients monitor their sites, and set it up ourselves if necessary. If you’re running a search marketing campaign for someone else, how do you know if you had a bad day conversion-wise, or if their site was down for a few critical hours and no one knew about it? Things like that could mean the difference between keeping and losing a good client.


“Katrina Days” Book by New Orleans Photographer Now Available

21 06 2008
651.gifI posted about George Long a few months ago when we met and I was inspired by his excellent photography and his ability to capture the heart and soul of New Orleans through the lens.

At the time, he showed me a preview of his upcoming book entitled “Katrina Days,” which was a visually stunning look at some of the pitcures he captured following the storm. If you’re the type of person who likes the Time / Life “Year in Pictures” type-books, that highlight the great events of our time through photography, then this is something I think you will like. It’s also for the dedicated New Orleans residents who want something tangible to remember the events surrounding hurricane Katrina by.

I just got word that the book is now available through his website, and I placed an order. That’s what prompted me to write. It’s something I had been eagerly awaiting. To order a copy, visit: http://georgelong.com/book.htm


Backups & Redundancy for Your Life and Your Data

17 06 2008
651.gifIn the Fall of last year, Francis Ford Coppola’s computer and backup hard drive were stolen, and he lost 15 years worth of data, including writing and family photographs. He offered a reward for its return, but he never did get it back.

On a much smaller scale, last month I had a backup hard drive fail, which under normal circumstances should be no big deal. I should be able to buy a new one and just replace it, but the problem was that I had stored some data on it which was not stored anywhere else – so it’s now gone for good. I have the option of spending a few hundred dollars on data recovery to see if it can be recovered, but I haven’t been able to decide if the data is worth the price.

What About Your Websites?
Just 2 weeks ago, there was a terrible fire at The Planet, one of the largest web hosting providers in the world. The fire interrupted thousands of servers, but supposedly no servers or networking equipment was damaged. Let’s suppose there had been damage. Suppose that your web server and its backups at your hosting provider were destroyed. Most people who work on static websites have copies on their local machine that they FTP. But how many websites these days are database driven? Are you backing up your databases? I don’t know many people who do, unfortunately.

Here’s What I Do.

I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve lost too many irreplaceable files over the years. I now have a library of digital pictures of my growing family from the past 5 years on my computer. Losing these files would be a great loss for me. So here’s how I’ve come to handle local data. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Change Domain Names and Keep Your Search Engine Rankings

7 06 2008
651.gifFirst let me say, that Google does not recommend changing domain names, and neither do I. My next disclaimer is that I can’t control what Google does (the classic SEO disclaimer that every long-term SEO has had to resort to at some point in time). So if you try this at home and it doesn’t work, it’s not my fault.

The internet marketing firm I work for recently ran into a problem that is likely to happen to anyone who names their firm after the partners – one partner left, and we had to change the name. So “Foreman & Pike Consulting” became “Reciprocal Consulting,” but that was the easy part. We had top search engine rankings in Google for “Internet Marketing Firm” and “Internet Marketing Firms,” which had been two productive keyword phrases. How were we going to change our domain name and retain our search rankings?

I’ve been doing SEO since 1998, so I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done (301 redirects) without looking anything up, but this was a big deal, and the other guys in the firm were depending on me! I’m the only SEO guy, and I needed to get it right!

What helped things out, was that I had done some research for a consulting job on this very thing not long ago, and I tried to find out what Google’s “official” recommendation was on the matter. Here are a few good snippets that I found: Read the rest of this entry »


2 Simple Ways to Monitor Your Online Reputation

4 05 2008
651.gifEver “Googled” yourself? If so, what do the search results show? If you have social media profiles and web pages with your name on them – there’s a good chance these will show up. This is what the concept of reputation management is built around – managing your online reputation. For people who do business on the web, their company name frequently comes up in social media circles….potentially on forums and blog posts, and it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to deal with negative statements about them. Although the best defense in good customer service, we all know you can’t keep everyone happy all the time.

Worst case scenario is having sites like these (click) pop up about your business. Who wants a whole website devoted to attacking their reputation?
:(

Sometimes the best defense is an early one, and here are two simple ways you can monitor your online reputation:

1. Alerts: Google, Yahoo, and MSN all have alert services that will let you know when the top 10 or 20 search results change for a search you choose. Here’s where to set them:
http://www.google.com/alerts
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/alerts/
http://alerts.live.com/Alerts/Default.aspx

2. Search Blogs: Use Technorati.com to monitor the blogosphere by subscribing to RSS feeds of the searches you want to monitor.


Foreman & Pike Consulting is Now “Reciprocal Consulting”

28 03 2008
651.gifMany people are aware that I work for an internet marketing firm called Foreman & Pike Consulting (used to be www.ForemanPike.com). We have now changed our name to Reciprocal Consulting (www.ReciprocalConsulting.com). I am happy to say that we will continue to be able to provide the same top-notch service that we are well known for in the industry. Here is the letter from John Pike on the change:

As the internet advertising market changes each day, so must we.

Foreman & Pike Consulting has always been on the cutting edge of growth, development and performance; and this will not change. We will continue to offer Internet advertising solutions, successful conversions, increased sales and most importantly, a return on your investment — all on a pay for performance basis. However, we benefit from your success as much as you do because after all, without you we would be without purpose.

It is for this reason that Foreman & Pike has changed their name to Reciprocal Consulting.

We believe that Reciprocal better describes who we are, what we do and what we offer, as our relationship with our clients is mutually beneficial. We want to stress, as we always have, that we are Partners with our clients. We take on your vision, make your goals our goals and our success is measured only by your success. This is the difference between an Internet Marketing firm and Reciprocal Consulting.

Nothing has changed and nothing will except for our name, which we feel better represents us and our relationship with you, our clients.

Sincerely,

John E. Pike, Owner & President

Reciprocal Consulting


5 Great Advantages to Hosting on a Managed, Dedicated Server

26 02 2008
651.gifWhen I moved almost all of my websites to a dedicated server at LiquidWeb about 4 months ago, I thought I would be getting some peace of mind, but I had no idea about all of the other great things that would result from having a managed, dedicated server of my own.

Here are some of the things I find really advantageous about dedicated servers as opposed to typical shared hosting that I was handcuffed by before.

  1. Incredible Response Times – granted these differences are in milliseconds, but obviously there is a significant difference here. These two charts are my site monitoring results from my dedicated server at LiquidWeb, and my Gridserver (shared hosting) account at Media Temple. If you look at the scale on the left, you will see that the LiquidWeb dedicated server is about twice as fast on average. I should also mention that the Media Temple account has regular unscheduled downtime, still to this day.
    LiquidWeb Dedicated Server:
    image004.jpg
    MediaTemple Gridserver:
    image002.jpg
  2. Read the rest of this entry »


A Great New Orleans Photographer

7 02 2008
651.gifIf you’re involved in the internet marketing profession, there is eventually going to come a time when you will need a picture of yourself for a bio or “about us” page. Especially if you’re a blogger – a good picture helps readers to connect and get a feel for who you are; Problogger has a good post on the benefits of using your picture on your blog.

My time had come. I needed a picture for our firm’s website. I’ve been getting along with some crappy old pictures that I cropped from random photos for too long. So being the internet marketing hacker I am, I hit Google up for some “New Orleans Photographers,” and that’s how I was lucky enough to find George Long.

Read the rest of this entry »


Buying Advertising & The Truth About Website Statistics

9 01 2008
651.gifBeing the webmaster of a site with over 400 direct advertisers (who are therapists), I often get asked about stats, and currently I don’t have anything set up to deliver stats to my directory’s advertisers. The population I advertise for are therapists who, for the most part, are relatively new to internet marketing. Since I also manage a few individual marketing campaigns for therapists, I have a good idea about the kind of traffic that converts into referrals for them, and the kind of traffic that doesn’t. I even get to see how good my site’s competitors do at sending conversions to therapists. It’s a really unique vantage point, and here’s what I’ve come to learn from it.

The truth about what people are selling you in terms of advertising, is that the bottom line is the price you pay for each conversion. In the case of the therapists who advertise on my website, a “conversion” is a referral for counseling services. With that being said, statistics on visitors and pageviews that people send their advertisers can potentially be meaningless due to the fact that conversions are highly dependent on how targeted the traffic is. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Managed DNS is a Great Solution for Backup Hosting

5 01 2008
651.gifI didn’t even know about managed DNS until I read about it on John Chow’s blog a long time ago. I could relate to the stress of DNS propagation issues though, and I thought it would be a good idea to try it out.

Today, I’ve been using externally managed DNS for about 4 months, and I’m very happy with the results. For my more important websites (the ones that make money), I decided to keep backup copies of them on a less expensive hosting account just in case my dedicated server ever goes down. I realized the need for this type of setup after years of dealing with shared hosting and unscheduled down time (inevitably at the worst possible time).

Under normal circumstances, a backup copy of your website on another server won’t do much good, because if you need to switch to the backup – you can expect a 24hr delay as DNS propagates. Not with externally managed DNS though. Now I can switch between the two servers in 5 minutes. No more having to wait until the next morning to find out if my site is functioning properly on the new server. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Use Title Tags Effectively for SEO

22 12 2007
651.gifTitle tags are one of the most important aspects of on-page search engine optimization. While there are a lot of aspects of a web page that help it to rank well for keywords, the title tag is undoubtedly one of the most important.

The title tag is the html code that looks like this: <title>Title Goes Here</title>

It is contained within the <head></head> section of the html document and shows up at the top of the web browser. It is also the link that shows up at the top of your site’s listing in the search results. Here are some important considerations that will make your use of title tags more effective.

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