Comment on Windows 7

A few things I would like to say without a huge debate

  1. I like Vista and have had a relatively good experience with it but I am still very excited about 7 as it is better
  2. I don’t think it’s fair to call Windows 7 what Vista should have been – 2-3 years on, all products are better and generally because of the prior version – who would have waited another 3 years without panning MS for that?
  3. Having played with 7 it rocks in all the good ways – speed, memory, requirements, power saving
  4. My media centre runs 7 and it’s so much better than Vista – dual tuners yay!
  5. There isn’t enough info about the upgrade and we should be able to buy the upgrade and enter a key into the RC 7100 version and not have to reinstall but that’s life
  6. It always amazes me that some of the nicest features in a new OS were there before. I read an article on 50 neat new things in Windows 7 and one was press the windows key and up to move up a folder in Explorer. Awesome I thought that has long irritated me about Vista. Then I recalled how this is a pattern, new features are often only now being mentioned that were in old versions. So, I tried it in Vista – Bingo it’s there also – it’s still nice though

One final thought – every forum is full of people saying yeah but Mac is better cos  this or that – if you love the Mac great but why waste your time telling PC lovers that? Just go use your super productive err sorry wrong word because where are the business systems? Anyway, go use it and enjoy. Likewise if you love PCs go use that and don’t waste your life (you only get one) bagging Macs. It’s the same with iPhone v the world. I have an iPhone and love it. I’ve had a Nokia N95 – loved that too – so what?

Ok so I lied one last point, PC stands for Personal Computer – if the Mac isn’t a PC then what is it? Is it neither personal or a computer? Sounds about right to this PC lover..Thanks Bill Love your work, always have 🙂

Client SEO work – it's a whole other world

Working in the real world offers some unseen challenges, but the experience is worth the effort and the financial rewards can compensate…

Recently I have been incredibly fortunate to work with a great client Kalamazoo on the reworking and redesign of their website www.kalamazoo.co.nz

One of the really great things about kalamazoo is the people, I have been fortunate enough to have a client that gives me virtual free rein with their project. This is meant that I’ve been able to use tools such as IBP to fine tune and quick pages and when I’m finished or at least when I get to a good break point I published a page and they provide me with some feedback. In general though they have trusted that I know what I’m doing and have left me to get on with it. It has been great for us and the working relationship is moving from strength to strength.

But it isn’t always like this,  some clients quite justifiably want to have a high level of control over the content on their website. And it pays to remember that at the end of the day, it is their website and they do have the right to choose what is and what isn’t published.

The problems start when a client simply won’t listen to your advice, you’re the expert right? And they’re paying you to your knowledge and expertise. Don’t be afraid to remind your clients of this fact, they won’t thank you when their site is nowhere to be found on Google and they aren’t getting the return on investment that they had hoped for. Just remember to keep your argument  constructive and helpful and always use facts and figures if you have them. For example, if you use a tool such as IBP it helps to educate your client, show them their ranking before and after your proposed changes and asked them to trust you for a couple weeks so that you can show them the before and after SERP. If you are right then their page rankings will improve and you will build confidence with your client that your suggestions are worth consideration.

One mistake that is really easy to make, is to tweak your page relentlessly and to use words that might give you a good search engine score but doing nothing towards helping your client win more business. Ultimately the purpose of a website can be many things but in general is there to help people do more business. It does this by explaining the product or service and taking the client through a sales process that ultimately ends in asking for an order. There’s a saying in selling “ABC — Always Be Closing”. So look at how you go about inviting the visitor to become a customer by buying your products

If your web page has been tweaked too much it also runs the risk of not being readable and that is unlikely we knew any new business. It can’t all be done over night. Most of my SEO clients pay me on a retainer basis. I offer to review the pages every week / month and check their performance. I record the SERP every week (Monday morning to be exact) and I use the results to fine tune my efforts. On the Kalamazoo site featured below I still have lots to do in terms of visitor to customer conversion. I am busy implementing an online store and that has changed how I want to tackle this. On the visitor security pass page I have a PayPal buy now button which is working really well but once the store is online, many more common products will be linked through to the store.

Here are some examples of the SEO work that I have been doing recently for Kalamazoo

http://www.kalamazoo.co.nz/index.html

This homepage puts the information that the casual browser is looking for instantly at their fingertips. There’s no need to dig through 10 pages to find out whether this company does in fact supply business stationery or cheques or continuous stationery. When a visitor comes to the site they can instantly see a summary of the major product groups covered by kalamazoo if they are interested they can drill down into the individual product pages where they will find more information.

http://www.kalamazoo.co.nz/visitorpass.html

Kalamazoo provide visitor security passbooks that cover the legal requirements to record visitors into a place of work so that should there be a fire vendor file warden will be able to ensure that everybody is evacuated and accounted for. This page has been optimised for the search term “visitor security pass”. As Kalamazoo are based in New Zealand I have optimised this site for Google New Zealand. This search term they now rank number one and this has taken about eight weeks.

http://www.kalamazoo.co.nz/printedproducts.html

Kalamazoo one of the largest independent printing companies in New Zealand. The purpose of the printed products page is to discuss business stationery printing high-quality commercial Fliers leaflets and brochures and so on. This page has been optimised for the search term “colour printing” and is steadily making its way from completely unranked and is now in the top 100 and I confidently expect it to be in the top 10 on Google within a few weeks.

http://www.kalamazoo.co.nz/businessstationery.html

Obviously optimised for the search term “business stationery” this page was quite difficult and I spent quite a lot of time getting this to rank highly. It is currently around 22 on Google but I think my recent batch of changes will have is moving onto the front page when the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Working on SEO for a client is very different from working on your own site. If you want to make changes to your own site then it’s very simple we just fire up Dreamweaver (or your preferred tool set) and off you go. Working in the real world offers some unseen challenges, but the experience is worth the effort and the financial  rewards can compensate somewhat.

Read more about Polychrome website design

Technorati code 8a4czg36m7

Ongoing SEO

This week we re-launched the Polychrome website. The new look website is far more organised and the blog has been moved to a subdomain. The primary reason for this reorganisation is that whilst WordPress is an awesome blog engine it can be difficult to get fine-grained control of the search optimisation for individual pages. We were starting to find that we couldn’t quite achieve the high rankings we wanted for as many search terms as we wanted to target.

That said, it did give us an excellent vehicle for launching their website and with clever use of the various add-ins and some hard work we have achieved some excellent results in terms of search engine optimisation.

For almost 3 months now we have ranked in the top 10 results for a wide variety of search terms such as business software solutions, accounting software Auckland and business software for New Zealand.

We could not have achieved these results if we had not been using tools such as IBP but it is important to recognise that the tool is just that and it requires lots of effort and determination to get high rankings which ever tools one uses.

Some of the keywords in the Polychrome target of very heavily contested however we have still managed to squeeze less determined sites off the front page of Google.

If you need help with your website search engine optimisation please get in touch.

New Kalamazoo site goes live

Well after a month of solid effort we finally got www.kalamazoo.co.nz live. We had more than our fair share of headaches with the people who were hosting it – mostly poor communication but we worked around that and the site is up.

The client is extremely happy which is always the most important test.

We are now three weeks on and the results of our search engine optimisation efforts are starting to bear fruit. We have been targeting around 15 key search phrases and for all the New Zealand search engine we now have at least five first page listings of which three are already ranked number one.

Obviously the higher ranked terms are for lightly contested keywords however even on the main search term which has 304,000 results we are already ranked at position 16.

Over the next few weeks we will put more effort into off-site promotion. To date our efforts are focused on on-site promotion such as page optimisation. This week we started adding the website to as many local directories as possible. These make great links as well as increasing the number of places where potential customers might find a client.

If you need help with your website optimisation is giving touch.

TemplateMonster a quick review

To Template or Not?

Choosing whether to use a website template can be a little controversial. Some website designers believe themselves to be purists and think using other peoples templates makes for a bloated website that can be difficult to maintain. Personally, I believe one of the main reasons for the introduction of CSS was to allow artistic people to handle the visual design and for technical people to handle the implementation. Besides, there are templates and there are templates – some look amazing, some look err well not so good.

For the websites are designed I’ve chosen to use templates from http://www.templatemonster.com I am not an affiliate I do love their products. What I particularly like is that after my initial consultation with a client unable to choose a selection of web designs that I think offer a good starting point. This serves two purposes, first the client can visualise what I’m trying to describe and second using a template as a starting point saves a good number of hours which translates into cost savings for the client.

Traditionally this as being any real compromise but having used several of the templates from templatemonster.com I have found them to be of a very good quality and the layout is very meaningful and obvious. Sure there’s always one for improvement and I will write a second blog on one area that I think requires particular attention, namely, handling navigation for flash-based websites for users that don’t have Flash installed.

Most of the templates on offer are around the $64 mark. When you think about the number of images, the basic layout and a starting CSS template; this represents excellent value.  Most of these templates come with a small JavaScript file that handles sizing of boxes and it works very well. There is a very good selection of templates arranged into categories and if I were being picky, I would suggest this is one area where the website could be improved. When I last looked there were over 16,000 templates to choose from and it can be rather tedious scrolling through trying to find a suitable template. However, with so much to choose from you are never short on choice.

Flash templates

These templates offer some nice visual effects and an enhanced user experience without much work required from the web designer. Nearly all of these, use Flash for the site navigation and this could be improved by allowing the page names and the button labels to be controlled via an external XML file rather than requiring a copy of Adobe Flash in order to rename pages. Whilst this is possibly just me being a little picky, I believe, this really would add value to anyone who doesn’t own a copy of Adobe Flash.

Similarly, the templates that I have used have only had a very basic text message for when Flash is not installed. For my sites I have now amended the background CSS to allow the navigation from the non-Flash version of the website to be substituted when Flash is not installed. I’ll be writing another blog post to cover how I did that for anybody that interested.

Seperate Content from Design

Layout.CSS

One thing I particularly like about the templates I have used is that the styles.CSS has been separated from the layout so that pages are laid out in one file and the visual theme is handled in another. Maybe I’m just overly organised but I particularly like this feature. I’m not a big fan of the default page names used (because my work doing a SEO has led me to believe that the page name plays a huge part in improving your Google ranking). The first thing I do is to rename my pages; however this is pretty easy as I use Adobe Dreamweaver and it handles fixing all of my links. However, when using flash-based menus you still need to update the Flash file to point to the new page names, as I said before using an external XML file would make it much easier.

Summary

To wrap up, I really enjoy using the templates from template monster.com and would recommend them to anybody. The quality of the background CSS, the images, the layout and the overall look and feel are always of a high standard. For the price, choice and quality you can’t go wrong.

Pop over and take a look http://www.templatemonster.com

Onlooker hits the web with the help of submit-everywhere.com

This week I did my second marketing push via submit-everywhere.com

I love this company. I believe they are based in Ukraine and basically for a small fee they manage the process of posting software onto the hundreds / thousands of shareware sites, bringing valuable traffic and customers to my site. They have a great system that means that when they finally hit the go button your pad submission file has been thoroughly checked by them in order to maximise the chances of your product being accepted.

Some sited insist that you do a backlink on your site but that’s only fair and of course that is the one task that submit-everywhere cannot do for you. That’s OK though because as you get thousands of emails telling you that your product has been accepted onto a site you are fully motivated to get into it. I have found that literally dozens of the sites were basically the same site with a different name and I guess Google will give these site a very low ranking. After about a dozen I could complete the submission with my eyes closed.

It’s a great service and I thoroughly recommend them, I have used them twice now and the results have been great and the service even better. My first time around it took a while for me to get my pad file correct but this time I got there in two goes, one of my press releases was a touch too long in their opinion – and that’s another good point. They add real value by helping you get the file right by manually checking it. Some companies I am sure would just take your money and post any old rubbish you give them, I get the feeling these guys really care. Of course it pays because I went back. I am not an affiliate or in any way associated with them, just a happy customer.

Here is a selection of sites that responded really quickly to my listing request submission

Free Software, Shareware and Games Downloads

CuteApps.com – Freeware, shareware and quality commercial software downloads

DownloadCourier.com – Get downloadable software from one place!

Ever forget to attach a file to an email?

I can’t even count how often I do this. So today we’re going to look at new tool from Polychrome. Onlooker is a Microsoft ® Outlook ® add-in that checks your e-mails, think of it as a friend in your outbox. We all know the scenario, we type that e-mail diligently point out why our product or service is better than a competitors and refer to various documents and files that we have attached. The only problem is that we forget to actually attach them.

A friend in your Outbox

Enter Onlooker, and add-in that checks your e-mail when you click send, if you’ve mentioned an attachment, it counts the number of attachments. If you don’t have any attachments it warns you and you have a chance to add the attachment. If you know better because you’re your e-mail is discussing your attachment to your wife or teddy bear or pet dog then you can just ignore the warning. It is REALLY simple to install and use and save a whole heap of embarrassment and wasted time.

Take a look at it in action on YouTube.

There are some cool settings as well. The ability to choose to ignore an image in your signature for example, or to add your own custom search phrase.

The best part is the price, there are other products like this on the market but I haven’t seen one yet that does more for less. Prices start at $9.99 for a single user and just $99 for a company license.

Check the product page for more details or to buy online http://polychromenz.com/products/onlooker/

Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.


Editor's Choice.  Onlooker

geardownload

Best Vista Download

ivertech

Automated ODBC Export

Scheduled ODBC Exporting on Steriods

The Polychrome ODBC Export Tool exports data from any ODBC data source but that’s not all. It does a whole lot more, like emailing the results or calling a command line application and passing the exported data filename. Now you can create CSV extracts from your software and because it can be run from the command line it can be scheduled using the Windows scheduler or if you want more control (like run on last working day of the month) then use our scheduler.

Key features

  • Scheduled export of data using ODBC
  • Export “real world” data scenario, only orders added since last export
  • Run post export process for example transfer via FTP using uFTP tool
  • 2 styles of output
    • Normal exports each row on a new line
    • Header exports one header line followed by multiple detail lines
  • Email extracted data to someone
  • Scheduled export on special accounting days, like last working day of the month, last physical day of the month

The ODBC export tool uses SQL statements saved in a preformatted external XML file. The user interface makes creating these ODBC definitions  easy. The tool will read the data using ODBC and create a CSV file with each column separated with a comma (or your chosen delimiter) and laid out in the order determined by the SQL statement.

See the ODBC Export website http://odbcexport.com/products/automate-odbc-export/

I got a #1 Google Rank in just 30 days

Getting a higher ranking is easy but it takes effort

Ok so you need to check out my other SEO posts for more detail because I do a lot of indepth explanations and some of these posts are very long. The good news is that I am a business software company so I’m not even trying to get your  SEO business or sell an SEO product. I do recommend IBP from iBusinessPromoter and I am an affiliate but I want to be upfront about stuff like that.

I set out with a plan to get a top 10 Google ranking within 90 days. My friends said “yeah right” good luck with that one. Sure it’s possible but you picked a very competitive term “Business Software Solutions” up against the likes of SAP with BIG budgets. They said have a go but don’t be too dissapointed. Well that was just 30 days ago. Now to be fair on Google for pages around the world I am currently ranked 12th.

For New Zealand where most of my customers are I am now in 1st place – look see 1st out of 46,200 – Google me if you want – it jumps around a bit but it should stay up there.

1st place for NZ pages

And for Google.co.nz searching “the web” OK so 12th isn’t first page and the goal for 90 days is 1st page on Google.com but I have 60 days left and 12 out of 114,000,000 is pretty good don’t you think? Also, as at now Google thinks I only have 10 links to me but when it re crawls it will find that I have about 150 so I am expecting a big jump!

Google position 12

Read the 90 day project blog because it steps through week by week and sometimes day by day what I actually did
So much of the content on the web stops short of this vital info or they charge a furtune to still tell you nothing much other than what you have got wrong. I know that at the end of the day they are running a business and I feel for them because they would give away info to their competitors but I believe that if you are open then people see “you” as the expert and trusted advisor and want “your” help first.
Then read my review of IBP – it’s fair to say that I worked really hard on this but I could not have done it without this software.
I’m just new to the web as a business and I had a real baptism of fire, the self doubt, the – “hello is this thing on” I mean someone is reading this right? Well my web stats seems to be saying YES so thanks for coming by and please add some feedback – good or bad.

My number 1 tip for getting a high Google Ranking

Well I’m not putting that out in the public domain but if you email me I promise I will reply with the answer – no strings I just want to know if anyone is reading this. This week I stumbled upon one change to my site that made a dramatic change to my page ranking. SO much so that when I carried out the change on my other web site www.odbcexport.com it instantly jumped to position #8 on Google.com for the search term ODBC Export which is kind of useful and for me it’s kind of a big deal.
Update
It’s now August 4th and I’m still Ranked #1 of 73,600 in NZ for Business Software Solutions and now for the world I am Ranked #5 of 112,000,000