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jmjj215
18th August 2004, 01:23 PM
I am very new to this whole SEO things, but find it extremely entertaining to say the least.

I rank #2 on google for "personal finance excel spreadsheets" but I don't even show up anywhere on google without those handy little double-quotes. Isn't it much more valuable to be ranked high where people don't have to use those quotes?

Jesse

divshow
18th August 2004, 01:48 PM
Jesse ~

Could you put your website up so we can take a look? ;)

David Wallace
18th August 2004, 01:58 PM
If you are referring to the site listed in your profile, you need to concentrate on getting some external links to your site. Currently Google does not show any links pointing to your site and you have a PageRank of '0'.

Is your site brand new?

BWelford
18th August 2004, 02:08 PM
I'm guessing from the Google hint that the website is www.youneedabudget.com (http://www.youneedabudget.com/begin.php).

It may be tough to sell such low-priced items on the web at present when they don't know who you are, jmjj215. Even your About Us page doesn't let us know who really is behind this.

I believe people buy from people. The website visitor has to feel confidence that the outcome is going to be pleasurable. I often suggest that a website should have NBC.

NBC stands for:
News - something to indicate that your company is a mover and a shaker. People are talking about you.
Bodies - Some indication of who are the real-live people who are enthusiastic, energetic, knowledgeable and experienced and who will be putting out everything they've got to make sure the customer is satisfied.
and
Customers - Testimonials from real-life customers they can relate to who have benefited by buying the products and services.

Just my two cents. :)

jmjj215
18th August 2004, 04:42 PM
I thought about the NBC idea (although not with the acronym). I read that it was unprofessional to show who was "behind the scenes" of a business. I guess I found bad information. What type of personal information would be appropriate?

Also, I am yet to sell one product, but I refuse to write fake testimonials (which I've seen toted as a great initial way of giving people assurance). How do I manage the problem of a business still practically in the womb, so to speak?

Sorry I failed to mention the site was www.youneedabudget.com.

In reply to the external links needed. I'm in a bit of a quandry there because I've found very little content on the web with which I agree (a budgeting website that has advertising for quick cash loans for instance - horrible!) or the site looks very unprofessional, which would indirectly hurt the image I'm going for. Will the search engines crush me if I am so picky about my link partners?

Sorry for the long post. BWelford, in response to the pricing of the items. I intentionally priced them lower than what the market has for similar items (although I've checked 90% of them out that are at least semi-visible and I feel I've got quality over them too :D ) - do you think such low prices lead people to believe the product is also low quality? i had that thought.

I'm overwhelmed from the response of all of you great people! Hence the subject line. Looks like I have many many hours of work ahead of me (but isn't it great?).

Old Welsh Guy
18th August 2004, 04:52 PM
There is nothing that says testimonials have to be from paying clients. Find someone who does not use a personal finance thing, and let them use yours for free. Then ask them to answer some questions. After getting the answers use them as a testimonial. Find someone who uses similar software, and ask them to ry yours. Do the same and you have real testimonials.

Why not provide a time limited version, or a feature limited version as a trial?

jmjj215
18th August 2004, 05:20 PM
That is a great idea, to give away a few copies. If anyone here is interested let me know and I'll send you the whole enchilada :). I'll talk to some aquaintances to see if they would like to do the same.

I offer trial versions of everything but the Budget - but I offer plenty of screenshots and explanations. I guess I am worried about people downloading the trial version and then cracking it. Should I worry about that with an $8 product? Excel is not the tightest of applications and can be easily hacked.

Do you honestly feel a trial version of the budget would be beneficial towards instilling confidence in potential customers? I thought the unconditional moneyback guarantee would do enough for people.

Thank you so much for your comments everyone,

StupidScript
18th August 2004, 06:56 PM
I'll be ordering, soon, never fear.

There is a "preceived value" issue, where your software is SO below the competition that it might be perceived as having a lower value...not just the price, but the useability, etc.

Maybe you can inject a bit more "B" into the site with a quick explanation of why it is so low-priced? Nothing too fancy, just write from your heart. ("I am sick and tired of paying a lot for a program and having it turn out to be..." ... oh wait...that's MY heart! :) )

You are right in that Excel is exceedingly simple to hack, but once someone purchases a copy, that's not much of an issue. Their copy doesn't need to be hacked, and can be distributed with ease. So I wouldn't worry too much about protecting the files in their useable form. You are in a position of being forced to trust people, and you probably won't get burned too badly.

If you want to time-limit or feature-disable them, you'll need a more robust format anyway.

You might consider publishing a few of the lesser spreadsheets as "shareware", where you heartily suggest that folks who use the software send you a bit of something in return. You'll gain users, and sales of the whole suite may compensate. Plus, you'll enjoy good karma, and gain a loyal following of people who look forward to your future works.

divshow
18th August 2004, 07:07 PM
I can help on the personal side of the business. If you go to my website click on the "about us" link on the navigational menu. I have a picture of my family and tell why I got into the business. I have more people call me up and act like they know me when they place an order. :thumbsup:

Hope this helps! Let me know if you need any help constructing what to say.

jmjj215
18th August 2004, 09:04 PM
Their copy doesn't need to be hacked, and can be distributed with ease. So I wouldn't worry too much about protecting the files in their useable form. .

I've actually built the budget to only work on one computer...so it does keep people from copying it - unless someone's really friendly with their register :) Of course I wonder if I should even worry about it...

Are you suggesting I raise the price to slightly above market? I know the products I offer are superior to those I've worked with thus far. I just priced them low because I'm not looking to score big or anything with this - just want to get people out of debt and steady with their finances.

BWelford
19th August 2004, 06:58 AM
Jesse, on this pricing thing, I always encourage my clients to pile on service so that the total product/service package is better than your competitors for your market niche. (BTW it's always good to think carefully about which market niche you're focusing on and then make sure the product/service package is exactly right for a typical prospect in that market niche.) When you know you're better than the competition, you should put your prices at least at the same level and use the following approach:
"You may find our products aren't the cheapest on the block, but our customers will confirm we're the best value by far."

StupidScript
19th August 2004, 02:06 PM
I've actually built the budget to only work on one computer...so it does keep people from copying it - unless someone's really friendly with their register
If someone did decide to illegally distribute your programming, this is not an obstacle. Consider that hacked versions of MS, Adobe, etc.etc. enter the "market" every day. But, even so, it depends largely on the person WANTing to hack your stuff. (see next comment)

I know the products I offer are superior to those I've worked with thus far. I just priced them low because I'm not looking to score big or anything with this - just want to get people out of debt and steady with their finances.
This sounds like a good bit of copy to (a) interject the "B" factor and (b) help visitors feel comfortable with the pricing. People don't have a problem paying less for something, as long as they feel they will not be wasting the dough. The reasons you give, above, are perfectly legitimate, and will no doubt do the trick. Heck, they work for a guy like me!

divshow: Web photos including your children are excellent tools for helping people connect with your home-based business...and can be dangerous, as well. It's a bit like posting the photos on lightpoles in Times Square. You can not predict what kind of weirdos are taking note...and seeking further information in their quest to "get to know you better". Just to bring up a long-standing cautionary note...

StupidScript
19th August 2004, 02:16 PM
Oh! And on the subject of your original question, jmjj215.

You are describing the difference between a "phrase" match and a "broad" match. Phrase matches include the entire search term, where broad matches include any part of the search term. "Exact" matches include only those results that match the search term exactly, no more and no less.

For example:

Searched for: personal budget software (a "broad" term)
Matches: "let's get personal with your budget" AND "personal web software" AND "software on a budget" ... etc.

Searched for: "personal budget software" (a "phrase" term)
Matches: "selling personal budget software to" AND "I don't use personal budget software" ... etc.

Searched for: [personal budget software] (an "exact" term)
Matches ONLY: "personal budget software"

This comes into play both in algorithm results (from a spider, also called "natural" results) and in paid results. Particularly in paid results, where you often specify in your campaign which type of term you are bidding on, or wish to be displayed for.

Paid results:
If a "broad" match is not producing results (sales) for you, you may be able to switch to a "phrase" match, and then to "exact" match if you need still more refinement. Each will produce fewer "impressions" (displays in a search result) as you get more "exact", however you may find your visitors are more targetted, as well.

Algorithm results:
After the spider included your page in its index, and a search was requested by a visitor, the search result algorithm counted how many iterations of "personal budget software" it found in your page, and ranked it in the resulting display according to how many iterations it found, among many other factors. If you are ranking highly with a phrase search term, then the algorithm is satisfied with the iterations of that phrase. If you are ranking low..um..lowly with a broad search term, then the algorithm is not as satisfied, and ranks your page(s) accordingly.

divshow
19th August 2004, 02:47 PM
divshow: Web photos including your children are excellent tools for helping people connect with your home-based business...and can be dangerous, as well. It's a bit like posting the photos on lightpoles in Times Square. You can not predict what kind of weirdos are taking note...and seeking further information in their quest to "get to know you better". Just to bring up a long-standing cautionary note...

James,

Thanks for the warning and I am aware of what can happen. I take all the precautions and am confident we are as protected as we can be in today’s society. A bigger risk is to let kids use the internet unsupervised and/or unmonitored as they can give out information unknowingly to the wrong people.

StupidScript
19th August 2004, 04:18 PM
Excellent, divshow! I just worry about those kinds of things.
:)

divshow
19th August 2004, 05:08 PM
James ~

Thank you so much. I do appreciate the concern. It's a shame that our world has come to this... :(

jeanm
19th August 2004, 08:02 PM
Hi Jesse

I agree with Lisa regarding having a photo and a bit of personal detail on your website. Barry's comments about piling on the service are worth noting too. During the course of a sale with my customers many emails go back and forth between myself and the customer. My customers generally don't buy anything unless I know it is going to serve their purpose - frankly I tell them I don't want them to waste money on goods they don't need. My customers tell me that they are blown away by my service. Because they know what my family looks like they then send me photos of their families. The relationship gets so good that by the end of the sale the customers are bending over backwards to give me a testimonial. In small or home based businesses service is absolutley paramount. That is the edge we can have over big businesses.

divshow
19th August 2004, 08:56 PM
Jean ~

Very well said! :thumbsup:

jmjj215
19th August 2004, 09:06 PM
StupidScript,
So if I am vitually non-existent with a "broad" search, then my copy isn't showing enough of those key words?
I put an example newsletter at the bottom of my index page to show a bit more content and tried to make it keyword rich without making me sick. I've read that search engines don't like wordy and also read that they love content...which direction to take?

Divshow,
Your about me page hit the spot for me. I'm going to attempt something along those same lines - really connect with my audience. I actually had my wife write some of it :)

On a slightly different note: Is content still king? It seems like links are. If I just focus on good content on a very frequent basis, won't that still get a guy somewhere? :o

divshow
19th August 2004, 09:26 PM
Also, I am yet to sell one product, but I refuse to write fake testimonials (which I've seen toted as a great initial way of giving people assurance). How do I manage the problem of a business still practically in the womb, so to speak?

Going back to this...My very first testimonial is from my mom. My second, one of my son's friend's mom. I wasn't lying or even stretching the truth to have them write a blurb for me. They bought products for a discount and wrote something so I could have it online to start out my testimonial page.

Robert
20th August 2004, 03:23 PM
...we run shtml pages and not html. Very similar to frames, but not necessarily. Does anyone know how this affects ranking?

Running shtml should pose no problems with search engines that I'm aware of.

jmjj215
20th August 2004, 03:46 PM
I can help on the personal side of the business. If you go to my website click on the "about us" link on the navigational menu. I have a picture of my family and tell why I got into the business. I have more people call me up and act like they know me when they place an order. :thumbsup:


Divshow,
I changed the "About Us" page on the site - would you mind reading over it and letting me know what you think? I'm also going to put up a picture as soon as possible of my family. I think it helps to establish a relationship. Any tips from the about me page would be helpful. I don't have a PO box or business line - do you think it's wise to have the home address and phone? I'm kind of thinking it's not..

neofelis
20th August 2004, 03:51 PM
I don't have a PO box or business line - do you think it's wise to have the home address and phone? I'm kind of thinking it's not..

I am on the paranoid side and don't have my home address anywhere. I do have a phone listed (not my home one) but if I keep getting soliciation calls that is going to have to change too.

In order to be completely secure about your home address, you can do a DNS lookup and make sure that it is not available anywhere on the Internet. Some ISPs offer to obscure your address for an additional fee.

A web site that offers DNS lookup is DNS Tools (http://www.dnstools.com).

BTW - I really like your About Us page. I did not have the opportunity to see the previous one, but this one speaks to me.

divshow
20th August 2004, 04:09 PM
Hi Jesse ~

I'll read the About Us page after I get home from taking my son school shopping. I wouldn't put any home numbers or addresses online. I actually rented a box at a UPS Store down the street. This works wonders!

For the phone...If you can't get another line installed into your home, you may want to look at getting a cell phone for business only. That way you have a legit number also. Some people will call just to make sure you are legit before placing an order with you.

StupidScript
20th August 2004, 07:07 PM
Jesse,

I just ran a quick comparison of your site and the #1 site currently showing up for a broad search for "personal finance excel spreadsheets" on Google. I used the free tool provided by http://www.keywordcounter.com.

You can see the results by running the same test.

It points out one important thing:

While you have similar top keywords on your pages, the simple fact that you have 1094 total words on your page gives the "real" keywords less weight.

Your competition has only 408 words on their page, and even though they are hampered by a large embedded stylesheet, this ratio is enough to make a big difference.

(Thanks for honoring my earlier META tag suggestion! I'm tickled pink :p )

(Incidentally, I mis-spelled the last keyword in my example intentionally..."buget"...because there's lots of folks who will search for mis-spellings.)

Check out their META tags, too. Although they are overloading the keywords a bit, which may hurt them in other engines that don't look kindly on repeated keywords in the META tag, it may make a difference in their Google positioning, too.

You're progressing really well, Jesse. Each time the spiders revisit your site, you will notice differences in your positioning that can be valuable education tools. Keep track of what you have done and when, keep a record of your positioning as a result, and don't forget to keep on keeping on!

divshow
20th August 2004, 11:08 PM
Jesse ~

Your "About Us" page is great! Julie did a wonderful job writing it!!! ;) The only thing I would add is something about "please contact us if you have any questions about how our system could work for you".

James is very correct about the mis-spellings being an asset for you if used correctly. I constantly have people who spell product names wrong. If someone mis-spells something in the testimonial I keep it just the way they wrote it...the spiders pick it all up and I have had more hits than I ever thought I would from those.

jmjj215
21st August 2004, 03:39 AM
Thanks for the keyword count analysis. I removed a large chunk of a sample newsletter at the bottom of the page, which should increase the ration - also sprinkled personal finance excel spreadsheets two more times. Hopefullly that makes a difference with the ratio that will please the engines.

Thanks for the about us page feedback. I'll let my wife know. Will had contact info - don't know about getting a cellphone, but will at least give them an option to email us..my wife would love it if we finally did get a cellphone..

Another question (tis never-ending): Is software for web page ranking useful? Such as IBP or WebPosition in helping attain high rankings? Or can I do what has just been shown and still come out pretty high? Their claims are huge, but I just don't know how all of you pros feel about them.

bragadocchio
21st August 2004, 06:38 AM
Hi Jesse,

It's the knowledge that makes the difference, and not necessarily the tools that you use.

If you know and understand who your targeted audience is, and use words that they will search for, that's a good start. If you intelligently craft your site, to use those words in page titles, headings, and body text, and in the anchor text leading to those pages, that's another plus. Building credibility is very helpful in becoming persuasive. Some great tips on credibility in design of a page on this site:

http://credibility.stanford.edu/

I's especially recommend that you follow some of the links at the bottom of the page. One is to a set of ten guidelines that are things you can work on immediately to make the site more credible. Another are the two larger reports about credibiility and design. There are some really good points in those, and they are worth looking at.

Design can affect the way people react to a site. One of the pages I looked at on your site has a long stretch of emptiness at the bottom of the page. I've seen that on sites that stuff keywords on the page, in hidden text (not yours). When I see large empty spaces at the bottom of a page like that, I think of those sites. It's not an association you want made. Even empty space like that can have an impact on your credibiility.

One of the things I probably need to know on the front page of the site is that your financial system is for sale. You can use phrases like "very affordable" or "very easy to get a return on your investment" or so on.

But spend some time here, ask questions, and build up your knowledge. It's an investment in your time that will pay off.


April,

Pages with shtml will get indexed by search engines just as easily as html pages. My concern about them is that people aren't used to seeing "shtml" that often. It may be possible to use server-side includes (SSI) on pages with "html" or "htm" endings if you want, by adding a line to the htaccess file:

http://www.javascriptkit.com/howto/htaccess4.shtml

You may need approval or help from your host to do that, but the page I linked to shows how. It will look for SSIs on every page on the site if you do that, and that might slow the site down just a little. But I think it might be worth it.

divshow
21st August 2004, 09:20 AM
Jesse ~

Just remember, if you do break down to purchase a cell phone for business keep track of all your expenses...this is your business phone. Make sure you answer it with the business name to sound professional. Also, you can start out with the cheapest plan, since you won't have many calling you at the beginning, but as you notice yourself receiving more and more calls you can up your plan to the next level. One thing to make sure of...you have good reception in your home. Ask to borrow your friends cell phones who are on different carriers and test them out in your home (a few areas, since coverage may be good in one area, but poor in others).

bragadocchio
21st August 2004, 09:28 AM
April,

Let me add that if you already have shtml pages, and you decide to use htaccess to rename them to pages with just html or htm, if there were links to the shtml pages, the page rank of those pages is attached to the shtml version. Google won't know that they are the same page.

Also, if you do that renaming, make sure that you change your internal links on your site so that they point to the htm or html version, too.

StupidScript
25th August 2004, 10:57 PM
Bill,

I've been reading a bit, lately, about using .htaccess files (Apache brand web server only, I believe) to set a "301" redirect to maintain PageRank during a transition to a new set of site files.

One might ask: "How the heck does one do that?" To wit:

First of all, your Apache server/host must have been booted up with .htaccess enabled in the configuration file. Seems obvious, but hey! Ask your hosting provider or check your httpd.conf file, if you're unsure ... it's probably all set to go.

In the following examples, the "directory you want to affect" is named "olddirectory". The slash at the start of the sample URLs indicates the web server root directory, as usual.

=================================================
Instructions: Making the file on your computer then using FTP to upload it:

1) Step 1: Create a new text file named ".htaccess" (no quotes and don't forget the initial period).
2) Step 2: Type this (modify it for your sitch') and save the .htaccess file:

To switch .SHTML to .HTML:

Redirect 301 /olddirectory/oldfile.shtml http://yoursite.com/newdirectory/newfile.html

OR, to redirect a whole directory (don't forget the trailing slash):

Redirect 301 /olddirectory/ http://yoursite.com/newdirectory/

Although all indications are positive that doing a whole directory or website in this fashion will preserve your PR, I haven't tested it. Confidence is high that the individual page redirect will.

3) Step 3: Using your FTP program of choice, upload the .htaccess text file into the directory you want to affect.

=================================================
Instructions: Using a server direct-access program, like Telnet:

1) Step 1: Login to your web server, and "cd" (change directory) to the directory you want this change to affect:

Unix/Posix:
shell:>cd /usr/local/apache/htdocs/olddirectory

Windows:
C:>cd Apache2/htdocs/olddirectory

2) Step 2: Create a new text file named ".htaccess" (no quotes and don't forget the initial period) in that directory, and type the stuff from Step 3 in it, then save it.
My text editor of choice in this sitch' is "pico" so I type "pico .htaccess" (no quotes) into my Linux terminal application and hit Enter. This creates the new, empty file. (Do whatever it takes in your situation to get a new, empty text file into that directory ... then type the following into it, and save it.)

3) Step 3: Type this (modify it for your sitch') and save the .htaccess file:

To switch .SHTML to .HTML:

Redirect 301 /olddirectory/oldfile.shtml http://yoursite.com/newdirectory/newfile.html

OR, to redirect a whole directory (don't forget the trailing slash):

Redirect 301 /olddirectory/ http://yoursite.com/newdirectory/

Although all indications are positive that doing a whole directory or website in this fashion will preserve your PR, I haven't tested it. Confidence is high that the individual page redirect will.

=================================================
That's it. The next time Google hits your site, in that directory, it will register a "permanent redirect" to the new server directory, preserving your PageRank and easing your transition. This is a result of Apache detecting a technical "error" (301), due to the notation, and sending a particular signal to the Googlebot, which it understands and respects.

This will also send any stray ".shtml" links to the proper location. I highly recommend adjusting the code to reflect the new location, as you mentioned, but this might help in a hectic environment.

(Lots of good .htaccess info at: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/ Search for .htaccess. You will discover that almost anything you can put into the global httpd.conf file, you can use .htaccess files for to override/implement in an individual directory. I do not know if subdirectories are also affected in a parent:child kind of way, although I think they are ...)

Have fun! :)

flora
13th March 2008, 04:20 AM
Hi,

Work more on the external links to your website and Check whether the on page for your site is good.

Random_Ian
13th March 2008, 05:50 AM
LOL. 4 years later and jmjj215 is a moderator! :D

cpr
7th May 2008, 09:51 PM
I can't imagine it's very valuable to have a ranking where the quotes are required, I almost never search with quotes.