Firebarriers.co, Fire Barrier Domain Name as Good as .com?

Fire barriers are a a piece of material that you use to protect areas of your home from fire. Its a competitive market in some areas and a company I have been working for was looking to move their site up the Google rankings.
To help with this we set up a microsite with specific copy aimed at the key phrase and used the domain firebarriers.co. This is the first time I have used a .co domain as really a replacement for the top level .com, but in theory we should now also be thinking of .co in the same way.
So what has happened? Over the last couple of months the site has really struggled. For some reason the home page didn’t get picked up by google despite frequent changes and a secondary page really struggled too.
Despite the competition I really would have expected a .com to do much better, so even though I’m not testing side by side, I have to conclude that the .co domain is not given equal authority to the .com domain.
Let me know if you have similar experience, but in the meantime if you are interested in fire barriers and your in the UK. Try firebarriers.co, they really know what they are doing and seem great to deal with.

Overlay Box Usability

I have just started a new company blog for Webxopt (stands for Web Experience Optimisation) and am hoping to put all my work related info on to that site.

My first post is on Overlay Box Usability. Those are the boxes that ‘overlay’ the main content of the page – No surprises there I guess! I have talked about how to put them together and when to use them and when not to!

The post is at http://webxopt.com/wordpress/2009/07/overlay-box-usability/.

btw – I’ll still be using this site for anything that doesn’t fit my work, which will probably be most things to be honest!

Acrobats New PDF portfolio

I have just been working on my first PDF portfolio. This is the new Acrobat 9 feature that let’s you put a heap of different file formats together and make them into almost a mini Ajax website.

I had thought this would be complicated, but actually it was a piece of cake when you just customize their templates. Managed to add a load of PDFs, flash videos from animoto and other bits and pieces in a few minutes.

Probably my only negative comment would be that navigation is not consistent sometimes there are breadcrumbs, sometimes not. Also not checked yet in older versions of acrobat.

NBN Network and Wireless Broadband Continued

After another post pushing the virtues of a wireless system rather than a wired NBN, I have the following comments which I made on an article in iTWire.

– The wireless system is capable of reasonably high speed, but there is a latency issue which means anything where packet priority (read Skype/VOIP) is an issue, wireless will be a problem. Not surprising then that Telstra is pushing it as it will mean they keep their expensive phone line rentals.
– ADSL2+ is great if you live 10m from the exchange. Go onto whirlpool and you can see all the people that upgraded to 2+ and got no change in speed over standard ADSL. This is because speed drops off quickly the further you are from the exchange.
– FttN is really expensive to implement and speeds they are looking at seems to be no higher than you can get anyway. In 5 years time they will seem pathetic (as our speeds do now to much of the world)
– BPL (Broadband over power line) could have potential in the bush, and is currently being rolled out in the US for remote locations

In short there is no clear answer. The best solution would be a combination of the above. Maybe no fibre nodes within 1km of an exchange where ADSL2+ would be better, fibre nodes in the city and BPL in the country. One thing that seems clear though is that wireless is a supplementary connection and shouldn’t be regarded as your main connection unless we want to cripple our VOIP service and keep Telstra shareholders happy for the next 10 years!

Telstra Pushing to Higher Wireless Speeds to Maintain Fixed Lines?

Pushing wireless internet to faster and is probably a master move from Telstra. Increasing the speed of wireless seems to make it more and more attractive to the user (obviously there are the limits per tower). However the big strategy seems to me to be that a wireless network has high latency making VOIP next to useless. This means that it is fine for browsing, but Telstra maintains its stranglehold on the public which would need to keep their landlines.

Obviously this is great for Telstra shareholders, which the board of Telstra reports to at the end of the day, but useless for customers. Just one more reason why structural separation is probably the only way to go.

I have particular experience of this trying to use Skype video conference with someone using a wireless dongle in the UK. Both systems report 8MB down, but there is a huge issue with dropped packets on their end.

Google Launch Adwords Guide for SME

Google have just launched a guide to setting up Adwords designed specifically for small business in Australia.

I haven’t been though it yet but will edit this post as soon as I have to give my opinion. It’s good to see them demistifying, I just hope they have explained it with sufficient clarity.

http://www.10searchmarketingsteps.com.au/

Adwords Australia Bans Apple trade name Keywords

Google in Australia has just banned companies from using Apple trade names in the body of their Google ads. This has been greated with a storm of protest, as how can a legitimate Apple certified retailer sell an iPod if they can’t call it that!

From what I have seen this would not stop these companies advertising against the Apple keyword, just from using Apple brand names in their ads. My feeling is that Apple is looking to defend is quality image and as you know Google ads that work usually imply some type of discount, such as “cheap Apple computers”, “Cheap iPods” etc. Apple are probably seeing this as undermining the quality of their products by marking them as cheap (they may also be defending their rrp)

I have to say I think they have probably done the only thing they could to remove the “cheap”, but it really hasn’t hit the mark. I have had this discussion with people at my work and they will not use the word “cheap” in relation to our products, preferring ‘cost effective’ or some such term which actually means nothing to anyone (cost effective iPod anyone?).

I would be interested in getting feedback on the term cheap. In my opinion if you apply it to a product that is of high quality, it simply infers a reduced price. What do you think?

Google Insight, less than Insightful

I am a bit concerned that a few of my recent posts seem to be Google bashing! First let me point out that I love most of Googles apps, I use analytics on my sites as well as Google docs, gmail etc. However I keep finding things that are perhaps not quite right!

About a week ago I did a search on Google Insights for the company I work for, and one of our competitors. I seemed to indicate some unusual activity happening, so I rushed out a report for our management meeting which is in a couple of days (from the date of this post).

To make sure I was up to date, I had another look at the stats today, and to my surprise, not only did it not show this unusual activity. A lot of the line was totally different. I have checked the keywords, period, geographic location etc and these are all the same, but the line is definitely different. Thankfully I took screen shots so you can see for yourself below: –

Same search on Google Insights - 1 week apart
Same search on Google Insights - 1 week apart

I think the moral of the story is probably that Insights may not be quite as Insightful as we think. I really don’t know why this should change, but it makes me concerned that this is really not a tool you can use reliably without significant supporting data.

Monkeying with Marketing

I came across an interesting firefox greasemonkey plugin the other day called mediatriggerwords that allows you to find and replace common trigger words used in media today. This includes things like the range of killers from Freedom fighter, through insurgent to terrorist. This really changes your perspective when you are reading news as you become more aware of the bias of the news media (or country) to a particular event.

The reason I am commenting on this is that it is not much of a stretch to go from media trigger words to marketing. Imagine a situation where your carefully crafted marketing message is re-written on the fly by your browser.

My best advice, is hopefully what most people do on the web anyway, and that is to stay away from too much marketing speak. Always use language that is easy to scan and understand, and isn’t overtly trying to sell to people. That way not only will your website perform better, it is less likely to fall foul of greasemonkey scripts!

Increase your landing page conversion

I came across this graph today and thought it was worthing passing along. This is well researched info on some easy ways to increase your PPC ad landing page conversion. Obviously these are general rules and you would really have to test your own results, but at least these give you a start on what to concentrate on.

Obviously the best results are obtained from repeated testing and tweaking your page, but it is interesting to see that removing navigation produces such a big effect. What they mean of coarse is removing standard site navigation so that the visitors only focus is the offer.