Ramblings of an IT Consultant

Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Social Media as a Marketing Tool does it work?

In Blog, Google, Social Media on August 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Today this is the big question on my mind.  I recently developed a website for one of my customers that allowed a user to place a comment on the services their particular council offered.  They then created a Twitter account and off they went. www.thelocalgovernmentforum.co.uk

Finding people to follow was not a problem as they decided to follow each council that had a twitter account.  Slowly but surely the number of followers increased to over 250 but alas very few of these followers visited the website.

The current Mrs G also has a website which is advertised via Twitter & Facebook and again we have the same issues we have followers and people who like posts but no actual traffic coming from the Social Media networks to the websites. www.mathsstar.com

I recently read an article that suggested that Social Media was great for keeping in touch but in a lot of cases people would hit the like, follow or re-tweet button without the referer ever visiting the link.  It would seem that unless what you say in a tweet or a like is topical, people will just move on.

Do you have any experience in the Social Media field that can point me and others in the right direction?  I know there are a lot of businesses making money out of social media but I am beginning to wonder if keeping to the top of the search listings is the best way to drive traffic to a website.

Do single page websites work?

In blocked drain, Customer Service, ebay, Google, monocle, SEO on November 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I have recently been commissioned to build quite a few single page websites.  My clients believe that a single page selling them or  their only product is all that is required.

I am from the school of thought where a website should have lots of pages to attract search engines.  I have a number of sites where this works well,  however other sites only 1 or 2 pages rank well in the likes of Google or Yahoo.

Recently I have been wondering if a well written single page website can fight against its content rich competitors.  My findings were quite interesting.  The first site I tried it on was a site offering a Drain unblocking service –www.mmdrainsunblocked.co.uk.

Basically this site offers plumbing services across the south-east of england.  However a site like this needs to make a fast impact.  If someone has a blocked drain or a leaking pipe, do they need to trawl through several pages to find out which number they need to call, or if the service they require is available?   Saying all of this I was a bit sceptical about the single webpage approach, but the customer gets what the customer wants.

So I set about creating the webpage.  I got in touch with my designer who did a fantastic job of making the site look professional.  My thinking was that we needed to say a lot in an instant to make an impact.  His design was bright and simple.  Now it was over to me.  I then built a content management system allowing the user to modify each section of the new page.  Again if google and the user only have one page to view then content is king,  so it would need to be updated regularly.  We made sure that the key towns were listed with their telephone numbers at the bottom of the page.

Quite quickly we found that the single page approach was successful.  Within 3 weeks the new website was on the first page of google for quite a few search terms.  We still agree there is a long drawn out battle still to be won with this website; as you can imagine there is a lot of competition in this sector.  We will have to review the number of jobs that come in via this approach but the initial findings are promising.

The next single webpage site was developed to help my dad.  My dad sells monocles online using eBay.  He decided he wanted a website so sell his monocles, but there was a challenge.  How can you describe a monocle and make it sound interesting?  I went over and over his eBay advert and just could not find a way to make a monocle sales pitch.  I toyed with the idea of having a history of monocle page, but again I could not come up with a reasonable explanation as to why this website needed one.  After all if you arrive on his site you know what a monocle is anyway.

So this weekend we launched another single page website selling gold monocles.   The website allows you to buy a prescription monocle and checkout with either PayPal or Google Checkout.   The website www.themonocleshop.com has only been around a few days so it’s too early to tell if it is a success.  If it works as well as his eBay page then I am sure it will be!

Have you ever created a single page website or are contemplating it?  Who knows maybe single page well written websites are the future.

ASP.NET 301 Redirect in VB

In Google, Microsoft, PageRank, SEO on October 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

I have been recently been moving a complete website to a new domain and the client asked what will happen to all of the broken links in Google.  They were quite concerned that their page rank would drop due to the massive changes.  Simple I said a 301 redirect and an update to the sitemap will help.

There is a way you can do this from within the web.config or even java script, but for this site decided to create 301 code in the page init event.

Protected Sub Page_Init(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Init
Response.Status = “301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader(“Location”, “http://www.gallagherit.co.uk”)
End Sub

I made sure that all of the old pages were redirected to their matching new page and following a quick update of the sitemap to remove the broken links and away we went.  I used XML-Sitemaps.com to generate my sitemaps which is free if your website is less than 500 pages in size.

The good thing about 301 redirects is that it keeps Google happy and we all like to keep Google happy dont we?