Working with WordPress Backbone Websites

I am in the process of finishing up and readying for launch a new website built on the back bone of WordPress. I have to say the website has turned out nice, but I wanted to share with you a few of my thoughts on using website built like this for search engine placement.

I think that if you want to save money on webmaster services, like the control of being able to add and update your content at will; a well designed website using WordPress has no comparison. But for people, like me, who are used to full and complete source code control for SEO purposes a website built with WordPress leaves much to be desired.

Professionals in my industry know that template based websites (and that is really what a WordPress built site is-  a custom template) do not allow you full source code control. Although the designers that have worked with me on building this site have really done a great job, there are instances when I wanted to name my uploaded images my own way; I wanted to custom design my site architecture and be able to change the names and structure easily if I needed to down the road; I wanted to add special design or style elements to my pages without having to create hacks to make the page work the way I wanted it to within the template constraints. In other words, there is an element of control, subtle though it may be, that is simply missing with a WordPress site versus a custom created, built from the source code up, website.

I guess with all new improvements to allow customers to control their own content there are trade offs, but I’m not sure that I want to lose that control for every customer.


Facebook App Pages Can You Find Them?

Wow, it took me days to figure this out and I don’t consider myself a Facebook newbie at all. On business pages the new tabs are not tabs at all, here’s the lowdown. Underneath your cover photo are several text links that are spread out across the width of the page. Everyone gets a maximum of five links but you can change the order of some of the links. By clicking the down button on the very last image above the last link you can open an additional field that will show more apps and tab options.

Although Facebook calls these links tabs, they certainly are not. Remember when Facebook business pages first came out and you had real tabs at the top of your page? That was not so long ago and I liked the real tabs much better than this nearly hidden set up.  In fact, if you don’t have your own business page and just had a personal profile, you would never ever even think to open the list up or dig around to uncover these hidden pages.

When you do happen to click one of these five text links under the cover photo, you are taken to a mini website backend that is now a part of every business page. This hidden section is navigated by a drop down menu on the top left just to the left of the page’s name. Man, talk about hidden! All your apps and pages are stored in this drop down. This is the new place where your welcome page, promotion, notes, events, and the new like page now reside. See how long it takes you to find them when you migrate your own business page to the new timeline!

Based on what I see and how long it took me to figure this out, I would consider that these hidden pages will get very little if any real traffic. You can however link to many of these hidden pages if you create a Facebook advertising ad. It will be very interesting to see if big brands start to develop these hidden pages and how they will be using them. For now the new business page layout and Facebook page changes have simply caused serious grumbling and complaining in my industry.

I will reserve judgment on my end how I like these new changes, until I see if I get more or less interaction from fans. I like the visual appeal of the new timeline, but think that many of the changes will force business owners to move into Twitter and Google+ and abandon Facebook in the long run. Sorry Facebook, but I just don’t think that any business in reality is going to sit down and fill up the timeline from business inception to now and that fans will even care to read about that company history in the long run.


Facebook Page Primer

I have migrated my two Facebook business pages early to the timeline this past weekend and wanted to share some of my tips that I have figured out while I was using the new look. Remember as you read this blog post, all business pages will all be forced into the new timeline layout as of the end of March 2012.

Here’s what I have learned:

  • Don’t try to create a complex graphic or use a screen shot of our website banner. Use one large high definition image that tries to convey visually who and what you are. In my case we are located near Washington DC and so I am using a image I took recently of the Capital building. I did try my website banner and I did try a composite image, both looked too busy.
  • Clicking the star at the top right of an update will stretch either the image or text update across your whole page. Facebook will leave the bigger post up for 7 days. You can do this in several places on your page to break up your layout. Actually what I did was to design my layout look by using images and text to give a pleasing break to the typical two columns. This means that the new timeline is a much more visual statement than the old wall. Make sure to only load high definition images as when Facebook expands the image if you highlight it, low resolution images will look bad.
  • When you are logged in as a business page entity you cannot post to anyone fan or otherwise walls as a business entity. In fact when you are logged in as a business, you cannot even see a fans wall, you will only be able to see the timeline. That means that all interaction is back on your own timeline. Business pages in fact don’t have a wall anymore, just the timeline.

As a result, our services for Facebook have been changed. We may add additional services later, but for now we have streamlined our offerings to cover what we feel will work for business during this change. My personal feeling is that the action for Facebook for businesses will now be in the advertising arena. For many business owners the cost to keep a Facebook business page updated with photos, video, favorite posts, and other apps will simply be too costly and time consuming.


Organic Placement and AdWords Ads

AdWords has just released the results of a very interesting review. Although your results may be different it is worth taking a careful look-see. Here’s what the AdWords staff found:

  • On average, for advertisers who appear in the top rank organic slot, 50% of ad clicks are incremental. This means that half of all ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when search ads are paused.
  • For advertisers whose organic search results are in the 2nd to 4th position, 81% of ad clicks are incremental. For advertisers appearing in organic position of 5 or lower, 96% of ad clicks are incremental.

You can read the full blog post here.

The bottom line is that when you pause your AdWords ads and you have an organic position of 2 to 4 81% of your ad clicks are not replaced by organic generated clicks. For websites in position 5 or lower when you stop your ads 96% of your ad clicks are not replaced by organic generated clicks.

I personally feel that many website benefit from the exposure that Google AdWords ads bring even if they have fairly good organic placement.


Promoting Brand New Products No One Has Heard Of

So you’ve just created a brand new product that you really believe in, got your first container shipment from your factory in China, you’ve launched your new website, and now nothing is happening! What do you do to get sales moving?

Not always is Google AdWords the best place to promote a product that no one even knows exists. If you do want to try AdWords, depending on the product, sometimes the display network is the very best place to use to promote unknown products. Great animated banner ads can communicate visually what you are selling and get some low cost exposure. Using the CPM (cost per one thousand impressions) versus the cost per click model may be best for these types of products. I would not recommend that you use text ads to promote this type of product, but certainly it depends on what the product is.

Some ways that you can promote your brand new product would be:

  • Do a press release and send it to as many news agencies as possible. This may cost up to $1,000 or more but may be a great way to get initial exposure.
  • Get started on YouTube and take videos of your product in action.
  • Consider using Google AdWords to promote your YouTube video.
  • Work your social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Get exposure at appropriate trade shows. If you are selling a new door lock for hurricane protection, make sure to be at home shows and hardware shows. You may need to initially focus on selling to the distributor market first with face to face selling or demonstrations.

Make sure that your business plan has enough money to market your product before you even go into production. Just because you make it, people won’t be lined up to buy it without knowing more about it and how it could benefit them!


Value Per Click – Bidding Strategies

In some cases you as a business owner may consider that a click activity is important to your advertising strategy. This may be the case when you have an unknown product or be in the process of establishing your brand. You may consider that a click in to your website where a visitor is initially exposed to your message, product, or service has a measurable value. Each business case will be different and the value per click will really depend on what you are selling.

In some cases a business owner considers that click activity may turn into a repeat visitor or potential future buyer. They may want to assign a value to each click. This value may be substantially less than that for a true conversion, but still has some value. For example a business owner may say that each click merits $1 whereas a lead conversion would be worth $20 and a sale $2,000.

“The value per click is the expected profit from a current visitor to your website. You’ll likely want to … reflect the fact that the visitor might not convert on this particular visit, but may return in the future to buy something. The size of this adjustment will depend on your particular product or service.”

I do not recommend that you make advertising budget decisions based on click traffic but rather more data and typically data from micro conversions (lead conversions) or sale conversions.