Viviti Changing to Jigsy

Viviti logoViviti is one of the free venues to make websites discussed in my book, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free. It’s not the most highly recommended free website company, but it is great for speed and ease of use. This site, ebooksuccess4free jigsy com, was the Viviti site example for the book and is now a Jigsy example because…

…they’ve changed names. Anyone with an existing Viviti account is already 301 redirected to Jigsy. I just got the following email;

Important notice from Viviti.com : Your website URL is changing
Effective March 10, 2011 Viviti.com is rebranding as Jigsy.com. Please visit Jigsy.com and bookmark for your future account logins.

On June 1, 2011 your website ebooksuccess4free.viviti.com will be found at ebooksuccess4free.jigsy.com

To help make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your website viewers a few reminders:

Remember to update your bookmarks and e-mail signatures.
Your accounts recurring billing will now be listed as Jigsy.com on your Credit Card statement.
Your Viviti website URL will be redirected until June 1st. This will be an HTTP code 301 permanent redirect so search engine rank will not be affected.
Users will notice no difference other than the new URL subdomain.
After March 10, 2011 all logins to manage your account will be done at Jigsy.com.

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WordPress or Blogger, Blogger or WordPress? No Longer a Question of Statistics

comparing apples to apples, wordpress or bloggerArticle first published as Blogger or WordPress: Do Stats Compare? on Technorati.

Blogger or WordPress, WordPress or Blogger? What’s the best free blogging host? It’s the Coke-Pepsi question that comes up repeatedly in Cyberspace, each with pros and cons. Common opinions are: WordPress doesn’t allow JavaScript or AdSense… Blogger is owned by Google which could boot you if they don’t like the content… WordPress has a better forum… Blogger is easier to use… the arguments go on and on.

When I wrote, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free, a whopping 7 months ago, the deal-clincher was the stat-monitoring with WordPress compared to nothing from Blogger. T’was hard to believe since it’s owned by Google which freely offers Google Analytics. Well, that’s all changed and the debate continues.

Way, way back in July 2010 (man, I’m so out of it sometimes) Blogger introduced this feature and quietly added it to existing blogs. Yes, I didn’t even notice until a few weeks ago. Now I can peruse traffic numbers, which posts are most popular and where people are coming from.

Blogger breaks up the page into four sections: Overview, Posts, Traffic Sources and Audience. WordPress has seven: Visits, Referrers, Top Posts and Pages, Search Engine Terms, Clicks, General and Incoming Links. A comparison of categories:

Overview and Visits- similar for both sites reporting visitor numbers by day, week, month and all-time. Blogger has the extra feature of near-live results for each hour within a day. Not hugely important but kinda fun to see what happens after a post or trying to figure where a burst of recent visitors came from. Advantage barely to Blogger.

Posts and Top Posts/Pages- both report each posting and the number of views by popularity. Advantage neither.

Traffic Sources and Referrers- handled differently as Blogger combines Referring Sites, URLs and Keywords to give a rundown of the ways visitors find your blog. WordPress just lists the referring URLs and puts Search Engine Terms and Incoming Links in a separate category. I find this of marginal value; often they lead me places where I cannot determine a link to my site and even wonder if it’s a spam-bot in action. It’s the Keywords that are most useful, as I get a feel for which search terms direct visitors. Additionally WordPress has an Incoming Links category which only lists four links to my blog (strangely all are from my Blogger blog) which is a tiny fraction of the true total. This mistake could count against WordPress, but really the advantage here is neither.

Audience- Blogger has a feature showing which country, browser and operating system the visitors represent. It seems to be grossly inaccurate since it only lists ten countries for my blog and the least common (Spain) has forty-eight visitors. There must be plenty of foreign visits from Australia, Canada and India to name a few that are suspiciously missing. It’s good to know the browser types and operating software; that Internet Explorer and Firefox are the big players as well as Windows. Also fun to see a few visitors utilized iPhones, iPads and Blackberries to visit. Since WordPress doesn’t offer this, advantage Blogger.

Clicks- WordPress has this category for what links people clicked to go elsewhere. This is smart as the most common clicks tell a blog owner what external sources visitors appreciate. Advantage WordPress.

General- within the WordPress tab of General is a subset for Subscriptions, people who have chosen to follow your blog. Could be a great way to contact others or look into networking possibilities. Advantage WordPress.

Overall, these are fairly equal. If I had to choose, WordPress would have the tiniest advantage in stats though it’s still a toss-up. Because of my love for JavaScript gadgets, I’ll probably remain teetering on Blogger’s side on the fence.

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How to Pick Your Domain Name, Easy Homework Before the URL

Google Keywords, Keyword Tool External, SEO, SEO TipsArticle first published as How to Pick Your Domain Name on Technorati.

Before you run off and create any website or blog, take some quality time to research the domain name. You may want it to sound catchy, but it’s wise to simply convey aspects of you or your business. It helps dramatically with search engines if the words within the URL are related to search terms for someone looking for what you have to offer (e.g., solarbirdbath.com). That would help a bunch if someone wanted a solar-powered birdbath with a fountain and heated water, and so they went searching online by typing the phrase “solar birdbath.” It’s actually a term which gets typed into Google 22,200 times per month as of September of 2010. As for the plural of the phrase, “solar birdbaths,” that only gets searched 1,900 times a month in comparison, or about 9% as much. Based on this data, it would be smarter to name your site solarbirdbath.com than solarbirdbaths.com.

How do I know? By using Google Keyword Tool External. Keywords are essential for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to link your sites with certain words, terms and phrases. It’s best to add keywords to every site, blog, article and location that has boxes for them–keywords that describe the content of what your site is about. And, as shown above, you can even figure out ways to include keywords in your domain name.

The first step is to visit Google Keyword Tool External. There you can input phrases individually or altogether and get valuable feedback from Google on which search terms are used the most and how much competition exists from other advertisers. By comparing each of your terms plus the synonyms, or similar terms Google will automatically provide, it becomes clear which keywords should work the best over time.

Here’s a detailed example. I just wrote a book on how to make free websites and needed to choose the title and URL. By comparing extremely similar phrases like “create free website,” to “build free website” and “make free website,” Google told me that “make free website” was a more common search term than the others. I also learned that “website” is much more commonly searched than “site” and “blog.” Another revelation was that “your” was more commonly searched than “my” when mixed with these other phrases. I also wanted to include the word “own” because it implies ownership and only slightly reduced the number of searches per month. Turns out “your free website” gets searched 165,000 times per month while “your own free website” gets 110,000 searches. That’s a difference I can live with for a word that helps the title have more power for the consumer. Making sense?

In less than an hour I had narrowed my book title and website URL down to these possibilities:

Make your own free website
How to make your own free website
Your own free website

I checked the competition from other advertisers which is also included in the Keyword Tool results. It turns out when comparing “make your own free website” to “your own free website,” the second phrase had 50,000 more searches per month and less competition from other advertisers.

Then I checked name availability at both Godaddy and the websites where I wanted to create free examples for the book. Although this domain name was not available at Godaddy as a pure dot com, it was available at the venues to create my examples. And so I went ahead and registered it as yourownfreewebsite.webs.com and yourownfreewebsite.yolasite.com. (Know this; it doesn’t matter if you have a long domain name. People click links to visit sites so your domain can be long.)

Additionally I battled with whether to use dashes, underscores or nothing to separate the words in the URL. Should the site be called your-own-free-website, or your_own_free_website or simply yourownfreewebsite? All of the research indicated that Google would find my site just fine in any case since they have such a complex algorithm with over 200 variables for detecting keywords, so this really boils down to personal preference. In the end I liked it this way, your-own-free-website.com because I believe it’s the easiest way to read. Remember, you don’t have to use dashes or underscores for Google to find the keywords in a URL. For that site I spent a few bucks to have the custom domain name without the extra suffix, though for demonstration purposes I also created your-own-free-website.webs.com to show others not to worry about the extra suffix.

Finally, I wanted to name the book, How to Make Your Own Free Website. I went to Amazon and typed that exact phrase into a book search. I was delighted to see that no one had a book with that title. Surprisingly, there were very few titles even close to that, so I knew this would be a great name for people to find not only my website but my Amazon book as well. I included the subtitle for those who wanted more info on blogs, and the title became, How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too. This way my keywords are part of my URL address and my book title, and over time people will certainly find me with search engine terms.

If you have questions on domain names and your own URL options, just contact me through this website.

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The New Age: Free Lunch

Article first published as The New Age: Free Lunch on Technorati.

free lunch, homeless person, opportunity, life liberty pursuit of happiness, american dreamRemember the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” or “You have to spend money to make money?” The lunch saying began when saloon owners gave away “free” food to anyone purchasing drinks, an effective marketing ploy that was noticeably not without cost to customers. Spending, or investing, to make money was demonstrated beautifully for decades by George Steinbrenner though the recently deceased Yankees owner was merely quoting a traditional adage.

To me, these phrases go hand in hand. The concepts are that nothing is without cost, and those who want more money must use some money wisely to make it happen. While it appears these dogmas are ingrained in the American psyche, the fact is these beliefs contradict the American Dream; opportunity exists for anyone with ability and effort regardless of their means. Thankfully, these outdated concepts are also changing before our eyes.

The internet is the true champion of all things free. I’m continually amazed at the plethora of free online resources and how much they’ve impacted my life. To name just a smidgen, how valuable are Google, Facebook and Twitter? Hard to put a price tag on what those services would be worth if I had to pay for them.

Here’s a fun headline that you’ll read someday soon (or maybe already have); Homeless Person Creates Empire with Free Tools at Library. Imagine a homeless guy; let’s call him Hal, visiting the public library daily to use the computers. Hal makes a website at a free web design venue with hosting included. He writes articles and uses public domain images to bring attention to the homeless in his city. He asks for donations. Personal checks and PayPal clicks start coming Hal’s way. He adds video and interviews to better demonstrate the plight of his friends. The website booms. Months later he’s the CEO of an upstart company that assists the poverty stricken in his city. Years later Hal’s company has gone worldwide. He raises billions and aids countless people from a venture that began with absolutely nothing invested and services available for free.

I just imagined this scenario, but there’s probably an example of Hal already in action. The naysayers clinging to tradition might argue, “Our tax dollars paid for the library, the computer, the internet connection and the electricity.” Well, sure, that’s right. Naysayers are good at that.

Do they recognize what’s happening to the price of music or video rental? Do they see the possibility of a virtual MBA from Harvard professors at the lower class home of a student in the near future?

The naysayers can stick with whatever money mantra that makes them feel secure. I firmly believe we’ve entered a new age that’s being ushered in by the internet. The Free Lunch is the latest chapter of the American Dream. Will it be prosperous for everyone like it is for Hal? Probably not, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

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Future of Web-designers: Extinction or Evolution?

make free website, your own free website, how to make your own free website, web design, sell ebooksArticle first published as Future of Web-designers: Extinction or Evolution?; on Technorati.

Often times I wonder, is the future of web-designers extinction or evolution? Extinction is probably a harsh word. After all, we don’t hold web-designers in the same boat with accident attorneys, IRS collection employees or oil and pharmaceutical executives. Evolution is really a better term for web-designers, as in they’ll likely need to evolve to stay afloat. I say this because their services are similar to others that are destined to be obsolete in the near future, like video rental warehouses and brick and mortar bookstores. You might ask, however, why is the future uncertain for web-design? Well, because it’s incredibly easy for anyone to build their own website and to do it for free. Part of this is really my own much needed therapy; it’s a rant of pent up energy after spending several thousand dollars on four different web-designers over the past few years, especially after learning, to my painful amusement, that I could have built the sites myself for free. Now that so many web and blog hosting services offer both the space at their venues and the site-building software included, absolutely anyone can make his/her own website and edit it to hearts content for no cost. Don’t believe me? Check out these dot coms: webs, yola, wordpress, blogger, weebly, wetpaint, webstarts, viviti, forummotion and so many others. Most of these companies didn’t exist when I first hired out for a site, and you can bet on it that many more are popping up all the time. The competition will only increase to give users more flexibility, bandwidth, applications and ease of use when it comes to making their websites. Oh, and of course it will absolutely have to be free of cost. Yes, a pure dot com domain still costs a bit, about $10 per year, but does it really matter anymore if your domain name ends with the extra suffix as in example.webs.com? Hardly anyone manually types in a URL these days; they click on links to go everywhere. Wouldn’t surprise me if you could get the pure dot com for free pretty soon. That would be a nice feature for a fledgling free web-hosting company. I can see it soon, custom domain names included for free! So what are these $120/hr web-designers going to do in the not so distant future? My guess is they’ll either work for the rich and lazy or specialize in increasingly complex sites. Today the average Joe has plenty of options for getting a name, business and online identity happening at absolutely no cost. Read more: http://technorati.com/blogging/article/future-of-web-designers-extinction-or/#ixzz10Cr2rKU3

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