Hurry, Before They’re Bought – Limited Time Only!

Someone is actually selling my paperback on Amazon for $184. Another is selling it for $187, one for $191 and another for an unbelievable $254.

Geez, what a deal?! I bet people are scrambling to their computers to snatch them up. Maybe it’s a typo on their part, but for all of them? Odd.

Update (Nov. 16), now there is only one left at $184. Maybe the others sold? Nah…

Update (Nov. 16 7pm), and now they are all gone… weird.

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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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Home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks.
Subscribe to this blog for updates for indie authors and self publishing.

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Feeling Stuck in the Tangled SEO Web?

Google spider, SEO spider, SEO rankings, search engine rankings, how to rise in search engine rankingsArticle first published as Feeling Stuck in the Tangled SEO Web? on Technorati.

As a relative latecomer to most things internet, I still don’t manage the firmest grasp on the subject of SEO (search engine optimization). Yes, everyone knows it has to do with how website owners can assist the search engines like Google/Yahoo/Bing to find their sites, and yes, SEO is important for driving traffic. So it seems this would be a pretty clear-cut thing to do, like making sure the phone book lists your business in both the white and yellow pages.

Being a DIY type, I do what everyone does and input search terms to study the subject. Turns out the more I research SEO; the more I realize this entity is not so clear-cut. There are many variables that go into how the search engines work and what factors of your website they determine to be important. In no particular order, a partial list of the factors search engines look for are: keywords and metatag info, quality and quantity of links that point to your site, page content and that of neighboring pages, size in data of your site, duration in months/years that the site has been around, and much more. In fact, Google claims to use over 200 variables in their page ranking algorithm. (Reminds me of how the NFL quarterback rating is determined, and even though nobody claims to understand it completely, we all know that a 107% rating is a lot better than 83%.)

Fortunately there are simple things everyone can do to make their sites more revealing to the indexing spiders who work incessantly for the search engines. Namely metatag data can be added to web pages, and URL’s can be directly submitted to Google, Yahoo and Bing since the largest three internet search engines should be the best places to start. Click on those hyperlinks to go directly to their departments for submitting sites. For submitting metatag details, either check with your site designer or follow the tutorials for places like WordPress, Blogger and with site-building programs like Dreamweaver and FrontPage.

Additionally one may find dozens of alternative search engines and index companies that promise assistance with this SEO enigma. Because many of these companies charge money or require email address with no reassuring privacy policy, I’d rather not use them. I did find one company that’s been around since 1996 and seems to have an excellent free program as well as paid services for those that want to maximize results. Check out ScrubTheWeb for their free SEO test. It’s a lot of fun to see how they rank your website on a scale from 1 to 100, and if they find glaring errors that aren’t in your favor (e.g., the title has more than 60 characters) they’ll let you know.

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How to Make Your Own Free Website

make free website, your own free website, how to make your own free website, web design, sell ebooksThere’s a new book just about to come out, How to Make Your Own Free Website, by Jason Matthews. See examples of the book at http://your-own-free-website.webs.com/ and http://yourownfreewebsite.yolasite.com/.

It will be available at Amazon Kindle Sept. 21st and as a paperback soon.


Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

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I just love Google Alerts

Google Alerts are awesome. If someone wants to be notified about anything online that interests them, like your name, your ebook, your download page or a subject that appeals to you, Google will send an immediate notification of that as soon as it’s discovered. This usually happens within 24 hours of an online posting. It can be a blog entry, a forum comment, an article or a webpage. It’s an incredibly valuable tool and also free.

Here’s an alert I got this morning, and I was very grateful that some nice person posted this.

Or if someone is illegally sharing my ebooks or download page URL online, I can find out about that too.

For keeping up to date with anyone online who might be talking about you or a subject of your interest, Google Alerts are the way to know about it. And if you plan to sell ebooks, then it’s an absolute must.


Home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

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