Thursday, 31 July 2008

Its the final countdown

Earlier this month I spammed you with news of my alcohol abstinence for July, and I can not tell you how long July has slowly passed by!

Going into the last day of my booze deprived month and I am still going strong as are the sales of OJ, Cranberry Juice and Coca-Cola in and around the pubs and clubs of Baker Street/Farringdon.

Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and especially those that donated – So far I’ve managed to raise a massive £415 for a Bolton Children’s Hospice – who have been in touch to wish me well and to thank you all.

So only 14 hours to go!!! – That first pint when I land in Portugal is going to taste amazing, as in the second, third…

Thank you all again…


Chris
http://www.justgiving.com/nopintsforchris



Monday, 28 July 2008

URL duplication – Canonicalization

As advanced has we have all become with our search engine marketing strategies many websites both large and small are still making basic errors which can fundamentally effect their search engine rankings.

URL duplication is still a very common error to which Google still throwns upon. Canonicalization (Google term!) is the process of Google picking the best url when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. For example, most people would consider these the same urls:

http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/
http://houseoffraser.co.uk/
http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/on/demandware.store/Sites-hof-Site/default/Default-Start

URL duplication – Canonicalization do not let this effect your website, search engine marketing strategies
Surely all the same site? Or are they? Don't let URL duplication effect your SERPs.

But technically all of these urls are different. A web server could return completely different content for all the urls above. This was the issue with the House of Fraser site until we correctly 301 re-directed the URLs to the root homepage URL.

Website owners need to ensure all internal links to the homepage are set to the root URL, therefore Google can correctly assign the authority/rank of the site to one single page rather than spreading the link creditability to a mixture of sites. Google does this as it sees various sites which appear the same, potential copy-cat sites. As Google can not decide who the authority of the given subject is, it simply shares the rank up by each player – if you own both the sites, you are therefore decreasing your rank due to poor website SEO housekeeping.

Tip. The classic is always your logo – make sure this isn’t going to xyz.com/index.html

Any questions or comments please do let below and do look out for further search engine marketing tidbits.
Chris

House of Fraser Affiliate Voucher code

House of Fraser have a voucher code that is available for affiliates to start using straight away, ending 31st August. The offer is available on full priced & SALE items currently on the House of Fraser site. Plus if the consumer then goes on to spend above £50 they get free standard delivery to any UK address.

For more details please visit the specific affiliate forum posts from Commission Junction and LinkShare.

For ideas of how to promote the voucher, please do view my tips on how to promote sale.

Can I also remind affiliates promoting this voucher code not to drive traffic via PPC using the House of Fraser (or any misspells) trademark as this is prohibited on our programme – please include House of Fraser in your negative keyword list.

Any questions or comments please let me know.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

A good way to promote sale!

Readers of my blog and House of Fraser affiliates will be aware we are currently in our Summer SALE with up to 70% off online and we have seen fantastic sales uplift from our affiliates.

Placements of our SALE creative and supportive copy have aided the spike however, online publishers that go the extra mile will always see high conversion rates.

Take the new House of Fraser affiliate – Give or Take, and their blog announcement that House of Fraser is now live - they have initially utilised our introductionary blerb supportive copy provided via both our affiliate networks - not just leaving it there - to maximise the current House of Fraser SALE they have cleverly then hand picked several SALE products across womenswear and menswear via product shots.

Affiliate Site Review - Give or Take, new House of Fraser affiliate Give or Take annoucement to their user base and taking advantage of the House of Fraser sale

Call to action!
Using the product screenshots Give or Take have also referenced the featured products with the previous price (clever use of strike through) and the now SALE price.
Affiliate Site Review - Listing featured products - however, where are the deeplinks?

Affiliate 2.0
Give or Take is currently utlising techniques coined under web 2.0; allowing the user to comment on the blog post and therefore engage in conversation and also bookmark to popular social networking sites such as delicious, facebook, reddit.


Affiliate Site Review - Utlise Social Networking Tools and promote viral marketing


Overal a nice article post for an affiliate to introduce there customer base to House of Fraser however, I do think there are a few tweaks to aid to the user and drive those conversion rates ups.


Recommendations
1 - Sign up - The Give or Take site is a members site, the blog post should reference to sign up for the site.
2 - Deeplink - With the recommended products - send the traffic straight to the related product.
3 - Call to action - The use of a call to action graphic would increase the conversion rate (naturally keep to the look and feel of the site).
4 - Alt tags - Google Images has now overtaking MSN and Yahoo in the search market share in the UK. Give or Take has placed House of Fraser products without the use of an alt tags - maximise this oppourtunity and traffic source whilst also aiding partial sighted net users.

If you'd like to nominate your site for a review please contact me.


Chris

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Qik - Video Stream

Earlier in the summer I met an old online friend Jackie Danicki who introduced me to her latest project - Qik.

Qik enables you to share moments of your life with your friends, family and the world - directly from your mobile phone - so armed with my Nokia N82 I was able to produce the small video below - I will aim to publish videos initially aimed to benefit affiliates of House of Fraser.

As the Qik systems allows for online chat - those online can engage with me directly to ask questions - I see a fantastic Q&A area in the not too distant future.

Well here is the first Qik stream - Hope you enjoy!


Friday, 11 July 2008

Horrible new Wanderers kit!

Is it a bra? Is it a traning top? No it is Bolton Wanderers' new kit for 2008/09 modelled by strapping centre half Gary Cahill.


Horrible Bolton Kit


At least they have reverted back to the blue shorts but I am really disappointed by this kit - at best it is a training kit. I just don't see where the grey/blue halter top style comes from? And is it Reebok or RBK - brand marketing confusion at it's best - it appears we are back to the UK attempt at Reebok (hopefully this means we wont have the gun-happy american gansta style RBK down with the kids adverts at half time!).





Poor effort Bolton, poor effort Reebok - let's just hope it works on the pitch!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Product Feed in action!

From time to time I will be updating the blog with some little tidbits from the House of Fraser affiliate programme, todays in just a nice example of the House of Fraser affiliate product feed in action from a newly joined publisher Shopstyle.co.uk.

Below is a little screen grab and a link to the House of Fraser featured products.

House of Fraser Product Feed Example with ShopStyle

Link - http://www.shopstyle.co.uk/browse?fts=house+of+fraser

ShopStyle have recently joined our programme after setting up in the UK after their huge success in their native country, USA - where they attract more than two million unique users per month.

The site, which describes itself as "the fashion Google", allows consumers to search for the latest items from a number of retailers, boutiques and labels, by using key words. ShopStyle also offers a social media element, providing tools that allow users to interpret seasonal trends by browsing, creating and sharing personalised looks.

House of Fraser Affiliate Feed
Why not join ShopStyle and feature the range of House of Fraser's fashion, home and beauty products within your product feed. Our feed is available free from both our LinkShare and Commission Junction programmes - for any help please speak to the individual networks or failing that contact me.

Cheers, Chris

Ps. Great to see sales already via the ShopStyle feed!

Alcohol abstinence update

Just a little update on my charity fundraiser, as some of you may be aware I am giving up alcohol for July in aid of Derian House childrens Hospice in Bolton.

Day 9 – and so far so good!

I’ve had a few ventures to pubs and realised it is actually quite hard to choose a soft drink and it’s also slightly embarrassing especially as in last week when a barman laughed at me for “just ordering an orange juice”.
Wagamama's - Giving Up Alcohol
So far I’ve had two work events where Cranberry and OJ have ruled, two trips to the pub – a nice refreshing Coca-Cola when everyone else was on Beck Vier (one of my favourite beers!) and I helped an old university friend celebrate his 25th with dinner at Wagamama’s (ordered still water!) and a pint of OJ and Lemonade in the pub afterwards!
OJ for Chris

I’ve already survived one weekend but naturally more to come this month and more potentially boozy work events – including tonight actually with a supplier roof top party!!!

What has amazed me is the level of donations by family, friends and work colleagues – I’ve already managed to raise £290 which is a fantastic amount of money for the children’s hospice. Plus I know a few mates and looking at tactical bets and waiting until I cave in to then put a greater amount down – as I originally promised I would double the total amount!

So far, so good!

Thank you again for those who have already donated and those that haven’t here is the link – http://www.justgiving.com/nopintsforchris

Thanks, Chris

Monday, 7 July 2008

Monday Rain Dance!!!

If you are sad about the miserable Monday weather by all means blame me! Last night I performed my rain dance to assist sales to all online merchants!

And it hasn't half paid off! It's been absolutely pouring down here in Central London and it is now thunder & lightning oooohh -

Friday, 4 July 2008

chrisbishop.co.uk - New blog address

Just a quick note that I have changed the URL of this blog to my personal domain - chrisbishop.co.uk which has been sitting politely waiting for some traffic - so please update your bookmarks.

But don't worry I wont leave my old readers behind! the blogspot domain http://chris-bishop.blogspot.com will 301 redirect to chrisbishop.co.uk - magic!

301 redirects!

301 redirects play a major role in search engine optimisation. They enter into the equation in many different situations, but the 2 most common situations are:
All sites should redirect all URLs associated with their domain which do not start with "www" (i.e. "http://yourdomain.com") to the same pages on your their domain that start with "www" (i.e. "http://www.yourdomain.com"). This is referred to as a canonical redirect. The reason this is important is that search engines are not smart enough to tell if the non-www version of your domain is really a different site, or not, than the www version of your domain. And, if other people link to your site, you can't can't control whether or not they link to your site with a www or not.

Or you decide to move the content or moving to a completely new domain as I have done with chrisbishop.co.uk.

In either of these situations, you should use a 301 redirect. Other redirects are dangerous to use. Both the 302 redirect and the meta-refresh technique for performing redirects are potentially harmful to your site's ranking in the search engines. The 301 redirect is seen as a "permanent move" of the content, and the links to the page, to a new location and the search engine acts accordingly.

The 302 redirect and meta refresh are seen as "temporary moves" of the content.
Specifically, when a search engine sees a temporary redirect, the search engine continues to assume that the redirecting URL is the owner of the content. This means that all link credit associated with the redirecting page is associated with the redirecting page, and not the new page. In addition, you may get flagged as being a potential spammer, because in the past, spammers used temporary redirects to other people's sites as a way of stealing traffic from them.

When a search engine sees a permanent (301) redirect, it assumes that all credit for links to the redirecting page actually belong to the new page. This helps search engines transition to indexing the new page very quickly, and does not bear the potential stigma of association with past spammer tactics.

Google handles complex redirect situations as this very efficiently and will update its index very smoothly and quickly, and pass on all link credit from the old page to the new page. In our experience, Yahoo can take 6 to 8 months to correctly pass on all link credit for links to the old URL(s) to the new URL(s).

For that reason, you should only move URLs, or domains, when you really need to. Its important to not rely on these techniques unless you have to. But if you do, the 301 redirect is the tool of choice.

Fingers crossed Google will update my domain quickly and the authority of my blogspot domain will be correctly passed on.

Thanks, Chris

Thursday, 3 July 2008

House of Fraser SALE, up to 70% off

Further to the annoucement last week about the House of Fraser affiliate campaign for SALE, we have now made further knock downs and our SALE is now up to 70% off (and free delivery on orders above £50)

The creatives should auto-update from both LinkShare and CJ but please ensure your banners now show the 70% off call to action - naturally increase your CTR and therefore traffic and sales!

House of Fraser SALE - affiliate creative

Stats
- 5% net commission!
- AOV over £100!

Feed
The feed is available both with LinkShare and CJ (both free!!)

Supportive Copy
Please update your supportive copy with your House of Fraser banner/text links.

Version 1
SALE now on at House of Fraser. Enjoy up to 70% off* hundreds of brands and thousands of products ranging from designer clothing for men, women and children to home accessories. Don’t miss out on great savings. Plus receive free standard delivery when you spend £50 or more online.

- Go shop online at House of Fraser.

*Online price includes discount where applicable. Exclusions apply, see House of Fraser Online.

Any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Thanks, Chris