A Sight For Sore Sites

Changing your website design can sometimes be well worth it, sometimes be a wrong move and other times be a big waste of time. How do you know if it is the right thing to do? I’m definitely not here to tell you I know the exact answer, but I’ll definitely fill you in on what we did to decide it was time.

  1. Ask your customers for suggestions to improve your site. If you find customers having a hard time getting around or quite a few make comments about the look and feel, it might be that time to either improve or redesign.
  2. Track the traffic and conversions. If you notice you’re getting one conversion with thousands of visits, there is something that can be improved to convert a higher percentage and a new design could be the trick.
  3. Compare your site to other sites within your market. I compare it to my senior year in high school when I was looking around at all of my friends hair styles one day during lunch and realized I was the only one sporting a mullet. At that point, I realized it was time for a redesign of my hair. If your site is the mullet of your market, stop feathering it and try a younger, more hip style.
  4. Read up on new technologies and see if there is a more proficient way to display your content. For example, designing with tables is a thing of the past and CSS is now the cool kid on the block.
  5. My last tip is a simple, but great idea. Ask a family member, friend or business associate that has no idea what your website does and have them to go through and make notes about parts they find confusing or difficult. This might cost you a case of beer or maybe a few bucks, but it is well worth it. As a webmaster, what might be trivial to you, could be the most complicated task to a typical visitor of your site.

As Matt mentioned in the previous post, we recently launched a new front end of our website. All of the suggestions above were used and it all pointed to the fact our old website just sucked. And to prove the differences between our old site and our new site, I pulled our tracking info we have for the month of May ’07 compared to the month of June ’07. We launched our new site on June 1st.

This first screen shot is for the month of May. You will see we had a fair amount of “pay per click” traffic over the month.

May Pay Per Click Conversions

Now this next screen shot is for the month of June. Our new design was up and running on June 1, so this is our PPC conversions after we chopped the mullet off. Traffic is pretty much the same, but notice the conversion numbers:

June PPC Conversions

So in summary, if you currently sport a mullet, I am not saying it doesn’t work for you. I’m just suggesting maybe you ask your friends how it looks and if they understand it. Oh yeah, (a shameless plug) make sure you notice the conversion rate of our LinkWords program. It is our highest conversion percentage of all marketing techniques we use.

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LinkInTxt – If At First You Do Not Succeed . . .

. . .blame it on the next guy! Some of you have been asking us about the first LinkInTxt crawl and we have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Ok, ok. I’ll give you the good news first. The good news is we were just a few hours away from a successful complete crawl with literally thousands upon thousands of keywords ready to be bought up. During a test, we found the most unique keywords one could imagine, meaning it will work for almost any niche website out there.

Now I guess the time has come to announce the bad news. Did you hear that business.com is for sale to whoever has a spare FOUR HUNDRED MILLION in their pocket? Oh right, the bad news. 🙂 Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with our server administrators regarding a routine hard drive corruption test that required a restart of our operating system. This restart occurred this morning about three hours before the entire process was going to end. We expected there was a way to simply resume the process, however, since it was ended abruptly, it corrupted all of our data. Can you say “BUMMER!”

Where does this leave us? “On the road again . . .” crawling again. Smarter. Wiser. Faster. If we want to go tech-talk, we might call this LinkInTxt v2.1.

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LinkInTxt 2.0 Is Here!

We recently launched our product LinkInTxt and based on great feedback from our customers, the setup for Partners was just too difficult for large sites and very time consuming. We quickly went into brainstorming mode and came up with a brilliant idea that would take all of the setup out of our Partner’s hands.

Now, if you wish to participate in our LinkInTxt program, it’s as simple as including it in our “crawl list”. From that point, there is nothing else for you to do unless an advertiser decides to purchase a keyword(s) from your web page(s). We now have our own search engine that will crawl your site and index all possible keywords we were able to find. This will give Advertisers the ability to search for any keyword on your site. As always, Partners will have the final decision if the keyword will be placed or not. We do not force the link and then make it your job to remove it after the fact, like some places. If your site has hundreds or thousands of pages, you would not want a competitor plugging in their links throughout your site before you can say no.

We’re still adding a few upgrades to version 2, but it should be in full working mode by the end of this month.

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Website Maintenance Completed – New Site Up

After much anticipation, our first phase of the new website is up and running. A few little bugs here and there, but I think we gave it a thorough walk through to find anything that might cause problems to our customers. We’ll be monitoring support to answer any questions or issues that might come up.

A HUGE “Thanks” to our “Colombian Crusher“, “NEO” and the man behind the look, “The Eclecticist“. These guys are making it all happen. (Side Note: Dustin wants everyone to know he has nothing to do with the design you see once you login.) 😐

If you have any of our old pages bookmarked, consider updating the bookmarks because any pages that have changed names or were deleted, will be removed permanently within the next day or two. If you come across anything out of the ordinary, please report it so we can make things right.

Our next phase will be upgrading the part all current customers see daily, the Control Center. This is what most will be happy to see updated, including us!

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Scheduled Maintenance Thursday 5.31.07 at 3PM CST

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 31, 2007, we will be locking account access between the hours of 3:00-5:00PM Central Standard Time. During this time we will be applying upgrades to our website.

Our support system, blog and message forum will not be affected during this time and can be accessed for any changes or updates during the upgrades.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and urge all customers to report any bugs/issues found once we turn the site back online.

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Update On Site Upgrade

Much to my disappointment, we were unable to get the new front end of our website up this week. We’ve been working really hard to try and cover all angles and get the new site up this week, but there were just too many surprises that popped up. The last thing we wanted to do was put up a site that could have caused missed affiliate referrals, direct sales or new accounts all bugged out before Memorial Day weekend.

There is absolutely no doubt we will have the new front end of our site up next week. It’s basically completed now, we just need to work out a couple of bugs, so expect a new look next week! We’re definitely excited about it and many customers we’ve spoken with are as well.

We’ve also started working on the new Control Center, however, that does not have a definite finish date. Our Control Center is quite a beast and we’re not only upgrading the visual design, but also making the navigation much easier and fine tuning the mechanics of it all. We’ll keep everyone updated as we progress.

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New Affiliate Banners Available

We’ve finally updated our affiliate section with quite a few up to date banners. You should find one that fits your site and if not, drop us a line to let us know what size would work best for you.

To find the banners, login to your Control Center (Partner Accounts Only), click the Affiliates option, then look for the Banners link. Use the code provided and it will pull the banner from our server and your affiliate code will be in the code.

A big thanks to Dustin, our new graphic/web developer for putting them together.

If you have any questions, please contact support.

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Update on LinkInTxt 2.0 – Spider Process

We have been averaging 5-10 messages each day since we announced a much easier way to setup LinkInTxt for large sites. This led me to give another update so those eager beavers who are ready to rock n roll can get a better time line on when L.I.T. will be available.

So are you ready?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Year 2020

It will be purring like a kitten on January 12, 2020. You may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would a new product take 12.5 years to upgrade?” Well, hopefully I can make things understandable in the best way I can. With the new product, the difficulties and time required didn’t make sense, so we began working on a way to have our daily spider check all pages of all partners for keywords. Once that point was reached, there were space issues. . .BIG space issues. So we’re working on building a huge data warehouse that will have a state of the art facility and top of the line machines and the fastest fiber available.

Once the data warehouse gets constructed we should be completed in probably 2021, we are going to spend the next 1-2 years installing the systems. “IF” this schedule goes on time, that would leave the beta and reworking the code.

Ok, Ok, I was making all of that up. LinkInTxt should be up and running in 3 weeks! HAHA… I GOT YOU!!!

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LinkInTxt 2.0 Already In The Works

Partners who have set up LinkInTxt pages for keywords will understand the time consumption involved. With inputs from our staff, our customers and some additional creative thinking, we have found the perfect solution to sell in-content keywords. Just a quick insight, rather than submitting individual pages, you will be able to just list a url and our bot will do the rest based on your selections.

I also wanted to give a special note to our Dallas Mavericks and the Mavs fans for making it through another game. Golden State is on a hot streak and we still beat them. Take the game Thursday in Golden State, then I like our chances back in Dallas.

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Upcoming Change to LinkWorth Signup Process

Along with our new site design (coming to a theater near you), there will be a few additional changes that will accompany our site relaunch. One of these will be a change to our current sign up process.

Over 3 years ago when we first opened up LinkWorth.com, our system was a simple one trick pony and we had no idea we would grow as big as we have and add as many new product offerings in the process. Back then, the sign up process required new users to enter almost everything needed before the account was created and if you were an advertiser, we required an initial $25 deposit that went directly to your account.

We have listened to our customers recommendations and have also spent a lot of time making sure we get things right with this relaunch. The account creation, or sign up process, is one of our big changes. We ask for the basic information needed to get an account created, then once you have created your account and validated your email, just login and complete the steps necessary for the product or service you might need. We’ll have wizards that will walk you through setting up each part required.

Here is a quick glimpse of the new sign up form. You will see the simplicity, along with the exciting new look of our upcoming website.

LinkWorth Signup

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