Maine Munchies Ad

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Google Webmaster Central is Silly

Google announced the launch of Google Webmaster Central. It includes a blog, a Google Group and a FAQ. Why is Google devoting customer service cycles to its free product when it doesn't have adequate customer service for its paid product, Google AdWords? This is just plain silly. I'm a frequent poster to the AdWords Help Google Group. There are more questions than answers in that Google Group. I'm sure the Google staff is going to be completely overwhelmed with questions in the new Webmaster Help Google Group. Again, why support this community when the community that's paying the bills isn't adequately supported? Don't be evil? Don't be silly! ;-)

Now, the new webmaster tools section (more than just Google Sitemaps) is *not* silly. This will be particularly useful for webmasters who are having trouble with their sites. For example, the robots.txt file analysis tool will help webmasters see how Googlebot is crawling their site. I use my own spider tracking tool which tracks MSNBot and Yahoo Slurp as well as Googlebot (demo is here). Google's not the only game in town now is it? Or is it?

I also like the new query stats feature. This shows the the top queries that return results from a site. This is the sort of data that only Google can provide. You can track hits from the search engines via your own web analytics software but only Google can tell you precisely which searches you could potentially receive hits from. This is like tracking impressions via Google AdWords which is very useful information. This feature is currently quite primitive. I'll be curious to see if Google evolves it. I suspect that this will be one of the most used components of the new toolset.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Introducing Ads by Apogee

I've decided to run ads on my blog. No, I won't be using Google AdSense, Yahoo! Publisher or another service like BlogAds or AdBrite. Instead of "Ads by Google" you'll see "Ads by Apogee" on my blog. I'm going to run advertising for my clients. If you want to run ads, contact Apogee Web Consulting LLC to become a client.

Initially, I'll be displaying a banner ad across the top for Maine Munchies and a sidebar ad for my first client, Plantrex Flower Shop. Here's a sample of what a banner ad will look like:

Maine Munchies Ad Sample

Why blog ads now? I was reading one of my favorite magazines, Business 2.0, recently and found the article Blogging for Dollars fascinating. I had never thought of having advertising on my blog. The point of this blog isn't to make money. But, perhaps I can gain additional exposure beyond search marketing for some of my clients. BTW, if you are an existing client and want to list an ad, send me some images to work with.

If you are not (yet) a client, peruse our free resources: search engine marketing articles, keyword research tool, open source web analytics software. And, if you need a break, enjoy a game of TagMan.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Google AdWords Help Recognition

Nice to see that someone at Google appreciates the help I offer in their AdWords Help forum. Read the post by AdWordsPro. I had no idea I was one of the top 5 posters. Here's an excerpt:

...we'd like to honor our top five posters, as noted below. Thanks to you five, and to all other members of AdWords Help, for making the forum the thriving community it is today!

Here they are, folks - the All Time Top 5 AdWords Help posters, as of the moment I write:

JezC, with a truly amazing 632 posts. Jeremy, how *do* you do it?
ianfusa, who has added a great deal to our community with his 364 posts
Rich@Apogee, who can always be counted on, with 253 posts
jtara, who has been very active indeed, with 239 messages
Very Readable Bill, with a most noteworthy total of 158 posts
I started posting to AdWords Help as user Rich@Apogee in February and have found the forum both a place to help and be helped. As with any Internet forum, not all of the responses are reliable. Still, there are a sufficient number of posters who supply useful information and AdWordsPro and AdWords Help Owner step in when necessary.

Incidentally, I've exchanged emails with 3 of the other 4 top posters over the past few months and have found them to be capable and helpful people. Visit their sites and see for yourself:

JezC - Merjis - effective marketing for the web
ianfusa - AdWords for Profit - Making money from Google AdWords and AdSense
Very Readable Bill - Very Readable Books

And, if you're looking for AdWords help, read my 11 Tips for Google AdWords. Post any Google AdWords questions to the AdWords Help group (it's actually a collection of Google Groups including AdWords Basics, AdWords Guidelines, Return on Investment and Beyond the Basics). You'll likely get an answer from JezC, ianfusa or myself.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Small Business Owner Vacation

I took my first "real" vacation since founding Apogee Web Consulting LLC in March of 2004. I promised my wife I wouldn't take my laptop on our trip to Britain. I did check email and voicemail while away but managed to refrain from working more than a couple of hours while on holiday. I was quite amused on our return to find an email from one of my clients that began, "In the increasingly unlikely event that you can tear yourself away from what has to be the longest vacation ever taken by a business owner in the history of capitalism..." Ah, the joy of owning a small business.

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