Redirect all pages of a domain except for one page with .htaccess

I had a really tough time this morning trying to figure out how to redirect all pages of one domain to another domain, but stop one (or two) of the pages on the old domain from redirecting.

The solution is as follows:

 
RewriteEngine on
#Note: do not include a "/" in the beginning of the path, this is automatic
RewriteCond $1 !^enquiry_control/enquiry4.php
RewriteCond $1 !^enquiry_control/capt.php
RewriteRule (.*) http://talooma.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Yup, its as easy as that – typical.

Secrets of an awesome AdWords Campaign

How many of you actually know that you are running a truly awesome Google AdWords campaign? Not many, I presume. What’s even more frustrating is not being able to benchmark yourself against your competitiors or to be able to see how they’re running their AdWords campaigns and if they’re better than yours. Stop nitpicking and pull yourself together man, just follow these simple instructions below and before you know it your AdWords campaigns will be generating more return on investment than you ever dreamed of.

Split your Search and Display Network

I have seen many companies and individuals make the mistake of grouping the Google Search Network and Google Display Network together in one campaign. This is seriously not ideal as your quality score will be jeopardised due to Google’s Display Network’s inability to generate high CTR’s (this is not necessarily a bad thing – more on this in another article). By creating separate campaigns for both the Google Display Network and the Google Search Network, you are able to target specific areas of interest in a much more controlled environment.

Use Google AdPlanner in conjunction with Google AdWordsGoogle AdPlanner

If you are making use of the Google Display Network in your campaigns, you should be using it in conjunction with Google AdPlanner. Google AdPlanner makes it easy to target websites that are relevant to your areas of focus and allows you to filter your results to further increase the relevancy you are seeking.

Target a specific area

Location TargetingAs simple as this sounds, it can make a huge difference to your stats. Whether you are a company that offers nationwide services or an individual that sells pancakes on the street corner, targeting your specific areas will allow you to identify hot spots and cater for the areas that are lacking in interest.  For the bigger companies, targeting main cities (or even provinces) is a good idea. After a few days, you will notice a trend as to where most of the clicks are originating and at what cost. Use common sense to adjust your budgets and optimise for maximum conversions.

Forget about weekends

Depending on the type of business you are running, it may be a good idea to stop displaying your ads over the weekends. Disable weekends in the campaign settings tab. Its a simple step but can save you a lot of waisted clicks from irrelevant visitors.

Target specific hours of the day

This is another simple step that hardly anyone makes use of though its effectiveness cannot be stressed enough. By making use of data from Google Analytics you can target specific hours of the day whereby you can modify your keyword bids to ensure top placement during these hours. To get this information, go to your Google Analytics Dashboard -> Visitors -> Visitor Trending -> Visits page, click on the “Hour” option (top right of the graph) and ensure that you have the “Paid Search” segment enabled). To adjust your bid settings in your Google AdWords campaign, go to the campaign settings tab and click on the “Ad scheduling” edit link.

Use Ad Extensions

Let’s assume you have a Google Places listing (if you don’t, what is wrong with you?!?). You can link your Google AdWords campaign to the data on your Google Places listing which allows your Ad to display your address in certain instances. Not only can you display your business address to increase ad relevancy, but you can also opt-in to display your business number which can be incredibly handy for users on their mobile phones to make a click to call conversion.

Make use of Keyword Match Types

This is one of the most common functions within Google AdWords that not many amateurs know of and use. Many users just make use of the Broard Match type which is great for targeting every single phrase or keyword that contains your broad match keyword. For example, if you are selling blue boats and you use the keyword boat in your Google AdGroup, you’re not only target blue boats but also red boats, yellow boats, boats under the sea, boat, ship, shipping, shipping company, woman in shipping, sexy woman in shipping… OK OK maybe not that far but you get the picture right? There are 3 other match types that you can use (actually there’s 4, but thats a ‘secret’ for another day). For more information on these match types, check the official Google help page on keyword matching.

And lastly, create a compelling, well structured landing page FFS!

Google Website OptimizerThis is what it all boils down to chaps. At the end of the (PPC) line comes the landing page, the page that makes or breaks a campaign. You can have everything perfectly set up in Google AdWords and direct thousands of relevant users to your website but if you have a sh*t landing page, its all over. Converting users to into sales and leads is part art, part science and a dash of ingenuity. One of the best websites to follow to keep up to date with the trends in the conversion industry is ABTests.com. Remember to keep experimenting on your different landing pages. A great tool to use is Google Website Optimizer which allows you track the differences of your various landing page experiments.

Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Many small businesses are aware of the importance of online marketing, yet don’t quite know how to go about it or where to start. This article will give you some insights in how to go about creating and managing a profitable online marketing strategy for your small business.

Many small businesses are aware of the importance of online marketing, yet don’t quite know how to go about it or where to start. This article will give you some insights in how to go about creating and managing a profitable online marketing strategy for your small business.

Step 1. Delete that #$% website and start again.

Creating an online marketing strategy with a website that looks like it was made in the 90’s is not going to get you any returns. As a business, your website needs to be clean, professional and depending on your industry have a little “spunk”. Whether you use an outside company to create your website or do it yourself (WordPress is a good start), make sure it is done properly.

Step 2. Create quality content for your website.

Referring back to my 1990’s comment above, make sure your website doesn’t just have the basic pages such as “Home, About, Products and Contact Us”. This was common back then and still is today but user’s are expecting more. You’re website should no longer just be a brochure of your company, but more of an interactive medium between you and your potential customers. Another good way of creating quality content is by writing articles for your website on topics that are pertinent to your industry. By doing this, you are essentially creating an information hub around your business and telling the world that you are the industry leaders. Users relate better with a website when they get the sense that the company portrays adeptness in its field.

Step 3. Get social.

Create a Facebook Page and Twitter Account (among others) for your business. If possible, try not to use the company logo as the profile picture for Twitter. Rather use your own picture. People relate better with people, this is a fact. Ensure that you keep a constant flow of information and tips going through these accounts. By doing this you will be creating a following of potential and existing customers. As hard as it may be, try not to constantly promote your own products and services, but rather provide relevant information that your followers will find useful. Shameless self-promotion is good, but too much of it will irritate many.

Step 4. Buy your visitors.

Yup, buying visitors is an excellent way to start receiving enquiries almost immediately and is an excellent strategy to ensure that your brand gets noticed. There are many types of online advertising mediums that you can make use of. The most common of these being Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn DirectAds. I’ll cover these in detail in my next post. Once you have set up your online advertising campaigns, make sure that the ads are pointing to relevant pages on your website.

Step 5. Convert users to sales.

With covering the first 4 steps, you’ll start noticing an influx of visitors to your website. Assuming that your visitors are being directed to the correct landing pages of your website, the trick is to now convert them into sales or leads. Using Google Website Optimizer is a great way to start testing different variations of your landing pages to see which converts more visitors into sales. Remember, it’s not about the number of visitors your website receives, but how many of the visitors that convert into sales that counts.

Following these 5 steps will ensure your presence online is not in vain.

Copy Compass – a South African SEO Plugin

Copy Compass - Content Analysis WordPress PluginIf you dont already know, Copy Compass is the latest project under the wing of the newly branded digital marketing agency, Talooma. Copy Compass is a WordPress plugin that analyses your copy to best search engine optimisation practices. it provides you with in overall score as well as highlights key areas that may need optimising within your copy.

Copy Compass is the ideal plugin for your blog or website. It allows you to optimise your copy in line with generally accepted SEO best practices.

It is ideal for the casual blogger or the more serious blog master or website owner who wants to ensure his content always ranks well within the search engine results pages.

For many months I have been wanting to release a meaningful WordPress plugin that can actually compete with the international big boys and I believe Copy Compass may just be able to do it.  Many hours worth of research, practice and a whole heap of overall brain cell usage has gone into this plugin. Copy Compass was originally developed in my spare time as an in-house tool for Talooma which was meant to increase the quality of copy, in terms of SEO, and to help our customers rank higher in the search engine results pages. Upon using Copy Compass internally, most of our articles and content have climbed the ranks substantially and much progress has been made.

The complete plugin is not available as yet and only a scaled down version of the plugin has been released into the market. This version includes functionality such as the following:

  • Monitor your reading ease score: This is an indication of how easy or difficult your text is to read.
  • Monitor your gunning fog index:  A useful representation of what grade level you need in order to comprehend the text (eg: Grade 7, 8 etc)
  • Keyword Density: All online marketers know the importance of keyword density and how it can affect your rankings.
  • Basic SEO principles: Copy Compass monitors some basic principles needed to do well in the rankings.

If you have any ideas, suggestions and/or comments about Copy Compass, please do not hesitate to make use of the form on the site. All feedback is welcome.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 may be… erm… amazing.

Yup, I actually said “amazing”. On the way to work this morning an update from Mashable on Facebook caught my eye. It appears that Microsoft’s new version of Internet Explorer may just surpass everybody’s expectations. I decided to do a little digging myself and found that Microsoft have made a “test drive” facility available for their new Internet Explorer version and the results really do look promising.

Yup, I actually said “amazing”. On the way to work this morning an update from Mashable on Facebook caught my eye. It appears that Microsoft’s new version of Internet Explorer may just surpass everybody’s expectations. I decided to do a little digging myself and found that Microsoft have made a “test drive” facility available for their new Internet Explorer version and the results really do look promising.

Internet Explorer is due for beta release this September.

Here are some metrics that have been released from Microsoft:

IE9 Acid Test

As you can see from the image, IE9 scores an amazing 95/100 as apposed to its previous score of 20/100.

To be honest, I never thought I would see the day that Microsoft would actually pull this off. Over and above all of this, Microsoft is trying its best at complying with requests from thousands of developers for better interoperability between browsers with regards to markup (tags, scripts and language). Microsoft has submitted over 2,100 tests to working groups at the W3C.

Well done Microsoft!