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Thread: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!
      
   

  1. #1
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    Default Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    www.secondhandbookshed.com

    I spent what seemed like thousands of hours several years ago creating the website on bluevoda to sell second hand books in an effort to get a decent second income and promote my prospects of a retirement at a young enough age to enjoy it productively (im 55). Despite my best efforts and considerable time spent it has only managed to sell a grand total of one book so far after about a year. I became discouraged and didnt pay the renewal on the shopping cart so in recent months it hasnt been operating, but my enthusiasm is returning and I would like to have another go at it. I am in desperate need of the viewpoints and feedback from other more experienced people as to where I might be going wrong! Any feedback would be carefully listened to and greatly valued. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Cool Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    There are a number of combined errs that contribute to your less than optimal performing website, and I will try to mention them in a Bullet-List (abbreviated) format to both limit my verbosity and to "force" you to fit the concepts together loosely at first to form a more usable overall understanding that should remain sustainable (as a referential guide) as you research and learn more details of each to complete the picture. Hopefully, this will make sense to you, and be transmitted in a fashion that excuses my brevity and reluctance to once again compose a novella of technobabble to confound and perpetuate angst.

    1. Your Domain is a ".com" Domain rather than an ".co.au" which exposes it organically to the entire WWW for the widest appeal and to both potential visitors and Search Engine valuations, but which also on the back-end thwarts your local prominence to your primary consumer base (those living in Australia) and the local SE Hub ... which is the more concise and "convenient" hierarchy many different countries depend upon as well as ignorantly "prefer" when they search for websites with more localized Relevance. It is a double-edged sword, and has been recently discussed in a number of threads like this one, for instance.

    2. Because of the concept described in Number 1 above, your site is organically just one of many millions rather than locally one of a few hundred thousand, and as a result, the "competition" you face in this particular genre of sites compels you to assure your site is not only built absolutely in compliance, but has demonstrated Content Depth, Organizational Superiority, and superlative Relevance construct -- all tightly optimized for SE ease and favor. Thus, you are right to attempt to apply sound SEO Strategies on your site, but ... to make the scale of difference you are capable of and need to make, you must have the properly prepared elements upon which to apply those efforts.

    3. Your Index page (the most important page of your website, which should be considered as a Table of Contents combined with a brief Introduction of a Book, for example) is non-conforming and far too lacking to merit serious caching by the Search Engines, even if there was a Sitemap.xml and robots.txt files present to "instruct" them to crawl the site; the SE's initial view (based on the index page Content) is that the site -- although formatted correctly, including optimization -- is of little or no importance as evidenced by the lacking descriptors and values that are normally present to use as a foundation to build a Relevance upon overall. In your earlier post in another thread, you mentioned that you intended to have approximately 300 words comprising your Index page Content. That is fine, but the truth is those carefully counted words are not normally composed naturally-occurring text; they are item advisements, item descriptions, and one-liners. The Index Page Content should be much more similarly formatted to the exampled text I used in an earlier Thread to outline the H-Tag application, and consist entirely of naturally composed textual information with the Keywords and Phrases 'anchored' without creating abnormal composition.
    Remember? This is a critical element, the proper development of Index Page Content to not only be worthy of H-Tags, but to give meaning to Keywords, page-specific image titles, Relevance, etc.

    4. Now that you have a reinforced understanding of both Depth and Format of proper Page Content, you must keep in mind that in order for your website to rise above your competition in this hyper-scramble for SE favor (based on being a smaller frog in a much bigger pond due to having a ".com' Domain), one of the most organic and natural methods to generate positive values from the SE's is to provide them with more information and tools for them to do their job better: their job is to cache (organize) information available on websites in a hyper-logical and clearly prioritized manner so they will more quickly return results to client Search Querries with what has been evaluated as the most RELEVANT, the most IMPORTANT, and the most RELIABLE information possible. This allows you to leverage the simple practice to earn such favor by providing a more authoritive depth of Content than is available on other sites: the more Content you have, the more valued your site becomes to the Search engines, especially when compared to simple "descriptions" of the large field of Books! You should consider writing your own articles to post as sections to your website to interest both visitors and SE's alike .... just as if you were writing a Blog, with each topic to be helpful to not only understand your site, but as a knowledgebase for consumers. You could have articles about relevant topics regarding the items you sell, general knowledge, historical notes, local highlights, etc. The more RELEVANT content your provide on your site, the more status you will create with the SE's that you are the most complete resource they should be fetching info from to return to their clients ....

    5. Once you begin to develop a richer Content on your site (and a resultant richer, more valued Relevancy that any optimization clearly can "action" or emphasize), the contrast to your actual product offering will become crisper, and, based on the shorter item descriptions no longer bearing the burden to suffice as content, they will become a contributor rather than a detractor to relevance by them being a means to "add" shorter, differing high-value SEO keywords that will "magically" expand your ability to 'score" on the simple merits of inclusion alone: these short item descriptions will become "separate" from page Content (based on your perponderence of naturally composed articles forming the majority) and in this narrowed focus be able to be picked up as random values across a much wider scale than just another composed page could. This is the same root concept that makes Shopping Carts more naturally attractive to SE's, in that they love the volume of brief, high-value Keywords organized in a tight uniform manner (in Carts, inventory is held in Categories, similar to how you should topically sectionalize your Content) as an indication that the site is more important as a resource and has a cognizant organization that is likely more trusted.

    6. As a result of this re-working of Content vs. Product, you will not only find applying basic SEO methods easier, but more understandable, as they are now underscored by a larger and more inclusive conceptualization, yes? You now might need to re-think your navigational strategy, not only to be able to easily organize more pages, but to allow Visitors to drill in quickly and logically according to their visible interest. I suggest that once all is done, you will see increased traffic due to the SE's awarding you greater prominence with Search Results pulled from your volumuous Content, even if this organic new traffic does not initially convert into actual transactions, the likelihood is that the visitors will become confortable with the credibility and 'import' of your site to return when ready. You can confirm this phenomenon by simply reviewing your Site Stats in your cPanel.

    7. As mentioned above, once you have completed --- and not before --- all these changes and optimization efforts, you will need to visit
    www.xml-sitemaps.com to generate both the sitemap.xml and robots.txt files and link them to your site to best instruct the SE's how to "read," value, and cache your site wholly. Having both files properly formatted to your site should be considered a requirement, not an option. Be sure to fully review the Sticky before you do or try anything, though, as it may be more complicated than you first assume.... it depends.

    8. Visually, your site could be improved as well. First, you should take advantage of using the maximum width recommended in order to prepare for not only all the new Content, but to afford you optimal balance and space to appealingly lay out your page to make it easier for Visitors to actually use them. Your site should have an obvious definition to it (i.e. a white 'Shape' against a colored background color) that reflects the maximum of 985 pixels wide. Also, your pages should all be automatically Centered in viewer's browsers ... this is a simple "click" in Page Properties: select "Center this page horizontally in browser"

    9. Do not be afraid to use graphics, color, flowing lines, or shapes to emphasize, enhance, define, or establish your site as professionally designed for easy and recognizable (Branding) favored use by visitors. Not everyone feels confident being the 'Artist' but in the case of a website (that is supposed to generate revenue) it is intrinsically required.



    There .... I started the discussion in under 10 Bullets! this should give you something to work on, and you can always come back here to request more input form me or others at any time. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Hello Vasili. I replied last night to thank you for this really helpful thorough answer, but I cant see it on the thread. Your review has given me a lot to consider but is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to get. Thanks again. I will take this in and look into the areas you touched on.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Would it make sense to register a .com.au name rather than .com and cut and paste the elements I wished to preserve from the old website to the new?

  5. #5
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    Lightbulb Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    You could: 1. purchase a new ".co.au" domain, 2. change the DNS entry at the Domain manager Dashboard at the Registrar you purchased it from to point to your VodaHost Hosting Account and then 3. add it to your hosting account as a Add-on Domain (via cpanel) and then 4. simply re-publish your saved pages to that new Add-on Domain.

    Then you will need to manually access your Root Directory ("public_html/") of the ".com" Domain (which is your Hosting Account's Primary Domain) and manually delete all the previously published page files so they do not constitute "duplicate content" as far as the SE's are concerned, even as far as any cached page version: you need to remove these values entirely so not to conflict with the pages published to the new ".co.au" website.

    After you have published pages to the new website and cleaned out the older domain's Root Directory, then you can access the Domain manager at Registrar for the ".com" Domain and delete the DNS entry and instead FORWARD the Domain to the ".co.au" domain .... this will deliver clean, organic, and additional traffic to the ".co.au" website without detracting any SE Values or conflict.

    Depending on your understanding and skill levels in performing these tedious detail-oriented tasks, it may or may not be a welcome effort that will serve you more effectively in the long run .... but, it is a much more sound strategy overall, since it truly IS your focus to serve your local clientele with a local service, and that necessitates rising to the top of the local SE Hub.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Thanks again for your help. I am not sure what I will do - I will give it some thought.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    I have given this very good feedback some thought and have a number of questions about it that I feel the need for some clarification/advice/pointers please. 1. Firstly the suggested change from a .com website to a .co.au I am wondering if what was meant was .com.au rather than .co.au? If so then I assume everything that was said applies to that? If however there is both .co.au and .com.au I am currently confused about the differences and ramifications of using each? 2. I believe that registering a domain name that contains the key words the site is going to be optimised around is a good idea as far as search engine optimisation goes? Assuming thats true is it better to register a domain name with the words 'running together' or 'separated' with a hyphen? eg www.eastereggsofengland.com vs www.easter-eggs-of-england.com? 3. If I went ahead to register a slightly different .co.au (or com.au) domain name to the .com name I currently have registered - would that create any problems as far as following your instructions to 'transfer' any of the existing pages I wanted to use from the .com to the .co.au (.com.au)? 4. The point re 'rethinking the navigation' strategy is a very good one. The site currently has around 300 books but could have many more in the future. Beyond installing a search engine I have taken the navigation as far as I am capable (ie divided the site into sections, each with links to the other sections, and a link to numbered pages at the bottom of the main pages) - are you able to suggest what I could do to improve things or suggest reading I could do to improve my knowledge in this area? 5. I also thought the suggestion to use 'shapes, graphics, flowing lines' on the site was very good but once again I had taken it as far as my knowledge/ability went. Would you be able to suggest resources on Blue Voda or areas of reading or tips that would broaden my horizons here. Thank you. Your feedback is extremely valuable to me and appreciated.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Apparently I need to be very brief and very blunt if you are to understand clearly what are simple, inflexible "Rules" you must adhere to I had previously outlined for you:

    1. The difference between a ".com" and a ".co.au" website are monumental, and in your case particularly, it would benefit you best to devote your online presence to the ".co.au" website in order to socre best on the Local SE Hub rather than flounder on the larger WWW.

    2. The point of me going out of my way to detail how to set up the new Domain, publish to it, and then remove the pages (content) from the old ".com" website before forwarding the ".com" domain traffic to the ".co.au" website was to avoid the severe SE penalty for having duplicate content online -- despite any different Domain extensions! You cannot try to be clever in keeping duplicated content online in any manner whatsoever, as the Search engines do not superficially value Domain names or Extensions (they are merely a functional identifier), they evaluate the Content and the Relevance established on those pages.

    3. Once you have set up the new Domain, published the site to it (including the sitemap.xml and robots.txt files -- again, only after you are entirely done updating your site pages including basic SEO work on the pages which should include much more Content than the old site version), removed the pages off the server on the old Domain, and successfully forwarded the ".com" domain to the ".co.au" domain outright, THEN your efforts will pay off for having clarified the SE view and functional access to your site.

    This is pretty linear thinking here, not complicated at all. You simply must follow them in order precisely.
    Maybe you should re-read the various threads a few times to drill in in to get a real understanding of how the concepts all fit together (you can review them in order by following the listed posts on your own Profile page).
    . VodaWebs....Luxury Group
    * Success Is Potential Realized *

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Hi Vasili. We are not understanding each other at all here I think unfortunately. Possibly you are a 'linear' 'rigidly logical' thinker while I jump around a bit with leaps of logic. Both ways of thinking are legitimate and will 'get there in the end'. If you cant follow the way I think please dont jump to the conclusion I am trying to be 'smart' or am not listening to what you are saying. I am coming from the point of view of someone who appreciates you are very competant and I am asking questions to try and understand properly what you are saying, and also 'work it out' to apply it to what I want to do. Please appreciate people think differently and are not necasarilly trying to do the wrong thing. I will try to explain my questions more clearly.

    1. Re com and co.au. I understand what you are saying re going from a .com to a .co.au - instead of competing against worldwide competition as I currently am with a .com website if I go to .co.au I will be competing with Australian sites only. It seems like a very good idea and I am 'sold' and would like to do it. What my question no 1 was about was seeking clarification - I live in Australia and I am not familiar with any site ending in .co.au I looked on the internet and could find no reference to .co.au However I am familiar with sites ending .com.au - so my question was - is there really such a thing as .co.au or did you make a mistake and really meant to refer to .com.au?

    2. I understand what you said in the previous post about avoiding SE penalty for having duplicate content online. My questions 1, 2 and 3 today actually had nothing at all to do with disregarding that - its another example of misunderstanding and hard for me to follow how you thought they did. Basically if I changed my current website from .com to a new domain name ending .co.au (or .com.au wichever is correct) as you suggested, I am considering registering a different name to the one I have now. The thinking behind this is that it might be better to have a name that has the keywords I want to optimise the site on in it. The purpose of my question was to ask if my doing that would have any ramifications on following what you told me previously? ie I would follow what you explained to the letter - but would the fact that the new name was not www.secondhandbookshed.co.au but www.optimisedforkeywords.co.au have any unforseen (by me) consequences on my being able to follow the procedure you outlined? I dont know, that is why im seeking clarification. 3. Because I would like the new name to be effective as possible in optimising the site for search engines I asked if you could tell me the search engines would prefer the name to run together or be separated by hyphens as far as optimising for keywords are concerned? (ie www.englisheastereggs.co.au versus www.english-easter-eggs.co.au).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Websites (regardless of domain extension) must be at least 85% unique in format, Content, and construct for them not to be considered 'Duplicate' in any respect by the Search Engines. The penalty for such a gross infraction (deemed such as it is one of the Core Basic Standards in web design) are nearly always severe and permanent upon the Domain name itself.

    The practice of registering multiple "Keyword-heavy" domain names and forwarding them to single website is no longer as effective as it once was (it still works fairly well for one or two Forwarded domains without scoring as 'Shill Domains' since the fact all Keywords must be anchored on a site somewhere - and it is critical that the destination site not 'stuff' keywords to complete the effect of a Domain coming up in Search Results), as the SE's have long ago given preference to demonstrated Relevance -- the combination of a solid website's construct and compliance with optimization methods. Thinking to 'duplicate' websites no more than 15% in duplicated Content to publish them in a single website also is errant thinking, as the SE's can determine which sites are hosted within a single IP, and even if they are not interlinking (a Black Hat SEO method), the 'overlapping' of Keywords or "genre" will in fact flag with the SE's and likely result in penalty as well.

    And there you have the proverbial 'Bottom Line' .....

    You should be researching online, either by perusing all the thousands of threads in the various Forums here at VodaTalk (being mindful to expand the listings via Advanced Search to display Threads "from the beginning") and via Google Search, rather than falteringly inquiring abstractly -- which is actually a violation of Forum Rules, as it demonstrates reluctance to work independently. I have simply tried to ignore it and speed you toward an understanding without belaboring it. Alas, I must now excuse myself from further compounding ... Good Luck!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Hi Vasili. I think perhaps the 'truth' lies somewhere in the middle. But thanks for your feedback.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Here is my baby. I need advice and feedback on a work in progress please!

    Hi Jack,

    If I may ask, what kind of promotions have you done with your website lately? Vasili has made solid points for you to consider but other than that are you planning to promote your website? You said you're selling 2nd hand books right? Why not try to spread some flyers to spread word about your website? Test the waters. And there are also some people offering the service of spreading your flyers that you can contact. You'll just give them the soft copy of the flyer, they'll print it and spread it. This is just one of the ways to promote your website besides SEO and there are many more.

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