What did I learn last week – Revenue Models

 Coursework  Comments Off on What did I learn last week – Revenue Models
Feb 292012


Freemium is an eCommerce business model which a product or service is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advance features, functionality, or related products and services.

The free version of the product should be useful without the need to upgrade to premium version (often there are obvious limitations that make upgrading tempting).

If you think you got valuable content on your site you can charge for it is considerable.

Should be useful without a need to upgrade.

Flickr – limited services for free, for extra space you got to pay

SoundCloud – limited 120min music for free, after that you got to pay, pay more – more features

FreeDigitalPhotos.net – small version is free, for bigger sizes you would need to pay

(policy – if you use for free you got to say from where you got the image from, to remove it you need to pay)

(With Freemium it is 2-5% who actually buy)

Freemium works for digital products as the cost is actually next to nothing.

Subscription content

Also known as Paywall, access content, 3 types:

  • Hard paywall – u cant get any content without pay
  • Soft paywall – type of freemium, degree of items for free
  • No paywall – free online

Benefiting search engine e traffic.

Internet advertising (CPM, CPC)

What type of advertising is appropriate for your site?:

  • None – be aware of distraction!
  • Value added – contextual  – the adverts are related to topic or page of your website; an extra income for your website
  • Ads as serious source of income – deliberately positioned to get clicked
  • Aggressive – pop-ups, pop-unders, overlays

Advertiser is the website or company who wants to advertise through banner adverts or other websites

Publisher is the website or company that displays the adverts, in return for payment

All related to the content on your page.

You can have 4 adverts on your page. Top one will pay more than the one on the footer. Even small websites can make money.

Inventory – your available advertising place. Its different kind of design (home page design, the actual page designed for adverts)

Advertising network – aka brokers. Advertising networks will take their cut (sometimes more than 50%)

(Google AdSense is advertising network)


CPC – you will not get paid for displaying the advert, only when its clicked

CPM – cost per thousand (millie)

CPA – cost per action (when certain action is completed)

ECPM – effective cost per thousand

CPS – cost per sale – not used very often (you get paid when something is paid)

Tenancy – flat rate with advertiser

Advertising network is company which connects advertisers to publishers. Their key function is the aggregation of supply from publishers and matching it with advertising demand.

They will try to match the adverts to content (context).

You generally have to have degree of traffic to sign up – so, not necessarily from day one!

There is minimum pay out – often $100.

Buysellad.com – possible to browse where to advertise

Google AdSence

An advertising network. Program which allows publishers to serve automatic contextual text, image, video and rich media adverts.

Key features:

  • Very contextual
  • Publisher has (some) control over appearance and text ads. Advertiser can chose color scheme
  • Publisher can remove adverts from certain publishers.
  • Google has strict quality standards for publishers sites
  • Range of reports to help optimize revenue
  • Integrates with Google Analytics for strong reports

AdSence for search – Google technology on your site

AdSence for feeds

AdSence for mobile

AdSence for video – displays ads over videos you host yourself

AdSence custom search ads – show contextual ads on ypur own site search pages (ads which match the search terms)

Any CPC network is targeted for clock fraud (from publishers who attempt to increase revenue; advertiser’s competitors who want to cost them money)

Don’t attempt to sign up for adverts in case your site is “work on progress” state

Affiliate schemes

In affiliate scheme webmaster promotes another company’s products. The webmaster is rewarded when customer buys a product (reward- flat rate or %)

Brings together the merchant, the publisher and the customer.

Customer is attracted via:

Banner aids, text links, widgets, feeds.

Often a cookie is installed so that when customer buys the product even after 30 days, you will get the reward.

If your website is global, Ad Management Software is handy!

Comission Junction – http://uk.cj.com/

ClickBank – http://www.clickbank.com/index.html

Other revenue generating ideas

Sponsored blog posts – https://payperpost.com/

Job boards – http://www.jobthread.com/publishers

Donations – donations by PayPal in return of good useful content

In-text advertising – http://www.vibrantmedia.com/in-text_advertising/index.asp

(advert pops up when you hoover over it)

 Posted by at 12:01 am

Revenue Models

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Revenue Models
Feb 282012


Definition of freemium:
Freemium is an eCommerce business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or related products and services. The word “freemium” is a combination of  the two aspects of the business model: “free” and “premium”. Often, the business model is further supported by advertising, on the website and/or in the free version of the product. The free version of the product should be useful without the need to upgrade to the premium version; yet often there are obvious limitations that make upgrade tempting.




  • Definition of subscription content: Access to online content in exchange for payment. Also known as “Paywall”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paywall
  • “Hard paywall”
    Paid subscription required before any content can be accessed e.g. The Times
  • “Soft paywall” Similar to freemium.
    Access to a certain number of articles (say, 20) before subscription required, or some content is free, some requires a subscription e.g. Wall Street Journal – some articles are free, some require subscription.
  • No paywall:
    Entire newspaper content, and more, available freely online e.g. The Sun
  • Discussion:
    What are the challenges of subscription content?
    Why do some newspapers charge for their online content, and others give it away for free?
    The internet is full of free, high quality reviews and consumer advice. How does http://www.which.co.uk survive by charging for similar content?



In this section we focus on banner adverts, internet advertising networks and software. We will look at internet advertising and its benefits to the advertiser and publisher (website owner). As a webmaster, you may wish to be both advertiser and publisher.

What type of advertising is appropriate for your site?

  • None:
    eCommerce sites might wish to focus entirely on promoting their own sales. Public services, e.g. local government.
  • Value Added:
    Contextual adverts.
    Visible yet discrete.
    Extra income as a sideline rather then primary e.g. Amazon carries adverts – have you noticed them?
  • Ads as a serious source of income:
    Contextual adverts.
    Highly visible.
    Does not affect usability of site.
  • Agressive:
    Pop ups.
    Pop unders.
    …and other annoyances!


  • Advertiser: The website / company that wants to advertise itself through banner adverts on other websites.
  • Publisher: The website / company that displays the adverts, in return for payment.
    To make a significant amount of money from banner adverts, high traffic is needed.
    A good rate of return would be £1 per 1,000 advert impressions.
    Multiple ads per page can scale this up.
    But even small websites can make money.
  • Inventory:
    The publisher’s available advertising space:
    Types of pages, e.g.
    Internal page.
    Zones, e.g.
    Leaderboard top, homepage, 728×90,
    Sidebar skyscraper 120×600,
    Footer leaderboard 728×90,
    Leaderboard top, internal pages, 728×90,
    More visibility = better revenue (ads in header will earn much more than ads in the footer).
    Page views = number of impressions per ad.
  • Advertising network:
    Online service that connects advertisers with publishers.
    Take payment from the advertiser e.g. an advertiser might buy 1,000,000 impressions at £1 CPM (total spend £1,000).
    The advertising network display the adverts across its network of publishers.
    Payment is made to publisher according to how many impressions were served on their website.
    The advertising network may be taking more than 50% of the advertisers spend.
  • User tracking:
    Many advertising networks track website use.
    Show adverts for previously visited sites: even advertising the exact product you may have looked at in the past on a different website.
    Controversial or ingenious?
  • Ad management software:
    Webmasters can use ad management software to place banner adverts directly on their websites.
    Good for managing direct advertising sales.
    Integrates with multiple advertising networks.
    Very useful for tracking performance of banners advertising your own content.
  • Sizes: There are industry standards governing dimension of adverts and other parameters such as file size.
  • Pricing models:
    CPM, CPC, CPA, Tenancy etc.
  • Dealing direct with advertisers:
    Make more money as revenue is not shared with advertising network.
    Only sites with lots of traffic have a chance of direct sales with large advertisers.
    Small sites can still strike deals with small advertisers e.g. related local businesses.




  • CPM: Cost per thousand (mille) impressions.
    Variable price.
    Market forces.
    Position on page (top / below fold etc)
  • CPC: Cost per click
  • ECPM: Effective cost per thousand.
    Allows revenue comparison between different models (CPM v CPC)
    e.g. if a CPC ad was displayed 1,000 times and was clicked 10 times @ £0.20 per click, the ECPM = £2.
  • CPA: Cost per action
    Advertiser pays the publisher when a certain action is completed
    e.g. telephone call made (attributed to the advert using unique phone numbers / extensions / quote reference)
    e.g. email marketing sign up
    e.g. installation of free, ad supported software.
  • Tenancy: A flat rate agreed between publisher and advertiser
    Not dependant on impressions / clicks.
    Although impressions / clicks could be used as a reference when agreeing the price.
  • CPS: Cost per sale, also known as revenue sharing
    See affiliates.



Ad standards and creative guidelines:



Definition of advertising network:
An advertising network is a company that connects advertisers to publishers (websites that want to host advertisements). The key function of an ad network is aggregation of ad space supply from publishers and matching it with advertiser demand. Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_network

Benefits of using advertising networks:
  • Allow very small websites to carry adverts
  • Simple to join and integrate code into website
  • Advertiser has confidence dealing with the ad network company rather than thousands of smaller websites
  • Contextual adverts may be served where possible

Drawbacks of using advertising networks:

  • Publisher may have limited control over the quality of the adverts
  • Some networks carry “spammy” adverts
  • Advertising network may take 50% (or more) of the money
  • No payout until e.g. $100 has been earned – this can take many months for new websites.
  • http://buysellads.com/
  • A bit different to other networks
  • Publishers advertise their site to potential advertisers
  • Publishers set their own price, CPM or tenancy
  • Advertisers, and their banners, can be approved before the deal is agreed.

Specialist networks: Image ads and Video ads.



Google AdSense is an advertising network. It is a program that allows publishers to serve automatic contextual text, image, video, and rich media adverts. The adverts are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google, and generate revenue on either a CPC or CPM basis.

Key features:

  • Highly contextual
  • Highest paying advertising network?
  • Publisher has some control over the appearance of text ads
  • Publisher can remove ads from direct competitors
  • Google have strict quality standards for publisher sites
  • Excellent range of reports to help optimise revenue
  • Integrates with Google Analytics for more powerful reports
  • Minimum payout $100 (may take new sites several months to achieve this).



Self-hosted, or hosted, online applications to enable the webmaster to manage their own advert inventory. Typical features: http://adsenator.com/.
Probably only necessary for larger websites managing multiple advertisers.




  • Buying / selling text ads:
    Text ads can be a legitimate form of advertising (when used with the “nofollow” attribute)
    Text ads solely for the purposes of influencing search engine ranking, are contrary to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines on paid links
  • Contextual:
    Contextual advertising means advertising products or services that are related to the content of the page. Google AdSense is a market leader in this field.
    Clicks are more likely when the adverts are relevant to the page topic = more revenue.
    Similarly, adverts can be genuinely useful when offering related products.
  • Do not trick visitors into clicking ads:
    Deceptive practices are bad for the user experience.
    Will result in a ban from the advertising network.
    Avoid pop ups, pop unders etc.
  • Do not encourage, or reward visitors to click ads



In an affiliate scheme, a webmaster promotes another company’s products. When a customer buys a product, the webmaster is rewarded with a payment, either flat rate or a percentage of the sale.

  • An affiliate scheme brings together:
    The merchant / advertiser whose products are being offered.
    The publisher (webmaster, the “affiliate”).
    The customer.
  • Attract customers with:
    Banner ads
    Text links
    Product feeds / thumbnails.
    Often, commission will be paid even when the customer purchases at a later date (30 days standard).
  • Direct affiliate schemes:
    Sign up directly with the merchant.
    Amazon associates
  • Affiliate networks:
    Directories of affiliate programs.
    Commission is shared between publisher and network.
    Affiliate Window


    Commission Junction



 Posted by at 1:11 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Analytics
Feb 282012


Google Webmaster Tools provides reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. You can act on these reports to improve search engine visibility.

  • Google’s view of your site and problem diagnosis: See how Google crawls and indexes your site and learn about specific problems we’re having accessing it.
  • Link and query traffic: View, classify and download comprehensive data about internal and external links to your site with link reporting tools.
  • Find out which Google search queries drive traffic to your site: and see exactly how users arrive there. Share information about your site and tell Google about your pages with Sitemaps: which ones are the most important to you and how often they change.
  • Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel:
  • Google Webmaster support:



Google Analytics is an industry standard reporting tool. At a basic level, it gives the number of visitors and page views (impressions) a site receives. It is particularly useful for analysing website marketing campaigns and calculating return on investment from paid advertising.

Installation: Google Account required, sign up to Analytics service.
JavaScript tracking code must be installed on every page on the website.

Key features:

  • Real time monitoring
  • Audience (Demographics, Behaviour, Technology, Social media interaction, Mobile device usage)
  • Advertising
  • Traffic sources (Direct / referrals / from search engines, SEO keyword traffic and landing page analysis)
  • Content (Page popularity, Site speed, Internal site search, Events? AdSense reporting, In-page analytics)
  • Conversions (Goals, Ecommerce, Funnels)

Google Analytics YouTube channel:

Google Analytics support:



On the internet, split testing, also known as A/B testing, is a marketing technique to improve conversion rates.

Imagine a company is advertising on the internet, through banner ads or sponsored links. Each time a customer clicks on the advert, they are sent to either “Landing Page A” or “Landing Page B”, with an equal 50% split.

Landing Page A and B will have different design, wording or calls to action. The customer’s visit is tracked through to completion (site exit) and conversion rates are compared between those that entered through Page A and those that entered through Page B.

The advert itself can also be split tested, are customers who click on Advert A more likely to convert than those who click on Advert B?

Once a landing page or advert is found to have a higher conversion rate, the process can start again, to refine further.

Google Webmaster Optimizer:


Key Features:

Help and Support:



Goals and Funnels:

  • Google Analytics function:
    Define a goal: destination URL, or time on site, or number of pages visited.
  • For destination URL: e.g. “thank you for ordering” page, “thank you for contacting us” page.
  • YouTube Google Analytics Goals video
  • Define a funnel (Related to goals): the route you expect customers to take through your site to reach a goal – typically this is used for tracking a customer’s journey through checkout and understanding abandonment
  • YouTube Google Analytics Funnels video

PPC (sponsored links) tracking:
Google AdWords can track each customer from PPC click through to goal which is essential for calculating return on investment of PPC spend.

Cart abandonment: Use funnels to understand where carts are abandoned.
Use CMS reports to understand what products were in cart when abandoned.
Send email to customer to try and salvage sale (if you know their email address).

Google Analytics eCommerce reports:
YouTube Google Analytics eCommerce tracking video





  • SEOmoz provides free and paid-for SEO research and reporting tools
  • SEOmoz pro is $99/month
  • free 30 trial ideal for defining your SEO strategy and competitor research
  • http://www.seomoz.org

Key features

Campaign Monitoring:

  • Traffic reports (no different to Google Analytics)
  • Crawl diagnostics:
    Detects SEO errors / room for improvement in your site
  • Keyword rankings:
    Shows site’s position in search engine results pages for various target words and phrases
  • Competitive domain analysis:
    Compares your site against competitors against a number of metrics
  • On-page optimisation:
    Grades your site’s optimisation for target keywords
    Also check a competitor’s performance
  • Social interactions:
    Tracks social media interactions and referrals

Research Tools:



Sign up to Google Alert emails, to see when your site is mentioned on other sites: http://www.google.com/alerts

 Posted by at 12:06 pm

Revenue Generating Models

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Revenue Generating Models
Feb 272012

Things I learned last week – in no particular order…

How to earn from your website:

  1. Direct sales
  2. Advertising
  3. Affiliate sales (point people to ecommerce sites and profit from referrals)

However, it’s all about the TRAFFIC. Need high volume to acheive high sales. And good quality content and keywords are key!

Advertising might not be appropropriate for your site. It may distract or detract, particularly if your site is funded as a marketing vehicle or is a service of some kind. Advertisements that are in keeping with your site may be appropriate eg. kitchenware for a cookery/recipe site, especially if discreet.

The pop-ups or unders and overlays are known as aggressive ads. You need high traffic numbers to make money from banner ads. The click-through rate is only 0.1%. A pleasing rate of return apparently is £1 per 1,000 ad viewings (impressions). And it works much like newspaper ads, ie. the more visibility, the greater the cost of the ad.

You can integrate Google Adsense ads into your site’s style, so it’s less obvious they are adverts. Could lead to more clicks… They are highly related ads, too.

The publisher’s advertising space is called the Inventory, with zones such as the “sidebar skyscraper” and “leaderboard top” (between masthead and content on web page).

IAB – interactive advertising bureau. Voluntary guidelines for web publishing, sizes, download times etc.

Advertising networks: connect website publishers with advertisers (taking a cut of course, possibly up to 50% of rev). Publisher of website gets paid according to how many impressions were ‘served’ on their site.

User tracking – can even serve up an ad you looked at previously somewhere else, can follow you round the web. Question is whether that’s ingenious or a bit spooky… (example of James and his garden sheds).

  • CPC=cost per click
  • PPC=pay per click (Google Adwords)
  • CPM=cost per 1,000 views
  • CPA=cost per action

sponsorship= where a company pays to advertise a section of a site eg. building society on mortgage advice section of a site.

Other ways to make money: affiliate sales, market your own ads (would you like to advertise here..?) blogs, job boards, donations.

Freemium: an internet marketing stategy where a product or service is offered free of charge but a tempting upgrade has to be paid for. The product offered must be useful in it’s own right. “free” and “premium”. Eg. Flickr, SoundCloud

Subscription Content: refers to accessing online content through payment, either ”hard paywall’ (obligatory paid subscription eg. the Times) or “soft paywall” where only some content requires payment eg. Wall Street Journal. Users will pay if it is a brand and content they trust and value.



 Posted by at 2:46 pm

Revenue Streams

 Everything Else...  Comments Off on Revenue Streams
Feb 262012


  • Is the success of your site measured by revenue generation?
  • Higher priced products pay more for advertising
  • Targeted ads are relevant to the context of your site
  • Pages should be designed with standard ad spaces accounted for
  • IAB sets voluntary guidelines for online advertising standards, including suggested file sizes
  • Inventory – available ad spaces on your site with placements for each template

Types of Advertising

  • None – eCommerce sites may wish to focus on their own products, may not be appropriate for public services websites
  • Values Added – contextual ads, visible yet discrete and mainly used for extra income
  • Ads as Main Income – contextual ads, highly visible but shouldn’t affect usability
  • Aggressive – pop-ups, pop-unders, overlays etc.

Advertising Networks

Advertising Pricing Models

  • CPM – cost per thousand (milli) impressions, varied by market forces and position on page
  • CPC – cost per click, varied by market forces
  • ECPM – effective cost per click, comparison between CPM and CPC (e.g. if a 20p ad is displayed 1000 times ECPM would be £2)
  • Tenancy – flat rate agreed between publisher and advertiser, not determined by impressions or clicks although these could be used as a guide
  • CPS – cost per sale, also known as revenue sharing (affiliate sales)

Ad Management Software

  • For larger websites, manages ad placement for multiple advertisers
  • Favours advertisers who are paying the most money

Affliate Schemes


  • Users pay for access to content on a yearly/monthly basis
  • Includes magazines, educational resources, web apps etc.
  • ‘Hard Pay Wall’ – no content is accessible without payment
  • ‘Soft Pay Wall’ – some content is available free without subscription


  • Initially providing product/service for free, with premium version being offered alongside
  • Encourages users to upgrade and pay for premium model and builds popularity
  • Free version should be useful on its own, not just a promotional tool
  • Expect between 2-5% of users to upgrade to premium version
  • Can be subsidised by advertising
  • Generally useful for digital products e.g. software, online services

Content Management – Revenue Generation

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Content Management – Revenue Generation
Feb 252012

5 Things I learnt this week

  • It’s important to consider if advertising is appropriate for your site. It may well not be.
  • The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) offers voluntary guidelines and standard practices for web advertising.
  • Freemuim model = offers stuff for free and then charges for a premium version of the product e.g. Spotify
  • Google Adsense is a highly contextual and high paying advertising network .
  • Ad management software can be used to control what ads are shown where and for how long.

Content Management – Analytics & Competitor Research

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Content Management – Analytics & Competitor Research
Feb 252012

5 Things I learnt this week

  • Competitors are websites who rank highly in search engine results. You can find these by doing key word research. Or by using programmes such as Quake or Google Trends to compare competitor websites in terms of traffic and search behaviour.
  • Google analytics is thought to be about 95% accurate.
  • Google Webmaster Tools gives reports on how google views your site indicating the success of you on site SEO.
  • Split testing can test two different designs for a site and tell you which achieved the most conversions to your goal  – Google Webmaster Optimiser can enable you to do this.
  • You can set up Google Alerts to let you know when your website or someone else’s is being spoken about on the web e.g. blogs, forums, articles.


Playing around with Fonts (with a bit of JQuery)

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Playing around with Fonts (with a bit of JQuery)
Feb 242012

I had a play with the font example that Prisca set and came up with a simple demo which allows you to change the font dynamically, to have a play click here.

I then applied this to my initial web design, so had the ability to do dynamic styling click here * This is a better example as it actually uses the demo code (see below) *

And finally here is a downloadable demo with simple instructions on how to add to your own page – possibly useful for the typography work, anyway here it is

 Posted by at 3:31 pm

What did I learn last week – Analytics & Competitor Research

 Coursework  Comments Off on What did I learn last week – Analytics & Competitor Research
Feb 222012
  • Competitors are the pages who rank highly in search engine results for the same or similar products or services that you offer.
  • Timing
  • Assuming you have done your KW research
  • How to find your competitors
  • Enter one of the targeted keywords into one of
  • the main search engines – the leading sites
  • will show.
  • NB! Choose your geographical region!
  • Analyzing competitor’s web pages gives you better idea about the condition of the market you are entering + the level of optimization required for your own site.

SEO competitor analysis will build a picture of the online topology. I helps expose opportunities & guide your online campaign in the right directions.

  • SEO Competitor Analysis

Essentially broken into wo major areas:

  • On-page – all of the standard SEO elements (meta, h, content, kw focus, site structure, internal linking etc + also check usability, branding, image etc)
  • Off-page – primarily back-links (how many, where they are from, what quality, most importantly – can you recreate them for your own site)

On-Page Analysis (what to check)

  • Domain age
    Search engines determine authoritativeness and trust. (there is a contraversy about it as search engines go with the date domain was registered not with the date it was first indexed.)
  • Backlinks
    Find out how many of the links to your competitors contain your target keywords then try to have more inbound links that contain your target keywords than your competitors’ in order to beat your competitor.
  • PageRank spread of the linking pages
    PageRank is a link analysis algorithm developed by Google, Inc., used to measure the amount of links a page has to determine it’s relative importance. The higher the PageRank a URL has, the higher is its authority is with Google. PageRank is one of the few factors that webmasters can use to determine the strength of a web page. If a website has a high PageRank, chances are it has a large amount of strong inbound links, and Google has ranked the site appropriately. PageRank is updated every 3-6 months at Google’s discretion, and should not be used as a definitive way to judge the trust of a website; it only gives us an idea of the website’s authority and link power based on Google’s algorithm.
    Find the Google PageRank of each page that links to your competitors, for it can also help you in finding out why some websites rank higher than others. Try to get more high PR links to perform better than them.
  • Top level domains of the linking pages
    Try to have more backlinks from websites that use the corresponding top level domain than your competitors.
  • Content of the linking pages
    Google prefers websites that get links from related websites. Goal for more inbound links from related websites than the websites of your competitors.
  • Metric Analysis
  • Page Authority (PA)
    The relevancy and quantity of high quality sites and domains that link to the page.
  • Domain Authority (DA)
    The relevancy and quantity of high quality sites and domains that link to the entire domain.
  • Unique Domains
  • The quality of inbound links that point to a specific URL or page  as Google looks at specific linking domains and the quantity of unique domains tends to be better.
  • Unique URLs
    The true quantity of inbound links as Google looks at the specific linking URLs and domains.
  • Keyword Relevance
    How relevant a specific URL or page is for a specific keyword or phrase. KW in URL reflects how many of the target keywords are present in the ranking URL
  • Keyword Focus
    Is the page obviously targeting a keyword? (present in the Meta, the H1 title, the content, etc.) Are they trying to target multiple keywords with one page? Are keywords bolded or otherwise highlighted in the content. Is there enough content to achieve a high level of keyword focus?
  • Meta Data
    Description and titles should be present and in-line; character limits, capitalisation etc. Also look for unnecessary Meta data such as “Keyword” tags, these are not used by Google anymore but they can impart some little insights into what they’re targeting. Many websites still list all of their keywords in a single Meta tag. This is great for us as immediately you can see everything they are targeting, this data can be used later to see how well they are ranking for each of these words.
  • Site Structure
    How many pages does the site have? Is it structured in such a way that 2nd and 3rd tier pages are easily accessible? Are URLs created dynamically by search functionality or are the pages static?
  • Additional Files
    (robots.txt, sitemap.xml, an error 404 page and a sitemap.html…) Are they present and are they setup correctly?
  • Dodgy tactics
    Does the site use spam tactics (keyword stuffing or duplicated content)? Has it been copied from another website or appear to be using hidden text? This will highlight the nature of the market you are in, if many sites use these underhand tactics then it is likely that they will experience a short lifetime in the SERPs.

Now Compile & Review Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Data!

Find out your three primary target keywords used by your competitors then gather and review the Domain Authority, Page Authority, Keyword Relevance and Keyword in URL Data of these targeted keywords.

When performing web analytics, pay attention to every detail, particularly traffic sources. If you get traffic from your competitor websites, check out the pages they go to and how much time they spend on viewing them.  In case your competitor regularly visits your blog page and spends 2 minutes in average – he’s keeping a track of your updates.

Know the SEO program your competitor uses for web analysis – most of the companies use SEO tools for web analysis. Once you identify the tool your competitor uses you’ll have the opportunity to find out what he can track. NB! your business performance depends on how well you understand your competitors.

How to define which SEO program your competitor uses?

  • On competitor website’s landing page, open HTML source and check out the tracking code. Discovering the tracking code (it is possible to find out the SEO tool he uses). This is difficult, however taking into account that it is crucially important, it’s worth trying.
  • Be aware of competitor updates.
  • Remember, your competitors are doing the same thing and that is, trying to beat you; especially if you constantly grow and improve your services, your competitor will want to offer suchlike staff to stand out in the market. For this – regularly check out your competitor’s web site to track his updates and whether or not he has copy/pasted anything.
  • NB! being aware of what your competitor does and what he knows about you means having some idea on his upcoming projects. (This is already a success.) In addition this is a great learning experience to know if your competitor has succeeded in achieving what you are intending to achieve and in case he did how he managed these all.

Off-Page Analysis

For this you need to use tools!

  • Yahoo Site Explorer (now merged to Bing)
    Type URL into it and hit “explore”, ensure that you are looking at links “external to this domain” and links to the “Entire Site”. What you will be presented with is a list of back-links from pages on websites that link to the URL that you entered into the search field. The idea is that you can go through those links looking for places where you can get links from for your site – if you see a comment they made on a blog, go to it and see if you can get a link in the same way.
    Possible to find useful niche directories, relevant forums or sites from which you can get a link from (quite often a much quicker and easier way to find places to get a link from, you will not be able to get a link from every source that the competitor has, but you will be able to get some). Performing this for each of your major competitors means that you will be able to quickly gain lots of good links.

Competitor Analysis Tools

Many tools out there that offer more insights into competitor back-links, some will cross reference a specified number of competitors with your site and highlight places where more than 3 have a link from. Others will list the links in order of PageRank or keyword relevance, but these tools will normally cost to use and can vary in how much they cost from £50 per month to £1,000’s.

On-page analysis tools are also found in abundance on the net today, although most of them are free.

Good quality tools make a difference – a job will take less time or a significant amount more work can be achieved in the same time frame.

  • Yahoo site explorer – Free www.siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com – great for checking back-links
  • Majestic SEO – Paid – www.majesticseo.com – great for checking back-links
  • SEO Site Tools – Free – www.chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/diahigjngdnkdgajdbpjdeomopbpkjjc – Great little tool for on page and off page analysis
  • Linkdex – Paid – www.linkdex.com – great tool for off page analysis, but also has functionality for monitoring on-page SEO.
  • Status Search – Free – www.quirk.biz/searchstatus – On and off page analysis tool.
    Search and Social Media Tools – Many of the tools listed above can provide you competitive information as well. E.g. Set SM2 to monitor the keywords that describes your competitor and you can start to see what customers are saying about your competitors
  • Alexa – http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo – Alexa is the leading provider of free, global web metric
  • Compete – http://www.compete.com/
  • Quantcast – http://www.quantcast.com/
  • Google Trends for Websites – http://trends.google.com/websites
  • Google Ad Planner – http://www.google.com/adplanner
 Posted by at 2:16 pm

St Francis Persian Rescue Evaluation

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on St Francis Persian Rescue Evaluation
Feb 202012


PageRank & site traffic features

St Francis Persian Rescue has what is described as a “Three-month global Alexa traffic rank”… It is in the ‘Rescues and Shelters’ category and was given a global rank of 8,760,328 when I first looked. Alexa are now (February 2012) saying that it is 8,789,150 and www.checksitetraffic.com is saying it is 8,732,440. There are 6 pages on the site with a PageRank of 2/10 and 4 pages that have 1/10. Another area that is not very impressive is the amount of times that the official ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ is included in search engine results. On ‘Google index’, it rates as twenty! It is even worse with ‘Bing’, as it only rates as three! And as Bing now owns ‘Yahoo!’, this means that they produce exactly the same results.

Links & Social Media

The official site’s layout has been designed badly and is outdated. This could cause a big problem because users may lose interest, as it does not look very professional.

My redesign will improve the traffic for the company, as it is created in a modern style.

On Alexa, ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ has a score of 23 for its ‘Reputation’. This measures ‘stfrancisrescue.co.uk’s reputation by seeing the number of links to the site in the Alexa traffic panel. Some of these sites are squidoo.com, dmoz.org, webtothumb.com and catchat.org. I think that St Francis have missed some very important sites which they should have included – for example, they have not created ‘groups’ on Facebook or decided to ‘Sign Up’ on Twitter. This would help in gathering followers or fans on Facebook or Twitter, which could lead to increased traffic.  YouTube also would have been helpful. One problem is that I have found when testing the 23 ‘Reputation’ web-addresses given by Alexa is that 4 of them did not work! These websites were: – webtothumb.com, allaboutdogsandcats.com, animalrehoming.co.uk and rescuereview.co.uk.

Webtothumb.com named two links to the Persian Rescue site, but neither of them worked; Allaboutdogsandcats.com said ‘404 – Not Found’; there was no such website as Animalrehoming.co.uk anymore and on Rescuereview.co.uk I could not find ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ with the link on Alexa or from using their search engine. I will keep looking. So that really makes the ‘Reputation’ only 19!

For competitors, a main use of the social media programs is viewing what your rivals are achieving. Quite often followers write messages back to the companies and from this you are able to see what is said and most importantly what is popular. Another area that can be helpful is to see how many members are in their group. If you also have a group for your company it can be compared! In the event that you are behind, you should try to use techniques that have worked for your successful competitor in order to promote the group. LinkedIn is another very good site to use to research rivals. Information can be quite easy to discover about the organisations as well as referring to associates.

SEO & Findability

I think that the SEO and findability of the site on Google and other search engines could be better. For example it does not appear in the top 20 pages, when I searched ‘St Francis’, which surprises me.

These are the phrases that St Francis Rescue have purchased, as shown by Alexa.

‘Persian Cat’

‘Persian Rescue UK’

‘Himalayan Rescue UK’

‘Can you take cats on holiday’

‘Persian Cats UK’

‘Persian Cats for Re-homing’

‘Persian Cat Rescue Adoption’



‘On holiday’

‘Persian cats’

‘Persian cat rescue’

‘Persian cats rescue’

‘Persian rescue’

‘Persian cats for adoption’

‘Cat charities’

‘Cat charity’

‘Cats rescue’

‘Cat rescue uk’

‘Persian cat adoption’

‘Persian kittens for adoption’

‘Cat adoption uk’

‘Cat re-homing’

 This is quite a few, but I would definitely want the site to appear when ‘St Francis’ is entered on search engines.  Some of the phrases are very similar e.g. ‘Persian cat rescue’, ‘Persian cats rescue’, ‘Cats rescue’ – it would be good to have some different phrases.  

 Visual Design & Ease of Use Changes

The original site’s navigation-bar is one of the areas that needed development. It has a very poor design and has been placed in a strange position that does not always stand out. It also has the problem that sometimes it is not obvious to operate. I very much dislike the colour choice for the navigation-bar, especially the yellow used to make the link noticeable when the mouse overlays it. This makes it worse, as then the words are not readable. I think that yellow does not mix with the other colours because it is far too light.

Too large a proportion of most pages are filled up with advertising and the adverts dominate the site. This only leaves a very small amount of space for the text box. The navigation-bar takes up the whole of the right side when it would have saved space and looked better if it was fitted neatly into the top of the page.

I do feel that having the page box too thin causes a big problem and makes the site look very weak. They have also included far too much text in small areas of the site, which makes it look cluttered. I would always prefer to have a lot more space in a site by keeping it simple and using creative, exciting and inventive ideas.

On the original ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ site, the images that have been used look cheap and old-fashioned. The display of photos shows that the site creator had not used Photoshop many times before!

The font used is plain and quite faint (Arial). I sometimes prefer to use more unusual texts from ‘Google Webfonts’, so that they have not already been seen too many times before and gives a more personalised look.

One of the first tasks when I started redesigning the website was to choose the analogue colour scheme. I selected a Persian Blue colour (to go with the theme), Dark Magenta and Dodger Blue.

New Design


On one of the sites that I was using called www.colorhexa.com (to find out information about are the closest colours to the ones that I have used) it said that what I call ‘Persian Blue’ (roughly #412fe3) is 26.3% Red, 19.6% Green and 88.6% Blue in RGB. For CMYK it has 70.4% Cyan, 77.9% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 11.4% Black. ‘Dark Magenta’ (#ca1fc6) in RGB is 80% Red, 20% Yellow and 80% Blue. In the site it also says that ‘Dark Magenta’ for CMYK is 0% Cyan, 75% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 20% Black. ‘Dodger Blue’ (roughly #0093ed) was given for RGB 0% Red, 57.6% Green and 92.9% Blue. Whereas for CYMK it is composed of 100% Cyan, 38% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 7.1% Black!

Improvement Program

I improved the official site’s layout, by making changes to how the adverts and navigation-bar are positioned.

I have moved the adverts to the right side, as the left would be where your attention would go first. I prefer to use this area to better for users and trust the ads will be sufficiently impactful so that the advertisers are not too concerned by this. Because of this I have positioned the second part of the navigation-bar there, so that they are both very clear to the users. I have also researched the Online Advertising and the companies that I liked best are AdSence and Kontera. I have tried to find a cheaper version of AdSence that is just as professional though.

The headers I have chosen to put in a large text size, I did this by setting them as size h1. It looks good on all web browsers, but especially Firefox! When sharpening up the look, as well as reducing the clutter of too many words in ‘Fund Raising Donations’ I used the toggle tool. The technique I used was practical, as you can see the start of the sentence, but you need to click on a button to see the rest. I also eventually managed to make the text box get longer when the toggles are used. I have updated and modernised the adverts, now some of them take the user to the destination. The font that I am used to make it look more professional is called “Lora”. I also decided that I had to keep using a photo of a cat inside the logo. This is because it shows users an example of how cute they look instead of a cartoon drawing. I am hoping that it will attract people to adopt them more often. I also changed the photo for a clearer one that appears more attractive. Then I used Photoshop to fade the edges to avoid the “cut from a magazine look”.

Coding Standards

I have also made an easier to understand and read code, especially compared to the original site’s html 4.1 transitional versions. The main change I made was to adapt to XHTML 1.0 Strict. This is a more modern language, which is far easier to work with, use and sustain. Strict is used as the professional attribute of today. A main reason for this is the way that elements and design are separated. This makes it a lot easier to change the site’s layout.

DOCTYPE documents now say to avoid using HTML 4.01 Transitional if possible.

Also W3C have said, “Authors should use the Strict DTD when possible, but may use the Transitional DTD when support for presentation attribute and elements is required.”

Final Design Comments

I added onto each of my pages a Google toolbar, at the top. I feel that it is a great feature. Sometimes it can stop users from leaving, when they cannot find an area.

The jQuery Image slider can also add a lot of appeal to the website. For example it makes the page look more up-to-date; it shows some areas the site covers – without searching it!

The toggle helps not to use as much room and keeps it looking more acceptable i.e. not too full of text. They can also be quite interesting for the users. An attractive, colourful navigation-menu is also a very important part to be included. I used a gradient of purple and pink, which stands out, looks good and is easier to use. Overall, the website is easier to use and looks more professional in my opinion.