Your Mobile Theme is Costing You Money

October 8th, 2012

Let me just get this out of the way right now- I am not a fan of mobile themes. And now I’m less of a fan now that I discovered that they are a money-losing proposition. Here’s why.

First of all there are very few mobile wordpress themes that are actually good looking and useful. Have you ever been surfing the web on your phone and came across a site and said “yeah!!! a mobile theme!!”? Nobody has. Because they are mostly outdated. With today’s high speed 3g and better networks, and widespread WiFi usage at home and in public, there’s no need for these themes to strip out all the great graphical elements that make your sites look so good in exchange for a marginal increase in loading speed.

Don’t even get me started on sites that won’t let you switch out of the mobile theme or even limit the functions of the mobile theme compared to the full site. Hell yes I want the full site and I don’t want to have to scroll until my thumb hurts to find the link (if there is one) to turn it on. An obvious exception would be a flash heavy site being optimized for flash-less iPhones and iPads as well as sites that are simply not readable on a small device.

But the big thing is that these themes are costing you money! The title of this recent article explains it all: Why Do People Click On Smartphone Ads? Because They Have Fat Fingers. Boom there it is. 20% of all mobile ad clicks are a result of fat fingers.

Think about it- Google’s own Adsense guidelines encourage you to blend the ads in with matching colors and place them right in with the text for best conversions. If you haven’t done this yet, read the guidelines and tips and do it. So why would you want a mobile theme plugin that does the exact opposite- separating the ads to make the content stick out more? You don’t.

Now of course this makes the assumption that Adsense is a major revenue source for your blog and part of your goal list for what actions you want visitors to take (I typically want every visitor to my sites to do one or more of the following: subscribe via facebook, email, rss or twitter, buy something using an affiliate link, share the post on a social network, or click on an ad). The goal is to increase readership or monetize the visitor.

Another point is that many desktop and laptop users have adblocking browser plugins so they will never see your ads (tip! if you are running private direct sale ads you can do a hack-around by not naming your ads or having them in a folder with one of the typical blacklist words like “ads” “sponsored”, etc). But mobile users will be shown ads, so you want to make sure they actually see them.

Now most ad networks don’t want you to encourage people to click on the ads fraudulently but is your mobile theme actually DISCOURAGING people from clicking ads? With the great increase in mobile traffic, it’s something you should take a look at closely.

Why You Should Keep Track of Your Sketchy Link Buying Schemes

August 22nd, 2012

So suddenly every webmaster and SEO in town is freaking about thanks to the latest Google update. Panda, Penguin, Ocelet, whatever cute animal the Google powers deem worthy to deflect the hard feelings of those whose sites fall in the rankings. But not every webmaster is doing this the right way. For example…

I recently received an email asking for 2 links to a particular store’s site be removed from my authority site. Here’s a copy-pasta from the email:

I’m contacting you to ask if you could kindly remove a number of links within blog posts placed on some of your sites below. All of the posts listed are linking through to my clients site and appear to have been deindexed in Google. I’d be very grateful if you

could remove these links, or better still, remove the page entirely if possible:

Yes, that’s actually where the paragraph break was.

Then they listed the 2 posts along with about 10 other pages of tags that were in those posts. Now my site was not deindexed in any way (but thanks for making me have to check just to make sure) and ranks highly for the term on the page probably due to a number of other sites linking to me. Maybe he meant his client’s site was deindexed not mine. Who knows?

One of the links was some relevant comment with a link, so I deleted the comment. Now my site has never sold links and is an authority site in Google, blah blah blah totally legit. So there’s no reason why they would need the other link removed which was a link to said item from their store within an entire post about the product.

Because someone did not keep track of whatever link buying or comment spamming or whatever sketchy behavior they were involved in, they are now losing a real relevant link from an authority site. A link on a page that ranks just one result behind their own page in Google’s results for the product’s name. Their loss.

I understand that Google wants you to remove sketchy links from link-buying schemes, etc. Here’s what else the email said:

I will be filing a reconsideration request to Google by the end of this week, and any links that are not removed at this point will be included in the reconsideration request.

But to just search for every site that has ever linked to you and ask them to remove your links without even looking at the site? Really? What’s going to happen when you file your reconsideration request and now suddenly your site has no links to it at all because you removed ALL of them? That’s just terrible SEO’ing.

This will only weaken their page in the rankings, particularly if they are blindly asking everyone who linked to them to remove the links. As for me, I found the same product on Amazon and put in an affiliate link to it instead. Win, win.

Guest Poster Writes Guest Post About Guest Posting

November 27th, 2011

This is not a guest post. There is no doubt that a guest post is a decent way to gain links to your site, new followers, and establish a reputation for yourself. But does every third guest post have to be about guest posting?

Is there really anything else you can learn about guest posting beyond what I’ve written in the first paragraph? No. So does the web really need more guest posts rambling on at length about the virtues of guest posting? No. Isn’t this post a rambling post about guest posting? Yes. But at least it’s not a guest post.

The real point of guest posting is for the SITE OWNER to benefit, not the guest poster. How does that work? Look at some of the big names allowing guest posts- John Chow, Shoemoney, Problogger, etc. etc. These are not people who put things on their site without an underlying purpose. And without a clear moneymaking hook in the guest post like an affiliate link, why would they want some random no-name blogger to post on their site?

The answer is actually quite simple: free content, no work. The guest poster (even if they’re writing the 1000th post about the benefits of guest posting) is providing the site owner with free original content. You know someone else besides site owners that likes lots of original content? Hint: it starts with a G and ends with an oogle.

There is a downside to letting guest posters on your site though; less control of your content. Sure you can proofread the guest post, but how rare is it that a guest post is of the same quality as the regular articles? Then there’s the chance that the guest post has been posted in many other places just slightly reworded to avoid copyscape. There’s the risk that you alienate your readers- they want to hear you, not some random guy guest posting about guest posting.

It all comes down to quality; whether you are guest posting or allowing guest posts- make it good.

One more quick point is that if you are heavily involved in article submission to article directories, you should definitely try to switch over to guest posting those articles instead. The reasoning is that if you going to spend the time to write an original article solely to get one link from an article directory that no human ever actually reads, you are better served in my opinion by posting that same article as a guest post on a relevant blog that has actual readers instead.

That said, if I see one more guest post about guest posting I will need to be restrained and/or sedated (although just reading the article about guest posting might work on the sedation side). Just stop it.