Archives for October 2008

OptimizeMySite: PPC Tracking That Works

PPC tracking is undoubtedly the night vision goggles of the PPC foot soldier.

There is nothing more important to a successful PPC campaign than knowing which keywords convert into sales. If you are tracking your keywords, you can avoid wasting money on keywords that don’t convert. Without tracking, you’re wandering blind in a very dangerous jungle. It is the difference between making money on a profitable campaign and losing your shirt and not knowing why.

Fortunately, tracking software is getting better – and easier.

Recently I have been experimenting with some PPC tracking software called Optimize My Site. It was developed by super affiliate Jeremy Palmer to track his own campaigns. He wrote a lot of the initial code, but lately he has hired professional programmers to make sure the program runs smoothly as well as to give him more time to pursue his own campaigns and spend time with the family.

Jeremy is probably best known for his best selling e-book Quit Your Day Job, in which he explains in simple terms how he makes money online. More recently he has been conducting a free course on Internet Marketing from A-Z, literally taking his students through every step of the process of setting up a pay per click campaign from selecting the right keywords to designing a Web page to launching the campaign in Google Adwords, Yahoo and Microsoft Adcenter all the way to tracking each and every keyword.

I am happy to say I have been enrolled in this course called The Black Ink Project since the beginning in May.

So I think it is a big plus to be able to use tracking software that was created by a super affiliate to manage his own campaigns. Since Jeremy is relying on Optimize My Site to optimize his profitability and to give him the edge over his competitors, it only makes sense that he is putting all his experience and expertise into its features and eliminating everything that slows him down. And that means that by using Optimize My Site you are benefiting from a precision tool of a super affiliate.

And the interface of Optimize My Site shows that professionalism. It works with the three major search engines and any affiliate network or tracking platform that has sub id’s enabled.

Another bonus is that it allows you to export campaigns to or from any one of the three major ad networks, which is a huge time saver. Where else do you find tracking software with a built-in campaign converter? No more creating separate campaigns from scratch to put the same campaign in another ad network.

Once again, is a super affiliate going to waste his time using software that increases the time it takes for him to create and manage his campaigns? I think not.

Unlike competing software which only shows you which keywords are converting, and does little more than click tracking, Optimize My Site gives you in addition the ROI (return on investment) at the keyword level.

I must say that I am also a big fan of the link cloaking feature which allows you to hide your keyword data from the vendor so you don’t “give away the store.”

Since Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are constantly tweaking their software, it is comforting to know that Jeremy is dedicated to continually updating Optimize My Site in a timely fashion so that the software stays current with the changes in the search engine ad networks with which it interfaces.

A few weeks ago I would have warned you that there is a learning curve that comes with this software, but since Jeremy created step-by-step video tutorials that explain essentially every feature, you can rest easy. Just watch the videos and you will see how it works. If you would rather have written instructions, there is a user’s guide as well in PDF format.

If that isn’t enough, Optimize My Site boasts of top notch software support. In my experience, it lives up  to its billing.

So if you are a serious PPC affiliate looking to take the profitability of your pay per click campaigns to the next level, I strongly advise you to check out Optimize My Site.

Upgrading to Adwords Editor v6.5

After finally succeeding in upgrading to Adwords Editor v6.5, I now recommend that you do it. Google has added more features that you previously would only find in third party tools:

  • Keyword Opportunities Tool – This is essentially a built in Adwords Keyword Tool.
  • Data View Improvements – You can now auto-size a single column or all columns in a similar way you can resize columns in Excel. Horizontal scrolling has been added. Google has added a calendar to pick dates, such as campaign beginning and ending dates.
  • Google removed the checkbox for content bids and so now you just select whether you want to target search or search and content from a dropdown box. I seem to always get caught on that one. By default now as previously, content bids are enabled. I would prefer that it were DISABLED, because you really need to watch what you are doing with content bids.
  • You can now copy entire campaign shells. Up till now you would need a third party software like EfficientPPC or SpeedPPC.

For a full explanation of the new features in Adwords Editor v6.5, follow this link:

http://www.google.com/support/adwordseditor/bin/static.py?page=release_notes.html

If you are getting a js3250.dll error when you upgrade from v6.01, you can start the upgrade but when the installer first opens, open Add/Remove Programs (START->CONTROL PANEL->Add/Remove Programs) and UNINSTALL THE PREVIOUS VERSION. Then go back to the installer for v6.5 and contrinue with the install. After it finishes you should see no further mention of the js3250.dll error message.

GoToMeeting vs Webex: Why I Love GoToMeeting

For years I have tested various online collaboration tools but never found one that made meeting online essentially effortless – until I discovered GoToMeeting by Citrix.

Just before trying GoToMeeting I had signed up for a free 14 day trial of Webex MeetMeNow and was fairly satisfied. After all, Cisco’s Webex is still used by corporations all over the world as the web conferencing tool of choice. I now think this is so because of Cisco’s trusted name as well as the Webex brand. People assume it must be the best and never even try any other screen sharing software.

That is because they have never had the pleasure of using GoToMeeting. After you try GoToMeeting, I guarantee you will never go back to Webex.

Don’t get me wrong, Webex MeetMeNow has a lot going for it: Once installed it passes through corporate firewalls and the quality of the video is very good. It also has proprietary audio so the quality of the sound is high. MeetMeNow even has built in video conferencing capabilities, so if you want to see who you are talking to you can. (You’ll need a webcam, of course.) And it does have the reputation and reliability that comes with Cisco products.

So why do I love GoToMeeting?

In addition to doing almost everything better than MeetMeNow does, GoToMeeting makes online meetings flow flawlessly in three ways:

Setup is a Cinch: If you can’t get connected, you can’t have the conference. With MeetMeNow I often had complaints that the software plug-in would not install properly and in my own experiments, it seems to take unusually long to get up and running. Sometimes it only worked after two or three tries. Not so with GoToMeeting. With few exceptions, people just clicked on the link I sent and connected. Effortlessly. A good start is important to keeping people’s attention, so this is crucial.

Easy Recording for Future Reference: Whereas you have to upgrade to the corporate version of MeetMeNow to be able to record your online meeting sessions, GoToMeeting gives you that ability straight “out-of-the-box.” And it is simple and it works – and the quality of the recording is EXCELLENT. Did I mentioned that I love GoToMeeting?

An additional awesome feature of GoToMeeting that Citrix recently introduced in its latest version (v4) is built in VoIP audio. That means you can use your PC or laptop mike and speakers to join the audio portion of the meeting – or you can call a regular phone number and everyone will be able to hear and speak to everyone else regardless of the audio option they use. This can mean significant savings since you won’t have to spend money on long distance and/or international calls. Total audio? Totally awesome. The quality is mostly great, by the way. I actually meet regularly with a counterpart in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and we can usually hear each other as well as in a normal local phone call.

Both MeetMeNow and GoToMeeting offer free trials. MeetMeNow offers a 14 day free trial and GoToMeeting offers a full thirty day trial. I suggest you sign up for both and take them for a test drive and make your own decision about which is best for you. Don’t worry, both allow you to easily cancel your trial any time before the end of the trial period.

MeetMeNow takes GoToMeeting seriously as a competitor since the pricing currently is the same. If you choose to pay month-by-month you will pay $49/month and if you are willing to pay for a year in advance you save about 20%.

After you tried them both, I am convinced you will understand why I love GoToMeeting.