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Showing posts from March, 2005

Vacation

Why is it that vacations are always a time when you end up working a ton harder the week before and a ton harder the week after? How relaxing is that? Many of us in the IT industry, especially the web industry, end up doing some sort of work on our vacation. For me, it was uploading a new site for one of the companies owned by the place my paycheck comes from. Done mostly in flash, that'll rank really well in search engines. About as well as my house on a search for blue jeans. In any event, it was some amount of work, and wasn't exactly a vacation activity.

While I was out, the techs came in and figured out what was wrong with our carousels. One will be needing a motor rebuild soon, 2 need it already, and 1 had a motor hooked up wrong and it blew up. I suppose that explains the problems with them. Thank you warranty.

Well, I'm going to get back to doing nothing for the rest of the night, and I still have tomorrow and the weekend to enjoy some time away from work.

Carousel problems

Ok, so the carousel that is showing so much promise started acting up without me knowing about it. Two of the four carousels decided to move as slow as they can and still be classified as moving. I guess that's how they go on strike. It's also really tough to get any real support without paying quite a bit for a tech to come out and work on it. Every time that the tech comes out, it seems like we end up paying for a lot of time for him to read the manual and very little time actually working on the carousel. If there were other options, I'm sure we'd be looking at them. However, we're sort of stuck since there aren't a lot of people who have ever even seen a carousel like this, let alone knowing how to fix one.

I've been reading the manual on it, and the manual is about as useful as salt water to a fresh water fish. It starts with how the bolts and nuts work, then has a somewhat useful section on programming it to work with the hand controller, then goes on …

The power of the carousel

We are just getting a corousel system implemented in our warehouse. After years of running around the building to fill our parts orders, it's become too cumbersome finding things. This means that we're now going to allow the parts to come to us. With a platform that raises and lowers, we'll have people waiting at the end of 70' long carousels for the parts to come to them, then light up a bin number and a quantity next to the shelf that is supposed to have parts pulled from it. That's all fine and dandy, but what's the best about this is that it becomes tougher for people to make pulling errors, so we'll not only be able to ship out more orders per day, but also have fewer errors and store more inventory. Considering that we've got well over 100% more sales than just 12 months ago, this will be important as we move forward.

After getting top rankings for many of the most obvious key phrases for our site, there are still so many combinations available tha…

Barcodes are everywhere.

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Barcodes are everywhere. Seems like I can't turn anything over without a barcode showing up. I wonder why nobody has barcodes on the back of their business cards yet that work for their email address and website URL. Seems like an open market for some enterprising person, but not me -- today.

Trying to figure out what barcode to use can be a real pain. Is this a UPC-A, EAN13, Code 39, or some other form of barcode? Barcode scanners are pretty amazing that they work as well as they do when you stop to think about it. They can identify what type of barcode this is, decode it, and be ready for the next one while I'm still in a trance from the red light. Pretty colors.

Well, we had to create some mock-ups today for a few barcodes to be printed on our invoices / shipping tickets. This caused me to come up with a simple utility to enter your text and get your barcode. I've been having fun with names, URL's, and phrases.

The base URL (if you'd like to play yourself) is http:…

PPC'ing against our affiliates

We have an affiliate that just started creating some content, which we encourage. However, they started bidding against us on Overture and getting quite a few sales from that. While it isn't a problem them getting sales, when it's sales that we would have gotten already (same keywords on Overture) it raises a question with me about the real value of this affiliate.

The other question I have is this: would they be seeing enough traffic for it to pay off? Granted, these keywords are mostly under 20 cents per click, but even a 20% conversion rate means they need to make almost $1.00 per sale (if people are following their links in the first place). They don't rank in any of the 3 major search engines, so we aren't competing in that market yet, but they originally copied most of our homepage as their homepage and now they're paying for traffic that we normally buy. Sure, we can afford to get the #1 position back from them, but the real question is why should I have to b…

Spreading our online marketing eggs into many baskets

Being the CTO of an online company, I am aware that we don't want to keep our eggs in one virtual basket. I've done a lot of things to broaden our reach, including PPC advertising on Google, Overture, and Kanoodle. Shopping engines have become an integral part of our marketing mix as well. I've also worked on our organic search rankings in MSN, Yahoo, and Google. Ask Jeeves is on our radar as well, but the whole Hubs and Authorities makes it very important to have a lot of content, which we just don't have anyone to write currently.

When the Google update "Florida" hit us back in 2003, we realized we had a problem. Our sales were pretty well gone overnight. That's not a good feeling. At that point, I started looking to see what we could do, and I attended my first "Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo" in New York. After some trial and error, we are diverse enough that we totally missed a problem recently, which is a problem.

While it'…