Web Design:

October 18, 2005

SEO Web Site Templates

There are many sites on the Internet that sell web site templates. Web templates can be a cost-effective way to start a web site if you are not a web designer. Many of the web templates out there are not very well optimized for search engine optimization, however. Hiring an SEO consultant to optimize a web template would cost much more that the web template itself.

It is for these reasons that I have started a site dedicated to providing SEO Web Site Templates. I have only posted 3 templates so far, but more will follow soon. The templates, which are very similar to each other, have been specified and designed with the primary objective of being optimized for SEO. Based current SEO best practices, the layout and HTML structure are optimal for search engine rankings. Of course, you still have to fill them with good content and build links to your site -- but with a solid SEO-optimized web site template, you can be off to a great start. For more information, click here

By the way, if you like the idea but you don't find a template that meets your needs, let me know. I am open to suggestions as to general and specific "themes" for future templates.

April 11, 2004

Content Targeted Amazon Ads

I recently came across a tool that displays Amazon product links that are targeted at the content of the page - much the same way that Google AdSense targets ads.

The tool, which is offered by Alexa, works by adding some javacript to your page like this:

<script src="http://quicklinks.alexa.com/ifreq_server?return_js=1&store=books&tag=dvdplayers
&ad_geometry=14&url=http://www.markcarey.com/
content-targeted-amazon-ads.html">
</script>

Here it is in action (as I write this I am not sure what books will be recommended):

I have started a test with these ads on several of my sites. I wonder how good the targeting will be. Compared to AdSense, the range of products that can be displayed is much narrower, especially since you have to specify only one amazon store (books, dvds, electronics, etc.). By the way, that's number one feature request for Amazon associate links: ads boxes that span more than one store. This would be especially useful for Amazon Web Services (AWS) - enabling you to display a book, a dvd, and a dvd player in the same ad box. I am interested in feedback on how good the targeting is -- please reply in the discussion for this entry with your comments.

You can pass the following arguments with the script:

store - books, dvd, electronics, etc.
url - the URL of the page to target
tag - your Amazon associates id
ad_geometry - a code associated with the size and dimensions of the ad box

There is also an XML output option, which returns a series of keywords and a single key phrase based on the target URL. The idea is that you can then use the key phrase to display links using AWS. The XML method take the following form:

http://quicklinks.alexa.com/ifreq_server?n_terms=3&url=http://www.markcarey.com/content-targeted-amazon-ads.html

The tag n_terms enables you to limit the maximum number of terms that are returned. This actually affects the target phrase as well, so it would be interesting to test the optimal number of terms to achieve the best targeting.

To see what books would be recommended on your site, use the form below:


URL:
Ad Geometry:

Submit:

December 11, 2003

Simple and Interactive Web Design

I believe that web design should be kept simple, communicating clearly with customers and other web site visitors. Visitors should be able to easily navigate the web site in order to find what they are looking for. For smaller web sites, everything should be no more than a few clicks away from the home page.

I also believe that web sites become much more useful when they are interactive. Interactive web sites engage the site visitor to contribution information, questions, or comments. An integrated discussion forum can be an effective way to make a web page a true communications tool.

While I believe that easy-of-use is the most important factor in web design, I also consider search engine rankings when creating the structural elements of a web site. I design web sites that are both user- and search engine-friendly.


Coming soon: Books as Blogs