Benefit of running an online business #32

Good MagazineGood Magazine has a spread on world retailers who operate the most square footage across their stores. Some of the companies that made the list (like Walmart and McDonalds) are not suprising to see at all. Here’s the image (click to enlarge):

A few things I DID find suprising:

  • Some of the others on the list (like blockbuster)
  • Some companies who are not on the list (like Costco, Ikea or Circuit City for instance)
  • How much space Walmart actually covers! (18k + Acres! or somewhere in the neighborhood of 850 million square feet!)

Where am I going with this? Think of the money that Walmart spends on upkeep related costs (lighting, heating/cooling, cleaning etc).

I took a quick look at a recent Walmart SEC filing and they sink some huge numbers into this stuff. My wife’s the accountant not me, so I may not be reading these right, but it looks like Walmart is claiming (#’s in millions):

  • Operating expenses -$ 17 130 (or 17 Billion dollars)
  • Accumulated depreciation of property and equipment – $ 26, 881 (yes… 26.8 Billion dollars)

All things that most of 1ShoppingCart’s merchants as online businesses, don’t have to worry about!

(from GoodMagazine)

Top 10 ways to create a 301 redirect

Tonight I redirected a new domain my brother-in-law purchased back to his main site. He and his wife are chiropractors in Ottawa (just setup, may 401 till it’s propogated!) and the new domain is a little shorter and easier to type in than their full domain name (PrestonFamilyChiropractic.ca).

So I thought I would take the time to talk about an important SEO tool…

The 301 Redirect

Generally speaking if you’re moving domains http://www.flickr.com/photos/devnull/330418363/(and therefore changing post permalinks) or changing blog categories etc, you’re going to want to use a 301 redirect.

A 301 redirect tells the search engines that the page in question has PERMANENTLY moved. In most cases it’s the best and most Search Engine friendly method for redirecting web pages as it’ll go a long way towards preserving your hard earned search engine juice.

So, without further adieu:

The Top 10 Methods to Create a 301 Redirect

(Do I have to mention that you need to REPLACE www.the-new-url.com in the examples below with the actual domain name you want to redirect TO?)

1. JSP

<%
response.setStatus(301);
response.setHeader( “Location”, “http://www.the-new-url.com/” );
response.setHeader( “Connection”, “close” );
%>

2. PHP

<?
Header( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “location: http://www.the-new-url.com/” );
?>

3. IIS

From internet services manager, right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect; Select the “redirection to a URL” radio button and enter the new url. Place a checkmark for “The exact url entered above” and “A permanent redirection for this resource”

4. ASP

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
<%
Response.Status=”301 Moved Permanently”;
Response.AddHeader(“Location”,”http://www.the-new-url.com/”);
%>

5. Ruby on Rails

def old_action
headers["Status"] = “301 Moved Permanently”
redirect_to “http://www.the-new-url.com/”
end

6. .NET

<script runat=”server”>
private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
Response.Status = “301 Moved Permanently”;
Response.AddHeader(“Location”,”http://www.the-new-url.com/”);
}
</script>

7. CGI PERL

$q = new CGI;
print $q->redirect(“http://www.new-url.com/”);

8. ColdFusion<.cfheader statuscode=”301″ statustext=”Moved permanently”>
<.cfheader name=”Location” value=”http://www.the-new-url.com/”>

9. .htaccess *

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.the-new-url.com/$1 [R=301,L]

* Ensure Apache Mod-Rewrite moduled is enabled on your account

10. HTML *

<HTML>
<Body>

<a href=`http://www.the-new-url.com/`>Click Here to Go to My Other Site</a>

</Body>
</HTML>

* I don`t recommend the HTML method as it’s not REALLY a 301 redirect!

(photo above from flickr.com)

Thought of the day

Hello everyone!

I’ve been out of town a lot recently (with the day job) as well as launching a new blog (MichaelValiant.com – warning, not food related at all!) so I apologize for not being around here much.

Thanks for the comments (that took me forever to moderate)!

I will re-kick things off with a thought for the day:

I try not to eat any veggies that have travelled more than I have!

The Ultimate WordPress Plugin List

While I’ve always believed in working hard once I’ve set my mind to something, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year or two trying to teach myself how to work SMARTER as well.

One of the ways I try to do this is by automating my daily life as much as possible. This allows me to slice the time I DO have just a little thinner.

In fact, it’s one of the reasons I love apps like WordPress and Firefox (although I definitely DON’T like how heavy the newest Firefox runs). Some of the plugins available for these programs are incredible and allow me to squeeze more work into less time by taking advantage of the work of other very smart people!

I owe a BIG thank you to the 2,000′ish people who’ve taken the time to visit and help make my first couple of weeks on the new blog great! And, as I continue to tweak the template and improve the SEO’ability of the blog I’ve received a few emails asking about what it is I’ve been doing – and why!

So instead of sharing individually over and over again, I thought I’d just bare all (so to speak) and compile a list of ALL the great wordpress plugins I’m using, have used, or may be thinking about using…

The Ultimate WordPress Plugin List:

  • Ad Rotator – Will be trying this one on my 1ShoppingCart blog shortly
  • Add Meta Tags – Adds Keyword& Description meta tags to your blog pages. Automated & Customizable (* currently installed)
  • AdSense Deluxe – Inserts AdSense (and other types of ads) into blog posts
  • Akismet – Default WordPress comment spam filter, I can’t imagine anyone on WordPress NOT usisng this one! (* currently installed)
  • Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – Generates a useful HTML Sitemap. Good for navigation & SEO (* currently installed)
  • Democracy – A polling plugin I’ve used in the past with success
  • Feedburner Feedsmith – Integrate your Feedburner Feed and have the default WordPress feeds redirect to it! (* currently installed)
  • Landing Sites – One I haven’t used yet, but was recommended to me for providing search traffic with links deeper into the site
  • Linklove – Protect your PR while rewarding your regular commentors with this plugin (* currently installed)
  • Popularity Contest - An interesting plugin that aggrogates popular posts
  • Random Redirect – Another well designed plugin to help traffic & search engines deeper into your site
  • Recaptcha – I just installed this one for the first time. Using it to pick up the slack from Akismet (* currently installed)
  • Related Posts - Simple plugin that displays links leading deeper into your blog – good for traffic and search! (* currently installed)
  • SEO Title Tag – Simple plugin that allows you to control the titles tags of all your posts (* currently installed)
  • Share This – A good plugin I used on my last blog that provides readers a way to share your post via email or social bookmarking
  • Subscribe to Comments – A must have for any blog! Allows people to receive an email when anyone leaves a comment after their own
  • Twitter Tools – Twitter posted to Blog, Blog posts to Twitter. Doesn’t get much more automated! (* currently installed)
  • What Would Seth Godin Do? – Wouldn’t you like to know?
  • WordPress Reports – Plugin to your Google Analytics and Feedburner stats and show the basics right within your WordPress menu (* currently installed)
  • WordPress Page Nav – Improves the standard WordPress pagination interface (* currently installed)

There are a few other good ones out there, and I’ll be updating this list over time, but this is an excellent place to start and should cover all the major bases you’ll need!

And if you use any plugins that you can’t live without but I’ve somehow missed (it happens more than I like to admit!), I’d love to hear about them! Let me know what they are and where I can find them and I’ll add them to the list and credit you with the addition!

Future of the Press Release

My mini-holiday is quickly coming to an end (will be back in the office on monday) and I’m trying to get my brain back in the game tonight by catching up on some RSS reading (shhh. Don’t tell my wife!)

Unfortunately, typical to my partially type-A personality, my light reading quickly became heavy research on a couple of fasinating topic and I find myself not wanting to turn off my computer at 2:30 AM.

Where am I going with that?  The fact that I don’t have enough time (or energy) for a long post for starters…

Second, my brain has been almost completely occupied with Social Media related topics since I attended the BigSeminar last week and I know it’s going to be difficult getting back into my irregular groove in the office on Monday.  Meaning, in part, that I’ll have to use this blog to get some thoughts out of the way this week.

One of the big ones that has been bugging me and you should therefore expect to read more about, (I suppose that’s a bit presumptuous of me – you will come back and read more won’t you?) is the whole concept of a Social Media Press Release.

I’ve seen both good (both long and shorter examples) and bad ones recently.

One of the questions that I am interested in is what is the core of the future Press Release.  Is it something that demands conversation and interaction?   Something that caters to Social Media outlets? Something that delivers traditional Press Release speak in a flashier document?

Don’t overthink this!  I think the better approach is simply the same direction I see marketing, advertising etc heading in general.

That is, to stop force feeding a general audience marketing and business propeganda using a very particular channel and start offering specific audiences access to great free content via the channels they already prefer using.

The result will foster conversations between the right people and groups while providing the toolbox full of goodies they need.  It’s a slam dunk and lightyears better than a traditional Press Release.

I think one of my favourite aspects is the fact that, while a lot more work to compile, it could become a destination all on it’s own.  Unlike a traditional Press Release that you have to get right once then send it out, the future Press Release could be an evolving and dynamic entity that could be released early and evolve along with the associated product (or whatever the PR is about).  Of course a robust RSS feed would be mandatory and enable interested parties to follow the progression/release/evolution of your product.

Food for thought.

I want to discuss this more in the coming weeks and would love to know your thoughts on the future of Press Releases!  Where do you think their going? What will work, and what won’t?  Have you seen any good, or bad examples lately?

Blogging / SEO tip of the day…

I have a quick Blogging/SEO tip for today:

I finally figured out what went wrong with my template. Thanks for all the suggestions, but it looks like it was my own error in the end (not that I thought it was going to be anything else!)

A snippet of code I put in to prevent a particular category from appearing on my HomePage seems to have turned all of my paginated pages into copies of my HomePage. (But it DID work to supress the specified category)

So, for now I’ve pulled the code, and my Twitter category is back on my main page; leaving me to try and decide if there is enough value in having my twitter posts regurgitated here on my blog.

It’s too bad too. I searched a long time trying to figure out how to supress a category from the homepage in wordpress. In case anyone is interested, here is the php I was using that caused all the issues:

?php if (is_home()) {query_posts(“cat=-3″);} ?

And for those of you who may be wondering why it all really mattered (as most blog visitors don’t surf through a blogs paginated archives much anyway)… I was receiving a decent amount of traffic on a couple popular Facebook related keywords for a short post I made on Facebook Grant Money and as soon as that post dropped off my HomePage (and became inaccessible to Google) the traffic dried up.

So the moral of the story is…

It’s REALLY important to provide Google with a path to your post’s permalinked URL from your homepage.