Wednesday, December 30, 2009

As many of you probably know by now, the Yahoo Store platform has been a little unsteady the last two days.

Store owners are asking me, is it time to make a leap over to a new platform?

Sorry to disappoint but, my answer is no.

I have been with Yahoo Stores for 10 years now and during that 10 years I have had sites hosted on:

  • Yahoo
  • GoDaddy
  • Dedicated Servers
  • and everything in between
Every single one of those sites have gone down one time or another. It is just the facts of life. We may not like it but, it does happen.

Thankfully with our websites hosted on Yahoo, it does not happen NEARLY as often as it does to other websites hosted other places.

I know what you are asking, "Well what caused all this to happen in the first place?"

My guess based on rumors (again this is just a guess) is that the Yahoo servers were attacked by the same thing that took down Amazon right before Christmas.

What can you do?

There are two things that I recommend:
  1. Sign up for alerts on the Yahoo Store Status page

  2. Sign up for alerts through a Web Monitoring Website

Why do both?

The Yahoo Store status page is usually the last place that tells you that your store is down. For instance... Monday when all of the Yahoo Stores went down, it took the status page 22 minutes to note that there was a problem with the Yahoo Stores.

I don't know about you but, I want to know MUCH faster than 22 minutes if my website is down.

By the time Yahoo updated its status page:

What is wrong with finding our your website is down 22 minutes later?

For 22 minutes Yahoo Store owners still had ad campaigns running and people clicking on their ads. For 22 minutes Yahoo Store owners still were paying for people to click on those links and not get anywhere.

That is a lot of wasted money.

There were some store owners that never knew about the outage until it was over because they don't get any alerts whatsoever. Those store owners paid for 2 and half hours worth of people clicking on their links and not being able to get to their website.

More wasted money.

What did 1 Choice do?

We saw how long it took for store owners to realize their store was down and thought... this is taking way too long. Store owners need to know this information immediately. We need a solution.

We found a website monitoring service that we could partner with that would give you a free trial, let you know that minute your website was down, check to make sure your shopping cart URL is always working, and would alert you through text message or email.

We created a video to show you how easy it is to get set up and know exactly when your store or your shopping cart goes down.

We hope that this solution will help everyone and will save you lost dollars!

We have created a short video to show you how easy it is to get set up and start monitoring not only your website but, your shopping cart URL as well.

Let us know if you have any questions!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yesterday all of Yahoo Stores went down for over 2 hours. Today many Yahoo Store owners are seeing their site go in and out or take forever to load.

So you will want to do the following:

1. Pause all of your ad campaigns - Until we get notice that this issue is fixed once and for all, why spend money getting people to your website that will not ever make it there?

2. Consider signing up for a website monitoring service so you know exactly when your store goes down.

We were quite upset about the store closings yesterday and many store owners asked us how they could learn when and if their store was to go down immediately.

We found a solution and today we have 1 Choice 4 Website Monitoring. You can sign up for a free account or get a premium account for as little as $2.00 a month.

Either way, you will learn when your website goes down so you can pause your ad campaigns and stop losing money.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 28, 2009

The countdown has begun.

Lots of changes going on over at Google and they are only getting started.

December 4th Google announced more personalized search results for their users.

Google also announced recently they have integrated REAL-time search. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are being integrated into the search results.

After the first of the year, Google will be performing a major update called "Caffeine" that will be shaking up more than a few website rankings.

Join us at 6:00 PM Eastern at for our LIVE broadcast of Ecom Experts as we discuss all the changes, how they affect you, and what you need to do today to get ready for tomorrow.

You can listen live, chat, and ask questions by going to:

We will see you there!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yesterday I wrote a post called, "If Only Our Websites Acted Like My Dog."

In that post I introduced you to one of my beloved Golden Retrievers Amber B.

Today let me introduce you to the other girl... Autumn Rose.

Autumn Rose has a completely different personality than her sister. As you can see, she also weighs about 40 pounds more as well :)

Autumn Rose is what you would call a jealous little puppy. She is the perfect lay down by your feet Golden Retriever...

UNTIL you are giving someone else attention.

In the image to the right, my son Andy was playing with Amber and having a good time until Autumn found out. Then she had to come in, get a great big hug, and get her love too.

I see this same situation with website owners. They seem perfectly content letting their websites sit there until they see their competition do something. Then they feel they have to do it too.

Your website needs to be the leader not the follower. Be innovative, be proactive, be involved, and most importantly stop being jealous of the other guy.

Instead of trying to copy the other website, what is your unique value proposition?

What sets you apart from anyone else? Why should your customer buy from you instead of your competitor?

Once you identify this unique value, make sure to express it on your landing pages so that your customers understand what sets you apart.

Be the leader and not the follower. Instead of being jealous, be the website that everyone else envies.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I have 2 beautiful Golden Retrievers. You may have heard about them (or heard them) during one of our webinars or radio shows.

The one in the picture, her name is Amber B and she NEVER gets enough attention.

As I sit here writing you this posting, she takes her nose... places it under my arm... and lifts it straight up and onto her head.


I try telling her, "Amber B, Mommy is working now."

I place my hand back on the mouse and the nose lifts it back off again. This continues over and over again until I give her the attention she rightfully deserves.

Imagine if our website could do the same to us.

How often would your website be begging for attention?

Hopefully on a daily basis because search engines are looking to rank websites that have fresh unique content. If you are not updating your website often and giving it the attention it rightfully deserves, the search engines will find another website that is.

Kind of like my dog Amber. If she can't get any attention from me, she runs off and gives those sad pathetic eyes to anyone else that might look at her.

Sure, she will come back sooner or later when I am ready to give her attention. But, where will she go to first when she craves the attention? To the person who she has trained to give her attention on HER time.

The search engines will do the same. They are trained to go back to the websites that give their websites the most attention as well.

For instance:

If Site A updates their website once a month


Site B updates on a daily basis

Then the search engines know that they need to visit Site B more regularly to stay up to date with all the great new stuff.

Here is the problem:

Our websites don't come over, lift our hands off the mouse, and tell us they need attention.

You have to remember to do this on your own. Set reminders, set alerts, do whatever it takes but, add new content to your website today and every day.

Otherwise your website might give you those sad pathetic eyes that my darling Amber B gives to me 50 times a day.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Yesterday I interviewed Erik Kretschmar from iSpeakVideo and we discussed the use of adding not only video to your website... but a video spokesperson as well.

Some of the benefits of using a video spokesperson can be:
  • Explaining your product in detail
  • Providing a full product demonstration
  • Show how to use the product
However, some of the unique ways of using a video spokesperson could be used to:
  • Explain how to place an order online
  • Explain how to return a product
  • Walk your customer through the checkout process
Adding these types of videos can increase your conversions by up to 49%.

Plus, it helps with the reduction of questions that you have to answer and you can focus more on customer service.

You can listen or download the full interview below.

Can Video Really Improve Your Sales For Your Ecommerce Site?

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 21, 2009

In one word... yes.

YouTube has now become the second largest search engine.

Think about that for a second. The #1 place people are going to is Google for searches and the #2 place is YouTube. Amazing.

Videos are fresh. Videos are hot. Videos will help you to increase sales!

Today on Ecom Experts we will be interviewing Erik Kretschmar, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing for iSpeakVideo.

We will be discussing:

  • Ways that Ecommerce sites can use a video spokesperson
  • Ways that Ecommerce sites can use video
  • Benefits of adding video to your website
  • What type of conversion rates are website owners seeing after adding video
  • and much much more
Join us live at 6:00 PM Eastern (3:00 PM Pacific) by going to:

You can listen live, chat, and ask any questions you may have on adding video to your website.

See you there!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 18, 2009

We are officially one week away from Christmas.

Can you offer your customers guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve?

If yes, then go send an email to your customers right now and let them know!

Include a coupon for free shipping or 10% off to sweeten the deal. Make sure to highlight all the reasons why they should be shopping online at your store:
  • No parking
  • No lines
  • Guaranteed in stock
  • Guaranteed arrival
  • Secure shopping
  • Free shipping
Offer your customers the ability to share their coupon. In fact, encourage them to forward the email to their friends, coworkers, and family members.

If you cannot guarantee arrival in time for Christmas, offer your customers the ability to purchase gift certificates from your website. Create a beautiful gift card for your customer to give to their loved ones.

I did a search on Istock and found a few gift cards that you can easily add your company name and amount too.

If you would like us to make your company a custom gift card for your customers, you can order our Custom Gift Cards Service.

Plus we guarantee that your custom gift cards will be created within 24 hours so that you can use them immediately and start selling them to all of your last minute shoppers!

Order your Custom Gift Cards today!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As most of you know, I just love giving out free goodies.

Goodies consist of free education!

Ebooks, articles, video tutorials, and anything else I can get my hands on to give to our customers.

Education is powerful and I want you to have tons of power for your website!

Here are the 5 FREE goodies we gave away during our 12/14 episode of Ecom Experts:

  1. 2009 Holiday Trends from Yahoo Search Marketing

  2. Over 200 Add To Cart Images - Use these images to make small changes to your website with BIG results.

  3. Seth Godin's lastest e-book - What Matters Now

  4. Attention Wizard - Free software that will instantly create an “attention heatmap” of your Web page that predicts where real people would look during the first few seconds of their visit. Plus, it's from one of my fave authors Tim Ash!

  5. 2 $9.99 Videos from our Advanced Video Training Center"

There is a small catch on the #5. You have to listen to the show in order to get the coupon code.

I promise it is worth it! You will learn lots about landing page conversions from

High Conversion Tips For Your Online Store

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 14, 2009

You know how much I love education right?

Well, tis the season for gifts and tis the season for free goodies too!

I just added 7 new video series to our website and I want you to grab any 2 you would like for free.

What's the catch?

You have to listen to the December 14th edition of Ecom Experts:

High Conversion Tips For Your Online Store

We are discussing how to increase your conversion rates which is always loads of fun!

Listen, chat, and have fun by going to:

During our broadcast I will be giving out the coupon code to use for your free videos.

See you there!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Today on our radio show Ecom Experts I am interviewing Zee Aganovic from

We will be discussing some of the latest tips and advice for getting the highest conversions for your online store.
  • What pages you should be optimizing

  • How to prioritize your pages

  • What are the major challenges online store owners face when increasing their conversion rates

  • and much more
Come join us at 6:00 PM Eastern by going to:
You can listen, chat, and ask questions.

I have a gift for all our listeners in the chat room.

A brand new video series that is not even on our website yet!

Yanno I love to give out free goodies :) Education is important to me!

So make sure to join me at 6:00 PM Eastern and learn some high conversion tips for your online store by going to:

Shawna Fennell


Can't make the live show? No worries.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Last week I sent everyone a $100 Gift Certificate to use at 1 Choice.

Many of you have used your coupon for learning, add-ons, or a new design.

However, we have also received many phone calls from customers asking, "What should I use my gift card for?"

So today, I am going to be your personal shopper.
In this month's newsletter, I discuss common problems that many store owners have and how we can help you fix those problems.

You can check it out by going to:
Remember, use coupon code holiday09 and have fun shopping!

Shawna Fennell


**PLEASE NOTE** If you have never done any custom changes to your Yahoo Store, make sure you read our page about converting your items over to custom templates.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

SES Chicago proved once again THE place to learn the latest marketing, measuring and money making tips for your online store. And you know we love to bring you education so get ready to absorb, ponder and more importantly USE!

We gathered great tips from the top people in Search Analytics - Jim Sterne, Bryan Eisenberg, Matthew Bailey, Google Product Manager Phil Mui and Yahoo!’s own Dennis Mortensen presented wonderful info on how to use your analytics tools to make more money.

Sadly, I hear day after day “Yes, I have analytics” – My follow-up question is what are you learning from it and the response is “I don’t look at it”.

If you are not looking at your analytics and making informed decisions regarding your site’s structure you are wasting your time and leaving money for someone else.

So let’s look at what you need to do to increase your bottom line.

Let’s start by focusing on one single process - what search engine did they use? Yep – that’s it – did they come from Google, Yahoo or ???. More than likely they came from Google but did they stay, did they browse and did they convert?

Once you look at one aspect of your data, it will lead you down many other paths of information.

With this data you can make informed decisions on how to change your site to make more money. What is working for your site and what isn’t? What did you do right and can you do it again? What didn’t work – now get rid of it. The secret to analytics is very simple - monitor, change, monitor, change … You get the idea.

Let’s describe a few of the processes you need to look at:

1. How did they find your store? Search, blogs, articles, or social media. Which ones generate the most income? Now focus, focus, focus on what worked.

2. Look at your keywords. Not just the top performing – look at which ones are converting and start writing more content for those.

3. If they aren’t checking out of the shopping cart, where did they leave your store? Analyze that and you may see drastic areas that need to be improved. Did they leave after reading your Shipping Policy? If they did, was it too confusing, did it promote trust? Remember to Keep It Simple. This data may lead you to a pattern of behavior that is actionable on your part.

4. Remember you are not optimizing your site. That is right – I said it – Don’t optimize your site. Optimize each page. Which entry page generates the most income – which page generates the least?

5. Segment behavior. Go deep to see exactly what your traffic is doing in your site. If you had a brick and mortar store, you might have someone follow customers around the store (stealth-like) to observe their behavior. Analytics reports will be your spy.

Now take action!

What did you learn from the data? You learned behavior of your customers.

Now make changes that can increase the behavior you desire from your traffic and start making money.

Remember - data gathering is critical to running an online store.

Let me rephrase – Data gathering is critical to running any type of store. Without knowing who, what, where, when, why and how your customers are finding or leaving your site, you are blind in ecommerce. And your successful competitor has their eyes wide open with information about their site and yours as well.

So what are you waiting for? Review your analytics and find out how to increase your profit.

If you need help, we are just a phone call away!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 07, 2009

I am here at Search Engine Stratgies Chicago 2009 and today I had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful panel on analytics with Jim Sterne, Matt Bailey, and Dennis Mortensen from Yahoo.

Dennis Mortensen worked as COO of Index Tools up until the day they were bought out by Yahoo. He is the author of Yahoo! Web Analytics book and today he provided an interesting topic of discussion.

Search Engine de-Optimization

Basically, tell the search engines do not come to your website. Forget search engine optimization all together.

My first thought was yeah right.

But when you get to the heart of it all, there is something to pay attention too.

Instead of focusing on whether or not you should or should not add something to your website because it may change where you are ranking...

Why not focus on your customers instead? Why not focus on what is the best thing to add to your website that will help your desired audience?

Let's think about this.

If we stop worrying about title tags, keywords, density, links, and all that other stuff...

If we stop worrying about were we rank in the search engines, what will our changes do to our rankings, and all that other stuff...

What are we left with?

We are left wondering what is in the best interest of our customer?

Will this help our customer? Will this change make them happy? Will this change make them convert into a sale?

If we stop focusing on the rankings and focus more on the conversion, won't we make more money too?

After all, isn't it better to get 100 people in our website with 10 people making a purchase... then to have 100,000 people in our website with only 10 people making a purchase.

Let's focus on our content. Let's focus on our customers. Let's focus on the user experience.

Will I tell the search engines to stay out of my site? Sorry Dennis, I am not that crazy *wink*

by: Shawna Seigel

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Greg Jarboe wrote the book YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day.

Greg also was a speaker here at SES Chicago and provided some great insight!

10 billion videos are watched on YouTube in august 2009
  • 45% of videos discovered on video sites and only 6% with search engines
  • 44% of videos found are embedded in blogs
  • 2% found in social networks
  • 2% found in social bookmarking sites
Optimizing video for YouTube is critical to the discovery process.

YouTube combines sophisticated text-matching techniques to find videos that are both important and relevant to your search.

The title, description, and the tags are most important to being found. Videos with a high number of hits and ratings will also get higher rankings.

How do you determine what search terms people use on YouTube? Go to YouTube and start typing in the search box. The search box will begin to tell you what people have been searching for. There is also a YouTube keyword suggestion tool.

This tool is a little less mature so the material is not the best.

Help your videos be discovered:

Title – 120 Characters

- Think of your title as a headline
- If you include brand name in title, it should go last

Description – 1,000 Characters

- Be as detailed as possible (short of entire transcript)
- Include URL’s with http:// to playlist or your website

Tags – 120 Characters

- Be as detailed as possible
- Include: Brand, City, topics
- Very useful for being found in search
- Every keyword in title should be in tags

Increasing video views without using any automated system

- Links in video description so you can cross-promote to a playlist on your channel or your website
- Video responses can point users to your next video
- Use annotations to link to another video
- Use captions to add subtitles to your video and reach a broader audience
- Embed your video and get additional videos with the context of a relevant website
- Do a video search for Matt Cutts and make note of the captions and annotations he uses in his videos

Compelling video content is second critical success factor on YouTube. Most videos steadily lose viewers once “play” is clicked after 10 seconds. Half the people watching your video will be gone after 1 minute.

Best video and audio formats for optimizing your video uploads change often. Keep up with the changes.

10 Kinds of TV commercials that change people’s brand preference:

  • Humor
  • Slice of life
  • Testimonials
  • Demonstrations
  • Problem Solution
  • Talking heads
  • Characters
  • Reason why
  • News
  • Emotion

Hot Spots compares viewership of a video to others of similar length

Option leaders play critical role in deciding which videos go viral

by: Shawna Seigel

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Did you know that you can come to Search Engine Strategies for free, meet the sponsors, and join in on some awesome express clinics?

Express Clinics are free for anyone to attend! Visit the Expo Hall and take in this added bonus. No need for appointments, as these PowerPoint-free, interactive clinics are "first-come, first-served", offering you a rare chance to get your website reviewed live by one of our SES experts.

Trust me when I tell you that there are some amazing speakers doing the Express Clinics this year.

Some of my favorite authors like Tim Ash, Shari Thurow, and David Szetela. Oh yeah, and Matt Bailey who loves to teach segmentation by using Star Trek. Check out the full schedule by going to:

Come up to Chicago, get your Expo Pass for free, and while you are here... Twitter me and let me know you are around so we can say hi!

Grab your SES pass today and I look forward to seeing you soon!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 04, 2009

I love the holidays and I love giving out goodies!

So I wanted to send you all out a $100 Gift Certificate for Christmas that you can use at

Just use coupon code holiday09

Use it for learning, use it for add-ons, use it for a new site design.

The point is... use it and have fun with it :)

I highly recommend using your gift certificate towards getting a blog that matches the look and feel of your store.


When I write a new blog posting, Google usually picks up the new page in about 5-10 minutes! SERIOUSLY!! You can read about it here:

So head over to 1 Choice and go shopping today as the Gift Certificate will expire soon.

Remember, the coupon code is holiday09!

Oh and if you decide to purchase any one of our design packages, I will give you a blog design and set up for free. Just add a note in the comments section of your order that you want a free blog!

Happy Shopping and I will talk to you soon!

Shawna Fennell


**PLEASE NOTE** If you have never done any custom changes to your Yahoo Store, make sure you read our page about converting your items over to custom templates.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

WoW What a crazy day of running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Tomorrow morning bright and early I have a 3 hour drive to Chicago O'Hare Airport. Then I hop on a plane for 4 1/2 hours and land in Los Angeles.

I will be in L.A. until Saturday morning for Affiliate Convention. While there I will be giving a speech about getting traffic to your site via Twitter, conducting interviews for WebmasterRadio, and generally having a great time!

OH! And having a really good time at the Affiliate Bash party!

We get home on Saturday and I am home for one night only. Then we head back to Chicago for Search Engine Strategies.

Somewhere in all this I am supposed to find out when we close on our new house too!


It will be extremely crazy and hectic over the next 9 days but, will try to blog some awesome updates as much as possible.

Make sure you are following on Twitter as I will be doing live updates from the conferences with all the latest and greatest education.

In the meantime, make sure to check out a replay of our interview with Josh Greenough, VP of Operations at PowerReviews.

Great stuff and some good advice on user generated content.

by: Shawna Seigel

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