HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

March, 2006

Affiliate Programs - Tips for Improving Ad Exposure

March 31, 2006

I have recently begun to start incorporating affiliate program ads on one of my websites. I have joined about 15 affiliate programs and have received the code for about 25-30 different ads. The ads have been incorporated into the website a number of different ways, and after seeing the ads, I can't help but feel like there is a better way to go about it.

Affiliate ads are great because they often display a specific message, rather than just the company's logo and tagline. Some ads might offer a discount on specific products, free shipping, etc. Most affiliates also supply a wide range of different-sized ads as well, meaning you can use the ads in just about any location on your site. I've incorporated 5 different sized ads in addition to text link ads. Now that the "standard" ...Read entire article

Affiliate Program Experiment

March 29, 2006

Creating a website that passively generates revenue is the number one goal for most website operators. I shouldn't say that actually as there are many reasons people build websites. But many people, whether they are building a website to generate extra revenue or not, will ultimately start to explore ways of monetizing their website to generate some kind of income.

There are many different ways to "monetize a website". I attended the New York Search Engine Strategies Conference not too long ago and was astounded by the sheer number of pay-per-click and online advertising companies. Every one offered a program that was better, generated more traffic, or had a higher pay-per-click than the next. From a publisher stand-point they all promised highly targeted and relevant ads, tha...Read entire article

Online Marketing - The Value of Blogs

March 27, 2006

Online marketing is an all-encompassing term. Does it mean search engine optimization? Does it mean working on linking strategies? Does it mean sending out press releases? Does it mean putting together pay-per-click advertising campaigns? Does it mean maintaining and sending out to an email list? Online marketing means all those things and more!

One of the most important fundamentals to remember though is that you need something to market. Without developing new content, and developing it often, you will soon run out of steam with your marketing strategy. You may have all the systems and resources in place to use every kind of online marketing tool imaginable, but without fresh content, you have nothing to broadcast.

Recently blogs have become all the rage. Read entire article

Find and Replace - PHP String Functions

March 24, 2006

After working with PHP for some time, you are undoubtedly going to have work with string functions. If you've ever manipulated strings using Microsoft Excel, the process is pretty similar. Here I am going to look at how to isolate the domain name from an email address. This technique uses several PHP string functions to determine the overall length of the string, isolate everything before the "@" symbol, and then finally return everything after the @ symbol, which is the domain name.

If you simply want to find out if a string of text contains a certain string, PHP makes it easy with the strpos function. The basic syntax will look something like this:

$string...Read entire article

RSS Teaser Field

March 22, 2006

Since developing my own blog/content management system/RSS feeds I have learned a lot about how to manage this site and make it more efficient. I've created a backend system which, in essence, creates static HTML pages from data dynamically generated from a MySQL database. All this is done using PHP. I'm proud of the work and the amount of traffic, lower Alexa Rating, and higher Google PageRank that make the rewards that much sweeter.

One of the drawbacks to creating my own system however has been working with the RSS feeds. As part of the administrative interface to this site is a "create archive" script. This single PHP file is responsible for creating everything you see on the front-end. After I click the link to generate the archive, a process goes on behind the scenes tha...Read entire article

The Google PageRank - Alexa Rating Connection

March 20, 2006

I used to believe that if a website had a good (4 or above) Google PageRank, it was getting a lot of traffic. By definition a site that has a lot of incoming links, and quality incoming links will get a higher PageRank. The more quality incoming links the better, and thus a higher PageRank. I used to petition other sites to link back to my sites purely for the Google PageRank factor, to drive that number upwards. But now, while I still spend a decent amount of time searching for link partners, I do it because I understand it will bring untapped traffic to my sites, not just to raise my sites' PageRank.

About two years ago a client at my former job brought Read entire article

PHP Date Function Quick Reference

March 17, 2006

In a previous post, I talked about comparing dates in PHP and some techniques you may be able to use. I thought I would follow up on that post with a general guide to storing, retrieving, and working with dates in PHP.

I think the best way to store dates in a MySQL database when using PHP is not to store them as MySQL defined dates, but rather as varchars. The varchar will actually be a Unix Timestamp. The benefit is that a date in a Unix Timestamp is literally a count of of the number of seconds since the epoch - January 1 1970 00:00:00 GMT. If you need to compare dates, it makes it as easy as seeing which number is higher or lower.

Suppose, for instanc...Read entire article

Google in the Spotlight

March 15, 2006

I have recently written two posts about the problems with Google. Lately I've been hearing other people such as Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineWatch (read his article here) or SEO-Scoop.

The general argument seems to be that Google is moving too fast, in too many directions, and is losing focus on all of its projects, especially natural search. While I think Google does have some problems (especially with its logo/brand image and some of its apparent ranking methods), I'm not ready to start faulting them for their business acquirements and project rollouts just yet.

As a matter of fact, I criticized Google for not keeping pace ...Read entire article

Online Marketing Plan To Increase Website Traffic

March 13, 2006

Long gone are the days when it was enough to stuff a keyword META tag with terms to get a website ranked on the front page of the major search engines. Long gone also are the days when a new "dot-com" venture could lure the curiosity of enough visitors to a website to keep it around for an extended period of time. Nowadays every serious Internet venture has a team of people working on their online marketing and search engine optimization plans. With so many sites vying for precious attention from possible visitors, it is imperative to have a solid marketing foundation to ensure steady traffic and good search engine positioning.

This plan is really just an outline of a technique I've used on a few sites of my own. I'm not telling you how to write your content, who to contact, ...Read entire article

New KeepMyGolfScore.com 19th Hole Golf Blog Launched

March 10, 2006

The KeepMyGolfScore.com 19th Hole Golf Blog is now officially online! The inaugural post marks the update to the vastly improved and comprehensive KeepMyGolScore.com Golf Score Tracker.

We (my friend Matt and I) originally launched the site in 2001. At the time I was basically just a standard web designer with a strong graphic design background. I knew HTML, I could implement Javascript, and could put together basically any kind of static page. But, I had not yet started getting into PHP and database programming to produce dynamic sites. Because of this, another friend of mine helped with the PHP/database programming. The concept for KeepMyGolfScore.com was to charge people a yearly...Read entire article

MSN Windows Live Search BETA

March 08, 2006

Just found out that MSN Windows Live is launching a new BETA of their search today. I checked it out and thought it was a pretty interesting twist on the "normal" search engine standards.

I think one of the coolest features is the fact that they got rid of pagination. Instead of clicking through page after page of results, they have implemented a slider on the right side of the results that allows you to scroll through all the search results on one page. You'll notice if you try it out that it does not load every single result onto the page and that it does, in fact, briefly pause while the next subset of results are loaded, but the delay is so short it is almost seemless. Does this mean everyone can land...Read entire article

Successfull Marketing 101 - Content is King

March 06, 2006

Let's face it, no one wants to invest any amount of time, no matter how minimal, on a website if it does not offer some type of compelling content. I'm not saying you have to give away secrets about the JFK assassination, but you should be offering something worthwhile to visitors on a continual basis. Even if your main goal is to sell a product or service, you will be missing the boat if you do not have content.

Unless someone knows about your website already and gets to it by typing the website address directly into their browser's address bar, they will undoubtedly have to come across your site by peforming a search at a search engine or clicking on a link provided on another website. After working for a marketing company for five years, I've come to realize that so many pe...Read entire article

RSS Feed Creation - Basic Guidelines

March 02, 2006

I started syndicating content via RSS feeds in December of 2005. I produce my own blog and created the software myself that powers my blog and RSS feed. I would say most blogs out there use some form of pre-packaged blog and syndicating software such as WordPress, but because I have some knowledge of PHP and database programming, I decided to construct everything myself.

Because of that I've started out with barebones features on my blog and RSS feed and have slowly been adding to it. This is really a side project so I can't spend too much time on it and because of that, I can only add features which I think are vitally important.

Below are several guidelines I feel are important for putting together an RSS feed to give it the mos...Read entire article

Review and Opinion of the 2006 New York Search Engine Strategies Conference

March 01, 2006

On a scale of 0 to 100, I would rate the conference an 83. You may think that's a little harsh and would expect a better score, but hey, it's just my opinion.

Registration was between 8-9am and I arrived just before 8am to the New York Hilton. I was the fourth person to register that morning and of course the printer broke that was supposed to print my badge and I ended up waiting about 15 minutes for the Hilton computer team to fix the problem. Not a big deal...so I checked out the area and ended up in the great wi-fi lounge (sponsored by info.com) to check email etc.

The first session I attended was "Pundits on Search". The panel included Matt Cutts from Google, Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo!, Robert Scoble from Microsoft, and a couple o...Read entire article

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