Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting your Own .Com

Okay so I haven't posted in a while because I've been setting up my own .com, Hometown State T-Shirts . It looks exactly like my cafepress shop, due to the workings of CPShop, a program that allows you to pull all your product images and information onto any other website you own. The beauty is that now I have a much nicer url to tell people about, I can submit a sitemap to google so that they'll now crawl all my pages, not just a few, and it just plain looks more professional. WWW.HOMETOWNT.COM is so much easier to remember than the other URL.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So my shop is getting updated as a reasonable pace. I still have a ton of products to post, but I can only do so much every week with my other 9-5. One thing I've tried to do is set a daily goal of completing one small task on my website that may be more on the mundane/repetitive side, and then allow myself the rest of my free time to spend creating new graphics, searching for new ideas etc. Something helpful to do to spark creativity is to goto the cafepress homepage and do a search for words related to your t-shirt shop, see what other people are doing, don't copy, but llet their creativity spark your creativity. My Hometown State T-Shirt Shop has definitely benefited from this.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Helpful Links

I've found two forums that I think are the absolute hubs for all information/help related to SEO.

Check them out, do a search for issues you have questions on, if you don't see an answer that helps post a question, there are tons of very very knowledgeable people on these forums, the amount of knowledge available is almost overwhelming, I could sit there for hours just reading, but I'm trying to focus on my main issues for the moment, and my main issue at the moment is:

getting a sitemap for my CP shop. As it stands you cannot upload an xml sitemap (xml is the format that sitemaps should be in to be recognized by the main search engines). And because xml sitemaps have to be hosted on the domain that the website that is included in the sitemap, CP shop users cannot, as far as I know at this moment, use an xml sitemap for cp hosted shops, because we don't have access to the CP root directory, where the sitemap needs to be. Now...Google, at the Google Webmaster Tools says that you can have a sitemap in RSS feed format, which is basically a .txt file with a list of links and some simple html tags surroudning them, and Google doesn't make it clear if that file has to be hosted on the same domain as the sitemap which is referenced in the sitemap, so I'm thinking I might be able to remotely host my RSS feed and add that URL to my Google Webmaster Tools url's, and then Google will visit the sitemap, which will redirect it to the URl's for my CP shop contained in the sitemap. Still gathering more info on this, I'll let you know if it works.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pagerank / SEO Toolbar

Pagerank is the ranking google gives each page, based upon how many 'votes' other sites are giving you, by linking to you, I believe there are other factors involved but that is a big one. So to get your page higher on search engines it's important to raise your PageRank, which you can do by getting 'votes' (links) to your page from other sites that have a good Page Rank. The more sites with high Page Rank you can get linking to your site, the better off you are. The SEO toolbar is a cool little tool I just found that tells you what each sites toolbar is, along with a lot of other SEO information. I'm just downloading it tonight, I'll let you know how it works out for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Link Building

There's a lot of information out there regarding the concept of 'link building' in your SEO quest. There is a short list of effective ways to get direct links to your site that includes posting on various messageboards, especially those that have a good PageRank with Google and those that have topics related to your shop. Second is posting an article you write on sites such as Sites like this provide articles to websites that want fresh content and don't have the time or means to create it themselves. Write about something you have a lot of knowledge on, at the end of your article you'll have an opportunity to include a link to your site, that link will get crawled by the search engines and in turn get your site crawled. Sites like these get crawled very often due to their new and unique content. Then there's the concept of reciprocal links, trading a link on your site to your link on another's. I've yet to get this one going, I'm still working on my direct links for my Hometown State T-Shirts Shop.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blogging your Way to The Top

So I have to confess, I started this blog with one thing in mind....get my t-shirt shop indexed by search engines faster and get it crawled more often. So from what I've been reading there are several effective ways to get your shop indexed faster and crawled more often, which is very important for shops like my Hometown State T-Shirt Shop because the more your crawled the more opportunity you have for the SEO you've been doing to your site with the keywords you've been focusing on, to take effect, and change your rankings (hopefully move them up) on the search engines. So some tips I've learned along the way:

1. start a blog, link to your shop
2. write articles for sites like ezine and reference your shop at the end of the article, these sites are constantly crawled by webcrawlers due to their huge amount of new/original content
3. get links on messageboards to your site, and any other reciprocal links you can get
4. update your site daily, more content + more text = search engine happy.
5. use Google's Webmaster Tools to track when the your site gets crawled.

So there are a few tips, these are evolving as the search engines are evolving, so keep in touch, this list could change very shortly as I learn more.

Backup Files!

So my computer went down two days ago and for two days I've dealt with a "apfilter.sys" error coming up on the blue 'Page of Death' when I try to load Windows XP. Then I tried to run in Safe Mode and that didn't help, the computer locked up while loading the Mup.sys driver. So I did some reading online, at work (because my computer didn't work!), and found that this is a very common error that people get. It turns out the apfilter.sys error is somehow related to video drivers/things plugged into usb ports. So...I reinstalled windows, I unplugged anything plugged in via usb (mouse included), reloaded the computer, while it was loading I hit F8 so that a selection screen comes up asking how you want to load windows (safe mode, vga mode, etc.) there is one choice called Directory Services Restore Mode (domain controllers only) and this is the one I chose that finally worked. Immediateley after I got into windows I did a search for the file "apfilter.sys" and deleted all files that came up. I think this file has to do with the laptop mouse pad, but since I use an external mouse I didn't care about deleting those even if it affected the laptop mouse pad, and now Windows works fine. Little lesson out of all this, backup your files. There will be a ton of work you put into your CP shop, including work on shop logos, t-shirts graphics, your 'Favorites' in Internet Explorer that link to all these helpful sites you've found, you don't want it all wasted because of a computer error. I put too much work into to have that happen to me.