AdWords Dynamic Sitelinks Extensions Suck

I manage several Google AdWords pay-per-click accounts for numerous clients and so most of my day-to-day tasks consists of a large part of analyzing the performance of the PPC campaigns. One particular new client I recently started working on their campaigns for, I noticed that oftentimes the landing page URLs (destination URLs) are not the landing pages I designated the ads to point to. I went through all of the Ad Extensions options within the AdWords dashboard and made sure that all of the Sitelink extensions for Account Level, Campaign Level and Ad Group Level were all configured correctly. But I was still seeing these random Site Links pop up in my Clicky analytics logs and I couldn’t figure it out.

I asked my client to confirm that they are not running any other AdWords campaigns that I am not aware of and they assured me that they aren’t. So basically the only explanation would be that Google is somehow automatically inserting these sitelinks to the bottom of ads. In fact, they started doing this back in July - http://adwords.blogspot.com/2014/07/introducing-dynamic-sitelinks.html. Of course all of the so-called self-proclaimed AdWords experts and PPC blogs immediately started salivating at this amazing new feature and saying that every single person should definitely use the new AdWords dynamic sitelinks because they are sooo amazing.

Well, I am here to tell you that the Google AdWords Dynamic Sitelinks Extension is terrible and nothing but yet another money grab by Google. Google wants to take control over your advertising budgets and money by forcing these new site links on you without giving you any kind of real option or heads up and no reporting data on them. This is a big problem for me because I like to have as much control as I can over the AdWords campaigns and Google is putting up these BS sitelinks to my client’s mobile app when the ad is pointing to a very specific landing page for a very specific product and you wouldn’t realize it unless you had a third party analytics tool like Clicky.

I will write more but AdWords Dynamic Sitelinks Extensions Suck.

How to promote your WordPress plugin once you have developed it

Now that you’ve worked long and hard in developing a sweet new WordPress plugin you are finally are ready to release it to the masses, but how exactly do you go about promoting your plugin to stand out from the 30,000+ plugins already out there? Well, here are some tips I have learned first hand.

1. Submit your plugin to the official WordPress plugin repository - if your plugin is not found here, your plugin does not stand much of a chance to succeed. Most users search for new plugins to add within their WordPress dashboard and the list of plugins is pulled only from the WordPress repository.

2. Choose a simple yet memorable name for your plugin - especially because the name of your plugin is going to be the name of the plugin folder underneath the WP-plugins directory. So if your plugin name is an entire sentence long, it may be annoying to users who frequently access their site files via FTP.

3. Choose a name based on keywords that users will search - the WP plugin repository has a very basic search engine so if your plugin contains the keywords that a user searches for, your plugin will be at/near the top no matter what. So I recommend doing keyword research with SEO tools to figure out the best keywords you would want your plugin to rank for and then use the keywords as your plugin name. For example, WordPress SEO by Yoast is a genius name because people will search for “WordPress SEO” without even realizing that it was the name of the plugin in the first place. Also, the search engine within the WordPress dashboard for users IS DIFFERENT than the one used by the external WordPress Plugin Directory at http://wordpress.org/plugins/. This means that there are different ways of optimizing your plugin name and description for each search engine. I recommend focusing on the internal search engine first since that is where most users look for plugins.

4. Keep the plugin updated - your plugin pops to the top of the plugin lists whenever you update your plugin via SVN. But be careful to not abuse this because your plugin can and will be banned if the moderators if you try to update your plugin too often simply for trying to game the search engine results.

5. Leverage your Readme.txt file - fill out your Readme.txt file with as much information as possible. Also, choose keywords that you want to tag your plugin with. But don’t do too many or edit them too often because your plugin will get flagged as well.

6. Get users to rate your plugin - a 5 star review is awesome but make sure the reviews and ratings are legit. It’s easy to tell when they are faked and will likely end up causing your plugin to be banned.

I have a lot more to write, especially ways to promote your WordPress plugin that I have basically discovered myself because I have never had any luck finding other ways to promote my plugin from other articles. Anyways, I will come back and write more in depth later.

Verizon FIOS VOD_268 On Demand Error Message – 2013 FIOS On Demand Problems

Has anyone else had any problems trying to access On Demand on Verizon FioS? Every time I try to watch a show or movie, whether it’s free or I have to pay for it, it seems like I keep getting the same stupid error message code VOD_268 saying the content is unavailable! This especially happens more often during the late night hours, which is when I prefer to watch television and order movies or shows on demand.

So around midnight Eastern Standard time, it’s like I can never order a movie or TV show due to the VOD_268 error message. This even happens when I try to purchase a movie! I’m glad that is the case because I would be livid if only the “free” content was not available. But at the same time, Verizon FIOS is certainly losing money here by not allowing me to pay them money for a movie.

Perhaps it’s just my account? Or is anyone else having problems accessing their Verizon FIOS On Demand movies and TV shows due to VOD_268 or any other error codes?

iOS6 vs iOS7 Pictures & Side by Side Comparison

Apple just announced the latest version of their operating system for iPhones yesterday at the WWDC, and the new changes are lighting the web ablaze in controversy. It seems that the changes are so polarizing that there is still no general consensus on whether or not these changes will propel Apple back to the forefront of innovation or destroy all the momentum gained up to this point which ultimately could bring about the demise of Apple.

Now, people have been proclaiming “Apple is Dead!” anytime they release a brand new unfamiliar product to the marketplace, but oftentimes Apple products end up becoming the new gold standard despite all of the initial doomsday predictions. That being said, at the risk of being a complete hypocrite, it does feel that the release of iOS7 may not follow this trend and may actually set Apple back.

Here is a picture of the homescreens of iOS 6 and iOS 7 so you can see for yourself what the differences are between the two operating systems.

Printer Offline – How to Get Printer Online

Printers are the most frustrating machines of all-time. They never work as expected and each one has its own BS settings which must be configured. I am trying to print a document to the HP Color LaserJet CP1510 via wireless, but of course my laptop has it configured as “Printer Offline”. I Googled “printer offline” and came across thousands of results. The first page from the official Microsoft site suggested to right click the printer and set it to “online.” However, that is not even an option for me. Then Microsoft said to simply update the printer driver. Which I already have the most recent driver, so that’s of no help. However, one of the commenters suggested trying -

I fixed this for some networked printers by turning off SNMP under Ports>Port Configuration in Printer Properties.

Voila! My printer is now considered “online” so that worked like a charm. However, now I am seeing “Error – Printing” as my status, even for the test page. So W. T.F. Now I have to rely on Windows Troubleshooting to figure it out. Otherwise, I’m about to go all Office Space on this POS printer!

Timesheet Calculator – Time Sheet Calculators

Part of my job as a web designer/web developer is keeping track of my hours to provide to the client so we can bill them accordingly. We usually bill by 0.25 hour increments aka 15 minutes. Well, considering it’s extremely rare that every single task will take exactly an amount of time that can be perfectly broken up in 15 minute increments, we have to add up all of the time using a timesheet calculator.

We have a custom built time sheet calculator that we use on our projects. Basically, you plug in all of the hours and minutes, let’s say 54 minutes, 27 minutes, 3 minutes, 46 minutes which comes to a total of 130 minutes. Well you could probably already tell that it’s a little over two hours, but instead of having to manually divide the 130 minutes by 60 minutes to get the number of hours, our timesheet calculator already takes care of this. I can see that in this example it comes to 2.166 hours, which we would round up to 2.25  hour for billing purposes.

It all evens out over time, sometimes we round down, sometimes we round up. There are a ton of time sheet calculators out there but let me know if anybody wants to check out my custom made one since it’s very easy to use without the need for any extra bells and whistles.

HTTPS Canonical Tag for SEO – PHP Code to Automatically Detect Secure Version of Webpage But Block from Search Engines

I noticed one of my websites was being indexed and cached in Google with the HTTPS version of some pages, which is not good especially for duplicate content. I searched for various solutions and I came across this nifty PHP code to automatically detect which version of the URL is being accessed. If it’s the secure or HTTPS version of the URL, then it automatically inserts a rel=canonical tag so search engines know to only index the non-secure version of the URL. It works perfectly and I wanted to make sure I remembered it by putting on this blog.

Check it out -

<?php
$currenturl= $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];

//Check if it is using the secure https port which is 443
if ($_SERVER["SERVER_PORT"] == “443″) {

//connected to secure port, formulate the http canonical version
$canonicalversion=”http://”.$currenturl;

//echo the canonical version to the HTML as link rel canonical tag

echo ‘<link rel=”canonical” href=”‘.$canonicalversion.’”/>’;
}
?>

<?php
$currenturl= $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];
if ($_SERVER["SERVER_PORT"] == “443″) {
$canonicalversion=”http://”.$currenturl;
echo ‘<link rel=”canonical” href=”‘.$canonicalversion.’”/>’;
}
?>

VOD_140 Error FioS On Demand

Surprise, surprise, I’m having more problems with Verizon FioS. The latest error message I am getting is VOD_140 which says the issue is “temporary” and I’m unable to access that show or movie I want to watch On Demand. I’ve gotten so used to these kind of error messages that I just wait until the next day to watch the program. However, this time, I keep trying to watch Kalifornia on Cinemax On Demand and still can’t access it. I tried Thursday night, last night and now this morning. I am currently on hold with Verizon technical support but who knows how long that will take and I bet they won’t be able to fix it. So frustrating!!

Anybody else have any problems with Verizon FIOS on demand or more specifically VOD_140 error message?

Dreamweaver CS5.5 vs Dreamweaver CS6

I am currently using Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 and am thinking of upgrading to CS6 because I don’t really like CS5.5. But I’m not sure what the main differences are between 5.5 and 6 so I’m not sure if it makes sense to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade. Here are my problems with Dreamweaver CS5.5 -

FTP - The entire FTP functionality in Dreamweaver has always been incredibly slow and oftentimes completely worthless. It’s so incredibly frustrating that Dreamweaver’s FTP has always sucked, and 5.5 didn’t improve it at all.

New Site Manager - I miss the simple site wizard interface of Dreamweaver 4, now it’s a little complicated to get a new site set up.

Checking Cache Files - When you create a new site via the site manager, CS5.5 automatically checks thousands of files, oftentimes locking up my entire computer for a minute or two when there are no files to check since they don’t exist!

Hidden Notes File - Why the heck does Dreamweaver always create those hidden notes files everywhere?

Enable Cloaking - I hate how Dreamweaver CS5.5 automatically enables cloaking, meaning I can’t see the .htaccess file.

.htaccess File - Dreamweaver still does not consider .htaccess to be a valid file extension so it will never open it up!

And tons of other stuff that I can’t think of. Anybody know how Dreamweaver CS6 compares to CS5.5?

 

You can’t add dynamic text to your ad until you’ve finished creating your campaign or ad group – adCenter Problem

I am in the process of setting up a new pay-per-click campaign on Microsoft adCenter to run my ads on Bing & Yahoo. However, when I was creating a new text ad, I was alarmed by this error message:

“You can’t add dynamic text to your ad until you’ve finished creating your campaign or ad group.”

So I had to delete the dynamic keyword insertion parameters in order to save and activate my campaign. As soon as I pressed Save, I went back and edited the Destination URL in my text ad to include dynamic text to capture the keyword data in my analytics software. It’s not a huge problem, just a little annoying and frankly I think it’s completely unnecessary. I mean, if you think about it, they had to actively program the software to block this functionality in order to serve this error message, which makes no sense to me whatsoever!

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