The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 2 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 46 posts. There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 63kb.

The busiest day of the year was April 1st with 54 views. The most popular post that day was It’s a Jungle Out There – April Fools Office Prank.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, digg.com, bigextracash.com, facebook.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for office pranks, msn docs, prank, office prank, and nice smile.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

It’s a Jungle Out There – April Fools Office Prank April 2008
9 comments

2

Top 10 Sucky Things about Being Tall January 2008
14 comments

3

MSN Docs; Competition for Google Docs? March 2008
11 comments

4

Making Plurk Clique June 2008
11 comments

5

Content Writing Advice September 2007
12 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

“What should you ask an ad agency that you are about to hire to manage your pay-per-click accounts?”

Not everyone has the time to learn how to properly manage their PPC accounts. Even those of us in the industry often look to off load the busy work of bid management and account reporting onto an ad agency. But what should you be asking these agencies? More importantly, what answers should you be looking for?

Who will be handling your account?

Often the person you speak with is a sales person and or a high level SEM consultant. It is important to know if you will have an account manager that over looks your account, and how many people are on your team.

Best Answer: An account manager, a bid adjuster, and a creative team that handles the ad copy, and landing page creation.

Is there a limit on the amount of account changes in a month?

Most, if not all, ad agencies use a 3rd party bid management tool to monitor and manage the multiple accounts they are responsible for. They are charged on the amount of campaigns and actions. Often that cost is passed on to you. If your accounts activity goes over a certain amount, they may charge you extra. It is important to know those fees up front, and often that isn’t disclosed unless you ask for that information.

Best Answer: No extra charge, or even better, no limit on the amount of changes.

Does the Ad Agency have a contract you must sign?

Many ad agencies will want you to sign a contract. Ask about the duration of their contract, and what fees are associated with early cancellation. Most contracts are in place for fair reason, but the agencies with contracts that extend past 6 months are ones to watch out for.

Best Answer: Contracts between three and six months are common. Watch for contracts that extend past a year. Cancellation fees that exceed the cost of one month of maintenance and monitoring often signify that the agency may have problems keeping clients that they sign.

Do they handle the creation of new landing pages and are there extra fees for their creation?

Not all ad agencies will handle the creation of landing pages. A good question to ask the ad agency is if they handle this in-house, and what are the fees for the creation of new landing pages. Ask to see some examples of the pages they have made.

Best Answer: There is nothing wrong with extra fees for landing pages, as long as the quality is there to back it up. As mentioned above, ask to see some examples.

What is the process of campaign improvement?

There is always room for improvement in PPC campaigns. What works this year may not work the next year. Competition changes, new challenges surface, and the needs of your target audience can vary by each quarter. That said, too much change at once can make it hard to nail down what to attribute the weaknesses or strengths in a campaign are. Ask the agencies what their plan of action is.

Best Answer: A good sign that they know what they are doing is if they have a staged process, with a review of the changes at the end of each month. Nailing down the key word list should be first, with refinement of ad copy second, followed by optimizing the landing page, then repeat.

What improvement goals do they target, and what is the time frame for those to be met?

The main reason to hire an ad agency in the first place is not only the convenience of having professionals looking over your ad spend, but the promise of improvement over time. What metrics do they plan to improve, and what time line do the expect to see these improvements.

Best Answer: Increasing your quality score in Google Adwords, lowering your average CPA, and improving your CTR are among the most important. Stay away from ad agencies that only focus on increasing your traffic and impressions. This typically means they will turn on the display network (aka content network), leave your keywords set to broad match, and pour gasoline on your money.

Closing thoughts on hiring an ad agency, or a SEM professional to manage your PPC accounts.

When it all comes down to the end of the quarter, you have to look at your ROI. Did the money you spent hiring a professional bring you a return greater than you could have achieved on your own is the way most people look at this scenario. I say thats a good place to start, but also take into consideration the money that they saved you, and the time you have to focus on new projects and products.

Did I miss a critical factor when interviewing for an ad agency? Perhaps there are better answers to the questions I’ve already laid out?

Let me and your fellow readers know in the comments section below!

Much has changed since my last post. I’ve got a new car, a new job, and even a new baby on the way!

Zak and his Mazdaspeed3 with FMIC

Both Zak and his Mazdaspeed3 smile for the camera.

I can’t promise I’ll post as much as I once did in the past, but I have been getting the urge to blog and thought that I needed  to break the ice, or dust if you will, here on the old blog.

I thought it only fitting to post an image of the new car seeing that the last post I did had a picture from the totaled car.

So much change, it’s everywhere you look. From Wall Street to Washington, Detroit to Dallas, real estate, cars, politics, the economy, and more, it’s all changing. I’m getting ready for change as well.

I’ve had this blog for over a year now, but have failed to keep it up to date. My last post was in the summer time and was about the social site Plurk. A few months later I was involved in a MVA (that’s doctor talk for motor vehicle accident) while on my way to work. The SUV that turned in front of me was not paying attention, as the driver never once noticed my car till we collided. The wreck totaled my Scion xA, but the air bags went off, and I had my seat belt on as well, so I made it out ok. I’m still getting treated for my neck and back injuries, but things seem to be improving.

If you’ve ever wondered what a Scion xA vs. a SUV would look like, here you have it.
Smashed Scion xA

The accident really made an impact on my life, affecting everything from work to snowboarding. The loopy drugs they put me on didn’t help with keeping work and clients in order, and dealing with the insurance company has been a test in and of itself. To be honest, my head still feels a bit fuzzy at times, and I’ve been medication free for over a month now. The doctors (I have a few now) all say it will pass. To add to the fuzzy head, my vision got a tad fuzzy too, so now I have “computer glasses” to wear. To say the least, I’ve been a bit down about the whole thing.

I find myself holding back. Hesitating to do what I know I have the talent to do. Why? Why do I, or you for that matter, hold back? We bite our tongue, or silence our thoughts, hesitate in action, if any action at all.

It’s self doubt.

The only person telling you that you can’t do something in this day and age is you. The world is changing, now is your chance to change with it.

Jump in, be yourself, you are the only one that can be.

Plurk is here, and after a few weeks of testing it out, I think here to stay. It’s a wonderful site for getting to know the more personal side of people (esp. in my industry), networking, and some heated debates. Plurk also sports a powerful feature, not yet seen on the other popular social site Twitter, called Cliques.

The headless Plurk Dog

There are several people that would say Plurk is a time waster, and that Twitter is where the “news” is at. I agree with that, but only because Plurk is still new compared to Twitter, and Cliques aren’t yet being used to their full potential… yet.

Creating Cliques is Quick

  • Click on the “My Friends” link at the top left.

Creating Cliques on Plurk

  • Click on the “Cliques” tab in the new window.

The Cliques Tab on Plurk

  • From here you can name your new Clique.

Creating New Cliques on Plurk

  • Now type in the names of the people you want to add.

Add Your Friends from Plurk

What to do with Cliques

Well now that you’ve spent the time to create Cliques on Plurk, it’s time to let the lucky people know they have been added. Cliques are missing the ability to invite your friends to join you, but there is a simple way around this! Check out ShirleyTipy’s blog to learn more about who and what to do with your privates on Plurk.

Zemanta Pixie

RealEstate.com why are you showing 1000’s of Portland homes for Camas Real Estate? Don’t you know Camas is in Washington and Portland is in Oregon?

Camas PPC Ad

Here is and example of a damn good Ad brought to you by Google’s extended content network on ActionVillage.com. Who ever is running this ad for AllPredatorCalls.com is doing a great job. ActionVillage.com is selling a Ghillie Suit for $79.95 while AllPredatorCalls.com is running an ad for $69.95. I’d send a thank you note to ActionVillage. :D

Bad AdSense Usage

I found out about a new search site today called Stumpedia. It’s based on user interaction and submission. You search for a term, see that there are no results, and add a link to something that you think would fit the bill. Sounds great right, yeah I thought so, I can make my own SERPs page!

Interesting Points about Stumpedia

  • Quick and Easy profiles
  • Voting system to combat spam
  • URLs can be tagged with multiple key words
  • Most Recent Activity on home page
  • Nothing in place to stop the spam

I made mention of the site to a few people here in my office, and they took to it like wild fire.

Matt Cutts was here

The site has alot of potential, but that swings both ways. Will it be overran with Black Hats and White Hats with gray linings? Will real people that are actually searching for things use it? Is Matt Cutts really watching????

Update: TheGypsy pointed out that “voting is global not on a query basis and the default for stuff seems to be wiki”

So if you’ve summited a URL for five varying key words and your site gets a -1 point on KW A, that -1 point will go to the URL across all terms you’ve submitted it to.

April Fools only comes around once a year, and Office Pranks are just too hard to pass up.  While the most common of April Fools jokes tend to be, “I’m pregnant” and “Joe Died” type verbal banter, I like to go with a more creative hands on prank.  After getting a tip that all of the Directors were going to be in a meeting from 10 to 11, (thanks G) I quickly came up with an impromptu office prank to play on our Director of Customer Service.  Having no rope, glue, tar, or feathers, I had to improvise with the props at hand.

And so I bring to you my office humor loving readers, the Jungle Office. Read the rest of this entry »

Not everyone seems to be feeling the spirt of April Fools this season.  From Matt’s blog to the people I follow on twitter, no one seems to be in the mood for jokes, pranks, or any other form of tomfoolery.  April Fools has been a long standing tradition among my friends and family.  Epic pranks that ranged from fake car accidents, to by friend’s wife giving birth to a black child.  Not a year has gone by with out something odd in the mail, or a screw removed from my office chair.  In turn, I have not missed the opportunity to prank friends or family since I was 4.  I don’t have any pranks planned for my friends on the net, but I do plan to post any evidence I come across of inner office pranks today.

What’s the best April Fools prank you’ve pulled? If you’ve already posted about it, drop a link in the comments for us to read.

Not much of prankster, or just boycotting like Kid Disco, why?

I got tagged over at Shirley Tipsy’s, and I think Angela called me out too…

Directions: Read the question and find the corresponding image and post that as the answer. 

Name:

Zak

Read the rest of this entry »

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