EasyAzon Review – First Impressions

If you’re looking for a nice easy way to integrate Amazon listings into your WordPress blog, then EasyAzon from Chris Guthrie is your answer.

I’ve used WordPress for many websites over the past few years, so I’m always excited when I see a new plugin out that helps me accomplish something faster or more efficiently than I could previously, using WordPress.

I’ve also created quite a few websites around Amazon products, and in the past I’ve used plugins such as ReviewAzon. ReviewAzon is a very powerful plugin, and it can let you do a lot of things on autopilot; however the problem I’ve found with it is that as Google has gotten tougher and tougher on duplicate content, some of my sites that were relying on content pulled from Amazon have suffered in their rankings, and thus traffic and revenue has dropped off.

Recently, that has left me searching for a simple way to integrate Amazon affiliate links directly into WordPress posts and pages, however not in an automated fashion that is likely to leave footprints for Google to track. I wanted to be able to search from within the post editor for an Amazon product, and pull up the affiliate links. Further to that, I wanted this to be a simple process that I could hand off to my writer in the Philippines.

Enter EasyAzon.

In stark contrast to most of the other Amazon related WordPress plugins that are out there, EasyAzon is very simple. This is what the Settings screen looks like:

EasyAzon Settings

These are one-time settings that you’ll never have to touch again.

At the bottom of that page, you’ll see a place where you can enable Link Localization. This is a really cool feature that allows you to enter your details for other international Amazon affiliate programs. EasyAzon will then automatically detect the users’ IP location via their IP address and serve them links to the appropriate affiliate program. Depending on your traffic demographics, and the products you’re promoting, this could reclaim a fair bit of sales for you right off the bat.

The only problem with this is that most of the other Amazon sites don’t carry nearly the same depth of products as Amazon.com, so in many cases the product you’re promoting may not be available on the users’ local site. That’s not a limitation of the plugin though, but rather of Amazon itself.

EasyAzon Review – Daily Use

Ok, enough of the big picture stuff. How easy is this plugin to use, and what exactly is it going to do for me?

First, open a new post, or edit an existing one. Once EasyAzon is installed, you’ll see this box below the post edit screen:

EasyAzon Amazon SearchSimply type in whatever you’re searching for, either in a general sense, or specifically and hit ‘Search Amazon’ to get a list of results. If you want, you can narrow the results down further by specifying which Search Index you want to use, but that isn’t really necessary.

As soon as you do that, you get a list of results right there in the form. I’ll use “RC airplane” as my search – you can see the results below:

EasyAzon Review Search ResultsAt this point, to insert an affiliate link into your post it becomes as easy as clicking on ‘Insert Text Link’ or one of the other link options: Image Link or Info Box.

If you select Text Link, you’ll see a simple box that lets you specify what anchor text you want to link with.

If you select Image Link, you’ll see a box with options for how large you want the image to be, and its alignment.

If you select Info Box, you’ll see a screen where you can specify alignment.

After each box, you simply hit Insert Shortcode, and the shortcode gets pasted into your post where your cursor is at the moment.

EasyAzon Review – Conclusions

Drop Dead Simple

As you can see, EasyAzon is remarkably easy to use. It is simple and straightforward; perfect for either your personal use or for an outsourced worker to use. In my case, I wanted something foolproof that my outsourced writers can work with, without having to access my Amazon account.

Natural Look and Feel

Ironically, I love the fact that this plugin has zero automation features. So many plugins claim to save you time by literally ‘doing everything for you’ and they do; however by taking such a heavy role in the site creation process, they inevitably leave footprints all over your site which Google can easily see and attribute to the work of some autoblog system. Google is always fighting web spam, and it stands to reason that an autoblog is going to be seen as web spam in their eyes.

So, the more we can do to make our sites look natural, the better. EasyAzon basically just takes everything that you would have done by hand, and does the heavy lifting for you, putting the necessary things right at your fingertips rather than sending you digging for them (through Amazon’s site). The output is basically the same thing as what you’d end up with if you hand coded your affiliate links, so there isn’t a footprint to speak of. That said, I’m not sure about the info box, but I know the image and text links are pretty plain vanilla. They’re not even cloaked.

No HTML Required

I have vivid memories of the battle to get some Amazon code to stick on one of my WordPress blogs. It had to be done in the HTML view, but as soon as I switched to visual view, everything got completely screwed up. I had to make the change in HTML view, save the post, and then in the future, make sure if I wanted to edit it that I opened a different post, switched to HTML view, saved it, went back out, and then into the post I actually wanted to edit so that it would open in HTML view and not screw things up the instant I opened it up. I can’t tell you what a gong show that was. Thankfully, all that is firmly in the past with EasyAzon. You don’t have to know a speck of HTML, and you surely don’t have to change to that HTML view either.

Personally, I’m very happy I discovered EasyAzon, and I’m going to be rolling it out across my various Amazon product sites immediately. If you do anything with WordPress and Amazon, this is one plugin that is worth getting. You can find EasyAzon here, and yes, that is an affiliate link. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

EasyAzon Review

We Don’t Shoot Elephants – HostGator Jumps on an Opportunity

A few weeks back, news hit the internet that Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy.com had shot an elephant in Africa and was apparently quite proud of the fact. Stepping aside from whether or not that was right or wrong or not, I will say that it created something of a media storm on the internet, and TV as well I think.

They say that all publicity is good publicity, and I guess that must be what Bob is working off here.

Today though I got a little email from HostGator (their monthly newsletter) and in it they took the opportunity to mention Bob’s elephant shooting antics, complete with a link to the video where he is interviewed about this.

They also included this fun little banner:

HostGator Loves Elephants

I’ve got a couple of HostGator reseller accounts where I host most of my websites, and I think they’re great. I also use Godaddy nearly exclusively as my domain registrar, and they’ve been great too. (those are both affiliate links)

The point of today’s post though is taking advantage of current events… exactly how HostGator has done in this instance. They’ve done a great job of poking some further fun at their main competitor, and apparently are cleaning up a bit in the process.

What’s going on in your niche, and are you taking advantage of the big (or little!) newsmakers as an opportunity to remind people of your products and services?

Can’t think of an example? I’ve done it right here… taking some news as an opportunity to slide in my affiliate links. Keep your eyes open, there’s always SOMETHING going on that you can latch onto as a reason to promote.

SEOPressor Review & Conclusions

I’ve been using SEOPressor for several months now, since just after it was released, and I thought it was about time for me to do a proper SEOPressor review.

To start with, I’ll go over what SEOPressor does, and then we’ll get to what I think of it.

If you’re really impatient and want to get started on your own, you can get SEOPressor here.

SEOPressor Features

SEOPressor ScoreAt the heart of SEOPressor is the SEOPressor Scoreboard, which you’ll see as a widget in your Add New Post page in WordPress. When you start a new post or page, the scoreboard looks like the image on the right. At this point I haven’t yet told the plugin what keyword we’re trying to optimize around, so it can’t compute any sort of score.

SEOPressor At WorkAs I start building the post, and enter in a keyword to target, you’ll see the Score panel changes.

I just went ahead and did that, for this post, and Saved the Draft in order for the plugin to re-calculate, and you can see that basically as of this paragraph, the plugin is giving me a rating of 54.44% for the keyword SEOPressor. That number is in green, because it’s over 50% (a good thing). You’ll also see that the Keyword Density is calculated for you, and in this case, I’m way high, at 6.77%. That tells me immediately I need to add some extra text to thin things out!

Below that, SEOPressor has a very cool checklist of various items it has either confirmed you’re ok on, or is flagging that you need to address.

Is SEOPressor Magic?

The real power in this SEO plugin for WordPress isn’t anything magic; it is simply that it gives you a visual way to see how well you’re doing the SEO fundamentals. People (well, me especially, but people in general) love scores, stats and figures – even more so when they change in front of their very eyes in response to a small change.

Get SEOPressor Here

So how cool is it when you can go back and make a subtitle an H3 and gain 5% in your SEO score? We’re talking simple changes here, but simple changes that make a real, measurable impact.

In addition to forcing the user to make changes, SEOPressor adds a couple subtle touches of it’s own – things like bolding, italicizing, or underlining one of your keywords. These are minor changes of course, but they can have an impact. You can also setup the plugin to add alternate tags to your post images automatically, which can be quite helpful in some situations.

My Results With SEOPressor

I’ll admit it right off the top here, I’m as close to addicted to WordPress plugins as you can get. I’m always snapping up the latest plugin, because I know how simple they make things for me. That being said, if the plugin doesn’t provide some sort of sustainable value, then I usually toss it and move along.

SEOPressor proved itself within the first couple weeks of use, for me. Although I’m not going to give you specific sites or keywords, I will tell you that within 2 weeks of using SEOPressor to optimize some existing posts on one of my sites, I saw several of those break through onto the first page. We’re talking very minor, non-competitive terms here, but this represents progress nonetheless, and required NOTHING other than a few minutes with SEOPressor to get these results.

I’ve since gone back to nearly all of my sites and installed SEOPressor, because I do see the value in using it – everywhere. I also have replicated these results with FAR more competitive terms, however in those instances much more than just good on-page SEO was required.

Nevertheless, with SEOPressor showing you a high score (I typically aim for 60% to 80% on most posts, 80% and up if I’m REALLY trying to nail something) you’re fairly well guaranteed that your on-page SEO is as good as you’re going to get it within reason.

Get SEOPressor Here

My SEOPressor Compaints

SEOPressor is truly great at evaluating the post content… however that’s where it ends. In my humble opinion, the plugin could be made that much better if they would make it look at the following additional factors:

  • Meta description
  • Meta keyword tags
  • Post title

These are not currently considered by SEOPressor. Take the post title for instance. Nearly every WP theme gives the post title an H2 tag, therefore if your post title includes your keyword (and it SHOULD!) then you’ve already got an H2 keyword on your page… just not within the body.

Additionally, meta data is still important for SEO – even if it no longer carries quite the importance that it used to, and even then, not all search engines treat that data the same way, so there’s no excuse for ignoring it. I guess the issue here is widespread use of third-party SEO plugins, and having to look in a lot of different fields to find that data, rather than just in the post content, however that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

SEOPressor Conclusion

All told, SEOPressor is one of the very few premium WordPress plugins I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in improving their search engine rankings. It takes a mostly-misunderstood subject and applies good practices in an extremely easy to use and intuitive manner. You don’t have to be an SEO whizbang to benefit from SEOPressor, though newbies and advanced users alike will enjoy this plugin.

Bottom line is if you use WordPress very often, and you’re in internet marketing in any capacity, then SEOPressor is one plugin you need to have in your arsenal.

Get SEOPressor Here

One MILLION Emails!

One MILLION EmailsA little while ago I found myself chatting with someone who was describing to me their marketing plans & strategies.

The word “million” was getting dropped quite a bit, though it was always in relation to things like “views,” “emails,” and “impressions.”

Those are all nice things, to be sure, but hardly worth focusing on.

None of those actually require any user action… even one million “clicks” would become something to talk about, but that wasn’t once mentioned.

The ability to send out an email blast to one million (of someone else’s) addresses is hardly guaranteed to make you money. Back in the day I tried doing one of these blasts… I think it was a hundred thousand or something that I paid $100 for, I honestly can’t remember the details… except that whatever I spent was well and truly squandered. I saw a few hits to my website, but zero opt ins… and zero sales.

Email can be a very powerful tool in the marketer’s toolbox; however it must be a list that you’ve built yourself and that has placed trust and credibility in you to the point of actually reading what you write, and acting on it. When there is zero relationship present, you might as well expect zero results.

Now, a different side of this story of course is using someone else’s list, but having them mail it for you. Now you’re working off the trust that they’ve developed in their own list, and you’re piggy backing on that. This works great too, but once again, its the relationship principle.

Same thing with views on the internet – you can pop a million banners, and it means jack squat. A million views of the same banner on a targeted website in your niche, now that’s going to perform very differently. Again, same issue here.

Much as I’ve slagged on the guy in the past, Ryan Deiss is currently launching a new product, and the foundation of his sales pitch is developing a huge list of buyers. He’s very correctly pointed out that a list of buyers is FAR more profitable than a list of people who have merely opted in for free information, and yet even that opt in list is exponentially more profitable than a 3rd party list that hasn’t even opted in for anything!

Moral of the story? Re-think how you’re defining the word “targeted” and how that impacts your business. Chances are, the target can be narrowed down… a whole lot.

The Riches in the Niches

Well, at the risk of turning this infrequently-updated blog into a series of Dilbert re-runs, I hereby offer yet another:

Dilbert.com

The marketing thought of the day is this:

Start in the niches, but do so strategically, and over time you can grow to dominate a market. Identify the keywords that you want to control, and start with PPC to test them out, then start developing web properties to rank organically on those terms. Over time, you add more and more properties until you’re truly dominating the term.

Rinse, repeat.

Take another term in your market and do the same.

The trick here is to look at a niche as being basically a single keyword or a very small subset of keywords. We’re not talking about “weight loss” as being your niche! Forget it. You’ve got to go WAY deeper than that.

I’m not going to lay it all out for you here, because that would take a lot of time, and frankly, it should be a product. :)

But I hope you get my drift here…

Happy Friday.