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Showing posts from February, 2007

Keyword Discovery

Today I had an unusal response to this blog - Keyword Discovery approached me to try out their site because of the Wordtracker comments I made here ages ago. So naturally I'm going to give it a go and I'll let you know here how it looks and what it could mean for us. All seems to be quiet on the other fronts although Rank Pulse is indicating that another monthly rankings upheaval at Google in underway. I saw some comment to the effect that the last one was geared to clobbering some 'Black Hats' so we didn't see any real impact from that. In any case none of the free ranking tools we have been tempted to try from time to time seem to be working on Google now - perhaps they are part of the scope of the 'Black Hats' being targeted. We would not expect much impact because we don't see to much of that activity in our niches. We just watch the continuing pressure on the Russians and their interpretation of International Copyright law with interest becaus

The Joys and Joys of OS Commerce Contributions

One of the wonderful things about using open source software like OS Commerce is the opportunity to try the contributions provided by other users. Our shop would not operate were it not for some of these contributions but as we are warned every time - contributions are used at your own risk. To fix the lost orders problem we trawled the contributions lists for solutions and found a few. The easiest one to apply was the Alert which delivered a rather fierce pop message telling customers to make sure they come back from the Pay Pal site. What I didn't realise for a few days was that it also cut out the trip to Pay Pal and sent customers straight to their downloads without collecting any money. So that's been disabled now. But fortunately the more complex but better engineered solution for Holding Orders has gone in like a dream and seems to be working well. Prompted by this success we had a go at another longstanding problem of visibility of Orders from the Admin suite and

Pay Pal Interface

Delving into the Pay Pal and OS Commerce support areas have flagged further exposures to failures to return customers to their download screen after they have completed payment. So we've added a Pop Up advice screen that someone kindly contributed and today we're going to add another contribution which should give us Admin visibility to shopping carts that have been subject of this sort of failure to make recovery easier when we get the payment email from Pay Pal. There was another suggestion involving the product description that requires more investigation. And there is also a more expensive option from Pay Pal which would obviate the problem altogether but we are not yet earning enough to justify that.

So Far So Good

For a start we are getting much more activity through the online shop now that it is the only option - the product info page is storming up the charts and we've had some successful purchases go through since the update at the weekend. I suspect that there may be more we can do to bring the transaction processing fully up to date but I want this change to bed in first and identify any remaining wrinkles. Google is taking its time picking up the changed pages so perhaps it is time to do a new site index.

Auto Return

So far our delvings into the inner workings /failures of the shop suggest that the issue relates to shoppers return behaviour at the conclusion of the Pay Pal part of the transaction. To overcome this common problem the recommendation is to switch on Auto Return at Pay Pal - a feature that wasn't even there when we originally built and tested the shop. So we'll have to see how that goes. Incidentally our musings on the passing of Bit Pass have evidently registered and some people have been finding us on "replacement for Bit Pass" which is ironic because we haven't found one and we're not sure yet whether we need one.


Yes by George they've done it. BitPass has been expunged from the working pages of our site, we've taken a copy of the relevant data from their site for our business records and we patiently await payment of our outstanding balance. It was a slog but the find and replace facilities in Dreamweaver proved invaluable for this task and we have done a final sweep to check that we didn't miss any remaining references. In the end we just re-used the Buy Now graphic from the shop package as our call to action on the product pages. There is a risk of visitors getting two instances of the player running at the same time if they don't wait until the end of the clip but it is easy enough to stop one if that occurs. So we'll pause for breath and see how visitors react to the new layout and navigation arrangements. The search engines will have lots of updated pages to digest so we may see some changes on that front but it shouldn't upset things significantly. Then we&#