Archive for December, 2008

SEO rambling

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I believe that I have mentioned in previous posts that I have retained the services of a company that specializes in SEO –search engine optimization. The company name is Visible.net, and the nice thing about this outfit is that they are there whenever I need them. Meaning, when I call them during work hours, I have had at least a 95% hit rate when it comes to getting a person to actually speak with. Unfortunately, having a day job means that not only do I not have the time to call during normal work hours, but I find that I have trouble thinking of intelligent questions to ask of them when I do. I mean, I do have one question…when are sales going to increase? –in case you are wondering, yes, I have asked them this very question –earlier today in fact.

Having recently installed Google Analytics, I am now able to track hits to my site in a far more comprehensive manner than using the Yahoo! based site tools that come with hosting through Yahoo!. I can even view the location of visitors to my site. Things are so slow right now; I have the time to look at every single hit. Visible.net is supposed to help me with getting my web page to show up on web searches for any number of things…from men’s boxer briefs, to men’s cotton underwear. One thing is painfully clear to me. Traffic is not getting to my site. I would venture to say that I have a fairly encouraging “sale to unique visitor” ratio of maybe between 1% and 5%. But with some days only having a single site hit (unique visitor), or worse, none…it is hard to generate sales. I have taken to selling on ebay with seriously discounted pricing levels from now until Christmas. Profitability is extremely low, but I am really hoping that folks buy and if they like what they see, they return. There is where my confidence is high. –as mentioned in a previous entry, the sizing is the only area where I have some reservations, and that is easily overcome…just order a size larger…

I have also gone and joined MySpace, as well as Facebook. MySpace seems better suited to promoting XOvergear.com than Facebook, But that might have more to do with my complete lack of familiarity with both. Visit me at Facebook…under the name of Xover Gear. I am not sure how to search…but if you are familiar and reading this, it may be a simple thing. Suggestions are always welcome.

Just to be clear, my efforts mentioned above are targeted at SEO. As much as I like the folks at Visible.net, after 4 months I have not seen any improvement in site visits. Anytime that I see a spike in visits, I can pretty much trace it back to a particular event that I did on my own. eBay is a perfect example. I have posted some product for sale on eBay in which I have posted a link to my xovergear.com site for additional sizing information, -this realized a rather quick increase in site activity.
I know that I also need to work on my social bookmarking. Some sites that come to mind include the following that I have or am in the process of joining…technorati.com, delicious.com, flickr.com, partnerup.com…as well as some that I am hoping I get started with soon, including, twitter.com, dmoz.com, etc… I am sure that there are more, but I am guessing that using what I’ve already signed up for might help me the most. I have started searching for forums on entrepreneurship, and starting a business, but have had limited success. I did find a discussion forum on MySpace forums, but I have not had time to read through much of it.

Tell you what, I sure wish that I knew how to work with sites like Facebook and MySpace, and even wordpress –which is what I use for my blog. I want to improve the appearance of all three, but find you need to know code, not to mention the complete lack of an intuitive building structure. I have attempted some things on MySpace with very (extremely limited) success. Same goes for wordpress. You are reading my blog now.

I wonder if using MSN homepage and their blog page would be helpful? I am guessing that it may not be worth my time, especially considering the issues I have with what I am currently engaged.

Anyway, getting late and I gotta run…
“keep the rubber side down:

Shrinkage???

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I just got feedback from a fellow traveler that I gave a free sample to, (who turned around and ordered a dozen more). He sent me an email letting me know that his shorts seem to be shrinking! His comments were to the effect that they shrunk even after the first wash. Now, I have attempted to replicate just about every scenario that might exist in the design of my underwear, and I have noticed that the underwear will shrink a small amount after the first washing, but I have not seen any noticeable changes after that. In fact, I wrote the shrinkage off to a fabric that was no longer relaxed and flat (as it comes out of the package).
Further communications with this fellow traveler to see if I might learn exactly how they are being laundered failed to turn anything up that would be considered out of the ordinary. I include laundering instructions on my packaging indicating to steer clear of hot cycles and more importantly, very hot dryers, but that was more for fear that the heat, especially during drying, would attack the rubber in the Spandex. A fear that has not yet been confirmed in all the wash cycles that I have subjected my product to…

But this does raise a concern –and some comments as well. I did all of my own design work, meaning the shipping of samples back and forth between the factory and me, using leftover material that was of similar composition to my material, but NOT the same weight. Similar in this case meaning the cotton/spandex ratio of the material. The weight that I am using on my first shipment is a heavier weight cotton/spandex than one can purchase directly from a supplier (off the shelf). I have noticed that my sizes of the finished product are not exactly what I was expecting (and had designed). While I still wear a size M, the production sized M is much snugger fitting than the samples that we sent back and forth during the course of a year of development. A reality check confirmed this to be the case as I still have all my samples (which are all size M) in my underwear drawer and they fit loosely in comparison.
If money was not an object, I would be placing another order with revised specifications for size, and would discount the existing units to try and move quickly. This size issue seems to affect the all cotton shorts more so than the mesh with cotton. Of course, discounting them now just might help with sales, since traffic to my site has been dismal. See other update…(SEO)

Once I get to reorder time I will be updating my sizing, as well as getting some new colors out there. I am also working on a few other ideas, which I will discuss in another entry…