A review of WL Marketing’s Directory Submission Service

While the value of a directory link can be debated, what cannot be debated is the fact that all back links are at the least a zero gain. Meaning, that it is a rare instance when a link to your website will penalize you. Since I own and operate my own Epic Directory I can vouch that they are still very efficient in pushing link power, providing that the directory or category itself is relevant to the topic of the site.

WL Marketing has several different options when purchasing directory submissions. I chose the 600 directories over a 1 month timeline, which included having a Google email address setup for the submission service. The cost for this service was $40. Over the next several months I am going to report here on the success or non-success of this purchase, giving you my thoughts as they submit and the success rate of such submissions. This will be done in a series of posts.

I would like to state my goals for this submission service. I hoped to gain 180 back links from the 600 submissions, which is a 30% rate. I would consider anything greater than that, a successful sale from this service.

The purchase was made on May 2, 2009 and after review of my site details, and some additional categories added by the staff of WL Marketing, my site was setup for inclusion in their processing.

May 4, 2009

Overnight I received word via email from WL Marketing that they had “updated my account.”  After logging into their backend I found that they had begun the processing of my directory submission to the first set of directories:

2009-05-03 20:18:18 Status changed from New to Processing
2009-05-04 01:42:30 Status changed from Processing to Updated

Available to me was an excel download file that included my login details for accessing the new gmail account. I also received a list of 156 directories that my website was submitted to on the first day. Included in the details was the PR of the homepage of the domain, and the category to which my site was submitted. An initial look at the url’s appeared good. For purposes of privacy to WL Marketing, I will not release the directories they submitted to.

On opening the new gmail account I found I had already received 128 emails, and 7 emails labeled as spam. I first opened the spam folder and immediately confirmed that those 7 emails were in fact valid and I labeled them as not spam.  So, out of 156 submissions last night, 135 of those submissions initially replied.

When submitting to directories or utilizing services such as directory submission, it is important for you to monitor the emails you receive from the directories themselves. Some of them will require you to confirm your submission. Out of the 135 emails I received, I needed to confirm 37 of those, or about 27%. Failing to confirm your submission will lower their success rate. In the excel  file that was provided by WL Marketing I was told that those directories needing confirmations had already been done, but I was unable to confirm that via emails within the gmail account. In each case where I confirmed the listing, I received an additional email confirming that fact, so I have to doubt if it was done properly.

From the initial 156 submissions, two listings were approved and one rejected within 9 hours. The rejected one was because the site was not Thailand related… which of course means, my site should never have submitted to that country related directory.  Of the two accepted submissions one of those was through the 37 submission confirmation that I had made earlier.

Count the DIV tags!

Working with tableless css can sometimes produce unfortunate results. Especially when working within the confines of a templated cms/blog program such as WordPress. WordPress uses nested code within its comments template that contains a lot of if/else statements that either contain or don’t contain the dreaded <div> tag. The end result can sometimes look like this photo:

 Screenshot 1

Note the alignment of the right side. It ends up beneath the bottom of the left side. In a floated layout , this is caused normally by a missing <div> or </div> tag in the code. To easily identify that this is the problem, view your web page’s source code as seen by your browser. Then perform a search for “div” without the quotes in that code. Each time you see a <div> tag add to your count 1. Each time you see a </div> tag subtract from your count 1. You should never reach a negative number, and by the end of the page you should be at 0. If your web page looks like mine did above, however, you likely will reach a -1 count, and at that point you can at least pin point approximately where in the code you have an issue.

In development of WebifiedDevelopment.com the template coder I hired accidently (it happens) placed within an if statement a <div> tag which had an ending </div> tag outside the if statement. When NO comments were present in the layout, but comments were allowed, the page ended up missing a <div> tag. Using the solution above, I was able to quickly resolve the coding error, and moved the <div> tag back outside of the if statement. The end result was this:

 Screenshot 2


I have run into one instance when the situation had nothing to do with the placement of the <div> tags. On that particular page I was using Microsoft Expressions to create my html template and copied some javascript which used an include into the source code. Microsoft took it upon itself to change the “>”> at the end of the include section of code and changed it to &quot;&gt; .

3 Goals for a Successful Launch

I am listening to a book on cd production of Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin, the bestselling author of The Dip. In the book Seth discusses fourteen trends that no marketer can afford to ignore. During one of those trends he brings up the fact that a business person should seek any 1 of 3 goals when establishing his business:

1. Find a market that hasn’t been found yet.
2. Develop a product that is so compelling that people seek you.
3. String together enough of these markets so that you can make it into a business.

Let’s turn this in the direction of website development. Does your initial website idea come under any of these three items? How can you make yourself stand out from all the other websites if not?

When reviewing the three goals above, I have already accomplished #1 and #3 with specific websites of mine… It’s #2 that I lack success with. And is probably the reason I make a comfortable living while others get rich online. A compelling product online, in the right market, can bring the masses in.

Note to Self… When developing a new site, am I still trying to achieve any 1 of those 3 goals?

Color Pix

I stumbled on a cool tool today, called Color Pix.

Color Pix is a nifty little application that enables you to “grab” colors and coordinates from any pixel on your computer screen. While most image editing programs and some WYSWYG editors have this built in, Color Pix will enable you to select the color without having to open any of those programs. Selecting colors from images is one of my favorite methods of producing a color scheme around an image… a good example of me doing this is with my Oregon Genealogy website. All the colors selected for that color scheme came from the texturized version of the church image found on that page. You can see other examples of me building websites around the colors found in an image at Troup County, Georgia Genealogy and Lawrence County, Mississippi Genealogy.

Building a website around an image is new to me. I hadn’t done it before the past couple of months… I use to find images to go with a website… often more difficult.

The best thing about color pix is it is free! So go enjoy. More information about Color Pix.

Dynamic Web Template Won’t Update!

I love Microsoft Expressions, but every once in a while, I want to beat my computer to a pulp. Why I want to blame the computer for something a program isn’t doing correctly is beyond me, but the irrational side can often take over during frustrating moments! Today’s dilemma comes from the inability to update all pages in a sub-web folder from a dynamic web template (DWT). In actuality, the situation I found myself in was a little different then that… so let me explain using this note to self you exactly what happened, and how if you find yourself in my shoes you can work around the issue.

The initial website was created using FrontPage 2003. When a hard-drive failure occurred on my old computer, I uploaded the full website from the online version. Having upgraded on the new computer to Microsoft Expressions I converted to a Web Folder the existing folder I had just uploaded the site to. At that time, any change to the dynamic web template was reflected on all attached pages to that template. A problem arose only when I needed to make a sub-folder for the site into a sub-web folder. Each of the folders had its own template already… so this should have been a breeze to do. The folders just weren’t setup to be their own web folder. I converted the sub-folder into a web-folder and attempted to update the template. No changes were made to the existing pages. I tried updating ALL pages with the new template, that also failed to change the pages to the new template. Attempting to detach and then attach the template was disastrous, as Microsoft Expressions deleted all of the markup language used to identify a region within the page. I then tried creating a new page and attaching the template to the page and that worked fine. Making an additional change to the DWT resulted in changes to the 1 page considered attached.

The workaround? I found out I was able to select multiple pages and change the selected pages using:

Select the pages you wish to update from the folder list.

Click on Format, then select Dynamic Web Template and click on “Update Selected Page.” Presto… the selected pages are updated. Interestingly, you can select all of the pages using this method and they’ll update, but the option to update all pages failed to work.

Why Am I seeing French Google Ads?

This past weekend when I started accessing the pages of my websites I noticed Google image ads were appearing in French instead of American. Not the text ads, just the image ads. Today when trying to access Google itself, I’m being redirected to the French version of Google, and any attempt to access Google’s tools gives me a French version as well. This problem is isolated to Google.

I checked the IP assigned to my ISP account and noticed that it has been changed. Great! That should make for a lot of changing permissions based on the old IP address! Anyway, a check of the IP at ARIN has my new IP assigned to a blackhole at Internic. That appears to indicate that the IP has been newly assigned to my ISP and Google has it listed as an assigned IP to a French entity (who probably had it before.)

I think if Google wants to use IP identity then that identity should be over-ridden for logged in visitors. I have an account with Google… I always use the English version. That should over-ride any attempt to assign by IP a country of origin. Now I’m faced with trying to access parts of Google in a language I can barely understand…

My thoughts.

Make Your Idea Work For You

Any plant starts with a seed. An apple seed is normally small and ugly, but with the proper care it can grow into a large bountiful tree. The success of this apple tree does not happen by chance; for the seed to grow, it needs to be cared for, either naturally, or by a caretaker. The more planning that goes into its care, the more bountiful should be the result. Seeds which are not planted in fertile soil, will likely perish; but those planted in good soil will flourish and multiply.

Webified Development started with a seed, a simple idea – introduce myself. Having been an active and successful developer online for more than a decade, it was time for me to come out of the shadows and introduce myself. I quickly realized though, that that idea in and of itself would be of no interest to you. Who am I? Why would you care who I am? Were you not just thinking that as you read those words – to introduce myself? So I needed more than my selfish reason of self worth to make this website successful. I needed a reason for you to want to visit, and to keep you coming back.

Keeping you coming back – that is a major part in what makes a website successful.  Paul Boag provides some useful tips for keeping visitors coming back and you should use some or all of them in the development of your own website.

But the key to making people come back is not some marketing trick, or new web plugin. It’s your idea, your seed. Make your idea work for you, by creating a concept that works for your visitor. If you are successful in doing that, then your visitors will like your idea enough to want to come back. Your taking that simple dormant idea you started with and germinating it so that it can grow.

In order to grow WebifiedDevelopment into a bountiful website, I needed to change my selfish idea into a sentiment that you can identify with. It’s the old adage – It’s not about me, it’s about you. So I asked myself. What one quality or trait do I have that I can instill in you? And my answer was confidence. Out of my original idea to introduce myself , I created a concept for this website: To instill in you the confidence and ability to succeed online.

Notice the original idea? It centered around a selfish desire of mine, while the final concept is no longer about me, but instead about you. Take the idea you have for a website and focus the concept on your visitors, the end result will be much more successful!

Website Development usually starts with an idea, a seed… but all to often that seed is what you want to do, and not what you can do for your visitors. Germinate your seed, and turn your idea into a concept by having your idea focus on your visitors. Then, with careful planning and upkeep, that seed you planted, will begin its natural development into a bountiful website. And instead of you toiling over your original idea, you will make that idea work for you.

Your Sweet Spot

Don’t you wish that becoming successful was as simple as a good idea? SitePoint’s marketplace is full of “good idea” websites for sale by webmasters who created a project, only to sell before that project developed into something successful. The drudgery of development, is often not a fun task, and for some developers, this becomes their biggest hangup. They no longer enjoy what they’re doing.

Thomas Alva Edison once said that “success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” When I read that statement I have to wonder if Thomas Edison ever enjoyed the work he did? 90% perspiration doesn’t entail any sort of enjoyment to me. Yet I know that effort must be used in developing websites. So how do I counteract the drudgery that can be involved with online development, and bring enjoyment to the process? The answer for me, may be found in my sweet spot.

Max Lucado is a writer of inspirational books, and a recent read of mine was The Cure For the Common Life. The basic premise behind the book is that each of us are unique and specifically placed here to carry out God’s purpose in some useful and unique manner. In order to be successful for God, Max claims that each of us should find our sweet spot, and he depicts that as:

Use your uniqueness (what you do)
to make a big deal out of God (why you do it)
every day of your life (where you do it)

While that has a religious point to it, I wondered while reading it, how each of our sweet spots play in the web development world?

My success online may come from the fact, that without knowing it at the time, I harnessed my ability (what I do) with earning an income (why I do it) and still managed to enjoy what I was doing (where I did it). The supposition is that I have found my sweet spot in the development world, and that by doing so, am able to be successful. How can you translate that into making yourself successful?

What are you best at? For some it may be in web design, for others in SEO, while others may be good at developing a million lines of code. Learn to use the abilities you have, in creating an online presence for yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with earning a living. You need to find a way to leverage your abilities to make a profit for yourself. If you’re not making a profit, then what you’re doing becomes less fun and more like work.

Those most successful enjoy what they do. I was able to take my hobby, something I would spend hundreds of hours a year for no profit, and turn it into a profitable venture. I enjoy what I do. Do you?

At the convergence of all three, you’ll find the cure for your internet failure: your sweet spot.

Your Sweet Spot
Your Sweet Spot

Starting a Website from Scratch

Starting a website from scratch is always one of the hardest things to do in web development. Taking that idea you have, and turning it into a successful online presence takes effort, endurance, equanimity, exclusivity and execution. This website will be no different… 

If I am not willing to put a long-term time commitment into the development and upkeep of this site, then I am simply wasting your and my time. Truly becoming successful at anything takes effort

If I cannot make this website both informative and believable to you, then it will fall into oblivion, it needs that character to endure

If I am not passionate about what I am developing here, then this website will likely fall by the wayside. However, that emotion needs to be checked with an equanimity which keeps my focus on you. Too much passion, and the focus of a website often changes to that which the developer wants instead of what the user needs.

 If I am not willing to create something truly unique, then I will simply create a redundant online exposure, where any one of hundreds if not thousands of other developers can simply step in and fill my shoes. Exclusivity is not a requirement to have a presence on the web, it is a requirement to truly succeed.

 If I do not deliver the broad vision of this website, with a finite and imaginative execution, then its’ focus will get lost in the vast expanse of the WWW.

 Webified Development is conceptualized from a simple idea: to introduce myself to you, the user of this website, and to instill in you the confidence and ability to succeed online. I shall do this by employing the following features: 

Web Beats

 Original articles meant to provide humble advice in developing your online business. I do not pretend to be somebody I am not. If you are looking for somebody who promises you fast riches, then I am not your man. If you want dependable and honest advice, that you can build an online business from, then these “web beats” will be of service to you. 

The word “beat” is one of those words which has such a variety of meaning and usages, many of which I hope will become a fitting tribute to this section of my site: 

  • To be projected with blinding intensity.
  • To make incapable of finding something to think, do, or say.
  • To be greater or better than.
  • To shape, break, or flatten with repeated blows.
  • To punish with blows or lashes.
  • Area of responsibility 

Book Reflections

 If you are as avid a reader as I am, then you will enjoy this section as I post about books I am currently reading which reflect upon the development of my websites. I am self-taught, as are many other online entrepreneurs around the world. While a lot of my learning has come from trial and error, much of it has also been inspired from books. These will not be “book reviews” as you may often see online… those normally are meant to inform you of what a book is about. Instead I want to give you a fresh look into how that particular book can help businesses like ours succeed… I call these Book Reflections. 

Notes to Self You

Notes to Self You should play a part in your perusal of this site. They are a place for me to jot a note to myself in the event I once again forget how to tweak something to make it work right… Why place it online then? On the off chance of helping somebody else who may be encountering the same problems I do during site development. These notes will have a wide variety of subject matters: SEO, CSS, PHP, marketing… you get the picture. 

Future “columns”

  •  R + D – Research and Development – An area where I would research a concept and then develop a site from that idea, detailing the trials and errors I encountered along the way. The first item will concern the development of this very website.
  • Enliven – Articles meant to inspire other developers and myself.