Archive for November, 2008

Great Marketing From Amazon: Customers Vote

I received an e-mail from Amazon today with a really cool promotion that they’re doing called Customers Vote. Basically it allows you to vote on a total of 6 different rounds deals on products at pretty ridiculous prices (ex: the first week has PS3 bundles starting at $199 instead of a list price of $574+). Each round has 3 different deals that you can choose from.

Each round of deals is tied to a specific day, so the PS3 stuff is for the first day which is November 27th (Thursday – Thanksgiving). If you get randomly selected, you’ll see an e-mail the day before letting you know. That means you should then login early on Thursday as you’ll have the opportunity to buy the product. Keep in mind that there are going to be a lot more participants selected than products available, to it is a race to try and buy first. There are a good number of products though, for example there are going to be 500 of the PS3′s.

This is somewhat familiar to Amex’s My Wishlist, but I actually like the way it works better. Generally for those doing Amex’s My Wishlist, the servers always get pounded, and a majority of the time the site goes down…pretty annoying. By Amazon pre-selecting the participants, I’m sure a big part of the reasoning behind that is to limit how many people are hitting the site. This way there should be no server issues, and you’ll know from the get go whether you’re too late or not.

This is a great promotion from Amazon for a few reasons:

  • It’s a cool promotion, hey, it got me writing about it
  • It will get people onto the site and looking at products. Amazon is known to have a very high conversion of visitors:buy ratio. Getting visitors to the site is the main step.
  • The promotion page links to the products they are selling at a discount. This helps the conversion:buy process, and should help generate some sales simple for awareness factor.
  • They are not giving the products away. A PS3 bundle which they normally sell for $574 is being sold for $199, which means they aren’t giving away their true cost. If they were to give these bundles away it would be $287,000 worth of product. Let’s say there is a 30% margin on them, they end up giving away $200,900. Instead,? they are charging $199 for 500 units, which is about $100,000. That means they are really only giving away about $100,000 of true dollars…a savings of $100,000.

If you haven’t already done so, get over to the Amazon Customers Vote page, and vote for each of the 6 days to try and get some deals of your own!? If you happen to win, make sure and post in our comments to let us know.

The Absolute Best Usabilility Testing You Can Do…Free

Thanks to Scott, he made me aware of an awesome little piece of software to help do some usability testing on your site. It’s called ClickTale, and it will literally show you a video of what a user is doing on your site, among many other features. I gave it a shot on Carbon Fiber Gear to see what some people were doing on the pages where I was selling products. Wow, I can see where people are moving their mouse, what they’re clicking on, how long they look at each section, etc. It really tells me a lot about how a person uses my site, and allows me to design accordingly. Check out this video that explains the whole thing:

ClickTale has a free package that offers 100 recordings every week (400/month). Simply sign up, place some code in your header and footer, and you’re good to go. Anything over that will cost you…but if your site isn’t very big, it’s more than enough.

Keep in mind there are some privacy concerns regarding this. According to ClickTale’s own terms of service, you’re required to disclose in your privacy agreement that you’re using it.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Did you find out anything new about your readers/customers?

Officially DavePit.com : Learn To Migrate Your Site To A New Domain

I’ve made the official migration for this site from DavidPitlyuk.com to DavePit.com. You’ll see that all URL’s will redirect to the new URL. You’ll also notice that all URL’s are now shorter!? For example the post for the 2009 Nissan 370Z used to be:

http://www.davepit.com/2008/11/17/2009-nissan-370z-first-thoughts/

Now it is:

http://www.davepit.com/2009-nissan-370z-first-thoughts/

The new domain name is part of the migration that I had announced when I launched this new design. My next task will be to work on cleaning up all of the categories, and the posts within them.

For those interested in how I did the migration, in case you are interested in doing the same…I will provide the steps I took:

Backup Files

The easiest/fastest way for me to do this was to login via Telnet/SSH (I use Putty as the software to do this). Go to the directory you need to backup, and then type

tar cvf filename.tar .

This will back everything up in the directory to a .tar file. Simply download that tar file and reupload to your new server. On the new server, you’ll want to untar it by using this command in the same directory:

tar xvf filename.tar .

This will untar all of your files onto the new server. Trust me, doing this is MUCH faster then downloading all of your files via FTP.

WordPress Configuration

I was doing everything on the same server, so I didn’t have to do anythign with the database. If you are using a different server, you’ll have to backup your database, and then restore it on the new servers database.

Since I was doing everything on the same server, I simply logged into WordPress, went to settings, and changed the domain names to davepit.com. This changed the database config to the new domain, and automatically started calling the files on the davepit.com domain.

While in the WordPress admin, I also updated these:

  • All In One SEO Tool plugin – Renamed everything as needed
  • Sitemaps plugin – Rebuilt the sitemap for the site to map the correct domain

Update Template Files

Go into all of your template files, and make sure to change any references you have from the old domain to the new domain.

Update Old Domain References In Content

You could go through your SQL database files and replace any references of your old domain to your new domain…but an even easier way is to use the search-regex plug found here. The plugin once installed allows you to search for anything in your content and replace it with something else. I simply searched for all the references to images using the old domain, and replaced them with davepit.com. Same thing with links. Now all of your content is calling the right files.

.htaccess Configuration

You’ll want to update your .htacess configuration on both domains to make sure you’re URLs are doing what they are supposed to. To get all of the old url schemas shorter, I added this line (Thanks WPRecipes!):

RedirectMatch 301 /([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)/(.*)$ http://www.davepit.com/$4

This will ensure any links that are going to the old URL’s automatically redirect to the new ones. Plus, it will allow the search engines to know the pages have moved, and start indexing the correct new URL’s without punishing me (since there is no page not found errors). While I’m at it, I also set the domain up to always redirect to www.davepit.com, even if you go to just davepit.com. The code for that is below:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^davepit\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.davepit.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Now we’ve got DavePit.com all setup…but we want to make sure people that are still going to DavidPitlyuk.com get redirected. Simple!? I setup a .htaccess file on davidpitlyuk.com with the following code:

Redirect 301 / http://www.davepit.com/

Perfect!? Now our URL’s are going to the right places!

Google Webmaster Tools

You’ll want to setup the new domain on Google Webmaster Tools so Google can appropriately crawl and index your content.

Thanks to Mubs from Suffolk Software for some of the help in figuring out the above work.

2009 Nissan 370Z First Thoughts

I’m a big fan of the Nissan Z, it’s a great performing and looking car for a great price. In fact, I had a 2004 Nissan 350Z that I put a lot of work into before getting into the Viper (See progression of vehicles):

For 2009, Nissan is redesigning the Z, putting a 3.7 liter V6, hence the 370Z instead of the 350Z. Nissan fans have all been waiting to see what the new look be released as. Nissan has finally released official pictures of the car, and even shown it at a couple meets:

As you can see there are a lot of changes that were made to the car, although it is visibly still a 350Z. We can see some resemblance to other Nissan vehicles such as the new Maxima in the headlighs and taillights, as well as the new GT-R in the window/hatch shape. I love the large opening at the front of the car, it makes everything look so agressive. Even though I like it, I saw a lot of complaints about it looking like a fish, which I can see. What I don’t like are the wheels, but who doesn’t change those anyway ;)

The integrated spoiler looks clean, it melds well with the wider fenders. Looks aren’t the only thing changed on the new Z. As mentioned earlier, the 370Z now features the VQ37, a 3.7 liter 332hp V6. On top of the improved power, the car also weighs less than its previous generation, which I would imagine will make quite the difference.

Don’t forget about the interior, which looks much improved. This is probably one of the most talked about improvements so far because it used to be one of the most complained about aspects. The Z is a budget sports car, but the new interior looks great in the pictures. I’m looking forward to see it in person, I’d like to see it in person

Take a look at the following pictures and video for a better idea of how the new Z looks. Jalopnik also did an excellent design dissection that you should gander.

(Pictures from Autoblog)

The Girls Of SEMA 2008

The SEMA show is not only about the cars, there are also tons of hot girls modeling at many of the companies booths. No need for much more explanation, thanks to Alex for taking a bunch of the pictures:

The Five Things Meme

I usually don’t do these tagged post kind of things, but for my buddy Derek…what the hell. If you’d like to learn a little about Derek, check out his five things meme post.

5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago

  • Being a junior in high school
  • Starting my first company (SystemLogic)
  • Going to Florida twice a year to visit my dad
  • Spending a month in Chile
  • Studying for SAT’s

5 Things on My To-Do List Today

  • Head over to Target to pick up a measuring tape, some stuff for the bbq grill, and stop off to eat some pho
  • Unpack from the week in Las Vegas while attending SEMA
  • Measure out and design the garage in photoshop for the new garage flooring I bought while at SEMA
  • Write about 7 posts for both this site and Carbon Fiber Gear
  • Setup a hub so I can get my home VOIP to start working again

5 Snacks I Like

  • Cereal
  • Baked Lays potato chips
  • Doritos
  • Twix
  • Skor/Daim/Heathbar

5 Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire

  • Pay off my mortgage
  • Buy some cars
  • Pimp out the house even more
  • Buy a lot of stocks right now
  • Save the rest

5 Places I Have Lived (for various lengths of time)

  • Princeton, NJ (growing up)
  • Baltimore, MD (college)
  • Fairfax, VA (3 years)
  • Owings Mills, MD (2 years)
  • Rockford, IL (1 year)

5 Jobs I Have Had

  • Owned a few companies
  • Data analyst at SAIC
  • Car audio installer at Circuit City
  • Retails clothes sales at Van Heusen
  • Computer repair/sales at some mom/pop shop

Your Turn

The first 5 people to do the same meme on their blog and link it to mine will be added to this post.

In Vegas This Week For SEMA 2008

I’ll be in Vegas Wednesday-Saturday for SEMA 2008. For those that don’t know about SEMA, it’s the biggest trade event for automotive specialty products. The show is full of the latest products in the aftermarket automotive world, the hottest cars (all the companies bring their best out), and all the hottest booth babes. SEMA is something I’ve wanted to attend for a few years now but things were never able to work out.

I’ll mainly be attending to do some business for Carbon Fiber Gear. There are a ton of people and companies I’m connecting with at the show. From current suppliers, to potential future suppliers, to covering the carbon fiber products of the show, to promoting the site to the industry, it’s going to be quite a busy schedule. Aside from all the business, I’ll have to leave some time for partying.

If you happen to be in Vegas this week, regardless of being at SEMA or not, let me know and we can meet up for a drink or something.