Found this to be a really interesting article on some sleuthing regarding how Netflix recommendations work and a peek inside some of the insights from their VP of Product.
Found this quote from a data researcher at Microsoft interesting:
I don’t make decisions from my gut. I make decisions based on as much information as possible, and then I make them with the least emotion I can
Here is a list of WordPress plugins I’ve found useful:
- Adsense Explosion
- Contact Form 7
- Creative Commons Configurator
- Exclude Pages from Navigation
- Google Analytics for WordPress
- Google App Engine for WordPress
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- Memcached (and no this doesn’t activate!)
- Meta Tag Manager
- Pushover Notifications
- Redirection (nice, not problem free but allowed me to 301 my old URLs)
While doing some SEO research this morning I ran the Google search pictured below…
Having spent considerable time building sites/businesses that rely on Adsense as part of their revenue stream I can think of a number of Google algorithmic penalties this ad/content ratio seems to violate.
Relevant article from Search Engine Land:
@rustybrick What I said (“even if we didn’t block our results, the algo wouldn’t fire”) is true, b/c most Goog searches have no or few ads.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) June 14, 2013
Matt goes on to add this disclaimer:
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) June 13, 2013
Hmm, guess I’m a cynic though I just tried lots of searches, most with brand names as I’m working on a shopping site, all had ads just like what’s pictured above. While percentage wise there are probably large numbers of searches that do not have ads that doesn’t mean ones that do should so blatantly violate the ad/content ratio.
[Updated: Dec. 6, 2013] Moz Blog has an interesting article speculating on Google’s next steps in 2014 with a nice analysis of these relatively new ads. Peter goes on to add:
This new format has been running on mobile browsers for a while now, and Google’s widespread testing makes it look like a foregone conclusion for desktop search. This change will have huge implications on both organic and paid CTR in 2014, regardless of the final form.
Dr. Peter J. Meyers – November 2013
At a banquet this evening our VP of Engineering Bob Clark picked up Wanderful’s
Innovate North State Tech Company of the Year Award!
Ok, so it’s a really nice review so just had to share. Also, testing out the Link Post Format on WordPress (need to Google what that does).
Having recently migrated all of my blog/site content to Google AppEngine away from my prior $10/month hosting I was curious about what the monthly cost of running the site would be. My blog went live on AppEngine on Nov 13th and with the default instance settings was running ~$2.00/day at roughly 50-55 instance hours the vast majority of which is servicing requests from crawlers.
Tuning Google AppEngine, For Cost
As mentioned above I started with the default settings and the first significant change was to set Idle Instance Max to 1 as running multiple instances chews through the free 28 hours at an xN multiplier rate. This change alone had a significant impact on reducing overall instance hours though clearly impacts the performance of my blog. I’ve tested the performance and for a blog I feel it’s suitable so I’m comfortable leaving things at this level for awhile.
robots.txt and dos.yaml
I’ve been running another site on AppEngine which has both significantly more pages and traffic than my blog though I’ve been able to optimize it to stay under 28 instance hours and one key factor has monitoring bot traffic and blocking via either robots.txt or dos.yaml.
Google Cloud SQL Costs
So far for the month of November which is missing roughly 12.5 days worth of actual traffic to my blog I’ll be around $15. In addition to normal site traffic (crawlers & users) I’m currently running JetPack which appears to ping back to my domain for tracking stats etc. I’ll need to evaluate the possible benefits of using dedicated memcache over the Cloud SQL expense as most of the site’s content is static. I’ve configured WordPress as recommended by Google using Memcached plugin as well as Batcache.
I’ll admit I mistakenly hadn’t thought too much about SSL prior to finally switching my domain over to Google’s servers. At that point, I faced the issue of having to buy SSL support for AppEngine which would certainly add to the monthly cost of running my blog. Seeing as how I’m the only administrator this wasn’t exactly an attractive option given the traffic challenges my blog has faced coupled with the desire to keep costs down. I’ve instead opted to use the free SSL on the appspot.com version of my site to manage WordPress administration which works *fairly* well though there are places (like the Themes Editor) which expect to load all content from the hosting domain which in my case doesn’t work. I suspect there are other issues here as well that I simply haven’t run into yet but time will certainly reveal those issues too.
At this point, I’m fairly happy with the switch as WordPress is far more advanced that BlogEngine.NET 2.X not to mention it has clients for iPad and iPhone which is likely where I’ll be posted from the vast majority of the time. That said, I’ll continue watching the hosting costs and learning more about the SSL issues.
Updated Results (Dec 6, 2013)
I’ve been running with the above modifications since Nov. 21, 2013 and my blog is running about 24-26 instance hours per day, within Google’s free 28 hours. It looks like my associated Cloud SQL instance is running about $14-16/month which is roughly comparable to where I was hosting before. Prior to these changes my instance cost was nearing $2/day and typically exceeding 50 instance hours.
Wanderful has just released an updated version (v1.0.3) of our iPad Discovery Shopping App Find&Save for iPad on the App Store on iTunes.
Now for the bits interesting to the iOS dev crowd regarding the approval process.
Submitted Nov. 20, 2013
Reached review status 6 hours later on Nov. 11, 2013
Reached Process Status on Nov. 24, 2013 9:37pm
Available for download on Nov. 24, 2013 10:48pm
Means we got a 5 day turnaround time which is not bad headed into the Holiday week.
My team at Wanderful Media has built two iOS applications for our Find&Save Discovery Shopping experience. Our iPad app is being featured in the AppStore and our iPhone just became available for dowload:
If you don’t want to mess with an app install or are on an Android phone check out our latest Find&Save geo-local Mobile Web implementation.
Now that I have my blog moved I’m looking to post more about how we’re building a discovery shopping experience for over 400 of the nations newspapers which looks a little something like this: