Domain DevelopmentUncategorized

Does your Epik site need a tune-up?

By August 28, 2010 February 27th, 2017 7 Comments

One of my favorite places in the world is a placed called Caneel Bay in St. John.  One of the long-time staffers is an aging bartender who has a rather unique presence.  If you ask him how he is doing, he always has one pat answer, delivered with characteristic Carribean glee: Could be better …. There is always room for Improvement! And that about sums up how I think about Epik. Simply stated, the bar is never high enough! The only question is who raises the bar?


With Growth comes Responsibility
In a relatively short amount of time, the Epik platform has become significant.  The Product Portal platform alone extends to more than 5,000 stores.  We are proud of this progress, but by no means complacent.  With thousands of live sites, and hundreds of owners, we also know that there are a lot of stakeholders that are counting on Epik to get it right.  I am confident that we will.  One reason for my confidence is because there are a lot of eyeballs on the lookout for areas for improvement. I call this a “demanding customer” relationship believe it is key to success.  We don’t want passive customers.  We want engaged partners.  That’s how we win.

Kaizen
When I was living in Japan, from 1995 through 1999, the term Kaizen was widely used in manufacturing. The term describes a process of “continuous improvement” and was an import from Edward Deming, an American process design expert who was famous in Japan long before he was respected in his home country.

By the same token, at Epik, we believe that Development is not an event.  Rather, it is a process.  The process of optimization never stops. As such, we have provided Developers with an email alias for convenient use when relaying feedback – Optimize@epik.com. If you see an improvement area, let us know.

Here are a few of the main areas that we are watching closely:

  • SEO execution:  This is one of the highest ROI tasks.  Well-executed Title, H1, H2, Meta and Alt tags are price of entry for a high performing site.  When we get that part right on an exact-match domain name, the prospects of achieving a solid initial ranking is good.
  • Links:  Epik does provide an embedded network of contextual backlinks.   We continue to refine our approach for collecting links and will be expanding the link development program substantially this Fall.
  • Product or Content mix:  A good indicator of whether the user experience is being fulfilled is bounce rate, i.e. the % of visitors who leave your site promptly after visiting without engaging with any of the content.  A tuned Epik site will have a bounce rate of under 20%.
  • Graphics: In general, our graphics are pretty good. However, sometimes we get it wrong and the graphic does not do justice to the business opportunity.  Well-executed graphics are important for the brand.  It won’t drive traffic, but it will drive engagement.
  • Site performance: Exponential growth usually does not come without growing pains.  Epik is no exception.  One by one, these platforms are maturing into robust profit engines.  If your site loads slowly or has errors, let us know.
  • Indexing and Ranking:  If you see notable moves in your indexing or ranking, we are always interested in knowing about possible insights into the why behind the what.  Many Epik Developers are experimenting with different strategies for promoting their sites.  Let us know what worked.
  • Monetization Patterns: Todd Johnson reported this week about his success with color domains. That is an insight that we had not picked up on before, but learned because Todd was minding the store — his stores specifically. That insight has now helped other Developers.
  • User experience and Functionality: Although improvements to the user interface don’t usually happen overnight, much of the improvements are driven by listening to Developer feedback.  Keep the feedback coming.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for the feedback.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • t says:

    Hope your still working on securing suppliers so you can offer blind drop shipping services for the sites.
    The sites should if possible evolve into independent ecommerce sites shouldn’t they ?

    you as the supplier and dropshipper for the sites can rake it in.

    Start small with prime candidates, You have the stats,..

    • Rob Monster says:

      @T – Dropship is part of the Q4 plan. We do indeed know which product SKUs are top sellers, and have planned a staged deployment of dropship. Long term, you are absolutely right, this is where real money is at. Our operation in Sandpoint,ID actually goes one step further — in addition to operating a call center, we also have access to a warehouse for inventorying high margin SKUs.

  • RH says:

    Yeah you can get an admin so people can log in and see stats and not have to wait for a weekly email.

    You can give people the ability to have complete control to add content and anything else they want with their site.

  • Louise says:

    There is now an email address to send suggestions: Optimize@epik.com – great!

    You know, maybe the specific site should be in the subject line of our email to you. How are you going to store them so you can address them in sequence?

  • Rob Monster says:

    @ Louise – The Optimize@epik.com email is being tied into a trouble-ticket management system that is part of the new master control panel (admin.epik.com). Personally I have always hated ticketing systems. It is way easier to send an email. And so rather than have folks deal with yet another ticketing system, the email is a convenient way to get a ticket opened.

  • Bill says:

    Rob, glad to see someone recognizes that ticketing systems, well…suck. They fall under the “in-order-to-better-serve-you” category – a phrase that somehow always prefaces the introduction of a huge inconvenience for the consumer.

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