1 Year Blog Anniversary

blog anniversary
Can I blog with this view?

I thought I would share a special occasion with all of my readers, my 1 Year Blog Anniversary.  That's right, I've been writing on AdamYamada.com for 1 year and started this blog 365 days ago.

My first post for this website went up on February 9th, 2013 and was a book review on The Power of Habit, a book by Charles Duhigg who is a New York Times reporter.  It was a interesting book about the way habits are part of human behavior and how “keystone habits” shape our lives.  Since I enjoyed The Power of Habit I wanted to write a review about it, but on my own blog.  Since I hadn't written a post on here and I realized there really is no benefit to writing a review on Amazon (Except that helps Amazon sell more books) the post went up here.

I think the book review came out well for a first post but I feel can still improve my writing.  Can't all writers?  I read a lot of other books over the past year but I couldn't find time to write about them.

Even so for my 1 Year Blog Anniversary I feel pretty good about where this blog has gone.  My most popular post was a how-to fix a computer issue “Error Unknown Filesystem Grub Rescue.”  If your computer doesn't work I guess you really want to know how to fix it.  My web hosting Site5 Review, and my Namecheap Review.  4 Reasons I switched from Feedly to the Old Reader was another popular post on this blog from the past year.

In retrospect I've not only had some successful posts but had attended a few conferences.  For instance I won a ticket to Affiliate Summit in Philadelphia and while it wasn't my favorite conference or event I've attended, it was a good experience to see what people are doing in web, internet, and affiliate marketing these days.  (Some really shady shit in case you didn't know.)  I also went to BarkWorld and BlogPaws but that was for the Singing Dogs.

While I learned a lot in the conferences I've also learned a lot about WordPress, the software this website runs on.  I've upgraded from WordPress 3.6, WordPress 3.7, and WordPress 3.8.  I've also did a detailed report on the 2013 State of the Word which Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, gives each year in San Francisco.  Since WordPress is the world's most popular content management system and blog platform I'll likely write more about WordPress.  Some other categories I might drop though.

Seems like a really long time, but blogging for 1 year is not that long.  I'm happy to have made it to this blog anniversary hopefully I will make it the 2 year mark.  Along with this post I've had 123 posts for the year, which is short of my original goal of 1 post per day.  I'll try to work on that in the next year and improve on my blogging goals.  At least all 123 of the blog posts I wrote were search engine optimized, which wasn't an easy task.

If you have any suggestions for ways I can improve this website and my writing for my 1 Year Blog Anniversary I'd love to hear it.  Also feel free to tell me how awesome this blog is.

Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in SERPS

Recently I've been playing around with adding Schema Markup to enhance certain posts on this blog.  Something I've just noticed and found out is that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in Google's Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

In this picture you can see a NameCheap Review I posted awhile ago if you do a search for “NameCheap Review” in Google's SERPS.  I wanted to see if implementing Schema markup would improve my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and give me higher Click-Through-Rates (CTR) to my sites.

schema markup removes google authorship

Indeed the Schema markup I put on the page was being picked up and read by Google but it was no longer showing my Google Authorship picture profile next to the post.  This means Google is cherry picking what Rich Snippet markup they feel is most relevant to show in a search query.  This kind of makes sense but I thought Google wanted to show as much Rich Snippets to a user before they click on a website.  They don't want to show the Schema markup (star ratings) along with the Google Authorship picture?

The fact that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in the SERPs is just plain annoying and stupid in my opinion.  They make a big friggin deal about implementing Schema but for reviews if it is going to override your Google+ picture, why would put Schema data in a review post?

Since I hadn't ever seen anyone else use Schema data and Google Authorship in the Google's SERPS when doing searches before I guess I shouldn't be surprised it didn't work.  The thing is if it is the choice between Schema markup in a review and having Google display my Google+ Authorship profile, you'd go with the picture everytime.  It creates more trust and I almost guarantee it will give you better CTRs to your websites.

Here is a post in Google's SERPS about Google celebrating 10 Years of Google Adsense.  You can see my Google Authorship markup .

google adsense 10 years

If Google wants to improve search quality and help people find “High quality content” (still trying to figure what the fuck that means  to Google!) they should allow show both Schema data and Google Authorship in review posts.  I am tired of finding this shit out the hard way!

Let's hear from readers of my blog since I know I have some from my analytics.  Since Schema Markup removes Google Authorship would this encourage or discourage you from using it in posts on your blog and sites?  Does Google make you angry sometimes since they are not always clear about these things?

UPDATE: Some people have asked me how to fix Schema data and markup from showing up in Google SERPS for you websites content and posts.  It's simple, just remove all the Schema markup on pages and posts you don't want it showing up on in SERPs.  It might take Google a few days to over a week to update and show your Google+ authorship picture.

I removed Schema markup from this websites as it doesn't make sense to have it here.  If this was a review or ratings site it probably would be a good idea to have Schema data implemented on pages.

NameCheap Review: a Good Domain Registrar

As domain names are becoming something more and more people are buying since everyone wants to start a website or blog, NameCheap has been there to pick up a lot of domain business over the last couple years offering decent customer service, fair pricing, lots of coupons, and taken stands against SOPA.

NameCheap Review

Here is my NameCheap Review using NameCheap as a domain name registrar.  Hopefully you will find this NameCheap Review useful if you are thinking of registering or transferring any domains to NameCheap.

Disclaimer: I have included affiliate links in this NameCheap Review. However nobody can “buy” my opinions on this blog and this review reflects my honest opinions about NameCheap and their service as a domain name registrar.  If you find this review valuable I'd appreciate it if you considered using these affiliate links as keeping this blog up takes time, effort, and money.

namecheap review

User Interface

I have seen a lot of people on the large admin, webmaster, and hosting forums say they really like the NameCheap user interface and backend for managing domainnames.  Honestly, I am not a big fan of the NameCheap user interface.  I think the typeface is a little too small for my liking and it's not like I am an old person.  (At least I hope not.)  I am a guy in my 20's but font that is too small nobody likes.  Isn't that web design 101?  Usually what I deal with this by hitting [CTRL +] a few times to zoom in.

Additionally the user interface takes getting used too and it does not have the most intuitive layout in my opinion.  If I haven't used the made nameserver changes or been in NameCheaps backend in awhile I tend to comeback and be a little lost on what is going on.  I am used to it now though and don't think about it too much.

Fortunately NameCheap does have good Youtube tutorial videos in their support section showing how to manage and complete tasks in the backend.  The videos have good documentation as well in their knowledgeable base and you can ask questions using Disqus.  I think this is a smart idea and probably one of the reasons people confuse think NamCheap has a good user interface.

Buying Domains

Buying domains through NameCheap is pretty easy and fast.  You can easily lookup and register a domain name and transferring into NameCheap is fairly straightforward.  (If you know how to transfer domains from domain name registrars.)  They don't go for too many upsells but you will see them.

The shopping cart is easily laid out and one nice feature is that you can “Save” a domain.  This keeps the domain in your shopping cart but doesn't mean you are purchasing it right then.  Later you can come back and move any domains in the “Saved” section into the shopping car to buy.

DNS Propagation

DNS propagation I have found for NameCheap usually takes around 30 minutes.  Sometimes your nameservers can update faster and I have had it happen in about 5-7 minutes.  However, I wouldn't necessarily bet that it will only take 5 minutes.  The 30 minute timeframe is what I have found to be an average time for nameservers to propagate.

NameCheap does allow you to do Bulk DNS updates which is convenient if you are switching hosts or moving to a different domain parking company.  Making bulk DNS updates is easy as you select the domains you want to update and click “Edit Selected” in the backend and put in your new nameservers.

Domain Pricing

NameCheap‘s pricing is quite confusing but I am going to try to break it down into simple and an easy-to-understand explanation.

COM – Domain Registration $10.69 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $10.69 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Registration/Renewal – $9.61 a year

NET/ORG – Domain Registration $11.48 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $11.48 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Domain Registration/Renewal – $10.16 a year

NameCheap releases monthly coupons every month which they encourage customers to use when buying, transferring, or renewing domain names.  To keep updated with NameCheap's coupons you can check NameCheap Coupons which is a site run by NameCheap.  They also have special registration and transfer deals which I take advantage of a lot.  You can follow them on social media networks or checkout this epic Namepros thread for the latest domain deals.  Obviously go to the last page to find the most recent NameCheap coupons.

FYI NameCheap charges your the 18 cents Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) fee on COM and NET domains but any other top level domain, such as ORG, is excluded.  Since most people own COM domains the ICANN fee is a bit annoying,  Most registrars do not include it in their domain prices either though.  The prices shown reflect the ICANN charge.

Whois Privacy – NameCheap's Whois Privacy is free only for the first year of domain registration or transfer.  After that you will have to pay for NameCheap's Whois Guard subscriptions if you don't want your info to appear in the Whois database.  Regular pricing for a Whois Guard subscription, what NameCheap Whois privacy service, is $2.88 a year but if you use the coupon code – WGSPECIAL – it will only cost you 99 cents a year.  If you need to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions for different domains you can use that coupon code to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions at the same time.

While I, and probably others, would prefer if Whois privacy was available for free after the first year of registration I don't think 99 cents is too bad.   A lot of domain registrars charge $10+ bucks for privacy which is as much as renewing a domain.

Bottom line, if you want straightforward pricing you should probably consider another domain registrar.  If you think you have anything to add about NameCheap's pricing leave a comment below.  Please realize I only included COM, NET, and ORG pricing as these are the most popular extensions.  You can check NameCheap's pricing for other domain extensions here.

Support

NameCheap has online chat support that is available 24 hours 7 days a week.  NameCheap also offers email support as well.  NameCheap does not offer phone support.

Honestly for domain names I don't think you will need to contact support too much.  The few times I have contacted NameCheap support they have been pretty helpful in resolving my question or issue.  There was one time they really annoyed since I wasn't able to use some affiliate earnings I had to purchase a domain and the chat support representative didn't seem to understand what I wanted.  Eventually it was worked out but it took a lot of explanation.

NameCheap MarketPlace

For anyone that that is a domain investor or “domainer” I am sure the like the fact that NameCheap has the NameCheap Marketplace.  This is NameCheap's inter-registrar market for buying and selling domain names under $1,000 dollars.  You can also buy premium domains over $1,000 from other places too.

The NameCheap Marketplace has been quite a useful feature for me.  I've used it before and found that it was a easy to sell domains.  All you do is pick a price, category, description, and length you want your domain to be available.  If your domain is bought NameCheap handles the transfer into the other buyer's account and then they automatically put the money in your account.  They take a 10% brokerage fee which is reasonable.

On the flipside if you can't find a good available domain name to buy and you are a NameCheap customer, I think you will find the NameCheap Marketplace useful.  If you want to negotiate a price sometimes you can contact a seller directly.   Just remember to do your research before you buy since you don't want to end up paying for a spam domain.

One issue I encountered is when I sold a domain name in the NameCheap Marketplace I didn't realize NameCheap's money policies.  I sold the domain for $5 since it was near expiration and got $4.50 (this was a domain I was just trying to get rid of before it expired) but that was not enough to pay for a new domain registration.  I noticed when checking out that I couldn't use these  funds along with PayPal or another form of payment.  I talked with NameCheap customer support and they said I need to add money in the account.  The minimum you can add is $5 but I wanted to just $1.68 to add to the $4.50 since they were having $6 registration special.   I just had to wait until I found another available domain I wanted then add that amount of money into the account before making anther purchase.

Just something to be aware of when collecting affiliate revenue or using the NameCheap Marketplace.

Conclusion

Overall I like the features NameCheap provides such as the Marketeplace, free URL forwarding, and chat support.  They also offer a lot of advanced DNS management options which other domain registrars don't of charge for.  I think they are a decent domain name registrar and will continue to use them.

I also like NameCheap due to their political initiatives.  A lot of time their transfer specials will include donations to support groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),  They were strongly against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which would have made it difficult for people to operate at all online and widely publicized their “Move Your Domain Day” to encourage people to transfer away from GoDaddy.  This was not only good for business but brilliant marketing as it drew a lot of stories and attention.  In addition they had Save the Elephants transfer day when it was revealed that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson's went on safari to kill elephants.  That's why some bloggers call GoDaddy “NoDaddy!”

However, I don't like the confusing pricing and the fact they don't offer free Whois is bothersome.  Another thing to be aware of is that NameCheap has been an ICANN accredited registrar since 2006 but all domains you register are controlled under their Enom as NameCheap is an Enom Reseller. Considering they have over 3 million domains under management and have had ICANN accreditation for awhile I am surprised they are still using Enom's services.  It seems like they would have started to migrate to their own platform.  Hopefully in the future they will start using their own domain management system as I assume that will mean faster DNS propagation and better pricing for customers.

Also I wish NameCheap would update their backend to be more user friendly and have a cleaner look.  I have been told they will be making changes in the near future though.

NameCheap does offer a lot of other services such as SSL certificates and web hosting, I could not answer questions about that in this NameCheap Review since I haven't used these services.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed by NameCheap Review and found it informative.  If you have any question's about NameCheap please leave a comment below.