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What Does It Take To Get The Most Out Of Your Domain Traffic?

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Jul 29, 2011
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I thought that it would be worthwhile sharing with the community what I do to help get the greatest amount of performance from our client’s domain traffic at ParkLogic. Up until now we’ve really kept a lot of this information behind closed doors.

Each week starts off with Rob, one of the ParkLogic team, gathering the latest data together for clients that are going through what we call an "optimisation cycle". This is typically for large customers and new customers but will also often include someone that is earning as little as a few dollars per day.

Once the data is mobilised then he tables it in the performance meeting with myself. We only have one question to answer, “How can we increase the earnings of each client?”

We typically spend the next several hours trawling our way through the data making decisions that relate from; installation of domains at monetisation solutions, switching algorithm changes, keywording reviews, DNS checks and cName settings. Largely the discussion revolves around two major areas, installation and performance.

Installation Review
When a client adds domains they will be automatically added to any number of parking companies and non-parking solutions. Sounds like magic….and that’s because in many cases it almost is!

The first spreadsheet that both Rob and I pour through is all about installation. On a client by client basis we look at the number of domains in their account, whether the DNS is set correctly and if there are any changes in the DNS.
We then look at every single parking company where the domains should have been installed to determine if there was a problem.

For example, if we were installing domains at Sedo there could have been a problem with a conflict. Those domains that are in conflict will not receive traffic at Sedo until the conflict has been lifted. If the nameservers are pointed to ParkLogic then we request that the domains be “pushed” urgently into the Sedo account.

Since we are routing traffic via cNames to Google companies we also double check each and every cName to ensure that it is in place. Without a correct cName the traffic won't be routed to the right place.

During this process, what we often find is that domains are moved from our client’s parking accounts and this creates a revenue leakage that each week we work at closing. This often happens when another domainer requests that the domains are added to their own account as they thought that they owned them and in fact they probably dropped them a long time ago.

This process typically saves ParkLogic clients between 5-10% of their revenue so it's more than worthwhile keeping track of every little detail.

Optimisation Process
The data that Rob mobilises includes the last seven days of statistics compared against a baseline that may have been provided by the client. This allows us to accurately measure performance and to determine whether the changes made in the previous week were successful or not.

The domains are ranked on whether we are ahead of the baseline (ie. earning more) or below the baseline (ie. earning less). For those domains where ParkLogic is ahead we assess the reason why. This is VERY important!

For example, let’s imagine that we are earning more for a domain but it is due to an increase in traffic. We really can’t claim victory for that domain. This domain goes into the urgent keyword review list to see if we can improve the performance even further on the back of the increased traffic.

At the other end of the spectrum and down the bottom of the domain list are always what we call “the problem children”. They are the domains that require human intervention in reviewing keywords. This is particularly the case if the domain has a reasonable amount of traffic.

In review keywords we first look for relevance which is represented by the click through rate (CTR). If the CTR is low then it's likely that the keywords need reviewing to align the page content with what the users are wishing to see. The second thing that we examine is the earnings per click (EPC). We want to maximise the return for the domain traffic by having a combination of a high CTR and EPC.

This is all summed up in the metric of a normalised RPM (revenue per thousand visitors). The normalised RPM is influenced by both EPC and CTR on a parking company by parking company basis. The normalised RPM also allows us to make an accurate and comparable measurement of one monetisation source versus another. This assists us in determining if a particularly monetisation solution appears to be performing well because they really “got” the keyword. We can then use this information to "cross pollinate" the keyword over all monetisation companies.

Every keyword change is tracked and measured for that domain so that we can later compare results. Domains are also ranked from highest to lowest so that we can see if a domain is falling down the list for whatever reason due to lack of performance.

What we also look for here is seasonal domains. We want to understand why a domain is performing or not. For example, we’re coming to the end of the northern hemisphere’s school year… domains will typically fall in value. There isn’t much point placing these domains in the overall analysis as they will artificially drag down the result.

During this process any algorithm changes are made to the traffic routing system on a portfolio by portfolio basis for the client. Typically we can allow the switching servers to do what they do best but sometimes we will want to force changes to sample quicker or test the traffic on a new monetisation solution. This may especially be the case if domains have been blocked by Google or Yahoo (another thing that we track).

During the meeting we also determine which client’s we want to set a watch on mid-week. This is important as some of the changes that were made might have to be reviewed and reversed.

All in all ParkLogic tracks over 250 different metrics for every single domain every single day. This is synthesized down to the performance meeting that Rob and I have each week.

I spoke to a domainer recently and took them through our performance process and he really couldn’t believe that we did that each and every week. He told me that it was our best kept secret that we really should share with everyone…..hence this blog.

I think that the important reason why we go through this process is because we know that it works. We see new client’s arrive in ParkLogic, have a slight dip in revenue as we test the traffic and then typically have a large increase.

For example, we just recently had a large customer that had all of their domains at a single parking provider (tens of thousands of them) and after about eight weeks we’ve given them about a 50% increase in revenue. It really came down to paying attention to the little things at a domain by domain level that makes all of the difference.

Trust me when I say that it’s hard work managing domains and working on performance but it’s well worth it. On a personal note, what I really love is a portfolio that we really struggle with optimising. Some of them are like this….not sure why but they just are. After a lot of work and effort they typically suddenly “pop” and it’s so satisfying to see that revenue increase.

I hope that you enjoyed this insight into what we do at ParkLogic for our clients. I don’t know any other company that goes to the lengths that we do for our customers and to be quite honest with you I'm really proud of what we do and accomplish.

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