Superb Internet Facebook Superb Internet Twitter Superb Internet Google Plus Superb Internet printerest Subscribe to Superb Internet's blog RSS feed

3 Common Errors with Big Data

  • Business Talk
  • General

Error

Everyone knows how valuable big data can be. However, mistakes are often made by companies when they run vast data science projects. Here are a few of the typical errors so you can avoid them yourself or correct them if you feel they are already happening.

  • Why all the Fuss? Big Data Stats
  • Operator Error
  • #1 – Expecting the solution to be immediate.
  • #2 – Thinking you should focus on a big data strategy, rather than using big data in carrying out a business strategy.
  • #3 – Entrusting data scientists to find solutions for business problems.

Why all the Fuss? Big Sata Stats

As with any buzzword or trending business concept, it helps to look at some hard numbers to understand the idea from a 10,000-foot view. Here are a couple of telling figures on big data:

  1. If you think of the various data-producing systems your company manages as a pancake house, be assured that you are going to be cranking out a lot of flapjacks. Between 2013 and 2015, more data was produced than throughout all of human history.
  1. Again with the pancake analogy, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re making more pancakes all the time. Information isn’t just growing, but growing at an ever-increasing speed. By the end of the decade, approximately 1.7 megabytes of new data will be generated each second per person globally.

In other words, if you took all the data being produced and divided it evenly across the entire population, each person would be able to fill the storage capacity of the original disk drive in under 3 seconds. That’s right: the first disk drive, 1956’s IBM Model 350 Disk File, had 50 disks that together could store just under 5 MB.

Related: The sheer size of big data projects, and the variability of needs at a given time, makes the affordability of cloud attractive in these situations, notes InfoWorld. For elastic infrastructure to meet the vastness of big data, development and testing of analytics apps is often performed in public cloud environments. At Superb Internet, we remove single points of failure through distributed (rather than centralized) storage and achieve guaranteed always-zero packet loss through InfiniBand (rather than 10 Gigabit Ethernet). Explore our cloud for hosting your big data project.

Operator Error

Many companies that embrace big data projects aren’t able to accurately determine what aspects of big data, predictive modeling, and data science will be of greatest use to them. They want to move forward and keep up with the competition in this regard, but they often end up wasting their time accelerating in the wrong directions.

What are some errors companies make when they work with big data?

#1 – Expecting the solution to be immediate.

Firms want data algorithms or machine learning, designed by a highly skilled professional, to improve their business edge. When business leaders look at their particular challenge, they often think they will be able to get a consultant to quickly create a model or purchase a plan that allows them to do it themselves.

However, the example of one major enterprise reveals why it’s more complicated than that, explains Erik Severinghaus in Forbes. Netflix “employs 300 people to maintain and improve its content recommendations [because] customer data is a continuously changing environment,” he says. “That’s why the company also spends $150 million recommending movies and TV shows to its members every year.”

Essentially, you want to realize the complexity of these projects rather than expecting to find a silver bullet for your problem right away.

#2 – Thinking you should focus on a big data strategy, rather than using big data in carrying out a business strategy.

You want to know what you are trying to achieve for the business over the next 6 to 9 months. Then you can figure out how you can fit big data within that context to meet your goals.

Specifically, what are your major problems as a business? How might big data better help you make decisions?

Here’s a real-life situation from Jessica Davis of InformationWeek: A hospital in a big city noticed that there were more people with injuries arriving at their emergency room following pro sports games. Doctors, nurses, and administrators all saw what was happening, but they needed their hunch to be calculated so they could figure out exactly how they needed to adjust.

“[A]n investigation of the data showed that injuries went up by 27% on game day,” notes Davis, “and that quantification of the injuries was something the hospital could use to figure out how much it needed to augment its ER nursing staff for game days.”

#3 – Entrusting data scientists to find solutions for business problems.

People who focus their careers on machine learning, statistics, and other data science specialties will be pivotal to moving your big data ideas forward. But you can’t just let these folks run without ample guidance and expect to meet your overarching business objectives.

“Data scientists typically build new models and solve intricate equations, leaving a business problem, however obvious, not a priority,” says Severinghaus. “Data scientists are only one part of the complex, cross-functional team required to create business value.”

Cloud Computing: Could it Save a Child’s Life (Part 2 of 2)

  • Cloud
  • General
  • Technology

Heartbeat

<<< Go to Part 1

  • Power of Cloud in Medicine (cont.)
  • Project to Save Kids’ Lives with Cloud

Power of cloud in medicine (cont.)

Implementing the cloud is becoming increasingly popular in the pharmaceutical industry. According to James Staten of Forrester, almost all drug firms are using cloud – at least for research and development. The most obvious primary driver for that, he says, is its cost-effectiveness.

Additionally, though, using the cloud makes it much easier for everyone on a team to work in concert, with all drafts saved in real-time. Sage Bionetworks President Dr. Stephen Friend points out that it’s not just coworkers and affiliates who want to collaborate with their data and concepts actually, but competitors.

That’s because there is a shared concern with cutting costs as much as possible. When everyone decides to throw their information into one pot, it means all companies are able to reduce the financial vulnerability associated with these densely rigorous projects.

It isn’t just drug and other medical companies that are being aided by this technological revolution; it’s helping patients. For instance, Pathwork Diagnostics is a healthcare outfit that is storing a massive amount of cancer biopsy data on cloud servers, notes Staten, which means faster diagnosis and a higher chance of survival.

When tissue comes in from a physician who is unsure of the specific type of cancer, “they can put that single sample into their database on the cloud,” he says, “and, within less than a day, come back with a high-probability diagnosis of what kind of cancer that tissue sample is.”

Getting the kind of cancer pinpointed immediately means that the clinic can shift rapidly into the best possible treatment.

RELATED: In order for any idea to be implemented in the cloud to its full potential, it’s important to remember that it’s not really “the cloud” but “the clouds.” Especially if lives are on the line, you want to make sure your cloud infrastructure is built using the most advanced equipment and techniques. At Superb Internet, we use distributed (i.e. not centralized) storage to avoid any single point of failure for optimal reliability; and InfiniBand (i.e. not 10 Gigabit Ethernet) so that no packets are ever lost, guaranteed. See our cloud plans.

Project to Save Kids’ Lives with Cloud

These three statistics on the vulnerability of young kids around the world really are quite shocking:

  1. More than 6 million kids aged 4 or below die every year from causes that could be prevented, according to UNICEF;
  2. Almost 20,000 boys and girls in that low age bracket die daily of diseases that could be avoided.
  3. The majority of poor, non-industrialized countries have approximately 1 doctor per 1,000 people, compared to 3-6 doctors per thousand in an average “first-world” nation such as the US or UK.

For anyone with compassion, these numbers are heart-breaking even if they seem overwhelming. Doctors will often dedicate pro-bono time to finding solutions for this incredible and ongoing humanitarian crisis.

One such project is OPENPediatrics, explains Manzoor Farid in Thoughts on Cloud. This project is a platform that uses the cloud “to deliver education and information across a global community of medical practitioners who treat critically ill children,” he says. “It is sponsored by Boston Children’s Hospital in collaboration with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies.”

There is a broader issue that this project and others like it are able to address: leveling the playing field in terms of the amount of knowledge doctors can access worldwide. Just like with the drug companies, everyone is able to benefit from information being easily accessible in the same place.

To better understand what things look like in action, here are four specific components of this particular system designed to help children survive potentially life-threatening illnesses:

  1. A social app that allows doctors to contribute and comment on opinions and findings
  2. Articles and other content on pediatric specialties to more broadly spread that expertise
  3. How-to videos of sophisticated therapeutic methods
  4. Treatment simulators so that doctors can rehearse and practice the process of treatment digitally before carrying it out in real life.

The image of cloud is fluffy and light, but virtual projects like this one are anything but, notes Traci Wolbrink, MD, associate program director for OPENPediatrics. “All around the world there are children who are critically ill,” she says, “and unless you provide the right care at the right time in the right way, these children will die.”

When we talk about technology, it’s easy to get caught up on the intricacies of the back end – to think of it in terms of machines and wires and coding. As indicated by this example, cloud computing is a perfect fit to bring together experts from different fields, and integrate their ideas and information. That way a gap in knowledge doesn’t mean an infant or toddler is unable to survive just because the doctors in their vicinity don’t have access to the most powerful and up-to-date information.

Cloud Computing: Could It Save a Child’s Life? (Part 1 of 2)

  • Cloud
  • General
  • Technology

Heartbeat

Cloud is often discussed in terms of its basic selling points for business: how much more efficient and productive it can make an organization. However, cloud computing is having a profound influence beyond business, on our way of life. In fact, this technology can save lives. Let’s look at its use in healthcare and how one children’s hospital is leveraging it.

  • Technology that Could be a Life-Saver
  • Power of Cloud in Medicine

 Technology that Could be a Life-Saver

Why is the technology of cloud computing so exciting? On a broad level, it’s great that businesses are better able to scale, use big data efficiently, and affordably access a highly secure and reliable infrastructure.

The cloud is based on a time-sharing model of computing that was popular decades ago, when people didn’t have their own computers. Now companies are increasingly realizing that the same model is preferable to conventional dedicated computing. What firms are able to achieve with the cloud is to share resources across many disparate businesses. That ends up saving money for everyone through economies of scale, notes cloud computing author David Linthicum. “The value of time share and the core value of cloud computing are pretty much the same,” he says, “only the resources these days are much better and more cost effective.”

However, the way in which cloud is really exciting is as something that can really alter our lives. It’s interesting to consider how the speed and agility of cloud could change the world. It’s powerful to realize it could possibly save a child’s life.

The cloud allows for more rapid development, better insights on your data, and more easily integrated access by multiple users (internal and potentially external to an organization). Furthermore, it also makes it possible for doctors and other researchers to set aside the challenge of establishing an infrastructure and simply get to work looking for stronger understandings of disease and new, better treatments.

Let’s look at the cloud in action: its implementation at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Power of Cloud in Medicine

The incredible size and speed of cloud are making it simpler and more affordable for research teams to zero in on new treatments and pharmaceutical medications.

Assessing datasets that would previously have taken years and millions in funding now can be done almost immediately, via the elasticity of cloud (its ability to scale with you to meet your changing demand). “Companies can rent massive computer resources by the hour, and the cost is relatively little,” notes NPR. “The ability to analyze vast amounts of data in this way is changing lots of industries — including health care.”

Dr. Michael Cunningham, who heads the craniofacial center at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, works with infants whose skulls solidified too early. When that happens, a disease called craniosynostosis, the shape of the head becomes unusual and pressure within the skull is amplified. Pressure within the skull threatens the health of the brain.

Researchers had previously posited that craniosynostosis results from a problem in bone cells’ ability to talk with each other. However, Cunningham wanted to dig deeper on the cellular level. By running sophisticated analytic algorithms in the cloud, Cunningham and his colleagues were better able to pinpoint the qualities of cells that were common among these patients.

That was a major leap forward for the field. It’s essentially the first clue in terms of finding the root cause of this tragic condition, says Cunningham.

Knowing the cause in turn allows researchers to develop stronger treatments.

“Aided by cloud computing, researchers crunched, analyzed and sequenced massive amounts of information — something Cunningham could not have done on his own,” explains NPR, summarizing why the cloud is so popular. “It would have been far too expensive and taken too long.”

RELATED: Keep in mind that not all cloud computing is created the same. At Superb Internet, our cloud architecture is built using distributed rather than centralized storage, and InfiniBand rather than 10 Gigabit Ethernet. These two strategies give us no single point of failure and guaranteed always-zero packet loss. See our cloud plans.

Using an infrastructure-as-a-service provider to immediately access virtual cloud servers and adaptively get the resources they need at any given time, drug companies are able to operate as cost-effectively as possible.

That’s important to pharmaceutical firms because drug discovery is a huge building block of their industry. Single projects will sometimes require running an algorithm on tens of millions of different chemical compounds.

The reason cloud is so successful for these types of situations is similar to many other business scenarios. People want to be able to instantly access a massive influx of raw computer power, without setting up machines – almost like they are tapping into the IT grid. Of course people want to avoid worrying about purchasing equipment, storing it, cooling it, and providing its power. That’s a headache.

A typical project running through all that chemical information to gather insights lasts two or three hours and is not cost-prohibitive. In fact, the cost of cloud computing is one of its other main selling points. Referring to one chemical data project that ran through 21 million compounds, NPR notes that “if the company had tried to do this in-house, it would have had to spend millions on computers, and the job might have taken years to complete.”

 

>>> Go to Part 2

Improving Cooling Efficiency in Small Data Centers

  • Data Centers
  • Hardware

Ice Cold

Typically when people talk about data center efficiency, the primary point of focus is underutilization. However, cooling also uses huge amounts of power – sometimes as much as half the bill. By focusing on power use, companies can become much more efficient.

  • Underutilization
  • Cooling Inefficiency #1 – Redundancies
  • Cooling Inefficiency #2 – Hot Spots
  • A Shift in Focus

Underutilization

Much of the discussion about data center efficiency has to do with servers not being optimally utilized. For instance, a 2012 New York Times piece looked at the abysmal utilization rates of servers and estimated generator exhaust emissions. A Stanford report published in 2015 thoroughly assessed the issue of underutilization, finding that data centers are often incredibly inefficient with their equipment. In fact, Stanford estimated that $30 billion worth of servers, the equivalent of 10 million of them, were going unused at any given time.

Underutilization is not the only data center efficiency or sustainability issue though. Another way in which hosting facilities often don’t make the best use of resources is cooling. Cooling typically accounts for a huge portion of power use – up to 50%.

Massive enterprises such as Microsoft or Facebook will often adopt incredibly efficient tactics, generating publicity. However, the major tech giants are a relatively small piece of the whole.

RELATED: For instance, Superb Internet’s core network and backbone connectivity consists of 11 core network sites, located in five different states, with three SSAE 16 audited data centers from coast to coast. Learn more.

Data centers at colleges, SMBs, and local governments also must be concerned with efficiency. The data centers at smaller organizations are where most of the servers are located and the majority of power is used, notes Yevgeniy Sverdlik of Data Center Knowledge. “And they are usually the ones with inefficient cooling systems,” he adds, “either because the teams running them don’t have the resources for costly and lengthy infrastructure upgrades, or because those teams never see the energy bill and don’t feel the pressure to reduce energy consumption.”

Data center architects Future Resource Engineering determined a series of conservation steps they could take in 40 data centers that were between 5000 and 95,000 square feet. With cooling as the primary point of focus, the firm was able to reduce power use by 24 million kWh.

The main issue is simply that companies are overdoing it with cooling. Companies are aware they are cooling excessively, explains Future Resource engineering director Tim Hirschenhofer. “A lot of customers definitely understand that they overcool,” he says. “They know what they should be doing, but they don’t have the time or the resources to make the improvements.”

Cooling Inefficiency #1 – Redundancies

Why does overcooling take place? There are two basic reasons: hot spots and redundancy. If you improve the air management, you won’t really have to worry about either issue, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab tech manager Magnus Herrlin.

Since reliability is typically the top priority for businesses (rather than efficiency/sustainability), data centers will often have redundant cooling that is running all the time at 100% power. That’s unnecessary. By setting up mechanisms to monitor cooling and by gauging your real day-to-day demand, you can put redundant machines on standby and switch them on automatically when the load rises or when the main cooling system goes down.

Many small data centers do not have systems that allow them to manage air in the most efficient possible ways. Air management basically isn’t something that’s in place in these situations. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which is under the auspices of the Department of Energy, is committed to helping small data centers become as efficient with cooling as possible.

Cooling Inefficiency #2 – Hot Spots

Hot spots are also often overcome with overcooling, but that is not an efficient strategy at all. Basically, hot spots occur when certain machine are particularly hot, so the infrastructure team pours in ample cooling to bring those servers down to a safe temperature. The result is that the general temperature in the facility is excessively low.

An additional issue is that cold and hot air often aren’t kept apart sufficiently. If you aren’t controlling the air reasonably and moving it properly, you end up with hot exhaust air warming the air that’s used for cooling. Then you have to cool additionally. The cooling system itself will also sometimes pull in a combination of hot air and its own cooled air, rather than directing all the cold air to the server’s air intake.

A Shift in Focus

As noted above, Silicon Valley companies often have extraordinarily complex cooling capabilities. However, the household names in technology “don’t represent the bulk of the energy consumed in data centers,” says Herrlin. “That is done in much smaller data centers.”

Leonard Marx, who handles business development for the sustainability-focused engineering company Clearesult, says that data centers are generally not very efficient. Usually the people who work directly with the servers aren’t incentivized to lower the power cost, so it stays high.

The top concern of those who manage data centers is to make the system as reliable as possible. The problem is that when these facilities build in redundancies for reliability, inefficiency naturally results.  If the infrastructure is reliable, even if it using way too much power, you typically won’t become more efficient if the data center manager has no immediate and compelling reason to make a change. “Without changes that divert more attention in the organization to data center energy consumption, the problem of energy waste in the industry overall will persist,” says Herrlin, “regardless of how efficient the next Facebook data center is.”

Google reviews = more sales (and how to get them) – Part 2

  • Business Talk

Yesterday, we covered registering our .reviews domain name and setting up our hosting account so we can build our ‘Reviews Engine’.

If you need to take care of those, you can read the article here for complete instructions: http://www.superb.net/blog/google-reviews-more-sales-and-how-to-get-them-part-1

I’m going to assume you have taken care of both and all we need to do now is build the website.

Please don’t get overwhelmed. I’ll walk you through step-by-step so you can see exactly how to build this website.

All told, you maybe will spend an hour or two building this. The installation takes most of the time… while editing the templates is super easy to do.

Let’s start by installing WordPress…

Step 3: Install WordPress

The main engine behind the scenes is WordPress.

WordPress makes everything work…it creates the website we will use to let customers post reviews and read reviews. In turn, this website will be submitted to Google for indexing.

I’ve created a demo site to show you how to setup WordPress.

So let’s start building the website… first, you will need WordPress in order to use the review system I am recommending.

You will also need a basic template and a plugin that will handle reviews that are ‘Rich Snippets’ friendly.

First, install WordPress.

The myCP portal (https://mycp.superb.net/index.php) makes this incredibly easy:

superbblog-2-1

Click the ‘One-Click Install’ link. Then click ‘Configure WordPress’.

superbblog-2-2

Very simple.

Now, let’s move on to the template you need. WordPress comes with pre-configured templates so you don’t need to spend a penny.

However, they aren’t great aesthetically. Let’s work on our template now.

Step 4: Install WordPress Template

Next, install a template that you like. Here are a few good free ones I have located for you:

https://wordpress.org/themes/auberge
http://justfreethemes.com/italian-restaurant
http://justfreethemes.com/demo?theme=Italian%20Restaurant

Alternatively, you can go the paid route which includes everything you need for your Review Engine.

Here’s the one I used to create the demo site for you: http://restaurant-sample.reviews

And here’s the Theme Author page so you can see how versatile this template truly is: http://theme.co/x/

This is a very versatile theme… that comes with a lot of pre-built site designs. Installing a restaurant, church, and many other sites. It really is as simple as changing the logo and the text on the templates.

Further, the template comes with a point-and-click website builder. You can drag things around and click on text boxes to update.

The cost was just $64. Compare that to a web designer who is going to charge at least $2000 for a similar result.

Again, this is very easy… as easy as using a word processor. It may take you an hour to learn how to use the web building tool and WordPress. The advantage is being able to edit this site at any time, easily.

Of course, if you need help installing a theme – don’t hesitate to contact the support gurus at Superb Internet. In fact, I needed some help getting a few things taken care of. I opened a ticket and was on my way in just a few minutes.

Now, here’s the secret sauce… the reviews plugin.

Step 5: Install Reviews WordPress Plugin

To qualify for Google’s Rich Snippets (https://developers.google.com/structured- data/rich-snippets) inclusion, your plugin must follow Google’s structured data that is relevant to your type and content.

Your plugin should adhere to the Google standards so that the algorithm will index and understand the content.

Here’s one that is highly rated from WordPress.org: http://plugins.nuancedmedia.com/wordpress-reviews-plugin

I used this on the demo site at http://restaurant-sample.reviews

Here’s a look at the control panel where you can manage the reviews:

superbblog-2-3

Once you have downloaded the plugin, installed and activated it inside WordPress, you just need to add a page where the reviews will be listed.

Step 6: Create Your Reviews Page

You’ll go inside WordPress and create a new ‘page’. In the content area, you’ll add the smart code you need and save the page. That’s it.

Here’s what that looks like on the new ‘page’ I created:

superbblog-2-4

Now, we just need to make the reviews pop on our home page.

Depending on your template, you may need to edit your new reviews page from the visual editor for that template.

Next, we need to set the reviews page so it is the first page on our website (home page).

Let’s do that now…

Step 7: Set Reviews Page as Home Page

This will make your reviews page the first thing visitors see… which is what you want.

The way we are setting up the website – we are positioning to deliver and receive reviews for our business – in the format Google prefers for indexing.

Go to the ‘Settings’ column on the left-hand pane of your WordPress section.

Click ‘Reading’. From here, you’ll select your new Reviews page you created as the home page.

superbblog-2-5

Now test this by going to your main domain URL. In our case, we are using: http://restaurant-sample.reviews

The home page now shows the reviews as well as a review form.

Perfect… now we need to make sure Google can read these reviews properly. Let’s take care of that now…

Step 8: Add Test Reviews and Test Integration

Go to the left-hand pane of WordPress and click ‘Rich Reviews’. Then click ‘Add New Review':

superbblog-2-6

From here, you’ll be able to add a test review. Click submit once you have entered all of the required fields:

superbblog-2-7

Now, that gives us enough information to test our integration.

Test your integration here:

Find the URL where your reviews are listed (on the page you created and inserted the shortcode on):

For me, I used the main URL for http://restaurant-sample.reviews to list my reviews.

You can go below and enter your URL to test your feed: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool

Here are the results from my test for http://restaurant-sample.reviews

superbblog-2-9

There were no errors and it clearly listed all 9 reviews.

Success!

Now, we need to print business cards, make flyers, add notes to receipts, and tell our servers to let customers know about the reviews site and how it will help us.

Most people are good natured and want you to succeed… especially if they love your service.

The more reviews you can get, the better!

Chris

PS. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this series… or if you have a question! I would love to help you.

Google reviews = more sales (and how to get them) – Part 1

  • Business Talk

A better search ranking on Google almost always means more sales…

… if your online or local business has good reviews.

While it is true that you will get more visitors with a higher search ranking, this does not always equal more sales.

Consumers in today’s world understand how to use the Internet. Basically, consumers do their homework. The ease of Internet search makes it easy for any one to post a review of your business.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone at a store Googling and comparing prices or reading reviews of a product. Consumers are smart and search the web for reviews. They don’t want to make a mistake.

While most of these reviews are good, some are going to be downright unfair.

I know…I’ve had my fair share of bad reviews on books I’ve written. The reviews were baseless (the people didn’t even read the books or put the advice into action).

That’s just the way it goes sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up control on what is presented for your business on the web.

What reviews would you rather potential customers read?

For example, authors do not have any control over reviews for books listed on Amazon. Sure, they are allowed to respond… but the most ridiculous review will still be published. Even unfair ones.

The best way to control your reviews is to own the ‘Review Engine’ and encourage happy customers to use this engine. I’ll give you a simple strategy to ‘stack the deck’ in your favor later.

Now, I’m not advocating that you delete bad reviews… I would suggest you respond to those clearly and calmly.

These make for good interaction and prove your business is the real deal. Of course, if you get someone who is totally baseless and just wants to smear your name, feel free to remove them. I’ve actually read articles where businesses were targeted by trolls and smear campaigns… and while this is uncommon – it does happen.

And who knows…you might be able to turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer and earn their repeat business. You can showcase how good you are at handling customer issues and making them happy. This is quite powerful to shoppers reading reviews.

So how do you ‘stack the deck’ in your favor?

Create your own review website.

Creating your own review site allows you to optimize it based on Google’s suggestions. This also allows you to interact easier with happy and unhappy customers.

What I am advocating is a separate domain from your main website. This second domain will support your main website. This is rather easy to setup and I’ll cover the basics in this series.

In addition, I’m encouraging you to open up reviews on your main website if you do not currently.

A 2-for-1 punch here.

Google values reviews and uses reviews to boost your rankings in their search.

By stacking the deck with a lot of reviews for your business, the better your odds of owning page 1 on the Google search for your local business.

Keep in mind, these are REAL REVIEWS. Totally white hat. DO NOT POST FAKE REVIEWS.

Here’s an example of how Google displays reviews for restaurants:

superbblog-1-1

Looks pretty good, and the 4.5 rating is the average of the 56 reviews above. I’ll show you how to setup your website later on how to deliver this information to Google using ‘Rich Snippets’.

But first, we need a platform that not only delivers these reviews to Google in the proper format (Rich Snippets) – but also collects reviews from your customers. The more reviews the better.

How to setup your own review site

The great thing is that Superb Internet makes building your own ‘Review Engine’ easy.

You need:

  1. Domain Name (get that here: https://registrar.superb.net)
  2. Webhosting (get that here: http://www.superb.net/web-hosting/web-hosting-plans)
  3. WordPress
  4. Rich Snippets Plug-in for WordPress

I suggest setting up a brand new .reviews website that compliments your existing website.

The advantage of setting up a separate .reviews website is that you can offer customers an easy to remember URL where they can review your business.

To get reviews, I’ve seen quite a few places that offer a chance to win a gift certificate for taking a survey…you could do the same for posting a review.

Reviews are the lifeblood of restaurants, hotels, mechanics, and practically everything on the web including physical products.

The goal here is to build credible reviews so Google places those stars by your business name… one that is easy to find by customers and with a memorable URL.

So let’s get started by first registering a .reviews domain.

Step 1: Register a .reviews Domain

The first thing you need to stack the deck in your favor for Google rankings is register a new domain name. This is in addition to your .com, .net or existing domain extension. This is used to create more review content of your business for Google.

.reviews is the new domain extension I recommend for your new Review Engine.

If you don’t want a second website, you can purchase the .reviews domain for your business and have Superb Internet ‘map’ it to your existing website. This makes it easy for customers to remember.

Go here to lock down your .reviews domain name -> https://registrar.superb.net

In fact, Superb Internet now offers over 400 brand new domain extensions you can search from the above link.

The new .reviews domain will only set you back $19.99 for a full year. You can also get .review as a domain extension for $25.99 for a year.

If you’re a current customers, register your domain by logging into your myCP portal (https://mycp.superb.net/index.php) and hoverover ‘Domains’ and then click  ‘Register Domain’.

superbblog-1-2

Select your domain name choice and the .reviews extension.

YOURCOMPANYNAME.reviews

The .reviews extension is important because it tells what it is about in the domain name itself. While this may not be factored in by Google (I have to think it carries some importance).

Currently, here’s what most Google search results look like:

superbblog-1-3

The above is an example of a page that has ‘restaurant reviews’. We are aiming to have our restaurant name AND reviews in the URL: http://restaurant-sample.reviews

This means if we place reviews content on the home page – we have an excellent chance at a good ranking with Google as long as we use their recommended Rich Snippets format.

Having ‘reviews’ in the domain name will help potential customers attention searching for reviews about your business. This will hit home with them because this is the exact information they are looking for. Your restaurant name AND reviews in the same URL.

In a nutshell, your target will be reading a review site that you control and delivering exactly the information they searched for.

Let’s move on, assuming you have the .reviews domain and let’s start to build the ‘Review Engine’.

Step 2: Setup Hosting

If you already have hosting with Superb Internet, you just need to add a new domain using step 1 above. Superb Internet offers great plans and you can host multiple domains (even with the $4.99/month GridLITE package).

Essentially, with the GridLITE and above package, you are able to add a few more websites (11 in GridLITE, 50 in GridPRO, and UNLIMITED in GridMAX)… for no additional cost per month.

If you need hosting, just go here and find the package that best suits your needs: http://www.superb.net/web-hosting/web-hosting-plans

Now that we’ve registered our .reviews domain and hosting is dealt with, let’s move onto the engine itself.

We’ll build the site in tomorrow’s article. See you tomorrow!

Chris