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What to expect when your redesign goes live

At Y-Times we roll out new designs, redesigns and other major upgrades to Yahoo stores on a fairly regular basis. Some of the main questions our clients ask are how to prepare for a roll-out and what to expect in terms of SEO and conversions when the changes go live?

For any functional Yahoo store how well the site ranks and how well it converts are probably the two most important metrics. Since pretty much ANY change you make to any page can potentially alter either or both of these metrics, merchants may understandably feel nervous about far reaching alterations to their sites. However, when those functionality and design changes and additions are done right, there is really very little to fear.

First off, what does it mean for a design or redesign to be "done right?" From the technical stand point, search engines look at the underlying structure of your site (the HTML, and increasingly also the CSS and JavaScript code) to try to extract information and meaning from it. If…
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Google's mobile-first indexing - what does it mean for me?

Google announced in March of 2018 that they would start migrating sites for mobile-first indexing. By now, presumably this process has been complete and mobile-first indexing is the standard for Google's crawlers. You most likely have received an email from Google that mobile-first indexing has been enabled for your site. What does this mean?

Historically, Googlebot (Google's web crawler) has visited sites as if it were a desktop user, that is, a user with a relatively large screen with a mouse and a keyboard. With mobile-first indexing, Googlebot is now visiting sites first as a "mobile user" - small screen, no pointing device, touch screen, etc.) So to determine what your pages have to offer, it will first look at those pages as a smartphone, and then as a desktop device.

Does this mean there are now separate indexes, one for mobile devices and one for desktops and laptops? No. Google will still use a single index but whatever a mobile user sees is consi…

Bookmarklets for Yahoo Store

I was introduced to "bookmarklets" by my friend, Rob Snell, many years ago at one of the Yahoo Store conferences and they are indispensable tools in my daily work on Yahoo stores.
What are "bookmarklets"? As the name suggests, bookmarklets are kind of like bookmarks in your browser, except instead of leading to a web page, they execute a small piece of JavaScript code on the current page. This is made possible by the browser's support of the "javascript:" prefix. When you point your browser to a URL, the browser figures out what to do with it: bring up a web page if the address starts with http:// or https://, connect to an ftp site if the address starts with ftp://, or in the case of javascript:, interpret and execute the JavaScript code following the colon.
Typically, bookmarklets are saved either in your Favorites folder or if you use them on a daily basis like I do, in your browser's bookmarks toolbar. In essence, bookmarklets are sort of like…

Auto-update Copyright Year

This is one of those minor, recurring questions I'm always asked (each year): to update the copyright year in sites. Whether this is the "right thing" to do or not I don't know, but here is how you can make it automatic:

First, go to the Variables page (these instructions are for Yahoo! Stores), and do a search for the word "copyright" or the year that's currently displayed next to your copyright message. If you can't find it there, chances are you have a custom template and the copyright message might be coming from some place else. In that case, you'll have to track it down, but because custom templates can be set up in any which way, unfortunately you'll be on your own.

Assuming you found it, replace the year with this JavaScript code:

<script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script>

Hit Update and you should be all set!

Really Quick Trick to Improve Page Load Speed of a Yahoo Store a Little Bit

With Google getting more and more aggressive about wanting web sites to be quick to load (particularly on mobile), we often find ourselves trying to find even the smallest of tweaks to nudge up that page speed score even if by a tiny bit. Here is a quick trick you can do completely on your own, without having to ask a developer, that will probably bump up your Google PageSpeed score by a couple of points.

First a short disclaimer: this trick is only applicable if you have enabled the Yahoo! Badge in your Store Manager, under Live Insights & App Gallery.

Before you start, you may want to check your site's Google PageSpeed (the home page is a good place to start) both as a benchmark, and also to get a glimpse at how fast (or slow) Google believes your site (or home page) is. Here is the link:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Ok, so if you did enable the Yahoo! Badge, your site includes a small Yahoo Live Store badge, much like this:


When you hover over the …

Referencing Files from Yahoo! Web Hosting Securely

Now that hopefully most of you you have your stores secured (if not and need help, we offer a Secure Storefront Preparation Service here), you may have been faced with the question of how to reference files (images, CSS, JavaScript, src) if those files are stored on your Yahoo! store's web hosting account. Obviously using the old HTTP: method won't work, so something like this

< img src="http://site.ytimes.com/image.jpg" />

will not work. Nor can you simply change the http: part to https: , because as of this writing, only the store editor portion of a Yahoo! Store can be made secure, the web hosting portion cannot.

First a side note: if this sounds totally Greek to you because you have never heard of the web hosting part of your Yahoo! Store, you may have a legacy Yahoo! store account and not a Merchant Solution one. With a legacy store account you will only have the store editor part and no hosting account, in which case none of this applies to you.

The good n…

Get Your Store Ready for HTTPS

You probably received an email from Google announcing that starting in October of 2017, sites that cannot be accessed via HTTPS will be flagged in Chrome as not secure. This is part of Google's push to make the entire Internet secure. To answer this call, Yahoo is working hard on making HTTPS available to all stores and it should be available shortly; definitely well before the deadline set by Google. In some cases, stores will simply be able to flip a switch and make their site secure (conforming). However, other stores, most notably highly customized ones will need extra effort making sure they are ready for the switch.
What if your site is switched to HTTPS but it is not entirely secure? If - when it becomes available - you switch your site over to HTTPS but not all parts of the site are secure, visitors to the site will still see a note informing them that the site is not secure. They may, and often will, also receive popups warning them of insecure content and asking if they …