How to Increase File Upload Size in WordPress (No Need to Code!!!)

Increase the File Upload Size in WordPress Without Creating or Altering a pnp.ini File.

Godaddy shared hosting’s default settings are set to not allow for particularly large files to be uploaded.  This is very easily remedied by changing some basic settings within cPanel; you do not need to start messing with pnp.ini files or even know how to code. This guide will walk you through everything; if you prefer to watch a video, scroll to the bottom!

How to Fix “File.jpg Exceeds the Maximum Upload Size for This Site”

increase file upload size wordpress cpanel godaddy

You’re in the middle of uploading a theme or a photo to your WordPress website when you get the dreaded “exceeds the maximum upload size for this site” message.  You are incredibly frustrated and turn to Google.

For whatever reason, the top results all tell you to create a pnp.ini file and start coding, though there is a much easier way to address this.  Godaddy, along with a number of other shared hosting providers, all set limits to the file sizes that you can upload, though these defaults can easily be changed.  You do not need to create any files and you don’t need to know how to code.

Step 1

increase file upload size godaddy

Log into your hosting and scroll down to the “software” section of your Godaddy cPanel.  You are going to click on “select PHP version.”

Step 2

increase file upload size in WordPress

While you’re in here, it’s probably best to make sure that your hosting is set to version 7.1, but make sure that you check that your theme and plugins are compatible with it (I assume no liability for you messing up your site, by the way, so make sure that you have a valid backup of everything before you change anything).

On this screen, you’re going to click on “Swithch TO PHP Options.”

Step 3

set file upload sizes in cpanel on godaddy for wordpress

The three number in orange are the numbers that you need to change.  Click on each one and a drop down will appear; select the new value and click “apply” (if you forget to click apply, it won’t take).  Once you’ve changed all three values, click on the save button below “upload_max_filesize.”

You Have Increased Your Max File Size Upload

This is a really easy, fast fix, but for whatever reasons, the top results on Google all tell you to create a pnp.ini file, which often doesn’t work to fix the issue with Godaddy’s file upload limits on shared hosting plans.  I’d like to help people avoid the headaches involved with this and finally start outranking those other convoluted, yet ineffective solutions, so please comment and link to this post so that we can get the word out that there is an easy fix to Godaddy’s 2mb limit on file uploads on shared hosting.

Ahrefs vs. Majestic – An Independent Rundown of What You Get

If I Could Only Use One, Which Would It Be?

The short of it is that Ahrefs has a lot more features, but lacks one or two valuable features that Majestic offers.  Additionally, Majestic has a much cleaner interface, making it easier to use for a beginner.  However, if I had to pick one over the other, I would go with Ahrefs.  That said, which tool is better for the average SEO or content marketer.

What Does a Typical SEO or Content Marketer Need?

There are a few features that any SEO or content marketer needs in an SEO tool.  Though it may be far from a comprehensive list, below are a few of the big ones:

  • A backlink tester that finds links and rates their quality accurately
  • A rank explorer to track the number and ranking of keywords of a specific site
  • A tool to measure the relevance of a website to the SEO’s website (links from a home improvement site to a web design site will not help as much as links from a site about CSS)
  • A content explorer to see what content is performing well on a specific website
  • An audit tool to see if there are any technical problems within the site, such as:
    • Broken links
    • Broken redirects
    • Missing title tags or metadescriptions
    • Missing alt tags
    • all kinds of random stuff that loves to pop up right when you’re busiest
  • A keyword explorer to help identify long tail keywords to create content around
  • A bulk backlink checker
  • A domain comparison tool
  • A crawler to find broken internal links or any other technical problems

What Majestic Does Very Well

Comparatively speaking, both Majestic and Ahrefs are good at finding backlinks. Both tools leave Moz in the dust, usually finding three to four times the number of links that Moz’s Open Site Explorer finds.  As a result, both are more reliable to measure the quality of links, making Ahrefs Domain Rank (DR) and Majestic’s Trust Flow (TF) much more reliable that Moz’s Domain Authority.  There are features that Majestic excels at, however.

CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE THAT TALKS ABOUT HOW TO READ AHREFS AND MAJESTIC METRICS

TOPICAL TRUST FLOW

A feature that Majestic offers is “topical trust flow.” Basically, it does a rudimentary job of classifying the categories of the websites that are linking to another site.  This is good because it gives a good idea of the relevancy of the links coming to a site.  For instance, if you are looking at site A that has a 5 links from sites focusing on 5 unrelated topics, it is unlikely to outperform another site that has 5 links from sites focused on relevant topics, even if the TF or CF is lower.  This is extremely valuable to grey hat and black hat SEOs that are vetting domains for a PBN, or someone doing backlink outreach; in either case, you want links from sites focused on topics related to your own.  Google knows that there’s no good reason for an online casino to link to a local painter.  Even if that online casino may appear to have high numbers in your SEO tool, it’s unlikely to help Joe the Painter.

NEIGHBORHOOD CHECKER

If you use shared hosting, you are on a server with a lot of other websites.  LOTS of them.

Unfortunately, you are bound to have some bad neighbors on your server.  If you are REALLY unlucky, you might be on a server loaded with porn, viagra sales, and steroids.  Considering that you’re sharing an IP address with these sites, that’s not the best thing for your site, but you are likely to not even know.  A unique feature that Majestic has is its neighborhood checker, which lets you take a look at the other sites that share an IP address with you and look for any red flags that may negatively impact your search performance.

What Ahrefs Does Very Well

RANK TRACKER

Ahrefs has features that focus on rank and traffic, something that Majestic is only beginning to roll out.  It tracks keywords that a site is ranking for, along with estimated traffic and search volume.  This is valuable in doing competitive analysis and determining how a site is generating organic traffic (ignore the paid search estimates, they are all WAY off).

CONTENT PLANNING

Majestic doesn’t have any features to help you come up with a content plan.  Ahrefs has tools to identify content topics that a competitor has covered that you do not cover on your site.  It also gives keyword difficulty (as is, the competitiveness to rank) and search volume estimates.

BACKLINK OUTREACH

While it is nowhere nearly as powerful as Buzzsumo, Ahrefs does have some features that can help you identify Twitter influencers to reach out to and share content.

DOMAIN RANK

While it is as easily manipulated as Majestic’s TF, I find Ahrefs a little more reliable.

If You Can Afford It, Get Both

While there is a lot of overlap in the features of the two tools (features that I don’t get into in this post) there are a number of unique features that can prove very valuable to an SEO.  If you can swing it financially, it is well worth it to get both of them.

What Is A Good TF? DR? DA?

These metrics should always be considered rough estimates, not steadfast rules.

The generally accepted metrics that are considered “good” depend on the niche, but for local websites, the following numbers are often cited by SEOs as acceptable:

For websites that are in more competitive niches:

Trust Flow/Domain Rank/Domain Authority are not the new PageRank

None of these numbers come from Google and all that they measure are the quality of the backlinks going to a website.  Google does consider links as a ranking factor, but it’s not the only factor.  A site that has a TF of 15 and a CF of 22 but that has 5 years of clicks from the search engine for relevant terms will outrank a website with a TF of 25 and CF of 40 that has been around for a year and a half.  Additionally, the computing power that these companies possess would be akin to an Uzi, while Google is using a Howitzer.  None of them have the capacity to collect the amount of information that Google has about a website, and therefore, none will be able to give you a full picture of a website’s competitiveness.

These metrics are not great for deciding whether you can outrank a site or not

Over time, I’ve noticed that these numbers rarely correlate with ranking.  As you can see in this graphic, there doesn’t seem to be a huge correlation between the numbers and each site’s placement on the SERP:

what is a good TF DA DR

These numbers are better used to identify the impact of getting a link from a site than they are to predict a site’s rank—use them accordingly.

There is a lot of misinformation flying around the internet when it comes to SEO.

Ultimately, make a good website, with good content, become a member of online communities, and get to know the influencers in your market.  Ideally, you won’t even need these metrics to tell the influence that a website wields.

 

How to Come Up with Web Design Ideas

How to Come Up with Web Design Ideas

There are a number of approaches when trying to get inspiration for a new website.  From visiting websites such as Awwwards, to Googling “best contractor websites,” to checking out Pinterest, there are a few ways to find sites to get your prospective customers excited or simply get your creative juices flowing.

CSSMania

This is the place to check when you’re trying to get a good idea quickly.  There are tons of sites and themes listed there and it is really easy to get to the sites that the site features.  It also allows you to look at sites from specific categories, which can be helpful if you’re looking for a layout that will be most appropriate for a specific niche.  The downside is that some design firms have paid to place their less-than-perfect designs on this site, so you may have to shuffle through some bad designs before you find the jewels.

Slider Revolution Templates

I love Slider Revolution.  When I am working on a site that really needs to jump out at the visitor when he or she first lands on it, this is where I get started.  As you can see in the link here, there are many really cool templates that this plugin offers.  While I seldom use the templates out of the box, they can often serve to get me thinking of different ways to display the images that I’m working with for a specific project.  By looking at these different designs, I can pick and choose different elements that will help to better communicate whatever I am trying to convey through the layout.

Awwwards

This is another website that has great designs.  The sites that are featured on Awwwards tend to be some of the coolest, most beautiful sites done by some of the most talented and creative UX designers in the world.  Take a look at some of the featured sites and get blown away by the talent out there.

The downside to using Awwwards to get started on a project is that you’re likely to find a number of projects that will be a bit too avant-garde for your typical local landscaping company.  If you’re trying to get rolling on a project like that, the sites that you find here may be a little TOO nice for your client.  Also, the site is designed to collect votes on the best design, not to provide inspiration; as a result, it can take a few clicks to actually get to the sites that are featured.

One Page Love

This is a very cool concept for a web design portfolio site; it only features single-scroll websites.  The sites on One Page Love tend to be excellent designs that are usable for your average local business, and it is easy to actually get to the sites.  It’s definitely a site that you should check out if you’re looking to get UX inspiration for a long-scroll page or single-scroll site.

Are there any sites that you can recommend?

What sites do you use to get the creative juices flowing?  Comment below and let us know!

How to Post New Products in WooCommerce

In this video, we’re going to teach you how to post a new product using WooCommerce.

The first thing that you want to go to do from the dashboard is you’re going to go down into products, and you’re going to come down where it says “add new.” Now from here, you just want to put your, obviously, the product name.
For example, I’m going to be pulling this one product off of Akiles. I’m not actually going to post it. Just as an example. Then you want to select the category, what page it will show up under. These are the tags right down here. So let’s just say this is going to go into coil binding systems. Now a tag, these are the categories that we’re doing from the home page. So let’s just do coil binding. And you’ll click add. Now you can select your product image. This is the image that will show up prominently on the website. So let’s just select this as an example. Then down here are the product galleries. So these are the additional pictures that you’ll be able to see, and you’re able to select multiple pictures, and you upload all of them.
Then as you come down, this is just going to be a simple product, so no variations for this one. Your regular price, you’re just going to put whatever it is that the MSRP is and then what you’re selling it for, if it has a sale price. If not, just put your regular price down. Then you’re going to want to come down and put your description in there. So let’s just copy and paste this. All right. And this looks just about good. Whenever you’re ready to post it, then you’re going to go ahead and click publish, and it’ll go live.

How to Tell When Someone Made a Purchase On Your WooCommerce Website

So, in this video I’m going to show you how to look at your dashboard. When you log in to the website the first thing that you’re going to see is your Woocommerce status. It’s going to show you net sales this month and orders and wait processing. There are two ways to access this. You can just go over and click on it and it’ll take you right to the things that you’ve bought. You’re then going to go … You’re going to see them listed here so we’re going to click on the order. You’re going to get all of your shipping information here. On the right hand side you’ll see there will be a record of things that have passed, anything that important. If we go back to the previous screen we will see things like pending payment means you shop abandonment, or shop and cart abandonment. It means I put something into my cart but I never actually checked out.
Processing again, you know, things that are going through processing and failed. These were the things that you tried to pay with a credit card and failed. So, this is going to be useful for you if we click on ‘all.’ You’re going to see everything that’s going on in a shopping cart. You’re going to see people that are buying and abandoning things. You’re going to see people that are trying to buy and abandoning things. You’re going to see people who bought things. You’re going to see things that you got a failed payment for. Pretty much play around with this, you’ll get to learn all the different controls that you can have for seeing what’s going on with purchases.

How to Edit Products That Have Been Listed In Woocommerce

This video is going to show you how to edit the product listings you have on your Woocommerce website.

So we’re going to pick this product. Actually, you know what, we’re going to go with one that has some variable things in here. Alright. So, we’re going to pick this product. I’m going to click “edit product” not “edit with [inaudible 00:00:21]”. And just going to explain some of the things over here. So, first thing for your product’s meta title tags and meta descriptions, the things that are going to show up on Google, this plugin right here will allow you to set them. So, type in whatever it is that you want. This bar should turn green so keep an eye on that. Don’t let it turn red. That means you’ve written too much. You need to dial it back then. As we get down here these are the things that you’re most likely going to be handling the most. So, first thing, for you to change this stuff right here, the short description, that is found all the way at the bottom of the page right here. It says “product short description”. You just type your changes and then hit “update”.
With the stuff that goes into this section right here, these attributes. The stuff that goes below the “add to cart” button. You’re going to go right here to “attributes”, pick whatever it is. Here we have size, color, and prices. So to handle the prices stuff this is where you’re going to make the changes. You’re going to type it. And then you have to click on “save attributes”. If you’re going to change anything that’s part of a drop down, for example, the size and color, I recommend that you leave that to us. It ties into the pricing and the checkout and you can break some stuff there. I would stay away from that. But if you want to change something that’s in this additional information or below here, that’s really not a big deal. Now, to add pictures and swap them out, you go right here “product gallery” or the pictures they’re going to show up below the main image and the product image is the main image. So you just click on it and then select the stuff that you want to use as your images.

How To Manage Users and Permissions of Your WordPress Site Using Woocommerce

How To Manage Users and Permissions of Your WordPress Site Using Woocommerce

This video’s gonna walk you through the process of handling your users and your customers, as well as the “permissions” for different users.

So when you log into the website at , you’re going to see this screen. So if you see things that come up, like there’s an update for, we can just X this out. Dismiss this stuff, so we don’t need to look at this right now. You’re gonna scroll down to where it says users and click on all users.

Now, users are going to be both customers and people that are “employees” on the website. If you want to erase somebody, you just click their name, X to them, go over, delete. If you want to do like in bulk, you can select a whole bunch of them. Click delete and then hit apply and it will get rid of all of them. If you wanted to change somebody’s role, you can then just again, click next to their name and change role to administrator, author. So basically, these go down in power of what you can do. Administrator, you can do everything. Editor, you can do everything to the website, but you can’t change people’s roles or add new users or anything like that. An author is able to write posts for your blog, which isn’t really gonna be … I’m sorry, is gonna be able to write and publish blog posts. A contributor can write posts, but isn’t actually able to post them. Subscribers are somebody that is able to get into the … to follow what’s going on here, and then from here on, shop manager really is only gonna have access to Woocommerce, which is going to be the next video.

Can a WordPress Theme Help Your SEO?

Can a WordPress Theme Help Your SEO?

Your WordPress Theme Cannot Help Your SEO, But It Could Hurt It

There is no WordPress theme that will give you an SEO boost, but picking the wrong theme could prove to be a slight hindrance to your efforts. A poorly coded theme could potentially result in a slower load time, which could have some undesirable effects:

  1. It can raise your “I clicked on your result and got tired of waiting for the page to load, so I went back to Google” score
  2. The algorithm could register it as a slow-loading website and decide to rank faster sites higher than yours, especially on mobile devices.

Even if you did pick the “wrong” theme, that doesn’t mean that you need to scrap it for a new one. Read on.

There Are Ways To Speed Up Your Site

Start off by seeing where you are as far as your page speed.  Google provides a tool called Pagespeed Insights that will:

  • tell you how fast (or slow) your site is
  • how to improve its speed

And best of all, it’s free.

WordPress Plugins to the Rescue

While you’re unlikely to ever get a poorly coded WordPress theme to rank particularly high on PageSpeed Insights, you can definitely get it to a respectable level.  Just for comparison, these are the results for bbc.com:

pagespeed insights for bbc.com

Follow the recommendations for possible optimizations and you’re on your way to a much faster loading website that is unlikely to lose (impatient) visitors.

The most common recommendations that we see are:

  • Optimize images

  • Leverage browser caching

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

  • Enable compression

  • Minify JavaScript

There are a number of free and paid plugins that can help you with all of these recommendations.  In the next section I’ll go over a few of them.

SHORTPIXEL

This is my go-to when it comes to image optimization.  It will optimize all of the images that you upload so that they are as small as they can be without losing quality.  I don’t build a WordPress site without it.

AUTOPTIMIZE

This is a popular plugin to accomplish the “minify” recommendations that everyone seems to get with PageSpeed Insights.

WP CACHE

WP Cache is a massively popular caching plugin.  There’s no way that you haven’t heard of it unless you’ve been living under a drupal rock for the last 5 years.

Ultimately, Pick The Theme That Will Help You Create Something Great

Even if your theme isn’t blazing fast out of the box, as long as it coded well enough to not weigh down your load time, your focus should be more on the quality of the site that you’re going to be able to build with it.

Can Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Impact a Site’s SEO?

Can Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Impact Your Site’s SEO?

The short, but incomplete answer is no, shopping cart abandonment will not lower your rank.  However, the complete answer is more along the lines of “it matters what they do after the shopping cart is abandoned.”

Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Will Not Lower Your Rank, But You Should Still Be Concerned

John Mueller has stated pretty explicitly that your cart abandonment rate will not affect your SEO.  Nonetheless, this does not mean that you are completely in the clear.  Aside from the fact that search engine rank is useless if people don’t buy anything from you, if they are returning to the search engine after visiting your site, it may negatively impact your rank.

DO YOU NEED HELP WITH IMPROVING YOUR SHOPPING CART ABANDONMENT RATE? CONTACT US NOW!

LET’S CONSIDER THIS SCENARIO

Mary wants to buy some widgets (she went to business school and can’t get enough of them now).  She searched for “best widgets on a budget” and found you at #2.  She clicked on your site, added one of your widgets to the cart, but then felt confused by your site’s checkout system.  Not wanting to fight to figure it out, she performed another search for “best budget widgets” and clicked on the #3 result, which is one of your competitors.

What message was sent to the search engine?  Mary clicked on your site looking for widgets, but had to go back a second time to look for them on another site, which indicates a less-than-ideal user experience.   If this happens to your site at a much higher rate than your competitors’ sites, you very well may be negatively impacted.

If You Have a High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate, SEO Is The Least Of Your Concerns

There’s obviously something wrong with your site.  While you don’t want to lose search rank, the bigger problem is that you are losing out on sales.  Figure out what is going on and take care of it ASAP.

 

Majestic vs. Moz For Linkbuilding – Which Is Better?

Majestic vs. Moz For Linkbuilding – Which Is Better?

In a nutshell:

  • Typically, Majestic indexes far more many backlinks  than Moz
  • Majestic tends to be a little less forgiving than Moz when it comes to rating the “spamminess” of those links, allowing you to better spot toxic links
  • Majestic includes topic categories, which is vital to backlinks building, while Moz does not.  If you have a basketball blog, backlinks from a home improvement website are not going to be particularly helpful.

1. Majestic indexes far more many backlinks  than Moz

Pretty much across the board, Majestic finds a lot more of a site’s backlinks than Moz.  Here is an example of the backlink profile of a prominent law firm in Philadelphia:

Majestic finds more backlinks than Moz

You’ll see that it has indexed around 40k backlinks.  Now let’s see how many Moz Open Site Explorer found for the same site:

Moz finds less backlinks

Moz found a fraction of the links pointing to this site (1,150).

CAN YOU RELY ON MOZ OPEN SITE EXPLORER FOR BACKLINK BUILDING?

This leads to a big question: can you rely on Moz to determine the quality of the backlink profile of a website if it only finds 1 in every 10 links going to it?  My opinion is that you cannot.

  • Will it tell you with any accuracy if a site has a huge spam backlink profile?  Maybe, maybe not.
  • Will it help you to find backlink sources?  Not if it misses 9 out of 10 of them.
  • Can you use it to guess where a site should be ranking?  Again, I can’t see how you can if it misses such a large number of backlinks.

2. Majestic is a lot less forgiving when it comes to spam

One of our client’s competitors has a backlink profile that is almost entire spam comments.  The site has roughtly 2 million links like this one, which we found on a blog about Mercedes Benz:

spam comments

This site should set off every alarm when its URL is placed into an SEO tool.  Let’s see what we see with Majestic:

Majestic rating of site with spam backlinks

It has a very low trust flow, and a 1 to 6 TF to CF ratio, which indicates a spammy backlink profile.  What does Moz find for the same site? (click here to learn about Majestic TF and CF)

Moz rating of site with spam backlinks

According to Moz, this is a fairly authoritative website, with a DA of 39 and a PA of 48.  The “spam score” is only a 2 of 17, despite the 2,000,000+ spam blog comments pointing to the site.  In this case, Moz really falls short.

3. Majestic includes topic categories and Moz does not

If you are building links, you want to get links from sites that are about the same topic as your website.  Majestic provides a “topical trust flow” metric, which lets you know what kind of websites are linking to a specific domain or URL.  This can help you to:

  • determine whether you want to reach out to a blog or not
  • tell if the blog seems to be spamming (if it has dozens and dozens of links from sites with unrelated topics, there’s a chance that the owner is spamming)

This can be vital when trying to keep a clean backlink profile.

Ultimately, Majestic provides more of the information that you need to perform backlink research, but it is still just one tool available.

As I’ve written in past posts, these tools are all like the blind men feeling the elephant.  Moz Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic, Spyfu, SEM Rush, and all of the other tools are measuring just a part of what is going on with a site.  None of these tools have the click data that SEOs hypothesize play a significant role in how RankBrain works, none of them factor the historical data of the website, and none are measuring things like page speed or user experience.  These tools are valuable when looking for opportunities to build links, to create content, or to try to break down a competitor’s online strategy.  They all fall short when it comes to the bottom line goal: why is a specific site ranking as well as it is?

How to Lower The Cost of Adwords From $584 to $45 Per Lead

How to Lower Your Adwords Cost Per Conversion From $584 to $45

We inherited a wildly unprofitable Adwords account from another agency.  The client was a regional real estate appraiser that chose his former agency because they claimed to specialize in marketing home appraisers online.  He reached out to us after receiving a recommendation from a attendee at one of our events and granted 12khz access to look under the hood at the account.

how to lower cost of adwords

Overall metrics from the previous agency’s campaign over roughly 100 days. $584 per lead.

 

overall numbers from when 12khz managed this ppc account

Metrics after 100 days of having 12khz manage it. Cost down to $45 per lead.

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN HAVING US DO THIS FOR YOU? CLICK HERE!

 

A Massively Mistaken PPC Strategy

I log into the account and as always, go straight for the cost per conversion.  In my view, the most important metric of a marketing campaign is its effect on cost per customer acquisition and its relationship to customer lifetime value.  An ad campaign that costs a client $10 to make an $11 sale is rarely going to profitable once fixed costs are factored in.  I ask the client to estimate how much profit is made on a new home appraisal, and learn that his $584 cost per client contact is nowhere near profitable.

Find Stuff to Cut Out

TIME OF DAY AND DAY OF WEEK

The first thing that I do is look at the time of day and days of the week that have seen the most conversions:

ppc conversions by time of day and day of week

Conversions by time of day and day of week (over lifetime of the previous campaign)

In most cases, I have found that PPC campaigns perform best during certain times of day and days of the week.  This being the case, it would only make sense to concentrate one’s ad spend during these high-performing times.  One look at the previous campaign and it becomes clear that it makes no sense to run the ads during the weekends, since not one conversion was tracked on a Saturday or Sunday over the lifetime of this account.

I also notice that there were no conversions outside the hours of 7am-7pm, and the highest converting times were between 11am and 2pm.  The previous campaign was running 24/7, despite the fact that no one was clicking on the ads and converting:

There were clicks all times of day

There were clicks all times of day; they just didn’t convert

We limited the ads from 8am-6pm, Monday through Friday.

WHAT WORDS SHOULD WE NOT BID ON

Often, I log into accounts that have no negative keywords, but that wasn’t the case with this account.  There was a healthy list of negative keywords, but there was one clear thing missing: negative keywords generated from search terms that triggered the ads.

A thoroughly managed Adwords campaign has its search terms monitored constantly.  From the nature of the list that I saw, the keywords were clearly a predetermined list that was simply added to the account:

premade negative keyword lists are not a panacea

Clearly, no account manager would add terms related to Utah for a campaign running in NJ; this was a premade list devoid of any NJ-specific keywords.

You need to look for search terms such as the following:

negative keywords from search terms

Real estate appraisers do not do mass advertising.  If a person is searching for an appraiser by name, he or she is likely already a customer of that appraiser or has already received a recommendation from a friend.  Bidding on branded keywords in this industry does not make sense in this case (this was confirmed by the 0% conversion rate for these search terms).  There were no such negative keywords in this account, so we added them (a lot of them).

This is how you do it.  Click on “keywords” on the left bar, then click on “search terms” across the top:

how to generate negative keywords from search terms

Find the search terms that you don’t want triggering your ads, and add them as negative keywords.  That’s it.

WHAT ADS OUTPERFORM THE REST

There are thousands of blogs out there that explain how to a/b test (or split test) your ads.  I have little to add to that conversation outside of “you have to do it because it really helps.”  I recommend that you start learning about it here.

Today, Our Real Estate Appraiser Has a Profitable Adwords Account

One does not have to be an expert in the real estate, legal services, or construction industry to make PPC work.  The important thing is to make decisions based on the numbers and common sense.  If a keyword, time of day, specific type of device, ad, or anything else that you can use to adjust your bidding doesn’t work, stop bidding.  Cutting out what doesn’t work is almost always the best approach for accounts that have limited budgets and it is likely the best approach for you.