Recently, I undertook the task of getting Google Analytics configured so that it would be able to track purchases on my online jewelry store ( www.chinafinds.com ) all the way through from my website, through Yahoo’s cart and checkout procedures, to eventual purchase confirmation, while preserving the records of any search engine keywords that might have led a particular customer to my store in the first place. For those not familar with the Yahoo store platform, the tricky part in the Google Analytics integration is the fact that when a customer places an item in their cart, they leave one domain (your website) and move to another (Yahoo’s cart and checkout system). Preserving any search keywords for Google Analytics in this move between domains is tricky. It is simple enough to put the correct Google Analytics tracking code on the pages of your website and on the pages of the Yahoo cart and checkout system, but without being able to pass the search keywords from the pages of your Yahoo store to the Yahoo checkout system, you will never be able to see which keywords resulted in sales and which did not. The keyword search information comes across in your Google Analytics reports, but all you are able to see is which keywords drew people to your site–not which ones resulted in sales. Well, after a considerable amount of beating my head against the wall, I finally got the keyword transition to work. The steps were as follows:
1. If you haven’t already done so, put Google Analytics code on your website and on the pages of your cart,shipping, billing and order confirmation pages (by editing the setup of those pages in your Yahoo store’s Checkout Manager). Excellent instructions for this process can be found here:
http://www.mystore-solutions.com/google-analytics.html (this is Yahoo store specific, but the code is a little out of date. The tracking code references a call to pageTracker._initData();, but if you check on Google Analytics help pages, you’ll see that pageTracker._initData(); is deprecated. Otherwise, the overview is great, and particularly helpful for Yahoo store Google Analytics implementations.)
Once you understand where you need to put the Google Analytics tracking code, and have a basic idea what it looks like, you need to make one more small modification: in the tracking code block before the call to pageTracker._trackPageview();, be sure to include several key lines:
Put it after the ‘action’ in your form:
Also, you need to make sure that the Google Analytics tracking code block on the page with the ‘add to cart’ form is on the page before the ‘add to cart’ form. Otherwise, when the pageTracker._linkByPost(this,true) line is called, it won’t know what linkByPost is.
The key thing to notice here is that there are two parameters to linkByPost–’this’, and ‘true’. Most directions you can find about putting Google Analytics code on your website only show linkByPost taking one parameter–’this’. However, if you look on the Google Analytics api help page ( http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/gaJSApi.html#_gat.GA_Tracker_._linkByPost ), you will see that linkByPost can take a second parameter: useHash, which is set to ‘true’ if you want to use ‘#’ as an anchortag separator rather than ‘?’. This is crucial for Yahoo Store users, as Yahoo doesn’t like parameters passed to it if the standard ‘?’ separator is used, but doesn’t mind if the ‘#’ separator is used. So, if you have your cart set to use onsubmit=”pageTracker._linkByPost(this,true);, and your Google Analytics tracking code on each page on your website, including the shopping cart and checkout pages modified via the Checkout Manager, is modified to include the line: pageTracker._setAllowAnchor(true);, then everything should work swimmingly. At least it does on my website (www.chinafinds.com)–let me know if it doesn’t work for you!
Cloisonne, a traditional Chinese craft in which a metal base is decorated by successive coats of colored enamel in a pattern delineated by copper wires which is then fired and polished to produce a beautiful end result, can be used to make absolutely lovely earrings. On a recent trip to Beijing, I purchased a quantity of high quality cloisonne beads and brought them to a jeweler friend of mine to be made into earrings. I decided to go with a simple and uncluttered design which would focus purely on the cloisonne beads themselves. I think the results were very lovely: let me know what you think!
Choosing good quality pearls can be tricky for the uninitiated. The basic areas to look at are size, luster (shininess), shape, surface appearance (the fewer flaws, the better), and whether the pearls match. One trick to check a number of these factors easily is to take the strand of pearls and gently roll it back and forth on a clean, dry surface. Many imperfections in shape and surface appearance can be discovered by using this method that would not be immediately obvious when just viewing the pearl strand alone. By rolling the pearls back and forth, you can see all sides of the pearls, which is very helpful in checking for flaws, seeing how truly round the pearls are, and evaluating the luster of the pearls.
Another helpful technique in pearl evaluation is to drape the strand of pearls over your wrist to see how the color of the pearl matches your skin tone. This is much more accurate than holding the strand of pearls up to your neck and it also allows you to see the pearls from a much closer distance.
I learned these techniques in a pearl class I took in Beijing, China and they have helped me immensely in my work as a pearl buyer. If you are interested in checking out my wares, my online store is www.chinafinds.com. Happy pearl shopping!
Chinese red coral is genuine coral that has been dyed in order to brighten the natural color of the coral or to give it greater color uniformity. It is real coral and it makes lovely jewelry. Some coral is naturally red, but such coral is rare and commands a much higher price. Dyed coral allows you to enjoy the beauty, texture and warmth of real coral without the hefty pricetag.
Cloisonne is an ancient Chinese decorative technique that has delighted people for centuries. It is used in jewelry, but it is also used to create various decorative objects such as plates, bowls, boxes and vases. To create a cloisonne item, wires are first placed on the item in the desired design and then the spaces in between are filled with successive layers of colored enamel. Finally, the item is fired and polished. The result is a uniquely beautiful artwork with an Asian flair.
Interested in cloisonne? Check out cloisonne bracelets on www.chinafinds.com
Cinnabar, also known as Chinese Lacquer, is a famous type of Chinese handicraft. Traditionally, cinnabar items were created by painting multiple layers of lacquer onto an item,letting the item dry between each coat, and then carving the resulting layers of lacquer into beautiful patterns. Cinnabar gets its name from the toxic red mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) that was once used to give the distinctive red color to the lacquer used in the process. Today, so-called cinnabar jewelry is formed from a dyed red resin that contains no harmful cinnabar. However, the look is largely the same.
Interested in cinnabar? Check out cinnabar bracelets on www.chinafinds.com.
Pearls are usually measured in millimeters (mm), and the measurement is of the diameter of the pearl. Because pearls are a natural product, sizes are not uniform, so a pearl necklace or bracelet is usually labeled as being within a certain range of millimeters, typically within 1 millimeter in size. The smallest freshwater pearls that you usually see for sale are 5 to 6 mm in diameter and the largest are 12 to 13 mm. At ChinaFinds, our related online jewelry store, we carry a variety of sizes, from smaller pearls at 6.5 – 7.5 mm to our larger, more substantial pearls in the 11 – 12 millimeter range. A nice, mid-level size are our popular 8.5 to 9.5 mm pearls.
Shapes are one of the areas where there is more room for variety. Roundness is always good, but other shapes of pearls are valued as well. Pearl shapes can be divided into three categories: spherical, symmetrical, and baroque.
- Spherical pearls can be either perfectly round or so-called ‘near-round’ pearls. Saltwater cultured pearls, as they are seeded with a round bead to begin with, are much more likely to be perfectly round than freshwater cultured pearls. Perfectly round freshwater pearls are very uncommon, but there are many ‘near-round’ freshwater cultured pearls. Near-round pearls may be slightly flattened or slightly elongated in shape.
- Symmetrical pearls include oval pearls, drop pearls and button pearls. Oval pearls, as their name suggests, are oval in shape and can be particularly stunning when used in a long rope of pearls. Drop pearls are best described as pear shaped or teardrop shaped and are frequently used in earrings. Button pearls are flattened and coin shaped and are also often used in earrings.
- Baroque pearls are pearls that have grown into asymmetrical, irregular shapes. They are usually the least expensive of all pearls, but some people find their unique shapes to have a charm all their own.
According to most sources, the classic pearl necklace lengths are:
- Choker: 14-16 inches long
- Princess: 16-18 inches long
- Matinee: 20-25 inches long
- Opera: 28-36 inches long
- Rope: 37 inches long or longer
At www.chinafinds.com, you can find variety of lengths to suit various occasions and outfits.
Freshwater pearls are grown inside freshwater mollusks and saltwater cultured pearls are grown inside saltwater mollusks. Both saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls are real pearls–they are just grown in different mediums. They are both termed ‘cultured’ pearls because they have a human hand in their development. A so-called ‘natural’ pearl is the result of a random irritant getting caught inside a mussel (in the case of freshwater pearls) or oyster shell (in the case of saltwater pearls) and the irritant getting coated with its nacre (the material that pearls are made from) in order to deal with the source of the irritation. Jewelry-grade natural pearls are extremely rare and exceedingly expensive–most people are unlikely to encounter them. Fortunately, the process of culturing pearls–both saltwater and freshwater–has brought real pearls to a much wider market.
Culturing pearls, both saltwater and freshwater, involves an irritant being deliberately introduced into mollusks so that pearls will (hopefully) form. Because the freshwater mussel can produce many more pearls in its lifetime than its saltwater cousin, the oyster, freshwater pearls are typically less expensive than saltwater ones. However, unlike saltwater pearls, freshwater pearls are composed of nacre (the ‘pearl’ material) all the way through, while saltwater pearls are composed of many layers of nacre covering the small round bead that was the original irritant that the saltwater pearl was formed around. For freshwater pearls, the irritant that is introduced into the mussel is a piece of mussel tissue and it gets absorbed back into the mussel during the pearl-growing process, leaving a pearl made of solid nacre in its wake.
Which are better–freshwater or saltwater pearls? Saltwater pearls are certainly more expensive, due to their greater scarcity, and because they are created by seeding oysters with small, round beads onto which to secrete nacre, they tend to be rounder than freshwater pearls. However, as they are not solid nacre throughout, as freshwater pearls are, their nacre may eventually wear off after a great many years. In my opinion, there are a lot of beautiful freshwater pearls on the market that are very reasonably priced and that provide an excellent alternative to their more expensive saltwater cousins.