One of the most important things you can do to improve the content of your Front Page, in addition to use of Web Analytics, is to ask yourself this question. “Does this page address the concerns and needs of my site visitor?” – Will your site visitor immediately feel a connection and want to keep reading your content – and then take the next step, which is to be interested enough in your site to stay and check out some more information – maybe even sign up for your ezine or special offer… Continue reading “Your Front Page – It’s Not About You…”
I just finished working on a web analytics project through the Analysis Exchange. It was a great experience and so I wanted to take this time to encourage other web analysts to consider donating the time and expertise as well.
First, after signing up with the exchange, I was matched with the Myelin Repair Foundation–the world’s largest research organization looking for the next generation of MS treatments. Coincidentally, I have two people in my life who both suffer from MS and was thrilled to be able to work with a group that is working so hard to help people like Sylvie and Derek. The foundation has a full-time employee working on the site’s web analytics, but they needed some extra guidance on working with the conversions. After initial consultations, we decided to focus on good alternatives to their existing system in order to track conversion to it’s conclusion. Continue reading “When a Mentor Becomes the Mentee”
If you’re new to web intelligence and struggling to gather data, how do you know if your efforts are really paying off? Well, there are these wonderful things called “benchmarks” and KPI, and this is where they come into play.
What is a KPI?
Not to be confused with SEO’s KEI (Keyword Effective Index), KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. As Avinash Kaushik would say, KPIs are measures that help you understand how you are performing against your objectives. They can help you define and evaluate whether you’re making adequate, successful progress towards your long-term goals.
- A good KPI used to measure performance should meet the following criteria:
- Instantly useful
You’ve spent $10,000 on your new web site design. 25 hours creating all the cool social media links for people to find you. Maybe you even bought 10,000 pay-per-clicks. But if you can’t figure out what’s happening to your traffic, all that earlier time and money is wasted. So what now?
First, it’s important to remember that the number that really matters is your bottom line. Then, turn to web analytics and look for the answers.
Continue reading “Web Analytics & Search: What’s Happening to My Traffic?”
“Website audit” – It sounds like something you wouldn’t want to happen to you, much like the IRS. However, a website audit–unlike the IRS knocking on your door–is definitely a good thing. Not only will it help you define a direction, but it can also help you discover any problems the current site is having.
When and why a website audit is valuable:
- Preparing to redesign your website
- Understanding your current website’s effectiveness
- Planning your strategic growth
- Uncovering hidden issues preventing you from accomplishing your goals
Chances are that six to twelve months ago you “gave in” and added a LinkedIn profile/Facebook page/Yelp entry. You thought it would be good for your business and everyone had been telling you that you “must do it.” At the time it felt a little like the middle school, “to be cool” group mentality, but Hey! What could it hurt? Maybe you kicked it around a little. Had some fun watching your fans go from two to twenty in a week. Some old college buddies even found your profile and connected to you.
And then the honeymoon was over. Now what? I have to wake up every morning with this page staring at me and wondering when I’m going to update it? Cripes, it’s not like real life isn’t keeping you busy enough—now there’s this albatross hanging around your neck. Maybe if you just ignore it . . .
This week I’m telling you to use it or lose it. Seriously. The first mistake you made was starting something that you did not entirely buy into. Don’t begin a social media campaign unless you are fully informed and willing to commit to it.
The second mistake was believing that all social media outlets are equal. They are not and, just like the Grail Knight said, you must “choose wisely.” My wife is in charge of her group’s Facebook page and updates it every few days, but she won’t touch Twitter. That’s not to say that they don’t have a presence there—it’s just that someone else in the group handles that outlet.
This leads to the third mistake: don’t take it all on yourself. If you’re busy with operations or cold calling or the financial reports, assign the social media campaigns to someone who finds it fun and is always thinking of the next post.
If this has convinced you that social media is not valuable to your business right now, then go remove your page. Allowing it to remain static and untouched for six months makes your company look stale and lazy. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile through two jobs and four volunteer positions, it is a clear sign that you don’t pay particular attention to detail.
However, if you’re ready to engage the public, attract customers, and receive attention, then USE IT. Here are five easy ways to get your social media groove back:
- Schedule your updates. Maybe it’s Monday morning or Friday afternoon. Whatever works for you, put a standing appointment in your calendar and do it weekly. There are many tools out there as well, like SocialOomph or HootSuite that allows you to schedule a several updates all at once and tell the program when to release/post them. I schedule my Twitter Chatter a month in advance and let WordPress do the rest.
- Offer coupons. We found our vet on Yelp when he offered a 15% new customer coupon on the site. After reading several outstanding reviews from other pet owners, we made an appointment and love our choice. Along these lines, consider offering your current loyal customers an incentive to write a positive review for you. If you Twitter, offer your followers a weekly special for those paying attention.
- Check back and follow up. Social media is about conversations. Gone are the days of static advertising AT the consumers. If someone makes a comment on your page, be sure to respond to it. A few months ago, we were looking for a good brunch restaurant and selected one from Yelp for a single reason: the owner responded to EVERY review—including the mediocre and negative ones! We thought that it showed an incredible commitment to his customers and that was enough to convince us.
- Blog. Go ahead—chat away. Talk about new products coming out, your latest conference, the recent industry article that has everyone buzzing. Share your opinions, expertise, and insights. Enable the comments section (see #3).
- Create contests. Be creative and engage the competitive spirit of your fans. Launch photo contests, video contests, tweet contests, and more! The 100th fan on Facebook wins a ____. Design our new logo and you will win _____. Not only will you get more brand awareness, but you’ll build a greater fan base and end up with new content.
Finally, be sure to measure your results. Did your website traffic increase during the campaign? Did you make new contacts? Was your ROI worth the time and effort spent? Don’t just throw spitballs on the wall and wait for one to stick—be thoughtful and precise in your efforts.
Get out there and Just Use It!
Last night my youngest son asked if we could put on a movie while we ate dinner—a rare treat for him. We let him pick the movie and he came back with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. I know what you’re thinking: that’s not even the good one! But as I watched the four masked herbivores surprise, tumble, and kick the bad guys, I remembered a recent talk by Avinash Kaushik at the Business Intelligence SIG: Web Analytics 2.0: Rethinking Decision Making in a “2.0” World. There he pointed out that the best web analysts are ninjas rather than squirrels.
Now trust me when I say that I know my squirrels. I live in a tree-heavy neighborhood where the pests run haphazardly across my fences, up my trees, and in my path. They are among the most pitiful rodents, running around and grabbing whatever is closest and then scampering back to their home to take a closer look. I’m convinced there’s a wife squirrel back in the nest saying, “I sent you out to get some food and you come back with this?!”
Squirrels are so skittish that they don’t take the time to look at what they’re actually picking up. They waste a lot of energy running around in broad daylight, coming within two feet of a jackpot, and then abandoning their quest if something larger comes along and grabs their attention.
Web analysts can’t afford to be squirrels. They can’t run up to the edge of a conversion discovery and then back down because the information is not immediately evident, it will cost the client too much money, it will uncover unpleasant truths, or any number of other excuses. A good analyst can’t just grab the first nugget and hold onto it as if that’s the only thing he’ll find.
The best web analysts are ninjas says Avinash. Maybe not large and green with sayings like “cowabunga,” but more like the covert agents of feudal Japan. True ninjas practiced the art of espionage, infiltration, and used covert methods to wage war. Web ninjas today are nimble and apply a variety of methods for making discoveries. They don’t need to run in and run out because they are hardly detected by the human (web) eye. The code could be staring the user directly in the face, but they still click away for your A-B test.
Web ninjas are tireless in their search for answers and will test their hypothesis with several approaches to deliver a fully accurate picture for the client. The best ones leave “calling cards” of sorts: bringing the client actionable insights that a company can use to improve their website, rankings, the user experience, or whatever serves as their personal bottom line.
All in all, these ninjas use what I call “web intelligence.” The growing field of web analysis—just coming into its own teenage years—is growing in its ability to drill down into the underbelly of a website and discover gold. Good intelligence combines web/customer/business data with statistics, surveys and testing to provide useful and immediate actions that anybody from the CEO to a squirrel catcher can use to improve their enterprise.
Don’t let shiny things catch your attention and distract you. Bring in the ninja to take care of the job. But ask him to leave the goofy eye mask at home.