The Importance of Website Analytics

The Importance of Website Analytics

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The importance of Website analytics tracking software cannot be overlooked. Website Analytics shows you the activity of your website visitors and measures their online behavior.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers you more insights on the performance of your website than just about any other tool available today. You can find anything from what screen resolution your customers have, what color space they’re using, to what ISP they are using and much more.

Graphs, charts and interactive map

You can get graphs, pie charts, and lists and that’s not all. You can also find an exciting interactive world map that shows you from which countries, states and cities your visitors are coming from, plus when and how they got there!

Search engine Statistics

You also get detailed search engine statistics, such as which keywords are being typed into the search box to get to your site. You also get to see which pages are getting most hits, how users are searching for your website and a lot more data!

Another great thing about Google Analytics is that it can show you how people are getting to your site (which search engines, what percentage of users are reaching your site through referrals, what or where they were referred from and also what percentage of your visitors were direct traffic and what they were typing in to become direct traffic).

The information you get from the referral data shows you which of your marketing campaigns are working and which ones aren’t doing so well. This abundance of information allows you to make easy and quick changes to your marketing strategies and track your progress on an almost daily basis.

Here are some actual visitor statistics from one of our websites, www.findnotarypublic.com:

Site Usage – the number of visits, page view and other statistics

Traffic Sources – where people are coming from

How to Extract the Most From your Link Building Strategy

How to Extract the most from your Link Building Strategy

Most people involved in SEO are familiar with primary link sources such as directories, press release websites, blogs, forums, article syndication websites, social networks and bookmarking portals. However, as part of your link building, consider the following alternative sources that can provide you with much-needed link juice so you can get the most from your link building strategy:

Customized 404 Pages
Just be sure that missing pages on your website are not impacting inbound link numbers. If someone links to your website and they get a 404 error, you may be missing out on potential incoming links. Be sure to address this problem. If you have your own custom 404 error pages, do a crawl test (available in Google Webmaster Tools) to identify broken links and put in place permanent 301 redirects to appropriate pages on your website. Oh, and do test the links individually after you implement the 301 redirects.

Testimonials
It may be worth contacting some website whose products & services you use and discuss the possibility of you providing them with a testimonial in order to get an inbound link from them. This may take a bit of work but the results are well worth it, especially if you can get a link from a highly ranked website.

Wiki’s
Apart from Wikipedia, there are a large number of other Wiki’s that cover a very large number of topics. Links from Wikis are beneficial and generally tend to be in-content external links that appear within the body of an article, or content. Search Engines assign a high value to such links despite the fact that some of them place “no follow” attributes. Some examples: Google’ sKnol and AboutUs.org.

Free Press Release Websites
SEO experts are familiar with PRWeb.com. However, there are several other free press release distribution websites that can provide you with high-value links. Some of them don’t allow the creation of anchor text links but these websites are indexed and do appear in search engine result pages. Some examples are 24-7PressRelease.com, PRlog.org and PR.com.

Social Network Profiles and Pages
A lot of social media websites allow you to create custom profiles using your name, or that of your business. Take advantage of this. Do remember that idle social media profiles can do more damage than good so be sure to do periodic updates. The frequency of the updates will depend on you business and on your service and/or product and industry.

.edu pages
Links from educational organizations are highly trusted by search engines. Although difficult to obtain, you can create a profile on your educational organization’s alumni section, or you can create a profile on a sorority, fraternity or educational related volunteer website that may be linked to your alma mater.

What have you done to get the most from your link building strategy?

Does My Business Need a Website in 2010?

Does My Business Need a Website in 2010?

Does my business need a website in 2010? One word: ABSOLUTELY!

The Internet trend watching site, eMarketer quoted an Ad-ology survey conducted earlier this month that reveals some rather alarming numbers: 46% of small and medium business owners did not have a website in 2009.  Another study conducted by VistaPrint found that only about 50% of small business owners that have a website are actually tracking their online marketing efforts! And the icing on the cake is a study from a Discover Small Business Watch Poll that corroborates Ad-ology’s survey results and goes on to state that a lot of small and medium business owners perceive the need for a website for their business as a “myth”.

This begs the question: As a small or medium business owner, what are you losing out on if you don’t have your own website?

The answer is very clear: Customers!

Come on folks! We are just about ready to start year 2010. People are no longer using the (actual) yellow pages or phone books to look for information. The three major search engines are serving up local search results even when a search does not include a local or geographical qualifier. The bottom line: Small and Medium businesses need web presence that they can directly influence and control.

There are many ways for you to establish web presence. Of course, you can go Yelp or use other social media websites such as Merchant Circle and get a “listing” but always remember, you don’t control any of these. You have zero say on how they will allow you to connect with customers. It is better than nothing… but sadly it is still not enough.

Your very own website gives you the ability to:

  • Provide information and details about your products and services to people all over the world
  • Set yourself apart from your competition, especially if they don’t have a website
  • Become visible to the growing population that rely solely on the internet for information
  • Harness the power of social media and social websites, the new word of mouth
  • Properly and effectively leverage local search results from search engines
  • Establish yourself as an authority with your customers and within your industry
  • Build credibility with your customers by sharing information about your company
  • Build and create your own community (social network)
  • Leverage email marketing by building an email list and using that to market to potential clients

Before you jump on a website, take the time to identify why you need a website and what you need in that website. Remember, not all small businesses have the same “web presence” goals. Whether you want to simply promote your idea, sell products and services or build an online community, give it serious thought and plan your web presence goals.

So, now that you’ve got your goals planned, how do you go about getting yourself a website?

Website Domain: We recommend that you start by picking your website’s domain (that would be in the form of yourbusiness.com). In most cases, the domain name you end up with will be similar to your company or business name. Make sure that you book/register the domain name and that you retain ownership of the domain. We have come across situations where a website designer or development company booked a domain on behalf of a client and then refused to relinquish control of the domain name when the relationship changed.

Design & Development: Hire a professional company to design and develop your website. Don’t skip this step. We can tell you countless horror stories where people did not hire the right professional. If you want a proper image, look and feel, go to an expert.  The bottom line is that your website needs to look professional. The exact type of website you end up with will depend on several factors: your brand, your industry, your products or services and your business model.

Website Content: Content is KING on the web. Content is what your potential visitors are after. Content will give you a boost in your SEO (Website Search Engine Optimization) efforts. You do not need a website with lots of pages of content – the aim here is to provide potential clients with the right information about your business and what you are all about. We recommend that you have, at minimum, a 5-6 page website: Home Page, About, Contact, Products, Services and Testimonials and maybe even a Portfolio or Projects Page. The Contact page is essential so that you can leverage local business listings on search engines.

Website Hosting: Unless you already have website hosting in place, we recommend that you stick with your website design company (of course, they should offer website hosting as part of their services) even if you end up paying a little extra for website hosting. Whilst there are many affordable website hosting choices, it is best to stick with your design company because chances are that they know their hosting platforms best. An added benefit of getting hosting through your website design company is having a single contact, avoiding confusion about who’s responsibility it is if your website has an issue. Oh, and be sure that you get enough email addresses to cover your needs. Your email address should be you@yourbusiness.com.

Local Search Engine Listings: Make sure you grab your local listings on Google, Yahoo, Bing , Best-of-the-Web and any other third party websites. Go to www.getlisted.org to see if you are listed, and how complete your local listing is.

Internet Marketing: Again, hire a professional Internet marketing company that can assist you to prepare and complete an Internet Marketing Strategy that will include a Social Media plan, an Internet Marketing plan, Search Engine Optimization and Paid Advertising recommendations. The world of Internet Marketing can be daunting and it is best to have professional guidance so that you get the best return on investment (ROI).

On a final note, small and medium business owners are increasingly using the Internet as a marketing channel – this fact is upheld by the 36% increase of SMB owners who have created websites over the past 2 years. This number, no doubt, will increase in 2010 and beyond. Search Engines are putting more and more emphasis on local business listings which in turn makes your website an integral component of your business and marketing.

In short, get a website if you don’t have one!

What are your thoughts?

9 Reasons you Should You Blog to Improve Website Rank!

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Being able to drive traffic to a website, generate sales, create advertising income and also act as an efficient customer service tool, a blog is fast becoming part of the marketing strategy for most companies worldwide.

Here are the top 9 reasons why you should blog to improve website rank:

1. You become known as an expert in your field
Use a blog to easily share your knowledge and expertise on a specific niche area is a great advantage to a business. A Blog gives you a place where you can write in your own voice and establish yourself as a trusted expert.

2. Blogs get you more traffic from search engines
Search engines love blogs and blog directories because of their built-in notification features and also because bloggers continually add fresh content to their blogs. Blogs also get traffic from highly popular social networking search engines like Technocrati, DIGG and Reddit.

3. Podcasts – easily shared
Podcasting refers to a very low cost medium that enables you to share tailored and targeted content with your audience. Another benefit is given by RSS technology that enables your audience to subscribe to your website podcasts and blogs and pull content they I want from you. Podcasts can also be easily downloaded.

4. Interactive FAQ section
Your blog can also have an interactive FAQ section where customers can ask questions and you can interactively answer them. You’d probably have to store the questions and maintain a customer database. If you were to read the benefits of CRM, you’d know how much this tech can expediate the process. How great would it be to get your questions answered right away!

5. Blogs are free
You can set up a blog in minutes for free using wordpress.com or blogger.com.

6. You can update your blog without a webmaster
Updating your blog with fresh content is easy to do: you won’t need a webmaster to do that for you. You can work at your own pace and you don’t have to spend extra money.  If you post valuable information on a regular basis, it will boost your credibility and establish you as an expert in your field.

7. Start a series of How-To articles
You can put up articles and explain various concerns in your industry. This will save your readers time spent looking it up and give proof that your company knows what they’re doing, creating a greater chance for sales.

8. Easily connect with your visitors
Your blog can be a great means of communication between your customers who want to share their comments, feedback, ideas and concerns with you.

9. Blog content density is better than your website’s
As mentioned earlier, search engines give blogs a higher rank and active blogs are indexed on a more regular basis than websites because of continuously available new content.

Have you experienced an improvement in rank since you started blogging?

Creative Newsletter Marketing

Creative Newsletter Marketing

Many businesses think that once they have built their opt-in lists, all they have to do is wait for customers to literally break their doors down for their product or service. Well, that’s not quite the case. In order to really acquire loyal customers, you need to communicate with them on a constant basis and offer them something of value.

Remember the old adage, what’s in it for me?

As long as you have your customers best interest in mind, you can win your their loyalty for your business.

Here’s how you can leverage creative newsletter marketing:

1. Offer valuable, rich content.
Don’t just throw subscribers a couple of bones, but give them solid information that they can actually use that would want them to read next month’s issue.

2. Create a theme and a name.
Create a newsletter that is meaningful and positions your company as a trusted source of information. Instead of cluttering your newsletter with everything you’ve done the past few month, choose a theme and a name that frames your information and grabs attention.

3. Keep it simple.
Keep your newsletter brief, but offer solid, valuable content. If you make it too long or stuffed with too much information, chances are that clients won’t read it all. Go for a readable length of around 1 to 3 pages, including a response area.  You can even use a dedicated blog to house your newsletters.

4. Call to action.
Always place a call to action, be it a request for more details, the option to place an order, a survey, etc. If you ask something from your clients, they are more likely to respond. This works in most industries as long as you offer a product or service that your customers would want.

5. Be Viral.
Use e-mail forwarding. Encourage your customers to share your newsletter with others who may be interested in what you’re offering. Make it easy for new visitors to subscribe through a link in each issue of your newsletter

There are many services that offer email & newsletter marketing services. One of our favorites is MailChimp. And the next favorite is MyEmma.