Archive for June, 2009

Don’t Let Web Analytics Intimidate Your Small Business

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

In a time of tightened budgeting and online, knowing all about your web visitors is more important than ever. Many hosting platforms offer website traffic statistics but tracking your conversions is usually not something that is offered by these applications. While there are many great statistic software applications available for purchase, I often recommend Google Analytics to many small businesses for several reasons. Google Analytics can be implemented fairly easily in to your website, by placing a chunk of code on every page of the site. After the site is confirmed, you will be able to access your site visitor information, down to the city of the visitor. The best part? Google Analytics is free.

There is a learning curve to the program and information overload can happen if you don’t know where to focus your attention. If you want to start with a general overview of what is happening on your website, I would recommend monitoring a few specific categories.

1. Unique Visitors: I often hear businesses discussing “hits” on their websites and using that for a gauge on how they website is performing. This number can highly overestimate the popularity of your website. A hit is registered whenever one of the many files on your website is loaded. For example, a single page in your site might have 10 images, as well as 2 script files within it’s code. This page could register 12 or more hits from one single visit to theĀ  web page. For that reason, I monitor unique visitors. This number will provide a more accurate way of monitoring the number of people who come to your site, excluding multiple visits from the same computer.

2. Referring Sources – Having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing during my career, I consider the referral data on your statistics to be very important. The referring sources will be able to tell you who is sending you traffic. This can be very valuable if you are spending company time exposing your business to the social networking marketing mediums, or more importantly, paying for display and paid search marketing.

3. Conversion – This is the most important statistic that you are going to monitor, hands down. You can drive all of the traffic in the world to your site, but if they are not turning in to a customer, then you have some work to do. Google Analytics allows you to place some code on your site at what you consider to be the point of conversion. For most businesses, this is the order confirmation page, which thanks them for placing their order. However a business’s goal may be to drive an online information request lead or to drive a phone call. In these cases, placing the code on the contact form confirmation or on the contact page itself can give you an idea of the interest in your particular conversion. Either way, if you are getting the traffic without conversions, it is time to dig deeper in to your site to find out what is happening. In these cases, bounce rates and average time spent on the site by a visitor can get you pointed in the right direction.

For more information on conversion tracking on your website, contact Angie Commorato at blog@commorato.com. Angie is an Indianapolis based web consultant and owner of the online marketing company, a&g Digital Consulting, LLC.

Today Marks the Official ‘Take Your Dog to Work’ Day

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I used to joke that when I had my own business, I was going to allow my employees to bring their dog to work with them. My dogs have always made me smile when I have had a bad day and I have never really minded the slobbery mouth, laying on my lap while I am typing. Today marks the official ‘Take Your Dog to Work’ Day and many businesses will be expanding their workforce to allow employees’ furry friends in the office. According to TakeYourDog.com, “Take Your Dog To Work Day was created by Pet Sitters International to celebrate the great companions dogs make. This annual event encourages employers to experience the value of pets in the workplace, even if just for one day!”

The goal of this event is to not only celebrate your dog, but to also build awareness for local animals shelters and rescues. Visit www.TakeYourDog.com for more information on how to take part in this event. While my four dogs join me at the office every day, lets use today to celebrate our four-legged best friends.

Hugo, Bailey, Domino and Mia

Hugo, Bailey, Domino and Mia

Hugo trying to sit on my lap as I type.

Hugo trying to sit on my lap as I type.

Too Tired to Think? Let Hunch.com Decide.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I am always on the lookout for new concept websites. Today marked the release of a new website called Hunch.com. When I visited the site, I was presented with a series of twenty questions with everything from “Do you sing in the shower?” to “Which french fries do you prefer to munch?”.Once my answers were given, I was released in to the website. You can choose a variety of topics and after answering a few more questions pertaining to that topic, you are presented with their suggestion based on your personality.

Hunch.com was created by Caterina Fake,who was also co-founder of the photo-sharing community Flickr. She says she created Hunch not because people need help with emotional decisions but because it’s too tough to find smart information online. I wanted to test it out, so after their server had stabilized, the first topic I chose was “What funny video should I watch?”. A few questions later, I was watching a cat fight a copy machine on Youtube.com, complete with sound effects. I found the clip pretty funny and proceeded to watch a few other suggested clips, that were entertaining as well. It turns out that I should also be leaning towards designer Marc Jacobs’ clothes, adding an adopted Saint Bernard to our brood and choosing a Chevrolet Corvette for my next car. Whereas all of the choices didn’t necessarily fit my tastes, it was on cue more often than not and was an entertaining website.

Indianapolis Online Marketing Blogs

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I have recently launched a few online marketing blogs, one of which went live earlier today. www.IndianapolisImport.com was created to drive business to my husband at the Infiniti dealership where he works. He is going to be using the site to increase the search engine traffic to their store’s website, as well as drive online leads to his email. My online marketing plan for this website is going to be using a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, email marketing and online video to drive Infiniti business to the dealership. We will be adding new posts to the website a few times a week, using search engine optimization to target some of the top Infiniti keywords. I will post some results once the site starts appearing in Google and Yahoo.

IndyCarBuyer.com is another site that was originally created to drive traffic in to a Chevrolet dealership in Indianapolis. The blog was indexed very well in both Google and Yahoo and the traffic was continuing to build every day. At the time of this post, the blog was appearing #1 in Yahoo for the search term ‘Indianapolis Chevrolet’. Recently, the site has been converted to a website to post news and specials for a variety of car manufacturers, not just GM. As the site gets re-indexed, I will be monitoring the progress in the search engines, but I expect some good results.

I am also getting ready to start a new blog for a move management company in Indianapolis, called Relocation Strategies. Recently nationally WBE certified business owner, Melissa Brown, will be using the blog to drive business to their website through case study updates and general news and information pertinent to her client base. I will be working with her business to optimize their posts and get their website ranked in the top of the search engines. Look for that blog to be posted to www.Relostrategies.com in late June.

Blogs can be a great way to drive organic search engine traffic to your website. For more information on how you can start blogging, contact me at blog@commorato.com.

Demographic Information for Social Networking & Viral Sites

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I just finished ready a great article that breaks down the demographic information for some of the most popular social networking and viral marketing websites.

The data below was collected by Quantcast.com.

Est. US Male/Female Over W/ Kids HH Income
Montly Visits Ratio 18 Yrs 0-17 $60K +
Facebook 87.4M 54% Female 71% 48% 59%
MySpace 64.3M 57% Female 69% 56% 51%
Twitter 23.0M 55% Female 97% 39% 50%
YouTube 81.6M 50% Female 78% 43% 54%

From an online marketing prospective, the monthly traffic to these websites is staggering. YouTube.com brings in about 81.6M US visitors a month, making this a must for any businesses who are utilizing online video. YouTube is also a great way to distribute viral marketing campaigns.Facebook and MySpace are great places to promote your business and let everyone in on your local events and promotions. Facebook members who have had a pleasant experience with your businesses or have heard good things about you will gladly “become a fan” of your business, opening up a whole new level of exposure to their network connections.

In the recent month, I have had many Indianapolis based businesses who are leary of testing marketing efforts in these mediums, for fear that the sites are “for kids”. This is clearly not the case. Sure, these websites are a daily staple for teenagers and young adults, the data above clearly represents a wider age range of visitors. I think that most businesses can include social networking in to their online marketing plan, but with any types of online advertising, it is important to have the proper tracking mechanisms in place. Try some targeted advertising, tailored to the demographic of the website’s audience. Use promo codes and discount codes to help track your sales from that particular medium and like always, watch your online statistics for traffic and conversion data.