Selasa, 17 Februari 2009

How to Use Web Analytics to Grow Your Business

. Selasa, 17 Februari 2009
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By Mike Tekula (c) 2009

If you own a business, chances are you do. But don't pat yourself on the back too quickly.

By now it's widely-accepted that if you have a business card you should probably have a website. It doesn't matter what your company is selling - a website, however modest, has become a standard.

The real question is: what is your website doing for your business?

Win Google Over to Your Side!

As a web marketer I often put this question to the business owners I meet. Not because I'm trying to lead into my sales pitch, but because I'm intrigued to hear the answer.


Most people get a certain "deer in the headlights" look in their eyes when I ask this question. To be fair, it's not a question we're used to hearing. But that's not all that's going on here.

Traditional advertising mediums - print, TV, radio, etc - are notoriously difficult to track. Sure, you'll know how often the phone is ringing or how many people come in with a coupon clipped from the Sunday paper, but what you don't know is how many people saw/heard your ad and whether they were interested, oblivious or, worse, annoyed.

Business owners are used to this. We all know we need to advertise - it's a necessary cost of doing business - so we buy that half-page ad in the Yellow Pages or the local newspaper, we sponsor an event or a little league team, we have a radio commercial written (maybe even with a jingle) and we hope for the best.

This has been a given in marketing since the beginning. But the web, and analytics, changed the game.

So how should you be using your web analytics to grow your audience, and your business, online?

Easily Live Stream Video on Your Website!

Track Everything

With web analytics on your site you can track:

  • Where your traffic is coming from by
    - The referring website and page
    - The search engine and keyword used

  • Your website visitors by
    - Their location
    - Their operating system, browser and monitor resolution
    - Their network

  • Visitor behavior and actions by
    - Duration of visit (time on site)
    - Pages per visit (number of pages viewed)
    - Bounce rate (percentage of users who viewed only one page before leaving)
    - Conversion rate (percentage of users who completed a preset task)

If you're planning on doing any kind of web marketing, be it through search engines, email or advertising on other websites, information on your past and current traffic is crucial. Not to mention you'll want analytics in place so you can properly track the new traffic your promotions will, hopefully, bring in.

Tie Your Traffic Sources to Your Users' Actions

When looking at your analytics data the behavior and action metrics mean little by themselves. If the bounce rate of your site overall is 75%, what does that tell you? Well, this is a pretty high bounce rate - you should at least be shooting to have a bounce rate lower than 50%. But does this tell you exactly what is wrong?

Likewise, if you have secured advertising or a listing on another website, the number of visits coming in from that site only gives you part of the picture.

Tying your bounce rate to a specific traffic source, on the other hand, can tell you a lot.

Get Top 10 Rankings on Google!

If a given traffic source is generating a bounce rate of 85% or more, for example, this indicates that users are not being satisfied. There are a few possibilities as to why:

  • The users may not be well-qualified - or the site where you are listed or advertising might not have the best audience for your content/offer.

  • The listing/ad may promise something that the entry page does not live up to (or, at least, the promise is difficult to locate once the user arrives at your site).

  • Your site is simply not usable, is unattractive or unprofessional, causing users to leave immediately (and most don't come back)

  • Your users are not connecting with your content/offer.

There are other possibilities, but you'll want to find the most likely answer here - and try to fix it. Then, using the same metrics (traffic source + bounce rate), you can see whether things improve moving forward.

Using metrics like these you can also get a sense of which advertisements are bringing you a return on your investment and which aren't. With goal tracking in Google Analytics, for example, a conversion rate is added to just about every traffic metric, including referring websites. If you're finding that a website is sending you plenty of traffic but none of it is converting, re-examine the referring website's audience, how your site is being presented and the user's experience when they click through.

The Point

Your website is more than a brochure. It's an interactive tool for your users. The only true way to find out how they're using it (or not using it) is to get web analytics set up properly on your website (including setting goal points to track conversions).

And the best way to improve your website in the aim of building your business is to use the information your web analytics give you.

The age of blind advertising - of throwing money at the problem and hoping for the best - is dead.

If you aren't tracking everything, taking time on a regular basis to understand what the data reveals about your users and adjusting your efforts based on this information, you're missing an opportunity to optimize your advertising and get a better return on your budget.

In this economy, is that something you can afford?


About The Author
Mike Tekula is the President of Unstuck Digital - a Long Island, NY web marketing company that offers proven solutions and training for growing your business online.


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The Best Online Marketing Strategy

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Tips for Starting a New Online Business

One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses online and offline make is that they do not have a plan for success. Even though it is an online business, you should still have a business plan and you should have a search marketing strategy and know that you are targeting a large enough market. You should do searches online on Google, and Yahoo, and MSN, and see which of your competitors come up for that search term.

You should also do some market research analysis so that you know which search terms people are searching for the most. Some search terms might only produce a couple, 10 or 20 searches a day, and other search terms might have several thousand a day. You will need a big enough market to target because you will be sharing that market with your competitors.



What it all comes down to in the end is that you have about 10 or 20 competitors on the front page of Google, Yahoo and MSN. You need to do the following well, to compete with these competitors.

1. Your website needs to have a better presentation than your competitors. This means a more engaging demonstration of the products and services you sell.

2. You need to come up as high as possible in the search engines either through search engine marketing or paid sponsored ads also known as pay-per-click.

3. Optimize your website so that search engines can find you organically. This is also known as search engine optimization.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make

1. They start targeting and promoting keywords before they know the value of the keywords they are promoting.

2. When using pay-per-click advertising, they direct everyone to the front page of their website. As much as possible, direct your ads to a detailed web page which matches up to your prospective customers search term.


Tips for a Successful Online Advertising Campaign

1. Have a customized landing page, which takes the prospective customer to the exact product, or service page for which they are searching.

2. To have a cost effective online marketing strategy there needs to be enough people searching for your product or service.

For example, if someone is searching for a particular type of guitar, your ad should feature that particular type of guitar. The more specific you are and the less searching the perspective customer has to do once they get to your web page, the more likely they are to contact you, buy your product, or take the action you want them to take.

You will need to research which search terms or keywords are searched on more frequently than other search terms so that you can make sure that you have the largest audience possible. You can do this using Google's keyword tool. Doing just this small amount of market research can make the difference between success or failure of your online business venture.

For example, if you're selling Widget A and there's only ten people a day in your area searching for Widget A, you are not going to be very successful. If however, there are 100,000 people a day searching for a Widget A and you only have two competitors who also sell Widget A, then there is room for you in that market.

Google's Keyword Tool and How to Use it

The first place to start with researching your keywords is the Google keyword tool, found here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Below are some useful features of Google's keyword tool:

1. You can enter various phrases describing your businesses products or services into the search box. The tool will give you results on different phrases and synonyms matching your description. It will also tell you which search terms produce the largest amount of traffic on a monthly basis.

2. If you are targeting the entire United States then the monthly traffic column per keyword is very accurate. If you are targeting a particular state within the United States then you would need to divide that number by the percentage of population in that state.

3. Google's keyword tool also has a column that indicates the average cost per click for each search term. This can be helpful for forecasting how much to price your product or service. For example, if you are selling something for $10.00 and it costs you $10.00 to get enough people to your website before anyone buys your product then you need to rethink your pricing model. If however, your product sells for $20.00 and it only costs you $5.00 in advertising before someone buys your product, then you have a cost effective marketing campaign.


Other Search Engine Marketing Strategies

In addition to pay-per-click, you can pursue search engine marketing techniques such as:

1. Article Marketing

2. Directory Marketing

3. Community Forum Marketing

4. Channel Partner Marketing

The goal of all of these marketing techniques is to get a higher search engine ranking for the search terms you are targeting. All of the methods above include backlinks to your website. Backlinks to your website is the number one criteria used by search engines to rank your website.

Online Market Penetration

After you have done your market research, the next thing you will want to do is to determine if it is a growing market.

One of the ways you can discover if you are in a growing market is by using Google Trends. When using Google Trends, enter a search term which describes your business or industry into the search box and view the trend line in the results. If the trend line is moving up then you are in a growing market. If the trend line is moving down, then you are in a declining market. This will give you a good indication if it would be worthwhile for you to launch your business.

Another way to tell if there is room for you in a particular market is to look at your online competitors. Often times if their websites have not been updated in a while, it can indicate they are doing a good business. Also, if you have to scroll down to the second or third page of the search results before you find a decent looking web page, that can indicate a large market.

If you want a successful online business, follow these steps:

Do the market research, do a competitive analysis and research the market trends for your industry, then you will be successful in your new online business.


About the Author: Kevin Kielty writes for Internet Marketing Advantage in Raleigh, NC. Online marketing, and web design are his areas of expertise. Internet Marketing Advantage specializes in bringing together web design, and Raleigh Online Advertising.


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Senin, 16 Februari 2009

Make Money From Your Content Site

. Senin, 16 Februari 2009
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By Derek Vaughan

If you're a Webmaster whose site receives even a modest amount of traffic, you've no doubt dreamed of the untold riches that lie untapped in your traffic stream. The burning question is: "How can I make the most money possible from my Website traffic?" This article will help you answer that question, as we explore several of the most common and profitable methods that are currently being employed to convert page views into dollars:

*Traditional banner advertising
*Pay-per-click (contextual) banner advertising
*Subscription revenue
*Affiliate and CPA programs
*Text links


We'll finish up with a review of the finer points of online selling.
Traditional Banner Advertising
One of the earliest and most prevalent forms of monetizing site traffic is the ubiquitous online banner. Originally most popular in the 468x60 pixel version, banners are now available in many different sizes and shapes. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau now lists 16 standard ad units in its guidelines. It's not hard to find a site that uses banners: CNN displays a 728x90 banner at the top of the page, eBay uses a 468x60 banner spot at top of listings pages, and AOL displays banners of various sizes throughout the site.
Business Model and Mechanics
The basic business model of the banner is simple: the Website vendor sells page views (impressions) to the advertiser. There are 2 basic banner ad payment models: paying as you go for every thousand impressions delivered, and a flat fee that's charged regardless of the number of visitors who actually see the ad.
Under the pay-as-you-go model, the most common metric is cost-per-thousand (impressions), also known as CPM. Prices will vary depending on targeting, volume, term of commitment, and market forces. Typical CPMs for less targeted inventory can range from $0.25 to $5.00 per thousand impressions. Therefore, a media buyer who wishes to purchase 100,000 impressions at a $5 CPM will sign a contract for $5,000. Targeted impressions are worth much more to an advertiser. If your site attracts car enthusiasts who are an attractive demographic for a local or national car dealership, you can expect to command 10 times the rate of untargeted ad inventory. Typical CPMs for targeted inventory run between $10 to over $100 per thousand impressions.

It's also common for a site to charge a media buyer a flat fee for an advertising spot. Depending on the placement and traffic, the fees can be quite high. For instance, a fixed placement on the home page, in a prominent spot, with a 100% share of voice on a targeted site is quite desirable.
The advantage of running banner advertising on your site is that you may be able to get paid purely on the basis of page views, thereby monetizing all your available inventory. The drawback may be that not everyone is willing to pay simply to be seen: often, advertisers demand a response to the advertising. Media buyers may be looking for a per-click type of payment arrangement.
The main disadvantage of running banners on your site is probably the adoption of maintenance responsibilities for someone else's creative units, and the responsibility for a banner's performance even if the banner is poorly designed, or the advertiser's Website doesn't convert well.
To make real money from banner ads, it's essential that you have a clear idea of how many unique visitors visit your site, and how many page views they generate -- data that any decent Web analytics program will show. You then have a basis on which you can establish realistic expectations of how much money you might earn.
Next, decide where on your site you're going to display advertising banners. I would suggest testing ads both at the top and bottom of your pages -- this is a proven model that has worked well for large publishers. Once you've decided on ad placements, you should set up an ad server to display the banners, and keep track of pages views and click throughs. I would also suggest developing several banners that 'sell' the ad space, which can run when you have excess inventory. The banner might say something like, "See Your Ad Here -- Contact Us to Advertise," and link to your advertising rates page.
Once your ad server is set up, sell! This is a hurdle for many; we'll address it later in this article.
Pay-Per-Click (Contextual) Banner Advertising
With the emergence of Google's AdWords and AdSense programs, the business of pay-per-click banners has exploded. This type of ad unit offers the tantalizing combination of ease-of-use and payouts for each and every click, regardless of whether that visitor converts to sale or not. It's no wonder this unit is so popular with the likes of Slashdot, which shows PPC marketplace links on the right-hand side of the site's main categories and posts, and Go.com, which uses Yahoo! Search Sponsored Results to power its search function. And these are just two among many, many other sites.
Business Model and Mechanics
As the name implies, pay-per-click banners are ad units that pay out each time they're clicked (with obvious fraud prevention engaged to prevent self-enrichment). These ads are sometimes called 'contextual' advertising, as the ad suppliers will often regulate where specific ads are placed, to ensure that they're relevant to the Web page on which they're viewed, and the audience that sees them.
The bounty paid out on each click is usually determined by the value of that click as set by the advertiser. This is a nice way of saying that you really don't know what you're going to earn from any given click until you check the back-end reporting.
Don't neglect checking out alternatives to Google's AdSense program. While Google is large and established, many smaller services actually share more of the advertising revenue with you. For example, bidvertiser.com is one alternative that pays out at a much lower threshold ($10) than Google. Also, if you specialize in Webmaster or Web hosting-related traffic, a new service at Webmaster911 offers much higher revenue sharing than Google currently offers.
Subscription Revenue
Any site that has recurring or frequently refreshed content may be a good candidate for a subscription revenue model. News sites fall into this category, with the Wall Street Journal and CNN offering some form of subscription service for their online content.
Business Model and Mechanics
Subscription-based services migrated from the offline world to the online world. The most common forms of subscriptions were originally used for newspapers or magazines. The end-user of the news or information service typically pays a weekly or monthly recurring service fee (subscription fee) to have full access to the publisher's content. The practical implementation of this model online may work as follows.
A publisher offers additional coverage, or premium content that is only available to subscribers. Under this model, the content is usually in a special password-protected area of the site. A new subscriber may gain access to the content by filling out an online form including (usually) credit card information for billing purposes. Once the credit card transaction has been authorized, the subscriber is emailed a unique and secure password permitting access to the subscription-only content. Typical subscription fees are in the range of $10 per month. For example, CNN charges $12.99 per month for its 'NewsPass,' which permits access to premium streaming video content on the site. The Wall Street Journal currently charges $6.95 per month for access to online content for those not already subscribed to the print edition.
A hybrid of the pure subscription model is simply to charge an increasing fee as access to higher level services increases. This model is common in online forums, where additional charges are levied to access certain forums, or users' signature lines are expanded at higher fee levels.
Affiliate and CPA Programs
Affiliate programs have existed from the infancy of the Internet. Amazon.com was an early adopter, and was able to convince many Webmasters to offer relevant books for sale on the site in exchange for a share of the profits -- today, Amazon has an extensive affiliate program. Affiliate programs have matured considerably since then, and there are now many more options for making money from your site traffic.
Basic Business Model
Affiliate programs essentially work like this: the Website owner (affiliate) offers the merchant's goods for sale on the affiliate Website. When a visitor clicks through the affiliate link, an identification code is associated with the visit (usually via a cookie) and in the event that the visitor takes the appropriate action (visit, conversion to a lead, conversion to a sale) then the affiliate is paid by the merchant. The merchant or affiliate network will also usually provide tools for the affiliate to monitor various metrics, such as the number of visitors sent to a merchant site, the number of clicks or sales generated, and the earnings accumulated.
Affiliate relationships may be established either with each merchant directly, or through an established third-party affiliate network. The two most popular third party affiliate networks are Linkshare and Commission Junction.
Linkshare boasts that it has created the largest network of affiliate partners of any program provider -- over 10 million partnerships -- in addition to becoming the first affiliate network provider to achieve sustained profitability. Linkshare also lays claim to being a pioneer in online affiliate marketing. The Linkshare network is touted by the company as the largest pay for performance affiliate marketing network on the Internet.
Heidi Messer, President and COO of LinkShare Corporation sums up the service this way:
If you are looking to partner with the Internet's top brands, then LinkShare is the affiliate network to join. Find programs for Fortune 500 and other leading companies such as American Express, Avon, Dell, Office Depot, Apple Store, 1-800-Flowers, and more - only at LinkShare. We don't use cookies to track, so you don't have to worry about blocked or disabled cookies. And with our proprietary SynergyAnalytics application, LinkShare affiliates have a wealth of information and reports not available anywhere else to help them optimize their relationships. We're the leaders in the industry, and will continue to pave the way in both service and technology to foster profitable relationships online.
Text Links
In this era of ferociously competitive search engine optimization, competitive online marketing, and the race to appear first in the search engine results, an active market has arisen in the buying and selling of text links.
The beauty of text links from the Website owner's (or seller's) perspective is this: in order to boost search engine placement, the link must go directly to the Web page that's being optimized. There can be no tracking mechanism, or third party ad serving to interrupt the click. Therefore, these links are not scrutinized in the same manner that more conventional advertising is. It's simply not that important how much traffic comes through the link, or whether it's really being noticed by site visitors at all. This means you can have the links tucked away at the very bottom of your pages in a footer, and use a small font. The links can be very unobtrusive to your regular site traffic: as long as your Website meets the buyer's criteria, they will continue to pay for the link. Of course, as the likes of the TopXML and phpbb sites show, text links can be cleverly integrated into a site's design to provide a prominent advertising feature.
So what criteria do buyers look for, and what are they willing to pay? You can check the spot market for text links at sites like http://www.linkadage.com/Auction/XcAuctionPro.asp.
Another benefit of text link selling is that you don't have to really maintain the 'ad' at all. As long as the link is active on the page, you've done your part. This is much less labor and resource intensive than building an ad server into your site, rotating ads, and keeping creatives up-to-date.
Finally, as if it weren't already a great deal, you can have up to 20 text links on a page without suffering any negative consequences in the search engines. So, even if you only sell your links for $25 each (read: cheap) you can still net $500 per month just for letting the links sit there.
A Word on Selling
Let's face it: even the most attractive inventory won't move unless someone gets out there and sells it. That someone may have to be you, if you're an entrepreneur. Many people view selling with disdain, or they hate the rejection that goes hand-in-hand with the selling profession. You've got to get over this in order to be successful in translating your page views into dollars. If you can't do it yourself, then work out a commission-only arrangement with someone who can sell your inventory.
Jean Landry is a sales executive with The Globe and Mail, Canada's National Newspaper, daily offering readers from coast to coast unparalleled national, international and business reporting, analysis and commentary. The Globe and Mail has nearly 1,000,000 readers each weekday and even more on weekends: their online version at globeandmail.com attracts over 2.5 million visitors per month.
Jean offers the following key selling points for Webmasters:

Know your audience. Conduct a user survey and collect research when your visitors sign up for newsletters, pdf's, and registrations. Carefully profile your visitors. You may think you know who your visitors are, but you'll need to prove it to people, especially when HP says they want to buy up 10 million impressions from you for $50,000/month -- they'll most certainly want more than who you think is coming to your site.


Know your competition. Find out what your competitors are charging for their ad space, what ad unit sizes they are offering and what advertisers want. You may keep an eye on your competitors, as well, to determine their inventory churn or rollover. If you go back every 2 to 4 weeks and you see new advertisers all the time, it either means the site has a really aggressive sales person, or that it can't return results for advertisers, so clients are canceling.


Understand the language and understand the benefits and uniqueness of online advertising as an advertising medium. What's a cpm? What's a clickthrough? What does CPA stand for? A few months ago, we interviewed people for an online sales position and candidates couldn't answer those questions. Spend a little less time watching TV and a little more time reading Clickz.com, eMarketer.com, and MarketingFind.com, or check out adglossary.com. Industry knowledge and research can really help you move your inventory and sell online advertising. For example, I bet you didn't know that Internet accounts for about the same % of media time for consumers as TV now -- each accounts for 30% of their media usage time! However only 4% of media budgets are going towards online, while about 25% are going towards TV ...sounds like a pretty good opportunity to reach a huge untapped audience doesn't it?


Be creative! Online advertising is boring and predictable and doomed for failure if all you are going to sell is the standard 468x60 banner at the top of your Web page. Ever heard of banner blindness or banner burnout? It means your visitors tend to ignore the most common or basic forms of advertising online if you don't put some thought into their delivery and placement. You need to think about offering content sponsorships on your site, targeting your ads to geographic regions, day of week delivery, etc. Think strategic and offer strategic advertising solutions. If you have a section of your site dedicated to Web design, why not think of a creative way for a major brand's new Web service to sponsor it with customized buttons, content, or an online custom quote service?


Be aggressive in your sales...but be professional! And remember online advertising is not new, it's not trivial, and it shouldn't be given away for free or always be performance based. Don't be pushed around by arrogant media buyers who think that they can bully you into not paying their balance just because they didn't make 15 sales (not to mention the fact that they never signed a cost per acquisition agreement -- CPA).

Summary
Converting Web traffic into sales revenue takes persistence, experimentation, and great salesmanship. The methods mentioned in this article: Traditional Banner Advertising, Pay-Per-Click (Contextual) Banner Advertising, Subscriptions, Affiliate and CPA Programs, and sales of Text Links are proven models for creating cash from visitors. Select the techniques and models that are a good fit for your Website and personality -- then get started making money! Good luck converting your site traffic into a viable revenue stream.

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Minggu, 15 Februari 2009

Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization: A Perfect Marriage

. Minggu, 15 Februari 2009
0 komentar

by: Halstatt Pires


Pay per click or search engine optimization, which one should you use? Many view PPC marketing as a colossal waste of money while others disdain search engine optimization. In reality, the two marketing strategies form a perfect marriage.


Pay-Per-Click - PPC
PPC marketing is a love it or hate platform. For the “love it” crowd, PPC marketing is a way to get instant exposure and feedback on site designs. In a matter of minutes, you can start receiving traffic and adjusting your site to convert the traffic at the best rate possible. For those in the “hate it” crowd, bids are to high and one never knows how may of the clicks are fake and worthless.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

As with PPC, seo marketing has its proponents and detractors. Those who love it look at the free traffic and glorious profitability of a site that converts the traffic at a decent rate. Detractors view seo as an unnecessary waste of time since it can take a year or more to get high rankings, particularly on Google. Detractors also argue that high listings are subject to changes in the search engine ranking process, which means you can lose your rankings.

So, who is right? In truth, both sides make accurate arguments. PPC is expensive and click fraud is a monstrous problem. Seo produces free traffic, but it takes along time to get to the top and rankings are subject to the whims of search engine ranking changes. The truth, of course, is both marketing platforms should be used whenever possible.

Marketing Marriage

Every site is unique, but most should combine PPC and seo marketing as part of an overall internet marketing strategy. When starting out, the PPC campaign is critical for getting immediate traffic and tweaking the site to maximize conversions. At the same time, a seo campaign should be undertaken. As the site rises in search results, the PPC campaign should be fazed out for the relevant high listings.

PPC and seo marketing are not mutually exclusive. When married together as part of an overall marketing strategy, both platforms will deliver the goods.

About the author:
Halstatt Pires is with MarketingTitan.com- an Internet marketing and advertising company. To read more marketing articles, visit MarketingTitan.com


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