Monday, August 30, 2010

Do Your Web Visitors See Your Spectacular Flash or Java?

One great metric that Google Analytics® coughs up for you is the browser capabilities that your visitors use. Let's assume that you have just rebuilt (or are planning to rebuild) your website. You've added a spectacular flash applet of your product. It looks great and would keep anyone coming back to view it over and over again.

You are monitoring your newly designed site and statistics point to a higher bounce rate than you expected. Further digging shows that the page with your incredible flash program is the page with the highest exit point.

So let's dig further and discover how many of your visitors can actually view your state of the art flash design.

The chart above shows that visitors to your site are slow to upgrade their versions of flash; with only 45% using the most current version. Further testing of your website using different flash versions may be in order.

This metric should also be used on an existing website that starts plummeting all of the sudden. Could it be the new version of flash has made your beautiful flash applet stop working?

Keeping an eye on your website metrics insures that visitors always experience your website the way you designed it to be experienced.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How do your customers view you?

One important metric that you can discover using Google Analytics® is what browsers your customers are using.

Unfortunately, Web coding, even when done properly according to standards, does not work the same in all browsers. Websites that work spectacularly in one browser may appear discombobulated in another browser or the site may crash altogether. A site that doesn't appear as designed is not what you want your customers to experience.

Knowing what browsers your customers use allows your web team to emphasize the testing of your site in those browsers your customers use.

The browser metric can be found by clicking on the bounce rate metric and then choosing browser capabilities from the menu on the left of the window.

Testing your site with the tools your customers use to access your site is an important step in keeping your virtual storefront looking spiffy and your customers happy. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

How's your bounce rate?

Bounce rate is one of the broadest measurements that can be made on a website. It represents how long customers who find your site, stay and enjoy your site.

Each person who comes to your site is like a customer who opens the door at your physical business. A high bounce rate means that the customers who are opening your door barely look around, and then decide that you are not what they need. Your bounce rate gives you an excellent indication of how well your website is performing.  

There's a lot of reasons why your bounce rate would be high:

  • Your site is not performing well in search engines; as a result you are receiving customers looking for a tattoo artist while you are selling landscapes.
  • Your site is haphazard and busy; making information difficult for your customer to locate; think of it as a junk shop in the physical world.
  • Your site generates error messages or doesn't work in the customer's browser; compare to the physical world's ramshackle building where the customer opens the door and the knob falls off in his hand.
  • Your content is not generating confidence or is displayed in a boring, uninteresting way; you need to hire better reception and sales/marketing staff in the real world.
  • You don't give a customer a reason to stay; little or no displays showing services or goods. What does your business do? Why would I do business with you? 
  • Your site is old and outdated;  Are you still open for business?   
Your bounce rate warns you that your site may have problems. Once a problem is identified, reporting of the typical indicators should show where the problem lies.

For example if your site is optimized for Internet Explorer but statistics show that a good percentage of your customers access your site using Opera, it may be prudent to have your web team verify how Opera handles your site. Or maybe a recent browser upgrade is affecting how your site is viewed.

Research can be performed using different content, keywords, and layouts. Using the various reports of indicators the web site can be tweaked to go with the optimal results.

Bounce rate is the most general and basic of indicators measuring your site. Because of its very basic nature it is a good place to start when judging your virtual storefront on the web.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Google Analytics Metrics Visitor Traffic

Google Analytics is a very versatile and useful tool in measuring website performance; in determining just how effective your website is over time; and in developing ways your website can be improved.
Using Google Analytics your website traffic sources can be analyzed. Where does your traffic generate?

The blog that is charted in the picture was receiving little or no traffic. This is typical for a new blog that is waiting to be discovered. After a month or two of monitoring, the owner of the blog joined a consortium of other blogs that had subject matter similar to that represented on this blog.
In the chart pictured, 43% of the traffic on this site is generated from referring sites. Over all traffic is up 193.75% and the bounce rate has come down from around 90% to a more tolerable 67%. Traffic is improved and with further use of the metrics provided by Google Analytics this blog will move along even more.

Next time we will look at bounce rate as a metric.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making your website perform with Google Analytics

Reasons businesses post websites are as varied as the businesses that post the sites.

For some businesses the website is a marketing tool to inform the public about services and products. Another website may be designed to actually sell services. A website can also be an information portal for customers to get the end product of that business.

Whatever it is that you expect your website to handle for you, it is important to develop a clear objective of the role your website is expected to fulfill.

Once you are aware of your expectations for the site, your site traffic can be monitored to make sure it's doing its job.
it is important to develop a clear objective of the role your website is expected to fulfill.

Google Analytics is a tool that can monitor and report back to you on the traffic your website is receiving, where that traffic is coming from, how customers are finding your site, and how customers use and leave your site.

Using the information that Google Analytics provides you with, you can redirect your site to better serve your business and your customers. For example, if your business only does business locally but most of your traffic is coming from the other side of the world, your site can be adjusted.  Conversely, if your business has global potential but your site only attracts local traffic, you can tweak in the other direction.

If customers visiting your site are immediately leaving or bouncing out of your site; a look at how the customers are arriving might help. An adjustment of key words may be in order.

A look at where your customers exit your site is helpful to analyze if your customers are receiving what they need. This metric can help you ascertain if your customers are experiencing your website as designed.

 In future posts, we'll take a look at the bits of information that can be learned about your site and ways you can use the information to optimize your site.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Your Virtual Assistant

Websites should serve your business as your 24/7 virtual assistant.

Your virtual assistant probably already informs your customers about your services, hours, and mission statement; consider having your virtual assistant provide marketing material that a potential customer can easily print to show the boss.

Do your customers complete forms when they come to your physical location? Providing forms on your website for the customer to download and complete prior to a visit reduces the stress and service time for your customer and staff.

Introduce your customers to your business with informative videos of your building or products. A slide show of available products with links for additional information can go a long way in persuading a customer to visit your business to make a purchase.

Next time I'll discuss some ways you can monitor your site's traffic, keep your site tweaked, and develop and meet objectives with your Virtual Assistant.  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Content or Construction: What's More Important?

Does content take priority over construction?

Will customers overlook a few error messages to get to your superior information or display?

What will it take for your customer to bookmark your page; returning again and again for your content?

Why have errors at all? Website design should not be used if the website has errors in any major web browser. Your design should be tested over several different platforms. The code should be up to date. How does your site look at different screen resolutions? Try looking at your site with different browser settings. Does a browser based change in font make your site look unappealing? Are you irritating your client with too many cookies?

It costs little to keep your content fresh and appealing. A website is not like the physical location of your business where you move in and forget it. Keeping content and the look fresh, non-static, and engaging will help to keep interested customers coming back and will keep your company fresh in your customer's mind. Whether that potential customer needs your product or service today or next year; give him or her a reason to come back to your site by providing expert information and advice.

When customers bookmark your site with a reason to return regularly, that customer will think of your business first whenever the need for your service or product arises.

Professionally built and fully tested websites with dynamic, exciting content make all the difference.    

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A dynamic website can bring in more traffic

When you are revamping a website consider adding more interactivity to your site. You are the expert in your area of business so don't afraid to show it on your website.

Video can add a dynamic dimension. The video can be a virtual tour of your physical facility. Another example would be a video of an owner or CEO stating a mission statement which can provide an interactive introduction to your company's staff and business.

Blogs can be linked to your website. Blogs provide your website visitors with useful and helpful information to use and educate. Blogs can also be provided to your customers as newsletters and emails. Blogs keep your website updated on a regular basis with fresh views and content.

When updating your website don't forget some spice to keep the content fresh and interactive and you will be giving your customers an excuse to come back again and again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Got spam?

Is spam burying some inboxes at your company?

At one business only certain mailboxes were being spammed with most of the inboxes receiving little or no spam.

Even more frustrating was the fact that the inbox of one of the CEO's just happened to be receiving the most offensive amount of spam.

An investigation revealed that when the company website was built the email of the CEO had been posted directly onto the website. This allowed the web-bots responsible for harvesting addresses for spam to reap the CEO's inbox.

This issue could have been easily avoided by the addition of a simple JavaScript program designed to disguise the posted email addresses from unscrupulous spammers.

While the JavaScript program is generally not overlooked by web builders, it is sometimes left out by business owners building their own sites.

Emails belong in contact information but no email address should ever be posted to the web without protection.