Monthly Archives: June 2008

Using Web Analytics to Improve Your Site

How often do you check your web traffic status? If your answer is never, then it is time you start doing so. Measuring and analyzing your website’s success is an important step which is often ignored by many website owners. Your sales might be pretty good for your website but without the knowledge of your visitors like who they are, where they go, what they are looking for, where they leave and what turns them off, you might be losing many potential customers. By analyzing your website along with your marketing efforts you can improve the overall performance. Web analytics is measuring the results against your goals and check how much success your website has been able to achieve.
Goals – Current Results = Website Success rate.

To improve your results you need to measure, understand and adjust the events that lead to the result. You need to drive targeted traffic to your site and use web analytics to analyze and measure user behavior.

There are mainly three steps you need to follow in order to improve your website traffic. The first step is to drive targeted traffic onto your site by various marketing strategies like SEO and PPC. The next step is to persuade the visitors to take desired action on your site. You can have an appealing website with newsletter subscription or software demos to download. The third step is to use web analytics to analyze customer behavior. Using web analytics to analyze your site is a new method. This helps you keep track of the end results produced by the former two steps. With the help of this you can monitor and make improvements of the previous steps. You can keep track of the website traffic by knowing where the visitors are coming from, the area where they leave the site, the keywords that were used to find your website, where they navigated your site from and keep track of the actions taken by them on your site. This information can help a great deal to improve your business.

There are two types of web analytics: on-site and offsite web analytics.

On-site web analytics: This type of web analytics measures visitor’s session on your website. It means it checks the pages that encourage people to buy your product, the pages that drive them away and the ones attracting more visitors. It measures the website performance in a commercial context. The data collected from here is used to compare against the key performance and used to improve the webpage of the marketing campaign.

Off-site web analytics: You can make use of this even if u do or do not own/ maintain a website. It measures the various opportunities in the market like potential customers, the visibility of a website and other factors that affect a website promotion.

Setting Up Web Traffic Monitoring Devices:

You need to track your site users using more discrete methods. Here are some methods you can adopt to check your website visitors’ status:

1. Install hit counters on your site:
You can install hit counters on your site or blog to check the amount of visitors. With the help of this you can keep track of the increase of decrease in the amount of users on your site. There are number of counter providers that’ll let you run their script on your website. You can paste their code on your website and keep track of the daily visitors. Few of the counter providers are Counter.com, eXTReMe Tracking, Promotion Stat.

2. Use your web host statistical package:
The good thing about using a reliable hosting service is that every time someone visits your site, you web host server records the user’s activities in a log file.  The data in this log is usually abbreviated and cryptic making it difficult and time consuming to use. Your Web host uses a software tool to import the log-file data into a built in database which in turn transforms the data into readable and easy to understand statistical reports. Analog (http://www.analog.cx) is of the popular software tools used by Web hosts. You can visit their websites to learn more about it. Web host statistical package includes daily transmission statistics, total transfers by client domain, transfers by reversed subdomain and total transfers from each archive section.

3.Purchase a web traffic analysis software:
The log file provided by your Web host is not in a user-friendly readable form. There are many web traffic analysis software applications available to collect the required data. These software applications summarize the results in an easy graphical and readable reports based on the information provided by the web host. Some of these applications work with your web ISP’s web server and hence saves you time and freedom to manage the entire process. Being flexible, these applications help you control what you want to include or exclude.

In the past, web analytics used measure things like server hits, entry pages, exit pages, unique visitors, repeat visitors, first page visited and the time spent on the site. The advanced web analytics are more business specific and can show us conversion ratios, browse to buy rates and customer acquisition costs. As the technology improves web analytics are able to help us find other aspects of web as well. At present web analytics help us analyze visitor’s behavior. This information could be used to improve your SEM strategies, keyword selection, site architecture and design. You can also improve the marketing methods and follow the appropriate steps to bring relevant traffic on to your site. Web analytics is the best way of improving your return on investment (ROI).

JUNE 29, 2008 ISSUE #16

Press Release Part II : Press Release Optimization

press release optimizationIt has become important to get search engine exposure for not only your websites but also your articles, blogs and press releases. Press release optimization is one of the latest developments in the field of search engine exposure. Search engines are giving preference to press releases these days. They are coming under various search terms on top search engines. Hence it is necessary to optimize your press releases in order to get organic traffic.

The first step of optimizing your press release is to find the important keywords relevant to your news. These keywords are the ones used by your prospects to get to you. This step is similar to the SEO keyword research step. You can always try different keywords related to your news. You need to place the most important keywords in the title as well as at the beginning of the content. You need to make this keyword rich title interesting as well. Your content should be something different and fascinating. It is all about grabbing the readers’ attention and luring them to your website. To lead the readers to your website you need to provide the link to your website. This is another great way of getting backlink and in turn improving your search engine ranking.

You need to publish your press release on your own website as well as submit it to various online media outlets. One of the best places to submit your press release is the major news search engines. They are used by various users and hence help you get better exposure.

Press release optimization needs the combination of marketing, writing skills and webpage optimization techniques. Though you need to put a bit more effort it offers you great opportunities. Optimized press release is a good path to increase quality traffic and improving your web presence.

While optimizing your press release you need to avoid keyword stuffing. With the increase of press release spam keyword stuffed press releases are often ignored. You need to make proper use of keywords to make it sound interesting and relevant. Most of the PR distributors manually check your press release before publishing it, you need to convince them that your news is worth being published. The trick here is to incorporate keywords into a press release and make it sound natural. If you have important news it’ll be better to take help from a professional.

There are many free press release distribution sites on the internet. You need to check the pros and cons submitting in these free services. Depending upon the nature of your news and also the popularity of the distributors you need to decide which one is a better choice.

Press release optimization should be done considering factors like your targeted audience, circles of influence and the importance of the news piece. You need to make sure that your news is easy to find and approved by the search engines.

JUNE 19, 2008 ISSUE #15

Effective Press Releases

Top 5 reasons to write a Press Release:

  1. Introduction of your businessPress Release
    If you have just started your business, launched a new product or added new features to the existing one, press release is the best way to let people know about it. You can inform the public about why your product or service stands out from the crowd.
  2. Link Building
    Press release is one of the best ways of getting backlinks. Google has also started showing press releases on their search results. While writing a press release you can use your important keywords as your anchor text. You can then link it to the pages on your website. When you distribute your press release, your link is pasted on various distributors’ site, giving you better inbound links.
  3. Organic Traffic
    Optimized press releases have higher chances of getting good ranks from search engines displaying your PR on their search results. This means you can get organic traffic onto your site.
  4. Promote
    You can write press releases to promote: person, business, product, service, event, idea, contest, fundraiser and many more.
  5. Educate or Entertain your targeted audience
    You can share your knowledge about your industry. You can discuss about growth of your company, current trends, updates and other subjects that interest the audience.

Press Release Basics:
Press release is a powerful form of advertisement. A good press release can help you convey the message to your targeted audience and lets you promote any development or enhancement in your business. While writing a press release you need to focus on special features of your product or service that sets you apart from the crowd. This should include those attributes that makes you better than your competition. You need to avoid jargon-filled sales pitch in your press release and try to keep the tone natural and conversational. You need to optimize your press release before submitting it. You can include the most important keywords on the title and first paragraph. You can also make use of these keywords for anchor text.

There are many press release distributors available online. You need to submit to the ones that are popular and read by more aundience. Press release distributors might charge you according to the number of words. They might charge you extra for images, videos, documents or podcasts. There are wire distribution services which will publish it for free but will check it manually before publishing it. Wire distribution services classify a press release into:

  1. National Release: National release targets all the national media outlets.
  2. Regional Release: The wire services might distribute your press release according to regions.
  3. State and Local: In countries like U.S.A the press release could be distributed according to the state.
  4. International Release: It can be distributed based on countries and/or continents.

You need to follow the proper format of press release before submitting it. You can then specify the category under which you want it to appear. The most important thing of all is you need to create effective and compelling press releases to draw attention of readers, bloggers and journalists.

How to write an effective Press Release:
There are few simple steps you need to follow in order to write an effective press release:

  1. Headline
    You need to create catchy headline to grab the attention of the readers. Use relevant and benefits oriented headline.
  2. Contact Information
    You need to provide all the contact details to let the audience reach to you easily. You can include your postal address, phone number, fax number, email address, your webpage address and even IM services. You can also mention the hours you’ll be available on phone or IM services.
  3. Summary
    Before writing the body content it is important to write the summary of the press release. You need to make this interesting to let the readers go through the whole content.
  4. Body/Content
    This is the most important part of your press release. You need to write all the details about the news. Your targeted audience is not only the potential customers but also the journalists, editors or reporters who’d want to publish it if it appeals them. You need to make your press release benefits-oriented.
  5. Signify the End
    Let the readers know that they have reached the end of the press release by using some symbols like *** or ### .

Other Tips:
• Keep your press release short up to 1 or 2 pages. Eliminate unnecessary information.
• Do not forget to number your pages if it is more than 1 paged press release.
• Address your press release directly to the editor or the reporter.
• Stick to the facts. Do not fabricate your story just because it sounds good. You need to provide relevant information.
• You need to pick an angle. Make your story interesting and relevant to the current events and social issues. Make your story a good news hook.
• Use only enough words to write the story. Avoid unnecessary flowery sentences or adjectives.

JUNE 13, 2008 ISSUE #14

Steps to successful search engine optimization | SEO

SEOSubmitting your website to search engines does not get your webpage better ranking. That is a misconception about SEO that has been going around for quite sometime. It does no harm by submitting your site to them but it does no good as well. Just submitting your site to the search engines doesn’t give you a good spot on their pages. In order to be eligible and indexed by search engine crawlers you need to optimize your site. Search engine optimization is an on-going process. You need to invest enough time to get the desired success. Compared to other forms online marketing, SEO offers higher return on investment (ROI). With the growing number of users relying on search engines to find their pages, it has become essential to optimize websites and make them search engine friendly. Here are few steps you need to follow for the search engine spiders to crawl and index your site.

Theme:
It is important to choose a theme for the pages of your website. Each page should be able to convey a message or fulfill a purpose.

Keywords Selection:
Choosing the right keywords is an important and crucial step of search engine optimization. You need to list the relevant and searched keywords and key phrases for each of the pages. Choosing the most competitive keywords can get really frustrating hence as a beginner you can focus on less competitive, yet searched words. You can make a list of relevant keywords and use tools like wordtracker and overture keyword analysis tool to know the search frequency.

Know your Competitors:
It is important to keep an eye on your competitors. You can study what keywords they are emphasizing on, know what websites are linking to them and where they rank. The less competition you have the better it is.

SEOOptimize your Page Content with Phrases:
When you select the relevant keywords for your web page, you can rank them according to their importance. You can revise the existing pages and optimize your page content starting with your top key phrases. Optimizing your site includes alteration of the meta tags i.e. title, description, keywords, headings, image alt, link and the content of the site. You can also have robot.txt file to help the spiders to crawl the pages you want them to.

Linking Strategies:
As mentioned earlier link building is one of the important part of SEO. There are two linking strategies:
Internal Linking: In your page content you can refer to other important pages of your website. You can make use of the keywords of the landing page for your hyperlink text. You can even use keywords in navigation structure.
External Linking: You can build external links by various means. You can start your own blog or write articles so that other websites interested will link to you. You can ask other webpages to place your link on their websites for placing their link on your site. This is known as reciprocal linking. You can advertise your sites on directories like dmoz, yahoo directories etc. Getting backlinks from these popular sites will help you get better ranking. There are various other ways to increase your inbound links.

Traffic and Revenue Tracking:
After your website is optimized you need to track the sales and the traffic it is receiving. You need to focus more on traffic and revenue than the page ranking. There are many software which gives you the report on your revenues by keywords, search engine, advertising campaigns etc.

Analysis:
You need to analyze your website and make necessary changes. Search engines keep changing their algorithm, hence it is important you be updated and try the new marketing strategies. You also need to keep track of your rankings and reoptimize the pages if you need to. You can then wait for the results.

Search engine optimization could be a tiring task but with time it sure helps you get better traffic.

JUNE 06, 2008 ISSUE #13

Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is a type of marketing where an automated system generates advertisement on a website based on the content. The competitive business market demand advertisements to be more precise. The businesses want their advertisement to reach the right customers at the right time. Contextual advertisements are getting popular cause of their relevance to the content of the site. When relevant ads are displayed there are higher chances of visitors clicking on the advertisement. The more ads are clicked the more traffic is generated and higher chances of the product being sold to the right customers. For example if your website is about kids wear you would want your advertisement to be placed on similar themed sites. When your ads appear on such sites there are higher chances of your ads being viewed. Contextual advertising was introduced by Google in the form of Google Adsense advetising program. he contextual advertisement is where Google’s maximum revenue is generated. They place these ads on millions of websites worldwide.

Advantage of Contextual Advertising:
Earlier people had to bear horde of unrelated advertisements. They were annoying and instead of getting more traffic, it proved to be useless. Contextual advertising has solved this problem. There are various software that track the web surfing habits of a user. With the help of this information one can predict what that person is looking for and show related advertisements on the website currently being visited by her. The person then can purchase the product she is in search of without even leaving the site.

Companies benefit from contextual marketing since it helps them to address target audience specifically. It is more cost effective and time saving than other marketing strategies, and also helps the companies to retain their customers.

Is contextual advertising right for you?
Contextual marketing is gaining popularity due to its efficiency. Anyone could use this form of advertisment to promote their product. Contextual advertising is small text ads shown on webpages relevant to the website content. Since there are many programs to track consumer behavior, contextual advertising is not difficult to follow. If you are a publisher contextual advertising could be one of the sources of revenue. You can place related advertisements on your site and make enough money to cover your website expenses. If you are an advertiser you can place advertisements by pay per click scheme and drive more traffic to your site. Make sure your advertisements have minimum keywords that focuses on your product. You can get creative with your advertisements. You can produce more ads and check which ones work better. The ones with higher number of clicks are those that attract visitors. You can remove the ones that don’t work well and work towards getting better results.

JULY 10, 2008 ISSUE #18