3 Website Stats to Make You Look Smarter and More Attractive

A pool full of metrics and you dive in it…yeah OK, Kendrick’s real song was not about website metrics but the haze of interpretation can be the same in both cases.

If you’re anywhere close to digital, marketing or IT, someone is likely to have thrust a Google Analytics report in your face and asked, “Is this good?” Instantaneously they’ve pushed you into the pool full of metrics, your clothes are sopping wet and you’ve got to make the best of it.

No one wants to look silly but its really easy when you look at the volumes of website usage data you can track in Google Analytics (GA) . If you can count the number of times you’ve looked at GA data on one hand (or no hands) then these 3 statistics below will help you turn the inquisition into a conversation.

1. Site Visitors

This is the total number of unique visitors to your website for the time period of the report. Essentially, how many different people took the time to visit the website because they were interested enough in the content.

So what is a good site visitor number? This depends entirely on whether the site is being actively promoted but also what kind of traffic can be expected for the topic and the time period.

Websites that are likely to have less than 1000 visitors per month:

  • Sheep Farmers Union of Invercargill
  • Knitters Guild of Kalgoorlie

It’s always possible a global revolution is being launched from these places but you probably get the picture, hyperlocal concerns that don’t change too frequently for an already small user base.

Websites that should have much, much more than 1000 visitors per month:

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology
  • You Tube

Extreme examples yes, but the point here is that sites that provide everchanging information and/or entertainment for a wide audience should be in the millions of site visitors per month.

Once you’ve had a look at the Site Visitor number on the report turn it around and start asking questions like:

  1. How does that number compare to last month, last year?
  2. Have you been actively promoting the site?

Timing is everything, maybe the website is seasonal like truffles or has a increasing visitor rate compared to previous time periods then the news story is better or more normal than you might think.

2. Bounce Rate

This one is really important. It represents the percentage of users that visited the site and did not proceed to any other pages.

A bounce rate of between 26-40% is excellent, 41-55% is average, 56-70% is below average, and anything higher than 70% is poor.

A high bounce rate (56%+) probably occurs for one of the following reasons:

  • What they thought they would find on your site was not at all relevant to the reason for their visit
  • What they found on the site WAS related to what they wanted, but it was not sufficiently engaging to stay
  • It took so long to load your website that they just clicked off because they got impatient

Ultimately if the website does not have interesting, relevant content or performs slowly once the visitors arrive then you could just be giving a lot of people a really bad experience. An important lesson for big and small organisations.

3. Device Type

As web designers we think this number needs more attention than it gets now, if only to illustrate the importance of flexible responsive design.

Broken down into Desktop, Mobile and Tablet, if you have a Mobile and/or Tablet usage of 25% or more than you must have a site design that rearranges to look good and flow well on mobile and tablet devices.

It has been over two years since Google declared that websites must focus on the mobile experience first, ahead of desktop, an edict no organisation wanting to grow can ignore.

Looking Smart, Sexy and Delivering Value

It might not be in your job description to understand Google Analytics but giving customers, including yours, a good experience with value-added information is going to keep them in your good sted.

Just like reading your first word or first book, digital literacy simply requires you to keep taking one step forward at a time, one topic at a time.

Women ARE Bad Drivers And Robots ARE Evil

Traitor…that is likely the nicest thing my female colleagues, team members, friends and family are thinking right now. Shame on me really, because I’m here to tell you why we should throw those antiquated ideas out the (car) window.

 

Women, on average, are are looking after more then one person at any given time, requiring more patience and thought in getting from here to there.  So if we take a bit more time or allow more than one car to merge remember the literal and metaphorical band-aid at the back of our mind.

 

The Light Bulb Moment

 

As a managing director I think a lot about our customers and the service experience we deliver. The best win we get is the light bulb moment on a client’s face telling us we nailed it and frankly I got into this business because of those damn light bulb moments. Helping people can be addictive and (spoiler alert) the IT industry is actually full of people like me.

 

So we love these “nailed it” moments but in reality we now have to nail it each time customers need our help, not just when we are face to face.

 

As our client base grows we have to be more strategic about that “nailed it” service delivery. How do we keep the service personal and effective, but expand it in a smart way?

 

The statistics around our customer service expectations are that at least 50% of us expect it to be 24/7. We also don’t want our time to be in vain, spending precious time on the phone, only to not get the answer or solve the problem.

 

Over time technology has rushed to fill the gap, sometimes quite effectively. Live Chat, as an example, is a personal and convenient conversation that can help us get the answer we seek or progress it to a point where we know what we need to do next.

 

What live chat does not fully solve, and it is a big gap for companies, is true scalability. As you grow your client base you need more team members to staff the chat. You train them on the same content, the same procedures and sit them in the same desk solving the same problems. Formulaic but not cost-effective in the long run.

 

Our own light bulb moment came last year when we saw how far artificial intelligence had come. Google, Apple and Facebook have been at this for years, but for the rest of us the technology has evolved from esoteric movie fodder to something far more practical and democratic.

 

Artificial Intelligence For Business

 

Companies of all sizes and industries can now have their own personalised service agent using artificial intelligence. Think of it as a harmonic merge of Siri and live chat, tailored for your business objectives.

 

Front line chat agents are expediters to the end game, allowing companies to be “on” all the time cost-effectively. They free up people on your team to excel at solving the complex issues, allowing you to hire for unique skills rather than repetitive tasks that scream low ROI.

 

While this opportunity may sound scary to some make no mistake, your competitors, your board, the CEO is already thinking about this. It is time for all of us to join the conversation and make technology work for us, improving the service experience while still preserving our fundamental humanity and those beautiful light bulb moments.

3 New Features Available For Your Next Mailchimp Marketing Campaign

An email to your clients, consumers and other stakeholders is one of the quickest and most effective ways to send out a key message instantaneously, but when you’ve got hundreds of contacts to get in touch with, it can no doubt be quite an exhausting task.

 

Email marketing platform Mailchimp allows businesses and e-commerce retailers to send marketing emails, automated messages and targeted campaigns in a straight forward way, and their continuous innovation in technology is allowing businesses to grow and gain more ground with their target markets.

 

The latest resources of Mailchimp allow you to communicate to your audiences faster, and here at WK Digital we can help you implement best practice email marketing so that you can run with it and utilise it for your business.

 

We’ve put together a list of the platform’s most recent features to show you not only how easy it is to use, but just how beneficial it can really be.

 

  1. Facebook ad campaigns

Mailchimp has taken a major step from email-only to marketing, now allowing subscribers to create beautiful Facebook ad campaigns. In the same familiar interface, you can produce an effective campaign strategy to match your branding style and target your audience.

 

Not having to spend time navigating through two different sites is one of the stand-out elements within this new feature. Also, because you integrate Mailchimp with Facebook, you’ll be able to track your return on investment, how many new customers you’ve gained, your orders total, the amount of people you’ve reached, and whether or not you should improve your marketing strategy.

 

Often it’s an easy decision for a business to advertise – after all, it makes sense to let the public know you exist. But choosing how and where to advertise can be problematic, especially when you’re a small business and your budget just can’t cater to the larger-fit costs of a broader campaign.

 

Mailchimp’s Facebook Ad Campaigns feature allows you to utilise the most popular social media platform in the world today, and target actual people. Other ad systems use cookie-based advertising to limit showing ads on a particular device or browser, but Facebook works quite the opposite. As most people access their Facebook profiles on varying equipment almost on a daily basis, you’re guaranteed to be seen.

 

  1. Integration to CRM programs

It makes sense for some businesses to integrate their email marketing component with a customer relationship management (CRM) application, which can make your three marketing components – contact lists, content and results – a lot faster and easier.
Mailchimp provides a connection to other websites and services, which you can plug in to your account, and they are so easy to use because there’s no need to learn about programming or coding.

 

The newest integrations, of which there are more than a dozen in Mailchimp, allow you to add subscribers, sync data, import content and see how successful your campaigns are. As an example, some of the integrated systems include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Shopify and PayPal.

 

It’s a brilliant way to learn what your customers are purchasing and then progress to creating more email campaigns customised to their interests!

 

  1. Stylish and customised email templates

You can truly design an appealing email campaign with a large variety of Mailchimp’s templates. There’s a choice of three ways to go about it – working with a basic layout, a pre-built theme or a template based on the message you want to communicate.

 

One of the best things about this particular feature is that for e-commerce retailers, you can actually showcase and sell products this way. You’re not limited to what you want to put across, and it can be anything from presenting special discount offers to offering vouchers and special packages to loyalty consumers.

 

These features, plus more within the platform, is why you use Mailchimp as a primary email marketing service, but here at WK Digital, we can help you apply all of that and guide you. If it helps your business grow, then we are at the forefront of making that happen.

Domain Ownership: How to Keep Your Domain in YOUR Name

Kicking off your first website or online business is a huge challenge. There are countless pitfalls to avoid, and plenty of chances to make a mistake. Thankfully, thousands of people have trodden that path before.

Learning from the mistakes of others is a clever move. There are a number of steps to securing the full rights to your own domain name and website, and we’ve broken it down right here.

The Dos of Domain Name Ownership

  • Choose your own domain name.

This comes with the heavy caveat that you do so with advice from an expert that doesn’t have a vested interest. If you know someone who works in search engine optimisation (SEO), ask them for assistance choosing a name. If you don’t, do your own research or find a cheap freelancer with the basic knowledge to help you out (consider a site like Fiverr.com).

  • Definitely ensure that your details are accurate and kept up to date.

There are plenty of horror stories of people who have paid for their domains for several years, then got a new credit card that cannot be charged. If your email address is still active, that’s fine – most providers will be more than happy to chase you for payment. However, if it’s not, you’re in trouble.

  • Set up auto-renew.

Set up your account to auto-renew if your finances aren’t too tight. That way, you can be sure to stay in business. Some agencies will take care of this for you if the domain is registered with their account.

The Don’ts of Domain Name Ownership

  • Don’t entrust your domain name to someone who doesn’t deserve that trust.

Sometimes it’s a great option to allow your web agency to handle the entire process, from purchasing the domain name, to building your site and handling the ongoing hosting. However, it’s important to maintain some security. Reputable agencies will always hand your domain name back when you choose to move on.

  • Where possible, own it yourself, under your own account.

Your website is your online presence, and your domain is the front door. Agencies come with an immense amount of useful expertise, and should certainly be trusted to manage your account. However, much like a real estate agent, its best if you retain the ownership rights to your own property.

  • Be wary of letting your domain expire.

If you can, pay for a couple of years upfront. Register with an email that you regularly check. There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing control of a domain that you’ve invested in for several years, and being forced to shell out thousands of dollars to a reseller or, worse, a competitor. This is especially relevant in Australia, where despite the existence of legal barriers to registering and owning domain names unrelated to your business, the practice of domain-camping is widespread.

Tips for a Great Domain Name

When choosing your domain name, you want to get it right the first time. Once your site is indexed, attracting traffic and earning backlinks, you certainly don’t want to have to start over and go through the messy business of redirects and lost site value.

One of the most important things you need to consider is SEO. While Google applies considerably less weight to domain names nowadays, it can still provide you a significant boost in the early stages of your site. Use keywords related to your industry, location or business name.

Avoid unnecessary characters in your domain name. In other words, don’t make the mistake of hyphenating your business name. Keep it simple, and related to your business.

Buy either a .com domain or a local country-level domain, such as .com.au. There are advantages to more local domain names, especially as Google continues its industry-leading drive to deliver the most relevant, local content to people using their search engine.

The Upshot

Your domain name is absolutely essential to your continued online presence. In order to maintain a continued online presence, keep the domain in your name or work with an agency that you trust. Agency expertise is valuable, but your property is your property. You don’t give your accountant your power of attorney, so don’t give your agency the right to use and resell your domain name. If things ever go pear-shaped, you’ll be glad everything is in your name.

Do You Really Need an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates can be difficult to wrap your head around. For some websites, they’re incredibly important. For others, not so much.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is essentially a guarantee that the website people are visiting is in fact secure. It’s a small file hosted on your web server that binds a cryptographic “key” to your business. When a person uses their browser to visit your site, it sends a request to connect. Your site will then respond with their SSL certificate, and the visitor’s browser will ensure that the SSL certificate is valid. It’s slightly more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.

When you’re browsing online, you might notice that some sites’ addresses are http://, while others are https:// – the “s” means that the site has an SSL certificate. Some businesses obtain an Extended Validation SSL certificate, which, among other things, allows them to display their business name at the start of the address in most browsers. A good example of this is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, found at commbank.com.au.

Why are SSL Certificates used?

SSL certificates are usually employed on websites that require a secure connection. This can involve credit card transactions, or even situations where people may be required to log in for a particular reason. If your site does not have an SSL certificate, then the information that travels between it and users is very unprotected and able to be easily accessed by outside parties. This can be a major concern if users are entering credit card information or other personal data into your site.

The Benefits of an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate ensures that you and your clients’ sensitive information is protected while en route, via encryption. It also provides authentication for users, ensuring that their information is being sent to the correct server, rather than an intermediary or imposter who may be attempting to farm data.

There is also a trust element to SSL certificates. Users, whether consciously or subconsciously, have been shown to inherently trust sites that display the padlock symbol or green colour associated with SSL certificates. When your site is receiving thousands of hits and every conversion matters, an SSL certificate can certainly help to improve your conversion rates. You wouldn’t stay in a hotel with no doors any more than you would give your card details to an unsecured site.

Beyond that, there may be some search engine optimisation advantages to using an SSL certificate. Google announced in 2014 that it would start giving a minor ranking boost to sites that hold an SSL certificate. Google is committed to a secure internet, and while an SSL certificate only forms a small part of their overall ranking algorithm, every little bit can help.

The Disadvantages of an SSL Certificate

The disadvantages to having an SSL certificate are minor. The cost can be an obvious deterrent for many small businesses, particularly if they aren’t running an ecommerce store or don’t have a pressing need to protect customer data.

Another concern is performance, as the extra transmittance of data between browser and server can cause additional load. However, this is usually only a factor for websites with large traffic.

Do you REALLY need an SSL Certificate?

There is no law or “internet rule” that requires most websites to have an SSL certificate. However, if you’re engaged in online commerce or otherwise handling personal data, it is highly recommended. For most small brick and mortar businesses simply seeking to have an online presence, an SSL certificate is not a major concern.

If you’re considering getting an SSL certificate, do your research first. Ensure that you implement any required redirects, as well as updating links where required. You may also need to perform a “fetch as Google” via your webmaster tools to ensure that Google can still crawl all pages on your site.

At the end of the day, the decision comes down to the function of your website. If data is travelling between your website and the user, then you need an SSL. If not, then you’ll be just fine.

Choosing keywords for your website optimizations

The first thing about choosing strong keywords for your websites search engine optimization (SEO) is to know what your potential client or customer is searching for that you can offer them. When a person comes to your site based on a particular keyword, will they find the items, goods or services they are seeking?  If not, you are leading them down a path that will come to a disappointing end for everyone. What are you offering that’s unique to your business?  How can you get people to come to your site for something very specific that they will be delighted to know you offer?

 

How do you do it?

 

Start by experimenting with search terms you think are your strongest possibilities.  When you enter them, what comes up? Are there lots of ads for that search term and what is the competition you have regarding those terms?

Ex: If you are a dentist, try Googling the search term dental care followed by your zip code. Location based key phrases are best with most brick and mortar businesses. If a lot of other dentists come up in that search, you are competing with those businesses for a piece of the pie using that term.  This can be costly if you are using a service like Google Ad Words as you will be competing with some of the bigger businesses for that piece of the pie.  If you have a specialty and can use search terms that are more specific to what you specialize in, you might be able to get great traction using terms about that specific service. Ex. Best tooth whitening in Orlando might be a little more targeted than best dentist in Orlando.

It’s not just about key words, it’s about key phrases.

 

What are the best tools to use and do I have to pay for them?

 

You can hire a professional SEO service, but be cautious. There are many companies that are great at this but many that are not as experienced as they profess.  Get references.

Google offers a few free tools that can be helpful. Google Key Word Planner, Google Trends and Key Word Tool io, are free and can give you some good information.

There are tools you can pay for that can be more in depth but costly.

Term Explorer and Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool are excellent products but can run as little as $35 a month to nearly $500 a month depending on what you choose.

 

How do you know when the keywords has too few clicks to not choose it?

 

It can simply be trial and error. Keep a watchful eye on it and if a key word or phrase is not bringing clicks to your site and more importantly conversions to sales, ditch it.

Remember that the sole purpose of key words is to bring people to see what you have to offer and get them to buy something, be it goods or services.

 

What is a USP?

USP, is an acronym for, Unique Selling Proposition (or unique selling point). It’s a marketing tool that differentiates a product or company from its competitors. USP’s use value propositions like, the lowest cost, the best quality, or a product that is the only of its kind.

Your USP should clearly state, to potential customers, a benefit that only your company can offer that your competitors don’t. This should be very compelling in order to attract new customers.

Here are some great examples of USPs from well-known companies:

  • Southwest’s claim to be the lowest-priced airline.
  • Denny’s serving breakfast 24 hours a day
  • Little Ceasars hot and ready pizza (you know you can walk in and get a pizza without calling to order or waiting long for one)
  • FedEx – When it has to be there tomorrow

 

How do you develop a unique selling proposition?

 

You have to know not only your audience but your own personality and how your business reflects that personality. What’s the corporate culture of your business?  With a company like FedEx, it’s all about speed. The hidden arrow in their logo, expressing forward motion, was no accident. They’re saying, we can get your packages where they need to go faster than the competition. That’s their USP.

What is your unique quality and what is the personality of your business? Are you charity driven like Bombas?  They realized that the number one request at homeless shelters was for sox. Their unique selling proposition became, for every pair of sox they sold, they gave a pair to the homeless. That’s a, pretty, powerful, USP. You have to look at what’s different about your company or product and how you can turn that into a strong marketing statement that makes customers want to use you instead of your competitors for their unique needs.

 

Why is this so important?

 

What separates successful businesses from ones that scrape by is knowing why they are better at something. Little Ceasars may not make the best pizza you’ve ever had, but if you’re late getting home from work and on a limited budget, a quick stop and a five dollar bill and you can feed your kids.  That’s important to the customer.  Your USP should be your flag that you fly that says what you can do for the customer to make life better for them in some way. Cheaper, faster, one of a kind, best ever, best quality, best for them and their lifestyle; these are the reasons people choose who they buy from.

 

 

Should you have more than one if you sell multiple products?

 

Only if those products are very different in nature or scope.  If you’re Colgate, you sell things for teeth; toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash.

If you sell cars and also shoes, you may have to create more than one USP. That’s not common for most businesses but deciding on your Unique Selling Proposition takes time and careful consideration.

 

Think it through and make it your own.

Instagram for business – should we use it?

Instagram might not be for everyone but it’s a very powerful social media platform, especially for millennials.  Research shows that Instagram drives more engaged traffic than any other social media channel, including Facebook.

Instagram gleans more return customers. If someone buys something from you and then follows you on Instagram, statistics show they’re more likely to become repeat customers, which is how businesses survive.

Our world is visual, and “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Most people have a great camera built into their phone. That alone can be a fantastic business tool.

Is it really worth your time?

 

It’s hard to say how you should spend your time marketing your business.  Marketing is a science and, with the onslaught of social media platforms, it’s only become more complicated. If you offer goods that are visual in nature, where images can be very impactful, Instagram is can work.  Marketing is about one thing, engagement.  How can you engage an audience? We live in a world where everything is moving so quickly, to keep up with it, you have to be fast and visual.  Can you get them to your website, store, or event to see what you’re selling with strong visuals and content?  If so, Instagram is worth your time and efforts.

 

How does your small business tell a story if you don’t sell “sexy” products?

 

Everything can be sexy if you approach it from the right angle. If you’re selling orthopedic shoes to senior citizens, show a sexy older woman rocking those shoes.  You can make your small business look just as important as the big guys with well thought out images that tell who you are and what you’re selling.  Sexy is subjective. Sexy can be getting the right product to the right people at the right price.

 

Do we have to post everyday?

 

Yes!  Engagement is tough.  People are fickle and the 20-40 year- old Instagram user is no exception. Post at least once a day.  With Twitter you might need to post 8 to 10 times a day to stay current.  With Instagram, a couple of pictures with short, pithy, content can do the trick.

 

Hashtags – are these just a gimmick? How do they work?

 

Hashtags are not a gimmick.  They’re keyword phrases.  If someone’s searching for something and uses a phrase that turns up in a hashtag, that search will lead them to you. Hashtags can take on a life of their own. The hashtag, #Nevermypresident,  is getting a lot of traction from the people that don’t support the incoming president. Searching that hashtag will bring people with that mind set together.

 

When is Instagram better for my business than Facebook?

 

Instragram is better for reaching a younger audience. Facebook has moved toward an older demographic where Instagram and it’s visual connection to the phone garner a much younger crowd.  If you’re product or services are aimed at the under 40 crowd, Instagram is a must.

SEO, so what?

 

 

Why does this work matter and what happens if you don’t do it?

SEO means: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), if you pause to think for a second it very quickly sinks in that SEO is a very sensible thing to do. Why wouldn’t you want your site to appear at the top of a search engine’s list of returned sites?

So, before we get into how SEO works it is going to be helpful to know how a search engine finds results. Search engines are answer machines: ask a question and it searches its index to find the most relevant answers. The search engine has compiled this index using a “web crawler”, a program that visits each page on the web and all of its links, which stores a copy of the page and its URL in the search engine’s index. If you can find the page listed on a search engine then a crawler has visited it. Now, the part where SEO comes in: a search engine uses an algorithm to rank results in order of relevance to your search. These algorithms look at different elements to decide which sites come at the top of the returned list. SEO ensures that your site contains all the elements that a search engine algorithm is looking for and gets ranked highly. For example:

Title Tags (or Title Elements): are the highlighted titles that a search engine result page (SERP) displays (on Google they are highlighted blue). These tags tell Google, other search engine the main description of your site or document. They are very important and optimizing them is often one of the first SEO tasks.
Meta Descriptions: appearing under the highlighted Title Tag on a SERP. Although Google’s algorithms do not take Meta descriptions into account, since 2009, to determine a sites relevance they are essential to encourage users to click on your link, rather than a competitors.
H1 Tags: stands for Heading One and is the first thing a search engine like Google will look at to establish the relevance of your site after the title tag. With an H1 tag you are essentially telling search engines that this text, or heading is the most crucial.
Image Alt Tags: labels for any images on your site or document and Google, and others, use Image Alt tags to determine what the image is but also if the surrounding information is relevant an useful. Clear tags are very important for SEO.
Internal Linking: when a Google crawler finds your site it will also have a look at any links to see their relevance. If the link structure is unclear then it is possible the crawler may not even know the links exist. Many experts believe internal linking has a strong impact on Google’s algorithm and a clear pyramid shaped internal linking structure is key.

By using SEO your site will immediately have gained an advantage over any non-optimised sites on the web; people are inherently lazy and are most likely to click on one of the top five results, rather than any others. More people than ever are using search engines and SEO is becoming more and more common and is essential if you want to generate traffic on your site. Without SEO you run the risk of your site being buried deep in the search engine’s index and rarely read.