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Internet Marketing Blog

Website Traffic

Decoding Site Stats

If you have a website, keeping track of your site’s statistics is important. Why? Learning things like who is looking at your site, how they got there and which pages were viewed the most can help you tailor your content, and monitor how visitors are interacting with your site. Here, we’ll define the top five stats you should be keeping track of.
 
1. Page Views
Page views are the number of times your web pages have been looked at. Page views are important because they can help identify what content your customers care about most.

2. Visitors
Keeping track of the number of visitors your site has, as well as when these people are checking out your pages, is a great way to figure out when to run particular content. For instance, if you know that Tuesday is a high-traffic day, that might be when you want to run a specific sale.

3. Location
Visitors to your site can come from anywhere — from your hometown to somewhere across the globe – that’s the power of the Internet. Use the location information to see your site’s popularity in specific areas, as this insight can help you focus your advertising budget on these regions.

4. Search Engine
Identifying these search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) indicates where your website is being indexed and it can also help you see the search engines your visitors prefer.

5. Referring Traffic
Any website that links to your website is called referring traffic. Knowing what sites drive traffic to your website can allow you to find out more about your customers’ online activity, which can help you customize your site to fit their interests and needs. It’s a good idea to post your website on other sites such as your area’s chamber of commerce, blogs that apply to your business or review sites to create more referring traffic. You can also spot users that click to your site from your email marketing campaigns or local search profile with our click source feature.
 
It’s amazing how easy it is to get to know your site visitors. Check your stats on a regular basis and make sure you use the information to better your website and strengthen your connection with customers.

Digital Marketing Dictionary

We get it — when it comes to getting listed online, the process can be overwhelming. The first step is understanding what terms such as “local search” and “organic search” mean, and how they relate to your site.


Key Terms

Local Search
: The basic definition revolves around geography. Results are displayed when a potential customer searches online for a product or service within a specific geographic location. For example, if you type “landscaping, Boston” into Google, Yahoo orYelp, it will return Local Search results for landscaping businesses in Boston.

Social Media: According to Merriam-Webster, Social Media includes “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).” Whether or not you use Social Media in your personal life, utilizing it as a marketing tool for your business can have big benefits. Popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easy to engage with existing customers and connect with new ones.

Organic Search: The original type of results in a search engine that include a list of websites. Major search engines such as Google evaluate websites based on credibility and relevancy so that searchers find the best matches for their search.

Search Engine Optimization: Otherwise known as SEO, it is the process of optimizing your website so it shows up in organic search. One specific way to do this is to think about various keywords that you use within your content.

Keywords: Think for a moment about what words you type in to your preferred search engine when you’re looking for something specific. For instance, if you were searching online for a restaurant that served a particular dish, but you couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant, you would likely type in keywords such as your location, the dish’s name, or perhaps even the main elements of the dish.

Paid Search: Results are advertisements or "sponsored links" in search engines that businesses can purchase from sites such as Google. Paid Search is a useful form of online marketing for some businesses because one can see results immediately, however, unlike other more gradual types of online marketing, it does cost money.
 
Over the next few months, we’ll be posting specific content about how you can utilize these key digital marketing terms. Can’t wait for the post? Keep in mind that we have an extensive Online Guide that can be found on your dashboard!

Search Engine Optimization and Google Webmaster Tools

 
 
A few weeks ago, I posted some information about a new tool we added to the website builder: a Meta Tag editor.  This may be new to many of you and you might be asking yourself some questions like, what are meta tags, what is Google Site Verification and how do I set it up?  Or, how does this work with the Vistaprint Search Engine Optimizer (SEO)? 
 
What are meta tags?

Meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header of a webpage.  These tags are never seen by visitors to your site.  Instead, their main purpose is to provide search engines with information about your website.  This helps search engines recognize and rank your website.  
 
What is Google Site Verification and how do I set it up?
 
Google Site Verification is basically a way for Google to know that you own your site.  They will provide you with a meta tag to put in the header of your site so they can pick it up through their search engine, helping improve your visibility.  Once enabled, Google Site Verification and Google Webmaster Tools allow you to understand how people are accessing your site and what they are searching for.  Follow these easy steps to setup Google Site Verification for your website:
 
1. First, you’ll have to set up an account with Google.  If you already have something like Gmail, you’re all set.
2. Go to Google Webmaster Tools and sign in using your Google account.
3. Once you’re signed in to the tools, click “Add a site.”
4. Enter your website URL and press continue.
 
             
5. On the next page, choose “Add a meta tag to your site’s home page.”  Google will provide you with a meta tag.  
 
6. Open up your Vistaprint Website Builder in a separate window and choose the “Add Meta Tags” extra. Paste the meta tag Google provided you here.
7. Publish your website.
8. Once published, go back to the Google Webmaster screen and click “Verify.”
9. Once verified, you’ll be directed to your Google Webmaster dashboard, where you can access information about your site.

How does this work with Search Engine Optimization?
 
Google Webmaster’s dashboard provides specific information about your site, including significant keywords and search queries.  Basically, they’re telling you what keywords you have on your site and how people are finding you.  These are great pieces of information but don’t give you full details about your website optimization.  Using SEO with what you’ve learned from Google Webmaster can really benefit your site. 
 
SEO provides you with a report card that has specific rankings for each area of your site, including website name, links, images, and each individual page.  In addition, SEO shows how optimized your website is for specific search terms and keywords on your site (for more information, refer to our Vistaprint Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) post).  With the keyword and search term information from Google, you can receive a real time score about how well your site is doing with SEO.  Google may be saying what keywords are significant, but it may not mean each individual portion of your site is fully optimized for these.  That’s where SEO comes into play; it tells you where to optimize and provides fixes/tips on how to do it.  Using both of these tools together will help grow your site and company’s visibility through search engines.
 
We hope you like this new addition, please feel free to share any experiences you have and any questions you have.
 

Top Ten Mistakes People Make When Starting a Website

 
 
A website will almost always be a work in progress, launching one is not easy if you don't have the right tools and support. There are always tweaks to be made and changes that will affect the user experience, traffic and overall theme of the pages.  But there are also a few key mistakes that people typically make when it comes to starting from scratch. 
 
This morning Jeremy and I sat down to go through some of these key mistakes and while it was originally a large list we have refined it down to these 10.  If you can focus on getting these right, you’ll have greater success in launching your businesses website. 
 
1. Domain Names: Choosing a domain that is relevant, easy to remember and consistent with your brand.  Check out Ryan’s post on “Your perfect domain name”
 
2. Brand Consistency: Spend the time to make your site look and feel like the rest of your brand.  So if you have already designed a business card with certain design elements, make sure that you keep them consistent with your website.  Professionalism is what you are looking for and it gives your customers confidence shopping with you online or in your physical store when everything is the same.  This includes colors, tone of copy and including your company logo.
 
3. Consistent and concise information: Your customers are busy people these days and get bombarded with information all day. Having clear, consistent content which is easy to navigate is so important but too many people try to over communicate everything they do and how they do it to get their message across. Keep the format the same, shorter is better and above the fold is where your most important content should live. “Above the fold” is the term used for all the content you can see within the top part of the screen and it’s high value real estate. Check out Ryan’s post about content above the fold. 
 
4. Call to action: Micro businesses have a website for a reason, be it informing their customers of where they are and how to contact them, selling products, or putting out content around their industry or demographic.. But no matter what the reason, there should always be a clear call to action for the customer to act and take further steps to do business with you.  Giving the customer a clear direction gives you a better chance at a successful outcome. If you want them buy something think about the information they will need to know before buying.  Give it to them then provide them with an avenue to purchase. For example, a PayPal purchase button or large phone number call out for estimates.  Even a simple “contact us today!” can be effective in spurring action once people have landed on your site.
 
5. Investing time: Spend some time up front to make your site look professional and well presented. Check over your site design and content before making it live to the world. It doesn’t need to be perfect when you start, but having areas of your site looking sloppy does not make a good first impression.  You want it to be as close to perfect as possible before launching it.
 
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Think about search engine optimization while building your site and consistently after it has launched. Too many people think about it after the fact and being aware of good SEO practices from the start will put you in a much better position to maximize your online potential. The Vistaprint Search Engine Optimizer is a great tool to be able to monitor your SEO.
 
7. Customer contact details: At every opportunity try to capture your customer contact details so that you have an avenue to contact them in the future.  Having a “Contact Us” page is a must, which will allows you to take your potential customer’s information in the process.  Be open about your contact details; put your contact information on every single page of your website to make it easy to find. This will help you build a database of your customers and allow you to use mediums such as Email Marketing in the future.
 
8. Announce your site: People are not going to just stumble upon your site; they need to know or hear about it. Create an email marketing campaign to announce the launch of a new site, share it with your friends on Facebook, reach out to your local Chamber of commerce and put a link to the site on your new business cards or other marketing materials. 
 
9. Understanding your data: Once you have your site set up and customers are coming to your site keep an eye on your website traffic.  Make sure you’re taking the right steps to boost that traffic and testing your efforts over time.  Again, your site won’t be stumbled upon, you need to be proactive about getting it found by search engines and customers.  Check out an article by Francine on “Understanding your website traffic.”
 
10. Don’t set it and forget it: Your business is growing and changing all the time. Your website should be too. Too often micro businesses think, “Oh I have a website now, I am all set there.” The actual answer is, “it takes time to grow your business online and requires continual improvement.” Consistently spend time each week to monitor and make updates to your website. Listen to customer feedback and make changes to improve. 
 
Hopefully these tips help you whether you are just getting started or are working on improving your site. Look forward to hearing the mistakes you made when starting out.

Website Traffic: Why You Need to Measure It

 
 
Understanding and tracking your website activity is a ‘must’ to becoming a successful internet marketer.   You should be consistently using your customer metrics to understand who your customers are, what motivates them to come and visit your site. You can use these learnings to make improvements to your site to drive new visits, return visits, and ultimately sales.  
 
But where do you start?  Let’s take a look at some ways in which you can quickly and easily analyze your site traffic.
 
To maximize your stats, explore:
      
•  Which pages have the most impact

Check out how your different website pages vary in popularity (by Visitors and Page Views – Note: One visitor to your site can produce many page views), and how long customers are spending on each page (Visit Length).  Make sure to keep your most popular pages active and fresh, by making frequent updates for return visitors and enhancements for new visitors.  Can you define what elements make your top pages so popular and try applying them to your less trafficked pages?  This is a good way to ensure that all of the pages on your site are getting traffic, not just a few. 
       
•  Where your visitors are located

See what areas or cities your visitors are from to understand who you’re targeting (Location).  If most of your customers are local, consider optimizing your search engine performance for local listings with an Online Search Profile (include link to search tool/page).  Perhaps you’d like to print advertise to your customers, or see if a recent print advertising campaign has driven traffic to your site.  By knowing the locations of your visitors, you can better tailor your local marketing campaigns.
 
•  What days of the week and times of the day your visitors visit 
 
This is very important, because once you know this, you can ensure that you’re updating content or enhancements on the site to coincide with “busy times” just like you would merchandise a story when the rush is coming in. 
 
Orient your promotions, major site changes, and specials on the days that your visitors tend to visit your site.  Look for patterns to see if most visits are on weekends or particular days.  Further, with Advanced Site Activity, hourly reporting shows what times of day your customers are most receptive.  Schedule an email marketing campaign to get their attention and drive extra traffic to your site for these times.  Then make sure you measure the impact to see if the timing actually had an impact on traffic.  
       
•  What causes spikes
 
When you create additions to your site, closely monitor how they’re received through your Site Activity.  For example, if you’ve made page-specific changes, do visitors stay on the page longer (Visit Length)?  If you’ve added a controversial blog post, by how much did your blog traffic increase that day or week (Blog Stats)?  Has the new extra feature (like an image, video, or map) you added been used by customers (Feature Usage)?
 
Enjoy getting to know your visitors and how they react to your site, and to tune your website marketing accordingly.   As you make changes to your site check in to see how they perform and as your readership changes see how your stats do too! 
 
If you currently have the Starter website package, try upgrading to the Standard or Professional packages to get basic Site Activity included in your subscription.  To see what each of your site statistics mean, check out the Learning Center article on how to Succeed With Site Statistics.
 
How often are you looking at you stats? Are you seeing any interesting trends?

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