YES! Website Analytics For Small Business Websites

Do you have Web analytics installed on your small business Web site? If not, you should. How will you know how your Web site is performing if you aren't measuring the plethora of data available?

Cost is no longer an excuse for not having Web site analytics. The free options are quite robust; Google Analytics, for one, is quite comprehensive. In addition, Yahoo last year acquired IndexTools, and has made a version of that available for free to its advertisers.

Obviously, there's a learning curve involved in analyzing your data. But it's worth it because the analytics information will help you increase your conversion rate, maximize your ROI, and make more money in less time.

Once you know what you should be looking at, your online business will thrive with just a little effort. You'll be less "in the dark" about what is and isn't working for you.

Let's outline four of the more important metrics you should be looking at. Keep in mind -- depending on what you're selling and what action you consider a "conversion," these may vary a bit, but they're a good place to start.


Conversions are the be-all and end-all for me. Are you making money, signing people up, sending people out (if you're an affiliate and you make money on advertising clicks)? Your traffic can be the best in your industry -- but it won't matter, if you're making zero dollars from that traffic?

By measuring your conversion rate, analyzing sticking points, and clearing the paths to and through your sales pages, you're making sure your conversions are on their way to being the best in the industry.


Cyber Monday Online Spending Up 15% from Last Year - $846 Million in e-commerce Sales

Cyber Monday sales were up 15% reaching $846 million, making it the second highest online spending day recorded, according to comScore.

Earlier this week, comScore said that rate of growth for Cyber Monday sales have traditionally indicated the overall rate of growth for holiday spending in general. If that remains the case this year, that's good news. While the rate has certainly declined, it is still growing.


Post-Cyber Monday Marketing Tips

Many of us have been waiting for "Cyber Monday" to come around and show its colors. The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend is, of course, the online shopping version of "Black Friday," where brick & mortar stores offer deep discounts to kick off the holiday shopping season.

As this is such an important time of year for e-commerce companies and a key indicator of how well the rest of the quarter is going to run, we must be very careful of how sites are maintained and operated during such times.

I've written several times in the past about how overall site performance is a very important factor in your organic search campaigns and paid search efforts. Search engines like Google are trying very hard to maintain a level of quality that their users expect.

A heavy load can lead to a degradation of user experience and will cause your paid ads and natural search rankings to vanish. Thus, enforcing a development moratorium is a great idea to make sure that the sites are performing well and won't go down over tinkering.

Most large sites that work under Sarbanes-Oxley, or SOX, compliance won't allow any changes to be pushed to the Web site from Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, up until the end of the year, with all changes being backed up until a large release on January 1.

While you're waiting to put out any new releases, consider investing more effort into other forms of marketing that may have an indirect impact on your overall SEO coverage. Videos can be a great source for driving visitors. Videos may drive a ton of traffic if the content is intriguing enough.

When selecting your subject matter, don't make the video into a product advertisement. Take an example from Will it Blend? None of their videos initially tried to sell anything. You would never see anything about buying their blenders, but their compelling content drove 40 million dollars in blender sales.

The key to placement: don't just upload the video to YouTube and let it go. Upload the video, tag it appropriately, and make sure the words you use are related to the information about your video and not fancy marketing terms that no one looks at.

Imagine the difference between having a billboard in Times Square versus a cornfield in the middle of the country. Search keywords are very important to consider.

After you post your video, make sure to write about it in a blog post and make sure to embed the material in the post. If you're sure this video is compelling enough, post it to Digg and see how people respond to it.

Simply creating 30 accounts and Digging your same post on your machine will be seen as spam -- don't abuse it, it's a waste of your time. If anything, ask your friends to consider Digging the video. If they think the video stinks, no one else will Digg it, and it will get buried.

Consistency is very important. You should always try to convey a message from the same person. This will drive trust to the person and can possible drive a consistent level of viewers to come back and see your antics time and time again.

Track Your Website or eCommerce Traffic Goals with Google Analytics

Webmaster tools from Google are indispensable for people who optimize their web site for indexing with the Google system. Google Analytics is a new statistics and metrics tracking feature offered by the team at the google compound. This free web based analytics software is the perfect tool for you to track your users and web marketing campaigns for all of your web sites and projects.

We wanted to highlight some of the wonderful webmaster-specific metrics available within the Google Analytics system for you, since it offers a lot of easily-accessible information that will enrich the daily online work you're doing and the web sites you are building. Do you know how many of your web site visitors are using IE versus Firefox? And even further, how many of those IE or Firefox users are converting on the goals you have created? Google Analytics will tell you important information like this so you can develop and customize your website for your targeted audience.This also is a helpful feature when building and designing your web project, when you are designing your website, you can prioritize your testing to make sure that the website works on the most popular browsers and operating systems first.


E-Commerce Shopping Cart Software

I have spent a few years developing ecommerce solutions for my clients. In a search to become more efficient and to reduce the cost of an individual ecommerce install I looked into the idea of using a pre-built open source ecommerce package. I believe our first packaged cart was called storefront and was built on the asp framework. I would have to say that system was the most difficult package to use of all the systems we tested. The back office application was clunky and the framework was not what I had expected when spending a nice amount of cash to acquire the software.

The second choice of ecommerce software, ZenCart was a much better solution. ZenCart utilized PHP and had a wonderful online community. The draw backs I found with ZenCart was 1, that it was only available in PHP, I have clients with a wide range of needs. 2, The layout had some strong limitations that took a bit of time to work around. I was much happier with ZenCart than I was with the previous solution.


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