3 Christmas Ecommerce Marketing Ideas Your Customers Will Really Want

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year. It can be as troublesome for businesses as it is for customers. However, if cards are played right, both parties can walk away happy and content. It’s easy to maximize sales and revenue during the holidays as people are more willing to shop and spend. Below are interesting and smart Marketing Ideas for businesses with online stores during this busy holiday season.

Marketing Ideas

Discounts & Special Offers

A sale during one of the most hectic times of the year is a lifesaver for numerous customers. When buying copious amounts of gifts for friends and family, customers look for good bargains and reasonably priced products. Low prices at a time when a lot of shopping is required are highly attractive to customers. For example, Ugly Christmas Sweater is an online business that prides itself in, well you guessed it, ugly Christmas sweaters. Such sweaters are extremely popular during this time of year and in high demand. Therefore, by having a sale for their customers, the website is saving a lot of time for it’s customers and is increasing the amount of sales.

Special offers like “buy 1, get 1 free” will also attract customers to online stores. Especially during the holiday season, when customers are purchasing gifts for numerous friends and family. Free delivery and shipping is also likely to increase sales immensely. Some businesses might fear the loss of revenue over free shipping/delivery, but this is a good idea as customers are likely to purchase more products from such websites. Not only are the above ideas and suggestions easier for customers, but it is also easier for employees, as last minute sales can get out of hand.

 

Create Product Gift Bundles & Gift Cards

Marketing Ideas

Often, customers can get overwhelmed by all the gifts they have to buy for friends and family. Product bundles and gift cards make their life easier. Fashion retailers can put together themed outfit packs, liquor retailers can put together crates of a certain drink, salons can offer beauty packages etc. Bundles like this and this at Bath & Body Works will encourage customers to buy, as more products are offered for lesser the price. Value can be added by offering to wrap up gifts and delivering them directly to the recipient.  

Gift cards are also a good alternative as they simplify the shopping experience for customers. This way time and energy is saved, for customers, as they don’t have to go through the issue of picking and choosing gifts for people. Often, people are left with gifts they do not want. Therefore, in order to keep both parties happy, gift cards are a good alternative. An option to purchase physical gift cards online should be present, as well as the option of e-gift cards, for those customers who prefer shopping online.

 

12 Days of Christmas Advent

Marketing Ideas

Everyone loves a good advent calendar. Microsoft had a successful 12 Days of Deals this year. Businesses can use this to their advantage to increase sales and keep customers happy. Email subscribers can be offered a different deal every day via email. If you’d prefer traffic coming directly to your website, it is a good idea to have an online advent. Customers can click on the deals and offer of the day. For this, you could offer special discounts and discount codes on (certain) products or even offer free samples, wrapping, free delivery etc. Customers will love this as it’s a game of sorts and a mystery deal every day will keep them in suspense. This being said, it is not necessary that the products offered on the online advent have to be a mystery. Products can be shown to show customers which item will be available when. This will increase traffic on websites. It’s a classic Christmas time concept and is fool proof.

Reference: ch_19QM1JFtJ1oeQqwjfk7gnt9T

Guest Blogging – What Is It All About?

Guest blogging itself doesn’t take much explaining but the reasons behind doing it certainly do. So I thought I would make a blog post in its honour. You are welcome.

What is a guest blog?

A guest blog is a post written by someone for a website that is not their own. While some people may find it difficult to take their foot off their website brake so to speak, letting someone else have the driver seat can actually be very positive. Here are the reasons why.

Guest Blogging – What is it all about?

Diversity

By allowing guest posts to feature on your web page, you are allowing for more dynamic content. While diversity doesn’t suit all businesses (guest blogs on a bank’s website might not work), some more creative platforms will thrive on a break from uniformity. By providing a range of blog posts by different writers, you are essentially catering for a number of audiences.

Content may be of the same subject, but styles will vary and appeal to a different range of people.  When a range of writers come together to contribute to a blog, it lifts its appeal to new levels. A one man blog is just that; when multiple people come together to write, it becomes a community. And it is this fundamental reason why guest blogging is awesome and can lift your online presence. Obviously there are other reasons so let’s keep going.

Sharing

By bringing people into your blogging fold, you are in essence spreading your content further than it might otherwise go. I can’t think of one blogger I know who isn’t ridiculously big headed when they produce published content (I am raising my hand high for this one). More than likely guest bloggers will share their wares to the world, thus increasing the hits to your site. This can only be a good thing. And sharing is an absolutely pivotal part of the blogging process. Without the golden share, you are essentially just sitting and waiting for readers; we all know this just doesn’t work.

Inbound Links

Another awesome benefit of guest blogging is the potential inbound links you could gain. If your guest blogger has their own website, there is a chance they may feature their guest post and link to your platform. This is another great way of increasing your audience size.

Credibility

This one is the real clincher. Imagine how many doors may open for you and your website if you manage to secure a prominent well known guest blogger. This might not be the easiest feat, but if you have a really good quality website and perseverance you may be lucky enough to lock in a well-known blogger. Not only does an online influencers blog post give you website more validity, it also drives a large audience.

Insider Tip Alert – I was once interning for a fashion and beauty website. This particular website was in its infancy and attracted little readership. I wanted to make an impression, so I wrote a piece about my favourite blogger. She just so happened to have a following of 20,000 on Facebook. I wrote her a little email to say I was a loyal follower and included the link to my ultimate fan girl piece. Twenty minutes later, my article was shared on her social platforms; people love to be talked about it seems, and my said influencer couldn’t miss out on sharing this completer piece about herself. The result was a large influx of traffic to the fashion website, and an overall increase in clicks per article. People came for the influencer related blog, and stayed for the other content.

Where is the tip I hear you ask? Well, if you can’t secure an influential blogger to write for your site, flip it in reverse and write about them! They will love all of the free praise and promotion and just might share your link to the post.

Building Relationships

Another awesome side effect of guest blogging is the relationships you can build. Widening your network of bloggers is mutually beneficial to both parties; they provide you with content and you provide them with exposure. Another angle you can take is to ask for some reciprocation in the form of a post to their site. This is another way of promoting yourself and your platform, and finding a potential new audience to tap into.

We hope that you have found some value in this post and as always would love to hear your suggestions for other reasons why guest blogging is awesome!

Online Monetization

Once upon a time working from home was reserved for novelists and dodgy multi-level marketing people. Those days are behind us folks, and there is now more opportunity than ever to live the dream. The dream to get paid for staying in your PJ’s all day. All one needs to have for such a life is a laptop. And tenacity. Yep tenacity definitely helps. Otherwise you are just a person sitting at home in your pyjamas all day. With that in mind, I have decided to dedicate this blog to means of monetization online. I have written before about blog monetization specifically, but you don’t even need a blog for these ones! Get making them Ben Franklins. Or whatever we call them in OZ.  To make money online takes both strategy and also some luck (sometimes you can stumble upon something by accident!). But mostly, hard work is the key.

Online Monetization

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can complete a host of tasks so it is hard to categorise this Job title into one box so to speak. In general terms, a virtual assistant performs administrative duties from a remote location; for me this would be in my bed. The idea behind the virtual assistant phenomenon is to improve work place efficiencies and reduce costs. Take this example; a business may have an overflow of work to be completed, but not necessarily the need for someone to be hired in a full time capacity. This is why they may decide to subcontract their data entry, bookkeeping, word processing to name just a few. Rather than bringing this person into the workplace, they may use a virtual assistant who can do the work from home.

Another popular VA model is the “call centre” one. You can work as a telemarketing person, or even just be the point of contact for a business. This works particularly well for very small businesses that have stretched resources as it is.

There are absolutely endless opportunities online to become a virtual assistant but be wary of the low paying ones. Similar to the high volume low pay content mills I loathe, they pay pittance. Don’t ruin it for everyone by agreeing to work for 10 bucks an hour.

Information Product

Are you a dab hand at pottery? Or a whiz in the kitchen? Then why not make an information product of some sort? In loose terms, this is going to be a content creation product using your knowledge wizardry. Think eBooks or educational tools. Websites can be set up pretty cheaply these days, and it no longer takes Captain Spock, Stephen Hawking and their crew to set them up. Website and information product for sale is a recipe for cash! With basic templates available, your little “business” could be up and running in no time. Obviously the process is going to timelier than what I have made it out to be, but that’s the basic idea. I am leading you to water; it is up to you to drink!

Service Product

Following much the same idea as above, this is monetization of your skills. Examples may be arty types creating business logos, or audio experts making podcasts. I have probably lost some people at this point, due to the incredulousness of my money making ideas. But folks, people are doing these sorts of things right now and profiting! Ever heard of Airtasker? This is the perfect example. Money is exchanged for services in the most beautiful caveman way; a beautifully basic bartering system. No tax file numbers or reference checks, more like “I will pay someone 20 bucks to mow my lawn”. Its genius, so go and download the app. So far I have clocked up a grand total of 40 dollars, but it’s more than I had to start with right?

Reviews for Cash

There are lots of websites that offer cash or points system for review of their products and apps. There also plenty of sites that seek out people to complete surveys for a reward. Some of the sites can be a little dodgy, as in you have to jump through a million hoops before you reap any benefits, but there are some good ones out there too.  I don’t want to recommend as I haven’t really tried this method, but I know people who have, and have made some extra money from it.

YouTube Videos

Do you ever jump onto YouTube and watch some crazy dude crying over Britney Spears, or a chick eating like 20 donuts in a minute? I would do both those things simultaneously if I was getting paid for it like these you tubers are. Yep folks, build an audience on the popular video platform and you may start to profit like some of the other crazies do. In order to be successful through this medium, you need to be either drop dead gorgeous, or dignity devoid. Either way, it’s a sure fire money maker.

The process is pretty easy, and YouTube even have a handy guide for you to follow to get monetizing. I will leave it right here.

 

Let us know if you have come across any other awesome money making schemes online. In the meantime I will continue the quest to find some more hair brained ideas for you.

 

Great Sources Of Freelance Work For Writers

While this blog is going to be full of positives, I need to start with a little bit of negative. As a struggling freelance writer, there is nothing that irks me greater, then seeing content mills paying a cent per word. Please let me appeal to your inner Shakespeare and tell you, that you are worth more than such an extortionately low pay. Do not contribute to this segment of the industry by working for so low. By continuing to accept freelance work writers at such shallow return, the vicious circle will continue, and we will never be given the value that we deserve. You got to love my chutzpah right.

OK, complaints aside, we have some suggestions for some good sources of freelance work. This is based on my experiences, and I would love to get feedback from other writers who have used the same, or different platforms.

Great Sources of Freelance Work For Writers

 

Constant Content

Constant Content has writers divided, but my experience has been only good. It is a Canadian based company that acts as the middle man between writers and clients. Of course, it takes a healthy chunk of the freelancers earning for allowing them the pleasure of working through them; healthy being a rather large 35%. Before you choke on your pen, I must point out that some of the projects are well paid, high in volume and would not have been possible to write for in any other way, other than through the Constant Content platform.

Joining the site is by way of writing a test piece, and once accepted, you can begin applying for jobs. My biggest success has been through project work which I have been lucky enough to be invited into. Often the content is stiff enough; think repetitive product or location descriptions, but it is a good little earner, and work you can bank on. You do need to be comfortable with white hatting, in that you are never going to get credit for such work. So, if it’s your name at the end of an article that gets you going, this type of work is not going to satisfy you.

Upwork

Pretty much like the Constant Content format, Upwork is another popular option, and was re-branded in 2015. Previously it was known as Elance, which you are forgiven for remembering as being one of those low paying content mills I mentioned. Well, it has come back bigger and better, and whilst the unsavory pay rates can still rear their heads, the clientele, and in turn, the pricing, seem to have vastly improved.

Pedestrian TV

If this website was a place, it would be an art gallery. And the people in it, a dedicated group of creative souls, swirling brandy on the rocks, and complaining about the insipidness of the new sculptor. I mean this all in a wholly positive way! Pedestrian TV is a pit stop for music, fashion and art lovers, and it also the home of a jobs board, which is brimming with writing and freelance opportunities. I once secured a cool internship through Pedestrian, writing for a fashion and beauty site. If anything, I was most delighted with that fact that someone trusted me to write on clothes and makeup. Clearly freelance blogging has no face!

Travelicious

This website is a little ambiguous and the jury is still out on it. It is a cool travel site that screams out for travel writer wannabes to contribute them. At $40 an article; where do I sign up? Of course, there is a catch; one of the stipulations is that you must set up a blog, as per their specifications, which costs about $15. Still $25 up, so not bad and they do pay. However, beyond the initial article, there is great mystery around how one writes any more for them. I have visited many forums to investigate, and everyone who has discussed the topic have one thing in common; they were never invited for further writing tasks.

Mamamia

This well-known website is one for the masses, primarily targeting women. Content varies from fluffy to confronting; I guess it is a bit like the TV show “The Project”- but online. They pay $50 per opinion piece; but be warned, the standards for acceptance are high, and the waiting list is very long. With no guarantee of your freelance piece being published, it is a risk, but who doesn’t love a good challenge.

Huffington Post

I think everyone has heard of the Huff Post. In fact, I reckon a chunky size of the population has been tagged in a Huff Post article on Facebook. These guys don’t pay for contributions, but what they do offer is exposure. While I generally don’t agree with writers being asked to contribute for free, sometimes I think the benefits outweigh the cost, or lack thereof in this case. With such a large readership, Huff Post, among other big news sites can offer you a very large platform to write for. And with great articles, comes lots of likes and shares. Which can bring opportunity knocking on your door. Paid opportunity hopefully.

Writers Edit

This website is Australian born and bred, and probably more high end. Not only is it a community for professional writers to utilise the different learning tools and resources; it is also home to some good job opportunities. The site also details writing competitions with cash prizes. If you are top of your game, this could be another valuable source of revenue.

We hope you have gained something from this freelance focused blog, and it directs you towards some profitable work. Next week – more about monetization.

5 Gut-wrenching Challenges Faced By Bloggers Today (and How To Counter Them)

The availability of so many blogging platforms online these days made it easier for just about anyone to start their own blog. Even so, it doesn’t mean that all bloggers find it easy to blog consistently without hiccups – there are challenges to be tackled each day, preventing a good blogger from becoming a great one.

Here are the most common challenges almost anyone will potentially face during his or her lifetime as a blogger – which ones do you experience?

5 Gut-wrenching Challenges Faced by Bloggers Today (and How to Counter Them)

Challenge #1 for Bloggers: Writer’s block

Ahh, if only I had a dime every time I hear this lament uttered by writers everywhere, in and out of the blogosphere: “What do I write about?” The problem here is NOT because there’s a lack of content to write about. Rather, it is the fact that there’s too much information threatening to send the blogger’s brain into overdrive (admit it – you DO have a list of must-read blogs and articles daily, all . And we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad, don’t we?

Challenge accepted: To counter this issue, we need to first go back to our roots. Look at your blog, the first few posts that you’ve written from the beginning, that is. Do you remember just how exciting it was back then, clicking on the “NEW POST” button and tapping away happily late into the night with only a cup of coffee for company and your favorite band singing in the background? Reminisce on that, and relive those memories by doing exactly the same thing. Think about the purpose of your blog, and write about the most basic of all things that would appeal not only to your audience, but to yourself, because that’s why you started your blog in the first place, didn’t you?

If you’re on Twitter, do consider tweeting about your predicament, along with a strategically placed hashtag (i.e. #whatshouldiwriteabout) – it’ll do wonders for your content idea bank.

Challenge #2 for Bloggers: Lack of comments from visitors

It’s discouraging to wait and wait for comments to flood in especially after you’ve spent the whole night writing a blog post after a significant research and you feel awfully proud about, and then not receiving any feedback.

Challenge accepted: Heard about the old adage “Give, and you shall receive”? If you want the pleasure of seeing comments flooding into your blog, then you should first freely offer them on other blogs. Don’t leave generic comments like “Great job!” but instead, offer constructive comments or a reply that everyone will find valuable.

 

Challenge #3 for Bloggers: Zero or little traffic

Most people, with the exception of a few private bloggers, actually put up a blog so that people may appreciate their content, while others want more traffic so that they may capitalize on it. Whatever your reasons are for gaining more traffic, it can be disheartening to see the lack of traffic pouring in. Specifically, bloggers who write on unpopular issues like ethical drawbacks, home remedies to control insects & flies, and political crimes always face these problems of less traffic as compared to tech and fashion bloggers.

Challenge accepted: Do what everyone else is doing, and that is to promote your blog via social media. Companies such as SGWDallas swore by social media widgets that can easily help them achieve this. Another method is to identify websites that are similar to your niche and offer to write them a guest post or two. That way when you link back to your site, you’ll have readers from other sites visiting your blog. Voila, more traffic!

Challenge #4 for Bloggers: No time to blog

Some bloggers find it difficult to be consistent when posting content after the initial euphoria. It may be due to busier days at the workplace or a new baby if the blogger is a mom-to-be, but if you put your heart to it, you WILL find the time to blog.

Challenge accepted: If you own a smartphone, you’ll find that you can blog from just about anywhere using appropriate apps using your mobile device (Squarespace is pretty nifty). You can also consider sending out short but regular tweets, and when you do have the time, you can expand upon these tweets into full-fledged blog posts.

 

Lack of SEO knowledge

If you properly search engine optimize your blog, you may be rewarded with higher rankings than the average blogger who don’t. However, some bloggers bemoan the fact that they are not proficient in SEO enough without realizing that the most basic knowledge is the BEST knowledge.

 

Challenge accepted: You don’t have to be an SEO genius to start obtaining higher ranks in the search engines. As long as you have great content, a user-friendly design, a good amount of followers and good social media practices, then you’re as good as the next SEO blogger.

20 Proven And Tested Marketing Tips – Your Facebook Bible

No one can refute the value of marketing in Facebook when it comes to advancing your business. It’s for this reason that everyone in the marketing industry is taking the time to learn or inquire about this strategy. Considering how millions of people are in Facebook everyday, who wouldn’t right? This post will aim to serve as your facebook bible …

For the sake of efficiency and not having to jump from one resource to another, allow me to share with you 60 proven and tested Facebook marketing tips. If you’re looking for the ultimate resource in Facebook marketing, then this is what you need.

 

*Note – There’s always an exception to every rule considering how the “one-size-fits-all” logic never works in the field of marketing. That said, don’t treat these tips as absolutes… Think about your goals, community, and quality (among many others) first and foremost and simply integrate these tips.

 

Without further adieu, here are the tips…

 

1.) Go to niche related forums to find out what specific topics your community wants to talk about.

20 Proven And Tested Marketing Tips - Your Facebook Bible

If you want to know just what EXACTLY your readers like to read/talk about, then going to niche related forums and looking for “Hot threads” is what you need to do.

Considering how these “hot threads” are getting a lot of comments and reactions from a community that’s similar to yours. Chances are (and it’s really close to 100%) that they’ll like the same topic.

 

2.) Ask questions at the end of your posts.

 

 

Do you want to stir engagement within your community? If you answered yes, then the answer is quite simple… just ask them a question. There’s no rocket science reasoning behind it. The more your question relates to their situation, the better.

That said, don’t just ask random questions. Think about your community’s day to day lives and think about what challenges they might be facing. Ask about those challenges and you’ll definitely get them to open up!

 

3.) Don’t think that less is more all the time. Trust me… That isn’t the case in Facebook.

Others will tell you how you should only be writing short posts because long ones are too long to read.

While that may be the case sometimes, that isn’t ALWAYS the case. In fact, you might have seen short stories (which are long compared to short posts) that’s getting a lot of shares and comments.

That’s because more than the length of your post, quality plays an even bigger role when it comes to getting results in Facebook.

 

4.) Make them laugh!

 

 

Making your Facebook community laugh is a good way to remove any tension or “shyness” in them. It makes it easier for them to open up and look at you as a friend rather than some other guy on the internet.

 

5.) Use memes.

If you aren’t using these, then you’re missing out on A LOT of opportunities! Memes are an awesome tool to bring about humor and loosen up your community.

 

6.) If you’re undecided between posting photos or videos, choose photos! Photos ALMOST always outperforms videos!

It’s already proven and tested how images get more traction compared to videos.

But of course, you also need to think about what you are posting. If videos make better sense than photos then by all means, use videos! But with all things equal… go with photos instead.

 

7.) Don’t “automatically post” your Twitter posts in Facebook!

Twitter has a world and a culture of its own. And it’s plain to see how different Twitter’s feel is compared to Facebook’s. That said,  you’d better not be automating your Twitter posts to your Facebook account.

Remember that you’re communicating with 2 different communities who have 2 different moods. There’s a huge chance of you alienating one or the other if you automate your posts.

 

8.) You’re making a BIG MISTAKE! 2 – 4 times a week is what’s considered as “not too much”.

Newbies at Facebook marketing think of posting 2 – 3 posts PER DAY to avoid posting “too much”. They compare it with others posting 5 – 7 times a day so they consider themselves respectful of other people’s feeds.

Well… Sorry to tell you but 2 per day isn’t considered as “not too much”! 3 – 5 times a week IS so you’d better consider these numbers when thinking about how many posts you’ll do in a week.

 

9.) Don’t just post regularly. Measure your results!

Measuring plays a key role when determining what works and what doesn’t. So don’t neglect it!

 

10.)  Remember that it’s not about you… It should be all about them!

Aren’t you just sick and tired of companies talking about how awesome their services are, how long they have been in the business, and how friendly their employees are?

Trust me you are not alone! Never fall for this trap!

Post about the things that will benefit your readers and not how good you are. There’s a fundamental difference on it. Think about features vs. benefits!

Go for benefits!

 

11.) Don’t just use good looking photos in your FB ads. Study which ones are performing better by switching it up!

This is about split-testing. Don’t just settle for one image on your FB ads. Think about using multiple images and run several tests to determine which ones perform better.

You’ll be amazed at how seemingly low quality photos outperform the good looking ones.

 

12.) ALWAYS maintain professionalism! Do not bad mouth anyone using your FB profile/Fanpage

If you don’t act professionally, then why on earth would they entrust solving their problems with you? Consider that before you start cursing and bad mouthing anyone using your fan page.

 

13.) Reply to the comments as fast as you can!

If you think it’s ok to reply to comments 2 days after it’s made, then you’re making a huge mistake!

A lot of things can happen within that 2 days. One very possible scenario is your competitors answering your prospect’s inquiry thus making you lose the sale.

 

14.) If this is the very first time you’ve visited twoggle, then you’d better bookmark it. You’ll learn a lot about Facebook marketing strategies here!

The tip says it all. You’d better bookmark twoggle if you want to learn more about Facebook marketing. This alone can go along way as far as helping you grow as a Facebook marketer.

 

15.) Use contests

Contests almost always does the trick when it comes to rousing your community’s interest. Try it. You’ll be mind-blown at what it can do for you.

 

16.) Build a Fanpage if you’re just using your personal profile.

If you’ve been marketing your business using only your personal profile, then stop living under a rock and start creating a fan page. It’s so easy and the returns it can give you is downright amazing!

 

17.) Don’t be left behind… Join niche related groups!

Keep yourself updated on what’s happening in your niche. The more updated you are, the more you can relate and spread the news to others who haven’t heard it.

One of the best ways to do this is to be connected with niche related groups. If your niche is fitness conscious, then you should join organic hemp, fitness or dietary food related groups rather than be wasting time on meaningless things.

They’re almost always vigilant about what’s happening about the niche and you can bet your family jewels that they’ll come reporting to the group if they have a new scoop.

 

18.) Be controversial

Look at how viral the presidential election is right now (even if it’s in a negative or positive way). Controversy has a lot to do with it (to say the least) so don’t take being controversial lightly. Then again, be sure that you put the right balance to it since it can backfire on you and you might end up shooting yourself in the foot.

19.)

Use sweepstakes

Sweepstakes can bring about the feeling of eagerness and suspense. It’s never failed me once especially when it comes to rousing my community’s interest.

Just remember that a well-organized sweepstakes can get you tons of interaction let alone leads/sales.

 

20.) Don’t just think about yourself, promote others too!

Promoting others is a sign of good will and your eagerness to build relationships. You should take the time to promote others whenever you can. If you do this, you’ll be amazed at the kind of relationships you can build with other webmasters.

Google Analytics – Part 2

For part two of the Google Analytics series, we are going to look a little more in depth into the four components of GA. The 4 components, as a reminder are –

  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Configuration
  • Reporting

Google Analytics - Part 2

Collection

At collection stage, the raw data is captured and delivered to GA. We learned last week that a piece of java script can be embedded on your website in order to collect the relevant data. It is important that this code is placed on each web page that you wish to collect data from. Another important note is to ensure that the code is placed in the header before the closing </head>. The reasoning for this is to ensure that the data is still captured, even if the user leaves page before it has fully loaded.

Last week we also spoke about the collection of data from games consoles, kiosks, and other offline sources. This is done with Measurement Protocol which is found on GA. Developers can use it to make HTTP requests, in order to send raw user interactions to GA server. This allows for analysis of offline to online behaviours.

Processing and configuration

These two processes work very much together. Configuration settings can be customised in “Properties and Views” tab in your analytics account.  A hit is triggered on a website, when an interaction happens. Collected hits are then sorted into users and sessions in the processing stage. A new unique id is created every time a new user is identified on the website. However, it is important to note that if the cookies are erased, or application is re-installed, the user will be assigned another new id, rather than being triggered as a repeat visitor. A session timeout length is considered to be 30 minutes.  You have the ability to customise up to 12 widgets on your google dashboard, and these should be for data that you need and want to know.

For configurations, you will looking at 2 components – properties and views.  A property is considered to be a website, mobile application or device such as kiosk or point of sale. You can add the properties that matter to you when it comes to reporting. A view is more specific, in that it is a defined view of data from one of the properties. Examples of views might be a general view or all you web traffic, or a view of only AdWords traffic directed to the site.

Reporting

Of course, because analytics is pretty awesome, you can customise your report, like pretty much everything else. This can be done through the customization tab in your GA account. From here, you can chose how to display your data; think tables, graphs and pie charts. For really high volumes of data (you wish), there is an option to back the report up with a table. Custom tables are used to aggregate important data on a daily basis to ensure that 100% un-sampled data in the reporting.

Paid and Unpaid

Last week I promised to tell you about the paid and unpaid versions. The paid version is called Analytics premium, while the free version is GA standard. Standard version is probably sufficient for most small to medium websites, with the ability to process up to 10 million hits per month. Campaigns can be measured, AdWords integrated and real time data analysed. These are just a few of the great feature of the standard version.

Premium has all of the standard features and then some. Examples include digital measurement strategy, data integration services, and get this; a dedicated account manager. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but if you need to know how big we are talking when we mention premium, here is an example. Premium has the capacity to process up to 20 BILLION hits per month. Yep that’s a b on the front of that numerical word. Premium is really only necessary in this case, when you are rolling with the big boys.

What can analytics do for my business?

GA is an important and powerful tool for every business that has a web presence.  Here are a couple of ways to portray just how important we mean.

Benchmarking

The benchmarking option on GA allows you to weigh up against your competition. Of course there are limitations to this, as who says all of your competition are using analytics. However, it is still a handy little tool to refer to, ensuring you keep your eye on the ball.

Repeat VS One Timers

It is great to see how the repeat visits weigh up against the one timers. If you have more of the latter, than perhaps you need to change things up, to bulk up the repeats.

Where in the world

It is pretty obvious why knowing where your customers are coming from is good. You can build more targeted plans to increase numbers in less performing areas, or to grow even further in high performing ones.

Compatibility

Actually being able to see where which browsers your visitors use is really awesome. You might have a high reach from Firefox, but not actually be web compatible with Firefox. This can result in lost business, as people won’t return. Knowing your percentage of traffic through a browser, allows you to weigh up whether to invest further in your sites compatibility.

 

These are just a couple of examples of why GA is super important, but if we want to strip it down, it is really as simple as this. In order to be successful in business you need to be able to give your customer what they need. GA shows you what is working and what is not, and this is data is really the foundations that are required to build your web presence up to where you want it to be.

Due to popular demand, next week we will touch again on the different ways to make money online. I have a couple of new ones up my sleeve and I can’t wait to share them with you! Happy reading.

Google Analytics – Part 1

This 2-part series examines Google Analytics and its very important place in measuring outcomes. Because we are sound and want to make sure that you get the most out of this topic, we have divided it over 2 weeks. Google Analytics is an absolute minefield, so we are going to start small, and build from there. Let’s get straight into it!

Google Analytics is obviously a google baby, but in more generic terms, let’s examine digital analytics. Twoggle have come up with our own definition, that is – Digital Analytics is the planning of, implementation, report, analysis and measurement of carefully chosen business objectives, with the intention of using resulting data for the benefit of future digital campaigns.

Google Analytics - Part 1

Often, digital analytics are viewed as quite one dimensional, in that their sole purpose is to examine the source of traffic. It is important to note however, that this is digital analytics in its most basic form. Without a strong digital analysis tool, a business website or site for other purposes, is a fish out of water. In saying that, it is time to jump into Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a site delivered by google, that delivers statistics on a site traffic. There is a basic version, which is free of charge, and a more advanced paid version called 360. We are going to look at both in part 2. It must be noted though, that the free version is more than adequate for most small to medium businesses.

Components of Google Analytics

There are 4 components of google analytics, that work together to provide you with the information that you want and need. These are –

  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Configuration
  • Reporting

Collection

In order to collect the data that you require, you will first need to add some google analytics code to your platform. This is in the form of java script for your website, and SDK (software development kit) for a mobile device. Believe it or not, Google analytics is capable of collating data from games consoles, ticket kiosks and even off line, but let’s leave them for the more advanced 2nd part of this series.

To keep it simple, let’s examine the java script tracking code. It is a piece of code that must be added to each web page, to collect accurate data. This itty-bitty coding is so smart, and manages to collect and transmit user activity back to your analytics account. It identifies language preference, browser name and operating system, bundles these together and delivers to the google account as a page view.

Processing and Configuration

These 2 components go hand in hand. Processing and configuration happens when the data collected from website or device, is organised and transformed into meaningful data that can be reported on. You can control some configuration components yourself through the google account, so that data from google AdSense and google AdWords is incorporated. This is called account linking. You can even configure, so that data from non-google sources are also included! This is called data importing. The world is a google oyster! During the processing stage, the main task is to sort users and sessions. It is important to note that a user can take part in many sessions. There are new users and repeat users, and during processing, these are sorted from each other, by a randomly generated unique code. It is really quite an incredible system!

Through the configuration settings, you can aggregate your information, by a process of filtering, goals and grouping. More on this next week.

Reporting

Once processing and configuration has taken place, it is time for the all-important report. Google analytics reporting tool standard template has both dimensions and metrics. The dimensions are the first column or value, while each metric is a precise measurement of that value. Sounds complex, right? Well, it is slightly, but we will get into it more next week. The report is the piece of the pie that we all want, but we can see why the steps that go before it are so important.

This blog serves to spell out in a basic fashion, each of the components that make up the foundation of google analytics. Whilst there is a whole other feast of platforms that measure data, google analytics is of course the most well-known. It is not too easy to understand at a first read, but there are a host of online learning resources to get more familiarised. Google Academy is a wonderful place to start. You are taken through short concise videos, which spell out in a clear fashion, the many different facets of analytics. At the end of each learning module, there is several questions to test yourself on. Fancy becoming a proficient google analytics know it all? Sorry I mean expert. Well you need to become a google partner. Find out all you need to know here.

Next week, we will examine in more depth each of the components, the difference between paid and unpaid versions, and most importantly- What google analytics can do for your business.

What is your experience with Analytics? Let us know your thoughts below!

Blog With Success – Part 3

Building your Audience

So after part 1 and 2 of our blogging series, we can only assume that you are working it like a boss. At this point, we have laid some foundations for you in respect to blogging platforms, and digital media skills. Once you have nailed these, it is time to really start promoting your blog, and building your audience. We don’t believe in the used car salesman type tactics, but in order to “sell” your blog, you may have to get in people’s faces. After all, we have previously mentioned the ridiculous amount of content that is uploaded every day. How many people are really going to see your work, if it is hiding amongst the rest of the new content online? This blog looks at some ways of growing and managing a blog, to ensure that it is a successful one.

Blog with Success - Part 3

Never Stop. Ever

There is such a high requirement for consistency in blogging. You literally cannot drop the ball on it. Frequent and regular posting is absolutely key. I have said this a couple of times but it is worth mentioning again. Like all jobs, blogging can sometimes feel like a chore. Even if it is your calling in life, you may have a day when you just don’t feel like giving it your all. These are the days that are more important than ever to make sure that you post content. After all, you have to treat blogging as a job. It takes work, and sometimes frustration to get it right. So yep, pretty sure that sounds like work!

Cross Sell

We spoke about social media in previous posts, and we have no shame speaking about it again. Treat social media as your vehicle that carries your content to different audiences. Use as many platforms on social media that are relevant. The beauty of posting on social media, is that you are potentially exposing yourself to a gaggle of new readers. Scary hey! Social media can be seen as the egg, while your blogging platform is the chicken, but I reckon this way of thinking is fowl (I know, I am cringing at that pun too) in all seriousness though, think about it. Your blogging platform is fabulous, but it is only as good as its audience size. If people don’t know you are there, you have to go to them. Hello Facebook!

The Power of Sharing

So I am still on the social media arena, but I want to separately highlight the power of sharing. It is incredible how much traffic you can drive to your site by people clicking that share button. It is important to have a really snappy title; I don’t want to say click bait but you know what I mean. Headings that evoke some sort of emotion; even if that means anger, are bound to be clicked.

Partner Links

Partner links are another good way of driving some traffic to your site. Get prospecting, and contact some blogs or businesses that work in a similar space to you. Explain to them that there is a mutual benefit of sharing links. People tend to bite, when there is something in it for them!

Guest Post

Guest Posting on an established website, is a great way to get your name out there. By giving this brand new audience something amazing to read, you may be able to coax a few of them to visit your little ole site.

Share button

On your beautiful blog, you need to make sure that people can share your bloggie babies! Most blogging platforms allow you to install a share button, so make use of it!

So there you have it, our top tips to aid you in building your audience! We wish you well and as always would love to hear some feedback. We really hope you have enjoyed our wee 3 part crash course in blogging and we will be back next week with Google Analytics! This one is going to be a biggie.

 

Blog With Success – Our Research Part 2

Following on from the last post in this series, I wanted to open by discussing the feedback I received on copyblogger.com. The overall opinion of our readers is that you like the interface as it is clean and easy to navigate. This tends to be what attracts most readers to a blog, content aside.Website navigation and layout are super important; the more difficult it proves for someone to find what they are looking for, the more likely they are to leave the page. This takes me nicely to the crux of this blog. I want to examine the different platforms that are out there for would be bloggers. Consequently I also want to showcase some of the basic techie skills required if one is to attempt to begin their own blog. As a result of this post, and the ones before and after it, I hope to help you blog with success.

Blog with Success - Our Research Part 2

SEO

I speak about SEO regularly and I have linked to a great SEO blog here, for those who are new to it. For the purpose of this post I will assume that you have heard of SEO and want to learn comprehensively on the subject. Great step in your learning; SEO is an absolute must for every blogger. Let’s look at some places to learn all there is to know about Search Engine Optimisation.

ADMA – Association for Data Driven Media and Advertising

These guys do an awesome course, but it is not cheap. Expect to pay in excess of $500 for the honour of completing it, but we reckon it is money well spent if you plan on future monetisation of your blog. ADMA have some big name partners associated with them, such as Telstra, so you know you are in good hands.

MOZ

We are big fans of Moz.com. It is nearly as good as our website and for that we salute them. They run an awesome beginners SEO course, and get this – it is totally free! The content is structured into chapters and is delivered without the bells and whistles. In other words, if you are not technically minded, you will still be able to understand this content.

The Left bank Liberating Education

The Left bank specialises in digital marketing courses, and they also run an awesome SEO Fundamentals course. The course will set you back $100, and takes about 8 to 10 hours to complete.  The absolute essentials of SEO are covered in great detail. Now we have SEO ticked off, it is time to look at the different platforms on which to host a blog.

Platforms

WordPress

WordPress is the most well-known platform, and it is also extremely user friendly.  WordPress started as a basic platform but has now grown into a full content management system with almost 50,000 plug-ins. WordPress can be as basic ; or as complicated as you want it to be. Aside from our many great blogs on WordPress, there are many other fantastic learning tools online.

Learn WordPress

Learn.wordpress.com is an awesome website to learn all there is to know. Furthermore it is also brought to you by WordPress, so there is no hope of being provided with incorrect information!

Squarespace

Squarespace is my personal favourite platform for blogging. It is not free, but for a small monthly cost, you can be the proud owner of a super glossy website. It is a very user friendly interface, and there is lots of room for creativity. Google Squarespace and you will find a myriad of information on it.

Blogger

This portal has been around for some time and it is easy to see why it is such a popular option. It is absolutely fool proof in its set up, and it must be noted that it comes with a free blogspot domain. Customise your own for a small price.

Capitalize and Analyze

Now that you are writing awesome content on a quality interface, it is time to start making some coin and measuring your traffic. Measuring of traffic is super important, as it allows you to figure out where your audience is coming from and peak times of engagement, amongst other things. There are a range of analytical tools, with many platforms the proud owners of their own tool. Google Analytics is another widely known measurement stick and we will be examining it in great detail over the next few weeks. Monetisation is really the driving force for most people to blog and I have included a link to our guide to monetisation here.

Social Media

In order to have a successful blog, the actual blog itself is only one side of the coin. Social media is part and parcel of any successful blog, and it is much more than just Facebook. From Twitter to Instagram, Pinterest to Tumblr, there is a minefield of Social Media options available. Blogging alone is not enough anymore; social media is the like the pigeon that delivers the news. Social forums allow for your stories to travel direct to the reader, rather than waiting for the reader to come to you. Utilisation of the best form of this media can sometimes be confusing so we have a couple of suggestions for the best learning platforms. Hubspot is probably the best out there at the moment. Their blog is jam packed with social media tips, discussions and how-to’s.  Furthermore, Their content is really interesting which is a plus. Sometimes learning about marketing can be a bit of a drag (there I said it!) but Hubspot knows how to throw a party. Next week – Wrap up of everything else for future blogateers !Lets ensure you blog with success!

Any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.