Useful Web Tools

Other Useful Web Tools

At the risk of portraying a Google Vs the rest of the world approach we thought it better to present a fresh page for a selection of other useful web tools. Again these web tools and comments are directed at busy business owners with a limited understanding of the web.

Tool : WordPress

Address : http://www.wordpress.com

Purpose : Created as a platform to start your own blog site we often direct v.small business owners to it if they are wanting to establish a brochure type site with no budget.

Ease of use : Easy to get started and to create an online presence but can be time consuming with a steep learning curve but you cant complain about the price. Lack of business support can be an issue for businesses.

Cost : Free

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Tool : AWeber

Address : click here

Purpose : A great web tool for automating, segmenting, capturing opt-ins, running your email campaigns, newsletters and regular communications with your client base.

Ease of use : Easy to use although you will need to allocate some time to learning and doing it well.

Cost : Free trail then from US$19 a month.

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Tool : TechSmith’s Snagit

Address : www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.asp

Purpose : A really useful and handy web tool where you can capture any image, webpage or anything that is presented on your computer. Great for presentations, updating your website, highlighting what’s not working, sending messages with examples of what you mean etc… We use it all the time.

Ease of use : Real Easy. Point and click or drag and click stuff.

Cost : Free trail then one of cost of US$49.95

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Tool : Crazy Egg

Address : https://crazyegg.com/

Purpose : A great web tool to help you understand how visitors are using your site so you can constantly improve it. They advise where people are clicking and the paths (heatmaps) they use plus other useful information.

Ease of use : Easy to use but as always requires some experience to be able to properly interpret the data.

Cost : from US$9 a month

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Tool : Kampyle

Address : http://www.kampyle.com/

Purpose : A great web tool for capturing feedback from your website visitors and then being able to analyse the responses to improve your website. Attractive buttons you place on your website.

Ease of use : Pretty straight forward to set up and use although it pays to remember this is a web tool and requires you to know what you need to ask and how to interpret the responses.

Cost : They have a free version

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Tool : Survey Monkey

Address : https://www.surveymonkey.com

Purpose : As the name suggests this is a really good web tool for doing surverys either via your website or sending out to your mailing list. Great for getting the feedback you need to improve your business.

Ease of use : Easy to use with a comprehensive set of question types to choose from and useful templates with lots of guidance.

Cost : They have a free version

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Tool : User testing

Address : http://www.usertesting.com

Purpose : A fantastic alternative to the likes of Survey Monkey and Kampyle as you can organise to get quick and useful feedback from a group of people who you can choose. Good if you dont have a ready made group or are not getting a lot of traffic or simply want a quickish response.

Ease of use : Fairly straight forward and good that you can choose who you want to ask via feedback left from other users.

Cost : From US$29 for one campaign

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Tool : Tinyurl

Address : http://tinyurl.com

Purpose : To convert really long url’s with lots of meaningless characters in them to a tiny url that you can then easily post or send to people. Good for using on social media sites like Twitter or keeping the message short in your emails.

Ease of use : Very straight forward and there is even an option where you can choose the words however most of the good ones have already been taken.

Cost : Free

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Useful Google Tools

Tool : Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Address : Click here

Purpose : Use to help identify your online market potential and what keywords are being used to search for your products and services.

Ease of use : The web tool itslef is very easy to use but you do need to put yourself in your customers shoes to identify the keywords to start with. Google helps a lot with comparisons once you get going.

Cost : Free to use the web tool

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Tool : Google Insights for Search

Address : www.google.com/insights/search

Purpose : To better define and understand which keywords to use. This web tool allows you to compare keywords across time, regions and categories so you can make better informed decisions about which keyword will work best for your situation.

Ease of use : As with the keyword tool above the web tool itself is easy to use and provides great graphs and information to make your decision or web strategy easier to implement.

Cost : Free to use the web tool

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Tool : Google Analytics

Address : https://www.google.com/analytics

Purpose : Critical web tool for helping you to understand and measure your sites perfromance and areas that may need attention.

Ease of use : A little tricky to get set up as you need to insert code onto your website and in the right place. Once established the reporting speaks for itself however it does help to have experience in knowing what to look for and how to utilise some of the more advanced options such as goals and funnels.

Cost : Free to use

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Tool : Google Alerts

Address : http://www.google.com/alerts

Purpose : Useful web tool for keeping up to speed on what is happening in your industry, with your competitors, with your prospects, what is being said or written about your products/services or just about anything relating to what is of interest to you.

Ease of use : Easy to use but do give consideration to the phrases or keywords you set up as it can return some way out there responses. It is sometimes like the needle in the haystack but can be invaluable info.

Cost : Free to use

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Tool : Google Webmaster

Address : https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools

Purpose : A range of web tools and reports to further assist you with keeping your website functioning at an optimium level. Google seem to use it as a tool to give you feedback about what is working or can be improved.

Ease of use : Similar to Google Analytics – its a bit tricky to get set up but once estblished the reports are most useful. Can be left to more experienced players but is a necessary web tool.

Cost : Free to use

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Tool : Google Website Optimiser

Address :
http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer

Purpose : As the name suggests this web tool is about optimising your site by allowing you to set up tests and experiements to see what page layout, content or offer will work best.

Ease of use : Would have to say this is for more advanced users and when you have established your sales focused website, are generating a reasonable amount of traffic and are planning on running lots of campaigns.

Cost : Free to use

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Tool : Google Adwords Pay Per Click

Address : http://www.google.com/adwords

Purpose : To run your pay per click advertising campaign and drive immediate traffic to your website.

Ease of use : Fairly straight forward and Google even offer a “starter camapign” plus there are heaps of tutorials out there as to how to use effectively. However for the busy business owner serious about driving a decent amount of traffic we would suggest outsourcing to a specialist.

Cost : Yes – depends on how much you want to budget and how much traffic you want to generate.

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Tool : Google Local Business Centre

Address : click here

Purpose : To have your business appear on the Map that Google shows on its front page when people do searches for local products and servcies. More than likely you will be one of 10 but you will be on the front page of Google – its definitely worth the time and effort.

Ease of use : Very straight forward to register and set up with the added options of showing images and files. Well worth taking advantage of and be aware that Google do verify it is your business.

Cost : Free

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Key Website and Campaign Stats to Measure Against

With all the reports and information available to you today it often gets confusing as to how to properly measure or understand if you are performing well or not. In this blog we provide a list of key website and email campaign stats that you can use as a benchmark to measure the success of your website or campaigns you conduct.

Conversion Rate ( 1.8% )

The average website conversion rate which is the number of conversion objectives (ie what you want your visitor to do when they get to your site) divided into the number of visitors to your site is 1.8%. If you are performing better than this then it may pay to adopt some traffic generation tactics to drive more visitors to your site as all things being equal should result in generating more sales opportunities. If less than 1.8% it may pay to review and adopt some conversion optimisation techniques. Normally some trial and error approaches based on sound analysis and customer feedback or survey’s.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides a great dashboard of useful stats and although the results do depend on your site objectives and layout here is a guide for the average corporate/business website :

  • A bounce rate below 20% is good. This is the number of visitors that come to your site and run away quickly without visiting any other pages. Once you start getting over 20% you may need to look at conversion optimization techniques to get it back under control.
  • An average of 3-5 pages views is a good benchmark. Obviously the more the better with below 3 indicating more work and analysis required.
  • You really want your visitors to be spending at least 3 minutes of their time on your site on average. Generally speaking the longer the better.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords provides a good level of reporting for any campaigns that you run with them. Listed below are some typical stats to benchmark against :

  • A click through rate (CTR) of between 2-3% is acceptable. Anything over 3% is good and anything under 2% obviously needs some attention.
  • The average cost per click (CPC) does vary depending on how competitive the keyword is but as a guide it typically is between $1 and $2. Anything below is good but does depend on the other measures. ie if you are paying $5 a keyword but are getting a clikc through rate than then converts into a sales opportunity it may very well be worth the investment.

Email Campaigns

These stats have been taken from Vision6.com.au latest Australian Email Marketing Metrics Report: Jan-Jun 2009 and relate to email marketing campaigns conducted in Australia. As they are averages you would be wanting to ensure that you are doing better or taking note of the results.

  • The average open rate for 1000plus emails being sent is 24%. For between 5-499 emails it is 35%. Generally speaking the open rate is higher for smaller email lists.
  • The unique click through rate is just under 5% for 1000 plus lists and as high as 9% for 5-499 emails sent. This is normally the action you want them to take from opening your email.
  • The unique click through rate as a % of unique open emails is 20% for 1000 plus emails being sent. So of the % that open your email 20% then click through.
  • The average bounce rate is 7.2%. Emails that come back to you for whatever reason.
  • Sunday is the best day of the whole week for people to open your emails followed by Monday, Thurs, Tues and Wed. Friday is the worse day so typically don’t send email campaigns out on a Friday.
  • 52% of all receipents open an email within 8 hours of delivery. 75% within 24 hours and 5.1% after 17 days. So the message there is to keep your campaign current for at least 20 days to be sure.

Hope that helps in some way and if you want to share any stats you have that you are not quite sure what they mean please comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your week

Richard

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What to focus on next – Traffic or Conversions ?

In this insight we provide an overview for helping you to decide what area of your sales focused website you should focus on nextTraffic or Conversions ?

The good news is that from a big picture perspective you really only have 2 choices :

  1. Traffic generation campaigns (eg. PPC and SEO) or
  2. Conversion optimisation techniques to help improve your conversion rates

(Whilst you could also elect to do a combination of both, for the purpose of this insight we will keep it simple).

To define which of these two areas you should focus on first you have to understand and apply the traffic x conversion = profits formula to your website.

Traffic being the number ofvisitors you need to attract to your site and conversions being whatever action you want those visitors to take once they get there.

Pre Requisites

  1. Access to your website stats or Google Analytics. If you haven’t set up your Google Analytics or are not sure how to find these stats then that’s your next step – set it up or ask your hosting provider or current developer to assist.
  2. You have determined your conversion objectives . Ie what action you want your visitor to take once they get to your site. Some typical examples are :
    1. Make a phone enquiry
    2. Complete a form
    3. Place an order
    4. Subscribe to your mailing list or blog
    5. Capture feedback or email addresses

Determine your “Gap” or Benchmark

You cant decide what area to focus on next without having a picture of how your are currently performing against what you actually want to achieve. You cant know how much effort or work will be involved until you can determine the “gap” between where you are now and where you want to be.

Apply the formula to your business

The stats will provide useful information around the level of  traffic/visitors, where they have come from and what they do when they get to your site. Knowing and then tracking yourconversion objectives then allows you to define the formula as it relates to your business. More importantly it allows you to determine your conversion rates. The end result is you have been able to take a big picture view and based on some industry benchmarks or your own business objectives you are now in a much better position to determine what area to focus on next.

Conversion rate example

Let’s take a moment to provide a quick guide on how todetermine your conversion rate. For this exercise we are going to keep things simple and have phone enquiries as your main conversion objective. Let’s assume youare generating 300 visitors to your site a month and you know that each month you are currently generating 3 phone enquiries.

Your currentconversion rate = 1% (ie 300 visitors / 3 enquiries & expressed as a %)

Do this now for your business and determine your current conversion rate.

Traffic or Conversions ?

The average website conversion rate is 1.8% (for this insight we shall also use that as your business benchmark) so once you have determined what your rate is how does it compare against this benchmark. The answer to that then provides you with the following options :

  • If your current website conversion rate is below 1.8% then in the short term it might be best to focus on conversion optimization techniques. Driving traffic costs money, time and resources so do ensure you are happy with your conversion rate before investing heavily in traffic campaigns.
  • If your conversion rate is above 1.8% then in the short term it might be best to focus on traffic generation tactics. By turning up the level of traffic and maintaining your conversion rate you will automatically get more conversion actions ie phone enquiries.

Obviously, it can get a lot more involved but we hope the above has been able to provide you with a big picture guide and a great place to start. For a more detailed analysis and discussion please feel free to give us a call or visit our site www.webenhancer.com.au for more tips and tools.

All the very best

Richard Ferguson

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Do you suffer from Brochure Site Syndrome ?

Brochure Site Syndrome (BSS) is a set of signs and symptoms that indicate you have been unable to successfully transition to a sales focused website with the outcome that it is hurting your business and costing you time and money.

The brochure or business card site is sooooo yesterday and in today’s competitive environment if you have the opportunity to build or upgrade your site then you need to be aware of BSS so you can jump straight to developing a sales focused website.

Not only does BSS cost you time and money but it can hurt your brand and send the wrong message about your business. A business that suffers from BSS will create doubt in your prospects mind, create unnecessary objections and lengthen your sales process.

How to recognise if you have BSS :

  • You still consider your website to be an annoying expense (as opposed to an ongoing investment).
  • You haven’t updated your website in the last 3 months.
  • You keep apologising to prospects, clients and networks about the state ofyour site.
  • You still think that having something on your site is better than not having one at all.
  • You still believe in the “build it and they will come” philosophy.
  • You don’t have a blog.
  • You wish the whole social media thing would go away so you don’t have to worry about any of it.
  • You don’t understand why people no longer choose to trust or believe what you write about your business and products.
  • You don’t want to have to spend money or time or allocate resources to attend to your site.
  • The web doesn’t apply to your business. You don’t want to attract “those” sort of people as clients.
  • Once upon a time someone told you your website was good so you don’t see any need to change anything.
  • You feel it’s all a conspiracy to get you to spend more time and money on marketing.
  • You want instant results and don’t understand why you would have to allocate an ongoing monthly investment into your website.
  • You are still thinking you can develop a sales focused website for a small one of expense.

If you have any of the above symptoms then consult your web adviser immediately.

Have an amazing day

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The When and Why of PPC Advertising

In today’s insight we want you to walk away with an understanding of :

  1. Knowing where PPC fits into the whole internet marketing thing
  2. When you should use PPC and
  3. If you should do it yourself or outsource to a specialist

Knowing where PPC fits into the while internet marketing thing

Given there is so much noise and hype about Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising or you may also know it as “Adwords” (which is Google’s PPC product name) it is important to first understand where it fits in. To know that is to understand the only true formula for a successful sales focused website which is :

Traffic + Conversions = Profits

PPC by itself is a traffic generating tactic and when done correctly will drive traffic to your site almost immediately. However for a PPC campaign to deliver tangible business results that will lead to profits you also need to take care of what you want the visitor to do when they get to your site.

You need to be clear right at the outset that PPC is one of many options to generate traffic to your site but without considering conversions it can be a waster of time and money. Other than some of the examples given below it’s best to ensure your conversion objectives are established before spending a lot of money on traffic generating tactics such as PPC.

When you should use PPC

  • Once you have established your sales focused site and your conversion objectives and require almost immediate traffic to complete your sales process.
  • To help define or assist in understanding what is working and how to improve your conversion process. Ie to create traffic so you can analyse it.
  • To compliment your SEO or other traffic generating campaigns because based on your conversion rate and objectives you need more traffic than they are generating.
  • To provide immediate traffic while you work on a SEO campaign that will take at least 4-6 months to kick in and start delivering the level of traffic you need.
  • As part of your traffic generating marketing mix so you can then determine which campaign works best for you.

Should you do it yourself or outsource to a specialist

There are plenty of tutorials, tools, ebooks, blogs, newsletters and experts available should you have the time, inclination or very little budget and want to do it yourself. We thought the best way for you to decide would be to review a Quick Guide to Pay Per Click Advertising from a very well respected internet marketer, Ken McCarthy, so please follow the link.

Take a look at it as he does have some great tips in there and then ask yourself is this the sort of thing I want to be spending my time on or am I best to outsource it to a specialist. If you are located within Australia we know of PPC specialists who offer to do it for you from a one of $200 set up fee and then a $200 a month management fee. Any actual ad spend is on top of that. That’s about the bets deal we have come across and is perfect to help you get started.

Normally speaking and for a busy business who doesn’t have the inhouse skills we would always recommend outsourcing to a specialist but read the doc and you be the judge

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What to say on follow on pages

Following on from our guide on what to say on your homepage, today’s insight deals with the follow on pages for a typical services type business. If you are not a services type business, don’t worry because it can easily be adapted to suit your business. The topics may be different but the general approach will be the same.

A typical service type business such as a business adviser or business coach should ensure they present to their visitors the following 7 topics or a variation of :

  1. Resources or Tips & Tools.
  2. Who We Serve
  3. How We Work
  4. Our Services
  5. Results or Case Studies
  6. About Us
  7. Contact Us

Here is a quick guide on what you should cover off within each of these topics. The approach highlighted here has been taken from Robert Middleton’s website tool kit  http://www.actionplan.com/wstk.html  which was first developed in 2005 but the info contained and guide provided is still relevant today. We strongly recommend anyone from within the professional services industry to visit Robert’s site and sign up for regular and valuable information on how to grow your business.

Who We Serve

This page is your chance to show them that your business is for them. How well you understand and have worked with people just like them and that you appreciate their situation and understand their problems. Its one of the first pages a visitor might go to after the home page because they want to know very quickly if your services are for them.

  1. Open with a good headline and an outline of the kind of companies you work with providing as much detail as relevant to your target market. Demographics as well as Psychographics should be used here.
  2. Then include a list of problem scenarios that you know they can relate to. This way visitors can easily identify with what you are saying and will be reading and nodding their heads as they go.
  3. On the same page let your visitors know what sort of client characteristics are necessary if your are going to be able to successfully work with them.
  4. Do not try and “Sell” on this page
  5. At the end of the page don’t forget to tell them where to go next – How We Work
  6. Remember visitors are scanners so use headings and bold words where relevant.

How We Work

This page is about what it might be like working with you, the sort of results your clients have reported, your approach and how you are different from other service businesses.

  1. Start with talking to your visitor about what they can expect from this page and as always open with a good heading.
  2. Then  move straight into “Expected Results” and take the problem scenarios you created in Who We Serve and solve them by outlining the results they can expect.
  3. Now list some of your guiding beliefs and values. What you base your work on, your philosophy and what you are trying to accomplish.
  4. Next talk about your approach. What it’s like to work with you, the things you do every time and if its fun, invigorating or challenging – tell them.
  5. Then highlight what makes you unique
  6. As always end the page by having a call to action which in this case might be to get them to visit your Services page.

Services

This topic is about presenting an overview of all the services you offer and what you do. Package your services up as much as you can and there is often the need to use sub menu’s for this topic as well.

  1. Use the main page to ensure the visitor gets a good overall picture of the services you offer. It might be best to provide a quick outline of each service and then direct the visitor to a unique page for each of your different services. This will vary with each business.
  2. In all cases start with an intro paragraph and heading that summaries the variety of services you offer and explains clearly the benefits and deliverables.
  3. Each service should cover off on :
    1. The name of the service
    2. Purpose of the service – ie this service is designed to accomplish ….
    3. Intended results – ie in this program clients will learn …..
    4. Structure – what happens in the course of this service being delivered including all relevant details.
  4. A strong call to action is required on this page as after reading about your service the visitor may be ready to take whatever the next step it is you want them to.

Results

This page is about showcasing who you have worked with and the results you have got for them. A good case study will highlight 3 things :

  1. The problem or situation when they first became your client
  2. The solution or service that was then used.
  3. The results obtained.

Testimonials are often best utilised throughout your website at relevant places and are much shorter and to the point.

About Us

This page is the only one where you can actually talk about yourself. Its purpose is to help build credibility and to present a “face” for your business.  It s about trying to convey that you are a great person to work with. Some areas you can talk about include :

  • How you got into doing what you do.
  • What interests or even fascinates you about your industry
  • Some of the contributions you have made to your profession
  • Some of your proudest achievements as a professional
  • Your working philosophy and approach to working with clients
  • Your education, background, degrees etc

Contact Us

Go the extra mile with your contact us page and don’t just have your contact details and a form for them to complete. Talk to them. Give them a reason to call. Outline for them the things that happen between someone contacting you and starting to work with you. How you will deal with them when they call etc.

It just may be that they are still unsure if they want to make the call so talking to them about the process and making it sound relaxed and simple could push them over the line.

Resources

Its important to have a resources page that provides articles, tips, tools or whatever you have that can demonstrate you are an expert in your area and are willing to help build a relationship with them. This is where you may place your blog or those special reports. Ideally, use this page to capture your visitors contact details as you are giving them something of value.

Its perfectly reasonable to expect that your visitor is going to want to get to know you and your work a whole lot better before making a decision to work with you. This is where the “Content marketing” concept kicks in and the strategies you can use here are wide and varied. Its also a good idea to ensure your homepage has highlights of what is on offer so visitors will come to your resources page.

That concludes our guide to what to say on your pages and next week we are going to introduce you to the benefits of using Pay Per Click once you have established your sales focused website.

Until then have a fantastic week

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