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Using google analytics to improve your website

Using google analytics to improve your website

Firstly, if you don’t have Google Analytics (GA) set up on your website yet – do it today! It’s free and it’s a powerful tool that helps you understand what’s working on your site and what’s not. GA uses a piece of code that gets embedded in your website back end to track what people are doing on your site. A bit like your own personal investigator always in the background, spying on everything that happens. (if you need some help adding GA to your site – give us a shout and we’ll do it for you)

Now, for those of you who do have Google Analytics (GA) set up, you need to be able to understand what the GA data is saying. Once you understand your GA data you can stop guessing and make data-driven marketing decisions. Decisions which will ultimately improve your bottom line.

So how can you use your Google Analytics to improve your site?

The GA data may seem intimidating when you first look at it, but we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll help you understand 3 key metrics of your site analytics that you can use to improve your website.

1. How quickly are people leaving your site a.k.a. The Bounce Rate

Let’s start on the Audience Overview dashboard/report and have a look at the Bounce rate. This shows the number of visitors who land on your website, do nothing on the page they entered and then leave your site. So they don’t click on a button, a menu item or any other internal link on the page. A high bounce rate is anything over 70%. What does this mean for you? Well, either the page was too slow loading, or broken, or the page content wasn’t appealing to them in any way. Address these issues and then see if your bounce rate improves. You may also need to analyse your bounce rate alongside the next metric, Time on Page. If your time on page is good and bounce rate high, your users may be finding exactly what they need on your page and then leaving. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it lets Google know that they found your page relevant to their search query. Which in turn helps improve your ranking with Google.

2. Is your content engaging a.k.a. Time On Page

If you look at the Behaviour Overview dashboard/report you’ll find your Avg. Time on Page. This measures the average amount of time all users spend on a single page. As mentioned in the previous point, this metric is very useful when analysed alongside your bounce rate. So how can you use it? Well, if page X has a higher time on page measurement than pages Y and Z, then you should consider creating more content like X and less like Y and Z.

3. What are people doing on your site a.k.a. Behaviour Flow

The Behaviour flow dashboard shows the path a user follows from one page to the next or from one event to another. Showing where people enter your site, how they move from one page to the next and eventually where they drop off. How does this help you? Are people moving through your site in the way you would like them to? For example, your users are entering your site to read your weekly blog post and you want them to move from there to your store page. But when viewing your behaviour flow you see that they are reading your blog post and moving on to some older posts and then exiting the site. In this case, you need to interrupt their flow and redirect them in some way to your store from the blog post. To do this you could add a highly visible CTA at the bottom of each blog post or add an exit popup that appears when people try to navigate off the blog page.

Understanding the data GA provides and gaining insight into your user activity is only the first step of the process. You need to make meaningful changes to your site if you want to improve your website conversions.

We work with business owners who although they have fantastic products and services, have websites that just aren’t bringing in any leads and don’t know how to fix this. Let us know if we can help you interpret your site’s GA reports so that you can get a site that attracts the right kind of clients who are looking for exactly what you are selling. 

We’d be happy to get you started with a free 20 minute consultation.

How to build trust online

How to build trust online

What is the first thing you do when you want to check something? You Google it, right. Well that is exactly what people are going to do when they want to check your business out. Then if they find your business online, how do they know they can trust you? Do you make them feel comfortable enough to buy what you’re selling?

Just like a personal relationship, building trust online is a gradual process. The basic needs of a visitor must be met before you can expect them to hand over their credit card details. Similar to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, the Neilson Norman Group has created a pyramid of trust that applies to online trust needs. Site visitor relationships progress through 5 levels of commitment. Starting at the bottom, and only progressing upward once the trust needs of the lower level have been met.

So how can you build trust online?

 

It starts with you providing value and being helpful. Ever experienced an overeager salesperson who ambushes you the minute you walk into a new shop? How did that make you feel? Probably more like walking back out the door rather than buying something. The biggest mistake most businesses make is focussing on attracting visitors, and then not providing any value to them. If your site is credible and provides your visitors with exactly what they are looking for, you’ll establish trust.

Consistency is important. Consistently providing value builds more and more trust. Eventually they trust you enough to hand over their personal information.

Provide social proof. Your site visitors will always trust other customers more than you. They know that you’re always going to portray yourself in the best light. Whereas other customers are likely to be unbiased. Customer reviews or testimonials are very powerful. They help convince your site visitors that you are trustworthy.

Direct contact. Engage directly and consistently with your audience on social media. If you have a WordPress site, allow people to comment on your blogs. Allowing for continuous dialogue establishes trust.

If you focus on satisfying the basic levels of the pyramid of trust before asking people to buy, your customers are more likely to buy from you. So how are you going to build trust in your business?

We have more advice on how to build trust online in our blog or you could schedule a free 20 minute consultation call and discuss it with us.

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

WordPress powers 34% of the internet. If you think about the millions of websites out there, that’s a LOT of websites!

So what is WordPress and why is it so popular? WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS), with thousands of pre-made themes and more than 50,000 plugins. That means it’s free, easy to use, super powerful and you can do just about anything with it.

Here are a couple of questions we often get about WordPress that’ll explain it a little more:

What does open-sourced mean?

Open source programs are free or very low cost and developed by teams of people, often on a volunteer basis.

What is a Content Management System CMS?

A CMS is software designed to make it easier for people who aren’t developers to create and manage a website without having to learn to code.

Is it actually free?

While the WordPress software is free, you still need to pay for someone to host your website as you would with a traditional (code) website. There are also free and paid themes and plugins – so you can choose options to suit your budget.

Isn’t it only for blogging?

No, not anymore. It may have started out that way but has progressed way beyond being a simple blogging platform.

What are themes and how do they work?

Think of it this way, WordPress is a plain vanilla sponge cake and a theme provides the delicious icing and toppings for the cake. WordPress themes provide a template to define the appearance of the site. Themes define things like the color scheme, layout and font choices.

What are plugins and do I need them?

Plugins are like the apps you have on your phone. They extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress website. So it all depends on what you want to do with your site. For example Woocommerce is a plugin that is added to WordPress to convert a normal site into an online store.

Do I need to know how to code to use WordPress?

Not at all, but it can be helpful if you do. When it comes to WordPress, even coders don’t need to code.

I’ve heard that WordPress is bad for SEO is this true?

No it’s not true. If it were you wouldn’t see any WordPress sites on your Google search results page. WordPress on its own doesn’t optimise for SEO but there are plugins that do. The plugins actually make it simpler – no need to remember things like tags and image alt text when you can optimise all the various SEO elements in one place. 

Hopefully this has answered some of the questions you had about WordPress.
Now do you understand why it’s so popular?

Would you like to learn how to create your own WordPress website?

Irritating or effective – do website popups work?

Irritating or effective – do website popups work?

I know, I know, everyone hates website popups. They appear at the worst times and make you want to shut the site down completely rather than carry on reading. So the question “do website popups work” seems like a no-brainer right? Well it may surprise you that the answer to that question is yes, popups do work. You do however need to use them properly to make them effective.

So what is an effective website popup?

If someone’s reading a blog article you may have a popup to get them to sign up for your email newsletter. So as the person gets to the end of the article they are reading – up pops your email newsletter popup. But if someone’s on your product page, you want them to buy your product, not distract them with a popup. Having a newsletter signup popup on your product page is both annoying and detrimental to your product sales.

So both the context and placement of the popup are important. In the first example the context is that this person is reading a blog article and may be interested in having access to more of your articles via email. Then we get to placement towards the end of the article (you can use a scroll-activated popup here). Think about a shop, if the salesperson greets you at the door and immediately pushes a product in your face – you’ll be annoyed and walk out the door. The same principle applies to your popup. Wait for the person to read the blog post first. If they’ve read to the end they probably enjoyed the blog post and would likely want more. Then you ask them to sign up for your newsletter. And don’t forget to set frequency rules, so readers don’t keep seeing the same popup on every blog post they read.

What are the different kinds of website popups how do you use them?

1. Entrance Popups

Entrance popups come up immediately when you open a website and can be considered rude. They appear as soon as a webpage has loaded, blocking the webpage until the person has engaged with it. One way you could use these are if your are having a sale and want to make people aware of it immediately. Like having sales banners in the window of a shop.

2. Timed Popups

Timed popups appear after a person spends a certain amount of time on your website. Less rude as the person has had a chance to look at your website’s content and may like what they see enough to opt in to your popup’s offer. Tricky to get the timing right though, so test your pop-up timing very carefully. You don’t want it appearing too soon or too late.

3. Scroll-Activated Popups

Scroll-activated popups appear when a visitor reaches a particular section of your webpage. In the blog example mentioned above, it appears when you reach the bottom of the post. Your visitor has had time to get to know what you have to offer and they are more likely to become a subscriber.

4. Exit Intent Popups

Exit intent popups track when a visitor to your website is planning on leaving the page. So about to close the tab, open another tab or click on the “back” button on their browser. Best used to encourage them opt-in to something they may have missed or an offer they didn’t know about. Make sure you’re not spamming people with your exit intent popups, they don’t want to see the same popup on every page.

So what do you think now – do you still hate website popups? If you still hate them, let us know why you think they won’t work for you. Or have you tested them and found that they annoy people and have decreased your conversions? We’d love to know about your results.  

If you’d like some help adding popups to your website get in touch, we’d be happy to help you.

Who do you think you are talking to?

Who do you think you are talking to?

Think about it, would you use the same language when talking to male teenage gamers as you would for female antique teapot collectors? No … you’d sound like a complete N00b and they probably wouldn’t understand a word you were saying. In order for your website to connect with your users you need to speak their language. If users feel like you are talking directly to them, they are more likely to share your content, subscribe to receive your emails and ultimately, buy your product/service.

The best way to get this right is to create a “user persona” and write your website copy specifically for this person.

What is a user persona? A user persona is essentially an imaginary character that you make up, who has all the characteristics that you feel your site users will have.

To create your user persona, think of your perfect customer, this may be someone you already know or someone you picture in your mind. Now, create an imaginary Facebook page for this person, add their picture, their education, where they live, their likes or dislikes, their income level, whether they are married/single and have children etc. The more detailed you get, the easier it is to create website content that will resonate with them.

Getting specific about one person as a starting point will help you feel like you are talking to a friend which in turn makes you seem genuine and your website will be more authentic and effective.

“But I don’t just have one type of customer”, you say?

Well following this step will not reduce diversity in your site users or limit your potential for success in any way.  No product or service is right for everyone and understanding this is the key to creating a raving customer base that loves everything you do. 100 raving site users is better than 10 000 MEH ones – because those 100 raving site users will buy/share/promote anything and everything you produce.

If you’re looking for some practical guidance on persona’s for your website we’d be happy to help. 

What is UX and should you care?

What is UX and should you care?

UX, or user experience, in its simplest form can be defined as human interaction with systems. Every interaction people have with your website or app is UX – your users experience of interacting with your digital property. When it comes to your website, you may be telling people what you want them to know about your product/business and getting them to do what you want them to do (eg Hit that “Buy now” button). However, the ultimate goal of good UX is to understand what users want when interacting with your site and then to help them to complete those tasks in the easiest and most intuitive way possible.

So, should you care?

Well if any of you have had to renew your driver’s license in South Africa in the last few month’s I’m sure you can relate to what bad UX is. The Licensing Department’s new online booking system is a nightmare (read about a journalists experience). When people are unable to do the one thing that the system is designed to do – that results in a VERY bad UX. Something you should not be subjecting your users to.

HINT: If you confuse or frustrate your users – you’ll lose them.

How does this relate to you and your website? Although you may not be providing a UX anywhere near as awful as the licensing department’s, something as simple as not adding a button where users are expecting to see one – may be losing you customers. You need to make sure that something as simple as a misplaced button isn’t frustrating your users and we have some tips for you that should help.

Here are some simple rules that help to enhance any site’s UX:

1. Create easy to understand navigation

The simpler the better. For eg. don’t use “Give us a shout out” for your Contact Page link, call it Contact us. Don’t use symbols for things that need explaining – the only time changing a name to a symbol worked was for Prince in 1993.

2. A clean layout with neatly laid out content and design elements

This one doesn’t really need much of an explanation, if people cant find what they are looking for due to clutter – you’ve lost them. Remember that less really is more.

3. Proper use of video/animation

When it comes to video/animation, it should always have a clear and logical purpose – and no, advertising your product is not a clear, logical purpose. Video can be heavy, and internet speeds are not always optimal, so this is where you need to ask “do we need a video, or are we just trying to look cool”?  Trying to look cool never works.

4. Avoid “click here” links

People automatically know that a link is meant to be clicked on but what they don’t know is where it leads, or if it will result in a dodgy NSFW popup. If your link explains what the link does and where it will take them (download a pdf, take you to a contact form etc.) people are more likely to click on it. For example, this link will take you to a Youtube video on the power of suggestion makes it pretty clear that the link will take you to a video on the power of suggestion on Youtube.

5. Improve page load speed

Web users have a need for speed and expect a website to load within three to four seconds. If your website is slower than that, people will be bouncing left, right and centre. An ugly site with a zippy UX will always have a lower bounce rate than a glamorous, slow one.

These are just a few UX principles of web design to get you thinking about the UX on your website. If you aren’t sure what to improve on your site – ask your site users what they think. Actual user experience feedback is the most important feedback you’ll get.

If you’re looking for some prectical guidance on the UX of your website we’d be happy to do an in-depth UX analysis and let you know if you have mastered the art of UX or if you can improve.