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Archive for April, 2014

Measuring Website Performance – Are You Doing This?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Which Dashboards to Monitor and Measure To Improve Website Performance?

Are you measuring website performance? At ICTADVISOR measuring website performance and conducting deep drilling website audits has become a popular service that we deliver to clients, especially over the last 6-9 months where we have seen a substantial increase in the  number of website performance reviews being asked for on a regular basis. During the initial interview process we need to gather information from the business website owner and just one of those very important questions is:

As a small business website owner do you make use of both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to measure website performance?

The answer often is not surprising – “no, not really”.  Of the SME businesses asked, many are either not using either of these two products, or each google product has been set up but by the web developer and the data residing in the web developers Google Account. In lots of cases it has been found that the web developer had decided not to provide access to the data so the business owner could not see how well the website was performing. Maybe this is because it would show that the web agency has not done such a good job of building a successful website? Or maybe it is the website agency that was heard to say “Website Marketing – no – don’t talk to us about that – we just build websites” – Say What – Are You Kidding?

And of course even today, there are still Small Business Owners eager to tell you they have Google Analytics in place and are only using the tool to measure HITS! OMG! – Quick, get a doctor, this person needs help.

Another observation is that hardly any of the small business owners interviewed knew of the importance of Google Web Master Tools and making sure it was properly connected to Google Analytics.

So if the small business is not making good use of these important Google Products, what answer comes from the next question – How Many People small business owners are using Google Adwords?

Not surprisingly the answer is “Yes, used it once, lost a lot of money and wouldn’t use it again” or “I don’t click on those Adwords Ads, as these are Agressive marketers, and I am not one of those”.  Incredible answers. Yet, you ask some of Britain’s small business owners what is your most successful marketing channel? The answer is – Google Adwords – and many see it as the umbilical cord they would not cut.

It is amazing to find that it is always the small business community who tend to answer with a negative comment about the use of Adwords.

The Google Product Tools You Need for Measuring Website Performance

Yet, without the combination of the ANALYTICS, WEB MASTER TOOLS and ADWORDS, your website is not going to get off to a head start and could wait a very long time on gaining success. Because, all you are doing is flying blind with your website.

Other business owners leave these tools in the hands of their web developers, but this tends to create even more problems for the Small Business Owner. Look around at many of the small website agencies advertising online and they offer everything – website development – graphic design – copywriting – search engine optimisation, you name it they do it. Then you find that the web agency is made up of either all programmers, or all designers, and none have done any form of marketing. Like the quote from an agency interviewed – “we don’t do marketing, we just build websites”. This was because they were confronted by questions about their websites not performing, and yet they advertised on their website, how important search engine optimisation was!! Astonished is the only word that can describe this.

So, what is the reason for so many small business websites failing, it is because small business owners don’t take sufficient time to learn how to make best use of any of these dashboard tools. And, many SMEs think they will get away with just doing DIY WEBSITE MARKETING. Therefore, it is not surprising when asked to do a website performance review, the outcome in the report points towards many red lines of highlighted failure across the website, as the business does not really know what they should be doing with those tools, or how they and not the web agency should be responsible for the websites destiny.

Is Your Website A Racing Car – And is it Winning Races?

If you consider your website a racing car and you were preparing to go out on the track and win races, would you simply go to a mechanic and say – build me a racing car like that one over there?

This other racing car you looked at – over there – how do you know how good the performance is of that other racing car? Would it not be important to understand first of all, to analyse how your competitor is winning those races?And so from this intelligence thinking, you can take the approach towards building your next website by making sure from the intelligence you gather from these all important dashboards, that when you come to the web agency and ask them to build something that will be hopefully better than the competitors racing car, it is you who drives the website design project, not just the web agency.

Of course you might go down the route of building your own website? How long do you think that might take you? Will you be able to think like a web developer and be as creative as web designer and so, get the layout right so the page converts, or build the right menu infrastructure and a page architecture that is aesthetically pleasing to the visitors who you want to land on them?

If you decide to stick with the approach of using a web agency, an answer you might get from some of the small web agencies who you approach and ask them to build a website for you is, “yes, no problem we will have it ready in a few days”. Now, does that now sound like a recipe for disaster?

And so, you find that this type of web agency will not ask many important questions about the design, navigation, look and feel etc. They will just go off and build – what they think is right, based on their own level of skill. Therefore, what you might end up with is a website built simply to the knowledge skill level of the web designer who might simply be a ‘box builder’ and have no internet marketing knowledge.

Box builders are those who will just download a site like WORDPRESS, JOOMLA, DRUPAL, (and there are others), and simply build on what they know. Whereas put these products in the hands of serious web developers and agencies who truly understand what web marketers have to achieve in order to win and make money, is like night and day.

Finding web agencies who actually demonstrate best practice and understands how important it will be for the site to meet with minimum coding standards and ensuring that scripts load swiftly along with a number of technical specifications that will be important if the website is to achieve its objectives, are far and few between. ICTADVISOR with its Website OnlineXcellence Program to assist small medium businesses has been exposed to hundreds of web agencies since 1998 having been engaged to joint share in projects where the web design team were already in place and in some cases had already built the site before our web marketing knowledge had been called upon to help the site make money.

So, this article looked at how to make use of the right dashboards so you can measure the performance of your website. And, it suggests to you that you must learn these dashboards and know what to look for, if you are to then manage your website developer or agency, because they might just be – box builders – and not have any knowledge of how to get your website to make money.

No Keyword Research Equals No Traffic

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

How Much Regular Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis Are You Doing?

In our industry that is Search Marketing, we tell business owners everyday that Keyword Research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities you have to be involved in doing on a regular basis. Ranking for the “right” keywords can make or break your website.  No matter which way you cut it, the road to your website page offering its products or services is in most cases going to begin with words typed into a search box.

Conduct Regular Website Performance Analysis

Conducting a website performance review on a regular basis and monitoring the dashboards that matter is going to contribute towards you doing Keyword Research, but it is amazing how many business owners still do not contribute sufficient amounts of time and effort to this very important task. And in many cases, especially in the small business community there are lots of business owners who don’t even know where to find a keyword tool that they should be using in order to conduct this vital analysis.

The First Step Towards Building Your Successful Website

When you come to build your first website or decided you are going to redevelop the website you already have, keyword research should be at the forefront of your strategy to ensure when you build this website vehicle that has to make you money (otherwise why are you in business), because the words are the ‘fuel’ that will help the paying audience you want to find you and then engage with you. But here we are in 2014 and still many businesses are failing to conduct this all important task. If you are to brief your web developer properly and provide a detailed web design specification, that blueprint will be constructed based on this first step – Keyword Research.

Do You Really Want To Rank Number One For Your Keyword?

Keyword research will continue to be a fundamental task to fuel your website even after your site is built and launched. Trawling through keywords and measuring their performance will be a regular rinse and repeat exercise  to find out what keyword terms are actually being entered into a search engine and whether they are popular with target market audience you are keen to attract. ICTADVISOR are always amazed to find when speaking at events here in Scotland just how many businesses are not doing any keyword research – at all. The problem is mainly inherent within the micro and small business community where the business owner and staff involved in running the company are to busy doing just that – running the business – and don’t have sufficient time, resource, and budget to do any form of regular website marketing. And yet, when you ask a business owner what they want the website to do, the first answer is usually – “I WANT TO BE NUMBER ONE ON GOOGLE” or “I NEED SALES” and yet to achieve either of these is always going to start by doing Keyword Research. We should throw a comment into the mix here, that you all can’t be NUMBER ONE for your preferred keyword. Let’s make something absolutely clear, it is not about being NUMBER ONE, but it certainly is about being on PAGE ONE of your preferred search engine that you want to aim for. But there are still a couple of other steps you need to overcome. When your business finds out what keywords your target market audience are likely to enter into a search engine to find your website, another step you will reach is How To Do Competitor Analysis.

How To Win Against Your Website Competitor

Competitor analysis and keyword research really go hand in hand. Once you have compiled your keyword list you have to go back out to your preferred search engine such as Google and test those keywords you have researched, and ask yourself more questions:

  • Who is the competition?
  • Who is already ranking on page one right now in the search engine you are optimising your website for?
  • What does that competitor website look like?
  • Is it aesthetically appealing?
  • What approach has the competitor taken with the design and layout in order to ASK FOR THE SALE!

Are you finding from reading this that the process to having a successful website with successful landing pages is now taking a number of hours of your time? Of course it is, because it does take time to compile this data that is the fuel to make your website win races around the internet track!

Now to be a successful website business owner your next task that you have to overcome, is that all important goal you must get once you have managed to get traffic and visitors to your web page offer – Conversion.

That is another story to tell……..See You Soon.

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