4 Tools To Measure The Effectiveness of Your Web Site

May 29th, 2013

If you’re new to web marketing then you may not be aware of the different options you have for measuring the effectiveness of your web site. There are many different tools out there that measure everything from the pages that people visit all the way down to what sections of a page visitors are focusing on.

Each of these four tools provides different insight into what is happening on your web site. The first two tools should be part of every site. For those looking for deeper information then I highly recommend integrating heat map and A/B testing tools into your site.

Web Analytics

Analytics software tells you how many visitors come to your site, what pages they are viewing, and where are they going. You can view the paths that people follow through your site, see which pages are causing your visitors to leave, and measure the performance of your campaigns. If you have a web site, you need to have a web analytics tool setup.

Google Analytics is a great free option and one of the best web analytics tools on the market. Setting up an account is simple and adding the necessary code to your site requires little to no coding knowledge depending on how your pages are built.

Webmaster Tools

Adding Google Webmaster Tools will give you insight into how Google views your site. With Webmaster Tools you can diagnose problems on your site to ensure your pages are being crawled and that there are no errors with any of your pages. Webmaster Tools also shows you which search queries your site is showing for and how many click throughs your search results receive. Google allows you to optimize what is being crawled by submitting a site map listing. This is something every site owner should do to ensure all of their pages are being crawled. To get started visit Google Webmaster Central.

Heat Maps

Heat map software tells you where a visitors attention is focused on a page. It measures the mouse movement of individuals visiting your site. The combined mouse movements from as little as 50 visits can give an amazing amount of insight into how a page is performing. Heat maps that rely on mouse movement aren’t as accurate as eye tracking but it can give a close approximation of the most important areas of a page.

There are several heat map tools available. Two of my favorite are:

Crazy Egg: For as little as $9 per month, Crazy Egg allows you to measure up to 10 pages on your site for up to 10,000 visits. Crazy Egg was the first heat map tool that I used and have found it to be very effective.

ClickTale: Depending on the type of site that you run and the amount of data you want, you will want to give ClickTale a try. ClickTale is similar to Crazy Egg but where they differ is that ClickTale allows you to view individual visitor sessions. You can go back to a recorded visit and see exactly how individual users are browsing your site. This can be a very effective learning process but it can also be overkill for the average person managing a web site. ClickTale offers a free plan which records up to 400 page views per month.

A/B Testing

Testing applications allow you to setup A/B tests on your site to measure how changes on a page impact visitor actions. Testing is a more advanced practice but it’s one that can have significant results especially if you run an eCommerce site or a site where form completion is important.

Some example of test that you could run:

  • Long form vs. Short Form
  • Text Ad vs. Image Ad
  • Different link text to see what gets more click-throughs
  • Positioning of calls-to-action on a page

To get started, I recommend setting up Google Content Experiments. If you have a Google Analytics account in place then there is no additional code setup required. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, then you will need to set one up.

How to Build a Keyword Glossary

May 20th, 2013

This is an excerpt from my new eBook “SEO Principles 2013″. The following is Chapter 3, Building a Keyword Glossary:

To build a keyword glossary start with writing down 5 to 10 keywords or phrases that you think people will search on to find your site. Don’t worry about being wrong this is just as starting point.

Next go to Google’s keyword tool at https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool.

The Google Keyword Tool will help you to identify how often keywords are searched on a monthly basis (globally and locally), what the competition level is for these phrases, and help you to identify other opportunities.

Next, type your 5 to 10 keywords into the “word or phrase” text box and click on the search button.

keyword glossary example 1

In our example we identified the following keywords: men’s shoes, men’s casual shoes, work out shoes for men, and men’s work shoes.

You can see what Google returned for this search:

keyword glossary example 2

As you can see this is fantastic information to have access to. Before we didn’t know how often people were searching for specific keywords. Now we’ve taken the guesswork out and can optimize for the keywords that people are actually searching on.

You will also notice that Google returns keyword ideas. You will want to scan through these ideas for additional keywords to add to your glossary.

keyword glossary example 3

You should end up with about 10 to 30 keywords in your glossary depending on the topic and size of your site. If your site doesn’t have a lot of pages yet, then feel free to start small – 5 to 10 keywords is fine. Once you feel comfortable with optimizing for these keywords, add new ones to your glossary every few months. At the same time, create new pages to go with these keywords to ensure the depth and breadth of your site increases. Building new pages and content will signal to search engines that you’re serious about your site and the content you write. Stagnant sites that don’t grow or aren’t updated will not be crawled as frequently by search engines.

When you scan through the list of keyword ideas, look for keywords that have a large amount of search volume. At the same time, make sure they are specific to what your site is about. If you just go for large volume keywords, the terms may be too broad (“shoes”) or have different meaning depending on the industry or service (acronyms can have different meanings in different industries) you provide. Keywords with large search volume are also going to have more competition making them more difficult to rank on.

When selecting keywords you want to make sure you find a good balance between volume and competition. It’s all right to have a few stretch words that you may never rank on. Just make sure that you have other more “realistic” keywords to provide balance.

Once you’ve selected your 10 to 30 keywords, complete the rest of your glossary by adding the search volume, level of importance, and the page on your site you want to optimize. You can even do a Google search to see if your site ranks in the top 3 search result pages. If it does, you may want to track this ranking in your glossary to see how it changes over time.

TIP: When using Google or other search engines to track your site ranking, make sure you are NOT logged in. Being logged in will bias your search results and potentially show your site ranked higher than what it would show for other users.

TIP: Track to see if your site shows in the top 3 pages (first 30 results). Listings beyond page 3 receive so few clicks that ranking there is not going to provide much traffic.

For more detailed information on optimizing your web site for SEO, please visit Amazon, “SEO Principles 2013″ is now available for $2.99.

Increase Conversions Using Heatmaps

May 15th, 2013

I came across this posts on the importance of heatmaps today. I love using heatmaps to find problem areas on a site and for locating areas for testing. If you’re unsure of the value of heatmap software or looking for some stats to validate buying a solution then check out this post by Siddharth Deswal on 3 Ways to Increase Conversion Using Heatmaps.

SEO Principles 2013 eBook for Individual and Small Businesses

May 15th, 2013

I recently launched my new eBook on Amazon called “SEO Principles 2013″. I wrote this book for individuals and small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to having a fulltime SEO expert working on their site.

Over the past 9 years of optimizing sites for search engines, I’ve found consistent and proven  principles that haven’t changed regardless of updates and algorithm changes made by major search engines.

“SEO Principles 2013″ starts by taking you through SEO strategies, details how to build a keyword glossary, and explains each of the principles and what you need to do to make your pages ready for search engine crawlers. You will also learn what it takes to make your pages stand out in search results – ranking well is the first battle but you need people to click on your search result for it to be effective. Optimizing search results is an important tactic that is often overlooked.

“SEO Principles 2013″ is just $2.99 on Amazon. Download your copy today and start building your SEO strategy in no time at all.

Increase Click-Throughs By Over 100% With A/B Testing

May 10th, 2013

One of the most overlooked aspects of web marketing is link text – those little words we use to link pages together. Not only does link text impact SEO but it also impacts how many people actually click on your links. Do you have text on your site that says “click here” or “learn more” – or better yet just “more”? Ever stop to think about why someone would want to click on that link?

We know that people like to scan content until they find what they are looking for. When you scan through a page are you more likely to click on a link that says “click here” or “request a product demo”? Most likely the latter. But it’s also not just about being more descriptive with your links. You need to take it one step further.

In the example above I used the link text “request a product demo”. What if I told you that changing “request a product demo” to “get a product demo” would increase your click through rate by 100%, would you believe me? Well I can tell you that I’ve done A/B test that have received results like this and more. Changing and rearranging your link text to try different variation can have a huge impact on the number of people clicking on your links.

Now let’s look at the impact this could have on your lead generation programs. We’ll use the same demo link example from above. Lets say that for every 100 people you send to your demo form, 20 people complete the form. In this case, if the “request a product demo” link sends 100 people per day to this form you would get 20 completions per day. Now, change “request” to “get” in your link and consider the impact. By doing this, you have not only doubled the number of people coming to your form (100% increase in click through rate), but you have doubled your number of completions – all else being equal every 100 people complete the form 20 times.

Testing your link text is time well spent. Now go through your site and look for opportunities.

Get More Call-to-Action Clicks With This Simple Test

May 1st, 2013

Tip Of The Week

Have you experimented with positioning your calls-to-action in-line with your web copy? If not, I suggest you start today. Many companies position their calls-to-action in the right column of the page. Unfortunately, this has been done for so long that most people ignore this content all together. Experiment, with different positioning on the page. Make sure you track your tests and see if putting some simple in-line links after the first paragraph of text or at the bottom of your page drives more clicks then your beautiful right column buttons.

Tip: Use Real Content in Your Web Design Mockups

April 27th, 2013

When you are creating mockups for a redesign always use real content. I consistently find that people who use lorem ipsum design pages that look great in the design phase but become problematic when it comes to implementing them in the real world. The reason being is that lorem ipsum can be set to any length that looks great in a mockup. However, real content is less than perfect and often comes in lengths that can quickly break your best case scenario. Using real content will provide a design contraint that will make your site better in the long run.

For those that build sites in multiple languages, use at least 2 languages in your mockups. German is usually a great test because it tends to be much longer than English. If your site supports any of the Asian languages you’d want to test those too as they tend to have some unique design contraints as well.

Read Your News Later When The Time is Right

September 21st, 2010

Today we added a new read later feature to Restream. If you’re browsing through the headlines and you spot something you like but don’t have time to read it, simply click on the read later button (below each post) and save it to read at a later time. To access your read later page, click on the read later link located under your name in the navigation. Enjoy!

A New Update to Web Maven Coming Soon

August 10th, 2010

I apologize for the silence. I’ve been working hard on the next update to Web Maven. It should be ready by the end of the month. Stay tuned!

Banned Again From Twitter

July 1st, 2010

Update: Our account is back. Twitter got back to us much quicker than before. Just a few days instead of several weeks. We’ve modified @ReStreamAlerts to send out updates 4 times a day instead of hourly. Hopefully this change and a few others currently in the works will prevent the suspension bot from hitting us.

Continue reading…