Pacesetter Media

Solving Promotion Problems

Website Visitor Statistics

How many people visit your website? You want to know, don’t you? Even if you’re only curious, don’t you want to know? Let’s talk numbers. That’s this month’s topic.

Businesses Dependent on the Web

If your business is mostly dependent on online sales or website traffic, you already pay attention to your visitor statistics, perhaps in great detail. This edition of the Pacesetter Media newsletter isn’t for you. I suggest you visit Annie Cushing’s website. She spends her days, nights, probably weekends and sleeping hours thinking about data. She has good stuff there.

For Businesses not Dependent on the Web

If you’re like many small businesses, your website is only a part of your marketing. And you never or rarely pay attention to your website statistics. This newsletter is for you.

You can get some important information from visitor statistics. For instance, after you run an ad or exhibit at a trade show, would you like to know if your website traffic increases? When you add a new product page to your site, would you like to know how many people visit that page?

Limitations of Website Statistics

Website data isn’t perfect. All methods of getting statistics miss some visitors. Why? Technical reasons that would only distract from the main topic here. Just realize that you won’t get every visitor counted, nor will you get every detail about any one visitor.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is great for viewing trends and changes in your visitor statistics, and it’s FREE.

  • audience (number, language, regional location, browsers)
  • traffic sources (referring sites, search engine keywords)
  • page visits (number of visits per page)
  • and more

The statistics almost any business wants to see include:

Traffic Quantity

Let’s say you exhibit at a trade show or place an ad in a local newspaper for a week. You’d expect to have more visitors that week. The Audience Overview would show you that.

Keyword Searches

Search optimization for an existing site includes a look at the searches that lead visitors to your site. The Queries report shows you that.

Page Views

The Content report shows you which pages on your site are viewed most.

Advanced Statistics

Website data can be as intricate as any other statistical analysis, and GA is not the only option. Whichever statistics tool is used, it takes time to analyze the data in extreme detail. Whether it’s worth it depends on how important your website is to your business.

In any case, the basics are readily available and easy to understand with Google Analytics.

Starting Google Analytics

Here’s how to start:

  1. Get an account at Google (if you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google account).
  2. Set up a Google Analytics account.
  3. Add your website to the GA account.
  4. Get a small bit code from GA.
  5. Add that bit of code to your site.

There are more details in those steps, but that’s the gist of it.

If Pacesetter Media created your site, we routinely set up GA with new websites. Give us a call, and we’ll get you set up with Google Analytics.

Learn More

For general information, check out Google’s documentation.

The best way to see what GA offers is to look at your site’s reports. If you need help setting up Google Analytics, call Pacesetter Media at 813-685-9206. We can help you with Google Analytics, of course.

Managing Your Company’s Published Content

Your company has a website. And a digital camera. And e-mail. And Word. People in your company can take pictures, edit websites, make brochures. They regularly do.

Your employees create and publish content. That's this month's topic. (Plus a bonus topic about an upcoming Google change.)

Surprise! You're a publisher.

You certainly have other things to do, like selling, making and delivering, but in 2013, you or your employees also publish. It wasn't always like this. In the past, fewer people were involved in publishing corporate materials. In 2013, lots of employees can and do "publish".

First, that's a good thing. Employees can tailor anything to their purposes, their audiences.

Second, that's still a good thing because of the flexibility it gives your company.

Third, there is a pitfall: disorganized content of varying or marginal quality.

Content – What Your Company Publishes

You're a publisher, so your company has content. It's in the form of:

  • written text, product descriptions, company history
  • product lists, prices, specifications
  • pictures
  • logos
  • graphics
  • videos

New to the Internet Age: Content for SEO

Accuracy and "rightness" have always been important. With your website, there's a new issue: search optimization.

Content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is beyond the scope of this newsletter, but I want to mention that the "right" content for your website has even greater importance. It influences your search rankings. It's not the only factor, but it's significant. The current mantra in the SEO world is "Content is King", yet another motivation to pay some attention to your company's content.

Tips for Managing Content

Your company has content. That's the point. If I raise awareness of that idea alone, I'm successful with this newsletter.

  • Who makes your content?
  • Where is your content stored and archived?
  • Is it up to date?
  • Can employees find the "right" and "accurate" content when they need it?
  • In a single question: Does your company have a handle on the content you publish?

Generally, the bigger your company, the more you'll have to keep up with content. Smaller companies can get by with less management control; after all, management and owners are often creating and publishing the content.

That said, I'll leave you with some tips for managing your content.

Prioritize Your Content

Decide which content you need to control, and which you can leave up to employees. Keep approved versions of important content readily available for designated employees to copy and publish. Things like:

  • Company History
  • Management Biographies
  • Logos
  • Product Photos and Drawings
  • Staff Photos
  • Product Descriptions
  • Price Lists
  • Any critical content

Designate a Person or Department and a Place

Designate a person to keep approved content readily available. This person should keep the most current approved content and should keep an archive of all previously approved versions.

Designate a directory or network drive where your content files are stored. Regularly back up those files.

Use a File Naming Template

Use a file naming template for your approved content, and include version numbers. As files and versions build up over time, standardized file names are a big help. Here's one I suggest.

File Naming Template

For a small company, this might seem overly meticulous, but in one year, even small companies have multiple versions of multiple files. Bigger companies have even more multiple versions of more files.

A simple file naming format is an easy habit for keeping and finding approved versions of content.

Make Approved Content Easily Available to Employees

If employees can quickly find your approved content, they're more likely to use it.

  • Create a place on your network where employees can get approved content.

If you don't have a company network,

  • Create a hidden directory on your website where employees can get approved content.
  • Use Google Docs or another file storage service.

If needed, put the approved content in a password protected place.

New Topic:

Google Link Spam Filter is Changing

Updates to Google Penguin, the link-spam filter Google uses, is coming in the next few weeks. On May 10, Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google, tweeted that the update is coming.

If you depend on links to boost your rankings, keep a watch on your visitor stats and rankings. You might see a change. If you've been spammy with your links it might hurt you. If you have authoritative, high-quality links, you can hope for an improvement as spammy-link sites disappear from the rankings.

Info on the internet now is speculative. Watch your rankings and stats over the next few weeks.

When do you need a mobile website?

Mobile Websites:
The New fax machine, website, social media
oh, whatever.

In the 80's, everybody needed a fax machine.

In the 90's, everybody needed a website.

In the aughts, everybody needed social media.

Now they say everybody needs a mobile website. That's this month's topic.

Everybody Needs A Mobile Website?

Bunko, I say. That is, not everybody needs one. Like all the latest buzz words, it depends.

First, let's define a few terms.

Mobile-Safe Site
A website that doesn't fail on a mobile device.
Media-heavy sites that have video, audio or Flash might fail on a phone.
Standard HTML sites probably work on most mobile devices. They might
appear very small, but they don't fail.
Mobile-Friendly Site
A website designed to accommodate small screens.
A standard HTML site can use different styles, larger text and bigger
buttons when it's viewed on a phone or tablet. This could include bigger
buttons and larger menus that can be tapped with a thumb on a phone. Or
it could be as simple as having a tappable phone number in the upper
left corner where most mobile devices focus when displaying a website.
Mobile Site
A website designed specifically for mobile devices.
Websites can easily detect the type of device a user has and serve a
different layout for each device. It can be as simple as one site for
mobile devices and one for computers, and it can be as complex as a
different website for each brand or model of mobile device.

Do you need a mobile site?

The first questions are:

  • Who's your audience?
  • How do you communicate with them and they with you?
  • What are your business goals for your website?

Let's take a few examples.

Restaurant…yeah, a mobile website could be a big help.
More and more people (particularly younger demographics) use mobile
phones to search and browse the web. And where are people when they're
looking for a restaurant? Sometimes at home, but often they're on the
road searching on their mobile phone. A mobile site is in order.

Financial Planner…oh, maybe. How much financial
research do people do their phones? Not much. A mobile site could help
but wouldn't be a priority in most cases. A mobile-friendly site would
be enough.

High Tech Company…probably, even if the only reason is to create an image of being up-to-date.

Attorney…Corporate Attorney, maybe but probably not. A
Criminal Attorney, yes. People who have been arrested (or their family
whom they called) might be at the jail and have only their mobile

Handy Man Service…probably not. A mobile-safe site or a mobile-friendly site is probably the right approach.

Of course, these generalizations can be thrown away based on your
specific situation. You could imagine any business that's trying to
reach recent college graduates, a demographic that uses mobile devices a
lot. A very mobile-friendly site or even a mobile site would be the
right option.

The Good News:
It's Easier and Better Today

These days, browsers, computers and mobile devices work pretty well with the current web standards–HTML5 and CSS3.

Back in the old days (you know, 1996), browser support for web standards
was mixed; some design features required hacks to compensate for quirks
in Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Today there are still
hacks and quirks, but it has come a long way. We've reached that sweet
spot where popular browsers have pretty consistent support for the
current standards.

The Bottom Line

With the current standards, designing for mobile devices is fairly
routine. Don't be intimidated by the newness of the technology. If a
mobile site could help with a relevant business goal, it's within reach
even with a modest budget.