Average Session Duration- What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care

There are a lot of stats to look at when viewing Google Analytics and average session duration is one of them. This article will cover what is average session duration and why bloggers should care about it. Even if you’re not a blogger, you may want to read in on this. Average Session Duration –…

The post Average Session Duration- What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

average-session-duration-200x200There are a lot of stats to look at when viewing Google Analytics and average session duration is one of them. This article will cover what is average session duration and why bloggers should care about it. Even if you’re not a blogger, you may want to read in on this.

Average Session Duration – What is it?

According to Google,

Average session duration is total duration of all sessions (in seconds) / number of sessions.

A single session is calculated from the first time someone views your page, to the last page view of that person. So, if someone enters your site and visits a few places, say 5, on it that takes them 10 minutes, then their session is 10 minutes, or 600 seconds. If their session is one page and only 30 seconds, then their total session is 30 seconds.

The average session duration is taking the total time of the session divided by the number of sessions during a specific date range.

Average Session Duration – Why Bloggers Should Care

Average session duration can be influenced by bounce rate, page views,and sessions, but for some, this could be a indicator of how much people like to stay on specific areas of your website. For bloggers, this allows them to know if an article has been well received.

Google loves long form content. This has been said over and over by many leaders in the SEO industry. However, Google also has suggested that content in a post be at least 300 words.

Well, 300 words doesn’t take long to read. If you’re a blogger that constantly published content that ranges around 300 words, you’re not really beefing up the potential of time that your readers are spending on your website. Often, the reader will skim through in under a minute, possibly comment, and then leave.

Rather than giving the reader a “wham bam thank you mam” experience, why not do some of the following to possibly increase the average session duration, and thusly your reader’s interest in remaining on your website:

  • Create a series of posts and interlink them. People who have an interest for the topic will click to each topic and stay on the site longer.
  • Always find ways to link to other relevant posts in your website. Whether it’s a specific term that you explain or some other relevant content, this gives the reader a possible option to be curious enough to click that link and read more.
  • Have cornerstone content that is lengthier and filled will several methods in which the reader can digest your content. Aside from long form text, don’t forget that you can add images, video and audio to expand upon your point. Cornerstone content is usually quite lengthy (more than 1500 words), and sometimes may even seem like it should be in an ebook.
  • Don’t forget to link to your services, encourage visitors to comment, or ask readers to subscribe to your newsletter. It’s your website, don’t be shy. All of these encourage some type of positive action that brings them to another place on your website.

Most bloggers will probably look more at their page views, but seriously, if you’re setting goals on individual pages, you may want to also focus on whether people are staying on those pages or going to the places you want them too.

Have you taken the time to look at your site or individual article’s average session duration?

The post Average Session Duration- What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

The Best Google Analytics Reports for Improving Websites

Google Analytics isn’t just for knowing how much traffic your website is getting, your top pages, and how your traffic sources and marketing efforts are performing. Nope. There is an even better use for it!…

best google analytics reports

Google Analytics isn’t just for knowing how much traffic your website is getting, your top pages, and how your traffic sources and marketing efforts are performing. Nope. There is an even better use for it!

It’s also really important to use it to help improve your website – so it converts many more visitors into sales, leads or subscribers. But unfortunately Google Analytics can be a little daunting at times, particularly with seemingly endless reports to check out and analyze. Where should you start for best results?

To help you make sense of this, I’ve created a list of the best Google Analytics (GA) reports so you can quickly gain more insights into your website performance and what needs improving most. I have also recently included a video of me walking you through all these great reports. Let’s get started…

The best Google Analytics reports to improve your website

Update: Watch a video of me guiding you through all these key Google Analytics reports

Last year I created a premium video about these best Google Analytics reports. It was originally part of a paid membership but I have decided to now include it on this article for everyone to watch for free. In this video you will also learn how to create a Google Analytics dashboard for these reports. Enjoy!

Check the landing pages report for pages with high bounce rates and low conversion rates
Your top landing pages (entry pages) are crucial to optimize because they often get very high levels of traffic, and are the first pages your visitors see on your website. If visitors don’t find what they are looking for or are confused, they will leave your website often within just 10 seconds!

To improve your website with this report, pull up the your landing pages report for the last 30 days (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Landing pages’).  Then see which pages out of the top 10 have highest bounce rate (over 50% is high) and which have lower than website average goal conversion rate (both indicated below in yellow) – these are indicators of poorly performing pages on your website.

Google Analytics landing pages report bounce rate and conversion rate

Then optimize these poor page performers first – improving headlines, benefits, imagery and call-to-action buttons are some of the best ways to do this. Optimizing these helps increase visitor engagement and increases the chances of them converting for your key website goals.

Use In-Page Analytics feature to reveal exactly what visitors click on
Don’t presume you know what visitors are doing on your pages, and what they are clicking on – it can often be different than you might expect. Use this great click map feature in GA (found under ‘Behavior > In-Page Analytics’) on your key pages to gain better insights into your visitors journey and flow around your website.

Then based on what insights you find, to improve your website you should focus your visitor’s experience on more important links. This can be done by deemphasizing less useful links (or removing them) from key pages, and reorganize your navigation menus to focus on major website goals.

Google Analytics In-page Analytics

Note: Ideally you should turn on the ‘enhanced link attribution‘ option in your settings – this makes the clicks more accurate for when you have multiple links on one page going to the same destination page.

Check the browser report for poor conversion rate performers
Your webpages can sometimes look slightly different or even break in some browsers (often due to small differences in how browsers show CSS code). This can unknowingly cause many lost sales or leads!

To make sure this isn’t negatively impacting your website, you need to regular check the ‘Browser & OS’ report (found under ‘Audience > Technology ) and make sure your conversion rates aren’t much lower for any browsers. If you see ones on this report that are much lower, you should go ahead and check for technical problems like CSS rendering issues and fix them immediately.

Google Analytics browser report

Analyze your Funnel Visualization report for high-drop off rates and optimize
It doesn’t matter how good your website is if visitors struggle to get through your checkout or sign-up flow pages. To understand how well your visitors complete that process, its vital you check your Funnel Visualization report. On this report (found under ‘Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization’) you can see how many visitors get through each page of your funnel (like your billing page), and which pages are most problematic – even where they go if they go to another page.

You need to pay great attention to any pages with a high drop off rate (more than 40%) and optimize those first – adding security seals and risk reducers, reducing distractions like header navigation, and improving error handling often work well. Improving these pages will greatly increase your sales or signups.

Google Analytics funnel visualization report

Note: Obviously you will need to have made sure you have setup your goals for your website adequately, including adding key pages in your goal flows. Here is a great guide on setting goals up.

Check your traffic overview report for poor performing traffic sources
Improving the quality and quantity of your traffic has huge impact on your website conversion rates, sales or leads, and its vital you gain insights into traffic performance and optimize the major sources.

To help you gain greater insights into this, pull up the ‘Channels’ report as Google calls it (found under ‘Acquisition > Channels) and check which of your top 10 traffic sources (channels) have high bounce rates (over 50%), and also for sources that seem low or missing from the top 10.

For example, you may find your email traffic isn’t as much as you had hoped for or isn’t converting well, so you should optimize your email marketing campaigns soon. Same goes for your paid search and SEO too.

Google Analytics acquisition overview report

Use the mobile overview report for tablet/mobile insights
Mobile traffic is bigger than ever before, often accounting for over 20% of total website traffic – and these visitors have very different needs due to smaller screen sizes, and often convert much lower than regular website traffic.

To understand your mobile traffic, and its performance, you need to check your ‘mobile overview’ report. Here you need to see just how high your traffic levels are for both mobile and tablet devices, and see what the conversion rate for each is. If conversion rate is much lower for any, you need to check your website on that device for key issues and fix immediately.

And if you haven’t already done so, to increase your conversion rates it’s critical to have a mobile optimized website as soon as possible (like using responsive design), particularly if your mobile traffic is over 20%.

Google Analytics mobile overview report

Check the exit pages report to find problematic pages
You also need to find out which pages are most often causing your visitors to leave (called an ‘exit’ page) – and improve and optimize those too.

To find these top exit pages, check your ‘exit pages’ report (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages). In particular look for any pages that shouldn’t be in the top 10, and try to figure out why so many people exit your site on them. Also look for pages with especially high exit rate (over 50%), as this often indicates problems.

A few ways to improve these exit pages is by using and optimizing call-to-actions at the end of them, and try using exit intent popups to show a great incentive (discounts/free guides etc).

Google Analytics exit pages report

Analyze the top pages report for key missing pages and high exit rates
Your top pages report can contain some real gems for insights – not just what your top 10 pages currently are (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > All Pages).

First you can see if any of your top pages have high exit rates (important to optimize those ASAP) and also to check if any pages relating to your key goals seem missing from this report or have low traffic. For example, perhaps few people are visiting your ‘why us’ or benefits page – making links more prominent to this page will hopefully increase sales/leads.

Google Analytics top pages report

These are the simpler reports, there’s many advanced ones too

These are just some of the simpler Google Analytics reports that will help you improve your website. Here are a couple of the many more advanced ones to learn about:

  • Using the ‘Converters’ visitor segment to figure out the behavior of people who convert for your main website goals (sales/leads etc).
  • Using the ‘Site Search’ report to find pages causing most amount of internal searches (indicates visitors not finding what they need).

If you are interested in learning more about these advanced GA reports, simply comment and let me know.

No time to analyze Google Analytics reports or not good at it?

If you don’t have time or the skills to gain insights from your Google Analytics reports you should check out my ‘Google Analytics Insights’ service – I’m sure you will find it useful for  improving your website.

10 High-Impact Ways to Boost Ecommerce Sales You Haven’t Tried Yet

Do you work with an ecommerce website? Hopefully you’ve already tried some conversion rate optimization ideas to help increase your ecommerce sales, like A/B testing your call-to-action buttons or adding security seals in your checkout….

ecommerce CRO ideas

Do you work with an ecommerce website? Hopefully you’ve already tried some conversion rate optimization ideas to help increase your ecommerce sales, like A/B testing your call-to-action buttons or adding security seals in your checkout. Looking for even better ideas that will often have a bigger impact?

Strong and high-impact improvement ideas really do form the bedrock of successful conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts for any ecommerce website. There is no point in randomly changing or A/B testing things, or only changing what your HiPPO thinks – this will often lead to disappointing results.

To help you get even better results from your ecommerce CRO efforts, I’ve put together a fresh, high-impact list of ecommerce CRO ideas for you to try – that you probably haven’t tried yet. Let’s get started…

The 10 high-impact ecommerce conversion rate optimization ideas

1: Optimize your newsletter sign-up incentives
Who really signs up for newsletters at ecommerce websites? Most people don’t unless they see a good reason to do so. Unfortunately most ecommerce sites don’t seem to realize that capturing emails is essential to do follow-up marketing with – most of your visitors won’t convert first visit!

To encourage and capture more emails from your visitors, optimize your newsletter sign-up by offering a great free incentive to do so. Ideally using a pop-up instead of just having a newsletter box in the footer. Try offering a first time purchase coupon (20% off etc), or a free guide relating to what you sell – these can work very well. Test when you trigger the pop-up too – exit intent can often work best (just before visitors move their mouse to the browser bar) – don’t just pop it up immediately and risk annoying your visitors.

Here is a great visually compelling, highly useful pop-up example on GlassesUSA.com:

ecommerce popup

2: Use product page description bullet points to show key benefits/features

Your product page descriptions need to quickly engage and compel your visitors to increase sales and conversion rates. Good copywriting is essential for this, but you need to take this a step further by making key features and benefits highly noticeable and scanable – don’t just put your description lower down on your product page and hope visitors see it – they may often not scroll down that far.

To optimize this, above the page fold add some short bullet points highlighting the key features and benefits of the product. This greatly increases the chances of this essential information being seen and influencing your visitors decision to purchase, and not just buried in a long block of description text.

Amazon.com shows bullet points benefits very well with many of its directly sold products:

 

ecommerce product page bullet points

 

3: Add video to showcase each of your most popular products
Don’t just rely on some good quality zoomable images to sell your products – to show them in much greater detail (and even in use) you should try creating short review or promotional videos for your best products. While it is time consuming to create these, they can have very high impact on increasing conversion rates and sales – as leading ecommerce sites like ASOS.com and ModCloth.com have found.

To test this out, create some short (less than 2 minutes) simple videos for your top 5 best products. Then add the video to the relevant product pages (using prominent video player thumbnails near your other photos), and then measure the impact. If it works well, to get even better results you should increase the video quality and expand the number of products you offer them for.

Watchshop.com do this very well, showing videos of their watches being worn and examined up close:

ecommerce video popup

4: Prominently add unique value proposition on your homepage
In a recent article I discussed the importance of showing strong unique value proposition (UVP) – and this goes for ecommerce websites too! It’s amazing how many ecommerce websites just hope and presume visitors will know the reasons to use their site instead of using other competing sites – often causing visitor misunderstanding, higher bounce rates and many lost potential sales.

To make sure your UVP is clearly emphasized and seen on your homepage, above the page fold you need to add in some short bullet points explaining it and your benefits (in particular the top reasons to use your website instead of competitors), with a compelling title. Don’t forget to mention things like major media mentions or awards you have received, if you have been in business the longest or have highest third party ratings (like from Trust Pilot or Google).

Here is a great example of UVP bullet points shown on the Cushionsource.com homepage:

ecommerce value proposition

5: Use your header to show strong risk reducers on any page
Following on from the last idea, many visitors will arrive directly on your product or category pages (often from search or social media) and won’t see your ecommerce homepage where you mention your key benefits and unique value proposition.

To make sure these key benefit are noticed, no matter what page your visitors arrive on, you need to mention 2 or 3 good risk reducers in your website header to encourage trust and low risk of purchase. For example, show wording and icons that emphasize things like free shipping, lowest price guarantee and free returns. And if you are already doing this in your header, test which combination of risk reducers work best to increase conversion rates and sales.

GlassesUSA.com do a great job with this, showing 3 risk reducers in a sticky bar at the top of every page:

ecommerce UVP header

6: Optimize how you handle coupon codes in your checkout
This is an easily fixed ecommerce conversion killer that many businesses are making. If you clearly show a discount/coupon code box in your checkout, you need to realize that visitors will often leave your website to try and find the codes – and often will be frustrated and won’t return if they can’t find any.

To make sure you don’t suffer from this, if you actually offer coupon codes then you need to clearly mention how to get them – a great time to mention you can get them when signing up for your newsletter. Some smart websites like Dell.com (screenshot below) even go as far to show all their active codes in a pop-up  – making it a really refreshing easy coupon finding experience for visitors. And if you don’t offer any discounts at all, then just get rid of this field in your checkout altogether!

ecommerce coupon code box

7: Add some personality and ‘story’ to your about page
Many ecommerce websites suffer from a bland, generic ‘about us’ page that most visitors find boring and uninspiring to read. A much better use of this page to help captivate and convert your visitors is by adding some personality and interesting storytelling about your business. People often want to buy from businesses with personality and a good story – not soulless corporate businesses!

In particular you should include a ‘story’ of how, when and why your business was created, why you are passionate about what you sell, and include photos and fun facts about the owners. Video helps to convey this well. You could also mention strong community/charity/ethics elements to help with this too.

The owner of Titanium-Jewelry.com did a particularly good job with this on his about page:

ecommerce about us page

8: Add a side bar in your checkout to mention risk reducers/benefits
There are now many types of ecommerce checkouts, including traditional multi-page checkout, longer single page checkout, and the newer accordion-style single page checkout. To increase your sales and conversions, no matter what type of cart you have, you should try adding a right hand side bar that prominently mentions and re-emphasizes your biggest benefits and risk reducers of using your ecommerce store.

This often works well in the checkout because visitor purchase apprehension/worry is often highest at this point in your ecommerce store – reminding them here that there is little risk of purchase and re-iterating main benefits goes a long way to combating shopping cart abandonment, and increasing sales.

Watchshop.com do a fantastic job in their checkout, including their great refund policy and price promise:

ecommerce checkout benefits

9: Emphasize biggest risk reducers near add to cart button
Following on from last idea, another high impact place to mention your risk reducers is on your product page. Showing your biggest risk reducer right next to your ‘add to cart’ button on this page ensures it’s highly noticeable by your visitors above the page fold.

Product guarantees or a low price promise can work very well here, particularly by showing an icon of it to help draw visitor’s eyes to it, like a guarantee seal. Free shipping is important to mention here too, but it’s now so common its almost expected by visitors, so try to use or create something more ‘unique’.

Titanium-Jewelry.com do this well, highlighting their ’90 days to love it, or return it’ guarantee:

ecommerce risk reducer

10: Create some product-specific landing pages for paid search
Rather than directing all paid search to your homepage or relevant product pages, you should try a new approach to increase conversion rates and sales. Try creating longer more information-rich product landing pages for your best products and send relevant product keywords there instead – if it works well you can ramp this up and create many more.

On these stand-alone landing pages, instead of just using a normal product page template, create a highly compelling longer page that steps visitors through everything they need to know in order to make a purchase decision. Make sure to emphasize a strong benefit-focused headline (not just the product name), unique value proposition of the product, risk reducers for it (guarantee, free trial etc), more images and video, and more social proof like awards or media mentions.

Here is a great product landing page using these best practices at EnergyFirst.com (credit to Alex Harris):

ecommerce landing page

A/B testing is essential to find highest converting ideas

Wrapping up, to help you find highest converting variations of ecommerce ideas you really need to do some A/B testing for them. And realize not all ideas will work for you – it can heavily depend on the type of industry you are in and your unique value proposition – I can help give you customized ideas too.

And don’t worry if you don’t have enough traffic for testing (at least 1,000 uniques per week for each test page, with many conversions) as I have created a low traffic A/B testing guide for you.

Which of these ecommerce ideas have you tried?

Now its your turn – which of these ideas have you tried? Or maybe you have used some particularly unique ways to increase your ecommerce conversion rates. Please comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

20 Ways to Optimize Your Unique Value Proposition and Lift Website Sales Today

What if I told you there is an element on every website that is crucial for increasing sales and conversion rates, but is often neglected by online marketers and online business owners? It’s your unique…

unique value proposition improve tips

What if I told you there is an element on every website that is crucial for increasing sales and conversion rates, but is often neglected by online marketers and online business owners?

It’s your unique value proposition (UVP – or unique selling proposition). To be effective, it should quickly show visitors the benefits of using your website, who it’s ideally for, and why use it instead of competitors.

But websites often poorly convey their UVP, unknowingly causing visitor misunderstanding, higher bounce rates and many lost sales.

In this in-depth article you’ll learn 20 ways to quickly improve your UVP. And if you do a great job with this (and better than your competitors do), you’ll get fantastic increases in sales and leads without needing more traffic. Indeed, it’s one of the key things I get my clients to focus on.

Ready to give your UVP some much needed love? Let’s get started in two key areas of tips…

Optimize the uniqueness and strength of your value proposition

These first 7 tips are essential. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks or how much traffic you get if your UVP is not very engaging, unique or strong – it won’t convert well into sales or leads. Never presume its already good enough! Here are some ways to improve and get the most out of it:

1: Get great UVP feedback from your target audience
First it’s essential to get feedback about your UVP from people who will be interested in your offerings.  Use a tool like UserTesting.com or UsabilityHub.com to get this feedback and find out what they think, including what could be improved. You should also test showing them different UVP variations to see which versions appeal to them most. Here are 3 revealing questions you can use to get highly actionable feedback:

UVP feedback questions

2: Brainstorm ideas to improve your UVP and test to find best elements
Start thinking of new ideas to improve and mention in your UVP. For example, maybe your customer support is available longer hours than competitors, or you don’t include hidden fees like other websites do, or you have the most customers. Then test to find the most compelling elements from your ideas – using Adwords or Facebook ads is great for testing to see which are most compelling to use on your website.

3: Make your UVP customer focused, not business focused
Make sure you realize your UVP is not your mission statement! Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and think ‘what’s in for me’ and ‘why should I use this website’ – don’t just list the objectives of your business (often very dull).

To help with this, always use more visitor centric wording in your UVP, like ‘you’ and ‘yours’ instead of ‘we’ and ‘our’. Here is an example of a poor about page with business-focused mission statement, not showing good UVP – a real turn off for visitors, right?
mission statement

4: Answer common visitor problems and pain points with your UVP
To make your website and UVP even more customer focused, make sure you address your visitor’s common problems and pain points in your area of business, and then make sure your UVP helps solve them. Spend some time brainstorming these most common pain points, challenges and frustrations, then clearly highlight why your UVP and offering is the best solution for them.

Here is a great best practice example of UVP solving pain points on Unbounce.com:
unbounce UVP

5: Evaluate and beat your competitor’s UVP
Review your major competitor’s websites – do you offer anything good that they don’t? Or vice versa? It is essential to think of ideas to make your value proposition a bit more unique. Perhaps no one offers free returns yet or a money back guarantee? And if you are selling products, always give reasons for visitors to buy from you instead of Amazon.com! Lastly, don’t just copy competitor ideas – make them better!

6: Is your offering really that valuable and beneficial in the first place?
Take a step back for a while. Is there actually much interest and demand in your value proposition? It doesn’t matter how unique it is if people don’t really care about the benefits you are offering. Getting good feedback on this essential – run a quick visitor survey using a tool like Qualaroo.com to discover their true interest. Maybe its time to pivot into a business that people really care about and there is a real need for?

7: Don’t show off by using many superlatives in your UVP
Don’t scare your visitors away by using over-the-top superlatives in your UVP that you can’t back up with facts or stats – this will often cause an increase in bounce rates and lost sales. For example don’t just say ‘the worlds best’ or ‘#1 provider in the USA” if you can’t prove it! Removing wording like that will make your UVP seem more believable and less salesy – and more engaging!

Optimize the promotion of UVP on your website

Many websites have strong UVP, but forget or neglect to promote it well. It doesn’t matter how good your UVP is if your visitors often don’t seen it or be influenced by it. Never just presume they know it! To ensure its quickly understood, show it on key places on your website – as you’ll see in these next tips:

8: Prioritize the best parts of your UVP and promote them more
Don’t presume all elements of your UVP are equally important. Maybe your price match guarantee is more important than your free shipping? Find out which parts engage visitors better by doing some testing. Either with A/B testing, or if you don’t have enough traffic you can test using titles in Google Adwords or Facebook ads. Once you find the most clicked versions, promote them more often by using the next tips.

9: Use bullet points to show UVP above page fold on homepage
One of the quickest ways of conveying UVP is by adding some short bullet points on your homepage that highlight the top reasons to use your website (particularly instead of a competitor). This should be shown above the page fold so your visitors can see it without having to scroll, and come up with a good title for the section (like ‘reasons why you’ll love us’). Here is a good example from one of my clients:
UVP bullet points

10: Use a tagline under your logo to show elements of your UVP
This is quick easy thing to add to your website – take 3-5 keywords that best highlight your UVP and add them right under your logo as a tagline. Your visitor’s eyes often look towards the logo first, so adding UVP messaging there ensures that it’s quickly seen and engaged.

11: Use UVP-focused headlines on key pages to increase prominence
Headlines are often one of the key levers for increasing conversions and sales, particularly for engaging visitors quicker. Therefore, on your homepage and key pages, use a compelling headline that mentions the strongest aspects/benefits of your UVP. Asking questions and mentioning pain points is a great way of doing this. Here are a few good UVP focused headlines for your inspiration:
uvp headlines

12: Mention key aspects of your UVP in the header of your website
Don’t presume that visitors will see your UVP on your homepage – many visitors will arrive on interior pages via SEO in particular. To compensate for this and make sure your UVP is seen no matter what page is arrived on, mention the most compelling key elements of your UVP in your header, ideally with icons to help draw your visitor’s eyes.

This is particularly important for ecommerce websites to mention things like free shipping, lowest price guarantee etc. Here’s an excellent use of this on AO.com:
uvp in header

13: Promote your UVP high up in your blog sidebar
Never just presume your blog visitors will understand your UVP and who it’s for, even if you think its obvious. And realize that many blog visitors will only see your article pages and miss the UVP on your homepage. To prevent this from happening, in your sidebar you should create a small area with a quick overview of the benefits and reasons of your blog (a summary of your UVP), and place it towards the top to ensure its noticed.  Here is a great example of this on the RebootedBody.com blog:
blog value prop

14: Create a ‘why us’ page to compare your offering to others
Take your UVP messaging to the next level by  creating a page that explains ‘why use us’ and the uniqueness of your offering in more detail. This page should compare your website offering against your key competitors, and even against the offline/conventional way of doing it. Be honest though, and always include some aspects that your website is not quite as good.

Using a comparison table or a matrix can often work well to highlight UVP – here is a great example of a ‘why us’ page from one of my clients:
why us UVP

15: Add UVP related items to your main navigation menu
After you have created a good ‘why use us’ page, you should add a link for this page in your main navigation menu so it can be prominently seen and often visited. You should also have a page in your navigation menu with the wording of ‘benefits’ that explains this in more detail – don’t just say ‘products’ or ‘services’. Those two navigation improvements are great ways to get your UVP quickly seen and engaged upon, from any page on your website.

16: Simplify your UVP to make it easily scanable
When mentioning your UVP and benefits avoid using long paragraphs – visitors often don’t read online as much, they scan. To help ensure your UVP is read, cut out less important words to make it easier to read and digest, format them visually, and make use of bullet points and bold to convey key points/words.

And don’t confuse your visitors by using jargon or less known acronyms – always dumb down your UVP wording. Here is an excellent example of a great visual, highly scanable UVP on WebSynthesis.com:
synthesis value proposition

17: Reinforce your UVP on your checkout/signup flow
On your checkout or sign-up pages to reduce visitor abandonment (where the chances are often highest of) you should also reinforce your UVP by repeating the key benefits of using your website. A great place to show this is in the sidebar of these pages, using short bullet points.

For best results, this UVP wording should be shown in combination with risk reducers like guarantees, and secure wording/imagery. Adroll.com does an excellent job of this doing this on their checkout page:
UVP signup

18: Emphasize uniqueness when mentioning benefits and features
When mentioning features of your service/products on key pages, always take the opportunity to add wording to point out ones that are most unique or better than your competitors.

For example instead of just saying ‘we offer 200 templates’, also add ‘double more than leading providers’. Or for the pricing section, don’t just state the price, also mention things like ‘we don’t include hidden fees like other competing services do’. This is a great highly contextual place to emphasize your UVP.
UVP features

19: If using a homepage slider, make your first slide UVP focused
If you are using a homepage image slider – make much better use of it! Instead of just showing a random promotion or product in your first slide, a better way is to show a slide that mentions key points of your UVP, with a good matching headline, imagery and call-to-action. Better yet, test replacing the whole homepage slider with just a static image mentioning UVP, as ASOS.com recently had the great idea of:
slider UVP

20: Think outside of the box – promote UVP on emails, ads and more
And last, don’t just promote your UVP on your website – take a step back down your visitor journey and always mention it in all your ads, search results and all your email marketing efforts. Basically anywhere you can place a message in front of your audience, mention key your benefits and UVP. This way you can intrigue them to come to your website in the first place! Here is an excellent example of UVP in an ad:
UVP in ad

Don’t forget to test to find the best UVP variations!

Just like any content or elements on your website, you should always test to find the best converting variations and page locations for your UVP. Use an A/B testing tool to find the best elements of your UVP, the wording you use, the style of them, and their location on your key pages.

And if you don’t have enough traffic, you can test using ways I discuss in my low traffic A/B testing article.

Wrapping up – how good is your UVP?

Your UVP always has room for improvement – particularly how you promote it to your visitors! So go ahead and try using some of these 20 UVP tips, then sit back and watch your sales or leads increase!

Now over to you – what’s your website UVP? How are you going to improve it? Comment below. Thanks!

Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report

A very common data analysis technique is called Cohort Analysis. A Cohort is simply a segment of users which is based on a date. For example, a cohort could be all users based on their Acquisition Date (in Google Analytics this is really the Date of First Session). Another cohort might be all users that […]

Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report appeared first on Analytics Talk.

Google Analytics Cohort Report

A very common data analysis technique is called Cohort Analysis.

A Cohort is simply a segment of users which is based on a date. For example, a cohort could be all users based on their Acquisition Date (in Google Analytics this is really the Date of First Session).

Another cohort might be all users that completed their first transaction during a specific time period. This is a very common cohort used in ecommerce businesses. You’ll commonly hear ecommerce companies talk about the performance of new customers acquired during the holiday shopping season. This is simply a cohort. It’s all customers whose first transaction occurred between thanksgiving and Christmas (or some day before Christmas).

I’ve written about cohorts before. But to be honest, a lot of other analytics tools have been hard on Google Analytics for it’s lack Cohort functionality – and that was well deserved! For a long time the only way to do cohort analysis in Google Analytics was via segmentation – but that was really a hack.

Now Google Analytics has a real Cohort report that makes it much easier to perform cohort analysis.

Explaining the Cohort report

Let’s look at the various parts of the Cohort report. There are three main sections of the report: the report settings, the data over time graph and the tabular data.

There are three parts to the Cohort report.

[Click to enlarge] There are three parts to the Cohort report.

Now let’s talk about how to configure a Cohort report.

There are four main choices that you need to make when creating a Cohort report.

Cohort Type: Again, a cohort is segment based on a date. The Cohort Type is where you specify which date you want Google Analytics to use to create the cohort. Right now you probably noticed there is just one option here – Acquisition Date. This dimension is the date that the user first visited your site or used your app. It’s basically the Date of First Session.

I know – you’re probably all groaning that there is only one option. Me too! But stay tuned :)

Cohort Size: The cohort size is the time window that you want to use when looking at the Cohort type. So, choosing a day would mean “I want to see all users that have the same acquisition day.”

If you choose a Cohort Size of a week then it means “I want to see users whose acquisition date was within the same seven day period.”

Metric: This is the actual data that you will see in the report. There are aggregated metrics, like pageviews, and there are a number of per-user metrics, like sessions and revenue.

Remember, the analysis technique is to look at a specific metric for a cohort (a segment!) and see how that metric performs over time. The idea is to see if there are any dramatic changes to the metric between the different cohorts.

Date Range: This is the date range used to construct the cohort. When Google Analytics builds a cohort it uses the Date Range to evaluate the date specified in the cohort type – in this case Acquisition Date.

If I choose a Cohort Date Range of Last 7 days, and today is February 6, Google Analytics will look from Jan 30 to Feb 6 and align the data based on each user’s Acquisition Date. Here’s how Google Analytics would create the various ‘Days’ of data based on a user Acquisition date of January 30.

Day 0 = Jan 30
Day 1 = Jan 31
Day 2 = Feb 01
Day 3 = Feb 02
Day 4 = Feb 03
Day 5 = Feb 04
Day 6 = Feb 05
Day 7 = Feb 06

How Google Analytics creates Cohorts based on date.

How Google Analytics creates Cohorts based on date.

And here’s how the ‘day’ data would break down for each cohort in the data table. Notice how each cell of data is for a different group of users on a different day?:

Daily data by cohort

[Click to enlarge] Daily data by cohort

Remember, we’re talking about days here because we chose the Cohort Size to be Day. If we had chosen Week we would have seen Weeks in the graph; in that case, a week would be a 7 day period starting from yesterday backwards.

You’ll also notice that this time range is also represented in the tabular data.

NOTE: You will ALWAYS see 12 columns of data in this data table. It does not matter if you choose a cohort size of day, week or month. There will always be 12 columns. Why?

Most people will assume that if you choose a daily cohort for a 30 day time period you would see 30 columns and 30 rows, one for each cohort. But we found that most people don’t look at every single combination. For example, there are very little insights to be gained for the 17th day cohort 22 days from their initial visit.

However, if you do need to do that type of analysis it is possible to switch to a larger cohort size, like week, to observe what happened.

The amount of data in the cohort report depends on the cohort size and the date range that you choose.

When you choose a daily cohort (cohort size = by day) then you are limited to a 30 day lookback window.

When you choose a weekly cohort (cohort size = by week) then you are limited to a 12-week lookback window.

When you choose a monthly cohort (cohort size = by month) then you are limited to a 3-month lookback window.

Cohort Analysis Workflow

Ok, now that we’ve talked about the parts of a Cohort report, let’s look at a common workflow. Let’s say I’m a blogger (or publisher) and I want to understand the behavior of my weekly active users.

From a business perspective, I want people to come back to my site (or app!) very often. Knowing how many people are active within a week is really useful.

First I choose my Cohort Type – Acquisition Date because I can’t do anything else right now :)

Next, because I publish a lot of content, I want to set Cohort Size to daily. Now, for the metric, I am going to choose User Retention. This is the percentage of users that returned to my site (or app!) on a given day.

Finally, I’m going to set the date range to Last 7 days.

Now I have a report to look at!

To analyze this data I’m going to skip to the tabular data under the time trend.

Each row of data represents a different Cohort. I chose a daily Cohort, so each row represents a day. There will be 8 rows of data because my date range was 7 days and the EIGHTH row is the All Sessions data.

The tabular data shows the retention rate for each cohort for the past 7 days. To analyze the data I’m looking for any cells in the table that are a dark color. Or you can just look at the actual numbers to identify numbers that are abnormally high. But I’m lazy, so I’m just going to look at the color.

Here, in this report, I can see that users who first visited the site on Jan 27 returned at a much higher rate one day after their initial visit – much higher than all the other cohorts.

Analyzing the data in a Google Analytics Cohort report.

[Click to enlarge] Analyzing the data in a Google Analytics Cohort report.

What happened to these users? Why is their behavior different? Great question!

You need to add some of your own business context to this data as you scan the table. Think about your marketing activities. Were you running any specific campaigns that might have impacted the date?

It may be that you have no idea why this happened. Have no fear – Segmentation to the rescue!

Segmenting the Cohort Report

One thing that I really like about the new Cohort report is the ability to segment the data. You can apply up to four segments to this report. Each segment will create a new table of data below the “All Sessions” table.

Remember, a cohort is just a segment based on a date. So when you apply a standard GA segment you’re introducing another layer of segmentation. Here’s what the data would look like if I segment by Mobile and Tablet Traffic.

Applying a segment to the Google Analytics Cohort report.

[Click to enlarge] Applying a segment to the Google Analytics Cohort report.

To analyze the data I like to compare the data from each segment to the All Sessions data. I’m looking for any segmented cohorts that perform differently than all of the sessions.

I also recommend segmenting by traffic source or specific campaign. This is especially important given that the only Cohort Type is currently Acquisition Date.

Which Cohorts should you choose?

Hopefully by now you have a good idea of how this report works and how you can use it. You’ve probably noticed that this is not something that you will need to use every day. Let’s look at a few common cohorts based on different business models, that you can create.

Remember, we’re a bit limited right now due to a singular cohort type – acquisition based cohorts.

Ecommerce

There are some really cool ecommerce-specific metrics that we can analyze with the Cohorts report. Things like Revenue per User, Transactions per User and total Revenue.

The key here is to remember that the cohort will be based on the date the customer first visited the site or app.

Also remember the granularity of the cohort and your customer buying cycle.

Analyzing customers who purchase expensive items, that are purchased less frequently, over a 7 day date range, will not yield many insights. Try switching to a weekly cohort over 10+ weeks.

Weekly Cohort, User revenue, last 12 weeks
Weekly Cohort, Transactions per User, last 12 weeks

If your customers purchase less expensive items, then they might purchase more frequently. Try switching to a daily cohort over 30 days.

Daily Cohort, User revenue, last 30 days
Daily Cohort, Transactions per User, last 30 days

Try adding some product segmentation. Here I added a segment based on a specific product and found that the revenue per users spiked 5 days after the first visit.

Looking at a single segment in the Google Analytics Cohort report.

[Click to enlarge] Looking at a single segment in the Google Analytics Cohort report.

Also, try applying a segment for user-based revenue. Look at high-value customers and lower-value customer. How does their behavior, over time, change based on the acquisition date?

In App Purchases

This is one area where the cohorts report will really shine. This is a FANTASTIC way to understand user behavior after they initially launch your app for the first time.

The in app purchase model is very different than traditional ecommerce – In app purchases are MUCH smaller and usually very frequent. I would look at cohorts like:

Daily Cohort, User revenue, last 7/14/30 days
Daily Cohort, Transactions per User, last 7/14/30 days

I would also look at user-engagement cohorts for those that do NOT purchase. It will help me understand if users are actually using the app. Create the following cohorts:

Daily Cohort, Sessions per Users, last 7/14/30 days
Daily Cohort, Session Duration per User, last 7/14/30 days

Then apply a segment of Revenue per User = 0:

Publishers (Desktop & Mobile)

For publishing I want to better understand user engagement over time. Luckily there are a number of metrics that we can use when building cohorts. Try the following:

Daily Cohort, Sessions per User, last 7/14/30 days
Daily Cohort, User Retention, last 7/14/30 days
Daily Cohort, Pageviews per User, last 7/14/30 days
Daily Cohort, Sessions Duration per User, last 7/14/30 days

If you have revenue data in Google Analytics, from AdSense or some other calculation, I would suggest looking at cohorts similar to in-app purchase.

Also keep in mind your publishing schedule. If you’re the New York Times or Wall Street Journal you publish a lot of content every day. A 7-day date range is very helpful. But if you’re a blogger that only publishes twice a month, you might want to look at a 21 or 30 day date range.

Lead Gen

Similar to the previous items, your lead gen cohorts will really depend on how long it normally takes to get a lead. If you’re selling something expensive, look at a weekly cohort over a long time period. If you’re selling something less-expensive, look at daily cohort over a shorter time period.

One of the challenges here is that there is no metric for a single goal conversion. You could use the metric Goal Completions, but that looks at ALL your configured goals, and I’m assuming that most of you have more than one goal configured.

So your best bet for lead gen is to look at some engagement metrics. Look for cohorts that are showing lots of engagement based on time and sessions per user. This may indicate
A Final Tip

Hopefully this clears up why you should do Cohort analysis and how to do it with Google Analytics.

Here’s one more tip.

Use Shortcuts to save your specific cohort reports. This is a HUGE timesaver! You probably noticed that you need to configure the Cohorts report. If you look at a cohorts report often take the time to save your version using a shortcut. Then you can access it with one click in Google Analytics.

Create a shortcut to make it easier to access your Cohort reports.

[Click to enlarge] Create a shortcut to make it easier to access your Cohort reports.

Cohort analysis is a useful way to understand how groups of users perform based on a common date attribute. I hope you will try cohort analysis and found this post useful.

Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report appeared first on Analytics Talk.

Learn From The Best and Worst Websites In Super Bowl 2015 Ads

If you are like me, just as important as watching the Super Bowl game are the Super Bowl ads! Ridiculous amounts of money are spent (and often wasted) in a matter of seconds, so I…

superbowl websites

If you are like me, just as important as watching the Super Bowl game are the Super Bowl ads! Ridiculous amounts of money are spent (and often wasted) in a matter of seconds, so I love to see ads being smart and making great use of websites or landing pages.

And this year (and what a great game it was!) the trend of ads using #hashtags in them stays high at 50%. But only 25% of ads mentioned URLs to visit – this seems like a huge waste of opportunity to further engage and convert 114 million viewers (highest audience ever!) into website sales.

I decided to check out and review 5 of the ads smart enough to use website URLs, and see how well they engaged and converted their visitors into sales or leads. And many of them could have much better!

In particular, I focused the website reviews on the message continuation from the ad, their headlines and call-to-actions, and their usage of social proof and unique value proposition.

Here’s the short video of me reviewing 5 Super Bowl ad websites, with my ratings and comments below.

1: WeighWatchers.com (Rating: 5/10)

This ad was one of my favorites, trying to empathize with people getting bombarded with ads for food and huge portion sizes. However, when you arrive on their website to take action (and join up) they certainly could have used some help to convert many ore of their of visitors into sales! Very poor indeed.

Highlights from my WatchWatchers.com review:

  • Message continuation from ad: Underachieved, which was unfortunate because it was such a strong engaging ad message. No imagery from the ad is used, and they hid the video of ad at the bottom of the site, like an afterthought.
  • Headlines and call-to-actions: A pretty vague headline – just repeating the slogan from the ad – “Take control back”. At least they use a subheadline to try and emphasize benefits. The call-to-action button could have been improved too – instead of ‘start today’ it could have implied more value, like ‘Lose 10 pounds for free’.
  • Social proof: Very lacking – the homepage really needs to show reviews or testimonials from people who have lost weight. An expert review from a doctor would have worked well too. To optimize this and convert more visitors, I would have also mentioned how many people have lost weight, and how much combined weight they have lost.
  • Unique value proposition: They do a very poor job with this considering there are 1000’s of different diets that declare they are the best. They don’t mention why their solution is better, and seem to just rely on the brand. They should mention if it gets the best results, and what they do different (they implied this with their 24/7 coaching).
  • What else should be improved: The navigation is really bland, with uninspiring choices. ‘Products & Services’ – really? Could that be anymore non-visitor enticing and business-centric? Better to mention items like ‘Why Choose WeightWatchers’ to help explain unique value proposition and benefits, and add a ‘Happy Members’ link so people can quickly see results from real people. There are also no images of people dieting on this website – a real simple powerful fix.

2: Wix.com (Rating: 8/10)

This was the best website that I noticed from a Super Bowl ad this year, with great message continuation and many best practices being used. Great job Wix! They probably had a good percentage of your visitors converting into sales, hopefully meaning a bigger return on investment from the ad.

Highlights from my Wix.com review:

  • Message continuation from ad: Very good, with matching imagery and messaging clearly above the page fold, in addition to a video thumbnail to watch the ad again.
  • Headlines and call-to-actions: Strong headline with positive wording like ‘stunning’ and ‘free’. The call-to-action button at the top is pretty generic though (start now) and they are lacking a more prominent strong call-to-action at the end of the homepage.
  • Social proof: This aspect could definitely be improved – while they added a good usage numbers to imply popularity (59 million users is really strong) adding testimonials from happy users or third party ratings would increase signups even further.
  • Unique value proposition: While they do a great job of explaining the benefits of their service, they don’t mention how they are better than their many competitors like SquareSpace.com. For example, they should mention if they have more templates, better support or exclusive features. Adding a ‘why us’ competitor comparison page would help to justify reasons to choose them in this crowded marketplace and increase signups.
  • What else should be improved: An explainer/intro video could be added that highlights the benefits and how easy it is to use their tool. They also could show clearer options for visitors to browse by template type, like photographer, restaurant owner, etc – add a drop down filter to sort templates shown, and add template category links in drop down navigation menu.

3: WeatherTech.com (Rating: 4/10)

A pretty generic ad, but was smart enough to add a prominent mention of their website URL. The website looks cool, but unfortunately it’s just too different than a conventional ecommerce website, with few best practices that no doubt confused and frustrated many visitors, likely resulting in many 1000’s of lost sales. Like no site search, really?

Highlights from my WeatherTech.com review:

  • Message continuation from ad: Very poor, with barely any mention of the ad, imagery or its messaging – just a tiny squashed promo box towards the bottom.
  • Headlines and call-to-actions: Not great either – no headlines – just standard product names shown, and the most obvious call-to-action button saying ‘more products’. Really? That’s a sure fire way to bore visitors into bouncing.
  • Social proof: None at all! No ratings, testimonials, or strong business usage numbers. Nothing. Looks like more like a brochure than a website. Among other things, they really need to mention how many customers they’ve had, how many parts they’ve sold and their ratings from third parties.
  • Unique value proposition: This is also very lacking – it doesn’t mention unique value proposition things like free shipping or returns, lowest prices, biggest selection, or best service – essential for trying to compete with sites like Amazon.com.
  • What else should be improved: Instead of their ‘cool’ design, test using a more traditional ecommerce design, with conversion best practices built-in. Test changing background from black to a more standard white might help too, as would having a live web chat option. AutoAnything.com is a much better, higher converting auto accessories site for inspiration.

4: NoMore.Org (Rating: 6/10)

What a shame. A really compelling ad that strikes at the heart and reality of domestic abuse, but their website could have done a much better job of converting visitors into pledging. While their sign-up form was prominent and short and sweet, they didn’t add anything else to help convince visitors to act, like stats on domestic abuse or compelling stories, and empathizing more with visitors.

NOTE: Since I wrote this, the URL now takes you to the homepage, and not the pledge signup page anymore (see the video review for what they were using).

Highlights from my NoMore.org review:

  • Message continuation from ad: Similar wording from the ad, but unfortunately no matching imagery or option to watch the ad again – a big missed opportunity to help drive home the compelling message in the ad (which might not have been obvious at first watch).
  • Headlines and call-to-actions: Pretty good headlines, but they could better, for example using headlines that ask a question, are controversial/shocking, or emphasize empathy better. The call-to-action button is large and simple, but could also be improved to mention urgency or helping make a difference.
  • Social proof: This is definitely lacking – they should mention how many people have pledged already, and messages from supporters (particularly from famous people). This would significantly increase pledges. They should also state how common this issue is (12.7 million cases a year is a really compelling number, like they mention on their full site).
  • Unique value proposition: Not really applicable – they aren’t really selling anything, so it’s not as important to emphasize unique value proposition.
  • What else should be improved: Add imagery of women suffering from domestic violence (the shock/empathy angle) would help make women relate, mention that visitor’s wont be spammed if they pledge, and mention what will happen next after pledging.

5: DreamingWithJeff.com (Rating: 7/10)

Hats off to SquareSpace for coming up with an ingenious mini-site featuring Jeff Bridges, highly relating to their intriguing ad. But they could have done more to sell the album, and to explain benefits of using SquareSpace’s website creation tool.

Highlights from my DreamingWithJeff.com review:

  • Message continuation from ad: Very good, with similar style used from the ad – few words were used in the ad, so not as applicable as the other websites.
  • Headlines and call-to-actions: Stylish headline but a bit too ‘functional’, only stating what the product is called. A better more playful headlines like ‘sleep better with Jeff’ would be more benefits orientated, and eye-catching. Good usage of ‘dual’ call-to-actions above the page fold, but average wording, with no mention of building websites (many visitors won’t know what SquareSpace actually is).
  • Social proof: Apart from the ‘coolness’ factor that Jeff Bridges brings, there is little other social proof mentioned for either the album or SquareSpace. Some kind of third-party rating for the album is essential (from Amazon.com in particular), as would be a few ‘cool’ reviews from happy listeners of the album. They also need to mention awards, ratings and number of users for SquareSpace (like Wix.com showed).
  • Unique value proposition: They don’t really explain why this sleep music works better than other methods – like sleeping pills, and don’t mention why SquareSpace is better than the other web creation tools. Adding this would certainly increase sales/signups.
  • What else should be improved: Simplify the options for getting the album – there are too many confusing options. At least explain the benefits of each type, and who its best for (music collector etc). Also make it more obvious that charity gets all the revenue (its strangely hidden away in fine print) – this would definitely encourage sales.

What was your favorite? Maybe your site needs help too?

Hopefully you learned something from my review of those 5 Super Bowl ad websites. Which was your favorite website from the Super Bowl ads?

And if you are looking for some expert sales-boosting help for your website, give me a shout – I’d love to help review and improve your website. Thanks!

How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics

You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics? Why yes you can! In doing so, it allows you to integrate all the services of each into one big tool to measure the behavior of your site’s traffic. This allows you to dig deeper into how people are searching your website so you can see what…

The post How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

how-to-link-webmaster-tools-with-google-analytics-200x200You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics? Why yes you can! In doing so, it allows you to integrate all the services of each into one big tool to measure the behavior of your site’s traffic. This allows you to dig deeper into how people are searching your website so you can see what they are looking for the most. Aside from their capabilities, the great thing about having both of these tools are that they are absolutely free. The only thing you need to do in order to take advantage of them, are to sync them together.

This article will show you how to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.

How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analtyics

Before you can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics, you need to sign up for a Google account. After you have a Google account, you need to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. You will need to submit your website to each of them and add their tracking code onto your website.

The best tool to add the tracking code from Google Analytics or get your site crawled by Google Webmaster Tools, especially for WordPress users, is to use Google Analytics for WordPress, and WordPress SEO by Yoast, both of which are handy plugins.

After you’ve installed the tracking codes, either manually, or using the recommended plugins if you’re a WordPress user, then you need to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.

Step 1. You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics by going to the Google Analytics tab called Admin. After you’ve clicked to go to the Admin section, there are 3 columns. Look for the middle column that says Property. You want to click on the link that says All Properties. (Note: Right click on the image below to open in a new tab or window in order to see how you can navigate to where you need to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.)

link-webmaster-tools-to-google-analytics

Step 2. On the All Properties page, if you scroll, you’ll see all sorts of Google properties listed. You will want to find the Google Webmaster Tools section.

webmaster-tools-all-property-page-in-google-analytics

Step 3. Fill out the form and hit save. On this page you’ll want to also decide if you want to enable features like Demographics and Interest Reports Advertiser Features, and In-Page Analytics.

The Demographics and Interest reports basically collect information on your visitors in regards to age, gender, and their interest. The Advertiser Features give you options not available in regular use of Google Analytics and give you the ability to remarket with the platform, as well as have DoubleClick integration, reporting on Demographics and Interests, and reports on Google Display Network Impression.

As a note, while in this step, please make sure that you’ve hooked your website up to Google Webmaster Tools. The website has to be verified or this will not work right. Click save when you’re done.

webmaster-tools-link-to-google-analytics

The process in how to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics doesn’t take long at all. If you’ve already hooked your website up with each Google property, then it’s pretty easy to do.

Have you linked your Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics?

The post How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

12 Blog Mistakes Killing Your Leads and Email List Growth (and how to fix ’em)

Helping create or market a blog for your business? I’m sure you realize that having one is essential for getting much higher rankings and traffic from Google. But how well are you converting your great…

blog mistakes

Helping create or market a blog for your business? I’m sure you realize that having one is essential for getting much higher rankings and traffic from Google.

But how well are you converting your great blog traffic into something of high value – huge amounts of leads to follow-up with or to quickly building your email list?

Unfortunately, many blogs do a poor job of converting a good percentage their visitors – I’ve seen it after reviewing hundreds of blogs over the last 5 years (like the Backlinko.com blog before I helped optimize it).

To help you grow your email list and leads much quicker, here are the 12 biggest, most common blog mistakes, and how to fix and optimize them.  How many of them is your blog making? Let’s get started…

The 12 Most Common Blog Conversion Mistakes to Avoid

1. Showing annoying ads. Nothing kills a good blog user experience quite like showing annoying ads in your side bar, or worst still, in your actual blog article – particularly animated ones. Sure, they might make you a few bucks, but they cheapen the look of your blog, and worst still, distract and tempt your visitors to click away from your great content.

So unless your websites main goal is to generate ad revenue, you really should remove all your ads – this will often reduce bounce rates and focus your site better on your major goals.  Check out how many ads are on this blog below, particularly at the top – not exactly a great visitor experience, right?

ad in article

Don’t believe me or not sure what ads to remove? Test it – using an A/B testing tool try removing your most annoying or prominent ads for a week and see the impact on bounce rate and converting more visitors into subscribers or leads. You will be pleasantly surprised…

2. No value proposition clearly mentioned. So many blog creators expect visitors to know what their blog is about and the benefits of it, but neglect to actually clearly mention it. Why make your visitor have to work to understand? This is particularly problematic when visitors will often judge a website within just 10 seconds, and is a major cause of high-bounce rates on blog articles.

To make it easier for them to understand the benefits of your blog and increase the chances of them sticking around, add a few essential things to it – firstly add a tagline under your logo that helps visitors understand what the blog is all about. Secondly, add a small module towards the top of your side bar showing key benefits of your blog. You can see good examples of this on my blog, and on the Rebootedbody.com blog:

blog value prop

3. Dead-end articles with no good call-to-action. The end of articles is one of the most critical places on blogs – this is where your visitor’s eye flow ends up after reading your article. Unfortunately, many blogs don’t take full advantage of this space, and simply put related links at the end of their article – hoping that something will be of interest to their visitors. But this often just delays them inevitably leaving without subscribing or converting.

To capture hundreds more emails and boost your list growth, you need to use this space to show your visitors something of value for free (known as a lead magnet). This can be something like a related free ebook, a free trial to what you sell, or a free consultation. Make sure it stands out too, and include some imagery, otherwise your visitors won’t really notice it. Testing this is key for maximizing opt-ins, particularly the wording and call-to-action. See below for a good example of this on the Sparkline.com blog:

blog lead magnet

4: A non-mobile optimized blog. The percentage of visitors arriving on blogs via their mobile phone is growing at a crazy rate (it’s now over 20% on my blog) – and unfortunately many blogs don’t make it easy for these visitors to read their content. This is because reading blog articles is hard on small screens – unless you have a mobile optimized blog, visitors have to zoom and scroll to read your content. They will often get annoyed by this and leave your blog to find a related one that is mobile optimized.

To fix this, the best solution is to have a responsive website design that changes font sizes, images, layout and widths dynamically depending on the size of the visitors screen – this ensures your blog reads and looks great on any mobile device, including tablets. For a cheaper quicker option, consider using a tool that automatically mobile optimizes your blog like WP Touch. Below you can see a few fantastic examples of responsive blogs – the IWillTeachYoutoBeRich.com blog and the SmartPassiveIncome.com blog.

responsive blogs

5. Short articles with no images or subheaders. This is a real visitor engagement killer – arriving at a blog that has no images and has just several long blocks of text. Unfortunately its still much too common, particularly for corporate website blogs. These types of articles make your visitors leave even quicker – probably unlikely to return.

To make sure your blog isn’t guilty of this, always try to write more in-depth content with images and subheaders – this not only makes your content seem much more appealing, but also makes it much more ‘scanable’. This will reduce your blog article bounce rates and increase the chances of your visitors finding your content valuable and subscribing/converting. As a bonus, longer content often results in higher rankings in Google.

6: A cluttered side bar. Now this happens all the time – bloggers just making their side bar a dumping ground for all kinds of promos, ads and widgets and hoping visitors will like at least one thing. Often continually adding new promos, without removing older ones. But in reality, the more content you have in your side bar, the greater chance your visitors won’t see any of your really good content there. And worst still, having ads there cause ‘banner blindness’ so your visitors will often just ignore the whole side bar.

To fix this, remove less useful content from your side bar – for example, in addition to ads, blog categories are not really that helpful and take up a lot of room, as do latest Tweets or Facebook widgets. Instead focus it on promos for your most useful content and value proposition. If you aren’t sure what to remove, really think what is most useful, and test removing different content using an A/B testing tool and check then impact on conversions and bounce rate.

Free Bonus Blog Conversion Optimization Checklist!
Maximize your leads or email list by downloading this free content upgrade – my 20-point blog conversion optimization checklist. Grab my blog optimization checklist (PDF)

7: Few signs of social proof. Unfortunately many blogs look like a ghost-town with little signs of good social proof, even ones with good traffic – with few comments or shares, no mentions of popularity or how many subscribers or followers they have. Just like people prefer restaurants with good reviews and many diners in it, blog visitors are much more likely to think positively and subscribe to blog content that they know other people love and often use.

There are many ways to increase social proof on your blog. First, if you have a good amount of readers or followers (ideally over 1,000), then clearly state that in your side bar. Second, if you have great reviews, place a testimonial there too. Showing well-known media mentions will also help boost social proof – like you can see on the SmartBusinessRevolution.com blog:

review and media mentions

Don’t forget to also add social media icons that include share numbers (but to avoid negative social proof, only show numbers when they are higher than 20) – add this at the end of your articles, or make them sticky to the left side. This is a simple way to increase signs of popular and social proof.

8: Bland, non-engaging article headlines. It doesn’t matter how good your blog articles are if your headlines are dull and not captivating – few visitors will stick around to read it, let alone convert into a subscriber or a lead. Sadly, many blogs make this mistake and are in need of some good copy-writing love. Many blogs also use small headline fonts, which makes them even less attention-grabbing.

To fix this, always use compelling copy-writing principles for your article headlines and make them stand out. Using steps or numbers, asking questions and mentioning common visitor pain points are some good ways to make your headlines more engaging – here is a great guide for creating captivating blog headlines. You should also check out this great headline testing tool to find highest-clicked variations of your headlines.

9: No good incentive for visitors to subscribe. So many blogs just mention ‘subscribe to our blog’ or ‘get updates’ in their side bar and hope thats good enough to convince visitors to do so. Bad news folks – if you do that, you won’t be getting many subscribers – it’s not very compelling or even eye-catching, and offers little value proposition to your visitors. When was the last time you actually subscribed to a blog that way? Your visitors rarely will either.

To increase subscribers and build your email list quicker, give your subscriber box an upgrade – create a compelling free incentive to subscribe and mention it in your sidebar with visuals to help draw your visitor’s eye. For example, create a free short mini-course or a giveaway a short ebook relating to your blog. Again, A/B testing is key here to ensure highest conversion rates. Here is a great example of an ‘upgraded’ subscribe in the side bar on BloggingWizard.com (with excellent enticing copy):

better blog subscribe

You could also try using a ‘content upgrade’ call-to-action in your article, like I use to giveaway my conversion rate optimization blog checklist earlier and at the end of this article.

10: Outdated or ugly blog design. Visitors will judge your blog very quickly – particularly by how good it looks. A well-styled modern blog can really help engage your visitors and increase the chances of them subscribing/converting. If your blog looks like it was created with a free theme with little customization, your visitors will probably notice and not be impressed. Same applies if it looks outdated.

To fix this, consider a style face lift for your blog, and make sure its using latest popular widgets like a good comment system and social share options. To get some great inspiration use a service like 99designs.com to get designers to come up with a new modern look. Ultimately, it’s key to make sure your blog looks better than your competitor’s blogs, otherwise visitors will often prefer going there instead.

11: No use of exit popups to capture emails. One of the newest most effective ways to capture emails on your blog is to use a well-designed popup offering a free incentive, just before your visitors go to leave. This is known as an exit-intent popup. Interestingly, many blog owners think that popups increase bounce rates and annoy visitors – but studies have shown if used well using exit-intent, they don’t impact it negatively. And when I used the exit-intent popup functionality in Opt-in Monster to promote my free toolbox, I increased my email capture rate to 42%. Pretty impressive right?

There are plenty of options for creating customizable exit-intent popups – you can use SumoMe, Opt-in Monster or Popup Domination to name but a few. Remember to optimize what you are offering in your popup – don’t just just say subscribe, give them a great incentive like mentioned earlier. And test the wording, imagery and call-to-action button too! Make sure they can easily close it aswell. Here is a great example of a good eye catching popup on the MarieForleo.com blog:

exit popup

12: No ‘start here’ page to help guide visitors. You have probably created some great articles on your blog – but unfortunately on many blogs it’s hard for visitors to know and find the best content. Most blog readers will only read your article they arrived on – and rarely take time to go through your old content to find other great articles – that may convert visitors better into a lead or subscriber.

To increase the chances of visitors finding your best content and converting, create a ‘start here’ page and put a link to it in your main navigation menu (like on my blog). On this page include links to your most useful and popular content. Here you should also explain more about you, and why you created the blog – a good engaging story will really help! You can see a best-practice example of a ‘start here’ page on the popular EntrepreneurOnFire.com blog:

blog start here

Wrapping up

To grow your email list and leads, it’s essential you give your blog some conversion rate optimization love mentioned in this article – in particular do some A/B testing on key elements like your headlines, call-to-actions and what you show in your side bar. Which of these techniques discussed are you using, or planning on using on your blog?

Content upgrade: grab my free blog conversion optimization checklist!
Quickly boost your blog leads or email list by grabbing my bonus free blog conversion optimization checklist. Download my blog conversion checklist (PDF)

And if you are looking for some personal help, I can quickly help optimize your blog to increase leads and grow your email list. I’m actually just about to help SEMrush.com with my conversion review service. Thanks!

Why Your Website Redesign Will Fail to Lift Sales Much (And What To Do Instead)

Planning on a website redesign soon? Hoping it will finally get the sales or leads you’ve been hoping for? I’ve got some disappointing news for you. Unfortunately, most website redesigns don’t work as well as…

website redesign 2

Planning on a website redesign soon? Hoping it will finally get the sales or leads you’ve been hoping for?

I’ve got some disappointing news for you. Unfortunately, most website redesigns don’t work as well as planned and have barely any impact on sales or leads, and some even have negative effects.

In fact, a recent HubSpot.com study found 68% of marketers did a site redesign in the last 12 months – but 1/3 were unhappy with the results.

And you really don’t want to waste an average of $55,000 dollars on a failed website redesign do you? (as the same study also determined the average redesign cost to be).

So how can you ensure much better results from your next website redesign?

I have created this article to show you the most common reasons why website redesigns fail, and what to do instead to ensure greatest success for improving sales or leads. So let’s get started!

Why your new site redesign will fail to lift sales or leads much

Regardless of the potential lost traffic impact from effect on search engine optimization (which can often be a nightmare when redesigning a website), the are many other reasons why your proposed redesign will fail to increase sales or leads very much.

1: The major reason is that too much is changed at once. Some of your redesign changes will be positive, but unfortunately some will be negative. So the impact of the better changes will be outweighed by your poor changes. And without A/B testing, you won’t know easily the exact things that caused a positive or negative impact on sales or leads generated. For example, your  new signup flow might be much better, but your new homepage headline or call-to-action button might not be converting as well as before.

website redesign conversion impact

2: Too little feedback gathered from visitors. This is one of the major reasons for redesign failure. Your most influential and important audience are your visitors, and if you haven’t got considerable feedback from them on your existing website and proposed design mockups, this will alienate and frustrate many of them when you launch. This is what happened with a recent poor redesign of MarksAndSpencer.com – while the website looked fantastic, it was too modern and many visitors didn’t understand how to use it properly, causing an 8% drop in online sales.

Ideally you need to spend several weeks getting in-depth feedback from your visitors and usability sessions (UserTesting.com is excellent for this), and then involve them at every stage of the redesign process. A key part of this determining the most important visitor tasks and making sure your proposed redesign can easily solve those main visitor needs.

3: Poor use of web analytics to gain insights, reliant on best guess. Many redesigns aren’t powered by insights from web analytics, and instead are often reliant on hoping that ideas will be successful based on best guesses or demands from HiPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion). Without web analytics insights, marketers are essentially blinded by not knowing what pages or elements are performing badly, or their current website performance.

To prevent this, ensure you do a complete analysis of your current website performance, including overall website conversion rate (amount of sales or leads divided by visitors, times by 100), shopping cart (or sign-up flow) abandonment rate, and then bounce rates and conversion rates for your key pages. This benchmark is essential for determining the success of any content you are launching or redesigning, and for future post-redesign launch improvements.

4: Website designers aren’t experts in conversion.  Website and UX designers are visual experts can create great looking websites, with gorgeous color schemes and sizzling imagery. But unfortunately very few of them also know how to design a website that ensures highest conversion rates (and why should they? its very hard for them to be trained and experts in web analytics, marketing and conversion rate optimization best practices).

While its really important to get a good designer to create a compelling and stylish website, you really need to also involve some conversion rate optimization experts – either internally if you are lucky enough to have them, or from experts in the industry (look no further than experts like myself, Brian Massey, Peep Laja, Chris Goward, Bryan Eisenberg and Tim Ash).

5: Redesign processes often take much too long. Many website redesign projects don’t launch on time or never even get finished – the same report from HubSpot.com found that this was the case with 49% of website redesigns. And many take so long that by the time they are launched, it quickly will get out of date again. Using an incremental approach to evolve and improve your website over time is much better (as we will discuss shortly) – and remember your website is never truly finished!

6: Too many chefs in the redesign kitchen. Its really frustrating being in many redesign meetings, with too many people thinking they know what’s best for the redesign. Marketers often clash with designers, who often both clash with senior management (the HiPPOs), with often little being resolved/decided. Ultimately though, its only your visitors who know what will best convert them into sales or leads! That’s why it’s vital to involve them as early and often as possible.

7:  You won’t be able to easily roll back to your old site if the new one performs badly. Sometimes website redesign will work so poorly, that sales or leads will actually DECREASE, even with the same amount of traffic. You may be tempted to quickly flip the switch and restore your old version – but this often much harder to do that it seems. And it will also confuse your visitors, making your business look a bit foolish. An incremental, A/B testing approach will make this much easier to manage and roll-back poor performing new pages or features.

Free Bonus Redesign Conversion Checklist!
Ensure your next website redesign maximizes your sales or leads by downloading this free bonus redesign conversion checklist. Download my redesign checklist (PDF)

Go for incremental, CRO-based website improvements instead!

So those are the main reasons why your new website redesign won’t work that well. But what’s the solution? I have alluded to it above, but essentially you need to use an incremental, CRO (conversion rate optimization) based website improvements instead of full website redesigns. Here are the main components of this, and why it works so well:

  • Instead of launching major website redesigns once every 2-3 years, go for more frequent but smaller highly-performing changes instead (2-5 changes per month). This allows for continual website improvement, rather than hedging your bets on the success of a full major redesign.
  • For these smaller incremental changes, using A/B testing is essential to find out which versions of your proposed redesign convert more of your visitors into sales or leads. Avoid launching a new page or feature on your website without A/B testing it first to find the best variation. You can then use the learnings from your test results and apply them to future improvement tests. And if you don’t have enough traffic, read this low traffic guide for improving websites.
  • By using your web analytics tool, figure out which pages/elements of your website need optimizing or redesigning first – rather than just trying to improve everything at once. For example, your product pages may already be converting well, but your homepage or your navigation menu may not be. Checking the bounce rates and conversion rates for your top entry pages is one of the best ways to find the highest potential pages to improve.
  • Use visual analysis tools to help understand which pages elements need optimizing first. To gain these important visual insights you should use a tool like Hotjar.com to run visitor clickmaps and visitor recording sessions on your key pages. Doing this will help you discover and form A/B test ideas for elements that are most/least engaging to your visitors. For example, you may find that one of your most important CTA buttons isn’t being clicked much, or a particular field on your sign-up form is confusing visitors.
  • Involve your website visitors and target audience feedback early on and continually while making these smaller improvements. For every proposed change you want to make, get visitor feedback from a service like UserTesting.com or UserTest.io, or run your own usability studies. Make sure they can easily complete common tasks and your major use visitor taskes for all proposed new webpage changes, and ask for feedback on what needs improving or seems confusing.
  • Running surveys are highly recommended to get feedback too, including onsite surveys and customer surveys by email. Single question surveys work very well for gathering page specific feedback on key pages (e.g. using Hotjar.com), and is one of the quickest feedback wins to take advantage of. For example, asking a pricing related question on a pricing page.
  • Get some other great insights for the small incremental changes by frequently checking what your competitor websites have recently launched. Not just design-wise, but also new content, and promotions and they have added, and how their overall unique value proposition. Don’t just copy though and presume they know what they are doing – they often won’t – always try to improve on their ideas and what they are doing.
  • Always try to get some feedback on proposed changes from CRO experts like myself. This is because while it’s essential to get your website visitor’s feedback, unfortunately they often don’t know best or which versions of web pages would convert them more often.  This also works well because it provides fresh outside perspective on the current website experience.

Also, don’t forget about the potential big negative impact of search engine ranking changes for your redesign too (a whole other discussion) and this is a great guide on SEO redesign considerations. You obviously want to ensure that you keep your same traffic SEO traffic levels, as well as increase conversions!

Download my free redesign conversion checklist to maximize success!
Ensure your next website redesign maximizes your sales or leads by downloading this free bonus redesign conversion checklist. Download my redesign checklist (PDF)

Now over to you… which of these techniques will you try first?

Do you have a website resign coming up? Which of these techniques are you interested in trying? What challenges are you facing? Perhaps you have already had some success? Please comment below.

How Important are Pageviews for Bloggers?

If you’re a new blogger or have been around the block some, pageviews are really important. If you’re not paying attention to your website’s stats, then you’re missing out on a lot of things that could make you money. Money or any return on investment is important for a lot of bloggers, whether the blogger…

The post How Important are Pageviews for Bloggers? appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

how-important-are-pageviews-for-bloggers-200x200If you’re a new blogger or have been around the block some, pageviews are really important. If you’re not paying attention to your website’s stats, then you’re missing out on a lot of things that could make you money. Money or any return on investment is important for a lot of bloggers, whether the blogger is a professional or writing on a website as a hobby. In this article, we’ll cover how important are pageviews for bloggers.

How Important are Pageviews for Bloggers?

What is a Pageview?

In many web analytics platforms, pageviews is a statistic that is commonly measured. Simply, a pageview is how many times a page has been seen. Yes, it’s really that simple of a definition. There are some technical ones, and Google has one specifically defined for those that use the Google Analytics tracking code.

Pageviews as defined by Google Anayltics:

A pageview is defined as a view of a page on your site that is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code. If a user clicks reload after reaching the page, this is counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview is recorded as well.

A Pageview is Just Another Number, Right?

It’s a number, but not just any number. Pageviews are a very important number to bloggers because it’s one of the statistics that bloggers need to give to potential advertisers that are interested in placing ads on their site. Advertisers aren’t going to pay you to put up an text link, banner ad, or sponsored post without knowing your website’s stats.

A lot of times, the more pageviews you have, the more you can ask of an advertiser. Usually the stat they want is your monthly count, however, a lot of web analytics systems can be broken down into daily and weekly amounts.

As a note, aside from the pageviews, knowing what the majority of the audience is (gender, age range, and location), and keywords are also important numbers to pass to advertisers. For every pageview you get, web analytics platforms like Google Analytics tracks these details for you! 🙂

Pageviews versus Unique Pageviews – What is that?

Other than making money, it also allows you to see the progress of your own website. In fact, aside from pageviews, you also get a number for unique pageviews too! Unique pageviews are when the page has been visited once by a user. For example, if you visit a website and go through 6 pages after visiting the home page, and then return back to the home page when done, that is 7 pageviews, and only 6 of them are unique.

In fact, in Google Analytics, this is measured as a stat, and this is a good indicator of figuring out why your users left your site when you know where they exited the site.

So, really, how important are pageviews for bloggers? If you’re looking at your stats for pageviews for the first time, then you’re looking at a lot of potential for the future.

Do you know your pageview stats? If so, are you using your pageview stats to your advantage?

The post How Important are Pageviews for Bloggers? appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.