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How to professionally manage search

  1. Identify the top 200-400 search terms on your website. These top 200-400 terms will usually represent a very significant percentage of search volume.
  2. Identify the correct search result for each of these search terms.
  3. Test each of these top search terms in your search engine.
  4. Measure how often the correct result appears in the first three results. (Research shows that 60% of people will click on one of the first three results.)
  5. Compile a success rate. You will then be able to say something like: Our search has a 45 percent success rate. Then you can plan for how you will increase that success rate.

http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2007/nt-2007-05-14-search.htm

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Notes

User-Generated Content Still Spooks Media Execs

57% of senior executives in the media and entertainment industry point to the rapid growth of user-generated content as one of the top three challenges they face today, according to the results of a research study released in April by Accenture. Accenture’s definition of user-generated content, for the purpose of this study, included amateur digital videos, podcasts, mobile phone photography, wikis, and social media blogs.

While those surveyed expressed concern about user-generated content, they are less apprehensive about the future.

According to the research,

  • 68% of respondents believe that within 3 years their businesses will be making money on user-generated content, and
  • 62% believe their companies will make money through advertising and sponsorships of social media.

The research also shows that

  • 70% of respondents believe social media will continue to thrive,
  • while only 3% say it is a fad.

When asked which content type has the highest growth potential over the next five years,

  • 53% named short-form video,
  • 13% videogames,
  • 11% full-length films,
  • 11% music,
  • 9% consumer publishing, and
  • 4% business publishing.
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80% of Marketers Say Viral Builds Awareness

One of the major take-away messages from MarketingSherpa’s Viral Marketing 2007 survey, which was released in April, is that marketers who have done extensive work with viral marketing are sticking with it. More than half of marketers say they are planning to launch multiple viral efforts in 2007, and more than 80% of “very experienced” marketers say that viral marketing builds awareness.

According to the survey, the majority of experienced viral players are consumer marketers — but 48% of consumer marketers still don’t have a tell-a-friend feature. 52% of those without any viral marketing experience are BtoB marketers, and 28% of BtoB marketers classify themselves as “very experienced” with viral marketing.

Other findings:

* 37% of BtoC marketers and 27% of BtoB marketers say getting mentioned in the blogosphere is a high-impact tactic.

* 34% of BtoC marketers and 18% of BtoB marketers say posting to social communities is a high-impact tactic.

* 77% of BtoC marketers and 75% of BtoB marketers say they plan to encourage email forwarding in 2007, and 72% of BtoC marketers say they will use tell-a-friend features on their websites in 2007.

Learn more (MarketingSherpa Article)

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Notes

http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/004199.php

washingtonpost.com has launched a new feature that pulls together all of a users’ contributions to article comments or discussion boards on an individual’s MyPost page.

On the site’s blog, Karl Eisenhower, Assistant Managing Editor for Newsroom Operations & Hal Straus, Interactivity and Communities Editor, writes:

Our goal is to provide you with a home base on the site, a page where you’ll be able to both share and track your thoughts over time. When you post a comment to an article or discussion group, you’ll be able to get to your MyPost page by clicking on your MyPost ID just above the comment or by clicking on your ID where it appears in the top left corner of the washingtonpost.com home page.

Other readers will be able to browse to your MyPost page from your comments and, once there, view what you’ve had to say or ask to message you by sending a “friend request”. You’ll see those requests on your page — they won’t be visible to others — and may choose to accept them, turn them down or ignore them.

You’ll be able to exchange messages with readers you’ve accepted as “friends” on the site, and those messages will appear on your page. By default, only you and your friends will be able to see them, although you can open them up to any site visitor by changing the settings in the Profile section of your page. You can also tell others about yourself in your Profile by uploading a photo or filling in a brief bio.

MyPost isn’t intended to be MySpace or another general social networking site, but a feature that will make washingtonpost.com more useful to you and others. We’ll be adding features to MyPost over the next few months and hope you’ll email us with your comments and suggestions.

washingtonpost.com launches My Post

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Notes

Hitwise US News and Media Report (Excerpts)

by LeeAnn Prescott

The market share of visits to the top 10 News and Media websites
declined by 3.8% from March 2006 to March 2007, indicating that news
consumption is beginning to fragment as users expand their range of
news sources to non-traditional news websites.

Search engines, portal frontpages, and news aggregators
were the leading sources of traffic to News and Media websites in March
2007. The share of visits to News and Media websites from search
engines increased over the past year, with traffic from Google
increasing by 29.7% for Print websites and 35.9% for Broadcast Media
websites.

News and Media Landscape

In March 2007, there were 8,001 websites within the News and Media
industry, which accounted for 3.31% of all US Internet traffic, or 1 in
30 Internet visits. The market share of visits to the News and Media
industry declined slightly year-over-year, from 3.43% of all US visits
in March 2006.

At the same time, the number of websites ranking within the industry
increased by 12.25%, from 7,128 websites in March 2006. This concurrent
decline in market share and increase in number of websites could
indicate that the industry is fragmenting as users discover new
websites.

hitwise_graph_1.gif
Figure 1: Market share of US visits to industries, March 2006–March 2007

In March 2007, the top 10 News and Media websites, as shown in
Figure 2, accounted for 28.13% of visits to the industry. This
represents a decline of 3.8% from March 2006, when the top 10 websites
accounted for 29.24% of industry visits, again pointing to the
fragmentation of online news consumption.

The websites comprising the top 10 in the News and Media industry remain unchanged since March 2007, with the exception of Fox News replacing BBC
News in the #10 spot. Yahoo! News was the top ranking News and Media
website, and showed an increase in market share of 18.15% from March
2006 to March 2007.

hitwise_graph_2.gif
Figure 2: Top 10 News and Media websites by market share of US visits, March 2007.

Sources of News and Media Industry Traffic

Internet users navigate to News and Media websites in a variety of ways.
Hitwise Clickstream data reveals that there are three major sources of
traffic to News and Media websites: news aggregators (such as Yahoo! News, Google News and Drudge Report) search engines, and portal frontpages (such as Yahoo!, My Yahoo! and MSN). The balance of traffic from these three sources varies by sub-category, as shown in Figure 3 below.

hitwise_graph_3.gif
Figure 3: Sources of US upstream traffic to News and Media sub-categories, March 2007.

Search Engines

The Print sub-category received 23.26% of its upstream visits from
search engines in March 2007, and 64.1% of this search traffic (14.9%
of total upstream traffic) came from Google, while 17.27% came from
Yahoo! Search. The share of traffic from Google to Print websites
increased by 29.7% from March 2006 to March 2007, and increased by
35.9% for Broadcast Media websites.

This could be a result of Google more aggressively showing Google News
listings, which link directly to broadcast and print news sources, in
the main search results at the top of the page for news-related
searches. In addition, it has been reported in the past year that many
News and Media websites have made a concerted effort to drive traffic
from search engines through search engine optimization and marketing.

Search engines were an important source of traffic for IT Media – particularly sub-category leader Digg.
Digg was the #1 ranked website in the IT Media sub-category in March
2007, accounting for 12.14% of industry visits, and it received 54.51%
of upstream visits from search engines in that period.

Portal Frontpages

The Broadcast Media sub-category received the largest share of
traffic from Portal Frontpages in March 2007, primarily due to the
relationship between MSN and MSNBC.
MSN was the leading source of traffic to the Broadcast Media industry,
accounting for 12.49% of upstream visits in March 2007, and MSNBC
accounted for 64.91% of all the Broadcast Media traffic leaving the
Portal Frontpages industry.

Portals have remained steady as a source of traffic
for News and Media websites over the past year, as Internet users
continue to use personalized portals as a starting point for daily news
consumption.

News Aggregators

News aggregators
continue to play a leading role in the news industry, not only ranking
among the most visited News and Media websites, but also serving as a
significant source of upstream traffic to Print and Broadcast Media
websites. As a group, the three news aggregators listed in Figure 3
were responsible for 4.79% of traffic to Print websites and 4.54% of
traffic to Broadcast Media websites in March 2007.

Print news websites were more dependent on Google News and Drudge Report
as sources of traffic, with Google News accounting for 1.99% of Print
upstream visits and Drudge Report accounting for 2.1%. Yahoo! News,
which publishes articles from Print websites directly on its own
website, was a less significant source of traffic to the Print
sub-category.

IT Media websites, with their distinct content focus, were less
dependent on traffic from news aggregators, although IT Media received
1.18% of its upstream traffic from Google News, indicating that
followers of IT News were more likely to use Google News than other news aggregators.

Originally published by LeeAnn Prescott of Hitwise on April 2007 as “Hitwise US News & Media Report” and available for download on Hitwise website.

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Tiny Bubbles: Social Media Explodes in a Thousand Small New Ways

At is core social media is about human communications returning to normal levels of discourse that may have been forgotten in the push to cash in on electronic content – and that will require more sophisticated monetization models than those being pursued by most media companies.

Call it the trivialization of publishing, if you will, the demystifying of the erstwhile black art that has allowed individuals and institutions to create their own tiny publishing bubbles at will. Some micropublishing plays will come and go with hardly a whisper and others will be able to grow into superstar status with or without help from traditional media outlets.

The trivialization of publishing was on display also at ContentNext’s EconSM conference in Los Angeles last week. There were lots of great insights presented at this event from some of the leading thinkers in entertainment and business media, but the truth of the matter is that few of these people seemed to have very compelling ideas about how they were going to monetize social media.

It was mostly back to talk of “stickiness” and roll-in ads for video clips – very conventional fare. Nowhere in this mix was the dirty little secret uttered: you’re going to have to have to reward audiences who create and distribute popular social media content. So as much as these executives were speaking volumes about how they “get” social media they are not very close to “getting” the business models that are going to be required to make the most of its value.

Tiny bubbles will get tiny rewards – rewards that sometimes will grow into big rewards, but in general rewards that will have a hard time filling the office buildings along Wilshire Boulevard or the Avenue of the Americas with well-heeled media executives.

This is where the talk of “farm teams” emerging from social media to feed major content producers stumbles somewhat. Social media talent may fact make its way from social media into mainstream publishing to some significant degree as Vaudevillians used to make their way to Hollywood, but to a larger extent we’re seeing mainstream publishing talent establishing their own social media outlets to gain independent credibility for their skills.

We’re also witnessing corporations establishing both social media and more traditional media content via their own Web sites, obviating to some degree the need to employ mediation to get their branding and insights incorporated into the public’s thinking.

In other words, social media is becoming the destination content of choice, content that can be accelerated to the peak of its market value with little or no help from traditional media experts. Social media is folk art unbound. The next Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash or Buddy Holly may never have to stray far from their roots to become a folk sensation. Or they may be happy just being who they are with whatever audience comes along.

The deployment of tools such as feed readers and widgets that accelerate user-generated content aggregation capabilities only emphasizes this trend. Before social media major media producers could at least feel comfortable in the knowledge that they had some control over the venues in which content could be found: now content can be assembled by anyone anywhere from virtually any source.

Not only do tiny bubbles reign, they also can appear in whatever glass we choose. So if personal and enterprise users control the production, the distribution and the aggregation of content and infrastructure companies like Google control the contextualization, what’s left at the bottom of the glass of bubbly for today’s media companies?

In the words of the late Johnny Cash: hurt…

http://www.shore.com/commentary/newsanal/items/2007/20070503tinybubbles.html

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Why Invest in Social Features for Your Web Site?

The runaway successes of YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr have completely changed the landscape of design. One huge change is the rise in socially-enabled web applications, applications that connect users in new and more explicit ways. Witness the trend of “going social” on news sites, where they give their community the ability to comment on and even participate in the news. The design team behind the USAToday.com web site, for example, recently enhanced their site with new social features including comments, reviews, discussion forums, and the ability to make recommendations. Just this past week ABCNews did the same.

So what are the core benefits of making this change? Why invest in social features? Although the benefits will vary depending on the business and the audience, here are some core benefits of investing in social features that apply broadly across many areas:
Amplify Customer Opinion

Humans are social animals. Therefore, it is likely that there is social activity happening around your content or service whether you want it to or not. People are sharing their stories, complimenting about what’s good, complaining about what’s bad even if you aren’t listening. By adding social features to your web site, you’re enabling them to do it in a way that you can listen to.

Companies with strong products users love will help them share those experiences with others. For example, something as simple as a “share this” feature on a news site will allow people to let someone else know about what they find interesting…amplifying their enthusiasm about it.

Similarly, companies with products users hate will have that amplified as well. If someone posts a horror story like Jeff Jarvis did in his famous “Dell Hell” blog posts, lots of people will get wind of it.

This is a crucial situation brought to bear by social features…when users complain you are given a clear choice: either ignore that feedback or act on it in a positive way. Companies that treat it as an opportunity for improvement will probably improve. Companies that treat it as a public airing of dirty laundry will probably suffer…
Data, Data, and more Data

Perhaps the least talked about benefit of social features is that they are wonderful precursors to a data-driven design strategy. Every time someone saves, shares, or comments on something, you have more data to go on regarding what they find valuable.

We’ve been doing this at UIE for some time. When someone shares an article at UIE we count it. The 10 most-shared articles on UIE.com, therefore, tell us what our readers find “share-worthy”. This is an important metric for us, as we use it to plan future pieces.

The benefits of data-driven design are huge for teams having trouble separating personal opinion from project decision-making. (we find very few teams where this isn’t the case). When decisions are based on actual data, they become much easier to make. Politics fall by the wayside and good design practices often emerge as a result.
Reduce Support Costs

Social features help reduce support costs by recording help issues publicly and letting customers help themselves. Talk to any support call specialist and you’ll find that their lives can be very repetitive, answering the same questions over and over again. This doesn’t have to be the case. When you add social features like support bulletin boards, for example, most of the conversations are recorded for all to see. Users can then search for the topic that they’re interested in, and if someone has had a similar experience previously they can start reading there. Bulletin boards, of course, have been around even longer than the Web itself. But making them public and searchable makes them valuable resources for everyone.

Additionally, systems like this allow users to help themselves by giving them the power to answer other people’s questions. Sometimes the users of the products are as knowledgeable about a product as the support people are. Social features allow them to help out and make the community stronger as a result.

Some sites like Apple.com’s Support Site have more advanced features whereby people can rate the responses they are given to their questions. That way, if one response by the community really helped the person who asked the question, it will be flagged and easily found by future readers. This helps users filter out bad responses, further reducing support costs.
Engendering Trust

Opening up communication channels with customers engenders trust, and that can be priceless. Sites that might otherwise be seen as closed-up and insular can open up communication channels where none existed before.

When you implement social features, it is a signal that you care what people have to say. It declares “we are here and we’re listening” attitude. Putting comments on a news article, like USAToday.com did, suggests that they are interested in letting people voice their opinion about the news.

Sometimes just telling someone their opinion counts is enough to engender trust. They’re much more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when the sky turns dark. Of course, backing up your features by actually listening is necessary for the long-term health of your site, so the activity doesn’t end with implementation.
Going Social is a Long-term Experience Design Strategy

In addition to the explicit benefits for the site owner, implementing social features means building a community around shared experiences. The notion of “shared experiences” difficult to define, but the benefits of increased participation and caring are clear. People respond best to communities where they believe they’ll find like-minded people and where they feel their ideas and opinions matter. This trust is the real benefit of social software.

Therefore, adding social features isn’t so much a leap of faith as it is an investment in a long-term experience design strategy. Of course, the costs of building social features aren’t negligible and the return on investment might not be immediate. It may take months before a social support site starts to take over support activities from a call center. Therefore, it is critical to plan out the maintenance and support of social features over time.

When all the benefits are combined together and your customers now see your site as being run by human beings instead of nameless droids, and they feel invested in the site, you’ll realize that social features are only surfacing what exists already, and it’s really just a human-centered way forward.

http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2007/05/01/why-invest-in-social-features-for-your-web-site/

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Web Analytics

by Beth Kanter
http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2007/04/screencast_trea.html

I have been knee deep researching and thinking about Web Analytics in general and Google Analytics in particular for a third screencast in a series I’m doing for NTEN. (The other two included my tagging and widgets
screencasts).   The research has been going slowly — partly
because web analytics is a very complex and geeky topic.  I’m
phobic of anything that might remotely appear to involve math or that
makes me feel stupid.   

Here’s my first draft or what might be called a “treatment.” 
 I would appreciate any suggestions, improvements, pointers to
other resources or if your organization has a story to tell about web
analytics.

Possible Working Titles:

1. Analytics This!
2. Web Analytics As Simple Gifts To Measure Mission
3. Zen and the Art of Web Analytics

Scope:

This screencast will demystify web analytics and use Author and Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik’s mantra of simplicity to illustrate some of the useful features and reports in Google Analytics, a free but powerful web analytics software tool.  Kaushik’s thinking is based on “Occam’s Razor Principle” (which boils down to a poetic way of saying “KISS“)  The screencast will show some practical examples of how at least one nonprofit organization’s web site, the Idealist,
is using the software in practice.  The screencast will include a
companion wiki with resources to aid further explanation.

If you’re curious about Occam’s Razor, here’s a more detailed description or see the simplicity page in wikipedia. 

I was happy to discover Laura Quinn’s recently published and very good article on TechSoup, “A Few Web Analytics Tools.” 
She not only gives an overview of the different choices of analytics
software tools available, but also provides basic definitions for the
data one might collect.   Since this screencast will only
show how one tools works, Google Analytics, her article provides the larger context and summarizes the pros/cons of the complete range of tools.

Screencast Audience and Learning Objectives

The
audience for this screencast is nonprofits that know they need to
analyze the success of their Web sites, but aren’t sure where to
begin.   Or they might have some understanding of metrics and
have gone as far as setting up a free google analytics account, but are
not sure what to do next.  The nonprofit’s web site isn’t overly
complex and has a clear marketing strategy in place.  The
nonprofit will most likely not have a full-time IT or web manager staff
person.   Or, if they do, the nonprofit will not have a
full-time Web Analyst, although might work with a web analyst on a consulting basis.

Learning Goals

  • To understand the definition web analytics
  • To understand how to identify actionable reports from the complex sea of information collected in an analytics tool
  • To demonstrate how to get started using Google Analytics, navigate filters, and use goal-setting features.
  • How can Google Analytics reports data help improve your Web site’s performance
  • To show a practical example of how Google Analytics is used by a nonprofit organization

What follows is a very rough draft for a script.

Act 1:   Analytics This!

A:  Definition

It was not too long ago
that no one understood what that term meant.   Let’s take a
look at the “Official Definition” from the Web Analytics Association, an association of web analytic professionals.  (They host Web Analytics Wednesdays around the world and you can hear the definition described by their chapter in Brussels)

Web Analytics is the objective tracking, collection,
measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative Internet data to
optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.


What is the visual metaphor?  Pilot’s dashboard?

It’s a process as Bruce Clay outlines here and I have simplified here:

GRAPA

-Step 1: Goals for the web site as guides to the data collection
-Step 2: Research questions to frame your data collection (why/what around your outcomes)
-Step 3: Analytics software tool to collect data
-Step 4: Pick reports to answer your research questions
-Step 5: Action that improve your web site performance or marketing campaign effectiveness.

Hmm .. I think of Grappa, a
fragrant grape-based pomace brandy of between 40% and 60% alcohol by
volume (80 to 120 proof), of Italian origin.  In Italy, grappa is
primarily served as a “digestivo” or after dinner drink. Its main
purpose was to aid in the digestion of the heavy meals. Grappa may also
be added to espresso coffee to create a “coffee-killer” The espresso is
drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass.

Resources

Defining Web Analytics by Neil Mason
How To Use Web Analytics, Part 1 by James Maguire
Top-Ten Web analytics blogs from Avinash Kaushik


B:  Coffee Machine or Plantation? Why Simplicity Matters


Flickr photo by Lenz Grimmer


Flickr Photo by Dave Cross

“Web Analytics packages are sold as if it’s an
automatic coffee maker.  In fact, it is more like buying a coffee
plantation.  You can still get your cup of coffee (eventually),
but your going to have to stick your hands in a lot more manure than
you ever knew.”

Tom Cunniff – Yahoo Web Analytics Forum

C:  What happens when you look at the software as the end, not the beginning?

If you jump into using any web analytics tool without the above
5-point process, you are likely to get  overwhelmed with
data.  You won’t be able to think.  You can’t make meaning.
You can’t find the forest through the trees. There are no
insights.  (Needs photo of someone holding their head or screaming)

So,
how to deal with the complexity?  Well, get to that in a
minute.  You’ll face that problem with any tool you ultimatley
use.  So, let’s select a tool first.

Act 2:  Selecting An Analytics Tool

There are a number
of web analytics software tools available ranging from simple web
counters, web hosting stat tools and more powerful (and expensive)
software packages.   Google Analytics offers more functionality than
your typical web site counter and even better yet it’s free.

Laura Quinn, in her recent article on TechSoup, notes:

Because
the Google Analytics package is in an indefinite beta stage, some of
the experts we consulted with cited occasional problems. Several
reported difficulty in getting Google to show up-to-date stats, while
others noted a very occasional loss in historic stats for an entire
site. Google’s customer service supports this product primarily through
automated emails, so you may have little recourse if you encounter
problems. The method by which this tool monitors traffic results in
lower numbers (such as fewer visitors, and fewer page views) than some
other methods. Also, keep in mind that Google offers its product for
free because it makes money by watching you; by using Analytics, you’re
agreeing to let Google store your information and use it for aggregate
reports.

 
              
             

Nevertheless,
Google Analytics is widely used and widely liked. If you’re building a
new Web site, or have a bit of HTML knowledge, Google is a great free
option for surprisingly robust analytics.

(Would be great to get a voice over in Laura’s voice)

The Official FAQ: How Does Google Analytics Help Me?

While setting
up Google Analytics account is quick and painless, using some of
advanced features isn’t all that simple or easy to do if you’re not a
certified Google Analytics partner, one of the outside consulting companies that
provide tailored professional services for using the product.

So,
if your nonprofit web site has complex tracking and analysis needs, you
may need to work with a specialist consultant to set up your account and
train staff to use it.  Several of the larger nonprofit organizations
we interviewed for this screencast have gone that route. 

Act 3:  Google Analytics That!  An Introduction

You can start exploring google analytics to see if it is right for
you and we’re going to use to demonstrate some of the simplicity
concepts offered by Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. Note that the proceeds from his book will benefit the Smile Train and
Doctors Without Borders to assist in their efforts to make our world a
better place.

Show the sign up procedure and how easy it is insert the secret code
to get started tracking your Web site’s statistics.   

It’s deceptively easy though and it is important to get your program set up correctly the first time.   Google Analytics:  Get it Right the First Time by Michael Harrison

This YouTube video shows how to exclude your internal traffic (min 2:13) by using a filter.

The 3 Most Frequently Asked Google Analytics Questions

Act 4:  A Quaker’s Approach To Using Google Analytics

(Production Note: I wonder if “Simple Gifts” is in the public domain?)

Avinash Kaushik says that some reports are more important than
others and it comes down to a few essential questions.  All the
metrics you collect, ask the So What? Test three times and if doesn’t
lead to action, you are wasting your time! (Recycle my slide from my training webinar to create an example – get an absurd example meaningless data from google analytics)

(See Six Key Reports in this interview as possible alternative framework with integration of metric definitions and identify pages in book where the how-to is.)

1:  How many visitors/visits/unique visitors during a given period time?

These metrics are important because every other metric you need will be based on one of these. 

Let’s define these:

Visits.
  This metic
shows the number of visitors to a particular site or page.  This
is a one time or one-session browsing a web site.  It doesn’t mean
you’re unique, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t been to this web site
before – maybe in the same day!   Closing your browser or
leaving the site ends the visit.  It’s arbitary how much time has
to pass before it is considered a new visit, half an hour is often
used.  (Show the browser view of what one visit to a web site
looks like; show what two visits look like and show what three visits
looks like.)

Unique Visitors. This is the number of site visits
by different users.  It is typically determined by a cookie or
your IP address or a combination.  It isn’t a perfect science, it
is an estimate.  It is really important to understand how your
software tracks unique visitors.

Let’s say I visited the NTEN web site 4 times, Alan Benamer visited
3 times, and Laura Quinn visited 5 times.   We’d have three
unique visitors and 12 visits.   

These statistics let you answer some basic questions:

  • How many visitors are visiting our web site?
  • What is the overall trend in the number of visits for each page of our site?
  • What is the overall trend of overall visits to our site over time?  (Week, Month)

The trend in the overall number of visits to your site over time can
give you insight into your site’s popularity.  Comparing the
number of visits to each page is also a good way to identify which
parts of your site are most useful to your visitors.   

2:  From where are your web site visitors coming from?

Understand effectiveness of your acquisition strategy.

The more you know about your web visitors intent the better. 
For example, you can check the referring url and look at the messaging
there.  Understand what lead the visitor to your site.

Look for surprises in the referring report. 

  • Do the expected sites show up?
  • Who are the uknown friends?

For approximately 60%, you should see a specific url.  The
other 40% may be coming from email or direct.  It’s a great
visiting card that someone is bringing to your site.  Also look
at  your unknown friends.  Are there links from blogs? 
Are there sites creating links from the goodness of their hearts? 
 Follow those links and find out who they are.  Why are they
sending you traffic?  What is the call to action?  If it
someone you don’t have a relationship with, maybe this is a good time
to do that.

What we are seeing here is a shallow dive.  The next step is to
do a deep dive where you can go into each web site that is referring
traffic and see what the quality is.  How long are they staying on
your site?

  • Inferring intent from search keywords

What percent of my traffic is from search engines?  And, is it
enough?  According to research, approximately 80% of web users use
search engines to find sites.  What is your benchmark? So, how
does your compare?

Are the expected search engines showing up?  Are we
overleveraged on one search engine?  If so, take the proper
strategy to make sure you’re showing up on the search engines.

Take a look at the keywords.  What are the quality keywords that are bringing traffic to my web site?  (long visits)

3:  Focus on what your nonprofit wants your web site visitor’s to do:

  • Why does your site exist?  Helps you focus on the data you need to answer that question only.
  • What are your top three strategies?
  • What should be happening on your web site?
  • How are you acquiring traffic?
  • What are the customer problems you are trying to solve?

From these questions, you need to pick the three most critical
metrics to measure success goals.   The goals provide the
critical context to understand the performance of your web site.

Show example of Idealist tracking the different language versions and geographic distribution

4: Understanding web site visitor behavior

How do they get in?

You will be using a “top entry page” report.  The analysis
questions are “What’s the real value of the home page?”  What
percentage are actually entering from the top?  What page is
creating the first impression of the site  What are myvisitors
looking for?   It is also important to understand where
people are entering from search engines.

What content do they consume?

This is the “top viewed” pages on the web site.  You look at
the 10-20 pages.  You will be shocked at what you find here. You
want to know what content your visitors are consuming and is this the
content you want them to consume?  The site overlay report can
help you learn what people are interested in.

Page Views. The number of times any page was viewed
regardless of who viewed. (Show a date range and indicate that all
those views could, in theory, come from the same person clicking over
and over again.)   This is an important metric if, for
example, you’re using GoogleAdsWords, which pays based on a percentage
of page views which result in a click through for an ad is what pays.

How do they navigate? What’s catching their fancy?

Show the funnel report from idealist.

More detail
ClickTracks Web Analytics Education Series, Virtual World: Feb 26 & 27, 2007
Unleash the Power of Web Analytics.”

The WebMeterics Guru Blog

While written from a business or commercial perspective, Eric Enge has an article called “9 Ways to Make Money on Analytics
which includes tips and suggestions for thinking about how the data can
help you think through improvements that may lead to more donations or
revenue.

Web Analytics Course from Site Logic

Social Media Measurement

Interview with Dave Amos, Idealist

How does the information from Google Analtyics inform your decision-making re: web site campaign?

We’ve
been using Google Analytics since November 2006, so I would still call
us new to the software. Because we’re still new, I think we’ve only
started taking the statistics it’s collected, determining what they
mean, and acting on that information.

The most obvious thing we can use is the very regular pattern of
the week. Mondays or Tuesdays are always our best days (unless there’s
a holiday), so if we want a timely blog post to see the most people in
the shortest amount of time, it makes sense to post it in the beginning
of the week.

I also keep fairly
good track of the languages of visitors of our site. We have an
extensive volunteer language program trying to translate the site into
as many languages as possible. It’s nice to see which languages are
good candidates to be added next, or to see if the work done thus far
has seen an audience.

Our
resource centers (like the Nonprofit FAQ, HR Resource Center, etc.) can
also use the statistics to improve the quality of their site structure.
If they see that lots of people are clicking on a particular section of
the resource center, they can decide to make it even easier for a
visitor to find, since it is obviously popular. On the other hand, if a
great resource exists but nobody seems to go there, they can try
highlighting it in a different way to determine if it was a findability
issue or the content just isn’t as engaging as they thought. 🙂 This
hasn’t happened yet in practice, but it’s something we’re looking at in
the future.

GA, and stats in
general, also kind of serve as a basic feedback tool. We have stats
(not on GA) that we can compare these stats to to determine if this
week was better than the one last year. If it was, was it better
outside our normal growth pattern? Could that mean it was because we
were having start-up meetings around the world and people were drawn to
the site? GA can help you get perspective on events like that.

What specific feature(s) do you find most valuable?

One
feature that I don’t use enough but has enormous potential is the Goals
and Funnel Analysis. It’s awesome to see where visitors “drop out” of a
certain process, like signing up. One of my colleagues in Argentina has
started to use it for Idealistas.org and she’s inspired me to take
another look at it and set up some goals of my own.

Top
Content is another feature that is extremely valuable. It’s really
simple, it just shows you how much traffic any particular page on the
site gets. But when you want to see if this resource center home page
is seeing traffic or determining which of the header navigation links
get visited the most, it’s the tool to use.

Other
features I use frequently are: Languages, Geo Location, Geo Map
Overlay, and Browser. Very basic tools, but useful for an international
site with a wide variety of visitors.

Any words of wisdom to other nonprofits are just beginning to use a tool like GA?

I
would caution against drawing strong conclusions from some of the
statistics offered on GA. The Goals and Funnel Analysis feature is
pretty safe, but trying to understand why your site had higher than
average exits this week can be a dangerous and unproductive guessing
game. It could have everything to do with a new headline and article on
your home page, or it could be something completely different. Stats
are better for long term trends or very short events (like measuring a
“digg effect” or getting Tech Crunched). It’s harder to find
correlations between incremental site changes and the ebb and flow of
web traffic.

Also… this is
kind of easy to figure out, but Google Analytics only updates it’s
stats once or twice a day. That means there’s no excuse for compulsive
stats checking! It’s likely going to be the exact same set of
statistics when you check it again five minutes later. 🙂

If you have a story about how you have used web analytics and
discovered actionable information and would like to leave a voice
message,  please do!  If you have a screenshot you’d like to contribute, you can send it to this group in flickr!

Categories
Learn

5 key characteristics of web brands

Here are the five most important characteristics of web
brands:

  • Web brands are useful
  • They have a clarity of purpose
  • The embrace simplicity
  • They interact and engage
  • They are customer-centric

Web brands are useful
Google has a market capitalization of $153 billion because it is
useful. I will easily change my car brand, my mobile phone
brand, my shoe brand, but I will not change Google. I will not
change from Google because it helps me find stuff faster than
other search engines.

Search is purposeful. We don’t search for the fun of it. We
search because we need to find something that will help us
complete a task. The Web is a functional, no-frills pace. It may
be our goal to spend more time with our family, but we go to the
Web to get a good deal on a family vacation.

Clarity of purpose
When you arrive at the homepage of a quality web brand you know
immediately what it is about-what it can do for you. A web brand
is not a murder mystery. It tells you who did it right from the
very first line.

“Google is an absolutely phenomenal brand in the sense that it
is very clear what it stands for and it has perceived leadership
and innovation,” Peter Walshe, global brands director at
Millward Brown, told Silicon.com.

Making life more simple
Quality web brands save us time. They don’t force us to think
too much. The BUY button is nice and big. It’s easy to figure
out what to do next. It’s hard to get lost. We only need to read
the sentence once to understand it. We are not overawed and
confused by too many choices.

Web brands interact and engage
Craigslist has 10 million customers and gets over four billion
page views per month. It has 22 employees. Wikipedia is a hugely
popular website. It has 10 employees. Skype has 171 million
customers. It has 510 employees.

Web brands have a different concept of the organization. They
see the Web as the organization. They see their customers as
part of the organization.

Web brands are customer-centric
Great web brands are built around the customer. They don’t start
out with this question: How can we make money out of customers?
Rather, they start with this question: How can we help customers
do things they need to do?

 www.gerrymcgovern.com

Categories
Learn

Key Reports in Google Analytic

.Key Report #1: Referring Search Terms From Search Engines The report that
tells you which search phrases people are using to find your site tells you
a lot about your users.

.Key Report #2: Referring URLs
Look at the report that tells you which Web sites are sending you traffic.
Does this correspond to your expectations?

.Key Report #3: Content Popularity
It’s essential to view the list of Top 10 (or 15) most popular pages on your
site. “Knowing what content is being consumed can lead you to so many
insights,” Kaushik says. “What are people coming to my Web site for? Are the
things that I want to promote actually the things that people are looking
at?”

.Key Report #4: Percent of Visitors Who Visit the Home Page This metric
often shocks site owners. “They think that everyone sees the homepage, so
they put their maximum energies and promotion there.” But since search
engines display a site’s internal pages, most users enter a site far from
the home page.

.Key Report #5: Site Overlay
Wouldn’t you love it if you could open your site and see exactly where
people are clicking? With the Site Overlay report you can. It displays your
actual pages – just as they look to users – with a click level indicator
next to each link. It shows the number of people who click on each link.

.Key Report #6: Site Bounce Rate
The Bounce Rate report reveals the number of visitors who stayed just a few
seconds. These are the people who came to your site but didn’t engage. In
short, your bounce rate is your failure rate.

http://www.ecommerce-guide.com/solutions/customer_relations/article.php/3616281