Archive for category Marketing

Which Test Won?

I do a lot of testing of webpages – pitting two versions of a page against each other in the attempt at raising its conversion rate (CR).  The idea is to find the winner, and then do the test again having a newer version of the page to increase the CR even more.

Anyways, there is a website called Which Test Won that shows actual tests people have run, and for fun lets you try and guess which version of the test won. Pretty interesting, and a good place to look for ideas on how to improve your own site.

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Directory List

When creating a new website, the next important step is for you to get the word out that the website exists – to market the thing.  And for SEO purposes you need to get yourself some inbound links to your website (links coming from other websites back to yours).  So one of the basic SEO things to do is get your site added to some directories.  Directories are not what they once were – Google has downgraded most of them so they aren’t worth the effort.  And there are so many of them out there – which ones do you choose? As always when it comes to links, you need to base your decision on 1) relevancy, 2) quality and also 3) cost.

Relevancy – does the direc tory target your industry or did you have to search their listings to find your category?

Quality – what does Google think of the site?  Ideally you want to be listed in those website directories that Google considers important.  Its all about the Google.  And stay away from those directories that are more interested in pushing their ads than pushing your listing (just my opinion).

Cost – many are free, but I’d make a guess and say a “good deal” would be a link from a good directory for about 20 / year.

I’ve created a list of website directories that you can download, an Excel file.  I have a column in it for PR, which is for Google page rank, but do feel free to modify it any way you want.  The information like PR rank and cost is about a year old or so, so be warned not to rely on it.  What I try to do is sort them by page rank, then look at each of them for quality and cost.  And then make the ‘buy’ decision from that…

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Do you have a successful website?

One of the things I seem to do a lot is figuring out how to make a particular website more successful – which first begs the question of how do you define success?  Then more importantly is the question of what you do to get things turned around.  There are tons of helpful articles online that will help you get started (see below), I also have some other marketing articles posted that will help, and you will quickly notice that many are saying contradictory things to the point that you will get confused on how to proceed. No worries – remember that no single solution is right for everyone, and definitely not right for every website. Because if there was one single “best design” for a website, then they would all look the same.

Here is a basic list of things to get you going.

  1. First of all look at the level of web traffic – you may simply not be getting enough traffic to do anything with. If that is the problem, this needs fixed first.
  2. If you are getting web traffic, but no one is converting, then do a little detective work on what is ailing you and then take action:
    1. What is your bounce rate? If it is really high, then people are either coming to your site by mistake or your web design sucks.  Fix it!
    2. What is the page views per visit? If it is very low, then your web content needs fixed (assuming your website is set up with multiple webpages). If you have lots of people moving round your site but no one is converting, then your offer may need to be tweaked.
    3. What is the fall-off rate in your sign up form, or shopping cart?  If people are looking like they want to convert by clicking the sign up button, but no one converts, take a close look at your form or cart first. In my experience that will have the greatest impact on increasing CR.
  3. Basically you need to figure out what is going on – there are lots of statistics available to give you hints, so just narrow it down to the likely issues, and then address them!  Take action!  Usually it means for you do some of the things that the experts say you should, so take a look at some other articles in this blog, or do a little research online.  Below are some links that will help with ideas.  I would not take any single article from anyone and think it is gospel (even this one) – instead you want to find the “golden nuggets” in each.
  4. Lastly I would urge everyone to have some sort of testing program for their website.  If you put two different versions of your webpage up – the normal one you have (the control) and another different design – it will definitely give you improvement. Let the two run side by side and see which is better.  Once you have a winning design in the test – immediately take the winner and run it against a new alternative one, and just make it a continual process of improvement.  Something as simple as the button that gets clicked on the form can make a difference – you just need to keep testing.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

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Increasing Conversion Rates

As I always say, it is much easier to increase your website conversion rates, than to get more traffic to your site. So I get asked how to best go about it – how do you increase your CR? First thing is that you need to know what your current CR is – duh.

I would recommend going back to the basics – reduce your form fields, place your offer up top and overt, etc. After making these initial revisions for improvement, you are likely to see dramatic improvements too. But what specifically are the “basics” you need to go back to?  A good place to give you lots of ideas is Conversion Critic.  Basically they ask you lots of questions about your website, then “score” you on your answers.  They don’t actually evaluate your website for you – they make you look at it yourself, which is what I like about it.  Also, the Conversion Critic website is ran by people who offer these type services, so beware that you may get a call from them about your site. But even so, it is one good way to go over the basic setup of your site and look for opportunities for improvement.

Now if you have already done all the basic stuff, then your site has already picked all the low-hanging fruit. What you need to do is set up a testing program, either A/B or multivariate, to find out what works best for the type customer you have coming to your site.  Google offers both types for free, as usual, and are not bad to get you started.

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Adding “Live Chat” to Your Site

One option available to any website owner is placing ‘live chat’ on their website. I have it on some of my websites, and there are pros and cons to having it:


  • It is inexpensive to place on the site – some nice chat software is available for about $20 / month.
  • Very easy to set up – can be up and running in usually under 10 minutes (although you do have to set up how you want it to run, and do some testing / training on it)
  • You can raise your over-all conversion rate by being able to communicate with those people in a hurry, or with those people who want to remain anonymous.
  • The functionality for most of the chat companies is pretty high. The ‘live chat’ emblem on the site will automatically let the site visitor if you are online or not – and if not will send you an email notification someone tried contacting you.
  • An excellent side benefit is that you can get some analytics on your website visitors, like where they are located, what keyword they used to get to your site, what pages they’ve viewed, how many times they’ve visited your site, all in real time. (if you are smart, you are already getting this info with real analytics software)


  • You have to have someone available to answer questions.
  • You can annoy your website visitors by being too intrusive – like if you have a pop-up that keeps asking them to chat.

Overall, the pros easily outweigh the cons.  It is just another tool you can use to be more successful.  Sure, having chat doesn’t make sense for every type website – but any website where a ‘conversion’ is important it only makes sense to include chat as an option.

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Increasing Website Traffic

So you have yourself a website, and your interested in increasing the amount of traffic – what should you do? First, let’s take a look at where your web traffic is coming from now, which can conveniently be divided into four categories:

  1. Bookmark traffic from previous visitors
  2. Referral traffic from other sites
  3. SEO traffic coming from the search engines
  4. Paid traffic from pay-per-click (PPC) or banner ads, etc.

So what you need to do is figure out where your traffic is coming from now – then start implementing some new strategies to increase the traffic for each. Here are some tips for increasing traffic I would suggest pursuing:

  1. Increasing your bookmark traffic is easy – just place links on your site that allow people to automatically bookmark your page. People less experienced in the internet may not know how to bookmark a website, so make it easy to do.
  2. SEO traffic is the stuff coming from search engines – so you need to let the search engines know what your website is offering so that they index you for it. If you make ‘widgets’ then you need to have the term ‘widgets’ in your meta tags and in your website content so that it is clear to the search engines that is what your site is about. You can get an idea of this by taking a look at your website analytics to see what keywords are currently being used to come into your website. I’ll post more on this later.
  3. You can increase referral traffic, but this can be a bit grueling. Basically you contact other website owners and ask them for links, or you enter your website into lots of web directories. Maybe you have to use reciprocal links, where you both link to each other helping each of you. Having spent lots of time doing this very thing myself, let me tell you that you can expect most such requests to simply be ignored. There are tools on the web that help it be less painful, some free some not, so I like to use them. Tools like the Directory Submitter and WebCEO are free too.
  4. Paid traffic is usually where most new websites have to start as the other referral sources take time. If you are selling a product, getting paid traffic usually makes sense if done right. The most important thing to remember with paid traffic is to be aware of what your ROI is – how much it is costing you for the traffic. You have to look at the numbers, because if each sale from the paid traffic costs you $100 dollars to get and you are only making $25 dollars on the sale – that is obviously not good. Google Adwords is probably the best place to start for most because it is so easy and they are the search leader, but you can also get banner ads on other websites that will send you targeted traffic, etc.

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Why Blog?

My favorite answer to people asking how to better market their company / product / ideas is to get a blog – kinda like this one. How come? Because they are so easy to create and maintain, mostly. Take a look at your alternatives;

  • You could produce a flyer to email or mail to your customers / prospects
  • You could send out a company newsletter via email of snail mail
  • You could also place the marketing material on your regular website, if you have one.

While each of the above has its advantages / disadvantages, none of them can compare to a blog:

  • The cost to create the blog is about the same as it is to create and mail a single newsletter.
  • Blogs are available to be viewed 24 / 7 – they are immediate and can be updated later as needed
  • Search engines love them – over time you can have a whole lot of information that the search engines can point their traffic to
  • They are easy to use and maintain

There are disadvantages to having a blog too;

  • If you have a blog, ideally you should post on it maybe 3 times a week to keep the search engines coming back.
  • The cost to post is, uh, nothing but you do have to find the time to do it. But maybe that is something you can delegate to some underling! (smile)
  • Ideally you should have original content on the blog, not just copy and paste information you got elsewhere, and can sometimes be difficult for people not as talented as myself. (smile again)

And oh yeah, did I mention that can create a blog for you, then train you on how to use it? And all at a price you will find most agreeable.  Just let us know if you are intested.

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Our First Post

So this blog is going to be an area where can provide more information about websites to our customers (mostly). The idea is that since things are changing so much on the web, this would be the best way to tackle the issue – better this than having to send out newsletters that no one reads (smile).

Anyways, the topics to be covered with pretty much be on anything and everything having to do with websites; their design, maintenance, marketing, hosting, analytics, and pretty much anything else that seems pertinent. What it won’t be covering is sports, politics, religion, or sex – sorry.

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