Understanding How Statistics Can Help You Build a Better Website

stats

stats Understanding How Statistics Can Help You Build a Better Website

Recently, I tried to explain to some writers for one of my web sites that the titles of some web posts were having significant impact on the percentage of people who were opening and/or reading e-mails from our organization (or not!), as well as the click through rate from the web site. One of the writers responded that this was just a “notion” of mine and that all writing should be written from the heart.

I realized then that there are many people who are authors or writers online, who do not actually understand the amazing ability we have to track statistics of the visitors of our website. Although we do want to write from the heart, we also want to reach people with our writing, correct? If you are writing an article on how to get over a broken heart, would you like to reach an extra 500 people today with your tips by using the term “brokenhearted” rather than “broken-hearted”? Simple changes by understanding keywords can have a dramatic impact on how many people you reach.

Looking at our recent posts on my organization’s website the graph of the “reading rate” looked something like a roller coaster, with large ups and downs. And I was able to track that some of this was due to the fact that titles were not specific enough to gain the interest of our readers.

If you have a website you have the ability to receive statistics that will give you a treasure chest of information. Depending if you want free statistics or are willing to pay a price for more specific information, statistics can easily be set up for any website.

They can tell you:

  • How many people are visiting your website
  • How many people are visiting a particular page on your website
  • How long those people spent on a specific webpage
  • Where in the world people live who visited your webpage
  • The trail of their visitation, meaning the order of the pages they visited
  • What page they came to first on your website
  • What page they left your website and link to someone else’s website
  • Is this the visitor’s first visit or have they been here before?
  • Is this the visitor’s first visit today or have they been here more times than once today?

With other sources you can find out what people are searching for on your webpage and if they receive results. For this with my WordPress site I use the plug-in Search Meter.

With most newsletter programs such as Get Response or AWeber you can find:

  • How many people receive your newsletter (it did not balance, their e-mail is correct)
  • How many people opened your newsletter
  • How many people clicked on the links in your newsletter
  • What links they clicked on in your newsletter
  • Sometimes it can tell you if the sale was made due to a link that was clicked on in your newsletter

One of the best sources for thorough, free, and easy-to-install statistics is Google Analytics .

One of the amazing things about using the Internet and reaching people through its channels is that very little has to be based were wrong on our gut instinct. As web designers we are given the ability to have a generous source of statistics that tell us a lot about where our site is or is not meeting the needs of the visitor.

Do you use statistics? Do they change how or what you write about? For example, if many people are searching for a particular term on your website and not finding it, are you encouraged to write an article on this topic? Have you ever used statistics to help you decide what chapters or content to write for a book, what to title it, or how to best market it? I look forward to your input on this as well!

 Understanding How Statistics Can Help You Build a Better Website

How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?

newspaper-titles-so-important

newspaper titles so important How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?When I was the editor of a magazine, I received a wide range of articles with titles that were very undescriptive, depressing, and even unsettling. It is expected that every editor will change titles of material and one of the keys to becoming a welcomed writer at any magazine is to send in submissions with titles that could actually be used.

In fact, as the editor of a magazine, in my guidelines are described them of our needs as “Look at the cover of Good Housekeeping and study the titles. Then write articles that reflect these topics in addition to adding on the terms chronic illness and Christian faith. This will help you understand the type of articles we are looking for.”

I recently tried to explain to a couple of writers who contribute to one of my websites that I was occasionally updating titles of the content. This was for a few different reasons:

1. The title is the most descriptive part of the message and if it is not appealing or interesting people will not click on it, and therefore it never even have the opportunity to be read.

2. Many of the titles of articles people were submitting were the same or very similar. For example, if 3 people send you articles with titles like, “Getting Through The Baby Blues”; “Dealing With The Baby Blues” and “Coping With The Baby Blues” –even if all of the articles are different in conquering the challenge of baby blues– will your readers know this? No. They will think you are just reposting the same content and updating the title (as many publishers do read books that they re-release with new titles)

3. On the Internet everything comes down to best describing your content so that it can be found by those who are searching for it. Rather than having a title that says “Waiting to Adopt” one should have the title of the blog posts be “Getting Past The Discouraging Moments Of Waiting to Adopt from China.” This is of course, assuming that the blog post is actually about getting past the discouraging moments while waiting to adopt from China.

I recently read in an article, “5 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content” by a nonprofit organization, “Titles are the very first things people read in their email subject line, RSS reader and Twitter or Facebook feed. You could argue that this is the single most important part of any content you produce because without a great title people won’t click (and the all mighty click is what you’re after, right?).”

And Copy Blogger writes in “How to Write Magnetic Headlines”

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.” They have an excellent 11-part series that gives some specific guidance that will increase your ability to write better headlines in just hours.

I have also found that by focusing on a quality title I am forced to be more specific in my writing and that it sometimes takes me in a new direction and creates a topic that I had not previously planned on writing about. There are times when I have a title and I start writing the article and soon it turns into three or four different articles.

Some publishing houses now go to the extent to buy Google Ad words. They create 2 to 5 different ads and have the title of each ad be a possible title of one book that they are going to publish. In just a few hours or perhaps a couple of weeks, a publisher can do inexpensive research and find out which title is the best possible one to use on the book.

I was taught as a speaker many years ago from Florence Littauer at CLASS that the best way to find not only what is trending but also how to write great headlines is to pause at the grocery store checkout line and examine those “magazines” that we are often too embarrassed to buy even if we find the headline enticing. There is a reason that everything from the National Enquirer to People magazine sell each week even when the content itself is poorly written or even false. It’s those titles!

I would love to hear your comments about how you have improved your writing of titles for blog posts, or perhaps how you chose the title of your book.

 How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?

Make Marketing Easier Tip #4 – Mashapedia

Mashpedia.com defines itself as a “web encyclopedia enhanced with cutting-edge functionalities and sophisticated features such as multimedia content, social media tools and real-time information.” Okay, so, deep breath. What in the world does that mean exactly?

If you are looking for a one-stop website to find out what people are saying about your topic in which you specialize, and/or write a book on, I strongly recommend this web site.

It is free to use and you can quickly glance at it to see what people are saying across the Internet about your topic. Mashpedia is unique in the way that it integrates different online services and applications which include blog posts, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Google News, Books, and more. And the best part of all? It is all in one page with a simple to read interface providing live feeds (such as twitter).

Each time you visit the content will be different and you are able to see what kinds of articles, photos, and blog posts are feeding into the stream of content online and gaining attention. For example, you may see a trend with your particular topic if there are blog posts about it, new stories, videos, and tweets.

You can also see the value of having photos in Flickr with your images titled with specific keywords that describe not only their content but may also come up in the feed.

Stick a keyword into the search engine and see what you get. I randomly put in the word “popsicles” and received a ton of information including a lot of fun photos, a book recommendation called “Always Have Popsicles: The Handbook to Help You Be the Best Grandparent…” by Rebecca Harvin, and an article “‘Popsicle Pastor’ returns home.” It’s no surprise that there are many people actually treating about eating or making popsicles and there are tons of videos on how to make an effective great tasting popsicle.

You can also see on the right-hand side of the articles that are most popular on this topic that has been “Dugg” repeatedly. What would it take for you to have an article here? What topic within your topic could gain the attention of these folks who are actively discussing it online already? Things to ask yourself…

In just a glance you can see who is tweeting about your topic, what books are highly recommended on your topic, who is making videos about your topic, and new stories and more.

 Make Marketing Easier Tip #4   Mashapedia

Let’s Tweet

2755v2 max 450x450 Lets Tweet
Image via CrunchBase

Back in February when I started using Twitter I wasn’t sure if it would be a helpful tool or one more thing to distract me from everything else or just a fad. I’ve decided it is all three to some extent.

In planning for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, I’ve found it the most useful too. I also have it set up with ping.fm and hootsuite.com to post to Facebook. This combination of interacting with people has been a refreshing addition to my internet experience.

I have spent endless hours visiting web sites, following links and reading blogs, but Twitter has quickly introduced me to some amazing people in the illness/health field that I never may have found otherwise.

Not only can I scan a profile description quickly and click to visit a person’s web site, but by seeing what kinds of things they Tweet and ReTweet, I can see what they value, what kind of information they think is important to share, and yes, even hear about the fact that their 2-year-old just threw a tantrum or they are off to have a picnic. The combination of information is about the person makes them just that… a person, not a company or a PR representative.

I’ve connected with some women in ministry and authors that I have long admired, but would have had to go through “their people” to connect with them in any other way other than Twitter.

I’ve found a group of people who I am excited to work with and they are excited to work with me. It goes beyond “networking” and far surpasses the (someone cold) term of “joint venture.” It’s just friends, sharing their resources, great finds, and each other’s “stuff.”

I began with @lisajcopen and that’s my main Twitter for anything illness, health, personal and ministry. Some tweets have nothing to do with illness, but they are just part of something I think people may be interested in. I moved on setting up @invisibleillwk for people who wanted illness related information and also Invisibel Illness Week updates (but not all my personal stuff).

Next, I started building relationships in the adoption community because of my web site ScrapbookMyAdoption.com so I began @scrapbkadoption.

And this last week I realized that I have so much book promotion stuff sitting around waiting to be put into the next ebook, and I really wanted to start sharing it now! So I began @youcansellbooks . If you are wondering how I keep track of all of these, it’s easy with hootsuite.com

I think I am about done now with setting up accounts, because all of my passions (or “niches”) are covered.  And I found myself setting them up not really because I was out to start adding numbers to a new list, but because there were so many people I wanted to follow and I wanted them somewhat organized so my brain could process all the information. (Some of you have written and said, “You aren’t following me…” but I am, just on a different account than maybe I Twittered from. If I don’t use hootesuite.com sometimes sending a message to a certain person means I have to sign out of one Twitter account and sign in to another.)

So, what does all of this mean to you? I hope it will be helpful that I can push more information I have out to you faster. Running 8 blogs isn’t easy, and I starting to like that 140 character limit of Twitter.

At some point this weekend, I am determined to put all busy work aside and actually work on a book I am writing. So, instead of blogging for hours, I hope to “tweet” and “write.”

I’ve also invited some guest bloggers to come and share their book marketing tips, tricks, and helpful articles. I hope you find this helpful as well.

If you have a book… and you are NOT yet on Twitter, go and sign up. I don’t know how long Twitter may last as this popular form of communication, but you need to at least jump on the wave in order to ride it. Start following people in your niche area, and when/if you are ready in a month or two to become more active, you will understand it better and be ready to participate. If you are an author with a book you cannot afford to ignore Twitter!

And if you Twitter about anything illness-related check out my new social network Illness Twitters. You may want to consider starting your own social network for people who Twitter on your subject material, to bring them all to one place, to help each other, share information and be readily available when the media come looking for book reviews, product reviews, blog comments, etc. The “mother” of all this is (in my opinion) Twitter Moms which has nearly 18,000 members!

So… go sign up to follow me @youcansellbooks and let’s get ready to kick our sharing up a notch. I look forward to getting to know you (and even what you had for dinner last night) soon.

Lisa

 Lets Tweet

Who is Talking About You?

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twitter Who is Talking About You?In my quest to organize information overload, I found this. We should all have our book titles, names, etc. in it just like we do for Google Alerts (do you have Google alerts set up for these right?)

Tweet Beep: http://www.tweetbeep.com — This service will alert you via email anytime your name, book title, company, or other keyword is tweeted about. You can set up similar alerts using TweetLater. A

You may also be interested inTwitter Search: http://search.twitter.com — Use this Twitter service to search for tweets. I put in “invisible illness” and then sent replies to people who tweeted on this topic to let them know about Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

Lisa

Blog Posts to Twitter

I’m trying to combine some of my efforts so I can concentrate more on content and less on posting it all over. I’ve been testing out some different things to do with Twitter and here is a link to Twitterfeed that seems to be working. It takes about 5 minutes to jump through the hoops to sign up, but after that you can sign up to have your blog posts post (title and brief description) to Twitter. Wanted to pass it along to save you a but of time too!

Anyone have any Twitter tools they want to share for us non-tech people?

Lisa

Everything You’d Ever Need for Twitter

Twitter Badge 1 Everything Youd Ever Need for Twitter

I am a twitter novice and learning to find the balance between being interesting, being honest and also using it as a marketing tool. But this week John Kremer (book marketing EXPERT) struck again by providing us with a wealth of resources for everything you’d ever want for Twitter.

Posting in advance, tweeting your blog, social networks for Twitter, and a list of media outlets that twitter (good to know!)

I’m going to work my way through all of these applications and decide what I really need to use first, but can’t wait to start. Let me know how you use Twitter, specifically to get people to your site or to sell more books.

 Everything Youd Ever Need for Twitter

The Power of Social Networking For Authors

 This article is compliments of Yvonne Perry, who has a new ebook out called Book Marketing in the Digital Age: Online Promotion Made Easy . I have not yet read it, but based on her web site, articles, reviews and more… I have no doubt she knows her stuff!

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The Power of Social Networking For Authors
By Yvonne Perry

Recently, I was asked, “What is the best tool for helping authors promote their books online?” Had you asked me that one year ago, I would have said blogging, and while that is still somewhat true, I have to admit that social networking is the best tool for helping authors promote their books online.

Social networking includes interacting or socializing with a number of people in a public chat-like setting except there is no live chat room. It retains the flavor of an email going back and forth the dialog ending at any time but a message being delivered. I’m referring to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Ning, Yahoo groups, and such online places where people share friendship and information. Twitter only allows 140 characters per post, so writers have to learn to be concise. That’s a good exercise to practice when one needs to tighten their writing.

I hate selling anything but I love sharing what I know and I enjoy interacting with people. I’m not sure that makes me an expert on any particular topic, but it does bring great response to whatever I’m promoting. After all, the only reason I’m promoting a book or author publicity service is because I have something valuable to offer but I can’t afford to give away all my time. I’m always researching and learning, asking questions and gathering information. I create books and eBooks as a way of dispersing some of the knowledge I have acquired. For example, my new eBook Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy is a compilation of the material I crammed into an hour-long lecture I gave at Nashville Writers Meetup Group when I presented to the group earlier this year plus everything I presented in a three-hour intensive workshop at the Tennessee Writers Alliance 3rd Annual Conference; and it includes the most recent research I’ve done on SEO and social marketing.

I do give away a lot of information to help people see that I do have some idea of what I’m talking about. If an author tries my free marketing tips and has success with it, I figure they will come back for more. Perhaps they will buy my books or have me help them with their writing or editing needs. It’s a win-win for both of us, and that creates a nice balance-a zen sort of thing.

I met James Helms on Twitter and he made a post on his blog http://todaysbesttools.com about my new eBook. He didn’t ask anything in return for the favor, but I was more than happy to Tweet about his generosity. That’s the power of social networking.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She recently released an eBook titled Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy. Read more about the eBook and find free tips for marketing your book online.

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