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September 28th, 2006
Website content comes in a few forms: text, video, audio, images, graphics, software, etc. Depending on the website type this or that content type is domineering.
The internet primarily fulfills an informational function. I guess the expression ‘Content is king‘ originates from that fact (‘uniqueness‘ is also a boring cliche of high quality content). Everyone is bored with this saying, but a discussion of what really constitutes high quality content shows that ideas and opinions on this issue are different.
I find these descriptions more accurate and fresh to my ear:
The way of content presentation on the web is also important. People do not read – they scan headlines and text bodies. So your task is to get their attention. And it is not so easy when everyone is short of time and with so many options of info sources.
Also recent changes of web content are evident and they are likely to progress:
Denying there have been some major change of direction of the web in general in the last year or two is just burying one’s head in the sand. And that change is mostly in the form of new content types (maps, videos, pics, garbage) that is hard to monetize (if not impossible) through contextual text ads.
written content = contextual text ads
videos =? ads
maps =? ads
applications =? ads
The web is going through the same transitions as the industrial world, the goal here is to adapt and anticipate, not live on our accomplishments. Sure, huge textual content sites will be around for a while and will have their reason for living, but don’t forget that in the web time frame, everything moves quicker. Change might hit us faster than expected.
Summary: When I contemplate on content I think if it is a long play for independent web publishers. More companies come to the web, they take niches that nobody found interesting a year back. I do not think that it is too bad (it is too bad for independent website publishers only) – the users will get information products of a better quality.
[tags]content, websites content, content management, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, make money online, home based job, earn your living online[/tags]
September 28th, 2006
Should you use e-mail newsletters as a way to keep in contact with your readers and to market your website in general? In my mind email marketing is associated with SPAM. I prefer RSS feeds delivered to a news aggregator. Email is a marketing technique of the past times, right?
But I should admit that I am still subscribed to about 20-25 newsletters delivered to my e-mail box weekly. And I consider myself to be ‘an advanced Internet user’. Does it mean that people less Internet savvy also tend to subscribe to newsletters?
Yes, they are. Jakob Nielsen, usability guru, has recently published the results of his 2006 research on e-mal newsletters. Along with many useful facts and findings I have discovered two most important things for my online business:
News feeds are definitely not for everybody and they are not a replacement for email newsletters. Feeds can supplement newsletters for sites that cater to users who prefer a centralized view of headlines.
And the biggest surprise (I tend to trust this person and his findings):
Email newsletters are the best way to maintain customer relationships on the Internet.
I run a subscription option on all my websites, but I do not use the lists in any way and I did not issue any e-mail newsletters. But I guess I should give a thought to this. No doubt, the website should gain some popularity and get some considerable traffic to build a database of subscribers. I think it is a waste of time to make newsletters for 100-200 subscribers.
Another issue is your time. It is good to automate the process of making a newsletter. How? I have no experience at the moment, so can share nothing. But those newsletters that I am subscribed to suggest that it does not take much time to design.
Next step: how to deliver the newsletter to your subscribers and avoid any issues with your hosting provider and unhappy people blocking your IP and complaining of SPAM. Desktop programs are not recommended. Make use of e-mailing services. They cost some money, but they are safe and effective:
Comparison of Monthly Costs for E-mail Services
Notes: (1) Price based on number of subscribers on the list. (2) Price based on the number of e-mails sent per month. (3) Price obtained by phone. (4) An additional premium list service fee is assessed for lists over 25K. (5) Charges an initial application fee.
One more thing to keep in mind: deliverability. Any result-oriented person realizes that all above steps are of no use if the subscriber does not get your message. E-mail services can’t provide 100% delivery. So, you should think what service to choose not only on the basis of their pricing tag:
Summary: So, let’s recap. E-mail newsletters still matter. OK, accepted (and it is the end of 2006!).
Steps to make use of this most efficient way to keep in touch with your visitors and customers:
- multiple options to subscribe and unsubscribe
- database of opt-in subscribers
- technique that will help you to develop your newsletter in minutes (based on the content and website updates since the last newsletter)
- e-mailing service that will take care of your newsletter delivery
[tags]e-mail, e-mail marketing, e-mail newsletters, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, make money online, home based job, earn your living online[/tags]
September 27th, 2006
You work hard at your website: content creation, new features, new online tools, marketing. You need to know what works and what does not work and to drop those types of activities that do not bring the expected progress.
How do you know what works? How do you measure the progress of your web site?
The most important indicator is your bank account – you can see the progress checking your earnings with the affiliate networks or from other revenue sources (depends on the type of the website you run).
Another way that provides you with more food for analysis is your website logs. Web stats allow you to have more accurate visitor information like unique visitors, page views, visitor geo location, referrers, etc. instead of just information like hits.
As a rule, you have a free web stats program supplied by your hosting provider. Two free programs I use:
- AWStats – Free log file analyzer for advanced statistics
- Google Analytics
There are many more free and paid web log stats programs to choose from
What indicators should you pay special attention to studying web logs? It depends on the type of the website you run and your goals. Here is the list of indicators you should control depending on the website type:
Conversion Rates: the likelihood users will sign up with you, subscribe, register or ask to receive information.
Length of Visit/Average Time Spent on Site: this metric helps measure your goal of wanting to increase the amount of time users spend on the site during a given visit
Average Page Views: the number of pages the visitor visited can indicate the strength of your visitor’s connection to the information you provide
Percent Returning Visitors: percentage of retained visitors returning to your site
Average subscription length
Active subscriber base (based on different time weekly, monthly, etc depending on model)
Visits per month (or quarter or week).
Blog Stats: (ie. Technorati, Digg etc)
Conversion Rate: the likelihood of successfully driving a visitor to purchase.
Cost Per Visitor: the cost of each site visitor to your business.
Average Order Value/Size
Percent New Visitors: the number of potential new customers landing on your site each month. Are these visitors qualified? What stage of the buying funnel are they in?
Ratio of New to Returning Visitors: the ratio of new to previously acquired visitors as well as a measure of customer loyalty and repeat online business.
Page “Stickiness”: the likelihood of successfully retaining a visitor who arrives at a key landing page
Customer Life Time Value: the likelihood that satisfied customers will tell their friends resulting in an increase in online/offline sales. This is more intangible and may be difficult to track.
Add/View Items in Cart: as well as cart abandonment
Conversion Path Analysis: how are users converting on the site?
New Account Signups: how much time and money are these new account signups spending on your site?
LEAD GENERATION WEBSITE:
New Account Signups
Percent New Visitors: the number of potential new customers landing on your site
Conversion Rates: the percentage of visitors that download white papers, sign up for mailings, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.
Ratio of Leads to Close: the likelihood a lead will complete the transaction – this is an offline ratio
Length of Visit: the amount of time a visitor spends on your site in a given visit
Ratio of New to Returning Visitors: the ratio of new to previously acquired visitors
Page “Stickiness”: the likelihood of successfully retaining a visitor who arrives at a key landing page (usually a PPC landing-page or product information page)
Percent of Visits by Entry Page: measures the efficacy of your marketing messages at driving visitors to the site
Conversion by Campaigns
Ad Clicks: measures how successful your PPC campaign is
Drivers to the Registration Process
Summary: How often do you need to check your weblogs? It is up to you. I check them on a monthly basis. If I implement any sort of a marketing campaign on a particular website I check the effect at that time – web log programs provide nearly real time stats.
[tags]web logs, web log stats, web log analyzer, log analysis, website logs, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, make money online, home based job, earn your living online[/tags]