5 Ways to use Audience Interests in Google Analytics

Audience Interests

Google Analytics updated their UI and offered a new feature for all the free users. This lets a site owner see the interests of the site’s audience. What this means, is that from now on you can actually track what kind of an audience is viewing your site, and what kind of content are they going to like.

For those of you who haven’t enabled Audience Interest yet, here is the help document.

Check out the Interests screenshot of this blog

Audience Interests
Audience Interests lets you check which topics interest your audience.

A quick look will let you know that the top segment of visitors are technophiles, so how can we use this data to drive higher engagement or even traffic to the site?

Identifying your Niche

Now that you know what kind of an audience frequents your site, write more of that type of content. I used to post frequently about Games, however the data that you see before you clearly suggests that I should write more on Tech, Updates in Technology and even Arts!!

Having a site with a broad interest range has it’s traps, this tool will help you get out of that trap and identify your niche … a niche which clearly works for you!

Deciding the Language for your site

Look at the Age Demographic of your site. Correlate that with your Audience interests. Is the copy you are using on the site apt for this demographic?

Would you be a grammar nazi on a blog where a young audience base visits to read about the games you have played? I guess not. Would you watch writing the f*** word when you know your audience is 35+ yrs and the main interest group is Finance? No again. Would you swear at badly written code with sample snippets and screenshots on a blog such as this? Yes!!

Sometimes in creating content for our site, we do not necessarily close the feedback loop that is available by such data. This is a big mistake that serious content marketers need to avoid.

Tailoring Content for your Audience

A high traffic site needs to do two things –

  1. Get new visitors
  2. Make the new visitors keep coming back for more

Easier said than done! Getting new visitors is the simpler part, there are multiple ways for doing that … social sharing, optimizing content, buying clicks, etc. However, now that the user has visited your site, how do you keep them coming back?

Well, keep writing about subjects which are of interest to the user, and do that on a regular basis! I was tempted to blog about multiple games that I have been playing in the past week, but the data that I have seen shows that I need to focus more on articles such as these instead of Gaming … oh, well!!

Connecting to your Audience

This tool can also be used to generate relevant traffic for your site. If you can find sites which have similar audience profiling, then you can start connecting with that target audience either by Display Ads or by participating in that community and developing your cred. Google has a great product to do this, it’s called Doubleclick, which lets you plan your Display Campaigns properly.

However, using this tool you can also find sites which have similar interest profiling for their audience. Once you have narrowed down to a list of 10-15 sites, go ahead and see how to acquire traffic from them! If the audience cannot come to your site, then you might as well take the site to them!!

Finding the right Audience

This tip is useful for you especially if you have configured Goals on Google Analytics. Goals could be a simple metric such as getting more than 3 Pageviews per Visit, or it can be a purchase on your online store.

If you are familiar with the standard set of Advanced Segments that Google Analytics has, then you would know that there is a Converters segment. This is a segment of all the traffic that converted to a Goal  that you have configured in Analytics.

Obviously, increasing the number of Goals would be a metric for you and your content strategy. The Converters segment alongwith the Audience Interest report will help you find the audience which is converting the most.

Wrap Up

Digital marketing is moving closer to traditional marketing paradigms (the 4Ps, Audience Demographics). The good part about this is that data is immediately available as opposed to conducting surveys which consume a lot of time and money (and of course a few summer interns!).

What about you, how useful do you find the Audience Interest report in Google Analytics? Do share your thoughts!

How to Ace a Job Interview

When I was going for my first interview, no one told me this … however as time went by, all of us learnt the hard way.

  • Always sit upright in the chair, slightly lean forward
  • Never cross your arms or legs, that makes your posture defensive
  • Always smile and be forthcoming about your weaknesses
  • Be honest and do not be afraid to say “I don’t know”

After a decade of working and interviewing people, this infographic is a great summary of what are the basic things you should do when going for an interview.

How-to-Ace-a-Job-Interview

Why should you use Annotations in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a tool which often amazes me. It contains so many features packed into it that it would take years simply to understand and appreciate all of them! One such feature which I do not see being used as much as it should be is the Annotations tool within Google Analytics.

What are Annotations?

Annotations in Google Analytics

Annotations are comments which you can put for a particular date. So in this picture above, I have indicated at what dates did I publish a post on my blog. I have been busy in the months of April and June!

You can see the annotations bar in the Audience Overview of your Google Analytics profile, there is a small expandable div which you need to click on first.

The thing with Annotations like most of the Google Analytics features is that in order to retain flexibility, it is an open framework. Meaning you can use it as you see fit. Which could be one reason why its not used as often as it should be!

Why should you use Annotations?

Annotations are a simple way to Attribute certain action that you did to a rise in traffic.

Annotations in Google Analytics Peak

In the figure above, there are two trends which I want to explain using annotations.

  1. One is a clear spike in traffic which fetched me around 350 hits in a day. This I am attributing to commenting on a popular gaming blog with my link (I cross referenced that with the referral traffic coming to that site and they match)
  2. The other is an increase in the site traffic, this I am attributing to the increased frequency of posts that I am publishing on this blog

So, How does one use Annotations?

Well there are multiple scenarios how you could use annotations –

  • If you are a team working together on a site, then you can decide on a format for annotations such as Dev. Post, SEM. Having this communicated across the team helps ensure that too many annotations do not clutter your dashboard and confuse you or your team members.
  • If you are a blogger like me, then simply noting the time of the day you blog will help you maintain some regularity on the blog, with a clear sight on how this is impacting your traffic.
  • If you are a marketing manager of a site and handle additional campaigns, say a product launch or a TV Commercial, then you can correlate the increase in traffic and goals on the site to that particular campaign. Remember the first step in attribution is measurement!
  • Cyclicality and Seasonality can be tracked and predicted in the future using annotations. A simple example of this in action is when I had written about the Sunday Dip.

Enough of ideas on how one can use annotations, did you use annotations before and how did you use them?

How to setup your Google Authorship correctly

I was intending to write this post for some time now, however this brilliant infographic by Mervik Haums was available and its a great resource of tips of getting your Google+ Authorship setup.

Google Authorship Checklist

To put this in a nutshell,

  1. Ensure you have put your best DP on your Google+ profile
  2. In the post you are writing, ensure that your name is displayed as the anchor text with a link pointing to your Author Profile with rel=author
  3. In your Author Profile, have a link to your Google+ profile with rel=me

I did this the earlier day for Good Home Advisor, and it worked within the next couple of days.

PS – Google Authorship has been nerfed by Google and the data is no longer available. Just one more example in the SEO industry when everyone starts abusing a particular rule, Google nerfs it!

Top 5 things you should do after launching a site

So after toiling on that idea for more than 4 to 5 months, you have finally launched your site … the journey till here was literally blood and tears. Having to either grapple with the content management system (CMS) or even worse, having to convince the developers working on your site that the site needs to be exactly as the way you want it to be and not what they want it to be. You have managed to stick to the deadline that you set for yourself and finally the site is live!

You feel like celebrating … and you should. Fireworks in the sky, Champagne flowing … you have did it. It feels good to have reached here, doesn’t it?

Reality bites

Now time for a reality check.

Your site’s journey has just started, and its completion is not the end, but just the start. You still need traffic to generate revenues, you need growth in that traffic and you need people to talk about your site. Without traffic and sustainable growth in that traffic, your site is simply going to be a liability. If you are betting your website to do your sales, then have I got a thing (or two) to say to you!

A website once built, can only generate huge traffic if you are relying on the secret sauce. That ingredient which will ensure that thousands and thousands of potential customers come flocking to your website looking to buy your product/service.

The Secret Sauce

To generate traffic, you need to be organized. You need to try out different things to see what works, and then do more of that.

secret_sauceYes. It’s that simple. You need to experiment and see what works for you. This is more work than you actually thought, but trust me … if you like the reason why you started the site, you will love promoting your site! You would love it even more when people reach out to you and seek your help.

If you can Measure, you can Scale

The more help you offer to the good folks who visit your website, the more popular would be. Since people actually start feeling your website useful. It’s a matter of finding out where these people come from and trying to see if you can get more people to visit your site from there. This is easier said than done … and that’s why you need to follow these tips and get to point where you can start doing these experiments.

So buckle up Dorothy, coz Texas is going bye, bye!

To correctly measure the traffic on your websites, you need to have a couple of things setup.

1. Google Analytics (GA)

Google Analytics

I would suggest GA because of the ease with which you can generate insightful reports and also the enterprise class features you get to use for free. There are other alternatives to GA such as Clicky, Omniture and even Alexa for that matter. However, trust me and go with Google! We will save Alexa hacking for later.

2. Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)

Google Webmaster Tools

Using GWT and GA in tandem would be the backbone of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) operations. I have put up a Starter’s guide for SEO which you definitely need to go through. In case if Bing (Bing Is Not Google) search engine is relatively well known in your country (it’s at 16% market share as we speak in the United States), then go ahead and register on Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT) as well.

3. Start re-writing your content

Schema

I know. You have just completed this task two days back. Life is unfair, I should have told you about this before you finished the site! But in reality, be prepared to keep fine tuning the content on your website on a regular basis. I keep doing this for my top content since the post might be old, but the traffic that comes to those posts is brand new!! Do not be afraid or lazy to re-visit the content on your site. It’s a given that you will revisit it. Embracing this helps you quickly write content better for your users and also for your search engines. Here’s a starters guide to writing for search engines using Schemas.

4. You are your website

Remember, at the start. People do not know of your website. Do not expect too many visitors from the word go. In fact you probably will have to ask your friends to visit your website. So start sharing your website link with people … share it with people whom you think will benefit from the advise you are giving on the website. Share it on your social networks asking your friends to visit the site and give you reviews.

You have to pimp out that site and in style! Use your personal equity and get the traffic rolling in … if the site is good, then soon your friends and contacts will start sharing your site without being asked to! The traffic to your site will slowly grow … but at the start, you are your website. It’s a part of you and you have to ask people to come and visit your digital presence … your website. Do not shy away from this. You would be losing out on a very good initial source of traffic if you are shying away from sharing your site on your own social networks.

Are you yourself not convinced about the content you are dishing out on the site? No? Then start sharing those URLs. Have a few social sharing widgets on your site and ask your good friends to share as well!

5. Prepare for the journey ahead

journey ahead

I have already said this before, but I am going to iterate this again and again until this really sinks in.

Driving traffic to your website is a continuous activity.

This does not mean that you need to stop everything else and only keep doing these things. But, this means that you need to allocate some time in your busy week for Measurements and Experiments. You need to play with your website, and see what different things you can do on your site.

If that means learning HTML or hiring a smart guy to do this work, then so be it. It will pay off in the longer run. Also, do note that if you shy away from this activity and rely on someone else to do this for you, then you are pretty much relying on that person for your traffic and the traffic will dwindle the minute he/she goes away.

So pull up your socks, and get ready for a wonderful journey of web analysis, traffic generation and customer engagement! You are going to love it!!

10 tips to save you from dying in DOTA2

DOTA 2 has been around for less than a year, but the gaming community has been fast adopting to this game. This community is mostly made of people who have been playing League of Legends, or Heroes of Newerth … and also the successful predecessor DOTA. What this means, that sometimes this community can be unforgiving for newbies.

There is a reason for that as well … when you die unnecessarily, the enemy hero gains money and experience

I have not seen a Pub game wherein the newbie does not get flamed for unnecessarily dying and feeding the opposition. To survive this onslaught, you just need to follow these steps … and people will stop calling you a n00b!

Tips to increase your survival

  1. Always carry a Tango at the start. That will help you stay in the lanes longer.
  2. Do NOT auto-attack. It’s tempting to do so … yes I know … even I used to do this. But it works out better if you don’t. When you auto-attack, you end up pushing the creep wave towards the enemy tower making ganks and one-on-ones all the more difficult. As it is, the only thing that matters is getting last hits. If you can get 100+ last hits in a game, you should be good.
  3. Keep a tab on the mini-map. You can tell by looking at the mini-map where are the other enemy heroes. Tracking them is useful since this can help you avoid possible ganks on you.
  4. Before you commit to any fight, ask yourself this question – Can I survive, are my team mates around to push/defend if I die?
  5. Farm happily, but stay away of towers. Some of the best farmers out there do not farm if they do not see the enemy heroes on the mini-map.
  6. Know your hero’s build. All the hero’s are meant to be used in a certain way. Practice with them before hand to know the best way to use them.
  7. To stay longer in a lane, learn how to use a courier to fetch items for you.
  8. Do not initiate a fight wherein you are going against multiple enemies. If your lane partner is not around, stay back and focus on getting last hits.
  9. If you are running low on health and do not have a courier at your disposal, go back to the base. The loss in XP for not being around action is lesser than the loss in XP when you die.
  10. If you are saving up gold for a particular item, remember that most items are made up of composite items. These composite items can be seen in your Quick Buy panel (Shift + Click on the item for this). If you know you are going to die, then just go ahead and buy as many composites as possible. That way at least the money is put to good use.
  11. (Bonus) Relics are good, but if you cannot farm, then getting intermediate items work better. Consider Power Treads for their versatility.

Practice on these tips and you should be safe enough!!

Resume Gaffes

A couple of years back I had posted about some of the idiotic things that people write in their CVs. Lessons were not learnt it seems … till date we see thousands of such resumes with grammatical mistakes.

If you have a grammar nazi for an HR team (and yes, we do) … then your resume will not get shortlisted … here’s a list of #facepalms which we have seen over the months. Instead of just posting them here and making fun of these excerpts, I’ve decided to be more constructive and give feedback on how to avoid these errors

Using Long Motherhood Statements

Seeking position for an organization that will utilize my skills, talent and Management aptitude, so that I may propel it’s growth and development, while also contributing to my personal and professional fulfillment.

Looking for a position where talent, sense of responsibility, commitment and output of work is required for personal along with professional growth.

Stuff such as too many clauses, long generic statements are a complete turn-off. This is a matter of personal opinion, but I think putting such things in your CV is a waste of time. The only reason I would want to read these lines is to ridicule them. If you are applying for a job, then your objective should be just that … and no need to put that down on paper, since the reason you sent that paper across is to get a job.

Why beat around the bush, just directly get down to it … it will save the recruiter’s time and that is appreciated.

Grammatical Errors and Typos

Although I am a recent post graduate, my technical knowledge, my practical experience and eagerness to learn and be a part of  your organization will surely make an additional assistance.

I would like to express my interest in a position as HR Executive in your establishing organization.

When you are done framing your resume for the first time, be sure to get it reviewed by at least 2-3 different people. Try to look for a grammar nazi … between the lot of you, errors will come out. Make a note of these and be sure to correct them! Send the updated document across to everyone at the end of this exercise. You will be surprised with the improvement in your document.