What happens to SEO efforts and Digital marketing when one of your major chunks (organic keyword level data) is not available. Avinash Kaushik gives advice on how to go about working with keyword data and why Google started encrypting organic traffic.
This is a far better approach than simply bitching about Google and hatching conspiracy theories of Adwords trying to maximize their revenues!!
A detailed and step by step guide for Small Businesses to develop their presence on G+. Not only is it very thoughtful, but also it provides links and answers to all the quetsions that you might get stuck. And an awesome UI to boot as well!!
It’s easy to dismiss Facebook as a time sink and a negative ROI generator. I did that. However as time went by, I realized that maintaining a presence on social networks is almost a health factor these days. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger walks us through some of the more important things to keep in mind as you go about trying to rustle up a community on Facebook. All the Social Media Managers out there, you HAVE TO read this.
This post is quite close to my heart. It is about measuring the Return on Investment (RoI) of Offline advertising. Traditionally to calculate the RoI, brands would use agencies which specialized in marketing surveys. However, with the boom of Indian e-commerce and the influx of venture capital, most of the online mediums have started offline advertising as well. How does the digital marketing manager of such a firm tackle the RoI calculation? Here is a basic explaination of how you go about Trackign RoI of Offline advertising.
What is Life? is based on a series of lectures delivered at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies by Erwin Schrodinger. This was first published more than 50 years back, and it has found its way in the blue nothing. The PDF file is a lengthy dialogue which meanders through the physical composition of a cell to the destruction of the identity of life using means such as hypnosis. I have to warn you that if you do not take lightly to abstract concepts and discussing them for the sake of discussion itself, then do not read this document. Having said that, this is Food for thought after all!
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.
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 –
Get new visitors
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.
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!
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 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.
In the figure above, there are two trends which I want to explain using annotations.
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)
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?
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?
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.
Yes. 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)
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)
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
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
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!!
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
Always carry a Tango at the start. That will help you stay in the lanes longer.
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.
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.
Before you commit to any fight, ask yourself this question – Can I survive, are my team mates around to push/defend if I die?
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.
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.
To stay longer in a lane, learn how to use a courier to fetch items for you.
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.
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.
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.
(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!!