The Truth About Your Blog Stats

If you’re new to Google Analytics or confused about how to use it effectively to help grow your business then chances are know your blog statsyou (and your pocket perhaps) may benefit greatly from understanding fully what the numbers really mean and how to use the tools to help you gather intelligent info about what is making or breaking your website.

When I first took a look at my numbers utilizing the Google Analytics tool, I was completely perplexed.  Yet, the information offered some mystery that I knew I had to further evaluate.

Statistics…What???

I don’t know how but by some miraculous reason I managed to ace my Statistics 101 class in college.  However, the numbers I was looking at behind my website just seemed like a whole different animal. And if you are anything like me, I couldn’t scream help fast enough before my eyes started rolling back into my head and I was overwhelmed with trying to make sense of the seemingly important data that was flashing right before my eyes.

Thankfully, I have a great mentor who not only offered some guidance but also has a Blog Statistics Workshop replay that helps break down the numbers into edible pieces. This allowed me to understand what it all meant in order to work efficiently on getting more traffic.

It is true for many of us who run businesses online that our Google Analytics tool is the go to place for reference in order to see what our website traffic looks like.

But when you get there, wouldn’t you want to know what the numbers really mean? Why they’re so important? And what that information tells you about the health of your site?

In Know Your Blog Stats,  Kelly discusses the significance of  this information and what it tells you about your readers.  If you think you already have what you need, take a look at this article I read in Inc magazine where it describes how you may actually know less than they think about your website’s analytics.  

Billions Are Connected

There are billions of Internet users across all continents around the world. I think it comes to no surprise that the number keeps growing by the day. This means that as time goes on, there will be more businesses competing with each other online and more people available who can potentially be your customers.

Many people have come to rely on the Internet as a referential point in making a decision about something.

Think about it. How many times a day do you “Google” something, look something up for a review or attempt to make a decision about a fancy restaurant you’ve never been to without first searching for it online?

Because of the prospective of reaching an extraordinary amount of people online, businesses have vested interest in developing solid marketing strategies that are competitive in nature and produce the desired results

How do businesses produce results?

By learning about what is working in their business and doing more of it while identifying what is not working in order to trash it or tweak it as deemed necessary.

What can you do to figure out if your blogging is working? [Read more...]

How Do You Promote Your Home-based Business?

Introducing Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their business from home.

Today’s Q is:Depositphotos_22521519_xs

 “At this stage in your home-based business, what is working for you in terms of promotion and getting more exposure for your business?”

Stephanie L. Watson from Barry Publishing says:

1) Promote to My Current Clients
The clients I already have want to be included in sales, or specials. It’s hard to be a current client and then see a better deal come along that you can’t take part in. I have an ongoing special this entire year that only current clients get. They are able to double their contracted current orders any time they want to, and they get 10 percent off. They really love this and over half of my clients take advantage of this every single month.

2) Blog Often
I still fail at this sometimes due to all the writing I do for everyone else. But, when I do it consistently, and by that I mean at least 20 blog posts a month, I always attract new clients. Always. I tell people they should be their own best client. When I take my own advice, it works.

3) Get Out of My Own Way
I tend to make excuses for myself. I’m “scared” of interviews online. I’m “scared” to see my own name in print on my own articles. I’m “scared” of being criticized. But, you know what, you have to get out of your own way if you really want to succeed  – and this is the year that I will really accomplish that.

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

At this point, I’ve gotten my “biggest bang” from public speaking. Even smaller networking groups have given me a lot of credibility. There is something magical about being in front of a group teaching them something. You are automatically the expert and everyone wants to work with you. It was much easier to get in as a speaker once they knew about the book I’d written.

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says: 

I’ve really been focusing on building a solid foundation.  So for me, driving traffic to my website and interacting on my Facebook page have been key.  I find that the more people get a chance to connect with me, the more they get a sense of who I am. This gives them the trust they need to take that next step and reach out to me. This year, I also plan to reach out and try some guest blogging.

Courtney Chowning from CourtneyChowning.com says:

What works best for me is to consistently email my list!  I have a pretty responsive list and with almost every email send I get a great click through rate and personal response.  I do some social media promotions as well but they don’t come close to what I get by sending out an email once a week.

Tracy Roberts from Moms In A Blog says: 

Guest posting & cross promotion has been working well for me and my clients. I’ve been reaching out to other bloggers and community leaders with creative ideas for cross promotions.

For example, we’ve started sharing “Sites of Note” where we curate a post or two from a site we admire and then feature them in our weekly newsletter.  We promote it to our lists and on social media and the Sites of Note share us with their audiences too.  We get fresh content and new connections.  Our Sites of Note gets exposure and the followers of both sites get to learn about new people, places and things. Win/Win/Win.

Karin Magar, an Independent Presenter from Younique Products says:

In relation to direct sales, I would say that Facebook is playing a huge role in getting more exposure for my business.  I am utilizing Facebook’s “group” settings to create online virtual parties for my direct sales business.  By having a Facebook friend as a hostess for the virtual party, they can invite their “friends” to the party, which creates a much broader reach for new customers in my target market.  I do have to post frequently to keep the party going.  But, posting on Facebook has never been more fun!

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

My business is brand new and really just opened its virtual doors on January 1st. So far the thing that has brought the most exposure to PLR One Stop is forum posting. And that’s not so much having my web address in my signature; it was more the announcement about what I’m doing and what I’m about.

Second place would be Facebook ads, however, this month I have two interviews scheduled and I think that will be the biggest draw yet. Next on my list is guest blogging but since I’m also holding down a demanding full time job, having the time to get everything done is hard. So I’m just doing the most I can with the time I have.

Joyce Reid from Gift Retailers Connection says:

I operate several businesses so answers would be different for each one.  For my ecommerce gift site, I only use organic SEO and a niche specific directory that sends people looking for gifts to local businesses.  It’s old enough and ranked well enough that that approach is effective.  But for my site for gift and gift basket business owners, I rely more on email.  I send out a once-a-month newsletter as well as weekly updates to remind people to visit the free forum.  The forum itself was established to promote the digital magazine, which is available, only by a paid subscription.

Samantha Angel from Advancing Steps says: 

The thing that works best for me is building relationships with other people in home based businesses. Over the course of building these relationships I have been provided with a lot of word of mouth referrals, which to me is the highest compliment. [Read more...]

5 Ways Calendars Can Help Market Your Business

When we think Calendars, we often think our personal calendars, using it to manage our promotional calendar or share with our virtual assistants or project partners. But it doesn’t always have to be that ‘dry’. Many marketers online use PDF’s, videos and audios to get their message out, hope they turn viral which eventually brings traffic back to their web sites and their name in front of others. This method works and works well. Guess what? Content can be in other formats too like calendars.Calendar

Here are a few example ideas I came up with that you can use a shared Google Calendar to help promote your web site or business.

  • If you are a speaker, publish a speaking schedule. You are probably already doing that through Google Calendar already. Maybe you are publishing the calendar to your website. If you are, people can also subscribe to the calendar via Google Calendars or iCal. Promote and publish those links too.
  • Is your site or blog all about soccer? Create a calendar around the different soccer matches either around the world or the locality that your readers are most interested in. Let them know how they can subscribe to that calendar.
  • Maybe your visitors are mostly business people or marketers. How about creating a calendar that shows when quarterly taxes are due, a reminder when to start their holiday marketing planning and when to start promoting? Enter the dates and weeks of holidays and observances they can use for promotions.
  • Similarly, if your visitors are moms, how about a calendar with suggestions of places to visit, things to do, seasonal reminders or shopping and menu plans.
  • If you are a coach. Create a calendar around a program let’s say, a 60 day organizing program that users can subscribe to and they be reminded or things they need to do each day or each week to help them move along.

Use your imagination. Think of the calendar as a free reminder tool for your visitors. Remember that you can enter a link in Google Calendar entries. This can encourage subscribed users to click through to visit your site, an offer or simply lead people to read old but timely posts.

Don’t think it would work? This is the third year I am creating a calendar for bloggers of the many blogging opportunities throughout the year. It is very popular and I get people asking when it will be updated each year. Great tool to keep you in front of your audience at all times through the year as well. You can get a PDF copy of this calendar as an example for your own project. This year, I will be creating both PDF and a online ‘live’ version using Google Calendar.

Image courtesy of yalcin Eren

Lynette enjoys discovering new ways to use technology or new technologies to use in a business and in turn help her clients apply them. You can find also Lynette at her blog, Twitter and Facebook

Maybe Free Is Not The Problem But The Delivery

When Kelly posted about “How much free stuff can we take” recently, I knew it would draw a lot of discussion. I find myself nodding my head in approval to many points brought up. But on the other hand – I tend to see it a shade differently.

FreeMaybe many of us are tired of free PDF’s that are just gathering cyberdust on our hard drives not because the information isn’t good, not because it is free but because it’s no longer as ‘sexy’ anymore. Maybe we have all ‘grown up’ in the manner we consume and share information online. I’m not saying that PDF’s aren’t good or effective and that we must rush to multi-media delivery. Not at all. What I am saying is, maybe the days of black and white text only PDF’s is going if not already gone. That we need to work harder to present our information with professional design and layouts whether they are in written format or multimedia.

I’m not sure. But I know this.

One of the biggest reasons I love my work is because I see lots of potential in utilizing technology for marketing purposes. It is true that everyone of us reading and contributing to this blog already are doing so to a certain extent. After all, for most of us, our business wouldn’t exist without technology – the Internet. But what I’m talking about is leveraging technology beyond the obvious.

It is my believe, that if you can deliver your freebie in the form of a tool – yes, I am talking about software, games, quizzes, plugins, themes, even Stock photo that people can actually use, interact and experience, free is still very much welcomed and works very, very well.

Image by Jeffrey Collingwood

Making Local Search Work Harder For Your Small Business

outofthecrowd

Most Sparkplugging readers are…well, small.  Call it consultant, micro-business, or whatever you like.  Freelancers are small businesses that can benefit from a very small amount of business.  Today I’d like to show you how to snag some highly targeted web traffic that will get you some great business – and it’s something you should be able to accomplish by yourself within a few hours.

My last post was on getting yourself added to the Google Local Business Directory.  Today I want to focus on how to expand that local presence.

What you’ll need:

  • A website.
  • Access to your website’s code, or at least the back end visual editor.  If you don’t make any changes to your website, you’ll need the person who makes those changes.
  • Internet Access

Most freelancers work in competitive niches like writing, real estate, or consulting of some sort.  For this example I want to use the real estate industry to show how you can find buyers. [Read more...]

How to Show Up in the Google Local Business Directory

Someone once said, “all search is local.”  In most cases, whenever someone goes online to look for something, they are looking for a local service or product from a company that they (hopefully)  recognize.  To that end, Google has created the Local Business Directory.  You’ve probably seen in action.  Do a search for a service and add a geotag – the name of a city or a zip code – and you’ll see a little map show up with some listings next to it.

google-map-serp

Google has recently made some changes to the interface of their local business directory that will allow you to take full advantage of local search.  Let’s take a look at how you can make it work for you. [Read more...]

Blog Traffic: 11 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic And Develop A Growing Readership

alice-sebaThis is a guest blog post by Alice Seba, the Internet Marketing Sweetie.

We work writing great content for our blogs and to be honest, it can suck if we don’t get the traffic we deserve (or that we need to earn a decent income!). It feels like a vicious cycle…you can’t get the traffic without doing the work, but it’s tough to justify all the work if you aren’t getting decent traffic. Here are 11 ways you can increase blog traffic and break that cycle.

1. Be Extraordinary

This tip is numero uno for good reason. If you do this, much of the rest will fall into place. Being unique will increase blog traffic long term even if you do little else.

Be extraordinary by:

  • Teaching – Teach your readers what they need to know. Convey the information in a way your audience likes.
  • Entertain – Inject a bit of humor (if you’re funny – if you’re not, skip it) and don’t be afraid to let a bit of your personality show in your writing. Get the reader’s attention by being genuine.
  • Connect with Your Readers - Understand and speak to their problems, concerns and even their dreams and goals.
  • Be a Little Controversial – Share your opinion…not everyone has to agree with you, and some people may be loyal readers even if they disagree. Noone wants to read a blog that’s always middle of the road on everything.

While the “if you build it, they will come” attitude is not totally realistic, there is some truth to it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive in your efforts to increase blog traffic. [Read more...]

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