How do you do a digital audit of your website and social media? Part 1: Website

When you sit down to do a digital audit, it’s helpful to have your marketing communications goals and objectives in hand so you can see if your digital properties are laddering up in some ways to your farm or business’ overall goals.

To me, your website is always your digital home on the web (don’t trust social networks like Facebook or Twitter to keep your “home” intact – glitches can completely remove your presence) and is probably the best place to drive your target audience if you want them to take a specific action – in other words, your CALL TO ACTION.  What’s your CALL TO ACTION?

Call To Action

Call To Action on Truth or Dairy’s blog is sign up for email

While a digital audit can help you see what is going on with your digital properties, you need to make sure that your CALL TO ACTION is easy to see and act upon for your target audience.

You need to be clear on your CALL TO ACTION on all your digital properties. This is done visually as you look at your properties whether it be a website, blog, facebook page, or youtube channel.

The web is very fluid and you need to be ready to change what you have.

Always be thinking of building with the future in mind – what is hot right now with Google is Social, Local and Mobile (SO-LO-MO).

In the future according to the experts, instead of the battle over what’s in your hand and in front of your face (computer vs. mobile phone vs. tablet), it will be your voice and what’s in your vision (think Google Glass and screens that respond to voice and motion).

But what you need to worry about now is your digital footprint (digital footprint is the results people get when they search for your farm/business/name in Google or on the social networks)  and how your digital properties are performing.

Let’s start the digital audit:

First, you need to pull together a list of all your digital properties.

Do all the ones you know and then make sure you do a search through Google with your keywords and names to make sure nothing else pops up. You might find things you didn’t know about or that someone else might have created for your farm or business. And it’s always good to have searches running on your farm or business with talkwalker.com alerts (free service).

Once you have that in place, we’ll begin was analyzing your websites and blogs.

Google Analytics

google-analytics-image

You should have some sort of analytics on your websites. I recommend google analytics. If you are using Urchin, you need to switch over. Your web person should know how to put google analytics on your website or you can do it if you can access to the code – depending on the blog system they should have a plug-in for this.

I have three training classes (posts) on Google Analytics:

How Should You Set Up Your Google Analytics Dashboard for Your Farm or Business

How Do You Set Up A Goal in Google Analytics

How to Read Google Analytics

I’m not going to go into the details here but you should have a sense of your traffic, time on site and bounce rates.

The overview can help you here but be aware it’s really not the whole story. What you are looking for here right now is trends.

Are people using our CALL TO ACTION?
Are we going up or down in visits?
How about time on site?
Where are people leaving the website?

Google Webmaster Tools

webmaster-tools-search-queries

You need to have your web person set you up with Google Webmaster Tools – this will help show you things like Search Queries (Google Analytics won’t show this anymore if people are logged into Google when looking at your website), Crawl Errors, how many inbound links to your website and how to optimized your website.

The information you really need here is do I have any errors, what are my search queries keywords and how many inbound links do I have?

webmaster-tools-inbound-links

Also, who is linking to me?

You should benchmark this number and then try and grow it in the future. The more inbound links you have the better you are – but just stay away from black hat link building techniques (don’t buy them and don’t submit to useless directories).

It will also show you where you are ranking on Google search engine research pages for keywords – it other words, how are you showing up?

Xenu

xenu-screenshot

Xenu’s Link Sleuth checks Web sites for broken links.

Link verification is done on “normal” links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time.

Probably one of the best tools out there for link checking and it’s free!

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

I use Open Site Explorer to help benchmark the performance of the website.

Copy the metrics on domain authority, page authority, linking root domains, etc…

Much like Google Webmaster tools this will help with showcasing who is linking to you but it will give more information on the sites that are linking to you.

The stronger those sites are, the more power they transfer to your website.

MajesticSEO

majesticseo

MajesticSEO will give you a lot of great information as well much like Opensiteexplorer but you’ll have to login.

Marketing Grader

hubspot-marketing-grader

This is Hubspot’s free marketing grading system and it will give you insights into how the website is performing (0-100 is the grading scale).

The information they provide is pretty self-explanatory.

While they provide some nice insights, be aware they are trying to sell you a product and will probably reach out to you when you use the tool. I do think that Hubspot is awesome but I don’t know how much help they would be for you right now.

SEO Audits are great things

Here’s a great article on how to do this yourself from Philip Petrescu, CEO and Co-Founder of Caphyon, How To Perform a Complete SEO Audit for your website.

This is a very thorough article and I love all the insights and how to fix ideas he has. Definitely worth checking out.

Speed of your Website

google-site-speed

The speed of your website is very important to users and Google. The search engine could downgrade your website if it is not running at a fast enough pace or if a script is slowing it down.

Use the Google Developer Speed tool to benchmark your website. It will also give you a Performance Grade, Load Time and Page Size.

Mobile Friendly

hubspot-mobile-device

Google is not happy with multiple website for mobile and would rather you just have one to meet the needs of mobile users. That’s why going responsive in a redesign is a great idea.

But you need to see how users are seeing your website on their mobile phone so I suggest using Hubspot’s Mobile Device Lab so you can see how your website will render on different devices.  Not everything is represented here.

If it’s hard to navigate, it could cause people to leave the website without doing anything (bounce) and hurt your rankings.

There are probably a bunch of things I’ve missed in the audit (you know like checking different browsers, etc…) so feel free to hit me up with this information.  I’ll add it in if it’s valuable.

Next post will chat about digital audits on your social media presence.

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How should you set up your Google Analytics dashboard for your farm website or blog?

final-google-custom-dashboard

How do you get a snapshot Google dashboard?

I’ve been following Christopher S. Penn for years and am a big advocate for listening to his weekly podcast with John Wall called Marketing Over Coffee.

I learned how to set up a custom dashboard in Google from Chris so some of this custom dashboard set-up comes from him, a few others and my own added info. So props to Christopher for showing me how to do this so I can show you how to set up your dairy website/blog analytics?

Before you set up your Google Analytics dashboard, you really need to determine the goals of your website. If you need help with setting up Goals and Conversions, then check out my post on Setting Goals.

If you’ve never set up analytics on your website/blog, you’ll need to do that first. You can learn how to do that from Google with their setting up Google Analytics on your website post.

To build a custom dashboard, it’s fairly easily. But why would you want to, you know, since Google already provides large tabs with the analytics on them. Mainly because you probably don’t have a lot of time to be digging through all those analytics. Your own dashboard will help you get right to the meat of your needs.

1. Log in to Google Analytics

It’s as simple as going to Google.com/analytics

2. Select the profile

You might not have to select a profile if you only have one website. If you are already on the Audience Overview, just skip to Step 3.

3. Select New Dashboard

This will be on the top left navigation. You can create up to 20 custom dashboards.

audience-overview

Look at the top left navigation for Dashboard

4. Select Blank Canvas

You’ll be able to create and move all the widgets you create so the dashboard will look exactly as you want it to look.

blank-canvas

5. Select Add a Widget

Once you click, add a widget you’ll get a pop-up on the page that will help you define each and every widget you want to create.

First you’ll need to fill out the Widget’s name.

The second thing you’ll need to select is what type of widget reporting this will be. Do you want:

Metrics – just a simple figure or calculation.
Timeline – a visual timeline with metrics.
Geomap – a visual map color coded for the metrics.
Table – several metrics tied together in a table format.
Pie – a visual pie chart of the metrics.
Bar – a bar chart of the metrics.

If you select Standard, these metrics will be tied to the time slot you select on the top right.

If you select Real-Time, these metrics will be tied to only real time data and will constantly be changing depending on the real time traffic to the website.

Once you select the visual, the “show the following metric:” will change depending on the visual.

You can also use “Filter this data” to show/don’t show different dimensions with different expressions like “containing”, “exactly matching”, “ends with”, etc…

The last option, “Link to Report or URL” gives you the possibility to link directly to a standard Google Analytics report or a URL within the widget.

Then you would click “Save”.

Here are the following widgets I would set up for dairy industry or farming website. These will make it easier on you to see at a snapshot what is going on.

6. Real Time Active Visitors – how many people are on the website right now.

active-visitors

Name the widget “Active Visitors”
Select Real-time 2.1 Counter
Select Following Metric: Active Visitors
No dimension
No filter this data
No link
Click “Save”

active-visitors-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

7. Unique Visitors – how many unique people have been on the site in the timeframe at the top right

unique-visitors

Name the widget “Unique Visitors”
Select Standard 2.1 Metric
Select “Unique Visitors”
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

google-dashboard-1

The above image is what the widget should look like. As you probably noticed, this widget is then on top of the first widget you created. You can drag this widget down under the other widget by simply grabbing the top bar of the widget.

8. Unique Visitors by Source – where are my unique visitors coming from (direct, search engines, websites, etc…)

pie-unique-visitors-by-source

Name the widget “Unique Visitors by Source”
Select Standard “Pie”
Select “Unique Visitors”
Select “Source”
Show up to 5 slices
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

pie-unique-visitors-by-source-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

9. Unique Visitors by Content Page and Contact Us (Goal 1 Conversion Rates) – this will tie how many of your unique visitors visited a certain page and then also converted one of your goals

table-pages-unique-visitors-by-goal-1

Name the widget “Unique Visitors and Content Pages by Contact Us” if that is your goal.
Select Standard “Table”
Select “Page”
Select “Unique Visitors”
Select “Contact Us (Goal 1 Conversion Rate)” if this is your goal
10 rows is fine
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

table-pages-unique-visitors-by-goal-1-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

10. Unique Visitors and Average Time on Page per Keyword – this will show you how many unique visitors used what keyword to get to your website and how long they stayed on the page.

unique-visitors-avg-time-keyword-table

What does “not set” mean? Well, it’s kinda confusing but Google tries to clear it up with their explanation. To me, it’s tough to tell but basically Google is missing the dimensions it needs to determine the keyword.

What does “not provided” mean? This means that the user was logged into Google and was securing using search so the keywords are not passed along to Google Analytics. This is for privacy but you can “unlock” these keywords through these steps by KISSmetrics.

Name the widget “Unique Visitors and Avg. Time on Page per Keyword” if that is your goal.
Select Standard “Table”
Select “Keyword”
Select “Unique Visitors”
Select “Avg. Time on Page”
10 rows is fine
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

unique-visitors-avg-time-keyword-table-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

11. Contact Us (Goal 1 Conversion Rate) – this will show you how many times your goal converted.

conversion-goal-1

Name the widget “Contact Us (Goal 1 Conversion Rate)” if that is your goal.
Select Standard “2.1 Metric”
Select “Contact Us (Goal 1 Conversion Rate)”
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

conversion-goal-1-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

12. 3 min or more (Goal 2 Conversion Rate) – this will show you how many times a unique visitor stayed on the site for 3 minutes or more.

conversion-goal-2

Name the widget “3 min or more (Goal 2 Conversion Rate) ” if that is your goal.
Select Standard “2.1 Metric”
Select “3 min or more (Goal 2 Conversion Rate) ”
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

conversion-goal-2-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

13. Unique Visitors and Goal Completions – this will show in timeline form the number of unique visitors and how many times there was a goal completion.

timeline-unique-visitors-goal-completions

Name the widget ” Unique Visitors and Goal Completions”.
Select Standard “Timeline”
Select “Unique Visitors and Goal Completions”
Select “Unique Visitors”
Select “Goal Completions”
No filter
No link
Click “Save”

timeline-unique-visitors-goal-completions-complete

The above image is what the widget should look like.

There you go – eight different graphs to quickly view how your website is doing on your own personal dashboard.

final-google-custom-dashboard

How do you get a snapshot Google dashboard?

And of course, if these don’t meet your needs you can add many more widgets customized to your specifications.

In a future post, I’ll go over the main sections of Google Analytics that are important to dive into as well like Content – All Pages and Landing Pages.

And I’ll also look into custom reports – there are many good ones out there that other people have created – and how to add them as well.

If you have any questions, or want to add your own, just let me know by leaving comments below or contact me via your favorite social net.  All my connections are on the right.

How do you set up a goal in Google Analytics?

So what’s the best way to set up and use Google Analytics to get more out of your website? Answer one important question and you can be well on your way to understanding more about how your website is working for you and how to adjust it for the future.

Why does your website exist?

If you say, “because people need to find us on the web.” Well, they can do that if you use Facebook, or Twitter or Linkedin.

No, I think your website was meant for more. I consider a website my home base on the web or my “death star.” I have full control (and it is always under construction) and no social network founder can change how it functions for me for the betterment of users.

If I have full control, then I should be able to put up a “Call To Action” on the website, and be able to measure if it is being successful for me. Whether the call to action is getting their email or selling a product.

Now that I know what my goal of the website is – getting their email or getting them to buy my product – then I can set up a goal inside of Google Analytics to be able to track the success of my goal.

How do you set up a goal in Google Analytics?

google-analytics-select-website

First, go into GA and select your website.

First make sure you have added Google Analytics to your website.  If you have, then it will appear in the list here when you log in.  If you haven’t added Google Analytics to your website, here’s a post on how to add GA to your website.

Select your website and then select the button at the top called Admin.

google-analytics-select-goals

Select Admin at the top right – then you should see Goals on the bottom right hand list.

Then on the bottom right hand list (there should be three columns), you will see “Goals”.  Click on this.

google-analytics-create-goal

Click on “Create A Goal”.

Once you are on the Goals page, you can create up to 4 goal sets with up to 5 goals per set for a total of 20. – You can’t delete a goal so don’t just create them willie-nillie.  You can adjust goals as well.

You’ll want a mix of both your macro goals (large goals – capture email, buy stuff) and micro goals (smaller calls to action – watch a video, download an info graphic, share on social media).

You can set up for a destination – specific web page.
You can set up for duration – a time on site.
You can set up for pages/screens per visit.
You can set up for a specific event to happen – watch a video or download an ebook or share on social media.

google-analytics-goal-detail

This is a destination goal – I want to track after people sign up for email.

Once you have some goals set up – if you can put a money value to these goals all the better but that takes knowing what an email is worth acquiring – then you can actually start measuring how your website is performing.  We’ll go over the Google Analytics dashboard and which reports are worth watching and making adjustments for in upcoming posts.

Do you have any favorite goals for your website?

Should you treat your content different for web and print?


Content is King image by Atwoodz

YES and NO!

First, let’s handle the “no” portion of the answer.

Should you treat your content different for web and print? NO.

The content for any communications piece should be treated as the most important first step. Let me give you an example.

Our print team (who is incredibly talented and awesomely inexpensive) rarely gets a project where the content hasn’t been flushed out a bit. People normally have the copy prepared in a rough draft for the poster, brochure, flyer or even an annual report. If not, they know they need to have the content before the design can begin because the design of the document really depends on the content. Right, that’s pretty straight forward.

But this seems to get forgotten on the web side. A lot of people will come in wanting a website but have absolutely no content prepared. They just know they need a website. Or they will have a couple of different copy pieces ready but the majority of the website isn’t ready – isn’t even close. In fact, they may have a site map all prepared. Like they know we need an “About” page, a “Program” page, a “Courses” page, a “Contact Us” page but don’t know what is really going to go on those pages. I don’t understand this. The web design shouldn’t move forward without the content just like the print side. But many times, the web team (who are also amazing talented and inexpensive) will build a site and a sub page that the client can fill in after the site is in production.

But then what happens? The content doesn’t fit the way it should. Or maybe they wrote everything in Word and stylized it there and now it can’t work that way on their website and they have to come back to the web team to get a special template for displaying the content. Frustrating themselves and web team because if the content had been done and viewed ahead of time, it could have been planned for and designed before being put on the page.

Should you treat content different for web and print? YES!

Do you read the same way as you do with a brochure as you do on a desktop screen? Nope. Do you read a poster the same way as you do on a mobile screen? Nope. What about hyperlinks, bold, H2, navigation, endless distractions from other open screens like Facebook, Twitter, email, etc…

Web writing is very different than print writing. You have to take into account the interactivity of web, our mindset when we are viewing communication on the web vs. print, how the search engines read vs. how a person reads because if you aren’t keeping the search engines in mind no one is going to find your content anyway (that’s search engine optimization or SEO).

What I’m saying can be summed up pretty easy – CONTENT is EVERYTHING. And it needs to be thought through first before building anything whether it be print or web.

BTW, we can help you do this.  If you don’t know our experienced Content guy (and copywriting genius) Mike Roe, you should. Sit down and chat with him. You’ll learn a ton in just a few minutes.

Don’t take your content for granted. It is the foundation of everything you communicate.  And if you hadn’t read Bill Gates essay on Content on the Internet, you should. It seems as if he wasn’t far off on how things have worked out for the internet.

What do you think?

Internet Marketing 101: How do I set up Google Analytics?

While I’m waiting for the answers from my friend, I hooked up Google Analytics to their site.

Setting up Google Analytics

1. You have to have a gmail account.  BTW, I love gmail.  I switch off Microsoft Outlook in Jan and I won’t be going back.  It’s like when I switched from skiing to snowboard.  With the flexibility and ease of Gmail, there’s just no going back.  And you should also have a Google profile.  They are easy to set up and you can link to your websites and other profiles on the web.  Check out mine at Don Schindler Google Profile.

I would also recommend that you set up a gmail for your business.  I use this gmail account for lots of different pieces like Adwords, Adsense, Analytics, Checkout, etc…because then you don’t have to worry about mixing personal and business accounts.

2. Go to Google Analytics.

Go to Google Analytics

Go to Google Analytics

3. Do the whole “Sign Up now” thing.

Google Analytics Sign Up Page

Google Analytics Sign Up Page

4. Then put in your root website like http://www.yoursite.com/ and your time zone.

Put in the URL of your website

Put in the URL of your website

5. Fill out your personal info and select your country.

Put in your Personal Info

Put in your Personal Info

6. Agree to their Terms of Service.

7. Then fill out the rest and Google will give you a code.  It will look something like this.

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.&#8221; : “http://www.&#8221;);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
</script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-7611885-1”);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}</script>

Google will give you the code.

Google will give you the code.

8. Then you take this code and put it on every page of your site.  This can be done through a footer file or part of your template (as long as it is not inside a frame).  Or you will have to put it in manually on every page.

9. Once you’ve put the code in and uploaded the file or all the changed pages onto the site, then click “Continue”

10. Status should change if you’ve set up the code properly.  This one doesn’t because I don’t own http://www.yoursite.com.  If yours doesn’t change, then click Edit and then click Check Status on the top right of the page.  This will allow you to ping Google and check the status of the page.

Google Analytics Report Page

Google Analytics Report Page

If you still have problems here, go out to your website and click on “View” in your browser, then select Page Source.  Do a search for “google-analytics”.  If it doesn’t show up, then you don’t have Analytics on the page and you need to check your code.

That’s basically it.  Once it says, your status is OK then you should start seeing visitors.  Here’s a look at the dashboard of my friend’s site.

Google Analytics Dashboard Top

Google Analytics Dashboard Top

Next time, we’ll discuss how to read Google Analytics next time.

Cool Election Map and my Black Friday

Found this through my Twitter friends.  Check it out.  http://maps.google.com/help/maps/elections/#2008_election

As for my Black Friday post.  It rocked the house like I thought it would.

Focusing on what Google and the blogosphere is talking about and writing about that will increase your visitors.  The Black Friday post more than doubled my average daily visits.

Top Ten Websites for Black Friday Discounts – How Do Hot Trends Work For You?

So here are the top ten sites to get the Black Friday Deals – I didn’t steal this from anyone.  Just did a little research and this is what I came up with.

TheBlackFriday.com
BFads.net
iBlackFriday.com
BlackFriday.net
BlackFriday.info
www.dealtaker.com/blackfriday
daddyodeals.com
blackfriday.gottadeal.com/
blackfriday.dealspl.us/
www.blackfday.com/

Creative Commons by Olaf

Creative Commons by Olaf

This is more of an article about the speed of Trend Marketing and the your company’s communications.

I love Black Friday; even though, I don’t shop it.  I probably should but I just don’t get into shopping like that.  But you’ve got to love the deals.  I was in retail marketing for a few years as a marketing manager and coming up with the insane deals for Black Friday was always a good day.  Even when the rest of them weren’t so great.

But here’s what I wanted to do with the Black Friday that I love so much.  I wanted to see if I could grab some of the limelight that Black Friday is getting right now.  You see, Black Friday, is now raising at very fast rate on Google Trends – Oct 27th.

People are searching it.  People are starting to look for the deals.  People want to know where they will be camping next month in search for the bestest, cheapest gift ever.

So as Black Friday rises so does it’s importance on social networking sites.  Technorati, Digg, etc…  News outlets have articles out there.  Soon it will be all over the place.

Now if my hunches are correct, I’m going to drive good traffic with my title.  Now these won’t be my customers but you never know who may click over and read this article.

And to me, this isn’t black hat SEO, this is smart SEO and linking strategy.  All I’m doing is talking about a hot trend and how it relates to my work.

Think about this.  TV commercials spam me (not anymore since I finally got a DVR – how did I live without that before I’ll never know) in the middle of my favorite shows and nobody calls the better business bureau.  Though with the way some commercials are using shock techniques, somebody should.

This is how marketing on the internet should be.  Companies should be participating in the conversation, whatever the conversation is – not just what you think it should be.

What’s hot within your industry?  Do you have a take on it? What if you did, where would you put it?

I’ll bet in the past you put your take in a hard copy newsletter and sent it out to the people who unfortunately signed up for it.  Do you think they read it?  Can they comment back to you on it?

Come on, it’s 2008.  With the net, you can know what is hot in your industry or the world in general.  You can put your take out immediately.  People can respond to it.  Amazing.

Let’s see what happens to this article.  Maybe it will go through the roof – maybe it will die but it only cost me a half an hour to write.  How much time did you spend on your company’s newsletter?

If you would like some help to figure out social media marketing, trend marketing, SEO, SEM, and all that good digital stuff, we could help you.  Here at MediaSauce, we live and breathe it.