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  • 5 Google Analytics Metrics Every Small Business Should Monitor

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016 by
    Metrics To Use in Google Analytics The Internet has made marketing easier than ever before with the abundance of tools that exist online. These online tools allow us to connect directly with potential customers without ever having to leave home. Since marketing is defined by the action of promotion and adverting, it's very important to know what's working, and what efforts are eating your time and budget. This is where data comes into play, and despite the ease in which we can share content, knowing which data metrics are important can be much more challenging. Why is this? Well, because there are virtually hundreds of ways you can examine how your content is reaching customers, but only a few measurements actually tell you what's providing returns on your investments. In this article I'm going to discuss five Google Analytics reports that every small business owner should be monitoring.

    1. The Acquisition Overview

    To find this report in the Google Analytics dashboard select Acquisition > Overview. Reviewing Acquisition Overview in Google Analytics This report will break down how many people have visited your site within a given interval, and where they came from. The most important number within this report is search traffic, with a good rating being above 50%. This is because 'search traffic' is synonymous to how many people found your website using a search engine. If your website is optimized correctly, you should be appearing within the first couple pages of Google. 75% of people using a search engine won't look beyond the first page, and so if your search traffic is under 50% it might be time to work on improving your SEO.

    2. Social Reach and Engagement

    To find this report select Acquisition → Social → Landing Pages. How To See Social Reach in Google Analytics Social media metrics, while they're straightforward to get, can be difficult to correlate between reach, engagement, and action. However, the best figures to pay attention to are which Social Networks are sending you the most visits. If you're using more than five different platforms, this report will show you which platform deserves the most attention. If Facebook is driving the most traffic, you can then head to Facebook Insights and see what type of content is producing the best returns.

    3. Total Conversions

    One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make when reviewing their reports, is strictly looking at site averages, and not setting up any goals. Without setting up goals you won't be able to see whether or not your visitors are taking actions to complete conversions, i.e. making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, or signing up for a service. Setting Google Analytics Goals To start setting up your goals:
    1. Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
    2. Click on the “Admin” button in the top right.
    3. Click on “Goals”
    Here you can create a number of customized metrics to account for specific actions that take place on your website. Common goals include: Tracking specific URL's, visit durations, sign-ups from specific URLs, and conversions from social media advertising.

    4. Bounce & Exit Rates

    You've probably heard the statistic before, but for the emphasis of this metric, as it has been shown you only have three seconds to capture a visitors attention on your website. Therefore, it's highly important to trace which pages are bringing them in, and which are causing them to 'bounce' in search of more appealing content. Bounce Rate - Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who landed on a specific page and then left without visiting any other pages on your site. Exit Rates - Exit rates will show you visitors who landed on your site elsewhere, viewed two or more pages, and then decided to leave. This is equally important as it also indicates a page where your visitors tend to lose interest.

    5. Conversion Rate By Channel

    Measuring conversion rates by specific channels will assist you in determining your ROI. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking tool that monitors specific URLs attached to Ad campaigns. For example, by running a Facebook Ad campaign targeting a product, or landing page for a service, you'll be able to analyze meaningful data on how well that campaign is performing independent of other campaigns. If you have any questions on how to set-up any of these metrics, feel free to leave it in the comments!   Screenshots provided by Jeremy Jensen 
  • 6 Ways to Deal With Negative Reviews for Your Business

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 by
    Flipping Negative Reviews of your business
    Criticism and feedback are an organic part of business growth. Dealing with negative reviews is something that every business owner will have to learn how to cope with. Things can get quite hectic when we start to take customer feedback personally, without considering the fact that perhaps the customer is just dissatisfied with their own understanding of the product, or are confusing one feature for another. We can learn to deal with negative feedback in an effective manner, and this post will discuss six simple ways to achieve a more balanced view of reviews and the way they affect our business. Many people find businesses thanks to reviews and what other people have said, it goes without saying that many people have avoided your business because of the kind of reviews you have received, but in order to battle this, we should stay on top of our support game and try to respond to each negative review in constructive and thorough manner.

    1. Where Are They Coming From?

    The most important thing in managing negative reviews is knowing where they originate from, which involves setting up things like Alerts, Social Media mentions, and using popular review services like Yelp and TripAdvisor to setup notifications as soon as reviews are being left about your business. No negative review should go unnoticed, and letting them sit for days at a time can seem even worse in front of potential new customers.

    2. Take The Chill Pill

    The initial response to a bad review can be quite emotional, and dissatisfied. It makes perfect sense, especially in the situations where you know that the customer is totally wrong and has misunderstood a part of your business. It's just how it is. Take a chill pill -- preferably a moment to yourself where you just take some deep breaths -- and think about what you are going to be writing back, and whether it is going to be helpful or spiteful, because there is nothing worse than adding more gasoline to an already existing fire.

    3. Let Customers Speak For You

    Trying to counter each point in a negative review is going to make you look incompetent, instead let your own customers speak on behalf of your business and the services you provide. The only thing you can do is point out the mistake if there is any, and offer the customer to have a better experience the next time.

    4. A Sincere Apology

    One of the best ways to deal with negative reviews without getting infuriated is by making a simple apology to the customer who feels like he had a bad experience, and offer them to come back with a promise that you will make up for whatever it was that caused them problems in the first place. Sometimes it's good to acknowledge our own mistakes and let others see that we are humble enough to let things go, even while the storm is still happening.

    5. How To Make It Better

    Don't get too carried away with writing long essays and explanation letters to your negative customer reviews, instead keep it nice, short, and sweet, and ask the customer himself what could be done to improve thing the next time around. And if necessary make a more private connection by reaching out to the dissatisfied customer personally.

    6. The Value of Reviews

    There's definitely a lot of good in negative reviews. It lets you portray yourself as a company that takes customer support seriously, and the kind of company that isn't afraid to respond to negative reviews and try to solve matters from the place they originated from. Other customers, upon seeing the kind of care you give to your existing customers (good and bad), will naturally feel attracted to your services because of your honesty. And not to mention that sometimes we can learn a lot about the way we do things, and the way things are working out for us when we start to notice reviews of similar nature; there's always room for improvement. Do you have any tips for handling negative reviews? Please share in the comments! Would love to know what you're doing.
  • 4 Free Tools For Making Amazing Infographics

    Thursday, March 17, 2016 by
    Create Infographics with these 4 tools In the last five years, infographics have become one of the most powerful marketing tools on the web. Mixing design, writing, and data analysis, infographics are a visually compelling communication medium that greatly assists your readers in understanding complex information by breaking down key points. Infographics are ideal for supplementing long-form studies, as they make the information significantly more digestible. Creating Free Infographics For many of you, infographics may look like they require a lot of work and design experience, which in the past they did. Today, however, remarkable tools exist online to walk you through the infographic process step-by-step, with no design experience required. In this post we'll be going over four free tools that can help your company start producing beautiful infographics for your marketing and presentation efforts.

    1. Canva

    Canva makes it incredibly efficient to whip out colorful designs in as little as five minutes. Their interface is built much like a website builder, in that what you see, is what you get. Each design stems from popular formats like social media photos, blog designs, presentations formats and more. Once you have the layout in place, you can sift through different 'elements' (grids, shapes, photos, charts) to add the overall infographic flare. The interface makes it easy to align different elements, while incorporating custom text and graphics. Cost: Free, available upgrade $9.95/month Using Canva To Make An Infographic

    2. Piktochart

    Piktochart is a little different in the sense that its formats focuses a lot more on business designs. With four primary starting points (Infographic (tall&skinny), Report, Poster, and presentation for slide decks), you can create your own from scratch, or start with one of their many templates. Much like Canva, once you have a template/format in place you can begin dragging different graphical elements and text to your canvas. Cost: Free, with upgrades starting at $15/month Use Piktochart to create an infographic

    3. Easel.ly

    Although Easel.ly doesn't have as many free templates as the prior two options, the ones they do provide are exceptionally well designed and incredibly easy to use. Make A Free Infographic with Easle.ly Within the dashboard you have all of your design options laid out in an intuitive interface that any beginner will be able to grasp in minutes. While there aren't as many free templates as some of the other sites I've mentioned, the ones they do give you have extraordinary design value.

    4. Venngage

    Very similar to Canva's interface, Venngage follows a three step process in which you 1. Choose a template 2. Add Charts, Visuals or Graphics 3. Customize your design with unique text and layout. Venngage for building infographics What I like most, is the diversity in particular topics and categories from which templates begin. With options like:
    • Statistical
    • Informational
    • Comparison
    • Process
    • Geographic
    • Timeline
    • Charts
    • Tutorial
    The flexible grids give you complete control over how the final layout looks, while still providing automatic alignment tools. Cost: Free, or upgrade to the premium account, which includes more templates for $15/month Infographic Source: http://www.freelancewriterdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/infographic-on-infographics-copy.jpg
  • 5 Tips For Marketing Your Business At Conferences

    Thursday, March 3, 2016 by
    How To Network At Conferences For Your Business Marketing is all about connections, and the best way to establish a business partnership with someone is to actually do it in person, and what better way to meet a lot of physical connections than by attending conferences and industry talks. It’s important to remember that spending potentially thousands of dollars on event tickets without any understanding of how to market yourself at conferences is going to be devastating towards your budget, and your experience. To help with this, here are some simple tips that will help you better market your business at conferences, and create the kind of connections that will last and bring about fruitful results.

    1. Multi-day Events

    There is a huge variety of conferences, and the ones where we are usually going to attract the most customers and attention to our business are the ones that last for several days at a time. The provides you more time to connect, share, and explore ideas with your peers. You have to be careful, however, when it comes to attending conferences at the other end of the world, only to realize that this particular conference is focusing strictly on the latest industry developments and doesn’t leave much time to network at all.

    2. Know The Audience

    It's possible to make any event a good one, for your business at least, but first we must conduct some research and look into things like who are the key players attending the conference, and what is the best way to reach out to these key players beforehand. It's nice to give others heads up about your plans, like the plan to approach them at the conference, and this usually boosts your chances of being able to share a few minutes of their time. Some conferences will happily provide you with a list of people who are planning to attend, really maximizing your chances of making new connections.

    3. What's The Catch?

    What is your ultimate plan at the conference? What are you looking to promote, and how are you going to do it? Entering a hall full of people blindly, in hopes that you will land new clients, is nothing but a one way street towards failure. Before meeting any of your potential new clients, practice your story and how you are going to hook others on the idea that your business could somehow help theirs. Don't expect anyone else to do all the talking for you, and come prepared; those who do are the ones who walk away with new clients, simple.

    4. Double Check Your Resources

    What's more embarrassing than handing out business cards to your new potential clients, only to realize that the email on the business card is printed wrong? Small things like this can completely break and devastate your conference experience, and this applies to everything: your actual product, the website you operate, your contact details. Make sure that everything is intact and in accordance with what you are currently using to manage your business operations. Create solid Press Kits, insightful and self-explanatory Feature and FAQ pages that will help others to get a good grasp of your business without having you talk about it for hours at a time.

    5. Plan In Advance

    As previously stated, reach out to the people you plan on speaking to at the conference beforehand, invite them to have a cup of coffee with you at a well-known location in the city. Start the conference journey before you actual reach it, as this will add to the excitement, and will certainly help you to get to know the other person much better, which in turn could be in big favor to you. Have you attended any conferences in the past? What are your best tips? Share them with us in the comments!
  • How To Create Local SEO Content For Your Small Business

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016 by
    Content For Local SEO If you’re a local business owner you need to create a certain kind of content that not only performs well in the search engines, but also provides value to your readers. This is a tricky art, as you need to appeal to two entirely different things at once. Owning a local business means that your pool of content topics will naturally be lower, so you’ll need to get creative. A lot of local business owners end up boring their readers with content styles that don’t provide any useful information, or leave them feeling particularly inspired. In this post we show you how you can create useful and readable local content that will also help your website rank higher.

    Who Are You Actually Writing For?

    Do you know your audience so well that you can predict their needs before they do? If you answered no, then don’t worry you’re not alone, most people don’t. If you only feel a passing familiarity with your target audience then spend some time researching your audience to truly get inside their head. When you’re creating content with a specific person in mind, you’ll naturally create content that’s more relevant and useful for the reader. This will help them build a deeper connection with your company, and they’ll be more likely to check out your services and products. One of the first places to start is by mining Facebook Audience Insights. This tool is built-in to the Facebook platform. To access the tool navigate to the Facebook Ads manager, and click on Audience Insights. Within this dashboard you can create a custom audience that will allow you to uncover how many active Facebook users match your customer profile. This will give you an idea of the overall size of your market, and will help you uncover any relevant interests, so you can better understand your customer. You can also spy on your competitors to find a good Facebook marketing strategy for your audience.

    Analyze Your Current Content

    Obviously, if you haven’t been blogging or creating any content for your site, then you won’t have any data to work from. But, if you’ve been blogging for any time at all, then keep reading, as you’ll come away with some useful insights. One of the easiest ways to analyze your content to see what’s performing best is to use a tool called Buzzsumo. The free version of this tool won’t give you a complete breakdown of every post. But, it will show you the top performing posts across your site. If any kind of post style or topic is greatly outperforming the rest of your posts, then consider creating more content in this style.

    Find Local Keywords With Decent Search Volume

    You won’t rank for the keywords you find here right away, but over time, with consistent content creation you will begin to rank. Go to the Google Keyword Planner and type in a few local keywords you think people in your market will be searching for. When looking for local keywords the search volume will be much smaller than large-scale keywords. This is fine, you’re just validating that there’s a least some relevant existing traffic in your niche. Once you have a list of keywords see if you can combine them into keyword groups that are focused around a specific sub-topic. This will help you create more in-depth content, instead of fluffy posts that do little to please your readers. Also, make sure you combine your keyword data with the section below to further enhance the quality of your posts.

    Tap Into Broad Interests, and Tailor For A Local Focus

    When creating a potential list of topics start with broad interests before you niche down to your local community. This will help to give you a larger scope of topics to work from. Keep an eye on trending topics from sites like Buzzfeed, or by monitoring Google Trends. This will help you tap into current topics that people are talking about. All you have to do is adjust the scope of the topic to your current audience and style of business. Once you’ve committed to creating a steady stream of content make sure you monitor the success of your content through a tool like Google Analytics. This will give you information about your best-performing posts to further tailor your strategy. Keep in mind that when you’re creating content not to force any keywords into your content. The best SEO content will naturally integrate certain keywords, and their insertion in the content will feel natural, as opposed to feeling forced. Over time, the strategy above will help you create reader-centric posts that will also tend to rank higher in the search engines.
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