Tag Archive | "Useful"

Get a More Useful Perspective on Your Business and Content Goals

Sometimes in business, it’s a good idea to slow down and reflect on your real goals. Are you getting what…

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Why Stress Might Be More Useful than You Think: December’s Selection for the Copyblogger Book Club

It’s book club time again! Over in Copyblogger’s Killers and Poets Facebook Group, we like to get together and discuss…

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When Bounce Rate, Browse Rate (PPV), and Time-on-Site Are Useful Metrics… and When They Aren’t – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

When is it right to use metrics like bounce rate, pages per visit, and time on site? When are you better off ignoring them? There are endless opinions on whether these kinds of metrics are valuable or not, and as you might suspect, the answer is found in the shades of grey. Learn what Rand has to say about the great metrics debate in today’s episode of Whiteboard Friday.

When bounce rate browse rate and ppc are useful metrics and when they suck

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about times at which bounce rate, browse rate, which is pages per visit, and time on site are terrible metrics and when they’re actually quite useful metrics.

This happens quite a bit. I see in the digital marketing world people talking about these metrics as though they are either dirty-scum, bottom-of-the-barrel metrics that no one should pay any attention to, or that they are these lofty, perfect metrics that are what we should be optimizing for. Neither of those is really accurate. As is often the case, the truth usually lies somewhere in between.

So, first off, some credit to Wil Reynolds, who brought this up during a discussion that I had with him at Siege Media’s offices, an interview that Ross Hudgens put together with us, and Sayf Sharif from Seer Interactive, their Director of Analytics, who left an awesome comment about this discussion on the LinkedIn post of that video. We’ll link to those in this Whiteboard Friday.

So Sayf and Wil were both basically arguing that these are kind of crap metrics. We don’t trust them. We don’t use them a lot. I think, a lot of the time, that makes sense.

Instances when these metrics aren’t useful

Here’s when these metrics, that bounce rate, pages per visit, and time on site kind of suck.

1. When they’re used instead of conversion actions to represent “success”

So they suck when you use them instead of conversion actions. So a conversion is someone took an action that I wanted on my website. They filled in a form. They purchased a product. They put in their credit card. Whatever it is, they got to a page that I wanted them to get to.

Bounce rate is basically the average percent of people who landed on a page and then left your website, not to continue on any other page on that site after visiting that page.

Pages per visit is essentially exactly what it sounds like, the average number of pages per visit for people who landed on that particular page. So people who came in through one of these pages, how many pages did they visit on my site.

Then time on site is essentially a very raw and rough metric. If I leave my computer to use the restroom or I basically switch to another tab or close my browser, it’s not necessarily the case that time on site ends right then. So this metric has a lot of imperfections. Now, averaged over time, it can still be directionally interesting.

But when you use these instead of conversion actions, which is what we all should be optimizing for ultimately, you can definitely get into some suckage with these metrics.

2. When they’re compared against non-relevant “competitors” and other sites

When you compare them against non-relevant competitors, so when you compare, for example, a product-focused, purchase-focused site against a media-focused site, you’re going to get big differences. First off, if your pages per visit look like a media site’s pages per visit and you’re product-focused, that is crazy. Either the media site is terrible or you’re doing something absolutely amazing in terms of keeping people’s attention and energy.

Time on site is a little bit misleading in this case too, because if you look at the time on site, again, of a media property or a news-focused, content-focused site versus one that’s very e-commerce focused, you’re going to get vastly different things. Amazon probably wants your time on site to be pretty small. Dell wants your time on site to be pretty small. Get through the purchase process, find the computer you want, buy it, get out of here. If you’re taking 10 minutes to do that or 20 minutes to do that instead of 5, we’ve failed. We haven’t provided a good enough experience to get you quickly through the purchase funnel. That can certainly be the case. So there can be warring priorities inside even one of these metrics.

3. When they’re not considered over time or with traffic sources factored in

Third, you get some suckage when they are not considered over time or against the traffic sources that brought them in. For example, if someone visits a web page via a Twitter link, chances are really good, really, really good, especially on mobile, that they’re going to have a high bounce rate, a low number of pages per visit, and a low time on site. That’s just how Twitter behavior is. Facebook is quite similar.

Now, if they’ve come via a Google search, an informational Google search and they’ve clicked on an organic listing, you should see just the reverse. You should see a relatively good bounce rate. You should see a relatively good pages per visit, well, a relatively higher pages per visit, a relatively higher time on site.

Instances when these metrics are useful

1. When they’re used as diagnostics for the conversion funnel

So there’s complexity inside these metrics for sure. What we should be using them for, when these metrics are truly useful is when they are used as a diagnostic. So when you look at a conversion funnel and you see, okay, our conversion funnel looks like this, people come in through the homepage or through our blog or news sections, they eventually, we hope, make it to our product page, our pricing page, and our conversion page.

We have these metrics for all of these. When we make changes to some of these, significant changes, minor changes, we don’t just look at how conversion performs. We also look at whether things like time on site shrank or whether people had fewer pages per visit or whether they had a higher bounce rate from some of these sections.

So perhaps, for example, we changed our pricing and we actually saw that people spent less time on the pricing page and had about the same number of pages per visit and about the same bounce rate from the pricing page. At the same time, we saw conversions dip a little bit.

Should we intuit that pricing negatively affected our conversion rate? Well, perhaps not. Perhaps we should look and see if there were other changes made or if our traffic sources were in there, because it looks like, given that bounce rate didn’t increase, given that pages per visit didn’t really change, given that time on site actually went down a little bit, it seems like people are making it just fine through the pricing page. They’re making it just fine from this pricing page to the conversion page, so let’s look at something else.

This is the type of diagnostics that you can do when you have metrics at these levels. If you’ve seen a dip in conversions or a rise, this is exactly the kind of dig into the data that smart, savvy digital marketers should and can be doing, and I think it’s a powerful, useful tool to be able to form hypotheses based on what happens.

So again, another example, did we change this product page? We saw pages per visit shrink and time on site shrink. Did it affect conversion rate? If it didn’t, but then we see that we’re getting fewer engaged visitors, and so now we can’t do as much retargeting and we’re losing email signups, maybe this did have a negative effect and we should go back to the other one, even if conversion rate itself didn’t seem to take a particular hit in this case.

2. When they’re compared over time to see if internal changes or external forces shifted behavior

Second useful way to apply these metrics is compared over time to see if your internal changes or some external forces shifted behavior. For example, we can look at the engagement rate on the blog. The blog is tough to generate as a conversion event. We could maybe look at subscriptions, but in general, pages per visit is a nice one for the blog. It tells us whether people make it past the page they landed on and into deeper sections, stick around our site, check out what we do.

So if we see that it had a dramatic fall down here in April and that was when we installed a new author and now they’re sort of recovering, we can say, “Oh, yeah, you know what? That takes a little while for a new blog author to kind of come up to speed. We’re going to give them time,” or, “Hey, we should interject here. We need to jump in and try and fix whatever is going on.”

3. When they’re benchmarked versus relevant industry competitors

Third and final useful case is when you benchmark versus truly relevant industry competitors. So if you have a direct competitor, very similar focus to you, product-focused in this case with a homepage and then some content sections and then a very focused product checkout, you could look at you versus them and their homepage and your homepage.

If you could get the data from a source like SimilarWeb or Jumpshot, if there’s enough clickstream level data, or some savvy industry surveys that collect this information, and you see that you’re significantly higher, you might then take a look at what are they doing that we’re not doing. Maybe we should use them when we do our user research and say, “Hey, what’s compelling to you about this that maybe is missing here?”

Otherwise, a lot of the time people will take direct competitors and say, “Hey, let’s look at what our competition is doing and we’ll consider that best practice.” But if you haven’t looked at how they’re performing, how people are getting through, whether they’re engaging, whether they’re spending time on that site, whether they’re making it through their different pages, you don’t know if they actually are best practices or whether you’re about to follow a laggard’s example and potentially hurt yourself.

So definitely a complex topic, definitely many, many different things that go into the uses of these metrics, and there are some bad and good ways to use them. I agree with Sayf and with Wil, but I think there are also some great ways to apply them. I would love to hear from you if you’ve got examples of those down in the comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.

Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.

On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)

And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.

On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful suggestions.

On Copyblogger FM, I talked about some “mindset hacks” that really will help you Do All the Things … and the popular self-help advice that could do your success more harm than good. On Unemployable, Brian and Robert shared their thoughts about building that wonderful thing: recurring revenue. And on The Showrunner, Jerod chatted with David Bain about transitioning from podcasting to hosting live digital events.

That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and have a lovely weekend!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


the best content doesn’t win. the best promoted content winsHow to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

by Andy Crestodina


Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

by Stefanie Flaxman


Not all aspects of your audience are equalA Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

by Brian Clark


Content Excellence Challenge: April Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The April Prompts

by Sonia Simone


How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online AudienceHow to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Kelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production PodcastKelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production Podcast

by Caroline Early


5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work

by Sonia Simone


The Beauty of Recurring RevenueThe Beauty of Recurring Revenue

by Brian Clark


How Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


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Only One Week Left to Enter Copyblogger’s Essay Contest (and Compete for Insanely Useful Prizes)

Image of The Copyblogger Essay Contest Poster

You are a serious copywriter or content marketer (or both).

You must be.

Otherwise, why would you be here on the day before Thanksgiving? You surely have traveling to do or a turkey to prep.

So, given your commitment to the craft, I have no doubt that you are capable of stringing together 250 words that provide a compelling answer to the following question: “Why is it essential to be an online authority?”

The only question may be motivation. Do you really want to spend a portion of your Thanksgiving weekend writing?

Yes, you do. Since being an online authority means something to you. And motivation won’t be a problem once you see the crazy content marketing prizes that your short, sweet, and smart 250-word essay will give you a chance to win.

The prizes

As Demian explained last week when the contest launched, these are the prizes:

  • Grand prize (1): Ticket to Authority Intensive (in Denver, CO on May 7-9, 2014) and lifetime* access to Authority (approximate value $ 3,931).
  • First place prize (1): Lifetime* access to Authority (retail value $ 2,436).
  • Second place prizes (3): One-year membership to Authority (retail value $ 348).

*Lifetime access means as long as Authority exists. We have absolutely no plans to stop any time soon, given that there are over 5,000 Authority members who wouldn’t like that very much ;-)

Plus, we will publish all winning essays on Copyblogger as guest posts, and all winners will also receive a website badge designed by Copyblogger’s renowned Lead Designer Rafal Tomal.

So you receive “authority” in more ways than one.

The process

Here is the key date and time to remember: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:00 P.M. PST.

That is the deadline for submitting your essay. So if you procrastinate over Thanksgiving weekend, no worries, you’ll have a few days next week to get your submission in.

Important: there will be no exceptions, not for the deadline or for the 250-word limit.

Other important tips and stipulations to keep in mind:

  • Write with a unique style, voice, hook
  • Edit and proofread your essay before you submit
  • Make a logical argument

Also, do us a favor and take a rain check this time around if people already consider you something of a big deal in the content marketing space. Kudos on your success, but this contest is geared more toward the little guy and gal. We want to provide opportunity for the new kids on the block.

On Friday, December 13, 2013, we will announce the winners, as well as the dates that the winning posts will be published on Copyblogger.

Ready?

Here’s the easy 5-step submission process:

  1. Create or upload a document in Google Drive.
  2. Include your first and last name, email address, and a phone number on the document in the top left-hand corner (we will use this information ONLY for the purposes of this essay contest — no spam, ever).
  3. Share the document with us using the Google Drive share function to essays [at] copyblogger [dot] com.
  4. Hit done.
  5. This one is optional, but encouraged: add the “I entered Copyblogger’s Essay Contest” badge to your site. To do so, copy and paste this code into your blog post or web page:

(And if you don’t have a Google account, now is the perfect time to create one and also start using Google+ to build your online authority.)

The promotion

As mentioned, rock stars are not allowed to participate in this contest … but that doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself as an emerging rock star to your audience.

Let your audience and social media contacts know about your participation in Copyblogger’s first-ever essay contest, all while encouraging them to take part as well. You would appreciate such a heads up. So will your audience.

And, thanks to Rafal, we’ve made it easy and stylish to do so:

Simply copy and paste this code to embed the poster below on your site. Or link directly to the poster here.

That’s it.

Demian and I look forward to your submissions, and we wish you a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend of food, friends, and family.

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the Director of Content for Copyblogger Media and a founding member of the Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting team. Get more from Jerod on Twitter and .

The post Only One Week Left to Enter Copyblogger’s Essay Contest (and Compete for Insanely Useful Prizes) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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How an Independent Video Production House Makes Seven Figures with the Help of Two Insanely Useful Blog Posts

Content Marketing Case Studies | copyblogger.com

Simplifilm has one clear vision — they help businesses and individuals create professional videos when they need book trailers and application demos.

They’re great at what they do. They’re so good, in fact, that many of their clients report an instant uptick in trial sign-ups and sales when the Simplifilm videos are implemented on their sites.

In an online world full of bad videos (including a host of problems with fuzzy screenshots, poorly thought-out scripts, and bad voiceovers) Simplifilm is a welcome change. The company is also benefiting from content marketing in some very interesting (and unique) ways.

We talked to Simplifilm’s co-founder, Chris Johnson, to discover the secret of their success. Read on to find out how they do it.

What’s your business name, and what do you do?

We are Simplifilm, and currently we do book trailers and app demos.

Who are your blog readers and how do you serve them? Was there a pressing problem you were trying to solve with your blog?

On our blog, we write content and we talk about our process, but the blog is really created to explain things to our customers. It’s more credible to overcome resistance when we have already written a blog post on the subject, and made recommendations on that post.

We have strong, well-optimized posts on scriptwriting and picking a voiceover artist for your project, and they both bring in leads. It helps us establish credibility with people when we can reference our own content.

What kinds of content are most important to your business? Blog? Email list? Podcast?

For inbound — our blog does what it should. It brings in leads. The video work we do is considered exceptional, and we’ve gotten to work with Seth Godin, Brad Feld, Robert Greene, and some Fortune 500 companies.

We have a list that is neglected (see also: regrets).

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started with content marketing?

I sort of write for an audience of one, and I love Yesware for split testing email. I also use Clicky for tracking people, and we use Gravity Forms.

How do you use social networking in your business?

Social networking is a listening tool for us. Anyone can do well with it, but you have to think it through. Most people say “Look how shiny I am — look at ME,” but that’s trying to do the charisma-driven thing. I’m not Oprah. So I listen to people.

On Twitter, I’ll look for people who are having problems with software or conversions, and I look at the conversation. If they have an obvious need for us, I’ll contact them and the call will be warmly received.

Now, notice this: I say obvious need because you don’t want to condescend to people and lecture and do those stupid sales calls where the salesperson calls and says “I couldn’t find you in Google — do you know you’re missing out on this business?” You want to ping people at the right time, where the easiest path is you. Timing is everything.

What were some of the main tipping points or “a-ha!” moments (if any)? How did they come about?

The first is this: you have to be great. We’re a combination product/service business, and the service business still runs the show. That needs to be a coherent and awesome experience for customers. Doubling our units sold wasn’t the first thing we wanted to do, but we made it so every customer would be treated well, and everyone that paid us could win. Dan Kennedy says that if your business stinks, the last thing you want to do is get the word out.

The second happened when I learned that even elite people couldn’t get reliable help. We made the choice to be rock solid and reliable — to take less business, and to prioritize being reliable above fast growth. So even if there’s friction, people know they’ll get what they pay for (or more) with us, and it’ll happen on time. We’ve had one or two misses, but we’re in and reliable.

The other marketing lesson is that a service business doesn’t require a ton of traffic to win. Simplifilm gets about 6,000 visitors a month and about 10,000 video views on our main channel. That’s not much traffic, but it performs well enough to run a seven-figure business that has had eight straight quarters of double-digit growth. We get at least 25 really well qualified leads a month — so it’s all we can do to keep up with that and our referrals.

Finally — 60% of Simplifilm’s leads come from just 2 [blog] posts. This was an accident but we’re going to continue it. These posts bring in tens of thousands of dollars, and when people Google the phrases that we own, we win. Our total search traffic is fallen some, because of neglect, but these posts are more than enough to keep us busy.

What has been the most valuable thing about your content marketing experience?

You have so many different levers. We focus on the “very high quality lead,” so we don’t have to feed the never-ending content monster’s insatiable appetite. Ranking for a few things with intense purchase intent is our path.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

We haven’t wasted much money because we’ve never spent anything on PPC or advertising.

The biggest regret is ignoring our [email] list. We have a decent list of 2500 or 3500 people. We had this big campaign planned about writing scripts, but we were too busy to address it. So there are hundreds of people that signed up for something that may never exist. We’ll probably reengage everyone in the next few months, but we have to make sure what we offer is truly and profoundly valuable and makes up for the mistake we made.

What’s next for you? What are your next goals? 

We have recently mapped out a set of tools for the future. Our focus is improving the results and experience of Simplifilm customers, to develop a true VIP/concierge for everyone, and to insist a little harder on testing both for ourselves and for our clients.

Our product, Flowtility, has 5k users and it’s going to grow and mature. Right now, it’s a great library with a crummy user experience. Soon it’ll be a better library and a better experience. We are resisting the going into the app store because we want to control the relationship.

Video may not perform best in every context, so want to isolate as many of those variables as possible, so we can honestly serve our customers.

What advice would you give to bloggers and content creators who are trying to build an online audience?

Create something of real value. Some service that people have to have, that takes effort and is customized. Be of value in word and deed, and test your premises constantly to be sure that you are living in reality.

Work hard to figure out what need someone will have a month before they buy from you. That’s what I consider preventative care. For us, it’s stuff related to scripting and launching. People often attempt to do a video in house, but they see my partner Jason Moore’s work and it blows their mind, so they want it. It’s smart to help them get started, and to tell them what it takes, because often people will choose us.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

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How To Turn (Not Provided) Into Useful, Actionable Data

We’ve all seen it, lurking in our Analytics reports, nearly always at the top, sucking a huge chunk of data into a black hole of uncertainty and uselessness. Not provided was predicted as having a single-digit impact on sites. In my research, I’ve found it to have upwards of a 40%…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.




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7 Useful Marketing Articles for Your Weekend

The Lede | copyblogger.com

This week on The Lede

  • Seth Godin’s simple cure for writer’s block.
  • Why David Ogilvy called himself a lousy copywriter.
  • A case study in the power of the blog.
  • 10 ways to use Pinterest for your business.

If you want more links you can use than the seven we highlight here every week, follow @copyblogger on Twitter.

//

A Stalker’s Guide to Competitive Research
If you ever wanted a shot at becoming a private detective (without the hassle of becoming a private detective), this is it. Comprehensive does not begin to describe this article from Ms. Narayanasamy. In it, she lays out an amazingly simple and incredibly thorough strategy to gain a lasting competitive advantage in your industry.

//

Seth Godin’s Simple Cure for Writer’s Block
Leave it to Mr. Godin to supply a sensible solution to a wicked problem that has plagued writers since we were etching useful content on tablets. Stone tablets, I mean. Like most good advice, you’ll likely say “Of course…” when you read this. Don’t forget to act on it.

//

I am a lousy copywriter ~ David Ogilvy
There is some kind of relief in reading a line like that from a titan of your craft. This honest, engaging little 1955 letter from Mr. Ogilvy says much about practical professionalism, struggle, and getting your work done despite the forces working against you from within and without.

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How to Find the Time for Content Creation
Warning: do not dismiss this post for its deceptive simplicity. We’ve heard it one hundred times, and could stand to hear it one hundred more. This advice lies at the core of getting good content produced. And yes, that’s the content that can drive your business.

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Content Marketing is a War of Attrition
Babe Ruth said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” That, along with a plan that changed and morphed along the way, is pretty much the story of Copyblogger. It can pretty much be the story of anyone who chooses to take it up.

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The Power of a Blog
Mr. Lefsetz asks if you’re better off being written up in the major media, or on a major blog. Then he answers the question definitively. This might seem a bit like preaching to the choir, but the reminder — in this case — is a valuable one.

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10 Ways to Use Pinterest for Business
I’ve heard it said that Pinterest is for soccer moms. I also remember hearing that Facebook was just for college kids …

Did you miss anything on Copyblogger this week?

About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s copywriter and resident recluse.

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