If you want your content to be king, you have to do keyword research, otherwise, it might end up as a pauper on the Internet. Unless your content includes the right keywords, it won’t matter if you got Christianne Amanpour to write your business blog, no one will read it because the search engines won’t be able to find it. 

In this article, we’ll teach you how to do keyword research on your own without having to spend a cent. Learning how to search for keywords is worth your time because the effort will yield dividends for your SEO strategy,

What Is Keyword Research?

“Keyword research for free”

“How to do keyword research for free”

“Free keyword research delivers best results”

These are examples of keywords – search terms, words, and phrases that you might have used to find our article. 

When you type in these words on the query box and click “enter” to launch the search, the search engine’s web crawlers come out and look for content that contains these keywords. 

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing content or making it searchable on the Internet and keywords are the foundation of an SEO strategy. 

During their search, the web crawlers are evaluating content for factors such as types of keywords used, keyword density, and how they were embedded within the article. 

In under a second, the web crawlers will retrieve several web pages that summarize URLs that contain these keywords. 

Whether you’re the user or the web page writer, what you care about is the results on the first page. That’s the page that draws 88% of Internet traffic for searches on those keywords. More importantly, the top 3 URLs account for 55.2% of all clicks with the number 1 position garnering a whopping 28.5% of the traffic. 

How did these articles land on the first page? The answer is keyword research. 

To be clear, keyword research won’t be enough to land you in the top 3, more so the number 1 position on the SERP. There’s a lot more work to be done to beat the rest of the competition for the top 3 slots. 

However, to get to the first page, doing keyword research can help your content land in the top 10. 

After our roundabout explanation on how keywords work, we can define keyword research as:

The process of finding the most searched keywords that are relevant to a topic and analyzing how the data can be used to create optimized content and achieve business and marketing goals.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

As you read, keyword research is important because having the right keywords in your content will help it get found by the search engines’ web crawlers. 

For this article, the original working title was: 

“How To Do Keyword Research That Delivers Results But Won’t Cost A Cent”.

After we did the preliminary keyword research, we changed the working title to the current one:

“How To Do Free Keyword Research For SEO That Delivers Results For Your Business”.

Why? Because our keyword research yielded the following results:

  • SEO – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Free – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Business – 100k to 1M monthly searches
  • Keyword research – 1k to 10k monthly searches
  • Free keyword tool – 1k to 10k monthly searches

We set Google Keyword Planner to target the population of the United States of America. The results showed that a lot of Americans are interested in learning about SEO and are searching for content about business. Also, many look for free stuff – and why not?

Although the number of monthly searches for “keyword research” and “free keyword tool” was underwhelming, we still wanted to write this article for you – our readers. 

The low number of monthly searches tells us that Americans prefer to outsource keyword research or might feel intimidated by the thought of learning it. 

We revised the title to include the high volume keywords “SEO”, “free”, and “business” to give the low search volume keywords “keyword research” a boost. 

This way, we can get discovered for search results on “SEO for business”, “free SEO for business”, and similar variations. A person who sees “keyword research” might just think:

“Free keyword research that delivers results for my business? I’m in!”

Another thing you should know about keyword research is that it gives you a snapshot of human behavior – how Internet users think, what they’re interested in, and what their concerns are. 

One of the keyword research tools discussed here is Google Trends. It has been used to correctly predict the winner of the US presidential elections since 2004. 

That’s how powerful of a tool keyword research is for your SEO strategy. It can fine-tune it to a point that your targeting efforts will become laser-sharp. Your content will land on the screens of those with the highest probability of patronizing your business. 

Step 1: Top 5 Free Keyword Research Tools You Can Use

The most common reason why entrepreneurs prefer to outsource keyword research is that the monthly subscription to some of these keyword research tools can be quite expensive. 

Yes, these services have a “Free” option but the main features are watered down so that you’ll be compelled to pay a monthly subscription to get more value from your efforts. 

The free keyword research tools on this list have some of their most useful features intact. If you don’t want to outsource keyword research, you can effectively optimize your content with the use of these tools. 

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a good keyword research tool to start out with if you’re a beginner. It has a user-friendly interface, a good number of valuable features, and all you need to get access is a Gmail account. 

The first thing you do is to set the geographic coverage of the search. Then, type in keywords in the search query box. 

Don’t worry about entering the wrong keywords. Google Keyword Planner will refine your search. Pretend you’re looking for information about a topic you’re interested in and type in the keywords you would use to launch the search.

Within seconds, Google Keyword Planner will retrieve a spreadsheet detailing the monthly search volume of the keywords you entered plus the level of competition and other popularly used keywords.

Google Keyword Planner will also give you a list of suggested keywords. Add the ones that interest you and run another search.

2. Google Search Console

If you have a website, Google Search Console should be included in your keyword research toolbox. 

Google Search Console will give you suggestions on how to improve existing content by providing you with data about what your target audience is searching for and the keywords they use to land on your site. 

You’ll get data on the number of impressions, click-through rates, and click volume. 

For example, you wrote a blog “How to Lose Weight Days”. Google Search Console might retrieve the following keywords people used to find your content:

  • Lose weight no diet
  • Weight loss no cardio
  • Lose weight fast 10 days
  • Safe weight loss fast

Let’s assume that “lose weight no diet” came out on top of the list or ranked #1, then you should write an article about losing weight without having to go on a diet. 

The title could be:

“Lose Weight Fast In 10 Days – No Diet!”

Integrate the keywords “lose weight”, “lose weight fast”, and “no diet” as well as other high-ranking ones from the list into your new blog.

3. Google Trends

We don’t recommend using Google Trends to win a bet for the next US President.

However, it’s an excellent free keyword tool for identifying recent keywords that haven’t been around long enough to generate a high volume of searches but trends show they might be ones to watch out for in the future. 

Google Trends will also help you qualify keywords that have a high number of monthly searches and see if these are worth using.

For example, if “lose weight no diet” generated 100k searches per month but Google Trends’ charts show the interest in the topic is waning, it might not be worth using the keywords in your content. 

The same thing can be applied to low ranking, low search volume keywords. If Google Trends’ charts show there’s potential for those keywords to grow in popularity over the next few months, go ahead and add them to your content.

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is an excellent tool for extracting the specific keywords used by the top-ranking web pages. 

All you have to do is to type in the URL that’s in the #1 position of the SERP in the query box of SEMRush. Then, click “Enter”. 

SEMRush will go to work and within a few seconds, you’ll be presented with a spreadsheet of keywords extracted from the URL. You can see the monthly volume of searches of the keywords your competitors are using. 

Our only complaint with the free version of SEMRush is that it will only extract 10 keywords from the URL.  As we will explain later, SEMRush is the perfect partner for Google Keyword Planner. These 2 keyword research tools can become your 1-2 SEO punch.

5. KeywordTool.io

It can be a challenge trying to figure out what keywords to search for, especially long-tail keywords. 

Long-tail keywords are phrases that Internet users type into the query box to come up with more specific searches. For example, if you’re looking for Italian food, instead of typing “italian food”, you might enter the following long-tail keywords:

  • Italian food restaurant near me
  • Best italian food pasta
  • Healthy italian food gluten free
  • Low fat italian food near me

KeywordTool.io uses Google Autocomplete to generate the long-tail keywords used to search for information via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, plus e-Commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay.

The free version of KeywordTool.io will only generate 5 long-tail keywords but it will provide you with hundreds of suggestions related to your search.

Step 2: Run A Google Search

Now that you have a spreadsheet of the high-volume keywords, the next step is to run a Google search.

Simply type in the keyword in the query box and launch a search. Google will present you with the top URLs that use that particular keyword. 

Click the URL of the web page in the #1 position. Read it and take note of how the keyword was used as well as identify other words and phrases that were frequently repeated in the article. Repeat the process up to the URL in the 3rd or 5th position in the SERP. 

You’ll have a good idea of:

  • The topics your target audience are looking for.
  • The high-ranking topics your competitors are writing about.
  • The tone used to write the article.
  • Other keywords and how they were used in the article. 

You can use Google Keyword Planner to find high-volume keywords for your Google search query. Then use SEMRush to extract the specific keywords used by your competitors in their respective articles. 

Using both Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush will give you a sharper and more focused approach to extracting the best keywords for your SEO strategy. 

Again, the free version of SEMRush will give you only 10 keywords. If you’re committed to a long-term content marketing process for SEO, we suggest that you outsource content optimization to a third party.

Usually, third-party content creators have a monthly subscription to SEMRush and other keyword research tools. Oftentimes, the cost of the subscription is factored into their rates. It becomes affordable because the cost is distributed to the other clients.

Conclusion

Keyword Research takes time and patience to do. It can also be tricky! 

For example, when you’re using a long-tail keyword, it must be written as-is. Otherwise, the search crawl bot might not find it. 

How can you use a long-tail keyword such as “lose weight free no diet” in a sentence without getting flagged for wrong grammar? There are tactics you can use to get around this – but that will be the subject of another blog! 

Or why not outsource content writing to Mountaintop Web Design and let us do the keyword research and create your optimized blogs? You can spend more time managing the day-to-day functions of your business while we write content for you. 

If interested give us a call or drop us an email and let’s get started!

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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The most basic definition of digital marketing is that it’s the process of promoting brands and businesses on the Internet through the use of various digital online channels, tools, and techniques. 

Thus, if you’re posting blogs on your website and sharing them with followers of your social media platforms, you’re practicing digital marketing. 

Does that mean then that everyone who can blog and has social media platforms is a digital marketer? 

In the literal sense – yes. But if you want to get hired by companies as a professional digital marketer or become one who can deliver the desired results, you must have the right skills for the job. 

To be good at a skill requires the proper education, training, patience, and of course, constant repetition through practical application.

This is most especially true in 2022.

How The 2020 Lockdown Changed Digital Marketing For 2022 – And Beyond

More and more economies have started to open up since the initial lockdown in 2020. 

Governments are encouraging businesses to require their employees to report back to the office and follow regular working hours. Schools are slowly opening their classrooms to students and resuming face-to-face instruction. 

These developments appear to be strong signs that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and we’re back to the old normal. 

However, the pandemic did more than just shut down economies. It created a seismic shift in our behavior. 

The lockdown gave people time to reflect on what their priorities are in life. It also initiated a purposeful move to explore opportunities on the Internet. 

Businesses began the process of migrating operations online. People who found themselves unemployed temporarily or whatnot crossed over to the Internet and joined the millions of self-employed freelancers, virtual assistants, and work-from-home professionals from around the world. 

For the past year, the news has been inundated with reports on “The Great Resignation” – employees resigning in record numbers for 2 reasons. 

One, the fear of getting COVID-19 continues to linger. And two, the realization that they can earn and save more as remote workers. Likewise, they get to spend more time with family. 

The shift in business modeling and career planning resulted in a greater demand for digital marketing because market opportunities are now on the Internet. 

Top 10 Digital Marketing Skills You Need In Your Toolbox In 2022

Writing blogs and posting them on your social media platforms won’t be enough because you’re competing with more online content now than ever before. To capitalize on these opportunities, you must have the right skills in your Digital Marketing toolbox. 

1. Search Engine Optimization

Every day, 7 billion people – or 89% of the world’s population – are searching for information on the Internet. And there are billions of content to choose from. How can you increase the chances of your content being found? 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used to make your content more searchable on the Internet. You can compare learning optimization to learning a skill in Martial Arts. 

For example, a front kick would be applied differently in Karate compared to Tae Kwon Do. The technique and delivery are different because the intent is different. 

The use of keywords is one of the cornerstones of SEO but its application isn’t as cut and dry as using only the high-ranking keywords. Depending on your intent, you might have to consider other factors as well such as the level of competition and frequency of use. 

And the use of keywords is just one strategy in SEO. There are other strategies that can be used to enhance your visibility on the Internet – link building, technical SEO, internal linking – to name a few. 

The bottom line is that people are searching on the Internet today more than ever. Acquiring mad skills in SEO will help propel your digital marketing efforts past 2022 and beyond.

2. Video Marketing

Facebook launched “FB Live” and “FB Stories”, the same as Instagram which recently introduced “Reels”. Short-form video platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok have continued to grow in popularity. 

Then, of course, there’s YouTube where more than 4 million videos are streamed every day. 

Video marketing is a great way to build your business brand because the content is absorbed much faster than text. You process content with your eyes and ears. Collectively, the entire experience can trigger an emotional response that can result in the desired outcome. 

If your smartphone camera produces great quality video, you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment. All you need is a good storyboard to plan a video that shares your story with the audience.

3. Content Writing

Have you ever come across an article that came out on top of Google’s search ranking that featured writing so atrocious that it felt like chewing on a piece of ice when you have a toothache?

Learning SEO is one thing, writing amazing content is another. 

You still have to continually hone your writing skills by consistently producing content that’s:

  • Informative
  • Useful
  • Fresh or Unique
  • Accurate
  • Engaging

Content has to be well-researched. A blog needs at least one link to a reputable resource. It would be better to have your content link to multiple sources as long as these links are credible. 

What else do you need to keep in mind when writing great content?

  • Write for mobile devices. Look at how we created this blog post – short paragraphs, short sentences, and a lot of white spaces. Why? Structuring the blog this way makes it easier to read while scrolling on a smaller screen.
  • No errors in spelling and grammar. The ultimate deal-killer. Nothing kills your brand more than misspelled words and poor grammar. Review your content before publishing them. Don’t take chances. Run them under spelling/grammar checker software.
  • Add high-resolution images. Good-looking images will make the viewer stop and pay attention to your content – as long as they are relevant. 

So how do you become a better writer? Practice, practice, practice. Even when you don’t have anything to write – WRITE. 

4. Email Marketing

Email Marketing remains a Digital Marketing strategy that generates one of the highest ROI – US$42 per every US$1 spent. 

With email marketing, you need to use a reliable automated service such as Mailchimp or Hubspot to run your campaigns. However, you still need to develop the proper skills to ensure its success.

What skills are these?

  • Knowing how to segment your audience.
  • Creating an accurate buyer’s persona. 
  • Writing personalized emails and newsletters that specifically target the interests of your audience. 

We go back to the previous skill – Content Writing. It goes hand-in-hand with Email Marketing.

5. Social Media Marketing

Of the 7 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, 4.62 billion of them, or 58.4% are on social media. 

Because of its sheer size and vast reach, social media marketing should be part of your digital marketing strategy. 

However, just because you post on Facebook every day, that doesn’t make you a skilled social media marketer. 

What are some of the things you need to know about social media marketing?

  • Each social media platform attracts a different audience and therefore, has a culture that caters to the needs and interests of the community.
  • Matters such as post length, time of posting, frequency of posting, and type of content must be considered.
  • You have to know which focus or interest groups you should join and how to behave once your application is accepted. 
  • Learn how to engage properly with your audience. This skill has to do with mindset. Not all comments or views expressed about your business will be positive. How you handle negative or unfavorable comments will determine the growth of your social media presence. 

You don’t have to sign up on every social media platform. Choose 2 platforms – maybe 3 at the most, to build your brand. The fewer the platforms, the easier it is to manage your social media strategy.

6. Knowledge and Interpretation of Analytics

The old saying in business is that “strategy follows numbers, not the other way around.”

The biggest advantage of digital marketing is that it gives you access to data about your campaigns. You’ll see how your posts are performing; if they’re driving traffic to your website and which ones are generating the highest levels of engagement. 

You’ll learn all about your audience – who are they? Where are they from? How did they get to my page? You’ll have enough data to build a reliable Buyer’s Persona. 

All of this data comprise analytics and they give you an empirical basis for devising strategies or improving the performance of current campaigns. But to get the most out of analytics, you must know how to analyze and interpret them. 

The good news is that it’s not hard to be proficient in reviewing analytics. You just need practice. 

What we do at Mountaintop is to guide our clients through their analytics. We prepare a report, take them through it point-per-point, and encourage feedback. Over time, our client becomes more comfortable in interpreting his data – analyzing the information is almost second nature. 

7. Automation Technology

Automation technology is getting more popular as businesses look for ways to streamline costs and maintain consistency in certain functions. 

Robots, A.I, and Machine Learning technologies don’t have to take days off or get sick. They just have to be regularly monitored and maintained. You can have processes such as chat support run 24/7 without blowing up your payroll. 

Complex industries such as Oil and Gas have slowly opened their processes to automation and capitalize on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). 

You can have data transmitted from the source via smartphones, laptops, and tablets to secured, cloud-based databases in seconds and have the information available to key officers who can use these to make important decisions. 

Drones have made it possible to collect data from places where conditions could be hazardous and present threats to humans. 

Learning all about Automation Technologies will give you a better understanding of what innovations you need to fine-tune costs and improve business efficiency.

The next three items on our list are soft skills or the ideal behavioral attributes a digital marketer must possess to be successful in 2022. 

8. Project Management

A digital marketer doesn’t work alone. He needs a team of specialists behind him to handle the different aspects of the campaign. Typically, a digital marketing team is composed of the following professionals:

  • Web Designer/Developer
  • Content Writer
  • SEO Practitioner
  • Graphic Artist

The Digital Marketer is the Project Manager and is responsible for having the campaign meet its goals and deliver the desired outcomes. Project management is a skill that requires:

  • Business Acumen
  • Knowledge of Finance/Budget Management
  • Having an organized approach to work
  • Personnel Management 
  • Willingness to advance/update learning

As competition for views on the Internet becomes tighter in 2022, digital marketers must sharpen the skills needed for managing projects. 

9. Creative Thinking

With so much information available on the Internet, consumer tastes and preferences can change right away. Yesterday’s trends could become passe today. Analytics could get influenced by these changes and affect your current strategy. 

In addition, the uncertainties created by the post-lockdown shift have made the business landscape more volatile and unpredictable. Problems can arise that can throw a curveball to your business objectives. 

For digital marketers, critical thinking becomes an important skill to learn in 2022 given the abrupt changes in behavior. If data becomes ambiguous, you might have to resort to creative, out-of-the-box thinking to get you out of the bind. 

It’s possible that you have to test unique ideas for content that aren’t supported by data but by intuition. When innovation becomes limited, creative thinking allows you to draw from another source – inspiration. 

 10. Communication

Communication in digital marketing isn’t just about effectively collaborating with your team members. It’s essential to get the right message across to your target audience. 

Successful messaging is a key component of digital marketing. You identified your target audience. The focus now shifts to delivering the message they need – the content that provides the solutions and answers they have been searching for. 

To communicate effectively, you must be both an intent listener and an articulate speaker. Listen to your audience and objectively view their comments, opinions, and suggestions. 

Articulate your message carefully to make sure that it’s impactful and helpful. With consistency, you’ll be able to build trust and loyalty with your audience. 

Conclusion

It would be great if you had all of these top 10 skills available at your disposal. But it’s not realistic to become truly proficient in a skill until you’ve spent time learning the fundamentals and applying theories into practice. 

For example, it’s not realistic to expect to become an effective content writer whose blogs consistently drive inbound traffic to websites and whose web copy converts leads into sales. 

Sometimes it takes years to become a proficient content writer. 

Sure, you can put in the hours honing your craft but this could be time best spent in managing the day-to-day aspects of your business – the ones that add dollars and cents to your bank account.

Your best option is to outsource digital marketing to an experienced agency such as Mountaintop Web Design. 

Our proof can be found in the high-performing websites we’ve designed, developed, and managed for clients and on the content we’ve published on our website such as this one. 

UpCity has cited our blogs as the best in digital marketing.

Allow us to take the digital marketing workload out of your hands. Give us a call and we’ll schedule you for a quick 30-minute free consultation to find out what’s best for your business. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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89% of marketing professionals can’t be wrong. According to a survey conducted by Ascend2, 89% of professional marketers said SEO is an effective strategy for driving traffic to their website, moving up the search rankings, and ultimately, growing the business. 

In a world where anyone can become an expert by watching YouTube videos, SEO is a skill that requires experience. 

If your attempt at making Steak Charlemagne ends with you ordering pizza delivery, only your ego is affected. But when your SEO strategy doesn’t deliver the expected results, you lose opportunities to place your business, its products and services, in front of prospective customers. 

Here are 5 reasons why you need to consult an SEO expert for your business.

1. Get the Desired Results From Your SEO Efforts

To be clear, hiring an SEO expert will not guarantee results. At least not right away. SEO is a strategy that involves different processes and it takes time for these processes to click together and produce the intended outcomes. 

Think of SEO as a machine that has many moving parts. These parts include:

  • Website mobile responsiveness
  • Proper meta, image, and title tag descriptions
  • Webpage speed
  • Keyword research
  • High-quality content
  • Keyword integration
  • Link building
  • Pay-per-click advertising

You simply cannot handle all of these key areas of responsibility yourself!

An SEO expert is a professional who has enough experience under his belt to organize these moving parts and get them running efficiently. 

Whether you hire an individual or an agency, an SEO expert has a team made up of experts in each key area of responsibility. 

The SEO professional functions like a project manager. He’s focused on achieving your goal, staying within the budget, and providing high-quality work. For these reasons, he assembles a team of talent he can trust. 

The team SEO would usually include the following skills: a website developer,  a few content writers, a keyword researcher, a graphic designer, and a social media marketer.

2. Because Mistakes Can Be Costly

As mentioned above, SEO will not guarantee results right away. It will take time. Even the most well-thought-out SEO strategy will have its share of kinks and flaws. 

An SEO expert will track and monitor the performance of the current SEO strategy. He will identify the processes that are not delivering results and use data to find out if these processes can still be improved or if they should be replaced. 

By staying on top of the strategy, the SEO pro can put it on the straight and narrow while assuring that you get a good ROI on your investment. He will recommend allocating more resources to the processes that are delivering results and set aside funding for new platforms for content distribution. 

You can say that an SEO expert doesn’t only optimize your content, but also your marketing budget! 

Why? Because mistakes can be costly in terms of foregone opportunities and reputation. 

Here are 3 examples of how some of our clients lost money on ill-planned SEO strategies:

  • Client A hired writers who didn’t know how to optimize content and delivered articles that averaged over 2,000 words. The client spent hundreds of dollars for content that couldn’t be found and indexed by the search engine bots. 
  • Client B built his website from a free WordPress template. He ended up with a website that wasn’t functioning properly, had poorly written content, and images and tags that weren’t optimized for search engines. 
  • Client C added links to his content but didn’t conduct the audit necessary to find out if the web pages he linked to were still active or existing. Likewise, he didn’t keep track of webpage downloading speed that had significantly slowed down. 

In each case, the client lost opportunities to drive traffic to his website. The more visitors go to your website, the higher the probability of generating leads that can potentially be converted into sales.

The clients also risked the reputation of their brand. 

If visitors can’t download your webpage in under 3 seconds, they’ll click out and go to your competitors. If someone lands on your website and can’t find what he’s looking for, he’ll leave the page right away. 

If your content isn’t engaging, informative, useful, and is poorly-written with meandering paragraphs, errors in spelling, and grammar, your brand, and reputation will get tarnished. 

The scoreboard will read Your Competition: 1, Your Business: 0.

SEO for Your Business

3. Allocate Productive Time on Your Business

Let’s assume YOU’RE the SEO expert. You’ve taken courses and have been certified as a professional who’s qualified to do SEO. You know how to optimize your website and content – but you run a business consultancy company that provides services to a wide range of industries. 

Should you do SEO yourself or hire an expert?

We recommend hiring an SEO expert because your time is best spent managing tasks that add dollars and cents to your bank account. It’s better to provide consultation services to clients that generate US$400 per hour than spend 2 hours per day writing optimized content. 

More so for entrepreneurs who don’t have the knowledge or experience doing SEO. Not only will you lose productive hours trying to manage your SEO strategy, but as mentioned in the previous section, mistakes can be costly and risky for your business.

4. SEO Constantly Evolves

SEO is both a science and an art. It’s a science because SEO uses digital tools that automate processes, improve efficiency, and provide real-time data to measure results. 

But SEO is also an art. How these tools and processes are used depends on the type of business, goals, and content to be produced. 

For example, blogs such as this one are more conscientious of keyword usage. If you notice, we use synonyms a lot. Instead of using the keyword “SEO Expert”, we would alternatively use “SEO Professional”, “SEO Pro”, or “SEO Professional.” 

Also, we’d add the keyword SEO to “business” and “strategy” because these keywords could originate from different searches.

In contrast, a product review guide might perform much better in the search engine rankings if it’s packed with the same keywords. The reason is that the blog is more informative and the product review guide is intended to sell. 

The product review guide includes:

  • Detailed product descriptions
  • Detailed product specifications
  • Pros and cons
  • Customer reviews
  • Editor’s rating

These sections will require the same high-ranking keywords that customers will use to search for the product. 

It used to be that SEO practitioners were more conscientious about the frequency of keyword usage, but based on our experience, the level of keyword density would depend on the type of content to be created. 

As consumer behavior changes, so will the application of various tools and optimization principles when developing an SEO strategy. 

This is the job of an SEO professional – to keep track of changes in the behavior and preferences of consumers as well as to stay updated on developments in the industry. 

5. Keep Up With the Competition

According to a study by Deloitte, the budget for digital marketing increased by 11.5% in 2021 despite businesses incurring heavy losses. 

73.8% of the investments businesses made in digital marketing were focused on optimizing their website while 65% spent on strategies that improve search rankings. 

When your business is losing money, you want to recover by working on your business, not for your business. 

Businesses hired professional digital marketing agencies to design, develop, implement, and track their campaigns so that they can spend more time getting their respective enterprises moving again. 

Your competitors are doing it – hiring SEO agencies or professionals – to get their businesses found on the Internet and to drive more traffic to their websites. If they’re doing it, so should you. 

Doing what your competitors do isn’t a case of following the leader. It’s about mitigating the risks of making costly mistakes by going DIY with your SEO strategy and maintaining productive work hours. 

Conclusion

Let’s get real. When it comes to SEO, leave it to the experts. 

Yes, hiring an SEO expert means shelling out cash to pay for professional services. Going DIY might save you money but by making your business a testing ground for YouTube acquired skills, you’re essentially gambling on your SEO strategy. 

Done correctly, SEO is an investment that will pay out big dividends for your business. 

Do it once, do it right! Give us a call and we’ll get your SEO strategy back on track. Our team has the best web developers, content writers, and graphic designers. Find out first-hand how we helped our clients get more traffic on their website and climb up the search rankings. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

A digital marketing strategy cannot be complete without PPC ads in the toolbox. To be clear, you can run your digital marketing campaign using purely organic, unpaid processes such as optimized content marketing, social media marketing, and video-based marketing techniques. 

Organic digital marketing won’t cost much but the results could take time because your efforts are intended to target potential end-users and drive them to your website where its features can hopefully convert interest into sales. 

How much time are we talking about? The results might vary depending on the effectiveness of your organic digital marketing plan but it won’t be as fast as using paid channels such as PPC ads.

What Is PPC Advertising?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click advertising. This is a form of paid digital marketing whereby the advertiser pays a fee to the agency or platform whenever someone clicks on his ad. 

The great thing about PPC advertising is that it’s the fastest way to get visitors to your website because when a viewer clicks on your ad, he ends up on your landing page. 

In contrast, if you utilize unpaid or organic forms of digital marketing, you’ll be relying on your content to entice the reader to go to your website. It can be a hit or miss especially if your content isn’t optimized for search engines. 

The first step in PPC advertising is to research the best keywords for your ads. Once you identify these keywords, you pay the agency to use them in your PPC ads. There are 2 PPC models to choose from:

  • Flat or Fixed Rate PPC – The agency has a fixed price per keyword and you pay this fee every time someone clicks on your ad. 
  • Bid Type PPC – In this model, you bid the highest amount of money that you’re willing to pay for the keyword. The agency starts an auction that’s activated whenever a visitor clicks on the ad. 

The biggest benefit of PPC advertising is that the agency places your ad directly in front of consumers who would most likely be interested in buying your product or service. 

How Does PPC Advertising Work?

We refer to the service provider as an agency but these platforms are the search engines like Google and social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. 

Therefore, these agencies have algorithms in place that allow them to gather data about users’ online behavior. The agency will use the data to create a buyer’s profile – the people who are most likely to buy your product. 

Once the agency has targeted your market, your ads will appear on their news feed or home page. Therefore, the chances of people clicking on your ad are greater because based on their search history, these are the ones who have shown interest in products and services that are similar to yours. 

As the largest search engine on the Internet, it was a natural transition for Google to venture into paid advertising. The search engine giant acquired YouTube in 2006. 

YouTube is the second largest search engine and one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet. The acquisition is widely considered one of the best business moves in the technology market as it increased the reach of Google and YouTube ad placements. 

Although PPC ads use keywords which is the cornerstone of optimized content, this can be a hit-or-miss strategy as well. Choose the wrong keywords and you won’t get the desired results. Choose the right keywords and you could be raking in the sales. 

Put it this way. Let’s assume, your PPC costs have run up to US$20 but these ads delivered 200 visits to your website. If one or a few of those visits were converted into sales worth US$200, then the investment was well worth it.

Of course, that’s an oversimplification of the process. Seeing results from your PPC advertising efforts isn’t cut and dry. There’s no fixed timetable to see when your investment pays out dividends. 

How To Measure Return On Your PPC Ad Investment

PPC is a form of paid digital advertising. There’s a cost to running a PPC ad campaign. Thus, even if you made a sale or a few sales, your PPC campaign can’t be considered a success if the total sales earned are lower than the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

The CPA answers the question, “How much did the sale cost me?”

Let’s go back to our previous example when your PPC ad cost you US$20. If the US$20 generated 2 sales, then your CPA is US$10. So, while you made some money in terms of sales, did the PPC ad campaign generate a win or a loss?

It would depend on the total amount of the sale. If the 2 units sold generated US$40 worth of sales, then clearly, the PPC ad campaign was a win. In terms of Return on Investment, you made an ROI of 100%:

US$40 (Total Sales) – US$20 (Cost of PPC) = US$20 (Net Sales)

US$20/US$20 = 1:1 or 100% ROI

Conversely, if both sales only generated US$10 then, your PPC ad campaign incurred a loss and a negative ROI.

With a clearer idea of how to measure success in PPC, let’s go back to the original question posed by this section of the article.

How Long Before I See Results From PPC Ads?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, you can get quick results with PPC advertising. These results refer to the number of visitors your website receives. PPC ads drive traffic to your website as soon as someone clicks on your ad. 

A PPC ad campaign can also improve brand visibility. If your keyword game is spot on, then your ad will appear at the top of the search results. Your ad will appear before your target audience.

It doesn’t matter if the person clicks on your ad or not. Many in the audience will see your products for the first time. At the very least, your brand will be recognizable to your target audience. If they come across your content in social media, they will recognize your logo and might decide to click on your website URL. 

While driving traffic to your website is certainly important, results are ultimately measured in terms of sales. You can have thousands of people visiting your website every day but if you’re not converting interest into sales, then your investment in PPC ads isn’t paying off. 

Unlike website visits and brand awareness, the goal of converting interest into sales is more complicated because 2 factors could affect the desired outcome.

The first factor is the CPA. You have to manage your CPA and keep its cost as low as possible. The second factor to consider is your landing page. A well-designed landing page that effortlessly gets the value proposition across, navigable, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines will improve your conversion rate.

From our experience, you should expect to see positive results from your PPC ad campaign beginning Month #3.  

Why? To manage these factors, you have to constantly monitor the performance of your PPC ad campaign and make the necessary changes. And to evaluate the performance accurately, you need data. 

What To Expect When Running PPC Ads

When you launch your PPC ad campaign, you won’t get much data at all. The wheels have just started to turn and they don’t have the traction to gain a foothold in the market. 

Don’t get discouraged if the numbers aren’t rolling in yet. This is good because it gives you enough time to get ready when the numbers start to come in hard and fast. 

To help you out, we’ve created a timeline of what to expect during the first 3 months of your PPC ad campaign. Use our timeline to help you and your team prepare the correct game plan for a winning PPC strategy.

Month #1 – Data Gathering

It may come in trickles but start gathering data on the number of likes and clicks. There’s a way to speed up the process and that is by broadening your search for targeted keywords. 

The more keywords you put out there, the more data you’ll receive. It’s as simple as that. For example, you can target keywords based on demographics such as age, gender, and the preferred type of device used for search. 

Identify the keywords that generate the highest numbers of likes and clicks. Streamline the list of keywords and focus your campaign on the high-performing ones. 

Month #2: Start Refining Your PPC Ad Strategy

Armed with enough data from the first month, now you can start refining your PPC ad strategy in the second month. 

  • Review the list of keywords that you streamlined a month ago. Which ones aren’t generating clicks? Are there keywords that are driving traffic from sources that don’t fit the profile of your target audience? Remove these keywords from your list.
  • Analyze the profile of your audience. Which demographic is responding favorably to your ads? What device is commonly used by people who click on your ad? 

Keep in mind that because the information is immediately available to anyone with a smartphone and an Internet connection, buyer tastes and preferences can change right away. 

Always stay on top of who comprises your target audience.

  • Review your PPC budget. Go over your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) data and cross-reference these with the top-performing keywords to optimize your budget for PPC advertising.

Month #3 – Implement Improvements in Your PPC Ad Strategy

By the third month, there will be less guesswork in your PPC ad strategy. You had the data necessary to identify the potential pain points of your campaign and to come up with the proposed set of solutions. Now, it’s time to implement these improvements in your PPC ad strategy. 

Remember, the improvements aren’t just ideas you plucked out from the air. These improvements are based on hard data that summarized the performance of your PPC ad campaign for the past 2 months. 

Running an improved PPC ad campaign that’s been relieved of factors impeding its success should deliver the desired results. 

“Should” is the keyword here but again, you’ll have to go through similar rounds to testing and data gathering as you did the previous 2 months. You might get better results in the fourth or fifth month. The important thing is to stay focused, committed, and unwavering in your strategy.

Conclusion

Should you include PPC advertising in your digital marketing strategy? If done correctly and expectations are properly managed, PPC advertising can support your organic digital marketing strategy because it can immediately drive traffic to your website and enhance brand visibility. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that like other marketing strategies, PPC advertising takes time to deliver the desired results – converting interest into sales. 

You have to consistently monitor its performance, identify the pain points, and come up with the necessary improvements to make your PPC campaign more effective.

If you’re interested in getting a PPC ad campaign off the ground for your business, give us a call. We’ll get you started and plan out a strategy that can payout for your business. 

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!

Since 2014, the main players in the Information Technology industry from search engines to software developers and web designers have actively promoted the need to make websites mobile responsive. This was in response to the growing influence and presence of mobile technology in the lives of consumers and the conduct of business. 

Fast-forward to the present as the world enters the third decade of the new millennium, and the industry has taken on a different advocacy: to make websites more accessible.

What Does Website Accessibility Mean And Why Is It Important?

A website is deemed accessible when it features technology that makes its features useful and pages navigable to persons with disabilities. The drive for website accessibility is a call for the Internet to be accessible to everyone and create an inclusive community that doesn’t discriminate against disabled persons. 

To not include the needs of the disabled when designing a website further adds to their disabilities. It’s not just the able-bodied who want to find and access information about business, employment, healthcare, and more. 

Website accessibility gives persons with disabilities a better chance of finding opportunities and becoming more productive members of society. 

Likewise, disabled persons can provide YOU with business opportunities as well. Many disabled persons have found successful careers in the corporate world as employees or entrepreneurs. 

They might be looking for third parties that offer products and services the company needs. Your business might just be the one they’re looking for! But they can’t find you if your website isn’t accessible. 

That said, prioritizing website accessibility is in line with the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – having your website found by your target audience with or without disabilities. 

The American Disabilities Act Of 2010 And What It Means For Your Website

If Google’s warning in 2015 that websites that aren’t mobile responsive would be penalized in the search rankings got you moving, this time if your website isn’t accessible, you’ll be dealing with the U.S. government. 

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2010 was promulgated by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010. According to the ADA, companies that invest in electronic and digital technology including websites will be required to undertake the necessary steps to make these technologies accessible and useful for people with disabilities. 

Which organizations are required to follow the ADA?

  • Government agencies of the United States, both state and federal.
  • Private companies that have 15 or more employees on their payroll.
  • Businesses that cater to the needs of the public.

What happens if your website doesn’t comply with the ADA?

For one thing, your company can be exposed to lawsuits filed by persons with disabilities. Even if it wasn’t your intention to make your website inaccessible to those with disabilities, you might be accused of discrimination and end up paying thousands of dollars in damages. 

The U.S. government might penalize you with a US$150,000 fine for not adhering to the ADA. You might argue that you built your website on a WordPress platform and WordPress has stated that its websites are accessible. 

But if you customized certain features of your WordPress website, you might have compromised its accessibility.

Guidelines For ADA Compliant Websites

To comply with the ADA, let’s refer to the guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG 2.0. 

Essentially, your website should have features that adhere to the 4 principles of WCAG.2.0:

  1. Perceivable – All site visitors must be able to perceive the types of content available on your website – Images, videos, and text to name a few. You must provide options for site visitors who cannot read or listen to your content. 
  1. Operable – All visitors to your website must be able to navigate around pages and operate its features. 
  1. Understandable – The instructions on your website must be understandable by all visitors. These instructions might include how to fill out contact forms or how to access the built-in calculator.
  1. Robust – This principle requires that all users of your website must get the same level of experience regardless of how the content is delivered. If you applied certain processes to improve delivery, the quality of the content must not be compromised. 

Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to apply these principles to make your website accessible. The WCAG made it easier for businesses to follow by providing different levels of accessibility:

  • Level A – The website is accessible to some users.
  • Level AA – The website is accessible to almost all users.
  • Level AAA – the website is accessible to all users.

Many compliance experts recommend having your website meet the requirements for Level AA accessibility. 

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4 Ways To Check Website Accessibility

Now that you know about the importance of website accessibility, how do you check if your site is compliant with the ADA? 

Here are 4 tools that you can use to check if your website is accessible to persons with disabilities.

1. WAVE

WAVE is the acronym for Website Accessibility Evaluation tool. It’s not a WordPress plugin and instead, was developed by WebAIM, a company that’s focused on developing technology that makes content more accessible to disabled persons. 

To know if your website is accessible, simply go to the WAVE home page and type in the URL that you want the program to check. After the program runs its check on the web page, a sidebar will appear that summarizes its findings. 

WAVE will list down the errors, flaws, and shortcomings that make the particular web page inaccessible.

Unfortunately, you can’t download the results in report form. It’s safe to assume that the results on the web page you ran a check on will apply to the rest of the pages on your website.

2. Accessibility Suite

Have you heard of Section 508? It is an accessibility law that applies to federal or government agencies instead of private corporations. Section 508 mandates that federal agencies use and maintain technologies that can be accessed by people with disabilities.

Accessibility Suite is a WordPress plugin that can scan your site for Section 508 compliance. In addition, installing Accessibility Suite has other benefits for your website.

Unlike WAVE, with Accessibility Suite, you can download and share the results of the scan. The program will also offer suggestions on how to rectify the problems found on your website and make it ADA compliant. Lastly, the results can be stored and used as references to monitor the website’s performance. 

3. WP Accessibility Helper

WP Accessibility Helper is a WordPress plugin that can scan your website for compliance issues and offer analysis on what you can do to improve its level of accessibility. 

Likewise, WP Accessibility Helper has built-in tools to help you implement improvements that can make your website more readable and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities. 

However, the program doesn’t guarantee that following its recommendations and using its tools will make your website ADA compliant. For that, WP Accessibility Helper recommends that you hire the services of a compliance professional. 

4. WP ADA Compliance Check Basic

WP ADA Compliance Check Basic is a program that does exactly as it’s described. It can conduct a check on your website and evaluate its level of accessibility. This plugin has a feature that can be enabled to automatically perform improvements based on its findings. 

Similar to Accessibility Suite, you can download a copy of the program’s website audit. The paid version of the program can be expensive and entail a one-time fee that can range from US$150 to US$4,950.  If you opt for the free version, the scan will be good for up to 25 pages. 

Conclusion

If you’ve decided to make your website accessible to persons with disabilities, installing any one of these plugins will put you on the right track. The plugin will scan your website for design features and functions that hinder accessibility and provide suggestions for the necessary improvements. 

However, as we mentioned, these suggestions won’t make your website fully compliant with the ADA. Also, there are a few things to consider before installing a plugin.

First, you have to be sure that the version of the plugin that you plan to install is updated. Second, some plugins are designed with features that could affect the functionality of your website. And third, if the plugin does have features that affect website performance, you have to be 100% certain that the developer can help resolve these issues. 

A better option for you would be to hire a professional web developer to redesign your website and make it 100% ADA compliant. The agency can run a thorough analysis of your website and implement the necessary changes to improve its accessibility according to ADA guidelines. 

The good news is that we can do this for you! At Mountaintop Web Design, we have experience working with clients who need to be sure their websites are ADA-compliant. 

We’ll run a scan and let you know exactly what must be done to confirm with the ADA’s compliance guidelines. Give us a call or drop an email and let’s set a schedule to audit your website.  

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and associates who also need to know if their website is fully accessible. 

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We all know that digital marketing has many advantages over traditional marketing. Digital marketing is more efficient; online-based marketing strategies have a wider reach and scope compared to traditional marketing strategies. Online content can be reused and repurposed making it more sustainable than flyers, newspaper ads, and streamers. Perhaps the biggest advantage of digital over old school traditional methods is that having a website as the centerpiece of your marketing strategy allows you to track performance in real-time via Google Analytics. 

Yes, we understand if the word “Analytics” can get some of you sweating or scratching your head. “Analytics” sounds like a technical term that is best reserved for experts such as web designers and IT professionals. 

The truth is, you don’t have to be an IT wizard to learn and appreciate the value of analytics. And when it comes to analytics, look no further than Google Analytics brought to you by the world’s biggest search engine.

What Is Google Analytics?

For those readers who worked in Marketing in the 90s and the early part of the millennium, it must have been a challenge to get the company to invest in a marketing campaign.

The company’s key decision-maker would always pose this question:

“What is the estimated ROI on your proposed marketing strategy?”

While traditional marketing methods have a way of tracking performance such as through the use of codes and a numbering system or by identifying any significant changes in sales, these processes are largely inefficient, time-consuming, and costly.

This question, as well as other nagging ones, was answered in November 2005 when Google Analytics was officially launched.

By definition:

Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that enables businesses to track, collate, and organize data about their website such as traffic volume, amount of time spent per page, conversion rate, and visitor demographics. 

With Google Analytics, you have access to data that will help you monitor and evaluate the real-time performance of your current marketing strategy. You can pinpoint weaknesses in your marketing strategy, create alternative courses of action, and implement improvements in the campaign. 

What Can Google Analytics Do For My Business?

A lot! 

Google Analytics removes guesswork. It helps you find the answers to the nagging questions that may have given you a few sleepless nights. 

If business numbers are not good, Google Analytics gives you a fighting chance because you can identify the problems right away and work on developing immediate solutions.

Here are 5 benefits that your business can derive from using Google Analytics.

1. Develop a Keen Understanding Of Your Target Market

Your website is a data-gathering tool. It will pick up important information about your visitors that will help you understand their online behavioral patterns and collect data on their demographics. 

Armed with these types of information, you can create a more accurate Buyer’s Profile. With a solid Buyer’s Profile, you can proceed to divide your market into segments and publish content that targets the right audience like a guided laser.

2. Strengthen Your Brand-Building Strategies

Knowing the types of content that your audience likes to read, the online platform they use to read your content, and the preferred device for accessing the Internet are valuable inputs you can use to fine-tune your digital marketing strategy that will build your brand. 

Google Analytics gives you data-backed evidence so you can get the “pulse” of your audience. You’ll get a “feel” of who they are and have a better perspective of how to position your brand so they can get a “feel” of who you are.

3. Keep Track of Your Search Rankings

How important are the search rankings? 

The first five URLs that appear on the first page of the SERP account for 67.6% of all online traffic.

And hardly anyone goes to page 2 of the SERP. 

If you’re wondering why your current SEO strategy isn’t pushing your website up the search rankings, you can find the clues via Google Analytics.

4. Establish Realistic Goals

What is the goal of your digital marketing campaign? 

  • Do you want to build your brand?
  • Are you looking to add to your number of followers?
  • Are you focused on increasing the conversion rate?

Setting goals is an important step in growing a successful business. Google Analytics has a feature called Goals Overview that will allow you to keep track of your goals.

Staying on top of where you are in the pursuit of your goals will go a long way in improving your team’s level of productivity while sticking to the parameters of your budget.

5. Gain Valuable Insights On the Competition

Are you wondering about what your competitors are doing? Why are their websites ranking higher than yours? Why do they have followers and more engagements? 

Wonder no more. Google Analytics has a feature that gives you valuable insights into what your competitors are doing. You have a virtual bird’s eye view of the strategies your competitors are implementing to stay ahead of you.

How To Use Google Analytics – A Guide For Intermediates

Google has always been big on User Experience or UX. The search engine giant’s algorithm frequently undergoes changes to include ranking factors designed to motivate website owners to improve UX. 

Thus, it is only fair for Google to give website owners an assist by making Google Analytics easy enough for non-IT professionals – beginners and intermediates – to understand.

The key is to not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools made available by Google Analytics. Stick to the basics about Google Analytics then slowly increase your knowledge of its more detailed applications. 

As someone who has Intermediate-level knowledge of Google Analytics, we assume that you have already set up a Google Analytics account. You must be familiar with the following actions required of Google Analytics and a few of its basic features:

  • Installing the Tracking Code – A program that collects data on your website’s activity
  • Setting Goals – A feature that allows you to set targets or goals for your website and informs Google if such goals were achieved.
  • Site Search – A feature that enables Google to track all searches done on your website and collect important information about your visitors.

At an intermediate level, learning your way around the Audience Report will give you the keys to unlocking valuable information about your website visitors. 

Whenever you open Google Analytics, you will see your Audience Overview report which is just one of 50 reports that you will have access to. 

One of the first things that will catch your eye in the Audience Overview report is a graph depicting the number of sessions your visitors have undertaken. Below the graph, you will find key information about your visitors’ behavior such as:

  • Number of Sessions
  • Number of Users
  • Pageviews
  • Pages per Session
  • Average Duration per Session
  • Bounce Rate
  • Percentage of New Sessions

By using figures provided by these data, you will be able to assess the performance of your digital marketing campaign thus far.

  • Are your strategies generating more visits?
  • Which types of content are your audience spending more time on?
  • How many new/unique visitors are you attracting every month?
  • How much time does a visitor spend on your website?

In addition to the Audience Overview, the Audience Report will give you valuable information on six factors that are crucial for developing strategies to improve your website’s performance:

  1. Demographics – Find out which gender and age group are primarily patronizing your website and will most likely contribute to your goal of increasing conversion rate.
  2. Interests – Pinpoint the topics that your audience is most interested in so you can fine-tune your content marketing strategy. If you’re thinking about investing in Pay-Per-Click advertising, the data can be helpful in targeting the groups where will you have the highest probability of converting interest into sales.
  3. Geo – Where are your visitors coming from and what language do they speak? These types of information will give you insights to develop more effective content writing, local SEO, and advertising strategies.
  4. Behavior – Data on behavior is very important because tastes and preferences are constantly changing thanks to the influence of the Internet. In this overview, you get information about the frequency of visits, time spent per visit, and the pages they frequent every time they land on your website.
  5. Technology – If you’re developing online tools for your business, data on technology will let you know if you should focus on Mac or Chrome-based software programs.
  6. Mobile – Sure, we know that 65% of online traffic comes from mobile – but can the same be said about your visitors? 

Find out the breakdown of mobile, tablet, and PC users and the percentage of iOS and Android users among your followers.

For intermediate-level Google Analysts, another important feature to learn is Email Notifications. 

This is a feature that allows you to receive updates on specific Google Analytics reports via scheduled emails. 

Setting up Email Notifications is easy!

  1. Select the report that you want to be emailed to you on a scheduled basis.
  2. Above the report title click “email”.
  3. In the field titled “From”, you will find the email address that you use to log in to Google Analytics.
  4. Go to the “To” field, enter the email addresses you have designated to receive the data. Make sure the email addresses are separated by a comma.
  5. Type in the subject then select the frequency of transmission and the format to be used.
  6. To set the duration Google Analytics sends the report, go to “Advanced Options”.
  7. To work on the body of the email, go to the field “Text” and press Enter.

Then, click “Send”.

The wonderful thing about the Email Notifications feature is that you don’t have to log in to Google Analytics to get your reports. You can set the frequency that these reports are sent to you based on your convenience. 

At the intermediate level, you might prefer the feature Advanced Segments to Custom Reports because you may want to be more specific and detailed in your segmentation. 

With the Advanced Segments feature, you can group the data into categories so you will have a clearer picture of who your website visitors are. Once you have gotten more comfortable with Custom Reports, the Advanced Segments feature will be easier to use and understand.

Earlier in this article, we briefly discussed the importance of having data on mobile usage. The world is becoming increasingly more dependent on mobile technology. In the United States alone, 58% of all searches are done on a mobile device.

You can get in-depth data on the mobile experience your visitors are having on your website; data that can help you find the answers to the following questions:

  • What keywords are my visitors using to land on my website?
  • Is my website downloading fast enough for mobile device users?
  • Is my website navigable on a mobile device?
  • How does online behavior differ between mobile and desktop users?
  • Should I optimize content based on mobile keywords?

The last feature of Google Analytics that would benefit intermediate-level users would be Profile Filters.

The Profile Filters feature adds a different dimension to segmentation. You may have some nagging questions such as “Why does mobile account for a very small percentage of our email subscriptions?”

Applying specific filters allow you to run tests on the traffic coming to your website. Profile Filters lets you customize the type of reports that Google Analytics is generating on your website so you can find possible answers to the nagging questions. 

Conclusion

Be patient during the transition from beginner to intermediate level Google Analytics user. We all have different competencies and it might take some longer than others to be proficient with the more advanced features of Google Analytics.

What’s important is to use Google Analytics to pinpoint the weaknesses and flaws of your website and in your digital marketing strategies. 

Google Analytics puts an end to guesswork. You have access to real-time data to help you formulate the best decisions that could change the game for your business. 

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

And if you are thinking of building a mobile responsive website for your business, give us a call or drop an email. We will have a high-performance, fully-optimized, and responsive website up and running for you in no time!

Investing in a website is a smart first step to building a profitable business. In fact, you are already several steps ahead of the 45% of businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Now that you have taken the first step, what is the next step?

If you are not sure how to use a website to make your business profitable, you are not alone. 

One reason why 45% of small businesses still don’t have a website is that the owners are not sure what it does and how it works to contribute to profitability. 

The truth is, running a small business website is not that difficult or complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve to overcome and it will take some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. 

However, with patience and diligence, your website can become a profit-generating machine for your business. 

So what is the next step? Read the article and find out how to use your website to make your business profitable.

Why Your Website Is The Most Powerful Marketing Tool For Your Business

Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, your website is open 24/7. It can be accessed by millions – even by billions – of people who are on the Internet every day. 

Can you imagine owning a retail store that is open 24/7? You can have sales transactions every hour! People will be buying after close-of-business hours and keep your cash registers ringing. 

This is possible with an online retail or e-commerce store. Your customers will simply click on your URL or website address, land on your homepage, read through your product list, then pay for the transaction at the checkout counter. 

Through it all, you could be playing catch with your son, watching your daughter’s piano recital, having a glass of red wine with the spouse, or in the REM stage of a good night’s sleep. 

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, it’s not! 

There are many online entrepreneurs who are reaping the success of running a profitable Internet-based business.  

These online entrepreneurs are not exceptions to the rule. Anyone can have a dynamic website that helps the business earn considerable income and become highly profitable. 

The key is to learn how to harness the power of your website so you can maximize the opportunities that can be found on the Internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Responsive

We have written a good number of articles on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. 

We did not stop there. 

In our other articles on digital marketing and website design, mobile responsive is always mentioned.

Here are 4 statistics-backed reasons why your website should be mobile responsive:

Having a website is a start but complete the project by making sure it is highly mobile responsive. By this, we mean that your website should have no problem setting up on the screen of a mobile device regardless of screen size. 

If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose business. Worse, not having a mobile responsive website can even prove to be damaging to your business. 

Imagine clicking on a website from your smartphone and having to zoom-in and manually adjust the position of the page on your screen just to be able to read the content. 

You will probably click out of the website.

Coincidentally, that is what your prospective customer will do if your website is not mobile responsive.

2. Optimize Your Website

We have come across websites that are beautiful. They look elegant and the content on the site is very well-written.

Unfortunately, according to the websites’ analytics, very few people have seen them. 

The website cannot be seen because they cannot be found. They cannot be found because the websites are not optimized.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using techniques and processes that will increase the search visibility of your website on the Internet. 

Without SEO, it does not matter if your website homepage looks like it should be on the Louvre Museum in Paris, France or if the content reads like it was written by Leo Tolstoy.

Hardly anyone will find it unless you have it optimized.

Here are 4 areas that you should look into to have your website optimized for easy search.

  • Keyword Research – Keywords are the most-often used words or phrases when someone launches a search query. Having your website content embedded with the right keywords will make it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your page.
  • Site Navigability – The navigability of a page plays an important factor in User Experience of which Google is big on. If you want your website to convert, you must make it easy for the visitor to use. If the visitor feels like he is trapped in a labyrinth, he will just click out.
  • Meta and Title Tags – Meta and Title tags are the responsibility of the web developer. These are descriptions of your website that are included in its code. Title tags describe what your website is all about and can be seen on the results page. Meta tags are hidden within the code but are used to validate the type of website that you have. 
  • Site Speed – Although it takes 8.66 seconds to download the top ranking websites in Google, Internet searchers still expect a website to download in 3 seconds or less. 53% of users will leave a website if it does not download in under 3 seconds. 

3. Focus On Your Website Homepage

An argument can be made that the Homepage is the most important page on your website. This is because is the page where a visitor will land after he clicks on your URL. 

Having an effective website homepage means having one that is efficient – it should get the job done in no more than 6 seconds. 

If the site visitor does not see anything useful, relevant, and compelling on your website within 6 seconds, he will click out.

What then makes an efficient website homepage?

  • Less Is More – Have you come across a website that has so many things happening on the homepage? There is so much text. The homepage copy feels like reading a long-form blog. 

Likewise, there are too many images and it seems that the color choices were made without thought or purpose. 

When designing a homepage, the rule is less is more. Too much activity on the homepage will only serve to distract the site user not help him find what he is looking for.

  • What Is Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP)? – The Brand Value Proposition or BVP is a statement that tells site visitors what your business can do for them. The BVP is the most important statement on your homepage and perhaps on your entire website. As mentioned, you only have fewer than 6 seconds to catch the interest of the site visitor. This is where the BVP comes in. It must be short, direct-to-the-point, and easily understood. 
  • How Compelling Is Your Call-To-Action (CTA)? – The Call-To-Action (CTA) tells the site visitor what you want him to do. To be effective the CTA must be direct-to-the-point. It should state urgency and the importance of acquiring your products and services right now.

You can make your homepage more compelling by adding testimonies or explainer videos. However, from both a design and functional perspective, less is more. 

We recommend prioritizing the BVO and coming up with an effective CTA. From there, you could consider a slide featuring testimonies from actual clients or customers. 

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4. Blog Actively

People spend 23% of their time online reading blogs. 

That statement should be enough to emphasize our point on the importance of blogging actively for your business. 

However, before you blog actively, it would be best to understand what makes a blog effective.

Blogging is not as simple as writing about a topic you like or specialize in. We have clients who are experts in their field. They create blogs that are packed with information acquired from the years invested in the industry.

Yet, hardly anyone reads them. So, they get discouraged from blogging. By doing so, they fail to realize the benefits of blogging. 

There are 2 reasons why their blogs do not gain traction and fail to deliver the desired results:

  • The blogs are not optimized for search.
  • The blogs are not written for the audience.

Blogging is not the same as writing a college term paper or a piece on a broadsheet. It combines the creativity of writing and the precision of digital technology. 

Yes, you need a good writer who can create compelling pieces that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. However, these must be optimized so that the blogs can be searched and found on the Internet. 

Optimizing a blog involves a number of processes, some of which we will discuss here:

  • Keywords – We mentioned the importance of keywords in optimizing a website. The same can be said for your blogs. In order to be found your blog should contain the most-searched keywords in your industry. Therefore, in addition to topic research, your content creation strategy should include keyword research.
  • Structure – Do you find reading a thickly-worded paragraph a pleasant experience? Not many people do. Too many sentences in a paragraph can turn reading into a tedious experience. To improve readability, the paragraphs should only contain 3-4 sentences. Consequently, each sentence should have no more than 40 words. Ideally, 20-25 words per sentence are best for optimization purposes. 
  • Content – An effective blog should have content that is fresh or unique, relevant, useful, informative, and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you have the best keywords in the right density. If your content does not meet the criteria, it will not be read.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of blogging. However, you need to have blogging done right.

We have published several blogs that have been recognized as among the best in the digital marketing industry. If you need help in blogging, we are the agency to go to!

5. Stay Active Online

The best way to stay top-of-mind on the Internet is to stay active online. 

Let us go back to blogging. 

According to research, you should blog at least 11 times per month in order to achieve the best results in sales conversions and website traffic.

What is the ideal length of a blog post for SEO purposes? According to a study by Search Engine Journal, your blogs should average 1,900 words. 

That is a lot of writing per week!

Then, you have to publish the blogs on various online channels such as social media, blogging communities, and of course, your own website. 

That is a lot of work!

However, you have the option of outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies such as Mountaintop Web Design. This way, you can free up your time to focus on activities that are directly involved with your business. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant, you have to maintain an active presence online through blogging and frequent posting of content.

6. Fortify Site Security

Last July 2018, search engine giant Google started flagging websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure”. 

Having your website labeled as “Not Secure” by the Internet’s biggest search engine is enough to drive away interest from your business. 

Google decided to impose SSL certificates to all websites because of the growing threat of cyber-security. As you well know, Google is big on User Experience. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance for maintaining security for your website in our article “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

Encourage site visitors to enter your website by securing it with SSL certificates. It is very easy to get SSL certificates and they will help protect your data from being stolen by cyber-criminals. 

Conclusion

The website is more than just a business address on the Internet. It is your digital hub online where all transactions take place. Because of your website, your products and services can be accessed by a wider audience. It will give you the platform to build your reputation as a reliable resource in the industry.

Once your website goes live, it allows you to capitalize on the opportunities on the Internet that can make your business profitable. 

However, a website will not run on its own.

You have to institute processes and techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your website. If done properly, these processes and techniques – such as the ones discussed in this article – will deliver results and make your business very profitable.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it in your community. And if you want to learn more about our services, let’s discuss it over your favorite brew!

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For those who are not tech-savvy, the word “Analytics” might send chills down their spine. After all, the root word is “Analysis” and the implication is that it must be too technical or complex for beginners to understand.

The truth is, learning Analytics is not that hard. We came up with this article to show you that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to understand Analytics. If you are a beginner, you have to start out with the basics which are what this beginners’ guide to Google Analytics is all about.

What Is Google Analytics?

A quick Internet search will yield a list of the best online Analytics programs you can sign up for. While these are all good and can definitely help you in managing your online business, Google Analytics is the best place for beginners to start.

Google Analytics is a service provided by Google, the biggest search engine on the Internet, to help you monitor business performance. Thanks to Google Analytics, you have access to real-time data that can pinpoint which strategies are delivering results and which ones are not.

Before Google Analytics, businesses were hesitant in allocating resources for marketing and promotion because it was hard to measure results. Now, you can identify which processes and tactics are generating the highest ROI.

Here is a short list of the features you can find in Google Analytics:

  • Monitor user activity on your site – Session duration, bounce rate, and pages per session to name a few.
  • Measure inbound traffic to your website.
  • Can be integrated with Google Adwords.
  • Identify poor-performing pages.
  • Provide and create reports on user demographics.
  • Provide sales reports and a summary of site transactions.
  • Real-Time Analytics gives you information on users that are presently on your site.

Google Analytics takes away the guesswork in running a business. You no longer have to ask “What went wrong?” Analytics will show you where the weak links are in your business development strategy.

For example, blogging is one of the most popular components in a content marketing strategy. According to a study, 23% of time spent online is dedicated to reading blogs.

Blogging is a strategy that is used to achieve the following Digital Marketing objectives:

  • Enhance industry reputation as a valuable resource
  • Increase number of followers
  • Generate Leads
  • Drive more inbound traffic to the website
  • Increase website’s search rankings

Let’s say your objective is to use blogging to drive more inbound traffic to your website. According to Google Analytics, the current blogging strategy is under-performing.

You can use the data provided by Google Analytics to find out the following information:

  • Which blog topics have generated the highest engagement levels? This includes the number of shares, likes, and comments.
  • Which blog topics have the lowest engagement levels?
  • How long do people stay on my blog page?
  • How do the majority of my readers access my website? Mobile device or PC?
  • What are the demographics of my audience?

Let’s assume that your distribution of blog topics is 80% related to your company and 20% on practical issues such as How-To and List-Type articles.

According to Google Analytics, more people are enjoying your articles on the practical application of your products and services than on content about your business.

Perhaps you can do a switch and publish practical application blogs 80% of the time and limit company-related blogs to only 20%.

This is a rather simplistic explanation. The point we are trying to make is that with Google Analytics, your Digital Marketing campaign will have a fighting chance. You have data-based evidence that can help you find ways to make the processes more effective and deliver a good ROI.

If you are not using Google Analytics, you are literally in the dark.

How To Set Up Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics is easy. All you need is a Google Account. This can be for Gmail, Google+, YouTube or from the search engine’s other services. You should be the only person to have access to your Google Account.

Very important tip: Do you have a Digital Marketing team? Do not agree if someone suggests using his Google account to set up and manage your Google Analytics. If this person leaves your team, he will have direct access to your Google Analytics.

1. Opening Your Google Analytics Account

Is your Google Account set up? The next step is to go to Google Analytics and click the button “Sign in to Google Analytics”. Once you have done this, the screen will show you the 3 steps it takes to set up Google Analytics. Make sure you completely fill out the information that is required of your website.

Google Analytics uses hierarchies to get your account organized. Using hierarchies is important especially if you want to open additional Google Analytics accounts under your own Google account. Google allows you to have as many as 100 Google Analytics accounts under your Google account.

Setting up hierarchies is also important if you have more than 1 website or “Properties”. Google Analytics allows 50 properties per Google Analytics account. However, you cannot move the properties. This means you cannot transfer one website to another Google Analytics account.

2. How to Install the Tracking Code

When you are done setting up Google Analytics, click the “Get Tracking ID” button. Once you click “Agree” to Google Analytics’ terms and conditions, you will receive the Google Analytics code.

The code should be installed on all pages of the website. How the code is installed will depend on the website you have. If you are not sure, ask your webmaster or developer. We have done this for several of our clients.

3. Define Your Goals

Once the tracking code has been installed, it is time to configure the “Goals” setting. Click on the Admin link which is located above your Google Analytics. From there, click on “Goals” which is located below the “View” column of the website.

Why is setting up Goals important? It will advise you if your page has accomplished something important for your business. Let’s say you are running an e-commerce website and a visitor made a purchase.

When the transaction is completed, the visitor who is now your customer will find himself on a landing page that has a “thank you” message.

4. Put Up Your Site Search

The next step is to set up your “Site Search”. This feature enables Google Analytics to track and monitor searches that have been conducted on your website. By doing so, it will help you stay on top of the issues your site visitors are looking for.

Research is a very important aspect of building a business. With Site Search, you can get valuable information on the online behavior of your customers. The data can help you create an accurate Buyer’s profile.

The first thing you need to do is to run a search on your website. Keep the tab open because you will need its URL. Go to your Google Analytics Admin page and click on “View Settings” from the “View” menu. Scroll down and click “On” when you come across “Site Settings”.

Go back to your URL and enter the query parameter which is usually given as “s” or “q”. Enter the letter in Site Settings.

5. Thinking of Setting Up New Accounts?

If you want to set up multiple Google Analytics accounts all you have to do is go to the Admin page and click on the drop-down menu under the “Account” column then click on the “Create New Account” link.

The procedure is similar when you want to add another website to your Google Analytics account. Except that you will click on the drop-down menu under the “Property” column then click on “Create New Property” link.

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How To Use Google Analytics

Whenever you log in and you only have 1 website, Google Analytics will open to the Audience Overview report.  If you have multiple websites registered, Google Analytics will first give you a rundown of which of these Properties you wish to view analytics on.

There are more than 50 reports that you can access in Google Analytics. Likewise, you can get these reports by clicking on “Reporting” which is located at the top.

What are the types of reports that you can find in Google Analytics?

1. Audience Reports

How well do you know your audience? If you are in the dark about the people who visit your site, the Audience report should shed light on your target market.

The Audience report will provide you key insights on the visitors who frequent your website. These insights include:

·        Demographics

·        Interests

·        Location

·        Language

·        Behavior

·        Technology used

Why are these data important?  Having detailed information about your audience will give you a basis on how to fine-tune your content and how the message is delivered.

For example, you own a business that sells consumer products. The data in Audience reports show that the majority of your visitors are women aged 18 to 34, interested in hair care products, and who access your site from a mobile device.

You should probably publish more content about your company’s shampoo and conditioner products and how to use them properly. Then you should check on your website’s level of mobile responsiveness.

2. Acquisition Reports

If you want to learn more about the visitors who make up your site traffic, the Acquisition reports will give you all the data you need. The reports are quite detailed and specific. Your site traffic is organized into categories and the specific sources are identified.

You will get valuable information about the traffic that originated from your social media networks so you can pinpoint which platforms are generating the visits and which ones are not.

Are you running a PPC ad campaign? You can get inputs on how your campaigns are performing by simply connecting Google Analytics to AdWords as well as to Google Webmaster Tools/ Search Console.  

3. Behavior Reports

As Bill Gates once said, “Content is King”. According to studies, people spend nearly 8 hours per day reading and viewing content.

If your website consistently delivers great content, good things will happen – more traffic, enhanced reputation in the industry, higher search rankings, and better sales conversions to name a few.

The Behavior reports will let you know which types of content people are reading on your website. You will find out which ones are generating buzz and interest. Thus, you will be able to channel more resources to these types of content and realize better ROI.

4. Conversions

The Conversions report will show you how many of your Goals have been accomplished. You will find out the URLs your site visitors came across and learn the path they took to finish the conversion.

You can get specific data on the conversion from Google Analytics. For example, you can learn how many conversions were made from a specific location or from a social network.

Again, these types of information will help you fine tune the process. You can focus on the strategies that deliver the results and improve the ones that fall short on their goals.

Conclusion – Why Should You Learn How To Use Google Analytics?

A website is a great investment for a business. It does not matter if you are a brick-and-mortar type of business. Having a website will open up new doors of opportunity for you. It will help enhance your presence on the Internet and make you more accessible to a wider audience.

However, a website will not accomplish these goals on its own. You will have to implement techniques, tools, and tactics to increase awareness and create inbound traffic to your website.

These techniques, tools, and tactics can be found in a process known as Digital Marketing. A typical Digital Marketing toolbox will include the following:

  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM or Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • PPC or Pay Per Click Advertising

Although these tools have been proven to deliver results for a Digital Marketing campaign, there is no guarantee that they will help you achieve your business goals. Like all tools, their effectiveness depends on how they are used and on who wields them.

As we mentioned earlier, Google Analytics will give you an empirical basis to identify which of these tools are generating the best results and which ones are under-delivering.

It does not mean once you pinpoint the processes which are falling short of targets that you should discontinue them right away.

Google Analytics will allow you to find ways to improve upon these processes so that they will no longer become the weak links in the Digital Marketing strategy.

If you want to learn more about Google Analytics, give us a call. We can have it installed for you and at the same time, manage your Analytics so you can focus more on your business.

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Competitors can make running a business difficult to run smoothly. With competition, even a small mistake could send consumers to another business that offers a similar product. Making sure you are unique and have fantastic customer service is a must in order to compete today. But is that all? What strategies are your competitors using that you are not? More importantly, how can you monitor your competitor’s analytics so you can know how to steer your company? One of the most effective ways a business can grow is by monitoring and imitating the tactics used by their rivals. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to do this effectively.

Go Beyond a Google Search

As you begin your research to monitor your competitor’s actions, it’s always good to start your research with a google search, but be sure not to stop there. It is a good idea to turn on Google Alerts, which will help notify you when there is an announcement or important news being announced by a rival or competitor. These notifications alert you to changes that you would otherwise spend a lot of valuable time trying to find. Another great resource to use to keep up with your competitors is Spyfu, which will let you know about the keywords and Adwords that your competitors are using and how successfully they are working for them. 

Spend Some Time on Their Website

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find out information about your competition is to familiarize yourself with their website. You should pay attention to the content that is popular and shared the most often. For example, if a keyword is working for your competitor over and over again, maybe it’s time you implemented similar keywords or targets to your own campaign. You can use Buzzsumo to find out more regarding shared content, what influences their customers most, and how your domain and keywords match up with your competition.

Talk to Your Customers

There is a reason why your customers chose you over your competitors. Usually the best research you can do is speaking directly to the people who chose your brand over another. Ask your customers why they used a previous business and what attracted them to yours. What other companies were they considering, if any? You may learn about new strategies and even incorporate similar ideas into your own business.

Another great way to access customer information is through reviews online. This allows you to see honest discussion about what consumers are looking for and what they would like improved. Online reviews allow the contributors to remain anonymous, which gives them the freedom to honestly discuss an organization without backlash of any kind. While someone may be cautious how they talk about a company they work for or buy from regularly, anonymous reviews allow for honest discussion and can be the most trustworthy platform on which to gain information.

Pay Attention to SEO

Search engine optimization is important because it is what increases visibility on the web and allows people to find you easier. You should pay attention to the SEO techniques your competitors are using. Are they using a company to help boost their website, or are they using google to help promote their website? In today’s world, being easy to find and access online is one of the most important tools you can use to help boost business. If your competitors are doing it right, you should learn how to effectively utilize SEO as well.

Call Them

After you have done research on your competitors, it never hurts to just pick up the phone and give them a call. In many cases, companies will not mind answering questions that you ask, and you may be pleasantly pleased with how much they are willing to tell you for free.

Attend a Conference

Attending conferences held by your competitors can help you better understand your competitor’s points of view, as well as more information regarding their products and services. Make sure that you visit the competitor’s booths and interact with them.

As important as your own strategy is, it is just as vital in today’s business world to know your competitor’s strategies just as well.

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So, you decided to take your business to the next level and invest in a nice website?

Awesome!

But, what you should know is that despite the beautiful design and good overall usability, your sleek new website needs tweaking and fine-tuning if you want it to live up to your expectations in terms of conversions and bottom line.

Many people make a mistake by thinking that once the website is finished and live, their only task is to update content and fix potential bugs.

The truth is that the real work begins only after your audience gets a chance to visit your website thus allowing you to monitor its performance in the real world and optimize it for conversions.

This means that you need a solid, easy-to-follow CRO plan, so let’s see how to craft it.

Why Do You Need a Plan?

That’s a good question.

The main reason for having a conversion optimization plan in place is to establish the right goals, methods, and tasks which will help you make the most of your website and turn it into a conversion machine. Without a plan, it’s easy to lose focus and waste your time on things that don’t particularly matter.

It’s about setting your priorities and identifying what the problem is and how to solve it in the most effective and efficient manner.

Although the approach “Let’s see if it’s possible to convert more people if I change this or that element” is a good starting point, it needs to evolve and cover different areas of your sales process, and your business in general.

1. Collect Data

You’ve probably heard that popular phrase “People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves,” and it perfectly sums up why you need to have a deep understanding of your customers, their needs, interests, and issues, as well as how they perceive your business and website, if you want to optimize your conversions.

Having the right data is essential for gaining valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, that is, what areas, pages, and elements of your website should be optimized.

This step is crucial for helping you see where you stand and what assets you have.

As this is a pretty comprehensive process, it’s a good idea to break it down into three main categories.

In other words, you need to gather data on the following areas:

  • The company itself. Dig deeper and identify the “why” of the company – why it exists and why customers like it. It’s not always about superb products and services. There’s that special X factor, which makes a particular company and its messaging appealing, and it’s up to you to pinpoint what it is and implement your findings into your CRO plan. Identifying the unique sales proposition is essential because it’s what distinguishes your company from competitors who sell similar products or services. The USP is integrated into your marketing messages and its role is to capture your customers’ attention and give them a reason to explore your website further. Finally, learn what your customers’ common objections and complaints are. Talk to your customer support reps and they will provide you with customers’ feedback. If we bear in mind that 67% of customers name bad experiences with a brand as their main reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 will actually complain, it’s self-explanatory why this step is a must. So, knowing what your customers feel about your company is a make-it-break-it factor when it comes to improving your CRO.
  • The website. Your website analytics should be accurate and detailed. Be in the know about all the relevant metrics such as the amount of traffic, dwell time, bounce rates, conversion rates, as well as the demographic information. The data about the browsers and devices they use to access your website is extremely important, especially after Google officially rolled out mobile-first indexing in July 2018. The fact that most people visit your website from their computers might indicate that there’s something that they don’t like about the mobile version.
  • The customers. This is, perhaps, the most important area and you should use different methods and tools in order to feel the pulse of your audience. Use heatmaps to find out what pages they visit and engage with most and use surveys to hear their first-hand opinions and experiences.

2. Create a Hypothesis

After this lengthy and demanding first step, it’s time to put these findings to good use.

You’ve probably identified a couple of issues on your website that need to be solved. There are two options when it comes to testing a page that returned poor results – you can either build it from scratch and test that new version, or you can change a couple of elements and A/B split test them.

For example, if the data shows that your CTA button doesn’t generate clicks, you can introduce a number of changes, such as the copy, different colors, and fonts, and test them.

But before you start experimenting, you should be able to clearly state why you believe that a particular change will improve your conversion rates and what problem it solves.

Again, you need to know:

  • What you’re testing. Let’s say that you’ve found out that a lot of your customers abandon their shopping cart and that your customer support reps frequently answer questions about how secure the checkout process on your website is. This clearly shows that you need to introduce some trust signals which will convince your customers that it’s safe for them to trust you with their personal information. For example, using an SSL certificate and switching to the HTTPS protocol, offering multiple payment methods, and showing payment assurance certifications are some of them.
  • Who you’re testing. There are different ways to split your audience, not just based on demographic data. You can, for example, test your repeat customers, one-time customers, or those who abandoned their shopping cart. Segmenting customers based on the browser they use is also helpful because you won’t test Opera users if the element you want to test doesn’t load properly in this browser.

3. Test Your Hypothesis

It’s showtime.

Although implementing new design and testing it might seem like a complicated task, there are useful tools that can significantly simplify the process.

Some of them include Optimizely and Visual Web Optimizer.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind:

  • Make sure that your new design displays properly across different browsers before it goes live.
  • Choose how much traffic you will direct to your test pages. If you have a lot of visitors, then this step can help you control possible risks in case that your design fails and your conversions on the test pages drop.
  • Don’t neglect the average order value, because although your conversion rates might be low for the pages you test, the average order value might go up.

So, set all these things up before you launch your tests if you want to get accurate readings. If you want to run your tests efficiently and effectively, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of experts from respectable web design agencies who will offer you their take on your ideas and implement everything properly.

4. Review Your Results

In this stage, you’ll review your results and see whether your hypothesis has been correct.

However, before you get down to work, it’s important to establish whether statistical significance has been reached. This is a complex concept, so check out this article which will tell you more about it.

Luckily, even if you’re not familiar with statistical significance, most optimization tools will give you this information.

If your hypothesis is correct, then implement these design changes properly and send all your traffic there. However, it’s important to keep track of your metrics closely to see whether everything works as expected.

If your hypothesis isn’t correct, make sure to save all your data from these unsuccessful tests, and go back to square one – create another hypothesis and do it all over again.

It’s crucial not to give up because failed tests are gold mines of data that you can use later.

These 4 steps can help you get to the bottom of a CRO plan that everybody can understand and implement.

Harris Norman is a 35-year-old web developer, born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area. Harris is also very passionate about spending time in nature, which is why he spends all of his free time hiking, sailing and mountain climbing. His design skills are admirable, which is why he’s got a special place among the writers of designrush.com. When he’s not running around chasing adventure, he likes to play the trombone, though not very well.