Articles written in November, 2008

November 26 2008

The top 15 things to test on your website

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about testing (which I love and encourage you to embrace with open arms as I have). I like to use Google Website Optimizer whenever I have an experiment to run, but you can use any program, such as Omniture Test & Target. As long as you are testing, you are “in the game” (and, if you are not testing, why not?).

I found an article within the Google Website Optimizer help section that I’d love to expand upon, called “The Top Five Elements to Test“. This help section article lists 15 specific elements, but it does not cite any examples, which I feel help visualize each point, even though some of them are very obvious. So, I have beefed up this very good list of possibilities below. Enjoy, and, seriously consider testing as many of these 15 things as you can:

1. Title -Short versus Long
Short: High-Quality Product
Long: High-Quality Product that will last for generations to come!

2. Title – Question versus Statement
Question: It’s 10 PM – Do you know where your kids are?
Statement: It’s 10 PM – Your kids are in bed.

3. Title – Formal versus Informal
Formal: Good Evening, Sir / Madam.
Informal: Yo, what up, dogg?

4. Title – Emphasizing selling point A versus B
Selling Point A: 100% Recycled Material!
Selling Point B: 100% Money Back Guarantee!

5. Image – Big versus Small
Big Image: Takes up half the screen
Small Image: 100 x 100 square in the upper-right corner of the page

6. Image – Photo versus Illustration
Photo: A nice, vibrant stock photo, or photo taken by a professional
Illustration: A nice, vibrant drawing, sketch, or animation created by a professional

7. Image – Customer versus Product
Customer: Happy customers, smiling and laughing on a warm sunny day
Product: Close-up picture of your awesome product against a smooth background

8. Layout – Long sales letter versus multi-column layout
Long Letter: A very long page outlining every possible detail and customer testimonial about your product
Multi-Column: A table with visible rows and columns displaying tidbits of information and statistics about your product

9. Layout – 3 page pitch versus one dense page
3-Page Pitch: Three pages, including the landing page, with “Click for More” or “Continue” buttons at the bottom
One Dense Page: All of the information contained in the three-page pitch on one single page

10. Selling Proposition – Quality versus Convenience
Quality: Made with 100% Imported Leather!
Convenience: Never buy another pair of boots again!

11. Selling Proposition – Features versus Service
Features: 256GB of Disk-Space!
Service: 24/7 Customer Support!

12. Selling Proposition – Make Money versus Save Money
Make Money: Make $100 for every friend that you refer!
Save Money: Save $100 on your next trade-in!

13. Conversion Incentives – Free Shipping versus Money Back Guarantee
Free Shipping: We offer Free Shipping to every city in the United States!
Money Back Guarantee: We will refund 100% of your money if you are not satisfied.

14. Conversion Incentives – List All Incentives versus None
All: List every possible incentive imaginable on Landing Page
None: Simply promote the product price, image, and / or availability on Landing Page

15. Conversion Incentives – Telephone Order conversion versus online form
Telephone: Call us at 1-800-555-1234 and get started today!
Online: Fill out our simple online form and get started today!

November 14 2008

Che Sta Accadendo? Another change to the GA Tracking Code?

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My Italian friends at goanalytics.info have probably already noticed this as well – when I logged in to my Google Analytics account today to create a new profile (using an existing domain), I saw a GA Tracking Code that looked different:

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

The Legacy Tracking Code (urchin.js) also has been updated to include these new “try – catch” enclosure:

<script src="http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js" type="text/javascript">
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
try {
_uacct = "UA-XXXXXX-1";
urchinTracker();
} catch(err) {}
</script>

It does not appear that any data collection has been affected, which means you most likely won’t have to change any coding on your website, unless Google Analytics officially releases a statement via their blog. However, I am big proponent of having the most up-to-date code on your website if possible, so if these new coding variables stick around for a while, you may want to go ahead and update your website to match.

Also, as a side note, there is a known bug with the Reverse Goal Path report in the Goals section of your Google Analytics profile(s). If you’re noticing some strange data appearing in there – don’t worry, the folks at Google Analytics are well aware of this issue and are doing their best to repair the report, as soon as they possibly can.

November 11 2008

Three of my favorite Advanced Segments with Google Analytics

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Ever since Google Analytics officially released Advanced Segmentation about a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop using it. How can you blame me? It’s awesome to slice and dice data in ways I could never have sliced and diced data before – and the things that I can learn about my website’s data are invaluable.

Here are three of my favorite advanced segments (so far) with Google Analytics. In parenthesis below, I outline what each segment means. The first segment is a default segment; while the second and third segments are custom advanced segments (The names of the second and third advanced segments are also “custom”):

1. Visits with Conversions / Visits with Transactions
(All Visits that have converted / made a transaction at some point in a visitor’s history with the website).

As I mentioned above, this Advanced Segment is one of the “default” or “pre-packaged” Advanced Segments that Google Analytics provides, without having to create your own. And, it’s one of the best ones. With it, you can see how visitors that have performed the actions that you have defined are behaving, what pages they are landing on, how often they return to your site, and anything else that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. You can learn a lot about your converted visitors with this segment (and get insights and ideas on what you can do to get them to convert again).

2. The Power of your Brand
(Dimension: Keyword; Condition: Contains; Value: the first word of company name; AND Dimension: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 30; AND Dimension: Pageviews: Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 3)

Would you care to know how strong your brand name is, and how engaged visitors are that used your brand name or company name as their search term? This segment can give you excellent insight to your customers or potential clients who already know you by name, which means they are well beyond trying to find you, and are most likely closer to reaching out to you, or buying from you.

3. Social Media Awareness
(Dimension: Sources; Condition: Contains; Value: The name of any social media site: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc…)

Measuring the traffic that your website receives from social media platforms is becoming increasingly important towards these last few months of 2008, and you can expect Social Media to really become important in 2009. This advanced segment puts you in the game by allowing you to see all of the traffic from the more popular social media websites that are out there. Monitor this segment over time to get a feel for how interesting and engaging your social media initiatives are – if they are interesting, and if you have a strong social media presence, traffic will start coming your way before you know it.

BONUS Advanced Segment:

4. Are You Experienced?
(Dimension: Visitor Type; Condition: Matches Exactly; Value: Returning Visitor; AND Dimension: Days Since Last Visit; Condition: Less Than; Value:7; AND Metric: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than; Value: 180; AND Metric: Transactions; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To: Value: 1)

This Advanced Segment excludes all pretenders, rookies, and newbies, and focuses on allowing you to analyze what your most experienced, best customers are doing. Use the clues that you find in your reports after applying this segment to learn what makes your best customers tick, and compare that against your customers who do not engage with your website at this level.

There are thousands of different possibilities with Advanced Segmentation, which means that once you start creating your own, you’re bound to come up with an advanced segment that will meet your specific needs, answer your specific questions, and become favorites of your own.

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