ecommerce websiteThe first part of this series identified some valuable ecommerce tools that help you keep a close eye on how well your website is performing. One of the most difficult parts of website analysis is processing big data and making sense of the results. This is referred to as visualization, and the following tips will help you make sense of the big data your website generates.

Visualize Your Keywords

You probably pay attention to keyword density when creating content for your website, but do you know what words actually appear most frequently in your content? Would you be surprised if your targeted keywords were actually not the words that stand out most on your site? Until you turn the words on your site into an image, it is hard to visualize your content as keywords.

You can use Wordle to create a cloud image representing the importance of each word on your website. You select text from your site and place it into Wordle, and the resulting image will make words that appear the most often larger than the surrounding words.

Get In Touch with Viewer Behavior

Your navigation system is one of the most important parts of your website. If it is not easy to find and use, your visitors may not make their way from the product pages to the checkout system. If you have elements on your website that are overlooked or distracting, then that can interfere with sales as well. You have to see how these elements of your page are interacting with your visitors in order to fix potential problems.

You can’t be a fly on the wall watching each visitor maneuver through your website, but there are ecommerce tools that show you what your users are doing while on your site. These tools are known as heat maps, and the best ones offered are Click Density and Crazy Egg.

Google’s overlay tool is also important because it allows you to follow users from one page of your site to another. This helps you determine what your content is compelling people to do. You want them to take a specific action after looking at each page, and this tool tells you if they are doing what you want them to do. From there, you can tweak your content to get better results.

Scrutinizer is another overlay type ecommerce tool, but it works by highlighting a given area of your website. It is intended to help you influence visitor behavior so that important areas of your website are more noticeable.

Prioritize Your Environment

Have you ever thought of your website as a living environment? If not, you may want to play with a tool called Feng GUI for a unique visualization experiment. Just as you might use feng shui to arrange the furniture in your home for maximum comfort, you can use this type of ecommerce tool to visualize the most prominent or attractive elements of your website. The tool uses a complicated algorithm to determine what elements of a website draw the eye.

While these e-commerce tools are fun to play around with and can give you some insightful information, there is no replacement for market research. Real people are still the best tools for visualization and visitor experience information.

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ecommerce toolsA successful ecommerce website requires so much more than snappy product descriptions and a secure checkout system. If you aren’t constantly thinking about how to maximize conversions, attract more targeted traffic and one-up your biggest competitors, you probably aren’t making the sales that your site is capable of making. Thankfully, there are many ecommerce tools that help you bring your website to maximum profits.

This is a three-part series packed with e-commerce tips designed to help experienced and new ecommerce site owners. This first part will cover some analytical ecommerce tools that will help you keep tabs on your site so that you know what is working for you, what could work better, and what is not working at all. Without this insight, it is difficult to maximize conversions.

The Google Analytics ecommerce tool is probably your go-to for site analysis, unless you have an extremely high-traffic site. You probably already know how to use the basic features of Google’s tool, but there are a few advanced features that you may not be aware of yet.

Advanced Segment Analysis

When you run Google Analytics with its default settings, your results are based on all data available for your site. This includes all of your customers regardless of location and all referrers regardless of the quality they provide in their referrals. If you want to look at smaller segments, such as customers from the United States or the UK only, you have to use advanced segment analysis.

If you know that customers from a specific location tend to buy different products than customers from another location, that will affect your advertising strategies. If you discover that the leads coming in from one referrer are always low quality, you can take action on that.

Customized Reports

Do you get valuable, insightful information from the standard reports delivered by Google? Most site owners find those reports lacking, but customization is the solution to the problem. You select what information you want in your custom report and what data you want included. This turns a useless report into something useful.

Advanced Filtration

You may already know about this e-commerce tip, but many people aren’t aware of the advanced filter settings on Google Analytics. Scroll to the bottom of the results when looking at your analytics, and find the advanced filter button. You can select some categories of data to eliminate from your results in order to reduce the number of results delivered.

Filtering allows you to narrow your results down to the exact information you want to view. It also makes your results much easier to comprehend and process.

Analytical Intelligence

Analytics become time-consuming if you have to set up customized reports for every little detail you want to track from bounce rates to sales. If you have to compare reports in attempt to track changes affecting your site, you will spend more time finding problems and not enough time fixing those problems. Intelligence is your solution.

This feature will send you alerts when important trends are detected on your site. For example, if your visitors suddenly stop sticking around for more than a second or two, you will receive a notification about the change in bounce rate for the site.

For many site owners, these e-commerce tips are effective enough to keep tabs on a site. If you need more advanced or in-depth analysis, there are other analytical ecommerce tools out there, such as Clicky.

Are you ready to tap into the power of visualization? Look out for the next part in this series.

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You took the time to find a talented website designer and invested in a professional web design. You poured your soul into writing high-quality content ready to inspire, motivate, teach and entertain your website visitors. You looked all over for the perfect images to create the perfect look and feel for each page of your site. You are now proud of your website, but there is a big problem: no one else seems proud of your site.

This is a problem many website owners encounter, but there are creative actions you can take to bring more visitors to your site. If you haven’t already started a marketing plan, right now is the time to change that. If you have been marketing your website but haven’t received the results you wanted, the following tips will help you develop a more efficient, results-driven plan. Get ready to unveil your beautiful creation on the rest of the world.

Spill Your Heart in a Blog

Do you have a blog for your website? If not, your goal is to change that this year. If you do, your goal is to change the way you think about your blog. This is not a space for stuffy declarations of your worth or heavy advertisements. Blogs are not meant to be updated once a month or only when you have a new product to push. Your blog is your space to tell the world what makes you tick, why you are special, and how you see your industry and the world at large.

Write tightly-focused blog posts that drill home one central idea in a personal manner. Speak directly to your readers so that they see you as a person to whom they can relate. Ask questions and take the time to read the comments when they start coming in. This is hard because you are revealing your true self in a vulnerable manner. Go there, and you will be rewarded. All and all making your more proud of your website!

Give Your Heart Away

Do you have an eBook, long report or other digital product that you know would help millions of people if they gave it a chance? Instead of pedaling it for what it is worth, give part or all of it away for free. This may make you squirm a little, but that only tells you that it is something of value that will work. The goal is to have other products to offer when people realize the value of your freebie and come back for more.

You can also write brilliant blog posts and give them to other bloggers. Why would you do that when you are starting your own blog? You do it because giving away that top-notch post allows you to tap into the audience already secured by other bloggers.

You will need to make updates to your website to make these ideas work and be proud of your website. You may need to add an opt-in for visitors to receive your freebie in exchange for their name and email address, and the blog will take some time to setup. It will be worth it in the end as you get more for your marketing time and dollars.  So make these steps, put in the extra work and be proud of your website!

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How did your website perform in 2013? If you weren’t satisfied with the traffic it attracted, the amount of time your visitors stayed on the site, or the site’s ability to convert, now is the time to think about making some website updates. You may even decide to scrap your current site and start fresh with a new domain name and website design.

When deciding what website updates are top priority it is important is that you recognize what needs to happen to make the site better and take action to turn it around for this year. You don’t want to end another year wishing you had performed better, and the following actions will help you take your website development in the right direction.

Reconsider Your Design

If visitors aren’t sticking on your web pages or aren’t clicking around to visit additional pages after a search engine hit, you may have website design problems. Have a professional designer look at the site and help you determine the weak spots. You can then decide whether it is time to start over or fix up the site you already have.

If you didn’t invest in professional website development when you first created this site, chances are high that it does not feel professional or authentic to visitors. If you can’t create a professional website design that delivers a smooth, rewarding experience for visitors, make it your goal to work with a professional this year.

Update Your Content

Freshen up old content, even if it is evergreen. Make sure you are implementing effective SEO strategies. That means not stuffing keywords into your content unnaturally. Every keyword should fit the content and should flow seamlessly. Every page of your site should teach your reader something, make them laugh, make them think, or simply keep them thirsty for more so that they come back. If you can’t create that type of content personally, hire someone who can.

Content doesn’t stop with text. Think about incorporating videos, pod casts and other types of content. If you haven’t made a video yet, that might be a good goal to consider for this year. Finding fresh images may be another good goal.

Check the Technical Stuff

How much downtime did your site have last year? If you weren’t impressed with the number of site crashes you experienced, this is a good time to research a better hosting service. Go through your plugins and make sure they are all active and were updated within the past year. Consider whether you even need those plugins. Do the same with every link on your website to ensure you only link to high-quality, authoritative sites that are still active and relevant.

Come Out of Your Shell

Once you have improved your site or created a new site that you know will perform better, start reaching out to other people. Figure out who your target market is and find them on social media. Create guest blog posts with links back to your blog or website. There are countless ways to promote your website, but make sure you engage with other site owners within your niche as well. Get your name out there and focus on branding so that your site gets the attention it deserves this year.

While you are taking action to improve your website for the New Year, take the time to improve the security of the site. Select a tricky password and use a plugin to limit the number of login attempts allowed. A stealth login page plugin can help thwart the efforts of hackers as well. One final thing: don’t forget to backup your site on a routine basis.

Website updates are something that should take place throughout the year and not just every new year.  With a dedicated maintenance plan you can assess changes and website updates that you need to make throughout the year.  Having a current and up to date website makes your business look professional and keeps your customers coming back.

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