Are your website analytics telling the whole story?

website analytics tell whole story

If you’ve ever discussed Search results with a web developer or content creator, Google Analytics comes up. For years, their website analytics tool has been the standard to track data on website engagement. As a content writer, I’m usually on the fringe of a website’s “back end,” using SEO tools like Yoast combined with a client’s marketing research to develop search-friendly content.

Reading this article by Search Engine Land was an eye opener. Say you have Google Analytics installed on your website. Well, get this. Someone clicks on a link to a particular page or post for your site. They hang out on that page, read the article. You know, they’re interested in what you have to say. But if they go on about their business without going to another page on your website, it’s still a bounce per Google Analytics! Yep. A zero-seconds bounce. That one glitch throws a wrench in how many businesses should look at their website analytics.

What’s the big deal about a bounce, you ask?

Google Analytics calculates your site’s bounce rate based on single page visits. That’s when someone visits your website, but only the one page, no browsing around or clicking from page to page. Like they show up at your door, ring the doorbell, and run away.

Here’s the problem. You’ve engaged a person enough that they clicked on your content and read it. Yet it’s still going to show up as a bounce on your website analytics report.  In fact, the article shares that any of these actions can show as a “bounced visit” in your Google Analytics:

  • Using the back button.
  • Closing the tab or browser window.
  • Typing a site’s URL or search request in the browser.
  • Clicking on an external link within the page.
  • 30-minute session time-outs.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it makes me happy when someone clicks through to read any content I’ve created. So I’d consider the one-page visit a good-to-know statistic. Good thing someone’s come up with a workaround to the Google Analytics standard. If you’re a developer, or have a good one you can grab, perhaps you can try the workaround provided (see the article). I’m not tech-savvy enough to code it myself and I haven’t asked my web designer if she’s tested it yet. If you give it a shot, please let me know how it worked for your site!

For nhaile’s clients, I rely on multiple sources to help optimize content and refine focus. Not only Google Analytics results, but also input from the client, their customers and my own research. I use your website’s SEO plug-ins to refine copy optimization. Discovering potential speed bumps – like quirks in website analytics – is just part of the process! Call me at nhaile communications for your content creation needs.

The Power of Creative Collaboration

creative collaboration Nora & Jen

As an independent consultant, I wear a lot of hats to support clients: search-friendly content creator, marketing communications manager and small business owner. The hats that don’t fit are those of web and graphic designer. That’s why I believe in the power of creative collaboration.

I feel it’s my job to have a creative and technical team that I can call on to support the full spectrum of your content creation, marketing and branding needs. To give you the oomph your business deserves. After all, the whole idea is for me to make things easier for you when it comes to content creation and marketing communications. Asking the busy business owner to find your own team (if you don’t already have a preferred vendor partner), is so not that.

When I arrived in Tucson nearly 9 years ago, I immediately began looking for a local creative collaborative partner. Jennifer Vasko of 26 Point 2 Designs, an award winning senior graphic designer, came my way during a web project. (That’s her in the goofy header photo with me, by the way.) We share a quirky sense of humor and being all about what’s best for the client, too! You’ll see some of our collaborative projects listed on the nhaile Client Work page.

My clients really like it when they ask, “Hey, do you know a graphic designer who can help us update our logo and branding elements?” and I respond, “Yes, and she’s great!” Same goes for websites. I get it. You’re a busy business owner who wants someone who’s an expert to figure that out, so you can concentrate on what you’re an expert at: running your business.

So when you say, “I want a clean, easily navigable website. I want my customers to take action as soon as they see our home page. Tell me what that will take.” I hear: “I’m busy. I need customers to know what to do once they hit our website. Don’t try to sell me on a monster enterprise-level site for my 10-employee local business.” I can do that, thanks to creative collaboration. Plus, you avoid the overhead of paying agency-level rates but get professional, agency-level services.

Check out the nhaile Collaborators page.You’ll also see creative collaboration partners, Marina Fish Design and, both based in the Pacific Northwest, where nhaile communications began in 2007. Marina, Tom and I have had mutual clients for website and branding work, as well. Ah, the joys of technology; creative collaborators (or clients) can be anywhere!

Updated from an April 2014 post on creative collaboration.

What’s the catch with free blog content?

new post free blog content

What's the catch with free blog content?

I’m all about free. BOGO. Free app with entrée. But when someone offers to write free blog content, my spidey sense tingles. Not that writers don’t love to write, but I immediately ask, “What’s the catch?” Because there’s no fairy godmother of creative content. There is a catch.

I write for a living. So I’m a little biased against the loosely associated paragraphs of rehashed content from an online search. I field free writing offers from “fellow” writers regularly. “I’ll write free content for your blog. You’ll get a photo, links and amp your search results.” Really. Hmmm.

You may have seen a pitch for free blog content in your Inbox. If you’re determined to check it out, then make no commitments, do this instead: Get them to send you a sample post.

Once you read the sample post, go back and follow the outbound links. Notice how the linked-to article has weirdly similar content to the article you were given? Often, freebie content writers paraphrase pieces from other articles, then include an outbound link to the original article. It appears appropriate, but in actuality, they’re lifting phrases and rehashing original content.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? It undermines the voice of your brand.

Say you’re a personal trainer and a freebie blogger sends you an article on nutrition. How does its content relate to your services? Does the blog article tie together nutritional tips from you with the benefits of motivational, supervised training? Or is it about how we look at nutrition has changed, that eggs are good protein and leafy greens are essential? One has the potential to be relevant. To promote your expertise and your differentiators. The other is flat, irrelevant content. Space-filler.

Any article published on your website or social media should be related to you and your business: What you sell, Who you are, or Why it’s beneficial (the “what’s in it for me” message).

Organic, search-friendly, written content is original. It gives you a voice for your brand. A voice that points out how your products and services are better than the competition’s. What you know that others may not. What being you is all about and why that’s a good thing for your customers. That’s good blog content.

As you can imagine, small- to mid-sized business owners are a favorite target of freebie content offers. Many don’t have the marketing budget to hire an agency with a cadre of writers producing relevant, on-message content. Nor do they have the time or desire to write their own search-friendly, relevant (to their business) content. Enter nhaile.

So definitely go for the buy-one-get-one appetizer offer at happy hour – I’ll join you! But take a pass on the too-good-to-be-true dangling carrot. Call me instead.

Poem from Guest Writer: Ruston Hain

I love having so many friends with a creative streak, particularly in creative writing, as much of my writing leans to the business or journalistic tone. I hope you enjoy this poem written by a dear friend. To me, it evokes many of the evening sights and sounds of my adopted desert home.

Tips of blue moon
The cast of Summer shadows
Sounds of Cicadas and the sprinkle of all stars.
Midnight spreads across
Sky and breathes breath
to Dragonflies and the flutter of a June Bug.
Green and golden in fastidious glory.
Noisy Bug.
Restful now and a lizard is hungry…
Silly Bug rests on a cactus pad. Relishing a moment of complacency, enamored and confident in his Glorious Beauty.
Lizard snaps tongue and captures the beauty of the bug. Delicious! Swallows beauty whole. Who has Beauty now?
A very happy lizard slithering under a rock.
Full tummy. Happy for now. Sleep tonight and dream of another Beauty to eat tomorrow.

Ruston Hain, May 2014, Tucson, AZ