Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Is An Acceptable Bounce Rate For My Website?

Bounce rates are a good indicator of the impact your site is having on your visitors. An acceptable bounce rate depends on the type of site you have i.e. information or e-commerce.  Anything from 25 to 50% may be quite acceptable, over 50% would probably warrant some effort spent on the site layout, content or structure.

Bounce rate is basically a metric that the website analytics records when a visitor arrives on a page and exits the same page. This could be the result of two things, the visitor is getting the information they came for, or the site having no relevance or interest to them.

Some things to consider that may cause increased bounce rate:

  • Unqualified traffic: If you are running online and offline campaigns to attract visitors to the site and you are not delivering on your promise they may feel duped. This may increase traffic and give some brand exposure but not give a positive experience or outcome.
  • Slow loading pages: Big images and flashy banners take time to load. You only have a few seconds to create an impact before people leave for the next opportunity.
  • Irrelevant landing page : Compelling and uncluttered pages will be more likely to draw visitors in to investigate further.
  • Poor navigation: If your site is confusing to the visitor and the next step and purpose of the site not easily recognisable and actionable then you have blown the chance of keeping their attention.
  • Confused or improper sales message: Like a retail store your website should have its merchandise and pathway to purchase clearly spelled in an easy to read, easy to understand format that gives the visitor confidence and permission to proceed. Lock your merchandise away and that’s where it will stay
The importance of bounce rate

Like any type of metrics the bounce rate is a benchmark that you can use to improve your website performance. Most visitors arrive at the front page and are then directed to various sections of the site. Your bounce rate effectiveness therefore is determined by the goal of the site. If the persons query is answered on the landing page then the higher bounce rate is fine, if the goal is to direct them to a contact or sales page then a high bounce rate is bad.

Many sites tend to have an information oversupply or are out-dated; too many have no real purpose from a user’s perspective because the owners give little real focus to its potential, especially at a time when more people are turning to the Internet for ideas, inspiration and making purchasing decisions.

Bounce rate is only a subjective performance measure. If you have a sudden increase in bounces it may be related to an external influence such as a media profile of your company. Check to see if you have had an increase in overall traffic and benchmark this along with time on site and other metrics to gauge whether your site is performing better or worse. Every time you make changes to landing pages ensure that you note the date to be able to review its impact later. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Facebook Options Fix: Wondering why you are seeing the same people all the time?

Do you get the feeling that you are missing out on updates on your Facebook news feed? Wondering why you are seeing the same people over and over again? You may need to check your options settings to resolve this “issue”.

What is happening is by default Facebook now have your update settings to show “Friends and pages you interact with most”, this means you are not getting updates from some friends and pages you have chosen to friend or follow. It means too, if they are unaware of this, they are also not getting your updates.

The unfortunate effect of this is many people are unaware of this, they have chosen to get your information by liking your business page or friending profile and are blissfully unaware of your updates as a result. You may want to direct them to this post to get this sorted, and you back on their radar again.

Here’s the 3 step fix:

1)  Go to your Facebook “Home” page and select “Most recent” at the upper right of your page.

2)  Click on the drop down menu (the little arrow next to “Most recent”) and select “Edit options”.

3)  Change setting to “all your friends and pages” in the “Show posts from” section and select save.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ten tips for managing your online persona.

Your online reputation is becoming increasingly important; when anyone wants to find out who you are they will “Google” you.

Whether it’s a prospective client researching your value or a potential employer gauging your suitability, they will make decisions based on what they find, or don’t find. Ask yourself this, am I going to be advantaged or disadvantaged by my digital footprint?

Here are ten things you may want to consider:
  1. Have fun and be yourself. Your online reputation should represent who you are. Think seriously about your own personal values and apply them to everything you do, online and offline.
  2. Nothing online is private or confidential. Keep personal networks as private as possible but remember casual conversations or shared images with friends have the potential to be seen by anyone, anywhere and at any time. Never commit anything to the web that you wouldn't post on a motorway billboard.
  3. The Social Web doesn't differentiate between you and your employer. As you develop your online presence be sure that work life and personal life has a clear delineation. If the lines have the potential to become blurred have a conversation with your employer to get clarification on policies, best practice and expectations.
  4. Respect the opinion of others. You have the right to an opinion but treat people online with the same respect that you would as if it was face to face.
  5. Listen more than you speak. No-one likes a blabber mouth so be sure to pay attention to what others have to say. You never know who is inside your network or what influence they have so adopting a one direction broadcast mentality will prompt people to delete you from their world.
  6. Create lots of relevant and valuable content. Giving is the name of the game, share your knowledge and you will gain the respect and ultimately referral from those you connect with.
  7. It’s not a numbers game. Building your online networks takes time. Choose platforms that suit your personality, industry and interests. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have differing values and potential. Choose the ones you can commit to and that add value to your existing commitments. Be consistent in your frequency and content theme. It’s not about volume, it’s not about the number of fans or followers, it’s all about genuine and authentic engagement with real people.
  8. Know what is being said about you. Use the tools available to scan the matrix of online conversations. Set Google alerts with your brand or name and use TweetDeck with Twitter searches for your name or notifications for mentions so you can respond promptly to personal references or enquiries.
  9. Don’t buy into the hype. No-one should tell you having an online presence is compulsory. You have to be sure you have a clear understanding of why you are doing this before what you do comes into play. A personal communications strategy plan may be a good investment of your time to begin with. (I know easier said than done)
  10. Integrate Online Marketing into your Business: It’s just a fad, we don’t have time, there’s too much risk, staff will waste time… They said the same about the telephone and email after that and yet they are now integral to modern business communications. Barriers to using social media come from fear, lack of experience, lack of authority or low priority. Don’t try to convert the doubters, find ways to use emerging technology to improve productivity, save time or remove long term issues. Only then will it will make sense to everyone involved making online marketing and communications a valuable tool and giving you the opportunity to make your mark on the World Wide Web.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It’s a date – taking the frustration out of event scheduling

We’ve all done it, whether it’s a team meeting or trying to hook up for coffee; comparing diaries and agreeing on a mutually acceptable date and time can be a nightmare.

At a recent training session we agreed to do a follow-up web conference. Easy we say, but the reality is one date works for some and not others and so starts the time consuming email-go-round.

A quick Google for “Polling for a date” (Yes getting the list of Russian Bride sites did cross my mind), came up with a forum recommendation of Doodle. One look at this free online tool indicated it was exactly what I needed. All you need to do is set up the event, give a range of dates and times, invite participants via email and wait to see what date gets all the yes votes.

You can opt for a paid version of about US$29/year if you want to lose the Google ad sidebar though the free option seems to have plenty of functionality. If you are using alternative products I would like to hear about them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Power of the Podcast

On demand video and audio is not new, radio and television stations have been making playback recording available for decades. The only downside of this is the media companies determine what we get to see and hear and when.

As with everything else in the Social Web, technology and broadband have made Podcasting easy and immediate. The smartphones’ built in video and web connectivity gives anyone with something to show or say the ability to capture the moment and share it immediately.

For those feeling a little more adventurous creating a YouTube channel will ensure you can store your recordings as a collection, add to this an iTunes account for those that want to generate exposure or an income from subscriptions and you are well on your way.

From the end users perspective, thanks to iPods and Mp3 Players, downloaded files are portable and can be watched or listened to during commuting times making your information updates convenient and non-invasive in an age of information overload.

If you are a little shy on video perhaps straight audio may be more your thing. Check out AudioBoo as one example of a free web based podcasting service. I created an account and a quick welcome message to try out its features. Record a reply in return, it would be great to hear from you.