In my previous post, I mentioned how important is for every business owner to define its online strategy as part of the business plan and with clear goal and vision, it is easier for the business owner to identify the problems, as the business grows. It is also needed to define milestones for every single steps to measure the progress and avoid expensive operations by improving or changing the plan.
To do this measurement, there are hundreds of analytics and advertising tools built, which can be accessed for free or paid (depends on what sort of reports you need). From my experience, As the Google owns the biggest share of search, it is wise to stick to its recommendations and do whatever it likes! However with the growth of Bing as the second most desirable search engine, it’s becoming a “must” for all web sites to follow their standards, although there are not much difference between them!
Google, has a huge list of applications which can be used for free and the good thing is that they all are somehow integrated and data can be shared across multiple applications. For instance, if you run an advertising campaign with Adwords, then you can see visitor traffic for that ad in another app (Analytics) or at the same time, you can use their recommendation to improve the quality by another tool (Keyword Planner).
I tried to summarize the 4 main tools from Google, with very brief details of features that you need to know. In my opinion,they must be setup from the first date that the any website goes live.
First things first! It doesn’t matter if your website is a single page site, built in with the latest web design techniques or you don’t need it now! Before running your web site in live environment, make sure you equipped it with the Analytics tracking script. What you need to do is to copy the scripts that it gives you to the bottom of each page in your website. Then as soon as somebody hit your website, it starts to stores the information including the user location, browser, the time on the site, the pages visited and so many other details. These information can be used later to identify the points in your site which the user like or dislike. Also, when you decided to redesign your website, It will give you the idea of where needs to be improved. Besides, Analytics provides you with the full detailed analysis on your social medias and you can track the posts that send you the most referrals.
This is another basic but important tool for website management which gives you more high level details of how the web site is treated by Google crawler. Every website must be introduced to Google to be indexed otherwise, the site may sit there without anyone (especially Google) knows it is there! The setup is again very easy: Google gives you a file to be copied in the website directory, so it can verify your ownership. Then you can submit your website url (or any single page) to be indexed. Depends on the quality of contents on the site and other factors such as links from others to the site, the updates frequency and etc, Google decides how often it should return to the site to check for updates. You can also tell Webmaster to send you notification if anythings goes wrong or there is a problem to access the files on the site.
Do you want short term solution to sit on first page of Google? Then the Adwords is the only option! Setting up an account with Adwords is very easy. Even creating ads are handy so you can run your ad in less than 5 minutes. However, I don’t recommend that because it can sucks all your money in couple of hours if you don’t know how to set it up! Once you created your ads, you can monitor the performance for each keyword by looking into the number of clicks and impressions. The interesting thing is that Google will show you the opportunities to increase your ad traffic.
I found this tool very useful with integration to Adwords. As part of your advertising, you can enter the keywords (defined in your ad), your page (which Adwords sends the users to that) and some other filters such as location, industry and language and it gives you an idea of how much search is estimated to be done on that keyword (or similar) and based on your page ranking and its position in search results, how likely is that for your page to get clicks. I suggest this to be run before creating the ads to know what exactly you should advertise. Also you can plan for you budget because it gives you the average bid on each keyword.
I just wanted to give you a very brief introduction of the basic tools you need to use, to successfully run your online marketing and web & content strategy. Each of the above tools, can be easily accessed by your personal Gmail address. Google has also provided with lots of DIY examples and resources which can be found on “Learning” section of the tool. For example, Google Analytics learning center is here.
Don’t forget that while you can save thousands of dollars by setting up all of these accounts by yourself, you may lose double of that by not using them properly. So, always seek experts advice!