The Handy Guide to Setting Up Scroll Depth Tracking

The Handy Guide to Setting Up Scroll Depth Tracking

How would your marketing approach change if you knew that 80% of your users were only scrolling 25% of the way down your homepage? User falloff can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps your content isn’t relevant. Maybe it’s too long, or just flat-out boring. Whatever the reason, scroll depth tracking is a great way to find out just how much of your content is actually being seen by your users.

Scroll depth tracking enables you to measure user engagement with your content. It can be implemented on every page of your website, and allows you to track the percentage of users that meet certain scroll depth thresholds on a given page, such as baseline(0%), 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. This blog post will walk you through a simple step-by-step process for getting scroll depth tracking set up on your own site, using Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA).

Google Analytics has many powerful features straight out of the box. However, with just a little tweaking, you can easily augment Google Analytics to capture additional data, which in turn allows for deeper, more meaningful insights. Setting up scroll depth tracking is one of these easy augmentations.

Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t track user scroll depth by default. The good news is that scroll depth tracking can be implemented without too much of a fuss by using Google Tag Manager. The next part of this post will walk you through 18 easy steps to getting it up and running in no time.

NOTE: Before we begin, this guide will assume that you already have jQuery set up and are running Universal Analytics (UA) through Google Tag Manager. If you don’t already have jQuery you can download and host it yourself or add a simple code snippet where Google’s CDN will host it for you without much of a hassle. To learn more, check out W3School’s guide to jQuery.

Let’s get started on how to setup scroll depth tracking.

Step 1:

Open GTM and click “Add a new tag”:

Step 2:

Now select “Custom HTML Tag”:

Step 3:

Copy and paste the following code under “Configure Tag”. Don’t forget to include <script> </script>! Click continue after adding the code. To learn more about the finer points of the Rob Flaherty’s code go to: http://ift.tt/1p5cb8l where he explains his code in detail.

Step 4:

You’ll now see a section 3 on your screen entitled “Fire On”. Under this section select “All Pages” or “Some Pages” depending on your preference for which pages you’d like to have scroll depth tracking be applied to. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be going with “All Pages”. Hit “Create Tag” at the bottom and you’ll be prompted to name your tag. I’d suggest that you name it something appropriate (e.g. Scroll Depth Tracking). Now click “save”.

Step 5:

Now, in the upper right-hand corner of GTM, next to the “Publish” button, click on the arrow to the right and select the “preview and debug mode” as illustrated here:

Step 6:

Now go to your website (or refresh your site’s page) and the display console from GTM should appear at the bottom of your page as shown below: 

Step 7:

Off to the left on the display console under “Summary” select “ScrollDistance” and then click on “Data Layer” on the upper middle portion of the display console. You should see Data Layer values such as “eventCategory”, “eventAction”, and “eventLabel”:

Step 8:

Now let’s test things out by scrolling down on one of the pages on your site. If all goes well, additional ScrollDistance events should fire on the left portion of the Display Console (under Summary).

Click on one of these “ScrollDistance” events and it will tell you how far you have scrolled down the page by again clicking on it (a newly populated ScrollDistance event) and then going to “Data Layer” at the top portion of the display console and then looking at the eventLabel, which will state baseline (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%).

In the screenshot below you can see the scroll depth was measured to be at 50%:

Once you see a percentage under eventLabel in the display console, data is being successfully transmitted to the data layer. Now we need to transfer that data to GTM. To do this we will create three variables within GTM. Each of these will be based on the Data Layer Value names we previously saw in the GTM Display Console, which are the following: eventCategory, eventAction and eventLabel.

The following steps show how to step it up.

Step 9:

Now go back to GTM and on the left panel select “Variables” as illustrated below:

Scroll down to “User Defined Variables” at the bottom and select “New” and select “Data Layer Variable”:

Step 10:  

Under “Variable Name” we need to link a few value names we saw earlier in the display console in the data layer. We will need to create three new data variables in total.

Name the first one eventCategory  – just like we saw before in the display console, and click “Create Variable”. When prompted to name it again, name it “eventCategory”.

Remember, we are drawing these values directly from the Data Layer within the Display Console so the names must be identical when creating our variables.  

Step 11:

Now it’s time to create two more variables, eventAction and eventLabel. These were the other important value names listed our data layer under the display console as seen below: 

Repeat steps 9 and 10 and create two new variables, one for eventAction and one for eventLayer.

Step 12: (optional)

Now with all three variables in place, the data layer should soon be connected to GTM. Go to preview and debug mode in GTM and be sure to refresh your site’s page. Select a ScrollDistance event and look under the variables tab to verify eventCategory, eventAction and eventLabel are all in place.

Step 13:

The last piece of the puzzle is to connect your scroll depth reporting with Google Analytics.

In order to do so go back to GTM and select “New Tag”, just like in the very first step.

Select “Google Analytics tag” and choose “Universal Analytics” (not “Classic Analytics”).  Hit “continue” and enter your UA tracking ID (found by going to Google Analytics and finding your tag that starts with UA when you’re selecting your GA account). Name this tag “GA Event Scroll”.

Under Track Type, change from the default “Page View” to “Event”:

Step 14:

Next, under Tracking Parameters, click on the button to the left of the of each input field and select the appropriate corresponding event label. For example – for Category, select eventCategory so it reads and the same for Action and Label as shown below:

Step 15:

Click “Continue” and you’ll reach section 3: “Fire On”. Select the “More” button and then click the red “new” button in the upper left corner and select “Custom Event” from the following screen: 

Step 16:

For the “Event Name” input under “Fire On”, enter exactly: “ScrollDistance” (as that was the event name displayed within our Display Console).

Select “Create Trigger” and when prompted to name it, type “ScrollDistance event”.  Now hit “create trigger” at the bottom of the page. When prompted to enter a name for the tag, name it something appropriate like “ScrollDistance event” and create the tag.

Step 17:

Google Analytics should now be reading your scroll depth data. To check, in GTM go to preview and debug mode again, refresh your site’s page and scroll down in order to fire events.

Then go to GA and under Real-Time Reporting select “Events”. You should now be seeing scroll depth data coming in.

Scroll Depth data will appear within 48 hours under Behavior > Events > Overview if you would like a more detailed breakdown of your scroll depth percentages.

Step 18:

Don’t forget to hit publish in GTM to ensure none of your work was in vain.

What next?

With scroll depth tracking all set up you’ll be able to gain insights into just how much content your users are viewing. If you find that a significant amount of your users are reaching that 100% scroll threshold, great. However, if you find that many users aren’t making it that far, it may be time to rethink how to better present your content to get your users to take the action(s) you want them to. To learn more about how to keep users engaged with your content I highly recommend checking out Dan Petrovic’s post: “How to Write for the Web – a New Approach for Increase Engagement”.

via Distilled Read More…

The Handy Guide to Setting Up Scroll Depth Tracking

The Handy Guide to Setting Up Scroll Depth Tracking

How would your marketing approach change if you knew that 80% of your users were only scrolling 25% of the way down your homepage? User falloff can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps your content isn’t relevant. Maybe it’s too long, or just flat-out boring. Whatever the reason, scroll depth tracking is a great way to find out just how much of your content is actually being seen by your users.

Scroll depth tracking enables you to measure user engagement with your content. It can be implemented on every page of your website, and allows you to track the percentage of users that meet certain scroll depth thresholds on a given page, such as baseline(0%), 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. This blog post will walk you through a simple step-by-step process for getting scroll depth tracking set up on your own site, using Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA).

Google Analytics has many powerful features straight out of the box. However, with just a little tweaking, you can easily augment Google Analytics to capture additional data, which in turn allows for deeper, more meaningful insights. Setting up scroll depth tracking is one of these easy augmentations.

Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t track user scroll depth by default. The good news is that scroll depth tracking can be implemented without too much of a fuss by using Google Tag Manager. The next part of this post will walk you through 18 easy steps to getting it up and running in no time.

NOTE: Before we begin, this guide will assume that you already have jQuery set up and are running Universal Analytics (UA) through Google Tag Manager. If you don’t already have jQuery you can download and host it yourself or add a simple code snippet where Google’s CDN will host it for you without much of a hassle. To learn more, check out W3School’s guide to jQuery.

Let’s get started on how to setup scroll depth tracking.

Step 1:

Open GTM and click “Add a new tag”:

Step 2:

Now select “Custom HTML Tag”:

Step 3:

Copy and paste the following code under “Configure Tag”. Don’t forget to include <script> </script>! Click continue after adding the code. To learn more about the finer points of the Rob Flaherty’s code go to: http://ift.tt/1p5cb8l where he explains his code in detail.


Step 4:

You’ll now see a section 3 on your screen entitled “Fire On”. Under this section select “All Pages” or “Some Pages” depending on your preference for which pages you’d like to have scroll depth tracking be applied to. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be going with “All Pages”. Hit “Create Tag” at the bottom and you’ll be prompted to name your tag. I’d suggest that you name it something appropriate (e.g. Scroll Depth Tracking). Now click “save”.

Step 5:

Now, in the upper right-hand corner of GTM, next to the “Publish” button, click on the arrow to the right and select the “preview and debug mode” as illustrated here:

Step 6:

Now go to your website (or refresh your site’s page) and the display console from GTM should appear at the bottom of your page as shown below: 

Step 7:

Off to the left on the display console under “Summary” select “ScrollDistance” and then click on “Data Layer” on the upper middle portion of the display console. You should see Data Layer values such as “eventCategory”, “eventAction”, and “eventLabel”:

Step 8:

Now let’s test things out by scrolling down on one of the pages on your site. If all goes well, additional ScrollDistance events should fire on the left portion of the Display Console (under Summary).

Click on one of these “ScrollDistance” events and it will tell you how far you have scrolled down the page by again clicking on it (a newly populated ScrollDistance event) and then going to “Data Layer” at the top portion of the display console and then looking at the eventLabel, which will state baseline (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%).

In the screenshot below you can see the scroll depth was measured to be at 50%:

Once you see a percentage under eventLabel in the display console, data is being successfully transmitted to the data layer. Now we need to transfer that data to GTM. To do this we will create three variables within GTM. Each of these will be based on the Data Layer Value names we previously saw in the GTM Display Console, which are the following: eventCategory, eventAction and eventLabel.

The following steps show how to step it up.

Step 9:

Now go back to GTM and on the left panel select “Variables” as illustrated below:

Scroll down to “User Defined Variables” at the bottom and select “New” and select “Data Layer Variable”:

Step 10:  

Under “Variable Name” we need to link a few value names we saw earlier in the display console in the data layer. We will need to create three new data variables in total.

Name the first one eventCategory  – just like we saw before in the display console, and click “Create Variable”. When prompted to name it again, name it “eventCategory”.

Remember, we are drawing these values directly from the Data Layer within the Display Console so the names must be identical when creating our variables.  

Step 11:

Now it’s time to create two more variables, eventAction and eventLabel. These were the other important value names listed our data layer under the display console as seen below: 

Repeat steps 9 and 10 and create two new variables, one for eventAction and one for eventLayer.

Step 12: (optional)

Now with all three variables in place, the data layer should soon be connected to GTM. Go to preview and debug mode in GTM and be sure to refresh your site’s page. Select a ScrollDistance event and look under the variables tab to verify eventCategory, eventAction and eventLabel are all in place.

Step 13:

The last piece of the puzzle is to connect your scroll depth reporting with Google Analytics.

In order to do so go back to GTM and select “New Tag”, just like in the very first step.

Select “Google Analytics tag” and choose “Universal Analytics” (not “Classic Analytics”).  Hit “continue” and enter your UA tracking ID (found by going to Google Analytics and finding your tag that starts with UA when you’re selecting your GA account). Name this tag “GA Event Scroll”.

Under Track Type, change from the default “Page View” to “Event”:

Step 14:

Next, under Tracking Parameters, click on the button to the left of the of each input field and select the appropriate corresponding event label. For example – for Category, select eventCategory so it reads and the same for Action and Label as shown below:

Step 15:

Click “Continue” and you’ll reach section 3: “Fire On”. Select the “More” button and then click the red “new” button in the upper left corner and select “Custom Event” from the following screen: 

Step 16:

For the “Event Name” input under “Fire On”, enter exactly: “ScrollDistance” (as that was the event name displayed within our Display Console).

Select “Create Trigger” and when prompted to name it, type “ScrollDistance event”.  Now hit “create trigger” at the bottom of the page. When prompted to enter a name for the tag, name it something appropriate like “ScrollDistance event” and create the tag.

Step 17:

Google Analytics should now be reading your scroll depth data. To check, in GTM go to preview and debug mode again, refresh your site’s page and scroll down in order to fire events.

Then go to GA and under Real-Time Reporting select “Events”. You should now be seeing scroll depth data coming in.

Scroll Depth data will appear within 48 hours under Behavior > Events > Overview if you would like a more detailed breakdown of your scroll depth percentages.

Step 18:

Don’t forget to hit publish in GTM to ensure none of your work was in vain.

What next?

With scroll depth tracking all set up you’ll be able to gain insights into just how much content your users are viewing. If you find that a significant amount of your users are reaching that 100% scroll threshold, great. However, if you find that many users aren’t making it that far, it may be time to rethink how to better present your content to get your users to take the action(s) you want them to. To learn more about how to keep users engaged with your content I highly recommend checking out Dan Petrovic’s post: “How to Write for the Web – a New Approach for Increase Engagement”.

via distilled Read More…

Seven simple rules for effective email communication and outreach

Seven simple rules for effective email communication and outreach

Communication is key to success in life. No matter your industry, field, career, day-to-day responsibilities, or duties, communication is integral to your success. 

This is particularly true in SEO and link building, where communication is vital to educating clients, gaining buy-in, executing campaigns, securing links, and presenting results.

Email is the primary mode of communication in today’s digital world. If you can’t communicate well through email, you’ll struggle.

Benefits of effective communication

  1. Establishes trust, sets project scope, and defines expectations.
  2. Conveys and emphasizes the correct information.
  3. Enables both parties to be understood.
  4. Identifies team obstacles and facilitates problem solving.
  5. Ensures client, team, and personal satisfaction.

Your ability to present yourself well, communicate ideas, and pitch is fundamental to success.

Let me be clear:

Knowledge, skill, and integrity are vital to any business. But being able to communicate well is crucial in all aspects of work.

Good communication increases value, instills trust, builds confidence, resolves issues, reveals obstacles, and facilitates virtually every piece of an SEO campaign and relationship with clients, supervisors, and team members.

Communication is doubly valuable in link building, which requires one-to-one communication with other site owners in order to secure links. You need to effectively communicate WHY it’s in their (or their audiences’) best interest to link.

Here are my rules for effective email communication (and outreach):

  1. Use templates for format.
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Lead with value.
  4. Be clear and concise.
  5. Active language wins.
  6. Send complete emails.
  7. Follow up.

What is the goal of your email? Every single element of your email (subject line, structure, word choice) should support that.

1) Templates: how to format emails

Everyone has received terrible mass-produced emails with a template containing zero customization.

If I receive one more “Dear Webmaster” email…

Despite this, I fervently believe in the value of templates. Templates lead to systems and processes, which lead to well-formatted emails that are easy to read and understand (not to mention produce).

My rule of thumb for whether or not I use a template is:

  1. Am I sending multiple emails to a similar audience?
  2. Will I send a similar email in the future?
  3. Is there an optimal way to structure the information to convey my message?

The secret to a good template is list segmentation. Your template should be customized to your audience, leaving enough room for variance as needed.

Unless I’m replying to a thread or sending a unique email, it’s highly likely I’m using some form of template.

Even hand written emails follow a general format (AKA template). Think about the various emails you have to send every day. I bet there are a handful of general templates you follow, even if you’re composing each email individually.

Here’s an example of a template I use often:

Featured email template

This is what I use when I include a positive mention of someone or their company in a post. This helps me build a connection, alerts them to the fact they’ve been mentioned and why, and maybe even nets me a couple social shares.

Creating processes is key to effectiveness. This idea of optimizing shouldn’t be new to the SEO crowd

2) Know your audience

The most important rule of communication is to base the entire conversation around your audience.

Think about it:

How do you converse with a colleague? A supervisor? A client? A good friend? Your parent?

Style, tone, word choice, and mode of communication varies with each audience. It’s communication 101 – you need to structure the conversation that makes sense and is effective for that audience.

Here’s what you should know about your contact before drafting an email:

  1. Name
  2. Title/position
  3. Personality
  4. Authority/influence
  5. Their communication style
  6. How often they’re pitched
  7. Your professional relationship.

If you send similar emails, regardless of audience, you’re communicating ineffectively.

3) Value-first Communication

There’s always a reason WHY you’re sending an email.

To communicate effectively, it should be clear why you’ve sent an email, and why it matters to the person you’re emailing.

It’s the last bit – why your email matters to your contact – that’s most important. Leading with this is how you establish value, and gain consideration.

You don’t need to write a long introduction about who you are, or why what you’re doing matters to the world. Lead with the value to your audience.

Why should they care?

The earlier you can answer this question in an email, the better.

When editing a template, my first step is always to move the “why this matters to you” statement to the top (or as near the top as possible).

Here’s an email pitch I receive often:

Email pitch example

Here’s how I would make this email value-first.

Hello Cory,

Are you working to improve your sales and marketing bandwidth?

(custom line that speaks directly to the person’s position or the company).

At [redacted] we provide you with a bespoke B2B list for your prospective accounts, lead generation, and data management services, so you own the client while we do all the research.

We specialize in:

  • White Paper lead generation.
  • CRM Data Maintenance and accuracy.
  • Market intelligence research.
  • Market mapping and market assessment.

Let’s discuss how [redacted] can help you meet your goals.

Is it perfect? No – this isn’t my business so I can’t rework the message or positioning. Also, I’m not looking to purchase or outsource list building, so I’m the wrong audience.

However, this reformatted version leads with value. It doesn’t waste any time. If it’s not the right fit, they can move on right away. If it is, they’re more likely to actually read it and reply.

There should always be a reason WHY you’re sending the email.

Don’t bury your lede.

4) Clear and concise

The secret to good writing is liberal editing.

Write your email, then cut as much of it as you can. Then cut a little bit more.

I love to cut:

  • Junk words: that, lot, thing, like, feels,
  • Euphemisms: get the sense, to hear, to help, taking the time, let me know, look forward, the likes of, staying the course, etc.
  • Adverbs: totally, specifically, fully, especially, etc.
  • Improper pronouns: any unnecessary switching. Keep it first person as much as possible.
  • Everything: if I can cut it, I will.

Don’t obsessively reread emails before you send them. Instead, cut everything until you KNOW there’s no junk left. Everyone will be happier for it.

5) Active voice is for humans

Active voice communicates the correct perspective and chain of events in email.

Email reports are especially reliant on active voice, as passive voice might misrepresent the work.

Passive language robs communication of cause and effect, making it unclear which action led to which result, and deemphasizes value in your email communication.

If you struggle with active versus passive voice, look for awkward phrasing and think about who did what. Make sure you’re not obfuscating the information, for any reason.

A few examples of passive versus active:

“The page was optimized by the SEO.” vs “The SEO optimized the page.”

“Eight links were built by the team across the month.” vs “The team built eight links this month.”

“Rankings have improved and search traffic has been increased by our combined SEO efforts.” vs “Our SEO efforts improved rankings and increased search traffic.”

Passive voice will undermine your tone, confuse your meaning, and weaken your position.

6) Include your pitch

Don’t pitch a request to pitch. Don’t do it.

It happens often:

pitch to pitch

The best case scenario is a “yes, send along a pitch.” That same response might have been your ACTUAL goal – a link, a publication, coverage, meeting, etc.

Don’t make life more difficult than it needs to be. Everyone is busy and everyone receives too many emails. Pseudo politeness isn’t going to increase the odds your pitch will be successful, especially if you follow rule #2 and only send emails when you have value to add.

The best emails answer any question in the initial email. Consider your audience and make sure you cover everything within reason.

7) Follow up – It’s polite

If you’re building links or sending promotional emails, you’re not doing your job if you don’t follow up.

It’s not rude to send follow up emails – it’s polite.

The follow up email is a good litmus test for the value of your email.

If you believe you have something of value to offer, then you shouldn’t be shy to send a reminder to ensure the person had a chance to review your email.

You’re actually doing them a favor by making sure they didn’t miss a reasonable opportunity. If you don’t feel this way, you haven’t refined your approach enough. You need to believe in the value of your message, the brevity of the outreach, the goals of your contact.

The upper limit I’ll send is four. The original, with three threaded messages.

This isn’t for contacts I have a clearly defined relationship with – only when I think someone truly is missing my emails and I have a valuable reason to be contacting them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my third (or even fourth) email get a positive response. People are BUSY.

If you’re not following up with your initial email at all, you’re missing huge opportunity.

via Search Engine Watch – Category: seo Read More…

Latest Search Market Share Numbers: Google Search Down on Desktop, Up Overall by @SouthernSEJ

Latest Search Market Share Numbers: Google Search Down on Desktop, Up Overall by @SouthernSEJ

Google’s share of the US desktop search market is not just stagnating, it is now on the decline. However, that shouldn’t necessarily be a cause for concern because the company’s overall share of the of the US search market, across all devices, is growing. This is according to August 2016 data from StatCounter.

Month-Over-Month US Desktop Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 79.88% (79.17%)
  • Bing: 9.9% (10%)
  • Yahoo!: 8.34% (8.87%)
  • AOL: 0.84% (0.88%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.41% (0.43%)
  • Other: 0.62% (0.65%)

As you can see, desktop search market share is down across the board. Meaning US searchers are generally conducting fewer searches on desktop, regardless of their search engine of choice.

Now let’s take a look at overall search market share, including desktop, mobile, tablet, and console.

Month-Over-Month Combined US Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 85.82% (85.38%)
  • Yahoo!: 6.58% (6.99%)
  • Bing: 6.39% (6.39%)
  • AOL: 0.46% (0.46%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.35% (0.37%)
  • Other: 0.4% (0.42%)

As you can see, Google’s overall share of the US search market is growing incrementally. However, the same cannot be said for its two closest rivals, Yahoo and Bing, which are declining and flatlining respectively.

So where exactly is Google gaining in search market share? The answer is mobile. Here’s one more comparison, illustrating Google’s gains in mobile search.

Month-Over-Month US Mobile Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 94.53% (94.02%)
  • Yahoo!: 4.07% (4.48%)
  • Bing: 1.01% (1.08%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.23% (0.24%)
  • Baidu: 0.04% (0.05%)
  • Other: 0.13% (0.13%)

It’s clear that Google is again the only search engine gaining marketing share in this category, while mobile searches on competing search engines are either declining or staying flat.

Does that mean Google is growing in mobile search volume at the expense of its rivals? That’s just speculation at this point, but the numbers sure paint an interesting picture.

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

A Guide to Blog Post Planning

A Guide to Blog Post Planning

Maintaining a blog takes more than just writing a bunch of blog posts. You should develop a strategy and planning for your content (especially if you are writing with multiple authors). Also, you should interact with your audience and respond to their comments. In this post, I’ll explain the importance of content planning and give some practical tips on how to effortlessly plan your blog posts.

Blog Post Planning: Create a Plan!

Building Your Blog Post Plan | Search Engine Journal

If you are serious about blogging, you should make a plan for your content. If you have a personal blog, planning your content will be relatively easy. Planning becomes much harder if you are working with multiple authors writing about different topics, or invite guest bloggers. I’ll give you five important pointers that will help you to create a plan:

1. Create an Editorial Calendar

A plan starts with a calendar. You should create an editorial calendar in which you plot out all the posts that you (and your co-workers) are going to write. This could just be an excel sheet, but you could also use a plugin or service for this, for instance, Trello or MeisterTask.

2. Sit Down and Brainstorm

If you want to create an editorial calendar, you could start by brainstorming. Invite all your blog authors and sit together. Ask everyone what their ideas are and which posts they would like to write in the near future. Make a list of these ideas and wishes, and then plot them out on a calendar. Make sure your authors finish their blogs a few days before the post date so you can proofread, edit if needed, and find or create accompanying illustrations or photos.

3. Use News and Current Events

When planning content, you should take a look at your calendar as well! Are there any major events coming up which are worth mentioning in your blog post? Or should you write some seasonal posts? Make sure to mix these ‘current-events posts’ with the other posts you have lined up.

4. Blog Regularly

You should blog regularly. Giving exact numbers is hard. For a company blog, a daily post will be totally acceptable. For a personal blog, this will probably not be doable at all. Try to establish some frequency and stick to it. Your readers will appreciate a reliable schedule. Once you know you can commit to your chosen schedule, make sure to communicate it to your audience somehow, so they know what to expect.

5. Add Variation

If you often write about similar topics, make sure to mix things up a little. Don’t write articles about nearly identical topics one after the other. Of course, you can still write blog series but try to vary between subjects as much as possible. You could also make variations in the form of your content. A video post for example spices things up!

Conclusion

If you take your blog serious, you should create a calendar. It’s a must-have if you are working with multiple authors. Creating an editorial calendar doesn’t have to be hard at all. Good luck!

 

This post originally appeared on Yoast, and is re-published with permission.

Image Credits

Featured Image: ra2studio/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo: konejota/DepositPhotos.com

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

Everything You Need To Know About Facebook Ads

Everything You Need To Know About Facebook Ads

fb-ads

Facebook offers display ads that allow marketers to target specific audiences based on their geographical location as well as their personal interests.

Facebook is the biggest social network platform in the world and boasts approximately 1.59 billion monthly users.

The site was originally targeted at a college audience, but the user demographic for the platform now starts from the minimum age of 13 and continues throughout all other generations, although the least popular group is the over-65s category.

Due to the vast audience of visitors that Facebook receives, and its ability to keep them engaged for lengthy periods of time as they browse around profiles and pages, it stands to reason that marketers are able to utilise the platform to great effect. Social media marketing is still a growing industry, but already it is challenging the more established methods, such as Google search marketing and SEO, to drive engaged users to a business.

Facebook has offered advertising in various forms from as far back as 2004, although its original ad units were far from the sophisticated devices that today’s marketers can benefit from.

Ads are paid for on a per-impression or per-click basis and suggested bid rates give you an idea of how to manage your advertising budget.

Over the years, Facebook has learned how to gather incredibly precise knowledge about their users based on the intimate level of details that appear in each individual’s profiles. When users ‘Like’ a page this acts as a signal to Facebook that the user is interested in a particular niche of business or brand.

fb-ads-personal

By building up such information about people, Facebook Ads are one of the most superior types of advertising programs that are available at the moment.

Marketers can choose to target consumers based on several different criteria including location, interests and demographic.

Geotargeting

There’s no use in advertising your local business in Vancouver to an audience of Facebook users in the UK.

you can
even
target people
who recently moved
to a town
Facebook makes it easy to pin down your precise geographical area and only show ads that are relevant to your market focus. It also possible to target users that have recently moved to a town who might want to find out about your local business.

One of the most powerful tools is the ability to target an audience within a specific radius of a town, so if you service only the immediate market, for instance, if you run a barbers or cafe, you can target people within a few miles of your town, but if your business provides a service to a wider geographic area, you can target people up to 50 miles from your town. This is great for the service industry, especially when there is little competition in the area.

Interests

This is an important category for advertisers as interests are extremely variable across billions of users.

You might want to attract those with a passion for fishing to try out a new bite alarm, or crime fiction lovers to read the latest thriller.

fb-ads-interests

Depending on your industry or niche, you can apply a highly specific focus to this field and display ads that are more likely to convert into click-throughs from this selected audience.

Targeting interests is also a way to try to capture a competitor’s audience. For example, if you are promoting sports shoes, you can target anybody who likes Nike or Adidas.

Post Boosting

Another option that Facebook provides is the opportunity to boost posts. The concept is similar to the ad model in that you can reach an audience based on criteria such as geography and interests.

It is possible to target fans, friends of fans and exclude fans completely where appropriate to your strategy. Boosting posts is an excellent method for sharing brand news and developments quickly with those who may be interested in it, and advertising direct to fans of a page increases the likelihood of engagement, which when couple with a large fan-base, can help a post “go viral”.

Going Viral

A free way to spread the word about your brand or business across Facebook is with the clever use of some viral marketing.

Having users ‘Like’ your post or page is a great way to get consumers engaged with your brand. Companies usually employ a professional marketing agency to come up with a successful viral campaign, but often funny, informative or sentimental pictures and videos can work wonders for a company.

Retargeting

Retargeting can be a powerful way to engage with people who have already visited your Facebook page or viewed your website. This is achieved by setting up Facebook custom audiences so that whenever somebody visits your website, or a specific landing page, they are added to your retargeting list in Facebook Ads Manager. This is a good way to remind people of your brand following a viral campaign.

People rarely purchase from a company the first time they come across it, especially if they first see your site as a result of a vital marketing campaign, so retargeting them with adverts is a good way to build trust and engagement.

There are some limitations to advertising in Facebook which often catch people out. Facebook does not like a visual advert having more than 20% of the image covered in text – this can make it harder to create an engaging image that also sends the exact message you want, but with a little imagination and creativity it is possible to make a great advert. Facebook also provides a checking tool so that you do not waste your time uploading adverts that will be rejected.

Pricing

In terms of pricing, Facebook ads is cheaper than Google AdWords, especially if you’re trying to send traffic directly to your Facebook fan page, rather than a website. But, if you’re a local business looking to generate direct response enquiries, then your advertising money would be better spent with Google.

However, click through rate is not an indicator of intent – while Facebook will generally provide cheaper traffic for a website, it tends to have a lower conversion rate, which means that it is not always the best tool for a business.

Which Industries?

Some industries attract more clicks on Facebook than others, so it is worth bearing this in mind when you plan a campaign.

Web industries such a gaming, dating and deals all receive the lowest CTRs on Facebook, with CTR as low as 0.027% for Dating, whereas general retail, publishing (this includes news) and telecommunications attract the highest CTRs, with rates up to 0.919% for telecommunications. Costs vary widely too, starting at $0.08 CPC for clothing and accessories, up to $0.39 for deals – clothing and accessories also gets a reasonably good CTR of 0.254%, which means that this could be a good area to consider, so long as you factor in the high rate of returns in this industry.

fb-ads-vs-google-adwords

By comparison, Google is primarily search based focused, so you can expect to receive a higher click through rate on your organic search ads because you are displaying your ads to searchers who are actively searching for your products or services. A well-crafted text ad could easily get double digit click through rate. You would be lucky to get over 2% with Facebook. There’s an excellent bit of research on Facebook CTR on Quora.

Facebook is based on interruption marketing with their main visitors reasons on being on their website in first place is to connect, share and to be entertained socially CPA can differ widely, for example, a local plumber would get a significantly higher conversion rate and better cost per acquisition using Google AdWords than say someone selling Teespring T-shirt’s which sales are built off additional Facebook likes and shares.

Tell A Good Story

Facebook works especially well when a good story is told. For example, the story style post Trip to Cambridge saved by local garage!, attracted over 10,000 views, 113 likes and 38 shares, at a cost of a few dollars, and resulted in several new customers. People love a good news story, especially when it concerns a local business. A bland advert highlighting mechanical services would not have received anywhere as much interest and would have cost much more to generate new business.

Facebook marketing is a complex but incredibly effective tool. Always research your target audience and consider your marketing budget before launching a social ad campaign. As with any form of Internet marketing, it is possible to quickly burn through your budget before optimising the campaign, so consider hiring a social media manager to run your campaign.

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* Adapted images: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com

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Install Fast and Free SSL and HTTPS in cPanel with Let’s Encrypt

Install Fast and Free SSL and HTTPS in cPanel with Let’s Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a trusted, open source certificate authority that offers free SSL certificates for as many domains as you want – and now there are easy ways to integrate it with cPanel for one-click, automated certificate installation that takes mere seconds to complete.

Installing an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt is already fast, but if you own a hosting business, you’re a developer who manages clients’ sites, or you want an even faster solution, then there are three Let’s Encrypt plugins you can integrate into cPanel, including an official plugin by cPanel.

In this post, I’ll cover how to install each of the three Let’s Encrypt plugins for cPanel and how you can use them to install and renew free certificates in a few seconds.

Server Requirements

To run any of the three plugins for cPanel there are a few prerequisites:

  • You need cPanel installed with a valid license
  • Root and SSH access to your server
  • The basic requirements for using Let’s Encrypt:
    • Unix-type OSes that include Python 2.6 or 2.7
  • For the official cPanel plugin:
    • cPanel and WHM versions 58.0.17 or above
  • For the plugin found on GitHub, you need:
    • A Centos five, six or seven server
    • A static IP address if you have Centos five
  • For the Let’s Encrypt for cPanel plugin, you need
    • i386 or x86_64 CentOS 6 or 7 (5 is not supported)
    • WHM 11.52 or higher (CloudLinux and LSWS compatible)
    • Remote access key has been generated (/root/.accesshash)

If you don’t have a remote access key generated but want to use the Let’s Encrypt for cPanel plugin, log into WHM and go to Clusters > Remote Access Key and click the Generate New Key button.

It may be important to note that the Let’s Encrypt for cPanel plugin is the only premium option on the list. It’s $30 and there’s a free trial available. If you would like to try it out before purchasing a license, you can install it with a trial license automatically.

If you decide to purchase a premium license after all, you can replace the trial licensee on your server with the premium license file. The details on this can be found on the Let’s Encrypt for cPanel Installation page.

Once you have all the server requirements for the plugin you want to use, you can go ahead and install it. Feel free to skip ahead to the one you want to install:

  1. Let’s Encrypt for cPanel Installation
  2. Free Let’s Encrypt cPanel GitHub Plugin
  3. Free Official cPanel Plugin

1. Let’s Encrypt for cPanel Installation

Installing the cPanel Plugin

Log into your SSH client at root level, then add the Let’s Encrypt repository with the following command:

Next, install the plugin for cPanel with line below and yum:

The installation process usually takes about a minute. If all goes well and the installation was successful, a test should run automatically.

If it renders similar messages as the example below, you’re good to go:

You can log in to your cPanel account and install your first SSL certificate.

Installing a Certificate

Once you’re logged into cPanel, you should see a Let’s Encrypt for cPanel button under Security. Click on it to access your active domains list to install a certificate.

The Let's Encrypt for cPanel button in cPanel.
Click the Let’s Encrypt for cPanel button to get started installing some SSL certificates.

Toward the bottom of the page, you should see the Issue a new certificate section. You should see a list of all your active domains including variations of them with and without a www. prefix.

You can check multiple boxes to install more than one certificate at a time or click the Issue Single link beside the domain where you want your certificate installed.

If you check multiple boxes, click one of the Issue Multiple links at the top or bottom of the list.

The Issue a new certificate section.
You can install multiple certificates at a time or just one.

Next, click the checkboxes next to the domains you don’t want to include if you selected multiple ones on the list on the previous page. Also select which domain you wish to be the primary one users are going to visit.

If you use one of the domains to access your email, also check the box labeled Install mail SMTPS/POP3S/IMAPS SSL certificate. Finally, click Issue to install your certificates.

Let's Encrypt for cPanel options.
Select which domains to include and install by clicking the Issue button.

The installation process takes about 10 seconds, but can take up to 45 seconds depending on how many certificates you have selected to issue. When the process has completed, you should see a message letting you know the installation was a success.

If something went wrong, try again. It usually works the second time around.

When you return to the main page, you should see your domains with certificates installed listed at the top of the page. You can click the Remove links to delete certificates one-by-one, or the Reinstall link to renew the certificates before the expiry date.

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2. Free Let’s Encrypt cPanel GitHub Plugin

As with any plugin installed from GitHub, it’s important that you’re aware of the inherent risks. Since regular maintenance and security isn’t guaranteed across all plugins found on GitHub, you need to be sure you trust the developer.

It’s a good practice to check out the developer of even recommended plugins from GitHub no matter who recommends them. For details about the developer of this plugin, check out the Let’s Encrypt cPanel plugin repository on GitHub.

For more details on the precautions you should consider before installing plugins from GitHub, check out one of our other posts How to Find and Install Hundreds of Free WordPress Plugins from GitHub.

Installing the cPanel Plugin

Log into the root of your server with SSH and run this command to download the plugin package to your server:

Next, go to the directory that was created for the plugin with the following line:

Finally, install the plugin by entering the command below:

Once you receive a message that says Successfully installed letsencrypt manager you’re all set to install your first SSL certificate.

Installing a Certificate

Once you’re logged into cPanel go to Security and click the Let’s Encrypt link. You’re not going to see an icon accompanied with the link. We’re not being fancy here.

On the management page, click the New SSL Certificate button.

The Let's Encrypt Manager cPanel plugin page.
Manage and install a new SSL certificate in one click.

Next, select one of your domains that you have registered to your cPanel account. Once you have made your choice, click the Submit button to start installing your certificate.

The inline pop-up to choose and install a certificate.
Choose your domain name and click the Submit button to install your certificate.

After about 10 seconds, you should be re-directed to the main page with a message letting you know the installation was a success. You should also see your domain listed on the page as well.

The success message.
Once your certificate is installed you should see a few details listed on the page for it.

Next to your domain on the list, you should see that a certificate for your domain was installed automatically for both your main domain and with a www. prefix. You should also see the date your certificate expires as well as the number of days you have left until the certificate expires.

3. Free Official cPanel Plugin

While this plugin needs to be installed to see it when you log into cPanel, there’s a chance it could come pre-installed in cPanel and WHM version 60. It’s not for certain yet only because extra testing needs to be completed by the folks behind cPanel before they can push out the change for everyone.

Installing the cPanel Plugin

For now, you can install the official Let’s Encrypt plugin for cPanel with one command:

The final installation steps need to be completed in WHM so go ahead and log in as the root user. Go to SSL/TLS > Manage AutoSSL and choose the Let’s Encrypt option under Choose an AutoSSL provider.

Next, check the boxes for I agree to these terms of service and Create a new registration with the provider. You can also click the link to review the terms of service.

The Manage AutoSSL page.
Fill out the form to finish installing the plugin.

When you have made your selections, click Save. You should see a small pop-over appear in a few seconds that lets you know the installation has completed successfully.

Installing a Certificate

It’s important to note that this feature only works if AutoSSL is enabled for the users where you want the SSL certificates installed. To enable this option for users, click the Manage Users tab, then select the Enable radio button next to the user account names where you want to install certificates.

Click the Check button to enable AutoSSL. When the process has completed, you can go back to the main Providers tab and click the Run AutoSSL For All Users button.

The Manage AutoSSL page.
Click the button to install certificates for all cPanel user accounts.

The process should only take a few seconds, but can take longer if you have many cPanel accounts and domains. Once the process is complete, all domains registed to all the cPanel accounts should have an SSL certificate installed.

Also, you won’t have to worry about renewing the certificates since that’s all setup for you automatically.

Wrapping Up

That’s a wrap! Three options you can use to install SSL certificates using your cPanel account or WHM.

Any of these options are generally great and fast but note that some plugins can be trusted more than others so be sure to exercise the appropriate amount of caution before installing any plugin for cPanel.

If you run to any troubles, feel absolutely free to contact our expert support team, night or day. We’re here for you. If you already have an active WMU DEV membership, premium support is all set and ready for you so you can open a support ticket, hop on live chat or check out the support forum for any issues you experience.

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3 Steps to Simpler Marketing Analytics by @littlemisslord

3 Steps to Simpler Marketing Analytics by @littlemisslord

Every smart marketer on the planet gets just how important data is in marketing.

But answer me these questions, and answer them honestly: Do you know how to analyze your marketing data? Do you know how to use your analyses to improve your results?

During his presentation at Call To Action Conference, co-founder of Orbit Media, Andy Crestodina, revealed that many data-driven marketers are not getting any value from their analytics. They tend to admire data charts rather than analyze the data and act on it. Unfortunately…

Pretty charts don’t actually do anything for you unless you take action.

Crap. Who else thought that looking at a few neat graphs in Google Analytics was enough?

Analyzing Data can be as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Making Marketing Analytics as Simple as 1, 2, 3 | Search Engine Journal

To increase traffic and conversions, marketers need to know how to interpret their own data and turn data insights into action. Andy debunked the myth that you’ve got to be Einstein to analyze your data. This is jolly good news for those of us who break out in cold sweats at the mere thought of number crunching.

He laid out a fool-proof three-step approach to help marketers analyze their own data and turn their analyses into action. It involves using the ever-trendy (but actually invaluable when you know how to use them) Google Analytics reports: Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion.

Let’s dig in.

1. Turn Ideas Into Questions

What do you want to find out?

2. Find Answers

Look for a report that can help you validate or reject the idea.

3. Take Action

Take what you’ve learned and use it to optimize your marketing results.

By using these simple but effective steps, you can find the answers in Google Analytics to some of your most pressing marketing questions. You’re going to learn how to decrease bounce rate, rank higher in Google, boost reader engagement and increase conversions. Trust me, this is game-changing stuff.

Make sure you’re logged into Google Analytics and on the Reporting page. Let’s do this!

Audience Reports

Google Analytics Audience reports don’t just tell you who your users are; they also show you how sticky your website is. If you want to find out how well your website is working across various devices and browsers, this report is your new best friend.

Example: How to decrease your bounce rate using Audience reports

Sometimes bouncier can mean better, but this is not the case in marketing. If you have a high bounce rate (whether on your website or blog), then it’s likely that your content isn’t very relevant or user-friendly.

For smart marketers, the aim of the game should be to get bounce rates as low as humanly possible.

Using Google Analytics Audience reports, Andy shows us how to find out our website’s bounce rate across different browsers.

1. Ask a Question

“Is your website working well in every browser?”

2. Find the Answer

Click on Audience reports > Technology > Browser & OS. This will give you an overview of the bounce rates for users of every browser.

Select “Avg. time on page” from the drop-down list in the third column. This shows you which blog posts your readers are engaging with most compared to the site average.

Look for similarities between the most engaging posts. Do they talk about the same subject? Are they the same type of post (e.g., a how-to or a guide)? In the example, the posts with the highest engagement all cover Google Analytics. Hey, what a marvelous topic for a blog article!

3. Take Action

The actions are pretty obvious. Once you know which posts your readers dig, you need to deliver more of the good stuff. Invest some time in promoting these posts. Create and publish more content on the same or related subjects.

Conversion Reports

If a marketer’s ultimate goal isn’t to convert, then what is? Conversion reports give you valuable insights into which of your website pages or posts push people to convert. It may not be rocket science. But it certainly is pure 24 karat marketing gold.

Example: How to increase conversions using conversion reports

1. Ask a Question

“Which blog posts inspire action?”

2. Find the Answer

For this one, you need to have goals set up in your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t, there’s no time like the present.

Go to Conversions > Goals > Reverse Goal Path. This shows you which pages your converters were looking at before they completed an action, or goal.

Select the goal from the “All goals” drop-down list. In the example, Andy selects “Newsletter subscribers”.

This shows you which pages people were on before subscribing to the newsletter. Now click on “advanced” to add a filter.

Voilà! A list of the blog posts your visitors were reading before subscribing to your newsletter.

3. Take Action

With this valuable info under your belt, you can now focus your efforts on driving traffic to the posts that convert the most visitors. Andy recommends promoting these posts using social media, email or even showcasing them on your website’s homepage. You could also publish more content on your highest converting topics.

From Passive Marketing to Active Marketing

There we have it. A whole host of great examples — based on asking questions, finding answers and taking action — that we can all use to perform our very own analyses and improve the results of our marketing efforts.

Andy taught us that analyzing our own marketing data is fundamental to improving our marketing results and that anyone — dataphile or dataphobe — can do their own seriously valuable data analysis. All you need is a Google Analytics account and a no-nonsense approach.

As for the most valuable takeaway of them all? Inspiring marketers to not only act on their data, but also to adopt a culture of analysis, reflection, and experimentation. Now you’ve got the tools you need to become an active data-driven marketer; the rest is down to you.

 

This post originally appeared on Unbounce, and is republished with permission.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Unsplash/Pixabay.com
In-post Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay.com

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