Web Development

Customizing Facebook Business Pages – A New Series

Over the next few weeks I will be writing about my experiences customizing Facebook Business Pages.  Although Facebook limits what you can do with your page there are still a few things you can do to make it stand out from the crowd.  I hope these posts will help you find out what you can do and how you can do it.

My first attempt at connecting my web site to Facebook was a failure.  I was using a plugin for WordPress that asked me to create a Facebook application to connect with.  I did that and it created a page that “looked” like a regular business page.  I eventually found out that although it acted like a business page it was not.  I could not find the page anywhere in Facebook.  The only way I could get to the page was through the configuration settings for the plugin – which produced a horrendous URL.  If I couldn’t find it how would my clients?

After creating a Facebook Business Page for The Wing and successfully using the very same plugin to connect to it from their web site (but in a different way) I knew I had to change something with my own Facebook “page”.  I dumped my old “App” page and created a proper business page.  After reconfiguring my plugin my web site was reconnected and things were working much better.  You can now find “Your Digital Coach” when you search in Facebook and I have a proper Facebook URL to use as a link.

ps – I found a tip to create a custom Facebook URL  – http://facebook.yourdigitalcoach.ca

So, now that I have all that mess straightened out I can get on with trying out some other customizing options.  Stay tuned for more of my mistakes!

Scott

Just the Facts Please (pt2)

Web Site Statistics – A Case Study

Last month we looked at the web site statistics for two clients. We’ve tried a few inexpensive things since then to see how they would affect the visits to their sites. Well, things are looking up, but we have a long way to go.

Client #1
We didn’t really do all that we hoped to do last month to try to bring in more traffic. I did get his site listed on several web directories that cater to the types of products this client sells, but I had hoped he would have posted updates a little more frequently. Even so, traffic to his site is up by 15% and the number of pages visitors have looked at is up by almost 30%.

I think that regular updates to his site will definitely help to increase traffic, but I’m going to investigate a few other alternatives this month.  I’m sure that as we get closer to the Christmas season traffic will naturally increase as well.

Client #2
So far we’ve just scraped the surface of what we can do with this site.  We’ve been testing some AdWords advertising and have tweaked the keywords on his web pages.  The statistics are not dramatically improved but they do show that we are on the right track.

Visits to the site are actually down about 7% but the number of pages viewed is up by 30%.  So although we aren’t seeing an increase of traffic we are reaching a more focused audience.  They are interested in what the site has to offer and are spending time looking around.  We’re not sure if this increase is translating into conversions to customers, but it is encouraging.  We have to work on some tools to measure conversions.  Hmm….

It’s also encouraging to see that search phrases other than the company name are beginning to show up.  Finally, people that do not know about his company are beginning to visit his site.

We recently changed his Adwords keywords and we will be looking at the daily budget to see if it can be increased.  We’ll also be looking at on-line directories and the possibility of submitting some articles to on-line magazines to further increase visits to his site.

This exercise has been quite interesting to me so far.  I am learning many ways that I can help my clients to market their sites and their products with a little cost as possible.  I’m looking forward to finding new ways to accomplish this.

Stay tuned!

Scott

Just the facts, please. (pt. 1)

Web Site Stats – Visitors

I was reviewing some site statistics this morning in preparation for a new service I’ll be providing my clients and thought what a great topic for some blog posts!  Some folks don’t even bother looking at their web site statistics, while others may look but do not really understand what the numbers are telling them. Like most statistics there is a certain amount of interpretation that needs to be done to really understand what the numbers mean.

Web sites statistics are extremely valuable and are often overlooked.  Without knowing what is happening with traffic to your site you have know way of measuring the effectiveness of your web marketing strategies.  You may be spending money or time on something that is not helping to drive traffic to your site or increasing visitor to customer conversion rates.  You could be spending more money or time on strategies that do work.

I’ll talk about a couple of my client’s sites to show examples of what I’ve experienced so far.  There has been no internet marketing, to speak of, for either site so these are good “control” numbers.

Client #1
This client’s site is averaging about 1000 unique visitors per month.  That may not sound like much to some people but when you consider this business is in a regional “special interest” market (of probably less than 1000) its not so bad.

When we look at total visits, we see that folks are returning to his site on average about 4 times.  That means there is something about the site that makes them return. We have some good ideas of what it is that brings folks back, but I’m sure there is more that we can do.  We just have to take some time to come up with ideas.

He is happy with the site we’ve built.  He feels his business has increased because of the web site.  We probably could do better though.  I’ll talk to him about some inexpensive (read “free”) ways that he can work with his web site to increase traffic and his customer base.

Client #2
This client’s site is averaging about 2000 unique visitors per month.  His target audience is potentially much bigger so we have some work to do.  We will try some strategies over the next few months to see if we can increase the number of visitors.

Another issue he has is that visitors only come to the site twice each month, on average.  So there either isn’t anything of value there or they’ve found what they are looking for and he has made a sale.  I don’t think his conversion rate is that high though.  So we have more work to do in that area as well.

He would also like to increase sales of a product that he feels could be doing better.  It also happens to be the part of his web site that receives the fewest visitors.  The strategies that we work on will focus on that product.

I’ll be writing more on this topic when I get time, or the inspiration.   I’ll try to use these businesses in future articles so you’ll be able to see what has happened through the strategies we’ve implemented.

I think this is a fascinating topic area and one that I know I have more to learn.

Scott

WordPress

Web development tools have come a long way from using Notepad or some other text editor in the early days of the world wide web.  Dreamweaver, Frontpage, Freehand, and Homesite are some of the tools I’ve used (or tried to use in some cases) in the past.  They are very robust and professional applications for building web sites.  They aren’t programs that the “non-techie” would be able to use quickly and easily

Fortunately there are lots of options available for “non-techies” these days.  Blogger, Homestead, Google Pages, and just about any web host provide easy to use web page building tools that just about anyone can use to build a web site or blog.  There really is no reason for anyone to not have a web site.  Well, unless they really do not want to have a web site, I guess.

Anyway, WordPress is one of those web development tools/sites that has become quite popular.  Initially it was pretty much strictly for Blogs (short for Web Logs or Journals).  But as the software developed and users found ways of doing it, WordPress is now being used to build traditional looking web sites.

There are two ways of using WordPress.  One is by going to WordPress.com and signing up for a free account.  The other is by installing WordPress software (from WordPress.org) on your own host (made easier by some hosting companies with easy to use shortcuts).

I won’t go into all the differences here, but I will point you to an article that will help.  Using either .com or .org you can build full web sites with built-in content management for very little cost (free perhaps?)

There are lots of WordPress resources available on the internet as well.  Just do a Google search for WordPress ThemesWordPress Plugins (add-ons), or WordPress Help and you’ll get tons of web sites that you will find very useful.

If you’ve used WordPress, or anything else for that matter, to build your web site and you’d like to share it with others submit a comment and include you web address!

Scott