I am happy to announce that we got nominated for not one, but two prestigious awards. The first one is Red Herring Asia 100, where they choose 100 companies from all over Asia who have potential to make it big. The other nomination is for NASSCOM Emerge 50 which choses 50 emerging companies from India in the IT field.
Red Herring is a widely recognized brand famous for spotting Microsoft during their infancy. On the other hand, NASSCOM is India’s top association of IT industry and is highly regarded for building India’s brand for IT services. I feel lucky to be nominated for these awards. The whole Wingify team (see below, yes we’re 8 people now) deserves to be recognized:
Please wish us luck for these awards. We have our fingers crossed!
Many consumers read product reviews when deciding which is best to buy. Consumers are taking advantage of widely available wireless internet to share their experiences with products in online communities. Potential buyers also want to gain information from others who have purchased the products they are considering. According to a survey in October 2008 by the consulting and research firm Penn, Shoen & Berlin, 70% of Americans say they consult consumer ratings or product reviews before purchasing an item.
The point of writing a product review is to share information and experiences with the product. There is a lot of information that can be shared using a well written product review. Six main elements should be written in a great product review that will generate sales. The first is product description. Describing the product should be followed by proof that you know the product and what it’s capable of. A description of the product’s buyer should also be included. Videos and images are great tools to enhance a product review. They may be followed by any criticism of the product that is necessary to give the reader a balanced product review. A review should end with a call to action. You want the reader to feel compelled to purchase the product.
A product review should give a good description of the product. The size, weight, look, smell, and feel of the product should be described. The ordering process and customer service practices of the company should also be described. Consumers want to know if you had a great experience talking with customer service. They also want to know how long it took from the time you ordered your item until it was received. Describing the ideal buyer of a product is very helpful to potential buyers. One of the things that a potential buyer wants to know is whether the product is for them. When describing an item it is important to avoid too much detail. Your review should not be longer than a few paragraphs.
Potential buyers want to know how the product compares to similar products. Comparing and contrasting similar products helps readers decide which product is the best match for them. Comparison reviews are great for attracting readers. When you are comparing, make sure that you define which product is better and why.
Giving background information about why you ordered the product and how it has helped you is great for generating sales. Storytelling also helps customers empathize with your situation and think about how they are like you. Storytelling is a great tool for connecting with the reader emotionally.
Consumers want to know that they’re getting the most for their money. Most consumers don’t mind spending more money for a superior product. All opinions shared in the review should be supported by facts where possible. Using expert sources such as statistics is a great way to lend credibility to a product review. Using personal information is valuable when talking about personal products. Your section about price and value is a great place to share an opinion about why someone should buy a certain product.
Words are very important, but nothing tells a product’s story like pictures. According to gibLink, including photos allows the reader to visualize exactly what you are reviewing. Images are also great for breaking up large amounts of text. Making a video of the product in action or even showing the content of the box and describing the items is very helpful to prospective buyers. Submitting the video to YouTube can generate even more traffic to your review.
It may seem counterproductive to criticize a product you would like to sell, but many readers won’t believe a review that is completely positive. Some aspects of a product can be seen as either positive or negative, and its important to be balanced in your review. Writing an objective review is important because your writing needs to read like a review and not like an advertisement. A review should sound like the writer is trying to help the reader, not sell something to them.
Covering specific details of the product is important because they show you actually used the product and have experience with it. You may want to talk about what the product is best used for and what may not be a good use for this product. Giving very specific details about the product and situations that may be encountered while using the product will prove to the reader that the product is genuine and the results you discuss will actually be produced by this product.
It’s great to describe the product, but consumers need to understand how the product can lessen or solve a problem they have. Consumers want to know why they should buy this particular product. What are the benefits? Discussing the benefits of certain ingredients is helpful to many consumers. Be positive and remember the type of reader you are trying to influence.
A product review tells the potential buyer what to do next. It’s a good idea to link a website where the product can be purchased. Listing a phone number or email to contact for more information is also helpful. A quick summary of your review should be included right before the call to action. The potential buyer should understand what product they are buying, what problem the product will help them solve, and how the product will benefit them. It’s also helpful if they understand why a particular product is a better buy than the competition.
Note: this post is from a guest author David Murton. Email us if you’d like to contribute a guest post yourself.
On popular forum Hacker News, there were recent discussions on how important website titles are for search engine optimization. Today (unexpectedly) something interesting happened which proves how much influence the right webpage titles can have on your search rankings. I am talking about this recent post on Visual Website Optimizer blog announcing free 2500 visitors as holiday promotion. That blog post was titled: ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011 (Shh.. free gift inside)‘. It has been just 6 hours since publishing this post and the post is already #2 on Google for phrase ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011‘. See proof below:
Notice that there are about 17 million search results and Visual Website Optimizer blog (which has nothing to do with Christmas or New Year per se) is ranked #2. That’s not all, the blog post got hits from all sorts of related searches. Here are a few (also see highly relevant previous post on this blog: Joke of Long Tail Search Keywords):
I think you got the idea. All in all, that blog post has got 30+ searches on this post in last 6 hours for similar phrases. Who would have imagined that? My guess is that Google is factoring in high page rank of the blog and then if title matches it ranks the post highly. This is a big lesson for startups and other online businesses which still have unoptimized homepage titles such as ‘Welcome to Joe’s Pizza Site‘. Homepage usually has the highest page rank of all website pages, so it is crucial to have optimized titles (such as ‘Pizza Joint in Manhattan – Joe’s Pizza’).
PS: If you still haven’t checked our promotion, please signup for FREE 2500 visitor Visual Website Optimizer account.
Here is a complete blueprint of how to get more customers for your service or product:
Have I missed any aspect? Please leave a comment below and I will add it.
The future of web analytics is certainly a shift of focus from reporting metrics to mining interesting information by applying statistical and machine learning techniques to web logs. In other words, web analytics will increasingly become “web-log mining“.
In this post, I compile some of the most pioneering research papers that will shape up web analytics in years to come. As you will see, some of the papers are more than 10 years old. This shows that academia has long been doing interesting research in web analytics and will also make you realize just how basic our existing web analytics capabilities are. So, get ready dive into the future of web analytics:
Review / Introduction
Applications / Techniques
Examples / Implementations
Hope you liked the list. If you know any specific paper that I may have missed, please leave a comment. I will add it in the list.
On this blog and on Visual Website Optimizer‘s blog, we get a lot of long tail search visitors. The term long tail is borrowed from power-law like distributions, wherein a small number of elements make up for the most volume while a large number of different elements make up for lesser volume. The latter one is called “long tail” and here is how it looks:
You see I love Split Testing blog is all about (duh) split testing. And I expect search engines to send to the blog people looking for things related to split testing. Of course, a bonus for us, search engines can also send visitors looking for related topics such as SEO, online marketing, web analytics, etc. However, some of the visitors we get from Google were searching for completely different things. Sample some of the following keywords where our blog is apparently ranked highly on Google:
The point of this post isn’t to belittle Google’s job. It is a fantastic search engine and does amazingly job in long term searches. The humorous queries above constitute <2% of total search volume we get.
But, still, it is always good to see such queries in web logs. Makes up for a good laugh. Plus, gives a room for improvement in (now) slow-moving search industry.
For any business, two pieces of information are most important to its survival. One, in order to make decisions, a business needs to know the ground reality of where it stands in the market now. Second, in order to plan forward and determine progress, it needs to know where it stood in the market in the past. These two sources of information individually don’t convey much information. But combined together, they provide actionable insights. Where am I now and where was I is what you need to know if you need to plan for where I want to go.
Making parallels to web analytics, current set of tools (unfortunately) only provide information on what is happening now. Your favorite tool will churn out data on number of visitors, page views, countries, referrers and what not. This exactly tells you how your website is doing today. However, this completely misses out macro trends. Sure, you can see a historical graph of number of visitors and all sorts of other metrics but that is only the first step towards knowing what has changed.
Ideally a web analytics tool should go deep on the segment level and mine signals in the (historical) data and correlate different metrics automatically for you. Here are some of the examples that I expect an analytics tool to mine automatically for me:
Most of what I have written above isn’t super hard. Some of it can be done by having simple heuristics built into the tool. Moreover, data mining and machine learning has progressed a lot and I am surprised web analytics industry has been so slow at adopting the methodologies. Though Google is taking the right steps with their intelligence feature but it still it leaves a lot to be desired: where are correlations, recommendations, trend mining and other interesting stuff? Nuconomy was doing the right stuff but they took far too long, didn’t innovate a lot and end up getting bought by a company for in house analytics.
Web analytics shouldn’t be simply a data collection and reporting tool. It should actually be collection, reporting and mining tool. My tool gives me 100s of metrics to look at which I can’t keep looking at day after day (unless it is my full time job). Instead it should mine all 100s of reports for me, and show me interesting nuggets on what has changed (and possibly what could change). So I ask: where is the innovation in web analytics? All I see around is dumb reports ready to get mind by a human.
What is your perspective on this? Do you think web analytics is ripe for a major change?
Scientific research papers on how to increase sales or conversions are rare. Most of the articles you read on the Internet (admittedly, including a lot of posts on this blog as well) are based on what the writer thinks and what makes logical sense. But scientific research works in a different way. Authors of research papers must produce accurate, reproducible results. And their articles are reviewed by peers before getting published. Hence in most cases you can always trust results of a scientific paper.
So I fished out research papers on the internet which tell you how to increase your revenues online. Here is the list for your reading pleasure:
After compiling this list and reading most of the articles, I realized there is a large disconnect between what happens in research and what is actually applied in the market. Do you agree? Did you even know such kind of research happens at all?
Like everyone else, you want to rank high on Google and you want to extract maximum ROI out of your Adwords PPC campaigns. Your website deals with a particular topic area, say Conversion Optimization (which is the case for this blog). But then the topic is so vast that optimizing (or positioning) website and content on a single broad topic becomes very challenging. A whole gamut of websites deal with Conversion Optimization, so how does this blog have even a minute chance of getting seen on search engines?
The answer is to write website content including keywords and phrases that people search for at prominent places. This is such a no brainer advice that it borders on being completely useless. The real challenge is to know what people search for. You can (and should) bring process to researching what exactly people search and how to rank on it:
Step 1: Go to Google’s Keyword Tool
This tool displays a lot of juicy information on the keywords we enter and other automatically generated related keywords list. Mainly, what we are looking for is:
Enter your main keyword in tool. For example, I enter “conversion rate optimization” as the keyword and get a long list of related keywords. To derive maximum information on these keywords select ‘Show All Columns’ from the drop down (‘Choose columns to display’) towards top right.
After you click on show all columns, you will see an image like the one above. You can note we have multiple data points here:
Let’s download all this information in MS Excel format to crunch some numbers. Click on Download all keywords (.csv for excel) towards the center right.
Step 2: Delete irrelevant keywords
Open the freshly downloaded list of keywords and pour through it. You will notice that it may have many irrelevant keywords. In my case, I found a lot of keywords related to currency conversion. Delete all such keywords. Aim to have a short list of keywords which closely relate to your area of operation.
Step 3: See competition on Google for remaining keywords
In the list we have a field called advertiser competition. But that related to PPC campaigns on AdWords. For organic, natural search results (from SEO perspective) we want to know the competition on Google search. Ideally, it will be easy to rank on the keywords which have low competition.
A good proxy of competition on Google is the number of search results. So fire up Google.com and take each keyword, enter it into the search engine (you can try including the keyword inside double quotes to get finer results but searchers seldom use double quotes so best to enter keyword as it is) and note the number of search results. For example, the keyword “optimizing conversion” (without quotes) gets us 1,650,000 results while “improving conversion rates” gets us 3,930,000 results. This tells us that there is more competition for the latter keyword than the former. Make a new column in excel and for each keyword add number of search results into it. It may be bit tiring to repeat it for 30-40 odd keywords but trust me, it will be worth it.
Step 4: Do the magic!
This is the step where we define our new metrics for each keyword (using the existing columns in the excel):
Idea is that those keywords are most attractive for SEO which get most searches on Google but have least competition.
This ranks keywords on bringing most traffic through AdWords CPC campaigns.
This ranks keywords in your area which will be most pocket friendly.
This ranks keywords in your area which will be most pocket friendly and which bring in most traffic.
So, you simply add these four new columns and do simple calculations in Excel to get values for these four new metrics. (Tip: only do the calculation for the first keyword, drag the results down to all the rows to get values for all keywords automatically).
Step 5: Sort the columns to get most important keywords
Now all you have to do is sort the columns for Organic Attractiveness and PPC Attractiveness to know which keywords are best for SEO and PPC Campaigns respectively. In my case, for SEO (Organic Attractiveness) I get following keywords at the top:
Click here to download the excel file.
I marked some keywords in green to indicate the keywords which I think will turn out to be most useful. Red keyword (“conversion rate”) is too broad to be useful. And I left topmost keyword (“conversion tracking”) uncolored because Wingify doesn’t only concentrate in this to justify maximum effort into optimizing the website for it.
In the end I get keywords “landing page optimization”, “conversion rate optimization” and “conversion optimization” which will yield maximum benefit from SEO perspective. If I choose to advertise on Google through Adwords, all I have to do is to sort the column PPC Attractiveness (Volume or Budget or Overall) to get list of keywords on which I will be bidding first.
Let me know if you find this strategy useful by leaving a comment below.
All right, let’s admit it: increasing conversion rate on a website is still a voodoo science for many. With new technologies and terminology being thrown around (on Twitter, blogs, etc.) every other day, it doesn’t get any easier for people just starting to understand conversion optimization. In this post, I will try to briefly talk about all technologies and methodologies being used today for extracting more juice out of existing traffic:
Apart from these categories, numerous other tools in search analytics, PPC analytics, affiliate management, etc. are available but the above ones are the most useful ones. Even amongst the above, I will argue web analytics and split testing tools should be an absolute must for anybody serious about improving his/her website conversions.
Leave a comment here if you think you have additional toolssuggestions for conversion rate optimization which I missed here.