Using Conversion Funnels to Improve Your Site

When customers buy your products and services online, it isn’t a transparent process. You can’t physically see your customer. You can’t talk to them, and you don’t get any queues about what they like and don’t like about your site. To an outsider, just looking at sales figures, it seems like a very binary process – you either get the sale, or you don’t.

Analytics is a good way to see important facts like where your customers come from, how long they stay and what site information they feel is relevant.  But what about the path they take to buying your product?

How do you know which pages on your website are most convincing for customers? Sure you can ask those customers who purchase a product, but what about those clients who hit low performing pages and leave your site without a purchase?

Analytics has a feature commonly called a Conversion Funnel which describes the journey the customer takes from an advertisement or search result, through the various pages of your site, and finally converting to a sale.  The metaphor of a funnel is important because at every stage customers will drop out of the process – the funnel shrinks from a large entry at the top to a small exit at the bottom signifying the low number of potential customers who convert to a sale.

The advantage of funnels is they help us see the sale process easily and allows us to:
•    See where a customer might be confused or get into trouble
•    Work out what copy might be changing a customer’s decision to buy
•    Surfacing bugs in the code, browser issues or other technical problems which could prevent a client from buying

Funnels work in conjunction with Goals.  Simply put, Goals are end points you want your client to reach, like a checkout page, or a thank you page after a customer subscribes to your newsletter.  Goals describe those activities you want your customer to complete when visiting your website.
Once you have a goal setup, you are ready to setup a Funnel.

Let’s use a simple case study to bring funnels to life. Your site myauthorsecrets.com offers a subscription site for authors to access an exclusive member site – the primary call to action for your website is to sign up for a newsletter so you can entice them to become a member.

First, you need to setup your goal – which will be a thank you page once a user has subscribed. We use the thank you page because it is AFTER the subscription process is complete.

  1. Log into Google Analytics, drill down into one of your profiles, and click Admin in the top navigation.
  2. Click the Goals tab.
  3. Enter a Goal Name, such as Subscribe to Newsletter.
  4. Enter a Goal URL, such as /thankyou-page.php.
  5. Leave the Match Type as Exact Match
  6. Enter a Goal Value (even if it doesn’t have a cash value) because it allows Google to calculate Page value and Per Visit Goal Value.

You can create your funnel after you’ve created your goal.

  1. Select the Use Funnel checkbox.
  2. Enter URLs and names for the funnel steps (these are pages that lead to your goal):
    /about-us – About us
    /newsletter – Newsletter description
    /signup.php – Sign-up page
  3. Select the Required Step checkbox for the first funnel step.

Once Google Analytics has collected some data, the Funnel Visualisation Report will show a raft of data including the Funnel Conversion Rate, which shows the percentage of visits, including a step page view which leads to the goal.  This shows you how successfully your page is converting.
Congratulations on making your first step into conversion funnel analytics. If we can help you with further steps, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Is it time to update your website?

When you’re so wrapped up in your business, it’s easy to lose sight of your website.  Over time your pages can get stale, your visitor numbers can drop and suddenly your website isn’t performing as well as it could. That’s where a website redesign can help – but how do you know if it’s time?

Here are 12 questions you can ask yourself to see whether you should be thinking about a website redesign now.

  1. Does your home page showcase the most recent and relevant information?
  2. Are there features on your website that no longer work or you no longer need?
  3. Are all your services, product descriptions and images still current?
  4. When you consider competitor sites, does yours look old?
  5. Has your website analytics experienced a drop in visitor numbers?
  6. Is the navigation intuitive to find the most important things on your site?
  7. Does your website appear correctly on mobile devices? Is it responsive?
  8. Do you know your website is missing content that would be helpful to your customers?
  9. Is there any old or outdated information that must be removed?
  10. Are your website terms of service out of date?
  11. Does your web store need to accept new methods of payment?
  12. Has it been more than a year since your last update?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to more than one of these questions then chances are your website needs a redesign.  Why not start a conversation with our design team about how we can modernize and refresh your website today.

10 Reasons You’ll Love WordPress

If you’re considering building a WordPress site as a hobby, or for your business then it’s hard to go past the WordPress content management platform.  Using a system like WordPress means that you can focus on what you do (content) rather than having to employ expensive coders to build your site.   Yes, you may need someone to set it up for you, but afterwards, you can maintain the content yourself.  That’s a big advantage for any cost-sensitive business.  If that alone doesn’t convince you here are ten other reasons:

1. WordPress is free

Everyone loves free stuff.  The WordPress engine, as well as many of the plugins and themes, are free.  WordPress is completely free with full functionality which means you don’t have to pay for any hidden extras for this powerful content management tool. WordPress gives you the opportunity to manage your website yourself.

2. WordPress is user-friendly even for beginners

I say to people if you’ve ever used word processing software and the Internet then you can use WordPress.  The user interface is so intuitive that people who have never used a website can find their way around and do useful stuff. Creating a page or a blog post in WordPress is super simple, you type your words and press Post.

You’ve got loads of control.  You can type your content and modify it with colours, and different type styles like (bold, italics and underline). You can add headings, align text, and add pictures and hyperlinks too.

3. Add features easily with Plugins

WordPress has a lot of hand features built in.  That said, if you need WordPress to do more than it does ‘out of the box’, then you can search the WordPress repository for plugins that do the job for you. Many of these plugins are completely free and built by the WordPress developer community.

For example, if you need a contact form that emails you messages from visitors, there’s a plugin for that.  If you want to build a complete Learning Management System in WordPress, there’s a plugin for that too.
WordPress offers you plugins for just about anything you can imagine you want to do.

4. Great SEO options

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is easy with WordPress.  There are several popular plugins that will help you manage your content and ensure your website is SEO compliant. This is important to help you get great search engine placing that helps people find your website.

5. More themes than you can use

If you want a great looking site, then WordPress will help you do that.  WordPress has tens of thousands of themes for you to choose from. Some free, and some premium.  Developers can also easily build themes for your website to give you a unique look to match your brand.
WordPress Themes are skins that you add to WordPress to change the look of your website. With built-in access to the theme repository you can choose a different theme from inside WordPress – it’s very easy.

6. WordPress is built for blogging

You may think you don’t need a blog, but having the blogging functionality helps your website grow in a few ways – firstly even if you don’t ‘blog’, you may want to display ‘news’. The blogging function can be used for the same thing.

Blogging or the production of news on your site ensures that your content remains fresh and gives website visitors a reason to return to your site.  Visitors return to this site to read new posts we place here on a regular basis. You need to be doing the same thing.

Because you can do this from inside WordPress, you don’t need to pay a developer to add your post each time you want to make a content change.

7. WordPress is flexible and can be used for almost anything

WordPress is a content management system, but the plugins you can add will allow it to do almost anything – you can run a newspaper, build an online learning platform, sell goods or services or even run your a podcast network all using WordPress using plugins found for free in the WordPress repository.

Let your imagination run free, and you can do it with the help of WordPress, easily.

8. WordPress helps you to sell stuff

With great free plugins like WooCommerce, you can sell physical goods (things that get mailed to customers) or virtual goods (things delivered through the website, or via email) very easily. Add the plugin, create your products, setup a payment gateway like Paypal and you’re set to sell.  Online stores can be setup in just a few hours, and you can start making sales the same day.

9. Nearly everyone supports WordPress

WordPress is popular – many people use it, and many people build software plugins for it. This means that if there’s a snag, there are people who can help you out.

When you search Google, you’ll find a lot of forums, posts and support from web developers and designers because it’s one of the most commonly used web platforms in the world.

And even if you don’t want to do it yourself, there are people like us who can help you get the job done.

10. Nearly every host offers WordPress built-in

Most popular web hosts including Asporea Hosting offer WordPress as an easy one-click install which means that you can add WordPress with a few clicks – in five minutes you can be setting up your first WordPress website.  What are you waiting for?

What is Bounce Rate?

In this series of Analytics posts, I’m examining Bounce rate. It’s an important measure for site managers because it explains the number of visitors who leave your site after landing on it. In plain English it’s about who doesn’t find anything interesting enough to make them stay.

Bounce rates can be caused by a number of factors including:

  1. Hitting the back button on a web browser
  2. The user finished and closed a web browser window, ending the session
  3. The visitor clicks an ad on your website
  4. The visitor used the search box in their web browser
  5. The visitor typed a URL into their browser
  6. The visitor clicked a link to an external site, forcing them to leave your site

Bounce rates are calculated when a user takes any one of these actions before clicking on a second page of your site. So if a user clicked a second page before clicking on an advertisement then it would not be counted as a Bounce in your statistics.

Your site’s bounce rate can be calculated with the following formula:

Bounce = Visits that left after one page / Total number of visits

Website managers should aim to lower the bounce rate – as you do this it means you are engaging more of your visitors with your content and it’s an indicator that your content and design are correct, enticing people to click on more pages of your site each visit.

You can measure the bounce rate on your website using analytics tools like Google Analytics, which will automatically track these figures for you.

How to Optimise Your Website for Shared Hosting

Web hosting companies are required to maintain their web servers and keep them up to date with the latest software patches, but website performance is a combined effort of customers and the hosting company together.  Businesses using shared hosting (or their web developer) must ensure that websites are optimised to get the best performance from their website and web hosting.

Taking a few simple steps to optimise your website will make sure that your site runs well and that you are a good shared hosting neighbour on your web server.

Remove unnecessary plugins

If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, there is a desire to explore the new functionality that plugins can bring. Some plugins work well, while others aren’t so good.

Installing many plugins (or ones which aren’t coded well) drain resources from shared servers, meaning that the server requires disproportionately more resources to serve your website.

If you’ve explored plugins without removing them properly, take the time to do a ‘spring clean’ and get rid of the unnecessary ones. Your website will run better if it’s not loading plugins you don’t use.

Understand your site traffic

Monitoring your web traffic helps you understand how and when people are using your site. Ensure that your site doesn’t have massive, sudden shifts in traffic. These spikes can drain the server resources like CPU, memory and storage page and can impact your hosting environment.

You can do this easily with free online services like Google Analytics.

Theme performance

Themes are as much about performance as how good it looks. Some themes, when not coded well, can drain your website resources. Consider things like file size, the number of features and how many of those features you need, when choosing a theme.

Check the theme’s update history and details before clicking the install button. Themes that are regularly maintained and up-to-date can offer better performance.

Shrink images

Images take more time to load than text and use up space on your website. It’s possible to optimise images and reduce the size, keeping the same quality – so it doesn’t look bad. JPEG images are standard and are a proper format of choice.  WP Smush Pro from WPMUDEV compresses your image files while maintaining quality to dramatically improve your website’s page speed.

Implement caching

Website caching ensures that your server’s content database is not working overtime loading content that isn’t required. Caching generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. The most common WordPress caching plugin is WP Super Cache and it’s available for free in the WordPress repository.

By following these tips for boosting website performance, you can dramatically improve the speed and load times without needing to hire an expert, just by following best practice.

 

Four Ways to Improve Your Website Now

Small businesses rely on an online presence to ensure their success. In a world dominated by large players, the internet can be a force for punching above your weight, but only when it’s coupled with great design, strong content and excellent customer service. To help your small business website stand out from the rest, you need to make sure you make good in these four essential areas:

Branding

Your brand is more than your logo; it’s your service ethos and the way you connect with customers. Once known, these are woven into your company’s website, customer service interactions and content. Your brand should be so pervasive in all aspects of your site, that even without your business name, visitors should be able to identify the site, purely by the content on the website.

Working with a branding agency is an excellent way to do this. They will conduct market research and ask your target audience what they like. They will also look at your competitors and find a unique look and feel for your business that sets you apart.

Simplicity

Keeping your website simple to navigate is a way to make you stand out. Nobody enjoys visiting clunky internet sites. By minimising the number of clicks to relevant activities on your website makes your site more accessible and enjoyable to visitors. If a site is cluttered, it can reflect poorly on your company. Keep text and images separated and don’t be afraid of white space.  Make sure your most important messages are front and centre on every page.

Imagery

Choosing the right images is part of a good content strategy. They should reflect the purpose fo the site and the tone of your brand. Find images that are uniquely you and find images from a reputable source that are similar to each other in look and feel. Resist the temptation to fill your site with free stock photography from random sources just because it looks good. Wherever possible put real pictures of you, your team and your products on every page of your website – after all, isn’t that what you’re selling?

Fresh content

Keeping your content refreshed and updated is the most efficient way to attract new readers, and bring old readers back for more. Use sharing plugins to amplify the impact of your content, and make sure you are making the most of your social networks to share and redistribute your content.  Don’t be afraid to repurpose old articles or create summary reports to take new readers back to older content on your site.  By writing content that is evergreen (not time specific) you will always have a deep reservoir of content to draw on, that keeps readers interested in you.

We’d love to chat with you about your website. Talk to us anytime by sending us an email.

What To Do After You Transfer Your Website

Before you make the leap from your old web hosting provider, you should do your homework. Make sure they do the things your old provider couldn’t, and make sure they give you enough bandwidth (web traffic) and disk space to support your growth.

When you find the right hosting provider – make the transfer and wait for your new site to be delivered by the new hosting company. It’s reasonably effortless process in nearly all cases. Remember these important tips to make your transition smooth.

ENSURE YOUR SITE IS BACKED UP

Backups are the first thing you should initiate on your cPanel. With Asporea backups are free, and it means that if something does happen to your site, it can easily be restored. Once you’ve started taking, downloads make certain you keep the occasional copy on your computer – just in case.

backup-smaller

WAIT BEFORE CANCELLING YOUR OLD WEB SERVER

When you migrate your site to a new web host, there is a period where both sites could be served simultaneously. In the first 48 hours most of your visitors will still go the same old site – that’s because not every site has picked up the news of your new web host. In some cases, this can last up to 30 days.When you’re ready you can tell your provider to cancel the service, just don’t do it too soon.

DNS Propagation is the time it takes for your new server details to travel the world and update on each name server. In some cases, you’ll notice changes in 20 minutes, but it can take longer in some cases. Even though you can see your new content, it’s best to wait 48 hours before you start adding new content. This will ensure that the new content appears on your new site (rather than your old one).

Dark Servers Room. Glassy-Metallic Server Racks. Wall of Servers. Dark Server Room 3D Generated Illustration. Hosting Related Theme.

 

DO A THOROUGH CHECK

Make sure your new site is working correctly. Do a complete check to ensure that all the images, links and plugins work as they should. If you’re a WordPress user, then check things like caching plugins which are notoriously bad at cleanly migrating. Doing these checks makes sure your site is 100% ready for new visitors.

 

CONTACT YOUR CUSTOMERS

If you have a newsletter or a social site, let your customers know. And that’s especially the case if you’re transferring your website to Asporea. Some customers may have been frustrated with the slowness or unavailability of your old site. Letting them know tells them you’re expecting a fresh start and it will encourage them to come back.

We’d be happy to talk to you about web hosting service transfers. Leave a comment below or contact our sales team for information on our super fast website hosting services.

 

Can My Domain Name Affect My SEO Ranking?

Every business that’s worried about being found online cares about their search engine rank. Savvy businesses use SEO tools to ensure they rank well on particular keywords. But does your domain name play a role? We say yes.

Choosing the right TLD

TLD or Top Level Domain helps visitors understand your geographic ranking. A .com.au TLD tells visitors that you’re a commercial site in Australia. If it ends in the UK then Great Britain is your primary location and so on.  Having a .com.au domain name tells search engines to include your site in results from Australia. This combined with good keyword copywriting on particular web pages can help you to appear in more search results for visitors looking for Australian services.

What about your Second Level Domain (SLD) name?

Your name – the part you choose for your domain name (e.g. Asporea in asporea.hk) is slightly less important. Google is no longer interested in domains that have keywords stuffed into them. In fact, they may penalise your search position for doing that.

The mission of search engines is to find the most relevant search results to help users find what they need (not what you want to give them). To do this search engines focus on ranking their results considering some factors, including how many similar or related sites link to yours, as well as things like the content on your site and how well that content picks up on particular keywords.

So your SLD should be short and memorable and should not be stuffed with keywords. Leave your keywords for all the great content in your website’s pages. Think about those sites that feature prominently in search engines – they are simple. The name itself is rarely stuffed with keywords. Consider UBER.com – there is nothing in the domain name to tell you it’s about transportation or taxi alternatives, it’s just UBER.

Where your Second Level Domain does the heavy lifting is with brand recognition. When your customer sees your domain name, they should instantly recognise that it’s you. The other thing to remember is how it reads in print – you want to avoid names that could be misunderstood. e.g. milestherapist.com could be read two ways – one most regrettably for Miles, a therapist.

Consider future uses and protecting your interests

Think about how to protect your business name investment. With domain squatting on the rise you want to ensure you have all the variations of your domain name you think you’ll need.  You should also consider future uses. Will your business expand? Could it be harmful if someone else bought a similar domain in another TLD? I  always recommend the benefits of securing as many Top Level Domains as you can afford to protect yourself against unscrupulous marketers who want to steal your business away.

Asporea offers a wide range of Top Level Domains and an easy search facility to ensure that you can find the right Top Level domain for your business.  Our domains start from $9.99, so initiate the search for your perfect domain name today.

XYZ – It Comes After the Dot

XYZ recently sprang to prominence when Alphabet (Google’s parent company) recently adopted abc.xyz as their domain of choice.

alphabet

As a domain .XYZ is instinctive and it makes sense. It is used daily, worldwide, as a short, easy to remember phrase. XYZ is also composed of three letters, just like other popular extensions, such as .com, .net, and .org, which brings a familiar quality to an innovative new extension.

We end the alphabet with XYZ we end a domain name the same way and so did Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page when they setup Alphabet.

Anyone can use .XYZ for any purpose because the name is as generic as it is distinctive. .XYZ is affordable, instantly recognizable, and easily adaptable. It’s for bloggers, retailers, and businesses of any size or industry. .XYZ is ideal for companies that want a shorter version of their URL, are looking to launch promotions and microsites, or simply want to shake up their image.

Rest assured that XYZ is an international extension, so users across the globe can register a .XYZ domain name and connect with their audience.

You can pick up an .XYZ domain name from Asporea for just USD14.99.

But it’s just a simple change!

“It’s a simple change, surely it can’t be that difficult!”

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve worked with web developers who are not giving you what you want.  Seemingly simple requests are met with long timeframes, expensive quotes or long complicated reasons why things can’t be done the way you want them to.

You might be thinking “this is unreasonable!” or “is this developer price gouging me?” or even “does this person know what they’re doing?”

Surely it’s a simple process… a request comes in, a developer turns it into code. Surely it’s simple if a developer knows what they’re doing, right?

Actually, No.

Why your expectation of ‘easy’, isn’t always that simple

Website design is not a commodity, it’s a speciality.  Just because you understand how you want a website to behave or look, it grants you the badge of a website user, not a website developer.  Like most finely tuned skills, web development takes over 10,000 hours of hard slog to really begin to understand the finer concepts of technical coding, design fundamentals and good user experience.

If coding a website was easy or straightforward you would be doing it yourself.  

Don’t get me wrong, we love working with our clients and exploring ideas that will make their website hum. We will bend over backwards to stretch the boundaries of what we thought was possible to make something work, within your timeframe and budget

But when we are considering your request we are looking for solution that will work for you, and your visitors. Something that won’t backfire over time and won’t break the budget. We are using the technologies that are available today and the platform you have chosen to get you the best possible outcome that can be maintained, supported and will last.

But what about when it’s just a change to a plan?

Sometimes we have customers with a website plan, who decide part-way through the development process that what they thought was good then, no longer works when they see it in real life. Of course we will consider changes and often we can make them. There are times, however when changing something mid-flight means starting over completely..

One of the things that people say to me quite often is… “I’ve just got this quick change I’d like to make”, or “I’ve got a simple request…”

Sometimes seemingly simple changes are not as straightforward as they may appear.

At times I need to explain why things won’t work the way customers expect it to. Sometimes what a customer expects to be easy involves a complete rework of the whole plan – a plan which often takes weeks or months to finalise.

Your website is like a high-rise tower construction.  It has firm foundations and is carefully planned to ensure that each floor can carry the load of the one above it. If you get that wrong, it can all fall down, spectacularly badly.

Architectural blueprints

 

You can’t just go into a half-finished building and say, “I now want it to be 12 floors higher than the plan”, or “I want the twentieth floor to be double height, knock down the floor in-between”. Architects spend months getting designs right to ensure that the whole building has integrity.

It’s like your website.  Making changes half way through can impact other things that are perhaps not quite as visible.  So what you’re asking for as a ‘simple change’, might be like saying “I want extra basement parking for another 50 cars, so knock down some pillars in the basement to make room.”

Sometimes in the real world, things are not that simple, and new requests might be challenging and at time expensive to execute.

A set back on a change request doesn’t mean we don’t want to try, it’s just that your idea or concept is being weighed up against all the other moving parts of development to ensure at the end everything will work together.

A good developer who knows their stuff, will provide options

Your developer should be able to provide you alternatives, so listen carefully. What you hear as ‘no’ might just be ‘“no, not that way but what about if we try this”.  Your developer has no interest in scamming you but they want to ensure that everyone gets to the destination. After all, that’s what you’ve employed your developer for.

Multiracial business people working connected with technological devices at the bar
Multiracial business people working connected with technological devices at the bar

When things feel stuck, a good question to ask your developer is “Tell me more about that?”  Understanding why something won’t work gives you more information and a web developer should always be able to explain the rationale in a way that will help you to see the big picture.

Remember, there are always options – some simple, some costly. The key to a great website is to start with a great plan and try to stick to it.  When you need to change, maintain a degree of flexibility and partnership with your developer. They want to help you, so work with them to achieve your goals.

Three Hundred and Fifty More Hosting Ideas

You may not have stopped to consider just how many things you can use your web space for. As you read on you’ll see just how productive your web hosting space can be.

Recently Asporea launched a CPANEL hosting service which has bundled over 350 different software scripts our customers can install for free.  Everything from survey tools, to blogs. From Project Management tools to Learning environments, Softaculous and CPanel makes finding and installing free productivity software easy.

Unlike other auto installers Softaculous is much faster.  The design of the software means that every software script can be installed in just one step.  Add the required information, press install and the software is loaded into your hosting environment, ready to use in seconds.

So whether you want to install blog software like Jooma or WordPress, or build an online store with Magento or Prestashop, you’ve got everything you need to start your enterprise.  The question is, what will you build?

The reason we have extended our hosting offering with Softactulous is we wanted to make it easy for our customers to build their own applications, and keep them secure.  One big benefit of using Softaculous was the ability to auto-update the software whenever patches are released, which is critical for our customer’s security.

Ultimately it means that our customers can stay focused on their business, while our hosting services look after the rest.

Asporea hosting plans start from a low $5.95 USD per month.

 

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