Odyssey bloghelping you leverage the potential of the internet

What is Web Analytics?


19. June 2009 15:05

Web analytics is a term used to describe the processes involved in recording and analysing how visitors use and discover your website.

Here is the official definition according to the Web Analytics Association:

“Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.”

What kind of statistics will web analytics show me?

  • Geographical location of visitors to the website
  • How they found the website
  • If they found the website from a search engine, what keywords they searched for
  • How the visitors navigate through the website
  • What the most popular pages on the website are
  • The average time a visitor spends on the website
  • The effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
  • How many pages the average visitor browses
  • and many more…

Google Analytics – web analytics from Google

There are numerous web analytics software vendors, however if you intend to use Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising, Google Analytics will draw information from your Google Adwords campaigns and let you analyse how well your visitors are converting, so it makes sense to use Google’s analytics offering.

Google Analytics is a free but powerful web analytics tool.  Google describes it as “Enterprise-class”, but don’t let that put you off.  Even though Google Analytics has a lot of advanced features, it’s quite easy to just stick to the basics and get just the information you need right at your finger tips.

Google Analytics Dashboard

You can even customise reports to show only the data you are interested in and have them emailed to you or a colleague on a regular basis!

What’s more our Search Engine Marketer has passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification, so we are well placed to help you make the most of Google Analytics.

What are SEM and SEO and do I need them?


15. June 2009 15:04

In the screenshot below is a results page from a Google search, often referred to in the industry as a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  The blue highlighted region indicates the “natural” or “organic” search results, whereas the red highlighted area refers to the sponsored adverts.

PPC stands for Pay per click, which is another name for the sponsored adverts which appear on the search results page. As the term suggests you pay only when a user clicks on your advert.

To get your website featured in the sponsored adverts region, you will need to sign-up for Google Adwords and start a PPC campaign.  In as little as 15 minutes your adverts will go live on Google and you will start attracting visitors to your website!

 

Google SERPS - indicating PPC and Organic listings

To get your website featured in the organic listings Google will need to find your website and index it in its database. Your website’s ranking in a search engine will be based on many factors too complicated to cover here, but in order to improve your organic ranking it helps to have a search engine friendly or optimised website and promote your website using recognised SEO techniques.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation the activities carried out to generate qualified traffic to a website in order to appear in the “organic” or “natural” results.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

The term SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing and is used to describe all the activities that encompass the promotion of a website using search engines.  SEM can mean either SEO and PPC combined or one or the other.

Why do I Need a Website for my Business?


30. May 2009 14:40

Some businesses even today don’t see the value or need for a website.  Here are a number of reasons to help make that decision easier.

Keep up with the competition

More and more businesses have websites compared to a few years ago, so the chances are most of your competition have websites too.  Having a website allows your customers or potential customers to find and browse your products or services at their own leisure, and potentially find out a lot more information than they would through other forms of communication. 

Cost effective advertising

Designing and printing professional-looking catalogues and brochures is an expensive job, and when your products or services change you need to reprint them.  The cost of building and maintaining a website has fallen over the last few years as the industry has started to mature and the competition has grown.
If you opt for a content management system, then you’ll be able to update your website yourself!

Attract new customers

Whether your business sells directly to consumers or to other businesses, the volume of business done over the web continues to climb year upon year.  Many people now use a search engine such as Google to source information, products or services. 

In order to tap into this potential market you first need to have a website from which you can start to build your online presence.

If you are still unsure whether there is money to be made, don’t believe the hype, ask your customers!

Sell your products or services to a larger audience

The web has opened up a whole new market place for many businesses that used to only offer their products and services to customers in their local vicinity.  Many companies now successfully sell their products over the internet to a national or even international audience that just wasn’t possible before.

What’s more, creating an ecommerce website isn’t as complicated or as expensive as it used to be.

Improve your competitive advantage

The web has started to level the playing field.  A well designed and optimised website will allow a small company to compete with much larger companies online.  The web has a much lower cost of entry allowing you more room to shout about your products and compete with the big guys.

Your online presence is always available 24/7

You may not answer the phone or your emails around the clock, but with a website your products or services are online 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  We all lead such busy lives that it is entirely possible that your customers might want to research or purchase your products or services outside your normal opening hours.

Publish an FAQ on your site

How many hours a week do you spend answering the same customer queries by email or telephone?
If you had an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on your website you could direct your customers to your FAQ page and save yourself a lot of time and effort.


If you’re coming around to the idea of getting a website built for your business, make sure you read this article to help make you aware of the cost of maintaining your website once you’ve had it built.

How to get your Website in the Search Engines


25. May 2009 14:43

Search engines are a popular method of finding websites on the internet.  They DO NOT search the whole internet contrary to popular belief, instead they keep a very very large database of websites (known as the index) which they know about and search those, when you perform a text search.

Search engines such as Google have special programs called robots which continuously scour the internet.  These robots are used to retrieve information from websites on the internet.  This information is fed back to the search engine for processing and the output of this process is added to the search engine’s index.

Getting your website indexed

As such there are no guarantees your website will appear in search engines, the search engine must become aware of your website before it can be found in the search engine index.
There are a couple of ways of achieving this.  You can submit your site to a search engine and wait until it gets indexed, or you can wait until the search engine discovers your site by itself, which is the preferred method.
Either way you may have to wait up to 6 weeks for your website to be added to the index.

As long as your website is linked to from at least one other (indexed) website then your website will be found by the major search engines without you having to do any work whatsoever.

No need to submit to hundreds of search engines

In the UK, Google has almost a 90% share of the search market, the other major search engines are Live Search, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves.  So its best to avoid SEO companies or SEO computer programs that claim to submit your site to 500+ search engines.  Even if they do submit your site to that many search engines, what good will it do you if 98% of internet users use Google, Yahoo, Ask or Live Search?

Your Website and Legal Compliance


17. May 2009 14:44

When you are thinking about what content you want on your new business website one of the last things your mind will probably be a privacy policy, terms and conditions, or a copyright statement.

You may also not realise that the UK data protection act may be applicable to you if you handle personal information through your website, or that your website needs to be built with accessibility in mind.

Privacy Policies

A privacy policy allows you to state how you will respect the privacy of your users, by explaining what information you collect and how you store and use it.

Cookies
A form of data collection which your website may or may not use is the cookie.   Your privacy policy should also mention your website’s use of cookies, and how to refuse them.  Be sure to ask the company that builds your website if cookies are being used, as the use of cookies by websites is covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive).

A sample privacy policy can be downloaded from the BusinessLink.gov.uk.

Terms and Conditions

A terms and conditions notice provides visitors with information about the content of your website and what they are permitted and not permitted to use it for.  A sample website usage terms and conditions can be downloaded from the Business Link website.

Copyright Notice

A copyright notice allows you to express how your website content can be used, downloaded or distributed by your visitors.  A sample internet copyright notice can be downloaded from Business Link.  You may also wish to consider licensing your work at Creative Commons, this will allow you to keep your copyright, but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit.

Data Protection Act and your Website

The UK Data Protection Act requires all organisations which handle personal information to comply with a number of important principles regarding privacy and disclosure.

There are eight principles which are designed to ensure that personal information is handled properly.  The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them.

If you process personal information on your website then you will need to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office.  This currently costs £35 a year and adds your business to the public register of data controllers.

Accessibility

The UK Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) refers to the provision of goods, facilities and services.  The act makes it “unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.”  The act means that service providers must “take reasonable steps to change a practice which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services.”

Make sure the company that is building your website makes your website accessible, otherwise you could face legal action.