Google Analytics Part 1: The Setup

Google Analytics Part 1: The Setup

flatlay desktop pink notebook, pen, flower and a bowl of paperclips

Google analytics can be so confusing and then just when you get it figured out they change it! I hear this all of the time and you’re right. I think the whole system is harder than it has to be, but my brain isn’t big enough to figure out a better way so I’ll just leave it to Google and try to keep up.

Today, I’m going to show you some basic tips to set up your GA account so that you can understand the analytics that you’re looking at and know where to get the information needed to work with other companies.

What Is It?

First, of course, Google Analytics is a system set up to allow you to track statistics on your website. These statistics can help you improve your message, build your business or a bigger audience. 

This blogpost HERE is a list of all of the important analytics terms that you need to understand before going into your analytics account. 

How Do I Get It?

If you don’t already have an account you can go HERE and sign up for a free account. Once you have your account you need to connect it to your website. The easiest way to do this is to download a plugin. I recommend the MonsterInsights plugin but there are a lot of them. Make sure it has been updated recently, is compatible with your theme, and is being used by others.

You Can Have Analytics In Lot’s Of Places

Google Analytics is no longer just a website thing. You can GA to your MailChimp account (and I’m sure even more companies have this, but I’m a MC girl). You can also connect to your FB shop! But, today, we’re going to concentrate on the website – GA connection.

If you don’t want to use a plugin to connect your website you can do that as well. The plugin would be easier, but I am of the theory that less is more so the least amount of plugins I have to use the better. Most website problems come from plugin conflicts. I’m going to show you both ways.

Manually Connecting Your Google Analytics Account

You’re going to go into your GA account, but you should be signed into both your website and your GA account to make it easier. You need a code and to find that you need to:

  1. Look on the left side of your dashboard at the very bottom and choose *ADMIN*.
  2. You will see several columns of tabs. In the middle column it says *PROPERTY*. 
  3. The 3rd choice says *TRACKING INFORMATION* Click on that.
  4. Click on *TRACKING CODE*
  5. You will see the code towards the bottom on the right. COPY CODE.
  6. Go back to your website and go to the head section of your website. You can usually find this under *THEME SETTING* or DIVI theme options or you may have to look it up for your particular theme. Save and you’ve done it! Check the images out below.

Using A Plugin

If you’d rather use a plugin I completely understand and I use MonsterInsights all of the time on websites. Go to PLUGINS>>ADD NEW in the search bar type in MonsterInsights. Hit INSTALL>>ACTIVATE.

Go to MonsterInsights on your dashboard and you will see a button that says SETUP WIZARD. Click the button and it will walk you through step by step with very simple instructions!

Whichever method you use, however, you get your statistics you need to know where to look and what you’re looking at. Next week, we’ll do just that!

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What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Be Hurting You

What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Be Hurting You

flatlay- pink desktop with tea, hair scrunchy and notepad with paperclips scattered around.

SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.

Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.

Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:

Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.

There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.

When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.

  • Title
  • keywords
  • headlines
  • image titles
  • image descriptions
  • categories
  • tags
  • Cornerstone Content
  • social media posts

For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:

The Title

You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:

  1. This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
  2. The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
  3. Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.

Below are each of the headlines analyzed:

 

Keywords

Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.

  1. Potato salad
  2. potato
  3. salad
  4. recipes
  5. summer salads

Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:

  • This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer salad recipes.
  • I make potato salad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
  • Potato salad recipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.

Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.

  1. The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
  2. When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
  3. The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
  4. The link to your current post, of course.

Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:

  • Summer Salads – category   –    Potato Salad recipes – tag
  • Salad Recipes – category    –    Potato salad, Summer salads – tags

Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.

So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.

Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.

Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist

Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:

  1.  Great content.
  2. Good structure.
  3. keywords
  4. relevant images
  5. time

P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!

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Have You Audited Your Website’s Mobile View? Here’s What You Could Be Missing!

Have You Audited Your Website’s Mobile View? Here’s What You Could Be Missing!

I read A LOT of blog posts and like most people, I use a variety of devices to do it. At this time I have, a laptop (2), an iPad, and my iPhone, and what I find most often really surprises me.

80% of the blog posts I read are not totally mobile responsive AND you are being penalized by

  • a lower ranking,
  • a lower domain authority, and whether not your website is showing up in Google searches.
  • no matter how good of an SEO strategy you have if your site isn’t mobile responsive it’s all for naught.

To see this many websites who just aren’t getting it really concerns me. This can mean lower readership, lower sales, and a user experience that leaves a lot to be desired.

Answer this honestly: When was the last time you looked at your website on your mobile device? That doesn’t mean getting on and taking care of something like approving a comment, but really looking at what your readers and clients see when they visit your website on mobile view.

Have you?

  • Read a blog post & attempted to comment?
  • Tried to opt-in on your phone?
  • Tried to fill out your contact form?
  • Clicked on your social media buttons?
  • Tried to share a blog post on social media?

These are all tests that you should use to check your website for mobile responsiveness. I say at least every 6 months or anytime you make changes to your website.

As I was reading just this morning alone I saw:

  • images that wouldn’t load or were not the right size
  • no sharing buttons anywhere. I saw several food and/or tech blogs who didn’t have Pinterest buttons or Pinterest sized images on your site. Did you know that most community boards won’t allow you to pin unless your image size is 735 x 1102 or even better 1000 x 1600?
  • no commenting section

& that was only after an hour of testing out different sites!

I know this isn’t something new, I mean Google started putting the word out in 2015 so why aren’t people listening? I’m not sure but I’m going to hope that you just don’t know what you don’t know. When I was researching this issue I found lots of articles on “mobile-friendliness”. Here’s a great one I found on Search Engine Journal or this one on Business News Daily.

Here are a few facts:

  1. More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
  2. Google prioritizes mobile pages load speed as a key metric.
  3. They offer all sorts of free tools to help you achieve complete mobile responsiveness.

Are you tired of trying to find these answers by yourself or you just need a little help knowing what to do and how to do it?

Today I want to offer you this:

A free mobile responsiveness audit of your own website. That’s right I’m offering you a completely free of charge audit. What do you have to do? Sign up below and give me 72 hours and I’ll email you the results! That’s it!

 

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5 Psychological Factors Of Brand Awareness And Trust

5 Psychological Factors Of Brand Awareness And Trust

Brand awareness efforts are critical in achieving business success and overall marketing goals. It gives your brand a personality, an outlet to be sincere and transparent, and the ability to establish a trusting relationship with your consumers. Solid, positive brand recognition has the power to help your business thrive. If you’re an emerging entrepreneur wondering how to make a lasting impression on your audience, here are a few psychological factors that influence brand awareness and trust.

Create an engaging visual identity for your brand. The three main influences you should think about are: colors, logo, and font. Colors are important psychological factors since they convey feelings, emotions, and experiences. The colors you choose for branding and marketing your products can have a significant impact on customer perception and purchasing behavior, so be sure to use them to your advantage. For example, the color blue is associated with being dependable and trustworthy, while green can make one think of health and nature. 

In today’s digital world, having a presence on social media can help increase your brand visibility. Consider developing a social media posting strategy and creating a friendly personality for your brand. By engaging with your audience on a personal level, you can build a better experience for consumers. 

Moreover, if your content is compelling, customers are likely to share it beyond your following. This can help assure prospects that your brand is trustworthy. You can also run social media contests to further expose your brand by having your followers tag their friends in the comments section. For more factors that influence brand awareness and trust, see the accompanying infographic.

 

 

Author bio: Rebecca Purrington is a Promotional Products Expert with Crestline Custom Promotional Products. She has more than five years of consultative sales experience in the industry and holds degrees in both Social/Behavioral Sciences and Business Management.

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Best & Worst Tools For Running Your Online Business

Best & Worst Tools For Running Your Online Business

Each year I am approached by companies wanting me to try their products & services and ultimately share them with all of you. Some have been great additions to my business others have left me disappointed and flummoxed. I thought I would share with you the best & the worst from the past year!

To begin with, I’m going to break it down into 4 categories.

  1. Blogging tools
  2. Social Media
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Running your business

Blogging Tools

As you know (if you have a blog) there is always so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time so anything that I can find that will:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money
  • Improve My Skills

is a Godsend to me. Now, I want to share them with you!

Web Hosting  

I have my own hosting that I provide through Flywheel (owned by WPEngine) which runs $20 a month. We provide fast, secure hosting, free SSL’s, and amazing support. I only have three spots available.

For someone just starting out or on a tight budget I use **Bluehost. I have to say that I have set up hundreds of sites on Bluehost and not once have I ever had a problem. Once upon a time, Bluehost was considered the bottom of the barrel in terms of hosting, but a few years ago they turned it around and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with how hard they have worked to improve every aspect of their service.

Themes

I have always been a Genesis girl and **Studio Press is the place to get the best themes. A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with **Divi by Elegant themes and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s so versatile and easy to use and saves me tons of time. There are so many things included that you hardly need any plugins at all!

Plugins

Listen I know that those sneaky plugins get you where it hurts. I’m sure you have seen the notices in your dashboard ‘get this pro version’, ‘buy this’, ‘do that’.  Nine times out of 10 you don’t need it. There are free plugins for just about anything. My go-to plugins are:

  • Updraft Plus for backing up.
  • Wordfence for security.
  • Jetpack lots of things.
  • Akismet for spam.

If you’re using Genesis then I add:

  • Genesis Enews (optins)
  • Simple Social Icons
  • Simple Social Share

If you’re using Divi

  • Bloom (optins)

All of those are free & if there’s something you want just search the plugin repository.

Free Courses

From WordPress

WP Beginners
Neliossoftware

Hubspot created a blog post with 60 free online courses that you can take to improve your skills. If you don’t follow Hubspot’s blog you really should. There is always so much valuable information.

Would you like to learn more about Facebook ads? Here’s a great post by Insane Growth that explains it all.

Social Media

Social media is the bane of my existence, but it’s also a necessary evil. I build websites and create content with business tips for bloggers, entrepreneurs & small businesses. I get asked to try a lot of different social media scheduling tool and here is my honest opinion.

**#1 For me is Sendible.com. I run three different websites and manage several clients’ social media accounts. Scheduling blog posts and monitoring keywords that I set up, even monitoring my competitor’s social media accounts. If you run multiple blogs or social media accounts

Sendible is the best.

Most places make you pay per account so for three sites I would have to have three different accounts. I would only be able to pick up one RSS feed unless I had three different accounts.

I could not run my business without Sendible!

Sendible is different. I have a set number of services I can set up and it doesn’t matter how many RSS feeds you pick up and auto-posts new pieces. You can schedule them to repeat however many times it’s all completely up to you. I post to five different FB pages for various people and with Sendible I can do it automatically saving myself lots of time.

Then there is **Tailwind

I love using it for Pinterest.

I know I’m not taking full advantage of the features but what I am using I love. BUT  I don’t like them for Instagram. I tried it I really did, but it was just too confusing and I wasting to much time trying to figure it out.

A few years ago I bought a lifetime membership for Grum.co for only $39 and I love it for scheduling Instagram posts. That’s all it does Instagram, but it’s so easy to use. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking on new customers. If I didn’t have this I would make the time for Tailwind, but this one is just to easy and it’s a lifetime purchase.

CoSchedule

I love Co-schedule I really do, but because of the limitations of only having one site on one account, I just can’t justify that expense when I have other options. It offers a boatload of features and it’s easy to use.

There is really no “free” service for scheduling your content. You can use “Publicize” inside your WordPress site and it will automatically post to FB, Twitter, & LinkedIn.

I know that Buffer offers a free version but I’m not sure of its limitations. I’ve always found it too confusing to use.

If you’re going to spend money this is one of the places where I say if you can pay for it then get it. A good social media scheduler can save you loads of time while helping you build your tribe.

Email Marketing

In today’s 24/7, 100mph world if you’re not marketing through email then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. You should absolutely be sending a welcome email sequence & sending out an RSS to your subscribers.

A few months ago, I was singing the praises of **Engagebay and I learned a very valuable lesson. Sometimes quick decisions can be the wrong decisions. It can send beautiful emails, there are tools for marketing, sales or service. I feel as if it is an excellent platform, but it just didn’t fit my needs. The main problem was the RSS emails. There just wasn’t enough flexibility and I actually sent out a few crazy emails before I gave up.

If you’re running a small business then I cannot recommend Engagebay enough. It’s beautiful, easy to use and handles so many tasks. It’s also affordable. Here is a link to their Youtube channel which has a lot of info about its features. It’s a great platform I just tend to have a problem with change I guess.

So, I’m back at MailChimp and that’s where I’m staying! I know my way around, it’s easy to use (most of the time) and it’s cheap. They have changed things and unless you have a paid account you are limited in what you can do. Such as only having one audience(list), limitations on automation, etc. I pay for The Blogging 911 account and use the free version for Wanding Web Designer & The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver my other two sites. The paid version runs me $9.63 a month.

Have you seen my the MAILCHIMP EXPLAINED ebook in the 911 Resource Library? It’s just one of the many free resources inside.

 

 

I’ve worked with ConvertKit before and it is easy to use. I didn’t like the design limitations and figure if I’m going to spend $30 a month it needs to have a lot more.

Running your Business

There are several tools that I use every single day to run my business. Some are free (well most are free) but they are still necessary. Tools such as:

  • 17Hats – is an all-around scheduling tool, lead capture forms, templates such as contracts or estimates. It runs $39 a month for all of its features and there are many. I personally only use the free version because I use the templates & lead capture forms (those project inquiry forms you see around here).
  • Acuity Scheduling – If you need an easy way for people to schedule appointments I highly recommend Acuity. Their free version has always been more than enough for me.
  • Asana – This is my project management tool and it keeps me on track when I’m building out a new site, managing other projects or even just things I need to do. There is both a free and paid version and I’ve always found the free version more than enough for my needs.
  • Canva – There is a free version of Canva that works very well. I use Canva almost every single day and I love it for it’s easy to use dashboard, to the free and paid elements like stock photos, icons, frames, colors, and fonts. For this, I splurge and get the paid version so that I can store my own logos, my fonts (up to 25) and my brand colors for $12.95.
  • Google Drive – Also free. I use it to store all of my clients’ assets. I like how easy it is and it works great with Gmail which is another great free tool. I do use the paid version of this and it runs $6 a month and I have tons of storage and it’s easy to use.
  • One Drive – This is part of my Microsoft subscription which is about $7 a month. This is where I keep all of my assets. (Such as stock images, templates, or other graphics).
  • Dropbox – This is where I store all of the backups for my clients & my own personal websites. This costs around $10 but they’ve added a bunch of new features.
  • Screencast-o-matic – This another thing I purchased from Sumo. It was a lifetime subscription for only $39 and I use it whenever I need to make tutorials or other videos where I share my screen. It’s something I purchased on APPSUMO.
  • APPSUMO – is a great place to find great deals on products or services to run your business! They always have freebies or lifetime deals that will save you tons of time and money.

Know some great tools that I might not know about? Let me know in the comments below.

** Means that it is an affiliate link if you purchase a service, with the (**) beside it, means that I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your cost.

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Why Now Is The Perfect Time For A Re-Design

Why Now Is The Perfect Time For A Re-Design

Pink & gold flatlay desk

Are You Tired Of Looking A The Same Old Tired Website?

When you visit other websites are you green with envy?

I get it! I love color, all colors, and when I come across a pretty new color palette or an amazing font comes across my desk I start designing in my mind automatically and before I know it I’m putting the changes on my own sites or those of my clients.

I’m going to tell you a secret…

I can trust you, right?

I don’t always practice what I preach! SSHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone, but I struggle with branding because I get bored so easily. You’ve heard me and a whole lot of other experts tell you that consistent branding is necessary for brand recognition, but nobody tells you that IT’S SO DAMN HARD!!!

I’m constantly experimenting and if I could spend my days making graphics I would. That’s my favorite thing in the whole world! Speaking of…Did you know my DIY BLOGGING/TRAVEL site WanderingWebDesigner is having a grand opening sale and now until Jul 31st you can get 30 custom graphics for $30!!! That is a hell of a deal 50% off of the regular price! Better hurry though this amazing offer ends 7-31-19. If you looking for web design tips, travel recommendations, or your just trying to figure it all out by yourself then this is the site for you!

Anyway, back to branding. I get bored easily so changing out designs for graphics or website graphics seems like a necessity to keep my business looking fresh and user-friendly. I love pretty pictures (can you tell) so whenever something catches my eye I have to have it. I have a fabulous subscription to Styled Stock Society where I get all of my images exclusively for this site. I pay a small fee once a year and every month I get so excited to see the new images in the library and there’s no limit. As you can see I’m a huge fan of the flat lay desktops.

The best place to find professional images, videos or music for your website or social media is Shutterstock. You’ll find anything you’re looking for from foodies to fashion. You can use free sites like Pixabay or Unsplash, but free doesn’t always cut it when you need to create consistent & professional branding. As a special gift to you, they are going to give you a 10% discount just for being a loyal reader! Use this link and bump your game up!

Best professional stock images on the market.

Choosing the right imagery & graphics is just as important, if not more important than copywriting, color palettes & font choices. When creating a brand you want your ideal customer to feel a certain type of way when they see your content. Let’s face it, today’s world moves at warp speed and we need to keep up. People no longer read, they visualize and scan so having the right imagery is really the only way we have to stand out and grab attention.

For example, I want my clients here on The Blogging 911 to feel confident & empowered. The way I accomplish this is by connecting the technology to run their businesses and setting up system automation to save time & money while giving their clients & customers great user experience. I work with mostly females because I love what I do so much & I want you to love what you do just as much. It’s life-changing. For me to be a success you need to be successful.

So, Why Is It The Perfect Time For A Re-Design You Ask?

Because when you purchase our design or branding package you don’t just get a fresh, modern look. You get the full experience where you’re in the driver’s seat to your own destiny. Right now, I’m throwing in a lot of Summer bonuses that don’t normally come with the design/branding package.

  • A full video tutorial teaching you how to use your new site + a Skype session to answer any additional questions. ($150 value)
  • You know that you’re building on one of the best website frameworks on the market thrown in at NO EXTRA COST! ($60.00 Value)
  • Your choice of child themes from StudioPress from my theme library (A $49.99 to $149.99 Value).
  • Things like SSL Certificates are always included. Provided by Bluehost.
  • You also get one full year membership to the website maintenance plan ($149.99 value) so that you can use your new website knowing that someone is there to help, to answer your questions, to keep the site updated and backed up. To hold your hand through the whole process for A WHOLE YEAR!!! Who does that?!?

It’s like having an insurance policy for your website!

You won’t have to:

  • Worry about conflicting plugins.
  • Worry about backing up your site.
  • Worry about updating WordPress.
  • Worry about backing up your theme.
  • Worry about backing up your plugins.
  • Worry about optimizing your database on a monthly basis.
  • Worry about running a monthly malware scan twice a month.

If you’re new to WordPress you will receive a detailed video explaining the various parts of your new website and best practices when it comes to using it. Even if you’ve used WordPress you might like to watch it and maybe find out things that you didn’t know.

Another reason now is a great time for a redesign is because we’re in the Summer Slumps, those few months every Summer where people have nothing on their minds but spending time with family & friends, enjoying vacations, or just lounging by the pool! Get ready for the busy holiday seasons now. Create a plan from publishing new content to creating a sales funnel, email sequence or setting up a shopping cart & Facebook ads.

I only work with one client at a time so that I can give them a 100% personal service. So you better hurry, spots fill up fast! A re-design is more cost-efficient than a build because the foundation is already there which means it costs less & takes less time than a standard web design/branding package. Turn around is generally 2 weeks instead of the 4 to 6 weeks it takes to build out from scratch.

Pageviews always decrease during the Summer months.

Which means it’s a perfect time to freshen up that website, dust off the cobwebs, add a much-needed enhancement, upgrade your website security, or just move things around. It’s the perfect time to put a content marketing plan in place.

I’d love to talk to you about your ideas, dreams or wishes! Need something other than web design? Need to connect analytics or maybe set up an email sequence? Check out the shop over at WanderingWebDesigner.com

Right now I’m offering a web design/branding package for over half off the usual pricing! This is for established websites only.

Get a consistent, beautiful new look that will be shared across all platforms.

Have you been dreaming of carving out a brand for your products or services that will turn sales on autopilot!

You better hurry!

I don’t know how long I can afford to keep this pricing!

$500

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase I will earn a small commission. It will in no way affect your pricing.

 

 

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