Milin Enterprists
Milin Enterprises
Chapter 10

Know Your Visitors

     
     
You have a wonderful Theme-Based Content Site, full of high-value content that overdelivers to your human readers and that ranks highly and fairly with your Search Engine friends. And that means...

You have traffic coming into your site (from all your traffic-building efforts) and traffic going out of your site (links to your income-generating sites, merchant partners, your own store, or your own sales site).

It has cost you time and money to generate your incoming traffic. Your outgoing traffic generates income for you. You can measure both expenses and income. And, as explained way back in chapter One, income minus expenses equals profits.

If we stopped here, your site would be a black box. A black box is a concept used in physics. You can measure what goes into the black box, and you can measure what comes out of the black box, but you donít know what the heck is happening inside of that black box. In other words, you donít know why things happen. And for your long-term success, thatís critical. Why?

Because if you know more about the nature of your incoming and outgoing traffic, you can maximize your returns for every dollar and minute that you spend! Yes, that is kind of important. And what do you need to know?

  • Traffic
  • Links in
  • Links out
Letís start peeking inside your black box by studying your traffic. Traffic, of course, is your lifeblood. You need the means to do some blood tests to determine your siteís health.

Unfortunately, all the traffic analysis packages out there are written by techies... For techies. They give you so much data... just because they can! But all you need to know is what you need to know! You need information, not reams of useless data. The key to traffic analysis is to simplify. Forget the 150 different ways that traffic-analyzing software slices and dices hits, visits, pages, page views, and visitors. You simply donít need to know how many cross-eyed Corsicans visit your site on Thursday at 2 am..

So letís prune away all the useless data, and just keep the ďneed to knowĒ information

First, the big picture. All traffic-reporting software packages cover the basics, average number of visits, visitors, and pages viewed per day, as well as the totals on a per-month basis. Hereís what those terms mean

  • Visits

  • the number of visits to your site
  • Visitors

  • the number of different people who visit your site (ex., a visitor could account for 10 visits)
  • Page Views

  • the number of pages viewed by all the visitors during all the visits. A single visitor might view only one page or twenty.
What about hits? Everyone talks about hits! Short answer: forget hits. A hit is simply a line in your siteís log file. If a page has 3 graphics on it, thatís 4 hits (1 for the html page itself, plus 3 for the graphics). But if that same page has 100 graphics on it, thatís 101 hits!

See why the number of hits is a useless stat? But why does everyone quote hits, then? Two reasons, either they donít understand the term, or they understand it and use hits because it sounds more impressive! In any event, hits is a useless thing to measure.

By comparing your monthly big picture data, you should be able to see steady growth in your siteís overall traffic. If not, the patient needs a good dose of traffic-building medicine. Ongoing traffic-building is a good idea even if traffic is building nicely, you can never have too much!
 
Site Build It! provides you with exactly these traffic stats. No need to install or configure any software. Or to figure out what's important. It provides everything a good content site needs to know with one simple click from you. Presented cleanly, in an easy-to-understand manner. 

Now that you have the big picture, itís time to delve inside and pull out some important information

  • Daily statistics

  • visits, visitors and page views must be reported on a day-by-day basis, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of the total. If you do a special traffic promotion on a certain day (run an ad in an e-zine), this is an easy way to gauge the response.
     
  • Most popular pages

  • your page view stats must be delivered on a per-page basis, with the page generating the most page views reported first. By understanding which pages are most popular, you understand better the needs of your visitors. Correlate this with your link-tracking data to make sure that your most popular pages get the click to your income generating programs. Also, use this data to get a better feel for what your market wants and, just as important, what it does not want.
     
  • Most popular entry pages

  • same as the previous section, except that this specifically tells you which pages are the most popular entry pages. A page counts as an entry page when it starts a visit. Correlate this with how people find you (referrers and keywords), and you have a wealth of insight into how your site is being discovered, and what people want. Use these conclusions to give you ideas for other related, profitable areas for content development.
     
  • Most frequent exit pages

  • these are the pages from which people leave your site. Some people look upon high numbers for a given page as bad. But you have to correlate this with other data. If a high entry page is also a high exit page, thatís not really a surprise. If a high exit page is also generating tons of links out to your income generating programs for you, thatís not so bad either, is it?
     
  • Referrer URLs

  • this tells you where your traffic is coming from, Search Engines, other Web sites from link exchanges, etc. Extremely useful info!
     
  • Keyword search

  • which keywords are people entering into engines to find you? Thatís what this super-valuable data tells you!
Taken together, referrer page and keyword search data tell you where and how your visitors find you, which gives you a base to build even more traffic building ideas! As you can see, traffic analysis is actually a pretty simple task when you know what youíre looking for, and how to turn data into information.

Traffic analysis is the base. It tells you what you need to know about quantities of visits, visitors, and page views. It shows you where they come from (if via the Web) and what words they used to find you at the Search Engines.

But you need more. Now that you understand traffic flow, you need to be able to see exactly whatís working in the two bottom-line areas that matter most

  1. how you spend your traffic building time and money, whatís working, and whatís not. Spend only on the techniques that bear fruit.
  2. how you make your money, gear your content more and more towards what gets the click. Because thatís what builds your income.
So how do we get this information? Through two forms of analysis that are specialized for content sites like yours
  • Click In Analysis
  • Click Through Analysis
Before we go further, letís talk about two different kinds of links
  1. OFF SITE links that bring traffic in to you

  2. Off site links do not appear on your Web site. People will not actually click upon these links while they are on your site. Rather, your potential visitors see these links off of your site; in e-zine ads, or offline print ads, in flyers that you distribute at trade or hobby conventions, or in your sig file (at the end of your e-mail). And theyíll use these links to come into your site.

    Since you spend time and/or money on these traffic-building activities, you need a way to measure this, to track what off-site promotions are working, and which are not. Once you know which of your expense-generating activities work and which ones donít you know where to spend your promotional time and money! And where to stop! You build upon your successes and fix your weaknesses.
     

  3. ON SITE links that send traffic out

  4. On site links appear on your site, and send visitors out of that page. These links all go to income-generating sites, merchant-partners via affiliate programs, your own online store, or your own sales site for products that you have developed. In other words, on site links generate income.
So how do we track these two kinds of links? It all boils down to this. We track how to best spend our traffic-building time and money via Click In Analysis. We track whatís generating income by Click Through Analysis.

Letís talk about Click In Analysis first. Click In's occur when people click on an off site link and come into your Theme-Based Content Site. Click In's cost you time and/or money. So analyze what works (do more of it) and what fails (drop or improve it).

In order to do Click In Analysis, you create special tracking links. You create these links specifically to track the success of your off site promotional campaigns. You place a different link in each of your promotional campaigns, so that itís easy to track.

When the user clicks on that link, he first goes to a computer program that records the click, and where it came from. Then the program sends the visitor to the page in your site that you had specified.

Click In Analysis yields the following

  • total clicks coming in, for all your special links, and also for each special tracking link that you create
  • first-time vs. repeat click In's, for all click In's, and also on a link-by-link basis. In other words, has the person who is clicking on a link clicked on it before?
You now have a way of measuring the exact traffic-building success of every offsite promotional campaign, whether you're
  • bidding for keywords on Pay-Per-Click engines
  • buying ads in e-zines
  • posting an ad on the bulletin board of your local grocery store
  • no matter how you promote!
Click In Analysis is vital for anyone building income through content. Unfortunately, existing services are very expensive. Here are your best two options

1) If you have some tech skills or if you employ someone who does, use the Ultimate Link Tracker. It's free when you join the 5 Pillar Program. Don't worry. There's no obligation to work the 5P Program unless you want to. Consider the Ultimate Link Tracker as my gift to you for reading through this entire discussion!

-OR-
2) Site Build It! provides all this The Tracker Library makes it a snap to set up your special tracking links. And you get complete Click In Analysis reports at the click of your mouse! Cost? Included in Site Build It!, which itself costs less than services that offer only this feature!

Here are some of the uses and advantages of Click In Analysis

  1. Untraceable Link

  2. Some links have no Referring URL, so itís impossible to know where they came from through regular traffic analysis. We need to know this data. For example
    1. links from a free e-book that you are using as a promotional tool.
    2. links from e-mail of any kind, sig files, links in mailing lists, autoresponder campaigns, links in the e-zine that you publish, ads that you buy in e-zines.
    3. links from non Web based newsgroups, anything you read with your newsreader, but if you read newsgroups via deja.com and your browser, this does not apply since the Traffic Stats section will report on any visitor that arrives via a Web site -- you could, of course, still use a tracking link for this if you want to.
    4. links that are simply typed in, often due to offline exposure (especially targeted print media). Tracking links are great for any kind of offline promotion.
    By creating a special tracking link for each of these untraceable links, youíll know what has been previously impossible to know.
     
  3. Testing e-zine 

  4. ads set a different tracking URL for each ad that you write. That way you can measure which ad generates a better response. Hereís how
     

    Run Ad #1 in E-zine #1 and Ad #2 in E-zine #2, then switch a month later. Which ad got more responses overall? Stick with whatís profitable. Drop the rest. E-zine advertising becomes very cost-effective when you can drop the dogs and increase your budget for the winners.
     

  5. Test Web-based advertising 

  6. Even if your promotion is Web-based, itís more convenient to run tracking links than to review the Traffic Stats Referrer information (which do tell you which sites links originate from). So use your special tracking links to track the performance of banners, Pay-Per-Click Search Engines, even posts to forums and discussion groups.
So far, weíve talked about tracking the various possible origins of the tracking links (the off site places where potential visitors see and click on your tracking link). And weíve assumed that the ultimate destination of those links is to your Theme-Based Content Site. But you have several options for the ultimate destination of your off site tracking links
  1. Your Theme-Based Content Site 

  2. Letís say that you have a terrific page about a special kind of flower. That page has several in-context text links... links to books, growers, ClubMom, etc, etc. You take an e-zine ad. Where should the ultimate destination be? To your Keyword-Focused Content Page! Since you have worked so many in-context text links into your overdelivering copy, you have a whole bunch of chances that a sale occurs on at least one of your merchant-partnersí sites.
     
  3. Straight to a merchant-partner 

  4. On the other hand, suppose you write a wonderful article about this special flower as content for a prominent e-zine published by a third party. Your payment is that you can include your URLs. Where should these links point? Work those special tracker links into the content of the article, and point them straight to your merchant partners. One link for each merchant. Since anyone who clicks passes through the tracking script first, youíll see exactly how many people clicked on each link! No point in directing them to the same info on your site, right?
     
  5. A free trial download 

  6. Even a download URL can be the destination. Offering a free e-book on that special kind of flower? Take an ad in an e-zine, offering the link straight to the download. Naturally, the e-book will have links to your various merchant partners, and to your Theme-Based Content Site. Every one of those in-book links should be special tracking links, too!
     
  7. Your online store 

  8. same idea. If you have an online store that needs traffic, and if the situation dictates that youíre better off by sending visitors directly to your store (after passing through the tracking script, of course), then do that. Same goes if you have a site that sells single products or your services. If an ad costs you $100, but you see that it generated 500 visitors, and if you know that 2% of your visitors buy, itís easy to figure out whether your ad is profitable!
No matter where these visitors originate from, and no matter where you send them to, Click In Analysis reports how well each promotional effort is working.

Now letís cover Click Through Analysis

Click throughs occur when people click on a link on your Theme-Based Content Site and leave it (they donít actually leave since you pop open a new window for them!). 

Click throughs earn you income. Why? It all depends where those click throughs are going

  • affiliate programs 

  • a percentage of those turn into sales or leads or whatever action your merchant partner pays for
  • your own online store 

  • a percentage will buy, yielding you a profit
  • your sales site 

  • that sells an e-book or software that you developed, or even your services.
To maximize click throughs, of course, you know that you must create highvalue content that overdelivers what your visitors were looking for. Blending in-context text links into your copy gets the click through. Once youíve done that, of course, you need a way to know what's getting the Click and whatís not! And thatís where Click Through Analysis comes into play.

In order to do Click Through Analysis, you convert your regular outgoing links into special tracking links. When your visitor clicks on such a link, she first goes to a computer program that records the click, and where it came from. Then the program sends the visitor to the income-building site that you had specified.

Click Through Analysis yields the following

  • total click throughs for all your on site links, as well as for each on site link (on a link-by-link basis)
  • first-time vs. repeat click throughs, for the total of all click throughs on all your on site links, and also on a link-by-link basis. In other words, has the person who is clicking on a link clicked on it before?
  • the clicks divided by the page views, which gives you your Click Through Rate for all your links as a group, and also on a link-by-link basis.
Excellent Click Through Analysis would even slice and dice your click through analysis like this
  • It would present you with link-by-link data, broken down for every page that each link appears upon (in other words, if LINK A appears on Pages 1, 2, and 3, it shows you how LINK A performed on each of those pages)
  • it would present you page-by-page data, broken down with the performance of every link on each page (in other words, if Page 1 contains LINKS A, B, and C, it shows you how each of those links performed on that page).
And perfect Click Through Analysis would give you all this data for any time span that you request!

Bottom Line?

With Click Through Analysis, you have an exact success rate of every single onsite link. And that measures income, your money.

Youíll know exactly what people are clicking upon and what they are not. From there itís just a question of building upon your successes and fixing your weaknesses which maximizes your income.

Click Through Analysis is as critical for your Theme-Based Content Site as Click In Analysis. Again, existing services are very expensive. And none give the degree of information that I have outlined for the perfect Click Through Analysis.

POWER-USER TIP: 
Want perfect tracking of how effective your e-zine ad is? Combine Click In Analysis and Click Through Analysis! Do this

  1. Place ad in an e-zine, or bid on keywords from a Pay-Per-Click Search Engine. The link goes to a page on your site that only receives clicks from this ad. It can be a simple duplicate of one of your siteís pre-existing pages. But it should not receive links from anywhere else, including even from your own site.
  2. On that page, create new tracker links to your affiliate programs, links that are unique for this ad. You should not use these tracker links anywhere else.
  3. Now your Click In Analysis can track both the incoming traffic and your Click Through Analysis can see how many of those folks coming in actually go to your income-generating programs (or your sales site, online store, etc.)
Youíll know exactly and you will be able to say ďThis ezine ad on this day (or this Pay-Per-Click listing) brought in this many visitors of which this many clicked on to this and that merchant.Ē Since you know the Conversion Rate for each of your merchant-partners (or your sales site/store), you know whether it makes sense to keep advertising, or to find more targeted e-zines or more targeted keywords on the pay-per-clicks.

This technique works for e-zine ads, opt-in mailings, article submissions that direct readers to your Theme-Based Content Site. And it can be very helpful to test the cost-effectiveness of the Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

As I said, though, this requires a fair degree of savviness and some work. Definitely for power users only. And, if itís more appropriate to send readers directly to your merchants instead of a page on your site, then this extra stop would not be a good idea. Still, something to keep in mind.

Bottom line for chapter 10?

Know your visitors, they are the heart of your business, by following traffic stats. And tracking links in and out is the key to maximizing income while getting the most return from all your traffic-building expenses.


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