Monthly Archives: April 2009 | Force 5
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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Apr
20

Understanding Website Traffic

Posted on April 20, 2009 by force5

As a website owner it’s important to understand website analytics. How many people are going to your website? Are they reading what you have to say? Are they buying your products? There is only one way to know. Good site analytics. The problem is there are so many statistics available sorting through these numbers can be a daunting task. Below, I’ve provided some basic analytic information to help you decipher this numerical nightmare.

Unique Visitor:
A unique visitor is a visitor coming from a single IP address. Basically, if I visit your site today I’m counted as 1 unique visitor. If I return to your site 10 more times from the same IP address I’m still counted as 1 unique visitor.
 
Visitor:

A visitor is the total number of people who visit your website. If I visit your website 10 times today I’m counted as 10 visitors. Remember, if I make those 10 visits from the same IP address I’m only counted as 1 unique visitor.

Bounce Rate:
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visits where the user enters and exits at the same page of your site without visiting any other pages. So, if I were to visit your home page, look around for a minute, then leave without going to any other pages my visit would be counted as a bounce.

Time on Site:
Time on site is the average amount of time a visitor spends on each page of your website. If your average time on site is 3:11 this means that your site visitors spend an average of three minutes and eleven seconds viewing each page of your site.

Page Views:
Page views are the number of times a particular page is requested from the website server and displayed in the end users browser. If you have a high number of visitors, and a low page view count this means you have a lot of people going to your site but they are not finding it useful. A low page view count usually goes hand in hand with a high bounce rate.

 Hits:
For a long time everyone talked about website hits. Basically, this is a meaningless statistic. Hits count every single item on your webpage that loads; HTML pages, images, links, headers etc. Hits might be important to your site developer to assist with reducing page load times but it means nothing to you as far as site traffic.

Traffic Sources:
Another important stat to keep track of is your traffic sources. This tells you where your visitors are coming from.

The three main traffic sources are:

  1. Search Engines
    This represents the percentage of overall visitors that reached your site via a search engine such as Google or Yahoo.
  2. Referring Sites
    This represents the percentage of overall visitors that reached your site from a direct link on another website.
  3. Direct Traffic
    This represents the percentage of overall visitors that reached your site by typing your unique URL (domain name) into their web browser.

It’s important to know your traffic sources.  This is where your site visitors are coming from. If your Search Engine percentage is high then visitors are finding your site on the first page of Google or Yahoo results. If your referring sites percentage is high then you have a good number of external links to relative websites. Finally, if your direct traffic percentages are high then you have a memorable domain name. Visitors know who you are and how to find your webpage without searching for it.

Improving your website traffic takes a solid understanding of your visitors. Using analytics is your first step in gaining that understanding. If you want to keep the traffic coming, monitor your site statistics on a regular basis, and learn what those numbers are trying to you.

Apr
20

Timidity is not the route to success

Posted on April 20, 2009 by dmorgan

In the past few weeks, we've (Force 5 Media) seen several articles on dealing with marketing and advertising in a down economy. In fact, studies have been done since the early 20’s dealing with recessionary times. The conclusion? Companies should maintain advertising and marketing during a recession. The studies in the 20’s-40’s-50’s and 60’s shown that during recessions, almost without exception sales and profits dropped off at companies that cut back on advertising. Doh! That makes sense right? But here’s the catch--The studies also revealed that after the recessions ended, those companies continued to lag behind the ones that had maintained their advertising budgets. A 1979 study showed similar findings. They found that "companies which did not cut advertising expenditures during the recession years (1974-1975), experienced higher sales and net income during those two years and the two years following than companies which cut ad budgets in either or both recession years."

All of these study’s present evidence that cutting advertising in times of economic downturns can result in both immediate and long-term negative effects on sales and profit levels. The quote I liked said "I have yet to see any study that proves timidity is the route to success. Studies consistently have proven that companies that have the intelligence and guts to maintain or increase their overall marketing and advertising efforts in times of business downturns will get the edge on their timid competitors."Obviously, this is a tough thing to do. Cutting the advertising budget seems sensible, but it’s not…. A strong marketing campaign, and a sensible advertising budget might make the upturn a little quicker for you, and leave those a bit more timid still trying to figure it out.
 

 

Apr
10

From Idea to (re)Invention

Posted on April 10, 2009 by nmcelwrath

There are some exciting things happening here at Force 5 Media. One of which, is exciting for me, since it involves self-discovery and insight for the purpose of solely helping our clients realize their goals. There is an old saying, "In order to see where you are going, you must know where you've been." This goes for not only our clients, but ourselves. We have something in common with our clients; our need and want for success. We are on a journey; the more we realize where we have been, the more focused we can become in realizing our goals.

There's been some reinventing going on at Force 5 Media. This journey is represented in a new page inviting clients to join us on this new journey we are embarking on. Join us on our journey. This was a fun project to work on due to the wide variety of mediums involved as well as the awesome ideas that were generated by the Force 5 team. Sure, there's been a fair share of Willie Nelson (On the Road Again), Rascal Flatts (Life is a Highway), and B.B. King (Key to the Highway) parodies. Some humorous, some unfortunate. Over all of the tears, we enjoyed the creative brainstorming and coming up with some amazing ideas. On the "tech/creative" side of this project, we played with Flash, 3D, Photoshop, PHP, and Javascript. What's even more exciting is the direction this project is headed. Over the next few weeks, our journey page will evolve with different messages, animations and hidden treasures - eventually revealing our new destination.

Stay tuned - it's a wide open road ahead.

Apr
10

Blogging for Business

Posted on April 10, 2009 by dmorgan

Here at Force 5 Media, we see the blogging movement picking up speed as businesses begin to realize the benefits of blogging.

  • The boom of weblogs (blogs...) happened in 1999 when several companies & developers made easy blogging software and tools. Since 1999, the number of blogs on the Internet has exploded from a few thousand to over 100 million. Universal McCann Research shows it like this (for 2008):
    • 184 million WW have started a blog | 26.4 US
    • 346 million WW read blogs | 60.3 US
    • 77% of active Internet users read blogs

When 77% of active internet users read blogs, you should take notice!

Blogs can fall into two general categories:

Personal Blogs: a mixture of a personal diary, opinion posts and research links.

Business Blogs: a corporate tool for communicating with customers or employees to share knowledge and expertise.

Business blogs are sweeping the business community. Blogs are an excellent method to share a company's expertise, build additional web traffic, and connect with potential customers. It also allows the company to personally connect with consumers, head off any potential negative press, and establish the corporate culture better than ever before.

What does Blogging Provide to Small Business?

  • It’s easy to use. Simply write your thoughts, link to resources, and publish to your blog, all at the push of a few buttons. Blog software companies such as: Movable Type, Blogger.com. WordPress and Typepad all offer easy blogging tools to get started. We use WordPress here at Force 5 Media.
  • It allows for a constant and fresh presence on the web. We recommend to our clients that each blogger in the company post something new at least once a week.
  • It provides your small business with a chance to share your expertise and knowledge with a larger audience. It humanizes the company, showing the consumer the knowledge base that is inherent with every company.
  • There are minimal costs with a blog from a start up and hosting perspective, but be careful if every employee is blogging daily—you’re productivity rate may suffer.

Some of our clients have asked us to prepare a “Best Practices” blogging policy for them. We’re working on that now, and I’ll have some examples of that in a future blog.

We’re starting our own blogs at Force 5 Media, and have asked our employees to participate. It should be fun. We have great people with great skill sets, and passion for many things. We look forward to having them share their expertise with you, and write about things they are passionate about. From design and animation, programming and marketing strategy, the topics will be interesting. Our company specializes in marketing communications, and we hope to share with you some of our experience in the field of advertising and marketing.

Apr
10

Go Green!

Posted on April 10, 2009 by force5

From Dell committing itself to carbon neutrality to IBM’s new eco-consulting service major business has made the move to go green. This shift is not only for the big boys. Green IT solutions can also bring cost savings to small business while reducing their environmental impact. The No. 1 green IT practice is the paperless office. A paperless office is also the easiest Green IT solution to implement, and offers the greatest cost savings. The two best examples of a paperless office in action are electronic correspondence and online marketing. Both can be accomplished with your existing email client and Internet browser. The use of email to handle both in-house and client correspondence is the least expensive and easiest form of paperless communication to implement. Not only is email the fastest way to deliver written communication it also the most customizable supporting full color, images and formatting for specific forms such as proposals and invoices. The use of online email marketing campaigns is another excellent form of paperless communication. Most small businesses rely on bulk mail for advertising. With bulk mail there is significant expense in design, printing and postage with low success rates. Most online marketing campaigns require a minimal monthly fee. They offer free templates designed to generate a high response rate, no postage and no printing. These are just two of the many ways your small business can go green reducing both your bottom line and your environmental footprint.