Alternatives to Google Analytics

Data is critical to business success. There is no doubt that if you don’t have the data of what is happening in your business today, you cannot know if you are on track to achieve your goals or not.

Businesses whether they are big or small spend a lot of time and money on getting data related to their sales, orders, stock, expenditure, income and much more. Data such as these are essential to see where the business is headed.

Whether a business is entirely online or has an online presence that drives its offline traffic, data and analysis is essential here as well.

As technology has become more digitized, so have a number of analytics software evolved. In my last blog post I wrote about how to effectively use Google Analytics. In this post we shall briefly revisit GA before looking at some other analytics tools and see how they fare against each other.

Google Analytics

In the market there are currently certain tools that most website owners swear by.

On top of that list is generally Google Analytics but there are several other tools which give great data and reports.

Pros

  • It is free
  • Has different depths of reports available
  • Whole range of reports covered
  • Wide ranging historical data available
  • Excellent for understanding trends because of sheer number of data combinations that are possible
  • Can measure business goals
  • Tells you which keywords are bringing you traffic, which browsers and devices people are using to access your website, from which sites they given referral
  • Set up custom reports
  • Set up custom alerts

Cons

  • Information clutter
  • Data is never instant or real time; lags by at least an hour
  • Interface takes time to become familiar. Once you are comfortable however, you will be able to get the most out of this tool.

Here are some of the best analytics tools that are great alternatives to Google Analytics. I chose them based on their appearances on other lists about best analytics software (They are in no specific order)

Alternatives to Google Analytics

Of course, there is nothing stopping us from combining any of the following with GA. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and can be used in combination to develop the best analytics information for any business. Or they can be used stand alone if that option suits your business better.

  1. Clicky

    This is another powerful analytics tool that finds itself on the top of most lists. Clicky is often seen as a great Alternatives to Google Analytics. The free version of Clicky gives you quite a lot of information but the paid versions provide more in-depth information when compared to other tools.

    Pros

    • Real time data
    • Reasonable pricing for the pro version
    • Free version gives plenty of data
    • Features like video analytics, real time heat maps, several types of filters, on-site analytics, white label option, and more make it a top contender
    • Twitter monitor through integration with that platform
    • Clearly lists each visitor, tells you what they visited, how long they were on the page, where they were referred from, the actions they performed
    • Provides heat maps for each individual as well

    Cons

    • Most of the features are not free
    • Not all website owners may need all the in-depth features

    You can read Ramsay Taplin’s review of the tool to get a stronger idea of Clicky’s features.

  2. Open Web Analytics (OWA)

    This open-source software is the way to go if you are someone who enjoys working with open source software; the bonus is that the tool is free.

    Pros

    • It’s free
    • Gives heat maps
    • No limit to data
    • No limit to number of websites that you can measure
    • Is self-hosted
    • Provides mouse tracking
    • Is very fast

    Cons

    • Unlike Google Analytics, OWA does not provide for mobile tracking
    • It does not have real time reporting
  3. Piwik

    Yet another on-premise, open-source software that provides great reports and enough data to help you understand exactly how your online presence is doing. Piwik is a great Alternatives to Google Analytics and according to their website has been downloaded more than 3,000,000 times. Only caveat is: you have to download it and host it on your server.

    Pros

    • Open-source
    • Mobile app
    • Unlimited storage
    • Free version has many features offered by other analytics programs
    • Highly customizable dashboard
    • “Row Evolution” is a feature that allows you to click on any data point on a graph and view detailed history of that data point
    • Sort rows to compare performance on different platforms, mobile devices and browsers
    • Automatic email reports

    Cons

    • Pro version is second most expensive among the popular tools. According to the Clicky comparison, annual fee can be at least $1,548 (for 1,000,000 page views monthly).
    • Setting up the dashboard can take time due to the detailing

    You can read a review of Piwik by web.appstorm which would help you understand how much the pro version has to offer.

  4. Woopra

    Woopra is the analytics software which is a great Alternatives to Google Analytics. In fact the reporting capability of this software is quite astounding. Woopra has the ability to track a lot of detail about your websites visitors. Even anonymous visitors’ page views can be tracked until they choose to identify themselves. This level of detailing can help you determine your marketing strategy for different streams.

    Pros

    • Fully real time data
    • Detailed tracking of customer activity
    • Reports allow for deep segmentation
    • Highly customizable reporting
    • Dynamic segment creation
    • Live dashboard with your bespoke metrics
    • Engage with customers on multiple touch points like email, chat, helpdesk and more
    • “Appconnect” feature allows you to utilize 3rd party features through Woopra
    • Retention analysis, funnel analytics, segmented analysis

    Cons

    • The pro version can cost at least $2,399 a year (for 1,000,000 page views monthly). Although the amount of data you are getting may make it worth it

    Woopra also gives you the ability to live chat with your customers. This video demo of its capabilities provides a good indicator for the pricing.

  5. Kissmetrics

    A paid analytics tool, Kissmetrics provides a great deal of relevant information aimed at improving conversions, improving customer retention, and fuelling growth. Founded by one of the top internet marketing influencers – Neil Patel, the software is focused on improving your marketing strategy.

    Pros

    • Is highly suited for changes in user behavior
    • An easy to adopt visual format
    • You can add any parameter you want to track URLs
    • Provides timeline views of visitors
    • Focuses on consumer behavior analysis which provides valuable answers like who are the most valuable customers, how behavior changes over time, why it changes
    • Pricing is reasonable for the type of reporting capability
    • The funnel reporting capability is rated among the best

    Cons

    • Out-of-the-box reports are not many or easy to create
    • For mobile analytics, this may still be behind a solution like Mixpanel
  6. Moz Keyword Explorer

    As a relatively new entrant as a keyword analysis tool (compared to say, SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner) Moz Keyword Explorer starts off with the advantage of having been developed by an SEO expert company like Moz.

    Pros

    • Great UX
    • Keyword reports are easy to understand
    • Thorough rank tracking
    • “Are questions” feature allows you to build content marketing ideas
    • Detailed SERP data is available
    • Gives you metrics like keyword search volume, organic competition, keywords prioritized by which ones influence the metrics most

    Cons

    • It doesn’t have the ability yet to target specific local regions
    • Limited number of keywords per campaign
    • Long lists of keywords instead of sorted lists like those available with Google Keyword Planner

    You can read this article by Moz that will give you an insight into how Moz Keyword Explorer compares against Google Keyword Planner.

  7. Mixpanel

    A web and mobile analytics tool, Mixpanel allows a lot of flexibility in reporting and there are some things that Mixpanel does which are also present in Google Analytics but which Mixpanel makes very simple. Something like retroactive funnel analysis – with GA you have to build the funnel forward compulsorily. With Mixpanel you can do it later.

    Pros

    • The event tracking model is superb
    • Data analysis is instant and real time
    • Full-scale customer support
    • Data is private – not used for advertising purposes
    • Comprehensive retention analysis
    • Retroactive funnel analysis

    Cons

    • You may find the pricing a little steep; there are others who give customized pricing options

Honorable Mentions

  • Amplitude
  • Bitly
  • SimilarWeb
  • SEMRush
  • Adobe Digital Marketing Suite
  • Mint (although sales was discontinued in December 2016, it made it to almost every list of top analytics software)

The thing to remember of course is that these software are ultimately designed to serve different purposes. Depending on your requirements you may need to club two or more of them to get all your reporting requirements fulfilled.

If you are starting out with analytics for your online presence, Google Analytics is a great option. As you become comfortable with your reporting, and you gain an understanding of what all you actually want to see, you can move on to any tool that is out there.

Check out this long list of analytics software that is at your disposal.

If you don’t have the time or means to decide, don’t sweat it. You can always get in touch with a SEO specialist company like ColorWhistle to have all your reporting needs taken care of.

A full-service web development company has all the required resources at its disposal to help your company grow its digital presence through diligent data tracking and strategy building.

Information is power. For any business, investment in analytics can go a long way in deciding their online success.

7 tips and tricks for highly effective Google Analytics usage

How to use Google Analytics to get the most out of it

Once you have set up your website and have started actively optimizing the website and promoting it and even started getting business out of it, the next thing to do is to track the data.

Google Analytics provides a great means to understand how many people come to the site, what keeps there for longer, what they don’t spend too much time on and more.

Information is power, the more information you are able to gather on your website’s performance and site visitor behavior, the more likely you are to make the site more effective.

Google Analytics gives you that power.

Most people however are happy to use some of the top level information the Google Analytics provides.

There are, however, plenty of features and reports that you can use to get the maximum results out of your website.

In this post we shall look at some of the tips and tricks for effectively making use of Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

Since its launch in 2005 by Google, this free analytics service has become the most used service on the internet.

It basically tracks and reports the traffic to a website.

Q: Why is traffic to a website an interesting article to track?

A: This is because all businesses are trying to increase the number of people who visit their website. Therefore it is important to know the user behavior before enhancing or reworking the website.

The best part of analytics is that it is a free service and gives you quite a lot of value.

Over 30 million websites use it.

Most business owners, however, simply go with the basic data charts and statistics.

It is simple enough to get access well.

You need to sign up and tell Google which website and web pages you want tracked by registering them (they are called properties by Google Analytics).

After that you can periodically run reports to get the tracking information.

What all information does Google Analytics give you?

Google Analytics provides a range of information that can be used to determine how your site is performing in real time and over time.

As with all analytics data, you can then determine what is the best course to make changes  or enhancements to your website to make user experience better.

Some of the information that you get from Google Analytics include:

Real Time information:

  • Number of active users by country and city
  • Monitor traffic channels like paid search, link follows, search, transitions to your website
  • Number of visits to your page every 30 minutes
  • Events that occurred in the past 30 minutes

Social Activity of your web pages

  • If your webpage is shared by a user, Google Analytics can track it
  • You can generate your own report to see what is getting shared

Content related Behavior

  • What pages are users visiting
  • How much time they spend on the page
  • How many unique page views are there
  • You can create reports over different time periods as well

Event related behavior

  • Which events occurred like loading
  • If it is a video page, you can track pauses, open, close and play
  • For search pages you can track opening the search page, close the search page
  • Other events tracked include downloads, print, sound, share, zoom, pages, links

Conversions

  • You can track how many of the people visiting your website convert into your customer. If you are selling products, then how many buy them. If you are selling services, then how many people go to the contact page and call you/write you.

This article gives you a comprehensive list of analytics data that Google Analytics provides.

What we can see from this is that from a business point of view there is certainly a large amount of information that we can tap into.

A restaurant example

Let’s imagine a restaurant called Great Food.

The website is great and business is doing well.

What the owner wants to know is how much of the business is being driven by the website.

For this the restaurant needs the following information:

  • How many people have visited the site in a month
  • How many stayed on the site for long enough to make reservations
  • How many made reservations through the website
  • How many people came to the website through social media

All these bits of information can be found under the various sections of GA.

Information needed Report that can be used
How many people have visited the site in a month Overview
How many stayed on the site for long enough to make reservations All traffic under acquisitions
How many made reservations through the website Conversions
How many people came to the website through social media Traffic sources

With this information in hand, the restaurant owner can:

  • Determine which pages kept people on for the longest and improve content or streamline content
  • If sizeable number of reservations are being made from the website, then owner can see what ways are there to drive this behavior more
  • Social media stats can show whether owner needs to do more to result in conversions from social media channels

Key marketing decisions can be made based on this data and in conjunction with overall business goals.

How to effectively use Google Analytics

The ultimate goal of any business is to drive up its sales volumes through effective marketing.

Google Analytics is a great tool to understand what you need to do to develop an effective marketing strategy.

Before developing an effective marketing strategy, however, you need to first user Google Analytics more effectively.

Here are some tips and tricks that make your experience with Google Analytics more enriching.

1. Always use long term statistics

By default you can get any report for a 30-day time period.

You should however extend the date range to get a better understanding of the user trends.

Time periods between 3 and 6 months can give you a very good idea of which pages are getting maximum views.

When you know which pages get maximum views, then you can analyze why they get higher views than other pages.

Based on this you can decide:

  • If you want to enhance pages with lower views
  • If you want to keep only pages with higher views

The aim is to get people to stay on your site long enough to complete the sale.

Knowing what works and what doesn’t helps you decide your budget and investment strategy as well.

2. Get information on what site visitors are doing

This is critical information.

Driving traffic to your website is not enough to get you great rankings on search engine results pages.

Keeping users on the page is equally important.

You need to become familiar with metrics like:

  • Entrances: the number of people who land on one your webpages
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who landed on a page but left without visiting other pages
  • Exit percentage: the percentage of visitors who left the page they landed on but had already browsed other pages before

What this information tells you is where you are going wrong or right with keeping visitors engaged.

For example, if the entrance is through your blog and exit is through the same blog then you know that the blog is not satisfying the information the user looked for.

When you compare against the keywords that bring visitors to the blog and the bounce rate you can determine what visitors expect.

Use the Traffic Sources section of Google Analytics and Drill down to Organic search

You will be able to see the keywords that are bringing people to your web pages.

These stats can help in changing the way you present information on your website or even the information itself.

3. Use the data about where site visitors are coming from and going to

There is a wonderful tool in GA that can help with this.

Under the Audience section, choose the Visitors Flow option.

You will get information like:

  • Which country visitors have come from
  • What was the entry point for the visitors
  • What was the page chain visitors followed after gaining entrance

These trends help you understand what the typical information is that visitors look for in your website.

It also enables you to understand regional buying patterns.

For example if you are selling automobile spare parts, visitors from North America may show a trend of visiting your accessories page as well whereas users from Asia maybe reading FAQs.

This helps you determine how to target your regional audience.

4. Know how long users engaged

Now that you know how long people are staying and what brings them to your site and which all pages they visit, you have the option to further understand how long are users engaged with your site.

In the Audience section you can find the Engagement option under Behavior.

In this report the point of interest for you is to know how many users are staying between 10 and 30 minutes and those who leaving after 30 minutes.

These groups typically will have more page views.

If for your website these groups have small numbers compared to faster leaving numbers, then you know that you have to work on keeping people engaged for longer.

5. Understand Social Media activity

Social media is fast becoming the channel for visitors to find their way to your website.

The longer people spend on social media, the more likely they are to click on various websites.

Google Analytics gives you a report that helps you understand which links are being shared and how many times these links are getting clicked.

This is good information to have because people are naturally clicking on shared links.

There is no compulsion to click it.

Therefore it gives an insight into what are people finding naturally attractive.

You can get the landing pages report from Traffic Sources when you drill down to Social and then Landing pages.

You can further enhance your insight by learning which social media sites are driving traffic to your website.
Under the Traffic Sources section, drill down to Network Referrals

This will become absolutely critical as social media grows and people start to engage more and more with mobile apps to connect with each other.

Knowing which network brings you traffic helps you to focus your marketing efforts on that network.

Social media activity can also been seen as a visitor flowchart similar to the visitors chart for overall website statistics.

Under Traffic Sources, under Social there is an option for Visitors Flow

Study the maps of user traffic to see where they land from social media and then where all they go.

This helps to develop content that people are more likely to read and share back to the network.

With social media your aim should not be just to drive traffic to your website but also to drive traffic back to social media.

To get an idea why, imagine your site visitor has 500 Facebook Friends.

Each of those friends on average has say 400 friends.

Already your potential audience numbers 500 X 400 or 200,000.

Even eliminating mutual friendships you are potentially visible to over 100,000 people for every visitor who can share your content back to social media.
You can visualize the exponential reach of social media with these numbers.

Therefore making time to understand social media behavior helps you enhance your social media targeted activity and exposes you to far more potential customers than traditional media.

Remember, social media is a two-way engagement with almost near instantaneous responses.

6. Focus on your conversions data

The aim of a business is sales.

You, as a business owner have to focus on getting website visitors to contact you or confirm a purchase.

In Google Analytics, conversions are called goals.

How you set up your goals and then track them will determine how effective your strategies will be.

To understand how you can get conversions, first you have to track  your existing conversions.

  • You have to first create a goal
  • The goal could be something like Make a reservation
  • The goal is achieved when user visits Reservation confirmation page
  • You can place a dollar value to the goal if you like to get comparative/revenue reports.

You won’t of course immediately see a goal based reports.

But over time you will be able to see how many goals are achieved.

You can even set up multiple goals.

For example visitor can either download the menu or make a reservation as a goal with same achievement criteria – reservation.

It will help you understand how many visitors who downloaded the menu also made reservation.

Therefore if people are more likely to make reservation after downloading the menu, you can develop a marketing strategy that leads people to the menu page.

7. Make full use of the segmenting features of Google Analytics reports

Most webmasters end up using only the top level reports.

Google Analytics, however, allows you to really drill down to get more effective correlation between data points.

A segment is typically a slice of the whole.

The statistics can be viewed from different perspectives to fulfill different business objectives.

Data can be viewed from the perspective of:

  • Traffic sources
  • Pages
  • Browsers
  • Landing pages
  • Unique visits
  • Unique visitors
  • Returning visitors
  • Devices used
  • Operating system used
  • Flash/Java Version
  • Keywords

And so much more

To make full use of segmenting, you can create your own customized reports.

You can create your own mix of data headers that you would like to see in relation to keywords.

For example you if you want to see unique visitors in relation to the landing pages you can combine the two options and run a report.

Similarly you can define your own segments like “Mobile device users” and see what browser they are typically using to browse.

Neil Patel has written in quite detail on this subject in one of his articles.

The more information you have the better you can target your market.

To summarize, effective use of Google Analytics can be achieved as follows:

  • Use long term data for effective trend identification
  • Get insight on what site visitors are doing
  • Use data on where visitors come from and where they go
  • Get user engagement stats
  • Get social media activity stats
  • Focus on conversions data
  • Use the segmenting features available to get detailed information

A jumble of information, however, is hardly going to help you devise a strategy.

The knowledge that 80% mobile users were on Chrome browser is useful when you understand the technology aspect of optimization of your website.

Getting professional help is not a bad idea

Engaging the services of a SEO specialist company can help you effectively use the information that GA has given you.

They will be able to translate the reports and tell you what strategies will best work to get your website to the top.

What’s more expert insight will also help you formulate your operation strategies as well.

Google Analytics is a great tool for a business owner because it gives you a lot of information even with the free version.

As you use it and try out all the features it has to offer, you will be surprised how effective it is in helping decide your marketing and operation strategies.

How to select a vendor for website design outsourcing?

A ColorWhistle Quick Read

Whether you are a new business looking to create an online presence or an established looking to revamp your online presence, the big question is:

How to select a vendor for website design outsourcing?

We have already seen why outsourcing website design is the best option for small businesses:

  • Saves money
  • Allows you to focus on your core business
  • Ensures your website does the work for you
  • Ensures active digital marketing happens

You have the option to hire a startup, or hire a freelancer or enlist the services a full-service web design agency with years of experience behind them.

But how to decide which is the best option for you? First let’s see what the different options mean for you

1. What do the different options mean?

How to select a vendor for website design outsourcing?

 

2. Choosing the web design outsourcing vendor

How to select a vendor for website design outsourcing?

 

3. Points to remember when choosing web design vendor

Colorwhistle

Whichever vendor you choose to go with, it is best to remember that the vendor of your choice must fully understand your business and be able to design a solution that best suits you.

Make time to interact with the vendor and give your web design project with the same attention as you give to your business. After all your online presence is going to drive your actual business.

ColorWhistle is a fast evolving website design company that provides the cost efficiency and value for money of startups and has the capabilities and premium quality output of a full-service agency.

What are the Pros and Cons of SEO Outsourcing to India ?

Many small business owners continue to resist investing in SEO. SEO has become part of the business marketing reality. What you need to be thinking of is whether to hire in-house SEO expert or outsource your SEO requirement.

With SEO becoming integral to the website design process, the question that invariably a small business owner will face is whether to outsource SEO or have someone do the job in-house.

There was a time when you designed a website and then worked on optimizing it. Today SEO has become an intrinsic part of web development. A website is being optimized even as it is being designed.

To get a website to the top of search engine rankings is a time and resource consuming process. What is more, it is a continuous process. You need to regularly update content on your website, market your website online, create avenues that increase traffic to your website.

Billions of people are now online. Hundreds of millions of people are using mobile phones to connect to the internet.

You would think that small businesses are scrambling to take advantage of these digital trends to enhance their online presence. Yet, surveys have found that very few small businesses go beyond maintaining a website.

Among small businesses, SEO finds resistance

Small businesses do not wish to invest in SEO or invest very little. Here are some statistics from a 2015 survey on clutch.co that shows us the SEO investment trends among small businesses:

  • Half of the small businesses surveyed use SEO, the remaining resist.
  • Close to 40% have no plans of investing in SEO
  • 20% of the companies already using SEO, close to 50% allocate less than one-fifth of their marketing budget for digital marketing
  • Larger companies spend less on digital campaigns because they have more marketing options
  • Small businesses prefer online advertising to SEO but again over 40% are unlikely to invest in online advertising either
  • 25% of small businesses using SEO don’t track their SEO efforts

Those who track mostly depend on the following to determine if SEO investment is worthwhile:

  • Referral traffic from search engine
  • Keyword rankings
  • Leads and conversions

Those who do not track find it difficult to quantify or even justify their investment in SEO

Why this resistance to SEO?

The biggest factors are perceived cost and an inability to eschew traditional methods of marketing.

Other reasons include SEO’s history of spamming (the old days when any strategy was applied to get to the top of the ranks, before search engines had become more intelligent).

Business owners may not always have the time or the willingness to learn about the strategy of applying SEO.

It is frankly speaking an intangible thing when it is being applied. You can’t see the search engine algorithm; you learn how it works through careful study.

There are no guarantees. Just because a keyword strategy worked for your competitor, it may not work for you.

It is a time intensive process. Only steady, continuous effort will provide results. Unlike advertising on TV, SEO is not a marketing strategy that has immediate effect on consumer behavior.

What business owners need to remember is that it works.

A survey reported on Forbes online found that:

  • 72% business owners who applied SEO strategies felt that it had a direct impact on bottom line
  • Compared to lead conversion from outbound marketing (1.7%), SEO lead conversion was at 14.6%
  • SEO leads are also cheaper to acquire sometimes 61% less expensive that an outbound lead

Before we answer the question of whether SEO should be in-house or outsourced, let’s first understand SEO.

The Need for SEO

What is the need for SEO you ask?The need arises from the way people get information from the internet.

When someone wants to find something on the internet what do they do?

They open a web browser and open a website like Google or Yahoo or Bing. These are called search engines.

The person inputs a search query into the search box and clicks on search.

The search engine will return a set of websites that closely match your query. To return this set of websites the search engine has an algorithm running in the background that decides which of the hundreds of thousands of websites are best answers to the query.

The internet user will glance at the short descriptions provided under each entry and click on the one they think suits their query the best.

From the business owner perspective, the company’s website must:

  1. Make it to the list of search results by meeting the search engine algorithm requirements.
  2. Be the website that the customer clicks on to get required information.
Both these goals are what SEO is trying to achieve.

Why has the need for SEO become critical?

For the simple reason that more and more people are now accessing information online. A few days ago I had written about user and advertising statistics of Facebook.

You can see that in markets like USA and Canada, majority of people are accessing the web for their information and interaction requirements.

Today, anything from a job opportunity to the latest model of a timepiece can be marketed within moments online. Compared to traditional marketing means, digital marketing allows you global access for a fraction of the cost.

The other aspect of this is that every business that has an online presence is now your competitor. Even in the digital world, to stand above the competition you need excellent strategy. This is where SEO comes in. What SEO essentially does is:

  1. Ensure that your website design and content are as per the latest search engine algorithm
  2. Appropriate digital marketing strategy is applied to ensure that your website gets clicked by the internet user and not your competitor’s
The more number of people visit and stay on your website, the better chances your website has of being ranked very high by the search engine.

SEO is not just about search engine rank

One of the common perspectives about SEO is that its sole purpose is to get you on the top 10 of a search engine result page.

True, it is one purpose. But as competition has increased, what happens is that getting to the top is no longer enough.

Your website also needs to be able to attract the internet user enough that they click on your link. More importantly they have to stay with the website long enough to generate business for you.

Therefore the purpose of SEO is to bring in more business for your offline/online ventures by making your website visible to the search engine and also to ensure that you get unique and repeat customers to your website.

Once you have decided that you are willing to invest in SEO for your company’s website, then the next logical question is:

Who should do the SEO?

  1. Yourself
  2. Hire an SEO expert
  3. Hire a SEO company

Perhaps the following story will help you decide.

The story of a coffee shop owner

Let us imagine this scenario. You are a coffee shop owner who wants to get more people in. A larger establishment has opened up on the same street as yours and you are facing stiff competition.

You have a website that allows people to place orders before hand, you try to keep up with your customers on social media, you have an adequate digital presence.

Then suddenly, people typing in “coffee shop on Toast Avenue” end up seeing your competitor’s website first and see that they have the ability to place orders for coffee and breakfast and choose to go with your competitor.

How did that happen you wonder? Oh, they have better SEO, someone tells you. You just need to do better SEO than them.

There, you have the solution right at hand. Do better SEO!

How to do better SEO?

Get someone to help. You, obviously, won’t have the time unless you plan to stop running the coffee shop and do only SEO.

Really, you think, will it be all that time consuming?

So you try on your own.

You will find out that SEO typically consists of the following strategies:

  1. Technical SEO: Optimize for things like site speed, look for better code-to-text ratio, even optimize your SSL which involves establishing encrypted links between server and client machines.
  2. Onsite SEO: This involves optimizing content at the backend, keyword research and keyword mapping.
  3. Link SEO: This involves developing an authoritative link profile for your website through building backlinks and removing issues that may lead to link penalties.
    Seldom does one person have complete mastery of all aspects or even the time to work on all three aspects in the same day.

You somehow manage to make time and stick to your own SEO attempt.

You may even get results. But after sometime, your website keeps going down in the rank. You are scrambling to keep pace with changes (who knew a search engine algorithm like Google actually evolves!). You scramble to keep your core business running and shortly thereafter it is very likely that both business and your online work will suffer.

For any business owner learning SEO is hardly a feasible idea. You have come to the conclusion that you need to get someone to do it for you. So choose an experienced small business SEO services to full fill your needs.

This raises the next pertinent question: Should you hire an in-house SEO expert or outsource SEO to a company?

Pros and cons of Outsourcing SEO

Let us look at the pros and cons of leaving SEO to professionals. We’ll then see why outsourcing is a great option to go with.

Pros

In house Outsourced to Agency
- Cost effective solution; No operational overhead for you
Full control of the process Standard project management practices to ensure strategy is on track
SEO expert is working exclusively for your brand Diverse experience due to working for different businesses and longer exposure to your industry
Selected portions of your SEO strategy can be given to other contractors Multiple SEO experts work on each project, which means all strategies can be applied to your website
SEO expert can easily collaborate with your marketing and sales teams Always up to date because they have to retain clients by giving tangible results
SEO expert can provide inputs to your overall marketing strategy as well Ensures steady growth of your online business since access to resources is higher
- Trade networks help in sub contracting which makes process even more efficient

Cons

In house Outsourced to Agency
Expenses will be more because you pay salary and benefits Cost of service reflects quality – cheaper is not always better
Single person may not have expertise on all strategies Distance from your business can be a problem unless robust communication in place
Slower growth due to lesser resources Results from an agency may not always be as expected
Difficult for single person to stay abreast of all trends Drive to retain clients by giving impressive results can result in questionable strategies being selected.

Why you should outsource your SEO strategy?

As a business owner your goals are to make your brand the go-to brand for your niche, achieve success while keeping costs low, use available resources efficiently.

In-house SEO works for you if:

  • Your business is big enough to require a full-time SEO working for you
  • Your website is in a highly competitive sphere and requires constant attention
  • A single SEO strategy works for you
  • You can justify the year-on-year cost (considering that in-house SEO can cost you upwards of $70,000 per year according to this article)
  • As a coffee shop owner in the story, an in-house SEO may not be the best option for you.

Outsourcing SEO works for you when:

  • You need to keep your overheads low
  • You need a multi-pronged SEO strategy
  • You are looking for a cost-effective means of continuous SEO support

For the coffee shop owner in the story, the need is to always stay ahead of the immediate competition which means SEO shouldn’t end up adding significantly to the cost of operations. Thus outsourcing is a great option for the coffee shop owner.

For some small businesses, though, outsourcing to SEO companies within their region, say USA or Canada or Australia may still be an expensive option. So try to outsource your your needs to a best small business SEO company for the better results.

Cost is one of the major reasons that businesses are hesitant to invest in SEO. In such cases, you may look at outsourcing further afield, to say an SEO company in India.

Benefits Outsourcing SEO to India

One of the reasons why India is such a big outsourcing hub for IT and related services is the sheer size of the technological workforce. Does this, however, make India an ideal outsourcing venue for SEO as well?

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of outsourcing to India:

ProsCons
Cost: There may be significant cost differences when outsourcing to India. SEO packages in India typically also cover aspects of web design and content management. The cost difference may be as much as 25% in some cases.Differences in language and culture: The approach to business and marketing may differ between cultures. Also even though English is a common business language its application by native speakers and non-native speakers can cause problems.
Value for money: You get high technical expertise for lower prices Marketing: Technical expertise may not translate to marketing expertise
Work gets done even when your business is closed for the day: Given the time difference, your online presence continues to get optimized even after you head home for the day.Time zone difference and communication: Even with all the technology at our disposal for teleconferencing, there may be some issues with regard to getting communication out on time.

For the coffee shop owner, if the budget is small, an outsourcing partner in India would be ideal.

Ultimately, however, when choosing an outsourcing partner whether in your country on in India, you have to do the due diligence before you award the contract. Discuss in detail with the agency before taking the plunge.

A full-service wordpress website development and SEO services company like ColorWhistle brings not just years of experience but also a strong client list which is testament to its capabilities in this field.

Plus as a full-service agency every aspect of SEO whether technical, onsite or link building, everything gets taken care of at the agency. You also get to enjoy the benefits of comprehensive digital marketing packages as well.

For small business owners around the world whether it is USA, Canada or even India, the need of the hour is to strengthen their online presence. Developing and executing a solid SEO strategy is the way to create a sustained presence at the head of search engine results while ensuring lasting traffic to your website (and therefore business).

The benefits of outsourcing SEO far outweigh the disadvantages of outsourcing. The survey reported on clutch.com also found that a majority of the small businesses that had opted for outsourcing were planning to continue with their chosen SEO vendor.

Like the coffee shop owner in the story, first understand your needs, see what fits in your budget and then decide on whom to outsource to. Most companies, including ColorWhistle, are happy to provide free consultation to help you decide the best course.

Facebook Usage and Advertising Statistics 2017

Last week, I wrote about how digital marketing works Social media plays a big role in digital marketing. Of all the social media tools, Facebook has the largest number of active users – 1.86 billion monthly.

Facebook has been the number one social media website for several years running. Recent statistics show that for any business, marketing to the Facebook demographic is a great way to boost its digital marketing strategies.

In this post I will share some Facebook statistics and what they mean for your business.

But before we plunge into the statistics, here is a bit of background on Facebook.

Facebook History

  1. Launched on February 4th, 2004
  2. Created by Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard roommates
  3. Was called Facemas and then Thefacebook
  4. Started off as a university social site, then opened to everyone on the internet
  5. According to brandwatch, in the first 3 months of 2016, Facebook made $1.51 billion
  6. The fifth most valuable company in the world with market value in excess of $321 billion
  7. Has close to 13,000 employees
  8. Has acquired competitors like Instgram, WhatsApp and  Oculus

Facebook’s phenomenal success comes because it taps into the fundamental aspects of how people socialize – we tend to share information with our friends, family and colleagues. Facebook is the platform to share information with your social network regardless of their geographic location.

Plus, its basic service is free. What’s to stop people from joining? Nothing.

This post will share some of the latest statistics about Facebook usage and its advertising.

These statistics will definitely add value to your digital marketing and social media marketing plan for 2017.

Top 10 Facebook usage Statistics in 2017

    1. Facebook continues to be the preferred social media platform. According to Statista, it is the social media network with the largest number of active users in a month.
    2. It has 18% market share, which is 7% more than Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
    3. Facebook stats
    4. APAC competitors like QQ, WeChat and QZone are the closest to provide significant competition
    5. Photograph sharing social media website Instagram is also a competitor with 4% market share
    6. Mobile usage has been rising significantly. Almost 1.2 billion users login from mobile phone daily. Facebook stats

People in the 25-34 age group form the most common age demographic

  1. More women than men use Facebook daily (83% of female FB users are logging in daily)
  2. However, 75% of men on social media use Facebook regularly
  3. 80% of time spent on social media platforms is via mobile
  4. Regional break up of Facebook penetration shows that the
    1. American continents have the highest penetrations by percentage of population
    2. Asia has over 550 million users (33% of the Facebook user population)
    3. Although Australia has only around 38 million people, 51% of them are on Facebook
    4. 49.5% of the world’s population uses the Internet, 22.8% use Facebook

Facebook stats

Facebook stats

Significance of Facebook usage statistics for your business

  1. You can no longer ignore Facebook as a digital marketing platform
  2. It is easier to target advertisements to your desired demographic on this platform than any other
  3. You have a worldwide market available to you through Facebook
  4. Consistent usage behavior shows that Facebook users are a promising audience for your marketing efforts
  5. The 25-34 age group is a prime marketing target for many companies. You have the opportunity to engage with them easily and quickly.

How Facebook advertising works

If you decide to become an advertiser on Facebook, you should know a few fundamentals about how the process works.

It is quite a simple process really. You let Facebook know how much you can spend on the ad, create the ad and let Facebook’s algorithm work and wait for it to get picked up.

Facebook advertising works on a bidding system. As an advertiser of product or service you can decide how much you are willing to pay for the time you need the ad to run.

Placing the right bid is critical because Facebook limits the number of ads a user sees. This means that you don’t want the following things to happen:

    Pay too much for ad results

  • Ads never get picked up because you bid too low

There are many bidding strategies available for advertisers which suits their various requirements.

Adsense has a wonderful post about what ad bidding strategies are available in Facebook ad bids, which I will summarize here:

  • Cost per mile or CPM: Excellent strategy for creating brand awareness through displays but not guaranteed to create specific results
  • Cost per Click or CPC: You bid for clicks, Facebook will deliver it based on the action it generates from users. If your ad has more relevance it will get delivered more times even if the bid was low. A higher bid ad with no relevance will stop being delivered because it results in no user action.
  • Conversion bids: Ads are delivered to your relevant audience to ensure conversion<
  • Other strategies include Daily Unique Reach and Post Engagement

The important things to remember are:

  • Know the audience that you are targeting
  • The quality of your ad is critical to its success
  • Timing is as crucial as quality

While you decide which strategy suits your need best, here are some statistics that show why it pays to advertise on Facebook.

11 Facebook Advertising statistics that you should know

  1. One in five minutes spent on a mobile phone is spent on the Facebook App/li>
  2. Over 30 million businesses have Facebook pages
  3. 2 million businesses use Facebook for advertising
  4. Mobile advertising accounts for more than 60% of Facebook ad revenue
  5. Over 90% marketers consider Facebook critical for social media marketing
  6. Over 80% ads are targeted by country/li>
  7. Close to 50% ads are targeted by interest
  8. “Shop Now” is the most popular Call to Action or CTA in an advertisement
  9. People are also likely to click “Learn More”, “Book Now”, “Download” and “Sign Up”
  10. According to business2community in the last quarter of 2014, average advertising revenue per user was $2.20.
    1. USA and Canada – $8.26
    2. Europe – $3.22
    3. Asia Pacific – $1.21
    4. Rest of the world – $0.92
  11. According to adpresso, cost of campaigns per user was significantly less than the revenue generated. The 2015 figures from USA provide a good benchmark:
    1. CPC campaign: less than $0.36
    2. Cost per Like campaign: $0.25
    3. Cost per App install: $2.96

What I also found interesting as that businesses in Singapore and Australia have some of the highest spending in Facebook campaigns. Perhaps it is not surprising considering these countries have some of the highest Facebook penetrations in the world.

Significance of Facebook advertising statistics

What do these advertising statistics mean for the marketing plan for your business?

  • With the right bidding strategy, you can expect significant ROI
  • You can reach the demographic of your choice worldwide for a fraction of the cost of traditional channels
  • Mobile advertising is the area that you need to dedicate a significant budget of your campaign
  • Building a Facebook presence with a business page should become a priority action
  • Dedicated engagement of customers on Facebook is a great way to drive customers both to your website and to your offline business

The right campaign can give your business the right boost. Facebook is an ideal advertising platform for small businesses with small budgets.

To get the right response, a little bit of help from a digital marketing expert can go a long way in bringing in significant revenues from your Facebook advertisements.

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