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What is more important- conversion or non-conversion?

-By Enam Noor

In online marketing, conversion is one of the most important elements.  If web users are not converting that means there is no sale.  If no sale, what good is the marketing campaign?  Most of the time online marketers pay way too much attention to where they position on a search result or how much traffic comes to the website.  A good online marketing consultant will always guide a client towards conversion and qualified traffic.  Remember it is the customers on your website algorithm when it comes to selling your product.

It all starts with bringing in qualified traffic or visitors to your website.  If a campaign can target the right audience and build the search traffic and website usability design around them, then conversion will come.  Once the qualified traffic is on your website then the key is:  How can you relay your message in way that will convert them into a customer.  Often website owners just go out and buy PPC (Pay Per Click) from popular search engines, however if you are selling a product online then why not spend the budget with comparison shopping network?  Yes, the popular search engine PPC can bring higher volume of traffic, however if you don’t have a proper landing page or call-to-action on your website you’ll lose the potential customers very quickly.   A comparison shopping network, such as Google Products, Bizrate etc. showcase products on their search lists where user can evaluate/compare products before visiting the website.  By the time user actually clicks on any particular product they are much more motivated to buy. I’ve seen successful online marketing campaign where search engine traffic converts at 3-4% while their shopping network campaigns convert at a rate of 7-8%. Another interesting note - typically good user friendly websites have lower bounce rate (this is the % that shows how many users do not pass through the first page) but shopping network traffic has higher bounce rate.  Hmm—very interesting right?  The traffic which is coming from a shopping network is more qualified so they typically would either BUY or LEAVE.  They have already done there research before arriving at the website.  This is why conversion is higher so is the bounce rate.

Now that we know conversion is important, what about those users who are not converting?  Are they important at all?  Or can they be MORE important?  Well, let’s analyze.   Typically if a retail ecommerce website is converting in double digit they are running a good campaign.  The average number is in the single digit.  That means about 90% or more of the website users do not convert at all.  If we can find out what was the motivation of these 90% plus users and why they are not purchasing from the website, could we not increase the overall conversion tremendously?  Yes, that’s the key.  Knowing the non-conversion users’ trend and addressing those into your website usability is the key of improving the overall conversion.  In my opinion both are important.  Bring in qualified traffic and design your website usability based on your website users- both customers and non-customers.  This will definitely improve your ROI. 

More traffic or more sales

- by Enam Noor

In the search engine optimization world, a lot of us concentrate on bringing in more traffic to websites, which is a noble idea  - if that would return $$ to the bottom line.  But how many times is this true?  Do we ever measure the success? 

I’ve seen many instances when a potential client would measure success by where they rank on search engines, or how much traffic they get per day.  However when asked “what is your conversion rate” - most of the time the answer is “I don’t know”.   How can anyone measure success of an online marketing campaign without understanding their web traffic?  Yes- their web traffic!  It’s almost like you want to invite guest to your house but you don’t want to know who they are, you don’t want to learn if they like wine and cheese or if they like chips and soda.  When we are developing a website—what’s more important:  the search engine or the users? 

When it comes to search engine optimization (or as I like to call it “online marketing”) I think the most important element are the site users.   It’s the users who become a sale or lead.  It’s the users who read the content of the website and decide whether or not to buy.  It’s the users who become loyal to a site and keep coming back.  So, if we want to develop a website, solely thinking about how it would react to a Google “algorithm” how much success can we really expect?  Or a better question:  How do we really measure success for any online marketing campaign? 

If a website brings in 1000 visitors a day and converts 10 of them, then the conversion rate would be 1%, however if a website converts at 10% and brings in 100 visitors they are also converting total 10 customers.  So, which campaign would be more successful?  In both cases the bottom line is 10 customers.  Interesting—right? In my opinion the approach with 10% conversion is much more desirable, because when a website is converting at a double digit, it is quite clear that the site owner really understands their visitors.  When someone can master this art of learning their site visitors it is very easy to bring in more visitors and continue to convert at a high level.  The mastery of understanding your website traffic trend is far more important than trying to bring in more and more so called “qualified” traffic.  No amount of web traffic is good if they cannot be converted.  And this is why our concentration should be to develop a website that is geared towards the site audience not the search engines. 

Build a site for YOUR USERS not Search Engines!!!

10 Tools Which I Still Use, Even I Have VSTS 2008 -- By Ashraf Alam

In my last post, titled "10 Tools Which I Left After Using VSTS 2008",  I have included a list of 10 tools which I am not using currently, as I have the corresponding features available in Visual Studio Team System 2008. However, on the other hand, I am still using few tools even I have VSTS 2008!

Here are 10 of among them..

1. Code Smith: An excellent template based code generator.

code-smith

2. Crystal FTP: Excellent FTP client tool.

untitled

3. Total Validator: One of the most powerful tool that I ever seen, which includes very nice feature to validate web standards. 

4. Diff Marge: A tool that enables us to investigate and/or synchronize the difference between two files or folders.

diff-marge

5. Design Pattern Automation Toolkit: An excellent open source tool, by which we can automate and generate source code with respect to established design patterns.

dpa

6. Office Visio 2007: Although Visual Studio has support for diagramming, however Office Visio 2007 is still # 1 choice for me, with respect to analyzing, modeling, designing the application system on which I am working on. It contains a wide range of support of notation, including UML, Enterprise Application, Prototyping. 

Visio

7. Copy Source As HTML: Bloogers like me, always needs to copy own source code from Visual Studio IDE, to be posted. This tool serves me this purpose.

8. Spell Checker: Its really a nice thing, if my code don't have any spell mistakes, which can occur frequently. Wonderful tool to help developers!

9. SysInternalSuite: A nice system spy tool for developers and system admin. It contains lots of useful tools, to investigate the system with respect to the current execution of your application.

10. Employee Info Starter Kit: An excellent ASP.NET starter kit, which includes most of the web and coding best practices. Helps web developers to reduce start-up preparation time for web application.

10 Tools Which I Left After Using VSTS 2008 -- By Ashraf Alam

I have started using Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2008, recently. Previously I worked with Visual Studio 2005. As a matter of fact I had to use lots of external tools to perform and speedup my development process. However, while working with VSTS 2008, it's very exciting for me that, I found replacements for most of the external tools there.

Here are 10 tools which I left after using VSTS 2008:

1. Database Schema Compare

External tool: Redgate SQL Compare

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Data -> Schema Compare

1

2. Database Data Compare

External tool: Redgate SQL Data Compare

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Data -> Data Compare

2

3. Database Data Generator

External tool: Data Gen 0.9

VSTS 2008 tool (power tool): Add -> New Item -> Data Generation Wizard

4. Unit Testing

External tool: Test Driven.NET

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Test -> New Test

4

5. Web Testing

External tool: Badboy

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Test -> New Test

5

6. Load Testing

External tool: Neoload

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Test -> New Test

6

7. Code Profiling

External tool: Redgate ANTS Profiler

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Analyze -> Launch Performance Wizard

7

8. Code Analysis

External tool: Fxcop

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Analyze -> Run Code Analysis

8

9. Code Matrics

External tool: nDepend

VSTS 2008 tool: Menu -> Analyze -> Calculate Code Matrics

9

10. Java Script Debugging

External tool: Code Project Java Script Debugging Tool

VSTS 2008 tool: see Scott Gu's post on it.

SEO Myths? or Misunderstood Techniques?

One of the people I've known in the SEO industry for a long time is Jill Whalen. I respect her ability and "tude" and thoroughly enjoyed our sometimes spirited discussions while we were both Super Mods at IHY forums. Jill recently gave a seminar at SES Toronto and listed some do's and don'ts. We don't agree on some techniques... but ... we both have very strong ideas about what works and is important.

Google Stock Falls on New Click data

This article titled Google's Paid Click Business Slipping - ComScore has got to be one of the biggest yawners yet and another indication of a jittery stock market. As to the source.... In 14 years I've yet to see data from comscore that I'm not skeptical of the numbers and the way the data is gathered and possibly skewed by the polled audience or source/process.

Was It a Google Cash Grab?

8 Theories For Adsense Fluctuations and Adsense Earnings Down by Jason Lee Miller of WebPro News should give Search engine marketers lots to think about. A number of the recent changes to AdWords have had me to some degree stumped. Quality Score which should have reduced costs increased them. Huh? I thought the QS was supposed to take "Made for AdSense" arbitrageurs out of the game.

Why I Believe MS Buying Yahoo! is a Mistake

My first inclination if I were a MSFT stock holder would be to sell confident that some time in the next year Mr. Softy will be 20% cheaper. The combination of Yahoo! and M$ search technology is not likely because they look to be on different platforms/OS. It is more likely you'll see one or the other rolled out on both sites to start with and then a new one developed for integration into a single site.

Conventional Press Release vs Social News Realeases

A blog post about the effectiveness of press releases in the age of Social Media Networking and tagging sites. Social Media/Tagging and Social Networking sites are redefining "community" in ways that are still being worked through by online marketers. One of the major differences between the "Social" sites and old School "communities" are the audiences that use them.

Silverlight: A new drive for smooth user experience

Software giant Microsoft introduced this technology to open a new track in web. Along with several similar features like Flash, Silverlight includes more powerful infrastructure. Silverlight 1.0, the first version has been released in last September, with multiple browser and operating system capability. Code named as "Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E)" Silverlight enables web application developers to include several rich user experience feature like animation, vector graphics