The European Commission is now seeking feedback on Google’s cosmetic search result changes that aim to settle a years-long antitrust investigation. The EC also revealed some images illustrating what Google’s results might soon look like.
It’s the Bounce Rate. It’s mysterious. It’s menacing. It’s misunderstood.
Simply stated, the bounce rate is the number of visitors that land on your site and exit from the same page without viewing any content on your site. It is easy to understand why it would be preferable to keep this number lower, but sometimes a higher bounce rate may not be the “bogeyman” you assume it is. By taking the time to better understand the nature of the bounce rate, you can make it less of an enemy and more of an informant.
What is an “acceptable” bounce rate?
According to Google, the average website bounce rate is 40%. While that may sound simple and straightforward, that figure alone is really not a reliable statistic for determining how your website is functioning. Acceptable bounce rates take into consideration a number of variants. These include, but are not limited to:
- Type of site
- Type of page
- Location of page on the site
- Brand recognition
How High is too High?
Analytics expert, Avinash Kaushik, advises that a bounce rate of 60% or higher is problematic. Keep in mind, the aforementioned variants come into play again when determining what is too high. It’s fairly obvious why a high bounce rate might seem alarming, but consider some ways in which these analytics might be misinterpreted:
• Doug, who owns a landscaping business, reorganized his website so that the majority of his pertinent information (contact information, hours, services provided, location, etc.) is right there on the landing page. Visitors get the information they require there and consequently have no need to advance further on the site. His bounce rate increased, however he also found that his call volume and paying client base increased. For Doug, the increased bounce rate is not a major concern.
• If the main purpose of a landing page is to send visitors to another site (an article, video, etc.), then the bounce rate, which will be very high, is irrelevant as leaving the website from that page is what is intended.
How do You Reduce “Bad Bounce?”
You’ve gone over the analytics, and you’ve concluded that the high bounce rate is signaling that your website is not doing the job you had intended. What can you do to treat the situation? Here are a few questions you might want to ask for starters.
• Is your website’s text clean and clear? A website needs to be easily readable, and ones that cause eyestrain can be an immediate turnoff to a visitor. Does yours employ fonts that are difficult to read due to size or contrast with the background? Are the colors used pleasing to the eye, or are they too loud and intense, possibly causing some visitors to squint?
• Do all of the landing pages of your website clearly convey their purpose? Generally, you put a good deal of care and attention into your home page, but that is not necessarily your landing page! When visitors are directed to your site, they may not be taken to your home page. It is important to discover through which pages people are entering your site and focus on making them clear, attractive, and purposeful. Certainly this is a goal for every page of your site, but begin by focusing on the points of entry.
• Are ads placed in a manner that is distracting or obtrusive? Advertising on your site may be a necessity. If it adds confusion or clutter, however, it will often result in people immediately navigating away from your business. While it is important to keep ads prominent, be mindful to place them in areas where they will not cause confusion or result in accidental clicking, such as near menus or “add to cart” buttons. And those pop-up ads? They are akin to having a horsefly buzzing around your page and will have visitors using the back button as a flyswatter. Eliminate them before they eliminate your potential customers.
• Are your pages taking too long to load? Let’s face it, this is the age of instant gratification, and nothing will result in an instant goodbye quite the way a slow-loading webpage will. Work with your website designer to eliminate any unnecessary plugins or links and to optimize your website’s graphics for eye-catching, interesting pages that will load quickly and keep visitors longer.
These are just a few things to examine when diagnosing a spike in the temperature of your website’s bounce rate. If you’re still not seeing the rate decrease, it’s time to chat with your web designer who can provide a deeper understanding of the analytics and offer the proper remedy that will give your business a bounce … in sales!
Let Bola Olonisakin of GTech Designs show you how to take your business to new and more productive heights with a FREE strategy session! Visit: http://bit.ly/YhHLn8
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Cloud hosting has become what is arguably the most popular hosting solution in the industry. Hosting a website in the cloud permits businesses to scale their hosting services to fit a certain price range and set of needs. This new wave in hosting solutions is allowing for a more flexible plan for online business owners.
This post will discuss all you need to know about hosting in the cloud. If you’re a small business owner, or the future owner of an e-commerce site, you’ve probably heard the term cloud hosting before. A lot of business owners can get confused when exploring hosting options, and you should do your research so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
Before we answer some common questions about cloud hosting, here are some facts for your review:
- Cloud hosting follows the software as a service model (SaaS); this type of model reduces IT costs by delegating the maintenance of hardware and software costs, essentially outsourcing most IT procedures to the hosting company.
- Cloud hosting makes life easier on everyone, eliminating headaches for business owners and saving money in IT operations, personal costs and hardware and software updates.
- Cloud hosting is more efficient than the traditional reliance on dedicated servers and hardware to perform the functions of a small business website.
Why is it Better?
With cloud hosting, website applications can be accessed easily via a Web browser or even a mobile app. Website owners can access a system anywhere with any device that has a connection to the Internet. Making use of these advances, business owners can now save a great deal of time when changing or updating their website.
Now that applications are up and running quickly, with easier manageability and less downtime, business owners are finding they have an increased chance to grow their product and gain profits. Furthermore, the decreased downtime that comes with the support of multiple servers hosted in the cloud means that there is no risk of losing valuable customers to a slow or dysfunctional site.
How Does Cloud Hosting Work?
Cloud hosting can be compared to a utility like electricity or gas. As with these industries, a client only pays for the services and resources they use. Resources are shared in cloud hosting, which decreases cost of maintenance, hardware and software. Furthermore, customers are also permitted to scale resources to fit their needs: Just like the heating bill goes up in the winter, certain website owners need to increase resources as they experience heightened traffic (like during the holiday shopping season, for example).
Scaling resources is more cost effective because you don’t have to pay for resources that you don’t need throughout the entire year. And you can prepare for an increase in usage without worrying about your site crashing or customers leaving your site because of sluggish page loading.
The avenues opened up through cloud hosting allow for a much more flexible hosting experience. Online businesses and as a business grows–so does the company’s hosting plan.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Hosting?
Essentially, the reduction of possible downtime in the event of server malfunction is perhaps the biggest benefit of hosting an online business in the cloud. The support of multiple backup servers is crucial for small businesses. Many servers means many avenues of support and less headaches.
Additional benefits of cloud hosting include:
• Scalability: Paying for only what you need is a great advantage. Upgrading and downgrading on-demand is the new face of online hosting.
• Reliability: The experts that host your business in the cloud won’t be forgetting to backup your data. Plus, you’ll have the support of multiple servers behind your site. Both of these measures ensure that you can rely on a good hosting company to keep your site active and backed up.
• Security: It’s a common misconception that shared hosting in the cloud can lead to a less secure environment for your site. In fact, cloud hosting applications are Internet based, which decreases the probability of malicious attacks and user error.
• Cost-Effectiveness: With cloud hosting business owners don’t need to worry about hiring someone in-house that has advanced IT skills. The hosting company acts as a third party, performing the complicated aspects of site ownership and employing hardware and software that makes applications easier for business owners to access and manage their site.
Boney Pandya is a marketing manager at WebNet Hosting, a company offering fully managed cloud hosting and dedicated servers since 2002. Boney helps small business migrate their websites to the cloud environment
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Several of the most innovative brands today are ahead of the marketing game by using social media, and Instagram is one of the lesser-known tools. If you can leave the safety of Facebook and Twitter behind (though of course they are important dimensions of your social media marketing strategy) you will find Instagram can be very rewarding for your business. Images have the greatest appeal of all forms of content, which is why Instagram can be a valuable tool for marketers if used cleverly.
If you are not yet ready to embrace a photo-sharing site as a business tool, you can take a look at how some of the top brands use it to their advantage. Here are some tips on using Instagram that we can learn from them.
1. Reward Your Followers
American Express will agree. Who would have thought that a financial company could ever have any use for an all-picture website? But they manage to make clever use of the site, by sharing photos from events, historical card photos, launch pictures and creative pictures using the Amex card. And the brand offers its followers backstage entries to events sponsored by the brand such as fashion shows, concerts and even the U.S. Open. Consequently, the brand has an Instagram following of 25,662.
If you are a retail brand, you can always reward your followers with discount codes and promos. This is a great way to have more people join you on board your Instagram site as well as your brand. It can have a staggering direct impact on your sales. Clothing store TopShop keeps its Instagram audience highly engaged with regular posts of clothing items and accessories, and offers promo codes as well. As a result, they have a high number of followers: 473,000. And the audience is very active, posting frequent likes and comments that can reach hundreds and thousands of other users as well.
2. Use the Profiles Section to Reach a Wider Audience
iPhone and Android users are already thrilled about having Instagram at the touch of their fingers. But the profiles feature also allows marketers to reach out to audiences via devices other than mobile phones. This means people can follow you from their desktop PCs and laptops as well. This includes a larger potential audience to your group of followers. You can tell the story of your brand with images and give audiences a closer look at what they want to see — the human side of your corporate brand.
Music video site Vevo’s Instagram profile page showcases pictures of some big musicians such as Carrie Underwood and Alicia Keys posing for Vevo while working with them.
3. Engage Followers with Contests
There is no better way to engage your followers than to hold Instagram contests for them to participate in. Photo contests are easy to do — simply ask your followers to use a certain hashtag with the photos and then you can pick the best one.
Sony does picture contests really well, and has used it successfully for some campaigns. #SonyX picture contest’s success led to #Sonylove. Followers were asked to follow Sony’s Instagram profile and post pictures symbolizing love. A randomly chosen person won a $50 Sony Store gift card each day. There were other prizes of merchandize for creativity, originality etc.
4. Have Your Customers Featured on your Site
A great way to make your customers feel that they matter to you is to feature them on your Instagram page. Your customers can be your best advocates. Share a picture you’ve taken of your customers’ experience and your followers will be excited to see you from the perspective of their peers. Always make sure you are sticking to your brand value with images that you share. Connect with your audience, and you will see the benefits in improving social media reputation.
Virgin America does this well. The airlines often posts pictures of their customers receiving surprises from them, or hobnobbing with CEO Richard Branson, or sharing images of their destination. The brand essentially showcases happy customers. As a result, its Instagram fans have a perception of Virgin America airlines that stands out from that of other airlines.
Use these tips to adopt Instagram into your own social media marketing plan, and see the difference in ROIs and long-term customer loyalty.
Collins Paris writes content that snaps, crackles and pops on a variety of topics related to web based business and working from home. From SEO and Web marketing to writing and eCommerce. To find out more sizzling content you can visit him at WebBusinessAgenda.com.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Google received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content from July to December of 2012 — a sharp increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content during the first half of the year.
“As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown,” said legal director Susan Infantino in a blog post.
“In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.”
Brazil was one of the biggest offenders, making 697 content removal requests — 640 of which were court orders.
Of the nearly 700 requests, 316 of those were for the removal of 756 different items related to accusations of wrongdoing during the 2012 Brazilian Elections. The search engine giant “removed content in response to 35 final court decisions,” according to the report, although Google is “exercising its right of appeal provided under Brazilian law in the other cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.”
Google also received 107 requests from the Russian Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications to remove 107 items. The requests said the items contravened the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection, because the content was associated with suicide and drugs. Google chose to keep the content from local view for roughly 33 percent of the requests and removed the content completely for more than 50 percent of the requests.
The movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ sparked requests for removal from 20 different countries. Google said although the YouTube clip did not violate any of its own guidelines, it opted to restrict the video in a number of countries “in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints.”
Google temporarily restricted the clip in Egypt and Libya as well “due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.”
Google also received a large portion of removal requests related to alleged defamation of character from a number of different countries. Google, in many of the cases, did not remove the data.
Click here to read the complete report on requests from all countries.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources