CATEGORY: How-Tos

Conversion Optimization- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

You’ve waited for it and here it is! This is the second blog post in our Conversion

Numbers are fun!

Optimization series. Today we’ll be discussing conversion metrics, the numbers that measure a website’s effectiveness. Obtaining a higher conversion rate is the ultimate goal, but looking solely at your conversion rates doesn’t paint the whole picture. If you missed the first conversion optimization blog you can check it out here.

Bounce Rates represent the percentage of visitors who leave your site from the page they land on without navigating to another page. Alternately, Exit Rates are a lot like bounce rates, except they capture the percentage of visitors who leave your website after visiting more than one page. These metrics help you determine which pages of your site need optimizing, as well as which funnels are most effective.

Average Order Value gives you an idea of how much money people spend on your site in a particular purchase. This can be very useful in analyzing the buying habits of your customers. It can also be insightful to compare this number to the Customer Lifetime Value, which tells you how much a customer spends on your site across all purchases made. If your average order value is the same as your customer lifetime value it probably means that you have a problem with customer retention. However, if your customer lifetime value is much greater than your average order value there is revenue potential and you’re probably doing something right.

The Checkout Abandonment Rate is the percentage of visitors who add items to their cart, land on the checkout page, and do not place an order. Checkout abandonment plagues every website because companies often make poor decisions in designing their checkout pages. This is the place where users make their final buying decision, having links that navigate away from this page can lead to poor conversion rates. Evaluating the checkout abandonment rate on your site will provide insight into where visitors are falling out of the funnel.

Tracking your website’s Traffic Sources can help you determine which ad campaigns are working and which are not. A traffic source is exactly what it sounds like – a website, banner ad, email campaign, or anything else that directs traffic to your site. Google Analytics has a very cool dashboard that breaks down traffic by source.

The Google Analytics Traffic Source Overview

There are many other KPIs that businesses pay attention to and your taste in KPIs will evolve as your website does. The first step is understanding these metrics and deciding on how you want to use them internally. You may decide that customer lifetime value doesn’t matter, or that focusing on decreasing checkout abandonment is more lucrative than decreasing bounce rates on your homepage. The end goal is to increase conversion on your website, but the path you take to get there depends on what you discover about your site from analyzing your KPIs.

Building a Company Vision from the Inside Out: We Begin

When we last left off we were discussing the awkwardness of a pubescent company. See the introduction here. Today, Ashley begins the journey that should end in a BHAG. Not sure what that is? Continue on and see if you can set your sights on something Big, Hairy and Audacious…

Part 1: Finding our Vision

In order to do this we’ve got to dig deep. The end goal is a mission statement, but there is much reflection, thought, and work ahead of us before we’ll get there. We’ll be brainstorming:

1. What is our core ideology?

2. What are our core values?

3. What does our envisioned future looks like?

4. What sort of big hairy audacious goals (BHAG) we can set our sights on achieving?

In our initial research phase of this project a colleague of mine, Bo, sent along a fabulous article that I’d highly recommend to anyone else going through this process. It’s called, ’91Building Your Company Vision‘ by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras. (I will be leaning heavily on his work through the rest of this post/series so please give him credit where due!)

I’ll admit it; all this ’91vision talk’ sounds fluffy. But truth be told, the need for companies to have a clear understanding of their purpose is greater now more than ever. In our increasingly globalized society, in order to retain, motivate, and attract outstanding employees, companies must make their work meaningful (Collins). So where does one start in this massive undertaking? Defining your Core Ideology of course! Core ideology defines what you stand for and why you exist. Your core ideology will never change. An example would be the truths in the Declaration of Independence – we’d be in trouble if someone took a big red pen to those invaluable statements.

The process that Collins outlines for developing a core ideology is to come up with two distinct parts, core values and a core purpose. Brainstorm a list of 3-5 core values (if you have more than 5 you are more than likely confusing core values with other things such as operating practices or business strategies). Once you have your refined list, ask yourself, ’91If circumstances changed and we were penalized for holding this value, would we keep it?’ If you cannot honestly say yes, then it is not a core value.

So who from your organization should be in on the brainstorming sessions? Collins suggests creating a Mars group – that is, you’ve got 1 space shuttle w/ 5-7 seats headed to Mars and you’ve got to pick who fills the seats. Ask yourself who in the company, across different departments, is a “representative slice” of your company DNA. That is, they are highly competent and credible and they live out and are exemplars of your core values.

Here is a list of questions (suggested by Collins) that individuals should be able to answer:

-What core values do you personally bring to your work?

-What would you tell your children are the core values that you hold at work and that you hope they will hold when they become working adults?

-If you woke up tomorrow AM w/ enough money to retire, would you continue to live those core values?

-Can you envision them being as valid for you in 100 years from now as they are today?

-Would you want to hold those core values even if at some point they became more of a competitive disadvantage?

-If you were to start a new organization tomorrow in a different line of work, what core values would you build into the new organization regardless of its industry?

If you work for a company and you are unclear as to what your core values are, try borrowing some of Collins’ framework and running through some of the exercises. It’s a great team building activity and can actually turn out to be pretty fun! This is the stage we are at right now for Name.com. We have done our research and selected our Mars group, next step will be explaining the importance of these activities to the team and then begin the brainstorming sessions.

As we sit around and brainstorm these topics, we’re interested to hear what you guys have to say. What does Name.com mean to you??

Stay tuned; the next topic is on developing a Core Purpose.

P.S Do you find this interesting? Is there anyone out there involved in a start up or thinking of starting a business or project that finds this information useful? It sure gets my heart pitter-pattering, but I want to make sure I’m providing content you guys enjoy reading and keep coming back for. If you’d rather hear about something else please let me know! 🙂

Affiliate Getting Started, Series 1: Choosing An Affiliate Network

by Caroline, Name.com Domain Concierge

We’re assuming you already know what an Affiliate is and have a desire to start making money by promoting services/products in your niche on your blog. A quick way for locating Advertisers in your niche is through an Affiliate Network. Affiliate Networks act as intermediaries between you the Affiliate and the Advertiser. Affiliate Networks allow you to compare various offers from Advertisers and you can choose which offers to participate in and promote via your blog.

Soo’85How the heck do you choose an Affiliate Network? We thought http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/4388.asp had a few great suggestions for you to consider when selecting a network. We then took those suggestions with a few of our own and applied them to 3 Affiliate Networks who score pretty high on ranking sites. Check it out…

  • Tracking Methods (can you see real time results, can you customize your data)
  • Payment Methods. How the network pays commissions.
  • Payment Threshold. you have to earn before you are paid. If you are just starting a lower threshold -such as $1.00- will mean you receive money faster depending on payment cycles)
  • Ways to earn money (Type of programs they specialize in-Pay Per Lead, Pay Per Sale, Co-Registraion) If you are new to Affiliate Marketing then a range of ways to earn money gives you a chance to try different methods with your blog readers. See which method works best for your blog then seek advertisers who pay based on that method.
  • Industry Verticals Specific industries the network focuses on (or has success in). Make sure they support the industry you wish to promote.
  • Support/Training. Support provided to you as an Affiliate. Look for training opportunities too with an Affiliate Network. Networks want you to be successful and that starts with your success. You’ll want to make sure the help desks are easy to navigate and support is timely.
Category

Company

CJ.com

Clickbank.com

LinkShare.com

Tracking Real time tracking real time tracking, options to customize near real-timer reporting, will work with you on customizing
Payment Methods Check, Direct Deposit Check Check, Direct Deposit
Payment Threshold Check $100.00, Direct Deposit $50.00 $100.00 $1.00, however Advertisers can customize the threshold
Ways to Earn Money Advertiser Choice (Possible options: Perecent of sale, Cost per lead, Cost per Click) Percent of Sale Advertiser Choice (Possible options: Perecent of sale, Cost per lead, Cost per Click)
Industry Verticals Finance, Travel, Automotive, Consumer Products, Education, Health and Beauty, Retail, Business, Entertainment, Special Interest Arts & Entertainment, Betting Systems, Business / Investing, Computers / Internet, Cooking, Food & Wine, E-business & E-marketing, Education, Employment & Jobs, Fiction, Games, Green Products, Health & Fitness, Home & Garden, Languages, Mobile, Parenting & Families, Politics / Current Events, Reference, Self-Help, Software & Services, Spirituality, New Age & Alternative Beliefs, Sports, Travel Auto, Business & Career, Clothing & Accessories, Computer & Electronics, Department Store, Entertainment, Family, Financial Services, Food & Drink, Games & Toys, Gift & Flowers, Health & Beauty, Hobbies & Collectibles, Home & Living, Internet & Online, Mature/Adult, Miscellaneous, Office, Sports & Fitness, Telecommunications, Travel
Support/Training Tips and Training articles and webinars, support ticket support from within account Monday-Friday 7am-6pm Mountainn Time. Blog, PodCast, Webinars, all for ongoing education Email, Help Center, LinkShare University, Blog

Of course these are not the only 3 Affiliate Networks. Try this Google search for researching your own Affiliate Network to join. Best of luck with your Affiliate business!

The Importance of Focus: Small Business Leadership Series

Whether you’re a small business owner, individual, or an entire company, one of your biggest enemies may be multi-tasking. I’m not talking about the fire hydrant you took out last week while driving and trying to check your email and talking on your cell phone’85that’s just insanity. What I’m talking about is the much simpler idea of focus–of taking one idea and moving it forward, intentionally, wholeheartedly, and very consciously at the expense of all others–and it’s exact opposite, multi-tasking.

To get an idea of just how big of a problem this is for you or your company, count how many projects you’re working on right now. Add them up’85 how many did you get? 5, 10, 20, 50? Usually I range anywhere from 5 to 15 individually, and as a company I would say we’re usually anywhere from 100 to 250.

So why is it a problem? Well, there are really two issues. One is the quantitative fact that it makes every single project take longer. The second, is that it allows people to hide failure, roadblocks and missed deadlines.

Steve Jobs Felt Your Pain

Issue #1: Every project takes longer

So here’s what it looks like if you focus on one project at a time:

Here’s what it looks like if you “multi-task” and try to do it all at once.

The more you switch back and forth, the worse the numbers: more and more switching time and the first two tasks finish later and later. This isn’t to say you lock yourself in a room (I’ll leave whether it’s padded up to you), crush your cellphone, and maniacally focus on one task… that’s unreasonable. All we’re getting at is there is a cost to switching back and forth between projects in terms of both wasted time and later finish dates.

Issue #2: It allows people to hide failure, roadblocks and missed deadlines

If you only have one project, then when you run into issues with that one project you have no choice but to deal with the issues. On the other hand, if you have two projects, then you can just move to the second project. That’s great news for efficiency because now there’s no “down time,” but increase the number of projects to 3, 4, 5’85and I think you see the problem.

So why do we let this happen? It’s easy. Rather than do the hard work of actually fixing roadblocks and completing projects, you can just start another! Eventually, you have so many projects being “worked on” that it’s hard to keep track of what is stalled, what is moving smoothly, what is on time and what is late. Great if you’re someone looking for the path of least resistance, but a nightmare if you are an individual with a to do list or a company trying to meet deadlines!

The bottom line is that it takes discipline and focus to pick one project and see it through to the end.

What about you or your company? How many projects do you have going at once? Let us know below!

It ain’t about the transfer: Stopping SOPA and Giving Back

Yes, we’d love for you to transfer your domains to Name.com. But that’s not what this is about. The issue at hand is the ‘Net. The great wide open for new ideas, for visionaries, and thought so free it could spread its wings and lift us all off the ground. Yes, I just said that, but it’s easy to get sappy about the importance of the Internet. Why not? Look what it has done for communication, for innovation and for personal freedom around the world. Now everyone has a megaphone that’s as big as they want to make it.

Here’s how we’re going to use the Internet to turn up the volume on SOPA.

You can help remind Congress just how bad SOPA is AND support organizations that love the Internet the way it is. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to this page: http://www.name.com/Help-Stop-SOPA
Step 2: Share our message on Twitter

That’s it. When you do that on December 29th, then we’ll donate 5 cents to the cause of your choice. Just do what you do everyday by sharing on the social webs, and we give money to incredible people who fight the good fight. Now get on it. We’re counting on the power of YOU.

If in addition to tweeting your support you’d like to vote with your feet and move to the home of the world’s greatest support, then use promo code “STOPSOPA” for 10% off your transfers and 40% off our incredible hosting.

For more information on how to transfer then click here.

If you’d like to feel really, really good about your own sense of rhythm, then watch this:

GoDaddy, SOPA, Promo Codes, and some Transfer Tips

Now you know how powerful you are. GoDaddy has changed their position on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). They were for it, and now, after you transferred your domains and voiced your opinion, they’re against it.

Danny Luksa put together this simple and probably Not-Safe-For-Work illustration of what went down.

Illustrations and jokes aside, what’s important here is that a flawed piece of legislation has lost a major backer. So we’re not going to kick GoDaddy while they’re down. We’re moving forward (with your help, thank you) with our effort to get politicians to back away from this giant, stinking pustule of freedom-pinching poo. Our new promo code is ‘STOPSOPA’.

For those of you determined to transfer, now through the end of the year use the promo code, “STOPSOPA” for 10% off transfer ins (COM, NET, ORG, TV, INFO, IN, US, CO, ME & TEL) and also receive 40% off any of our hosting plans!

For the sake of our support team…

Transfers are typically seamless. However, we understand that your domains aren’t just URLs, but ideas, enclaves of inspiration and money makers. The wait from one registrar to another can be stressful. Here are some things to keep in mind to make your transfer to Name.com go as smoothly as possible:

1. Make sure your domain is unlocked.
2. Turn off your Whois privacy.
3. Make sure your admin email is current (it’s best if it’s the one you use most regularly).
4. Ensure that your Auth (transfer) Code is valid.
5. Watch for the email that our world class customer support will be sending you.
6. Within your Name.com account you’ll see that you can monitor the transfer:

And you can view the status and result of your transfered domains.


7. As long as nothing is changed or disabled by the losing registrar (it rarely is), the DNS entries (and name servers) will not be effected.

Those are some things to look out for with your transfer. Now back to pounding SOPA into the dirt. The Internet is where ideas are born, opinions exchanged and innovation thrives. Name.com, your ICANN-accredited company o’ cool and customer support, is going to do all it can to keep it that way.

Name.com Daily Tut: Forwarding your Domain to Sell Your Home

Domain (aka URL or web address) forwarding has got to be the easiest and least expensive way (it comes free with your domain) to market your home. Yesterday we forwarded a domain to someone’s LinkedIn profile to help them get a job. Today we’ll assist home sellers and real estate agents with the same idea. With Name.com, once you buy a domain, one of the many tools available to you is being able to forward it to the website of your choosing.

Remember, if you don’t find the .COM you want, see if you can get the .INFO, .NET, .CO or even .BIZ.

Name.com Daily Tut: How to use URL Forwarding to land a gig

Now this is pretty basic stuff, especially to you Domainers who have more web addresses than socks, but it’s an important reason why everyone should have at least one domain: using it to forward to your online resume. Instead of “Please, please go to Linkedin.com/mynameandsomerandomcharacters and consider me for the postion,” you can say, “I’m glad you hired me after seeing mysimpledomain.com.”

And thanks Chris for letting us use you and your info!

How to Transfer your Domains from GoDaddy to Name.com

Maybe, just maybe, you’re creeped out by Jean-Claude Van Damme. And maybe you’re not so quick to forgive gross Super Bowl commercials and elephant deaths. Maybe you want to transfer your domain to name.com. If that’s the case, here’s a step-by-step guide.

*Transferring a domain is pretty simple, but there’s a lot of back-and-forth between your GoDaddy account, your name.com account, and your email account. It’s a lot easier to explain in a video than in a screenshot tutorial, so you might want to watch our video tutorial first.

**Read this post for information on how to transfer your domain without disrupting your website or email service.

1. Unlock the domain in your GoDaddy account

  • Log in to GoDaddy, navigate to the domains menu, and then click “launch” for the domain you intend to transfer. If you’ve enabled privacy protection for the domain, you’ll need to turn it off before proceeding.

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  • After clicking “Launch,” you’ll be taken to a menu where you can manage settings for that specific domain. Click the “Manage” link in the “Lock” section, and a dialogue box will open.

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  • Switch the lock setting to “Off,” and then click “Save.”

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2. Get an authorization code

  • After unlocking the domain you’ll return to the domain settings page. Scroll to the bottom, click the “Authorization code” link, and then click “Send” to have an authorization code sent to the email address associated with the domain.

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  • You should receive an email containing the authorization code within a few minutes.

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3. Use the name.com domain transfer page to order your transfer

  • Fill in the appropriate fields for the domain name and the authorization code (which you just received via email), and then click the “Add to Cart” button.

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  • You can then click the “Checkout & Complete Transfer” button to proceed to checkout.

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  • Review your order (one year of registration is included in the $8.25 transfer price), and then proceed to the billing page.

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  • All that’s left is to agree to the terms of service (it’ll pop up over the billing page), and then this step is complete.

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4. Approve the domain transfer at name.com

  • Shortly after completing your order at name.com, we’ll send an email that includes a link to your name.com account. Click that link to go to a page where you can approve the domain transfer.

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5. Confirm the domain transfer at GoDaddy.com

  • Once you’ve approved the transfer, you’ll receive an email from GoDaddy (it may take a few hours). It’ll include a link to your GoDaddy account, where you can confirm the transfer.

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  • Clicking that link will take you to the transfers page in your GoDaddy account. Click on your pending transfers, follow the “Accept of decline transfer now” link, and accept the transfer.

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196. Celebrate! Your domain is now safe and sound in your name.com account.

  • The domain should now be listed in the “Your Domain Transfers” page in your name.com account. The transfer will be completed shortly.

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