December 2018 - YasTech Developments
Marketing

How to Include Online Analytics in Your Year-End Review

If you’re looking to grow your business in 2019, then this article is for you.

I believe that looking back at the end of the year can help transform how successful you’ll be in the next year. Many businesses undergo quarterly reviews, but some only review their last quarter of the year to save time. I urge you to review your full year, as it’s easier to spot trends over a longer timeline.

Preparing for your review

Before you start diving into stats and analyses, it’s important to identify the intention for your review.

  • What do you want to learn, and why?
  • Are you wanting to improve your marketing?
  • Improve productivity?
  • Find efficiencies?

Answering these questions will give purpose to your evaluation.

Where to Begin

When it comes to marketing reviews, I’d suggest looking at these 3 main areas:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Social Media
  3. Lead Conversions

Google Analytics review

Google Analytics

I’ll assume you have Google Analytics set up on your website. If not, check out this guide.

There’s a lot of data in Google Analytics, and it can get overwhelming fast. The key items to evaluate when reviewing your analytics are:

  1. Performance of your marketing campaigns
  2. Your overall traffic growth.
  3. Your bounce rate

Performance of Marketing Campaigns

Follow these steps to review your marketing campaigns:

  • First, identify the time periods during the year where you ran a marketing campaign. Maybe it was an Adwords Campaign, SEO campaign, or maybe email newsletter campaigns
  • Go to Acquisition->All Traffic->Channels, and choose the date range of your campaign, and check off “Compare to previous period”.
  • Your results will you show you stats during your campaign and the same period of time before your campaign. If you don’t feel this is a good comparison, you can also compare to last year’s stats. Do this for each identified campaign

Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

  • Evaluate each campaign to determine whether it met the result you wanted. Did the campaign generate the traffic you were expecting?
  • If you set any ‘Goals’ within analytics for those campaigns, review the results of these goals. If you need help setting goals, check this out: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415?hl=en

After you’ve reviewed each of your campaigns, determine which ones yielded the best results and which ones aren’t worth doing again.

PRO TIP: Evaluate every campaign as soon as it’s done to save time at the end of the year!

Traffic Growth

Next is your overall traffic growth. You can read this information month by month, or as a full year. Let’s walk through a full year analysis:

  • Within your analytics account, go to Acquisition->All Traffic->Channels
  • Edit the date fields in the top right corner to be Jan 1 to today’s date and check off ‘Compare to Last Year’.
  • You’ll be able to see a percentage of growth for each of your traffic channels including direct, organic search, referral, social, paid search and others. This will give you an idea of which channels you’ve seen improvement on and which ones need more attention.
  • You can also review what pages on your site have been most popular or grown in traffic by doing the same date comparison on Behavior->Site Content->All Pages

Google Analytics Compare Last Year
Traffic analysis is a great way to see if your marketing is improving or not. Your website is the hub of your marketing wheel, so improving website traffic is a definite must.

Bounce Rate

In technical terms, Google’s bounce rate measures any session that begins and ends without triggering more than one request to analytics. In other words, this is how many people get to your website and leave without interacting with it.

The best way to get a real idea of your bounce rate is to return to the pages overview and focus on the sections depicted in the following image:


I’ll give an example analysis of our own website’s bounce rate: It’s clear that we’re seeing an increase from last year (a bad thing), but a glance at the information right below that shows me that the rate from our home page has decreased considerably (a good thing). Here’s what has changed:

  • We launched a new website
  • Our page views have increased
  • Our new website has many more pages than the old one
  • Customers are landing directly on some of our inner pages due to ads, referral traffic, social media, etc.

Over all, this tells us that we’ve been doing great work catering to our viewers that land on the home page, but that we can work on making our interior pages more interactive.

Social Marketing Review

Social Media

Facebook

To find out which posts are most popular on your Facebook page, follow these steps:

  • Log into Facebook and open your Pages Manager
  • Once you’ve opened your Page, go to the Insights tab
  • On the left, click on Posts
  • Along the top, click Post Types
  • At the top you’ll see each Post type with their average reach and average engagement
  • Under this will be stats on each post
  • Go through your list of posts to determine which ones performed the best, and which ones had no engagement

Facebook Insights

If you ran any paid marketing campaigns within Facebook, you can also review your Promotions tab under Insights.

Other Channels

If you also use Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or Youtube in your business, you can follow a similar strategy to find out what has been most popular on those channels.

Look for trends and try to identify what has worked for you in the past. Social media is always changing, so try to stay up-to-date throughout the year.

Lead Conversion Funnel

Lead Conversions

There are two main components to tracking lead conversion. The first is generating the lead, and the second is converting that lead into a paying client.

One way we track lead generation is by using goals in Google Analytics to determine what percentage of traffic complete one of our online forms. We must manipulate this data a bit because no matter how good our spam protection is, bots or spammers find a way to fill out our forms, too.

All leads that come in, whether they completed a form on our website or called us, are tracked in a tool we use called Trello. We have lists within Trello to follow each lead through the conversion funnel. This can then help us determine how many of our leads are converting into paying clients.

There are many lead tracking tools known as CRMs, and every business seems to do it a little differently. However you track your leads and conversions, make sure you evaluate the data to make sure you’re always improving.

Now What?

Now that you know what to do, go set yourself some goals. You’ve reviewed your data from last year, now go use that to set goals and strategies to have even a better year in 2019.

While you’re at it, kick off the new year with a bang by taking advantage of some of tools and services we offer here at Yas by clicking here!

Web Design

Does Your Website Have a Secure Header?

[For non-developers]

What are they?

HTTP Security headers, at their simplest, increase your website or application’s security by:

  • Restricting code coming from outside or even within your website that it doesn’t recognize
  • Forcing your web browser to communicate only through a secure connection that can’t be bypassed or overridden
  • Preventing certain unsecure elements from being loaded on the website
  • Preventing attackers from being able to inject dangerous code into your website through your URL

With an HTTP Security Header, the Content Security Policy (CSP) will create a notification any time it picks up anything suspicious, and it won’t load that element.

How are they implemented?

Security headers can be implemented in any platform or content management system (CMS) your website is on. You can actually find tutorials on the internet for any of these, or ask your web service provider to implement this for you.

These headers are only a few lines of code, but they make a big difference!

Is this important?

Wherever there are security flaws, developers adapt to fight them. If your website’s security is on your mind, then a security header is definitely important.

Ecommerce websites that gather personal information and collect payment are some of the most important cases that benefit from this added security.

—————————————————————

Security Header

[For developers]

What are they?

According to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP),  HTTP Security Headers are HTTP response headers that your web application can use to increase the security of your application. They are able to:

  • Restrict the resource and scripts that a website uses, whether it be internal or external to the website. Basically whitelisting your scripts, stylings, and any other resources your website uses.
  • Force browsers to only communicate over a secure connection (HTTPS), and prevents the client from overriding an SSL certificate warnings (caused by an invalid or fake certificates).
  • Prevent iframe elements from being loaded on to the website.
  • Help prevent against reflected cross-site scripting attacks, which is when an attacker injects HTML and/or JavaScript elements via the website URL.

The Content Security Policy (CSP) can be the longest and most complex of the HTTP security headers available to implement. This is the policy in which you specify the trusted sources of resources and scripts. Any time a requested resource or script violates part of the CSP, the web browser will fire a POST request specifying the resource and the associated violation, while not loading the resource itself. Typically this appears in the web browser’s console.

How are they implemented?

Most security vulnerabilities can be mitigated or fixed by implementing the necessary security header. These headers can be implemented through Apache configuration files, Nginx configuration files, Microsoft IIS or whatever platform or Content Management System (CMS) you are using. There are tutorials on almost any web solution you may be using.

These security headers are typically only a few lines of code. Here’s an example for implementing a security header in WordPress (although it’s recommended to implement through your web server software). This security header is added to the wp-config.php file and doesn’t allow iframe elements:

header(‘X-Frame-Options: DENY);

Is this important?

If security is a concern on your website, security headers are absolutely important. All modern web browsers support security headers, but can vary in levels of support of headers such as CSP. Security headers are especially important on any website that deal with ecommerce, sensitive user information, private company information, etc. If you have any data to protect you should be using security headers. Vulnerabilities in security headers have been found and published in the past, but they are continually improving and more widely supported, it’s better to think of them as another layer of security then an absolute solution.

 

Further Reading:

https://geekflare.com/http-header-implementation/#WordPress

https://geekflare.com/http-header-implementation/

https://www.dionach.com/blog/an-overview-of-http-security-headers

https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Secure_Headers_Project

https://www.keycdn.com/blog/http-security-headers

Yas News

Yas’ 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Rules

Here are the rules for our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway event! Tell your friends, win some prizes, get to know some of our favorite clients, and have fun!

  • This contest runs Dec 10 – 21, 2018
  • In order to be entered into any of these draws, you must either like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram, or both.
  • Participants can enter each day’s draw up to five times by:
  1. Liking the post on Facebook
  2. Sharing the post on Facebook
  3. Commenting on the post on Facebook
  4. Liking the post on Instagram
  5. Commenting on the post on Instagram
  • Participants may enter and win the draw more than once
  • Participants do not get extra entries for extra comments, unliking and then reliking, etc
  • Winners for each day will be announced the next day, except for winners from Friday and Saturday, which will be announced the following Monday
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59PM the date the post is made
  • If the winner cannot be reached on social media, we will announce their first name and where they’re from, and they will be expected to contact us via email to claim their prize.
  • Some prizes will need to be claimed at certain locations within Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and North Battleford. Non-location-specific prizes can be mailed anywhere within Canada.

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