When designing a website, finding out who it performs is one of the most important parts. Having access to information about your visitors and their behavior on your website can be extremely valuable to you. It allows you to adjust content to make it more engaging, find ways to give people what they are looking for easier, improve your relationship with search engines and much more.
The most popular analytics tool these days is Google Analytics. It offers and extremely extensive list of features, tracks a lot of information and it's free.
WebWiz@rd is design to allow clients to easily add Google Analytics to their website with only a few clients. One they tracking code from Google has been installed, you have instant access to the wealth of information they track for you.
In this post I am going to get you familiar with the most basic terms in Google Analytics:
Acquisition - this section talks about how your visitors got their (ie. search engines)
Avg. Session Duration - this is the average time someone spends on your site
Behavior - this section is designed to help you improve the content on your site to meet the needs and expectations of your users
Bounce Rate - is the number of visits in which they left your site from the entrance page without going anywhere else on your website.
Campaigns - allows you to add information to your URLs from your website to collect more information about your referral traffic.
Conversions - are the number of times goals have been completed on your website.
Goals - let you measure how often users take or complete specific actions on your website (reach your contact page or make it to your shopping cart).
Metrics - are individual elements that can be measured as a sum or a ratio (Pages/Session and Average Session Duration are examples of metrics in Google Analytics.)
New Sessions - an estimate of the percentage of first-time visits (this is only partially accurate as is tries to track you from your computer but you could come back from a different computer later that day and it would count as well as a new visitor).
Pages/Session - is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
Pageviews - is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
Sessions - is the period of time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc., within a date range. All usage data (Screenviews, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.
Users - is someone who have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.
It's that time of year again! Fall is definitely my favourite season of them all. The smell in the air, the cool weather, the changing of the leaves - it's all beautiful to me.
Some of my favourite parts of fall are:
1. The fashion!
While I love summer for cute dresses, shorts and sandals - fall holds a special place in my heart. I love tall boots, sweaters, warm jackets and scarves.
What's in style changes year-to-year. Some of the things I am looking forward to wearing this year are:
- Big chunky scarves
- Chelsea boots
- Poncho style jackets
2. The cool weather
Nothing is better than waking up in a nice, warm, cozy bed on a cool fall morning. Everything seems happier and cozier in the fall.
A cool, fall morning run helps energize and wake me up better than any coffee will.
3. The flavours
Fall is the best time of the year for some of my favourite flavours. As most of my coworkers will attest to - I LOVE pumpkin. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin tea, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies - pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!!
There are so many more flavours of fall that I love: apple, cinnamon, maple - all of these seem to make up the best dinners and desserts (it also helps that Thanksgiving happens to land in the fall as well!).
Halloween is my number one "holiday". The costumes, the parties, the candy. I love it all!
Admittedly, I spend a lot of time watching videos on YouTube. Being a "gamer", I especially enjoy the comedy team of VanossGaming, H20 Delirious, Luis Calibre, Daithi De Nogla and their various friends. If you're looking for some hilarious moments in gaming, where goofing off in-game takes precedence over playing the actual game, then look no further. It's an instant comedy fix.
On the topic of YouTube from REM's perspective, it is interesting to note just how easy it is to embed videos in WebWiz@rd. The design of our content management system allows you to place all sorts of multimedia content within your website for visitors to consume. Here's a simple example of a video embedded within this blog post:
If you'd like to learn more about embedding YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing site's videos on your WebWiz@rd powered website, feel free to contact our support team any time!
I have always loved running. I played competitive soccer as a youth, I was on my high school cross country team and also ran the 2500m for my school's track and field team. Of course as life progresses we get busy with other things (work, kids, leisure time) which puts us off track of hobbies and in some cases even consideration of our health.
So, after I hit 40 (I still can't believe it!) I thought it was time to start getting back in shape and it has taken a long time! It all started with the purchase of a treadmill where I struggled for several months to try and be able to run 5k all in one shot. The treadmill was a great way to get my confidence up so when the weather improved I was able to start running outdoors.
The only problem I had was that I didn't have any way to track my pace/progress until I discovered software called Runkeeper that works both with my iPhone and my Pebble watch. I am able to track my pace, top speed, distance, etc. and see whether I am improving over time. I have now gotten to the point where I am averaging under 7:30/mile for 5k (3.2 miles) at a comfortable pace (which is a vast improvement over the 10 minutes per mile I was doing when I started).
So, no more cheating! Also when someone tells me to "pick up the pace" I am able to actually track whether I am or not!
Straight forward, predictable and traditional; some might say, a bit boring.
The wording within your website's menu doesn't have to be the same old, same old. The menu, along with the rest of your website, should reflect your company's personality and style.
If your company is more relaxed, forward thinking and approachable, consider updating your menu to echo those traits!
This new wording is still self-explanatory and as a user you know where to go to find the information that you need. (In my example the Home link has been completely removed. It is quite common for company logos to be the link to the Home page.)
Some may think that this wording is too relaxed and that perhaps they couldn't take a company seriously after reading a menu such as this.
I disagree. Provided your website content is accurate, thorough, well written and well displayed, your site will still convey professionalism.
Two Blonde Chicks has taken a slightly different slant to what I'm suggesting. Although their menu is still relatively traditional, the lighthearted images at the top of each of their pages, oozes creativity and fun. After reading their content and seeing their portfolio you can tell that they are qualified and professional.
I can admit that not all industries are suited for this approach; industries such as insurance, accounting, medicine and law. A lighthearted menu on a criminal law website would be inappropriate and insensitive.
However, if you are in an industry that can break tradition and your company is fresh, friendly and a bit quirky, why not try being a bit more creative with your website's menu?
Responsive WYSIWYG CMS - And You Said It Couldn't Be Done!
One of the biggest strategic decisions I've had to make at REM in the last 6 months was whether to pioneer a new responsive framework for customers that wanted true WYSIWYG editor capabilities or to strip many of my favourite WebWiz@rd features to give customers a set of tools that more closely resembled our biggest rivals in the CMS space.
I've poured over hundreds of case studies, white papers, debates and discussions regarding the many benefits of responsive design, but most of discussions discounted what I think to be one of the most important parts of a CMS which is to make content creation and manipulation SIMPLE TO PERFORM but POWERFUL IN RESULTS!
When I submit to random debates that my customers want to use tables to layout their content and my customers don't want their pictures to scale under all scenarios and my customers don't want 3MB page files to download onto mobile devices I get the same response, "Tell your customer they are wrong because reasons, and teach them to be right because reasons".
Long story short, as a customer focused company, REM offers guidance and advice but never forces our customers into situations that make them feel uncomfortable. That's not our job. Our job is to make a fantastic set of tools that put our customers in control of creating great looking content.
Going back to my first paragraph though, I ultimately decided that the newly emerging tools and frameworks out in the wild were not appropriate for the segment of users that need more control over their content layout and style. So for the last month I have been designing a perfect hybrid solution that allows our customers the ability to fully - as in FULLY - control their content position, size, style etc... for big screens and mobile devices alike!
After putting in the leg work to prove that my technology and approach works, it almost appears that the other framework makers were more interested in philosophical and theoretical perfection and didn't take into account the power that had been removed from the end users of the CMS.
Anyway - I can't wait to reveal some of this stuff....
If there is one thing I love, its roller coasters. I have always enjoyed it. When I was a young child my father would tell me about the Comet at Crystal Beach on the shores of Lake Erie. It was a wooden coaster built in 1948. When I was about 9 years old he took my sister and I to Crystal Beach so I could finally ride the Comet. He had built it up so much that I could hardly wait.
The time had come and we ended up in line at the Comet. I waited in line until we got to the very front when the ride operator decided to check and see if I was tall enough to ride the Comet. I was devastated to find out I wasn't. I think my dad was almost more upset then I was for building it up to much. He grabbed some cups from the garbage and stuffed them into my shoes to prop me up just enough. I continued to walk through the line like I was walking on stilts, clearly wobbling around. I finally ended up again at the front of the line when the same ride operator clearly recognized me, laughed and then said go ahead.
It was great!
Fast forward over 30 years and my, 10 year old son Andrew is as much as a roller coaster fan now as I am. After getting through every coaster at Wonderland this past year we decided to make a trip to the next level. Cedar Point. A few weeks ago, Andrew, Brad (one of my other sons) and I went to Sandusky for a few days of fun at Great Wolf Lodge and a fun filled day at the Roller Coaster Capital of the world Cedar Point.
The Comet was a great ride and was amazingly large when I was 9 years old. Times have certainly changed as the rides like Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster are at a whole new level.