Here are some of this week’s posts that you might find interesting.
Blogging. Way too often we just follow the mantra that a blog is essential to any business trying to make it online. Although true in most cases, this does not mean mindlessly posting is a good strategy. Barry Welford has a good writeup down at the Directory Journal on writing an engaging blog posts. Engaging readers is key but it will come much easier once you are clear on your own business objectives.
Speaking of business objectives and goals, here is a great post by Chris Brogan on building useful media. In his post, Chris writes, “Herea��s a thought: what if your project isna��t best suited to be a blog? Or, what if a blog is just one format, and there could be others?” This idea applies to anything you do online, not just blogging. Consider if blogging or twitter, or Facebook make sense for your business before jumping in and dedicating valuable resources.
Online-offline integration. One area in which we, as marketers, still lag behind is bridging the online and offline worlds. Things are simple enough when selling merchandise online. Start a PPC campaign, track visitors and sales and you have at least some idea of how your campaign is performing. What happens if your product/service is difficult to sell online? One way around this problem is to run a lead generation campaign instead, offering something in exchange for visitors’ contact information. Even in this situation, it is still notoriously difficult to calculate the branding effect of your ads and figure out how many offline sales your online marketing efforts generate. PPC Hero has an useful post on some of the ways to track phone calls generated by your search marketing campaigns. This is not an ideal solution but it is a step in the right direction. For more information on the state of search integration, check out our cover story in the Winter 08/09 issue of the magazine.
Website usability. A tireless advocate for the importance of website usability, Kim Krause Berg, has a long list of usability resources. Check it out.
Improving website conversion. There is an ongoing debate in this industry over the poor, or what seems like a poor, conversion rates most website experience. Plenty of website survive by converting just 2% of their traffic. It’s difficult to imagine your local supermarket or Macy’s surviving on 2% conversion rate. Add to that the rates of shopping cart abandonment of over 50% and things look grim. The difference can be accounted for in part by the user behavior online, where there is a lot more price checking and comparison going on. Still, just like supermarkets have turned a simple act of buying milk into a science (why do you think the most common products like bread and milk are all the way in the back of the store), there is a lot today’s website operators can learn and improve on. For starters, take a look at this post on website conversion optimization from Search Engine People. By the way, Jeff Quipp from Search Engine People has a great article on recycling old blog posts in the upcoming Spring 2009 issue of the magazine (already in print). Make sure you are subscribed.