Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2011

It’s been a bit so I thought I would wish everyone a Happy New Year!

This new year brings a lot of challenges, goals, and some new resolutions. I haven’t figured out them all but a few things I’m looking at for the new year are increasing my knowledge of online marketing. Wow, that’s generic… Specifically, I’m looking to learn more about email marketing, deeper analytics reporting, more targeted and local search engine optimization, and business development.

Email marketing is a different ball game when it comes to online marketing then what I’m accustom to. I’ve certainly been like the rest of us in getting tons of offers, newsletters, and such in my email inbox but I’ve only scraped the surface of the other end from the senders point of view. There’s many factors to thing about these days with mobile phones, spam filters, spam companies, white and black lists, various email clients, allowable HTML coding, remote images, hosting, opt-out, paid and non-paid marketing lists, and much more. Learning the in’s and out’s of email marketing is my next undertaking for this new year.

I am always interested, and for the past few years, done a bunch of reading, learning, practicing, and testing search engine optimization. One of the most important aspects of search engine optimization is really reporting or analytics. Since it’s impossible to see what the traffic of a website is just by looking at the page (unless there’s a hit counter but who has one of those these days) using analytics to see where the web site’s traffic is coming from, how much traffic, what search engines are using it to be found, what keywords are bringing visitors, the bounce rate (one visit to a page and then leave the site), and a ton of other useful information. All of this tells the web site owner or search engine optimizer what is working, what isn’t working, what to focus on, and what to strengthen. It’s not the only tool I use but it certainly one of the most important tools one can use on their web site. At my company Azunga, where we do Portland Web Design and Development, we make sure analytics is installed on all our clients websites. It’s one of the first things to do after the website is developed. We do this to get as much historical data as possible and to get the best idea of what’s worked in the past, what hasn’t worked, any signals on new traffic sources, and to get the best idea of what’s happening with a web site.

Some of the things I’ll be working on in the new year will be deeper analytic reporting. That will be testing and running many conversions and reports using funnels, goals, and conversion rates. With a deeper reporting on some of our ecommerce websites we’ll be able to get better understanding of the typical users, what their habits are, and what exactly they are doing.

big g serps page

Big G's Local Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

Well, I’ll talk more about my goals for targeted and local search engine optimization more in the future. I’m specifically talking about local searches on the big G. I have a recent post in which it messes up with my location and thinks I’m in Portland, Maine instead of Portland, Oregon.

With the search engine results pages (SERP’s) being changed recently in late October, the SERP’s now have a larger places result on the page as well as the local map moving to the right side bar. My recent post showed my dissatisfaction with the change but like all big G things, especially search, we are all subject to whatever changes they decide to make. From what I’ve heard the map wasn’t been looked at much by people performing the majority of the local searches. Some things that I’m looking more at are which terms bring up local results, which results are pulled up and why, which factors are involved in the “seven pack” (the places with the A-G markers) results, the weight of reviews and keywords within the reviews and much more. I’ll be keeping my blog updated with information about what I find.

As for the business development aspect of my news years resolution and since I’m new at starting a web development business, I’m planning on a lot of research, talking with other owners, talking with clients, and getting feedback from trusted sources about what works, what to improve on, what doesn’t work, and where to go. I suspect and believe that this won’t be a “get this done this year” but an on going effort to continually improve, refine, and figure out just what works. I’ll be writing my first business plan soon and from what I hear a month to write it should be around the right amount of time it takes to properly form a business plan. More about it soon.

So what are your new years resolutions? What do you think about mine? Hit me up in the comments and

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