Mistakes with Categories and Tags

Logistically, categories and tags have all kinds of SEO science behind them. It’s really easy to make mistakes with categories and tags. But I’d like to leave the website organization and SEO mistakes for another blog post. In this one, let’s talk about user experience.

I bring this up after having visited Gizmodo.com today and thinking to myself how interesting that site was. I actually wondered to why I didn’t read it more often. And that entire string of thought came after seeing their sidebar.

Typically blog sidebars are pretty much the same from site to site. There’s some ads, a tag cloud of some sort and an index to the categories, pages or tags of the site.  But after seeing Gizmodo – that doesn’t make sense at all.

Use Surveys to Take Action

It’s always in the back of our mind, “I should be surveying my audience”. We all think it and wish we were doing it. And then some of us actually do it (which makes the rest of us start thinking about it again).

But when have you seen the results of a survey? I’m not talking about the graph or chart that shows how many people picked A on Question 2. I’m talking about a change in direction. When have you seen someone take action because of the answers to a survey?

Most likely. . . never . . . or it was something tiny.

That’s because there aren’t too many people teaching surveys. So today, let’s do just that.

Getting Started

In an ideal world you could publish a 100 question survey that didn’t box people into choosing A, B or C. You could ask questions that open up entire realms you hadn’t considered. Then you could put together a team to analyze the answers, devise an action plan, implement it and track if it worked.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s pretty hard to get people to fill out one survey, let alone answer 100 questions. And then to find the time to analyze 1,000 different answers. . . I could only dream of having that kind of fun with my audience.

Nope. Time and purpose are linked and thus we must be more deliberate with our time.

The Action Plan: Survey Questions

A smart survey has a point to it. That point is action. If you’re going to ‘bother’ your audience to garner information, make sure it is information you can take action upon.

To make sure you’re doing this, you need to spend time writing an action plan based on the replies you could get back. For instance if you ask “Are you a stay-at-home parent?”, then you need a plan that says

  • “If only 10% indicate they stay home, I will refocus my content this way”.
  • “If it is 50/50, I will change x, y, and z”.
  • “If the respondents are 75% stay-at-home, I will stop doing m, n and p”.

If you can’t think of a single change you would make or action you would take, then don’t ask that question. Maybe none of the demographic questions would alter your strategy – if that’s the case then skip them all.

You really want to narrow down the # of questions to as few as possible. Narrow, narrow, narrow the focus and your readers will feel they are more valuable to you and part of the solution.

And remember Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your site and how people navigate it. Don’t ask questions of your audience if you already have the answer somewhere else. Figure out the holes in your analytics – and ask those questions.

The Right Survey Software

It’s important to have a robust survey package. You need one that will allow you to branch out after each question. For instance if the first actionable question is the stay at home question, then you will want to ask the people who said “yes” different questions about the future of your blog content than the people who said “no”.

If you serve parents and you spend a good deal of time talking about child care options, separating the opinions of the stay-at-home parents from the employee parents will help you decide how to frame future content to improve reader engagement.

(Think about this, if I told you that the only people who have signed up on your email list are stay-at-home parents, and told you that conversely 75% of your readers are employee parents, what would you do?)

So make sure you use software that can ask separate questions depending on how you answered the previous one. By the way, I recommend SurveyMonkey – it does that. (See what Carrie Isaac says about using Google Docs.)

The Survey Funnel

If one of your questions is “Do you own any of my ebooks?”, then the ensuing questions would be much different for the people who do than the people who don’t. Imagine 50 people saying “no” and 50 people saying “yes” and having the next question say “Was it helpful?”. (Now 50 people are annoyed)

Before you write the survey, build a funnel on paper and ask yourself at each step, “what would I do if learned this from my audience today?” And what do I want to know of the people who say yes vs no? Hold their hand as you walk them down a path learning what you need to learn to take action and improve your site.

It should really only take 4 or 5 questions to learn good, meaningful information. But first you must plan it out – along with the actions you will take depending on the answers.

What type of Questions

In a package like Survey Monkey, the multiple choice answers dictate which questions they answer next. So ask multiple choice questions, but always include a space to leave comments. You don’t want to box people in if they have something to say.

Once your survey has divided your audience into the groups you feel you can learn from, ask them a final essay question to really learn what action you need to take. In the photo (see above) you can see that there are a total of 20 questions, but no one has to answer more than 5 to get to the end.

Sometimes it is appropriate to ask everyone the same essay question at the end. Then you can compare the answers from one group to the next, which can really supercharge your action plan, can narrow your target market and can increase your income.

Finally, when they’ve answered the last question make sure you take them to a “thank you” page. You can use that page to give away your ebook, have them sign up for your newsletter or give them a link to an article that will make their day brighter. Don’t miss that opportunity to do something nice for them. They just finished doing something nice for you.

Dan R Morris is the founder of LettersFromDan.com, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

Pinterest and your Marketing Matrix

What is a Marketing Matrix?

Before you get too far into this Pinterest marketing article, I want to explain the kind of marketing matrix I promote. One of the hard things about marketing online is exposure and links. Building a quality marketing matrix makes that a bit easier. The idea is simple, find five people in a similar or related niche who are interested in marketing their site and agree to help each other.

It’s hard to find 5 people that you can really work well with, so it may take involvement in 3 or 4 groups before you put together one that works efficiently. In a matrix each person agrees to help the others in the group market what’s important to them that week. So in a six week period someone new is helping to market your projects to their audience for 5 weeks. Take a look at the matrix below:

The Google Adwords Keyword Tool Mistake

I really want to help make you aware of the Google Adwords Keyword Tool mistake that many people make. But first I want to start by saying that it is not your fault if you are making this mistake. Very big SEO companies, big time internet marketers and even IM conferences teach how to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. And I recently saw a video teaching it where a commenter said it was very useful.

But they are wrong.  They make a mistake just teaching it.

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is not for content marketers. It is not a keyword research tool. What you learn from it is not what you think you learn from it.  The Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides information for one group – Adwords Advertisers.

Pinterest for Local Businesses

I got this question via email today and thought it was probably a universal question:

Question: How could I utilize this for my local lawn mower repair business or my local taxi business?

Answer: Let’s break down the value of Pinterest to local businesses into two sections. First let’s discuss the SEO benefits, and 2nd let’s discuss the community engagement

Local Business SEO

I hate to break this down into two parts, but Pinterest pins can be found by searchers on Google. And they can help your website’s rankings improve.

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