Sherrie Bakshi

About Sherrie Bakshi

Sherrie is the Director of Marketing and Social Media at Matrix Group. When she's not working, she is giving back to the community, serving on the Board of Directors of Doorways for Women & Families or hanging out in DC. Follow her on Twitter @sher_32.

The Non-Techie Guide to Using Sitefinity

Over the last few years, we’ve implemented a number of websites in the Sitefinity content management system.  From a technology perspective, we love the system for its robust functionality, its ability to integrate with other systems, multiple widgets and its user-interface, but, why should you love it?

Whether it was posting a news item or updating the branding areas on the homepage, when it came to updating content on your website, you needed to have someone with coding skills do it for you. Not anymore!

While there are multiple content management systems out there for you to choose from (WordPress, Drupal are a few that come to mind), we wanted to share with you why we love Sitefinity.

keyboard

  • You don’t need to wait for someone to update and edit content. Once your website is launched, you can add content such as news items, blog posts, articles, and more without the help of a developer.
  • You can create dynamic mash-up pages using widgets. Let’s say, you’re posting a case study about a specific project. As part of that specific page, you may consider posting in a news widget that highlight news related, blog posts or events related to the project. You may even want to pull in video highlighting key accomplishments about the project.
  • It’s easy to manage title tags and metadata. In many cases, adding title tags and metadata requires help from a front end developer. Not in Sitefinity!  You can manage metadata and title tags for your pages by going to the page’s “Titles and Properties.” Once you’ve added them in the appropriate boxes, save it and go ahead and publish the page. Be mindful though that Sitefinity doesn’t allow you to use any symbols except a dash.

These are just a few things we like about Sitefinity. What about you?  What do you like about Sitefinity?

Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Rolls Out Today

Google rolled out its NEW mobile-friendly algorithm today.

Why is Google doing this? The world is mobile. With an estimated 63% of American adults using their phones to go online (Pew Research Center), Google, the world’s largest search engine, wants companies to get serious about their mobile strategies. Internet search concept

What does this mean? When searching on your devices, Google will highlight mobile-friendly in the search engines. More importantly, mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in mobile searches.

How does this impact your organization’s web strategy? For one thing, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, it’s time to get serious about one. It’s also a good time for those with mobile strategies to assess them.

Here’s how:

  • Start with your own analytics. When reviewing your analytics, go to Audiences>Mobile>Overview. You can see from what type of device visitors are accessing your website. To gather a sense of whether or not traffic has climbed among mobile devices over a specific period, simply select the “compare to” in the calendar box (top right hand corner) and adjust dates. You can customize the dates based on specific periods.
  • Use the mobile-friendly test tool. This tool crawls individual pages on your website and lets you know if a page is not mobile-friendly and why.
  • Make your current website responsive. These days many content management systems, including Sitefinity and WordPress, offer responsive templates to help web developers convert desktop sites to responsive.

Finally, if you haven’t redesigned your website in a few years, make sure that you budget for a responsive website.

Event Tracking Helps You Enhance Your Site’s User Experience

Lately, we’ve been working with clients on developing and implementing event tracking strategies on their websites. Why is this important? These days, organizations are looking for opportunities to:

  • Connect and engage with their users
  • Gather data to better understand those users and their needs
  • Assess the functionality of their websites

So, where does event tracking come into play?  When it comes to designing and building websites, many of our decisions are subjective.  And while things like big branding areas and tabs may seem like great ideas, we don’t have any data to back it up. This is where event tracking comes in. sample google analytics graph

When adding event tracking, developers add a specific snippet of JavaScript to the element in the source code, e.g., polls, videos, branding areas, etc. Once the event tracking is implemented (this usually takes up to 24 hours), you can view the data in your Google Analytics by simply going to Behavior > Events.

So, how can Event Tracking help you enhance your users’ experience? Here are a few ways:

  • It can tell you the effectiveness of your branding area. Research is showing that big branding areas are not as effective as we all think, but does that apply to your organization’s website? Event tracking can show you what branding images get the most clicks versus the least.
  • You’ll get a sense of how far users scroll down your website. We recently added page scroll depth analytics to our website, and we’re discovering that the majority of users spend most of the time above the fold. With this in mind, one of our tasks is to review the overall design and determine the best approach for encouraging more visitors to scroll down. We may also want to move certain calls to actions like “subscribe to our newsletter” to the top to see if we get more subscriptions to the newsletter.
  • Do visitors actually use some of the tools specifically built to help them find information quickly? Some clients include a link to their member databases on their website. Event tracking would allow us to see what visitors are searching for based on the already identified criteria.  Isn’t that cool?

These are just a few ways of how event tracking can help you assess the effectiveness of your website.  As you can see, the data can help you make decisions when it comes redesigning or modifying your website.

5 Ways to Keep Your Website Content Fresh

Last month, we kicked off our webinar series with a topic many struggle with: writing good keyboardcontent.  We often get asked questions like “How do I keep my content fresh?” and “How often do I need to update my website?”  Here are a few things you can start doing now to make sure your website is up to date:

  • Plan your content in advance.  An editorial calendar for your website can help you lay out content based on your organization’s annual campaigns as well as help you manage your resources and deadlines.  Plus, it will ensure that you provide content to your audiences in a timely manner!
  • You don’t need to update everything all the time. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to be updating your About Us or Membership landing page on a monthly basis, but there some things that you’ll want to update more frequently, including news, events and your blog.
  • Don’t forget about your homepage branding area.  Your homepage branding area is key real estate.  Consider updating it on a quarterly basis to promote your key campaigns, resources you want to highlight, etc.
  • Think about your users’ expectations. For example, if your website provides updates on OSHA regulations and interpretations, you must update you site whenever there is new and updated information.
  • Measure effectiveness. It’s important to know that you’re providing value to your audiences.  Review your analytics to determine top topics and where your audiences are most engaged with you on your site.

What are your tips?

Why Is NOW the Right Time to Upgrade to Universal Analytics?

AnalyticsAs companies invest in new products and services to better meet their customers’ needs and improve their bottom line, they’re looking for one thing to help them make decisions: data!

Many of you are aware of Google’s latest version of the popular web tracking system, but do you know why there’s so much hype about it? Let me explain.

Classic Analytics provides a wealth of information. You can slice and data by demographics, location, new versus returning visitors, hostname, etc. You can track how visitors come to your site and campaigns, conduct A/B testing on specific sections and more. There is so much you can do, but there some problems when it comes to reporting data that Universal Analytics addresses.

When looking at number of new visitors, you may notice a large number of them and thinking, “Great! I am reaching more of the market.” Stop there. In the classic version, the:

  • Number of total unique visitors is overstated
  • Percentage of new visitors is overstated, and
  • Percentage of returning visitors is understated

This happens because Google cannot tell if it’s the same user if they’re not using the same device to access your site. For example, if a user accesses a website from his/her laptop in the morning and then later that day accesses the same website from his/her phone, it’s tracked as a separate visit and user.

This is not the case in Universal Analytics.

What Makes Universal Analytics Awesome

Universal Analytics loads faster because it will only use one cookie and focuses on users, not visits. You can integrate Google Analytics into your CRM, import data, and much, much more. Here are a couple things that you can discover about your users:

  • Their behaviors across multiple sessions and devices, including mobile apps, store checkouts, etc.
  • Insight on who your users are and their interests based on data from your CRM. Custom dimensions allow you to gather more insight on your users, allowing you to create new reports to view and analyze your site’s activities in multiple ways. NOTE: You must have this info in your CRM gather these details.
    • Some dimensions worth tracking are demographics, job title, (B2B businesses, associations or professional societies may be interested in this) and income

Google is planning to roll out additional features in the future. Stay tuned!

Setting Up Universal Analytics:

Once you’ve upgraded to Universal Analytics, you’ll need to set up a UserID. The UserID allows you to capture data of logged-in users and their behaviors on different devices.

Once you have set up your UserID, you’ll want to make sure everything is working properly.

Even with all these new features, you’ll also still have access to your classic analytics data.

If you haven’t upgraded to Google Analytics, definitely make some time to do so.

Have you set up Universal Analytics? What are your favorite features and reports?