google analytics demo account

Noticed a spike in fake referrer traffic on Google? You're one in many

If you've been using Google Analytics for a while, you've probably had to deal with fake traffic at some point. They come and go, and every now and again, you find a fix on the public web. But the most recent traffic spikes have become a bit more hilarious and simply annoying in some cases.

You know how you just started a blog and you're really scurrying for traffic day and night and trying to push out good content. And then one day you check analytics and see a huge spike and you're like YES! Then you check the source and its from referral with the referrer being "Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!" You practically die inside like twice.

Here's a screenshot from my dashboard with the same issue. This is from the language breakdown section

analytics fake

And this is from my referrer traffic breakdown.

analytics fake 2

 

You'd notice the referrer URL on the second image is so bold as to say "fake" in the URL, just so much courage on the trolls part.

This can become a major issue for people who do not look deep into analytics data to check exactly where their traffic sources originate from. Especially because it inflates numbers and provides a false illusion of success.

This is done in several ways to deceive webmasters into thinking they need to visit these referrer URLs. In which case, the attacker might actually generate some traffic from this, or use it as a phishing site. According to an article on Marketing Land

Some attackers generate ghost visits without even sending a bot to your site. The attacker just needs to run the Google Analytics tracking JavaScript to ping the Google Analytics data collection servers with fraudulent information.

So be careful before you open that referring URL to check who the source of that traffic might be.

Getting rid of fake traffic on Google Analytics

Although this is not a one step process, I'd walk you through the easiest filter to setup on your analytics profile. Which is the language filter.

Looking for a fix for Google Analytics spam traffic on your dashboard? Check out this post for a simple fix!Click To Tweet

Step 1 - Go to admin

Click on the admin menu on the navigation bar of your analytics account. Select a view that isn't the "All website data" view. If you don't have any other one, you should create a "Filtered data" view. This is best practice because filters, once applied, cannot be revoked to bring back the data they excluded from your view.

Step 2 - Create a filter

Create a new filter and use "Custom filter" against predefined. Then fill out like I have below. The filter pattern is \s[^\s]*\s|.{15,}|\.|,

analytics fake

Once you do this, click on the "Verify filter" button just below to confirm that your filter works. Here's a screenshot of mine.

analytics fake

Once you have confirmation, go ahead and save this.

Like I mentioned before, this is n't an exhaustive list, but its a simple first step. To get a detailed post on how to deal with Google Analytics spam referrers, check out these three posts

https://www.ohow.co/ultimate-guide-to-removing-irrelevant-traffic-in-google-analytics/
http://help.analyticsedge.com/spam-filter/definitive-guide-to-removing-google-analytics-spam/
http://blog.analytics-toolkit.com/2016/language-spam-latest-google-analytics-spam/

If you run into any trouble doing this, be sure to drop a comment below, we'd be more than happy to help.

 


google analytics demo account

Google Analytics is getting a complete makeover

For those of us who are "not so new" to Google Analytics, we've always seen some of its flaws. I've used the platform for over 4 years now, and I always secretly wished it looked a little better. And acted better too. With almost 40 accounts tied to my mail, my biggest frustration is always when I log in, then you'd have to scroll through all these account to find just the one.

But Google Analytics, GA, as most of us have come to call it, is getting an overhaul. One of the first things being the new Material Design approach. Which is now mostly a standard with all Google UI. It is important to note though that key functionality still stays the same. The only changes we'd be seeing are design related. Lets get into them

Renewed, simpler navigation

Using Material Design standards, the top navigation menu (Home, Reporting, Customization, Admin) has been taken out. The Admin bar is now pinned at the bottom, and the left pane is now re-sizable so you can get more space on the canvas.

New Google Analytics navigation

 

Better switching between views

This one already kicked in (on my account at least, not sure if it's a full roll-out). Before now, you had to go all the way back home then select a different property you wanted to view. But recently, I noticed you could now do that from anywhere on Google Analytics. Simply by clicking on the top left of the page

Easier view switching in Google Analytics

 

Log into your last viewed profile

Like I mentioned earlier, it can be a pain in the butt when you constantly have to scroll through tens of accounts to get to your most frequent. Thankfully that is changing. Now when you log into Google Analytics, the view you're shown is your last viewed profile. Which makes all the sense in the world!

Set your own default date range

At the moment, Google shows you a 30 day data range when you get into analytics. But with the new changes, you'd now be able to set your own default date range in User Settings. The new default range has been changed from 30 days to 7 days.

Taking out a couple of pages

Intelligence events have now been removed from Google Analytics to be replaced by Automated Insights from Google Analytics Assistant. While the In-Page Analytics report has been removed from the UI too. However, you can still access in-page analytics through a dedicated Google Chrome Extension.

Those are the major changes that we'd be seeing in a few months from now. Along with other new products coming out which we should talk about here. Do you use Analytics often? What do you think of these?


chrome-https-errors

Non-HTTPS pages will soon be marked Not Secure in Chrome

The need for an SSL certificate on your website has always been debated. And for those of us that are unsure of what this is, an SSL certificate simply makes transferring data over the internet secure. Which is good for ecommerce websites that collect user card details. But for things like blogs for example, the average marketer doesn't see the need.

If you have a website, there's a 30% chance your developer mentioned this to you. There's also a good chance you said "Nah, I don't think I'd need it". Heck I told a student at one of my trainings she didn't need it. Looks like all of that is about to change.

Chrome's drive for a more secure web

According to the Google Chrome blog

Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a “secure” icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently.

And the plan to counter this is to clearly label non secure pages as such. Like in the image below

non-secure page chrome

This will start by first marking all pages that request for passwords or credit card details of HTTP as non-secure pages. Starting from January 2017, which is in a few months time. Here's how there pages will look

non-secure password pages chrome

Still think this doesn't affect you? After all you don't collect card details right?

But do you run a tech startup that requires users to log into their account? Or a WordPress blog that allows user registration/login? If yes, you're still busted. But maybe users wouldn't notice the little attention seeking circle in their browsers for now. In a few years time though, a huge red triangle will start to make your website look like a phishing site.

It is also important to note though, that this update will only be effected from Chrome 53 upwards. Which is the most recent version of Chrome in circulation as at the time of this writing.

I guess this means you'd need to start selling SSL to your clients as a developer, or consider using it as an SME or startup. At least you'd need to soon enough. What do you think of this update? Let me know


google-analytics-assistant

Get automatic insights & suggestions with Analytics

One of the things I love the most about digital marketing is data analysis. It is the single most important factor that differentiates online from offline in my opinion. And it's one heck of a time and money saver for brands.

In one of my many analytics classes as a trainer, I once helped a leading directory listing website solve a complex problem they couldn't figure out. All through Google Analytics. You know when you use a search bar on an ecommerce site, there's usually some placeholder text. Something like "type here to search". For these guys, they tracked everything that happened on the website with Google Analytics. Including search queries happening on the website. But for a lot of their queries, the placeholder still stayed. So they saw searches like "type here to searchplumber in lagos" or "type here to searchcake delivery yaba". You get right, the placeholder, which should have erased itself on click, still stayed.

Someone brought this up during the class and we decided to check it out. We checked for the search queries that contained the placeholder and broke it down by device. No desktop device had this issue, which meant it was a mobile problem. Further breakdowns suggested it happened on both Android and Blackberry devices. Which meant it was something that cuts across both, the browser. Turns out it was Opera Mini. The search bar used a script to clear the placeholder but this script didn't run on some versions of Opera Mini.

That's why my love for data analysis runs deep. A problem that lasted for over a year was figured out in a few minutes using web analytics.

But you see not everyone can be that granular and technical, sometimes as a small business you just need to know that customers are coming to your website.Which is why Google's announcement of automated insight explorations made sense to me. Now you can download the Google Analytics app on Android and iOS and get suggestions that are performance related.

analytics-assistant-works-for-youI tried this out for the Localized Digital website and could already see some performance suggestions. Here's how to use this feature

Go to the Google Analytics assistant tab

analytics assistant-menu

Check out automatic insights

check-out-analytics-insights

Click on insights to get more details

get-details-from-insights

And just like that, without stress or fuss, you get insights about what's going on with your website. Try this out on yours and let me know what you think about the findings.


optimize ecommerce

3 things you can do to optimize your online store

Shopping online is growing at an unprecedented rate in Nigeria, largely due to the sharp increase in internet penetration. A huge percentage of tech startups in Nigeria are ecommerce businesses. And this emerging market has affected other related businesses like payment gateway providers etc. Cheaper data, online payments and availability of smart phones in Nigeria have also played an important role in the increase of user buying pattern.

The problem is, even with that, we still see a lot of ecommerce websites struggle.

Don't you think it's interesting that a store like Shoprite for example, with so many chain stores, doesn't have a solid online presence. If you doubt me, do a Google search for Shoprite Nigeria, first result is the South African counterpart. And none of the other results make sense. And if you shorten the search to just Shoprite, you get a US based store. How hard can it be? Really?

I digress. Back to online stores. There is also a need to make changes to improve eommerce websites from time to time, building on analytical data. Renovating your online store should improve your customer experience, which makes purchasing easier and in turn, increases your sales. Optimizing your online store doesn’t involve you doing just one thing, i.e. there is no single fix rather it’s the combinations of many little things that add up over time. Every stage on the website that leads to a wonderful user experience has to be carefully monitored, tested and adjusted on a frequent basis. Here are some simple optimization fixes that will make a huge difference:

 1. LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION

Landing page

Your landing page is your main entry page. Every new visitor who comes to your website has to go through this page, so it’s important to pay attention to this page. Your landing page should have the necessary information you want to pass to your visitors with relevant call to action. Here are some ideas of things you can include on your landing page: important updates, announcing a contest, positive testimonial, discount offers etc. Good visuals and warm colors should be put in mind when designing your landing page, the more receptive your landing page is the higher the chances of conversion. Here's one half of a good landing page (we had to cut it because of the length). Check out the full page here

nortify landing pageIncrease your Website Loading speed

Every visitor’s experience of your site begins before it even loads on the screen. And the longer it takes to load, the less likely people are to stay. A fast website creates a better shopping experience, and they rank higher in search result. When your website has a quick loading time, it eliminates the chances of first times leaving on getting to your website. How can you check your website loading speed? Consider these tips.

2. PRODUCT PAGE OPTIMIZATION

With your landing page optimized, it's now time to look at the most important content on your site, your product listing pages. These pages are highly important not only for generating traffic but also for converting that traffic. Every product page must be optimized not only for your website visitors but also for Google and other search engines. The product page is also an avenue to showcase different offerings e.g reminder of an offer or discount, introducing a new product. So proper planned product titles, descriptions and call to actions should be included on the product page

Here are some important elements you need to consider when optimizing your product page.

Product Images

Your online store should have sharp product images, these images are a vital element in search visibility as well as conversions. You need to get original pictures of your products and make sure these images have relevant ALT tags and descriptions. Using the right ALT tags helps search engines understand what each image on you site is all about and also helps your product images show up higher in Google image search results. If your product images aren’t original, seek permissions for the images used and give photo credit to the source.

Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions are one of the most important assets to your store. As you go through each product listing, ask yourself these questions

1 Are all your product descriptions original or have they been copied from your supplier?

2 Do they contain all the important information and technical details a visitor would need to make a purchase decision?

3 Does the product description sound compelling and make someone want to purchase it?

If you answered no to any of the questions above you're going to want to spend some time working on your product description and making sure your it’s clear and original.

Site Navigation

The simpler your site is, the better the user experience. Make it easier for users to navigate through your site and easily find what they are looking for. Product types should be categorized properly, the fewer the navigations, interactions and pop ups, the easier your site would look. A quicker experience of your website is often preferred by users to a more interactive one. Popup pages to suggest products to users should be minimal, to avoid users becoming confused and frustrated. Put in mind some users know exactly want they came to your site for. Every online store should be properly arranged in displaying its full market offering as clearly as possible. Strike a balance between showing the full range of products or services, and making them easy to find. Check out this website's navigation

mimismall navigation

3. Checkout page optimization

This is the main page that generates sales. All you do have to do on this page is remove checkout obstacles and simplify the buying process. The major goal is to convert website visitors i.e. get visitors to purchase from your store which is why you need to eliminate any hindrances or obstacles preventing visitors from making a purchase. Here are some ways to optimize your checkout page

  • Add a predictive product search function
  • Streamline your checkout to a single page and strip out irrelevant forms, reducing work on your customers’ part
  • Add your contact details. Be it an email, phone number or location, so users can quickly get in touch with you in case of any doubts about a product to be needs to cleared.
  • Present multiple trusted payment gateways like interswitch or paystack at the point of payment

Conclusion

One of the greatest obstacles to achieving a great online shopping experience in Nigeria is not necessarily accessibility of internet or a decline in user buying behavior but an outdated website or website not properly optimized. Online store owners sometimes underestimate just how quickly customer expectations are shifting with advancement of online platforms and processes and if a visitors first impressions of an online store is a slow, complex, tacky or a hard to navigate website which doesn’t display well on their mobile phone, then moving quickly to a competitor’s website instead wouldn’t be so hard

In other words keep your online store up to date, constantly follow up with changing online store trends, and consider getting a web master expert to optimize your site on a monthly basis.

Looking to optimize your online store for visitors to have a great user experience? Check out osazeosoba.com for an expert on website design and optimization.


hiring website designer

Consider these things before hiring a website designer

Modern business at some point would need a website, either to be created or revamped. However, the challenge faced most times is getting a good website designer to come up with great ideas and designs. Apart from these, there are other factors to be considered before employing or outsourcing your website design to anyone

Carefully considering these tips below before choosing a web designer could avoid time wastage and disappointment

1. Request for the designers personal website

The first thing you should checkout before giving the web developer you intend to hire a call is the quality of their own business website.

If the site looks shabbily designed (or somehow,  lol,  like I always say), you will absolutely get the same quality of work. If there are lots of errors like 404 errors, dead links, poor web graphics etc. then you should know your own website is going to look similar. This just simply means the web designer cannot offer you what it can’t offer itself. However, if on the other hand, the website is a clean classy design and excellent in functionality, then feel at home. You should on the right track.

2. Request for his/her potfolio

“Can I see a website you have designed before?” Should be the first thing you ask a web designer when you meet one. You don’t want to patronize a learner in the business of web design that will use your website for practical. This is not to depreciate the freshers in the industry. But we are trying to lay emphasis on quality experienced web designers

3. Make sure you get along with your designer

Most times, getting along with your developer can aid getting things done faster. You are trusting someone to accurately reflect what you stand for and broadcast your business through a website. Pick a web design partner who is passionate and cares to learn about your brand. Make sure you get along for the sake of time, money and your work in progress website!

 4. Go straight to the point

Make it a priority to know all the details of working with the particular designer you are hiring. This will allow you have confidence when making complaints if you need to, because you gave clear instructions. Before committing and placing a deposit to work with the web designer you hired, you both should be clear on few things like

1: How long will it take to complete the work you are looking for?
2:Have a beginning and end date, these dates are proofs on the responses of you as the client. A delay in your projects shouldn’t be more than two weeks.

5. Price

In the interview stage, price should be the last thing you discuss. If you make it the first, as most people do, you will likely end up with a very poor choice. Why? The amount you pay determines the quality of job you get – this is a general rule. Cheap web designers always ask for cheap price and deliver cheap jobs.  Also study the countenance of the designer, if he is more passionate about the money than the job, you might just end up with a money driven designer. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong in wanting to be paid so much for a job, but discussing more about the money and less of the job to be done gives you an idea of the kind of designer you would end up with.

In conclusion, before you hire any web designer ensure the designer owns a functional website, offers quality customer care service (i.e. easily accessible and available to take care of your complaints), and has a good portfolio of completed website design projects.

Don’t forget that when it comes to web design, what you pay for is what you get.

Had to hire any designer in the past? Tell us your experience in the comment box below


google kills adobe flash

Google decides to kill Adobe Flash. Promotes HTML 5

In an announcement made 5 days back on the official Chrome blog, Google took a decision to kill flash in Chrome.

To give you some background to this, Flash made its major debut in about 1997 and its function was relatively simple. Help web developers create better engaging content (video and games) for the web. The process was simple. Developer builds game in flash. Embeds it on a web page. User access web page and installs the Flash Player plugin to view content. User enjoys developers game :D

Simple isn't it?

But then Flash ( or Macromedia Flash as it used to be called) had some problems.

Flash has big security risks and poor battery management

Adobe Flash is a closed, proprietary software in an otherwise open source world. Which means where you - as a developer - can contribute to the improvement of HTML, you have no luck touching Flash. And because of this, hackers constantly went at it. Its much easier to hit a sitting duck that a flying bird I guess.

In 2015 in the wake of newly discovered vulnerabilities in Flash, Facebook's security boss Alex Stamos called for a termination date for Flash. And in the same year, Mozilla disabled all versions of the plug-in by default in its Firefox browser. Even Google limited Flash’s impact; it announced that future versions of Chrome from 2015 will “intelligently pause” Flash-based content that isn’t part of a website’s core experience (e.g. video ads)

But we all know how hard it is to stop someone from doing the one thing they're so comfy with. But flash was (and is) a security risk to you and me. And last week, Google finally pulled the plug.

In December, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default experience, except for sites which only support Flash. For those, you’ll be prompted to enable Flash when you first visit the site. Aside from that, the only change you’ll notice is a safer and more power-efficient browsing experience.

Flash helped make the Web a rich, dynamic experience, and shaped the modern set of web standards. We continue to work closely with Adobe to ensure that your web experience is as fast and secure as possible and to help the Web transition to HTML5.

In conclusion

I think we can safely say here that Flash just took its last breath. A decision like this just leads downhill, other browsers will probably be following suit from here on.

BONUS TIP: If your developer suggests building your website in Flash, I think its mostly clear what your response should be like. Tell that dude to take a course in HTML5 and get back to you.

For some reason I feel sad, and I'm not sure why. Maybe its because I remember seeing the flash plugin popup as a child. Maybe its because I spent some time learning the ins and outs of it (but didn't get very far). Or maybe its just the fact that we're kissing one more "one time hero" goodbye. But nevertheless

Flash is dead


google analytics demo account

Google Analytics Demo Account: See live data from Google's ecommerce

One of the toughest parts of learning web analytics is visualizing data. And although there are several channels to learn Google Analytics, from free online courses to online communities and then more professional in-person classes, one thing still stands, practice makes perfect.

On August 3rd, Google announced that they'd be opening a free demo account for people to work with. This account pulls data from the Google Merchandise shop.

Needless to say, this is a huge step forward for those looking to learn. It provides months worth of data for students to look into and analyze.

“Have you wondered why you've always gravitated towards people with real-world experience rather than on-paper experiences? The real-world part :) So while it hurts my feelings a bit to say that my best selling analytics books are not enough, I'm massively excited that the GA team has figured out a solution for the entire universe to get real-world experience. Get the access, download my awesome bundle of segments, dashboards and custom reports, and really start your learning experience!”
- Avinash Kaushik, Author - Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics : An Hour a Day

So what can you do with the demo account?

You can use the Demo Account to learn about Google Analytics features and functionality, for example:
  1. Access all the Standard reports to see which ones are useful to you
  2. Get inspiration from predefined dashboards and segments imported from the Solutions Gallery to create your own
  3. Alter reports by adding table filters and secondary dimensions, and by changing the report type
  4. Learn how to compare audience, acquisition, behavior and conversion performance to a previous date range period
  5. Create your own personal assets such as custom reports, annotations, shortcuts and custom alerts
  6. Become familiar with the predefined attribution models and even create your own
  7. Determine whether features you don't haven’t implemented could be beneficial to you e.g. AdWords and Search Console integrations
  8. Use it as a companion when following a training course

If you haven't already, follow this link to gain access to the Google Analytics demo account.

Have you tried out the Google Analytics demo account yet?Let us know in the comment box below.


3 ecommerce sites using cms

3 popular Nigerian online stores that were not built from scratch

In an earlier post, we talked about Content Management Systems (CMS) and whether or not you should use them. Today, I'd walk you through a few popular Nigerian online stores that use these CMS platforms.

Remember that as a business, your priority is to find a solution that works best for you. Not what everyone else says is OK, but what suites you the most.

What I'd like to show you in this post, is that CMS platforms can be as dynamic and powerful as any website built from scratch. In some cases, even better. Lets deep dive into the list.

Konga.com

konga CMS

The Konga platform uses a highly customized version of Magento, an ecommerce CMS platform.

Magento is a multi award winning platform that boasts some really impressive features. They recently acquired RJMetrics to introduce cloud based analytics right inside the software. Magento claims to have over $50 Billion in annual transactions.

Payporte.com

payporte.com

Payporte is another popular ecommerce website that runs on the Magento platform.

 

Yudala.com

Yudala.com

Yudala.com is yet another ecommerce website using the Magento platform.

Although the general trend that you see here is that Magento is used by all three of them, there are many more online shopping CMS platforms out there.

Do you currently use a CMS platform for your online store? Share yours with us in the comment box below.

 


CMS Platform

What is a Content Management System & when should you use one?

Image Source: bkacontent.com

Have you ever had to build a website before? Maybe for your business or a personal website?

At some point during your project, you were probably speaking with a developer, or if you're like me and you're kind of a jack of all trades, you did it yourself.

In almost every case, the question you're asked is if you want to use a Content Management System (or CMS). Some of you were never asked, a CMS was used for you irrespective.

In some cases, people feel cheated when this happens, your friends tell you that you've been ripped off. You read a ton of stuff online about the CMS you've just been given. You see some good stuff, and you see some bad.

I'm here to help provide some clarity and also help you make a choice (if you have one) on which to use.

What is a CMS

Abbreviated as CMS, a content management system, also called aWeb management system is software or a group or suite of applications and tools that enable an organization to seamlessly create, edit, review and publish electronic text.

- webopedia.com

Simply put, a CMS is a platform that helps make complex tasks a bit easier. This task could be selling a product online, publishing content (blogging) or more complex functions.

The most popular example of a CMS is WordPress. WordPress runs about 4.5% of all websites around the world. This comes to over 15 million websites. So I'm guessing you've heard about it somehow in the past.

What a CMS does for you as a business or brand is to provide a framework for common web based platforms. As such in some cases it is not needed. Lets take a look at how you can decide on whether or not a CMS is good for you.

Do you have programming expertise?

If you have some knowledge of programming, its obvious that you have some more options available to you. Building a website from scratch could be a possibility for you.

However, if you are like most people, you don't know jack shit about programming. You nearly got an F in the course that involved code in college. And now you just get a little sick when you see all those random letters flying around on a programmers screen.

If you fall into the second category of people and you do not have the budget to get a developer, you're better off with a CMS.

What sort of website are you making?

This is the second most important thing to check off your list if you're looking to use a CMS. Content Management Systems are designed to serve pretty straightforward purposes. So if you'd like to build a complex ride sharing application for example, ditch the CMS idea.

The more complex your website needs to be, the less you need a CMS. However, if you need to do any of the following, you're in the clear with getting a basic CMS to work with:

  • Ecommerce website
  • Company website
  • Personal blog
  • Business blog for monetization
  • Event website
  • Community forum

And much more!

Notice a pattern here? All these websites have very simple functions that a lot of other websites around the world already use. So as against reinventing the wheel every single time a new one has to be setup, a framework (or CMS) is built.

What is your budget like?

Building a website from scratch usually costs a lot more than using a CMS platform. If your project needs more than one developer to work on it, even more so.

Working with a CMS platform on the other hand reduces development costs. So if you're a small business looking to setup a simple website so customers can see  your contact information, you have no need to build from scratch.

Think about these points next time you need to build a website, it'll help you decide which to go with.

Do you already have a website? Did you use a CMS platform or you built from scratch? Let us know in the comment box below, and also tell us which CMS platform you currently use.