Monday, April 13, 2015

Setting up Google Analytics - Definitive

OK - we've been marketing websites for a while now and I though since we've just revamped all the Google Analytics Accounts we manage for clients I thought I'd put this out there.  I'll try and not be lazy and include images.

Google's come a long way, but it's very important to understand that Google is a small piece of Javascript that get's initiated when someone lands on your page.  When it triggers you get the hit.  But there are millions of Bots and Networks out there roaming the Internet and they also visit your website, potentially and often triggering a hit.

Google takes extreme precautions to try and eliminate the good traffic from that bad.  Have you ever wondered why out of the 100 people that visit your website looking for your products you only get 2 sales?  It's because sadly an awful lot of rubbish continues to get through triggering the Google code and counting as a hit, rightly or wrongly.

Google is still very hit and miss and this Post is about trying to negate some of that.

What follows below is a list for the settings we've done to mitigate some of our findings.

Accounts -> Account Settings
We always make sure that Technical Support and Account Specialists are ticked, just in case we need to refer to Google support and make an enquiry.  We also agree to Google's Data Processing Amendment - we don't always know what these things are - but if Google recommends then I am afraid we cave in and go with it.

Accounts -> User Management
I'm not going to revisit this further down, but usually we will try and give Admin Access to everyone we can.  It's simply really if you're invited to review someone's Analytics you cannot do it properly without full access.  That doesn't mean throw caution to the wind, but it does mean you should try and ensure the person you are giving access to is trustworthy in the first place.  In other words you should establish trustworthiness some other way as giving partial access to Google Analytics is limiting someone ability to do a good job.

Notes: don't forget you can see a Change History of your settings here as well

Property -> Property Settings
I give all my Property Names the full URL for easy recognition including the HTTP or HTTPS - so that when browsing many accounts I can see exactly the one I want.

I also select a default view - usually the filtered view (more later) and I also hook Google's Webmaster Tools, the key is to remember to come back and change these settings if you create more Views.

Property -> Tracking Info
Under Tracking Info where obviously you can find the snippet of code to add to your website, but crucially Google has a 'Referral Exclusion List' setting - here you want to make sure that your own domain (without any www's) is listed.  If you have an eCommerce website then you also need to add any Payment Providers like ''.  This setting forces Analytics to more correctly attribute the source of a users, for example it will reconnect up a user who visits PayPal to make their payment when they return to the website for the Thankyou page.

It's a bit complicated, but worth researching what websites should not be considered referral websites.

Property -> Adwords Linking
If you create more than one View - you must come back and check the Adwords Linking settings and ensure the new View is also connected, a common mistake people forget about and then wonder why there is no data.

Property -> Remarketing
We prefer to create Remarketing Lists in Analytics as a rule, the set up is considerably easier, but we do appreciate this is a question of preference.  We do it on a per need bases.

Property -> Social Settings
We list all the social media websites that a website has accounts for that we can.  Minus the http://  so,,, and so on.  We are keen to know the impact of Social on a website at all times, so this is worth getting right.  Data is collected on the Acquisition -> Social in the Reports.

Views - All Web Site Data
The first thing to note, always keep a completely unfiltered version - so that you have an unbiased view of what Google is trying to tell you. By default we arrange the following settings:

- Set up Currency and all other normal settings, leaving most thing default.
- Make sure Bot filtering is unticked
- Link Adwords
- Set up Site Search Settings if needed

- Goals - set up all conversion points accordingly.

- Channel Settings - set up Brand Terms and create Channel Groupings

- Set up e-Commerce settings if desired

- Everything else can be left alone.

Now you can be ready to copy the View to a new View, importing all the settings that you will need for both Views.

Views -
Copy the All Web Site Data View to a new view and give it a name you recognise, we always use the URL of the domain. Then make the following changes.

- View Settings - make sure the tick box is ticked for Bot Filtering
- Ensure Adwords is linked and connect Webmaster Tools under the Property Settings
- Finally you can set up your Filters.

Filters is the last and final part and really I should go into more detail, but this is what we do here by default.  The real aim though is to have as few filters as we possibly can and it is only recently that we've had to use filters at all.

Some Analysts will have no hesitation in recommending all sorts of Filters for all sorts of reason, but the bottom line is that these settings need management and if you have to manage a lot of website it will become a quagmire of settings that need constant attention.

Recently the primary problem we've found is that a GA Tracking Code can be used on any website, hosted anywhere on any server.  Spammers can literally add any number they like and if it matches a number in the Google Analytics system it will start counting hits.  When you're analysing data you'll see these hits and question what they are, often inadvertently visiting their just to know who they are.  Bam! that's what the Spammer is being paid for.

The solution is to set up a Filter - that blocks out these unsolicited hits using your GA Tracking Code.  OR looking at it the other way around, you only want to include hits from websites you've given authority to... such as your own website.

Please visit for a more definitive guide of this issue.

We call our filter 'Hacking Defence' and add all the URLs we want included in our Reporting.

And that's about it.  That's the set up we under take for each of our clients in Google Analytics.  Almost - but I'll save the next stage for another post, this one is quite long enough.

NB: Blocking unwanted traffic to a website is always better done by the Website itself... Playing with Filters in Google Analytics does not make this traffic go away, it simply excludes it from your analysis, any damage the traffic is doing to your server will continue to be done, unless you can stop it as source.

I hope this has helped.

Setting up Google Analytics - DefinitiveSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Monday, March 23, 2015

Web Consultancy - it's quite wrong you know

So we have clients doing an unbelievable number of different things on the Internet, the more I think about our strap line the more I think how complete apt it is for NComp@ss - Putting Business on the 'Net.  Talk about the Internet of things.

In my last post I wrote about our expanding services into fulfilment, not to tar the same brush and yet at completely the opposite end of the scale, I now feel confident to write about our expanding Consultancy Services.

We set up NComp@ss to cover all aspects of how a business might get the most of the Internet, from Domain Names to web marketing, we somehow fitted into that whole global channel of things. And sure in the early days people would call us and ask if they should register DomainA or DomainX - did it need a hyphen or could should it be or .com - always happy to oblige the questions have only gotten tougher.

So - what really is Web Consultancy - to be frank we really not fans of the word Consultancy - the truth is consultants tend to advise one set of actions and then return a bit later with a counter set of actions all the time getting paid.  We know that's not quite true, but often it's the perceived result, it's highly open to abuse.

We do it to... we'll recommend a factual all singing and dancing website and then a few weeks later a one page mobile site.  I can promise you now it's not because we don't know what we're doing (that's pretty obvious) - but it's because everything changes so fast, constantly - even we struggle to keep up.

Now put that from your perspective or a 'normal' non-web business persons point of view.  We have a vague idea of what we're going - how can anyone non-techie have an idea.  The bottom line is that don't and they rely on advice, recommendation and help from the likes of us, who are only vaguely aware.

So what do we offer - ultimately we offer a number to call, a real person to garner a point of view, someone to put things into English for you.  if you have heard of something, a latest fad, a 'must-have', or some other web thing that you think might be good for you or your business - call us and have an open discussion about it.

Call us a lot and we'll probably find we're doing quite a lot of work for you, but we're always here and always happy to advise.  Our consultancy is not geared to results, or costs or ROI, it is geared to making it simply for our clients to understand, what we're doing, what others are doing on their website and what else is on and out there.

I do worry a bit, you hear of consultants walking into a company charging incredible fees, and seemingly providing below average advice on a website and being totally unaccountable.  My hackles get raised, that is not the sort of company we want to be.  Instead you can consult us for a truthful and no-nonsense answer, we'll give our opinion and often some options to go with it, leaving you to make the right informed decision.
Web Consultancy - it's quite wrong you knowSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Expansion Plans Afoot

We're excited and getting more excited every day, the work continues to flow our way and we have you our clients to thank for that.  There's a lot to do and the beginning of 2015 has seen us in a flying start to the New Year.  I suspect the only reason it still feels like a New Year because time is literally flying past.

All good signs so it is time to take a small step back and decide just what is going on, mostly it's a reiteration of some core services and new ones:

  • Content is king and it seems our support for clients and their website is paying off... we maintain virtually all the websites we build, this is a win win for everyone as we chop, change and manage your websites.  You get the SEO boost you need, the website is a vibrant and on-going asset to your business and we can do all the background work.

    Our Service: is to maintain and manage your website long after it's been built.
  • Fulfilment is one the cards, we do so much work for eCommerce websites, often small start ups that need to organise more than just their websites, so we can store, pick, pack and post products for clients.

    This is a completely new service but is a completely natural progression for us, we often become so involved in Customer Care, Business Processes, Order Management that to actually put products in the post seems obvious.  And we have the space to store masses of product if needed.
  • SEO has never been in such demand, but it's a tough game, we admit it and the one thing we can't afford to do is under-estimate the value of Content... We've changed our prospective on SEO and how we go about doing it - we need your understanding on this, it less about keywords and ranking and more about getting sales and conversion.

    Expect more change in SEO and the product offering we supply.
  • CMS, we're used to a whole variety of ways to update a website, from Shopify to Magento for eCommerce, through to WordPress, Joomla and Basic HTML we can do them all.

    But the time has come to concentrate on our own in-house CMS - known to some of you already as Fyneworks or FWX.  This application is improving in functionality in leaps and bounds and the power of the system out ranks any other system we've seen and can be applied to the smallest website to the largest eCommerce solution.

    What started as a simple per need solution has developed into something without limits.
All in all, I'm sharing ideas of how we can help you further.  Busy we are, but equally we moving into new territory where we can make website, better, faster and with more bells and whistles than ever before.

Our mantra has always been 'putting business on the 'Net', the idea being that we take solid, proven ideas and make then happen for clients, but for the first time I'm getting the real feeling that we're moving ahead of ourselves with the ideas and innovations we're starting to use.

Hopefully a bright Summer awaits us.
Expansion Plans AfootSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Google's Rough Future

To all my clients be aware - this blog is aimed directly to you more than anyone else, so here's some plain English tit bits for you.

Google may be on the wane - for the first time ever it lost market share in the USA where it's always been in the 70%ish region.  Bing and other search engines have made far more in roads into Google's Search in the USA because unlike here in the EU, when you get a new computer it is automatically loaded to default to Bing.

Here in Europe following some Anti-Trust cases Microsoft was forced to load an extra start up choice so that when people brought a new computer they were given options about using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer - as you can imagine a lot of people switched to Google and that has given Google a significant boost in the EU.  Google now boasts about 96% market share of Search.  We in the UK Google pretty much everything.

But, then along comes Mobile - and sure the main two mobile types are Apple (IOS) and Google (Android) - Google knew this was coming and have done everything they can to benefit from it.  However the upsetting piece of information for Google is that people are searching for less. They prefer to play their games on this mobiles rather than look for things.

Now let's look at Google monster revenues - 5Billion a quarter - it's a massive 'cash cow' - but 90% of that is driven by Google's Adwords Advertising system - you place you Advert in your words, selecting your chosen keywords and set at a price you're willing to pay. It's a very powerful proposition for advertisers, the only really danger is if someone else advertises on the same keywords as you.

However, with around half of all time spent on the Internet is via a Mobile phone - and as the 'Internet' isn't quite so cool on a Mobile, fewer people are searching, fewer people are finding those Adverts and Google despite giving you Android for free is actually collecting less revenues.

An additional factor is that Google charges slightly more to advertise on a Mobile - thus many advertisers are ignoring Mobile (fewer returns anyway) and concentrating on Desktop.

You can begin to see Google's worries... as more and more of us turn to Mobile instead of the Internet so Google's revenues will slow down.  And more worries are on the way, for Google, as advertisers realise their customers are all on their Mobiles they will look to ways to get the adverts on a Mobile and here enters Facebook.  Around 50% of all time spent on the internet on Mobiles is spent on the Facebook App, that is something that will only increase with time.

There isn't really a solution here - Google's revenue are forecast to stall or reduce - but what is revealing and on huge interest is that now we are starting to understand why Google is investing in Wearable Tech like Google Glass, Driverless Cars, High Speed Internet into people homes and all the other super cool things they do.

They know at Google headquarters that they are on borrowed time with their current Advertising model.

Caveat - Google Glass has been closed down on the grounds that it was too 'uncool', you can see just how sensitive Google is to a product that can be described as 'uncool'.  It's a small word that could potential destroy a massive company like Google very very quickly.
Google's Rough FutureSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 - 5 Predictions of what we're in for!

Happy New Year to all those we haven't yet wished it on, I hope 2015 will be as good and fruitful as ever.  Here's a quick if not belated round of up some of the things we might expect in the Website world.

  1. Social Media - for the last few year with the rise of social media and blogging - emphasis has been significantly on getting out there and getting your name onto those websites. The ROI has been questionable, but that not fully the point, it's more a case of corporate entities are swamping peoples personal spaces and this is switching people off using Social Media.

    On top of this companies are understanding that they don't own their data or customers on Social Media and other websites.

    Prediction: We will see growing mistrust of social media and fewer benefits for ordinary companies.  This will gather momentum slowly at first.
  2. Re-focus on Website - Now that Social Media and Blogging are set up - it will be time for businesses to refocus their efforts on their own websites, technologies in this area are expanding fast and with Google requiring ever more 'fresh content' to boost websites - Companies will need to get their Content Strategies in line.

    Prediction: A lot more work to keep websites updated, current and fresh.  Redesigns will be prolific - if you look at High Street brands - those that got their website right had the highest growth last year.
  3. IoT (Internet of Things) - New-comer to the block - we're going to see a huge rise in where the Internet reaches - we've heard about it for ages, Smart Fridges and Connected Cars - but this is becoming increasingly main stream.

    Yes - Google has ditched it's Google Glass - but only because the hardware didn't look right. In reality the places we will see the IoT's is in cars, on planes, in hotel rooms, taxis, and of course on our Mobiles

    Prediction: It's all gathering pace, the biggest selling gadgets of 2014 were wearable tech, wrist bands, watches.  This will continue right through to next Christmas
  4. Security - We had the first inklings of change as Google started supporting HTTPS and some pretty major flaws in Internet security surfaced last year.  This year we're going to have to take security of our websites far more seriously.

    Increasing amounts of the services we use are with fewer companies, exposing our data to more risk of being hacked or stolen, suppliers of services will increase security and we will have to follow suit.

    Prediction: Expect more passwords and 2 step entry to websites and services you use.
  5. Email Wars - No longer Browser Wars (although that is a battle waiting to resurface) - this year will see Google and increase the stakes - all ready we resell both services to end clients, but both services are good, both make sense, both offer email on the go - from multiple devices and both come with a dozen extras.

    But will the concept of charging X per month per email address really work for the smaller consumer - not all the issues are ironed out yet and there is a lot to compete for.

    Prediction: People will continue to move away from self hosted or corporate hosted email - if you want to use a Domain Name in your email - it would be no bad thing to subscribe to either Google or and people will be forced to it because of their need to have email reliability on the go.
And those are our main five predictions for 2015, much builds on last year - fundamentally we're seeing more consolidation between the biggest players, Google, Microsoft, Apple, the rise of Gadgets will only get bigger, yet we will increasingly become aware that our data is being used by these companies and there will be resentment for that.
2015 - 5 Predictions of what we're in for!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

So - my plan for Christmas an ALL NEW NCompass Website - leave a comment to show your support for this idea.

In reality - it's been an amazing run up to Christmas, we've worked hard, done more and been more organised than ever before.  And I think that has reflected in many of our clients expectations and results.

A well earned rest for everyone I hope.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New YearSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's all about Conversion Rates

A couple walk into a Restaurant, sit down and order... how many people walk into a Restaurant, sit down and leave - probably less than 5% - Right?

Someone walks into shop, they're after something, could be something useful (most people buy what they need), could be spur-of-the-moment if the products good enough they'll buy it... I wonder what percentage walk out empty handed.

A website gets 1000 visitors a month... if you're lucky you'll get 20 orders or enquiries, more likely you'll get 10.

So what is it about the other 980 visitors that they didn't like you enough to buy something.  By any standards you care to measure that is a staggering number of people that have taken the time to look you up, either via Google or typed in your web address or responded to some action you've taken.

They've entered the 'shop' so to speak.  Sure, it's not going to suit everyone, but 98% of people seems staggeringly high.

  • The ease of saying no
    This is the traditional excuse - people shop around - I'm now going to make you think - when did you last 'shop-around'?  The fact is we don't actually shop around that much do we.  Obviously we have to treat this case by case, we just go to Amazon and order the product.

    In fact the opposite is true the higher the cost value of your product - the more likely it is people will visit your website after a recommendation or some specific prompt.  Take Holidays - you don't randomly decide to visit somewhere, you have a reason to go where you want.

    I could list lots of examples, but the truth should be that people shop around a lot less than we are led to believe.
  • Stumbling Blocks
    Now here's something I can relate to - frustration with websites, can't work out how to use then, can't see the product properly, don't want to pay that extra costs.

    Again though I have to question this - most websites these days are reasonably easy to understand and if you want a product badly enough you'll put up with whatever quirks you come across.

    Couple that with the fact that more and more young web-savvy people are coming online all the time and 'grey-surfers' themselves are learning the ropes pretty well these days.
  • Robots & Machines
    I can also relate to this - the truth of why so many people visit your website and appear to do nothing (Bounce Rate) or very little could be because machines are accessing our website.

    If 80%-90% of all email is Spam - then we can extrapolate that probably most traffic on the in junk and that most of the thousands of visitors to your website are junk.

    That is a very sorry state of affairs and something that is not easy to rule out.  But really, can we believe this?  Do you know anyone who runs a computer that visits billions of websites for no apparent reason?  Is it the Chinese, I mean why?

    Humans have interacted with each other for millions of years - why this sudden desire to know about a website selling Uggs in Australia, it just doesn't actually make sense.
So, back to the 'Conversion Rates' - what can I say, 1%, 2%, 5%, all that matters is that your conversion rates go up and not down.  Every thing you do to make your website better (removing stumbling blocks) will help.  But equally everything you can do to make your website stop doing worse will also help (do you really need traffic from the Philippines?)

If we think about - we can work at this from the other direction - we can block and stop traffic that is a waste of time... Who are all these people that visit the website and do nothing, it's a bit like sending a mailshot through the post to addresses that don't exist.

We love that number, 1000 visitors per month... but if they are 980 visitors that don't do anything - what then?

The point is, if you get your Conversion Rate up to 5% or even 10% that will have far more effect on your over all activities than virtually any other statistic.  You'll be 'on-message' to the 'right-audience' and able to satisfy their needs far more easily.

Note: SEO prompt - We believe here that Google now measure activity within your website - if they can 'tell' that you are satisfying a clients needs via a sale or an enquiry then Google will give credit to you for that.  Equally if you are getting a ton of traffic from some dodgy source, surely Google can tell that as well.

The point being - working on your Conversion Rate will conversing see a huge rise in the right kind of traffic to your website because Google will like you better.
It's all about Conversion RatesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Repost This