How to Thoroughly Audit Your Internet Presence

The internet has become the center of our modern world. It’s where we get all of our information, and it’s where most of us communicate with one another. As a result, it’s imperative that your business have a strong online presence. This means maintaining profiles on all relevant social media platforms, as well as employing a strong SEO and content marketing strategy.

But while it’s important to develop a strong internet presence, it’s equally as important to monitor and maintain it. And part of this process involves performing an audit of your online presence to make sure you’re saying everything you want to say about your brand, make sure there’s nothing out there misrepresenting you, and also to check to see if it’s time to update your marketing strategy.

However, this is another case where the why is much easier to understand than the how. You may recognize the need to audit your online presence, but you might not be sure of exactly how to do it, so here are three things every online audit should include.

Check for Negativity

The first thing you’ll want to do when auditing your online presence is to check to make sure no one is saying anything bad about you. Start by simply performing a Google search of your company name. Check the first page of results, but also dig into some of the stuff that comes up on the other pages. You never know if there is a blogger out there who has an ax to grind, and it’s better to identify these issues before they become more serious than they need to be.

If you do find something, there are a few things you could do, such as:

  • Nothing: If there is something out there that is obviously false, or that stands no chance of becoming more mainstream, then it might be best to just leave things as they are, especially if you had to wait until page nine on Google to find something negative. Sometimes drawing attention to these things can be worse.
  • Reach out to whoever posted the negative content: Sometimes a quick email responding to whatever claims this person is making, and also asking them to take down their post, can be enough to bury whatever negativity is out there.
  • Use SEO to bury it: If whatever negative thing is written about you is too big to bury and you can’t get people to take it down, then you may need to get more aggressive. You can hire a reputation management company to help you bury these bad search results further down in Google, for we all know how often people look past the first page of search results.

You’ll also want to spend some time combing through review sites. If your business is on Yelp or Trip Advisor, make sure there aren’t any really negative comments out there. And if you find something, address it. You may not be able to win back a customer with a bad attitude, but you will provide some context to the comment that may soften its significance when future users stumble upon it.

Confirm Consistency

Your online presence is really important for promoting your brand, and one of the most important things when it comes to branding of any kind is consistency. This is because you never know when someone will come into contact with your brand, but you want to make sure that they receive the right message whenever they do.

As a result, a big part of your audit should be making sure that all your messaging is consistent. Take a look at each piece of content on all different channels and ask yourself what these things are saying about your company. But before doing this, make sure you’re clear about what it is you want to say. Then, compare this with what’s out there, and anything that’s off message should be deleted or changed to more accurately reflect the brand message you’re trying to convey.

Study the Numbers

Another thing you should do while auditing your online presence is to figure out what kind of return you’re getting from these efforts. But before doing this, figure out what it is you want to get from each channel. For example, are you looking to convert people into customers? Or do you want people to sign up for your newsletter? Or are you just looking for engagement?

This matters because it will help you identify where your efforts are paying off and where they are not. For example, if you’re spending money on Facebook ads hoping to drive sales, but this isn’t happening, then it’s time to rethink your strategy, or maybe even to drop Facebook advertising from your mix.

Overall, when it comes to digital marketing, quality is always more important than quantity. It may seem smart to be involved on all platforms, but doing so also exposes you to risk; there will always be irrational people. As a result, you need to be sure that this risk is worth it, and an audit of your internet presence will help you figure out if this is the case.

Evaluate Frequently

It’s important to stop and do a full audit at least once if not two or three times a year. But this shouldn’t be the only time you stop to look at your internet presence. Evaluation should be built into your approach, as this will help you identify more quickly when something isn’t working, allowing you to adapt and keep moving without having to deal with unnecessary setbacks.

About the Author: Kevin’s current focus is running Broadband Search, as well as being the owner and founder of several other business. His business ventures have helped make Kevin an expert in digital marketing, and he likes to share his expertise with other business owners whenever he can.

Tracking online visitors update from Hitsteps

This update involve all of our customers. According to this update, you will see different number of active online visitors (probably lower) and higher number of idle visitors.

Hitsteps tracking engine developed back in 2013. In that time, Hitsteps web analytics competitors such as Clicky, Woopra, W3Counter or HiStats were detecting live online users using rough analysis.

Some such as W3Counter were just looking at last 10 minutes unique visitor page views and using it as live user counter. It served the purpose at that time and Hitsteps utilised this method.

As time goes by, we added a ping method to our analytics which ping your visitors every few seconds to ensure visitor remain online. We were then shifted from old method to a hybrid method of calculating between Active and Idle online visitors.

As of today, Hitsteps is using a completely revamped method to calculate online visitors. Hitsteps now look at your visitors activity, tab focus and other information to determine if visitor is online, idle or offline.

Now, if your visitor do not interact with your website (scrolling, moving mouse, clicking, …) or focus out from your website (opening another page in another tab, clicking on another window or minimising browser window), we will immediately mark this visitor as Idle.

Likewise, If browser window get focus, mouse movement or scroll, we will mark this visitor as Active online.

We believe this change is necessary in order to show accurate online active and online idle visitors. however it will cause our numbers to differ from previous version of Hitsteps Analytics and perhaps all other web analytics out there who are using old methods to detect online visitors.

Crypto Black Friday

Hitsteps is participating with CoinGate for Black Friday Promotion. You can purchase your licenses from November 30 to December 2 by choosing CoinGate as payment processor and enrol to be selected a Winner. Cost of license must be more than $50 which we recommend you to purchase licenses as yearly to be able have more chance to be selected as a winner.

Tracking behaviour update from Hitsteps

This update involve all links that point to a javascript function. Do not get concerned if you see a small reduction in your pageviews.

Hitsteps previously count clicks on <a> links with href=’javascript:…’ as a pageview. however, these javascript functions are mainly used to run a dynamic function on the page such as adding items to shopping cart.

It is necessary for us to release this update to avoid higher than usual pageviews on websites which are using javascript:void(0); method a lot. As a side effect of this update, if your website use <a href=’javascript:..’.> method, you might notice a small reduction in number of your pageviews.

This update has been published to our mainstream tracker script and will be rolling out to all of our customers within next few days.

How integrate NANO cryptocurrency payment gateway via Brainblocks to your website?

nano logo

 

Hitsteps accepted Nano cryptocurrency (formerly known as Raiblocks) as a way of payment for it’s services since early January 2018, we are excited about cryptocurrency as whole and specially about Nano cryptocurrency. We were using RaiPay.io as our payment processor gateway however they’ve gone offline and shutdown their service.

So we moved to BrainBlocks. At time of writing this article, brainblocks.io homepage provide a simple and efficient guide on how to create an “inline” nano payment button. however there is no guide on how to create a “hosted” payment gateway page while they DO offer this service as it can be seen in their woocommerce plugin. We are happy with their transaction processing time and their service, so we decided to provide this simple guide to encourage more merchants to accept Nano.

Brainblocks team provided a simple way for Shopify shop owners to accept nano as well as a WordPress plugin for those who use WooCommerce.

In this article, we will focus on how to create a “hosted” nano cryptocurrency payment gateway. We will use PHP for this example, but you can use it with all other languages.

You need to build your URL path to redirect user to brainblocks payment gateway page.

Section A: Opening BrainBlocks Hosted payment gateway page

Your nano wallet address as:
$destination = "xrb_.............";

USD or other currency amount to be paid by user:
$total = "99.99";

Currency that you are using for total amount above:
$currency = "usd";

At time of writing, brainblocks accept aud, brl, cad, chf, clp, cny, czk, dkk, eur, gbp, hkd, huf, idr, ils, inr, jpy, krw, mxn, myr, nok, nzd, php, pkr, pln, rub, sek, sgd, thb, try, usd, twd, zar currencies for price conversion.

Return URL after a successful payment: (order_id parameter is optional, it help you to pin point to exact order generated from your service)
$returnurl = "http://website.url/thankyoupage.php?order_id=xxx";

Return URL after a failed payment: (order_id parameter is optional)
$errorurl = "http://website.url/payagain.php?order_id=xxx";

and then build your brainblock url using variables defined above:
$brainblocks_url = 'https://brainblocks.io/checkout?payment.destination='
 . $destination . '&payment.currency=' . strtolower($currency) .
'&payment.amount=' . $total . '&urls.return=' . urlencode($returnurl) .
'&urls.cancel=' . urlencode($errorurl);

and then you redirect your visitor to this generated URL:
header(“Location: “.$brainblocks_url);

Section B: Verifying payment after it’s paid by customer

In example above, we used success return URL to be thankyou.php, so this instruction is regarding thankyou.php file.

BrainBlocks redirect user to your thankyou page with parameters you’ve provided and add an extra parameter named “token”. This token parameter will be returned as GET (on URL) however there is possibility that it get returned as POST as well. so you need to check for POST if GET token is empty.

In thankyou page, we validate Payment using Token code that is provided by brainblocks as json:
$brainblocks_data=(array) json_decode(
file_get_contents("https://brainblocks.io/api/session/".
$_GET['token']."/verify"),true);

now, we check to make sure full amount is paid by customer:
if ($brainblocks_data['fulfilled']){
//payment is successful and you can go on with processing the order
}else{
//payment has been failed or not full amount has been paid
}

This section B instruction can be used together with brainblocks’s inline payment button guide as well.

Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs an Update

There are so many things marketers can do that sometimes they lose focus on the overall strategy. Is the approach you have chosen aligned with the goals of your organisation? Are the tactics still relevant? Is your strategy outdated? So, what are the warning signs that you need up update your marketing strategy?

Just plain old

If your strategy is older than two or three years, it’s probably time to update it. With so many updates, technology, platforms and new processes, you need to consistently account for change. Marketing is always developing and at a rapid pace. Anything over three years old can be falling behind. Content marketing, programmatic buying and customer analytics are just a few new tactics you could consider. Try to go over your strategy every twelve months. You don’t have to give it an overhaul, just adapt and update.  Sometimes it helps to make personal improvements, online courses are a great way to keep up to date with industry trends.

Preferences change

There is a stronger focus on health in 2018 compared to ten years ago. The same people are searching for nutritional recipes over junk food recipes.  If your audience is changing, then you must change with them.  If your strategy doesn’t account for change, your audience will go elsewhere.

How do you know if preference has changed? Simply listen to your audience. Surveys, keyword research and trends a just a few ways you can gauge change. Marketers will often forget to listen because they are so focused on what they are going to say. Address changes in your audience.

Lose sight of the overall picture

Because there are so many marketing tactics, we sometimes lose sight of how they will all work together.  How will social, SEO, SEM and email marketing all work together? To avoid this, you need to start with a business strategy. This will help you determine which marketing efforts will help you get there quickest.

Value over volume

In 2018, it’s no longer enough to just turn up the volume; you must have value there. You must integrate value into your strategy. There is plenty of content and information online but is it of value and quality.  People still value high-quality content.

Your brand doesn’t have a unique knowledge base and point of view. Are you demonstrating knowledge and opinion through blogs, articles, webinars, events and other methods to establish yourself as a leader in your field?  If not, you need to start updating your strategy.

Relocate spending

As your business and market change, are you making sure the allocation of marketing budget changes too? Has one marketing channel shown growth or potential over another? Do you have a room in your budget for innovative new tactics? It may be time to reassess your marketing spend.  If the channels you have been using are no longer getting results, you must change things up.  It’s time to relocate your budget to new channels. You can use eVoice virtual numbers to track marketing channels and see which ones are working the best.  

Final thoughts

If any of the above is describing your business or your marketing strategy, it’s time to step back and reassess your marketing strategy. Start with your business your business goals. Then map out tactics and channels that will help you achieve these goals. If you need more clarity, get some help.

How Your Website Statistics Ultimately Determine the Value of Your Site

Keeping good statistics about your website is an absolute necessity. It helps you recognize trends and identify areas where you are underperforming so that you can make the right decisions to help you grow. Yet keeping good statistics has another purpose: it helps determine the value of your business.


Image: Pixabay

Someday you may want to sell your site or your online business, and having access to quality data on how it is doing will prove to be invaluable later on when the day does come to move on.

Here’s how your statistics impact the value of your business

The 2.5 rule

The general rule of thumb when determining the value of a business is that it is worth 2.5 times its yearly revenue. So, when you go sell the business, or even to just determine what it is worth, you’ll need reliable revenue numbers. If you go to an investor expecting them to take your word about how much the site makes, you can expect to be laughed out of the room. However, if you go with data to back up your claims, that’s a different story.  

Growth projections

A business that is growing is worth more than one that is not. If you can demonstrate to investors that the arrow for your business is pointing up and that it is likely to continue to do so, you are more likely to get a better valuation. And there is nothing like month-by-month data to be able to demonstrate this trend. Plus, if there are months where things didn’t go well, you can more easily explain them away, conveying more clearly the overall health of the business.

Records keeping

Another thing that helps determine the value of a website or online business is its records. Investors want to know that what they are seeing is all there is to see, and they also want to make sure that they are entering a safe venture that won’t run into accounting or legal problems down the road. Having the numbers about how your website performs will help clear up these doubts and encourage investor confidence.

Market Research

One of the best things that comes from website statistics is the insight you can gain about your market. You can learn valuable demographic information about your audience, and you can also learn how they ended up on your site and then what they do once they get there.

This impacts your business’ value in two ways: first, it helps identify potential risks. Maybe you are overly dependent on one group. If this is the case, having a plan in place to diversify your market will show investors you’re serious about risk management, helping add to the company’s value. And second, having this information about the market helps point out areas of focus for the new owners. They will be able to see more clearly how the website will grow, and this will make them more likely to give a higher valuation.

All in all, website statistics play a critical role in determining the value of your site. If you aren’t collecting data now, you’re setting yourself up for a lower valuation and for some potential disappointment down the road.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, a brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He helps clients get the best deal for their websites and other internet companies, and always advocates for strong data and records management, as it helps secure a higher valuation.

Hitsteps Analytics now accept Bitcoin and altcoins

Growing popularity for cryptocurrencies cannot be denied and while it could be start of transforming to a new currency system, Hitsteps now accept Bitcoin along side PayPal and credit cards. We also support Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum, Basic Attention Token and other digital currencies.

You may purchase your monthly web analytics using our cryptocurrency payment gateway from now on.

Update 13 January 2018: We support RaiBlocks payments effective immediately.

Bing PPC Bots pageviews crawl various pages in website

After few of our customers complaint about Bing PPC bot invalidating their pageviews and keep visiting their websites, we have started to find a way to block this. It messed up their analytics data by generating fake pageviews that look like a real user.

We had setup a monitor to identify pattern of this visitor in your analytics and we needed some time until we can acquire sufficient amount of data to analyze this.

They come randomly and at different IP addresses so we could not simply block IP addresses, however all of those IP addresses origin were from Microsoft Azure servers which allows us to backtrace and identify them this way. We have used data set from our database using Hitsteps too and we identified Microsoft Azure hits to be bot, and in Hitsteps, we only count real human visits. We have forbidden our tracker to track Microsoft Azure from now on, and it should not re-appear in your list of visitors anymore.

Interestingly, Microsoft use real world browser useragents which belong to his competitors. We identified useragents that belong to Safari 53 on Windows 7. Safari 7 on iOS 7 and Firefox 23 on Windows 8! We could not simply block it from user-agents due to variety.

As a reddit user put it out this way, During the editorial verification process in Bing Ads, your site may receive traffic from the Bing Ads crawler, which shows as Microsoft Azure. This crawler searches and determines the content of your website by following all of the links and branches throughout your site and pulling relevant keywords from the pages. The depth and frequency of the crawl is related to the number of ads and keywords in your ad groups. The Bing Ads crawler visits sites that it is checking in a very controlled manner. This activity should not affect servers or cause “inaccessible website” errors. (They represent a real browser, therefor made it hard for us to differentiate them from a bot at beginning.)

Bing Ads crawls your site(s) by using the destination URLs that you specify for each keyword-ad combination in your ad group. If you have large keyword lists, your destination URLs may receive hundred of clicks or more. Because this traffic can occur during a very short time, sometimes within only one or two hours, this activity may appear to be invalid activity.

Note that you are not charged by Bing Ads for this traffic, and this activity is not reported on any Bing Ads reports.

This behaviour now can be detected by Hitsteps Analytics and blocked from our users view unless they disable bot protection in their analytics setting.

Introducing Uptime Monitoring System featuring Auto-Recovery feature

We are introducing Smart Uptime Monitoring system, bundled into your Hitsteps dashboard.

Let your servers recover automatically. Know about downtimes instantly, do not let your visitors be the one who notify you about your website downtime.

By activating this service, we scan your servers and websites every minute and notify you instantly if we find out they are down. we verify each downtime from multiple countries to remove false alarms.

Upon downtime, we can notify you via Call, SMS or Email.

Additionally, you can define DNS Failover using Cloudflare or setup SSH commands to recover your failed website automatically.

This feature is available from Pro plan onward. You can find Uptime Monitoring in left sidebar of your Hitsteps Dashboard.