A Look Back on My Website!
My Site Traffic:
As the semester comes to a close, I look at the progress of my website from the time I started it in January. Through analyzing the number of visits and the major traffic drivers I have noticed a few things. First, the majority of the visits to my website occurred from mid March to mid April. Also they were mostly during the week and very rarely on the weekends. Most of the traffic came from directly visiting my website. Other major traffic drivers were from Google.com, TheresaBClarke.com and Twitter.com. A few major keywords that also drove traffic were my first and last name, event planning firms and social event planning. 49% was from direct traffic, 30% was from search engines and 21% was from referring sites. Lastly the major pages that attracted traffic were my home page, my resume page and my interests page. Overall I am pleased with my traffic results for my website and I attribute PPC to driving more traffic to my site.
MKTG 470 Takeaways:
As I look back on what I learned in MKTG 470, my brain is a little overloaded! I have learned so much this past semester about Internet Marketing and I know I will take it with me wherever I go! For starters, one of the biggest things I learned was that Internet Marketing is forever changing and I must stay on top of current news at all times. Also Internet Marketing requires a person to update and monitor the changes 24/7. To be able to compete with other websites and advertisements, marketers must constantly edit keywords and bids for PPC and SEO purposes.
Looking towards the future, I plan to continue updating my website, and hopefully making it more of my own. Right after I graduate, I will be studying abroad for three weeks so I plan to use my website to write daily blogs about my experiences and travels. This will allow me to keep track of everything I do and allow my family and friends to follow me along my trip. After that, I hope to mold the website into a fun and exciting place where I can write down thoughts and experiences of my daily life for my friends and family to view.
Post Graduation Plans
Graduation is approaching in less than 3 weeks! I cannot believe that time has flown by this fast! I remember the day I moved in to Eagle Hall, like it was yesterday. I have learned so much about myself over the past four years and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend my time at JMU. I would not have changed my decision to attend here, for the world. My horizons have expanded once again from another amazing experience and I will never forget my time here. But, the next question on my mind is, what do I do now?
Well, I have definite plans for the 3 weeks following graduation! I am beyond excited to be going abroad to Turkey and Greece for a short-term study abroad program while taking MKTG 460, Global Marketing. We will spend 7 days in Istanbul while taking our class at the Bahcesehir University and then we will travel Turkey for the next week. We will spend our last week on a chartered yacht, island hopping in Greece. When I return from my trip, real life starts!
After that, my life is free to do whatever I choose! To date, I have not actively been applying for jobs. That is my goal for the summer! I don’t want to be a grown up right away, so I plan to take my summer off, relax and enjoy my last few months before I enter the ‘Monday-Friday, 9-5’ life. I interviewed with Madison Square Garden, but it was too early for them to know what would be available for the summer so I will have to wait and see if anything comes from that. I plan to live at home for a while so I can save some money and get situated. I would love to get a job in NYC pertaining to events/meeting planning and to one day live in NYC. I would love to live the city life for a while and experience that lifestyle. Life is about making the most of the moments that come by and I do not want to push them aside for a full-time job. I have learned that life is not all about working, but making memories and enjoying the people around you. While I may not have everything planned out after graduation, I do know that I want to enjoy everything I do and not regret missing any opportunity that comes along!
The Benefits of Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is an excellent way to evaluate the search results of a website. I can monitor how well my website does in search results. It provides information on how many impressions my website has and how many times it was clicked on through a search. Webmaster can allow me to see what websites are linking to my website and how they rank compared to each other. The keywords section of Webmaster Tools provides information on the top words or phrases that Google finds within my website. It tells me how Google perceives my website based on the content it finds within it. My Keywords section currently has no information but hopefully overtime that will change. Internal links compiles a list of URL’s on my site that are linked to and from URL’s on another site, but this also has no information on my site. I have learned that there are no Malware issues on my site but there are a few Crawl Errors. I’m not sure how to change this so there are not errors but this is something I would like to learn more about. I also have no HTML suggestions for my page which could have provided me ways to improve the HTML of my site. Google Webmaster Tools has showed me where I need to improve my website and how to optimize it when it’s being searched.
I think this is a good resource for marketers to use because it provides a lot of information on the behind-the-scenes details of a website. If a company can track the visibility of their site trough Google searches and how many times it gets clicked on from those searches, it will allow the company to understand if they need to improve the SEO of the website. Also it can help a company know if there are any Malware issues or Crawl Errors within the site and in the way Google reads the site. Another great resource for marketers is to know who is linking to their website and to know who is most valuable to the website. These are important tools to fully optimize a website through search engines and every marketer should be aware of them.
Deb Van Horn and The Rockingham Group
On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, my MKTG 470 class welcomed Ms. Deb Van Horn from The Rockingham Group, in Harrisonburg, VA. We were thrilled to hear her speak about her position at The Rockingham Group as VP of Support Services for the past 10 years, as well as being a Board Member on the JMU CIS/MS Executive Advisory Board. The Rockinghamm Group is a local business that sells insurance to residents of Virginia and Pennsylvania. I never thought that insurance companies could benefit from using Internet Marketing but she surely proved me wrong!
First, I did not realize all the benefits that Internet Marketing could provide to an insurance company such, as The Rockingham Group. Some of the benefits it can provide are influencing potential customers for new sales. Also, it builds relationships which is helpful in retaining customers and providing feedback from customers to the company. Facebook has proven to be very useful for The Rockingham Group and Ms. Van Horn because it allows for customers to have an outlet to praise the service or make complaints. Any complaints made can be addressed immediately by the company and hopefully resolved. If Facebook wasn’t available for customers, the problem may have gone untouched and left the customer being unhappy.
Facebook has also allowed The Rockingham Group to create awareness and drive traffic to their business. During holidays, the company has contests for its Facebook followers to win prizes and become aware of the business The Rockingham Group Provides. Some statistics show that these tactics drastically drove more traffic to their Facebook page which can lead to new customers. It was also shown that once the success of the Facebook page of The Rockingham Group was proven, other major competitors, such as Virginia Farm Bureau, followed in their steps.
The ads that The Rockingham Group uses are of three forms. Text, display and image ads are all used. Surprisingly text ads are most popular and most beneficial! Some people may think that pictures would attract more attention because many people are visual and are attracted to colors more so than plain text, but this has been proven false. I was very surprised by this fact but I guess in order to engage every type of viewer, all types of ads need to be used at all times.
I learned so much from Ms. Deb Van Horn during her presentation and am very glad that I got the chance to hear her speak about her passion and her company. If you are interested in contacting Ms. Van Horn for internship opportunities you can email her or follow her on Twitter. She is extremely dedicated to making internet marketing a staple at The Rockingham Group and her enthusiasm seems to be working well! All our thanks to Ms. Deb Van Horn!
Search Mojo and Search Engine Optimization
On Thursday, March 24, 2011, I had the pleasure of hearing Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO of Search Mojo, talk to our Internet Marketing class about Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ms. Miller started Search Mojo about 6 years ago in Charlottesville, VA and it has become one of the leading companies in the search engine marketing industry. With clients like Puma, PBS, Mazda, Taco Bell, National Geographic, Nestle and the American Heart Association to name a few, Search Mojo has helped these companies improve their search engine marketing and advertising. The top two major search engines that these companies want to be optimized on are Google and Bing.
For those who don’t fully understand Search Engine Optimization, it is a 4-pronged process. It includes selecting good keywords, editing the content of the website to relate to the keywords, having links and monitoring social media. It is a free form of advertising that is based on relevance of a website to the searched words.
Search engine marketing is continuously growing, estimated to be an $18.6 Billion industry in 2011. It is an industry that has a huge demand for qualified staff that can’t be filled fast enough. Even Google grew 555% over 5 years in regards to their number of employees.
Pay Per Click is a form of advertising where ads are paid for to be shown that are relevant to searches. Advertisers want the most clicks for the lowest cost on their ads. It is also extremely important to have a website that is exactly what the ad promises to the consumer. If the website is misleading, companies could easily loose customers and their ads will fail.
Ms. Miller explained the benefits of Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click to companies and how important they are with the rise in search engines. She is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about her work and really drove across the importance of this industry. She is a wonderful public speaker and I really enjoyed hearing her talking to us! Ms. Miller is also very willing to help people get in to the industry and if you have any questions she is more than welcome to answer them. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or called at 800-939-5938 x101. To learn more about Ms. Miller follow her on Twitter @janetdmiller, Facebook or on LinkedIn. She is fascinating in so many ways and am very thankful to have heard her speak!
Children on Facebook?
I was inspired to write this blog from a tweet I saw this past week. It was about a New York Times article that debated the issue of children under the age of 13, who are lying and creating Facebook accounts. Facebook requires users to be at least 13 years of age but many children are lying about their age and creating accounts to be able to partake in the largest Social Network in the world! The article talks about how children are lying and creating accounts with and without their parents knowledge. Some parents are actually helping their underage children set up accounts! The parents’ reasoning for aiding in their kids’ falsification was that they would rather know what their kids are doing than say no and have them do it behind their backs anyway.
This got me thinking. What could be some long term affects for underage kids using Facebook? The kids whose parents are lying for them and creating accounts, are only teaching their kids that lying is ok and they don’t have to follow the rules that are set. When they get to be 18, 19 or 20, will the parents go out and find fake ID’s so their kids can go to bars too? At least the parents know what their kids are doing every night! But, for me, that doesn’t make it right.
There is a reason this law is in place that children under 13 should not use Facebook. I don’t believe anyone younger is mature enough to handle to consequences of their actions on Facebook. At that age, they don’t fully comprehend the concept of sexual predators on the internet or privacy of information. They also have not been fully taught that once something is out in the internet world, you can never get it back and it will forever be there! These issues can not be handled by someone under 13 and the benefits of keeping in touch with friends is not worth the risks they could encounter. Children’s lives could be completely changed if they don’t really know the consequences of the World Wide Web.
Retargeting Advertisements as a Marketing Strategy
I personally think there are some boundaries being crossed with this form of advertising. I do not like the idea that there is someone or something monitoring what i do on the Internet. I feel that there should be some options about what type of advertisements I want to be shown. If I accidentally come across a website of something I’m not interested in, does that mean I am going to be bombarded with advertisements of things I really don’t like? For example, on Facebook, I get constant advertisements to find my “one true love” on dating websites. I associate these advertisements with the fact that my profile says I’m single even though I have no interest in going on a dating website anytime soon! There should be some sort of opt-in, opt-out program in which I can choose what types of advertisements, if any, I want to receive.
But, retargeting advertisements are not all bad. Although it sounds a little creepy that there is someone or something watching your every move on the computer, it is a clever marketing tool. From a company’s perspective, the best way to influence potential customers is to find out exactly who would be interested in that particular product or service and advertise to them directly. Being able to track people’s movement on the Internet is the easiest way to see who would want your product or service. This is beneficial to the customer because they are at least being shown ad’s of items that they have a potential interest in and is not something completely outrageous!
Unfortunately I don’t think retargeting is going to be a promising marketing strategy in the future. I feel that retargeting is already on overload and many people don’t even look over them. I feel that most people pass over these advertisements and don’t give them the time that the company hopes for. For the money put into retargeting, I don’t think the return will be worth while.
Twitter, Tweet and Me!
Twitter is a fairly new concept to me so it took me a few tries to get the hang of it! But I’m happy to say that I have actually learned to really enjoy it! I love to look around and see what new things people are tweeting about and a lot of the time they can be valuable to me!
I am not a big tweeter myself but I really enjoy following others. I follow not only specific people but many businesses as well. One website that I now follow after my hour on Twitter is Mashable. I saw someone else tweet about an article from their website and I have heard my professor mention them so I decided to follow the link and check it out. I was really impressed with all the different articles they have in various topics. I loved their choice of topics as well; everything from marketing related information to travel and technology!
I think Twitter would be very valuable to me because a lot of businesses will post open job positions or deals and savings, like Verizon Wireless, that are coming up. These are up-to-date things that come straight from the source so there is 100% credibility. Through various companies that I have been following Twitter is also a great way to connect to the customers and be an aid in customer service. I have noticed that many people tweet companies about complaints/problems and also their high remarks. This allows a company, such as Marriott International, to deal directly with individual issues without the customer having to deal with an automated machine. There is a lot of benefit to using Twitter and I am only just beginning!
My New Theme: Thistle!
When I got the opportunity to change the background theme of my website, I was excited to make it my own! The original theme was called White House and it was a very generic simple theme. I wanted something cheerful that was also representative of me. I wanted to go with a purple theme because my original favicon was a purple heart and I wanted my theme to match the favicon. I started my search by browsing the free themes in WordPress. I put purple into the search box and browsed the ones I liked. I installed a few themes to see what they looked like before I chose the theme, Thistle. I had to make sure the theme had the main features of my web page, like blog posts, pages and links. For example, the theme Free Dream 2010 doesn’t have the links in the sidebar. Thistle had the majority of these features but it wouldn’t allow me to have Twitter Widgets in the sidebar. That was one thing that I had to compromise, with this theme. I also learned that the theme designers allow the different aspects of a web page to exist or not. That is why different aspects show up with different themes. With Thistle, the designer, Daniel Tan, made a universal favicon so I couldn’t keep my original favicon. Thistle has a purple feather favicon instead. I am very happy with the theme I chose and I think the calm, cool, purple color shows what type of person I am. When people visit my web page, I want them to feel relaxed and happy, like they are in a field of flowers!
MKTG 470: Strategic Internet Marketing
Welcome to my blog! I am currently enrolled in Strategic Internet Marketing (MKTG 470) taught by Dr. Theresa B. Clarke at James Madison University. As part of the course requirements, all Strategic Internet Marketing students will be completing some of the assignments as blog posts. This is my first official blog post for Dr. Clarke’s MKTG 470 course in the JMU Department of Marketing.