Using URL Builder to Improve Analytics Reporting

When using Analytics, Google itself has access to enough information to feed you a lot of data in terms of users’ interactions with your website, as well as where they originated from. However, there are a couple types of marketing efforts efforts that can lead to users accessing your site from sources that Google either can’t identify or can’t segment enough to be useful to you.

The two prominent examples are email marketing campaigns and running multiple ads on a single domain. In the case of email campaigns, google doesn’t have control over your email client, and thus doesn’t know where the email link originated. As a result, without using URL builder, one’s email campaign traffic will likely end up showing up under Acquisition Channels as Direct traffic. When running multiple ads on one website– you may have one banner ad, header, footer, plain text, etc.– google will not be able to differentiate which traffic came from which ad, preventing you from assessing their performance and adjusting accordingly.

In these cases, Google offers a simple tool to feed it the information it needs in order to give you this useful data- URL builder. Using URL builder allows you to create a custom url for your destination page and attribute the desired source information, in turn allowing Google Analytics to better display the exact behavior of users.

 

To access URL Builder click here or search for “URL builder” and ,if you’re logged into analytics, you should see a page like the following:

 

URL builder homepage

 

Taking the example of an email marketing campaign, what you’ll want to do is enter the url of the page that you are linking to in your emails. In this case lets say that I’m sending links to Astral Web’s content page:

 

URL Builder Landing page

I then fill out the boxes as required below:

URL Builder Demonstration image

*when copying and pasting destination URLs, be sure that they do not contain any excess coding or characters- you’ll end up with a non-functional link.

After clicking Submit, we’re given a long link that includes all of the information that has just been entered into URL Builder.

Unique URL from URL builder

This is the link that I’ll want to put into my emails (or ads, etc.) in order to identify them in analytics.

In order to ensure that the link is functional and visible in analytics, paste this link into a separate browser window while you’ve got your viewing your Real Time > Traffic Sources. As you can see below, if the link is functioning properly, you’ll be able to see it almost immediately in Analytics. Furthermore, all the information you’ve input to distinguish the medium, campaign, and target are now identified by Google, and Analytics can give you the kind of information that is really crucial to optimizing your marketing campaigns.

Checking URL builder with Real Time view

If you’d like more information, please check out Ori’s video tutorial on using URL Builder.

 

Outsourcing Online Content

online content outsourcing article banner

How can I find good web content writers- a guide to using textbroker.com to find the right writers to work with.

When your job is to create regular online content, it’s easy to sink all of your time into writing the actual copy, leaving little or no room to keep an eye on the bigger picture of where you are and where you’re trying to go with your content. Outsourcing allows you to continue to produce content while focusing more on the overall direction of your marketing strategy and execution.

There are, of course, many avenues that one can take to find freelance writers. If the scale of your project is relatively large and long-term, it’s likely worth your while to post a proper job listing, or actively browse freelance writers’ individual websites to ensure that whomever you choose meets project-specific criteria.

If you’re budget doesn’t permit hiring a dedicated freelancer, or you’re unsure of the amount of work you’d like to outsource, the most common avenue for finding content is through an intermediary website that connects thousands of writers with clients looking for content- finding a suitable writer through such a website can appear to be both daunting and a bit of a gamble.

Luckily, with the right approach, one can often develop a relationship with a writer that meets your needs just as well as a contracted freelancer if approached correctly.

Below are some key points  to consider when using such sites. In this case we’ll discuss using textbroker.com, but the same principles apply to many similar sites.

When searching for a writer through such a website you’ll face the following considerations:

  • Knowledge- This, of course, is usually a crucial factor in outsourcing writing. Although some content can be written by anyone with writing skills, one will often find themselves in need of someone with a familiarity, if not an intimate knowledge of, a particular subject or field. A writer’s knowledge of a particular subject can also be difficult to asses through their resume, particularly if it’s not an established, professional field. Readers, of course, can tell if a writer knows what they’re talking about- less knowledge and experience means less engagement.
  • Voice. Outside of technical writing, one of the main considerations for those in search of online content is a consistent, engaging voice that represents their company or organization through their content. Voice, though, is something that is difficult to assess through a resume, and writing samples will often not represent the range that a writer is capable of.
  • Commitment- Due to the ease with which a writer can create a profile on textbroker, as well as the fact that some writer’s may have gone months without receiving an order through the site, it’s possible that their enthusiasm for writing through the website has dropped since they initially created their profile. Also possible is that a writer has a large volume of freelance work, and that they’re unable to prioritize your needs, even if they’d like to.

Below are suggestions for finding the right writer among the faceless thousands available to choose from:

Search Keywords- This is the first step in narrowing your search for the appropriate writer. One has the option to search for keywords as they appear in author’s profiles or in their texts. Be sure to look through the entire profile for your keywords. Your keyword may very well be under the author’s Interests section rather than in their resume. Taking this into consideration, don’t be afraid to be creative with your keyword searches. You may end up finding a suitable writing candidate circuitously.

Research profiles- Similar to other websites, textbroker offers many ways in which you can assess writers before contacting them with an order. On Textbroker.com, these include a resume, writing samples, and author’s interests. Furthermore, one can view the number of pieces that the author has completed, their rejection rate (number of pieces rejected / pieces written), and an average star rating as given by previous clients (1 to 5). These profiles are great for identifying potential writers, but are no substitute for an actual job done on your behalf. Thus the following two step

Make Initial Contact with the Authors- Using the messaging system is the first step in assessing potential writers. Not only does their response itself, or lack of one, give you an initial idea as to their level of commitment, but it also gives you an initial opportunity to begin to feel out their voice, writing skills, and familiarity with specific subjects. However, an enthusiastic response is not enough to rely on, so it’s important to:

Cast a Wide Net… Twice- Content on sites like textbroker is often offered at a very reasonable price (each author’s cost is listed per word). By being willing to send successive direct orders to several of writers that you’ve identified as potentially suitable, you’ll find it’s worth your while in several key areas:

  • Many authors will immediately weed themselves out by not fulfilling the direct order– Textbroker allows you to set a time frame for article completion after acceptance, set a timeframe that is realistic and that represents what your needs will be if you plan on requesting articles on a regular basis. By sending a second order to an author who met your initial request you can further gauge their reliability (ensuring that their first article was not just fueled by a one time burst of enthusiasm).
    • Additionally, the speed of the response to both your order and to any revision requests are telling factors.
  • The most obvious benefit of these initial orders is to assess the actual quality of the writing- style, voice, and level of familiarity/experience regarding the topic. Thus it’s important that you…
    • Create an order that represents what you will be looking for in the future.
    • Be as specific as you can in your instructions, particularly in giving style and voice guidelines. If you have a preexisting body of content that the author will be adding to,  sharing this with the author will give them a better chance to create content that fits in with your style.

Build a Relationship- Once you’ve found one (or more) authors who’ve satisfied you throughout the first few steps, building a true relationship with an author is beneficial to both parties. By doing so you can be more productive, communicate more effectively, and foster greater commitment. This can be done by putting in a little extra effort to directly express appreciation for jobs particularly well done in messages or, one can also take the option to give authors a bonus for a fulfilled order. By making this effort your working relationship becomes much more effective, and it also allows you to transcend the constraints of sending out orders to unknown quantities. You can even begin to outsource creativity and concepts to authors with whom you’ve developed a quality relationship as they better understand your project’s goals, and requirements.