Why analytics is a must!

A couple of days ago I activated Google Analytics on my website. Over the last few months I’ve been monitoring the traffic to my site (www.annmariewyncoll.com) and there has been regular activity. Now that I am going to be publishing my book I felt it was important to find out who was visiting my site.

When I logged in to my analytics for the first time yesterday, this is what I found:

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Considering this was the data from less than 24 hrs and I’m not actively marketing, I was chuffed with these figures. I was especially thrilled that my bounce rate was 0% (meaning that the users hung around) and that the session duration was over 6 minutes, meaning that they had read my content.

And then I started to dig a little deeper…

It turns out that my excitement was short lived. Upon analysing the demographics and language, I discovered that the only visitor to my website had in fact been a Russian robot who very kindly left me a ‘Vote Trump’ link which is (a) a tad late and (b) completely irrelevant since I live in the UK. Hmph…

S.H Horikawa – Star Strider Robot (スターストライダーロボット) – Front

However, I am looking at this as a positive. I was hoping that using analytics would assist me in targeting my market – which of course it will – but it is clear that it is also beneficial in showing me the true picture of who is visiting my site. If it turns out that all I am going to be visited by are robots, then I guess I need to think of a way to engage with them.

Suggestions anyone?

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Six reasons why I am engaging with social media

social-media-logosI was a late bloomer as far as Facebook was concerned and, in terms of personal usage, I  still am. I don’t have an issue with it at all, I am just not one for sharing my life with the world at large. Business wise, however, I have come to realise that I need to embrace social media – want to know why?

Here are six very good reasons*:

  1. 92% of the UK population actively use the internet and of those, 38million are engaging on social media. This represents well over half of our UK population.
  2. Based on survey statistics, 77% of the UK population bought something online in the preceding month prior to survey. The survey covered an age range of 16-64 yr olds. (This figure is 66% for the USA).
  3. Facebook is the largest social media network in the world and has 1.59 Bn users worldwide.
  4. Facebook is the largest social media network in the UK with almost half (47%) of our population accessing it. It outperforms Twitter at 20%, Instagram at 14% and Google+ and LinkedIn at 10% each.
  5. Most Facebook users in the UK are in the age range 20-29yrs although ages 40-59 yrs now make up 29% of the total UK audience.
  6. As a country we spend 1.5 hrs per day on social media (age range 16-64 yrs).

social-mediaOkay, so there’s lots of figures here but hopefully you get the general idea. The internet, social media and in particular Facebook, is huge. We are living in an era where technology is king and whilst we still watch television, we are only viewing for 2hrs 45mins a day on average whereas the internet is accessed well over 3hrs per day (per head of population).

As someone who enjoys technology I don’t find the use of social media particularly daunting, I do, however, find its use as a marketing tool challenging. Given these statistics though, I realise that I cannot ignore the internet or social media as a way to develop my author brand and reputation so I have been taking courses on both digital marketing and social media marketing with the brilliant Shaw Academy.

I am not suggesting that these courses are for everyone, but when I realised just how much of my potential market was online, I knew that not only is social media where it is at, it needs to be the way forward for me.

What about you? What are your thoughts on social media and your brand? Are you embracing it?

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*All data courtesy of WeAreSocial @wearesocial.sg – the full report can be found below:

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Safari, Adobe and the tale of ‘a modern version of flash’…

silver-apple-logo-apple-pictureApple users and anyone else with the Safari internet browser – this one’s for you.

I thought I would share this issue and resolution, purely because it took me literally hours to figure it out. In the end the answer was so simple! If I can prevent anyone else from tearing their hair (or anything else) out, then great!

The issue:

I was trying to use the video manager feature in YouTube and I kept getting an error message which said ‘a modern version of Flash player needs to be installed’. I had Flash installed with automatic updates, so I had no idea what it meant.

The solution:

Firstly, navigate to your System Preferences and, in the bottom left- hand corner, you should see the Flash player icon. If you don’t then you have not got Flash installed so you need to visit adobe.com and download the latest version.

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Click on the Flash player icon and then the tab marked ‘updates’. Make sure that the ‘automatic updates’ box is checked and then click on both of the ‘check now’ boxes at the bottom, one at a time. This will check your computer to see which version of Flash you have and will direct you to the appropriate download, should your version need updating.

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Once you’ve updated then you’re good to go…or so I thought.

Believe it or not, just updating your Flash player is not sufficient – you actually have to tell Safari that you would like it to use the Flash player plug-in.

Tell Safari to use Flash player:

Open Safari and then click on the word ‘safari’ in the top left toolbar. From the drop-down menu select Preferences.

In the preferences box, navigate to the Security option and you will see this:

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Make sure that the Internet plug-ins box is ticked and then click on ‘Plug-in Settings…’.

You will see this:

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And this is where the problem lies.

You will see a list of websites with toggles On/Off. If YouTube or any website that you are trying to use with Flash player is listed here and the toggle is Off, then Safari does not know that you want Flash enabled on that site.

All you have to do therefore is select the website that you are trying to use, turn the toggle to On and then Flash player will work.

Da da..! Simple when you know how…

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Which search engine do you use?

Google

Courtesy of google.com

Google.

It’s the default and it’s always there. Right?

Yet, did you know that there are plenty of other search engines out there? I have to admit that I didn’t.

Recently I have been introduced to specialist Google search engines like Google Scholar and Google Books which, if you are a writer and are researching a topic, can be more relevant than a normal Google search.

Here are some others:

Bing Images – image search across the web including copywrite and use details

Europeana Collections – access to cultural artworks, artefacts and books situated in museums throughout Europe

Worldcat – worldwide library catalogue – access to more than 10,000 libraries

Refseek – a way to prioritise only academic sources

DuckDuckGo – general search engine that does not follow your searches (unlike Google so I have learned)

For research purposes I have found all of these search engines eye opening and with DuckDuckGo, I particularly like the layout and the way that the sources are easily signposted.

Try them out, you might be surprised at the results.

Any other search engines anyone can suggest?

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In the news: Nikon Coolpix

Okay, so it’s not in the actual news, but it’s my news and I figured that would count for one week..

I was given an early birthday present yesterday from my entire family – a Nikon Coolpix L340 digital camera – which is something that I wanted so that I could take quality photos. These I can then hope to use to accompany articles when I am submitting them.

I am a novice photographer but the Nikon is excellent – so I thought I’d share a few of my early photo attempts. Just by way of a change…

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Dictation rocks!

I have just upgraded to my first ever iPhone (5s model) and despite some teething problems, I am firmly in love, not least because it completes my wonderful little Apple family.

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bplanet via freedigitalphotos.net

Being an already happy owner of both an iPad (Air 2) and MacBook Pro, I am familiar with the operating system of the iPhone (I have an iPod too but that’s slightly different), however I had never used the dictation setting for sending text messages etc.. until the other day. A friend introduced me to it and now I can’t stop using it.

My one issue when I first used the iPhone was the keypad. The phone screen is not the largest thus the keyboard is quite small, and I found myself getting frustrated with it. The predictive text suggestion is in the top left of the bar rather than in the middle (as it was in my previous phone) and so my initial messages were slow and laborious. I had waited so long for an iPhone and I really didn’t want to dislike it so when I was introduced to the dictation setting – wow.

At first I felt silly talking to the phone but, when I saw the words appear on the screen as if by magic, I soon got over that. Now I find that I am dictating anything and everything which means – as I am a bit of a talker – that my friends are receiving War and Peace like text messages. Of course I have to make the odd correction after I have dictated, but it is so much easier.

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Before digital dictation! dan via freedigitalphotos.net

My husband, when he first heard me talking to the phone, was a little sceptical. He didn’t understand how it would punctuate so I promptly sent him a message full of commas, full stops, exclamation marks and questions marks. He was converted. I love that you can say ‘full stop’ and it puts one in, or ‘exclamation mark’ and the same happens.

I know that I am probably a bit late to the party on this one but, when I then discovered the built in compass and leveller on the iPhone .. what can I say?

It was definitely worth the wait.

Anyone else love/hate their iPhone?

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