How Google Analytics Can Help You Grow Your Business

Want to know how your site is doing? Don’t guess at it. Instead, use one of the best free tools available today.

Google Analytics is a simple plug and play program that you can attach to your site or your blog, and will instantly give you information about how well your site is doing. It is simple enough that even the most novice of business owners can gain important information about their sites, and complex enough to give you sophisticated insight into how you can improve and grow your business even more.

You can find out where people are coming from, what they are doing once they get onto your site, and what was the outcome of people being on your site. You can build customized reports to gain the exact information you are looking for. You can track campaigns and keywords, and find out exactly what is motivating people to take action on your site. And so much more. There really are ways of tracking just about everything using this free tool.

Can you operate a website without Google Analytics? Of course. But with just a little insight into how efficiently your website is running, you can make changes and additions that will make it that much more effective.

Everyone knows that in order to succeed online, you have to gain traffic to your site. Analytics can help you track the type of traffic coming into your site and how effective it is. Let me give you some examples.

Quality versus Quantity

Are you getting thousands of hits per day on your site? Is that good?

If you sell 100 percent natural beef steaks and you have 100,000 hits per day, that sounds like great traffic. Unless all 100,000 of those visitors are vegan. With Analytics, you can see what your referring sites are, and track the number of people coming from each site. You can see how many people come in on a page, and how many leave without visiting any other place on your site. You can find out how many pages people click to after they enter your site, and the general direction they take – which pages have the highest view rates and which have the highest leaving rates. While this doesn’t provide exact information on a persons thought patterns, it can be insightful as to what material means the most. When patterns develop, you can quickly see what is missing and where you can fill in the blanks. [Read more…]

Is Food Photography The Next Biggest Wave?

“Why would I want to use Twitter? Who cares what people are having for lunch?”

Since Twitters inception, that’s been the general consensus among business owners. And as it turns out, there may be some truth to the “Twitter – its what’s for lunch” concept.

People aren’t just talking about what they had for lunch; they’re photographing it too.

According to 360i, by the end of 2010, more than 80 billion photographs were uploaded across a variety of social picture platforms. And at least once a month, 52 percent of mobile users take photos with their phones, and 19 percent upload their photos to the web.

And what is even more fascinating is that people are almost never in these photographs – only 10 percent of the photographs 360i analyzed had people in them.

So what are people taking photos of? In many cases, its food. Check out this infographic 360i did for Mashable.

With that many people taking photos of food, is there a future in food photography?

Even though were weathering a tough economy, we may be forgoing vacations, and passing on pricey cars, there is one thing we’re not willing to part with – cookbooks. While the book industry as a whole is falling, and booksellers are filing for bankruptcy, cookbook sales are up 9 percent last year, according to Nielsen statistics. And with cookbooks come photography, blogs, and a whole new reason to start photographing what you eat.

And while most people think of professional chefs and bakers when they think cookbooks, some of the highest growth in cookbooks aren’t’ coming from professionals, they are coming from bloggers.

Mom blogger The Pioneer Woman started out years ago describing her life on the ranch with her cowboy husband and four children. Now she has multiple books, including a cookbook, and is about to head into a whole new venture with her cooking show on the Food Network.

And if you’re a fan of Tim Ferriss from the 4 Hour Work Week, he’s just announced his new venture – The 4 Hour Chef.

So I guess the only question now is “how can you turn your love of food and photography into a business?”