If you’re using a self-hosted WordPress installation for your blog or website, and if you’re serious about improving your marketing tactics, there’s one tool I’ve started using lately that I think is a no-brainer for a number of reasons:
- It’s FREE
- It’s designed by a company that set out to build its own traffic and following and used this tool to do it (and succeeded magnificently)
- They offer tips and tricks to their users on how to do it too, and
- Did I mention…it’s FREE.
I would not be surprised if many of you reading this have already come across some kind of AppSumo deal. Due to the huge following they’ve garnered (they reached over 1 billion visitors last year using SumoMe), as an exposure strategy many companies partner with them to offer their products or services free for a limited time (Evernote, LastPass, Snip.ly and BrandYourself.com are just a few that come to mind). Whether or not you’ve heard of AppSumo, I strongly encourage you to check out SumoMe.
Think of it as a Swiss Army Knife WordPress plugin designed to help you build your email list, analyze your traffic, build leads, share your content or engage with your readers. They have about a dozen tools you can install, but I just want to cover three of my favorite that I’ve started using.
List Builder and Scroll Box. Both of these are tools designed to capture email addresses from your site’s visitors. They differ in that Scroll Box does it a little less obtrusively (the sign-up box slides in from the bottom side vs. popping up in the middle of the screen). One of their features is “Smart” which allows you to set how long before the sign-up box appears, and when it will appear again for a returning visitor if they’ve declined to sign up the first time (don’t you hate it when you visit your favorites sites, and every time you go there, you get that pop-up box again and again?)
You can also determine the color palette for the box as well as the wording for the “call to action.” Every email address is captured in a CSV file you can download. You can even connect the email capture to any of the major email list managers (e.g. MailChimp, AWeber, ConstantContact, etc.) I use List Builder on my main website, DareDreamer.net. For my film series SoundandSEA.TV I switched to Scroll Box.
Heat Maps. This feature allows you to see where people are clicking on your screen. That will allow you to see which part of your page is getting the most attention. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this feature. First, it only runs when you turn it on. To turn it on you create a campaign to start tracking clicks. So using Heat Maps would be great if you do an email blast, or in conjunction with some major announcement you’ve done and you want to track traffic clicks. The other key thing to keep in mind is that each campaign is per page. If you start a campaign on the home page, it’s only going to track clicks on the home page. It’s not a site-wide campaign. Once started, campaigns can be easily paused or stopped right from the SumoMe dashboard accessible from that page.
Content Analytics. The last feature I wanted to reference is Content Analytics. It’s similar to Heat Maps in that it allows you to see the reading patterns of your visitors. In this case, you’re able to see how much of your web page is getting read by visitors. It’ll give you information on how many people and what percentage of visitors to a page read each section. It’ll even show you the part of the page where the average number of readers reach. Like Heat Maps, you activate one campaign for each web page you want to monitor. A campaign can be paused or stopped at any time.
All of the key tools offered via SumoMe are free, with paid upgrades to unlock additional features. This is a common “freemium” model. But I have no doubt that most of you will find the free features more than adequate.
What tools do you use to monitor and/or improve your website traffic and marketing? Share in the comments.