Icon Vs Logo : Understanding the Difference

Sometimes there’s a bit of confusion about the difference between an icon, emblem, wordmark, and logo, and why it’s so important you not use them interchangeably. Each serve a specific purpose, and while they may sometimes look alike, the intention behind each is very different….so today we’re breaking it down for you!

This blog post, one of our most popular, was updated on March 29th, 2019 to include even more info and examples of icons, logos, and wordmarks (oh my!)

Logo

Logos establish relations, and help viewers create a connection between a company and its product- it is essentially a simplified ad! Logos are the symbol, or face, of the organization. They should inspire an immediate recognition of the company’s brand, core values, products and services. They can even provoke emotions regarding the quality of customer service, the cultural significance of the brand, etc. A logo is a powerful representation of your business. It conveys a much larger message than you may have thought!

A logo can be just an emblem, just a wordmark, or it can encompass both – often the formula for a strong visual brand identity is emblem + wordmark = logo. When both a wordmark and emblem are used to create a logo either element can be used individually, but are not the brand’s logo (unless great success has happened and the brand can drop the wordmark, like Starbucks).

Here are some examples:

                           

 

Emblem

For many brands, Rock Paper Simple included, an emblem is created to further identify the company and it becomes the mark of that organization. For us, it’s our “pointer” which appears in our full logo or stands alone in usage on social media, stickers, and collateral. The emblem signifies a specific characteristic or quality about the company and can be used to identify the company on its own.

Emblems are more significant of brand identity, so they tend to have more detail in them than icons in order to distinguish branded content from action buttons in an app or on a website. Since most profile photos on platforms like Facebook are square or circular, it is common practice for emblems to be designed for use on social media.

Here are some examples:

                           

Wordmark

A wordmark is exactly what it sounds like – the brand’s words, usually the company name, in an immediately-recognizable, distinct typeface that, even without images can be used to identify the brand. The wordmark tells directly what the related content is associated with, in case visual familiarity with the emblem fails.

Here are some examples:

Icon

Icons are meant to convey abstract thought and they artistically summarize an action or operation-  they represent what is being offered. When people see it, the icon should create an immediate understanding of what the creator/business/website means to express. It helps the viewer to simplify thought and make fast connections.

In the instance of mobile apps, most organizations choose the emblem part of their logo, or often a defining feature of their brand or service they provide, to be the icon. This way they remain instantly recognizable. However, they are made based on the branding and should not stand on their own to identify the brand itself, with exceptions from massively popular products and services like the Facebook “Like” icon.

Icons are almost always designed quadratically and are designed to scale within specific dimensions. This way they fit square App icon dimensions, and/ or help provide consistency when designing actions on a website. They generally remain very small.

For example:

                                               

On our website, our menu for internal pages has identifying icons, to help better direct visitors to the information they need. On our services hub page there are even more icons next to our offerings. These can help a client further differentiate what they want to know more about. Here are examples of other icon we see every day:

Facebook’s “Like” icon                  Star Wars Rebel Alliance Icon                iPhone FaceTime Icon

                                                                                 

The one thing all brand elements have in common — they should always be designed as vectors, so that they never lose quality when resized for various needs!

Still confused? Need help designing a true brand identity package? We’ve got your back.
Call us or send a quick message!

 

WordPress Basics

Welcome to WordPress Basics with Rock Paper Simple! We thought you’d like a short rundown of what’s what on the backend of your WordPress site. There’s a lot that goes on back here, so this is just a brief overview of the dashboard and some sections that our clients often ask about. Even if you choose to have an agency like Rock Paper Simple assist you with setting up and maintaining a WordPress website, it’s always good to be familiar with the following areas!

A Blurb About Wordpress
WordPress was originally developed for bloggers, but it has since grown into a versatile platform for building websites. WordPress (which we dub WP in this post from now on) is open-source, meaning there is an entire community of people who freely contribute and continue to evolve the software. WP is dynamic and robust, making possibilities endless for users with varying needs!

Quick Look at the Dashboard
Here’s a look at our Dashboard. Here there’s a “at a glance” menu across the top, and the full menu along the left side. We have a lot of extra stuff going on, and you might too, but don’t be intimidated. Most of you might like to handle your own content (so you’ll only want to pay attention to Posts and Media) and let your web agency deal with the rest!

Dashboard

Posts Section
Remember that Posts is the section for blog entries. This section shows in chronological order, and it can be coded to show on other pages on your website and/or have its own page. You can create Categories to help organize and label your posts, making them easier to find in the post archive, and use Tags for more specific or fun labeling. We’ve included a labeled picture below, but the process is similar when you create content for Pages too!
Tip: When you add links to your copy, have that link open in a new window.

wordpress 101: Posts

Pages Section
Opposite of Posts, Pages are individual areas for static content. These can be pulled into your site’s navigational menus, become landing pages for marketing campaigns, or even be “hidden” pages that require people to know the exact url to get to.

Media Library
This is where you can upload images, videos, PDFs, and other media. It’s a good idea to edit each upload with a keyword related Title, Caption, and other useful information that helps you organize and boost your SEO.
Warning: Deleting media from the library will remove it across the website, so be careful!

Comments Section
Here you can take action on any feedback that’s left on your posts. You can approve, deny, delete, and reply to comments.

Appearance and Settings
Appearance is where you can toggle what your website looks like, download widgets, create your website menus, and fine tune webpage elements. Settings gets into some more technical stuff that relates to your website’s outward interaction with the web, like Redirects and letting Search Engines “crawl” your site for indexing. Unless you are managing your own website, you typically do not want to play around with these areas without the help of your agency.

 

We hope this quick little overview gives you a better idea of how friendly WordPress can be to any type of website owner. Still don’t want to poke around without some help? Drop us a line!

3 Digital Consumer Habits You Should Know

With last minute shoppers flooding Amazon, Etsy, and other small businesses with holiday orders, we thought it might be appropriate to share these 3 statistics on current Digital Consumer habits. Take a look at these numbers based on early 2016 trends, and think about how you can improve your website to capture more leads and convert customers!

 

data1

 

With the world at their fingertips, shoppers can immediately compare businesses and prices; ultimately driving marketing and brand competition. Therefore it’s wise to keep up with consumer analysis and adapt your business practices to support the change in purchasing habits, and it has become crucial that business owners have a strong first impression. This includes updating your website for a better overall user experience, creating content to support brand personality and outreach, and having a good marketing team to convey to the world what makes your business awesome and unique. 

 

 

data2

Honesty and responsibility are values that have shown increasing meaning to consumers, especially since Millennials (who care more about brand experience than previous consumer groups) are becoming the largest purchasing power. Data is also showing that the consumers of 2016 were not just comparing prices, but also judged how “professional” a business is by their product descriptions! Clear but fun language that appeals to the lifestyle associated with the item does very well; as does providing more technical information, how/where the product is made, and what the benefit of purchasing is. The importance of language goes hand in hand with the importance of consistent Branding and Brand Personality… proving it’s a key factor that influences customer conversion and drives company growth.

 

 

data3

 

Just in case you haven’t noticed, convenience is key, and alternative payment methods are showing their value by becoming better at driving home customer conversion. PayPal has become a popular option for online businesses because it’s simple, secure, and creates a more streamlined checkout process. It’s worth doing some research (or asking your team to) on various payment options and think about what best suits your ideal customer.

 

 

 

So just in case you’re thinking about giving your website or business a makeover in 2017, remember these statistics about current consumer practices and digital purchases made in 2016! Feeling a little overwhelmed? Rock Paper Simple is here to help!

 

Google Chrome Version 55 – Another Push for HTML5

The new Google Chrome Version 55 release marks another benchmark in the HTML5 migration. With this Version 55 update (besides Google’s pre-determined Top 10 Sites) most of the websites you visit while using Chrome will default to using HTML5. Even then, the following sites are only exempt from Google’s limit for one year…in the hopes that by then, they too will have switched from Flash to HTML5:

YouTube.com
Facebook.com
Yahoo.com
VK.com
Live.com
Yandex.ru
OK.ru
Twitch.tv
Amazon.com
Mail.ru

It’s important to note that the websites you visit can still utilize and offer Flash content, but as a Chrome user you will be prompted to give permission.

The reasoning behind the pushing out Flash is based in cyber security fears and the desire for better loading times, and HTML5 has proven to be better in both of these ares. Companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google have endorsed the migration of HTML5 to be the new standard, and others starting to agree with the switch. We’ve already seen HTML5 pushing out Flash as the default format for videos and ads….it’s only a matter of time before HTML5 completes it’s takeover!

Top 10 Website Myths

websitemythsWith the rapid growth of technological ability, there’s a lot a misconception about what it takes to create and market a website. In an effort to clear up those misconceptions, and the resulting mistrust of digital agencies, this post breaks down the top 10 website myths- in regards to development, design, and marketing.

Website Myth #1: I Can Do It Myself and Save Money

As long as you are a web developer, this is absolutely true!

The first thing I’d suggest doing is to look at how much your billable hour is, then decide how long you think it will take you to learn several languages and design concepts… then do the math. Likely you’ve already realized you can save money by hiring an agency! You are awesome at what you do… and likely that is not web design.

That point aside, one should also consider that an agency brings a world of experience in not only development and design, but also marketing and branding. This allows the agency to help you build a website that is marketing-focused and that will communicate the right message to the right audience. Simply put, a website that converts is going to make you money…and website that doesn’t loses you money.

Consider how important your website is to your business. Your first impression is to most of your prospects. What is that worth?

Website Myth #2: I Can’t Afford a Custom Website

Think of your website as an employee – one that works 24/7 and is the first impression a potential customer may have. Do you want that employee to be unprofessional and sloppy, or would you rather that employee be professional and ready to serve your customer?

As we mentioned above in myth #1, you get what you pay for. That bargain website will get you a lazy, inattentive “employee” that will end up costing you more in the long run. Whereas getting the right “employee” upfront will actually save you money and help you create more business, conversions and leads.

There are many options and packages that agencies can provide. Have a conversation with us and you might be surprised that you can afford a professional custom website that helps your company grow. The question you should be asking is if you can afford NOT to get one.

Website Myth #3: I Can Reach Just As Many Prospects by Spending Money on Other Marketing Materials

We aren’t going to tell you to ditch your marketing materials, nor will we tell you that a website is all you need. However, we do believe in integrated marketing strategies that include both print and digital mediums.

A website allows you to update your customers with new products, services, and offers easier than traditional methods. Plus, when your doors are closed and brochure is inaccessible, your website is the “employee” that’s always available.

Website Myth #4: Creating a Website is a Huge Time Commitment

 Yes, creating a website will require a time commitment from you but nothing quite like you imagine. A web design experience here at Rock Paper Simple is not only profitable for you once it’s completed but is also educational, exciting AND fun. Our process includes questionnaires to help guide you through the process, fun graphics to announce your new website, convenient online forms for you to send us your information, and “web guys” that are knowledgeable and easy to reach.

We develop your website quickly and efficiently, and while we do ask for some of your time, we know you are busy so we do our best to guide you along the process. This way we can get to work on your site and have it launched ASAP!

Website Myth #5: Once I Have a Website, I’ll Immediately Get Leads

 You can have an awesome website that kicks your business into overdrive. In fact, it can conquer whole galaxies and cook your breakfast for you, but if you don’t market your business, no one will know about you or your website. Even the organic SEO value (search engine optimization) that your website has on launch will need some time to pick up steam. It takes time and some marketing efforts… but soon, you will be out there earning market share! The trick is to have a strategy!

Website Myth #6: The More Elements On the Site the Better

When it comes to web design, we like to say, “Keep It Simple.” From typography and colors to images and your logo, every element communicates something to the visitor. If your company’s website is too busy or distracting, it’s likely that visitors won’t have a positive experience, nor is it likely they’ll stick around and convert to a lead. Focus on a simple design that enhances the features, attracts visitors and limits distractions.

Website Myth #7: Photos I Find On Google Will Work

So you want to use an image you found on Google for your website? This is almost always a bad idea! It’s considered illegal to use any copyrighted image without the owner’s permission or without purchasing a license that grants permission. It would be best to use your own photos, but we also understand that’s not always possible. We suggest buying royalty free images or using free ones with common license; however, you still run the risk of looking like every other site in your industry.

Best case scenario, you have your agency (that could be us!) come out and do a photoshoot for you to create some amazing pictures to use in your marketing, but alternatively most agencies have access to royalty free images they pay a license to use.

Website Myth #8: I Don’t Need Custom Graphics

Most WordPress-powered websites start off as a generic template that can be tweaked here and there to the look and feel of your brand. There are probably multiple websites using the same theme as yours, so what makes you stand out? By designing buttons, slider images, navigation, and colors to reflect your brand, you distinguish yourself from your competitors and taking that next step and having the site designed custom from the ground up allows you to stand out all the more!

Website Myth #9: If It Looks Fine on a Mobile Device, It’s Responsive

More and more people are viewing websites on their smart phones and tablets, but just because your site looks fine on a mobile device, that doesn’t mean it’s responsive. A mobile website is a different website at a different URL designed specifically for mobile devices. A responsive website adapts to the device’s screen, so whether you’re viewing a website on your Smartphone or desktop computer, the website will adapt for a seamless view. By having a responsive site, you have only one website to manage. Plus, the technology is forward thinking and will work for years to come.

Website Myth #10: Once My Site is Created, It’s Difficult to Make Changes

Truth is, it’s not difficult to make changes to your website. Most WordPress-powered websites have a user-friendly interface, so you can easily add new content and keep your website updated. However, you’re awesome at what you do and you shouldn’t have to worry about keeping your website up-to-date, setting up forms and making sure your web presence is being used to its full potential. Imagine if you had a trusted team on your side maintaining it all for you. Wouldn’t that be more manageable than handling those confusing and annoying issues? We thought so too!

 

We’ve heard a lot opinions when it comes to digital marketing, and web development and design. No doubt there’s many ways to achieve goals and solve problems, and here at Rock Paper Simple we have our own proven process that delivers results. However one thing to remember is that in the end, every process requires trust. Trust in yourself that you’re making great decisions for your company, and also trusting in turn, that the digital marketing agency you choose will help you accurately express your company to the world.

At Rock Paper Simple we build awesome websites that are designed to impress visitors and drive revenue- and we’d never sell you short or ask you to break the bank for quality service. Trust an award-winning team of experts, and get the awesome website you deserve by starting here!

Head Honcho Speaks at Media Magic Intensive

Joshua was one of the mentors and speakers at the Media Magic Intensive this past Saturday and his topic was Making Your Website Marketing-Focused (surprise surprise!). The video below is a snippet from his 45-minute session. With those 45 minutes he crunched in the 7 Steps To Building a Marketing Focused Website presentation, which is typically 1.5 hours (no wonder he is talking so fast!), added some worksheets, and gave the attendees points they could walk away with to apply to their websites right away. Take a look!

Psst! At 2:20, Shannon Gronich spins the camera around… so careful, don’t get too dizzy!

Want to hear Joshua speak? Keep an eye out at one of the upcoming Business Acceleration Summit events, or join us at one of our brand new Digital Refreshments Series events. The first one is scheduled for January!

 

 

Loud and Clear- 3 Quick Tips for Uploading Quality Images

In a world of Yelp reviews, Facebook advertising, and 140-character tweets, your online presence has really become your storefront. The online adaptation of business and marketing means that image size and quality are now even more important to your success. While we would all like to believe that consumers don’t judge a book by its cover, outward appearances do matter – whether it’s the sign out on Main Street or your header photo on Twitter.

Have you ever uploaded a crystal clear photo to Facebook only to be disappointed in the fuzzy edges it produces in your image? Whether managing your own page or landing on another’s, there’s nothing more off-putting than poorly sized images and blurry text. Keeping your social media presence consistent and professional is important, even down to the last pixel.

Here are three quick tips to solve the conundrum of poor-quality online images!

 

Ditch Your JPEG for PNG

While JPEGs and PNGs are both standard image file formats, they make a world of difference when it comes to Facebook. JPEGs have what’s known as “lossy” compression, while PNGs are considered “lossless.” In simple terms: JPEGS are more compressed and lose their quality, while PNGs are only compressed when uploaded to sites such as Facebook. So next time you upload a new cover or header photo, opt for a PNG and eliminate those fuzzy edges.

Know Your Dimensions

Each social networking site is different, and it’s important to know what dimensions your photo should be. For example, a Facebook cover photo is 851×315 pixels, while a Twitter header photo is 1,500×421 pixels. Knowing this and sizing your image accordingly will help to produce the best results. Want to know more dimensions? Check out the 2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet.

 Stay True to Your Brand

Don’t have brand guidelines?  Maybe it’s time to start developing some. It’s not only important to upload your photo in the correct format, but to also ensure that you’re giving your logo the respect it deserves on the image. This means: don’t distort it to make it fit, cover any part of it with other art, place it on a busy background, or stray from your brand guidelines in any other way. Be consistent and meticulous with your logo across all platforms and you’ll ensure success in displaying it.

 

Want to better understand online imaging or create your brand guidelines? Click here to connect with our team.

 

5 Call-to-Action Examples That Are Rockin’ It Right Now

Call to Actions can be a simple button placed after some text, or they can be a more elaborately designed button that stands alone. You have them sprinkled into social media posts and they’ve been written into your content, but are your CTAs the best they can be? If you aren’t seeing a whole lot of conversion from your current strategies, take a look at these Call to Action examples that we think have great technique.

The Balancing Act:

Check out Spotify’s homepage. They have two Call to Action Buttons because they’re targeting two different types of listener, and they’re a great example of why simple often prevails over flashy, especially when you have more than one CTA. While the pink and purple colors of their site definitely catch our attention first (what happened to the green?!), the contrasting and bold white text is really what dominates our focus. Their design works because they kept text to a minimum, they showcase their product through a subtle background of playlist cover art, and their CTAs are highly visible to both types of listeners which maximizes their opportunity for new sign-ups. Spotify made a great decision to have their Call to Actions side by side with only a slight difference between them; the darker hue that backs “Get Spotify Free” almost blends in at first glance, bringing our attention first to the button they’d prefer us to choose- “Get Spotify Premium.”

cta-5

Being Socially Savvy:

Implementing good strategy by utilizing Ad opportunities on any social media platform will help boost your business. With the right verbiage, imagery, and intent, you can connect with your target audience and start to build a customer relationship that leads to conversion. Currently there are now many options to choose from across a variety of platforms, but the most popular option has become the Ads that appear integrated into user “Home” feeds. Advertising on Social Media lets you briefly showcase the highlights of your business or brand identity, and by using amazing graphics, offering sneak peaks, and bringing quality content to followers, you can lead potential clients to your website (and convert ‘em!). So if your marketing goals are to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, or expand target reach and grow your customer base, then social media CTAs are for you. Here’s a fine example of a CTA on a feed-style Ad from NatureBox on Facebook:

Surprising Humor:

This pop-up from Good Housekeeping abruptly stops us from reading whatever article we clicked on by taking up the entire browser window, but the bright colors and fun language keep us from getting too frustrated. Through clever verbiage, simple design, and bright colors, this refreshing pop-up effectively gains email subscriptions because it has us admitting that we could use a little help keeping things clean around here. Even if you aren’t interested in giving GH your email address now, the lighthearted jest of the exit link appeals to clean freaks and reluctant scrubbers alike, and encourages them to click through the site and read other articles- and thus gaining followers.

 

Embracing Window Shoppers:

Prezi has a very minimal homepage with a lot of whitespace surrounding their text and Call to Actions, which draws a visitor’s attention to the video banner and colored CTA buttons. Similar to Spotify, Prezi balances two main CTAs side by side (for individuals vs. business), however underneath those there’s a CTA that draws even more attention. Prezi encourages visitors to “See the Science,” embracing the fact that most people want evidence of success before they invest in something. The iconography and colors that are used draws our eyes down the page, and they pave the way for even more visual aids on the linked page. This CTA clearly illustrates that Prezi has research relating to the effectiveness of their product and that they want to share it with us. This refreshing Call to Action method encourages people to make an informed decision by learning something before they sign up, and “See the Science” is definitely a unique take on the traditional About page.screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-12-03-40-pm

The Doorstop:

The final plea to users, an exit CTA is a pop-up window that most websites set to appear around the average exit time of that page. These CTAs traditionally offer a discount or incentive, and then provide two options- stay or go. They can sometimes be seen as a nuisance, but if designed correctly, doorstops can be a very effective method for keeping users on-site, capturing leads, and getting visitors to convert to buyers. Take a look at this example from Copyhackers. The colors are positive, the layout is clean, and the language is relaxed. Instead of expressing urgency, the tone of this exit CTA says “Hey, your stuff is probably already great but before you go, here’s an opportunity to be even better at what you do…do you want this resource?” It uses buzzwords like share, success, and steps, which leads us into thinking, “Hmm, maybe I want to at least skim through this ebook after all.”

ctacopyblog

 

Call to Actions are a super important part of marketing strategy, and hopefully you’ve already incorporated some that are working for you. We just wanted to give you guys a bit of reference for CTA techniques that are working really well right now for these businesses, to help you get the creative juices following for your next site upgrade or campaign push. It’s always a good idea to collect examples of website features, CTAs, or other digital marketing aspects that inspire you to make changes for your business. This way we can help you make those adjustments and strategize with you on how to meet your new goals!

Psst.. You Should Clear Your Facebook Cache!

Chances are you have a Facebook account and you share content on there consistently. It’s probably why you’re reading this blog (your curiosity got the best of you!). Anyway, thanks to Facebook we can share updates with our fans in a matter of seconds, but have you ever noticed there are times the picture is missing when you share a Web URL? Or the previous title or image is being pulled instead of the latest?

The reason why this happens is because Facebook caches (aka stores data) already shared URLs and pages. It’s easier for Facebook to go look at the cached information stored on their server rather than go to your awesome website and fetch the updated title or picture. This technically speeds up their process, but if the cache isn’t updated, it may cause an issue for you.

Why does Facebook cache information?

When you share a link back to your webpage or another page on the Internet, Facebook downloads the content and uploads it for their users to view. Once a website is shared, Facebook stores a temporary file on its server to save time and resources and eliminates the need to re-download the information.

For example, say you shared the link to your home page a month ago, and since then the home page was updated with new pictures. Facebook will likely pull the previous data since that is what’s being stored rather than the new data. A fan clicking on the shared link won’t see the right content and/or picture because the Facebook cache hasn’t been cleared.

How do I clear my Facebook post’s cache?

Facebook created a tool called Debugger that can be used for any URL. It depicts what will be shown when the link is shared and will automatically update it with the latest title, description, and photo with the click of a button.

Here is the step-by-step process on how to clear your Facebook’s cache:

• Go to Facebook.com and login.
• Access the Debugger tool here.
• Enter a URL and click “Debug.”
• Go back to your Facebook page, type in your content with the updated link to view the updated information.

It’s as simple as that! For more tips on how to make your website and digital marketing awesome, check out some other posts- like this one!

“What the Heck Am I Looking At?” – A Brief Tour of Google Analytics

Alright, in our last post we highlighted some key Analytics terms you should be familiar with, especially if you’re going to be reading reports on your digital marketing efforts. Hopefully you studied up! Today we’re talking about navigating to subsets of data within Google Analytics that we think you should become familiar with first, and knowing those terms will help you understand what you’re seeing. We understand that every business is unique, with shifting needs and goals that can definitely be applied and captured within Analytics, but exploring all of Google Analytics’ capabilities with you could take awhile. Not that we don’t want to spend extra time with you -that sounds awesome- but let’s save it for September’s hangout!

Google Analytics has way more capability than we’re going to talk about today, and even though we know you’re a smarty pants who could handle a full tutorial, we wanted to stay pretty basic with this post. We know most of you just want to be able to check-in on your website…see how it’s doing, if it needs anything…you know, because your business can be your second child. This popular reporting tool is widely used because it’s customizable, nicely organized, and the plethora of data keeps you in the loop. You get to see a lot of information about what’s going on with your site, after putting just a small amount of code on the backend.

“Ok yes, data is very useful and good, but this is overwhelming to stumble through. What am I looking at?!” Never fear, Rock Paper Simple is here!

Creating or logging into your existing account is easy. Head over to Google.com/analytics to get started. It will be tied to an existing google account or you can make a new one. Keep in mind Analytics lets you add/revoke user access under Admin, so we recommend having a business Gmail account to associate with your Analytics account, and you can add team members later on if certain people need to see it.

After logging in to your account you’ll see the major categories of Home, Reporting, Customization, and Admin across the top. Home is simply a list overview of client accounts, Customization lets you compile specific reports to email out, and Admin is well, Admin. In there you create property clients and add their website accounts, and if you’re new to Google Analytics you’ll be directed on how to set up web tracking. If you need help with this process, contact the team here. If you’re good to go, read on!

For now we’re going to tell you to just focus on the Reporting tab and forget about those other tabs, because all the fun stuff lives under Reporting. The core of Google Analytics is there, so it makes sense for us to skip to the good part, right? Under Reporting, click through each subsection on the left sidebar. You’ll see the top four sections are user tools that can help simplify and customize your Google Analytics experience. We’re going to skip over those too, but they are useful to know about so here’s a quick description:

Dashboard – Super handy, and first under Reporting for a reason. You can pick and choose subsets of data to see, creating a unique visual for you to speedily analyze accounts. If you’re not interested in navigating Analytics to see your reports the standard way, this is for you!
Shortcuts – If you need to check in routinely with a specific account, then you should create a shortcut to that report. It’s not saving too much time, but you’ll look like a wizard at your next meeting when you pull up the numbers your boss wants to see with speed and ease.
Intelligence Events – You can set up alerts to be notified when Analytics receives data on criteria you specify, or when data is abnormal. This can be useful when tracking activity after a major campaign or implementation of something new.
Real Time – Exactly what it sounds like! Be the spymaster you always wanted to be and watch top referrals, pages, search activity, top locations, and more… all in real time!

Underneath those are (arguably) the most important sections- Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior. When you look at their Overview sections, you can see a standard report that provides a line chart of data from a specified time range, and more illustrative data charts beneath that. Thankfully Google understands that numbers can get overwhelming, so they’ve included many chart options for us Right-Brained thinkers who like a more visual representation of data. The default line chart shows data for Sessions, but you can choose which data shows in the dropdown right above the chart. You can also add another data line for comparison!
Overviews are helpful when you want “at-a-glance” updates about your site, but for most of you who want a little more information about what those numbers mean for business, we recommend heading straight to a couple of places:

First is Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals.

Referral reports are a great way to see where your traffic is coming from and the quality of that traffic. With this report you can see the specific pages that are bringing viewers to your site, and their associated bounce rate and session data. This is can be the most important report for a lot of people (shortcut worthy!). It provides a visual outcome of marketing efforts, leading businesses to make better decisions on whether to amplify, change, or quit those efforts accordingly.

Another good place to start is Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages.

The data within Site Content gives you a breakdown of user behavior. Here you can see total pageviews, entrance and exit value of pages, and where users navigate to after they land on your site. For example this restaurant has the most pageviews on the homepage (/) but people stay the longest on the /about/ page, signaling their interest in reading through content on the atmosphere and dining experience. This data is super helpful to look at because you can see which pages are aiding or hindering the flow of a user’s experience- telling you if you should beef up your page’s content, if your SEO needs work, and other valuable info!

Confident in Getting to Those Places? Browse around within Reporting!
Once you become a little more comfortable exploring Google Analytics, we recommend playing around with sections under Audience. In here you can see your global marketing reach, enable demographic data pulling, know which technology is being used to find your website, add segments to track social media traffic, and more. With this knowledge it becomes easier to better target your marketing efforts, and you can be smarter about captivating users. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s worth learning more about. Also, when your clicking around subsections, don’t forget to click on the blue links in your tables! They allow you to see even more subsets of related data. For example if you see in Audience -> Geo -> Location that most of your sessions originate in the U.S., follow the links to see state rankings, and further to see which cities in that state are top visitors of your site. If you need additional assistance or information about what something is, remember that you can click on the little graduation hat icon that hangs out under the date range! Google does a good job of defining things and helping Analytics stay user-friendly.

Wrapping it all up…
Google Analytics is a great tool that lets you see data for just about any custom inquiry you can come up with. What you do with that data is the important part! If you get really into exploring Analytics and you enjoying checking numbers, there’s potential for it to become a powerful tool in expanding your business, and we’d like to talk to you about that. However after all this, if you decide that numbers just aren’t your thing (or you’d rather get simple reports from us) we can certainly talk about that too! If you have any questions, or you’re interested in getting an analytical report sent to you in plain English, call us or drop a message here.

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