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Unearthing Your Blog’s Money Pages

This guest post is by the Web Marketing Ninja.

Earlier today, Greg explored the question of pricing products that you’re creating for sale on your blog. Setting the right price for your products is extremely important, but I wanted to take that discussion one step further for those who are already offering products on their blogs and want to take their conversions to the next level.

When I approach conversion optimization on websites, which in most cases is simply cash optimization, I stick to a few golden rules:

  1. Think in people, not pageviews.
  2. People are looking for a reason not to buy—don’t give them one.
  3. Go for biggest bang for buck.
  4. Test everything!

I’ve already covered points 1 and 2, so in this post, I wanted to export number three, going biggest bang for buck.

If you’re trying to figure out how to turn some money into more money without creating new products, campaigns, or deals, you need to unearth the pages on your site that are going to give you the greatest return from an improvement in conversion.

…and for that, I have a three-point plan.

1. Understand where you money comes from, and find your influenceable end-point

Now, being the smart bloggers I know you are, you should know where your money comes from. Your income might be derived from ads, affiliate income, or product sales—among others. And I’m sure you’re able to identify your top-level driver of that income—the last point in the conversion process that you can influence. Here they are:

  • Product sales = successful checkouts
  • Affiliate sales  = clicks to affiliate site
  • Ads (CPC) = clicks on ads
  • Ads (CPM) = page views
  • Subscription = activated subscriptions
  • Service = contact form submissions

Whatever your strategy, knowing your influenceable end-point enables you to set some specific goals on key metrics for your blog (for example more sales, more clicks, more pageviews).

2. Set yourself up to track those end-points

Whilst it can be a bit of a challenge initially to set up measurements for your blog’s conversion goals, without them, you’ll never really know where your money comes from at a granular level. 

For most, a well configured Google Analytics setup is all that you need, as it has goal tracking built in.

If checkouts are one of your goals, then ecommerce tracking is what you need. If your ads are sold by CPM, then you’ve got it easy—you have the data already. If your goal is clicks, that presents a slightly bigger challenge. Let me explain.

In Analytics, a goal is measured by successfully reaching a page on your site that you’ve specified. When a click takes a visitor to another site, Google Analytics sees it as a visitor that exits to another site rather than a successfully reached goal. To solve this, you can use any of a few options.

  • If you’re using AdSense, you’re fine—that’s already integrated with Analytics.
  • Use a redirect page to collect goals. Instead of sending users straight through to the advertiser or affiliate, you can send them via a page that automatically redirects the user, but includes the analytics goal code to track.
  • Use a paid service like Kiss Metrics … but even that can be a bit tricky to set up.

I’m really hoping that at some point Google’s ad manager, Double Click, will integrate with Analytics so this issue is rectified. But even if it’s a little bit of a hassle for you to set up right now, it’s a hassle that’s worth going through in order to understand just how good—or bad—your conversion performance is.

So after a bit of research, action, and maybe fumbling, you’re now hopefully able to track the conversion rate of your commercial goals (whatever that are) and you’re ready to move forward.

3. Think in one-percents

The final step in identifying biggest bang for buck is to put a dollar conversion vale against all your pages. All this takes is a bit of simple math.

Page X

  • 10,000 page views
  • 100 sales
  • $4000

Those figures give us a conversion rate of 1% and an average income per sale of $40. If I increase the conversion rate itself by 1%, to 1.1%, my sales will total 101, and my income will be $4040. I’m up  $40.

Page Y

  • 100,000 page views
  • 50 sales
  • $1000

So this page has a conversion rate of 0.05% and an average income per sale of $20. If I increase this conversion rate by 1%, to 0.051%, my sales will total 51 and my income will hit $1020. I’m up  $20.

As you can see, there’s double the return for a 1% improvement on Page X, as compared to Page Y. So Page X the one I’m going to focus on. Not the one with all the page views: the one with the greatest return.

Obviously, on your blog, you’ll have far more than two pages to pick from, but this model will allow you to rank them in order.  Make sure you don’t forget to include your checkout process as pages in this analysis, as well. You might be surprised by how they stack up.

And just in case the figures of $20 and $40 don’t get you motivated to do any testing, remember that variances of over 100% are common across different variations of a page. So add a couple of zeros … feeling motivated now?

The three-point plan

So just to summarise, your three-point plan to unearthing those money pages is:

  1. Understand your last influenceable conversion metric.
  2. Start tracking those points in the sales process.
  3. Stack all your pages together and find the one that’s going to give you the biggest return for a 1% conversion increase.

…and that’s how you can unearth the pages that are going to give you the biggest bang for buck.

Stay tuned for more posts by the Web Marketing Ninja—author of The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing, and a professional online marketer for a major web brand. Follow the Web Marketing Ninja on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Carolyn says:

    Could you explain more about using the redirect page to collect data? I get the idea, but not the implementation.

    Because of where I live, I use Skimlinks for Amazon sales. Unfortunately, Skimlinks doesn’t report on products clicked on or sold. The redirect idea looks like it could at least help — and I’m wondering if it even needs code or just one “page” (not indexed, not followed) that redirected would give me the number of people clicking on that item?

    Thanks!

    Carolyn

  2. I knew this would come up… Let me try to explain as best I can.

    There are two sorts of redirects. The first redirects a user before the page is loaded, and is used a lot for SEO purposes (e.g. 301 redirects). These redirects won’t show up GA because the JavaScript is never called.

    The second is a redirect after the page loads. There are some downsides to this but it’s the only way I’ve found to make it work. There’s a heap of detail on this Stack Overflow Discussion about it here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8692503/javascript-redirect-with-google-analytics

  3. John says:

    Wow. Tons of detailed information here. I’m going to need to make some changes to bump my conversions up. Thanks so much for the valuable insights WMN!

  4. This is a great blueprint showing how important analysing all aspects of the monetisation process are. I’ve never really thought about it in so much detail, but I see how important it really is.

    Also breaking everything down into 1% lots makes it a lot easier to see the conversion rates and how that translates into money in the bank! Great stuff, will definitely need to implement this.

  5. Rich Jones says:

    I’m new to this blogging thing and I can’t pretend that I got exactly where you were coming from for the whole article, but two things from that article resonated with me:

    1) Think in people, not pageviews – I do actually have a few comments on my blog so I’m heading off there now to reply to them

    2) People are looking for a reason not to buy—don’t give them one – I need to start thinking more like a buyer who needs just the smallest excuse to get the heck out of there! Sometimes its easy to start thinking that people are falling over themselves to buy your products when it’s really quite the opposite (at least in the beginning this is true)

    Thanks and regards,

    Rich

  6. Hi
    Love reading posts on conversion rate optimisation, it is such an important topic when selling online, the thing is small modifications is all you need to change the conversion rate, not much work. Thats not to say it can’t be :)

    Thanks
    David

  7. Brand Surya says:

    The article is good. Recently even Infolinks increased CPM and sometimes proving even more better than adsense. I think for Infolinks premium customers they enjoy good CPM.

  8. Great article, but my blog is for my roof cleaning business, not to sell by email or UPS.
    Our customers are local here in Tampa. I can’t clean roofs in other parts of Florida, they are too far away.
    Still, it was a great read, and I got a lot out of it.
    TYVM