I just ran across this search results page on Google and happened to notice the “Code Snippet” section. Has that always been there? I know Google has been testing some new “Search Refinement Features” lately, is this one of them, or have I just never noticed it before?
You’ve no doubt heard about the economic turmoil all around us. Maybe the recession is hitting your business particularly hard. While there’s nothing we can do to fix the economy, here are some ideas you can implement today that will help you cut costs and save big bucks.
6. Make Friends with a Competitor
You’ve been in business long enough to know that you can’t please everyone. And why would you want to? There are some customers out there who just wouldn’t be a good fit to work with your company. But guess what… some other business is a great fit. And that’s okay. Because most of your customers wouldn’t be a good fit with their company.
Now that we’ve clarified that, working with the competition becomes a great opportunity. If you’re too expensive for some clients, refer them to someone less expensive. If you don’t offer exactly the service someone is looking for, tell them who does. You’ll quickly realize that you’re spending less time dealing with frustrated clients, and more time with the profitable ones. And what’s more, your competitors will start sending customers to you. It’s all about building good karma. Cost = FREE
5. Accept Payment Online
Do you offer online payment to your clients? If not, you probably should be. These days, people expect to be able to pay with their credit card. And they don’t trust letting that card out of their site. Offering online payment options through a reputable provider makes your business that much easier to work with. And the best part is, it’s not that difficult. Just 15 minutes to set up an account with PayPal or Google Checkout and you’ll be ready to accept payments from Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and Discover.
Your customers can feel safe that you won’t ever have access to their card, and you can rest easy knowing that nobody can break into your office and steal valuable information. Cost = FREE
4. Stop Mailing Invoices
How much time does your receptionist spend printing/folding/stuffing/addressing/mailing invoices each month? How much money do you spend on postage? paper? envelopes? Is tracking down late payments sucking up time that you could be using to make money? Enough is enough!
There are a mountain of companies that can automate your invoicing process including: Zoho Invoice (my personal preference), Invoice Journal (my 2nd favorite), FreshBooks, and Blinksale. These products take all the complication out of billing your clients.
For example with Zoho:
- Just click on “Create a New Invoice”
- Choose a client and the service performed
- Verify the correct amount
- Click “Save and Send”.
An invoice will be emailed to your client along with a link to make a secure payment via PayPal. If they forget to pay, a reminder will automatically be sent to them later. Zoho shows you at a glance how much you’ve invoiced, how much you’ve collected, and how much is still outstanding. Cost = FREE to send a few invoices; up to $35/month to send a lot of invoices.
Jump to the next page for 3 more suggestions…
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Google has announced several upgrades to their popular Analytics application. On Tuesday, they announced a fresh new look for the program. It’s nothing drastic, but rather a bit of a clean-up job. It also seems to be a bit faster although I’m not sure if this was intentional or a happy side-effect of the redesign (or ‘realign‘ if you will).
On Wednesday – that’s today – they announced several additional functionality improvements including advanced segmentation, “motion charts”, adsense reporting, custom reporting. and an API.
Google’s new “Motion Charts” tool allows you to observe a particular keyword’s (or group of keywords’) performance over time. You have full control segmentation dimensions that are displayed as x- and y-axis, bubble size, bubble color, and motion over time. This gives the user unprecedented insight into a campaign’s performance and will be very useful to webmasters.
Segmentation has always been possible within Google Analytics, but you were limited to the slices that were already prepared. With their new Advanced Segmentation tools, you can choose a nearly infinite number of segments, filters, values, etc. And my favorite feature? You can save your segmentations for future use. Over the course of time, that will save hours of work and make it infinitely easier to draw useful insights from the data.
Have you ever wanted to see a particular report in Google Analytics but couldn’t figure out how to make Analytics show it to you? Me too. But the new Custom Reporting feature lets you create reports that contain only the metrics you want to see. Just define the metrics you want to analyze along with the dimensions you want to see. (If you want, you can even define sub-dimensions.) And like “Advanced Segmentation”, you can save all your custom reports for future use. See the video below for an example.
If you use Google’s AdSense program, today is a great day. Analytics now contains (or will soon contain… it’s rolling out slowly) new reporting just for you. Using the new functionality, you’ll have insight into a wealth of new data such as: AdSense revenue, AdSense revenue per 1000 visitors, # of AdSense ads clicked, # of AdSense ads clicked per visitor, AdSense CTR, and much more. You’ll be able to see which of your content generates the most AdSense revenue, and which of your referrers pushes the most profitable traffic. Combine all that with the new segmentation and reporting features, and you’re well on your way to optimizing your site for profitability.
For those of you who don’t know what an API is, it’s a way of extracting data out of a program (in this case, Google Analytics) for use in another program. By offering an API, Google is making it easier for developers to write programs that can extend the functionality of Google Analytics but providing additional services using the data from Analytics. This is great news for you. It means that soon, there will be even more ways to slice & dice your site’s information using data from Analytics.
What do you think of the new functionality (and more importantly, the new look )