Case Study Booking.com: 33 Persuasion and Optimization Tricks

Booking.com, a great example of an online company that really knows how to play the online marketing game!

With conversion rates far above market averages, they easily turn an ordinary website visitor into a customer.

Tons of A/B tests every year. A great team of online minded professionals. It’s time to show you how Booking.com actually persuades you to book!

Booking.com informationImage: Booking.com

In this post I will guide your through my Booking.com journey and reveal 33 great persuasion and optimization insights you really love to read.

I will stay away from explaining the theories behind (difficult persuasion terminology).

Practical insights is what you will get! 

It might drive you crazy if you find out with your own real eyes how they are persuading you to book.

Test and replicate one or more of these persuasive elements on your own website(s) and your business will grow.

My focus is on the following areas/pages on their website:

Booking.com CRO analysis focus

Your actual journey/experience might be a bit different from mine.

Booking.com are masters at applying behavioral targeting based on the elements/drivers that work the best to make you book.

I recommend you to read the entire article. This way you derive the greatest learnings and test ideas for your own business.

However, simply click on one of the links below if you are only interested in specific areas. You will automatically navigate to that specific part.

Note: I have booked here before but I am in no way affiliated with Booking.com.

Enjoy the journey!

Homepage Booking.com

Here we go (what do I see above the fold):

Booking.com home - above foldAt a glance I can see they serve new as well as returning visitors in a smart way.

New Visitors

1. Half a Million Hotels

At the upper left corner you can read: 586.000+ hotels, apartments, villas and more …

If their “assortment” is so big, it won’t be difficult to find a great place to stay.

In my eyes, this makes it easy to compare and make a rational decision in where and what to book.

The beautiful pictures on the right trigger my emotional part of the brain. I simply get in the mood to book by looking at those nice views.

2. Message: FREE cancellation on most rooms!

No need to worry here. I am not 100% sure whether I can make it on that date. Who cares?

I can always cancel my booking. It sounds so easy.

This helps me (and Booking.com) in two ways:

  • I don’t have to worry about things coming up in the meantime after I book
  • I am more willing to book directly (feel less need to compare with competitor sites)

Based on experience I can say this is a great USP to place on the homepage. In most cases it works with real products as well.

3. Just booked Widget

They are smart over there! This is fantastic.

This widget refreshes real-time and shows the country of origin of the person who has booked and to what destination.

I can say, at least it refreshes every few seconds. If this contains all of their bookings your can even calculate how many bookings they have on a day!

More importantly, it brings trust. If so many people book and from a lot of different countries, why would I …

4. Secret Deals (upper right corner, second window)

People simply love great deals, so this grabs my attention. If I hit the button, this pop-up appears:

Booking.com newsletter pop-upAnother newsletter? But hey, wait. Discounts of 20% or more! That sounds quite interesting. Let’s take a look at the right side.

  • Very best deals, negotiated with thousands of hotel
  • Free deals and personalized
  • Instantly get a link to our Deal Finder
  • Email address is safe

I don’t say everybody will subscribe here, but they apply smart words to persuade me to subscribe. This is great, since potential customers are more easily caught if they subscribe. Well done guys!

5. Search Box

Both for new as well as returning customer the search box definitely appeals.

Booking.com SearchVery simple, I need to fill in a few basic things and can choose additional search options if I like.

And the big Search button cannot be missed. I am sure on “deeper” pages they will try to persuade me to book.

Five features/messages that pull new visitors into their website.

Returning Visitors

Booking.com does a great job as well for returning visitors. There are a few things I like to show you here.

6. Message: Welcome Back! Sign in to See Member Deals

Yeah, they recognize me again! Member deals, I can’t wait to see what they have to offer me.

It’s a great way to motivate returning visitors (customers) to find another great deal and book (again).

Booking hotels, vacations etc. does have a rational part, but an emotial part as well.

7. My Lists

I was just browsing yesterday and today I want to book!

So it’s great I could save my list of favourite destinations and make my booking today.

Booking.com favorites listAnother great way to help returning (but also new visitors) with their booking.

On the other hand (persuasive side) it might deplete my rational part of the brain. I don’t want a list, come on, let’s book.

8. The Envelope: One Message

Booking.com envelope

The envelope persuades me to click and to sign in as a member or to make an account as a potential customer.

It is smart; they might persuade you to book again or get information of potential new customers.

And when you are logged in, they have more information (because they will recognize you) to persuade you with specific elements that have worked in the past.

9. Welcome

A big welcome to new as well as returning visitors. With a main focus on members, they also target new customers:

Booking.com welcomeSign in or sign up. They simply want to pull you into there persuasion/buying funnel as soon as possible.

And even two call to actions for new customers: sign up or Start here (at the bottom).

I could go on for a while, but I think these nine points give you a lot of stuff to think about.

What can you implement on your website to attract and convert more new and returning visitors?

One more important thing: make sure to test every strategy that you want to implement on your website. What works on Booking.com, doesn’t have to work on your website.

Test everything!

Here is a great article you should read: When Conversion Optimization Best Practices Fail.

City Overview Page

Booking.com owns great positons in Google. Their ads often show up at # 1. On the organic side they have nice positions as well.

This causes you to land deeper on their website if you do a relevant search in Google.

I have used the following query in Google.com:

Booking.com hotels Rome Google

Here is the corresponding landing page:

Booking.com Rome pageWe have talked about a lot of things already so I will only concentrate on the new elements here.

10. The Number of Properties (4956)

Again they show that they have a lot of accommodations to offer.

It actually corresponds very well with their ad message which says: “4900 Hotels in Rome”. I am sure they have automated this part of their advertising business.

The most important thing is that people have a choice. It will be rather easy to find a nice place to stay in a desired price range.

11. Search Box Rome

Booking.com Search hotels in RomeIt seems they have two target groups: business and leisure. I can understand it is a good way to split your (potential) customers.

In general, business people have other standards than others.

Besides that there is a Lowest price guarantee statement! Ok, this is nice.

I would recommend to show a link to an underlying page / pop-up that back-ups this claim. And of course they do: here is the link.

12. Popular in Rome

This is another great feature.

They made a list with the most popular elements attached to specific accommodations. So it aids in finding my accommodation quicker.

Booking.com Popular in RomeExample: if I want to stay very close to the Central Station, I can hit that button to directly go to suitable places.

13. Deals, Deals, Deals

What do I see here, three great deal messages:

  • Welcome back. We’ve unlocked the best deals for you – grab one now!
  • Save money in Rome with Get deals button
  • Save at least 20% in Rome pop-up (it is shown on mouse exit)

Price is such an important consideration for people to book.

I can understand that this message (repeating at a few spots) helps them to convert more visitors into bookers.

Property Overview Page

Here is the Rome property overview page (filtered on Central Station accommodations):

Booking.com property overview page

14. Filter by:

The “filter by” area is a great option for those who know what kind of property they like and it helps to easily drill down to just a few suitable options.

15. Great List of Filter Criteria

First of all they have added a clickable overview of the property types and the numbers of properties available in each category.

Then they have separate filter criteria:

Actually, a lot of aspects are connected to social proof elements.

And they know how to play with scarcity as well.

16. Hurry, Hurry (Scarcity)

Do you see the message: “There are X people looking at this hotel.”

Accompanied by: “Latest booking: X minutes ago.”

This works so well in making us want to book instead of waiting.

Please note that it doesn’t tell us that the bookings took place in the same period you are looking to book. Smart guys. ;-)

I won’t mention it as a separate point, but the “love numbers” do well I think (social trust):

Booking.com love numbers17. Trust Labels

There is difference between people that quickly book and people that need more time and information before they book.

In general I belong to the first category since I am a quick decision maker. :-)

For those that need more trust, Booking.com puts a few smart features on the left side:

Booking.com trustAwards and a lot of good reviews bring trust. They do a good job here to also help people that need more trust signs.

In general, these messages are placed a bit lower on the page.

We are getting closer to the actual booking funnel. but let’s take a look at the single property page first.

Single Property Page (First Part of Booking Funnel)

Let’s assume I am interested in one property called Best Western Hotel Universo:

Booking.com Best Western Hotel Universo18. Hurry, Hurry (Scarcity)

And again, we see this message: “There are X people looking at this hotel.”

Accompanied by: “Most recent booking for this property was X minutes ago from X.”

19. Credibility and Trust

At the upper left corner we see a trust symbol. Always good to make us feel comfortable by showing trust signs.

20. Social Proof

There is a carousel-like overview of testimonials. Very handy to find out what people think about a specific hotel. What is good about this place and what are the concerns?

You can click-through to see more reviews and to read them per target group (e.g. couple, family, group of friends).

On the social side they allow you to share this hotel on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. In this industry it is rather common that people share so it’s a good thing to add.

Above the fold it is easy to get an impression of the hotel and whether it might suit your needs.

Big, beautiful pictures attract your emotional brain part.

You have the option to scroll down yourself or to click on the “Reserve” button. By doing so you will automatically scroll down to the rooms that are available:

Booking.com room overview pageAnd again, lots of different elements here. FREE cancellation in green, nice!

21. Message: No booking or credit card fees

Prices play an important role in the booking decision. So this definitely adds value here. And good to tell this upfront so people don’t have to worry about added costs later on.

We all want to book the best hotel for the lowest price.

Then they advertise with Today’s price and put a discount in place. It makes you think the prices might be higher tomorrow.

Again, it keeps you in the mood to quickly book your favourite destination.

22. Scarcity Messages

“We have only X left” and “Just booked”. Again, this helps to persuade people in a quick way and make them book at the first visit.

You don’t want your favourite hotel to be fully booked so please hurry up.

23. Message: Confirmation is immediate

Next to the important call-to-action “Reserve” you see the “Confirmation is immediate” text.

It brings some comfort, because then I know for sure that the hotel will be mine!

For the rest they do a great job with colors to show you the difference between the rooms that are available and for what prices.

There is another important element to share with you.

24. Why to Choose Best Western Hotel Universo

Booking.com Best Western Hotel Universo 3 USPsIt is common and a best practice to place persuasive elements on top of each page. These three reasons help people who hesitate still to convert.

Three extra reasons to book: great prices, easy communication and reviews that matter. It will help to convince some of the hesitators that are among us.

Let’s assume you want to book and you select one of their accommodations:

Booking.com select hotel

Oh man, here we go again. Please see the right side:

  • You got the best price! -> it makes me think I am great
  • Confirmation is immediate
  • FREE cancellation before 8 mar 2015 (just one or two days before my departure, no worries)
  • Breakfast included (yeah!)

A complete package, why shouldn’t I book?

So this page has many “triggers” that improve the chances that you will book.

As you can see, they do a great job to completely persuade you to book in an early stage.

If I take a look at the next steps, we could conclude that they see “Room selection” as the first step in the booking funnel.

Booking Funnel

By now you are probably already persuaded to make a booking. Let’s continue with the last part of our booking journey.

Step 2: Enter Your Details

Booking.com - booking funnel step 2

This page is full of persuading messages to make you convert. I will summarize the main points here.

25. Three Messages on The Left

  • This property is in a good location. Guests have rated it 8.6!
  • You’ve selected a hotel with a guest review score of 8.1
  • 87 guests from the Netherlands have made a booking in the last 5 minutes

These messages are really convincing for a lot of people. Reviews are great, a lot of people from my home country do book via this website. It makes me feel good. It looks like I make the right choice if I book.

The chances that you will book are growing…

26. Message: No payment needed today.

It is great to know that today you don’t have to pay any money. On purpose they show this message in green. It lowers the possible friction level.

27. Your Booking Includes:

Three main USPs from this hotel:

  • Breakfast
  • Free WIFI
  • FREE cancellation

If you can cancel (until the day before departure) for free, there are no worries. People are more easy to make the booking decision.

Of course Booking.com knows that in general the percentage of cancellations is below X percent. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I am sure it is on the lower end.

28. Few More Convincing Lines

  • Your secure booking starts here – it only takes 2 minutes! // convenience and feeling secure
  • No payment needed today. You’ll pay during your stay. // this is what a lot of people like
  • FREE cancellation before 8 March 2015 // I am really at ease now

29. Exit Pop-Up

Even if I dare to leave they do their utmost to keep me in the funnel. This message appears if I hover to the navigation bar:

Exit - Best Western Hotel UniversoAnother smart action here to keep me in the booking funnel. These 33 people are probably not looking to book in the same period. But does everybody know this? ;-)

It creates urgency.

So this message in combination with the last two lines causes anxiety for people that hesitate. What if I don’t book today? Is there still a chance tomorrow?

A few more things:

  • You can sign in if you already have an account or sign up
  • Sign up: they give you a reason to leave your email address and a password
  • Online access to your booking for FREE -> easy way to change or cancel your booking

Step 3: Confirm Your Reservation

This is the final page. It looks almost the same as step 2. This part is different and very important:

Booking.com - final pageIt’s worth checking out these new elements.

30. Authority

“Booking.com is one of the largest and most valuable companies in Amsterdam.”Het PAROOL.

Authority can definitely be a great persuasion technique.

31. Change of Plans?

Again, Booking.com puts you at ease. You can modify your booking or even cancel it at no cost. Why should I worry, right.

32. No Charge of Your Credit Card

There are two similar messages here: they need your CC information to secure the booking.

And your card will not be charged.

33. Faster Future Bookings

They like you to add the CC information to your account. Of course, they tell you it is for your convenience.

On the other hand, they just know there is less friction the next time when you want to book.

There is simply no problem if you left your Credit Card at another place. Still possible to book then.

By people ticking this box, they will improve the CR of returning customers. I am sure about that!

And finally you hit:

Booking.com - final CTAGo ahead to make your booking if you want to see the “thank you page”.

One more happy customer! :-)

This is my experience on the Booking.com website. I hope you have enjoyed my journey as much as I did.

10 Important Learnings

  • Booking.com does a tremendous job in persuading you to book.
  • Their homepage combines attractive elements for both new as well as returning visitors/customers.
  • No matter where you enter the website, they know which persuasive elements work and which don’t.
  • They build up a profile of all their customers and use it for future targeting efforts.
  • Behavioural targeting on the individual level requires you to “recognize” your website visitors -> learn how to implement user IDs in Google Analytics).
  • Additionally, they make effective use of on exit pop-ups to keep you on the website / in the funnel.
  • Attractive prices in combination with FREE cancellation are the most prominent persuasive elements they use on the website.
  • The most important elements are repeated on almost every page in the booking process.
  • You never have the best version of your website live; always keep on testing!
  • Don’t overly concentrate on investing in traffic, optimize your website and conversions as well.

In short, Booking.com provides you with valuable lessons on what to optimize, why, where and how.

Remember to test everything and don’t simply replicate what another company does.

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Segments in Google Analytics: Update User Interface

Another great update in Google Analytics: the segments building UI is renewed!

In this short post I elaborate on the benefits of the new interface and how it can help you with your optimization efforts.

Yesterday Peter O’Neill sent a tweet about this change:

Tweet new segment UII have built an example segment to show you how it looks:

New UI segmentsExample Segment: Newsletter Subscribers

I have targeted the sessions where the number of newsletter subscriptions doesn’t equal 0.

In other words, it selects the sessions where the user did subscribe to my newsletter.

Why is this new interface better than before?

1. Immediately Reveals Segment Details

In the former interface we had to click preview segments to see what part of your sessions did fall in the defined segment.

There is no need to do that anymore!

Now, it directly and visually reveals the number of users that fall into the defined segment.

It’s great if you just want to test a few segments before saving them.

2. Main Focus on Users, Sessions are Secondary

As you can see, there are two numbers here:

  • 2.00% of users
  • 1.71% of sessions

Of course, the ideal future would be that we can connect all sessions from one particular user. No matter which device, browser etc. I think we still have a long way to go to get there.

However, it is clear that Google Analytics likes you to focus on the biggest nummer: users.

If you think in terms of conversions, an example:

“Peter visits your website two times, one time today and one time tomorrow. During his second visit (session) he converts and buys your brand new flat TV.”

My question:

“Is the conversion rate of this particular person 50% or 100%?”

Well, it actually depends on how to calculate this number.

Based on sessions it would be 50%. It you calculate the conversion rate on the user level it would be 100%.

This example illustrates how important it is to interprete numbers in the correct way.

3. Collaborate with Other Users

Another great improvement is that you can more easily share segments with other users:

Segment availability

Default option: I can apply/edit Segment in any View

(if you have more websites/clients in your Google Analytics account I don’t recommend to use this option in most cases. The example of the newsletter subscriber is not useful for other websites with different settings; this segment would simply return 0 then).

My preferred option: I can apply/edit Segment in this View

New option: Collaborators and I can apply/edit Segments in this View

(if you have control over the users who have access to your GA account and on what level, this might be a great choice. As the text in yellow says, it makes it more easy to share the segments and derive great insights. You can effectively analyze and optimize with your team. If you are not sure, set the user access level to Read & Analyze)

I hope this information helps you to more effectively work with segments in Google Analytics.

I recommend to read these posts if you need more information on this topic:

Best of luck!

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#GAtips: Automate Google Analytics Data Export

You can derive great insights through the Google Analytics interface, but in my opinion it’s definitely limited.

Do you want to have a suboptimal conversion rate? I don’t think so. :-)

You surely want to get more customers, everybody does.

Standard GA reports are a good place to start your analysis and optimization efforts.

Three basic reports you should take a look at:

  1. Goals/transactions per traffic source
  2. Landing page effectiveness (bounce rate, conversion rate)
  3. Goals/transactions per device type

I love to start with this one:

Goals vs Traffic Source

You can get a good understanding of the performance of your website through these reports. In this case I show the organic traffic sources and their effectiveness.

Note: first you need to make sure your goals are correctly configured in Google Analytics.

However, you just hit the surface if you only concentrate on the basic reports that are available in Google Analytics.

I explained about the strength of custom reports a few weeks ago.

Often you need to dig even deeper to find the golden optimization opportunities you are looking for.

That’s when exporting data comes in handy or actually is a must.

Tip 9: Automate Your Google Analytics Data Export

You can export your Google Analytics data in different ways.

I will explain more about three methods.

Manual Data Export in Google Analytics

In almost every report there is a nice little Export button on top. It helps you to export the data in different formats. Most often people export to PDF or CSV/XLSX.

Export function in Google Analytics

The PDF format works well if you need to send a quick data overview to someone.

CSV/XLSX is often used if you want to transform the data into a dashboard or Excel report.

After you get more experience in this field, you probably realize the export function in Google Analytics is often not enough.

It’s ok if you just need a single row of data. When you need a lot of different data queries, it takes too much of your valuable time.

Happily there are more efficient ways to export the data. Automation rocks!

Automation via Google Sheets Add-On

The Google Sheets Add-on is a great help in exporting data queries. The good news is that this one is completely FREE!

Make sure to check these two links:

How it Works

1. First you have to add the Google Analytics add-on to Google Sheets (in my case it is already installed).

Add Google Analytics add-on

2. After the new add-on is visible you can create your first report.

Paul demo - create new report

3. Fill in some basic information and the metrics/dimensions you wish to export and import here.

Paul demo - details new report

You need to add/select a couple of things on the screen above:

  • Report name
  • Google Analytics Account name
  • Google Analytics Property name
  • Google Analytics View name
  • One or more metrics
  • One or more dimensions

4. Add a report name and hit Run reports on the next screen.

Paul demo - run reports5. And your report is right here!

Paul demo - demo report

6. And as a final step you can schedule your report.

Paul demo - schedule reportsIn this tutorial I have showed you how to build a basic report.

There are a lot of other options, but it a good practice to start with simple queries.

Learn more about it here:  Google Analytics Reference Guide. This guide will show you what functions to put in every field.

Further you need to learn more about metrics and dimensions in Google Analytics. They are the building stones of all of your reports, analysis and optimization efforts.

Besides that you might want to experiment with building automated dashboards in Google Sheets.

Automation via Supermetrics

There are certainly more options to automate your Google Analytics data export.

I recommend to consider Supermetrics and find out whether it suits your needs.

This application is on my recommended Analytics tool list as well.

You currently have a few different options within Supermetrics:

Supermetrics Data Grabber (easy-to-use report automation tool for Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook, Bing Ads, Twitter, YouTube & Google Webmaster Tools).

Testimonial Supermetrics Data GrabberNote: there is a 14 day trial with full functionality. After that period you can get the Google Analytics module for around $40 a month.

Supermetrics for Google Docs (add-on that turns Google Docs into a full-blown business reporting system for web analytics, social media and online marketing).

Note: there is a both a free and pro version available. When you first start using the add-on, you get a free trial period for the pro version.

Supermetrics Uploader (imports advertising cost data from any source into Google Analytics).

By using this tool you can better measure advertising ROI and save time. All the metrics and outcomes in one system! Prices depend on the number of uploads.

Supermetrics Functions (most flexible way of getting your business metrics into Excel and Google Spreadsheet; for advanced Excel users).

Testimonial Supermetrics FunctionsIf you have well developed skills in Excel, this is certainly an option to consider. And it is cheaper than Supermetrics Data Grabber. Currently their Google Analytics module is priced three times lower: less than $15 a month.

It goes into too much depth for now to explain the complete functionality of all these tools.

However, I hope you see the possibilities to automate your data export (and dashboards) and save time for analysis and optimization.

“Data functions as input, but it shouldn’t be your outcome.”

Just a couple of days ago, Supermetrics had a great message for all of us.

Please see the tweet below:

Retweet SupermetricsData sampling is a nightmare for many web analysts. Especially if you dive into large buckets of data. A topic for another time!

Happy analyzing and optimizing!

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Case Study: Why Every Web Analyst Should Build an Online Business

You can read a lot of books, online articles, watch educational videos or even hear so-called gurus talk at the world’s best analytics conference.

It is a good start if you want to grow your knowledge and become a great web analyst.

And I definitely recommend to invest time in here.

practicing skillsHowever, real experience comes from practicing the skills you have learned.

Your daily job will lead you in the right direction, but there is more.

That’s why I recommend that you start an online business.

I could name it a website, but that would probably not draw as much attention. ;-)

Most Important Strategy

I know too many people who keep on reading and dreaming about what they like, could have, should do… That’s ok to a certain extent, but sometimes it is better to take an actual step forward.

Do you know your life purpose? Is there anything you like to achieve?

If you feel like what the heck is he talking about, just read this article about discovering your dharma. Sometimes it helps to put data in context. :-)

Let’s get back on topic.

In my opinion, setting up an online business might be the best step you could take in your web analytics career.

Are you working as an online marketer? No worries, this advice applies to you as well.

I don’t say you should own a big E-commerce shop or write about web analytics itself.

Setting up a simple website where you are fully in control is a huge win. You can always expand it later on.

Don’t Depend on Others

You might work fulltime at a small or big company. Or do you have a lot of variety in your work as a consultant or freelancer? It doesn’t actually matter.

In 99% of the cases you simply can’t do everything that you like. Or are you that lucky person who is allowed to implement every tool you like and play with it?

Just be open to your employer since this can be a real win-win.

Well, in my case I felt from the beginning that I needed more freedom to practice.

I simply wanted to improve a broad range of skills that was hard to manifest via one “ordinary” job.

In 2008 I was already thinking about developing websites myself. It wasn’t until 2010 when I took action.

Two Niche Websites That Brought Me a Lot

Ever since I was a young kid, I am very interested in sports, all things outdoor and analyzing/optimizing all kind of processes.

A short overview of my “sports career”:

  • Soccer (age: 6 – 17)
  • Tennis (age: 18 – 23)
  • Running (age: 23 – 30); finished three marathons and that’s enough for me
  • Hiking/walking (all my life); Summit Kilimanjaro in 2008
  • Cycling (all my life)
  • Yoga (age 31 – … )
  • Meditation (age 31 – … )

What’s the pattern?

It seems I have transitioned from very active sports to more relaxing ones over the last few years. :-)

This brings me at my first two projects/websites.

Marathon Running Website (December 2010)

Four years ago, after succesfully running three marathons, I was inspired to set up my first website.

I did work together with a keyword research specialist to explore the marathon landscape. We found out there was a huge opportunity to build a “marathon training” related website.

The success formula was: knowledge + passion + lots of opportunities.

It took some time to develop the website, using a tool called Site Build It!.

The website still exists and contains over 150 pages. The content was written by myself and partly outsourced.

At it’s peak I ranked #5 on “marathon training” (Google.com). Not bad I think!

Unfortunately, on the way to the top something happened…

Traffic results:

Marathon website stats

Learnings

  • How to develop a website in SBI!
  • How to transfer a website from one CMS to another (WordPress)
  • What works in SEO and what not
  • How to implement Google Analytics and measure macro and micro goals
  • How to use Google+ and Twitter to drive extra targeted traffic
  • How to build a list (although I didn’t use it)
  • How to monetize a website
  • How to optimize AdSense income per page and keyword
  • How to analyze and optimize different traffic channels
  • How to use a lot of different (free) tools to gain extra insights
  • How to outsource parts of an online business via Needanarticle.com and Fiverr.com
  • How to communicate/write effectively

In short, I didn’t care about this site being hit by Google. I just learned a ton new things and tools.

Contact me for more detailed information about this “Marathon Training” project.

Protein Powder Website (July 2013)

This one was more like a challenge. How could I grow an Amazon affiliate website as quickly as possible without being penalized (directly)?

I have educated myself in keyword research through using lots of different keyword tools and marketing research in the past.

Long Tail Pro is a phenomenal keyword research tool that I recommend to everyone. It’s on my tools recommendation page as well.

After I thoroughly had researched different topics, I came up with a new idea: protein powder.

I don’t use it and will probably never use it, but this niche is *HOT* and quite competitive.

Well, I was convinced that I could rank in this market.

This time I would approach it a bit more careful. But, like I said, I was on a mission. :-)

Traffic results:

Protein powder websiteOh boy, I did it again!

I went from white hat to grey and finally a few black hat tricks. And my website got tanked again, thanks Google. ;-)

Monetization Model

This time I spend more time on the monetization part.

My main reasons for setting this one up were: having fun and learning new things to grow my skillset further!

Amazon modelAnother screenshot to show you what I had accomplished:

Protein powder - Bounce Rate and CR

My website visitors did either bounce or convert into clicks to Amazon.

20% of my website visitors click through to Amazon. Based on my experience I can say that Amazon converts 5 to 10% into products sold if you send targeted (pre-qualified) traffic.

Learnings

  • How to derive the best learnings from your data
  • How to develop a website in WordPress
  • What works in SEO and what not
  • Why an online business should never rely on Google (SEO) alone
  • How to build a website that contains a good balance of informational, transactional and navigational queries
  • How to monetize a website through Amazon
  • How to optimize call-to-actions on landing pages
  • How to automate optimization efforts
  • How to analyze and optimize different traffic channels
  • How to use a lot of different (free) tools to gain extra insights
  • How to outsource different parts of an online business
  • Lots of different other new skills

In short, another great experience under my online marketing and analytics belt.

Contact me for more detailed information about this “Protein Powder” project.

OnlineMetrics: My Future (December 2012)

Two years ago I decided to share my knowledge and passion on an online platform: Online-Metrics.com was founded.

After two niche website experiences I know now that I really like to provide value instead of just building websites to rank and earn money.

However, I feel I made the right choice in setting up these niche websites as well. This investment has improved a lot of my skills that would otherwise not have been possible to achieve.

Future Plans

First of all, I enjoy consulting companies in the Analytics and Optimization field.

OnlineMetrics is a great passion and I am determined to grow this one into an authority site (completely white hat of course ;-)).

I already have met a lot of interesting people on the globe via OnlineMetrics and this number keeps on growing.

My plans… well, a lot of things come into my mind:

  • More in-depth content; besides short, actionable tips
  • How to videos; YouTube channel
  • (Monthly) newsletter
  • Podcasts
  • (e)Books
  • Online courses

Let’s see what the future holds for me.

At a minimum I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. And do you see the value of building an online business (or running a simple blog)?

Once again, it really helps to boost your web analytics skills and online marketing experience in general.

And you know what, writing is fun! At least for me.

If anything is on your mind, please bring it up and add some extra value to this post.

I am sure you will love my new eBook if you enjoyed reading this article!

It contains 100 actionable tips to grow your online business.

Analytics & Optimization Tips eBook and Free Updates

(Your email address is 100% safe with us)

Top 10 Articles on OnlineMetrics in 2014

The end of year is approaching and I have really enjoyed writing articles on Analytics and Conversion Optimization in the last twelve months.

It’s great to interact with you on my blog and the different social platforms that are out there.

And I am even more happy if you have derived great insights to grow your online business.

top 10 articlesThis is a compilation of the top 10 (most shared/liked) articles on my blog in 2014. Make sure to check them out!

10: Ten Simple Ways Multivariate Testing Can Boost eCommerce Sales

Learn how to set up multivariate testing for eCommerce sites. 10 examples of elements to test to improve your sales numbers.

Author: Owen Sondergaard

9: How to Analyze a Conversion Rate Drop in 8 Steps

Learn how to effectively analyze conversion rate drops and stay ahead of your competition. 8 steps for getting back on track!

Author: Paul Koks

8: Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics Integrations

Top 10 set of Google Analytics integrations! Learn how to integrate different tools with Google Analytics and improve your skills.

Author: Paul Koks

7: Goals vs. E-Commerce Transactions in Google Analytics

Ultimate guide to analytics goals vs. e-commerce in Google Analytics. Learn all about the strengths and limitations of both metrics and reports.

Author: Paul Koks

6: Top 8 Web Analytics Education Options

Overview of the best web analytics education options to advance your digital career. Take your time to find the best suitable option.

Author: Paul Koks

5: How to Use Google Analytics Annotations for Better Insights

Discover all about Google Analytics annotations and how to use them. Keep track of everything that might impact your business!

Author: Paul Koks

4: Top 10 Skills of a Great Web Analyst

Discover the most important skills to cultivate as a Web Analyst. Enhance your Web Analytics career and move towards greatness!

Author: Paul Koks

3: 31 Insights from a Great Conference: Conversion Hotel 2014

Read about all the great insights from CRO conference Conversion Hotel in The Netherlands. 31 Learnings your can directly apply to your business!

Author: Paul Koks

2: How to Effectively Set Up Segments

How to effectively set up segments and keep your Google Analytics account in a good shape. Segmentation is key!

Author: Paul Koks

1: Top 20 Google Analytics Blogs in 2014

Do you want to improve your skills in Google Analytics and related areas? Make sure to read these top Google Analytics blogs from today!

Author: Paul Koks

Thank you for listening, all the best and see you again in 2015!

I am sure you will love my new eBook if you enjoyed reading this article!

It contains 100 actionable tips to grow your online business.

Analytics & Optimization Tips eBook and Free Updates

(Your email address is 100% safe with us)