Participating in trends that matter to your customers can attract significant website traffic, but knowing what trends to follow (or even how to interact with those trends) is a difficult task.
In January of this year, Practical eCommerce published a column about developing customer-centric web content as link bait. In that column, I suggested providing content on your site that goes beyond product detail pages or even product demonstration and usage. I encouraged site owners to publish how-to articles, informational articles, and other useful content. You can also follow trends by posting to microblogging sites or social media networking sites, all the while linking back to your store.
As a follow up, in this “PeC Traffic Report,” I am going to show you four web tools that can help you identify trends that could be important to your store’s potential customers. Knowing what your target audience is reading, doing, or thinking can help guide you as you decide what to post on your own site or on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Tangle. In turn, when you post relevant articles or supplementary content on your store or link back to your store from social media sites, you will boost your site traffic.
Google Insights for Search
Providing direct access to Google’s search query data, Google Insights for Search will show you relative search volumes for keyword phrases. You can use this tool to uncover trends that you can participate in on your site or via social media. As a specific example, earlier this year, I used Insights for Search to analyze the trend in search volume for coupons.
A merchant that found the coupon trend on Insights could, for example, write a blog post about the trend and how her online store was responding to it; create a coupon landing page that included a list of all of the site’s current deals; or even post about the trend on Twitter, Yammer, or Facebook with a link back to the deal page on her store.
Compete’s Site Analytics Trend Tracker
A powerful tool that allows you to monitor trends on your own site or your competitors’ stores is Compete’s Site Analytics. It can help you discover what store content is already creating buzz on your site, on Amazon, or on just about any other online store you care to track.
As an example, you could use this Compete tool to find out which categories on Amazon.com are generating the most traffic, and add related content to your own store or even use one of Amazon’s merchant solutions to promote your products on its site.
Tinker.com for Monitoring Twitter Streams
Tinker.com organizes Twitter’s conversation streams around news, events, or topics of interest. Effectively giving you a tool to discover what millions of twits (as I like to call those who tweet on Twitter) are interested in.
You can even look at trends over time, taking note of the ebb and flow as it relates to holidays or other events that can impact shopping habits.
The tool can provide excellent ideas for site content. For example, one of the hot Twitter topics that Tinker uncovered this week was Apple executive Steve Jobs return to work after a long illness-related absence. An online merchant that sold iPod accessories, as an example, could offer a “Steve’s Back” blog post, publish a “Steve’s Back” coupon or special offer, and/or tweet about Steve’s return. All of these tactics have the potential to drive more site traffic.
Grader for Facebook, Twitter
A service of software company, HubSpot, Grader.com provides a relative ranking of Twitter or Facebook users. This data is important for identifying thought leaders and trendsetters in your industry.
As an example, Shawna Fennell, a Yahoo! store developer and Practical eCommerce blogger, has a 99.92 out of 100 grade, demonstrating that she is an ecommerce leader. Looking at her posts can help us identify hot topics in ecommerce specific to Yahoo! that in turn make great fodder for web content.
Today, I have provided information about one step (find trends to talk about) in creating great site content that attracts potential customers, increasing sales and web traffic. And I have provided links to four good web tools that can help you do just that.