Recap: Build, Analyze & Optimize with Google

March 21st, 2013  by Lyndon Johnson    1 Comment    Tags: , , ,

If you build it, they will come [sic]

My first time at Girl Geeks in Toronto was a revelation. I wasn’t sure what to expect having been invited by fellow Brit and steering committee member Emma Logue, but I figured that it’d be fun to find out what goes on at a #GirlGeeksTO event. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that the fact that it was being held at Google Canada’s Toronto HQ sealed the deal. The first thing to say is that the name ‘Girl Geeks’ is perhaps a little misleading – sure there were 100+ girls in the room [and a few non-girls too], but first and foremost they are geeks. Girl, are they geeks!

girl geeks at google

The first presentation was by Ali Honarvar, demoing developer tools for Chrome and how they can be used to build and modify webpages. I’ll admit, I’m not a programmer so only understood one in every three words, but the tools, including the AngularJS framework, seemed pretty cool. Ali joked that JavaScript was a “very bad” programming language and, “was probably developed in two weeks.” Despite my lack of understanding, it was a refreshing change to see a live demo, rather than a static PowerPoint presentation – Ali didn’t just talk about how the tools could be used, he showed us. At the end of his session there were very few questions – a sign that those that understood had much to think about – and those that didn’t, hadn’t a clue what to ask!

Next up was Google’s Hanoi Marillo who explained how you maximize the value of your website once you’ve built it. The main message from Hanoi was that data is a website-owners best friend. It helps you understand the who, what, where, when and why of the traffic to your site and, going full circle, enables you make the modifications to a site that will ensure that it delivers the outcomes you’re looking for.

Hanoi Morillo

Key elements of web traffic analysis are, Hanoi explained:

      • Defining objectives and setting KPIs
      • Asking lots of questions of your website traffic data
      • Understanding the efficiency of each page [how well does it deliver a defined objective]
      • Knowing how visitors got to your site and the path they take through it
      • Review success against objectives regularly [so that you can make changes that improve a sites performance]

The other key take away from the second half of the evening is the importance of mobile, both in terms of optimizing a webpage for users on smartphones and tablets and to understand that these devices now form a large percentage of all web traffic. Morillo showed the site of a Spanish clothing retailer [with global reach] and said how disappointed she was with their mobile site. She also shared a story of a meeting she had with a mainstream brand that quickly developed a mobile site within weeks of being shown a mobile tracking report. The times, as they say, are changing!!

Lyndon JohnsonLyndon is a recovering broadcaster turned public relations and marketing strategist. He’s CEO of THINK DIFFERENT[LY], a company that offers entrepreneurs an alternative to the traditional retainer model. He can be contacted at lyndon @ thinkdifferently.ca and tweets as @THINK_Lyndon

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