Best small business tools

Every business has their own strategies and tools to achieve goals and performance. There are millions of new apps and software being built from accounting software to simple infographic tools. We did a bit of digging and found some small business tools, we think are great and you may like as well! Intercom Intercom is a customer messaging platform, which allows companies to communicate with their clients in a way that’s ‘simple, personal, and fun for everyone’. They have a few internal tools to make communication easier, including a live chat, marketing automation, and customer support. These allow you to chat with visitors while they’re on your website so you can convert them right away, you can onboard and retain customers through emails, push and in-app messages, and customers can ask for help in your app by email or social. So Intercom has done wonders for communications! We investigated more, and they’ve done a little more... They offer books that help companies communicate better and luckily for you, you can check them out here! At Littledata, we’ve integrated Intercom into our web app to allow clients to contact us directly in their own time, and for us to send important updates. Read more about it in our blog post: New In Littledata! Xero Xero is a ‘beautiful accounting software’ that gives you a real-time view of your cashflow. It’s set up in the cloud, so you’re able to login anytime, anywhere and from any device. It’s the best way to get paid faster; you can send invoices directly to your customers online, and get updates when they’re opened. As Xero says, “it’s a small business accounting software that’s simple, smart and occasionally magical”. Here’s a wonderful and insightful video of how it works: To give you real customer feedback, Xero has a few stories that give you insights into why small business have used them. Think it’s a branding source for Xero? Nope. They’ve taken the soul of these companies and created videos to showcase thriving businesses. Some testimonials include getting up to speed on financials with no number-crunching, bringing tech and craft together, efficiency and transparency, and more. Trello Trello is an ‘easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage’ projects and organise anything. It’s used by many companies from all over the world for many different reasons. Not only can you visualise a whole company, but you can personalise the boards to your company branding, making it your own. Through Trello boards, you can keep track of clients, assign tasks to individuals, move projects along a path, customise your approach, and more. It’s the perfect small business tool to help you visualise your progress. At Littledata, we’ve created numerous boards based on different aspects of our business from development to marketing, which allows us to work better as a team. Skype Skype is a communication application that ‘keeps the world talking, for free’. It’s a perfect small business tool to not only keep in contact internationally, but you can create group calls among team members with both internally and to remote teams. Over the past few years, Skype has evolved bringing more efficient communication to companies and individuals. You’re not only able to call Skype to Skype, but you can have group calls, call phones anywhere in the world, and trust us, at a much lower rate, and you can screen share, which simplifies training or calls. At Littledata, we currently use Skype to communicate within our London office when working remotely and to share documents, and we use it to keep up to date with our Romanian office. Through weekly meetings and constant updates, we’re able to know how to efficiently help one another and work as a team, regardless of the time zone. Meetup ‘Meetups are neighbours getting together to learn something, do something, share something...;’. It’s the world’s largest network of local groups, making it easier for anyone to organise groups based on common interests. It’s a perfect small business tool, helping people around the world organise themselves to make a difference. As a business you can create groups to showcase your product, giving potential clients a more personal contact, while taking advantage of Meetup’s vast audience. Not only can you use it for business purposes, but there are numerous creative groups from badminton, marketing analytics to cultural groups. Canva Canva empowers the world through design by giving individuals an easy-to-use program for creating beautiful designs and documents. Whether you’re using one of their professional layouts or creating one yourself, you’ll always be showing off stunning graphics, that are simply created through their drag-and-drop feature. You’re not only able to create flyers and banners, but magazine covers, CVs, business cards, and even social media graphics. Canva provides perfect sizing to make all of your designs perfect for any online profile. Not only do they give you different options, but you can add all those cool extras, such as fonts, shapes, and filters. Fireshot You can use the business tool, Fireshot to take screenshots with a few clicks. It gives you different options, including selections, entire web pages, and the visible part of a website. This tool saves time, and allows you to customise by performing quick edits, add text annotation, choose the format of the file, and there are different options to keeping the file. At Littledata, we use this strategy to take screenshots of our web app, which helps us in writing our blog posts to show our clients, and people needing Google Analytics information. It basically helps us promote ourselves! Dropbox Dropbox gives people a trustworthy and secure approach to managing their files. It ‘simplifies the way you create, share, and collaborate’. With a simple download, businesses can have access to all company files from anywhere, bringing teams together constantly. This is a great tool for small businesses as it’s inexpensive, it works with all email providers, and you have an unlimited amount of space. Zoho CRM Zoho CRM ‘empowers the teams and businesses that use it’. It offers insights into running your business, an easy-to-use program, and a solution to processes. It combines good practices, smart choices, and ideal situations into a customised business tool. This business tool is great for small businesses who want to keep track of their sales and manage their client relationships. It allows for custom layouts that make it easy to tailor different approaches to getting more leads or accounts. For the amount of flexibility, Zoho CRM is inexpensive and their customer support is great in helping determine the perfect layout for your business needs. AnswerThePublic AnswerThePublic captures individual’s questions and gives you an aggregated view into motivations and emotions. They basically developed a mind-reading platform that gives topics for content, allowing for new conversations and direct answers to the public’s questions! Here’s a fun video on how this business tool works: The Seeker Littledata Our web app gives you simple and actionable insights into your website’s performance by wading through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends. Our goal is to give you summarised reports that matter based on your goals and priorities. You can find out more about specifics in our blog post: A guide to reporting in Littledata’s web app. We also offer some great freebies! These include a free 30-day pro trial or an audit. With the trial, you get access to pro reporting, where you can see intricate details of significant analytics. With the audit, you get a list of recommendations for how to improve your tracking, which we can set up for you and provide further analytics support. Want more info? Contact one of our wonderful experts! We’re a business tool that allows you to get more from your Google Analytics. Grasping the data can be overwhelming so we’d like to remove that stress and help you look at trends that matter. Our web app does the hard work for you by finding important data, so you just need to look at the app or wait for important alerts that you receive by email! Have any other great business tools? Why not let us know in the comments below! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date with Google Analytics. Further reading: Inspirational stories of data A guide to reporting in Littledata's web app Image credit: Image courtesy Intercom, Xero, Trello, Skype, Meetup, Canva, Fireshot, Zoho CRM, AnswerThePublic

2016-09-28

An (updated) guide to reporting in Littledata's web app

Littledata’s web app gives you simple and actionable insights into your website's performance. Our app scours through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends, in order to give you summarised reports, alerts on significant changes, custom reports and benchmarks against competitor sites.       This guide will give you the ins-and-outs of how we generate those important reports that help you make decisions in driving your business. Here’s a glimpse of what’s below: Free core reporting for unlimited users How to authorise access to your Google Analytics data Picking the right Google Analytics view for reporting Our range of reporting features, including custom reports and industry benchmarks How to check significant changes and page trends Long-term tracking and reporting You’ve signed up - what are the benefits? So you’ve now signed up and you’re ready to get started… but what are the benefits of signing up? Well… You’re getting automated reporting, meaning our web app looks through all of your Google Analytics reports to find significant changes. There are over 100 of them, so it will save you a lot of time not having to look through these manually. We split these findings across 5 different sections so you know quickly what you can find under each. We help you keep your data clean by looking for spam referrals. This has been a common problem for a while and a fix can be complex to set up. So we’ve created a feature that does it automatically for you (or you just need to approve it when you see it). If you get new spam referrals, we’ll spot these and let you know again. We’re also benchmarking your site against other websites, so you know where you have a competitive advantage and where you don’t. On top of all these goodies, there’s no installation needed so you get access to our web app right away! We recently updated a few important aspects of our app and you can read all about them in our blog post: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more. Accessing your Google Analytics data As a Google Analytics user, you will already be sending data to Google every time someone interacts with your website or app. Google Analytics provides an API, where our app can query this underlying data and provide you with summary reports. During the signup, you would have seen an authorisation window, asking for permission to view your Google Analytics data. This means you granted us READ access. Be assured, that we will not be able to change any data or settings in your Google Analytics. Your data is viewed only by the algorithms in the web app. You pick which Google Analytics view to report on Once you’ve authorised the access, you will select the Google Analytics view that you want to set up reporting for. Some companies will have multiple views set up for a particular website. They might have subtly different data – for example, one excludes traffic from company offices or focuses on the blog traffic only – so pick the most appropriate one. If you’ve made a mistake in choosing your view or want to set up another one, don’t worry, you can always do it by clicking on the existing view in the top-right corner and selecting the option ‘set up another site’ from the drop-down menu! During the initial signup, we ask for an email where you want to get your alerts. This is because a lot of people don’t necessarily use the same email address to access Google Analytics and check their emails. Don’t worry… we’re not going to spam you, we just want to make sure you don’t miss any of your reports! When you get to the reports list, you might see something like this: Now, don’t be sad if you’re not seeing anything quite yet - we’re still checking and will only let you know when there’s something interesting to check. Just be sure to check back or wait for an email alert from your talented expert! Google Analytics Audit The first thing that we are going to analyse is your setup, in order to see what is working on your website and what is not working properly. There are more than 10 Google Analytics checks that we are verifying. The audit is almost instant and it will give you an idea about what is happening throughout your website. For each correct check, there will be provided a brief description and the dates when it was verified, whereas for the wrong checks there will be a guide on how to fix that issue and also the dates when it was found as faulty setup. Some of the checks include aspects about demographics tracking, excluding spammers, checkout steps, visitors' anonymity, campaign tagging on social and email, exclusion of company traffic, if conversion goals are set up and many other. If you ever have doubts regarding what to do or where to check, you can book a free 30 minutes consultation with our experts. They will offer guidance to set up your account in order to have accurate reporting. Dashboard If you are tired of getting complicated graphs and endless tables, our dashboard will be exactly what you need. This feature will present a clear picture of your online business performance through graphs and stats reporting the most important metrics for your website. Don't forget to set the metrics that best apply to your business from the settings page (see below more details). One of the advantages of the smart dashboard is the ability to compare the current day/week/month with a previous date range. This feature will allow you to contrast the metrics that matter to you in order to target adds or marketing campaigns in periods that generate profit for you. Custom reports Our consultants can create for you easy-to-understand custom reports that reflect the traffic or transactions from your website. The numbers are transformed into tables, pie-charts and graphs that can be interpreted by anyone in your team.   We created some general custom reports - conversion rate by channel or by device, changes in landing page value, product category revenue and purchases by blog post. You can choose one of those custom reports or have us create something entirely new for you. Either way, we review every new custom report by hand to ensure proper setup and accurate data. Free users get one basic custom report with setup by our team of experts. Pro users can take advantage of all custom report templates and even work with our consultants to create something new. Accuracy guaranteed – link to prices. Benchmarks Here, you’ll find the performance of your web analytics compared with aggregated data from other companies. You will be able to compare your web performance, conversion rate, bounce rates and more to a benchmark, which is created by analysing more than 3000 other websites. The data is gathered anonymously from Google Analytics to give you insight into how your digital product or online marketing is performing. For example, you can find out how you compare (whether above or below median) to other websites and adjust your campaigns in order to generate growth. Alerts    This report shows you trends in your data and includes in-app alerts. It will highlight significant changes, giving you details into what they mean and what to investigate. You can always customise the notifications that we will send via email from the settings section. Get the most out of your reporting - adjust your settings We’ve got a few important sections in your settings that we’d like to highlight, to make sure your reporting runs smoothly! First, adjust your revenue settings based on your website’s income generation. This will allow you to receive accurate alerts about how changes in your traffic affected your income. This will be done automatically if you have an enhanced ecommerce setup in your Google Analytics account. Second, you have your metrics and your segments, where you can select which reports you want to see based on the standard, predefined metrics or segments in Google Analytics. This will help you define your goals and see the relevant reports necessary to increase performance. Lastly, you notifications settings, where you can set up  email alert frequency or recipients. In this way to can always be informed and also be able to share with your team the important alerts regarding changes in your website. You always have the option of adjusting this at any time. But, we recommend you get this setup, as this will allow you to get the most relevant reports for your company. You can find this section by pressing the settings icon in the top-right corner of your screen, and then clicking report preferences. Every day we look for significant changes and trending pages There are over 100 Google Analytics reports and our clever algorithm scans through all of them, finding the most interesting changes to highlight. We recently improved that algorithm, and luckily for you, you can read all about how we made the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see. It’s been live since August, giving you fewer distractions and more significant alerts tailored to your company’s goals. Every morning (around 4am local time) our app fetches your traffic data from the previous period – broken down into relevant segments, like mobile traffic from organic search – and compares it against a pattern from the previous day, week, or month depending on the type of report. This isn’t just signalling whether a metric has changed – web traffic is unpredictable and changes every day (scientists call this ‘noise’). We are looking for how likely a specific value was out of line with the recent pattern. We are selective about the reports you see in the interface so we’ve set up the algorithm to find changes in trends in which we are 95% sure of the importance of the change. But to adjust which changes you actually get alerted to, you can change the significance to be much more limiting, like 98% or 99%, so that you get email alerts only in those cases We also use smiley faces to help you see quickly which changes are good or bad. If you’re particularly interested in “bad” things happening in your traffic to address potential issues, then you should look out for red sad faces to help you pinpoint these reports on the list. We email the most significant changes to you Every day – but only if you have significant changes – we generate a summary email, with the highest priority reports you should look at. An example change might be that 'the bounce rate from natural search traffic is down by 8% yesterday’ or 'the worst performing mobile device resulted in 59 fewer engaged visits'. If you usually get a consistent bounce rate for natural / organic search traffic, and one day that changes, then you should investigate why. Need to change your email settings? You can always adjust the frequency or add more colleagues so they can stay on top of the changes. If the reports you get are not the ones you need, based on your goals, remember you can always adjust your settings! Every Sunday or first of the month, we look for changes Every week (Sunday) or month (first of the month) we look for long-term trends – which are only visible when comparing the last week with the previous week. You should get more alerts on a Sunday. If you have a site with under 10,000 visits a month, you are likely to see more changes week-by-week then day-by-day. Already signed up? Login and check the setup of your reports. Need help with the process or have any questions? We’re always available to help, whether you need help with existing reports, need help finding the best reports for your company, are interested in the reports we’re currently working on and/or want us to provide feedback. Feel free to contact one of our experts or ask them in the web app. We hope you enjoy the web app and all of the wonderful reports and insights included! Happy analysing! This blog post was last updated in June 2017.  Further reading: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see 9 tips for marketers using Google Analytics

2016-09-15

Inspirational stories of data

We’ve been searching high and low for some of those feel-good stories to bring you a little joy and we found the perfect data stories to put you in a good mood! Mike Schmoker said it well: “Things get done only if the data we gather can inform and inspire those in a position to make a difference.” Here are the stories that inspired us, making a difference in our lives. And if you like data as much as we do, trust us, you’re going to love these! The Dear Data project  We recently came across this fun project, Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, about sharing their personal data, as pen pals. Dear Data, is a year-long endeavour of two designers living in different parts of the world, creating a friendship that will last a lifetime. They collected and hand-drew their personal data, sending it to each other in the form of postcards. With social media being the forefront of conversations these days, this beautiful story helps bring back the nostalgia of communication. If this doesn’t give you chills, we don’t know what will! What they did Every week, for a year, they collected and measured some sort of data about their lives through drawings. Each recipient would be given a code to decipher the picture. They used postcards to express themselves, and you can see a beautiful example below: Spirit of Alan Turing Now here’s a story that’s a little different, bringing the wonders of art and data together. There’s a new installation in Paddington commemorating Alan Turing, a computer pioneer and codebreaker that was born in 1912. The piece of public art shows an array of flashing lights that showcase changing words by Nick Drake, a Hackney-based poet. His poem brings a look into Alan Turing’s past in the present, presenting his spirit through data. It’s a thought-provoking installation using algorithms that bring with it intensity. The intent is to find some sort of pattern or code, and as people stroll by, someone will notice the meaning behind the project. And as the Londonist says, “That really is good art” and we agree! This is not the first attempt at celebrating Alan Turing, and we definitely hope it’s not the last! The design of data for the world  We’ve found the man that’s dedicated his life to data and in a creative way! Brendan Dawes creates projects focused on data for himself and the world around him, whether they’re art installation, interactive forms of communication, or a way to bring out a smile. As he perfectly sums up, “whilst I often work with data, I believe data by itself is not enough; data needs poetry.” One of his 2014 exhibitions that struck interest is the Dot Dot Dot exhibition. The show made use of data in some form or another. A few data-inspired installations included ‘The Happiness Machine’ and ‘Moments in Music’. When a button or dot on display was pressed on The Happiness Machine, a mention of the word ‘happy’ by a random stranger on the internet was printed for all to see. What a feel-worthy moment to showcase happiness through data. The Moments in Music exhibit developed unique art pieces, from data derived from sound waves. Through a software, songs were analysed and then specific moments were printed, showing real-world moments from digital music. Our final thoughts These wonderful stories prove that data doesn’t have to be overwhelming and mundane and you can really add your creative twist to any project. Individuals observing data needs to decipher it in a creative way, whether it’s to bring results or prove an experiment as there are a multitude of aspects. At Littledata, we come up with creative solutions to improve your performance through Google Analytics. We make data creative so you can enjoy the benefits! Have you read any other inspirational stories recently? Leave a comment below or contact us! Further reading: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more Take your ecommerce website to the next level Analytics in store - online and offline Image credit: Image courtesy of Engadget, Dear Data, Brendan Dawes, and Londonist. 

2016-09-12

New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more

We’ve got some exciting news! We’ve launched some great updates on our web app, which will make your lives a little easier. Find out how the navigation has improved and new in-app messaging will help you find out more, get a glimpse into our trend detection algorithm and new reports on mobile devices! Our mission is to make the way you gain access to important analytics, an all-around easier process and we know we’re heading in the right direction with these updates. We already give you actionable and easier to understand insights of your Google Analytics and now we’ve made the experience more friendly based on your invaluable feedback! Find your reports quicker We’ve improved the navigation of the web app, giving you one new category, and two updated categories on the left-hand side of your profile, which are now simpler to find and easier to understand. There are currently three categories: Dashboard, Benchmark, and Reports, which will be visible to you depending on your Littledata package. Instead of having them in separate locations, we brought them together into one navigation panel so that you can find specific reports and findings quickly based on your current questions or company needs. Under the reports category, we have changed types of reports into tags. Now you can select one or multiple tags, and decide how you prefer to view the different types of insights you get. For example, if you want to view your trends reports with tips you’re getting, then all you need to do is select those two. The benchmark category brings together all the benchmark metrics available for your site, and to see more detail click on the individual benchmark you’re interested in. You can still see the category you are being benchmarked against just above your benchmarks. If your current category is ‘all websites’ then you should make this more specific by updating the category in the settings. The Dashboard is the latest addition to these categories, which we added to be able to provide a flexible and customised solution that is perfect for reporting needs that go beyond standard Google Analytics reports. See below for more detail. Get our custom dashboard This is a new feature, available to clients who are also receiving consulting services on top of our Pro package. Please contact one of our lovely experts if you’d like to know more about these features, and how they can give you the results you strive for. The dashboard category is completely customisable, which we develop through consulting services by going over what your goals and needs are, and then creating these reports for simple and actionable insights of your data. These reports are completely flexible and allow you to see metrics that are difficult to view in Google Analytics, which include: Calculations, such as performance changes in percentages and conversion rates Combined metrics and dimensions from different reports Custom visualisations of trends based on how you prefer to see the data. Want to include a pie or bar chart? Not a problem. A custom schedule for dashboard data refresh. If your reporting requires weekly, quarterly or annual updates, we’ll set it up for you. Customised reports based on your formatting preferences, so if you'd like to include your brand colours, it's a possibility! Our smarter algorithm When we started Littledata, we developed a trend detection algorithm to find significant changes in your data and send you alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data in Google Analytics. But as times change and data gets busier, we needed a better way to serve your reporting needs. So recently we collaborated with mathematicians to improve the algorithm, which is now sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic website, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. Want to hear more about this intriguing story? Find out more in our blog post: Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see! Are mobile devices losing you customers? Analytics from mobile devices is extremely important. Through our web app, you will find out how many transaction or users you lost due to poor experience on mobile devices. According to Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. A growing number of people are searching through their phones and as a result, we’ve incorporated mobile devices reports. They will spot and highlight potential issues around responsiveness, layout or bugs. Finding out which devices are the worst will allow you to optimise your website and campaigns to capture all of these individuals. Your personalised communication We completely agree with Intercom’s belief that “customers today want to communicate with the people behind the business, not with a faceless brand”! This is why we’ve integrated their messenger into our web app so that you can chat with us directly and quickly. There’s a great deal of custom features available, including formatting, delivery, and most importantly the different ways to respond. You can choose your own way to chat and react, with images, audio, emojis, video, and more. If you want to know more about the expert you’re talking to, you can view their profile within the app. Our customer experience is key in our business model and we hope this function delivers that. If you have any questions regarding any of the new features, please contact us, or use the in-app messenger!   Image credit: Image courtesy of Smart Insights and Intercom

2016-09-06

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