Install Google’s Newest Analytics for Your SuiteCommerce Advanced or Site Builder Website
Why Install Universal Analytics?
- Better user identification across multiple devices – get closer to tracking users, not just visits.
- For the first time, you can now track off-line conversions with the measurement protocol – trackable lifetime value in your web analytics!
- All future analytics innovations will rollout to universal analytics.
- Custom variables become custom dimensions, and are easier to implement and more powerful.
- Set your own campaign and session timeout values
- It can run alongside your existing analytics – it can be very helpful to have six months or more to compare between systems, as no two systems will ever match exactly in their reporting.
Prerequisites for This Guide
Please see my note about issues with the auto linker in NetSuite.
This guide is written for NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced and Site Builder websites. It assumes that you use the NetSuite checkout domain (checkout.netsuite.com or similar) as well as the default checkout process. If you have a custom checkout domain or use the reference cart/checkout or SSP checkout, you will need a different solution.
Set up a New Analytics Property
The new user interface has a three level hierarchy to your Google analytics account – Account, Property, and View. Multiple views can be configured for a single property, which allows you to interpret the same data in multiple ways. [continue reading…]
A Step by Step Guide
One of the features I like about the NetSuite SuiteCommerce web store is the related item functionality. Not only can you hand pick related items to display on product pages, but you can also allow NetSuite to automatically generate recommendations based on sales history. NetSuite includes four sample related item layouts, but they don’t handle varying sized images very well and tend to take up a lot of space, so I developed an alternative layout that solves some of those problems.
A Better Related Item Layout
Here’s what you can expect from the new layout:
- Automatically centers the thumbnail horizontally and vertically.
- Uses your existing item thumbnails, no matter what size they are, and allows the browser to resize it with CSS. This saves you from having to manually standardize your thumbnail sizes, which can take a lot of time to maintain.
A Chance to Give Google Feedback About Your Small Site
The Problem: big brands are dominating search results pages (SERPs)
One of the most common complaints coming from SEOs and webmasters over the last few months has been about big brands taking over search results pages. Various webmaster and SEO forums have threads on the topic, and the Internet retailer 2013 search marketing guide had this to say (emphasis mine):
With the implementation of Google Panda in February 2011 and Penguin in May 2012, Google changed its search engine algorithm to lower the rankings of web retailers whose sites featured static and generic content available on many other sites. Moving up under the new rules are retailers that offer detailed content, such as unique product descriptions and images, are smart at using reams of customer information to create content that appeals to shoppers looking for a specific brand or SKU, or that bring original content to their web sites in the form of consumer reviews and other content drawn from online social networks.
The biggest retailing brands tended to be the winners from these changes, and that shows up in their dominance of the natural search rankings in the new 2013 Internet Retailer Search Engine Marketing Guide.
Big brands have bigger signals
If you think about it from the search engine’s point of view, it’s not that hard to understand why big brands like Amazon, Sears, or eBay would have an easy time ranking well. [continue reading…]
Your Website Needs a Strong SEO Partner
What is SEO and why should I care?
While most website owners are familiar with the concept of search engine optimization (SEO), most that I have spoken to have an incomplete view of what it can do and its importance overall.
My definition of SEO:
- Structuring and creating content on your site that sends the proper signals to search engines, and is tailored to the keywords (especially long tail keywords) that are most effective for your site.
- Building links, managing social presences, and establishing relationships with other websites that will both drive traffic and give your site the necessary link authority to perform on competitive keywords.
A Quick Guide to Customizing NetSuite Reports
The 404 Report
One feature lacking in most hosted analytics systems like Google analytics is a 404 report – i.e. a list of URLs that a user or search engine tried to access, but the page was not available. If you have a NetSuite Site Builder site (now call SuiteCommerce Site Builder), NetSuite provides a built-in report that you can customize just for this purpose.
What Good is a 404 Report?
EDIT: NetSuite no longer offers a free SDN membership.
I’ve been using NetSuite since 2004, and have long wished to have a simple test account that I could do anything I wanted in. As far as I know, here are the major ways that one can get a test or sandbox account with NetSuite:
- Sandbox Account – Companies with a NetSuite account can pay extra to have access to a sandbox version, where they take a snapshot of your current database and copy it to a test server (on demand, usually takes a few days to a week). This can be a great way to test out incremental modifications to your existing set up, and can give you a chance to see if it conflicts with other customizations.
- Become a NetSuite solution provider – This is a program for companies that sell and implement NetSuite for their customers. It costs $3,000 – $10,000 a year, and comes with unlimited testdrive accounts. It also has minimums for NetSuite sales, so it’s not for everyone.
- Take a NetSuite training class – I have taken a few in person and online training classes from NetSuite, and as part of the class, we were given access to our own test drive account to follow along the training in. My account was deactivated after a few months, but it was useful while I had access.
And finally, my favorite:
- Join the SuiteCloud developer network – NetSuite has discontinued the free version of the SDN membership, so now you must join at either the select ($3k/year) or Premiere ($10k/yr) levels to get demo accounts.
Why Get a Test Drive Account?
Get Full SEO Value for Your Review Content
|Power Reviews (now BazaarVoice) allows websites to add product reviews for each item. One of the best side benefits of adding reviews to your site is the user generated content, which is rich with long tail keywords that users are searching with to find your products. The typical methodfor enabling search engine friendly reviews with Power Reviews is called their ‘in-line SEO’ solution. Unfortunately NetSuite companies haven’t been able to implement the solution due to limitations within the NetSuite platform. Fourth Wave Consulting has developed a fully automated solution that works around these limitations, and provides the full SEO benefits.
1-Page Fact Sheet
Google’s Matt Cutts Tells us What to Expect
The SEO Arms Race
Ever since there have been search engines, search engine optimizers (SEOs) have tried various tactics to rank well – often straying into deceptive or ‘black hat’ techniques like auto generated content, websites, and link networks. As search engines have gotten better at detecting these spammy techniques, the spammers have gotten more clever. The latest major change on the Google side began in April 2012, with the Penguin update.
Major Features of the Last Couple Updates
- Over-optimization penalty – This is the most interesting update to me, as it strikes fear into the hearts of even the most conservative SEOs. Aren’t we supposed to be optimizing our websites for search engines? How do we know when we have optimized it too much? For the most part, sites were penalized for reusing the exact same phrase in their anchor text too much, although too much keyword stuffing into meta tags or page text could incur a penalty as well. For more conservative site operators, it’s a warning to be careful with optimization efforts, and a reward for not making users suffer through keyword-stuffed text.
- Exact Match Domain – Google significantly reduced the benefit that a domain would get if their domain name matched a target keyword phrase – e.g. a domain like ‘keyword1-keyword2.com’ likely saw its traffic drop for that keyword phrase.
An Easy Way to Estimate the Value of Multiple Projects
One of the best features of the NetSuite ERP system is its all-encompassing nature. It’s possible to run every department of your company in NetSuite, which means that your NetSuite administrator has many choices when it comes to optimizing the system. How do you decide between improving customer service case handling versus a smoother estimate/quoting system for sales versus a faster shipping process in the warehouse? There are many NetSuite customizations or automation projects that hold the promise of a significant benefit for your company. By using some straightforward formulas, it’s possible to estimate the return for a number of different projects, which can make prioritization much easier.
The Many Types of Return
One of the challenges of comparing multiple projects is that some projects provide benefits that are harder to put into dollar terms. We recommend estimating the dollar value of the less tangible benefits, which will allow you to compare numbers more easily. It might seem arbitrary, but it can be a useful exercise. Here are some examples of soft ROI or less tangible returns we have seen from Netsuite related projects:
- Better or faster customer service
- Improved marketing flexibility or segmentation
- Fewer returns
10 Questions to Ask a Potential NetSuite Consulting Partner
NetSuite is the world’s most successful software as a service (SaaS) ERP system, and has been built to be as flexible as possible for as many types of businesses as they can. As a result, NetSuite is a powerful platform that can automate many business processes and run companies efficiently. Out-of-the-box, however, NetSuite is not particularly well set up for any specific company, and a great deal of customization is required to get the most out of NetSuite.
NetSuite companies have a lot of the same kinds of problems
Fourth Wave consulting has worked with quite a few small and medium businesses over the years, and we have found that once a company has been on NetSuite for a few years, they face the same kinds of issues. For example:
- Problems crop up for older scripts, and the consultant who wrote it is no longer around.
- Over the years, their NetSuite account gets more and more customized with an increasing number of workflows and SuiteScript, none of which are particularly well documented or written by the same people, making issues harder to troubleshoot.
- Vendors and consultants can engage in finger-pointing, blaming others for a technical problem, and no one in the company has a firm enough grasp on the technical details to determine the source of a problem.
- When a NetSuite upgrade rolls out, a customization or script that worked previously now has an issue, and the person who wrote it isn’t available to help.
By hiring consultants for piecemeal work, often looking for the lowest bidder, many companies harm themselves by not fully appreciating how important the consultant relationship is for NetSuite. It is a complicated platform that needs ongoing maintenance and support to stay fully functional. Not to mention the large savings that can be had by ongoing customizations, workflows, and other task automation.
The Solution: A NetSuite Partner You Can Trust
Even for companies who can afford to hire full-time staff to support their NetSuite account, is very hard to have all of the relevant NetSuite experience in-house. Optimizing NetSuite covers a lot of ground, and requires a vast array of skills; it is very hard for any one person to master all areas of NetSuite. Bringing in the right NetSuite consultant for the right projects can make a huge difference, and will more than pay for itself. Here is my top 10 list of things to evaluate in a NetSuite consultant:
- Ask them about their areas of expertise. Even with a large consulting firm, you will be dealing with a relatively small number of people. Ask the team to grade their expertise (1 to 10 scale) in the following areas:
- Web Site related – not all of these may be relevant, and other people may be brought in to cover gaps if necessary:
- Website usability
- Information architecture (the science of organizing content for a website)