Sticker Promotion: Enter to Win $250!

Sticker Promotion: Enter to Win $250!

Blog News

The World’s Crappiest Social Media Promotion Ever

Burlington Bytes is crowdsourcing our latest promotion and challenging our fans, friends of fans, and friends of friends of fans to stick the Burlington Bytes logo sticker in the most creative places possible. If you snap a photo of the Burlington Bytes sticker placed somewhere creative then tag Burlington Bytes, you could win a whopping $250.00 and never work again for the rest of your life. If the $250.00 isn’t exciting enough for you, wait there’s more! Your sticker image may also be featured in the upcoming Burlington Bytes calendar… but stay tuned on that because if the calendar is anything like this promotion it might also fall completely flat on it’s face.

Follow the steps below and we look forward to wading through your not-so-safe-for-work submissions on Facebook & Instagram.

To Enter:

Step 1: Fill out the form at the bottom of this page and send us your physical mailing address.

Step 2: We’ll mail you Burlington Bytes logo stickers to use for the promotion. 

Step 3: Once you get those stickers, place said stickers in the most creative places you can think of. We’re hoping for some quintessential Vermontiness, like the back half of a Cow somewhere roaming around in a pasture but we’re also open to any outrageously, crude and wildly inappropriate but hilarious placements of stickers. Let’s just try and avoid being extremely offensive…

Step 4: Take a picture of your sticker placement, post it to Facebook or Instagram then tag Burlington Bytes (Burlington Bytes@burlingtonbytes) in the image.

Step 5: Once we’re tagged, our expert panel of sticker placement engineers, who are experts mind you, will review your submissions and pick a winning photo. If you win, we’ll mail you your $250.00 Visa or you can come pick it up or whatever. I don’t know, this wasn’t my idea.

Terms & Conditions Apply

Fill out this form to enter:

Terms & Conditions 

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF WINNING.

  1. Eligibility: The World’s Crappiest Social Media Promotion Ever contest is open only to those who sign up at https://www.burlingtonbytes.com/news/sticker-promotion-enter-win-250/ and who are at least eighteen years old  as of the date of entry.The Campaign is only open to legal residents of the United States, and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Burlington Bytes LLC (“Burlington Bytes”), its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Campaign. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of Burlington Bytes, in its sole and absolute discretion, as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Campaign.  You agree to abide by all applicable laws, rules, regulations and refrain from any illegal conduct (including defacing or trespassing upon the property of any third party)  in connection with your participation in the Campaign.
  3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on March 25th, 2017 and ending April 25th, 2017. All online entries must be received by April 25th, 2017.
  4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by submitting an entry using the online form provided at https://www.burlingtonbytes.com/news/sticker-promotion-enter-win-250/. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Burlington Bytes.
  5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the Campaign (the “Winner”) will receive $250 in cold hard cash money. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award, and based on the faith and credit in the US gov’t – which is no small variance. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by Burlington Bytes. No prize substitution shall be permitted except at Burlington Bytes discretion. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Burlington Bytes to use Winner’s contest entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  6. Odds: The odds of winning depend solely on the skill of the entrant and the mood of the selection committee tasked with picking a winner.
  7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by selection committee vote under the supervision of the Burlington Bytes’ office dog, Savannah. Winner will be notified by email, mail, or Facebook within five (5) days following selection of Winner. Burlington Bytes LLC shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 5 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and release as required, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this Campaign is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY WINNER (AT BURLINGTON BYTES LLC‘S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CAMPAIGN, AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.
  8. Rights Granted by You: By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that Burlington Bytes LLC, anyone acting on behalf of Burlington Bytes, and Burlington Byte’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Campaign, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes. without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. By entering this content, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Burlington Bytes. If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Burlington Bytes from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which Burlington Bytes LLC may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.
  9. Terms & Conditions: Burlington Bytes reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond Burlington Byte’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Campaign. In such case, Burlington Bytes may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Burlington Bytes LLC.  Burlington Bytes reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Campaign or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Burlington Bytes LLC has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Campaign, to void votes for any reason.Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Campaign may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, Burlington Bytes reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Not to mention, your family will be incredibly disappointed in you.
  10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless Burlington Bytes and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the Campaign and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.
  11. Disputes: THIS Campaign IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF VERMONT, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Campaign, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Campaign, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Chittenden County, Vermont having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Campaign). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  12. Privacy Policy: Subject to the terms and conditions of Section 8, information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the Burlington Bytes LLC  website. To read the Privacy Policy,  click here.
  13. Winners List: To obtain a copy of the Winner’s name or a copy of these Official Rules, please first recognize that you are “that person”, then, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Burlington Bytes LLC 2 Church Street, Burlington Vermont 05401. Requests must be received no later than May 31st, 2017.
  14. Sponsor: The Sponsor of the Campaign is Burlington Bytes LLC, 2 Church Street Burlington Vermont, 05401
  15. Facebook: The Campaign hosted by Burlington Bytes LLC is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.
  16. By submitting entry to this contest, You, the Contestant, have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules.

 

Burlington Bytes Builds Blockade

Blog Design Tips WordPress

logo
What has our Burlington Bytes development team been up to these days? They’ve recently released a visual page builder that assists with your WordPress formatting needs. We’re proud to introduce you to Blockade, a plugin that let’s you take control of your WordPress content.

Blockade doesn’t replace the current WordPress visual editor TinyMCE. Instead it integrates with it, giving you the ability to apply more advanced formatting and design to the pages of your WordPress site to make it look more professional without breaking the plugins you know and love in the process. It enhances your existing workflow instead of replacing it entirely.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 2.45.06 PM

Let’s break down the key functions that can improve your WordPress experience:

  • Add single use HTML to a page
  • Align images, video and text
  • Create columns and add buttons
  • Insert short codes and widgets with an intuitive live preview
  • Manage backgrounds and callouts
  • Develop pages that are responsive, clean and modern

How did Blockade originate? This plugin has been in development since 2015 and was originally used in-house for clients who wanted a visual page builder that was lightweight and easy to use and customize. It’s in open BETA and currently being tested by active users. There have been over 850 downloads to date and counting!

Why should you give it a try?

Greg Schoppe, the lead developer of Blockade explains, “Blockade is meant to help WordPress users get the power that a modern CMS needs out of a page builder, without sacrificing the features that make WordPress great. I like to think of it as the difference between Wordpad and Microsoft Word. You get the same tools in the same familiar interface, but with much more power under the hood.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.21.02 AM

Blockade is free to use and open source. You can download it here: https://www.wpblockade.com/. Try it out to bring your WordPress website to the next level, and let us know what you think!

A Beginner’s Guide to Working with Social Media Influencers

Blog Uncategorized

shutterstock_485403367

Working with social media influencers has become arguably one of the most effective and organic methods of reaching one’s audience in recent years. It is, however, a trend many have yet to adopt. Smaller businesses in particular either don’t have the budget or knowledge to use influencers to their advantage. 

So what exactly is a social media influencer?

According to Pixlee:

  • A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.

Think of them like a celebrity endorser only they appear more relatable and more genuine because they are everyday people. Influencers can range in age from children to the elderly and they span across every industry imaginable.

Why work with them?

The following infographic by MediaKix gives a pretty clear idea why:

Influencer-Marketing-Statistics-2016-Infographic1

Where can you find influencers?

  • A great place to start is on social platforms themselves such as Instagram and Twitter. You will want to search trending hashtags within  your industry and look for people who are involved in the conversations. Do you have a an engaged following? Are people replying to their comments and reposting their content? All important things to consider.

 

  • Another place to start is on Google, simply type in “nutrition social media influencers” and Google will do the rest. You will of course want to take the time to go through each profile you find to make sure they are actually credible enough to partner with.

 

  • If you are working with a larger budget paying for a third party tool can be the most effective way. Tools like Upfluence  and Experticity  can partner you with influencers directly through their site. These influencers have already signed off on being contacted and are actively seeking partnerships.

What are your partnership options?

  • Collaborative post: Work with an influencer to create content together that can be posted both on their platforms and your own. This works like brand sponsored content.

 

  • Long Term Ambassador Roles: This is like a long term partnership in which you would create multiple posts or content opportunities with this person. It is not a “one off”, this method requires a larger budget but can be more effective long term because it makes the influencers involvement with the brand more authentic.

 

  •  Event Activation: This requires you to put on an event with one or multiple influencers. It is an opportunity to bring multiple influencers together and their audience outside of the digital space. This builds a stronger relationship with consumers because it allows them to interact with your brand offline.

 

  •  Influencer Takeover: This can span from 24 hours to a week long, during this time you would allow an influencer to take over your social media as the name suggests. Popular tactics can include Q & A sessions, posting to your platforms directly, live streaming, and exclusive behind the scenes content with your brand and the influencer.

 

  • The PR Approach: reach out for an interview or full profile piece on the influencer.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 3.42.40 PMSephora sponsored YouTube video by online vlogger and social influencer Summer Mckeen

How should you reach out?

Email

The easiest and most effective way to reach out to an influencer is to email them directly. Most if not all will have an email listed on their website or in their Instagram/Twitter bio. It is best to use their business email if specified.


Sample Email 

Hi _____,

I’m [name] I work at [name of business] and we are looking to get involved with influencers in the [industry name] industry. Our goal is to promote [name of product/business] and raise overall awareness.

We would love to partner with you to create content for our social channels in order to tap into new audiences. As it stands we are open to working in collaboration with you to share your voice on our platforms. 

Let me know if this is something you may be interested in and we can discuss further details.

Thank you for your time.

Best,

[Your Name]


Phone

If they list their phone number it is fair game to reach out with a phone call. However, there may be a lot of back and forth via the phone so if you are on deadline email may serve as a better option.

What are the next steps?

Meet with your team and go over your current marketing budget and plan. Think of areas where influencers could add value to your business and decide if they can be incorporated into your new campaigns. Once a decision has been made spend time doing research looking for relevant and successful influencers. With the right research and planning, using social media influencers to market your business could add real value and set you apart from the competition.

shutterstock_524373937

Comment and let us know what your experiences have been working with influencers!

Facebook Video Gets a Makeover

Blog

Exciting news came down the pipeline from Facebook this week in regards to video advertising. We will be seeing a number of changes to this feature including – fading sound while scrolling, Vertical videos, watch and scroll, and a video/TV App. All of these improvements will allow for increased engagement with video ads and allow for a more user friendly experience.

shutterstock_379920874

For the Digital Marketing Team at Burlington Bytes, Vertical videos are soon to be a big part of our advertising recommendations. Vertical videos, although widely categorized by creatives as being of lower quality, are surprisingly popular amongst consumers. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram, this view is appearing to become the “norm” for avid social users. Another obvious reason that this view is favored by consumers is the fact that we hold our phones vertically a vast majority of the time. Not to mention research found in a  Future in Focus study showed that nearly 80% of social media use now occurs on mobile devices – 61% on smartphones alone. Having been in beta since last August, Facebook is confident this new format will see favor from consumers.

As we move more towards video dominated platforms, Facebooks switch to vertical video is a clear step in that direction.  In recent months, Facebook has been pushing its live video feature, as well as incorporating video-sharing into both the Facebook mobile apps and Instagram. We expect to continue to see new features rolling out over the next several months.

 

 

 

Make Your Website Seen in 2017

Make Your Website Seen in 2017

Blog

In a fast paced world of digital advertising, businesses often overlook a major piece of the online marketing puzzle: SEO. Search engine optimization isn’t just about making sure your website is easily interpreted and indexed by Google and other search engines, but it’s also about making sure your visitors can interpret the information you put in front of them.

No matter how much search engine algorithms change over time, websites are always going to compete for the coveted “above the fold” positions. Let’s take a look at how now more than ever, SEO is crucial for crafting a successful online presence for your business.

1- New Technology Evolves, so Does the Way We Optimize

With voice search assistants like Siri and Alexa gaining traction, you’ll want to be sure a conversational tone is used to create easily digestible content that jives with the evolving ways people search for information. When adding content to your site, don’t force it. Sound natural and make it easy for costumers to find what they’re looking for. What kinds of questions would a consumer be asking to find your business or learn more about your service? This is what we need to be asking as we optimize for the different ways people search both textually and verbally.

shutterstock_90590464

2- Keep Content Fresh and Consistent

Search engines love to see fresh content appearing on websites. Updating content on a regular basis and keeping it relevant to your business will boost the potential of it being seen by potential customers. Relevant keyword rich blogs posted a few times a month on your site can have a strong impact. Think about the goal of a search engine: to put the most relevant content in front of a user based on their inquiry. With this in mind as content is crafted, you’ll strengthen your organic search traffic.

3- Social Media is Your Friend

Your website isn’t the only place customers are visiting to learn about your business. For optimal visibility, don’t forget to promote your brand on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and others. They provide outlets for engaging with customers through promotions and eye-catching content or videos, giving them a larger insight into what your products or services are all about.

shutterstock_186292982

4- Stick to the Basics

All hale header tags! They will always be beneficial when optimized with relevant keywords that help search engines crawl your site. The same goes for meta titles and meta descriptions. We can never rule out natural link building either, getting other reputable and related websites to link back to your site. This helps to boost its overall domain authority. The stronger it is, the more likely it is to show above the fold when relevant queries are typed into a search engine. A great tactic to do so is to craft a link building strategy that reaches out to possible vendors, contractors or directories that would list or mention your website and business.

5.-Mobile Matters

With mobile traffic increasing on a daily basis, search engines are now putting more emphasis on indexing mobile-friendly websites. Don’t forget to take into consideration how potential clients will be engaging with your website from various devices. The more responsive your site is, the more efficient it is at providing the best possible experience for customers.

shutterstock_256473613

Keep these tips in mind as you craft your organic search strategies for the New Year. If you want your website seen in 2017, these tactics should be on your radar.

 

Written by: Sarah Cootey

Founder Pete Jewett takes on the 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup

Founder Pete Jewett takes on the 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup

Blog

Killington ski resort near Rutland, VT hosted the International Ski Federation’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup for the first time in 25 years this past weekend.  With 30,000 spectators over two days, this event was one of the biggest in alpine World Cup tour history.  Lucky for us, we got a first hand look at this event from our founder Pete Jewett who volunteered at the mountain all weekend.

Pete, pictured above amongst the crowd, volunteered from Friday-Sunday spending 10 hours a day on the mountain making sure the courses were ready to go at race time. He even managed to capture the races on film using Facebook Livestream! Check them out:

The event itself was part of a long-term initiative by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to raise awareness of alpine ski racing in America. Based on the audience turnout alone it is safe to say the association is one step closer to their goal.

Learn more about this event here.

 

2016 eCommerce Holiday Marketing Guide

Blog

Billions are up for grabs, want a piece?

The holidays obviously mean bigger spending for consumers, but just how much does it mean for eCommerce business owners? The short answer is, a lot.

Take a look at our new infographic on how much money is being spent during the holidays and to get an idea of how you can maximize your marketing efforts.

holiday-marketing-infographic

The Vermont Robot League: Recap from the 2016 Champlain Mini Maker Faire

The Vermont Robot League: Recap from the 2016 Champlain Mini Maker Faire

Blog

The Champlain Mini Maker Faire, which took place last month was a huge success, we were honored to be one of the sponsors to this great event.  We especially want to give a “shout out” to Three Burlington Bytes employees – Greg Schoppe, Aaron Silber, and Casey Morrison,  who are current members of maker spaces Laboratory B and  The Foundry Workshop, as well as their involvement with The Vermont Robot Combat League.

Here’s a recap of the events from this year’s Mini Maker Battle Bot: 

As part of our donation, the Vermont Robot Combat League was able to complete all intended modifications and upgrades to their Hexapod Robots, Yuri the Destroyer and Fluffy the Spenguin. Both robots are remote controlled hexapods (six legged robots) which are each armed with a targeting laser and a high-powered burning laser.

This year they increased the power of the burning lasers significantly, by stabilizing their power source, making Yuri’s a solid 2 Watt 450nm Blue Laser, and Fluffy’s a 1.2 Watt 650nm Red Laser.  Each Laser has more than enough power to pop balloons, light matches, ignite flash paper and gun powder, melt plastic, and scorch wood.

In addition, this year they were able to give each robot a First-Person Video interface, so that the pilots were able to control the robots from the viewpoint of the robot itself, using video goggles.

Each robot received a “laser target”, so that they could directly attack and disable each other, with three well-placed shots.

Over the course of the two days that the faire ran, the Robot League ran 16 battles, 8 with the hexapods, competing to pop balloons and light flash paper, and 8 with our traditional, wheeled battle bots, attempting to score goals and disable each other.  The battles drew hundreds of onlookers, and made them the second most popular event, according to visitor voting. (second only to Pin Box 3000, which we’re kinda ok with… they’re pretty cool)

The goal to inspire kids to pursue STEM careers, and to show them that no matter what they choose for a career, anyone can be a mad scientist (aka innovator) in their spare time.

Over the course of the weekend, Laboratory B won 7 of the 8 hexapod battles, and The Foundry won 7 of the 8 wheeled battlebots battles.  As such, the event was declared a tie, with the winner decided by a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The Foundry made a bold gambit, by throwing scissors, but, in an incredible upset, Laboratory B threw Rock, and captured the championship from the former victors!

Check out some of the action from the Battle Bots…

 

img_20160929_200704
img_20160925_130833-2
img_20160924_133805
img_20160925_164909204-2

Common Google Analytics Pitfalls – Getting It Right the First Time

Common Google Analytics Pitfalls – Getting It Right the First Time

Blog

When implemented and interpreted properly, Google Analytics can be an extremely useful tool in digital marketing. Since 2005 when Google acquired Urchin and began re-branding it as Google Analytics, the web statistics analysis tool has given site operators immense insight into their traffic. It is widely used, partly because of the full-featured free version, and partly due to ease of use compared to other analytics suites. This ease of use can be deceptive, however. Even Google makes it sound like getting their tracking code on every page of your site is the only thing you need to do to get meaningful data. While it is true this gets you most of the way, there are several things you should do for every Analytics installation to get the most meaningful data.

The Impact of Misconfiguration

An improperly configured Google Analytics installation may contain wildly skewed numbers or no data at all. In many instances, this is irrecoverable due to the way hits are aggregated. All data coming in from your tag is tallied for each of your views with the current configuration. If, say, you made a mistake and unintentionally filtered out most of your traffic, you would not be able to recover that data since it was never really recorded at all. This is the reason getting your configuration right the first time around is so important.

Without further delay, we present the top symptoms of bad data in Analytics, and how to avoid them.

  1. No data or extremely low hit counts: most of the time this is caused by the tag not firing at all, or a configuration causing the data to be filtered out. Google provides a Chrome Extension, Tag Assistant, that can tell you if your tag is firing, if it’s inserted in the wrong place, or other tag issues. Make sure the tag is added exactly as specified, right before the closing </head> tag.
  2. Data includes non-human visitors: Analytics excludes some obviously non-human traffic by default, but you may still see spam in your Referral reports or visitors supposedly from completely unrelated organic search keywords. The first step to preventing this is to check “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” in the View Settings. To filter remaining referral or organic search keyword spam from your report, create an “excluding spam” segment and use regular expressions to exclude spam you’ve received before. When this segment is used in report views, historic data will be filtered, so this is particularly useful for cleaning up misconfigured data. This LunaMetrics article goes more in-depth about blocking known bots before delving into satire after Step 3.
  3. Session doubling: your site’s session count can end up completely doubled for several reasons. If your site spans multiple subdomains or permits access to both www-prefixed and non-www versions, a new session may be started when the visitor crosses subdomains. Google Analytics is often able to identify this automatically. If you haven’t already done so, you should decide on a canonical domain, whether it’s www.yourdomain.com or just yourdomain.com, then redirect all requests to the canonical domain. Google’s Search Console help docs discuss this further.
  4. Hit doubling: almost always this is because your tag is firing twice. Tag Assistant can identify this and help you find where the duplicate tag is so you can remove it. If multiple Tag Manager containers are on your site, only one should be sending pageviews to Analytics. Google Analytics should be only added once per page, to every page, in the same spot.
  5. No data in Conversion reports: GA does not set up any goals by default. Goals are used to create the Conversion reports and help you understand the behavior of your various demographics. Goals should be significant marketing events, like selling a product or capturing a lead form. If possible you should set a Goal Value. For example, if you know the average lead makes your company $200, use that as the Goal Value, and you’ll be better prepared to visualize ROI for advertising spend or media campaigns.
  6. Sparse data on organic search: Analytics’ data on visitors from search engines has gradually become less detailed over the years. One way Google has come up with to improve this data source is to connect your Analytics Account to a verified Search Console profile. Most likely, you’re primarily getting search traffic from Google and this link can fill in some gap in your data there. Search Console contains several other useful tools so this is a must for any site you want good data on, and extra control and insight into your SEO.
  7. No eCommerce data: additional setup is required to track purchases and product interest in a way Analytics can parse it properly. Most popular eCommerce platforms will have plugins to automatically send this special data. More information about eCommerce tracking is available in Google’s help docs.

When you sign up to have a site built or maintained by Burlington Bytes, you’re signing up for the expertise of Analytics professionals at your fingertips. As a Google Partner, we have demonstrated our proficiency with all variants of Analytics configurations and extracting actionable Business Intelligence from the resulting data. Whether you need a new site built, or just some fixes to your Analytics profile, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you out.

The Hosts File

The Hosts File

Blog

The host is somebody that most people simply think of as the person they need to thank for a great party when they head out.  But in our offices, we talk to many hosts on a daily basis, and with no cause for celebration.  A Web Host, or “Hosting Provider” is the name we give to the entities that actually provide the servers for hosting our websites.  The web site is the party, and each month, on behalf of our clients, we send thousands of notes of thanks to our most trusted and utilized hosts, like WPEngine, Nexcess and Rackspace.  

These three hosting providers also somewhat reflect the several kinds of hosting providers you might find in the wild these days.  Generally speaking, hosting is going to be identified by the level of involvement you’re going to want to have in keeping things running.  And, necessarily, with less involvement, the offerings will become more specific and tailored to specific niches and customer needs.

WPEngine, on one extreme of this scale (like Nexcess), is a Managed Hosting Provider.  The “Managed” here means that they have a layer of customer service agents and software sitting between the customer and the hosting service they’re purchasing.  While the support agents at WPEngine are some of the best we’ve seen in the industry, they probably can only accomplish that by having such a narrow focus of hosting services: they only host WordPress websites.  As in most endeavors, simplicity can yield better control.

On the other end of the spectrum you might find a company like Rackspace, which also offers fully managed services, but at an hourly rate, will also provide you with “unmanaged” servers, essentially machines that you pay for by the hour.  Paying for your web servers by the hour may seem like it’s far more precise than it needs to be when you want your website online 24/7/365, but for prices ranging from ~1/2 cent per hour to $1/hr, or ~$4 to more than $700 , the power you get for those prices also ranges by quite a lot.  One of Google’s more powerful offerings, the n1-highcpu-32, is a 32-processor beast with nearly 30GB of RAM, for the bargain rate of $0.85/hr and they’ll refund half your cost if they can’t keep it online more than 95% of that time, ie, it’s down for more than a cumulative day and a half over that month.  It’s a bargain, and it’s turnkey for the basic commodity, but somebody has to put software on that server to host a website.

Another concept you may encounter when trying to find a hosting provider is the difference between Shared and Dedicated hosting.  A shared host, like that often sold by GoDaddy, MediaTemple and other “low-cost” providers, typically means that the resources you’re using to serve your site are shared with other customers.  You’ll have a directory on a server running a single operating system, you and all the other sites on that host will be competing for that power.  If one site has a large spike in traffic, your site may slow down or stall until the server can recover its stride.  On a dedicated host you may only only end up causing your own slow-downs, which is something you can control, and can also fix.

Blurring the lines between shared and dedicated hosting, there siits the concepts of the server being “Bare Metal” vs a “Virtual Machine”, aka a “VM”.  A “bare metal” server sounds really cool (and it is often cold to the touch), but it just means that it’s not a virtual machine.  Virtual machines are a relative newcomer to the hosting landscape, but have been a fixture on the hosting scene for at least a decade now.  A virtual machine is exactly what the name implies that it is, it’s a machine provided by software.  At some point you need some bare metal to actually act as a machine that runs software, but you could install a VM layer, aka a hypervisor, on a powerful machine and spin up as many less powerful “virtual” machines as you wanted.

The difference between a virtual machine, and shared hosting may only seem semantic, but they are really very different.  To put it simply, a shared host is like living in a dorm, where you have shared facilities like bathrooms and kitchens, and a virtual machine is like living in a condo, where you have all your own rooms, but you may still hear the neighbors making a ruckus from time to time.  The only way to live without being disturbed would be to run your own bare metal servers, and you’ll then need a place to put them where they will stay cool, have continuous power (with a backup generator) and always connected networks with good bandwidth.

Because all these things are needed by anyone who needs hosting, the industry has organized itself so these common needs are simply commodities.  Computers, these days, live in data centers, they’re close to bodies of water they can use for cooling, and near large power plants where they can purchase cheap electricity at bulk rates.  That data center is probably close to a network hub too, for fast and cheap connection rates, because what good is a server farm that can’t push things out to users and other farms?  As you might expect with somewhat narrow requirements like this, data centers are beginning to collect in certain areas of the world.  In the US, often our major urban areas fit this bill nicely, and you might not be surprised to learn that many of them have been crammed into massively populated area along the east coast, stretching from Boston to Richmond, VA.  With moderate temperatures throughout the year, plenty of affordable power, and low risk of catastrophic natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, it’s a perfect place to keep the folded nests of wire that we now use to run our economy.

Competing with these ideal locations and practiced professionals, on either cost or quality of service, is pretty much a non-starter in this commoditized environment.  So if you’re not currently renting your computing power, and instead you’re trying to run the full stack yourself, there’s probably a more cost-effective solution out there, even (actually, especially) for those with unusually specific requirements or certain high-security needs.  Keeping computers on and constantly functioning isn’t easy, but if that’s all you have to be concerned about, and not the many layers of software above, it makes it less difficult.