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Web Development, Internet Marketing & All Things Tech

Online Shopping – Will In-Store Shopping Ever Become Obsolete?

Posted on February 1st, 2017

 

online shop

 

Will technology take over the shopping industry’s brick and mortar stores?

 

There are pros and cons to both forms of shopping, of course. For most online shoppers, the appeal is cost savings, broader selection, immediacy and convenience. You don’t have to find parking at the mall, you don’t need to leave the house, and you don’t need to even get dressed in the morning, which is great if you’re into nude shopping.

In-store shoppers enjoy the face-to-face interaction, instant gratification of carrying the goods out of the store in their hands, and the satisfying experience of being able to physically interact with the product. 51% of in-store shoppers say being able to see and feel the product was their main reason for shopping in-store.

Will these in-store shoppers become exceptions to the rule? What if you’re purchasing the same product that you’ve previously bought in-store before? Do you really need to see and touch it again to ensure it’s worth buying? Or, are you willing to just order online this time and save yourself the time and gas it takes to get to the mall?

What if an online shopper was looking for a set of tools? Or new sunglasses? Would they still purchase online without being able to feel the tools or try the sunglasses on?

 

Although the majority of online shoppers say that cost-savings is the main reason why they shop online, exceptions will be made, and rightfully so. Here are a few good ones:

 

1. When there is a shipping cost that essentially cancels out any savings.
2. When you need to ensure the sizing (the right fit).
3. When it’s cheaper to go there (walk-in specials).
4. Returns or exchanges are “instant”, and can be done with less hassle.
5. When you are already at the store for some other reason, or live very close to it.

 

The best approach would be a hybrid solution. Start with online searches, in order to do your research (most brick and mortar companies will have websites with their prices listed). Which is cheaper? Can you wait a few days for delivery or do you need it right away? Do you need to pay in cash? Is it hard to see details in the photos? Is the store 60 km away and too far to drive to? If you measure all these options, it will be easier to make your decision.  Still, regardless of all the benefits of online shopping, with an endless amount of variables, brick and mortar businesses will never fully die.

 

Mobile-Friendly Websites: Why It’s Crucial That Yours Is Friendly Too

Posted on January 31st, 2017

 

mobile friendly

 

Are you unsure if your website qualifies as mobile-friendly?

 

On a daily basis, Google sees more mobile searches than desktop searches. As a result, they now primarily look at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version. So, if you don’t already have a mobile version of your website, you better get on that, pronto!

Factors such as readability (without zooming), responsive design (e.g. your links being too close together) and using non-mobile-friendly software (such as Flash) will also be taken into consideration when it comes to a website’s search ranking. Websites that look and perform better on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will appear higher on the search results.

 

Still unsure if your website is mobile-friendly? Here are some links provided by Google to help you determine if it does:

 

Guide to mobile-friendly sites – Offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as by using software or a third-party developer.

Mobile-Friendly Test – See how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several web pages and see exactly how Google’s own Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.

Mobile Usability Report -  Helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.
Google is king in the search engine world. If Google wants you to be mobile-friendly, you just do it. Don’t let your business get lost in the race. As time goes by, more and more websites will emerge that are mobile-friendly, pushing those that are not even further down the search results pages and away from customers.

 

Google Ranking Factors That You Should Know

Posted on January 31st, 2017


google ranking 2

 

There are hundreds of factors and thousands of pages of code when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithm.

 

To make it even more challenging to understand, to some degree, these things are constantly changing. However, although their importance (or weighted percentages) might change, the general structure usually remains the same. Doing a proper and thorough job can take months or years of time before you can finally reap the benefits, and most business owners don’t have that kind of time to commit. So, hiring an experienced search engine optimization expert is usually the best option. But, that’s not to say that as a business owner, you shouldn’t be educated in this area.

 

ranking factors

 

SEO starts with the web design phase, so there are a host of factors that you should keep in mind when delegating instructions to your webmaster.

 

1. Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. Do your best to have other websites link to you. The more authority they have on Google, the better. A site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating – https://ahrefs.com) strongly correlates with higher rankings.

2. Pages with more content rank significantly better than those with less content, in terms of Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.

3. Content with at least one image significantly outperforms content without any images.

4. When it comes to title tags, use strong keywords related to your business for better optimization and ranking.

5. Pages on fast-loading sites rank significantly higher than pages on slow-loading sites.

6. Exact-match anchor text has a strong influence on rankings.

7. Place heading tags in the H1 section of your website whenever possible. It is recommended that you only use one H1 per page, though there is no harm in using H2s, H3s, etc.

8. Avoid buying or selling links. If Google notices this, you will be penalized.

9. Google doesn’t react too kindly to “Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites” either. Avoid overpopulating your footer with links.

10. Avoid duplicate content. Don’t have the same content on every page of your website. Google will penalize you for this, and your Google ranking will suffer.

Facebook Ads – The Best Tips for Creating Effective Ads

Posted on January 30th, 2017

facebook_ads

 

 

There is no denying that there is one main force dominating modern-day society, and that is social media.

 

If you have a business and don’t have a Facebook account for it, you’re missing out. With 1.49 billion Facebook members worldwide, and 22 billion ad clicks per year, Facebook is providing businesses with huge advertising opportunities.

So, you have a Facebook account. You have some friends and you’ve gained some “likes”. But, how do you increase your audience, and more importantly, keep them interested so they’ll keep coming back for more?

 

The following are valuable notes and tips to keep in mind when creating Facebook Ads:

 

- Ads with images get a much higher click-through rate than those without.
- Keep your text to 20% or less. Ads that cover more than 20% of your image space will not get approved.
- Don’t Ramble. Keep it short. You should trim down your words to somewhere between 100 and 250 characters for optimal engagement. Concise posts tend to perform better than lengthy ones.
- Post ads focusing on quality over quantity.
- Target your Ads to the right audience. Facebook has a ton of unique targeting options for paid ads. You can target audiences by location, age, gender, workplace, relationship status, language, education and more.
- Videos have very high engagement rates, so don’t be shy to use them.
- Type out your own customized ad headline to make the ad more enticing (the automatic setup makes it so the ad headline will be the same as your page’s title). Aside from your image selection, your headline is one of the main ways your ad will make an impact.

 

You can find more technical information regarding Facebook Ads, such as conversion rates, data reliability and measuring CPC at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-facebook-ads

SEO or SEM? Which One is Better for Your Business?

Posted on January 29th, 2017

 

seo or sem

 

 

Search engine optimization, or search engine marketing? Which method will benefit your business more?

 

There’s a lot of confusion around these two terms. These terms are often used interchangeably when they shouldn’t be. Both strategies have a common goal – to have Internet users visit your website. However, the methods and approaches they use to achieve that goal is where they differ.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) employs strategies and tactics used to ensure a website is as visible as possible to the search engines (a high-ranking placement in the search results pages of search engines), which will, in turn, make it easier for customers to find your website. Internet users often do not click through many pages of search results. Instead, they stop after the first or second page, or try searching again with different keywords. The higher a website naturally ranks in the organic results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. Although organic SEO takes longer to show results, in the end, it will be less costly and you will establish a search credibility that you might not be able to establish with SEM.

 

The following are just a few common strategies used for SEO:

- Using specific and relevant keywords.
- Link building to improve link popularity.
- Frequently creating good, relevant content.
- Creating title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, and alt text with proper keywords.
- Improving your site’s navigation to provide an excellent user experience.
- Integration of social media sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter).
- Having a mobile-friendly website.

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) encompasses different options available to use a search engine’s technology to market and advertise your business. SEM offers you the opportunity to pay based on clicks (you pay only for each click through from the advertisement to your website). Ads in a successful SEM campaign will be shown to those consumers searching specifically for your products or services, resulting in more targeted traffic to your site.

 

Some examples of this include:

- Google Adwords.
- Pay-Per-Click ads (PPC).
- Banner advertising.

 

With SEM, results are immediate, which would be ideal for a new start-up business launching their grand-opening, for example. Many marketers debate whether one is better than the other. But, the reality is, SEO and SEM are not really competing services. In fact, SEO is considered a subset of SEM services. The best way to improve your online presence on the Internet is to incorporate both SEO and SEM into your online marketing plan.

 

Increase Website Traffic With Better Marketing Images

Posted on January 27th, 2017

Increase Web Traffic with Digital Marketing

 

A picture says a thousand words. But, a good picture says the right words, and thousands more.

 

We, as humans, are visual beings, which explains why we’re so attracted to photographs. Photography (or images in general) is an integral part of marketing your business or brand.Good quality images will help achieve your marketing objectives and play an enormous role in whether or not you have captured your audience’s attention. This is even more crucial when it comes to product photos.

 

Would you buy something online if you couldn’t clearly see it?

 

Photos that are blurry or pixelated will give the impression of an unprofessional business or a low quality product.  But, high quality, professional images on a company’s website give the impression of a reputable, professional business.  If you don’t have a good camera to take the photos yourself, you can find thousands of high resolution images related to your business on “stock photo” websites such as Shutterstock.

Another important aspect to consider is whether the images you’re using are relevant to your brand and business.  Even if you have a good, high quality image, would a photo of a cute dog with shopping bags be good for a business selling a brand of chocolate?  Of course not.  But, would that same image work for a pet shop? Absolutely.

Adding irrelevant photos just for the sake of filling space will not do you any good. You have to decide exactly what types of photos you want, and what they will add to your website and your marketing materials. Always make sure that the images you choose will add real value to your company’s message.

Optimizing Your Website’s Customer Feedback

Posted on January 25th, 2017

Excellent on customer survey

 

 

No matter what industry you’re in, customers’ comments and criticisms are invaluable to your business.

 

If you’re like most companies, your customer service or support team will know more about your customers’ needs and concerns than your sales team. Gathering, organizing, and sharing customer feedback is crucial for any business. It provides actionable insight into creating a better product or a better shopping experience for your customers, and will result in better business decisions.

 

Types of customer feedback methods:

- Direct Email
- Customer feedback surveys
- Comment boxes
- Customer contact forms
- On-site activity (e.g. reviewing website analytics)

 

Your business is not the only one curious about your customers’ feedback. Your potential future customers want to hear what your customers have to say. Some will solely base their final decision on whether or not to buy your product, simple based on customer reviews. The number of online consumers who read and trust online reviews is increasing. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations — which is incredible, considering most online reviews are posted by total strangers.

Enabling comment boxes for customer reviews on your website will not only provide you with insightful information, but it will also help with the SEO (search engine optimization) side of things. Comment boxes, and even forums, have a positive effect on your company’s organic search rankings on search engines. They ultimately increase the amount of unique content your site offers. As a result of this, over time, you’ll be seen as having higher authority on the search engines, with more relevance, and a higher chance of getting those pages ranked.

 

Things to remember:

It’s not always easy to know who to ask or even the best way to phrase your questions, so don’t rush through it. Create smart, open-ended questions and avoid “leading” and “loaded” questions.  Think of what you want to ask, and when you want to ask it.

The following diagram is an example of what you should be considering:

 

feedback

Lastly, make sure to follow up. Email them back, reply to that post, call them on the phone (if that’s an option).  Let the user feel like their comment has been read, and it’s not just sitting there being ignored. No customer will continue to express their feelings and experiences if they feel no one is listening.

Is Search Engine Optimization Better Than Google Adwords?

Posted on January 25th, 2017

GOOGLE ADWORDS

 

 

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, translates to better rankings on search engines’ results pages.

 

This includes websites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, as well as other major search engines. Good SEO begins with the design/programming stage of your website, by making it search engine-friendly. However, these results are not instant. Rather, this effect evolves over time with the proper SEO strategies and techniques.

Google Adwords is a paid search service, and is an essential part of many online marketing campaigns. Pay-Per-Click, as it’s known, is by far the most effective means of engaging your potential customers, and the results are instant. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Google Adwords service is specific to Google’s search results only. So, this would not be seen by Yahoo, Bing, or other search engine users. With Adwords, you can target many keywords at the same time, and it is limited only to how much you’re willing to spend. While SEO, on the other hand, generally focuses on fewer keywords, but at little to no cost.

 

When you stop your adwords campaigns, traffic also stops, but once you start getting organic traffic with SEO, this will continue long term.

 

The fact of the matter is that there are benefits to both SEO and Google Adwords. So, a healthy combination of both will be the most ideal solution. In any case, you should try to rank on as many keywords as you can using Search Engine Optimization. And, for those keywords you’re having a hard time ranking on, you might want to consider paying for the ranking with Google Adwords.

How Virtual Reality Technology Can and Will Help Your Business

Posted on January 24th, 2017

Virtual Reality Technology helps business

 

 

The possibilities for virtual reality are literally endless.

 

The greatest benefits of virtual reality technology are that firstly, you can have the feeling of being somewhere without physically going there, and secondly, you can see and interact with things that are not actually there. With just those two factors alone, a whole new world of opportunity opens up for businesses of all kinds.  Here are just a few potential applications of this technology:

 

Healthcare – People who are not physically able to travel, or bed-ridden patients who can’t even leave the hospital, can virtually sit on a beach in the Caribbean, or sit in their old backyard, back home in Italy. People can even overcome phobias, such as fear of heights, social anxiety, or fear of animals.

Real Estate – Virtual reality takes 360 degree photography to the next level. You can virtually visit and walk through homes that are for sale, without ever leaving your house.

Prototyping/Research – This technology will allow you to create things and interact with them virtually before spending millions of dollars to build a prototype. Decision makers and researchers will be able to provide much more valuable feedback at a much earlier stage of the game, resulting in less wasted time and money.

Training – VR has all different kinds of training applications: flight training students, martial artists improving their reflexes, military training, Olympians familiarizing themselves with their terrain, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

Entertainment – Imagine being able to go to a concert, anywhere around the world, without leaving your living room, virtually riding that new roller-coaster, or going to that hockey game you thought you’d have to miss.

Tourism – With access to virtual reality, you could get a sneak preview of that site-seeing tour or holiday destination before you book that flight.  You could fly over the Grand Canyon without stepping into a plane or helicopter, or go on an Australian outback tour without stepping foot outside your door.

Construction – Architects and engineers could virtually explore new designs or work-sites, inside and out, before any digging ever takes place.

 

Keep in mind that these are just possible applications of VR technology. Virtual reality is still in its infancy stages, and very few people understand how it works. There’s still a long way to go before we can experience or even comprehend its full potential.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated, “This is very early and we don’t expect VR to take off as a mainstream success right away … but eventually we believe that VR is going to be the next big computing platform and we’re making the investments necessary to lead the way there”.

For more info on how VR works, check out this article: https://www.wareable.com/vr/how-does-vr-work-explained.

Business Tips for Better Tweets

Posted on January 24th, 2017

twitter superman graphic for Social Media Article

 

Do you want to make your tweets stand out?  Are you tweeting daily, but noticing minimal results with no retweets?

 

There are 255 million active Twitter users generating more than 500 million tweets per day.  Having said that, you want to make your tweets stand out and catch your audience’s attention in the first few words, or they’ll move on to the next tweet that sounds more appealing than yours.

 

Here are some helpful tips on how to optimize your tweets and increase your Twitter followers:

 

1. Tweet interesting and funny content along with the business content. Be professional when writing tweets without being overly formal.

2. Talk with them, not at them. Be responsive on Twitter, not a robot. If someone asks a question or comments on your tweets, make sure to reply back.

3. Use action words.  Tweets that contain more adverbs and verbs have a higher click-through rate than tweets with more nouns and adjectives.

4. Capitalize each word in your headline. People prefer title case (or sentence case) when reading titles.  Basically, the first letter of every word in the headline should be capitalized, as opposed to lowercase or all caps.

5. Don’t over-hashtag and avoid using @ mentions whenever possible.

6. Include your URL in your Twitter bio, not just the URL field, to optimize for mobile users.

 

And lastly, don’t be shy to ask your followers to retweet.  Tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” receive 12X higher retweet rates than those that do not.  When retweet is spelled out, the retweet rate is 23X higher than the average. When using the shortened version (the letters “RT”) instead, the retweet rate is 10X higher.

You can find more helpful tips on better tweeting here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228198

 

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