Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

5 Essentials for Moving Your Business Online

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Online BusinessWhat with the internet getting so big and popular and all, it has reached the point where having a business and having a website is basically synonymous. If you don’t have a website, unless you are a market stall, you don’t have a business…or at least, you are not making the most of it.

So to get your business online, you obviously need a website. This is just the beginning though. Too many businesses phone up the first website company they come across, give them some colour scheme and accept what they are given. They then throw their products in and hit ‘Go Live’. Then they sit back and wait for the orders to start piling up in their inbox.

Unfortunately for them there is so much more to it. They may as well not have bothered if they are not willing to spend a lot more time and energy making it the best it can be. There is just so much competition out there that websites need to be of a high calibre to make any impact or provide any return on investment.

Worthwhile Content

The first and most essential element of all is worthwhile content. You can spend £10,000 on your website design and development but if you don’t invest in providing useful, user friendly, valuable information then it will all have been a waste. Ecommerce sites for example need to not only provide pictures and prices; they need high quality images, good solid descriptions and detailed price breakdowns.

A Unique Online Selling Point

Another essential element is a unique selling point. This is something that makes your business stand out online ahead of your competitors. While your existing business may have one in place, this may not do so well online. Good online selling points are things like ‘Free Shipping’ and ‘Free Returns’.

Security

People are very aware of their vulnerability online. This means that anything that seems unsafe, especially when their credit card details are concerned will make them run a mile. You need your site to look professional, be free of adverts (where possible) or any pop-ups and offer reassuring information like your physical address and a phone number. Furthermore, how are you processing payments? This certainly has to be secure and brings about the issue of payment gateways and which payment service provider is right for you and your customers.

On Page Credit Card Gateway

Sticking with reassuring customers and payments; sending them to an external site to take their card details is a major turn off, so it is essential that you nip this in the bud now by immediately applying an online credit card gateway that can be used from the checkout seamlessly.

SEO Services

Finally, search engine optimisation is not technically essential, but you won’t get much traffic quickly without a professional casting their eye over your site and explaining what you need to do to be as attractive as possible to search engines and your customers.

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3 Major Roadblocks Placed (by you) Between Your Customers and Your Products

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A roadblock in the world of ecommerce is basically anything that stands between your customers and your products. You probably know that online shoppers are like a flock of birds: the slightest little jolt and they are off up into the sky and away. They’re not like ants who will immediately try to find another route to their goal, they will not often back track and look for gaps and ways over, under or around an obstacle. No they know that they can just go back to the search results and start again with a fresh site that probably has what they are looking for and may well be easier for them to get to.

So we agree. Roadblock on websites are bad.

What is a road block exactly?

Well here are three prime and common examples of roadblocks that crop up in ecommerce websites all the time preventing users getting from landing page to payment processing:

Forcing Customers to Register

All too often ecommerce sites are so keen to gather the email addresses and other information about users that they do so before customers have even fully committed to buying a product. Being confronted by a message basically demanding that you create an account before you have permission to actually buy something is terribly off putting and indeed leads a large percentage of users who don’t want to or just can’t be bothered, to exit immediately.

Bad Search Results

Many people prefer to search ecommerce stores through the site search. There are some who are happy to use the normal navigation menus and such but a significant proportion who may be in a rush, may know precisely what they are looking for or who may just prefer it, will go directly to your search box. However, if they don’t get what they want quickly through your search box, they aren’t going to stick around to use your navigation, they’re going to leave and try another site.

External Credit Card Site

Another major roadblock is when customers are transported to another site altogether in order for them to put in their card details. They trusted your site this far and now you are suddenly asking them to trust someone else. No dice. This is a big turn off for lots of customers and will cause many of them to turn tail and leave. Having a payment service provider incorporate into the structure of your site is a better option that is widely provided.

Roadblocks are very serious but are in most cases, including those listed above, fixable. Think of each of these like placing a physical roadblock in front of a bricks and mortar version of your shop and you will appreciate just how important it is to remove them as soon as possible.

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Google vs. Bing – Which One Should You Optimise Your Business For?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

When you are building a business online there are many factors which you need to consider before you rush into things. First you need to ensure you have your business goals in line with the rest of your service mediums as well as sorting out a business merchant account to handle payments. Then you need to work out what you want a website for and on the back of this…what content you should have to best get your message across and ensnare your customers. Part of your marketing for your online business will (hopefully) include search engine optimisation (SEO). Now if you have ever used a search engine the chances are it will have been either Google or Bing (possibly Yahoo, but Yahoo is now just Bing in disguise so let’s just say Bing for both), and each of them have slightly different interfaces and algorithms for deciding where to rank websites.

You must decide whether you want to focus on Google or Bing. Here are some points to note when considering this:

Google

Google is by far the largest and most popular search engine in the world. It has the majority share of the search market and with all the extra stuff it is doing now like: email, TV, AdWords, Analytics, social networking, driverless cars etc. before long you won’t be able to remember what it was like before your life was in some way supported by Google. Some people however, see this hegemony as a negative. Despite Google’s consistent message that they are not evil, some feel that they have their fingers in too many honey pots and are neglecting their simple roots. These people think that the smart money is on Bing.

Bing

With the spending and technological power of Microsoft behind it, Bing is a new kid with a silver spoon in its mouth. With all the support from many big brains, a rising market share, a hefty advertising budget and now with all the power of search veteran Yahoo incorporated too, Bing could be where the smart money is.

So Which One Should You Choose?

Both of course! It is that simple. Right now when people want to find something online they ‘Google’ it, they don’t ‘Bing’ it. But as Bing gets its place in browsers search bars and other clever locations, its popularity will rise. Also, with the privacy issues Google has faced you can expect their popularity to decrease…a bit. With the extra time you spend now optimising for both, you will save yourself money in the future and potentially boost the revenues you gain, served through your payment service provider.

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How do New Technologies like the iPhone 4 affect New Business Opportunities?

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

smartphonesWith the launch of new technologies such as the iPhone 4 and the iPad, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago there was a time when the most advanced technology in an office was the telephone:  A simpler time when pen and paper, or maybe a typewriter, along with the postal service and a filing cabinet was the basis of all work and communication. A time when salesmen went out and about to do business on the road and when computers were closer to abacuses than today’s superfast nanotech marvels.

When starting a new business in today’s environment, the technology you require has gone from being nonexistent, through large clunky and unreliable, to sleek, sophisticated, user friendly, often beautiful and increasingly open sourced. Here are some of the most important new technologies and how they affect new businesses:

Broadband Internet, HTML5

There is no escaping that we are now an online world. Without a website your company could make the best grommets in the world, but not many people would know about it. With the step to broadband internet, the World Wide Web came to households around the country like never before, (as dial-up was fairly limited), and made it possible for even the smallest start up business to create a webpage for people to see their products.

HTML is the core markup language of the internet, and the basis upon which webpages are built. HTML5 (and CSS3) is the latest version of this language, which is set to make it even easier for new businesses to incorporate various modern elements into their websites when browsers get up to speed with the technology.

Search Engines, SEO

Search engines have changed the way people search for businesses and services. When looking for anything from a new job to somewhere to sell your 1956 limited edition Elvis original album press, instead of going to the yellow pages, the majority of the world goes to a search engine.

Search engines like Google are now among the biggest and most profitable companies in the world which shows how big a part of our lives they have become. A new business that appears at the top of search engine rankings will get more business. So SEO (search engine optimisation) is an increasingly key part of any new businesses strategy, as this improves the position of a businesses website within the search engine rankings.

Smartphones

Smartphones such as the new iPhone 4 or the very popular Blackberry have massively improved the connection between small business owners and their customers. Even one person companies can maintain contact with their suppliers, other staff, accountants and clients without having to be tied to or constantly returning to a desk. With a smartphone a new business can have lower overheads also, as a number of apps available on smartphones can keep track of your finances, track your tasks and appointments, allow you to access the internet on the move and maintain a constant point of contact for potential new customers.

New technologies have revolutionised business, but have also made it easier for a business’s competition at the same time. The bar has been raised for everyone and new technologies are here to help.

Martin Able has worked for years as part of the Lancore team to provide the most secure money transfer services through complete payment gateways solutions.

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Advertise Your Way to More Sales

Friday, March 19th, 2010

In previous blog posts we have looked at how you can analyse site traffic tools such as Google Analytics to better tune your site for better conversions. Once you are confident on your sites ability to convert visitors into customers then you may start wondering how best to drive not only traffic to your site, but traffic that you actually want on your site. After all, 1000 potential customers is better than 1000000 casual visitors with no chance to convert.

One technique to drive quality traffic to your site it to use online advertising, one popular way is to use ‘pay per click’ advertising. This can be a very cost effective way of attracting the right sort of people to your site. As is suggested in the name, the advertiser will only pay when the user clicks on the advert.

The actual running of a pay per click campaign through AdWords can be quite an involved job, those people looking to spend some time setting up their advertising will find that they won’t get the best from what Google’s AdWords system has to offer.

If you have had an SEO campaign previously then you may have a slight head-start when it comes to setting up an AdWords account, try using the keyphrases researched for that SEO campaign to see how they will perform in AdWords. You are looking for keyphrases targeted to your industry that are also used frequently in searches.

Now comes the time to write your actual advert text, or copy. This will be the first way you interact with your potential customer so you need to have copy that is eye-catching. This could be by displaying savings available on your site, by clever word-play or any other technique you can think of to make your ad stand out.

You will now have the beginning of an AdWords Campaign, much of the work is still ahead though, there are many facets to creating an effective online advertising campaign. Many businesses find that hiring another company to maintain the account works out as the most profitable way to organise pay-per-click advertising.

If this advertising is done well then a stream of quality traffic can be effectively directed to your site. If you look at the AdWords page on Wikipedia you can see that Google AdWords reported revenues in 2008 were $21 billion, there are a lot of businesses using this form of online advertising!

With years of experience in money transfer services and utilising extensive online credit card processing methods Martin Able has considerable expertise in managing payment services for online businesses.

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Educating Yourself in Google Analytics

Friday, February 5th, 2010

When it comes it familiarising yourself with the Google Analytics system there are a lot of areas that require looking into to give you a reasonably concise overview. Among the most important areas to familiarise yourself with are the monitoring of visitor data and creating and tracking goals within your sites account. This requires quite a bit of time to be put aside in order to really get a feel for the system. However, once you have this under your belt you can make the next vital step in analysing and utilising the data that analytics gathers for your site in order to really begin optimising your site for success.

On this blog we provide a variety of articles which hopefully have assisted in making you more aware of the benefits which can be reaped from an in-depth understanding of how to utilise Google Analytics effectively. Anyone who has looked into our other posts will be well aware of how essential Analytics can be to improve your site, and in the case of ecommerce how it can assist you in improving your traffic and sales.

Usefully, aside from the articles we provide, Google Analytics is equally devoted to assisting users in the understanding and use of their web traffic analysis tool. There are several ways in which Analytics sets out to provide users with best practice methods and techniques to allow web based businesses to make analytics work for them.

Analytics API

As discusses in a previous articles the Analytics Data Export API allows users to make Analytics work for them. Through this extremely useful interface businesses can tailor Analytics to work exactly how they want. While the online setup provides a comprehensive overview, the ability to create your own modified version offline has the capacity to be specifically useful to your business making it incomparable in its usefulness.

Furthermore there are no limitations to how you can analyse and compare the data as the methods are entirely within your own hands. However, this does require a reasonable level of programming knowledge and understanding of analytics, so is not ideal for everyone. However for the advanced Analytics user it provides the stepping stone for a more personalised and prioritised setup.

Analytics Seminars, Videos and Blogs

For those trying to get a foothold in Analytics there are a variety of resources available from the Analytics team themselves. The analytics blog provides insight into a variety of areas within and related-to Google Analytics. In addition there are videos available which are created by Analytics employees to boost your understanding of key areas in an easier to follow format. The videos cover topics ranging from novice to advanced user practices and encompass not only using Analytics but also other applications that coincide with optimising your site such as AdWords and Website Optimiser. If your business is in the United States and is keen to get the best understanding of Analytics possible then Google regularly run advanced and introductory seminars across the country which you can register for.

Analytics Qualifications

Finally, for those who already have a good grasp of Analytics there are Google Analytics Qualifications which can be attained online through their Analytics IQ course and Test. This will not only offer further insight into advanced use of Analytics but will provide a qualification which is very useful to have in the industry.

The main element of Analytics that makes it so accessible stems from Google’s maxim for assisting good web development and ecommerce practices. It’s in Google’s interest to assist in the development of websites and best practices in web design and SEO. As a result you will find that there are numerous avenues available to you through which you can get detailed assistance in making Analytics an indispensible part of your websites upkeep and advancement.

“This article was provided by Martin Able a Lancore employee focused on providing customers with the best money transfer services for ensuring secure online credit card processing.”

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Managing and Optimising your Site Content through Analytics

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

As any website guru will tell you, ‘content is king’. This applies as much to an ecommerce site as to any other. It is vital that the site provides something invaluable to potential customers. Of course no website will be perfect for everyone but it is vital that even in a niche market you are providing a very high standard. For an ecommerce site, content refers to products and services.

As a result, it is important to know how popular the products, pages and features of your site are with your current and new clients. Analytics provides a variety of tools about success of site content and how it can be optimised.

Top Content

This feature allows you to gauge the popularity of each individual page of your site. You can determine the most popular pages, their number of page views, the average time on page and the bounce and exit rates. Through this you can determine which of your pages are working for and against your overall productivity.

To add additional depth of understanding to this feature it can be viewed through a variety of different methods such as by percentage, performance and comparison. Furthermore there are a variety of advanced filters to assist with evaluation of pages.

If for example you find that a particular page has a high bounce or exit rate then it might be prudent to re-evaluate the page to determine what is affecting its views. It may be the case that the page has poor navigation or simply offers something that your range of clients isn’t interested in.

In this case it is always prudent to be running website optimizer on several of the pages, this allows you to check your content order to make changes and improve your site. Otherwise you may want to rethink the usefulness and relevance of that particular page. It is important not to get clients sidetracked from the key aims of the site.

Top Landing Pages

This feature works very well in conjunction with the Top Content analysis. What the top landing page tool provides is insight into how people are accessing your site. While you would expect the majority of your traffic to initially reach your index or intro page it is important to consider that people will find their way into a variety of landing pages.

This can most likely occur as a result of a popular product or potentially your own SEO campaign. If you find that a certain page or product is receiving more attention then you may want to check up further on this product’s sales and act to capitalise on it. You could further endorse this product via advertising campaigns or special offers.

Alternatively, if this popularity can be tied to an SEO or marketing campaign then you may want to create similar campaigns for other products in order to reap the benefits across your site.

Top Exit Pages

Conversely, the Top Exit Pages feature allows you to look at where people are leaving your site. If this happens to be your order confirmed page then it is probably not such a problem. However, if cart or order confirmation pages are seeing high exit rates then you may want to look into the reasons for this. High exit rates in these cases are often the result of poorly organised forms or a lack of information. It is in the checkout page that users become most sceptical of a site and are more likely to leave. If they see something they don’t like such as extra charges announced on the last page or a poorly made address details page then you can count on a large exit rate.

In this instance creating goal funnels can be a very useful endeavour. This can provide in-depth information about the exit and success rates of the pages funnelling into the goal page (usually the confirmation or ‘thanks for ordering’ page). For more information on using and setting up goal funnels check out our previous article.

Site Overlay

This is an extremely useful tool as it provides an overview of link popularity across your entire site. When using it you are provided with an overview of how you would usually view your site but with a percentage tag beside each link on the page. This allows you to look at your site from a client point of view and to see how your traffic flows from page to page. This feature provides a very useful insight into how your site is being browsed.

Using these features of Google Analytics, as well as a few others can provide extremely useful information. What is important is that you analyse and use this information correctly to optimise and prioritise products and pages on your site.

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Optimising your Site for Clientele using Google Analytics

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Your Target Customer

The most important thing for any ecommerce site is making sales, and in order to do this the site must accumulate a strong client base. Customers are websites very lifeblood; as such it is imperative that you can evaluate what your target audience is and how they interact with your site. Google Analytics can provide a concise array of details about your users, allowing you to modify your site to keep returning customers and acquire new ones. Here we will look into how using a variety of visitor details acquired by Google Analytics can assist in developing your site to maximise goal conversions.

Visitor Trending

Visitor trending provides a variety of insights into how users interact with your site, whether it be the number of total visits a day, average page views per month or time spent on your site. Through this you can determine what your sites strengths and weaknesses are. If, for example, you are receiving a high number of visits but also have an inordinately high bounce rate then there could be issue with your main landing page. High bounce rates usually indicate that your entrance pages aren’t relevant to many of your visitors. You should work to make your landing page as compelling as possible and also ensure that the pages are appropriately tailored to the keywords and ads that you are using.

Visitor Loyalty

In a nutshell, this shows how loyal your clientele are. It looks at the number of repeat visits, how recent they are and length and depth of visits. These can help to determine whether you are maintaining customers (i.e. they are returning). If customers are not returning to your site then there could be a few issues, but at least you know what needs to be done. If you also cross reference this with length and depth of visits you can see how far users are getting on your site and how long they remain on it. Through these you can determine whether your site is confusing to navigate or perhaps has a frustrating checkout system.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking allows comparisons to be made with other industry verticals. You can make comparisons of visits, page views, etc. in order determine where you are behind or ahead in the market. Through this you can determine in which areas your site is going wrong and possibly pick up useful ideas from other sites.

Map Overlay & Languages

We will discuss these two sections together, not because they have direct similarities but because of the areas in which they can assist your site. Map Overlay provides you with a very powerful tool to view globally where your site is receiving visitors from. Languages basically does what it says on the tin, by providing you with a breakdown of the various languages of the visitors to your site. These are useful together as by combining them you can gain an insight into your users, both geographically and linguistically. This allows you the option to tailor your site and keywords for more specific geographical intent (E.g. ‘car rental London’), as well as providing additional language options if you have a large client base in India for example.

Browser Capabilities

This provides details of how users are accessing your site, whether it is the browser, the operating system, screen resolution, flash versions and java that their system supports. This is extremely useful as once you have an overview of this you will know how to tune your site to suit your users. If, for example, you have a large number of users with older versions of flash and no Java support then it may be prudent to reduce these elements. Furthermore, you can modify your site to work for the browsers that the majority of your clients are using. Of course it would be best to accommodate all browsers, but in the mean time this gives you a priority list.

Once you know the problem it can usually be easily fixed. Google Analytics will provide the analysis but it is up to you to make the changes your site needs. Knowledge can be a major asset when optimising your site for success.

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