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Six Questions to Ask Before Creating a Website

Laptop, Hand, Leave, Internet, Network, Social

There are many people who can design a website nowadays. In fact, even a teenager can do that for you. Before you decide to make a website of your own, you need to establish a plan first. A web design company can easily build one for you, but it is important to ask yourself these questions.

  • What is the purpose of your website?

    In business, there are 3 main types of websites:

    • Brochure site –  This is an online support to offline marketing. You will mention your website in your printed ads. Because the cost of advertising online is quite inexpensive, you can elaborate your business through a website.
    • Lead Generator – This approach can generate business on its own because you want your site to be seen when a person browses the internet. After seeing your site, they can be more drawn to contact you. They be easily converted from a website visitor to a buyer.
    • Online Store – This option will make your website a storefront for the probable customers. After they have seen your site and read its content, they could be enticed by your products and click SHOP NOW immediately.The important thing is to identify the purpose of your website and its business model so your time is not wasted.
  • How will people find your site?

    There are billions of websites out there. There’s a huge chance people may not see your site if you don’t strategize well. Your goal is to make money so the website can pay for itself. Whether you make noise online and offline, you need to make your presence felt.

  • An online strategy is created by visibility. Here are the important elements:
    • Get links to your website
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Online advertising
  • An offline strategy is built on your offline marketing –networking, advertising, public relations and cold calling. You refer your leads to your website where you have vital information and why they should choose you. This will build credibility.
  • How do you make visitors stay in your site?

    People stay on a site for at least 68 seconds. How many of your widgets can sell in that short period of time?

    There is one way to make visitors remain in your site and that is content! Give them things they will never find in any other website.

  • What would you want guests to do when they are at your site?

    For sure, no one is going to buy or call you on the first site visit. But if you are selling a commodity like clothes, sure other websites sells clothes too. The competition is in the price. To establish a relationship, you could use email marketing. Give them a 10% off if they subscribe to your newsletter.

  • How do you make visitors come back to your site?

    Not all browsers will come back. If they stay on your site for only 68 seconds, then that will never generate clients. For them to come back do the following:

    Have enough quantity as well as quality of content. This will make people bookmark your website.
    You can also try giving special prices or offers to your subscribers to motivate them to come back.
    Lastly, constantly update. Make it a habit to add and change the content so visitors will look forward to visit your website again.

  • How are you monitoring results in your website?

    To know if your site will work for you, measure your statistics. Your host should be able to give the important numbers like the number of people who visited the website, and the time they browsed the website. You will also know how they found your website, their activity in your website, their location, and web browser. Strategies can easily be made basing from the given data. Once you have a plan, apply them one at a time.

 

Reasons Why Social Media Can Help Your Businesses

Android Social Media AppsSocial media are internet  services that allows user to interact with each other and generate content using online communities. It has the capacity to open marketing opportunities for small to large businesses.

Think about this, you can spend a few hours in social media to increase your sales with no extra cost. Here are some of the reasons why social media has been a useful platform for businesses:

 

  • Using social media is easy. You do not have to be a computer genius to participate in them. All you need is a basic know how, and you are off to market your product or services. If you need help on marketing your product, you can read this social media guide.
  • Social media is the fastest platform to reach millions of users all over the globe in a personal basis. You can definitely increase your business visibility thereby increasing the recognition of your brand. Just write a social media profile for your business and then interact with consumers. Get people to like and share your page. Posts that are shared only means your brand will be introduced to new individuals who can be your potential clients.

    If you do not use social media, you will be limited to your usual clients. You will then have a hard time reaching people outside of your immediate circle. Using the social media platform will increase your inbound traffic.

    You should join as many platforms as possible to let individuals reach your business. If an older demographic tries a particular keyword on Facebook then you can easily be reached. On the other hand, if a millennial tries to search your business in a different social media, it can still be found. Syndicating your content in different platforms is good. It will enable the different demographics to access your business.

  • Your search ranking will improve if you have in the social media for more than a year. If you are able to move on top, your traffic will surely give positive results for your business.
  • When your brand is interactive, meaning you share content, post statuses, comment on social media, it becomes personalize. Users would do business with you, not your company.
  • Social media is a communication venue and consumers appreciate when you answer their comments on your page rather than getting the automated message which is very impersonal. This shows that you are seriously being attentive to your audience. And that will assure you not only of sale but loyalty to your brand as well. The millennial in particular are known to be the brand loyal of all demographics.
  • Posting well-written content is the best way of telling the users that you are an expert and a leader in your field. To do this, use social media platforms and make your presence felt. Connect to your audience and your followers will look up to you.

There is no reason for any business not to use the social media as a platform of communication. Get started now and see the growth of your business.

What If Someone Stole Your Website?

database codesIf you have a business, chances are you own a website. What will you do if someone stole it from you? If you depend on your Uniform Resource Locator (URL), someone else can control your website’s domain name and from there, other things could happen. The perpetrator could actually control all of the site’s content. The person could even rerouted the content to any location he or she chooses.

Getting your site back will not be easy but it is worth the fight. Here are the things you could do when someone steals your website.

  • Look for the email address of the offending website. If you can’t find the email address, go to WHO IS to know the registrant. Who Is will help you in providing the website’s owner, and other relevant details. Take the list of all the contact information.
  • Know who is hosting the offending website. You can verify it by using WHO IS HOSTING THIS. Get in touch with them. No decent company would want to deal with piracy.
  • Use the Way Back Machine and review all the past reviews on your web site. This is a proof that your website has been online longer than the offending website.
  • Furnish a link to the Google Cache to show that the Google Spiders found your content earlier as compared to the offending site.
  • Do screenshots of all the materials that were copied. In cases where a whole site was copied, save the source code to compare it with what you have.
  • Gather all the proofs and evidence. This will include screenshots, the dates that the users commented on your blog in answer to the original post.
  • Have your MySQL records.
  • Get all the original graphics and images, preferably unedited and include the file date.
  • Gather the backups of your site in the past including the modified dates.

The next step is to contact the perpetrator. It is important to let the person know that he or she has done a major mistake and you know about it. Your reason for this are:

  • To let the person know of the theft.
  • Ask for the person to remove, modify, make correction and ask for compensation.
  • Open a communication between you and the perpetrator.
  • Let the person know that you have gathered information.
  • And that there is a paper trail of enough evidence.

Start the conversation with the thief carefully maintaining a professional tone and attitude even if the respond is unprofessional. Give them a chance to tell their side of the story and change their ways. Do not threaten and continue to be professional and this might be solved faster than you think. If all was done and yet no positive result, it is time to consult a lawyer.

To avoid future problem, choose a stronger password and make sure you change it from time to time. Use another computer just in case someone in your household by chance clicked malicious links. Use an antivirus software and constantly scan your computer for spywares. You can also get a Cyber Risk insurance. Prevention is better than losing what you have built online.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

Browsing on laptop

What is a great domain name?

 A domain name is an important part of your branding. It is your online identity and it is similar to choosing the right company name. A great domain name can create an impressive first impression. You have to think it through and make sure the name fits your business. What name should you prevent from using? How to choose the right domain name then? Use these tips to help you select the apt domain name.

Unique Branding
Create a domain name that is yours. Do not follow the suit of the popular websites. It should stand out over existing brands. For example, book related websites are: BookDepository.com, BookOutlet.com, Booktopia.com.au. They all contain the word ‘book’. Wordery.com definitely stands out over the generic name of its competitors.

Keep it short
The longer your domain name is the higher the risk of mistyping or misspelling it. The top websites approximately have 6 characters. Look at Yahoo.com, Google.com, Amazon.com. Try to create a website name between 6-14 characters. Keep it simple and concise. The shorter domain name is always a better choice.

Avoid truncated words
Make your domain name easy to type. When you say it, people should be able to spell your domain name correctly. When names are tough to spell, people might mistype your website and you will lose potential customers. The worst thing is that they will get redirected to a totally different website. Your website visitors should be able to type your domain name without difficulty. Refrain from using u instead of you, fave or fav instead favorite, luv instead of love, and so on.

Easy to say
Not only the name has to be easy to spell, it should also be easy to pronounce. You should be able to pass it along effortlessly. If people takes awhile to understand on how to say and spell your website name, you might have to consider other options.

Make it extensible
Consider the long term plan of your business. Do not get tied into a name that will limit your brand. If you use the word ‘book’ in your domain name, make sure you will only cater to books and book related products. If you plan to sell DVDs  and other multimedia products in the future, consider all the possibilities. You can experiment on different names and if you need help in looking for remarkable available domain names, this website will definitely help you.

Check the availability
Since your domain name is a crucial part of your branding, it should also be available in the different social media websites that you will be using. Make sure that the name is available and no other business is using it. It is ideal that your website and your social media usernames are the same so that people can easily find you in all places. You can use this website to check usernames across various platforms. Certain usernames are already taken. Avoid trouble by not using domain names that already have trademarks. This is a serious note that you need to remember in order to avoid law suits and legal issues. It would be a shame to have to use another name after already launching a brand online.

Must Haves for Mobile Commerce Sites

Person Shopping using Mobile Phone

Shopping online at mobile websites

Smart phones and mobile devices are changing our lives. These devices are becoming a substitute for the big and bulky desktop computers. Mobile users are slowly moving away from the conventional ways of online shopping. They prefer to use their mobile phones to buy things they need, schedule appointments, and pretty much everything.

The whole website should be scannable.

Give your website visitors an overview of your entire website. Allow them to freely browse different sections of your online shop. Provide a category list of the products that you are currently selling. Most users do not scroll down while browsing on mobile. They just mostly scan. They do not read things on screen the way they read other printed materials. People browse on their mobile because they already know what to buy. Mobile purchases should be quick and easy.

Homepage should not be too crowded.

Your homepage should provide easy access to everything, but do not put too much photos. Most importantly, there should be a search box. You should highlight the search box so that first time visitors can easily find the products they wish to purchase. If they cannot find a search box, they will abandon the page. It is no more complicated than that! Other than that, you can advertise the latest deals and promotions like a discount coupon, a free shipping deal, or something that can entice them to buy more items.

Pagination links should be clickable with your thumb.

Add pagination links to each page of your mobile website. Searching a website without pagination links is like finding a needle in a haystack. These links are helpful when you are browsing for a certain product in a huge pile. These pagination links are necessary for your customers so that they can browse your website conveniently. Your website will also load faster because the pagination links divided the items into pages, and when you have a speedy website, customers are happy. You would be helping your customers if you provide large clickable areas. Give these links some space and do not put the page numbers too close to each other.

Notify customers on restock.

When people are shopping online, it cannot be avoided that some items get out of stock. Most websites do not have an email function for these unavailable items. (Personally, it is such a hassle that I would have to constantly check a website if they have restocked the items that I want.) If you cannot notify via email, at least, tell the customers if the current inventory is low.

Customers can shop as guest.

Mobile e-commerce sites are helpful when customers are doing their last minute shopping. These people just want to buy something and the registration form is a huge barrier to be honest. Do not force them to register or to login. Instead, highlight benefits of registering – like free shipping, detailed package tracking, and exclusive perks – so that they will be more compelled to register. If they had a satisfying shopping experience, they themselves will decide to register and buy more items at your website.

Marketing a Product Using Social Media

facebook and other apps

How to use social media to your advantage?

Nowadays, people are always on the internet and they have the need to constantly update the world about their life. They search for everything on the internet. Your website is not the be-all and end-all of things. It is not enough when you plan to sell products online. Social media plays a huge role in e-commerce. Follow these tips on how to market a product:

 

  • Strong social media presence.
    Popular brands have different social media accounts. They go where the customers are. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your social media team should build your brand’s online profile. They need to fill the basic information like bio, official logo, website links, and so on. These information may seem mundane, but these are extremely important. The team should also prepare the visuals to upload to these accounts. You can utilize free online photo editors – e.g., Pizap, Pixlr, Canva – to edit your product photos and add attention-grabbing descriptions.

    Since Facebook is the top social media platform, experiment with its features. You can offer exclusive promotions on your wall or you can utilize the Facebook Ads to advertise your latest products. It is not enough to invest in one platform. Twitter and Instagram also have a huge following. (If you need help on that, you can use this Twitter guide I recently posted.) You can use social media not only to promote, but to reach out to the public. You can link the social media users to your official website.

    It is also a great way answer to your customers questions since most people just freely ask via social media. Great customer service will always win customers. Plus, social media has a larger scale than traditional media. This will give you an edge over competitors since your audience now is the whole world.

  • Boost your online presence.
    Yes, social media is huge part, but online visibility could also mean email. Do not solely rely on social media. Always encourage people to sign up for email. You can offer them exclusive perks via email campaigns. It will definitely help you and the great thing about it is: IT IS YOURS. You can create it the way to want and how you want it. When you are in social media, the space you occupy are owned by its respective owners. When you use email, it is totally yours and you do not need to pay ads. Just redirect your email subscribers to the latest deals and they can easily shop at your website.

 

  • Learn from the experts.
    It is not enough to get your content out there. You also need to follow influential people and learn from what they send out to their followers. Be a follower yourself and you would be in the shoes of your followers. Watch what they do and actively monitor for new opportunities. Find ways to engage with these experts. They usually have Twitter accounts so go there and be active.

 

  • Conduct giveaways.
    Encourage people to follow you by doing giveaways. It can be a simple like and share contest on Facebook, or a retweet and follow on Twitter. Once one person will share these giveaways, it can extend to thousands of people. Your followers will spread the word for you. The more shares you will get, the more people will know more about your brand. You can giveaway one of your products or perhaps a gift certificate.

 

 

Building a buzz is a collective effort. It is a combination of blogging, and social media (Facebook, Twitter Instagram, etc.) Remember that social media constantly changes. It is best that all these online campaigns should always redirect to your website. Your website should not be on the sideline. It should be the main hub. Draw people together across various social media platforms to one central website.

Six Things to Do Before Launching a Website

Website Check

Things to Check on your Website

When you have a website, it looks so easy and simple from the front end view. Behind the professional and stylish appearance, there are a lot things to deal with. One slight mistake can trigger massive consequences. There are several ways to blow things out of proportion. Indeed, it can be very stressful at times. Websites may differ from purpose and design, but generally, there are things you need to double-check before launching your very own website.

  • Proofread Page Content

Take time to read everything. Read your content over and over. Even if you read it numerous times, read it again. Ask people to read it. They might find some mistakes – misspelled words, grammar, and punctuation errors – that you missed. Make sure to break texts into short paragraphs, and the header and alignment formatting are reviewed. When clicked, the company logo should always redirect to the main website page. Check if the company contact details are complete and precise.

  • Check Links

Click on all your links to verify if they redirect to the correct item or page. Make sure these links are obvious and site visitors can recognize them as links. Moreover, the link description should not be ambiguous  and it should have an accurate description depending on the content. For example, the About Us page should not have a link like this: …/wp10d9.html.  A page not found (404) error would definitely discourage site visitors. Make sure there is a designated page that will help website visitors when the error occurs. If not, they would tag your website as unreliable. This link checker might help you if you are unsure of your website links.

  • Functionality Check

This is the most crucial part. Check all the forms – login, registration, comment , check out – if they are working accordingly and the data submitted are correct. Make sure these forms have an appropriate thank you message confirming the data given. Verify that the social media icons are working correctly so that sharing your content to various social media sites can be done without a hitch. Lastly, inspect your third-party and e-commerce software are functioning without complications especially if you are selling items.

  • Cross-Browser Check

Your website should be responsive in all browsers and across all devices. It should work not only on desktop browsers, but on smart phones, and tablets too. Text may be readable on desktop, but too small for mobile users. You can check how mobile friendly your website is by using this link.

  • Test the Visuals

Images, audio files, and videos should be viewable and working properly in all devices. Make sure that the videos are playing properly and its sound is audible. All images should be optimized for the web. Examine if these images have the relevant caption and alt text. Ensure that the file sizes are not too large. More huge images would mean longer time. Thus, it would mean a slower speed for your website.

  • Website Back Up

Before launching, make sure you have a copy of all your data in case of malware attempts against your website. Back up your data regularly so you do not have to constantly worry if something  fails to work properly. All ongoing pages should be saved on a regular basis.

More Effective Strategies to Gain Conversions

Sales and Conversions

Tips on gaining more customers.


Online shoppers are very choosy and fickle. They cannot decide what to buy at times and you have to guide them on what they could purchase. These tips will help you on gaining their attention and making them click that add to cart button.

    • Keep it clean.
      White space is a good thing. Do not cause a mess on the homepage. You must learn how to keep the homepage minimal. Like what I mentioned on the previous post, the goal is to show less products so that the customers can have more focus on what to buy. Avoid having too many moving images on the homepage. Remove all the unnecessary details and unrelated products. Always go for a simple, yet professional design. It will definitely help you in gaining your customers’ trust.
    • Only show what is needed.
      Do not show irrelevant details that will not interest the customers. You only need to show the main features of the product. Indicating the technical specifications the beside product is not required. Utilize call-to-action buttons like “Read more…” links throughout the website. CTA buttons are really helpful in organizing the website and know that they are not only limited to the “buy now”, or the “shop now” buttons.
    • Guide your customers.
      Your website should have a certain structure so that they can easily scan the page. It should not be a crowd of different unrelated products and scattered descriptions. There should be a flow on where they need to focus their attention. You can use arrows to point a important video presentation or point out purchase link. Keep the flow going and always suggest where to go next. Avoid a dead end on any web page. Make sure a page leads to somewhere with more beneficial information.
    • Follow the Gutenberg Rule.
      The Gutenberg Rule describes the reading activity of most people. Reading starts from left to right and top to bottom. People usually look at top left first and end at the bottom right. This is why in most websites, the buttons that will redirect to another page usually are placed on the bottom right and the highlighted products usually are in the top portion of the page.
    • Prepare your customers for their next purchase.
      If you have managed to made a sale and the customers are satisfied with their purchase, use this time as an opportunity to present enticing offers to your customers. You can give out discount coupons for their next purchase, suggest special offers that might spark their interest, or even offer a free shipping on the next order. Once they bought a product, they will more likely to purchase more. Use the “Thank you” page to advertise other products.

 

Whatever tips and strategies you might decide to apply, please remember to never comprise the quality of your service. Great customer service is the best tool to gain conversions. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Do not underestimate the power of online reviews and testimonials because it will surely help you gain more customers.

Strategies to Gain More Conversions

Charts, Graphs, Conversions

How to gain more customers?

Numerous businesses have adapted the concept of e-commerce over the years. It is evident in the rise of various online stores that are manufactured to sell. However, a good-looking website helps, but it is not everything. You can use these tips to help your business gain more customers and eventually, increase sales.

    • Prevent Choice Paralysis.
      What is Choice Paralysis to begin with? It happens when there is just TOO many choices presented. It is great to present customers unlimited options, but too much might confuse them. To avoid Choice Paralysis, you must give suggestions to what to buy, provide buying guides, highlight bestsellers. For example, let us take a look at bookdepository.com. On its homepage, it gave a suggestion to browse new releases. If you do not want to buy those, the bestselling books are indicated just below it. They also compiled a list like: best books ever, best children’s books, best cookbooks, and so on. All the books are not on the homepage. It is important to present less products so that the customers can have more focus.

 

    • Provide a Preview of the Product.
      Like in most physical stores, customers want to see what they are buying. Same is true with online stores. You must show the product. How? Provide pictures and not only that, customers should have the option to zoom in for better viewing. If you are selling books, provide the final book cover, dimensions of the book, and other details that will help the customer. If you are selling shirts, pictures of the shirts in several colors should be available. Sizing charts also come in handy so that the customers can easily compare the different sizes. People buy based on what the a certain product looks like. Of course, they would not buy an overripe tomato, or a dented can of sardines.

 

    • Allow Customers to Try the Product.
      When you go to a grocery store, they would give out a free taste of the different products they have. Even online, it’s also important to let the customers try the product. Software companies nowadays provide a free version of their programs. You do not have to necessarily buy these products to be able to use them. If you like it very much, you can choose to upgrade. This is a great strategy because when customers like your product and it is great, they will depend on it. When they depend on it, they will most likely avail of the premium version of the product. Do not let your customers imagine on what the product will be like. Instead, let them try the product and sooner or later, you will win customers.

 

    • Generate a Desire for the Product.
      It is essential to grab the attention of the potential buyers. Once you have it, gain their interest by how these products are beneficial to them, how these products are different from the rest. If they are already interested, create desire for your products. They will act on that desire because they know by now how beneficial the products are. If they are still having second thoughts, you can develop a sense of urgency like a limited time offer of 15%, or an offer of free shipping on the all orders placed within 24 hours.

 

Nine Helpful Links that Will Save Your Life (Part 3)

internet, security, archive

Internet Safety and Security

Do you want to send large files without installing any software?  Is this particular website safe for you to visit? Are you doubtful of this file you just received? Check out the websites I listed below. There is NO need to fill in long registration forms for most of the websites indicated. It will undeniably help you in making your life easier and most importantly, it will save you time.

 

    • Box Oh! – If you are fond of online shopping like me, this website will simplify shipment tracking for you. Whether your package is shipped via USPS, UPS, DHL, or FedEx, it is all identifiable using this easy to use website.
    • Flight Stats – You got your packages covered with Box Oh! How about flights? There is no need to worry. Just provide the airline company together with the flight number and Flight Stats will track the flight for you.
    • Plus Transfer – With Plus Transfer, you can now send massive files easily. The file limit is 5GB of data. You do not need to install anything and you do not have to register as well. Now, that is definitely a plus!

 

      • Jotti’s Malware Scan – An online virus scanner that allows you to scan questionable files. This is going to be your best friend if you get a lot of email attachments. Scan them all first with Jotti’s Malware Scan. They use 18 scanners such as BitDefender, Trend Micro, ESET, Kasperky, and many more. Note that there is a 50MB limit per file, but you can upload 5 files at the same time.
      • Norton’s  Safe Web – Norton is an antivirus software program by Symantec and the company created a website to check if a particular website is safe and secure for users to browse. Just simply paste the link or the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). After, Norton will give you a report on its trustworthiness including its ecommerce safety information in case you will buy an item on that site.
      • Gmail – What is so special with this Gmail link? It will let you sign up to Gmail without your existing Gmail email address. It means you can give out any email address (Yahoo, AOL, etc.) and Gmail will send a verification email if it is really your account.

     

    • Archive.is – This website allows you to capture a webpage. It means that even if the original website gets deleted, goes offline, or for whatever reason, you stored a copy of the page. A unique link will be provided of that particular page and the contents of the page are unchangeable, of course. This is useful when you are monitoring a price change, an item listing, or even a derogatory social media post.
    • Archive.Org – You should not confused this with Archive.is. This is your internet time machine. You can visit old versions of a website. You can use Archive.is to contribute to Archive.org. There are over 294 billion web pages saved here including popular websites like CNN, IMDB, Amazon, Yahoo, and more.
    • Who Is Hosting This? – Discover who is hosting a particular website. Know details about the host, servers, and IP address. They also have an in-depth analysis on the different hosting websites. You can also compare various hosting sites, and even get hosting coupons.

Let’s recap! Part one is about online diagrams, layer-based image editors, and private notes and chat rooms. Part two is about random numbers, timers, and timezone, and eBooks. Lastly, the third part is about internet security, file transfers, and web archives.