Website security is an issue that never seems to be completely resolved, especially in recent years, as cyber-attacks have become craftier. Even big companies must guard against harmful hackers who continue to threaten online communities.
Christmas is one of the most profitable seasons for e-commerce store owners. During this season, you can generate buzz on your products and maximize sales by employing good e-commerce website maintenance.
Below are five e-commerce website tips you can implement to increase sales via your online store this Christmas season.
1. Optimize Your Website Speed
Online traffic is usually high during the Christmas season. Make sure your website will be able to handle the increased traffic. Get a dedicated server if necessary and confirm that your hosting provider offers unlimited bandwidth. You don’t want to frustrate customers with a slow-loading website.
2. Design the Store for the Holidays
Being the holiday season, make your store match the expectation of holiday shoppers. You don’t have to redesign the whole site; but adding some holiday related graphics, reds, and snow can encourage holiday shoppers.
Keep in mind that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the conventional way. To avoid getting into the way of conservative shoppers, set up a special section of your store dedicated to Christmas shoppers.
3. Be Clear on Product Availability and Delivery
Customers are sensitive about availability and delivery of the items they order. Most people want their items delivered before Christmas. Be clear on your shipping and expected delivery dates.
Work with your team to expedite shipping. If necessary, work overtime to get items shipped on time.
4. Offer Gift Wrapping Option and Free Shipping
Offer incentives to encourage customers to shop more. For example, you can offer free shipping for certain goods.
You can also make customers’ work easier by offering a gift wrapping option and sending the order with a gift invoice. Offering gift wrapping can increase sales from customers who may wish gifts to be shipped directly to recipients.
5. Keep Customer Service Levels Top Notch
During this season, be on point with your customer service. With people venting their shopping frustrations on social media, you do not want to be on the receiving end for poor customer service.
Customer complaints can hurt your sales. Use Facebook and Twitter to see what customers are saying about your store and resolve any issues brought forward.
Need a little boost to help your e-commerce numbers really skyrocket this holiday season?
No problem, these tips will have you covered and ensure that your target audience thinks of your eCommerce site first when they do their holiday shopping this season.
Follow these 4 e-commerce tips to attract shoppers this holiday season
1. Give Them Earlier Discounts as an Incentive
You don’t have to blast out your best deals right on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but instead leverage those crucial days leading up to the two biggest shopping days of the year with “smaller” deals that your customers are interested in.
Start your holiday campaigns a few days (or a week or two) earlier as an incentive, and you’ll really see the numbers grow come the big shopping days and well into December.
2. Reach out to Your Customers After the Purchase
Show that you care about your customers this holiday season!
When you’re collecting data from purchases, remember to follow up even after the purchase has been made. Seek out your customers on social media talking about your products in order to show them your gratitude. After all, this is the season of giving and good cheer.
3. Update and Tweak Your Keywords
Sometimes your campaign, content, and promotions aren’t the problem. It’s something as small as the particular type of keywords customers are using.
For example, maybe your customers are using the keyword “mittens” instead of “gloves” and you’re only using gloves in your search marketing. Tweaking this to their needs will give you that advantage you’re looking for during the holiday rush.
4. Iron out Website Bugs
This is the time when your website really needs to shine, and doing so means doing extra e-commerce website maintenance so you don’t have a high bounce rate.
Make sure everything is in working order― there are no broken links, bad pages, or other hiccups that might keep customers from shopping on your e-commerce site. Maintenance is just as important as a killer marketing campaign during the holidays.
Are your search-marketing campaigns effective? For a lot of people with e-commerce sites, the answer is maybe.
Maybe people don’t know with precision what their return on investment is, because they don’t really understand how search-marketing works.
Maybe it’s because they don’t have the tools to measure the effectiveness of their ads.
Or maybe it’s because advertising has historically been difficult to quantify.
Thanks to the power of technology and Google’s ingenious analytics system, all of these reasons should be a thing of the past.
Google Analytics offers an array of tools that are easy to understand, free and directly correlated to search-marketing campaigns.
Here’s a look at 3 of the key Analytics Google measures, and why every entrepreneur should learn to make the most of them:
1. ROI Reports
Tracking return on investment is critical to understanding how well your campaign is working. It helps you refine your strategy, change tactics, and justify the resources you’re putting into the effort.
Google’s ROI tracking reports are easy to use; provide extensive data about cost per click, and average revenue per transaction information. The tool allows you to customize it so you’re getting reports on the information that makes the most sense. Data about shopping campaigns or specific product ID measurement becomes much obtainable.
2. Conversion Reports
Impressions matter, but not as much as conversions. Google Analytics allows you to measure your average revenue per conversion, your average per-session value, and your e-commerce conversion rate.
This tells you how many of your impressions are turning into click-throughs, and how many of your click-throughs are turning into sales.
3. Top Conversion Paths
If you’ve got multiple campaigns running at the same time; you need to know which campaign is working and why. With Google Analytics, you can create reports that show you exactly where your click-throughs and sales are coming from.
Then you can start looking at how the campaigns differ, and can adjust the campaigns that aren’t performing as well to create more growth.
The early 90s were all about dotcoms. Many launched, most crashed, a palm pilot full remain.
Even today, nearly a quarter-century after the term e-commerce began to make its way into the public’s vernacular—when more consumers than ever are shopping online—the Internet is littered with dead URLs, casualties of failed business plans, bad ideas and common mistakes.
Over the past decade, many once-ballyhooed dotcoms continue to fail. Flooz.com, which raised more than $50 million to create online currency; Pets.com, which burned through more than $147 million in its first nine months; and a slew of smaller companies that gave it a go but went nowhere.
The good news for you is that their losses can be your gain.
Business experts, scholars and entrepreneurs have been studying e-commerce sites that fail and they discovered that most make the same five common mistakes.
Mistake Number One: Jumping the Gun
The problem with a lot of dotcom startups is that they want to hit the ground running with big, giant strides. This is an admirable goal. After all, the faster you can sprint to market, the sooner you’ll turn a profit.
The reality, however, is that baby steps seem to be the best way to grow an e-commerce business.
Most dotcoms that fail to cross the finish line do so in glitzy offices, surrounded by too many employees and holding retainer bills from high-priced law firms, ad agencies and caterers.
The Takeaway: Pace yourself. Make sure that a clear business case can be made for every expense. Acknowledge that there will likely be some lean years initially and don’t overextend your finances. When it comes to getting your business off the ground, it’s better to view it as a marathon, not a sprint.
Mistake Number Two: No Revenue
When it comes to starting a dotcom, an idea that can’t be monetized is simply an idea—nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, a lot of people think a good idea automatically translates into revenue.
Most e-commerce companies that fail don’t have a revenue model. They don’t have a plan for creating several revenue streams, income or profit. In the early days of the dotcom, investors didn’t care so much about revenue streams. Profits, they thought, would materialize because the Internet was fresh, new and exciting. They got burned. Now they won’t likely invest unless they know that there will be revenue streams.
The Takeaway: Run the numbers. Do the scenario planning exercises, market research and don’t start your dotcom until you know exactly where the revenue will come from. That’s how you will secure investors.
Mistake Number Three: No Way Out
Investors like to know how they’re going to get their money back out of your company. Maybe not right away, but eventually.
Dotcoms that fail, often fail to have an exit strategy. They often thought they’d start their business, roll in dough and never look back. Investors, however, had other ideas. They wanted a return on their investments and when they weren’t getting it or seeing that it would be there—many pulled their financial support, essentially dooming the companies.
The Takeaway: Have a plan, whether to go public, get acquired by another company or bring in new investors who can buy out your initial investors. Make it part of your mission and stay true to it.
Mistake Number Four: No Marketing Plan
E-commerce isn’t a field of dreams. If you build it in that manner, there is no guarantee anyone will come.
Too many dotcoms thought they could simply launch a website, offer quality products or services, sit back and wait for the people to click by. These companies are now gone.
The Takeaway: Make sure you have a solid, well-thought out marketing plan in place to promote your business. Think advertising. Think search engine optimization. Think social media. Think public relations. Think events. Think outside the Internet to drive people to the Internet.
Mistake Number Five: Valuing Form over Function
Want to know why Amazon.com is so successful? It’s the world’s top e-commerce business because its technology works. The same cannot be said for the myriad dotcoms that failed.
Too often, people think that simply putting together a website with the latest bells and whistles will work. And it can, but only if it values function over form.
The average visitor to a website decides whether or not to click in eight seconds. If the site doesn’t work for them right away, they’re gone.
The Takeaway: Don’t use technology for technology’s sake—use if for your customers.
Every now and then, everyone runs into website error messages, which can mean a variety of things, but all point to some type of problem preventing the page from being displayed.
This problem may involve the site itself, the browser or web hosting server. The following HTTP errors reflect website error messages and what can be done to fix the situation. You can also turn to website maintenance service professionals for help.
HTTP 404: The webpage cannot be found
This error message occurs when the web page that you attempt to visit has been moved or removed. Make sure you have typed the address correctly and find out if the website has moved its content. If the site has a search tool, enter keywords or the name of the page you are trying to find.
HTTP 406: Internet Explorer cannot read this webpage format
Although this problem is not very common, it can occur when a webpage is written in an unusual format that IE cannot understand. Sometimes the problem can be fixed by adding the proper file extension to the URL. For example, if you are trying to open a Microsoft Word document, make sure that the URL ends in the .doc extension.
This error differs from HTTP 405, which means the webpage cannot display the page. This problem indicates that IE is having difficulties downloading the page to your computing device.
HTTP 408 or 409: The website is too busy to show the webpage
If a webpage is incredibly popular or if the server is experiencing congestion or slow delivery, you may see this busy error. The best thing to do is return to the site later. If the problem still isn’t resolved, check with your website maintenance services expert.
HTTP 500: The website cannot display the page
Usually a technical issue with the website or the web host is the reason for this error message. It could mean that the host or the site is temporarily down for maintenance. Visit the site later and if the problem persists try sending an email to the website owner.
There are many things a great library website should accomplish. Apart from providing a great user experience, the website should enable effective publishing and access to content, community engagement and promotion of the library’s online and offline services.
The design of the website should not be solely steered towards aesthetics. Rather, the focus should be on enabling users to get the information they need in a fast and convenient manner. Below are five innovative tips you can implement when redesigning your website to improve its functionality and user experience.
1. Responsive web design
More people are using the Internet to access information online. This also applies to students, researchers and other members of the academia that may be using your library. If your website is not responsive, it’s time to make it so.
Test the site to ensure it can be accessed on different mobile devices. Responsive web design provides great user experience by ensuring the design, format and content of the website is adjusted accordingly based on the device on which it is being accessed.
2. Include multimedia content
Update the website with visual content to make visitors stick longer and get more value. Where necessary, provide diagrams, charts, photographs, audio and video content supporting various text contents. Adding multimedia content will make your website more interactive.
However, having too much multimedia content can make the website slow. To ensure the website does not load slowly, optimize the multimedia content for deployment online. You can also invest in faster servers or use a Content Delivery Network service to deliver the content to users at the best speeds.
Another alternative is to host the multimedia content on an external website to reduce your bandwidth usage. For example, you can host your library videos on your YouTube channel.
3. Improve navigation
With library websites, navigation is important to users. When visitors are on the website, they are looking for particular information. However, finding this information can be difficult given the vast content the website may have. Navigation links can help visitors get the content they want quickly.
The navigation links should be easily visible and should be linked to organized content on the site. Apart from the navigation link, use internal links to improve the user experience. For example, you can link various articles that support or are related to each other.
Navigation links can also make it easy for readers to get back to pages that they have visited when browsing the library. For instance, using breadcrumbs can improve navigation and ensure links open to new tabs in website browsers. The ability to access and have an easy way to refer back to content that had been previously opened is important in improving the user experience.
4. Customized search function
Many people use the search function when looking for books, publications, periodicals or other journals on your library website. Finding a particular publication can be difficult when there is no way to search for it. Implement a customized search function that can enable users to search for content based on their types, publication date, authors, and other variables.
For example, users should be able to search for books by their ISBN numbers or titles. You can further customize the search function to include custom strings like books for undergraduates, graduates and doctorate students, books approved by the State Curriculum Board, and so on.
Other innovate features like enabling users to see their search history and having auto fill capability can also improve the user experience on your site.
5. Rich resources section
A comprehensive resources section is another feature you should include in your library website. Library websites can have lots of content and it can be difficult for users to find other information not related to books. This is where the “resource section” becomes important.
The resources section can act more like a comprehensive navigation menu. However, the links to various contents are organized and available on a page rather than a menu. For example, you can have links to the history of the library, memberships information, past, upcoming and ongoing events, email subscription links, social media accounts information, contact information and so on.
The resources section can also carry information that may not fit in the main content classifications of the library.
Great library websites make it easy for users to get the information they are looking for. The above are five innovative ways you can improve your library website functionality when redesigning it.
Just in case you needed more proof that buying links is a bad SEO strategy, a big shot at Bing has weighed in to confirm that, indeed, buying links won’t help improve your rank.
Duane Forrester is a senior product manager at Bing. He’s also a blogger who took to the Bing Webmaster Blog to debunk some of the most common myths related to search engine optimization.
He covered some well-worn territory ranging from the importance of being ranked number one (it’s not as important as you might think), videos (people love them but they come with an array of challenges) and who decides whether or not content is “awesome” (visitors, always visitors).
And then he brought up links—and reaffirmed the fact that participating in the practice of buying links is not a good idea.
You can call it whatever you want—“sharing,” “encouraging,” “incentivizing”—he and his Bing colleagues call it all one thing: link spam.
Don’t get the wrong idea, links are still important. In fact, they’re super important. Come to them naturally and your site will be rewarded in the search rankings. On the other hand, if a search engine seems to think you’re coming to them unnaturally (i.e. by participating in link spam), your site will likely be punished.
So what’s a web producer to do?
The answer, according to Forrester, is to do everything you can to make sure you never know where a link is going to come from or when you’re site is going to be linked to.
“You want links to surprise you,” he writes.
So one more time and just to confirm: buying links is a bad SEO strategy. Don’t do it. Don’t “share” links, “encourage” linking or “incentivize.” Let it happen organically.
Let it surprise you and the search engines will reward you.
Sometimes more is less, and less is more. This paradox of life is especially true when it comes to landing pages.
When most marketing professionals think about optimizing PPC landing pages, they immediately think about adding more content--more words, more images, more headers and subheads, and more trust signals.
And why wouldn’t they? With so many organizations working so hard to gain more web traffic, no marketer wants to risk missing that one user who’s looking for that one specific thing. The conventional thinking goes something like this: Putting more content on a page makes it less likely you’ll miss someone.
This isn’t necessarily true. Here’s why:
Clutter is kryptonite on the internet
Want to get people to click off your landing page quicker than Superman can say “Up, up and away”? Use a lot of words on your webpage.
Web users don’t want to read long blocks of copy. They aren’t interested in working all that hard to figure out what a landing page is trying to tell them.
They scan pages, looking for key words. If it takes too long for them to figure out what’s going on, they’ll just soar on to another page. So keep your paragraphs short–three or four lines of text at the most. Write short sentences. And make your copy pack a powerful punch.
White makes websites more visually interesting
Designers will tell you that white space is an under-appreciated design tool. Most people don’t recognize it or value it–until it’s not there.
White space can mean the difference between a page that’s visually interesting and one that’s crammed with copy–even if the two pages have the exact same number of words and images on them.
So create white space by incorporating more bullet points into your copy. Let your images breathe a little by giving them space on the page. And use headers and sub-headers as often as you can to break up the page.
Not every word counts
Simplicity is powerful. Why say “utilize” when you can just say “use”? Get rid of large words, and you’ll get rid of some clutter.
The one thing marketers strive for in social media campaigns is high levels of engagement. This has made marketers devise all kinds of techniques to increase user participation, hoping to increase sales. For marketers using Pinterest, the social network has introduced a new feature that is aimed at increasing engagement. The new feature is known as Rich Pins.
What are Rich Pins?
Rich Pins are available for Pinterest users with Business accounts. The feature allows users to provide detailed information to be attached to pins from their websites. Through special Meta tags embedded in the account holder’s website, Pinterest can collect information about pins. The information is automatically updated as it changes on the website onto the pin.
How can Rich Pins improve social media engagement?
Rich Pins are invaluable if your social media strategy is pegged on great visual. The most important feature of Rich Pins is that the information attached to them dynamically changes as content on the original website changes. For instance, if the pin is on a product you are offering, any information you put about it will be reflected on the Rich Pins. This means the users can get all the information directly from the pin without having to visit the original website.
Pinners have a tendency of ‘pinning and forgetting’. A pin might capture a user’s attention so he pins it, but after a while get pushed to the background. After some time, the pinner might not even remember it. Rich Pins solve this problem. If any information on the pin changes, for example the product goes for sale, the Rich Pin will pick up on it and make the necessary updates. The feature will also trigger an email alert to the pinner on the information change. This email will refresh the pinner’s memory on the particular pin.
Rich Pins are a great way for marketers to capture the interest of Pinterest users. Not only do they eliminate the need to go to the original website for information but also send alerts to pinners when new information is available about the pin.