Our office will be closed until Monday, November 26 as we spend time with family friends.
John, Aimee, Kit, Margaret, and Leslie
John, Aimee, Kit, Margaret, and Leslie
Is your e-commerce website ready? If you sell online, the holiday season is nearly upon you. Here are three items you should review and act on if necessary. Each of them will help you convert visits to sales.
You know what your customers bought or didn’t buy in the past. Take a good look at how you are currently presenting your products. It is a good bet that focusing on these three tips will make a considerable difference in your holiday sales.
1. Meaningful Product Descriptions — Do not copy and paste product descriptions from your vendor. Create unique descriptions for each item you sell. Do not shortcut this. Write them for your customer. More, but concise, information means more conversions. Explain what your product is or does and why they should buy it. Help your website visitor visualize using your product.
2. Professional-Quality Photos — It is simple. If you have professional quality products to sell, you need professional-quality photos. iPhones and many Android phones have great cameras, but the person taking your photos needs some photography skills. You do not necessarily have to hire a professional photographer, but you do need photos taken by someone who knows about and will incorporate lighting, simplifying the scene, framing the subject properly, aspect ratio, balancing elements, symmetry, viewpoint, using backgrounds, depth, and colors. The necessity for high-quality photos cannot be overstated.
Today’s consumers want more and relevant information about what they buy online. The time you spend on these recommendations will serve you well.
Make it a happy holiday season by improving these three areas of your ecommerce website!
For all practical purposes, Google is forcing the use of SSL and HTTPS on all websites! Prior to this, there was no need for you to purchase a SSL Certificate for your website and incur the expense of migrating your website from HTTP to the HTTPS protocol.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online transfer of data. A SSL Certificate is necessary to create SSL connection. Having a SSL Certificate installed on a web server ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and browser remains encrypted.
Google says, “Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as not secure.”
You must enable SSL for your website which is done through your hosting provider. The SSL Certificates (annual renewal) and implementation choices and costs vary depending on the hosting company and the plan you have.
You may have noticed the increasing use of Social Media share buttons on the top or sides (eyes right) of website pages and blogs. Sharing is a big deal in the Social Media world; so big, it is often called the currency of Social Media. You can use Social Media sharing to your advantage even if you “Don’t Do Social Media.”
If Social Media is not part of your marketing strategy, you may think share buttons can’t be on your website. Actually, social sharing buttons can help create a presence on social media platforms as well as providing other benefits for your brand. Remember, email was the original social media, so you should always include a share via email button. Here are four reasons why you should include social media share buttons on your website.
Part of having an effective website is providing a good experience for your visitors. This includes actions that you may not typically take part in, such as sharing content to social media. If your readers want to share your pages or blog posts, making it quick and easy for them to share on multiple platforms will increase the likelihood that they will do so. A share is tantamount to an endorsement, so make sure your content is worthy.
When your website visitor shares your content with their social network, the likelihood that each of that visitor’s followers has visited your website before is very slim, so that content is getting introduced to an entirely new group of people. While not every one of those followers may be interested in the content that user shared, they may use this opportunity to explore your website and find something that appeals to them. That’s why adding share buttons to your website will typically result in new visitors to your website and, hopefully, new customer prospects for your business.
You’ve worked hard to get informative and interesting content on your website or blog for your visitors to explore, but that’s only half the battle. Getting this content in front of the right audience is an entirely different story. Utilizing your customers as a way to target and reach out to new prospective customers is a quick and cost effective way to do this. When customers stumble upon something interesting, but feel it is not relevant to share on their social network, they might send it directly to a family member, co-worker, or a few friends. Research shows that direct messaging is the only thing that people do online more than social networking, so providing sharing buttons creates a great opportunity to gain new customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most crucial elements of your website when it comes to organic (not-paid) traffic. Adding share buttons to your page can increase organic traffic. Google determines search results listings by using many ranking signals, among them are the number of times that content is shared, tweeted, liked, or posted to social media. While Google has long admitted to correlation but not necessarily causation, there is anecdotal evidence that social shares are helpful.
Social Media Share Buttons are important — Even if you Don’t Do Social Media!
What kind of first impression does your website make for your business, community, or organization?
First Impressions Matter! Not many of us would argue that. Unfortunately, when it comes to websites, many business owners, as well as community and organization leaders, don’t often think about how they make their first impression. The reality is that the first impression formed by your prospective customer or visitor is not likely to be made when the visitor walks up to your front door. It most likely will be made online, and in rapidly increasing instances, it will be made on a mobile device.
People are busier than ever, and their time is precious. The reality is, if your website is more than three or four years old, it likely does not meet Google’s current mobile-friendly standards. If that is the case, you are not making a good first impression when prospects see your website on a mobile device.
First Impressions Matter!
Claiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.
“Why,” you ask? Google says, “Manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps, using Google My Business — for free.”
The keyword in the previous paragraph is “manage.” There is little a business can control when it comes to Google. When Google makes it easy to post correct information about your business for free, and that information is displayed in Google Search results and on Google Maps, you should take advantage of it.
With Google My Business, you can:
You also can see insights on how customers searched for your business, and their locations at the time of search. You can also see how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Google Search and Google Maps.
Bottom line: Claim and/or update your Google My Business listing! It is unequivocally the best and least expensive online marketing you can do.
WordPress Content Management System (CMS) websites come with ongoing update costs that are easily overlooked. If you are like most of our clients, you don’t often think about, or pay much attention to, the backend of your website. WebWise Design & Marketing clients who choose to have a Security, Maintenance and Updates Plan may safely ignore updates needed to the functionality of their website as we take care of those tasks for you. Our security and maintenance plan includes monitoring and applying all WordPress security software updates, and all plugin updates. It also includes repairing any damage an update may cause to the website.
For those who do not have a Security, Maintenance and Updates Plan, please continue reading.
It is important to remember, simply ignoring or not applying WordPress and plugins is not an option. Updates must be applied, either by you or your web developer.
I am sure many of you are thinking, “what the heck is a plugin and why do I need them?” According to the WordPress Codex, “Plugins are ways to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat.” Plugins offer custom functions and features so that each website can be tailored to the website owner’s specific needs. Some examples of functions and features often added with plugins include calendars, photo sliders, forms, captcha for forms, anti-spam, navigation menus, security, and additional SEO features. Most interactive and dynamic aspects of a WordPress website are provided through the use of plugins. Some plugins (generally those with fewer features) are free to use. Sometimes, it is essential to use “premium” plugins that are sold as a license subscriptions that includes all code updates for a year. Note: these updates are for the code and subscriptions only; they do not include applying the updates to your website.
If you have read this far, I imagine you have a fairly good idea about what drives the hidden costs of security and maintenance updates, so I will confirm it. WordPress and plugins need to be updated frequently. Not long ago, we could say “periodically,” but unfortunately, “frequently” describes how often security and maintenance updates are required in today’s world. With every new WordPress release (there have been six so far this year), any website built with WordPress needs to have it updated. Of course, it doesn’t end with that simple update. Often, most if not all plugins used in building a website will have to release updates of their own, which will need to be applied to the website as well. Throughout the process of updating, one has to check to make sure the website is not negatively impacted by an update. In other words, the website must be checked and all functions tested to make sure the update didn’t break anything, and that the website is still displaying and working properly. That “checking’ is done for multiple devices, browsers, and operating systems.
I know some of you are asking, “What happens if I don’t do the security updates?” Well, there are many things that can happen as a result of not having the latest version of WordPress and plugins installed on your website. Here is short list of some possible consequences.
Websites created using WordPress need frequent back-end updates and maintenance that cannot be ignored. Updating WordPress, themes, and plugins takes time and money. Some plugins used require annual license/subscription renewal fees. Ignoring updates puts your website at risk.
Please see how WebWise helps mitigate the risk of your website getting hacked, and what you can do to make your website more resistant to hackers, by reading our Website Security For Content Management Systems blog post, as well as Secure Passwords Should Not Be Optional.
Of course, we are always happy to discuss how WebWise Design & Marketing can help you with anything in this post.
Do you really need a mobile-friendly website? Google’s answer is, “…having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence.“
It has been over a year since Google’s April 21, 2015 announcement that they would give preference to mobile-friendly websites in mobile search results. In the FAQ’s of the Webmaster Tools Blog, Google says, “pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.”
Eleven months later on March 16, 2016, Google announced that they are, Continuing to make the web more mobile friendly. They are even more serious about it now. To help you understand how Google defines “mobile” and related terms here is a link to their Mobile Terms Glossary.
Another indication of how seriously Google is emphasizing the importance of having a mobile-friendly website is the rolling out of a new mobile-friendly testing tool on May 17, 2016. If you don’t know if your website is mobile-friendly, run the Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool.
Google also says, “If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, you should.” (The bold font was done by Google.) We urge you to take their words seriously. Do you really need a mobile-friendly website? If you want your website found by prospects and customers when searching with their phone or another mobile device, the answer is yes.
If your website does not pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, Call Us Now!
608-822-3750 or 800-281-9993
When talking with prospective clients, one of the questions we ask is how will you measure the success of your website? There is an old marketing adage, “If you are not measuring, you are not marketing.”
One of the most effective ways of measuring the success of your website is by using website analytics. One of the questions we are frequently asked is “will I be able to tell how many ‘hits’ my website gets?” “Hits” have never been a good measurement. Each file (including individual images on the page and the page itself) sent to a website visitor’s browser from the web server is a “Hit.” Accordingly, each page viewed will generate anywhere from a few “hits” to dozens of “hits.” What most website owners are interested in is the number of “Page Views” and the number of visitors to their website. While these statistics are helpful, there is much more information available that will help website owners or managers measure the success of their website.
On every website we create, we install Google Analytics for our clients and provide them access to view their statistics. With over 100 standard reports along with countless custom reports that can be generated, Google Analytics provides more than ample data to help verify traffic in a multitude of perspectives.
Real-Time — six reports
Audience — thirty-one reports
Acquisition — five reports
AdWords (If a Google AdWords Campaign is linked to Google Analytics) — ten reports
Behavior — eighteen reports
Conversion — eighteen reports
What and how you measure depends on your purpose for having a website and what you are expecting to achieve. That said, there are some standard Google Analytics reports that are useful no matter what type of website you have. Those include the number of Users, number of Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate.
Here is an example of the Audience Overview report that contains the basic statistics related to the website’s audience. Becoming familiar with Sessions, Users, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate is helpful to anyone wanting to know what is happening on their website. You will see those metrics in many reports. Viewing those metrics from different perspectives can be very enlightening.
Acquisition — Knowing how Visitors (Users) get to your website is important. That is especially true if you are paying for advertising.
In Google Analytics, under Acquisition > Overview > All Traffic > Channels, you will find the following Channel Groupings.
1. Organic Search
3. Paid Search
Listed for each of those types of acquisition, you will see all of the data for the audience Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and more. You will also be able to drill down in each of the acquisition types, to see more detailed statistics.
Behavior — You need to understand which pages Users visit, the number of Pageviews for a given page (and how many of the Pageviews were Unique), how long users stayed on the page, the Bounce Rate, and completion of Goals (if they have been created). The important reports in Behavior, are All Pages, Landing Pages, and of course, Goal Conversions.
Conversions — While the reports in this area are arguably some of the most important reports, they all require configuration, and most require editing the tracking code that goes on the pages. For that reason, we will not discuss them here. Of course, we at WebWise Design & Marketing are always happy to discuss how we can help you measure and increase your website traffic.
Now that you know you have all of this data available, how will you measure the success of your website?
Will it be a specific number of Users (visitors) per month, or number of Pageviews, or Pageviews per Session, Goals completed, contact forms completed (you will see the “thank you” page listed under “All Pages”), sales from products you offer online, or one of many more metrics?
Please remember, if you do not measure the results of your marketing, you are not actually marketing. You are simply spending money hoping for a return.
Do you measure the success of your website? If not, we will help.
Call Us Today!
1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750