How To Prepare Your Website For Cyber Monday

With Cyber Monday being the biggest shopping day of the year and eight in ten Americans now shopping online, it’s time to get your ecommerce shop ready for the big day. People love the accessibility of online shopping, and you wouldn’t want to drive customers away due to your lack of preparation. If you’re a business owner, here are five important tips to make note of for next Monday:

Make sure your server can handle Cyber Monday. Call your IT personnel as soon as you can. Your website’s host is probably already hard at work preparing for Monday’s madness, but it’s never a bad idea to let them know your ecommerce shop will be participating.

Mark the deals your customers will be saving. The biggest reason people are shopping on Monday is because of the savings. It’s hard to not resist a good deal. When listing the price of your products, be sure to mark how much the product costs before the sale. People are more likely to proceed to checkout when they see how much they’re saving.

Utilize social media and email marketing. Posting to social media and sending out email campaigns will help your customers know you’re offering Cyber Monday sales. What’s especially effective about email marketing campaigns is that you can provide loyal customers with rewards and follow up with those who have abandoned their shopping cart.

Create online ads. Online ads are a great way to increase the amount of visitors to your site, but don’t create just any ordinary ad this Cyber Monday. Make sure the ad is festive, has a call to action, and brings potential customers to a landing page with discounts.

Research the sales your competitors are offering. As you finalize your deals, check out what your competitors are doing this year or have done in the past. Also, do some research on what items are seeing the least amount in deals and use that to your advantage if your store sells any of those items.

The Dos and Don’ts of SEO

SEO plays a crucial role in your business’ marketing efforts. How you manage your website affects where it will end up on search engine results. We all want our target audience to find our business’ products and services easily, so here are the biggest dos and don’ts of building a successful SEO strategy.

DO post relevant content to your website often. Search engines rank websites based on a number of factors, and one of them is consistency. When you regularly update your site with content, you increase the chances it will be indexed by search engines. Additionally, visitors are more likely to come back to your site when they notice how often you post fresh content.

DON’T forget region-specific keywords. Location, location, location! You’ve heard the phrase before. If you’re a small business owner, you could be losing the targeted audience in your community by not including region-specific keywords.

DO measure your performance. Every month keep track of how your SEO strategy is doing by reviewing your biggest key performance indicators: rankings, traffic, impressions, clicks, engagements, and sales. Google Analytics is a user-friendly tool to track your KPIs.

DON’T needlessly include links just to manipulate page ranks. Think twice about the links you share on your website. Make sure the links you share are relevant to your company and don’t share links just anywhere. Search engines can detect when you’re link building just to climb the search engine ladder.  

DO put keywords into your content. Come up with some words you can use to describe your business, services, and products when writing content for your website. You can utilize Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Tool to determine if your keywords will bring in the right traffic.

DON’T overuse keywords. It’s important to note that you’re writing content for people, not search engines. Visitors will be put off if you use your keywords excessively.

Website Tips to Bring In New Customers

Though there are numerous social media platforms out there to help you boost your business, your website is arguably your most important marketing tool because it conveys to others you mean business. Whether you deliver a service or sell a product, it is important to keep the information up to date and easily conveys to the consumer what it is you are selling. Managing a website though is no easy feat, and if you find your site is struggling to bring in new customers, here are some website tips to follow.

1.You don’t have a good mobile site. According to Google, more than 50% of the world’s searches come from mobile devices.  With that said, having a responsive web design for your business is crucial. Responsive web design (RWD) makes web pages on all devices easy to read and navigate.

2. Your site lacks a brand. Branding is more than your business’ tagline and logo. It’s your image and voice-your message to the world!  A good brand sets you apart from your competitors and represents your story and values.

3.You don’t have custom photographs. Adding custom photos to your website enhances your brand. It brings a personal touch, a peek into your business, and uniformity. Additionally, you can put your custom photos on your newsletters, ads,  presentations, social media, brochures, and other print designs.

4. You need to focus on SEO/SEM. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a crafted marketing equation to increase the number of hits on your website. SEO is done so by dropping keywords in the correct places of your website to improve your business’ search engine ranking. SEO’s sibling is SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is all about increasing your business’ impressions, clicks, engagements, and sales through paid advertisements on search engines and social media sites.

5. No clear call to action. You want to make it very easy to get in touch with you or purchase your product. Make sure the phone number and address, if you have a physical location, are easy to find. Additionally, make sure there are clear points on the website where you are asking for the users’ business and making it as easy as possible to buy.

6. Less words and more visuals. While studies have shown people are becoming more visually intelligent, your visuals shouldn’t tell your entire story. People will spend on average 2:30 minutes on your website and a minute or less per page. Visuals help to tell this story quickly and efficiently.

Is Blackhat Search Engine Optimization Damaging Your Website?

Blackhat SEO is the use of unethical tactics to boost a website’s rankings in a search engine. The term “blackhat” originates from Western movies. Characters deemed as the “bad guys” would always be wearing a black hat.

Today, when we see the term “blackhat”, it is usually in reference to those who use corrupt practices online. These include hackers, virus developers, and people who create websites to trick users. Did you know some companies that offer search engine optimization services use blackhat SEO tactics as a cheap alternative to providing the services promised to their customers? It is important to avoid these practices because most of them conflict with a search engine’s terms of service. This can result in your site being banned from search results as well as affiliate websites and networks.

Make sure your site doesn’t employ these techniques by following these simple steps:

  • Proper Keyword Use: Do not use irrelevant keywords just to get hits in a search engine. Your keywords should be clear and aimed towards human interest, not search engine interest. This also means, not stacking keywords. For example; “screen door, screen, door, door, screendoor, screen, screen”
  • Link Schemes: any links that’s only purpose is to to manipulate PageRank. This includes: exchanging money for links, creating partner pages exclusively for cross linking, or excessively link exchanging (i.e. “I’ll link you if you link me). This is against both Google and Bing’s Quality Guidelines for SEO.
  • Hidden content: providing different content or URLs to search engines than you do to human users. You could do this by tagging white text on a white background, or having text behind an image, setting font size to 0, or even using CSS to position text off screen.
  • Duplicate Content: Websites that have content copied from other sites are considered “duplicates”. Duplicate content also occurs when a website is built in a program with limited templates. If your website looks like all other websites built in a free web builder program, it is probable that it won’t display in search engine result pages.

 

By avoiding these examples of blackhat SEO, you can make sure your website isn’t violating search engine terms of service. Always practice ethical search engine optimization techniques with content geared towards users rather than search engines. This will keep your website visible for your desired audience. Happy optimizing!

DIY Tips for Finding Profitable Keywords for Your Business

As a whole, refining your company’s search engine optimization can be a big undertaking. However, like any difficult task, SEO can be broken into steps to help even the least tech-savvy business owner or marketer make their company more visible to their desired audience. As you may know, one of the most crucial steps to having your website rank higher in online search results is using the proper keywords when tagging your site.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, you can never get too simple. So, let’s break it down to help you pick the best and most profitable keywords for your business.

Step 1: Group Brainstorm

Set aside a half hour of time and gather a group of employees. Brainstorm different words they use when describing your company and industry. Write down as many as possible. Words that might not seem like the perfect match could be used creatively to set you apart from your competitors.

Step 2: Research

Try searching some of the terms you brainstormed. Does your business come up? Do competitors or similar products come up? This can be helpful for finding ways to set you apart from your competition. When you search keywords that are relevant to your your business, scroll to the bottom of the results until you see a section titled “Searches related to ________”, to help discover other keywords users are searching for similar results.

Step 3: Quantify Your Research

Now that you have a good list of words that apply to your company, it is time to see which keywords to use to create the most efficient tags. I prefer using Google Trends to see how many people are searching specific keywords and phrases in specific area, small or large. You can also use Google Adwords Keyword planner to help predict search trends for specific demographics. Additionally, you can see keywords your competitors are using to help set your business apart.

Step 4: Organizing Your Research

Now that you have compiled a list of Keywords that are relevant to your business, as well as statistical data about what your audience is searching, it is time to cross reference this information to pick your keywords. Keywords that have a high relevancy to what you want to promote, and also have a high search rate, should be at the top of your list. Whereas, words that are lacking in either category should move down. If you find words that are highly searched but aren’t relevant to your company, you might be tempted to try to make them fit. However, users will leave your site if it doesn’t provide what they had in mind while searching. You also might encounter keywords that are very unique to your business and are very relevant, but aren’t being searched as often. This is okay if it is something exclusive to your business. It can help users with extremely specific searches find your site. Just keep in mind that you won’t be appealing as much to mass searches.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you will find yourself with a healthy list of efficient keywords for your company. We at Sperling Interactive hope we helped you begin to navigate the road of search engine optimization. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at catherine@sperlinginteractive.com.

4 Ways to Maintain Customer Loyalty

Small business spend a great deal with customers and customer service mainly is the backbone of business. It is seven times more costly to acquire new customers than retain an existing customer.  Ultimately, customers can help by giving great tips and helpful advice on making your business better and suitable for your customers.

So how can one maintain customer loyalty? There are several ways to still maintain customer loyalty as your business continues to grow.

  • Deliver User Experience – Products play an important factor that can help distinguish your business from your competitors. It is also a key reason to keep your customers coming back. One way to do so is by providing the best support and services that customers can feel happy with. Customers value when they feel their issues and concerns are being prioritize in your business. As a result, being responsive and helpful whenever a customer needs assistance will keep them coming back. The more customers have a pleasant experience, the more customers will maintain loyal and will help spread your brand.
  • Learn From Lost Customers – When customers stop using your products or services, you lose them. Take the opportunity to learn why. What left them dissatisfied? What didn’t work for them? In discovering their reasonings, you will find solutions that will benefit your business for the long run. This data can also help you prevent future losses, too.
  • Communicate Online – Customer enjoy being updated on the latest news, products and/or services from your business. Keep your online presence going with an e-mail newsletter, a monthly flier, or a holiday greeting card. Use social media to invite customers to visit and share your website and social media platforms.
  • Have a Reputation in Reliability – Your business reputation falls within the reliability of your services and products. The more reliable your business is, the more favorable reputation your company will maintain. Communicate clearly, be cautious of customers’ time and concerns.

 

How to Take a Better Photos on Your iPhone 7/7 Plus pt. 2

Last week we mentioned tips on taking better iPhone 7/7 Plus pictures, and this week we will finish up on the best tips to try out. Follow along to become the expert in phone photography!

  • Zoom In – Previously, zooming in wouldn’t get you the best details. However, this changed with iPhone 7/7 Plus. The iPhone 7 has a wide angle lens camera that can provide 2x optical zoom without losing any of its quality.
  • Hands-Free – Utilize the timer! Setting your phone somewhere stable and picking a time frame for the perfect photo or selfie can do wonders! Pick a time, press the shutter and take your photo!
  • Flash – Night pictures can sometimes be hard to capture when a flash can ruin the photo. With iPhone 7’s new camera settings, simply find the closest light source, turn off the flash and tap the screen to adjust its expose.
  • Depth Effect – Depth effects such as photo portrait and square can help your friends look great in photos!
  • Get Closer – Don’t shy from going closer to your subject to get that right spot. With the iPhone 7 camera, you can get closer than ever and still get a great image. Once you have the image in frame, tap on the screen to get it to focus and slide your finger to adjust the exposure. Soon enough you’ll have the best pictures of flowers and your furry friends.
  • Third Party Apps – Don’t be afraid of utilizing third party apps as it can help adjust and edit your photos to your preference. Often times, you get the perfect photo to share after the editing and finishing touches has been made. VSCO is a great free app that helps modify your pictures from contrast, exposure, straighten and so on.

Use these helpful tips the next time you take a photo and tell us about your results!

How to Take a Better Photos on Your iPhone 7/7 Plus pt. 1

When new iPhones are released, the camera is then adjusted to take better detailed photos. At times, we can’t tell the difference from the previous camera to the next. However, knowing how an iPhone camera works and its tricks will not only make your iPhone experience better, but also improve your photos. Follow along for learn the best tips and tricks of taking a photo on an iPhone 7!

  • Choosing the Right Focus – Choosing the right focus on your photos makes a great difference from a photo to a perfect photo. Focuses can differ from the subject of the photo. For example, when taking a photo of a specific item, think about what you would like to capture and how you want it to be visualized. When taking the photo, it is better to choose the single object as it would make the background brighter.  It also will allow to adjust the brightness when focus frame is available.
  • High Dynamic Range – HDR helps display the visual effects of a real environment rather than the display of it. When taking a beautiful scenic photo, open your phone camera, tap ‘HDR’ and hit ‘On’ to capture a better and breathtaking photo.
  • Panorama – Panorama gets better and better with every new iPhone release. It is perfect to capture full sceneries in photos. Simply hold your iphone once the Pano option has been swiped and selected. Firmly hold your phone and capture its setting(you can also move the direction of the arrow by clicking it) and press the button to end capturing once finished.
  • Burst Mode – Trying to capture a photo with a moving object? Want to catch the moving object in the snap? Try Burst Mode. Burst Mode helps catch a moving subject within a snap by clicking the shuttle and not moving your finger until it is captured. Once finished, the photos will be generated and will show how many snaps were taken on the screen.

Chrome’s New Change

The purpose of SSL(Secure Sockets Layer), is to guarantee visitors they are on secure site. It is an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ web browser. It helps prevent any attack or intrusive companies like ISPs from tampering with the data that is sent between websites and your own browser. Not only is it important to protect from sensitive information, but it also helps protect your site from any malware as well as preventing others from injecting advertisements in your resources.

There are three different forms of SSL:

  • Single –  secures one fully-qualified domain or subdomain name.
  • Wildcard – covers one domain name and unlimited number of its subdomains.
  • Multi-domain – secures multiple domain names.

The benefits provided by an SSL are not simply limited to security of data the consumer inputs into the site. Instead, it provides the consumer with the ability to identify the security and legitimacy of a website by verifying if the information on a website will remain secure and will not be intercepted on its way from point A to B. There are several advantages to SSL Certificates:

Authentication –  Online users always want to be sure their information or the content on a website, goes to a correct server without it being intercepted. Having an SSL certificate adds another type of protection called a server certificate. The server certificate purpose is to act as a mediator between browsers and SSL servers to show it is and can be trusted.

Encrypts Information –  Encryption helps to keep information read and used between two intended parties. When information has more “stops” to make, the higher chance a third party could access that information. When users are visiting your site, it’ll know that you have encryption in place in several different ways such as ‘http’ with ‘https’. This change shows the site is secure and is backed up by a lock image.

Critical for Payments – To meet with Payment Card Industry compliance regulations, online businesses need an SSL certificate with proper encryption of a least 128-bit. PCI have specific standards such as the SSL certificate is from a trusted source, has the right strength of encryption and provides a private connection for every page that personal information that is used. These standards are then verified, which then allow them to take credit card payments.

Business Proofing – Companies and business are prompted to have advanced security. As companies implement SSL, they are taking a step forward in future-proofing.

IT Market Watch

The technology available to us in recent months have continued to increase and make users lives that much easier. It has given many small business the opportunity to be creative and expand their business idea on new technological platforms that can appeal to their customers. There’s always something new every month. This month, however, we’ll take a look at the major tech trends and devices of 2017!

  • Smart Home Tech – Devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Echo Show and newer additions from Google and Apple have made these innovations possible through their collaborations. With Amazon Echo and Echo Show, this easy to use home speaker has everything your phone has in the comfort of your home. With hands-free text messaging and phone calls to anyone on your contacts, to already integrated music apps at your fingers disposal, the Amazon Echo is a fun IT tech that every home should have.
  • Daydream VR – The much anticipated new Lenovo and HTC VR platform/devices will have better tracking capabilities, a handful of new smartphones such as the Samsung S8 work with the Daydream platform.
  • Chatbots – Chatbots, computer programs that use artificial intelligence to facilitate human conversations, continues to help customer services when it comes to smaller businesses. Chatbots have been helpful to big and small companies in finding products, providing shipping information, to even pinpointing business locations. Companies are able to build connect bots with users on Facebook Messenger, Office 365 mail, Skype, Text/SMS, etc.
  • Collaboration tools – Emails are long gone now that there are several different tools that make collaboration that much easier in the workplace. Tools such as Google Hangouts, Slack, Skype for Business have continued to help business work to their advantage. It is said that later in the year, Facebook Workplace and Spark by Cisco Systems will also be added in the collaboration market.