I have used several solutions for ecommerce in the past and the one I prefer is the GoDaddy.com shopping cart solution.
It is easy to customize, easy for the end user to learn so that products can be added/deleted/changed and the options for the credit card processing are excellent.
The first step after securing your domain name is to create the site look and feel. Once completed, it is time for content. Content is KING and using the right Key Words is very important to your online success with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Then, deciding what you are going to sell and how you are going to sell it. Get good pictures of your products and decide on pricing.
Purchase an SSL Certificate (allows you to verify who you are and provide the security of the site using https protocol). again, Godaddy is a great resource with world class support. Trust me, I spend a lot of time on the phone with these guys. Very well trained.
After you have your SSL, order your Shopping Cart. For $29.95 a month, you get a 100 product catalog and hosting.
Now is learning time. Once you are set up, dive in and learn the system. First time took me 30 minutes. Easy
If you do not have a credit card processing company you work with, you can do it with PayPal or set one up through GoDaddy. I have one I use, so that part takes seconds.
Test and retest. You should be ready to open for business 24/7/365!
Being a Web Designer is a sometimes a difficult job to describe because design is just the beginning of establishing an Internet presence.
A Web Designer often has to be a strategists, a marketer, an artists, a photographer, a layout specialist, a copy writer, a keyword research specialist and a politician. Why a politician??? To deal with “designed by committee” web sites for small to mid-sized corporations that allow their team to “come up with’ a web site. These are the hardest because the Web designer is often caught in-between warring factions. :-)
My first “collaborative” effort was a web site for a group of retired CEO’s and Presidents (Leaders) who had appointed a committee to do the web site. A team of 3-4 retirees would bring their ideas to a meeting and “discuss” them for long periods of time, often reaching no consensus. After attending the third of such labourous meetings, I told the committee chair that my interaction would only be with him and that they needed to arrive at agreements on a long list of points I provided.
Well, they finally reached an agreement and I built the site in hours, not days.
This is not always the case. I have been involved with “teams’ including marketing, legal, design, HR and management that were ready to stand their respective ground until the site was built to satisfy each groups agenda. I still look back and shake my head. Billing by the hour instead of by the job started on that project!
I have a proven method that streamlines the process. Call me and I will share it with you!
What am I talking about??? Cats, Dogs Kangaroo’s or Marketing???
What is “Short Tail” and “Long Tail” marketing when it comes to SEO?
Short Tail keywords are 1-2 words that are the focused specific words dealing with the web site you are wanting to promote.
Let’s take HoustonJOBS.com for example. The Short Tail keywords would be “Houston, Jobs, Careers, Texas, Employment”. These few specific keywords are used in the content to assure top search engine placement when searching “Houston Jobs”.
Long tail keywords, by definition are combinations of 3-6 words that are specific and relevant to the products you are wanting to market/sell. Any generic keywords containing product features, Model number, SKU #, price, etc. can be taken as a long tail keyword.”
Using HoustonJOBS.com as the test case for Long Tail Keywords, we would use phrases like “Houston Engineering Jobs” or “Legal Assistant Jobs in Houston, Texas”
Coined “Long Tail” by Chris Anderson he realized the short tail and long tail of key word search is about equal.
Keyword research is one of the most significant and basic SEO processes. When identifying keywords for a retail search marketing campaign, targeting long tail keyword is one way to increase search traffic and improve conversion rates.
Here is an example of both short tail and long tail keywords using HoustonJOBS.com as the example:
Short Tail Keywords:
- Houston Jobs
- Job Search Houston
- Houston Employment
- Houston Texas Jobs
Long Tail Keywords:
- Houston Para Legal assistant jobs
- Chemical Engineering Project Manager in Houston Ship channel
- Houston area Senior Construction Project Manager
Short Tail keywords vs. Long Tail keywords
A person who is using short tail keywords may be searching for different specific jobs available or might be conducting some research on the current job market. So it is better to make your category pages filled with short keywords.
Ranking well for short keywords is not a bad approach, but at the same time it may not work always. By using long tail keyword such as “Chemical Engineering Project Manager in Houston Ship channel” the searcher has already done some research and may be searching a more specific opportunity and is more likely to respond to a posting with that focus.
Truth about Long Tail Keywords:
- Can easily rank in search engines
- Will not have too much competition
- Will not be present in keyword database because search volume is very low
- Can increase conversion
Basic Steps to find Long tail keywords:
- Brainstorm – Step into online shopper’s shoe and conduct an imaginary search to find long tail keywords if they were to search for products.
- Competitor Analysis – Look at your competitor’s source code on the product page and find what long tail keywords they have used.
- Look into your Web analytics and see what long tail keywords people have used to find your website.
- Collect these keywords and check for keyword relevancy. Ignore all those keywords that are too generic or do not apply.
With this research, you can tweak your meta tags, content pages, and navigational codes.
Here is the simple strategy you can follow…
- Use general keywords in the home page
- Use specific keywords in category pages
- Use brand specific keywords in brand category pages
- Target long tail keywords in the specific product page
So, break out your past Website Analytic reports and go to work. Check this theory out for yourself and you will see how you can increase traffic and hopefully conversion rates on your site.
Be sure the Long Tail Keywords you decide upon are relevant and directly related to your product.
- View your analytics tool/log files to see for how many long tail keywords your webpage ranks in search engine.
- What percentage of conversion these long tail keywords have given?
- What is your bounce rate?
- If most of your long tail keywords just give you traffic with no sales then there could be any or all of the following problems
- Irrelevant landing page
- Weak product description
- No extensive product features
- No Call to actions
- No proper content presentation
- Poor product image
- Weak Navigation
- Sloppy website design
- No proper placement of shopping cart
- The product price might be higher
- Long checkout page and other factors.
So the idea long tail keywords can increase conversion becoming a more commonly accepted approach to marketing online. Just be sure to do your homework.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are financial and non-financial metrics used to help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals.
Web site stats are non-financial metrics to allow you to see what is going on with your web site on a daily basis to see if it is meeting your goals.
It is all about “Conversion Rates” or the percentage of visitors to those who become customers. Do you have a call to action? Are you asking them to buy your product or services?
Do you know your bounce rate? Do you even know if you have a web stat program running in the background?
If you can not measure it, it does not exist! Get the answers today and start asking the questions of your web site team to see if you are progressing towards your goals. If not, then call me!
Is your website capable of being seen on the mobile platform? If you are not optimized, you need to plan now for the future.
The increase in mobile phone users who surf the web is increasing every year. eMarketer.com is reporting that the estimated number of mobile users in 2012 will reach 81.1 million and increase by 2014 to over 116 million. That is huge!
Start making your plans now to be able to sell your services or products online via mobile today!
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.
This acronym covers several elements of online marketing that, when employed properly, work together to increase your company’s web traffic, online presence, and conversions to sales.
There are three key elements of SEM that work in conjunction with each other to direct traffic towards your website and translate that traffic into sales.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization refers to a set of techniques for generating traffic that all revolve around optimizing your web presence to be highly ranked in the major search engines.
SEO is based on organic ranking and works by gaining as high a possible organic listing to bring additional traffic and attention to your website. Being high in the rankings, ie… 1-3 on the front page, will bring internet users to your website when they are searching for specific terms related to your brand, products and services.
Some of the key aspects of SEO include:
- Keywords and targeted search terms strategically integrated into the content of your website, including Meta tags, headers, and text withing your content.
- Inbound links to your site from other relevant websites. This can take time and effort, but being listed on other sites in your category gives your web presence credibility.
- Targeted, well-researched and frequently updated content. With CSM operating systems, you can do this with direct feeds from Twitter, Facebook and other social media resources.
- Content Marketing
Using Google Adwords
Whereas SEO works with organic traffic, raising your website’s rank within search engines naturally through keywords and other strategies, advertising with Google, Bing and other search engines are exactly that, paid for ads.
Paid advertising usually appears in a few key forms:
- - Adwords or related programs. These are keywords that are closely associated with your brand that you pay to have even more firmly attached to that brand via Google. When you purchase an adword from Google, whenever anyone searches for that term, your brand’s site will always appear at the top of the (paid) search results if you bid high enough on the key word.
- PPC (pay-per-click) ads. These are ads placed on targeted websites that are frequented by members of your target audience. Each time someone clicks through to your website via one of these ads, you pay the owner of the website a fee (also the network you purchased them through).
- Social Media Ads. These can come in the form of Twitter trending topics that you promote, Facebook ads, or other paid ads that appear on social media.
Having an active, integrated presence on social media is absolutely necessary to an effective SEM strategy.
Also, your social media presence should be incorporated into your main site in the form of “like” buttons, sharing options and other widgets. For example, brands with a Facebook page generally see a 300% increase in referral traffic through that social media site.
Social media presence also positively effects e-commerce behaviour. Giantnerd.com saw a 100% increase in revenue from Facebook within a month of adding a “like” button to their site.
Being able to interact with a brand via social media has a tremendous positive influence on your target audience, and they respond to social media not just by boosting your brand’s profile and proving your SEM strategy effective, but also by buying your products and services.
So, by integrating these three aspects of SEM effectively, you can create a well-executed and coordinated SEM strategy that is sure to drive traffic to your site, resulting in a rise of your brand’s online profile and translating directly into an increase of sales.
Researching possible purchases has taken a life of it’s own on the Internet.
Angie’s List, Facebook, consumers digest, and 100′s of new sites are now allowing us to compare and read reviews of products and services used by others.
I know an 82 year old who read 23 reviews of a product online before purchasing it. JUST BE CAREFUL. Remember, this is the Internet where not everything is as it appears to be!
Many sites are now providing video and written testimonies by “real people”. Please note I did not say real customers or purchasers.
Video testimonies are available online for $5.00 at Fiverr.com. Send them a script and they send you a talking head tell everyone how great your service or product is. ALL BOGUS. Need a glowing review of your restaurant? $100.00 gets you 20 great videos of 20 different people who “loved” the food and the service. Convincing?? $5.00 gets you 20 likes on Facebook. Boom! Instant credibility purchased, not earned!