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Explainer Video

July 29th, 2015

An explainer video is a video that explains who or what your company is and what products or services you offer. These videos are a must for any website, but especially if you have a new company or if your product or service isn’t easy to understand.

So how do you make an explainer video? That is up to you. But if you need some ideas, check out the post from EpicEcommerce.com here: 5 Awesome Explainer Videos to Spark Inspiration|EpicEcommerce.

They offer some great examples that are animated, to the point, funny and creative. Check them out and then get started making your video!

10 Things You Should Be Doing For SEO

July 22nd, 2015













Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, in a nutshell, how you write content, posts, updates, etc. to make it easy for search engines to find you. This is important because if a search engine can find you, every time someone searches for content that is relevant to your site or business, your link will come up and more customers will come your way. Here are 10 basic things you should be doing for SEO.

  1. Keep track with tools like Alexa and Google Toolbar that all you to monitor your stats.
    2. Use keywords. Your keywords should be in your content, titles, posts you make on Facebook or other social media, in hashtags and in your website design. Use keywords in every post, but don’t go overboard.
    3. Link back to yourself. When you are writing new content for your site, link back to your older content.
    4. Create a sitemap. A sitemap is a page of links to all the major content on your site. This makes it easier for people to find your content.
    5. Make sure your URLs explain your content well.
    6. Use simple coding. Flash is cool, but not so good for SEO.
    7. Add captions to your images.
    8. Add amazing content. Your content should be updated, fresh and interesting.
    9. Social media. Be sure to spread relevant links to your company blog on sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is very important to SEO.
    10. Link to other sites.

The Everything Guide To ECommerce Marketing And Increasing Sales | EpicEcommerce

You Need Trust Seals For Your Online Business

July 14th, 2015

trust sealsIf you own a business and are looking for ways to increase security on your site, you need get trust seals. Trust seals will not only help security but will increase conversions. Trust seals are important for e-commerce sites. Customers want to know that they are safe when shopping on your site. But with all the options for trust seals (aka site seals, trust logos, and trust badges), how do you know what is best for your site?

Here are three things to think about before you buy a trust seal:

What does the trust seal do, according to the company? Does it come with security scanning, or is it just a logo to add to your site? Some seals verify that your business is a real business but don’t do anything to protect your site. Be sure you know what you are paying for is what you are actually getting.

What does the trust seal tell your customers? Studies have shown that customers want to see a trust seal on the site they are shopping on and many may not buy from a site that doesn’t have one. Is your trust seal telling your customers that they can trust your site? And that it is free of vulnerabilities?

Does a trust seal mean that your site is secure? As mentioned above, some seals simply prove that you’re a real company, while others actually check the site for vulnerabilities. If shoppers think that your seal is just a logo for appearance, they may not want to buy from you. Be sure that your seal is up to date and scanning your site for vulnerabilities.

Can You Trust a Trust Seal? 3 Ways to Know You’re Getting Your Money’s Worth|EpicEcommerce

Knowing Your History

June 24th, 2013

Website Conversion Part 4

As a young teenager in my first wood shop class, I learned that constructing any project required a plan. We spent the first several weeks of the term drawing shapes and then designing our first projects. Every plan started with a single line on a paper and that first line had a specific starting point and end point. If I positioned the ruler to touch both points, the line would add strength to the plan, all other methods resulted in extra work or starting over. Another aspect of successful website conversion is taking the time to connect your past efforts to the present situation and your current position with your end-state goals.

It is important to evaluate, to some degree, what you have done in the past to increase conversion. Granted, you ought to have a new definition of conversion at this point but it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify those past strategies which have some application to the new definition. Don’t over analyze the historical data but take time, at least, to dig up a few bulbs before tilling the old garden under. You don’t want to replicate any past mistakes if you can avoid it.

If you don’t have a significant history to glean from, this is a great time to research other companies and methods. It’s always best to stand on the shoulders of giants –learning from their successes and challenges. Spend the effort to understand the companies you study, however. There may be underlying reasons they did or did not benefit from certain strategies. A superficial glance at their activities and performance could be more dangerous than helpful if you plan to follow them. Always keep in mind that your company is unique and any preset plan will need tweaking. Don’t hesitate to create your own hybrid –taking the best from several sources. There’s no such thing as the perfect plan but your strategy can nevertheless be brilliant with a little study and adaptation.

Implementation and Regular Evaluation

June 17th, 2013

Website Conversion Part 3

Whether you think the story of Noah and the Ark is just a great story or a literal part of our history, you will probably agree that he didn’t build that enormous ship all by himself. Now, your website conversion strategy might not be equate-able to Noah’s Ark but it will require buy-in and diligence to make it work. I imagine Noah had real buy-in from all eight passengers. There were many reasons they had to be fully committed, one of which was that all those animals needed regular attention.

Once you’ve implemented your website conversion plan and things are starting to happen, you will need to “tend the animals” at least weekly. Depending on what type of business you run, you might see an immediate increase in conversion or you might not recognize the change until you compare several weeks of data. You’ll probably have to demonstrate that painful blend of attentiveness and patience. Stick to the plan! Try to make adjustments in support of your plan, rather than going back to old ways before the new strategy can start working for you. Be courageous and decisive when adjustments are needed -don’t make changes as a result of impatience. Remember, you put a lot of effort into this process and it is very unlikely that you will come up with a better solution in a moment of doubt. As with Noah, you might experience an increase in rain before you see any evidence that your plan is going to work out.

Next week: How knowing your history can help with conversion.

Defining Website Conversion

June 10th, 2013

Website Conversion Part 2

One of my favorite Olympic track & field events is the relay race. Not only is it a running competition but it’s one of coordination as well. At a specific point the first runner must hold the baton down and to his rear without slowing down. Simultaneously, the fresh runner matches speed and takes the baton as he passes and increases his pace. Without clearly defining that moment at which the transfer takes place, the baton will likely be dropped and the race lost. Website conversion needs to be defined in much the same way if marketing is going to hand things off to the sales team without dropping the prospective customer.

It might seem obvious but unless you have identified what conversion means for your company, you are likely to experience a lot of conflict and confusion. In other words, don’t define conversion as a click on a button for a free wallpaper. This would make your conversion numbers look good but it would not benefit sales. Likewise, don’t define conversion as a time-share purchase. Make the conversion number reflect a customer action that shows real interest but not a sale –your sales numbers will indicate actual purchases. Conversion should be some significant action that is clearly on the pathway to a purchase and it needs to be well-defined so that marketing and sales know where the transfer will take place.

Depending on the structure of your business, you will want to work with key people to make this distinction. In my case, my business only consists of me and my wife. For most, however, this will require more than dinner conversation. You will need to schedule meetings and get honest input from the sales team, upper management and marketing to start with. Sales is important because they will be receiving the raw products of website conversion, “leads”, whether they come in the form of a simple web-form with contact information or a pre-screened customer who expresses an interest and meets inclusion criteria. Sales will have a vested interest in the definition of conversion. Needless to say, management will want input and will provide backing for any execution and/or training needs. Marketing will offer perspective regarding implementation, particularly since they will carry out any new strategies.

You could define conversion on your own but that critical moment will be far more clear and meaningful if key departments have input, comprehension and buy-in. Besides, it’s the coordination of efforts that makes the race so exciting in the end!

Next week: Implementation and Evaluation

Creating a Comprehensive Plan

June 3rd, 2013

Website Conversion

If you fail to plan…well, you know the rest. I’ll confess that in my wood shop class, decades ago, I hated the planning stage and as a result, my projects were simple and they honestly didn’t turn out very well. Some of my friends saw the value in painstakingly drawing out every detail and their projects (bird feeders, balance boards, chess sets, etc.) are probably still in use today. Don’t skimp on planning and again, include the key departments in this critical step. In your first meeting, briefly present a summary of what has been done before, in and out of your company before starting an open-forum discussion. Benchmarking data can save time and keep things focused on plausible solutions. You’ll need focused discussion if you hope to create a detailed plan.

Imagine how much money, time and human life would be wasted if NASA sent manned space craft into the cold, blackness of space without meticulous planning. Most of the problems in space exploration were discovered and resolved on paper long before blastoff. That’s exactly when you want your problems remedied; long before your towering investment dollars and your company’s reputation are on the launch pad. You will also want to make your outcomes measurable so they can be evaluated easily in the first weeks and months. If it weren’t for gauges and warning lights, the Apollo 13 flight crew would not have known their craft was losing power, fuel and oxygen. Knowing early on will enable you to make small adjustments and avoid major losses later. The plan will be the scaffolding upon which you will all climb during the implementation stage –take time to make it strong.

Next week: Why defining website conversion is important.

Smartphone Security Today

April 29th, 2013

How safe is your smartphone? Chances are that it’s not as secure as you think it is. Here’s an illustration: You’re entering the freeway on your way home from work when you see that all four lanes resemble a parking lot –there is definitely something going on but you can’t see far enough to identify the problem. You pick up your phone to check the online traffic report but the screen is occupied by a request for permission to install some new program. You pass it off as a typical update and it looks no more malicious than the last twenty programs you allowed to install. You hit “Accept” and never realize that you just gave permission for some malware to send your data and text it to the perpetrator’s phone.

Your personal information is now accessible to a criminal and you don’t realize it because you were used to granting such permissions and you were too busy trying to focus on the immediate problem to be careful. This scenario could just as easily have included clicking on a suspicious attachment or visiting a phishing website. A big part of the problem with smartphone security is that most of us don’t think of it as a computer; we see it as a really cool phone.

The two examples of granting permission and opening a suspicious attachment are understandable but largely avoidable if we just pay attention. There is an inherent problem with web-surfing and searching on a smartphone, however. When I use my laptop computer, the screen is large enough to display information that assures the website I’m about to enter or have already entered is secure.

First, before I actually enter any private information, I should look for the little padlock in the address bar. I should also see that it is an “https”, rather than an “http” URL protocol. The “s” stands for secure and means it is encrypted. Second, most antivirus software will tell you the website is secure or safe before you click on it –of course, this indication is only as good as the virus and other definitions your provider uses.

Last, you can really rest assured that a website is safe if you find a valid security seal displayed on the site itself. These things are simple enough to find on a computer but the smaller smartphone screen doesn’t show everything a computer does. Remember, every website owner has the choice of optimizing the website for smartphone use, creating a separate website specifically made for smartphones and tablets or to leave things as they are and hope for the best. With the first two options, the owner will decide what to include on the website but with the third, your phone might exclude information based on a set of protocols or priorities. In most cases, the padlock and the “s” are not visible on smartphones –that can be a real problem, since the other indicators are elective.

The next time you use your smartphone to go online, to check email or to grant a permission, remember it is not just a cool phone with a variety of toys to play with; it is a lot more like a computer. In some ways it’s like a self-destructing computer with a hairpin trigger and no safety to engage. Keep that in mind, and you’re likely to be safe.


PCI Compliance and Website Security Can Mean A Kick In Conversion Rates

February 13th, 2011

Will Conversion Rates Go Up With PCI Compliance?

Online merchants, specifically those that take credit cards, have a responsibility to design a solidly safe place for internet purchases to happen. For business owners who store financial information like credit cards and bank information in the purchasing process, PCI compliance is a requirement. Staying on top of and conforming to PCI standards keeps your site in good standing, but benefits can go beyond staying current with credit card companies. Prominently displaying a trust seal stating that your company is keeping up with PCI standards can make all the difference in giving customers confidence that your site will keep their information safe. And secure visitors mean higher conversion rates and more sales.

Along with providing fantastic services and products, trust is one of the most essential components of a successful business. Whether it’s a store front on Main Street or a company that does all its business using the internet, cultivating trust and credibility is something that can’t be ignored. More confidence and trust means more sales. For an internet merchant, PCI compliance can have an impact that goes beyond remaining in good standing with credit card companies. Maintaining PCI standards and informing visitors you’re doing so by clearly displaying trust seals can increase both customer trust and conversion rates. A win-win for everyone.

Your services or products could be the best in your field. Your website may be easily accessible to visitors, perfectly thought out and planned and the perfect place to show the world what you want to sell. All of that may be in your favor, but if customers can’t turn over their credit card or bank information with confidence, you won’t make a sale. It’s crucial for credit card companies to know that you are keeping up with PCI standards, but it’s equally important for potential customers to know that they are shopping on a secure site.

Website Security and PCI Compliance Can Mean A Boost In Conversion Rates

February 13th, 2011

Can Conversion Rates Increase With PCI Compliance?

It’s true that anyone can come up with an idea, throw a website together and start a business. It’s one of the great things about technology now days. But the truth is no matter how well intentioned, not all of those businesses will succeed. In fact, many of them aren’t going to make it. The thing that separates the failures from thriving online businesses isn’t always products or services. Very often, it is the fact that the successes make a priority out of website security. Using Trust seals and PCI compliance, they gain customer trust and are able to convert more visitors into sales.

These days, any body with a basic knowlege of the internet can start a business web site. At the very least, someone who can access Google can find a website developer to design one for them. But an amazing looking site, even if it has all the extras and features, won’t turn visitors into customers if they don’t feel secure giving out their private, financial information. If website security isn’t put on the top of the list of priorities, your web site conversion rates won’t go up.

Business websites, specifically those who store credit card information, have a responsibility to design a solidly safe place for internet purchases to happen. For business owners who store any kind of financial information in the purchasing process, PCI compliance is a requirement. Complying with and maintaining PCI standards keeps your site in good standing, but benefits can go beyond staying current with credit card companies. Prominently displaying a trust seal that states that your company is keeping up with PCI standards can make all the difference in giving visitors confidence in your site’s security. And secure visitors will mean higher conversion rates and more sales.

Along with offering fantastic products and services, one of the most important elements of successful businesses is trust. Whether it’s a store front on Main Street or a company that does all its business using the internet, developing trust is something that can’t be made light of. More trust means more sales. For an internet merchant, PCI compliance can have an impact that goes beyond simply staying in good standing with credit card companies. Maintaining PCI standards and keeping people informed about it by clearly displaying trust seals can boost both conversion rates an customer trust.

Your services or products may be the best in your field. Your site could be wonderfully thought out and planned, easily accessible to visitors and the perfect place to show the world what you have to offer. You may have all those things going for you, but at the end of the day, if they don’t feel like they can confidently supply their credit card information, sales won’t happen. It’s important for the credit card companies to know that you are doing everything you can to maintain PCI standards, but it’s just as important for potential customers to know that the site they are shopping on has taken those extra measures to keep their information secure.