The success of eCommerce is largely a function of the company’s ability to integrate its online and offline efforts and provide the very best experience for its customers. The seamless integration of the various components of the enterprise’s operations is also dependent on the efficacy of the software platform it utilizes. These eCommerce software programs or solutions as they are known make it possible to create a seamless operation of the entire operations of the enterprise. There are a number of such solutions in the market but then their levels of effectiveness in different areas vary. Each therefore has aspects in which it is strong while there are areas in which it might have some weakness. Important areas include flexibility in design, database assistance, additional programming needs as well as product/shopping cart integration. We will examine some of these eCommerce solutions as well as their upsides and downsides.
1. 2CheckOut: Operating out of Columbus Ohio, this resource can be located online at www.2checkout.com. This resource presents a good alternative to PayPal. Its ease of use makes it very for beginners to make use of it although it may not be realistic to use it for thousands of products. Although it has higher fees than PayPal and less suited for an experienced web designer as it cannot be customized, it is still very ideal for beginners in eCommerce. (more…)
The point of any marketing piece is to evoke a response. A call to action is how you illicit or direct that response. So one of the most important things to ask yourself when you are creating a new marketing piece is “what is the call to action?”. In this edition of MarketPain I discuss a simple technique for evaluating the call to action in your marketing collateral.
The internet has come a long way since its early days when almost anything could be accommodated by the internet due to lack of choice. These days, the choices have simply exploded and now users have to have an incentive to visit a site. It is no longer sufficient that the site exists but from concept to content, a site must demonstrate sufficient value for the users to visit, remain or even return. It is has therefore become imperative for businesses to incorporate the very latest trends in web design in order to provide enough incentive for internet users to stay on their sites.
1. Online Videos: Pictures have for long been used to produce graphic representations for the internet users. Although the pictures have been quite effective, videos have proven to be far more effective. Whatever a picture can say, a video can say far more. Apart from being more graphic, videos actually speak and provide far more information in far less time. The advent of video sharing sites has made it possible for site owners to create and upload promotional videos to the site and drive traffic to their site from there. Additionally, video editing software are easily obtainable and easy to use. For the SEO purposes, Google now indexes videos while Youtube has added close captioning and transcripts for their videos. This has had a very positive effect on video optimization.
2. Interactive Designs: The ability of a user to interact with the site is a big plus. It helps the user stay on the site and get a positive experience. Interactive elements are normally created using flash or jQuery. Flash has been around much longer and website designers are more familiar with it although jQuery works just as well. In all, any package that is chosen, if well implemented, is likely to provide users with an engaging experience.
3. Typography: The font type used on a site is very important and even with this the use of non-system font types was difficult previously. These days however, it has become possible to use non-system even with the cross browser compatibility issues. Now, website designers can make use of font replacement methods in order to create great looking fonts. These replacement methods include Cufon, Typekit and @fontface.
4. Mobile Websites: There has been a gradual shift from desktop internet surfing to mobile browsing. People now take the internet with them in their hands. It has become imperative for upwardly mobile websites to have that mobile capability. New devices like the Google Android phone and the iPhone have gained widespread popularity which is still increasing. Mobile e-marketing, text messaging as well as location based marketing are just a few things that will continue to dominate the market for a long time.
5. Podcasting: This is the audio version of online videos. These are easily recordable and allow the users to hear a recording of an interview or production description or even a promotional message. It can be incorporated with the RSS feed thus making it easier for users to follow.
At first look, there does not seem to be much connection between the design of your website and the marketability of your business. The fact however is that there is a connection in the sense that a lot of the marketing depends on the professionalism with which the website is designed. This boils down to the fact that considerable effort needs to be invested in ensuring that the necessary things need to be done in terms of the incorporating current trends in the trade while designing your website.
Inasmuch as there is the need to follow current trend, there are still some basic factors that have to be considered without which the current trends will make little impact. They are as follows: (more…)
The term ‘web analytics’ refers to the collation, measurement, analysis and reporting of internet data. The objective of web analytics is to understand and optimize the usage of the web. Its use is not restricted to the measurement of internet traffic to a website but can also be used to carry out market and business research. Additionally, it can be integrated with a marketing campaign so as to understand the effects of the traditional means of advertising on the traffic to the company’s website. The fact however is that web analytics have become an imperative for the success of any online enterprise especially a small business as it gives the small business owner the opportunity to determine the response rates to the website’s online investments.
In carrying out web analytics, there are certain terms that are used widely, representing specific metrics. These include among others:
Hit: This refers to a request made on a web server for a file
Page View: A request made on a web server for a particular file representing a page on the site.
Visit/Session: While a visit is defined as a number of requests from a unique visitor for a page with a time lapse between each request of not more than 30 minutes, a session takes place when the unique visitor does not depart from that site to another within that same time frame of 30 minutes.
First Visit/First Session: This occurs when a website has a visit from a visitor who has not been to that site before.
In carrying out web analytics for your small business, it is important to take the following steps:
Collate Data: The first thing that you must do is to collect sufficient data and you can easily do this using any of the web analytics tools like Google Analytics. These data include among others, web logs, form to email requests and CGI requests.
Convert the Data: You will also have to convert the data generated by the web analytics tool to a format that you can easily work with. Luckily, most web analytics tools do most of the work for you.
Data Analysis: Bearing in mind that web analytics helps you discover trends, you need to analyze your data by looking for the following:
If there is a specific timeframe for some visits
The most popular pages on the site
Whether visitors browse more than a page before departing the site
The average time used by your visitors on the site
The source of traffic, if they come from search engines
The primary exit pages for your site
The sites linking to yours.
Integrate The Insights Obtained: Now that you have gotten answers to these questions, you have to integrate the answers into your efforts by remedying any deficiencies.
Watch The Difference: The purpose of the changes you are making is to create a better impression with your visitors. See how that works.
Re-evaluation: Web analytics is not a one-off activity. Once you have implemented the necessary changes, you need to embark on re-evaluation to ensure that all is right.
Adeptly address today’s business challenges with this powerful new book from web analytics thought leader Avinash Kaushik. Web Analytics 2.0 presents a new framework that will permanently change how you think about analytics. It provides specific recommendations for creating an actionable strategy, applying analytical techniques correctly, solving challenges such as measuring social media and multichannel campaigns, achieving optimal success by leveraging experimentation, and employing tactics
Ecommerce is the trend in the world today as enterprises try to make forays into domains that were hitherto inaccessible except with the huge financial investments. Today, small enterprises, even home based businesses have the opportunity to compete with other business on a global level via the platform provided by the internet. The statistics for ecommerce is certainly encouraging and as the evolution of the internet continues, the opportunities also improve. The retail holiday sales in the US were estimated at $39 billion as at 2007 while 70% of leisure travelers made some of their personal travel booking online. The figures for car shoppers online that started the process online stood at 53% while about 42% of the online shoppers said they use comparison engines online before making a purchase decision. The foregoing statistics go a long way in showing that ecommerce is growing and the competition will be won largely by businesses that take a lot of technical and business details into consideration. In all, there are a number of mistakes that must be avoided if you are to succeed in your ecommerce efforts. (more…)
The emphasis in the early days of the internet was on the enterprise but today, that emphasis has shifted to the customer. It has become very obvious to many enterprises that the internet is the most potent platform for making a connection with their prospects and customers. If the right connection or impression is not made during the first visit, the ability to market to that person becomes difficult. Sometimes, the initiative is lost at that very moment and may never be regained; worse still, word could spread on the internet about that one bad experience which could negatively impact the enterprise.
Web 2.0 designs are in tandem with the current trends on the internet. These current trends greatly enhance the quality of interaction between an enterprise and the visitors to its site. This will in turn increase the marketability of the site. Five of such marketing trends include the following: (more…)
The term Web 2.0 is used to describe the current internet trend and the way it affects the various facets of professional and business endeavors. Marketing is not exempt from the effects of the Web 2.0 and on the internet, it has become very crucial to success to ensure that the design of your apparatus ranging from websites to landing page and blogs as well as social media pages comply with the demands of the Web 2.0 environment.
The options open to people as they used the internet to search for and get information about products and services was seriously limited during the early stages of the internet. The trend today is vastly different as people now take note of many features as they visit websites. These features make it possible and then easier to hold the attention of the visitors and then, if it is an ecommerce site, makes is far easier to convert prospects. (more…)
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of driving more traffic to a site from search engines by attaining higher ranking on the search results. There are generally two kinds of means of doing this; Search Engine Marketing which entails paid advertisements and then Organic means or methods which are not paid for. While the organic methods do not involve payments in order to show when searches are run, it however requires a lot of effort and knowledge of search engine algorithms. This will ensure that the right tactics will be adopted and effectively used to drive the needed traffic. (more…)
While filling out your site with content, it is very important that you know just how to spread your keywords throughout the site to ensure that maximize their effect and ensure high content quality. There a quite a number of issues that arise in the attempt to do this:
a.The attention to be paid to the homepage in trying to apportioning the important terms in view of its strategic position on the site.
b.The quantity of keywords to be inputted in a page to create sufficient attraction for the search engines.
c.How to make use of synonyms or terms which are similar or alternatively, when to split them up.
Before starting to fill out the content on the site, there are some steps that you are advised to follow. Basically, you have to carry out a competitor analysis in order to ascertain find out what your competition is doing right or wrong. One very easy way of doing this is to check the HTML source code of the sites which rank highest in your niche market and find out the keywords which have been used in their various pages. There are other tools which you can use in gathering data on keywords and these include Wordtracker which operates quite broadly as well as Google Adwords Keywords Tool. The latter should be considered to be a suggestion tool and therefore used in conjunction with other tools. Yahoo Search Marketing is yet another tool that offers you options for doing your research and a combination of all methods ought to be used in order to get the best possible results.
Five methods that can be used after the research include: (more…)
The term ‘web accessibility’ generally refers to the practice of ensuring that a website is fully usable by persons who have disabilities which ordinarily prevent them from enjoying the full use of the web pages. This is an issue that webmasters are having to face increasingly today particular as many countries are enacting legislation on the issue, notable among them Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. There have also been clear guidelines known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 1.0 established by the World Wide Web Consortium under its project, Web Accessibility Initiative in 1999. On a general note, there are assisted technologies available for those who have some forms of disabilities in accessing the web pages on the internet. These technologies include: (more…)
The practice of ensuring that websites are made accessible to all people having all abilities as well as those having disabilities is what is known as Web Accessibility. The emphasis however is more often than not, on people with disabilities. Equality in the acquisition of the information or knowledge contained on a web page irrespective of the age and physical conditions such as blindness is the thrust of this practice. The concept of web accessibility is founded on the need to address certain challenges generally facing web users as well as some facing some categories of web users. Some of these challenges include the following: (more…)
1. Navigation – Consistent and intuitive navigation should be present throughout the site. Remember that the home page is not the only entry point for the site – users should be able to understand the site’s interface without having visited the home page.
◦ Bread crumbs should be added to the navigation with links to indicate what page the user is on in respect to other pages. Example: Home > Topic > Topic
◦ A search features should be available on every page and search results should be relevant.
◦ A Site map should be available and contain links to the main topics.
◦ A link to the home page should be present on every page. It is customary for this link to be associated with the logo.