For many, the New Year brings forth a clean slate and fresh hope that the next 365 days will bring more success and prosperity. People begin the year by cleaning their homes; removing clutter, throwing out useless “stuff”, and organizing the different areas. Likewise, your WordPress database needs to be cleaned up of clutter, useless stuff, and have its files organized so that it can perform optimally for the next 365 days.

Over the course of the previous year, your WordPress website has seen plenty of activity. It may have undergone site revisions, received spam comments, saved drafts, and stored data from old plugins, trackbacks, and pingbacks. Removing all of this clutter will free up space in your database and allow your website to run faster.

WordPress highly recommends that you frequently clean up your WordPress database to ensure top-level performance and user experience. And cleaning up your WP database might be easier than cleaning out your home!

What Should You Clean Up On Your WordPress Database?

Before we get into the specifics of how to clean up your database, we recommend that you first backup your website. Yes, cleaning up the WordPress database is easy but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You want to have peace of mind just in case anything goes wrong during the process.

If you’re thinking “Oh, no! I don’t know how to backup my website!” 

Don’t worry as we’ve got you covered!

There are many WordPress plug-ins that you can use to backup your website. Once installed, the plug-in will run the backup for you. 

Here are 5 plug-ins that we highly recommend:

If you want to learn more about how and why you should backup your WordPress website, you can read our article “How Often Should You Backup Your WordPress Website?”

Once you’ve successfully backed up your WordPress website, what items should be cleaned out of your databases? 

  1. Data from old plug-ins – One of the key procedures to protect your website from cyber-attacks is to remove unused plug-ins. However, after you’ve removed them, some data might be left over. Make sure your database is 100% cleaned of the plug-in files and data. 
  1. Data from old posts – You’ll have data leftover from posts you made in the past. These can be found at the wp_postmeta table.
  1. Spam comments – When your website is popular and has elicited a high-level of engagement, there are some people who will use the comments section to put links to other websites. This is an unethical practice that Google frowns upon. Likewise, visitors will be turned off by spam comments that take them to spurious websites. 
  1. Unapproved comments – Unapproved comments are types of content posted by commenters that may be deemed inappropriate. For web pages where comments don’t require approval, having these comments visible to everyone might affect your reputation. Likewise, unapproved comments can invite spammy links to your website and compromise your SEO strategy. 
  1. Unused tags – We discussed the value of attaching tags to your content. Over the course of publishing content, there may have been instances where you changed your mind and replaced the tag. There will be leftover data that could be removed.
  1. Transients – WordPress, as well as some apps, have a feature that allows you to temporarily store cached data in your website’s database for a specified time frame and under a filename. This type of data is called a transient and takes up a lot of storage space. Once transients have accumulated, they will significantly slow down your website. 

What Plug-Ins Can You Use To Clean Up Your WordPress Database?

Similar to backing up your website, there are plug-ins that you can install to make it easier for you to clean up its database.

Here are 3 of the WordPress plug-ins we recommend for cleaning up the database of your website. These plug-ins are free. We’ve used them on our clients’ websites and can attest to their effectiveness.

1. WP-Rocket

WP-Rocket is one of the most popular cache plug-ins in the market. We use WP-Rocket extensively with our clients because it’s also a terrific optimization tool. 

It’s a no-fuss, plug-in with many amazing features that are designed to help your website perform better. 

WP-Rocket sets up easily on your website. No need to configure. All you have to do is to activate the plug-in so it can go to work right away. 

Its interface is very intuitive that beginners will easily see the sections they need to cleanout. WP-Rocket also allows you to schedule database cleanups. Choose your preferred frequency – daily, weekly, or monthly – and WP-Rocket will clean up your databases automatically.

2. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize has been downloaded more than 600,000 times for one reason: it does the job of cleaning up your WordPress website perfectly! WP-Optimize also enables you to compress images to free up memory and improve website speed. 

Another wonderful feature of WP-Optimize that gives your website’s speed a boost is the ability to cache your web pages. Caching stores memory-heavy data in a temporary file that your site visitors can access anytime. 

You can read more about caching in our article “What Is Caching And Why It’s Important For Your Website”.

WP-Optimize makes it easy for you to clean up your database. Its Table Information section shows you all the databases and their respective sizes. There are plenty of cleaning options to choose from. To activate, simply click “Run Optimization”.

Similar to WP-Rocket, you can schedule the automatic clean up of your databases with WP-Optimize.

3. WP-Sweep

WP-Sweep is a plug-in that is fast gaining users largely because it was created by Lester Chan, a highly respected WordPress developer. 

And Mr. Chan’s plug-in delivers the goods!

Like WP-Rocket and WP-Optimize, WP-Sweep is very easy to use. It only uses a single button “Sweep All”  to clean out the following items:

  • Transients
  • Post revisions
  • Spam comments
  • Unapproved comments
  • Auto-drafts
  • Unused terms
  • Duplicate metadata

Of course, you can be more selective and click “Sweep” beside the item you want to be removed.

Conclusion

How often should you clean up your WordPress website?

The schedule of cleaning would depend on the size of your website and its level of activity. 

If you are consistently uploading content, updating features, and if your website is enjoying plenty of traffic plus high engagement, you should clean up your databases more frequently. 

A good rule of thumb for busy websites would be to run cleanup activities once-a-month.

The key takeaway is that websites over time accumulate clutter and must be cleaned up to maintain speed, improve performance, and ensure functionality.

Your best option to keep your website healthy and running at optimal levels is to sign up for one of our Extreme WordPress Care Plans and allow us to do everything for you! 

With Extreme WordPress Care Plans, you can sleep soundly knowing that your website is being watched by a team of experts. 

We’ll run the updates, initiate backup and cleanup activities for you as well as keep your website protected from hackers. If you want to learn more about our Extreme WordPress Care Plans give us a call. 

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

Once you’ve set up a website, the next step is to drive traffic through digital marketing. We can assure you with 100% certainty that a strategic, well-thought-out digital marketing campaign WILL bring people to your website. The bigger problem is when people land on your website, what would you want them to do?

Entrepreneurs are often so focused on blogs, videos, and images as the primary forms of content that they overlook one essential element of web copy – a button that can deliver the desired results. 

This button is called the Call-to-Action (CTA) button; a key feature of your website that tells the visitor what you want them to do upon landing on the page. 

The CTA button is small in size and does not occupy a lot of real estate on your website. But when properly designed and located, the CTA button can yield big results for your business.

Call-To-Action: What Is It Really?

A Call-to-Action is a command, instruction, or a specific course of action that you want the audience to take. On a website, the CTA is typically presented as a button, usually on the home page which is the landing page when someone clicks on its URL. 

In website design, all the elements of a webpage must work together. For a home page, the Header carries the business’ Brand Value Proposition (BVP). 

As we discussed in our article “One Simple Hack to Get More Website Engagement”, a Header that captures the interest of the visitor within 6 to 8 seconds is critical to cause the visitor to explore your website.

He may scroll down and find your CTA button. The next few seconds will determine if the visitor will move further down the sales funnel – or abandon the search and click out of your website.

The CTA button must answer this question:

“What do you want the visitor to do NOW?”

Why You Need A Clear-Cut CTA On Your Website

Let’s assume you’re really hungry and badly craving a burger and fries. You enter a restaurant with a slogan (think of it as the website Header) of serving the biggest, juiciest burgers in the world. 

When you enter the restaurant, you have no clue where to sit and how to order. No one’s attending to you and there are no signs on the entrance detailing the next steps. 

With your stomach grumbling, chances are, you’ll forego the biggest and juiciest burgers in the world and just opt for the regular, fast-food burger next door – perhaps 2 or 3 orders this time!

A vague, lackluster, and drab CTA will have the same effect on a potential customer who lands on your home page.

We defined CTA as a form of command or instruction and these descriptions might seem too forceful or aggressive. But an effective CTA is one that is crystal clear; there’s no second-guessing on the action you want the website visitor to take. 

With a consumer needing only a few seconds to make a decision, you can’t afford to be cute with your CTA. It has to grab the visitor by the collar, get in his face, and tell him with absolute certainty what he needs to do next. 

If your CTA is unclear and leaves the website visitor wondering what he’s supposed to do next, he will leave and you will end up leaving money on the home page. 

Examples Of Good And Bad CTAs

Let’s start out this section by giving you examples of CTAs that won’t get the job done for your website:

  • Learn More
  • Get Started
  • Ask Me How
  • Take Part in the Journey
  • Click to Believe

These CTAs will fail to deliver because they’re ambiguous to the visitor. It’s not clear how taking the action will help the visitor find the solution to his concern. The CTA does not convince the visitor that you’re the answer. 

A CTA might as well be called Compel to Action because that’s what you want the button to do – act or move according to your command.

Why? Because by following the instruction of the CTA, the visitor will find what he’s looking for. Whether it’s solutions, answers, or information – by clicking on your CTA button, he will get it.

Here are 10 examples of effective CTAs that will compel the visitor to act:

  • Buy Now
  • Book an Appointment
  • Sign Up For Free
  • Get 1 Month Free NOW
  • Click for FREE Access
  • Click for FREE Consultation
  • Get Free Estimate Now
  • Download Free Copy
  • Claim Your Free Gift
  • Click For BIG Discounts

When you go over these examples, the CTAs are crystal clear on what they want you to do.

How do these CTAs work or deliver results for your website?

Example 1: A Pharmaceutical Company that sells insecticides and disinfectant products engineered to kill mosquitos, cockroaches, other insects, and green chemicals proven to destroy a wide spectrum of bacteria and viruses.

Header: Keeping Homes and Offices Safe From Diseases, Bacteria, and Viruses For Over 50 Years.

CTA: Buy Now

Example 2: A roof repair company with extensive experience fixing leaks and other forms of damage.

Header: One-Stop Shop For All Your Roofing Needs

CTA: Book An Appointment

As you can see, the CTA is aligned with the Header and the company’s overall value proposition. It answers the question:

“What can we do for you?”

Answer – Click our CTA!

6 Rules For Creating A Good CTA For Your Website

Creating a CTA that works wonders for your website is not as hard as you might think. Here are 6 rules you need to keep in mind when coming up with a good CTA for your website.

1. Support the Header

Yes, we’ve mentioned this quite a few times in this article. But it’s worth stating again the importance of having a CTA that clearly aligns with your Header. The CTA must help push the visitor further down the sales funnel.

2. Be Bold and Clear

A General isn’t vague when he gives the Private an order to “drop 10”. The Private has to drop down right away and knock out a set of 10 push-ups. 

With the CTA you have to be bold and tell the visitor what you want him to do. Buy, sign up, try, subscribe, claim, or download – be clear in telling the visitor what he needs to do next.

3. Make it Emphatic

Assume that the visitor who landed on your page wants a solution NOW. He clicked on the right URL, it’s up to your CTA to push him to act by creating a sense of urgency. 

4. Keep it Short

If you noticed from our examples of good CTAs, the maximum word count is 4. Can you go over? Sure, but it should not compromise the effectiveness of the 3 previously discussed tips for a good CTA. Too many words and the message can get lost. 

5. Visually Appealing Design

The CTA should stand out on the webpage. Ideally, it must be brightly-colored and creates a wonderful contrast with the background. 

6. Location Must Be Visible

The CTA usually comes after the Header. It must be clearly seen and easily identifiable to the reader. The font size must be large enough to be visible with enough spacing between the words to make it highly-readable.

Conclusion

If your website isn’t delivering results, the CTA could be the problem. We recommend to our clients that they run A/B testing among possible CTAs to have an idea which one has the best chance of generating the desired outcome. 

The CTA accentuates your sales pitch to the visitor. Take your time in coming up with one for your website. 

Better yet, give us a call and we’ll create a CTA that will meet your business goals. We’ll run the A/B tests so we can assure you that our CTA is the right choice for your website.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

WebsiteStandOut

WordPress plugins allow you to improve the performance and functionality of your website. As digital technology continues to evolve and as more people rely on the Internet to access information, your website has to keep pace with demand and higher online activity. 

This is especially true in the time of the New Normal where businesses have migrated their operations online and people prefer to work from home. 

Why You Have To Update Your WordPress Plugins

WordPress has become the most popular website platform and Content Management System not only because of its ease of use but also because it has thousands of plugins to choose from. 

The plugins have different functions and are frequently updated and improved upon to assure your website of better performance. 

However, you have to make sure that your website’s plugins are always updated not just to maintain top-level functionality but also to ensure site security. Outdated plugins are among the favorite points of entry of malicious software.  

How To Update Your WordPress Plugins

Before anything else, make sure you have a recent backup of your website. Having a backup of your website acts as insurance in case something breaks during an update. When a break occurs, your web page won’t load.

If this happens, all you have to do is restore the backup without the need to inactivate the individual one.

Also, check the website for issues. It’s best to know if there is an issue BEFORE you update, rather than thinking the issue was caused by your update. Run a quick website audit and look for anything that’s broken or not functioning properly. 

In fact, before even updating your plugins, find out if the latest version of your WordPress website is available. Once you’ve updated the WordPress website version, clear the website cache. 

Now, let’s find out how to update the plugins on your WordPress website.

WordPress makes it easy for you to update your plugins. In the first place, WordPress has a built-in system that automatically checks your website for plugins that need to be updated. 

Once WordPress has identified the outdated plugins, the system will send you notifications. In addition to the plugins, WordPress will also inform you if the themes and core software need to be updated.

However, if the plugin is not available at WordPress.org, WordPress will not be able to automatically update your website’s plugins. Thus, it might be better to use WordPress’s “One-Click Method” for updating plugins. 

This is quite easy to do! Simply follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the Administration Panel.
  2. Click “Updates”.
  3. You will see the plugins that have updates available.
  4. Select the plugins that you want to update.
  5. Click “Update Plugins”.

For bulk updates, click “Select All” then click “Update Plugins”. Likewise, you can update the themes on this page. 

Mountaintop Tip #1: Although the bulk update option is available, we recommend updating each plugin one at a time.

You also have the option to manually update your WordPress plugins:

  1. Go to your Dashboard.
  2. Click “Updates”.
  3. If there are updates available, the WordPress admin bar will present the notifications on the plugins menu.
  4. Click “Plugins” to head over to the “Plugins” page.
  5. Select the plugins that you want to update. 
  6. Click “Update Now”.

Mountaintop Tip #2:  Make sure there are no prompts to finish updating plugins. Also, clean up spam comments and optimize the database. Finally, if the feature is available, clear the website cache.

What happens if the updated plugin causes functionality problems or has defective features?

If you’re not happy with how the plugin is performing, you can deactivate it:

  1. Go to your Dashboard.
  2. Click “Plugins”.
  3. Choose the defective plugin.
  4. Click “Deactivate”.

With the possibility of having to deal with defective plugins, you might want to download the WP-Rollback plugin on your website. 

The WP-Rollback plugin will allow you to revert to the previous version of the plugin that you just deactivated. 

After deactivating the plugin, go back to the “Plugins” page and find the plugin you deactivated. When WP-Rollback is available, you will see “Rollback” as one of the options underneath the deactivated plugin. 

Click on “Rollback” to activate the previous version of the deactivated plugin. 

Mountaintop Tip #3: Check the front end of the website one final time for any issues.

Conclusion

There you have it! Now, you can update your WordPress plugins like a professional! By following the simple steps that we discussed, you can be more assured of your website’s performance and security. 

As you have just read, updating the plugins on your WordPress website is easy enough. WordPress regularly updates its plugins. So if you don’t get frequent notifications on available updates, run a manual check on your website. 

For better results, perform a website check, and if available, update your WordPress website to its latest version before updating the WordPress plugins. Keep the “Mountaintop Tips” in mind to assure you of a safe and successful update of your plugins. 

To be sure, allow us to do an audit on your website. Give us a call or an email and we’ll attend to you right away!

Better still – sign up for one of our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. We can perform all the updates for you and keep your website protected from cyber-attacks while you sleep.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community. 

WebsiteSecurity.Protection.Monitoring

One reason why WordPress has become the most popular website development and content management platform is the sheer number of plug-ins available for you to choose from. 

More than 55,000 plug-ins! 

With so much to choose from, how would you know which plug-ins will work best for your website and help you achieve your business goals?

What Is A Plug-In?

A plug-in is a software program that is designed and developed to carry out specific functions, improve the performance of your website, or add features to your website’s current program. 

Plug-ins are written using the PHP language and are easily integrated into WordPress. 

You don’t need an IT professional to install a plug-in. The good people at WordPress saw to it that those without knowledge of coding can add plug-ins on their own. 

The reason for this is that most WordPress plug-ins are for free and are not covered by Tech Support. As long as you are the administrator of your website, you can install a plug-in.

Plug-ins are important because they allow you to improve the functionality and performance of your website. As we like to tell our clients at Mountaintop, “Whatever your business needs, there is a WordPress plug-in for it.”

Do you want to add contact forms? Are you looking to speed up your website? Is an e-commerce portal something you’re considering for your business? 

There is a WordPress plug-in for that!

What Are The Best WordPress Plug-Ins For Your Business?

1. Yoast SEO

You can have the most beautiful website on the Internet with content written by award-winning writers but unless your website is optimized for search, no one will find it. 

Yoast SEO is perhaps the most popular plug-in for optimizing your website. What can Yoast SEO do to help give your search ranking a boost? 

  • Enhance your brand building strategies by providing you with the best templates for title and meta descriptions.
  • Take advantage of Yoast SEO’s innovative Schema implementation which helps search engines understand your website and improve your chances to contend for the high volume search results.
  • Access to tools that improve the searchability of your content such as SEO analysis and Readability analysis.
  • Use Yoast SEO’s Snippet Preview to get a peek into how your page will appear in the search results.

And much more!

Yoast SEO is like a do-it-all plug-in for your website. In addition to optimization, Yoast SEO has features that allow you to manage your website and ensure it can perform at its best all the time.

2. Ninja Forms

The great thing about having a website is that it can do everything for your business. 

If a prospective customer wants to find out more about your products and services, he can simply fill out an inquiry form.

If someone wants to attend a seminar you are hosting, he can sign up via your website’s event registration form.

These are the advantages of having forms on your website. And one of the best plug-ins to use is Ninja Forms. 

How good is Ninja Forms? It has been downloaded more than 11,000,000 times!

3. WooCommerce

So you started out with a standard business website but have decided to sell some products. Should you pay for a new e-commerce website?

No need! All you have to do is download the WooCommerce plug-in!

WooCommerce is an e-commerce plug-in that has been designed and developed for WordPress. This amazing plug-in is fully customizable to fit the needs of your business. 

WooCommerce is fast and easy to set up. Within minutes, you can have an e-commerce feature with payment and shipping options that are 100% safe and easy to use.

If you plan to use WooCommerce on your website, you will be in good company! WooCommerce is used by Google, PayPal, MailChimp, and Facebook among other big-name companies. 

4. OptinMonster

Email marketing has been proven to be one of the most effective digital marketing strategies for converting interest into paying customers. According to a study by eMarketer, the average ROI on email marketing is 122%.

With these in mind, you should have email marketing as part of your digital marketing toolbox. One of the best plug-ins to optimize your email marketing strategy is OptinMonster. 

OptinMonster will provide your site with high-performing and easily customizable opt-in forms that allow you to target specific segments of your audience. 

Are potential customers abandoning their shopping carts at your e-commerce site? Don’t worry! OptinMonster can convert the visitors who abandoned their carts into email subscribers.

5. Updraft Plus

Part of your website’s security and protection protocols should be an automatic backup of your assets. Without backup, if your website gets hijacked by cyber-criminals, your assets will be hard to retrieve. 

Updraft Plus is one of the most popularly downloaded plug-ins for WordPress because it triggers an automatic backup of your system. You can keep your assets safe in secured sites such as DropBox, Google Drive, or Rackspace.

If your website goes down, you can easily get it back on the Internet because your assets have been held safe and secure. 

WordPress Security 

The next 2 plug-ins – WordFence and iThemes Security – are some of the best security plug-ins you can install on your website. 

We have written about WordFence in our article “Why You Need WordFence For Your WordPress Website.” 

For its part, iThemes Security has a lot of security features that can protect your website from different forms of cyber-attacks.

6. WordFence

We cannot understate the importance of security for your website. It’s estimated cyber-criminals launch 30,000 attacks every day. Because WordPress is the most popular CMS on the Internet, it’s a safe bet these attacks are centered on WordPress websites.

One of the best security plug-ins for WordPress is WordFence which functions as a malware scanner and firewall. The app is designed by Defiant.

The objective of Defiant in developing WordFence was to address cyber-attacks that were coursed through flaws in the website’s Cross-Site Scripting program or XSS. 

If a visitor landed on a compromised home page, he would be redirected to a malicious website.

According to Defiant, WordFence has been downloaded more than 150 million times. 

7. iThemes Security 

Your WordPress website can become vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to faulty plug-ins, weak passwords, and the lack of adequate security. Unless your website is covered by round-the-clock security, you could become a cyber-security statistic while you’re sleeping. 

iThemes Security is a high-level security plug-in that does not fall asleep on the job. It will give you more than 30 ways to protect your website from various threats. 

Some of the plug-in’s security features include:

  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Scheduling of Website Malware Scanning
  • Assistance in Creating Stronger Passwords
  • Integrate Google CAPTCHA
  • Immediate Scanning of Your Website to Identify Vulnerabilities

When it comes to your website’s security, it’s a good idea to have more than one plug-in. 

Website Speed And Performance

To move up the search rankings, your website has to ensure top-level user experience all the time. For this reason, website speed should be a priority. 

According to Google, 53% of mobile users will abandon the search if the page fails to load within 3 seconds. 

Your website has to be user-friendly. This is very important if you have an e-commerce website. Similar to shopping at a high-end mall, you want to make sure the shopper is having a great time inside your store. 

8. JetPack

If you must have only one WordPress plug-in for your website – surely, JetPack should be on the shortlist. 

JetPack is an all-in-one plug-in that can provide multiple amazing features for your website:

  • 24/7 Security for your website
  • Use built-in tools that can improve your website speed, optimize images for search, and reduce bandwidth usage so you can save more money.
  • Thinking of selling merchandise? Add PayPal buttons to your website.
  • Use JetPack’s SEO tools to optimize your content in your various social media sites.

9. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize is an important plug-in to have for your WordPress website because it will help speed up download time. 

How? WP-Optimize offers you 3 benefits that focus on improving site speed and performance:

  • Removes unnecessary data to clean up your database and retrieves space that was lost due to fragmentation.
  • Compresses large image files that slow down your website.
  • Caches data and stores it in a temporary storage space for quick retrieval.

WP-Optimize also has a unique “minification” feature that minimizes the size of your assets. This results in fewer requests to your server which improves performance and the loading time of your website. 

10. WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a plug-in that helps improve the performance of your website and speed up its loading time through a host of features:

  • Caching the web pages for faster viewing
  • Caching for logged-in subscribers and for mobile users.
  • Reduces the volume of http requests.
  • Incorporates a GZIP Compression system that reduces the amount of bandwidth usage.
  • Concatenation and minification of CSS and JS files.

And many more!

WP Rocket is compatible with WooCommerce which is a big plus because many performance-optimization plug-ins aren’t. 

Conclusion

The great thing about having a website for your business is that you can introduce improvements any time you wish without shutting down, unlike a brick-and-mortar location. 

There are free versions of these plug-ins that give you access to the basic features. For a small fee, you can acquire the more advanced versions with upgraded features and more tools to improve your website. 

The fees are reasonable and if you think about it, are justifiable if the additional features will significantly contribute to the protection and performance of your website and eventual success of your business. 

What about you? Do you have a favorite plug-ins? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

And if you want to improve your website’s performance and security, please feel free to give us a call or an email. 

We all know that digital marketing has many advantages over traditional marketing. Digital marketing is more efficient; online-based marketing strategies have a wider reach and scope compared to traditional marketing strategies. Online content can be reused and repurposed making it more sustainable than flyers, newspaper ads, and streamers. Perhaps the biggest advantage of digital over old school traditional methods is that having a website as the centerpiece of your marketing strategy allows you to track performance in real-time via Google Analytics. 

Yes, we understand if the word “Analytics” can get some of you sweating or scratching your head. “Analytics” sounds like a technical term that is best reserved for experts such as web designers and IT professionals. 

The truth is, you don’t have to be an IT wizard to learn and appreciate the value of analytics. And when it comes to analytics, look no further than Google Analytics brought to you by the world’s biggest search engine.

What Is Google Analytics?

For those readers who worked in Marketing in the 90s and the early part of the millennium, it must have been a challenge to get the company to invest in a marketing campaign.

The company’s key decision-maker would always pose this question:

“What is the estimated ROI on your proposed marketing strategy?”

While traditional marketing methods have a way of tracking performance such as through the use of codes and a numbering system or by identifying any significant changes in sales, these processes are largely inefficient, time-consuming, and costly.

This question, as well as other nagging ones, was answered in November 2005 when Google Analytics was officially launched.

By definition:

Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that enables businesses to track, collate, and organize data about their website such as traffic volume, amount of time spent per page, conversion rate, and visitor demographics. 

With Google Analytics, you have access to data that will help you monitor and evaluate the real-time performance of your current marketing strategy. You can pinpoint weaknesses in your marketing strategy, create alternative courses of action, and implement improvements in the campaign. 

What Can Google Analytics Do For My Business?

A lot! 

Google Analytics removes guesswork. It helps you find the answers to the nagging questions that may have given you a few sleepless nights. 

If business numbers are not good, Google Analytics gives you a fighting chance because you can identify the problems right away and work on developing immediate solutions.

Here are 5 benefits that your business can derive from using Google Analytics.

1. Develop a Keen Understanding Of Your Target Market

Your website is a data-gathering tool. It will pick up important information about your visitors that will help you understand their online behavioral patterns and collect data on their demographics. 

Armed with these types of information, you can create a more accurate Buyer’s Profile. With a solid Buyer’s Profile, you can proceed to divide your market into segments and publish content that targets the right audience like a guided laser.

2. Strengthen Your Brand-Building Strategies

Knowing the types of content that your audience likes to read, the online platform they use to read your content, and the preferred device for accessing the Internet are valuable inputs you can use to fine-tune your digital marketing strategy that will build your brand. 

Google Analytics gives you data-backed evidence so you can get the “pulse” of your audience. You’ll get a “feel” of who they are and have a better perspective of how to position your brand so they can get a “feel” of who you are.

3. Keep Track of Your Search Rankings

How important are the search rankings? 

The first five URLs that appear on the first page of the SERP account for 67.6% of all online traffic.

And hardly anyone goes to page 2 of the SERP. 

If you’re wondering why your current SEO strategy isn’t pushing your website up the search rankings, you can find the clues via Google Analytics.

4. Establish Realistic Goals

What is the goal of your digital marketing campaign? 

  • Do you want to build your brand?
  • Are you looking to add to your number of followers?
  • Are you focused on increasing the conversion rate?

Setting goals is an important step in growing a successful business. Google Analytics has a feature called Goals Overview that will allow you to keep track of your goals.

Staying on top of where you are in the pursuit of your goals will go a long way in improving your team’s level of productivity while sticking to the parameters of your budget.

5. Gain Valuable Insights On the Competition

Are you wondering about what your competitors are doing? Why are their websites ranking higher than yours? Why do they have followers and more engagements? 

Wonder no more. Google Analytics has a feature that gives you valuable insights into what your competitors are doing. You have a virtual bird’s eye view of the strategies your competitors are implementing to stay ahead of you.

How To Use Google Analytics – A Guide For Intermediates

Google has always been big on User Experience or UX. The search engine giant’s algorithm frequently undergoes changes to include ranking factors designed to motivate website owners to improve UX. 

Thus, it is only fair for Google to give website owners an assist by making Google Analytics easy enough for non-IT professionals – beginners and intermediates – to understand.

The key is to not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools made available by Google Analytics. Stick to the basics about Google Analytics then slowly increase your knowledge of its more detailed applications. 

As someone who has Intermediate-level knowledge of Google Analytics, we assume that you have already set up a Google Analytics account. You must be familiar with the following actions required of Google Analytics and a few of its basic features:

  • Installing the Tracking Code – A program that collects data on your website’s activity
  • Setting Goals – A feature that allows you to set targets or goals for your website and informs Google if such goals were achieved.
  • Site Search – A feature that enables Google to track all searches done on your website and collect important information about your visitors.

At an intermediate level, learning your way around the Audience Report will give you the keys to unlocking valuable information about your website visitors. 

Whenever you open Google Analytics, you will see your Audience Overview report which is just one of 50 reports that you will have access to. 

One of the first things that will catch your eye in the Audience Overview report is a graph depicting the number of sessions your visitors have undertaken. Below the graph, you will find key information about your visitors’ behavior such as:

  • Number of Sessions
  • Number of Users
  • Pageviews
  • Pages per Session
  • Average Duration per Session
  • Bounce Rate
  • Percentage of New Sessions

By using figures provided by these data, you will be able to assess the performance of your digital marketing campaign thus far.

  • Are your strategies generating more visits?
  • Which types of content are your audience spending more time on?
  • How many new/unique visitors are you attracting every month?
  • How much time does a visitor spend on your website?

In addition to the Audience Overview, the Audience Report will give you valuable information on six factors that are crucial for developing strategies to improve your website’s performance:

  1. Demographics – Find out which gender and age group are primarily patronizing your website and will most likely contribute to your goal of increasing conversion rate.
  2. Interests – Pinpoint the topics that your audience is most interested in so you can fine-tune your content marketing strategy. If you’re thinking about investing in Pay-Per-Click advertising, the data can be helpful in targeting the groups where will you have the highest probability of converting interest into sales.
  3. Geo – Where are your visitors coming from and what language do they speak? These types of information will give you insights to develop more effective content writing, local SEO, and advertising strategies.
  4. Behavior – Data on behavior is very important because tastes and preferences are constantly changing thanks to the influence of the Internet. In this overview, you get information about the frequency of visits, time spent per visit, and the pages they frequent every time they land on your website.
  5. Technology – If you’re developing online tools for your business, data on technology will let you know if you should focus on Mac or Chrome-based software programs.
  6. Mobile – Sure, we know that 65% of online traffic comes from mobile – but can the same be said about your visitors? 

Find out the breakdown of mobile, tablet, and PC users and the percentage of iOS and Android users among your followers.

For intermediate-level Google Analysts, another important feature to learn is Email Notifications. 

This is a feature that allows you to receive updates on specific Google Analytics reports via scheduled emails. 

Setting up Email Notifications is easy!

  1. Select the report that you want to be emailed to you on a scheduled basis.
  2. Above the report title click “email”.
  3. In the field titled “From”, you will find the email address that you use to log in to Google Analytics.
  4. Go to the “To” field, enter the email addresses you have designated to receive the data. Make sure the email addresses are separated by a comma.
  5. Type in the subject then select the frequency of transmission and the format to be used.
  6. To set the duration Google Analytics sends the report, go to “Advanced Options”.
  7. To work on the body of the email, go to the field “Text” and press Enter.

Then, click “Send”.

The wonderful thing about the Email Notifications feature is that you don’t have to log in to Google Analytics to get your reports. You can set the frequency that these reports are sent to you based on your convenience. 

At the intermediate level, you might prefer the feature Advanced Segments to Custom Reports because you may want to be more specific and detailed in your segmentation. 

With the Advanced Segments feature, you can group the data into categories so you will have a clearer picture of who your website visitors are. Once you have gotten more comfortable with Custom Reports, the Advanced Segments feature will be easier to use and understand.

Earlier in this article, we briefly discussed the importance of having data on mobile usage. The world is becoming increasingly more dependent on mobile technology. In the United States alone, 58% of all searches are done on a mobile device.

You can get in-depth data on the mobile experience your visitors are having on your website; data that can help you find the answers to the following questions:

  • What keywords are my visitors using to land on my website?
  • Is my website downloading fast enough for mobile device users?
  • Is my website navigable on a mobile device?
  • How does online behavior differ between mobile and desktop users?
  • Should I optimize content based on mobile keywords?

The last feature of Google Analytics that would benefit intermediate-level users would be Profile Filters.

The Profile Filters feature adds a different dimension to segmentation. You may have some nagging questions such as “Why does mobile account for a very small percentage of our email subscriptions?”

Applying specific filters allow you to run tests on the traffic coming to your website. Profile Filters lets you customize the type of reports that Google Analytics is generating on your website so you can find possible answers to the nagging questions. 

Conclusion

Be patient during the transition from beginner to intermediate level Google Analytics user. We all have different competencies and it might take some longer than others to be proficient with the more advanced features of Google Analytics.

What’s important is to use Google Analytics to pinpoint the weaknesses and flaws of your website and in your digital marketing strategies. 

Google Analytics puts an end to guesswork. You have access to real-time data to help you formulate the best decisions that could change the game for your business. 

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

And if you are thinking of building a mobile responsive website for your business, give us a call or drop an email. We will have a high-performance, fully-optimized, and responsive website up and running for you in no time!

Good people are hard to come by. In a competitive industry, once you find top talent, you must do what you can to retain them. Otherwise, they will leave and potentially end up with your competitor. 

Retaining top talent not only helps you consistently deliver results and maintain the quality of output but it also lowers the cost of employee turnover which is estimated at 2.5 times the cost of an employee’s salary. 

So how do you manage top talent and keep them in your company? Is it just a matter of paying them a higher salary? 

You might be surprised to learn that money is not the primary motivating factor that keeps top talent from transferring jobs. 

Here are 5 ways to manage – and retain – the top talent in your company.

1. Present Top Talent With Frequent Challenges

Perception is what separates top talent from those in the lower rung. When presented with challenges, those at the top-end view them as opportunities to prove their abilities. 

In contrast, the ones who lag behind do so because they perceive challenges as threats. They believe they are put in tough situations to expose their weaknesses and shortcomings. 

Top talent lives for the challenges because it gives their work meaning and purpose. For example, if the company chooses them to manage a project, they perceive it as a sign of trust and confidence. 

However, you have to be judicious when presenting top talent with challenges. If the task falls too far off from their competencies, they might fail and blame you for having expectations they could not meet. 

The purpose of challenging top talent is to help them grow. You see potential but the skills are still raw. Instead, take them on a journey and be their guide. 

Present top talent with challenges that will help them achieve the next level of personal and professional growth.

To be faced with challenges creates pressure. But just like applying heat and pressure turns graphite to diamonds, challenges turn potential into future leaders of your organization.

2. Approach Them As Individuals

A person is recognized as a top talent because he stands out from the others. 

He could be working with a team but the performance data and keen observation have confirmed that his individual contribution was primarily successful for the success of the company.

If you took him out of the team, succeeding performances would fall below the standard he set and would be underwhelming. 

For this reason, you must treat him as a unique individual. 

To clarify, top talent is a team player. His motivation to perform at the highest level is the success of the team. 

A good example is an athlete who always wins all the individual awards and records the most impressive statistics but his team keeps losing. The individual accolades mean nothing unless the team wins.

However, top talent wants you to recognize his efforts and contributions. That without him, the team goes from “special” to “average”. 

The best way to go about this is to take a proactive approach. Don’t wait for the evaluations to come in or for top talent to come to you and ask for special considerations such as approval for his vacation leave. 

Reach out and take the initiative to show you care and appreciate his efforts. 

For example, if you know he has filed for vacation leave or paternity leave, approve it right away. Then,  give him the good news – personally.

“I just want to be the person to tell you that your vacation leave was approved. You deserve it! In fact, if you want to extend your vacation by a bit, let me know. I’ll see if I can work something out with HR. It’s the least I can do to show you how much I appreciate your talent.”

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

3. Be Sincere When You Show Appreciation

One of the biggest mistakes made by supervisors and managers is taking an arms-length approach to handling their people. They associate indifference with strength and authority – that people have to do more to earn their praise. 

Thus, when someone makes an incredible accomplishment, they withhold appreciation and rationalize the achievement as just “part of the job.”

“That’s what the company pays you for.”

But here’s the thing: Top talent does care about being acknowledged. 

Not everyone can do what they do and that’s what makes top talent stand out. They’re special and without them, your company would not be where it is today. Chances are, they won’t show how they feel. The best managers are intuitive – they can sense it. 

So you must show appreciation and acknowledge the work the most talented people in your company have done. 

But do so sincerely. And it’s not as hard as you think.

You don’t have to pull out the red carpet every time someone in your organization hits a target or achieves a milestone. 

A simple pat on the back and a verbal acknowledgment will suffice. Don’t follow the formulaic “Good job!” but have a sincere conversation.

“The work you put in to close the deal with XYZ Company was amazing and timely. On behalf of the company, I thank you for that. I want to assure you that your talent and contributions to the company do not go unnoticed. Keep up what you’re doing and you will have a bright future with us. If there’s anything you need or want to be addressed, you can come and see me.”

4. Introduce a Career Path/Succession Planning Program

Career pathing and succession planning are key elements in developing talent in your organization. Many companies overlook the importance of both programs and believe that you can have one without the other. 

Also, some managers think the terms are interchangeable. No, they are not.

Career pathing is a mechanism that enables talent to chart their path within the organization. You can say that career pathing is viewed from the perspective of the employee. 

Basically, he undergoes an assessment test designed to measure his skills, abilities, interests, and aspirations so he can find out the best role within the organization that can help him fulfill his potential.

Succession planning is a process that helps HR identify and nurture talent to fill out key positions in the organization.

HR develops criteria for identifying, evaluating, testing, and selecting the best people in the organization for specific positions. The experiences and accomplishments of these individuals are also included in the process. 

Once the people – the top talent – are identified, they can be scheduled for training to improve specific skill sets and to develop key attributes. 

Both career pathing and succession planning provide an integral component in managing talent in your company – direction. Without the availability of these programs, your employees – even the most talented ones – will begin to feel they are in a dead-end career. 

5. Encourage Greater Involvement

Encouraging your top talent to be more involved in the organization is another effective way of treating them as individuals.

By asking for their advice on matters that are not related to their specific duties and responsibilities, you are letting them know their skills and abilities are not limited or confined – and that you recognize this. 

Imagine if you were assigned to Finance then the boss comes over to you and asks for your opinion on how to expand the business in another location or region of the world. 

Initially, you might think this is a head-scratching moment but then you’ll realize the boss has noticed your other abilities and talents. This is an opportunity for you to prove your boss is correct – that he approached the right person.

Wouldn’t this make you feel more assured that you are working for the right organization?

Getting your top talent to be more involved with the business accomplishes 2 things. 

First, it will motivate them to work harder because they feel valued. Second, you get to see how they perform in a different setting – where the risks, as well as the stakes, are higher. 

Conclusion

It will be heartbreaking to find out how you could have retained one of your best people during the exit interview. 

Don’t be the last to know. As the business owner or the manager, you have to take a proactive approach. It’s never too late to implement processes and programs designed to keep your people happy and motivated to work for your company.

By doing so, they may not only work for your company but in the future, they may end up working with you in your company.

want to know more about web design

As the quarantine period is being slowly lifted in several states as well as countries around the world, many people are preparing to go back to the workplace. However, things at the office will not be the same. 

Without a vaccine, the risk of contracting the coronavirus or Covid-19 remains high. Places, where congregation takes place such as malls, restaurants, and even offices, will be asked to observe social distancing and proper hygiene. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has asked organizations to cancel events that bring in more than 50 people in one location. The rule of social distancing requires people to be at least six feet apart. 

So if your office is small, it’s possible that 50% of your team – or more – has to work from home. 

That adjustment in manpower can change the dynamic of your workplace. 

People that you are so used to seeing – perhaps having a morning cup of coffee with – will no longer be in the office on a regular basis. 

Although shared space collaboration will remain, the lack of physical presence will create a feeling of emptiness that may be difficult for some people to adjust to. A workplace environment that is dealing with emotional distress will not be conducive to productivity. 

The same can be said for your team members who have been assigned work from home duties. 

It may sound like a great idea to wake up every morning without having to worry about traffic, but the change in the work environment will take a period of adjustment.

For one thing, distractions abound inside the home. Second, not having familiar faces – and voices – in the workplace will give your home office a different vibe that will take some time to get used to.

But this is the new normal. 

To remain our overall health and safety as well as those of our loved ones, we have to observe social distancing which means working from home most of the time. 

Given the changes in the workplace environment, is it still possible to create and nurture a culture that is conducive for productivity?

How To Create A Productive Workplace Culture – At The Office And At Home

The answer is “Yes”.

As the saying goes, “time heals all wounds”.

It may take some time to get used to the new normal but in a few months, the “new normal” will just be normal.

The great thing about humanity is that we adapt. We are resilient. 

Not only will mankind eventually find a way to beat Covid-19 but we will ensure that the virus will not beat us.

Life – and work – will go on!

In the meantime, we’ll have to modify our business model to adhere to the guidelines in support of social distancing and other measures outlined by the government and health organizations.

Thus, if you decide to maintain an office, some of your employees will have to work from home to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Can you still be productive?

Yes! It’s a matter of finding creative solutions that can help maintain the dynamic within your organization.

Here are a few suggestions that you may want to consider when integrating a work from home or telecommuting program in your workforce. 

1. Mix It Up

Who’s going to be assigned work from home duties? 

Everyone!

Instead of designating specific people for office-based and home-based work, give everyone an opportunity to experience remote employment by coming up with a rotating schedule.

For example, if you have 20 employees, you can divide them into 2 teams with 10 members each.

  • Team A – Office-Based
  • Team B – Work From Home

After 2 weeks, switch up their assignments. Members of Team A will work from home while members of Team B will report to the office.

You should also change the composition of each team every month. 

For example:

  • Team A – Bill, Sally, George, Tom, and Raffy
  • Team B – Bob, Ted, Sarah, Tim, and Gina

The following month, switch around your team members:

  • Team A – Bill, Ted, George, Tim, and Gina
  • Team B – Bob, Sally, Sarah, Tom, and Raffy

By mixing up the composition of your teams, no one loses the vibe they had with the other employees. Everyone gets a chance to maintain the same high-touch connection they have with each other.

2. Update Your Mission Statement

Once you have your team assignments finalized, gather everyone together, and discuss your company’s updated mission vision.

Why should you update your mission statement?

For the reason that work – and life – as everyone knew it has changed. There are new challenges ahead and coming to work is no longer just about commerce or having a means of livelihood. 

Having a job is about helping the economy recover by generating employment, demand, and activity – all the while becoming mindful of health guidelines to remain safe and virus-free.

According to a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, more people are motivated to work if there is a stronger sense of purpose. The study noted that the rise in numbers extends across generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. 

The mission statement should be revised to keep everyone together even if their office mates are working from home – and maintain their focus. 

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

3. Schedule Get-Togethers

Some team members may be working from home but this doesn’t mean they are exempt from meetings – and the frequent water cooler get-togethers. 

At this time of the new normal, your mindset should be “Business as Usual”.

If you’ve been conducting pre-shift and post-shift meetings, continue the practice by getting your remote team onboard with the use of digital platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, or Skype. 

You can also schedule company water cooler breaks or “Coffee Time” and invite your remote team to join in. 

These informal “meetings” are a great way of helping the remote team to adjust to the work from home environment. The experiences they share can help the other team members prepare for their work from home assignments when it is their time. 

You should take note of these experiences and use them to fine-tune your work from home program and come up with a company manual on telecommuting.

4. Encourage Friendly Competition

The workplace is a venue for competition. If you want to get the promotion, you have to stay ahead of the competition by accomplishing more and contributing to the success of the company.

That does not change even if you shift to a telecommuting arrangement. 

You can spur productivity by encouraging friendly competition between the office-based and remote teams. 

For example, you can create a contest as to which team can accomplish more tasks. Establish benchmarks such as quality, accuracy, and timeliness. 

To the winner goes the spoils of victory – but they don’t have to be expensive. You can pay for food delivery for a week or give the winning team a day off from work.

Another benefit of having periodic competition is that it gives you a platform for measuring the effectiveness of the telecommuting program and the performance of your employees.  

Let’s say the telecommuting team has been struggling regardless of its composition, use the available data to find out why. 

  • Are there latency issues?
  • Are there distractions at home that have to be addressed?
  • Are there specific people who are just not cut out for telecommuting?
  • Are there individual behaviors that have to be addressed?

Like other new programs, you cannot expect to get the telecommuting arrangement right from the get-go. There is a learning curve to respect and growing pains to overcome.

5. Change Up the Scenery

With 50% of your team working from home, your office space will look – vacant. Meanwhile, those working remotely may find the surroundings more conducive to home life than getting work done. 

The solution? Change up the scenery at the office and at the home office. 

For example, add plants to fill out the open spaces in the office. A U.K. study has shown that plants can increase productivity in the workplace by 15%. 

Here are other tips you can use to make the workplace interesting:

  • Buy a couch and a few lounge chairs and create a lounging area where your employees can relax during breaktime. 
  • Introduce a standing desk area for employees who want to stretch out while working instead of staying cramped up in their seats. 
  • Buy succulents for your remote team. Succulents are plants that store a lot of water in their stems and leaves. They are highly resistant to drought which means succulents don’t require much water. This makes succulents very easy to grow and care for. 
  • Play music in the workplace. Music can help stimulate creativity. However, practice democracy in the main office. Make sure the music you play is acceptable to everyone. 

Conclusion

Over at Silicon Valley, tech companies such as Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, and Alphabet announced that their employees may continue to work from home until 2021. 

Other than safety concerns for their employees, adopting a telecommuting arrangement helps the companies save up on rental costs and expenses for travel and conferences. 

Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta Inc., was pleasantly surprised that productivity has vastly improved with the integration of a work from home program.

Therefore, if you’re worried that productivity might drop if employees work from home – don’t be. 

Simply look at the adoption of a work from home or telecommuting arrangement as a collaborative effort. Everyone will take part in it and do a good job as if they were back in the “old normal”. 

desktop with coffee cup - learn more about website design

If you’re a retailer, shifting to or integrating an online business model such as setting up an e-commerce website is a smart move. Consumers are increasingly becoming more dependent on mobile technology to fulfill their everyday needs. 

From US $2.3 Trillion to US $3.5 Trillion global sales, e-commerce is projected to hit US $6.5 Trillion in 2023. In the United States, e-commerce accounts for 10% of total sales in retail. 

What this means is that e-commerce is still a growing industry!  

It must seem that an entrepreneur can just close his eyes, open an e-commerce site, and wait for the cash to start rolling in. Unfortunately, that is not the case. For all the hits your website is getting, many visitors end up abandoning their carts at the checkout counter. 

According to data compiled by Baymard Institute from 41 cases on e-commerce websites, 69.5% of consumers abandon their purchase at the checkout counter. 

Therefore, if 100 people visit your e-commerce site, close to 70 people do not complete their purchase. That’s a lot of dollars left at the checkout counter! Instead of the cash register ringing, your alarm bells are sounding off.

We’re here to tell you that it’s not a lost cause. You can still turn things around and convert interest into income. First, let’s find out why consumers are abandoning the items at the checkout counter.

6 Reasons Why Shoppers Are Abandoning Carts At The Checkout Counter

If you’re at the local grocery store, you would probably abandon your shopping cart if the queue was too long, an emergency came up, or if you realize that you don’t really need the items.

The situation is not as simple when it comes to e-commerce websites. 

Shoppers have different personalities. When they’re online, their behavior changes somewhat because they are not seen. In a grocery store, psychological factors can come into play that prevents a shopper from foregoing a purchase. 

For example, abandoning the sale means moving the cart out of the queue which may become an inconvenience for other shoppers within the vicinity. It’s easier to click out of an e-commerce store. 

So what are the common reasons shoppers abandon their purchase? Here is a list of 6 reasons that were compiled by Statista:

  1. Unexpected costs in buying the item such as shipping and delivery – 56% of respondents.
  2. Site visitor had no intention to actually buy as he was merely “browsing” – 37% of respondents.
  3. The shopper found another e-commerce site that offered him a better deal – 36% of respondents.
  4. The shopper found the navigation process of the e-commerce site “difficult” – 25% of respondents.
  5. The process from selection to purchase took too long – 21% of respondents.
  6. The shopper was concerned about the security and protection of his personal information – 17% of respondents.

Now, there could be other reasons that made a shopper change his mind. But having knowledge about the major factors that resulted in the abandonment of the cart will help you come up with the necessary improvements to address the problem.

8 Ways To Fix Cart Abandonment Problems

You might be surprised to learn that the solutions to address the cart abandonment problem are not complicated. Yes, these 8 simple solutions can turn foregone sales into actual cash if done correctly.

1. Be Transparent with Your Shopping Costs

Have you ever gotten excited about finding the product you’ve been looking for in an e-commerce store only to have shipping costs – to borrow the title of a popular TV show – curb your enthusiasm? 

Market analysts refer to the condition as “Pricing Shock” and the same thing will happen to your customers if you aren’t transparent about your hidden charges. Pricing Shock is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment but can be easily fixed with these 2 adjustments at your checkout counter.

  • Include a shipping calculator so the shopper can have an idea of the total cost of purchase before adding the item on his cart.
  • Provide attractive discounts based on the volume of purchases.

2. Make Site Security a Priority

According to a 2016 study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 45% of Americans cut back on online shopping because of fears their personal information would be stolen by cybercriminals.

Even though the U.S. government has stepped up its drive versus online theft, the truth is that you cannot stop cybercriminals. You can only hope to slow them down by constantly improving your site’s defenses. 

As evidenced by the continued growth of e-commerce, consumers will continue to shop online. However, consumers will be more cautious about the sites they visit. 

  • Secure your e-commerce site with SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificates. Google has included SSL certificates as a ranking factor in its search algorithm. 

If your website does not have SSL, you will see the words “Not Secure” before your URL. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates in our blog “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.  

  • Include a Guest Checkout Option so that the visitor won’t be required to open an account. Likewise, a Guest Checkout Option will shorten the buying process.

3. Send an Email to the Shopper

When a visitor is serious about buying products from your e-commerce store, chances are he will provide his email address as part of the purchase process. 

You can set up an autoresponder that sends out an email to the shopper notifying him that he has items left in the cart. 

The email must have the following details:

  • Description of items left in the cart including quantity and price.
  • Date when the items in the cart will be completely removed. 
  • Instructions on how to resume the purchase.

If the shopper does not act on your email in 24 hours, send out another one.

computer graphic - curious about the website services we offer

4. Take the Personal Approach

Having an autoresponder system in place will help you keep track of the incidents of cart abandonment. However, by itself, an auto-generated email may not succeed in completing the sale.

An effective way of complimenting your autoresponder system is to incorporate a personal approach to your customers. 

Once you receive a notification that a shopper has abandoned the purchase, reach out, and send a personal email. Find out how you can help. 

The reason may not be any of the 6 described earlier. For example, there may have been a problem with the shopper’s credit or debit card. 

If you can find another way for the shopper to complete the purchase, he may just go back to your e-commerce site and finish the transaction.

5. Review Your Site Analytics

To get a more accurate picture of why shoppers are abandoning their purchase, review your site analytics. It will give you a data-based description of your shopper’s online behavior. 

Google Analytics has a Users Flow report that tells you the path your visitors took when exploring your website. The Users Flow report will give you information on where the bulk of your site visitors are coming from and data on the amount of traffic experienced by each page.

You will see if there are potential bottlenecks in site traffic and where volume is falling off before the visitor starts to click on items for his shopping cart. 

The information provided by your site analytics will help you and your webmaster find ways to improve the lagging pages so that the shopper will feel more encouraged to complete the purchase. 

6. Improve Site Navigation

Too many clicks spoil the experience.

If the process of completing the purchase takes longer than expected, you will find more items abandoned in the carts of shoppers. When it comes to online activity, consumers are not very patient. 

Improve user experience by implementing the following improvements:

  • Organize the products in a manner that makes it easier for the shopper to find them. 
  • Add a “Quick Preview” feature that allows the shopper to view the product in greater detail. Incorporate a “Zoom In” feature and give complete product descriptions.
  • Limit the number of clicks it takes to complete a purchase down to three: Choose Item – Add to Cart – Checkout

7. Use Better Product Images

As the old saying goes, “Customers shop with their eyes”.

A good product image can mean more than a thousand words. The shopper might base his decision to buy your product on the image that’s posted on your site. If the image is not of good quality, it will not entice the shopper to complete the purchase.

  • Use high-resolution images for your product shots. 
  • The images should show the shopper the best way to enjoy the product.
  • Take photos of the product from different angles.

Lastly, make sure the shopper gets what he sees on your website. 

8. Highlight Social Proof

Social proof includes positive product reviews, testimonials, and other forms of quantifiable evidence that prove the value of your product. 

Before making a purchase, many shoppers undertake research by browsing through product reviews and testimonials. 

For example, when you are looking for a specific product to buy at Amazon, most likely you will choose the brand that has the highest number of stars and the best reviews. 

  • Invite your customers to post product reviews.
  • Ask your loyal customers to give testimonials.
  • Highlight positive reviews that your products may have received from other sites such as Google Reviews or Yelp. 

Social proof will make the decision-making process easier for the consumer.

Conclusion

As you have read, a few simple adjustments can protect your e-commerce business from losing potential sales. 

Remember that consumers’ online behavioral patterns will always be in a constant state of change. The adjustments that you made today may have to undergo tweaking in the next few months or years. 

The bottom line is to keep your e-commerce website updated in design and function. Similar to the consumer’s tastes and preferences, your website design must remain current, relevant, and dynamic. 

If your site is experiencing cart abandonment problems, give us a call or an email and we will take a look at it right away. 

We are a one of Denver’s Top Web Design Companies that are known for our results.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

At the time of this writing, businesses are preparing to come out of a government-imposed quarantine period. As you prepare for your business to reopen, one of your key strategies should be to invest in digital marketing because the “new normal” has created new opportunities that you can capitalize on. 

Business At The Time Of The New Normal

For more than a month, the world came to a standstill in an effort to contain the spread of the fast-moving strain of coronavirus, Covid-19.  

While necessary, the extended period of inactivity took its toll on several businesses. Many had to scale back operations and retrench but a number of small businesses could not survive and had to close down for good.

Several key industries have suffered massive losses due to Covid-19. Foremost of this is the travel industry which is projected to lose 820 billion dollars in revenues in 2020. 

In the United States, many companies started to layoff employees in an effort to streamline costs as soon as Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and the government implemented community quarantine regulations.

Even as the world prepares to open for business, one thing remains clear: There is no going back to normal. Until such time that a vaccine is discovered, the risk of Covid-19 spreading throughout the population remains high. 

On average, it takes scientists 2 years to develop a vaccine. Based on this, the New Normal – defined by quarantine periods, face masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and avoiding crowds – could continue for up to the next 2 years. 

Similar to previous pandemic outbreaks such as the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 that affected St. Louis and Philadelphia, there will be intermittent periods of quarantine to contain the growth of new cases.

Thus, you should expect more work stoppages to occur. Businesses will be asked to close down during the quarantine period. 

If your business is located in a commercial establishment, expect less foot traffic as people will continue to practice social distancing or avoid places that attract large crowds. 

Why Your Small Business Needs Digital Marketing NOW

In view of the grim scenario facing businesses at the time of the new normal, why is embarking on an aggressive digital marketing strategy for your business a smart decision?

It depends on your view of chaos and uncertainty. As the saying goes, “In chaos, there is always opportunity.”

The global equities market took a sharp fall. Many investors were hit hard and absorbed massive financial losses. For others, primarily the speculators, they view the crash as an opportunity to “bargain hunt” and acquire blue-chip stocks at near-historical low prices. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a chain of events that shut down many businesses. 

It was unfortunate that these businesses had to close their operations but it’s possible they were in trouble before the pandemic started. The ensuing quarantine period merely exacerbated the situation.

By nature, the businesses that come out of the pandemic will be thinking of adopting short-term profitability strategies over long-term growth.  

For the reason that revenue-generating opportunities may be few and far between, most businesses will probably adopt cost-cutting measures. “Tighten the belt” until business is “back to normal”.

But things will not be “back to normal” – potentially not until after 2 years. 

Welcome to the New Normal. 

It’s understandable why businesses would want to streamline costs. It’s hard to pull the trigger on spending when your streams of revenues are drying up. You want to shore up capital and tighten up on spending to keep the business going.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic dampened economic growth but opportunities remain in your industry – if you are looking – and there will be less competition. 

A study shared by digital marketing expert Neil Patel showed that several industries experienced massive drops in online traffic during the quarantine period. Conversion rates also showed a significant decline.

But people have remained online – searching for information that can be provided by the purveyors on the Internet. Information that could be provided by your business through a purposeful digital marketing strategy.

By investing in an aggressive digital marketing strategy, you will be capitalizing on opportunities for you to drive more traffic to your website, enhance your reputation as a valuable resource, and increase your online presence in the industry.

How To Run A Digital Marketing Campaign At The Time Of The New Normal

Now, time for some good news.

Businesses will recover. It will take some time – but make no mistake about it – despite the havoc created by the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, businesses will see a brighter day at the time of the new normal.

In the same study, Patel shared the findings of a research conducted by Standard & Poor that revealed it takes 536 days for the equities market to recover if it suffers a loss of 20%.

536 days is more than a year but less than 2 years. That’s a good sign! We might be on the road to recovery before a Covid-19 vaccine is discovered.

Another study this time from Harvard Business Review showed that businesses overall performed 9% better after a recession but businesses that focused on cost-cutting strategies outperformed their competitors by 21%.

21% is amazing! But here is something even more impressive…

Businesses that focused their resources on progressive strategies – doubling down on spending – outperformed their competitors by  37%. 

A 16% difference in performance could translate to thousands – even millions of dollars worth of revenue. 

With your competitors experiencing less traffic to their websites, it’s an opportune time to re-align your finances and double down on your digital marketing strategy. Quarantine may have kept people out of the office but not the Internet. 

1. Reach Out to Your Customers on Social Media

It’s not a pleasant time for most people. Many lost their jobs when the quarantine was imposed and their employers quickly moved to streamline expenses. 

With their personal income compromised, these people are worried about how they can pay their bills, loans, rent, or afford their children’s schooling.

This is not the time to publish sales copy. People are not looking to spend on products and services that are not essential to their survival. 

And even if your products and services are essential, it’s better to show compassion and empathy instead of coming across as indifferent.

Reach out to your customers and followers via social media and show them you care and understand the situation:

  • Share Experiences – Write in the First Person Point-of-View and let your customers know that you are going through similar difficulties by sharing a few experiences with them. Post a short 1-minute video from your home. Give your followers an update of how your life has been since the pandemic broke out and your views of the future. Make sure your message remains positive and optimistic. 
  • Engage Your Followers – After posting your video, invite your followers to share their experiences in the comments section. If people do post comments, take the time to respond to as many followers as you can. Whether the comment is good or bad, remain positive. Do not be confrontational. Everyone is going through tough times but some people might be in worse situations than others.
Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

2. Be Generous – Give Your Customers Special Offers

When you are in a bad situation, you should always look for a silver lining. If anything good came out of the Covid-19 quarantine period, it’s that people came together to help one another.

Not being able to work and earn a living for over a month can put a serious dent on anyone’s cash flow. People are only going to spend for the bare necessities because money is very tight. Even if the quarantine is lifted, their future remains uncertain. 

This is an excellent time to show your customers you care by giving them special offers such as generous discounts on products and services. People will look for ways to maximize their funds so discount offers will definitely be welcome. 

At the same time, you don’t want people to misinterpret your act as a roundabout way of making money during a crisis. You want to capitalize on an opportunity but you don’t want to be seen as opportunistic. 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Come up with Call-To-Action (CTA) with a generous offer and place it on the home page of your website.
  • Write a short post on your social media pages as a lead-in to the special offer. Explain to your followers why you are doing this. Keep the post short – no longer than 100 words.  
  • Include the link to your home page in your social media post. 

Even if your product or service is not considered an “essential” item, the cost savings will entice the customer to take advantage of your offer. 

Best of all, they will appreciate your generosity at this time of great need. 

3. Get Found – Tighten Up on Your SEO Strategies

Just because there are fewer competitors in your industry, it doesn’t mean that you should get complacent with your SEO strategies. After all, even with the ones that are left in the industry, the business environment remains competitive.

Take the opportunity to tighten up your SEO strategies. 

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of your website on the Internet by using a variety of techniques, tools, and processes. 

Whether your industry experienced a decline in organic traffic or not, this is the time to re-focus on your SEO strategy.  Remember, people are still online. They are searching for information that is relevant to their needs at this point in time. 

Keyword research is an essential part of SEO. Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for information on the Internet. If you can uncover these high search volume keywords, then you will know what people are looking for. 

The next step is to create content that uses these keywords. The main keyword should be in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the text, and the concluding paragraph. Mixed in a few secondary or low search volume keywords. 

Make sure the content is relevant to your business or industry! 

For example, if you are in the fitness industry, a good topic for a useful blog would be “10 Fat Burning Exercises You Can Do At Home” or “How To Stay Fit During The Quarantine”. 

Try to publish 3 to 4 blog posts per week. To improve your search rankings, the ideal word count is 2,000 to 2,400 words per blog.

4. Invest in PPC Advertising

PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising is an effective way of immediately giving your website a quick boost up the search rankings. When someone clicks on your ad, he finds himself on your website’s landing page.

PPC is also a cost-effective form of advertising because you only pay the agency whenever someone clicks on your ad. 

In his study, Neil Patel shared that the cost of PPC advertising has gone down since the Covid-19 quarantine period started. Some marketers have estimated that the cost of PPC advertising has decreased by 6% across all verticals.

This is an opportunity for you to generate some good ROI on your PPC investment. The cost per click is much lower and there aren’t many competitors in the industry. 

5. Focus on Building Your Local Presence

Local area marketing is more important now because people are staying close to home. Community quarantine procedures have restricted travel to within the town or city. 

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, review your current local area marketing strategy:

  • Find out if the business information in your online search directory profile is updated.
  • Showcase the high rankings or scores that your business has received.
  • Publish positive reviews whenever possible.

You might also want to consider incorporating a delivery service to your business for greater ease and convenience for your customers. Check if the community quarantine guidelines in your area have indicated a specific time for deliveries. 

Conclusion

As difficult as the Covid-19 pandemic has become, in time, it shall also pass. Throughout our history, mankind has overcome worse afflictions such as the Bubonic Plague, influenza, measles, smallpox, the Ebola virus, and the earlier versions of the coronavirus – SARS and MERS.

Yes, we are in the new normal but believe it – business will go on as usual.

If you let your guard down, others will take advantage of the opportunities that are available in your industry. The quarantine is only a temporary cessation of activity but your drive to grow your business should never stop. 

Keep your foot on the Digital Marketing pedal. In this time of the new normal, Digital Marketing will drive your business to a better future. 

How are you dealing with the new normal? Please share your tips in the comments section. 

If you need help getting your Digital Marketing campaign off the ground – and from your home – give us a call or an email. We’ll get you started and on the right track.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

the journey to success is similar to climbing a mountain

In the world of Software as a Service (SaaS), first impressions often matter more than you would think. With so many other companies out there working on solving the same problems, you usually have a limited window to impress your visitors. This is where the importance of clever and converting landing page design in SaaS comes in.

Here are our 7 tips to help you craft a page that works:

Include explainer videos

Understanding exactly what a tool does is often the challenge potential leads face when first coming across a product – and not many of them will take the time to read your copy to learn more.

However, if you manage to include a short but to-the-point explainer video on your landing pages, your chances of getting your value across will increase.

Here is an example from Forms on Fire – they provide mobile data collection software – where a minute and a half is all it takes to get to know the product and determine whether you are interested or not.

Invest a lot of creativity in your header

You are often told how important headers are in content writing – the same is true for landing page copy, as the impact your header will have on a visitor is crucial.

You want to represent your brand, you want to get your main point across, you want to showcase your value, explain what you are really about and get people to convert: in no more than a sentence or two.

Which is where the challenge lies.

Take the example of Crazyegg, who provide an unspecified website improvement service – and have a very attractive header to show for it.

Since they offer a 30-day free trial and promise to instantly improve your website, there isn’t much a visitor could lose. So their header works like a charm.

Your calls-to-action are also key

However, you don’t need to be as creative with them as with your headers: a simple “get started”, “start your trial”, or a “sign up now” will work – but what’s important here is how you preempt the CTA.

Most international, huge, famous companies have simple CTAs – Netflix, Hulu, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. – they don’t have a catchphrase or a funny saying slapped onto their pages.

What they do have is a clear list of benefits (what it is you are getting from the service) and a straightforward way of signing up for the service.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

Make it easy to access

Which leads right to our next tip: don’t make signing up very complicated.

You may want to make credit card data compulsory, but even if you do, make it as easy as possible to fill in your form and move on to the next step.

Whether or not you are offering a free trial, or have something like the Ahrefs 7 days for $7 trial period, you still want your leads to be able to accomplish their goal (sign up), in as little time as digitally and humanly possible.

If you are seeing a lot of uncompleted sign-up forms, try making the form simpler, and eliminate some of your required fields: we understand you want to gather as much data as possible about your leads, but maybe spread data collecting out over a longer period of time.

Show the process

If you don’t feel the use of your tool requires an entire video, still try to explain how to make it work, especially if the tool in question does something essentially simple, but very useful.

TimeTackle, a software designed to pull your calendar off of the cloud, has a great four-step explanation of the process users will need to run through once they have the tool, making it very easy for users to decide whether they want to give it a go or not.

Always remember that while some of your users will be very tech-savvy, others might have more of a hard time understanding even the more basic concepts. That’s why you need to try to figure out a language that will speak to your target audience, as well as all its variations and levels of understanding.

Offer social proof where it makes sense

A lot of landing pages incorporate social proof – which is essentially a great move, but does not always make sense.

You don’t have to repeat the same testimonials on every page, nor do you have to showcase different satisfied customers on every corner.

When talking about the benefits of your product, or when showcasing use cases and success stories, social proof is more than welcome.

Here is the example of Gusto, who make payroll, insurance, and a whole host of other tasks easier– who have added in plenty of social proof, yet have not made it sound like they are bragging, or like they have solicited recommendations from their users.

The basics: webpage design

Of course, there is another important element you should never forget: webpage design.

And we are not just talking about the colors and font you choose (although it is in itself very important). You should also think about the emotions you want to elicit, the value you want to portray, and the target audience you are aiming for.

Naturally, navigation, user experience and user-friendliness, responsiveness, and a whole host of other webpage optimization tactics should also all play their part. If you have elements that don’t load properly, don’t work on certain screen sizes, or if your pages are cluttered and crowded, all the other good work you may have done won’t be worth a dime.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these tips will help you design better SaaS landing pages in the future – but remember, there is no bulletproof design formula that will work for every website. You need to keep your own target market and product in mind when designing sales pages, rather than just considering what has worked for others in the past.

In fact, a lot of these tips were once novelties that have since been proven to work by countless websites. So why not come up with the next one?

learn more about website design with orange banner