While it’s true that the pandemic necessitated many businesses to adopt a work-from-home strategy, companies have slowly been transitioning to an online model as far back as 2014. 

If you remember, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer made a groundbreaking shift to telecommuting in 2013. She started slow – transitioning only 10% of the workforce from office to home-based and generated admirable results.

After one year, Meyer pulled the plug on the telecommuting project because she felt that at a certain point, telecommuting generated diminishing returns. 

In our opinion, Meyer pulled the plug too early. There’s a learning curve in everything new. Had she stayed the course, Yahoo, which had been heavily losing financially under Meyer, might have turned around. 

The studies that we share with you in this article proves that adopting a work-from-home strategy for your strategy will produce dividends. 

1. Increase Productivity

A study by Global Workplace Analytics cites the following statistics to support the idea that a work from home strategy increases productivity:

  • Many big corporations including Dow Chemicals and British Telecom have reported that employee productivity increased between 35% to 40% after they adopted a work from home/telecommuting strategy in the workplace.
  • Likewise, more than 67% of companies that took part in the study reported that employees who transitioned to telecommuting assignments showed improved productivity.
  • Other corporations such as Compaq, American Express, and JD Express reported that employee productivity increased from 15% to 45%.

It’s easy to understand how working from home can improve business productivity. 

In the same Global Workplace Analytics study, Sun Microsystems claimed that since incorporating a work from home strategy, the company was able to improve productivity by recovering the 60% of productive time lost by employees during their commute to work. 

When your employee works from home, he won’t be stressed out by the commute. He can enjoy his first cup of coffee, a hearty breakfast, and prepare himself mentally for the challenges ahead. 

By the time he gets behind the computer – he’s revved up and ready to go! And when he gets tired, he can take short naps or a walk around the park to get rejuvenated for the next item on the agenda. 

Although distractions still abound at home, the employee doesn’t have to deal with the usual stressors in the workplace such as politics and water cooler gossip. He won’t be constantly looking at the clock to check if he has enough time to finish his work and pick up his kids at school. 

The Global Workplace Analytics study revealed that businesses lose an estimated US$600 million annually due to office distractions. 

Employees become accountable for their work schedules. As the employer, what you’ll focus on are the results. 

2. Reduce Operating Costs

Rent is one of the biggest expense items on your monthly budget. If you designate a percentage of your employees as telecommuters, you won’t need to rent as big a space. 

You can maintain a smaller workplace and with more areas dedicated to revenue-generating activities. Consequently, you lower your utility costs for electricity, Internet service fees, and water.

Communication expenses can be slashed down significantly because you can incorporate online-based tools that can make communication more efficient and affordable. 

Instead of messaging employees via their mobile phones or calling them on the office landline, you can use ZOOM, Viber, Skype, Messenger, or Slack. These services offer free subscriptions but with limited features. 

Use these tools to arrange and preside over audio-visual teleconferences. It’s as good as face-to-face meetings because you can share screens, send files, and privately message participants. 

Lastly, because more employees are working from home, you can reduce or eliminate office supplies. 

3. Lower Attrition Rates

We mentioned earlier how office politics and water cooler chatter can cause distractions that affect productivity. More specifically, these types of distractions can make the workplace feel uncomfortable and affect the morale of employees. 

Unhappy employees become disengaged. In addition to the losses in business productivity, a disengaged employee will eventually leave your company and contribute to the cost of workplace attrition. 

The cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be double the employee’s salary. In the United States, workplace attrition has cost the economy approximately US$1 Trillion a year. 

A study conducted by the American Sociological Review found that people who work from home are happier and perform better than those who work from an office. 

Another study by Global Workplace Analytics disclosed that 72% of businesses with work from home arrangements reduced attrition levels significantly. 

People who work from home are happier and more productive for the following reasons:

  • They are less stressed.
  • They have more time with their family.
  • They can set aside time for exercise and wellness activities. 
  • They have more savings because they no longer have to commute or eat outdoors.
  • They are less likely to get ill. 

If your employees are happy, so will you!

4. Expand the Reach of Your Talent Pool

Another work-from-home strategy that you can incorporate into your business is outsourcing. 

Outsourcing is the process of delegating or transferring tasks to qualified third parties. For example, instead of setting up an in-house accounting department, you outsource accounting to a company that provides back-office services. 

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

  • Lower costs because you contract the services of a company – you don’t hire employees. The cost of hiring an employee is calculated at 1.5-times his salary because benefits are factored in. When you outsource, you pay per project, per productive hour, or via monthly retention fee. 
  • Improve the quality of work because you’re delegating tasks to qualified people – these are individuals with the requisite knowledge and experience to do the job correctly. 
  • Increase productivity because now, you can focus only on the core activities of your business. 

With outsourcing, you expand the reach of your talent pool. You’re no longer limited to hiring local people. You can outsource to talent located across the globe. 

The obvious advantage of outsourcing to remote talent is that you can capitalize on the lower cost of labor. For example, outsourcing to India or the Philippines will cost you less in terms of labor. 

That doesn’t mean you get what you pay for. In most cases, you’ll get MORE than what you pay for! If outsourcing to remote locations wasn’t effective, India and the Philippines wouldn’t remain as the top outsourcing destinations in the world. 

5. Contribute to a Better and Healthier Environment

If more businesses around the world shifted to a work-from-home business model, we would have a cleaner and safer environment because there would be fewer cars on the streets, less traffic, and lower demand for public transportation.

Because expenses for office supplies would be greatly reduced, there would be less need for paper products. Electrical consumption would be greatly reduced and there would be less garbage to be collected. 

If your company is a strong advocate for sustainable solutions that protect and preserve the environment, shift to a work-from-home business model. 

Conclusion: Work From Home Could Be the New Normal

We believe that in time, the pandemic will become endemic. But that might take a while. 

As of this writing, scientists are still evaluating the effectiveness of the vaccines. Almost on a daily basis, you’ll come across developments that are promising… or underwhelming. 

This is to be expected as it usually takes decades before a vaccine is pronounced effective. It’s safe to assume that all of the vaccines are still in their experimental stages. 

That’s why if your business hasn’t adopted a work-from-home model, it’s not too late. You can still do the shift – but you should start NOW!

Let’s set aside the pandemic. For the purpose of discussion, let’s assume the pandemic never happened. Given the advantages discussed above, wouldn’t you be encouraged to incorporate a work from home arrangement into your business?

What do you have when you increase productivity and reduce costs? Improved profitability!

Do you want to experience how it is to outsource services? Outsource your web development and digital marketing activities to us! 

We have years of experience handling these tasks for our clients. Not only have we contributed to the performance of their businesses, but we also helped them reduce costs.

Give us a call and let’s get started!

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

 

The BackStory: 

Recently, I had a very interesting experience with another marketing firm and learned a lesson from them. I was trying to do the right thing by letting them know they were having an issue with the home page of their website. 

As you know if you read our articles, having issues on your website will lead to lost sales and missing out on potential customers. 

As a courtesy, I reached out via the contact form on their website and gave them a heads up that said their website home page is broken and is showing shortcodes to visitors. As a quick aside, here is an example of what a shortcode looks like: 

[shortcode that is meant for the backend of website] 

The next day I got back a reply from this agency. This was their reply: 

Do not solicit us again through our website or any other means.

Being the optimist that I am, I figured they were probably getting spammed with messages and thought I was one of them. I replied again trying to help them. Here is my reply: 

I’m not soliciting. I get those messages too from spammers. 

I was on your website and the home page was broken and showing short codes. 

(I then included a screenshot showing the error on the website)

A short while later I got the reply to my message: 

Yes, we know and our new site is in production as we speak, so don’t worry about it.  No one asked you to review our site.

Wow. Just wow. I am literally blown away at these responses. 

This is a very small marketing business based here in the United States. They claim on their website that they are here to provide customer service and take good care of their customers. 

However, in this interaction, they made it very clear they don’t care about feedback. 

I then looked at the email again and the disclaimer at the footer of EVERY email caught my attention. Here is the word for word copy of what it says: 

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the use of email is to convey ideas and thoughts in a quick, efficient manner. It is generally considered an abbreviated, expedited form of communication.  In my case, they are sometimes short, direct and to the point without the use of pleasantries and intonations.  Please do not read more into them, make assumptions, or place any specific emotional value to them other than the point trying to be conveyed.  Any in-depth conversation or dialogue needs to take place telephonically please. Thank you.

Even Further Backstory:

I am sure you are curious now: How did I wind up on their website? 

The short answer is that I had their company website bookmarked (from a year prior) because I discovered they implemented some ADA web accessibility features well on their website. I wanted to research the solution they were using for this functionality. 

I was then curious how I heard about this company as they are geographically a long way away from where we are. 

I did some digging through our internal tech and found an answer. I first heard about this company after they visited our website and downloaded our free guide on 5 Mistakes Your Website Is Making back in September 2020. 

I had briefly replied to them at that point as it looked like we were doing similar things in different parts of the country. It is always good to network and see if you can learn from others. During a few emails, we had a pleasant conversation.

As I learned more recently, this interaction was not a good representation of their company or their culture.

The Lessons Learned:

In our article, 10 Qualities of a Professional Web Designer (this applies to all marketing), we talk about the essential qualities you should look for when working with a website designer or marketing agency.

There are a few relevant ones to this discussion:

  • Empathy – This means putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and viewing things through how they will view them. 
  • Good Listener – This means acknowledging the feedback (and ideas) other people give you and working to understand their feedback (and ideas).
  • Effective Communicator –  An effective communicator knows how to relay opposing viewpoints without discouraging or embarrassing the client

As you can see, this agency doesn’t embody any of these characteristics. 

The email responses I received from them were the exact opposite of empathy, good listening, and effective communication. 

After pondering this interaction for a while, I also started thinking more about the disclaimer that appears to be included in every email from their business. I had a few thoughts:

  • It appears from this disclaimer that they make a regular habit of sending short, rude, and unfriendly emails to their clients.
  • This is apparently so frequent and has caused so many issues for them that they decided their best option was to include a “rudeness” disclaimer at the bottom of all emails

I am not sure about you, but if I was the customer of a company that regularly sent me rude emails, I would not stick around very long, even if they were good at their work. 

Unfortunately, this is similar to the stories we have heard from many of our clients that have come to us after bad experiences with other agencies.

The interaction with this agency makes me question how effective they actually are in their marketing.

Marketing is based upon having the empathy to understand your potential customers and the problems they are experiencing. It is only after understanding your customers that you can then craft marketing messages that clearly communicate how you will solve the problem(s) that they have.

It has been proven countless times that collaboration usually results in outcomes that are better, cheaper, and more efficient than if someone tried doing this on their own. However, a core element of collaboration is communication.

If you run a small business, you likely know your customers and the problems they face better than anyone else. If you hire a marketing agency, it is important that they are able to listen to your ideas and feedback as you are the one that knows your business best. A marketer needs to have the empathy to understand not only your needs but also the needs of your customers. 

If a marketing agency will not listen to your ideas or feedback, or they cannot communicate well with you, this is a clear warning sign that you may be wasting your hard-earned money on marketing that is not working. 

It may be time to find another agency that will make the effort to understand your business, the challenges you face, and most importantly your customers. 

If you are a company that is working with an agency that is rude, ignores you, or is bad at communicating, YOU DESERVE BETTER. 

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Online shopping has been on an uptrend as far back as 2014. A driving force was the increased use of mobile devices to access the Internet. It became easier and more convenient to visit an eCommerce website than the popular department store. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and the need to shop online wasn’t just easy and convenient. It was safer and more practical. According to the United Nations, global eCommerce sales increased to US$26.7 trillion because of the pandemic. 

If you have an eCommerce site, you’re definitely in the right business. And if you’re planning to open a retail store online, there’s still room for growth. However, just like a brick-and-mortar store, success isn’t a given. You have to do things right to turn your eCommerce website into a money-making machine. 

In this 2-part series, we’ll share with you 10 tips you can use to keep the checkout counter of your eCommerce website busy. The first 5 will be in this article and we’ll discuss the final 5 in part 2.

The eCommerce Boom – Can You Handle The Competition?

As vaccines continue to be rolled out, more consumers will prefer to shop at an eCommerce website. If you have an online retail business, you won’t have to worry about demand. However, you have to be concerned about increased competition. 

Presently, there are an estimated 12 to 24 million eCommerce websites on the Internet catering to the needs of approximately 2 billion shoppers. It might seem that there are enough customers for every online retailer but that’s not the case. 

A shopper might have the patience to cope with the hour-long drive to the mall or the 30-minutes waiting time at the cashier’s checkout counter but he has less patience waiting for your eCommerce site to load. 

If your website doesn’t load in 15 seconds or less, he’ll click out and just go to your competitor. 

And the challenges don’t end there!

The challenges facing an eCommerce business are no different than those of a brick-and-mortar store owner. You have to keep your customers happy, stay ahead of the competition, and remain visible. If you can’t, the checkout counter of your eCommerce website won’t be ringing. 

While demand is there, you can’t be assured of good sales if your eCommerce business isn’t creating new customers and maintaining existing ones at the same time. 

We’re here to show you how it’s done!

1. Optimize Your eCommerce Website

Setting up an eCommerce website is definitely a smart move. Now, you can sell your products 24/7 and have a wider reach for your customers – if they can find you. 

Imagine entering a huge supermarket and not knowing where to get toiletries. You’ll waste so much time going from aisle to aisle. The experience could be so unpleasant that you’d probably go back to your neighborhood grocery store.

Optimizing your eCommerce website will make it easier for your customers to find you. Going back to our example, optimizing the supermarket would be having a map of the layout so that it would be easier for you to find toiletries. 

When someone makes a search inquiry about a product you carry, optimizing your eCommerce website will make it appear on the search results page, hopefully, on the first page. 

Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your eCommerce website:

  • Mobile-Responsiveness – According to Statista, mobile devices account for 54.8% of global online traffic. If your eCommerce website doesn’t set up well on mobile screens, potential buyers will click out.
  • Utilize Keywords on High-Impact Pages – Keywords are the most-used words or phrases when people launch a search query. Having high-volume keywords embedded on your high-impact pages such as the Homepage, Products, and About Us will make your website easier for the web crawlers to find.
  • Soup-Up Your Home Page – The Homepage is where potential customers land after they click on your URL. Entice visitors to stay longer and to explore your website by presenting a beautiful and functional homepage. Make sure it’s highly navigable, well organized, and uses unique images that are optimized with ALT tags.
  • Highlight Top Products – Let your visitors know what your top products are. For example, you can tag them as “Best Seller”, “No.1 for Households”, “Buyer’s Choice”, or “2020 Award Best Consumer Product”. 
  • Conduct a Technical SEO Audit – A Technical SEO audit is performed by your web developer. A typical audit would include a check for duplicate content, broken links, a website speed test, a review of the backlinks, and a review and analysis of site metrics. 

If you want a Technical SEO Audit done on your website, give us a call. We’ve done this with our clients and we can perform an audit on your eCommerce website as well.

2. Promote Your eCommerce Website via Social Media

4.48 million people are on social media and 56.8% are active on some social network on a daily basis. On average, a person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media, and 40% use these platforms for work. 

If those statistics aren’t enough to convince you to promote your eCommerce site on social media, this one will:

71% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by social media.

Marketing your eCommerce through social media is a cost-effective and efficient way to generate more awareness about your business. Opening an account won’t cost you a cent and your posts can reach your target audience faster than traditional marketing channels.

What are the best ways to harness the power and reach of social media? 

  • Blog! Blog! Blog! 

First, you have to create content and one of the best forms of content marketing is blogging. However, blogging isn’t just about putting content on a word processor. 

Your blogs have to be unique, useful, informative, engaging, and compelling. Likewise, it must be optimized with the right keywords and structure to be found on the Internet. 

Blogging requires frequency. To produce the desired results, you have to blog 11 to 16 times per month. Once you have posted your blog on your website, share it on your social media accounts. 

  • Choose the Right Social Media Platforms 

You don’t have to put up 10 social media accounts to get results. Social media platforms are communities and as such these communities attract particular market segments and have their unique culture and set of behaviors. 

Choose social media platforms based on your business goals, type of industry, and target audience. 

For example, if your products are highly visual, social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest might work for you. 

If your goals are to generate leads, create awareness, enhance industry reputation, and improve customer engagement, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit would be the best choices.

  • Stay Active 

There are so many opinions and recommendations out there about the activity level you need to maintain on social media to achieve your goals. We’ll simplify it with only 2 rules:

Rule #1 – Post at least once a day. 

Rule #2 – Restrict your posting activity only from Monday to Friday.

The exception to Rule #1 would be Twitter and Pinterest where studies have shown posting up to 20 times per day produces better results. 

Likewise, the exception to Rule #2 is if your product or service is patronized even on the weekends such as food, personal training, and fashion apparel.

Tip: When posting or sharing content on social media, make sure your content has these 2 components:

One, the lead-in to your post must include your website URL. And two, make sure there’s a powerful Call-to-Action (CTA). 

For example, if you’re selling supplements, end your lead-in post with: 

“Go to www.supplementmania.com/shop/protein-powder and buy your whey protein stock NOW.”

3. Write Highly-Detailed Product Descriptions

We’re used to recommending to our readers that web copy needs to be kept short, concise, and of course, optimized to be effective because site visitors tend to have short attention spans. 

The case is different when you have a potential shopper who’s looking for a specific item to buy from a website. Like most shoppers, the eCommerce visitor wants to get more information about a product in order to validate his decision to purchase or not. 

Your eCommerce visitor will also use the available product information to compare your item with your competitors’. If your product doesn’t provide the same information as your competitor, you’ll lose the sale. 

When it comes to product descriptions, quality and quantity go hand-in-hand. Focus on giving the potential buyer as much detail as possible but make sure these details are relevant! Provide “stuff” and not “fluff”. 

To know for sure, look at how your competitors or the main players in the industry are writing their product descriptions. Take note of the information included in the descriptions – then do better! 

4. Diversify Your Product Mix

So you’re selling what you believe to be the world’s best disinfectant? No matter how many studies you cite to back your claims up, it’s not realistic to expect everyone to be interested. 

Similarly, people might be looking for other types of sanitizing solutions other than a disinfectant sprayer.

Going back to our example, in addition to the disinfectant, you can add the following items to diversify your product mix:

  • Copper Face Mask
  • Hand Sanitizing Lotion
  • Disinfectant Hand Wipes
  • Portable Cold Fogging Machine
  • Face Shield
  • Protective Gloves
  • Polymer-based Surface Disinfectant

It’s always a good idea to offer your potential customers choices in your eCommerce portal. Not only will you cater to a larger market but it will be easier to upsell. 

5. Engage Your Audience

The “social” aspect of social media marketing comes to play whenever you engage your audience. Interacting with your audience gives your business a sense of “humanness”.

You’re not just a company out to profit but an actual entity that’s accessible to people. Social media allows you to make a connection with your potential buyers. Engaging them helps build trust and create an impression that you care about your customers.

Here are a few ways you can engage your audience:

  • Respond to Comments and Messages

As the saying goes, “All comments are good comments”. 

Even if you receive a negative comment about your product, the silver lining is that the customer took the time to share his experience. Don’t take it personally. Change your perspective and view the criticism as an opportunity to win back a customer. 

Assure the complainant you’ve taken note of his situation and that you’ll get back to him with a course of action. Comments can be harsh but remain respectful at all times. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner. 

  • Offer Discounted Promotions 

If sales are only trickling in, offer your eCommerce visitors limited-time discounted promotions.

For example,  offer 25% off your flagship product or a buy one/take one promo on slow-moving items. Customers will view discounts as proof that you’re willing to take a hit on your profit margins just to get them to try your product. It’s a sign that you’re confident your product will deliver the desired results. 

  • Come Up with Contests 

Contests are a great way to generate more fun and engagement. Posting about a contest changes the dynamic of your business. It shows you’re not just selling products but you’re selling the experience of transacting with your company.

If you own a chain of burger restaurants, you can post a contest that invites followers to post a video of themselves eating your spiciest burger. The person who clocks in the fastest time gets a t-shirt. 

  • Make Recommendations  

Oftentimes, your eCommerce website will receive visitors who are unsure of what they are looking for. They are no different than customers who enter a coffee shop, look at the menu board, and decide on which type of coffee they’ll order. 

You can help them by making recommendations:

  • Have a chat support agent available during working hours.
  • In your product descriptions, include recommendations on “who this product is for”.
  • Categorize your products based on Buyer or User Profile. 

Make the shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. 

  • Would you be happy with the experience of visiting your website? 
  • Can you find what you’re looking for right away?
  • Do you feel confident knowing that someone is ready to assist you? 
  • Did you spend less time making decisions because there’s enough information available to make an educated purchase?

When conceptualizing your eCommerce website, always have your buyer in mind. 

Conclusion

We hope we’ve helped you find clarity on how to generate regular business with your online store. If your eCommerce site is struggling, please know that it’s not the end of your online career! 

This is just part 1. We’ll discuss 5 more tips on how to boost the sales of your eCommerce website. 

If you can’t wait for part 2, give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll have your eCommerce store rolling out and making money right away! 

And if you know someone who has an online store or is planning to put one up, please feel free to share this article with that person.

WebsiteStandOut

Fresh college graduates face the daunting task of launching their professional careers at the time of the new normal. The pandemic has affected economies around the world and the United States was not spared. 

A 6.5% growth in the second quarter of 2021 raised hopes that the U.S. is on track for a post-pandemic economic recovery. Slowly but surely, businesses will be rising from the hardships caused by intermittent lockdowns all over the world. 

But just when HR departments and recruiters were anticipating busier days ahead as thousands of job openings hit the market, businesses were hit with another problem. 

The New Reality At The Time Of The New Normal

More American workers are quitting their jobs at a time when the economy is on a cusp of a boom. The number of resignations are hitting record highs – at levels unseen the past 20 years.

Apparently, as the pandemic triggered an emergency shift toward work-from-home arrangements, many people realized they prefer to dedicate more time with family and an office job won’t cut it.

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. In this case, there are an estimated 9.3 million open doors for fresh college graduates to walk through. 

What Skills Are Recruiters Looking For In Fresh College Graduates?

Despite the demand for new talent to make up for the resignations, getting hired is never automatic for fresh college graduates. Recruiters still want to find the best candidates to fill in key positions in the company. 

You still need to qualify for the job by having the skills recruiters are looking for in fresh college graduates. 

1. Technology Savvy

Before the pandemic, we were already headed toward a technology-intensive global economy. 

Concepts such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Virtual Reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Augmented Reality (AR) were increasingly discussed and gradually implemented in many businesses. 

Digital technology will continue to evolve and introduce new innovations designed to improve efficiency and productivity as integrating remote workforces remain the norm in the age of the new normal. 

When the world went on lockdown mode, many businesses were scampering to familiarize themselves with telecommuting and teleconferencing tools such as ZOOM, WebEx, MS Teams, and Google Meet. 

Likewise, companies are investing in developing technology that’s proprietary to the business. These are software programs, hardware, and networking systems that are designed specifically to run the processes of the company. 

Recruiters will be looking for fresh college graduates who are proficient in technology. They must be comfortable managing work through the use of software programs and only a slight learning curve to deal with.

2. Leadership

Leadership used to be a skill that was identified only with those in the mid-management level position to the top officers in the company. Today, recruiters are constantly on the lookout for talent with the potential to become potential leaders within the organization. 

In business, success is never guaranteed. There are always hindrances or obstacles toward accomplishing business goals. A company wants to hire people who aren’t afraid of facing these obstacles. They view problems as challenges that need to be overcome. 

Leaders are people who aren’t averse to making mistakes or experiencing failure. They know failure is part of the journey to success. 

Employees who have the potential to become leaders in the organization are those who don’t procrastinate and continue to push forward despite the odds. 

They’ll do what is demanded of them but at the same time, they won’t hesitate to share their thoughts and ideas with top management simply because they want the organization to succeed.

3. Adaptive Mindset

In a global economy, the repercussions of an event aren’t isolated to one part of the world. It will have cascading effects across regions. For example, world-changing events such as 9/11, the 2003 Crash of the Equities Markets, the Eurozone Crisis of 2009, and the pandemic have affected the economy of every nation. 

For this reason, a rigid and inflexible mindset will not thrive in a global economy. Recruiters want to hire people who have an adaptive mindset. They recognize that the world has turned VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous – and understand that circumstances can change without warning.

Having an adaptive mindset helps them foresee and anticipate these changes so they can prepare alternative courses of action in the event current strategies fall short in delivering results. 

Recruiters prefer to hire people who are open-minded and willing to accept new ideas, concepts, and processes. This is an important component for ensuring a productive and progressive organizational culture. 

4. Cultural Awareness and Diversity

Talent is never a monopoly of a region. You can find talent across time zones. The most successful companies have long recognized this. As an example, businesses continue to outsource work to other countries not just to cut costs but to capitalize on talent as well. 

Inevitably, whether you work in a brick-and-mortar office or from a remote location, you will find yourself working with people from different ethnicities. The challenge businesses frequently grapple with is navigating incidents that encroach on cultural inappropriateness. 

Oftentimes, the situation is unintended. It’s normal for people to be simply unaware of cultural differences. 

Try to educate yourself on the cultural practices and traditions of other nationalities. If you’re not sure, it’s always a good idea to take the conservative or less risky approach or to simply ask. 

For example, many Asian countries observe religious holidays and don’t work. However, there are different religious denominations and therefore, the practices will vary. 

So if you find yourself collaborating with people from another nationality who don’t show up for work on a particular date, don’t assume they’re lazy or sick. They could just be practicing their faith. 

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5. Fast But Firm Decision-making

In business, time is money. Every second that passes by where a decision isn’t made increases the cost of opportunity. 

While you’re vacillating on whether to take action or not, another party – your competitor has – and your opportunity to generate sales, get hired, or land an account has just come and gone. 

Recruiters want to hire people who have the ability to make quick decisions but are firm about them. They can do this because they have the fourth sought-after skill on this list – adaptive mindset. 

Quick decision-makers are able to balance the value of time and the probability of risk. They are willing to execute and implement decisions because they’ve already come up with alternative courses of action in case the desired outcome of the decision isn’t achieved. 

If you’re averse to risk, you’ll end up doing a lot of fence-sitting. And in business, if you’re not going forward and just staying still – you’re moving backward.

Speaking of collaboration…

6. Collaborative/Interpersonal 

One of the main reasons why companies have shifted their focus on building teams based on cultural fit is to create effective collaboration among individuals. 

You can have a team composed of the most talented people in terms of experience, academic achievements, industry awards, and levels of expertise, but if they don’t get along, the team won’t produce the expected results. 

Imagine a rowing team where the athletes don’t row at the same cadence or have some participants putting in more effort than others. That boat will be going around in circles instead of a straight line. 

The key component to establishing strong collaboration is having excellent interpersonal skills. When recruiters look for someone with excellent interpersonal skills, he’s not just assessing the ability to communicate. 

The recruiter is also looking for the ability of the person to willingly engage another person on the team; to reach out and establish rapport. He’s open to the idea of interacting with others. 

How will the recruiter test if this skill is present or not with the job candidate?

You might find yourself grouped with the other applicants or with a team of veterans. An HR Officer will ask the group to perform a task. From there, you will be in a fishbowl. 

The HR Officer and perhaps an embedded veteran will monitor and evaluate how you interacted or collaborated with others in the group.

7. Business Acumen

Business Acumen is a skill that’s widely overlooked by many fresh college graduates. The university teaches you the fundamentals of business; theories, principles, and concepts that are used by companies to develop strategies to achieve business goals. 

But learning theory is different from understanding how these concepts are applied in the real world. 

Put simply, Business Acumen is understanding how business works. 

  • What are the current trends in the industry?
  • What are the pressing issues and concerns faced by businesses today?
  • Are there laws that inhibit how businesses perform?
  • How are the equities markets performing?
  • What are the current economic indicators?
  • Are there political issues that could affect the growth of the economy? 

An inquisitive mind is a prerequisite to developing Business Acumen. When you find the answers to these questions, you begin to formulate scenarios as to how a company – the one you’re applying for – creates strategies that protect its interests. 

The recruiter might ask you questions about prevailing issues in the industry and how these impact the company. The idea is to assess your potential and gauge your level of interest in nurturing a career in the industry. 

8. Time Management

A study has shown that in an 8-hour workday, the average office worker is productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes. 

That’s a productivity rating of only 36%!

What non-work activities are office workers distracted with?

  • Scouring the internet for news.
  • Visiting their personal social media accounts.
  • Water cooler chatter with office workers.
  • Looking for new work opportunities.
  • Smoking!

These distractions are present even if you work from home. You might think “I only spend 5 minutes on Facebook.” Let’s assume you’re being truthful about the time you spend on Facebook, but you’ve been paid for those 5 minutes. 

Secondly, the time spent on other distractions will all add up to your total unproductive hours per day. 

Can you imagine if you were productive by another 50% or by 2 more hours? Now, if everyone in the office improved their productivity by 50% – the company would be more successful and profitable. 

Effective time management is a skill that helps the company become more efficient and productive. 

9. Creative Problem Solving

Employees might be faced with a problem that leaves them stumped. The seconds become minutes that add up to hours of unproductive work. Worse, if the problem isn’t resolved, it could have a cascading effect across the company. 

Sometimes the answer isn’t found in your college textbook or the training manual. You’ll have to flex your creative muscles and conceptualize the best possible solutions. 

Recruiters love candidates who exhibit the ability to “think outside the box”. Creative problem-solving means finding answers when it seems that you’ve arrived at a dead-end. You’re able to pick out features from different theories and personal experiences and develop creative solutions. 

Another word for creative problem solving is resourcefulness. These are the types of people who won’t throw in the towel because they believe every problem has a solution – you just have to know where to look. 

 10. Self-Management

Gone are the days where supervisors micromanage their employees. Micromanaging is not only a time-waster but it also hinders the progress of the employee. 

Recruiters prioritize candidates who can work on their own and be entrusted to manage their tasks without the need for much supervision. These are the types of personnel who embrace responsibility and understand the importance of completing their assigned duties. 

Fresh college graduates might be micromanaged by their supervisors for the first few weeks. But once the supervisor is convinced that the newbie is consistently delivering results and maintaining the quality of work, they will gladly remove the training wheels. 

Hiring people who can self-manage allows the company to optimize its available man-hours and accomplish more goals every day. 

Conclusion

As you’ve read from our list, recruiters aren’t only looking for candidates with the requisite technical skills. They are also looking for candidates who are made of the “right stuff”-  the personality/behavioral attributes that make you who you are. 

Technical skills are referred to as Hard Skills. The personality attributes are called Soft Skills. 

In our list, only Technology Savvy, Interpersonal (Effective Communication), and Business Acumen are hard skills. The rest are widely considered by recruiters as soft skills. 

Of course, the nature of your job will require you to possess the necessary hard skills to manage the duties and responsibilities that are specific to your profession. 

However, recruiters over the last few years have shifted their focus toward identifying people who aren’t just talented but have the right attributes to fit into their organizational culture.

It’s no longer just about what you know but who you are. 

We hope you enjoyed this article as we have been writing it. Feel free to share it with your community.

For your web design and digital marketing needs, give us a call or drop us an email. We can create a website for your business that will help you navigate the challenges of the new normal. 

SEO for Your Business

Welcome to part 2 of our article on the top social media platforms for your business in 2021! If you haven’t read part 1, we suggest you do so you can have a better understanding on why your business should be on social media this year and beyond. 

In this article, we will discuss four more social media platforms that you should consider for your business. Yes, there are other networks circulating on the Internet that we didn’t include. 

It’s not because those networks are not effective. They probably are, otherwise those platforms would have followed MySpace, Friendster, and GooglePlus to the social media graveyard. 

However, the social media platforms discussed here and in part 1 have continued to grow over the last few years because marketers have been able to generate the desired results. 

Let’s start out with the preferred social media network of Human Resource managers, headhunters, senior-level influencers, and fresh college graduates.

1. LinkedIn

The best way to describe LinkedIn is that it’s the social media platform for professionals. People sign up at LinkedIn to network for business contacts, create strategic partnerships, find clients, promote their brand, and share their knowledge with those in their industries. 

Fresh graduates use LinkedIn to look for job opportunities, connect with HR people, and build their professional online presence. 

The following numbers further validate the reputation of LinkedIn as the social network for professionals:

  • The number of job applications per second: 55.
  • The increase in the number of remote jobs posted on LinkedIn during the pandemic: 2.5x
  • The number of people who use LinkedIn every month to look for jobs: 40 million.
  • The percentage increase in conversions among LinkedIn connections: 55%.
  • The number of senior-level influencers on LinkedIn: 61 million or 25% of the community.

Despite the professional nature of its platform, LinkedIn maintains its “social” aspect by allowing community members to engage with one another in their respective news feed, focus/interest groups, and through InMail. 

How to use LinkedIn for business:

  • Create a professional business profile – Use a high-resolution image of your business logo and a picture that best represents your brand. When writing a description about your business, make sure the content is positioned to address the needs of your potential customer or client. Yes, it’s about you but more importantly, how can you help your client or customer address their issues or concerns?
  • Share your LinkedIn Business Page – Invite your employees, associates, customers, and clients to like your page. Promote the Business Page in other social networks and ask your community to follow you. 
  • Add videos or images to your posts – Similar to other social media networks, posts in LinkedIn get higher engagement when they’re embedded with images or videos. 

2. Pinterest

Pinterest started in 2010 with only 10,000 members. Today, the social media platform has 442 million monthly active users. 

The number of active users might not be as impressive as Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram but Pinterest with a return of US$4.3 for every US$1 spent on ads is one of the most profitable platforms for online advertising. 

However, based on the numbers below, Pinterest might cater to specific market demographics:

  • The largest percentage of community members are women: 70%
  • The largest percentage of new users are men: 40%
  • The percentage of community members who follow businesses on Pinterest: 33%.
  • The percentage of users who find new products on Pinterest: 77%.
  • The percentage of unbranded searches on Pinterest: 95%.

How to use Pinterest for business:

  • Develop a Pinterest marketing strategy – You’ve seen the numbers and have an idea of the community’s demographics. Evaluate your business and see how you can best use the platform to promote your products and services. A good way to start is to see what your competitors are doing on Pinterest. What types of content are they sharing? How is the level of engagement? How often are they posting?
  • Create high-resolution images that are of excellent quality – Similar to Instagram, video-based content works best on Pinterest. It’s important to note that 82% of users view Pinterest from a mobile device. Make sure your images stack up well on a mobile screen.
  • Maintain Consistency – The key to getting the most out of your Pinterest marketing efforts is activity. Be consistent when pinning your content. We recommend pinning no less than 11 times per day but no more than 30 times per day. 

3. Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the newer platforms on the social media scene. The network only started in 2011 but has amassed 315 million monthly active users. 238 million Snapchat users are active every day. 

Is Snapchat for you? Look at the numbers below and see if you can benefit from using this platform for your business.

  • Percentage demographic breakdown in Snapchat: Women – 60%; Men – 40%.
  • Percentage of users aged 34 and younger: 82%.
  • Percentage of users who make purchases after seeing an ad or a post in Snapchat: 60%.
  • The number of snaps taken per day: 4 billion.
  • Number of times users open the app every day: 30.

How to use Snapchat for business:

  • Cross-promote with your other social media platforms – If you’ve built an audience with your other social media platforms, use them to inform your followers that your business is now on Snapchat. 
  • Reach inside and find the quirky you – Again, Snapchat appeals to a young demographic. People aged 34 or younger prefer fun content that might border on being “over-the-top”. To get an idea, check out the Snapchat accounts of your competitors. 
  • Include a Snapcode – A Snapcode works like a QR Code. People can scan it with their smartphone so they can find your content right away. You can also use Snapcode to connect with other Snapchat businesses. 

Lastly, add the Snapcode to your website, emails, newsletters, and social media materials. 

4. TikTok

TikTok is in the bottom position in our list not because we think it’s the least useful platform for your business. Actually, it’s not. TikTok is at the bottom of our list simply because it’s the newest, having been founded in 2016. There’s a good chance not many of you are familiar with Tiktok. 

In reality, TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform. A 2020 survey by Nikkei Asia revealed that TikTok beat Facebook as the most downloaded social media app in the world. 

If you’re still on the fence about TikTok, here are some numbers that might get you moving:

  • The number of times TikTok has been downloaded: 2 Billion.
  • The number of monthly active users: 689 million.
  • Position of Tiktok in the list of best social media apps to trigger consumer spending: 2.
  • The average time spent per day by a user: 52 minutes.
  • The percentage of users between the age of 18 – 24: 41%.

How to use Tiktok for business:

  • Challenge your creativity – This is a social media network that caters to a young audience. When creating content, you must find ways to appeal to their senses. A good example would be to include pets in your videos. Cat videos have been a smash on YouTube and you can expect the same level of success by adding your feline family member in some of your Tiktok ads. 
  • Collaborate with Tiktok influencers – Collaborating with influencers is the fastest way to have your brand noticed in the community – and Tiktok has a lot of influencers. Reach out to relevant influencers and negotiate an arrangement that will entice them to do a “collab” with you. Of course, this will entail an expense,  but if you choose the right influencer, the cost will be worth it.
  • Make Your Content Fun – Boring content won’t sell in Tiktok. Check out the content posted by your competitors. Even the worse ones are at the very least trying to be fun and entertaining. 

Loosen up your tie, kick up your feet, get in a good mood, take in some inspiration – then, come up with content that would elicit laughs and interest.

Conclusion

The social media platforms we discuss here and in part 1 have been proven effective and consistent in delivering the desired results for the past several years. 

Bear in mind that success is not guaranteed by the social media platform. 

Success will invariably depend on how you plan, strategize, monitor, revise, and implement your social media campaign.

Also, just because the engagement level in your personal social media page is impressive, doesn’t mean you can generate the same result in your business social media page. 

Your business page will reach out to a wide, diverse audience the majority of whom don’t know you. They will react to your content in a manner that’s unique to them. 

To find out if your strategies are working, you have to constantly keep track of the analytics and come up with the necessary adjustments to stay on course. 

For the most part, you might have some difficulty steering the ship across the social media ocean. But with consistency and by keeping an open mind, you will eventually experience smooth sailing. 

A better option would be to hire Mountaintop Web Design to develop, implement, and manage your social media campaigns. We’re confident that our experience, resources, and talent will be more than enough to help your business grow its social media presence. 

Give us a call or drop us an email if you’re interested. Let’s get you started in the exciting world of social media marketing.

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

Once you have a website set up for your business, it doesn’t mean you get to sit back and relax. Now, it’s time to get to work! 

Aside from putting in the hours marketing your website through various digital marketing channels, you have to constantly look for ways to improve its performance. 

In business, functionality goes hand-in-hand with aesthetics to entice customers to engage with you. Customers want to be happy with their choices. And if they decide to click on your URL, they expect to have a wonderful experience navigating your website. 

If business has dried up and performance hasn’t been up to what it once was, don’t throw in the towel. Conduct an audit of your business. You might be surprised to find out that all you need is to redesign your website. 

Let’s get you started with your business audit by sharing with you 8 signs that show you should change your web design:

1. Website Is Not Generating Enough Traffic

Your website has been online for years but there hasn’t been a significant increase in traffic. Worse, any uptick in numbers isn’t sustainable to show a clear trend that the Internet is bullish about your website. 

There are a multitude of reasons why your website is not drawing enough visitors:

  • The website isn’t optimized for search.
  • Website content isn’t compelling, engaging, or relevant to readers. 
  • The website has broken links.
  • The website uses stock images.
  • The website has lost its backlinks.

Whatever the reasons are for not generating enough website traffic, you have to address them right away. 

Website traffic creates opportunities and opportunities abound every day on the Internet. If your website isn’t driving inbound traffic, you could be losing a lot of money in terms of opportunity cost.

2. Web Design Is Not Delivering Results

If your website isn’t generating leads or converting interest into sales, then it might be time to consider a website redesign. 

Think of your non-performing website as a store inside a mall (the Internet) that everyone ignores. Mall-goers see your store but aren’t enticed in going inside. Or if they do enter, they leave right away because:

  • They can’t find what they’re looking for.
  • Your offerings aren’t interesting.
  • They’re lost or confused and there’s no one to help them. 

A review of your current website design might reveal the following:

  • The Brand Value Proposition (BVP) doesn’t resonate with the visitor.
  • Your Calls-to-Actions are hard to find. 
  • There’s no chat plug-in to provide assistance.

These are just a few factors that could increase your site’s bounce rate. A visitor will click on your URL and click out just as fast. 

Keep in mind that website visitors have little patience. If they don’t see anything they like on your website, they’ll leave. 

A redesign can help change the perception of your website and make it resonate more with your audience. 

3. Not Mobile Responsive

Google first made its threat to penalize non-mobile responsive websites in the search rankings in 2014. And by all accounts, the search engine giant has made good on its threat. 

We’re already in the third decade of the new millennium. If your website still isn’t mobile-responsive, you better get in with the program and have it redesigned to be friendly to mobile devices. 

Just ask yourself. What would you think about a website you clicked on from your mobile phone that doesn’t set up properly on your screen or that you’d have to zoom in to read its contents? 

Precisely – you would probably click out and visit the website’s competitor. 

That’s what your website visitor would do. 

4. Web Design Is Not User-Friendly

We mentioned this briefly in #2. If a visitor feels lost and confused in your website and can’t get any support, he’ll just click out. 

Trust us when we say, visitors will always be on the lookout for the menu bar. Whether it’s a drop-down menu or a three-bar icon, they want to make sure they know where it is so they can navigate freely on your website. 

Likewise, your buttons might not be working properly. 

They can’t share your content and they can’t sign up for a monthly newsletter or for a free e-book. 

If you have an e-commerce site, maybe the “Cash on Delivery” option isn’t available or the visitor can’t input data in some of the site’s fields. 

These are all examples of situations that make a website not user-friendly. Unless you have these issues fixed, your website will not ring the cash register. 

WebsiteSecurity.Protection.Monitoring

5. You Have a Slow Loading Website

A popular saying in sports is “Speed kills” meaning a faster athlete is better than a slower athlete. 

We can tweak the saying to suit website design as “Lack of speed kills” without straying far off from its meaning. If your website doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less, 53% of your visitors will leave your page and go to your competitor. 

There are a number of factors that could be affecting your page loading speed such as:

  • The image files might be too big.
  • Some of the marketing tools you included in your website might have added their own code.
  • You may have embedded a video on your website. 
  • Your website has too many plugins and widgets – some of which are largely unused or outdated.

Having a fast-loading website is essential to achieving your business goals. Today’s mobile-dependent consumer isn’t that patient. The sooner he can access your website, the better for your business.

6. Website’s Design Is Outdated

Brands often undertake renovations or a redesign in order to give customers something new and fresh to look forward to. The products and services remain the same but having a new look can greatly enhance the overall customer experience. 

Your website is the same way. It represents your brand. Customers might have nothing bad to say about your products and services but they could just be bored with seeing the same things when they visit your website. 

Meanwhile, your competitors have upgraded their design. Not only is their website more current in terms of aesthetics but it’s more functional and navigable. 

There’s no arguing that films such as “Jaws”, “Gone With The Wind”, and “Citizen Kane” are considered classics because they have stood the test of time, the same cannot be said for website design. 

Outdated design isn’t classic. It’s simply outlived its use and fallen behind the times.

7. Website Isn’t Generating Engagement

A website that isn’t generating engagement is like the wallflower at a party. No one finds you interesting enough to engage with. 

Engagement is activity and activity makes your website dynamic. In contrast, a passive website is static. There’s no movement or activity. Similar to the wallflower in our previous example, your website needs a makeover.

Maybe your website uses stock images that your audience has seen in other websites. Stock images are beautiful but show a lack of creativity and effort. Likewise, they’re not unique which is important for Google to give your website a boost. 

Is your homepage inundated with text? Not many site visitors are impressed with a text-heavy homepage. A better option would be to have an explainer video that promotes your value proposition in under 1 minute. 

Perhaps your Calls-to-Actions are vague. A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a command that you want your visitors to follow. As a command, it has to be definitive and direct to the point. 

For example, if you want your visitor to buy, “Buy Now” is a better CTA than “Click to Find Out”.

8. Current Web Design Can’t Measure Performance

We’ve had businesses come to us for a redesign because their current website doesn’t provide them with enough data to track and measure performance. 

Many websites have built-in analytics but in most cases, they don’t give out key information such as breakdown of demographics, location of site visitors, type of devices used to access your website, and the number of unique visitors per day.

You’ll need as much data as possible to figure out the best ways to improve your website’s performance. Data allows you to streamline and customize your digital marketing campaigns according to the demands of your audience. 

Conclusion

So, does your website need a redesign? 

You don’t need to have all 8 symptoms to confirm that you should change your web design. All you have to do is to look at your numbers. 

If the business isn’t doing well, if you’re falling short of your targets, and the marketing campaign isn’t delivering the intended results,  AND you have at least ONE of these signs… have your website redesigned.

Give us a call and we’ll put your website back on the Internet and climbing up the search rankings!

And if you enjoyed this article and know someone who might need a web redesign, feel free to share it with that person.

SEO for Your Business

Our readers who were around when newsstands and bookstores were commonplace know what it was like looking for the best publication among a sea of titles. 

Books and magazines would fight for your attention by coming up with compelling and thought-provoking tags or catchphrases. Chances are you’ll choose the one that resonates with you the most. 

In this age of the Internet, title tags serve the same purpose. But first, your content has to be found by the search bots. Optimizing your title tags will help your content get noticed by the bots and indexed as relevant for Internet searches. 

What Is A Title Tag And Why Is It Important?

A title tag is an element of HTML that establishes the title of your web page. Title tags appear on the search results page as the headline that users click on after running a search inquiry. 

Title tags are important for the following reasons:

  • Help search engines understand what your webpage is about.
  • Create an immediate impression on the user about your webpage. 
  • Encourage the user to click on your URL.
  • Enhance the manner in which your URL is displayed when shared in social media and the web browser.

Optimizing your title tags is important because users want to find answers to their search queries as fast as possible. 

9 Best Practices To Optimize Your Title Tags 

If your title tags aren’t properly optimized to be found right away, the user won’t click on your URL even if it ranks high on the SERP. 

Here are 9 best practices that will help you optimize your title tags to get the desired results. 

1. Use the Right Title Tag Format

Consider using the following formats:

  • Primary Keyword|Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword & Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword- Click-through Optimization Phrase|Brand Name

These formats allow you to present short and descriptive title tags that match the average length of search queries. Use hyphens (-), colons (:), or straight pipes (|) to separate phrases and words.  

You can also use characters like ampersand (&), comma (,), period (.), plus sign (+), exclamation point (!), and question mark (?).  Using separators, characters, and punctuation will improve the readability of your title tags.

2. Be Mindful of the Length of your Title Tags

Search engines cut off long title tags by inserting ellipsis (…). Your Titles will lose their impact if they get cut midway.  To avoid title tag truncation, limit the length to 50-60 characters. 

Google also takes into consideration the pixel width of your title tags. The maximum width allowed is 600 pixels. Take note that some characters occupy more space such as wide letters and all Caps.

If your title tag is too short, search engines such as Google will use one of your headings instead.  Your title tag should have at least 30 characters or 285 pixels.

Make sure to use online pixel width checking tools to test your title tag length. Remember, keep your title tags brief, descriptive, and in sync with your page content.

3. Place The Most Important Keywords at the Beginning of Your Title Tags

Users tend to scan only the first three words of title tags so your primary keywords should be placed in their first line of sight. 

This will generate better traffic and increase click-through rates (CTR) because your title tag will immediately gain users’ interest.

Also, the right placement of the most important keywords will prevent them from getting cut off in SERPs when your title tag exceeds the length limit.  

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4. Come Up With Unique Titles for Each Page 

Create a unique title tag for every page on your site. Your titles should give readers a clear idea of what the page content is all about. It can be a taxing process but it leaves a positive impact on search engines.

Unique title tags for each page help search engines identify your content as fresh and valuable. Duplicating title tags will only confuse users and search engines.

Do not use auto-generated or generic title tags because search engines will assume that you have duplicate content on your website.  It will also decrease the number of clicks because this kind of title tag does not elicit interest.  

Avoid repeating targeted keywords across multiple pages on your site because your pages will go up against each other for rankings. As a result, the CTR and conversion rates of the pages with similar or the same targeted keywords will drop.

5. Go Easy on The Keywords

One of the most common SEO missteps is keyword stuffing – placing multiple keywords and variations of keywords in the title tag.  People often think that this practice will result in higher search engine rankings.

However, search engines can quickly identify different versions of keywords so it is pointless to stuff them all in your title tag. If your title tags are too crammed, search engines will cut them off or rewrite them.

6. Feature Your Brand in Your Title Tags

Including your brand in your title tag can do wonders to your CTR especially if it is already well-known. Users will click if they see a familiar brand attached to the title tag.  

Whenever you can, fit your brand in your title tag whether it’s popular or not.  Featuring your brand in your title tags is a good opportunity to establish brand recognition.  

Besides, Google recommends the inclusion of the brand name in your website’s home page title.   

We suggest that you add your brand to the end of your title tag. Remember to keep your title within the 60 characters length limit so that your brand name will not get cut off.

7. Use Action Verbs

Using action verbs is an effective method of prompting searchers to take a desired action. If you go over the SERPs, the title tags that entice clicks are the ones with action verbs.

Choose action verbs that are relevant to your page content.  For example, use “Learn” if your content aims to inform or instruct.  Use “Buy” if a new product or service awaits users.

Here are some good examples of call-to-action words you can use in your titles:

  • Access
  • Buy
  • Download
  • Discover
  • Get
  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Read
  • Search
  • Take

Keep in mind that users will be turned off if they do not find what they expect to see on your page.  

For example, if you write “free download” in your title tag, make sure that the users will be able to get it when they read your page.  If they do not see what they clicked for, they will immediately leave your site.  

8. Keep Your Target Customers in Mind 

Write for your target consumers. Think of keywords and action verbs that will draw them in. Do not discount the importance of a well-written title tag. 

If you just jumbled words without thinking of how the searchers will react to it, your click-through rate will suffer.

Use your title tag to stir interest and to send a clear description of your content.  Take time to research keywords that can woo users to go to your site.

Keep in mind that the SERP is a very competitive platform. For your site to rank well you need to align your SEO strategies with the searcher’s intent. Give them click-worthy title tags, valuable page content, and a good user experience.  

9. Use Numbers

Title tags with numbers get higher click rates because they stand out more.  Numbers naturally trigger our brains to understand better because they are precise and quantifiable.  

Users are impatient and they want fast search results. When they see numbers they get the impression that they will find what they are looking for.

Marketers claim that title tags with odd numbers get clicked on more than even-numbered titles.  While this is just a claim, marketers have the experience to see the options that work best. Test the theory by using odd numbers on your title tags. 

Conclusion

With close to 2 billion websites on the Internet, you need every advantage to get found by your target audience. Your SEO strategy must be on point and tick off all the boxes. 

Title tags play an important role in getting your content noticed right away. Internet users are not patient and you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention. 

Follow the 9 best practices to optimize your title tags and you could be on your way to a higher search ranking.

Better still, give us a call or send an email and we’ll do it for you. We’re more than just professional web designers. Optimization is a service we’ve successfully provided to our clients for the past few years. 

Let’s schedule a quick call and get you started!

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

SEO for Your Business

There is always a very good dynamic between good looking and functional websites. It is important that both are always considered when designing a website, especially if you want to have a successful website. A great looking and functional site can pull in more visitors and make them come back for more. Mountaintop Web Design helps businesses and companies to find the right balance for their site.

Since 2013, our team has always been on top of the latest trends when it comes to web design. We continue to deliver the best services in the market and strive to impact more businesses out there. Today, our team is very excited to share amazing news with all of you! 

Clutch’s 2021 research shows that our team is among the best and brightest web design companies in Colorado. Yes, our Mountaintop Web Design team has been named as a leading company in our industry and in our very own state.

This is such a great pleasure to be associated with Clutch and their amazing platform. In case you didn’t know, Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform based in Washington, DC. They evaluate technology service and solutions companies based on the quality of work, thought leadership, and client reviews.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Clutch and their team for making this award happen. Again, we are truly grateful for this recognition and we are happy to be able to win a Clutch award this year.

Of course we wouldn’t forget about our clients — thank you so much for your support! We honestly couldn’t have done it without you. Your support has continued to buoy us to where we are today, and to that, we are truly grateful.

For more information about us and the services we offer, please visit our website or call us! Our team would love to hear from you.

E-commerce businesses are expected to continue on their uptrend over the next few years. The global pandemic triggered a massive shift in consumer behavior that resulted in a 27% increase in e-commerce sales from 2019 to 2020. According to a study by Statista, global e-commerce sales will hit US$6.4 trillion in 2024.

Of course, lucrative industries will attract opportunists who have malicious intent. Cybersecurity Ventures has run a study on cyber-criminal activity and estimates that losses due to cyber attacks will hit US$10.5 trillion in 2025. 

One type of attack that will become prevalent over the next few years is carding. 

What Is Carding?

Carding is a type of cyber-attack whereby the criminal launches multiple attempts to approve several stolen credit cards. The criminal does this by identifying a number of e-commerce sites and making small purchases to test the validity of the stolen credit card numbers.

How Can Carding Damage My E-Commerce Business?

A credit card holder who sees questionable purchases on his credit card statement will not waste time. He will immediately address the matter by contacting the credit card company and challenge the authenticity of the purchase. 

The questionable purchase is called a chargeback and can be damaging to the merchant. If the dispute is successful, the merchant will be forced to reverse the charges and issue refunds to the customer.

Chargebacks are not only financially damaging to your e-commerce business. They can tarnish the reputation of your website with customers, and credit card processing companies.

How Do You Know You’ve Been A Victim Of A Carding Attack?

A cyber-criminal sets out a carding attack by unleashing a bot that has been programmed to perform several small purchases on various e-commerce websites. 

The stolen credit card numbers that yield positive results will be summarized in a list that will be used either to make more purchases or to be sold to a larger cyber-criminal organization.

How do you know that your e-commerce site has been targeted for carding attacks?

Here are signs to watch out for:

  • A larger than usual number of cart abandonment incidents.
  • An abnormally high number of failed credit card transactions.
  • A significantly high number of attempts at the checkout counter.
  • A high volume of failed attempts originating from the same IP address.
  • An alarmingly high number of chargebacks.
  • Shopping cart sizes are unusually small.

When you see any one of these signs on your website, don’t ignore them. Act right away.

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

How To Protect Your WooCommerce Platform Against Carding Attacks

WooCommerce is one of the most popular open-source e-commerce plugins for websites. In 2020, it was estimated that more than 3.9 million websites use WooCommerce.

If you’re using WooCommerce, you could be one of the many e-commerce websites that’s being targeted for carding attacks. 

We created a shortlist of techniques and processes that you can implement to protect your WooCommerce platform against carding attacks by cyber-criminals.

1. Multi-factor Authentication

Since cyber-criminals need multiple attempts to validate the stolen credit card numbers, multi-factor authentication will make the bots or the user exert more effort and potentially reduce the number of verified credit cards on the list.

With Multi-factor authentication, the user goes through multiple tests to prove his credentials in order to access the website. The credentials used by MFA are usually a combination of what he knows such as a password, a security test, and/or a biometric verification test. 

2. Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting is a process that seeks to identify who or what is trying to log in to the website by tracking down the browser of the user and linking it to the device that’s being used to make the connection.

When launching a carding attack, a bot will go through several attempts. By doing so, he will not be able to switch devices every time. The cyber-criminal will have to go through the process of clearing the cache of the device, switching to incognito mode, and changing browsers. 

3. User Challenges

If you use PayPal, you’ve probably had to deal with a user challenge designed to check if you’re human or a bot.

This user challenge is a type of Captcha program that seeks to verify you’re human by asking you to check on a box. 

Simple enough, but then the program shifts to another type of Captcha. One that asks you to identify a specific object – such as a bike or stairs – from a series of images. 

In some cases, the images are misleading. You will be forced to stop, analyze, and rely on intuition to choose the right answers. 

Certainly, this process can throw off a carding attack bot. 

4. API Security Technology

Popular e-commerce sites and payment platforms include credit card facilities in their API to improve user experience by making payments faster and more convenient. 

But these credit card facilities are frequent targets of carding attack bots. For this reason, these websites have integrated API security technology that’s specially designed to protect against carding attacks. 

Stripe is a good example of an API security program that can protect your e-commerce website from being infiltrated by carding bots. 

Stripe is a payment gateway that’s used to process credit card payments. To thwart carding attacks, Stripe uses a combination of automatic and manual processes that will diffuse the effectiveness of these bots. 

Examples of these anti-carding processes are:

  • Machine Learning
  • Rate Limiters
  • Alerts 
  • System Reviews

Likewise, Stripe wants to make it easy for their customers to access customer service by providing 24/7 support via email, inbound phone calling systems, and chat.

The best thing about Stripe is that you can integrate it with WooCommerce without incurring expenses. 

5. Bot Pattern Analysis

We mentioned Machine Learning in the previous section as one of the safeguards used by Stripe to detect carding activity.

Machine Learning analyzes carding bot behavior and attack patterns so it can determine the type of bot program and arrive at the most effective course of action to extinguish all verification attempts on the website.

Machine Learning programs review a large number of data to pinpoint the originating URL, the patterns of mouse, keypad, and swiping behavior of the carding attack bot as well as analyze site metrics in real-time. 

Conclusion

Setting up an e-commerce site for your business is a great way to capitalize on the shift in the purchasing behavior of consumers. More people are going online to find products and services that meet their needs.

And unfortunately, you’re not the only one who recognized this. Cyber-criminals are going to find ways to exploit opportunities and launching carding attacks are just one of the many schemes they will bank on to tear down what you’re building up. 

Installing SSL Certificates is a step in the right direction but it might not discourage criminals from undertaking carding attacks. 

We recommend adding other layers of security such as those discussed in this article to protect your e-commerce website from the threat of carding attack bots and stop them in their tracks.

We hope you found our article helpful and that it gave you valuable insights on the importance of fortifying site security. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or drop us an email. 

Let’s schedule a meeting so we can discuss how we can transform your website into an impenetrable fortress against cyber attacks.

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends who are planning to set up an e-commerce site for their businesses.

WebsiteStandOut

Are you managing an e-commerce business and struggling with cart abandonment? 

Do you frequently receive messages, emails, or comments that your response time is so slow?

Is your e-commerce business having a hard time converting interest to revenues? 

Are you having problems encouraging repeat purchases? 

Are you dissatisfied with the results of your digital marketing campaign? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then maybe it’s time to add a chat plugin to your website.

What Is A Chat Plugin?

A chat plugin is a program that can be built into your website as an added feature for the purpose of enhancing the customer experience. These plugins are more popularly referred to as chat support services or Live Chat. 

No doubt, you’ve come across or have experienced what it’s like dealing with chat plugins. 

For example, Facebook Messenger has its own chat plugin.

If you have a Facebook Business Page, you can install the Facebook chat plugin on your website. With the plugin installed, customers who land on your website can chat with you simply by clicking on the Messenger logo. 

Having a chat plugin installed on your website can help enhance User Experience or UX by extending personalized customer service. 

Some of you might be shaking your heads in disagreement because of your individual experiences with a website’s chat support. 

You might be referring to A.I. technology or chatbots that offer default responses based on a set of frequently asked questions. 

Yes, chatbot technology can be an inconvenience especially if the program isn’t designed with features that allow the customer to provide more detailed information.

The chat plugins we’re referring to provide Live Chat services where the customer is in direct contact with a human, not A.I. 

And it’s not just Facebook and large-scale companies that use chat plugins.

Likewise, many small and medium-sized businesses that have websites and are active on social media use chat plugins.

The question is: “Why?”

Does your business website need a chat plugin?

What Are The Benefits Of A Chat Plugin?

As the old saying goes, “If Google sneezes, everyone on the Internet catches a cold.”

The search engine giant is big on UX. The ranking factors of its search algorithm widely consider features that enhance UX such as site speed, site security, and mobile responsiveness. 

To move up the search results page, you must find ways to make your site visitors happier and more satisfied with the experience.

Chat plugins might do the trick. Here are 5 benefits of having a chat plugin for your website.

1. Build Strong, Long-lasting, and Sustainable Relationships 

Better than nothing, right? 

Not when it comes to chat support.

For businesses, chatbots are convenient because they can provide 24/7 customer support. It might not be the same case with customers who want to get more answers but can’t provide the needed information. 

Live chat services through chat plugins have the advantage of the human touch. Customers are transacting with a live person and are actively interacting via a feedback-response cycle. 

Frustrated customers will appreciate live chat because they feel like things are moving along. They’ll have a better idea of what courses of action the business will take and a timeline to resolve the issue. 

Once the issue is resolved, the confidence in your business will be renewed. Your customers know they can depend on your company for assistance if they need help with your products or services.

2. Attend to and Try to Resolve Issues in Real-time

An irate customer does not want to wait for answers. Chatbots might not have the right answers to the customer’s questions. Or if they do, the answers aren’t satisfactory. 

With a human attending to the customer, there will be a more proactive approach to problem-solving. The live chat agent can get more information about the issue and attend to it in real-time. 

In some cases, such as in tech support, the live agent will take the customer to a step-by-step troubleshooting procedure to fix the problem at their end. The sooner the issue is resolved, the happier the customer. 

3. Enhance Your Brand and Reputation

In this age of social media where everyone has a platform to share an opinion, the last thing you want is to have a bad reputation for your customer service. 

A bad customer service experience will almost certainly trigger a customer to go on his/her social media account and post about the experience to the community. 

Having live chat support on your website will make the experience easier and more convenient for your customer. It’s more accessible. All the customer has to do is click on the chat support box and he’ll be attended to by an agent. 

Chat plugins will show your customers that you care about their happiness and satisfaction. Live chat support is a sign that you’re 100% confident about your product and will go the extra mile to make sure customers get 110% of their money’s worth.

4. Improve Sales Conversion Rate

When it comes to chat plugins, it’s not all about resolving customer disputes. You can use chat plugins to send out information on special promotions, discount packages, and new products available to your customers. 

Your customer will appreciate that you want to give them first-hand information that could make them save more money and have a chance to buy new items before the rest of the market does. 

The customer might feel more encouraged and motivated to buy your products or avail of your latest promotions because you made him/her feel more special. 

5. Create a More Accurate Customer Profile

Chat plugins can provide you detailed information about your customers through the recorded transcripts or the chat logs. You can create a more accurate profile for your customer. 

Review the logs and find out how each customer reacts and expresses his/her complaint, what the most common issues are with your products, where they come from, why they chose your product over the competitors and other valuable information that can help you get a better understanding of customer behavior. 

Having a more accurate customer profile can help fine-tune your marketing strategy, enhance your customer service, and identify ways to improve your products.

SEO for Your Business

The Best Chat Plugins For Your Website

Now that you know why your website needs a chat plugin, the next question is: “What’s the best chat plugin for my business website?”

There are many good chat plugins that you can consider for your business website. We’ve taken away some of the guesswork by sharing what we believe are the best chat plugins on the market today. 

1. Live Chat

When it comes to choosing your chat plugin, start with the program that’s widely recognized as the market leader – LiveChat. 

What makes LiveChat a good choice for your website?

  • Easy to set up and loads quite quickly.
  • The app can be used on mobile devices – smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
  • Personalize your chat support service by providing survey forms before and after a chat session. 
  • Create a workflow so that during off-hours your users can send out a trouble ticket.
  • The app can be integrated with other programs including MailChimp, Hubspot, ZenDesk, and Google Analytics. 

Unlike the other chat plugins featured in this article, Live Chat isn’t free. 

The app can be availed of under different pricing packages that range from US$16/month for a small, home-based business to US$50/month for a large-sized business that has a full-time customer service department. 

However, the monthly subscription cost is made worthwhile by the chat plugin’s sheer number of features:

  • Connect multiple websites to your app.
  • Integrate with Facebook Messenger.
  • Personalize service by emailing customers a link to a scheduled direct chat session.
  • Include default answers to FAQs.
  • Customize the appearance of the chat plugin widget.
  • Resolve disputes or issues faster by sending and receiving files via chat.
  • Grade the performance of your chat support agents by asking your customers to rate them.
  • Review conversations via the chat log and chat transcripts.
  • Assign chats to specific agents.
  • LiveChat provides its customers with analytics tools to keep track of and improve their performance. 

And there’s more! 

If you want to know for sure that LiveChat is for your business, the company gives a 14-day free trial. 

2. Tawk To

Tawk.To is a live chat plugin app that allows you to interact with your customers on your website without having to deal with annoying ads and spam content. 

No wonder that more than 3.8 million businesses have Tawk.To installed on their websites.

Why should you have Tawk.To on YOUR website?

  • It’s FREE!
  • Accessible via smartphone, laptop, and tablet.
  • Get valuable data about your customers every time they access chat support.
  • The app can be used on multiple websites.
  • Tawk.To’s interface can accommodate multiple agents at one time.
  • Compatible with various browsers. 
  • Versions available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.

With Tawk.To installed on your website, you can provide real-time support to your customers and potentially increase your sales conversion rate. 

At the same time, you’ll get valuable information about your customers so you can fine-tune your digital marketing strategy and customer support service. 

3. HubSpot

Hubspot’s live chat plugin app was designed to make customer service more effective AND efficient for any type of business. It was developed to provide solutions to common customer service pain points experienced by businesses that have websites. 

First, let’s start off with how the chat plugin will appear on your site. Hubspot allows you to customize the look and feel of the widget so it can best represent your brand and complement the design of your website. 

Second, all of your agents’ interactions will be saved and stored automatically in a file and organized according to the customer. This way, it will be easier for your agents to retrieve customer cases and re-orient themselves about the particulars of the situation. 

What other reasons are there for you to choose Hubspot live chat plugin for your website?

  • Manage your leads and contacts easily.
  • User-friendly and highly navigable CRM feature.
  • Retrieve and analyze insights about your customers/clients.
  • Track the status of the emails that you send out.
  • Can be integrated with Gmail, GSuite, Outlook, and Windows Office 365.
  • Create forms, pop-up ads, and slide-ins that are mobile-friendly.

And yes, this live chat plugin is free!

4. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is marketed as a web-based solution that helps businesses track and improve sales by effectively managing the relationships with their customers. 

Pipedrive offers a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform with features designed to allow you to stay on top of the status of every prospective sale that moves along the pipeline. 

It’s more than just a chat plugin! Check out Pipedrive’s features:

  • Customize your chat support system to secure leads and then organize them into the CRM.
  • Visual sales pipeline enables you to see how and where leads are moving along in the sales conversion process.
  • Accessible by mobile devices; allows you to schedule tasks and identify the clients that are within proximity.
  • Integrate Pipedrive with Google Contacts; manage leads and send out emails to your contacts.
  • Pipedrive’s reporting system gives you valuable insights on the activities with the highest conversion rates, the tasks that have been completed and identify factors on why some deals were lost.

The company claims that Pipedrive is used by more than 95,000 companies in 179 countries and that on average, their clients have increased sales by 28%.

5. LiveAgent

LiveAgent started in 2004 as a tool designed to help improve customer service by offering live chat, ticketing capabilities, and other standard HelpDesk features. Today, LiveAgent is used by more than 150 million users and 40,000 companies all over the world.

Here some of the defining features of LiveAgent:

  • Your customer service agents can manage all inquiries and concerns from the HelpDesk.
  • Customize and organize your leads into categories such as companies. 
  • Customize your tickets by adding new fields so you can get more information about your customers.
  • You can add notes to the tickets that will only be visible to you.
  • Track and monitor the time your agents spend per ticket.
  • Assign tickets to specific agents or departments. 
  • Review email communication and chat information from the Universal Inbox. 
  • Respond to your customers from various social media networks.

The free version of LiveAgent doesn’t have many features but might be ideal for a solopreneur running a small business from home. The paid versions range from US$15/agent/month to US$39/agent/month.

Conclusion

What’s your reaction when you visit a website and a chatbox opens up in the lower right-hand corner? 

Chances are, you’re made to feel important, much like when you walk into a department store and a salesperson asks you if you need any help. 

Even if you’re just browsing through, you’re confident knowing there’s a person who can attend to your needs at any time. 

That’s why a business website with a built-in chat plugin will more than likely outperform competitors without chat support. Prospective customers will feel more confident and comfortable at your website because you have an agent who’s ready to help at any time. 

All the customer has to do is click on the chatbox. 

According to a study made by J.D. Power, live chat services is the preferred support channel by 42% of customers. Likewise, 73% of customers are happy with their experience engaging with live chat. 

If your business website doesn’t have a chat plugin, give us a call and let us do it for you. Integrating live chat services will help increase sales, build better customer relationships, and improve the performance of your sales team.

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