Elevating Your E-Commerce Site

Many times, there are misconceptions that there aren’t a lot of things you can do to improve your e-commerce site. Sites with many products might have difficulty looking beyond their products and at their actual site. Focusing on the basics, here are some things you can do elevate your site:

Make Contact Forms Appealing – Have you thought about getting rid of some unnecessary fields in your forms? Having less clutter can help improve your contact forms’ conversion rate as this study shows, up to almost 50%! For example, did you know that about 50% of top 100 retailers ask customers for the same information twice?! Additionally, fewer fields can also help establish trust as your customers don’t feel like you’re invading their privacy and only gathering relevant/necessary information.

Utilize User-Generated Content (UGC) – Reviews, testimonials, product reviews, Q&A are types of content that you can easily add throughout your e-commerce site. These snippets can be added via microformat codes to be integrated into search results or they can have their own dedicated section. Having UGC is yet another way to boost credibility and enhance the consumer experienced.

Make it Easy to Link to – If you’re on a retail site, it’s not unusual to see “ahwe3&67xjshw=” and other characters in the URL. Whenever possible, it’s important to have SEO-friendly URLS. This helps with users bookmark your site and encourages sharing, whether it’s via Facebook, Pinterest or even e-mail.

Improve Security – Security is an important issue when it comes to online shopping. Many people are afraid of having their contact information or even credit card information stolen. Unfortunately nowadays, this is becoming more of a pressing issue. There are some necessary steps you need to take in order to ensure your customers’ security like: using SSL(Secure Socket Layer) certificate, never automatically storing credit card information and using reliable a checkout gateway (like Paypal and Google
Checkout). Having prominent disclaimers showcasing your security is up to date is equally important.

KISS – In the end, this applies to most of the elements of your e-commerce site (or any website for that matter). Elements like your main navigation, search bar, check out process, and method for collecting contact info is crucial. But sometimes, even the most important elements can be overlooked.  There are ways to cut down on this clutter to ensure a smoother and more efficient shopping experience and all it takes is an audit through the eyes of a customer. Keep it simple, stupid!

6 Reasons You Need a CMS Website

cms websiteIf you like the idea of being in control of your website, a content management system may be exactly what your business needs. Here are 6 reasons you may want to consider a custom CMS:

1) Simplicity: Have you ever used WordPress, Joomla, Moveable type or a similar CMS? Editing your website can be as simple as posting a blog post. The beauty of using a content management system is that you don’t need extensive knowledge of HTML or PHP to make major or minor edits. Did I mention, WYSIWYG? Who doesn’t like that?

2) Custom design: WordPress has many free and paid themes. This is easy for a business owner who wants to just pick and choose a design template. If you’d like a more personalized design to really exemplify your business’ personality, a web developer can easily help accommodate your needs and create a design from scratch. Then, you can proudly say that your website is unique and accurately represents your business.

3) Search engine friendly: Many people have the misconception that CMS websites don’t or can’t rank well in search engine results. This is a misunderstanding because whether you’re using a custom or template CMS, there are plugins and features that can give your website the capability to include all the search engine friendly features of a traditional website built using HTML. (Check out our recent post on SEO plugins.)

4) Reliable Hosting: A free CMS can be great, but depending on your growing business needs, you’ll want security in knowing that your site will have as little downtime as possible. There’s nothing worse than knowing that your website is down and thinking about the missed opportunities. We provide reliable web hosting services, business email accounts and anything else a modern company will need to run a business smoothly.

5) Efficient for a small business owner: Running all aspects of a small business can be incredibly time consuming and hectic. Normally, if you want a small change made to your site, you would have to submit it to your developer. These requests can’t always be made when you want them, as they also have different clients to accommodate. With your custom CMS, you can bypass that process and make the changes yourself.

6) Cost effective: Choosing a CMS may sound like a commitment, but the investment is worth it. Take a test run for yourself and set up a WordPress account (or another blog service) to get a feel of how to make pages and make changes. Over time, you’ll save time and money in being able to make website changes yourself.

Check out our custom Organic CMS to see if it’s right for your business!

SEO Plugins for WordPress

Before we take a look at some helpful SEO plugins for WordPress, here are some impressive statistics about the content management system and view the detailed infographic here:

– WordPress is responsible for 14.7 percent of the top million websites worldwide representing small, medium and big business.
– An average day sees about 500,000 new posts and 400,000 new comments on WordPress.com
– 48% of the top 100 blogs, as ranked by Technorati, currently use WordPress as their CMS
– 22 of every 100 new domains created in the US are running WordPress
– WordPress boasts the biggest market share when it comes to content management systems (53.8%)

There are many benefits of using a CMS, and there are a variety of WordPress plugins that you can help optimize your website for maximum exposure. Here are a few:

SEO Rank Reporter
This plugin provides an easy way to track Google rankings of specific keywords based on 3 day intervals. The data is presented in easy-to-read graphs so that you can see your progress and areas that you need to work on.

Premises
Need a hand with landing pages? This plugin provides effective templates with different features that makes it easy to customize content for a main landing page or any content page.

WordPress SEO By Yoast
This highly rated plugin is widely used for a good reason. There are many features including: meta data analysis, XML sitemaps, social sharing, analysis of onsite SEO and much more. Try it for yourself!

Author hReview
This is any easy way to integrate star ratings and other useful reviews into your pages that will show up in rich snippet previews of your site. This is extremely useful for increasing your credibility as well as your click through rates.

Sharebar
This plugin makes it easy to directly post your content onto different networking sites for maximum social visibility. You can customize the boxes and buttons of your liking and chose the most relevant ones to your business.

There are so many plugins for different business needs, so you can try a variety to see which ones are most helpful. Don’t forget to utilize plugin ratings to see which ones are most helpful to other people. Let us know which are your favorite plugins and why!

What are the Benefits of a SEO Friendly CMS?

Now more than ever, good content is a critical part of effective search engine optimization. Having a content management system (CMS) will help make this process easier – meaning that you can update your site more often with relevant content.

From a user standpoint, a CMS is very user-friendly and easy to use. But it’s time to look behind the scenes and see just how you can find the right SEO friendly CMS to help your search efforts.

Custom URLS – It’s important that you choose a CMS that gives you the option to create your own URL. SEO friendly URLs are tailored towards users and are more likely to have a higher click through rate. Sometimes, dynamic URLs can look spammy or relevant and lead to more problems in the future, especially if you are dealing with a website redesign.

Custom meta elements – An effective CMS should give you easy fields where you can fill out fields for title, description and keyword tags. Each page should have a unique Title tag that accurately reflects the content on that page. Did you know that aside from the content itself, page titles are (arguably) considered the most important element? Beware of a CMS that duplicates meta elements on each new page if you don’t customize it. I’ve come across sites that have hundreds of pages with of duplicate meta elements – not a good thing in Google’s eyes!

Speed and Usability – The main reason for using a CMS is that it is easy to use and that you can do it yourself if you need to. Older content management systems aren’t as user-friendly or practical to use. I recently had to use a CMS that took at least 5 minutes to save before you could view your edits. And of course, if you need to make more changes, that’s another 5 minutes just to preview! A CMS is meant to save you time and hassle, not make a bigger mess for you to deal with!

Affordability – When you have a website, there are multiple aspects that you have to consider including: web design, web copywriting, paid and organic search. Choosing the right CMS also means that you should see how it fits into your budget. If you “splurge” on a fancy/expensive CMS that you never have time to use, what’s the point? It could also take up the majority of your resources so that you don’t have anything left over to devote to a truly effective campaign.

A SEO CMS can help make website management an easier process and your organic search campaign more effective. Feel free to comment or give us a call (323) 340-4010 if you have any questions on a CMS for your small business.

New Google Keyword Tool

Google just released another tool to help you find keywords for your pay per click campaign and/or your overall search marketing campaign. First you’ll need to input your website and some of your target keywords and click submit to see the results. See below for a screen shot of the search results that I received when testing this out. I entered in emarketed.com and the following keywords: seo, ppc, web marketing, web design, website video marketing, cms, seo cms, organic cms, search engine optimization

google keyword tool
Google keyword tool

And it gave me 810 suggestions showing me monthly searches, competition level, and search trends. You can click the magnifying glass icon to see the search trends for a specific keyword. A new window will open with Google Insights for Search which provides some very interesting data. You can see how many searches are done wordwide and have it broken down by country, state, and city level. The below screen shot shows what I found when I drilled down on “web design” and then selected United States and California. I was able to see that San Francisco had the most searches for this keyword with Los Angeles coming in 4th. It also displayed “google web design” as a rising search term so this would be a good word for us to optmize. Please disregard this last statement if you’re an SEO and/or web design company. Wink Wink ;)

Google Insights for Search
Google Insights for Search
Google Insights for Search
Google Insights for Search