Tag Archive | "Website."

Transform Your Business Website Using Our Free ‘Design 101’ Ebook

Is your current website design working for your business as well as it could be? You might know that it’s not, but don’t know where to start when it comes to a redesign. We understand that. Choosing a WordPress theme for your website can be a little overwhelming and leave you with lots of further
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How to Make Your Website More Secure (So Google Doesn’t Punish You)

Posted by lkolowich

Thanks to the buzz around website hacking and personal data theft in recent years, most Internet users are aware that their sensitive information is at risk every time they surf the web.

And yet, although the personal data of their visitors and customers is at risk, many businesses still aren’t making website security a priority.

Enter Google.

The folks over at Google are known for paving the way for Internet behavior. Last month, they took a monumental step forward in helping protect people from getting their personal data hacked. The update they released to their popular Chrome browser now warns users if a website is not secure – right inside that user’s browser.

While this change is meant to help protect users’ personal data, it’s also a big kick in the pants for businesses to get moving on making their websites more secure.

Google’s Chrome update: What you need to know

On October 17, 2017, Google’s latest Chrome update (version 62) began flagging websites and webpages that contain a form but don’t have a basic security feature called SSL. SSL, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” is the standard technology that ensures all the data that passes between a web server and a browser – passwords, credit card information, and other personal data – stays private and ensures protection against hackers.

In Chrome, sites lacking SSL are now marked with the warning “Not Secure” in eye-catching red, right inside the URL bar:

imdb-not-secure.gif

Google started doing this back in January 2017 for pages that asked for sensitive information, like credit cards. The update released in October expands the warning to all websites that have a form, even if it’s just one field that asks for something like an email address.

What’s the impact on businesses?

Because Chrome has 47% of market share, this change is likely noticed by millions of people using Chrome. And get this: 82% of respondents to a recent consumer survey said they would leave a site that is not secure, according to HubSpot Research.

In other words, if your business’ website isn’t secured with SSL, then more than 8 out of 10 Chrome users said they would leave your website.

Ouch.

What’s more, Google has publically stated that SSL is now a ranking signal in Google’s search algorithm. This means that a website with SSL enabled may outrank another site without SSL.

That’s exactly why anyone who owns or operates a website should start taking the steps to secure their website with an SSL certificate, in addition to a few other security measures. Businesses that don’t take care to protect visitors’ information might see significant issues, garner unwanted attention, and dilute customer trust.

“In my opinion, I think security is undervalued by a lot of marketers,” says Jeffrey Vocell, my colleague at HubSpot and go-to website guru. “Almost daily, we hear news about a new hacking incident or about personal data that has been compromised. The saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ clearly isn’t true here; or, at the very least, the marketer that believes it has never had to live with the fallout of a data breach.”

With Google’s Chrome update, those visitors will see a warning right inside their browsers – even before they’ve entered any information. This means businesses face the potential of losing website visitors’ trust, regardless of whether a cybersecurity incident has actually occurred.

If you’re ready to join the movement toward a more secure web, the first step is to see whether your website currently has an SSL certificate.

Do you know whether your site has SSL?

There are a few ways to tell whether your website (or any website) has SSL.

If you don’t use Google Chrome:

All you have to do is look at a website’s URL once you’ve entered it into the URL bar. Does it contain “https://” with that added “s,” or does it contain “http://” without an “s”? Websites that have SSL contain that extra “s.” You can also enter any URL into this SSL Checker from HubSpot and it’ll tell you whether it’s secure without having to actually visit that site.

If you do have Chrome:

It’s easy to see whether a website is secured with an SSL certificate, thanks to the recent update. After entering a URL into the URL bar, you’ll see the red “Not Secure” warning next to websites that aren’t certified with SSL:

star-wars-not-secure.png

For websites that are certified with SSL, you’ll see “Secure” in green, alongside a padlock icon:

facebook-secure.png

You can click on the padlock to read more about the website and the company that provided the SSL certificate.

Using one of the methods above, go ahead and check to see if your business’ website is secure.

Yes, it does have SSL! Woohoo!

Your site visitors already feel better about browsing and entering sensitive information into your website. You’re not quite done, though – there’s still more you can do to make your website even more secure. We’ll get to that in a second.

Shoot, it doesn’t have SSL yet.

You’re not alone – even a few well-known sites, like IMDB and StarWars.com, weren’t ready for Google’s update. But it’s time to knock on your webmasters’ doors and have them follow the steps outlined below.

How to make your website more secure

Ready to protect your visitors from data theft and get rid of that big, red warning signal staring every Chrome user in the face in the process? Below, you’ll find instructions and resources to help you secure your website and reduce the chances of getting hacked.

Securing your site with SSL

The first step is to determine which type of certificate you need – and how many. You might need different SSL certificates if you host content on multiple platforms, such as separate domains or subdomains.

As for cost, an SSL certificate will cost you anywhere from nothing (Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates) to a few hundred dollars per month. It usually averages around $ 50 per month per domain. Some CMS providers (like HubSpot) have SSL included, so check with them before making any moves.

(Read this post for more detailed instructions and considerations for SSL.)

Securing your site with additional measures

Even if you already have SSL, there are four other things you can do to make your website significantly more secure, according to Vocell.

1) Update any plugins or extensions/apps you use on your site.

Hackers look for security vulnerabilities in old versions of plugins, so it’s better to take on the challenges of keeping your plugins updated than make yourself an easy target.

2) Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network).

One trick hackers use to take down websites is through a DDoS attack. A DDoS attack is when a hacker floods your server with traffic until it stops responding altogether, at which point the hacker can gain access to sensitive data stored in your CMS. A CDN will detect traffic increases and scale up to handle it, preventing a DDoS attack from debilitating your site.

3) Make sure your CDN has data centers in multiple locations.

That way, if something goes awry with one server, your website won’t stop working all of a sudden, leaving it vulnerable to attack.

4) Use a password manager.

One simple way of protecting against cyberattacks is by using a password manager – or, at the very least, using a secure password. A secure password contains upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.

Suffering a hack is a frustrating experience for users and businesses alike. I hope this article inspires you to double down on your website security. With SSL and the other security measures outlined in this post, you’ll help protect your visitors and your business, and make visitors feel safe browsing and entering information on your site.

Does your website have SSL enabled? What tips do you have for making your website more secure? Tell us about your experiences and ideas in the comments.

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Writing Headlines that Serve SEO, Social Media, and Website Visitors All Together – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Have your headlines been doing some heavy lifting? If you’ve been using one headline to serve multiple audiences, you’re missing out on some key optimization opportunities. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand gives you a process for writing headlines for SEO, for social media, and for your website visitors — each custom-tailored to its audience and optimized to meet different goals.

Writing headlines that serve SEO, Social Media, and Website Visitors

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about writing headlines. One of the big problems that headlines have is that they need to serve multiple audiences. So it’s not just ranking and search engines. Even if it was, the issue is that we need to do well on social media. We need to serve our website visitors well in order to rank in the search engines. So this gets very challenging.

I’ve tried to illustrate this with a Venn diagram here. So you can see, basically…

SEO

In the SEO world of headline writing, what I’m trying to do is rank well, earn high click-through rate, because I want a lot of those visitors to the search results to choose my result, not somebody else’s. I want low pogo-sticking. I don’t want anyone clicking the back button and choosing someone else’s result because I didn’t fulfill their needs. I need to earn links, and I’ve got to have engagement.

Social media

On the social media side, it’s pretty different actually. I’m trying to earn amplification, which can often mean the headline tells as much of the story as possible. Even if you don’t read the piece, you amplify it, you retweet it, and you re-share it. I’m looking for clicks, and I’m looking for comments and engagement on the post. I’m not necessarily too worried about that back button and the selection of another item. In fact, time on site might not even be a concern at all.

Website visitors

For website visitors, both of these are channels that drive traffic. But for the site itself, I’m trying to drive right visitors, the ones who are going to be loyal, who are going to come back, hopefully who are going to convert. I want to not confuse anyone. I want to deliver on my promise so that I don’t create a bad brand reputation and detract from people wanting to click on me in the future. For those of you have visited a site like Forbes or maybe even a BuzzFeed and you have an association of, “Oh, man, this is going to be that clickbait stuff. I don’t want to click on their stuff. I’m going to choose somebody else in the results instead of this brand that I remember having a bad experience with.”

Notable conflicts

There are some notable direct conflicts in here.

  1. Keywords for SEO can be really boring on social media sites. When you try and keyword stuff especially or be keyword-heavy, your social performance tends to go terribly.
  2. Creating mystery on social, so essentially not saying what the piece is truly about, but just creating an inkling of what it might be about harms the clarity that you need for search in order to rank well and in order to drive those clicks from a search engine. It also hurts your ability generally to do keyword targeting.
  3. The need for engagement and brand reputation that you’ve got for your website visitors is really going to hurt you if you’re trying to develop those clickbait-style pieces that do so well on social.
  4. In search, ranking for low-relevance keywords is going to drive very unhappy visitors, people who don’t care that just because you happen to rank for this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, because you didn’t serve the visitor intent with the actual content.

Getting to resolution

So how do we resolve this? Well, it’s not actually a terribly hard process. In 2017 and beyond, what’s nice is that search engines and social and visitors all have enough shared stuff that, most of the time, we can get to a good, happy resolution.

Step one: Determine who your primary audience is, your primary goals, and some prioritization of those channels.

You might say, “Hey, this piece is really targeted at search. If it does well on social, that’s fine, but this is going to be our primary traffic driver.” Or you might say, “This is really for internal website visitors who are browsing around our site. If it happens to drive some traffic from search or social, well that’s fine, but that’s not our intent.”

Step two: For non-conflict elements, optimize for the most demanding channel.

For those non-conflicting elements, so this could be the page title that you use for SEO, it doesn’t always have to perfectly match the headline. If it’s a not-even-close match, that’s a real problem, but an imperfect match can still be okay.

So what’s nice in social is you have things like Twitter cards and the Facebook markup, graph markup. That Open Graph markup means that you can have slightly different content there than what you might be using for your snippet, your meta description in search engines. So you can separate those out or choose to keep those distinct, and that can help you as well.

Step three: Author the straightforward headline first.

I’m going to ask you author the most straightforward version of the headline first.

Step four: Now write the social-friendly/click-likely version without other considerations.

Is to write the opposite of that, the most social-friendly or click-likely/click-worthy version. It doesn’t necessarily have to worry about keywords. It doesn’t have to worry about accuracy or telling the whole story without any of these other considerations.

Step five: Merge 3 & 4, and add in critical keywords.

We’re going to take three and four and just merge them into something that will work for both, that compromises in the right way, compromises based on your primary audience, your primary goals, and then add in the critical keywords that you’re going to need.

Examples:

I’ve tried to illustrate this a bit with an example. Nest, which Google bought them years ago and then they became part of the Alphabet Corporation that Google evolved into. So Nest is separately owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Nest came out with this new alarm system. In fact, the day we’re filming this Whiteboard Friday, they came out with a new alarm system. So they’re no longer just a provider of thermostats inside of houses. They now have something else.

Step one: So if I’m a tech news site and I’m writing about this, I know that I’m trying to target gadget and news readers. My primary channel is going to be social first, but secondarily search engines. The goal that I’m trying to reach, that’s engagement followed by visits and then hopefully some newsletter sign-ups to my tech site.

Step two: My title and headline in this case probably need to match very closely. So the social callouts, the social cards and the Open Graph, that can be unique from the meta description if need be or from the search snippet if need be.

Step three: I’m going to do step three, author the straightforward headline. That for me is going to be “Nest Has a New Alarm System, Video Doorbell, and Outdoor Camera.” A little boring, probably not going to tremendously well on social, but it probably would do decently well in search.

Step four: My social click-likely version is going to be something more like “Nest is No Longer Just a Thermostat. Their New Security System Will Blow You Away.” That’s not the best headline in the universe, but I’m not a great headline writer. However, you get the idea. This is the click-likely social version, the one that you see the headline and you go, “Ooh, they have a new security system. I wonder what’s involved in that.” You create some mystery. You don’t know that it includes a video doorbell, an outdoor camera, and an alarm. You just hear, “They’ve got a new security system. Well, I better look at it.”

Step five: Then I can try and compromise and say, “Hey, I know that I need to have video doorbell, camera, alarm, and Nest.” Those are my keywords. Those are the important ones. That’s what people are going to be searching for around this announcement, so I’ve got to have them in there. I want to have them close to the front. So “Nest’s New Alarm, Video Doorbell and Camera Are About to Be on Every Home’s Must-Have List.” All right, resolved in there.

So this process of writing headlines to serve these multiple different, sometimes competing priorities is totally possible with nearly everything you’re going to do in SEO and social and for your website visitors. This resolution process is something hopefully you can leverage to get better results.

All right, everyone, we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How Blogging Boosts the Profitability of Your Ecommerce Website (and 8 Ways to Get Started)

With the release of the Outfitter Pro Premium WordPress theme, Rafal Tomal and I have been talking a lot about ecommerce websites. Naturally, Rafal has great ideas about designing a t-shirt store, while I’m interested in how I can market an ecommerce store with, yes, geeky merchandise, but also robot kits and other nerdery for
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The 3 Easiest Link Building Tactics Any Website Can Use to Acquire Their First 50 Links – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Without a solid base of links, your site won’t be competitive in the SERPs — even if you do everything else right. But building your first few links can be difficult and discouraging, especially for new websites. Never fear — Rand is here to share three relatively quick, easy, and tool-free (read: actually free) methods to build that solid base and earn yourself links.

Link Building Tactics to Acquire Your 50 First Links

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about how to get those first few links that every website needs to be able to compete. Many folks I know when you get started with link building, it can seem daunting and overwhelming.

So let me walk you through what is essentially a half a day of work, maybe three or four hours of work to try these three tactics that will almost certainly get your business or your organization the first handful, let’s say 50 links that you need to start being able to compete. Content can you take you a long way. Keywords can take you a long way. Engagement and interaction can take you a long way. But you’ve got to have a base of links. So let’s get started here.

#1. Your brand name, domain name, and founder’s/execs names

The first one is basically looking for links that come from your own name, your brand name, your domain name potentially, and the names of the founders or people who run your company.

Step One: Search Google for the names in quotes.

So if it was me and Moz, you’d be searching for “Rand Fishkin” or “Moz.com” in quotes, not the domain name in the URL field. But in the Google search bar, I’d be searching for “Moz.com” in quotes or “Moz + SEO.” Moz also has other meanings, including the singer Morrissey, which makes for confusing types of things. If you have that, you’ll need to use your brand name plus some sort of signifier or identifier. It’s very rare that Morrissey gets mentioned along with search engine optimization. It’s very often that Moz gets mentioned along with SEO, and so I can combine those to search for it. So any of these searches will result in a big list of tons of Google results.

Step Two: Manually check the top let’s say 50 to 100 results to confirm that…

  1. They link to the right place, and if they don’t, if there are mentions of Rand Fishkin that don’t link to Moz, we should fix that. We’re going to contact those people.
  2. If you can control the anchor text and where the link location points, you can update it. For example, I can go to my LinkedIn. My LinkedIn has a link to Moz. I could update that if I were at a different company or if Moz’s domain name changed, for example when it did change from SEOmoz to just Moz.
  3. If it’s missing or wrong, I find the right people, I email them, and I fix it. As a result, I should have something like this. Every single mention in Google has a link on the page to my website. I can get that from brand name, from domain name, and from founders and executives. That’s a lot of great links.

#2. Sites that list your competition

So this is essentially saying we’re going to…

Step One: Identify your top 5 or 10 most visible on the web competitors.

This is a process that you can go through on your own to identify, well, these are the 5 or 10 that we see on the web very frequently for searches that we wish we competed for, or we see them mentioned in the press a ton, whatever it is.

Step Two: Search Google not for each one individually, but rather for combinations, usually two, three, or four of them all together.

For example, if I were making a new whiteboard pen company, I would look for the existing ones, like Pilot and Expo and Quartet and PandaBoard. I might search for Pilot and PandaBoard first. Then I might search for Pilot and Expo. Then I might search for PandaBoard and Quartet and all these various combinations of these different ones.

Step Three: Visit any sites in the SERPs that list multiple competitors in any sort of format (a directory structure, comparisons, a list, etc.)

Then in each of those cases, I would submit or I would try and contact or get in touch with whoever runs that list and say, “Hey, my company, my organization also belongs on here because, like these other ones you’ve listed, we do the same thing.” So if it’s here’s whiteboard pen brands, Expo, PandaBoard, Quartet, and your site, which should now link to YourSite.com.

This is a little more challenging. You won’t have as high a hit rate as you will with your own brand names. But again, great way to expand your link portfolio. You can usually almost always get 20 or 30 different sites that are listing people in your field and get on those lists.

#3. Sites that list people/orgs in your field, your geography, with your attributes.

This is sites that list people or organizations in a particular field, a particular region, with particular attributes, or some combination of those three. So they’re saying here are European-based whiteboard pen manufacturers or European-based manufacturers who were founded by women.

So you can say, “Aha, that’s a unique attribute, that’s a geography, and that’s my field. I’m in manufacturing. I make whiteboard pens. Our cofounder was a woman, and we are in Europe. So therefore we count in all three of those. We should be on that list.” You’re looking for lists like these, which might not list your competitors, but are high-quality opportunities to get good links.

Step One:

  1. List your organization’s areas of operation. So that would be like we are in technology, or we’re in manufacturing or software or services, or we’re a utility, or we’re finance tech, or whatever we are. You can start from macro and go down to micro at each of those levels.
  2. List your geography in the same format from macro to micro. You want to go as broad as continent, for example Europe, down to country, region, county, city, even neighborhood. There are websites that list, “Oh, well, these are startups that are based in Ballard, Seattle, Washington in the United States in North America.” So you go, “Okay, I can fit in there.”
  3. List your unique attributes. Were you founded by someone whose attributes are different than normal? Moz, obviously my cofounder was my mom, Gillian. So Moz is a cofounded-by-a-woman company. Are you eco-friendly? Maybe you buy carbon credits to offset, or maybe you have a very eco-friendly energy policy. Or you have committed to donating to charity, like Salesforce has. Or you have an all-remote team. Or maybe you’re very GLBTQIA-friendly. Or you have a very generous family leave policy. Whatever interesting attributes there are about you, you can list those and then you can combine them.

Step Two: Search Google for lists of businesses or websites or organizations that have some of these attributes in your region or with your focus.

For example, Washington state venture-backed companies. Moz is a venture-backed company, so I could potentially get on that list. Or the EU-based manufacturing companies started by women, and I could get on that list with my whiteboard pen company based there. You can find lots and lots of these if you sort of take from your list, start searching Google and discover those results. You’ll use the same process you did here.

You know what the great thing about all three of these is? No tools required. You don’t have to pay for a single tool. You don’t have to worry about Domain Authority. You don’t have to worry about any sort of link qualification process or paying for something expensive. You can do this manually by yourself with Google as your only tool, and that will get you some of those first early links.

If you’ve got additional suggestions, please leave them down in the comments. I look forward to chatting with you there. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Google local pack tests displaying website mentions matching your query

Google local results is aware of the content on the local business website and may even show the matching keyword in the local pack snippets.

The post Google local pack tests displaying website mentions matching your query appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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5 Steps to Website Security You Can Trust

Website security has never been more critical. Hackers, ransomware, and denial of service attacks are all concerns for modern business websites. Nothing will erode your audience’s trust in you faster than visiting your website and getting a security warning, or having Google flash a “You can’t trust this site” message in your search results. Even
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10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business

"Does your current website hosting company prevent or punish your success?" – Chris Garrett

At a local WordCamp recently, I critiqued websites from a group of volunteers during a site clinic session.

While I noticed a number of common mistakes — like extra-loud, auto-play videos and other distractions — one of the weird things that stood out was how many real, substantial businesses had problematic web hosting and domain strategies.

With those in mind, I wanted to make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes. Let’s go through some of the worst offenses, shall we?

Mistake #1: Spending more money on business cards than your web host

It boggles my mind that a company with a great physical-world reputation would risk that goodwill by using a subpar web host.

In other words, if your coffee budget is 10 times higher than your hosting budget, you’re probably not getting a premium service.

Also, if your hosting company brags about having millions of customers, they might not be too upset if your site goes down — but the hit to your bottom line will be substantial.

Mistake #2: Choosing a domain nobody can spell or remember

You said “awesome-and-amazing-dot-com?” Was it “theawesome,” “the-awesome,” or just “awesome?”

Sure, many people are going to discover your site through links or search. But having a memorable (and easy-to-spell) domain does help you attract and retain visitors.

You can’t bank on them bookmarking your site during their first visit.

Mistake #3: Building your business website on a platform you don’t own

Digital sharecropping is even worse than a bad domain.

With this mistake, you’re always at risk of losing the web presence you’re working so hard to build.

Mistake #4: Using an impersonal business email address

If you invest in a beautiful website design, then don’t use “@outlook,” “@gmail,” or “@hotmail” for your business’s primary email address.

If you use Outlook or Gmail to pick up and manage your email, that’s totally fine. Just be sure you use your own domain for your email address. You can use an email forwarder or domain settings to get the best of both worlds.

Mistake #5: Redirecting to a mobile site

What was that page you asked for again?

This might be controversial, but in my opinion there is no reason to send your visitors to a separate mobile site that doesn’t correspond to the URL they originally typed.

I wanted to go directly to the dancing kittens, not your mobile website home page.

Responsive design and mobile-first thinking will give your users a great experience no matter what device they’re on, and you won’t confuse site visitors with redirects.

Mistake #6: Providing a slow experience for visitors

Is it acceptable for a web page to take ten seconds to load? Six? How about three?

No.

As it happens, Google will punish you if your site provides a slow experience and visitors quickly hit the “back” button.

When your site has good hosting, site speed is measured in milliseconds.

Mistake #7: Getting an unexpected “this site not found” or “this site is dangerous” message

Do you have a process in place to check your site at least once a day? Are you sure it’s working, and that everything looks the way you want it to? Is your site clean and free of malware or other nasty problems?

You either have to constantly monitor your site … or choose a host that does the monitoring for you (and ideally prevents those types of headaches from happening in the first place).

Mistake #8: Keeping “http,” instead of upgrading to “https”

I was late to this party, but get your site on SSL.

With StudioPress Sites, it takes one click. It’s an SEO win, and the security will comfort your visitors.

Mistake #9: Falling behind with outdated software and design

Out-of-date versions of site software make your website an easy target for hackers.

And speaking of staying current … when was the last time you updated your web design?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “dress for the job you want.” Make a strong, professional first impression with a clean, modern design.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a custom design, either. Just select a high-quality theme and add your branding flourishes. Choose one that is mobile-responsive and doesn’t take hours to load over 3G.

For example, you could pick up one of the many premium WordPress themes from StudioPress that come bundled with StudioPress Sites.

Mistake #10: Hosting with a company that prevents or punishes your success

This last one will catch you by surprise at the worst moment.

You get your 15 minutes (or 15,000 visitors) of fame, only for your host to tell you … nope! Not on their watch.

They shut you down.

There it is, in the fine print of your hosting contract … you’re only allowed a certain number of visitors or so much bandwidth … which means all your new prospects land on a page that says your website is down.

It’s smart to keep your costs manageable when you’re starting out, but losing potential customers because of penny-pinching isn’t so smart.

If you currently have cheap “hobby” hosting, you need to ask yourself:

How many clients or customers can I afford to lose to a bad web experience?

Let us know in the comments below about other business website mistakes you’ve seen or if a company has ever lost you as a client or customer because you had issues using their site.

So, what should you do?

  1. Sign up for StudioPress Sites. For $ 27 a month, you’ll get rock-solid, ultra-secure hosting — plus your choice of 21 professional designs you can customize with your own branding, automatic WordPress updates, peace of mind, and the knowledge that when that big traffic spike comes, your site will be up, available, and screamingly fast. (And let’s face it … that investment is probably a lot less than your latte habit every month.) Click here to learn more.
  2. Select a straightforward domain name, and use it for your site and email.
  3. Hit that “https” button and upgrade to the SSL version of your site. You might lose some social proof, as your social share counts reset, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

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How to Build a Better WordPress Website … One Week at a Time

"It can be scary to put your story out there on the web. It’s also empowering." – Jerod Morris

What is the key to building a better website?

Well, you first need an idea. And it needs to be useful.

Next, you need to start with the right stuff, the right raw materials. You clicked on the headline of this post, so perhaps you’re already using WordPress or strongly considering it. Good choice. Continue down that path.

After that, you have to be willing to hit Publish. Whether you’re starting your own food blog, marketing your copywriting business, or building an audience for your coaching services … you have to put your story out there on the web for all to see. That can be scary. It’s also empowering.

What comes next?

Find a path for continuous improvement

A few years ago, I wrote an article on Copyblogger titled How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer. A book I had just read called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer inspired that post.

The book takes its cue from the Japanese concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement — or, to be more specific, the process of achieving sustained success through small, steady steps.

This concept spoke to me then. It continues to speak to me now.

It’s so easy, especially in today’s environment of ubiquitous distraction, to get lost in big ideas and forget about the inevitable series of small steps it takes to achieve them.

I am easily prone to this. I’ve learned this about myself. I have to be intentional about pulling myself down out of the clouds so that I can actually plant my feet firmly on the ground and put one foot in front of the other … then the other … then the other.

Steps.

One at a time.

That is the only way to achieve continuous improvement — the only way to take a big, grand idea and bring it to fruition.

Now, with that as our foundation, let’s talk about your website …

The four pillars of a successful WordPress website

Building a powerful website that does everything a website should do — help you earn authority, build an audience, and drive business — is a big task.

There is a lot that goes into a successful WordPress website.

Some of the choices you have to make are big decisions, like where to host your site and what theme to use.

Other choices are smaller, more subtle, like what color to use for your call-to-action buttons and whether you should use “How to …” in two consecutive blog post headlines or change one for the sake of variety.

All of your decisions, big and small, can be categorized in one of the following four buckets:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Technology
  • Strategy

They are the four pillars of a successful WordPress website.

If your website lacks any one of these elements, it might be okay, but it’s probably not optimized to help you achieve your goals. You could also be wasting time, effort, and money.

Think about it this way:

If you have useful content, a good design, and a strong technology foundation, but no strategy … your website’s “success” might actually be misaligned with your business goals. You’re not maximizing your efforts.

And if your website lacks two of these elements, it might fail altogether.

Consider a website with useful content that adheres to a smart, cohesive strategy. That’s a good start. But if the design is ill-fitting, and if the technology is lacking (think: poor hosting and security warnings), then visitors are unlikely to stay long … if they ever reach your site at all.

The rub in this example, of course, is that you can’t really have a smart, cohesive strategy with design and technology lagging far behind. And given how intertwined content and design are, content with poor design won’t be nearly as useful as it could be.

Point being: they all fit together.

Now let’s marry together the two big ideas we’ve explored so far in this post …

How to apply kaizen to the four pillars of your website’s success

You can’t build a successful website with one inspired 48-hour work binge over a weekend.

You can’t even do it by taking an entire month, or even three or four, to focus on nothing but your website. Not if you want your success to sustain beyond those three or four months.

Sure, through evergreen content, autoresponders, and the power of digital products, you can (and should) do a lot to earn ongoing, recurring, some might say “passive” revenue … but you’ll also experience diminishing returns if you aren’t:

  • Marketing your ideas
  • Tweaking or reworking your design to keep it fresh
  • Updating WordPress and plugins to keep them secure
  • Staying vigilant about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

In other words, you can’t just set-and-forget your content, design, technology, and strategy.

You develop, build, and launch your website in incremental steps … and then you continue taking incremental steps to avoid stagnation and drive your site toward continuous improvement.

If that sounds like a lot of time and effort, good. Because it is.

But it’s worth it.

If you are intentional about avoiding the myopia that so many people approach online business with, then the time and effort, along with the money, that you invest into your website will not be an expense. It will be an investment. And the investment will pay off.

That said, it’s still smart to save yourself little bits of time and effort where you can. ”</p

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Buying an eCommerce Website Vs. Starting One

Over the last few years, the eCommerce model has been giving brick-and-mortar retailers a run for their money. A recent forecast estimates the eCommerce market will surpass $ 2 trillion in revenue for 2017 and increase its worth to $ 6.7 trillion by 2020. The eCommerce market has gained such a massive following that companies from different industries can no longer ignore it. In fact, the total number of online shoppers in the US is projected to rise to 224 million in 2019. By 2020, around 168.7 million mobile users will have made at least one purchase from an online store.

Number of digital shoppers in the United States from 2014 to 2019 (in millions)

The great thing about the eCommerce platform is that it gives start-up entrepreneurs immediate entry into the global marketplace. At present, only 28% of small businesses in the U.S. are selling their products online. For a budding entrepreneur, there is still a wide window to get started and establish an online brand. Once you decide to give it a go, the only question left is, should you buy an existing eCommerce website or start from scratch? The following insights could help you come to a resolution.

Buying an Existing eCommerce Business

The Pros

An established eCommerce site has already proven itself profitable. Buying one in your target niche lets you take over an operation that has already generated cash flow. Of course, you would have to assess their operation metrics and financial history first. But the good thing is that it has already overcome the challenges usually encountered by start-ups. You do not have to invest time and money into keyword research, advertising, site development, finding suppliers, SEO services, and others. With a proven business model, your customer base, supplier relationships, software codes, and traffic will already be organized.

Acquiring an existing eCommerce site allows you to take advantage of opportunities the seller may have overlooked. This gives you a strategic edge in growing the business and increasing your profits. If you already own an eCommerce business, buying another site also increases your cross selling and cross promotion capabilities. You get to expand your reach by gaining access to additional traffic and customers.

The Cons

Buying an existing eCommerce business also has its downside. Let’s start with the operative word “buy,” which means you will likely need significant upfront capital. Convenience comes with a price, especially if you are eyeing a well-performing site. Next, finding the right online business to purchase that is reasonably successful may take some time. If you do find one, expect to inherit some errors made by the previous owner, such as lack of customer service, poor quality content and backlinks, soured relationships with suppliers, to name a few.

 

Starting Your Own Online Business

The Pros

Image result for ecommerce website management

One of the many things that attract entrepreneurs to starting their own eCommerce site is the low startup costs required. With the help of the internet, you can purchase a domain and obtain hosting for less than $ 100 per year. Outsourcing website development, web design, content creation, and basic SEO services can be achieved for under $ 300. A setup for a small business—with catalog and light traffic—through a popular eCommerce platform will only cost you around $ 2,000.

Another advantage when it comes to setting up your own eCommerce site is you gain full control over your products and services. For instance, you can decide to avoid managing inventory or shipping through drop shipping. You choose which direction to take the business and handle SEO, monetization, and customer service using your own strategies. And if your site becomes a success, you can sell it for a lump sum.  

The Cons

A newly set up eCommerce business will start off with no traffic or customers. Marketing your brand and bringing traffic to your site can take a lot of work and money. You may need to invest in social media management and search engine marketing just to get the word out. You could spend several months building your eCommerce sites only to find that none of them end up being profitable. Another disadvantage is that it is a highly competitive market. It can be exhausting just to think of ways to stand out from the rest.

New and experienced entrepreneurs should realize that neither option is better than the other, as both can provide significant returns on investment. In the end, your choice may depend on the time and attention you are willing to invest, how much money you are willing to risk, and the level of experience you have. The eCommerce market has the potential to become a huge boon for a business, given that every detail of the business is monitored closely.

The post Buying an eCommerce Website Vs. Starting One appeared first on WebProNews.


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