Is Magic Real?

Every person, and certainly every entrepreneur, should read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne (you can also listen to it as an audiobook or watch the movie). In this book, we are told that the Great Secret of Life is the law of attraction. The law of attraction can also be called the law of creation. In other words, life is not happening to you, you are creating it. The Secret shows us how we can manifest anything in our lives – money, people, fame – whatever we truly believe in. The Universe will then conspire to work it’s magic and make it come true in our lives.

I love this quote by the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland: “Everyone wants some magical solution for their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic!”

Everyone wants some magical solution for their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic! - The Mad Hatter Click To Tweet

I believe that is really the point that The Secret is trying to make. Every religion requires us to believe in something that we cannot see. This has been true throughout history. We have to have faith. We have to believe in magic. And when we do, that magic actually shows up in our lives.

Now you might have to be a bit mad (like the Mad Hatter) to believe in something you can’t see. Whether you call that force the universe, God, wizards, ghosts, astrology, tarot, or whatever, it is difficult to believe in something you cannot prove. J. Nochole Smith says, “We humans like to be sure, and how can you be sure of something you can’t quite explain or prove? In life, and in business, looking at data and facts is an absolutely essential element in smart decision making and planning… but it’s not the complete picture.You can read her complete post here.

In the legend of alchemy, the practitioner is spoken of as having the “magic” power of transmuting lead into gold. But what if we can take whatever we are given and make something incredible out of it. I believe we each have the power to do this. So is magic real? The only way to find out is to experience it for yourself.

Certainly, […]

Ecommerce Trends That Affect You

Strong Customer Authentication

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a new regulation taking effect on September 14, 2019 that requires merchants to use multiple methods of verifying customers’ identities. While this is a European compliance issue, it will impact US merchants as well. To help you comply with the new requirements — and make sure your sales don’t have declined payments, here is what you need to know.

Starting in September, merchants accepting online payments will need to use two independent authentication methods to verify that a customer is who they say they are.

What kinds of authentication are acceptable?

SCA allows for three different authentication methods — something the customer knows, something the customer has, and something the customer is. To succeed, a transaction has to use two of the three.

What does that mean in practice?

    • Asking for a piece of information only the customer knows, like their password or the answer to a security question.
    • Sending verifying information to something the customer controls, like a hardware token or a push notification sent to their phone.
    • Using a physical identifier unique to the customer, like a fingerprint or Face ID.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Most payment gateways will use 3D Secure 2 – an update to the 3D Secure system – as their main method of complying with SCA. During checkout, the payment gateway will prompt the customer to provide the additional authentication elements, and the order will only be completed once they do that successfully.

If you are using WooCommerce with Stripe and or PayPal as your Payment Gateway, these are already SCA ready, so you will not have to do anything.

Marketplaces Versus Your Own Ecommerce Website

Amazon is of course the largest eommerce site, and many businesses use this platform as their primary method of selling online. eBay is a distant second to Amazon. But as third-party sellers become more prominent on Amazon’s marketplace, many want to expand to other platforms, and eBay is the most popular secondary option, 56% per Feedvisor (April 2019). In fact, this far outshines personal sites (12%), Walmart, brick-and-mortar stores and smaller online marketplaces.

If you are already selling online via your own website and using WooCommerce as your shopping cart platform, there is good news – you can integrate your online store by listing your product catalog on both Amazon and eBay’s global network of 40+ online marketplaces and reach millions of potential customers in minutes. You can sync inventory, orders, pricing, and product details in real-time. Here’s how. […]

How chatbots Can Help the Ecommerce Industry

Guest Post by Hassan Khan

Image source: https://www.yo-kart.com

Often thought of as the unique selling proposition of the world of e-commerce and marketing, chatbots are short for chat robot technology which has the ability to simulate human interactions, in this case sales assistant and consumer interactions, through artificial intelligence. This software can interact with consumers, answer their queries as well as their concerns in the format of a regular conversation which uses text and sometimes even voice and images.

The realm of telegenic marketing is fast evolving with innovative ideas and strategies being introduced. It is considered that chatbots are an asset to e-commerce stores due to their ability to cultivate a shopping experience that resembles real life commerce. To what extent can chatbots assist the e commerce business? That is something that must be discussed in detail before a company chooses to adopt this novel strategy.

Improving Consumer Interaction

A research conducted by Sprout Social came to the conclusion that 5 out of 6 messages that require a reply go completely unanswered by most companies with a waiting time of around 10 hours being the average for those which do get a reply eventually. It is frustrating for customers to […]

Should I Still Be Blogging?

Over time, the internet has changed. People engage more with posts on social media platforms that they do with posts that you create on your own blog. Plus, blog posts tend to be much longer, typically 800 words or more. People have short attention spans and as a result, no one reads an entire post, much less a book. In fact, they don’t even read their emails. They just scan it to get the major ideas. Since blogs don’t have the traction they once did, the question is often asked, “Should I even bother writing blog posts anymore?”

It depends. Blogs are a great way to create fresh content that search engines find important. This in turn drives traffic to your website. So if you want to get quality, organic traffic to your website on a regular basis, then you absolutely MUST create new consistent content in the form of a blog.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about anyone ever finding your site, or you are willing to pay large sums of money for advertisements to drive people to your website, then by all means, don’t ever write another blog post.

OK, so I know this […]

Should I Write My Own Copy?

I expect to get hate mail and backlash from some copywriters out there for this article. I’ve heard all the arguments before, and even had them compare their skills to mine as an ecommerce web designer. After all, anyone can create a website today right? Templated website builders now allow anyone to create their own website and sell online, so why should they hire me? Copywriters are in the same boat: this is something you can do yourself, so why should you hire someone to do it for you?

Here’s the thing: You are the expert on what you are selling, so it makes sense that you should write your own copy. I’m a huge believer in creating content – lots of content that your followers will consume. If you hire a copywriter to create all of your content, you are either a very large company, or you will soon go broke. Copywriters will try to sell you on their services using arguments like freeing up your time, or that you aren’t any good at it, so let them do it for you. Most of those arguments are rubbish. The fact is, you need to be producing your own content. If you aren’t good at it, then you need to learn to at least become moderately proficient. Weekly blog posts, social media posts and other ongoing content is best produced in house by you, the expert on what your business has to offer.

I read an article recently about why a certain web designer doesn’t let her clients hire copywriters, and I completely agree. The underlying reason why people think they should hire a copywriter is something that no copywriter can solve for them, and that is the ability to sell their product or services to their customers. This is something you MUST learn yourself. You can read the complete article here.  If you have not given enough thought to your unique selling proposition and marketing strategy where you cannot clearly convey your message to someone else, you have a fundamental business problem. You absolutely must fix these issues first.

If you have not given enough thought to your unique selling proposition and marketing strategy where you cannot clearly convey your message to someone else, you have a fundamental business problem. Click To Tweet

Once you have your business issues resolved, writing everyday copy should be pretty easy. Just pretend you are talking to a friend. Nobody likes to be sold to, so simply tell a story about your product or service as if you are explaining it to a single person. Use and active voice and be concise. Use the rule of three when listing features and benefits. Address any objections upfront. If you follow these few simple steps, you will produce your own copy that is better than what a third party person is likely to come up with, because it will be coming from what you truly believe in. It will be more authentic and will resonate with your audience.

Stop hiding behind a copywriter. Writing your own copy will be better because it will be more authentic and will resonate with your audience.

Simple steps to writing effective copy:

  • Explaining your product or service to a single person
  • Use an active voice
  • Be concise
  • Use the rule of three when listing features and benefits
  • Address any objections upfront

Still…I believe that you should engage a professional copywriter for your business. What? Here’s why… […]

Every Content Marketer Should Know These Best WordPress Plugins

by Bilal Imtiaz

In today’s world, content marketing is on the rise. What with the obsession with consumerism, new and engaging forms of media and brand consciousness, it is key that businesses are able to capture the market’s attention. And what better way to do this than through the virtual world.

Now, if you are a content marketer striving to show your all in this fiercely competitive field, your best friend is WordPress and its many plugins. With so many to sift through, selecting the right one often becomes a puzzling choice. But fear not, we’ve compiled a list of the best WordPress Plugins that every content marketer just needs to know.

WordPress Plugins
What exactly is a WordPress plugin? Well, a plugin is a form of software that allows the user to add specific functions to a WordPress website, thereby enhancing their web design and making it more appealing. Here are some of the best:

1. Security Plugins
In the simplest of words, any business’ website is one of their most valuable assets. It is an asset that calls for security measures to be taken to ensure its safety. According to research conducted by WP White Security, seventy percent of all WordPress websites are exposed to hackers. This figure is unthinkably high, and in such circumstances, precaution must be taken.

The Plugins that prevent breaches of this sort fall under the security tool category. Specifically speaking, Limit Login Attempts, Wordfence and iThemes Security are examples of the most effective security plugins, to name but a few.

As the name states, Limit Login Attempts places a specific restriction on the number of tries one can carry out to log in to their account. This gives hackers a narrower margin of success. Another similar plugin is the WP Limit Login Attempts, which performs the same function but with more efficient results.

Wordfence, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive security plugin. Not only does it have the ability to scan files for viruses and bugs, but it can also ban certain IPs and IP ranges if it suspects that they are of a harmful nature.

And lastly, iThemes Security enables two factor authorization to be set up for all passwords and accounts. Its best feature, though, is the fact that it allows businesses to develop short term accounts for any individual that they may want to grant access of their website to, whether this be for the purpose of updating their web design, content or other features.

2. Yoast SEO
SEO is crucial for any content marketer, no matter how big or small. And here to help every content marketer achieve it, is Yoast SEO. This plugin allows for a number of specifications to be made, tailor-made to your web design and area of activity. And of course, always pushing for higher search engine rankings.

With Yoast SEO, the wand is in your hand. You can modify keywords, images, meta titles and descriptions all while pushing for a higher readability score. The option of such customization helps your website stand out amongst hordes of others.

If Yoast SEO isn’t your pick, then there are a number of other SEO plugins to choose from, including Squirrly, Link Patrol and Google XML Sitemaps.

3. Editorial Calendar
One of the biggest struggles of content marketing is time management. Keeping up with deadlines, ensuring that content is created and not missing out on important dates is sure to put any content marketer in a whirlwind. This is where the Editorial Calendar plugin comes in. With an easy to use select and place function, this plugin allows you to organize your very own schedule by marking key days and adding in short notes. It also notifies you of upcoming or missed deadlines, to help you stay on track!

4. Floating Social Bar
What any content marketer wants is for their website to be ranked higher up on search engine results. Well, one of the major factors that search engines study in order to allot rankings is speed. The higher faster your operating time, the more wonders it will do for your website’s ranking. The Floating Social Bar plugin takes care of speed, or at least it appears to. It displays a copy button with the accurate number count till the actual sharing process has been carried out. By allowing share buttons to be added in for each individual media platform, such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more the Floating Social Bar plugin increases social media shares.

5. Google Language Translator
Content marketing is a global phenomenon. It stretches to all parts of the world, targeting millions of people every day. This is why it is crucial for any website to be accessible to people speaking a range of languages, in order to boost user accessibility. The Google Language Translator plugin translates your website’s content into up to a hundred different languages, doing marvels for both your rankings and usability. The best part is that […]

Content Marketing for Ecommerce

Many of my recent blogs, social media posts, memes, live seminars, podcasts, videos and online training courses have all been about content creation. (Notice all the different content types I’ve been creating myself?) clearly I am a huge believer in content marketing as it helps you to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Content marketing has become the major digital marketing tactic, with over 90% of B2B and nearly 90% of B2C marketers including content in each of their marketing campaigns. But this growth in popularity has brought about several important outcomes:

  • Content creation is quickly exceeding content demand.
  • Consumers have access to more content they possibly need. It’s getting harder and harder to surprise or engage them.
  • It’s getting harder to compete with bigger content marketing budgets. The more that big brands start building content in your niche, the higher the content standards, and the more your target audience expects from any content they come across, including yours.

These trends cause concern for small businesses trying to gain an edge with their internet marketing. Most likely, you are already strained trying to create consist, quality content, but there is so much already out there, you wonder if you should even both. Will anyone even notice or care about what you are creating? Those are valid concerns, but content marketing is not going away, it is simply evolving. The great thing about digital marketing is that ingenuity and creativity can always win over big marketing budgets.

Here are some major content marketing trends (that are already happening) and how to use them to your advantage, especially if you have an ecommerce store where you are selling products online.

Content Collaboration

Content collaboration means working with other people (inside and/or outside your company) on creating and marketing your content. You might use influencers, joint-venture partners, affiliates, and non-marketing employees to help build your content. In a recent interview I had with my podcast, JV Crum III said that you should consider everyone you meet a potential partner. I believe this is true. My friend and colleague Ken McArthur says we can accomplish so much more by working together than by working alone. Try to think of ways that you can collaborate with others, both inside and outside your industry to create content that even large organizations with big budgets can’t compete with.

Try to think of ways that you can collaborate with others, both inside and outside your industry to create content that even large organizations with big budgets can't compete with. Click To Tweet

Take this a step further by guest blogging and being a guest on other people’s podcasts. Few ecommerce companies are doing this and it will help you spread your content and your message.

Content Personalization

Despite all the growing privacy concerns, dynamic personalization is a significant trend that customizes the web experience for each particular user. This is not the same as segmenting, which simply provides a customized experience to an identified group of customers, and it goes beyond simply inserting a person’s name in an email. Amazon has been providing customized user experience for ages, and while this is the gold standard to emulate, you probably don’t have the programming budget of an amazon or Netflix. Still, even with a WordPress website, there are certain things you can do to engage your visitors with more personalized content. for example, the plugin “If-So,” offers many personalization options. Watch this video for more information:

Interactive content

One advantage in-store shopping still has over the online experience is, in most cases, interactivity. Shopping in person can be a more engaging experience, and many still find it relatively fun. E-commerce retailers can […]

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