How to Rank on Page 1 of Google in less than 30 Seconds

The number one question that any web designer gets asked is “How can I get listed on page 1 of Google?” While there are no 100% guarantees, the method I’m going to describe in this post will likely land you in that coveted spot, especially for geographically based searches. We have proven this method over and over again and it works, without paying huge sums of money or waiting months to get ranked. Doing this involves the use of YouTube (a Google owned property). Here’s why this works:

80% of all internet content consumed today is Video. People spend 88% more time on a website with video, and 72% of visitors prefer video. Companies that create video content earn 41% more traffic from search engines results than those who don’t. Adding a video to a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Only 9% of all businesses actually are using YouTube. Click To Tweet

Yet, only 9% of all businesses actually are using YouTube. Did you hear what I just said? Only 9% of businesses are actually using YouTube! YouTube is the number 2 search engine and the 3rd most popular website in the world. If you utilize YouTube properly, you can get to the top of Google. These are the steps to follow… […]

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. […]

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… […]

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 […]

Ratings & Reviews

Reputation management is essential on review sites

Consumers are talking about a business whether that business is aware of it or not (and whether businesses have claimed their business profile or not). As a result, we all know that ratings and reviews can make or break a business. Consistently poor reviews can put a company out of business, while consistently great reviews can help create exponential growth. One or two bad reviews can be overcome with lots of great reviews, but just one or two great reviews will not overcome lots of bad reviews. The fact is, you need lots of good reviews about your business to remain competitive in today’s online world. That means you need to provide not just a good product or service, but a great product or service that people want to talk about.

Incentivized reviews (you offer something in exchange for a review) are frowned upon, and can even get you banned from some platforms. So, how do you go about getting lots of great reviews? And what platform or platforms should you concentrate on? For example, are Facebook reviews as important as Yelp reviews? The answer is that it depends upon your business. Let’s explore your options.

Are Facebook reviews as important as Yelp reviews? It depends upon your business Click To Tweet

Google

Google is probably the number one place people look for reviews on your business, if for no other reason than that is where they are searching for your business. Your “Google My Business” listing is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It displays information about your business, including reviews that people leave directly on Google.

There is a button on your Google My business listing that allows people to click on it and write a review. You should do this yourself, then copy the link and share it with your customers. You may want to shorten the link with a url shortner like bit.ly to make it easier to share and more memorable, such as bit.ly/reviewwebstores.

You’ll notice that […]

Google’s June 2019 Core Update

Over a 5 day period earlier this month, ending on June 8th, Google rolled out a Core Update to its search algorithm. Unlike past updates that were given names like Panda or Penguin, this update is simply referred to as the June 2019 Core Update, but its impact is just as big.

Google frequently updates their algorithm, so ranking your site on the first page of the search results is a constantly moving target. And of course, Google never tells you exactly what the changes are, but based on my research here is what I have discovered from multiple sources.

The focus of this update is on quality and relevance. Google is no longer concerned just with keywords, but rather with the user’s intent. Google built its current algorithm around RankBrain, a machine learning (AI) algorithm Google uses to help sort and improve the search results. According to Backlinko:

In short, RankBrain tweaks the algorithm on its own.

Depending on the keyword, RankBrain will increase or decrease the importance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority, etc.

Then, it looks at how Google searchers interact with the new search results. If users like the new algorithm better, it stays. If not, RankBrain rolls back the old algorithm.

Notice that content freshness and content length continue to play a huge role in what Google determines to be important. Blue Corona has identified these items to be Google’s top ranking factors in 2019: […]

Today’s Most Effective Marketing Tool

Several years ago, SMS marketing became a very popular tool. You’ve seen it. “Text ‘PIZZA’ to 55-555 for regular coupons at your favorite pizzeria.”

Texting is the most used data service in the world. People text for hundreds reasons every day! And virtually all messages are read almost instantly – 96% are read within 3 minutes of being sent. The average response time for text messages is just 90 seconds! This blows away every other marketing tool, including email which averages a 20% open rate. Because of its prevalence and popularity among consumers, texting could be the single most beneficial tool for your business that you’re not already using.

But how do you turn texting into an automated marketing tool instead of texting your customers one by one? The answer is to use a bulk SMS mass text-messaging platform like TextMagic. The fact is, customers would rather text you than have to call someone else. Last year, only 14% of phone calls to businesses were answered without being placed on hold.

A fully-featured 30 day trial of TextMagic is available for you to try and no credit card is required!

Have you ever been given a list of contact information with address and phone numbers but no email addresses? Most often those phone numbers are cell numbers! and you don’t need to worry about clogging up your personal cell number with business messages or making yourself open to everyone, as TextMagic uses virtual mobile numbers and messages can come back to you via email or through your online dashboard. Click here to start your 30 day trial of TextMagic.

iTunes is Dead!

I don’t know if you’ve heard?

But Apple is killing iTunes.

After 18 years, Apple decided to end the app and move on to other ventures. (Sort of…)

Why should you care?

I’ll tell ya. […]

From Marketing Gimmick to Pop Culture

Recently,  I read an article about how pedometers have proliferated in smartphone apps and wearable fitness trackers. The article discussed how a new benchmark has entered our lives: Take at least 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles of walking for most people. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, says “It turns out the original basis for this 10,000-step guideline was really a marketing strategy. In 1965, a Japanese company was selling pedometers, and they gave it a name that, in Japanese, means ‘the 10,000-step meter.”

Based on conversations she’s had with Japanese researchers, Lee believes that name was chosen for the product because the character for “10,000” looks sort of like a man walking. As far as she knows, the actual health merits of that number have never been validated by research.

This got me thinking about other marketing gimmicks that have become part of our pop culture, and how brands can have this type of impact on society.

In the 1930s, Coca-Cola, in need of a spokesman to spur sales in the slow-for-cola winter months, took the images of Santa and galvanized them into the red-suited, white-bearded, sack-carrying, merry, rotund figure we have today.

In 1924, Macy’s welcomed the world’s largest department store with their first parade in New York City. Although held on the morning of Thanksgiving, it was presented as a Christmas parade with floats featuring favorite nursery-rhyme characters, matching the theme of their window display that year. Today, it is an American tradition.

On the morning of October 21, 1892, children at schools across the country rose to their feet, faced a newly installed American flag and, for the first time, recited 23 words written by a man that few people today can name, Francis Bellamy. The Youth’s Companion, was the country’s largest circulation magazine, and in a marketing gimmick, the Companion offered […]

Layout Options for Web Design

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation in California on layout options for web design, so I’ve decided to share that information with our readers. Whether you are a web designer or a business owner, it is important to understand the basics of good web design to help you make decisions about your website. The first and most important thing to understand about ANY website, is that is primary purpose is to share content with your visitors. This is true whether you are selling physical goods on your site or you have an informational brochure site for a service busienss where you are just trying to attract customers to call your office. As Bill Gates said way back in 1996, “Content is King.” And it remains so today.

So, what exactly do we mean by “content?” It has been said that “Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” It can include:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Audio
  • Video

Ryan Diess say, “Content marketing is about transforming people that DO NOT know, like, and trust you into people that DO know like, and trust you.” As we can see from that quote, this is why it is so important that you are able to share content with your visitors in a way that […]

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