Sales, Not Statistics

When you’re designing a website for your business, you’ll want to take into account a lot of different things. How easy is it to navigate? Have you optimised the site for Search Engines? For the mobile devices that 30% of your traffic is bound to come from? How about for real life, actual people? After all, they’re the ones who help you make a profit.

People are going to find you from a variety of sources, and that’s brilliant. If you’ve got an effective marketing strategy, you’ll be making sales from many different areas. Social Media, in 2014, is obviously a huge one, because you can speak to so many different people across a vast range of platforms. You can use insights to see what works and what doesn’t, and you can then use that information to improve your strategy and of course capitalise on your ROI. When it comes to search marketing, perhaps you’re using a variety of campaigns, from PPC to SEO, link building or perhaps you’re relying on organic traffic due to your brand name alone.

website design

But how will you know where the leads are coming from? For example, say your business requires people to call you for enquiries or to make a sale, and you get 100 calls per day. If 98 of those calls are because of your Facebook presence, one percent is down to Twitter and the remaining one percent is people who have found you on Google, which tells you a lot about how successful each platform truly is. But how do you find this out? Calltracks is a fantastic service which you can use to do precisely that, meaning you know where the leads are coming from that actually convert. The technology works by offering out a different phone number to each different area of your marketing, which will change depending on the source of how a customer found you. These numbers can then be traced back for you to analyse. You can then carry on doing what you’re doing in the best areas, and work on improving others to become even more successful.

When it comes to the data you’re getting from each different source, it can be tricky to keep track and to analyse each one. When you work for a really large corporate company, this can actually be an almost impossible task. When you’ve got customers coming in from a range of different sources (which, hopefully you’ll be able to establish, from the above!), you need to be able to integrate it from all channels, seamlessly. DQ Global are particularly good for this purpose, as they free up your time to make use of all the data for better results.

Ultimately, it’s important to know what all of your data means. The sooner you do, the sooner you can arm yourself with it to make a real difference for your company’s sales and profits.

10 Important Tips to Build a More Usable E-commerce Website

Follow these 10 tips to build a more usable ecommerce website. With growing competition in ecommerce, you should know how to draw customers and how to make your website popular and usable. Your site must be customer-friendly and the purchase process quick and convenient for improving usability.

1. Call-to-Action Buttons

Make use of call-to-action buttons on your site for improving usability. You should make these buttons stand out by considering the color, font, button size, position and wordings. These buttons should be able to draw attention and be clear from the website’s background.

2. Avoid Lengthy Registration Process

Online shoppers will find it annoying, if they are made to undergo a lengthy process of signing up. It’s better to let them checkout your products without registering. You can ask them to sign up later, to make their purchase easier for next time. This way you can improve sales and customer retention and decrease cart abandonment.

3. Search Option

Having search option on your ecommerce site helps customers in finding the products of their choice easily. Browsing through every page and reading descriptions of all the displayed website products can be frustrating for anyone. You can provide category wise search process so that buyers can find the products quickly.

4. Security Assurance

Online shoppers need to feel confident about making purchases at your online store. You must guarantee personal information security to your customers. You should obtain a trust certificate such as VeriSign, Hacker Safe and SSL certificate to build good reputation. This way you can gain trust and provide effective security.

Important Tips to Build a More Usable E-commerce Website

5. Breadcrumb Navigation

When making purchases, the customers should know the status of their purchase and the number of steps required in completing the process. If not, the customers think the procedure is time consuming and quit it halfway through. With breadcrumb navigation, the customers will be able to go back to the previous step and make changes if they want to, without having to start from scratch.

6. Attractive Photos

It is important to use appealing photos of your products to attract customers. You should display photos of high quality, provide close up shots and multiple angle views of the products. Try to maintain consistency in the photography throughout the website. This helps in making browsing and online shopping experience better for customers.

7. Categorize Products

You must group products and services in a consistent manner, as it has an impact on sales. Products must be categorized according to their use, along with the products that are used together with them. Relevant information about the products must be provided alongside, for every category.

8. Easy Cart Access

Shopping cart must be easily visible to customers on your site on each page on top or onto the right. They should be able to see the contents of their cart anytime and know about the total cost. Customers must be provided with addition or removal of items anytime at any stage, without refreshing. A checkout button must be provided alongside the cart to make the purchase process quicker.

9. Customer Relationships

You can build good relationships by finding customers who are exclusive to your website and offering discounts, sales and special offers to them. You can inform about new products, relevant news, etc through emails. This helps in building loyal customer base.

10. Avoid Hidden Costs

Customers must be specified about the overall cost when they choose a product. You should display the cost, tax and shipping charges at the earliest. Customers tend to get angry, if they are charged extra when making payment and are likely to leave the process, feeling betrayed to visit next time.

The 10 WordPress Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

The WordPress mistakes to avoid at all costs help people to get a proper understanding of the things to avoid while using WordPress for their website development.

1. Using Administrator for Posting Content

It is always a good idea to disguise WordPress installation as it doesn’t leave the site vulnerable to hacker attacks. Guessing the username becomes quite easy when it is displayed within the post. Contributor account should be used to work on the content.

2. Avoid Too Many Plugins

WordPress provides its users with plenty of plugins that can be easily downloaded and installed. However, inclusion of several plugins can bring down the performance of the site which is why it always better to use limited plugins within the site.

3. Keeping Username of Administrator as Admin

This is a common WordPress mistake which can still be observed. Hackers get the opportunity to hack into the site quite easily especially when this username is combined with a poor password.

4. Inappropriate Monitoring of Comments

Monitoring comments proves to be a difficult task for most, especially when there is huge amount of spam. But, filtering the spam is extremely easy with the Akismet plugin. Replying to comments is another thing which needs to be done on a routine basis so as to engage the readers.

WordPress Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

5. Inefficient Back-Up

Backing up the system helps to stay secured during times of emergency. Restoration options are available in plenty in the form of Bluehost, BackWPup and VaultPress.

6. Categories Over Usage

A frequent WordPress mistake committed by most is the addition of categories only to main navigation. Sites that have heavy content can have posts as well as popular tags within main navigation. Category usage should be limited and tags should be used for bringing for things together.

7. Weak Content

If the site is content focused then, effort should be made to include grammatically correct content within it. Sites with weak content do not get repeated visits from the viewers which hampers its ranking and popularity.

8. Using Copyrighted Images

People working on WordPress sites tend to add images from Google images without even giving it a second thought. It might be okay for personal blogs, but not official blogs. Images should be selected from public domain or Creative Commons License.

9. Ignoring Updates

The core developers of WordPress work tirelessly for improving its speed, efficiency and user interface. Updates are provided when vulnerability or bug is found within the site. Updating the site can be completed with few clicks and essential for proper performance of the site.

10. Not Making the Site Mobile Compatible

With the advent of Smartphones, internet usage on mobile devices has increased to a great extent. Therefore, the WordPress site should be made responsive to view it from different mobile devices.

These common WordPress mistakes to avoid at all costs will ensure keeping the sites safe and secured from hacker attacks as well as ensure optimum performance and stability.

The Top 10 Golden Rules for Digital Icons

Iconography has gained immense significance in digital designing and development. The increasing efficiency in human-computer interactivity is the result of consistently improving modes of interaction, such as icons. However, creating effective icons demands certain degree of expertise and the golden rules for digital icons is compilation of advices of those who have mastered the art.

1. Appropriate Size

Size and scalability of icons are essential for visually appealing interface. The best approach is to design iteratively for different OS and expected displays – from Smartphones to smart TVs. Icons are expected to be consistent on the smallest display as well as on the largest display.

2. Familiarity with Formats

PNG is the most common image format especially for multi-OS design. However, one of the popular golden rules for digital icons is to know about all the image formats so that their feasibility can be assessed according to the requirement of the project.

3. Forms & Functions

The debate over form and function is futile. Best icons can be created only when equal importance is given to both and balance is maintained.

Golden Rules for Digital Icons

4. Knowing Audience

It is an obvious necessity to know who are the users, what services they use and when, where, why and how they use it. The golden rules for digital icons say there is no room for assumptions. In case of global presence, use of unambiguous icons or localisation is recommended.

5. Managing Convention and Innovation

Uniqueness is good but should not be overdone. Especially for small projects, readymade of-the-shelf icons are as good as bespoke ones. However, personal touch of creativity can be added to the design it has to meet brand guidelines.

6. Originality

Many developers manipulate icons of other websites to make them suitable for theirs. It only shows lack of skill and tendency of piracy. Icons should be designed exclusively for specific projects.

7. Placement

Defining the position of icons precisely is very important. Popping-up icons have become a trend but not convention. The liveliness of icons should never take the centre-stage as it can divert focus from the brand.

8. Planning

Perhaps, the most important among golden rules for digital icons is planning. Before icons are created, their location on the interface, probable frequency of use and their ability to fit on the page has to be determined. Texts are recommended wherever they suffice.

9. Purposeful Design

Digital world is overcrowded with attractive visuals and even the most beautiful icon can fadeout without a purpose. Creating icons only when there is reasonable need of it is very understandable aspect for designing icons.

10. Single Icon Family

Icons are used for different purposes. It is a golden rule for digital icon to use one family of icons for one purpose and another for others so that clear distinction is maintained. For example, set of icons for navigation, search, social media, etc. should appear different from each other.

How to Brand Your Blog and Content Effectively and Easily

Blogging not only helps you to keep in touch with the audience but also assists with SEO. However, it is crucial to know how to brand your blog and content so that you can promote your blog in the best possible manner.

blog_branding-impression

Knowing your audience

Branding remains incomplete if you are not aware of the audience towards whom the blog is targeted. This is an essential aspect of branding and most of the times people fail to recognize their target audience. The biggest challenge is to balance the blog content between attracting new audiences and informing existing audiences by creating content of varying types. However, if you try to remain consistent and think carefully before conveying any message then the message can certainly get delivered to the audiences you are targeting.

Aspiration for your blog

Another important factor when it comes to branding your blog and content is that you need to have clear idea about the message that you are trying to deliver. You need to be well aware of what you are trying to contribute and what the exact purpose of the blog is. Instead of paying attention to different activities, it is always a good idea to focus on one of the ideas at a time. Things can get mixed up which wouldn’t be great for the branding and popularity of the blog.

Differentiation is the key

Your style, personal experience and perspective are extremely important when it comes to making your blog unique and different from others. Success lies in making your blog different from the blogs by several other bloggers throughout the world. It is good to be introspective and even consider the perspective of the readers so as to come up with something that is not only creative but unique in different ways.

Quality and consistency

These two factors need to be considered every time you start blogging or even while you are planning the editorial calendar. Quality of the content and keeping consistent with this practice is important to brand your blog and content effectively and efficiently. Not only it helps the readers to get an idea about what you are dealing with and what is the message that you are conveying but also offers your blog an identity of its own.

Connecting with the audience

The world has become a network of social connections and it is important for you to consider as to how you stay connected with your readers, press and brand. Different people adopt different methodologies so that they can stay in touch with their customers at all times. This can be achieved through weekly newsletter, pitch letters and reader spotlight.

If you keep these simple points in mind then it wouldn’t be hard for you to know how to brand your blog and content with the right message directed towards your niche audience.

Getting Traffic Through YouTube Marketing

Getting traffic through YouTube marketing can be a tricky one but it can be as easy as any everyday ritual if certain techniques are followed. There have been instances where videos which have gone viral have turned the fortunes for the blog owners with a great chunk of traffic diverted to their websites.

YouTube SEO

Loading up videos with right tags and keywords

The more keywords one places in their videos, it creates more opportunities for people in finding that particular video. For example, if a person has uploaded a video related to peanuts and is using “peanuts” as its keyword, then the video will appear only when people starts searching with that specific keyword only. But if that person uses keywords such as “cashews, groundnuts, nuts, almond, and protein foods”, then it automatically opens up a massive door through which visitors can walk through. One must make sure that the “Tags” field is used properly and ethically and is filled with as many tags as possible. This is where people generally make the biggest mistakes.

Transcribing the videos

At present, websites don’t possess the ability in accurately fetching keywords directly from the video’s spoken audio and as a result, written keywords still play a key role in video rankings. The words of a great video presentation can be transcribed by using speechpad.com in order to get lots of SEO fuel to instantly boost the video’s rankings. The transcription needs to be pasted into the video Description field. This not only makes it simple for viewers to consume the video but also helps in getting traffic through YouTube marketing.

Replying to a famous video

Getting traffic through YouTube marketing can only be ensured if video reply can be posted to the videos on YouTube. This simply means that any video one publishes, a “video comment” can be left by someone referencing to that video specifically. This “video comment” pops up below the YouTube video. This can be used in reverse manner as well. One can look for a famous video (with millions of hits) and post their video as a reply. It gives the video a much required exposure to millions of people as they get to see it just because it got posted in the reply column. However, one must remember that this can be done only once so they must choose it wisely.

Using right keywords in video titles

Keywords need to be inserted into the video title when relevant. For instance, if someone has a video about fixing laptop keyboards then instead of using a title like “Broken Keys”, one can use a richly descriptive one like “How to fix/ repair broken laptop keyboard – PC, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro”. This is an important step to be followed when it comes to getting traffic through YouTube marketing.

Directing links to videos

SEO is not only considered as the perfect way in boosting the PR on respective domains but also plays a big part for ranking videos on YouTube. When one is having a lot of authority sites directing link to their YouTube videos, they rank higher because of the keywords that in turn results in boosting the number of visits to the site.

The 10 Reasons Every Designer Should Use deviantART

DeviantART also known as dA is considered a mixture of social media website and file hosting service. There are several reasons why every designer should use deviantART as it helps in better understanding the advantages of this unique platform for artists.

1. Sharing advice

This is a platform where people can get constructive criticism towards improving their art from other members of the community and even provide their own advices to others.

2. Getting the required exposure

Contests are run by deviantART where artists get the chance to submit their best artworks which increase the possibility of it being seen by different people from all over the world. The person in turn gets the much required exposure for making his/her artwork famous.

3. Enhancing the social circle

By participating in contests and commenting something good about other people’s pages, it is quite easy to make new friends and increase the social circle.

deviantART

4. Website layout

Another reason every designer should use deviantART is that a layout category is featured by dA where the choices can range from veritable to professional artwork. One can find layouts in design section while searching through the categories.

5. Increase earnings

Members of the community who have premium membership can do a lot of things with their blogs for personalizing its appearance. Apart from that, they can sell prints of their artwork through the online store to increase their earnings even though a certain percentage is kept by the site.

6. Multiple media formats

dA apart from being known as an image hosting site, offers various other categories to select from media formats such as video, text, applications, flash animations and more. A good reason every designer should use deviantART is that they can get a background for their site simply from dA to offer it some brand new identity.

7. Thinking outside the box

Members of dA get the opportunity to explore beyond the talent they possess so as to target for that exceptional piece of work. This helps them to showcase their talent and get noticed by other people.

8. Access to artists

Those who wish to spruce up their websites can get help from the massive community of dA which includes writers, skilled painters, photographers, digital artists as well as programmers. Some of the members have expansive galleries within the site which offers access to huge repository of talent.

9. File hosting

Apart from finding ideas, artists and contents, dA also acts as secondary hosting option when it comes to images. Users can also embed films hosted within the site into their website.

10. Art & creative commons licensing

The dA site offers the opportunity to users for posting their work under Creative Commons License indicating that massive gallery content is available free for use.

The reasons every designer should deviantART clearly indicates that, it is the perfect platform for aspiring and new designers not only to showcase their talent but even to learn a lot about their area of expertise.

4 Head-Smacking Design Tips to Increase E-Commerce Sales

From fonts to photos, there’s a lot more to a successful e-commerce website than meets the eye. Small changes – often changes that affect just a few pixels on each page – can have an incredible effect on sales, click-through rates, and profit.

These four head-smacking design tips, courtesy of Custard Online Marketing, may seem simple, but they’re often all that’s required to take an otherwise unsuccessful e-commerce website and turn it into a lucrative online market leader.

UntitledSmall design tweaks are often enough to massively boost conversions.

1. Keep key information above the fold

Many e-commerce websites try to fit as much unique content onto their product pages as possible, largely to maximise SEO performance. This is a great tactic for maximising traffic, but it can have some side effects when it comes to sales.

The average customer is rarely interested in reading a 500-word description of a product, despite Google’s algorithmic interest. Instead, they want to read the key information – benefits, features, pricing, and other important information.

Split your on-page content into two sections – a short, snappy description that’s focused on benefits and key features for the top of the page, and a long product description that’s below the fold for search engines and enthusiasts to focus on.

2. Simplify your sales and checkout process

A complicated checkout is an unsuccessful checkout. The fewer forms, fields, and dropdown boxes you have on your checkout page, the smoother the process will be for your customers.

Spend some time going over your shopping cart and checkout pages to make sure they’re easy to use. Simple things like auto-populating certain boxes using known customer data can save time and, in many cases, increase conversion rates.

3. Develop a detailed, specific, and powerful search

Does your e-commerce website have hundreds of products for sale? If so, you need to have a search engine that’s powerful enough to find what customers want, when they need it.

Add extra features to your search engine to make it as easy as possible for users to find what they’re looking for. For example, if you sell shoes online, adding a search feature that allows users to search by size makes it easier to find suitable products.

4. Use high resolution images and product videos

Images and video are the keys to a successful e-commerce website. High resolution, detailed images are often the difference between an average e-commerce store and an industry leader.

Try to use the highest possible quality images for your website, preferably a variety of images showing your product from several angles. HD video, especially a product demonstration video, can also have a positive impact on your conversion rate.

Cloud Backup Solutions for WordPress Blogs

Cloud backup solutions for WordPress need to be considered because even hardcore professionals do face backup problems with the way cybercrime is spreading its wings these days. Back in April this year a “botnet” attacked WordPress just weeks after its security was increased to a two-step authentication. Users using the username ‘admin’ were advised immediately to change it. Several queries coming-in from users also revealed that at the time of migrating servers, there exist fair amount of possibility in losing data.

One can avoid these problems by adopting cloud backup solutions for WordPress blogs. Normally, credit cards are the preferred mode of payment here. Some of the Cloud backup solutions that one can be looked upon are described here.

VaultPress

VaultPress

VaultPress is a popular Cloud backup solution for WordPress. It comes with 3 package options – enterprise, premium and basic. This plug-in can be installed via WordPress dashboard, with the rest of the process being fairly automated. The package starts at $15. The files stored in the database are scanned on a daily basis, but depending on the preferences, one can also set backups on a weekly basis. One-click restoration is supported by the plug-in. Real-time notifications are provided in the status bar when data gets backed up.

CodeGuard

CodeGuard

This offers a plug-in along with direct backup option through FTP/SFTP and MySQL. A key code is required at the time of installing the plug-in, which one receives after buying the service. WordPress blogs are backed up automatically by this service. The service supports other platforms as well like Joomla and Magneto. The service charges $5 for the minimum package and provides a backup space of 5GB per site. Packages available are Showgun, Samurai and Ronin. One-click restoration is also provided by this service.

BlogVault

BlogVault

The best part about BlogVault is that first-time users can opt for its free 7-day trial service before purchasing it. Depending on preferences, BlogVault can be installed automatically or manually. Backups can be created every hour, every day or every week. Options will also be offered to the users in whether they want to back up their entire site or just some files. It also comes with an option of “Test and Restore”, where one can preview the entire backup process and how restoration takes place. The service will be charging $9 for one website, whereas multiple blog owners can opt for $19 and $39 package options.

BackWPup

BackWPup

This plug-in can be used in saving the entire installation and move them to an external backup service such as S3, FTP, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace cloud, SugarSync and Dropbox, etc. With one backup .zip file one can restore an installation easily. This is a free version and is not as good as BackWPup Pro version.

Using these cloud backup solutions it becomes much easier for the website owners to keep their sites protected. Moreover, these come at pretty decent rates which would not be too costly compared to the features they come with.

Five Tips to Make you a Better Graphic Designer

As is the case in every industry, there are those who succeed in design because they work hard and have an affinity with the subject, and there are those who fail because they don’t put enough effort in and who see their daily routine as nothing more than a chore. This industry is fast-moving and open to change, so staying on top of one’s game is vital.

Maintaining enthusiasm, and reacting to it as and when appropriate, can make the difference between coasting through the day and savouring every second of it. Those who truly want to get to the top of their career ladders will need to know when and how to improve, and that isn’t always easy. Here are five tips that will help any individual to become a better designer.

Tips to Make you a Better Graphic Designer

1.    Go with the flow

If you already work in the design sector, even if you’ve only been involved for a short period of time, you will be all too aware of the constant flow of new concepts and new trends. Rather than always trying to come up with something fresh, sometimes you need to absorb the influences of others. There will be occasions when it’s best to simply ride the waves.

2.    Gain the qualifications, master the art

Like many other industry sectors, it can be somewhat difficult to progress in design, so it’s hugely important that you gain the necessary qualifications to succeed. A graphic design degree from IDI will impress recruiters and will show them you have the skills and the knowledge to make a genuine difference in this fascinating yet demanding world.

3.    Look backwards to go forward

Every great designer knows that previous influences and trends can provide a sense of inspiration for new ideas. That’s why it’s so important to build an understanding of the history of design, and to develop a keen eye for concepts that will work in the contemporary world. Thinking individually is vital, of course, but peripheral vision of previous ideas will help.

4.    Be bold, be innovative

If you think a particular idea is a little too ‘out there’, try to imagine how others would see it. There’s nothing wrong with pushing a boundary or two every once in a while, so think in terms of boldness and go for it. Anyone with a graphic design degree will tell you that it’s good to be bold with ideas, and that vivid colours in a grey world are what it’s all about.

5.    Never switch off

The very best graphic designers will never truly switch their minds off. Even when they are relaxing away from the working environment they will be watching and noting things from the world around them. The inspiration for many of the finest ideas came from relatively mundane objects at the unlikeliest of times, so make sure you’re always on alert.