Neto versus Shopify: Choosing an e-commerce solution to help your online store thrive.

By | E-commerce web solutions | No Comments

If the predictions made by eMarketer in a report recently released, eventuate, by the end of 2017, online sales in Australia will have surpassed $32 billion.

This astronomical figure will put Australia in the top ten countries of online consumers in the world.

Online businesses are popping up everywhere you look these days, and with all the tools you need to lay the original foundations of an online empire, quite literally, at your fingertips; the hardest part of building your business is coming up with a unique idea.

One of the most crucial elements to the success of your online business is choosing the right e-commerce solution. After all the hard work you’ve put into bringing your original concept to fruition and creating a product that meets the needs of your market, your online store needs to be seamless, user-friendly, and reassure your customer that they’ve made the right choice in giving you their money.

If something goes wrong anywhere at the point of sale, they’ll walk away unlikely to return, and your hard work will be wasted.

As a consumer, you have many options in e-commerce providers. To help you make the decision that will give you the best outcome for your business; we’ve put together an analysis of two of the biggest frontrunners in the industry, Neto and Shopify.

History.

Shopify was established in 2004, and their website currently boasts $29 billion in sales from online retailers just like you.

From its humble beginnings over a decade ago; built to solve a consumer problem that Founders Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake were experiencing, Shopify is now marketed on its simplicity to use for you, their consumer. Great for the beginners among you!

Shopify claims it can handle your marketing, payments, and shipping, so all you need to do is install and sit back and count your dollars. Actually, they also do that bit for you too.

Neto came Storming into the market in 2011 claiming their origination was also based on the problems they’d experienced using a shopping cart themselves.

Should we take that as an indirect dig at Shopify, who currently dominate the market with 148,526 websites compared to Neto’s 1675 (stats sourced from Datanyze)? With the founders wanting to solve a problem that they’ve experienced themselves, we can safely assume they’ve experienced Shopify themselves and found a better way to do things.

Offering, in their own words, “everything you need to run your retail empire” should you choose Neto over their much more established counterpart, Shopify, and if so, why?

Well, for one, Neto mean business. In June 2015, they received backing from Telstra who are now 51% investors. This financial support has given them room to develop rapidly and put strategies for growth in place that may otherwise have taken them years.

While it might not yet be a level playing field, here’s everything you need to know to make a choice between arguably two of the hottest contenders in the e-commerce game.

Location.

Neto is a home grown Australian company and you can find a very helpful and friendly support team on the end of the phone in their Brisbane location. If your business is in Australia, you’ll be encouraged to know that Neto has a strong partnership with Australia Post which makes fulfilment and delivery seamless. Automation is the key for Neto with shipping, fulfilment and dispatch automated right across the world making the end to end customer experience for you, and your client’s, great.

Founded in Canada, Shopify is definitely much more accessible to the world than they once were. They provide overseas add-ons which are simple to use and make shipping across the world much easier, but they do cost extra which will slowly but surely bump up the price of your monthly subscription.

Cost.

Neto starts from $29 a month for a point of sale-only plan, but for most small businesses we’d recommend the Small monthly plan which starts at $79 a month (options up to $349 a month for large businesses).

Shopify’s comparable basic plan costs $29 a month and is also aimed at small or home-based businesses. Both providers offer flexibility with no lock-in contracts and plans can be changed at any time and run from month to month. If your business would suit the large business plan, yo’re looking at a minimum cost of $299 per month.

Themes.

Neto has over 70 free themes to use as the basis for your store with paid themes available for a one-off fee starting from $140. They offer a great support system if you’re stuck with how to customise these, however, we recommend the services of Media Shark to make sure you store engages your audience in a way that they can’t fail to buy from you.

Shopify also offers a broad range of free and paid-for themes (also starting from $140), and with both solutions customising by industry, you can guarantee that you’ll get something that appeals to your market, whatever your niche.

Both Neto and Shopify offer a holistic solution to your e-commerce business with no lock-in contracts, fully customisable themes to appeal to your target market, and a handy app to make the process much more convenient for you.

Here’s a brief summary of data available from Shopify (LINK www.shopify.com.au) and Neto (LINK www.neto.com.au) and compiled by Media-Shark.

 

   Shopify   Neto 
Cost per month $29 $79
Transaction Fees External gateways 2% 0%
Users 2 3
No of products Unlimited 1,000

 

There’s no doubt that the smaller fish are quickly emerging as frontrunners in the e-commerce pool and with serious backing from influential investors like Telstra, they’re stepping up their offering faster than their competitors can keep up while offering you, the consumer, much more choice. Both Neto and Shopify offer a 14-day no-obligation free trial so why don’t you give them both a try and see for yourself who you prefer?

If you need support to set up your online store so that it attracts your audience, is easy to use, and gives your customers a seamless experience with you, call today to get a quote.

How a website, should be built and appear for great SEO results – these 7 easy metrics estimate the authority of a website

By | Search Engine Optimization | One Comment

You might not be an expert on analysing website data, I’m not trying to make one out of you, but as an old Spanish saying says “El saber no ocupa lugar.” (Knowledge is no burden), with this in mind and these 7 metrics you’ll start to have a good ‘know how’ on website analytics. Are you ready?

 

What can we analyse?

 

  1. Page Authority (PA)
    Based on link count
    Best way to influence PA, with external links
    This data will predict how the search engine result pages (SERP) rank a specific page
    PA scores 1-100, high scores indicate greater ability to rank
  2. Domain Authority (DA)
    Based on link count
    Best way to influence DA, with link profile.
    This metric is meant to approximate the competitiveness of a site in Google search results. DA scores 1-100, high scores indicate greater ability to rank.
  3. External Links (EL)
    Hyperlinks that target any domain other than the source – in layman’s terms, website A links to website B = external link to B and if website B links to website A = external link to A.
    Is external links the single most important objective for higher rankings? YES
  4. Page Load Time (PLT)
    Based on the time a site takes to load
    Surveys have demonstrated that users expect a site to load in a maximum of two seconds.
    To lower PLT – use GZIP compression, optimize your images, load your scripts & CSS in external files, etc.
  5. Monthly Estimated Visits (MEV)
    Based on the traffic a site has  
    Take into account that this is an estimate, NOT an exact number.
    SimilarWeb and Open Seo Stats are a couple of FREE programs that supply you with this  specific metric.
  6. Time On Site (TOS):
    Based on how long the user stays on a specific page  
    Very good indicator to fact what the users are interested in.
    Always take into account that this metric could be distorted due to the PLT.
  7. Bounce Rate (BR):
    Based on “the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing on to view other pages within the same site.” [wikipedia]  
    Vital metric indicator of the user’s immediate response to a site or an error in a specific page of the website (fixable)

 

These are just 7 points among an array of up to 40 metrics that search engines take into account when ranking a site.

 

All website builders need to have an income, otherwise they wouldn’t survive in a capitalist economy, and it’s in these upgrades where they receive it. Some sites charge for professional templates, others have different prices for specific types of necessities and others have a free version and a premium version. As you can see in the following image, SITE123 has an Upgrade if you want to SEO your website. Are these upgrades worthwhile? Yes.  

 


comScore Search Engine Rankings – 2016

 

16.8 billion explicit core searches were conducted in February:

 

  1. Google Sites – 10.8 billion
  2. Microsoft Sites – 3.6 billion searches
  3. Yahoo Sites – 2 billion
  4. Ask Network – 273 million
  5. AOL, Inc.- 145 million

 

As you can appreciate from the figures above, the movement in search engines is astronomical, thus the opportunities are immense but, the challenge to position your site is also a huge project. It’s vital to be in constant strategic vigilance. Have you got the time?  

 

A Couple of Bonus Tips

  • TIP 1: Link building – SEOs tend to agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of their jobs. Many SEOs spend the majority of their time trying to do it well. For that reason, if you can master the art of building high-quality links, it can truly put you ahead of both other SEOs and your competition.” Paddy Moogan, author [MOZ]
  • TIP 2: New generation websites – “We have the basic idea that experts know best how a website should be built and look like. So we’ve created an easy-to-use system with ready-made styles, layouts, structures, color schemes and more, and we’re leading the user into a path that generates great results. One that he could never achieve by himself.” Noam Alloush, founder of SITE123

If you want to continue learning about SEO and Web Analytics, follow to the Sources and start the trip. I hope you’ve found this resourceful, if so spread the word!

 

 

Short BIO – Author
Christian Morales Röhss, works for SITE123, as a freelance negotiator, copywriter and translator. He has been in the business of online marketing for +5 years and is focused on the principle of LifeLong Learning (LLL). Certainly not a Digital Native nor a Digital Immigrant [Marc Prensky], more a “Dr Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Web”. He’s fused his love for writing with the marketing business and is loving it! If you want to contact Christian best way is via email: christian [at] site123 [dot] com.

Diving Deep into SEO Rankings and Mobile Optimisation for Local Businesses

By | Search Engine Optimization, Web Design & Development | No Comments

Here at Media Shark, we love playing with data (people also call that research) that reveals meaningful insights to us. We’ve been wondering if the all feared “Mobilegeddon” had any impact on the rankings for the desktop searches? We know for a fact that it did for mobile searches, but has google gone as far as de-ranking the non-mobile friendly websites or at least bringing the rankings down for them? Let us find out!

 

We were more concerned about the local businesses, as they are more likely to stick with an old website that has been serving them for a long time. Moroever, the local business owners are usually busy with their own work and have no clue about what’s going on in the SEO world. We have come across many local businesses that lost a major chunk of their business due to the mobile update from google and had no idea what caused their business to drop all of a sudden.

 

So we explored the businesses that’s located in Gold Coast, searching by the following keywords –

  • Gold coast Podiatrists
  • Gold coast personal trainers
  • Gold coast accountants
  • Gold coast Lawyers
  • Gold coast financial advisers
  • Gold coast book keepers
  • Gold coast physiotherapy
  • Gold coast chiropractor
  • Gold coast acupuncture

We took the first 30 results for these keywords to analyse, if the desktop-only sites were ranking as well as the mobile friendly one. We built a script that made use of the pagespeed API from Google and saved the data into a database. Then we ran the database through Weka (a data mining software) to find out if there were correlations between the rankings and mobile-friendliness. We have made an infographic from our findings from the data.

Well we do have some good news for the owners of the websites that do not make use of the css viewports (AKA media queries). The desktop-only sites seem to be doing fine for the Google desktop searches. In some ways, they are doing better than the updated websites. From the data we dug up for the websites from Ahrefs (more on that in another blog post coming soon), we know that this is due to the authority they carry from the old links and the age of the domains. But seemingly the Mobile update from Google has had no impact for the desktop searches. But we cannot be certain that this will always be the case going forward.

 

Anyone with an old website that does not respond well to mobiles should still upgrade their websites as the top ranking websites do have a better average mobile score. As Google tries to provide consistent results to the users, things might start going in a different direction with un-responsive websites soon.

 

To summarize, although the findings appear to have no major effect on the rankings of the websites we analyzed, they are indeed missing the mobile traffic which is growing exponentially.

Attention entrepreneurs! Here are four local SEO tips to help you build your business and stay ahead of the competition!

By | Search Engine Optimization | One Comment

Get it right, and, over time, you’ll find yourself with a constant stream of web traffic consisting of customers who are all at that lovely warm and fuzzy ‘ready to buy’ phase.

But, get it wrong, and SEO becomes SE Noooooooo, and your expensive website gets buried under a pile of your competitors who only deliver half the service that you provide to your customer.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

One of the commonly overlooked but central elements to getting your website found above the competition is local SEO.

Local SEO utilises the capabilities of search engines such as Google to promote your services to searchers who are in your area as and when they’re searching for your service.

According to Google, a staggering four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information at exactly the time they need it either with their smartphone, laptop or tablet.

So, I’m trusting that you can already see the benefit of making sure that when a customer is outside your front door, they know that you’re there waiting on the other side to greet them with open arms.

If you’re not already across this, here are four local SEO tips you should implement immediately to help build your business.

1) Claim your Google my Business page.

Follow this LINK to claim your Google my Business page.

Once verified, when your next customer types your company name and location into a Google search, a Google Maps photo of your shop front will pop up in a prominent sidebar alongside your contact details. Not only does this make it easy for the searcher to communicate with you, but it also shows Google that you’re active in your area.

2) Name, address, phone number (NAP).

Make sure your NAP is consistent across all your mediums. This information needs to appear in the same format on your Google for Business page, social media, and website. If you have a PO Box address you’ll need to add your street address instead otherwise you’ll confuse Google which will have the opposite effect.

3) Add your location and keyword throughout your website copy.

Focus on adding your exact location throughout your copy to make the Google bots stand to attention.

4) Encourage local reviews.

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on Facebook, Google, your website, and local directory sites such as Yelp. This local interaction will show Google that you’re active in your area and that your website is worth showing first.

If you’re still not convinced of the importance of getting local SEO right, take note of how many times you pick up your smartphone while you’re out and about and search for something you need there and then. Four out of every five searches would be my guess.

For more SEO tips and strategy to help you succeed, contact us today, or leave us a comment below!

Web Development

Things to consider before launching your business website

By | Web Design & Development | No Comments

So you’re thinking of building a website?

It could be that you’re starting a new business and want your services and company to be accessible, it might be that you’re starting an ecommerce site to sell products or you may think you have the next amazon up your sleeve! It might be a community that your looking to build. It could be a place your looking to blog and share your experiences. It could be a photo sharing site and a new idea you have ……. Well the list could go on and on and quite literally on…….. There are 1000’s of reasons people look to build a website but where do you start? How do you go about it?

With over 1,135,859,950 websites online and that figure is going up by literally every second, how will your site fit in and how will it be found?

websiteThe fact is the world-wide web is the place that everybody uses now to find the information/service they want. In fact, the average person in Australia spends 10 hours a day on internet connected devices. A growing number of people prefer to conduct business over the internet than they do face to face or over the telephone…..Crazy I know and agree – but this is what’s happening, we are talking fact not fiction and this is just growing!

How often do you phone a company now and they put you through to a person? Not very often that’s for sure, you are more likely to get an option to have a link to a website texted or emailed through than you are to speak to Dave in Sydney.

WELCOME TO 2017! What will these stats be in 10 years – can you imagine? Think 50 years…WOW that’s scary! The world and the way we do business and communicate is changing, so do you sit back and stay in the dark ages or move with the times? If you’re a small business operator and you do not have an on-line presence the chances are your business will die with you. Selling a business with no website and traffic regardless of what you have built up would be like selling trap doors for inflatable boats – A blooming hard sell!

There are some fundamental questions you should ask yourself before building a website and I have put a few below;

  1. What is the purpose of the website?

In my opinion the most important question and in my experience the one that the owner rarely asks themselves……The amount of times I speak to someone because their website is not delivering what they thought It would, I say “what’s the purpose of this site? and what do you want from the user?” they do not have an answer I end up telling them……seriously!!

Perfect example; someone has a site to sell a service – this site should be all about generating leads for the sales team to follow up, yet they have no form on the site, no call to action and to find the telephone number you need to be Sherlock homes! The owner is often thinking of themselves and what they like the look of aesthetically, they are not thinking about what they want from the user and how to get it.

Offering something to the user is such a good way of getting what you want i.e. a simple form asking for a name and email is not going to be completed if the user is just having a browse for some information……Offer them the option to download a free ebook full of useful information and all of a sudden, they are entering their details quicker than you can get the team to call them. I could go on for days and days about sites not fulfilling their purpose but I’ll save that for now!

  1. What is your budget?

People are often in dream land when it comes to what they want to achieve from a website and the budget they have. The unfortunate truth in telling people to forget the idea and put the money on a horse does not always go down to well……only joking even if that is what I’m thinking!

I have people that want to start the next big consumer electronics store and their budget is $5k – it is just not going to happen. What people often forget is that building the website is just the first stage – you can have a fantastic site with quality products priced competitively with your competition, but not make a single sale and you scratch your head and wonder why?…well mystery solved…Nobody can see it!

That’s right, without the right marketing and advertising campaign your site will not succeed. Unfortunately, your huge social media network of 600 people  – made up of family and old school friends – oh not to forget that lifelong friend you made in South East Asia is extremely unlikely to cut it when it comes to launching the next big consumer electronics company! – Especially when Harvey Normans weekend sale is selling that 58” Samsung TV for under a $1000 and it costs you more just to land it in Australia!

See my point? – The fact is, running a successful e commerce site involves monthly advertising and marketing and people just do not always allow for this. If only you could pay your bond and months’ rent to move into that commercial space and never pay another cent but keep that prime position wouldn’t that be a wonderful world?!

The fact is if your competing with the big boys then you need big boy budgets or they will quite literally squash your chances! So how much does it cost? – well that all depends on the niche you are looking to compete in and knowing your competition. If you want my opinion on it then leave a comment or contact me directly.

  1. Advertising and marketing of the site.

As I said earlier, building a site without ways to advertise and market it would quite simply be a waste of your time. The only scenario where this would be worth doing, and the only one I have ever come across is when you already have the network that you need and the only reason you have the site is to put on a business card or to show the existing network that you have one. For the other 99.9% of us we need to get the website noticed!

Compared to the old days, there are hundreds of ways to advertise your site.  I have listed below some of the most common ways of advertising and marketing your site. Remember there is no way you can do all of these on your own so you should focus on specific areas that best suit your business and master them. Too many people try 5 different ways of advertising at once and succeed at none. The phrase “Jack of all trades master of none”, springs to mind.

Hiring the right team can be the difference between success and failure – The one thing that you should ask yourself with any money spent on promotion should be ROI (return on investment) and this is where so many individuals and agencies get it wrong. A digital agency may think they are performing well by bringing you 1000 new visitors every month but this is irrelevant if you are not seeing ROI.

i.e. An agency brings you 1000 new visitors a month through an AdWords campaign-  this brings you an extra $2000.00 profit – it sounds great……. but the campaign is costing $3000.00 per month…. No good!

Don’t over complicate it, it’s pretty simple. How much are you spending? How much are you getting back?

Social media – The new player to join the game!

with the likes of Facebook/Instagram/You Tube and Twitter you can start of your campaign with relatively little training and a budget of $5 per day! You’ll find there are professionals in every area and social media marketing is now a full-time job…..That’s right the good ones are paid in excess of 100k per annum to tell you that a kangaroo was seen shopping in Coles on the Gold Coast!

But on a serious note – a good social media campaign can have such an impact on the right business that 100k per annum may seem like peanuts for the revenue it can bring – Engaging your audience through social media is key to long term success

AdWords – Google we cannot forget this powerhouse!

A good AdWords campaign can work wonders for your business – It is straightforward, for those of you that are new and it goes a little something like this;

You have an ecommerce site based on the Gold Coast selling bean bags – the search term “buy bean bags Gold coast” would be a good search term, right? So you pay Google a price per click…. there are lots of variable that go into this cost pending on the demand and competition but let’s say it costs you $3 per click every time someone clicks through to your site. It takes $3 from your account and you get the visitor –  if you are converting these users it can be a licence to print money, if you don’t it can cost you a small fortune!

I speak to people that love AdWords and people that hate it, it all depends on their experience. The key is choosing the right people to manage it for you! – Trying to run a successful campaign without experience could be compared to trying to build a house on your own because you were a whizz with the lego set as a nipper!

But a word of warning – don’t fall for all the “Google partner stuff” I’m not saying this is not a sign of merit but by no means does it mean they are going to get you results! Ignore anyone contacting you out the blue – Spammy emails should be deleted and if you can then go on referrals or reviews. Most importantly judge your own results –  if they are not coming then stop and go with someone else!

Don’t get tied into any type of contract scenario –  any company doing this is obviously worried you will be leaving and want you locked in. At the end of the day if they are confident you will get results why would they need you locked in? – surely you would be coming back anyway right?

We do not lock anybody in to contracts – we go off results and the understanding that we deliver good results you’ll come back to us.

A real-life example in my earlier days; I was running a website that I was using AdWords to promote (my budget was of a decent size). The guy I had running it (now my head of AdWords marketing) was delivering me fantastic results so my budget was going up. It got noticed by Google they contacted me and offered their own staff to run the campaign for me! I thought Wohooo surely these guys would have tricks nobody else could possibly know so I took them up on the offer – How wrong could I be! – I went from under $10 per conversion to over $70 in the space of 2 weeks – Needless to say, I learnt a lesson.

So, to sum up, Adwords can be a great way of creating revenue for the right business and especially at the early stages if you are looking for instant results, although in my opinion it should always be a short term way of generating traffic – It is not a good long term investment.

SEO – The long term winner of all advertising!

Looking for instant results? Forget SEO!

If you are Looking for long term results and a trusted website and brand, then SEO should be your focus from the outset. In my opinion the best way to be seen is to be number one for natural results trusted by the user and ranking organically. In short SEO is the one! Ranking your website organically can vary massively pending on so many factors I could write for the rest of my life and still only be half way there.

The fact is no one knows all of the algorithms used by Google, I even asked Google and he wasn’t even sure oops bit sexist she wasn’t sure…but then what women is???? Only joking! – It’s said that Google algorithms are changed 500-600 times a year but could be many more. The basics to remember are provide your user with engaging and useful content and update regularly, if you do this your site will improve its rankings steadily over time.

If the information you put up is used and shared Google will love you! however if your competition are big players then just adding useful content to your site will not be enough to see you on that first page and the fact is being on page 2 is like being in the graveyard! Seriously who goes to page 2? – unless you’re bored at work of course! If you search and you don’t get the result you wanted you don’t flick through the pages – you search again…don’t you?

There are some general things that assist with your rankings such as; your content, backlinks, social media presence and blogging to name a few. That’s the whole reason I’m writing this, it has nothing to do with helping you – I just want to see my words hitting the first page and brining me traffic! Or is it my ego hmmm not sure!

Choosing the right company to run your SEO is key. I would be very wary of anyone who contacts you out the blue or spammy emails guaranteeing you results or your money back. The way you judge results may be very different to how they judge results. Same as these 1st page guaranteed emails, I mean they may well get you to the first page for some phrase so ridiculous its only typed once an annum normally by the dog falling on the keyboard and hitting the buttons. So unless your selling doggy treats and after 1 sale per annum just delete!!

You will often see agencies advertising set prices for SEO you know the old Bronze, Silver, Gold package – this again is absolutely ridiculous as every site is completely different and so is the competition therefore what is involved in getting you there will vary vastly. For example – a women’s fashion site full of competition will be harder to rank for the good key words than something much more niche such as specialist stone masonry, but so too will the number of searches.

SEO is a longer-term investment but investment non-the less and should be judged accordingly. If you are spending 2k per month on SEO at which point do you expect to start seeing a return on this? When will it be paying for itself? When will you be in profit?  You should have a plan in place and an expected time frame to start seeing results and first page rankings.

  1. Know your competitors

You would think this is a given but I can assure you it is not. I find it unbelievable how many people go into business and do not know who their competitors are. Even worse they will not acknowledge who their competitors are.

I’ll give you an example; so you contact me because you are a Chiropractor and you’re just setting up your own business in the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We are on the phone and I say ok do you know….. “best back chiropractors” do you know “chiropractic health clinic” and so on, how often the person on the other end is in utter shock, I can literally hear their brain ticking over wondering how I am such a wealth of information on their given field! Simple really a quick Google search. You can also check local directories for a list of companies in your given field.

Now this my friend is your competition! But it is not unusual to hear “No No No – Chriopractic health clinic are not a competitor of mine, they also deal in life coaching and relaxing massage – very different to me as I specialise in one field”. So I say, “Well actually Phil they rank on page one for the last 5 keywords I just searched while we were speaking, so I do believe people looking for Chiropractors on the Northern Beaches may well contact this company.” Phil says “Well yes they do, but there not a competitor of mine”. This is when I realise Phil does not know what a competitor is. This is a made-up scenario, but the point is you should know your competitors and far too many people do not!

By researching your competitors, you should also get a very good insight into what type of budget you will need to compete. If your competitors are all global corporations or even Australia wide companies, then you are going to need a very healthy budget indeed. If your competitors are all independent traders, then you should not be looking at breaking the bank to out rank them.

Finding out who your competitors are, is just the first step. The more information you have the better, some ideas for you;

  • What Products and services they are offering?
  • What do their customers see as their positive points and negative points? (tip check reviews)
  • Do they have a long term loyal customer base?
  • Do they get new customers in influx’s or have they grown steadily over time?
  • Who are they advertising too and how are they doing it?
  • What new products and services are they offering?
  • What financial resources do they have?
  • You should be thinking about what you can do to be better then all your competitors. What is your USP and how are you going to get this across to the customers you target?
  1. Who’s should build my site and help me with all of this stuff?

This parts easy……we should!!!

The truth is there are so many options out there these days that people do not know where to start. There is such variation in cost when it comes to web builds/advertising/marketing it can become a mine field. As a general rule you are going to pay for what you get (not always but generally). Websites can range from $0 – you can build one yourself these days with relative ease with the likes of wix e.t.c to quite literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The thing to bear in mind is what impression are you trying to give off – if you are selling a premium product then building one yourself or getting your friends, brothers, sisters mates son who is studying IT in year 12 to do it may not cut the mustard! – But hey he can do it for $150 so I’m going that way.

Well set yourself up to fail if you wish. But look, if you offer a local service as a hairdresser, accountant, tradesman e.t.c and all your work comes locally from flyers or word of mouth e.t.c and you just want a site to be able to show people as you know they want to see it these days and you can list in some on line directories. Then spending $1000’s of dollars makes no sense at all and perhaps building one yourself will do the job for you.

What I suggest is contact an agency, a good one with a reputation to uphold, they should give you a truthful and honest answer. You should get quotes from 2-3 agencies to compare and see where they stand against each other. The right agency should be able to put not just a website but a whole marketing plan together for you and be able to work that into a budget that suits you. The most important thing is they care and understand your business. If they do not understand your business or care, then I can assure you that you will just be another number in the database and the passion you require to succeed online will be missing!!

Well I hope you enjoyed your read and that there was some useful information in here for you. Please leave your comments below. Please feel free to add anything that you may believe I missed or that you consider important. Any personal experiences you’ve had with agencies or starting out?, successful or otherwise are always welcome. I will reply to all comments left and answer any questions that you have. If you wish to contact me directly feel free to do so. Most important thing to remember is that setting up your own business should be a fun experience so try to enjoy the journey!

SEO Mistakes

8 Common SEO Mistakes You Need To Be Wary Of To Enjoy High SEO Rankings

By | Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization | No Comments

You’ve probably optimised every single element on your website as per Google’s guidelines? You are adopting all possible SEO strategies but still are unable to rank better on Google SERPs? Well, you’re not alone! The reason being: Google keeps on updating its algorithms and keeps on rolling new updates. In this ever-advancing era, adopting safe and ethical practices is the only way to success. And while implementing all such strategies, we all unknowingly tend to commit certain SEO mistakes which cost us huge in the long run.

Familiarize yourself with all common SEO mistakes given below and boost your website’s ranking. Read on!

Featuring low-quality content

So you’re on cloud 9 now as you have found an ultimate route to get content at the best prices? After all, what’s wrong with article spinning software and low paid article writers? How does originality matter? If you think the same, well, this is one of the reasons that you’re not able to fetch a good rank in SERPs till date!

Undoubtedly, search engines love original content, but are you writing content solely for the robots? No. It is your visitors whom you need to target.

The idea here is to add value to the world wide web! When you work on a piece of content, chances are there are content on the same topic already out there. Take a look around and see if what you have to say on the matter has anything new and valuable compared to what others have already published. If not do your research, find it and add to your work. The more value you can provide to the reader, the better your content is and the better chances it has for ranking highly.

It is therefore essential to write content which is not only original but is grammatically sound and engaging too, should not matter if you have to pay $50 extra per article! See it as a long-term investment, and it will pay you huge returns, guaranteed!

Publishing copied content

Undoubtedly, publishing copied content was a normal practice some years back. But, today, search engines have taken it seriously and to say the least, Google can penalize you for this approach. Thus, to stay safe and acquire top rankings, it is highly recommended to flaunt original text which is not only informative but well-researched too.

There will be times when you like a content so much and want to share with your audience as is. It’s not a crime to do that but as your intuitions have been telling you, mention the source of the content, link back to it. The creator of the original one will love you for this and google will know that you’re not trying to steal someone else’s hard work.

Going for link quantity instead of link quality

As it is said, 1 high-quality link from the reputed website is far better than 10 low-quality links. Hell these 10 low quality ones might as well kill your chances of ranking forever so DO NOT try to build 10 or 100 low quality links instead of trying to earn that one good link. Undoubtedly, gaining links from such websites is tough, and that’s perhaps why Google trusts them so much and gives you bonus points in case you have earned them. To summarize:

  1. Focus on links from reputed websites which belong to your niche
  2. Acquire links from sites which do not have a lot of outgoing links
  3. Make sure that your chosen sites do not link to gambling, pharmacy or adult websites

 

Unnatural or spammy links

We talked about the importance of gaining links in the point mentioned above. And this was well utilized by a few businesses which took the internet by storm by launching their own link farms and private blog networks. The main aim of such platforms was to create outgoing links for your website. And this is when Google started to penalizing all such activities. You are simply digging a pit for yourself by relying on such unethical practices.

Unnatural anchor text

So you have a shoe store and you want traffic to your business website. You want to rank for best mens shoes so you build 100 links all with the anchor text “best mens shoes”.

Congratulations! You have successfully managed to kill all possibilities of your website ranking in the SERPs!

Please stop for a moment and think, if you are really awesome and people naturally links to you, will they all be linking to you with the same anchor text? How many of them will even use the term “best mens shoes” at all? There! You have your answer. Mix it up, use your brand name often, try to keep the number of money keyword anchors down. Common sense always prevails, it’s true fro SEO as well.

Take a look at the anchor text for Zappos, what I said above makes sense? I know it does!

Top Anchor Texts for Zappos.com. Data source: Ahrefs.com

Top Anchor Texts for Zappos.com. Data source: Ahrefs.com

 

Not having a mobile-friendly website

You’re already late if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website. Back in 2014 itself, 3 years back, the number of users accessing the web on smartphone surpassed the number of users accessing the internet on the desktop. Well, that was 3 years ago! And realizing that, Google rolled out an update through which it started rewarding websites which were mobile friendly. Simply put, you might lose your rank in search engines if you have not gone mobile yet. But better late than never, it is high time that you start thinking about it.

 

Keyword stuffing

There is nothing worse than a website copy which is poorly put and presented and not enough care is given to enhance the readability of readers. Don’t you hate such websites too? Well, yes, Google hates them too!

Keyword stuffing is one unethical practice by which you illogically stuff the page by targeted keywords, most of the times which do not make any sense to the reader, with the only motive of gaining rank on those keywords. This practice just worked fine 10 years ago, but with Google bots smarter now, this would only swiftly lower the ranking down!

 

Failed website migration

You might want to migrate your website from one platform to another for one reason or another, but care should be taken that you are doing it right not only technically but from the SEO point of view as well. It is highly recommended to migrate your site using redirects such that you don’t lose your visitors as well as the link juice. Access your server and check if all the URLs are correctly redirected. You can also make use of VLOOKUP function by downloading the report from your server.

 

Over to You

Make sure that you avoid the above-mentioned mistakes and keep your website healthy from SEO point of view. Update your content regularly, keep it informative and most of all engage your reader! What are your views on these mistakes? Did we miss any of the common mistakes? What you guys got to say on this?

 

7 Mobile App Development Trends To Watch Out For In 2017

By | Mobile Application | No Comments

Well, if you play your cards right, you can make the most out of $77 billion worth of revenue which is predicted by Gartner from more than 268 billion app downloads in 2017! If you thought, that whopping 2.2 million apps in Google play store and 2 million apps in apple app store are an indication of saturation in mobile app development, you might need to reconsider your views. This is a mere starting, my friend!

And this is perhaps why 2017 would be all the bigger when it comes to mobile app development. If you too want to become a part of this giant revolution and want to contribute some noteworthy apps, continue reading to find out as to what will be the next big thing in mobile app development industry in 2017.

  1. Location based services to go into mainstream

Location based services already made many headlines in 2016, but they are sure to steal the show in 2017 too. The next big things under LBS would include real-time location-based offers and advertisements. Don’t feel surprised if your Facebook suggests you to shop from the Louis Phillip store situated next street from your current location! Location specific portals, retail, travel and tourism, navigation and indoor mapping sectors would be the biggest contributors in developing some great intuitive apps. Beacon is sure to gain some extra limelight.

  1. Augmented reality would continue to surprise

Technology is all decked up to make the smartphone an even smarter device in 2017. Leave aside 2017, even 2016 witnessed a number of augmented reality-based mobile apps. Not to forget, Pokémon Go was a value addition which made almost everyone go maniac! Even more on the same lines is expected in 2017. How about sending a ‘let me book a cab for two’ message to a friend, and a taxi booking app opens automatically? It would be interesting see how social media syncing, location tracking and the likes would be utilized wonderfully in 2017.

  1. Artificial intelligence to become a norm

While we are on the topic of augmented reality, there is another concept that requires our attention here: artificial intelligence. The use of AI in the day to day applications can bring in major changes and can alter the way we look at the mobile application industry. This can bring in a number of different implications. For instance, how about incorporating the idea of an image that can change its characteristics based on your mood or preferences? Different applications could modify the content shown to the user based on his or her choices. This can also be customized based on some location-specific information that is related to individual users.

  1. Security of applications to become all the more important

Security of application would be an ever challenging issue in 2017. Due to a huge amount of confidential and personal data that every app holds today, a simple misplace of a smartphone can keep the user’s integrity at stake. Apps with in-built security features either through API or a simple code for their remote access are expected and should be on rise.

  1. Internet of Things to continue making headlines

The integration of Internet of Things and mobile application is something that was absolutely unimaginable a couple of years back. But now, the manufacturers are making reality out of this and by the end of 2017, the profits derived from the combination of the two is going to increase two-fold. This can hugely influence specific sectors including healthcare, education, automobiles and the likes. This is one of the mobile app developments to watch out for in 2017.

  1. Mobile payment integration to continue remaining in hot news

Mobile payments are slowly and gradually evolving with the introduction of various technology giants in the markets. As per a report by Juniper Research, 1.5 billion mobile wallets will be in use around the globe. This will definitely make a way for highly intuitive and secure mobile transactions, integration with POS and the likes.

  1. Smart apps for smart homes to be the next big thing

Expectations are high that we can witness some smart apps which would give you a control over your home’s lights, locks and other security features right from your mobile from any corner of the world! With the rise of working families and the increasing concerns of parents for their kids and pets, this mobile app trend is surely going to be a revolutionary idea. Apple has already sparked the fire with the release of the smart home mobile app in its latest update that would allow you to integrate your smart objects like smart TV, AC, and the likes through a single tap on your mobile screen!

Over to You

What a wonderful day to be alive, no? The huge expected advancements in the field of mobile apps are surely going to make our lives easier and so much convenient. Gartner had forecasted the sales of 2.1 billion smartphones by 2019 which is only going to fuel up the need for apps. This is enough to leave you inspired and start working on your own mobile app, what say?

What are your views on this? Did we miss any important trend that you think should be here in the list? Write to us in the comments.

Top Social Media Statistics from 2016

By | Digital Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

How many platforms did you join to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends in 2016? Did you see an increase in your engagement rate? Did all of your digital marketing efforts finally pay off in 2016?

2016 saw increase in the number of users online and a change in how brands are using social media to engage with their audience. If you didn’t branch out this past year to stay on top of the latest trends in social media then you probably missed out on a huge opportunity to reach some of the goals you set for your company at the beginning of 2016.

Don’t worry. Every click, every comment, every view is recorded somewhere on the internet, which is why we’ve compiled a list of social media statistics set in 2016 so you can go into 2017 with your A game.

But, before we get into those statistics we want to go over what platforms you should be on going into 2017.

What are the most popular social media networks marketers should know about?

(source: www.quiip.com.au)

Thanks to Quiip we are able to see what social media networks were still on top in 2016 and their daily reach across Australia. Facebook is still dominating the social media world with Facebook Messenger coming in second followed by Instagram.

Top Social Media Statistics

  • 61% of the total Australian population is an active monthly user on Facebook. (source)
  • 31% of small businesses and 36% of medium sized businesses have developed a strategic plan for their social media compared to 76% of large businesses. (source)
  • 72% of marketers are interested in putting advertising budgets towards Instagram. (source)
  • WhatsApp has increased its Australian user base by 30% since early 2015. (source)
  • 87% of Australians access the internet daily (source)
  • 26% of social media users check social media more than five times a day (source)
  • 1/3 of social media users follow businesses or brands via social media (source)
  • 31% of social media users have provided online ratings (source)

While these aren’t all of the statistics you will find on the web today, we found that these statistics are the most important for digital marketers looking to revamp their marketing strategies going into 2017.

But revamping your social media strategy won’t be worth it if you aren’t able to show that all your hardwork is paying off. In order to determine if your social media efforts are working, you’ll want to take a look at several factors. First you’re going to want to look at your reach, then your engagement, and finally your conversion rate. You can look at these by going into your insights or analytics on each social media network. In order to know how exactly your social media strategy is working, you’re going to want to know if your audience is engaging with your content and if your message impacted your audience enough to take action.

From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest having a strong presence on social media should be second nature nowadays. Engaging with your audience, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns will not only make them a more satisfied customer but will show them that you care about their business. There is no better way to increase your brand awareness and improve customer relations than with social media. So take these statistics, study them, and go into 2017 with a game plan to dominate your industry on social media.

How To Set Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy for 2017

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

Digital marketing is the only way to stay ahead of the competition in the modern business world. If you plan and execute your strategy well, you will get more traffic and revenue. However, if you don’t plan your strategy well, you might lag behind and your prospects may go to your competition.

It’s a good idea to start planning for 2017 now because people will come out of their holiday distraction as soon as the season ends with the New Year. You need something more than the holiday spirit to keep them engaged. Here are some tips that can help you plan a successful digital marketing strategy:

Digital Marketing Strategies, 2017

At a Glance, 2017 Digital Marketing Strategies

1. Identify the Most Successful Strategies

If you’re already an established business and have implemented digital marketing strategies before, you should look at your previous and current campaigns to identify what is working well for you. Even if your campaign didn’t provide the best results, you will still be able to determine what factors worked better and come up with ways to improve and optimize them.

2. Identify the Best Platforms for Your Industry

Some marketing strategies and platforms should be utilized, regardless of the industry you are in. These include strategies like SEO, paid ads, social media marketing and content marketing. You should also have a presence on the top social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, there are some platforms and strategies that work particularly well for certain industries. You can focus the bulk of your efforts and money on these areas in order to get the best results. For example, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for a B2B company whereas Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are excellent for the fashion, food and beauty industries.

3. Conduct a Full Analysis of Your Previous Campaigns

A thorough analysis of your previous marketing campaigns will help you understand any mistakes you made in the past. You will be able to identify where you have room for improvement and what aspects of your campaign can be optimized significantly. Sometimes businesses invest money in campaigns that don’t work for them and continue to do so because they don’t realize that their strategy is ineffective. You can avoid such a mistake if you conduct regular analysis of your campaigns. You can use tools like Google Analytics or other such software to evaluate your metrics.

4. Understand the Funnel

It’s important to understand how your customers reach your website and where your converted customers come from. A sales funnel will give you a good idea about the customer’s journey to you and also help you understand where different marketing strategies should be used. Here’s a brief look at what a functional sales funnel should look like:

  • Top – The top of the funnel represents the time when your customers come in contact with your brand and begin the journey towards a purchase. At this stage, you need to stand apart from the competition and grab the customer’s attention as quickly as you can. You can achieve this through SEO and paid ads.
  • Middle – The middle of the funnel is your sales portion as you have to convince your customers that your product is worthwhile and they should make a purchase. You can convince your customers with great content, attractive offers, good website design, and sales pitch. This is the part where you might lose the most number of customers.
  • Bottom – The bottom portion of the sales funnel has the least amount of people and most of them are converting traffic. Your goal at this stage is to retain their attention and make sure they complete the transaction. You can do this by optimizing the cart experience and offering good payment and shipping options. If customers abandon the cart, you can reach out to them once again to remind them of their interest with retargeting.

5. Establish a Profile of Your Target Audience 

Your target audience can change over time and their behavior can change with passing trends. It’s a good idea to reassess your target audience and stay on top of current trends. Your target audience profile for 2017 might be different and might require new techniques to ensure they’re engaged.

6. Research the Latest Tools, Techniques, and Changes

Changes in the search engine rules and algorithms can have a massive impact on your marketing campaign. People who don’t keep their eyes open and fail to react quickly lose their rankings and see all their hard work go down the drain. You should always keep your ear to the ground and study all of the latest developments in the marketing industry if you want to stay ahead of the competition. 

It’s not just enough to create a great marketing campaign, you need to test and optimize it constantly. You should run all of your campaigns through A/B testing to make sure you get the best results from your investment.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to establish a great marketing campaign for your business.

website-header-design

Website Header Design & Its Importance

By | Web Design & Development | No Comments

Website Header Design

Large, trendy headers have become a mainstream element of modern web page design as more people show a penchant for nifty and colorful titles. For web designers looking to implement trendy header sections, the solution is to focus on a website’s content and highlight all the important parts so that content stands out with a special featured spot in the overall header design. The alternative is to focus on exclusively on branding and that leaves out significant influencers.

Here are 3 of the most effective UI trends for website header design today

  • Hero Images

hero-imagesHigh-speed internet connections allow for quick loading of content and resources including 1920×1080 backgrounds which can resize automatically to fit any screen. A hero image is placed front-and-center above the fold and is typically used to market a company, individual, or a specific product using attractive photography.

Branding isn’t always a factor when designing hero images. The goal is to get the visitor intrigued and itching to scroll further down. One effective method is to present a hypothetical scenario that relates to the product or service and connects with visitors who are looking to solve a problem.

 

  • Fixed Scrolling Menus

Fixed scrolling navigation is very easy to build with jQuery and CSS3 and it allows visitors to navigate a website from anywhere on the page. You might also consider implementing a blended navigation bar that subtly follows a user down the page with relevant links attached to it in bright colors. When properly designed, it presents a sleek interface with solid uniformity and is a good alternative to the scrolling bar.

  • Visible Brandingbranding

Web visitors remember brands that are noticeable and it helps if the design stands out amongst an ocean of generic logos. A logo should be large and striking, so that it takes the focal point right off the bat. For example, the logo for Theme Trust employs a large, striking design but still manages some simplicity by avoiding too many frills. The letter “T” drawn in a shield icon used in their favicon also adds some multidimensionality to the overall design.

Be creative about expanding a website’s branding outside of the usual header – and remember a good logo carries significant influence.

Legible Navigation Links

When designing headers for a website with a multi-page layout, navigation is critical to promoting positive user reception. Most website visitors want to be able to recognize pages at a glance as they go about exploring. It helps to keep the links bolded, underlined, or contrasted with the background – basically anything to make them legible.

These are simple techniques that can help you gain traction with visitors and guide them towards your bottom line.