What’s New

The World’s Largest Lost and Found

Constantly misplacing your keys or other small items? Well the next big smartphone app is coming and it will help you with just that. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign where it raised more than 6x its goal, a new app called ‘The Tile’ is now taking pre-orders and will begin shipping in the Spring of 2014.

Basically you attach a small device (a tile) to your keys, wallet, bag, or whatever you want to keep track of. The device links up with your smartphone and will guide you to where it is and a sound alert can also be triggered. These features work when you’re within 150 feet of your lost item.

The really cool part of the Tile App is that if your item really is lost or stolen (not just misplaced around the house) and it is miles away, you can mark it as a lost item in your account and this puts all Tile Apps on alert. If any Tile App user comes within 150 feet of your item that person’s phone will communicate with Tile’s cloud system and you will be sent a notification of where your item is.

Check out more at http://www.thetileapp.com/

Technology and Cyber Monday

The ever increasing access to technology and easy online shopping portals has made “Cyber Monday” one of the most popular retail holidays of the year. Large retailers offer huge discounts on nearly everything as long as the items are purchased online. Cyber Monday also offers the advantage of being able to shop from the comfort of your own home, without having to deal with the typical Black Friday problems such as long lines, stampedes, being pepper sprayed for an Xbox, or fighting over $2 towels. Unfortunately not everyone got the memo on this, as the stories coming out of this Black Friday seem to be worse than ever. Here is a video for your enjoyment!

Advantages of E-commerce

1. Collect lead and customer data for email marketing.

We know it’s tough to collect email addresses and other useful information during checkout in your store. Shoppers at the finish line of making a purchase will normally decide not to extend the process by providing info for the clerk to plug-in regardless of the offer. Gathering information online is much more effective as website visitors can do this on their own time.

Take into consideration the fact that you only have the opportunity to speak to someone making a purchase, leaving out all prospective customers who leave without a bag in their hand – collecting leads online is a more effective method.

Email marketing gives you the ability to increase new and repeat business by strategically and continuously re-engaging prospective customers. This opportunity doesn’t exist for businesses strictly running a physical storefront.

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2. Reach new prospective customers through search engines.

A large factor in a physical store’s success derives from location. If you’re not in a good one the visibility of the store is lessened. Having an eCommerce website levels the playing field between prime locations and less trafficked areas. Instead of your physical address determining your business’s location, your ability to rank in searches engines determines how visible you are. Potential customers who haven’t driven past your stores or heard about your from someone else, have the ability to find you online. Everyday someone is searching for something relevant to your stores products and eCommerce site gives you the ability to get found by and sell your products to them directly through the web.

3. Increase visibility of store promotions.

Every store has certain promotions and are always looking for ways to spread the word about their newest deals. Your eCommerce store is another avenue to market your special promotions. These promotions are also a great way to execute on the first point of this post, collecting email addresses. Visitors to either one of your stores (online and offline) should be exposed to these promotions so they can take advantage of them. Promotions help the business grow short- term with increased sales and long-term since promotions typically include a sign-up step – giving you the ability to reach out to these people later for repeat business.

4. Allow prospective customers to shop where, how, and when they want.

If you only have one way people can shop for your products you’re missing out on the percentage of shoppers who prefer to (and sometimes are only willing to) shop the alternate way.

Many people like to shop online to avoid traveling time and traffic while enjoying the comfort of their own home. Shopping online also gives them the ability to shop when they want; including times that your store is closed. Remember, your eCommerce store is ALWAYS open. Regardless of an individual’s reasons, more and more people are turning online to get shopping done.

Others prefer to drive to the physical store so they can touch and examine the products. Even if they found your store online and researched your products in more detail, they may decide to make the commute to the store in order to make the purchase.

The advantages of one store will counter the disadvantages of the other which allows store owners to cover all of their bases and eliminate the possibility of these disadvantages affecting their sales numbers.

Top 10 Reasons why you should be Selling Online

Allows for independence from eBay- You can begin to gain sales on your own website and avoid eBay fees

Provides a clearing house for all products- You can list as many products as you like without worrying about fees

Increases buyer confidence- You can show your buyers that you have a website from within eBay

Requires little management- If setup correctly, it should be set and forget for the most part

Can be tied directly into PayPal- This makes it easy to process orders for both your eBay and website orders

Repeat Sales- Send buyers to your e-commerce site through marketing strategies

Drop-ship- This makes you appear larger than you really are and is sure to provide sales

Charge higher prices- With a good e-commerce site you can get away with charging higher prices

Build an asset- Your e-commerce site is an asset you can work hard to build

More sales- Marketing your e-commerce site correctly will always result in more sales

PPC vs SEO….which one?

So you want to market your website to increase traffic and sales, but should you use PPC or SEO? This was actually a trick question, as the answer is neither. You should actually be using SEM.

Now if you’re not familiar with the internet marketing world you may not know what these terms mean, so we’ll break it down for you.

PPC (pay per click) is a form of paid advertising that can yield you quick results and sales. You create an ad and every time someone clicks on it you pay a certain amount to Google or another search engine. PPC is fast and effective if you know what you’re doing, but it’s also the easiest way to lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t.

SEO (search engine optimization) are the natural results that appear in Google or another search engine and being highly ranked can do wonders for your business as it brings in free traffic. However this is a much slower process, especially for new websites, as it may take months to rank on the first page. SEO is usually more difficult for website owners to understand and most either ignore it (not recommended) or outsource it. The most important thing to remember in SEO is that bad SEO can hurt your business and possibly even get you banned from Google or other search engines which could be devastating.

What you should be using to market your website is SEM (search engine marketing). SEM is basically a combination of PPC and SEO (and possibly other strategies). The best strategy is using PPC and SEO to complement each other so you can enjoy the benefits of both. PPC will get customers to your site quickly and SEO will build the long term free traffic as well.

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The Importance of Tracking your Web Stats

Often times people overlook the importance of tracking critical stats on their website which can lead to a poor user experience and lost customers and revenue. There are many programs out there that can do this, but the most popular and comprehensive is Google Analytics. With this incredibly powerful tool you can track nearly everything about your visitors and their behavior and the content and flow on your site. This information can help you improve your site by finding trouble areas where people are leaving and seeing what works. Tracking your analytics is incredibly important and it should not be overlooked.

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5 Ways Social Media can help your Website

One of the biggest advantages of using Social media is that it helps you to connect with your audience more easily and create more bridges to your website.

This one is obvious…Social bookmarking websites can help in getting backlinks for your website, which in turn will help you in your SEO Campaigns.

It helps you to interact with your target audience easily. You can find your target audience quickly on social media websites and can see what about they are talking about, their needs, happenings in your industry, etc.

It helps in establishing yourself as a brand and can help you in reputation management.

As popular social media sites are getting good rankings in search engines you can use them to promote your website. It’s very effective if you have a new website with no links then try to create a page on social media website. It’s much easier to get it ranked as compared to a new website.

SEO Myths

1. It must be right if [Insert Fortune 500 Company] does it that way.

Just because they are Fortune 500 doesn’t mean they are doing it right. Large companies often just throw money at their problems without researching what really needs to be done. This can lead to thousands of wasted dollars and even penalties from Google. JCPenney was actually penalized for bad linking practices in 2011.

2. Onsite SEO doesn’t matter.

Title tags, internal linking, and well formed and clean code are just some of the onsite SEO factors that will contribute to significant improvements in rankings, indexing, and usability.

3. Buying links are bad and paid links can get you banned in Google.

Purchasing links isn’t always bad. Products and services that cost money to use but generate links to your website can be beneficial. These could include directory listings, sponsorships, press releases, etc.

Also the recent argument that using paid links will doom your site should be taken with a grain of salt. Are there ways you can sink your rankings using paid links? Absolutely. Are you going to get banned on Google for strategic placements of paid links? Probably not.

4. Keyword density doesn’t matter.

This is a no-brainer: all search engines use algorithms to calculate relevance of content on a page. Obviously search engines track keyword density on that page to determine the primary subject matter.

5. Look what I did in [insert past year here].

Old SEO tricks and tactics are about as useful as a car without tires. Will they work? Maybe, but you’re much better off spending your time and money to improve content, fix technical issues, and build links rather than hoping to rank on outdated tactics.

6. Matt Cutts [or insert Expert Name here] said it [insert year here] so it must be true.

The search algorithm that Google uses changes significantly several times per year. In addition, hundreds of other factors can influence rankings with varying degrees of weight and decay unevenly over time.

Anything written by Matt Cutts or SEOmoz several years ago should likely be stricken from the record as the game has indeed changed significantly.

7. Content is king.

This is a phrase you hear all too often when discussing SEO. While content, social media, site architecture, and well connected pages all contribute to search ranking in some form, they pale in significance compared to links. You should find a balance between content and links in the organic search monarchy.

8. Stop paying for keywords that you rank for organically.

There has been a long-standing debate on which is more important – SEO or PPC – but the truth is success in either is mutually beneficial. Rather than turning off paid search completely as organic rankings improve, try to leverage high organic rankings for higher quality score (and therefore lower cost per click).

9. Meta tags have a huge impact.

Several years ago this may have been the case, but as stated before, search engines are constantly changing how they rank websites. One might argue that meta descriptions have some impact on search rankings, if the search engine chooses to utilize them in the search results, but meta keywords died several years ago. Please let them rest in peace.

10. You can’t hurt a site with bad links

This could get you into trouble quickly with the search engines. In general, bad links scattered across your inbound link profile aren’t going to hurt your rankings. However, if you’re the recipient of a large amount of bad links which is overwhelming the good and you don’t do something about it, you could be in for some trouble.

The best protection against spam links or bad links is to be proactive. Measure inbound links on a routine basis, keep an eye on unusual inbound linking, and enact a good link building regimen.