If you host your website on a WordPress CMS, you may or may not be aware of the enormous supply of valuable plugins that you have access to. With more than 55,000 plugins available for seemingly everything about your website, it can be very tricky to identify the most ideal options for improvement. Here, we’ll highlight the five plugins most valuable for satisfying and managing SEO needs.
First, let’s start with big-picture, all-in-one plugins.
It’s hard to talk about WordPress SEO plugins without looking at Yoast SEO. Since 2008, it’s been available as an all-in-one solution for improving SEO, with a variety of tools and features geared toward pushing sites toward the top of the search results. It includes templates to ensure you’re correctly handling titles and meta descriptions, while also helping to focus in on writing SEO-friendly content. A favorite feature is its snippet preview, which allows you to see how your pages appear in search results, before publishing them. Additional content is available through Yoast SEO Premium.
Pursuing an ecommerce venture typically involves an inordinate focus on existing and potential clientele. They are your bread and butter, your key to growth and sustainability.
But there’s another sink-or-swim element of an online selling business that may be tempting to overlook. Have you communed with your suppliers lately?
In the ever-evolving world of internet selling, connecting with those whose goods help you fill orders is a complex undertaking. Whether you’re a fledgling newbie or an established merchant, your ability to provide a good product mix with reliable deliverability is potentially more important than recruiting new customers.
What have you to lose?
But how much attention should you pay to suppliers? What level of contact with them is adequate? Is it ever wise to plan in-person meetings? Let’s look at some theories.
Depending on whom you ask, personal contact with suppliers is either an integral business practice, or a complete waste of time. On the positive side, sellers note the ability to work with certain suppliers on long-term projects and guarantee their spot in a distribution chain that may be restricted. Also helpful is a glimpse at prototypes or new products not yet available to the general selling public. It may help you alter your merchandising plan for the short or long term.
Others share anecdotes of future relationships that transcended their ecommerce business, including business ventures outside of online selling. This is a hidden asset inherent in B2B philosophy and shouldn’t be overlooked.
That flip side
These face-to-face encounters aren’t on the to-do list of many, however. Successful ecommerce merchants have prodded along without ever laying eyes on a supplier. And their explanations vary.
Among reasons to avoid in-person visits are practical time constraints, a lack of need to establish a close personal relationship, and an actual aversion to establishing close relationships. The latter is only partly tongue-in-cheek; often people go into online selling for a reason.
Aside from those, assuming you are a high-volume seller, you may have intermediates who will make those visits in your place. Sending merchandising managers to rub elbows with suppliers can be an efficient way to maintain relationships without spending personal time.
Small-scale merchants may run an online store as a supplement to a full-time job, and can’t find the time to initiate personal meetings.
Global affairs of the heart — and warehouse
Taking a slight detour from the main topic, consider the fascinating cultural tradition of interfacing with figures who dominate much of the online industry: Chinese suppliers. With a high percentage of resold or drop-shipped goods coming out of that country, it makes sense to curry favor in a way that maintains a healthy ongoing relationship.
Chinese businesspeople place a premium on the personal side of business relationships, and will often go to great lengths to entertain and accommodate resellers who visit. If you have the time, means, and inclination to go abroad, it can’t hurt to plan a cozy dinner or tour with high-volume suppliers in Beijing, Shanghai, and other prominent Chinese business centers.
If you decide to take the leap, do so with preparation. Chinese culture involves customs and rituals that are central to their lifestyles. Get a sense of the best way to navigate through an onsite visit to China, honoring customs and respecting tradition, in this useful piece.
Ultimately the decision is yours. Your business will not be made or broken based on whether you trade handshakes with suppliers. But it’s an important consideration, and can serve to shape a successful future for your growing entity.
If you follow writings on how to improve marketing strategies for your online business, you’ve probably seen the word “optimize” a thousand times. The application is diverse, but typically it refers to making your content accessible and readable.
Whether or not you’re prepared, the internet commerce trend is swinging toward mobile. Tablets, cell phones, and even watches are now the go-to media for shoppers hoping to pick up a bargain or hunt down something they’ve dreamed of owning. In fact, more than half of all web commerce takes place on mobile devices. And that ratio will skyrocket in the coming decade.
That means the equipment you (or your web designer) use to create an attractive, user-friendly site on which to peddle your wares may not be even remotely close to what your customers use to purchase them.
Code-driven page layout has become unwieldy and complex over the last decade, and even though its goal is to improve readability, it can also wreak havoc if not used properly.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro, an up-and-comer, or brand-spanking new to the world of online selling, you’ll want to strongly consider attending the granddaddy of all ecommerce soirees: the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. IRCE, as it’s known in the industry, is anything but yet another glitzy platform for self-promotion. Taking place June 5-8 this year in Chicago’s marquee McCormick Place West, it promises to deliver another spectacular array of expert presentations, vendor booths, and just about everything else you’d hope to see at an industry conference.
Since 2005, IRCE has drawn an impressive crowd and not failed to please, thanks to its highly organized, well planned event. Each year, industry trends are highlighted and futuristic ideas teased.
What’s different about this one? In its 14th year, the expo has joined forces with two entities: GlobalShop, the biggest annual event tailored for brick-and-mortar stores, and RFID Journal LIVE!, a trade event geared toward data-capture and inventory technologies that make the sales stream run smoothly.
IRCE officials believe this three-pronged location is a stellar opportunity for the onslaught of businesses with overlapping online and physical presence demands. The conferences will still operate separately, but hosting them in a singular venue offers convenient access to an even greater array of useful resources.
When I finally got my own bedroom at the tender age of 8, I had an immediate décor request: All Paisley, All the Time. Okay, it was a different era, and paisley was trendy. My wish was granted in the form of a paisley print daybed cover in deep purple, a sheer delight for this grade-schooler.
But rather than cowering into obsolescence, paisley resurfaces every decade or so as a hot property in home design. And, it’s back.
Today’s versions are all over the map, ranging from splashy bold palettes to demure and subtle duo-tones. What they have in common is a timeless way to capture a nostalgic ambiance, and a delightfully artistic aesthetic.
You’ll find paisley prints in linens, rugs, and wall art with relative ease. But here’s an idea that’s catching on, and making a (back)splash: How about paisley ceramic tiles?
The flowers are in full bloom and we're spending some time stopping to enjoy and appreciate.
Particles will return next week with all-new content.
It’s likely you’ve had your fill of armchair quarterbacks shoveling out snarky missives that gaslight online sellers in general. There’s a critic around every corner.
But hey: you’re in business to sell, and if you’re in ecommerce, you’re already facing a competitive challenge brick-and-mortar stores don’t have. You are virtually invisible to the majority of potential customers. Sometimes listening to complaints, whether they’re aimed at the industry of internet retailing or your site specifically, is not only smart, it’s essential for survival.
In order to sidestep pitfalls that are known repellants among people who enjoy shopping for products and services online, pay attention to the most common complaints. Here’s a list of seven; a breakdown of ecommerce What Not to Do’s:
In the intervening decades since visiting a website meant typing in an entire internet address and navigating blindly, online usage has evolved largely into specific hits based on hyperlinks or search engine returns, and coming to rest on what marketers call a “landing page.” That’s a fancy term for one page within a complete website that delivers content a user has specifically sought. Simple enough.
The content on that page will ideally reflect the intent a user holds when he or she decides to visit it. If you’re an ecommerce vendor, it may return a product you’ve advertised somewhere in cyberspace. Still simple enough.
What’s not so simple is digging into the wealth of opportunities that open up when the landing page – or any of your pages – becomes a potential customer’s focus. Advertising strategy is more complex than merely linking a consumer demand with a consumer supply. Though it may be a proximate goal, ideally you will lure a user into your brand as opposed to a single product. Gauging the effectiveness of either your advertising or your web pages’ ability to gain an interested party is something that marketers quantify through “conversation rates,” or the percentage of site visitors who respond to externally located links and either make a purchase, subscribe to the site, or in some other way participate beyond a mere glance.
Wouldn’t we all love to indulge in the latest in saturation marketing, ignoring the costs and employing every agency, ad buy, and other strategy to put our businesses in a top position? Experience says the majority of ecommerce merchants face a more stark reality, carefully eyeing a shoestring budget and wandering in oblivion to find ways that make it work to their advantage.
Right out of the gate, it’s important to embrace and use the free marketing opportunities that come your way. Yes, we said free. With the ethereal rise of internet channels and a mind-blowing number of users (many from demographic categories you’d never expect to see), there is an impressive array of platforms that will work for promoting your business.
Social media should be your first consideration, with Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other players lined up to connect consumers with products and services they desire. But investing rather than using free services carries a red flag. Pay heed to this important tip: not all opportunities are created equally. Pouring money into the coffers of entities who promise to drive “likes” to your Facebook page is a non-starter. Facebook users barely revisit pages of companies (or even individuals) that haven’t yet captured their interest. Add to that the increasingly vast expanse of pages, and you’ll discover that Facebook as a free marketing tool has prohibitive limits.
That said, Facebook ads can be a lucrative and inexpensive vehicle for attracting prospective customers. With the ability to both carve out an appropriate demographic and also customize your budget, you might see an impressive return.
The average consumer wants flexibility while shopping online. Why shop online if it isn’t actually more convenient than shopping in a store? Anyone walking into a store has the luxury of asking an employee about that store’s return policy while purchasing something. Return and exchange policies aren’t so easy to find while shopping online because they’re often hidden, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that consumers value clear return policies and enjoy the flexibility of “hassle-free” returns. A fair and easy to discover return policy can be the difference in earning a returning customer. Here are some keys for crafting a return and exchange policy that works in 2018.
The most important part of having a return policy is to make it visible for all who are looking to shop. Make it available from the main menu, as well as on banners throughout the site. To ensure that there is no confusion, the best way to reinforce a return policy is to send it along with a confirmation email after purchase. Ensuring that a return policy is visible is key to maximizing the chances of brand loyalty.