This article aims to help website owners understand how people consume content, so they can increase visits and conversion.
Can we agree that the whole point of a website is to sell something? This might be a political ideal, awareness, an idea, or something as simple as a product or service. Government websites ‘sell’ a quicker cheaper, self-service way of doing tax returns, or completing forms. Charity sites ‘sell’ information in the hope that you will donate (which you should).
Websites (online content) need to offer the reader something so that they will engage (buy). Since starting our dedicated SEO and online marketing service, the trend has been to create long-form content. Doing so demonstrates authority and value to the search engines so that they rank well in the search engine results.
There is no doubt that the emphasis on quality over quantity has impacted on SEO even more so in 2016 than in previous years. The average article length complied on popular optimisation sites is a testimony to this. The average word count with info-graphics, commentary and links to associated articles, represents a significant time investment.
IF (word count > 1000) THEN Quality = High?
Is this what valuable content is for visitors? Fair enough if the article is an in-depth review of Keynesian economics and whether now is the right time to be borrowing more to invest in infrastructure. That kind of content needs a bit of meat. But if the article is about the top 10 trends in local search engine optimisation. Or how one burger is better than another; are readers really going to set aside 15 minutes to read the content (remember, they are probably on a phone)? It may increase the time on page stats, but only if there is value in it for the visitor.
Modern Content Consumption
Here at Online Customer Solutions, we believe there are a number of elements that help visitors decide whether to open an article (website) and then continue to engage with it:
Article Length v Relevance v Quality (layout + content)
The headline (page title) combined with the introductory paragraph (meta description) dictates if visitors open the link.
The headline signifies the article’s relevance to the individual and the introduction helps emphasise the relevance but also signals the content and quality of the article. Assuming everything passes and the link is opened, this is still no guarantee that the content is going to be read and engaged with.
“Very rarely do people have enough time to read an in-depth article, you need to get your message across quickly, preferably with a call to action.”
If the content is as expected, and the layout isn’t putting anyone off, then we are on to the next stage. Speed reading or ‘skimming’. Reading the first sentence or two of each paragraph will help form the reader’s opinion. Whizzing down the article to see if it continues to be of interest.
Relevance is very personal, and can’t always be controlled, but this comes back to ensuring the article headline (title) and introduction (description) is as accurate as possible. Speed reading forms part of the decision process as for whether to read the whole article. Is it going to be worth the effort? What will I get out of it?
Often long articles or web pages include phrases like: “We’ll get on to that later” or “Stick with it, it’s going to be worth it”. These tactics are also used by salesmen – the more time you invest in something, the less likely you are to walk away. This doesn’t work on web pages, visitors don’t need to start again, they just click ‘back’ and forget. So, even though the long content is meant to help page time, it could actually hurt it.
In our opinion, the value is to be found in a more recent trend:
Make your headlines accurate (no click-bait please)
Reduce the size of an article (or amount of content)
Link to further information.
This will help time-on-page (more people will read it), bounce rate and conversion.
We started out saying that “The aim of this article is to help website owners”. Obviously, being website owners ourselves, we hope that you are ready to engage with us via our contact form. We really do help businesses increase visits and conversion.
Very few people read articles to the end, thanks for making it this far!
A good design and powerful brand marketing will help you attract the attention of online shoppers, but you will need more to convince them to complete a purchase.
Embed secure signs to build trust
A sure way of increasing shopping cart abandonment is to lose a customers trust. If you are not using one of the big well-known payment gateways, for example, PayPal, your site must be secure and display the industry security credentials at every stage of the purchase. This will ensure that customers have the confidence in the technology features needed to guard their information.
Ensure Distraction-free Web Design and User Experience
Web design influences the way most customer interaction occurs. User experience (UX) while shopping will translate to what they end up doing — they either abandon or they make a purchase.
The design is not as crucial as user experience. Your site needs to answer all the customer questions clearly. Good product description, clear pricing, excellent pictures, delivery and returns information. Give the customer everything they need to move through the buying cycle easily and simply. This will reduce in lower abandonment and increase online conversions.
Use Retargeting ads
If a customer has already been on your site to view the products, they could still be in the buying window doing research. Retargeting could be an opportunity in hiding. Build up your re-targeting campaign using Google ads or Facebook.
Win Back a Customer and Increase Online Conversion
Abandoned carts should always trigger a series of emails (ensure you capture customer emails early in the shopping cart process). The first email should be along the lines of ‘don’t forget your basket. Subsequent emails could include details of offers, free shipping, discount codes or free gifts. Whatever your business model supports. Don’t go overboard though and make it obvious. Existing customers will notice any trend and make sure they benefit in future. Certainly, try your best to capture new customers, though! Make the first email quick after the abandonment, don’t lose out to your competitors
Streamline Your Checkout Process.
This is when most shopping carts are abandoned. Have a look at how simple Amazon make it. There famous one click check out couldn’t make it easier for customers to purchase.
You might not have the resources to makes things that simple, but PayPal have a system for speeding up transactions for existing customers and new ones alike.
Find out More
Online Customer Solutions are IT specialists and work with companies to solve business problems. To find out more about our Online marketing and e-commerce experience, and how we can help grow your company, contact us today using this form.
Elements of an SEO-friendy Successful E-Commerce Website.
A successful E-commerce website takes time, effort and organisation. But there is help available. Your site can deliver a great service to your customers and do well in the search results.
Over the past 12 years, Online Customer Solutions Director, Rob Wilkinson, has had the opportunity to manage a variety of e-commerce websites. These have offered everything from equestrian equipment to sirloin stakes.
Most e-commerce sites suffer from similar issues. Usually, the problems are connected to how the business owners approach the development of their e-commerce platform. User experience and aesthetics are often placed way over search engine optimisation.
When sites overly focus on function and forget about optimisation, they lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers. A blend needs to be found.
E-Commerce Optimisation Recommendations
Unique product descriptions
Many e-commerce websites are looked after by people that are experts on their product. However, these people aren’t usually up-to-date with what SEO is or how it works.
Product descriptions are often light on detail and pulled directly from the manufacturer. This means there will be many other sites doing the same thing.
Your product description needs to be engaging, informative and unique. If it is, your site stands a good chance of being able to rank well. Although there are many other SEO factors to consider.
Try to create 250 to 300-word descriptions that speak to your target audience’s search intentions. Also, frame the products in environments where they are best suited.
Product Reviews from Customers
There are many reasons why customer reviews are essential. They are an excellent way to highlight relevant content on your product pages. They also build credibility and trust in your site, drive repeat business and they are free.
Potential customers really value online reviews. If your site has a number of positive reviews for each product, Google treat it kindly and other customers will convert more easily.
Relevant Search Query Optimisation
To allow search engines to understand all about your products, optimise them by name. Avoid using codes, colours or sizes to optimise your website pages. This will lead to duplicate content within your site. For example, use “Mens-Running-Shorts” rather than “Shorts-black-large”
Include brand names in your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and header tags.
Product pages crammed with keywords instead of quality content does not help improve search engine authority. Mention keywords because they are relevant. Descriptions that that help your visitors and describes the products will improve user engagement, enhance the organic authority and drive conversions.
Image alt text
E-commerce sites tend to have more images than most other websites making them more visually attractive. Good images are essential and support the product description. It is important to include relevant alt text with the images so search engines know what the images show.
Search engines need to understand what each picture is of and how it relates to the page. Every image’s alt text needs to describe the product image. Include a key term that you’re trying to rank for as well as your store name.
Title tags allow search engines to understand the content of specific landing pages.
Avoid creating duplicate titles across your site by forgoing the use of manufacturer or vendor titles, as these are likely the same titles they have sent to your competitors.
SEO Friendly Urls For E-Commerce Sites
Instead of including item numbers or category IDs in your URLs, try to use the actual product names that are easily understood by potential customers. URL’s that are built with users in mind help customers and search engines navigate your site.
Meaningful Descriptive Categories
Your primary and subcategory pages should have enough content to be considered authorities. Include social sharing buttons, information that resolves common questions. Make sure you speak to your intended audience.
An automated XML sitemap updates when changes are made to your e-commerce website. Product or category changes are updated so the next time the robots crawl your site, they pick up the latest inventory.
Each time new products and categories are added the sitemap refreshes. This is the best way to ensure that all of your items are indexed by Google.
Buyer guides, FAQ’s and educational content help attract visitors and connect them with your products.
E-commerce sites that link articles to a specific product or category page help teach visitors about your products and service, this transfers organic authority throughout your site.
404 errors, or page not found, wastes organic search results and frustrates customers. E-commerce owners need to keep on top of their online catalogue and redirect to a newer product model or category page.
Because slow sites are irritating to users, Google ranks faster-loading websites higher than slower ones. A fast load time leads to happier customers (conversion) and better search results (ranking).
There are several tools to measure the loading speed of your website – use your favourite search engine to find them!
Markup and Schema
Your webmaster will be able to tag your pages to highlight product name, price, availability, description and image. Data highlighting leads to enhanced search results for people looking for your products. Google provides tools for uploading a product catalogue to Google shopping resulting in more search result options.
Schema.org offers a library of structured data markup that search engines use to offer online consumers more information around a particular product.
Ideally, before you had your website developed, you researched how your potential new customers would find you. What would they be looking for, what would they type into the search engines and how you can demonstrate that people should buy from you.
Your website is the first stage in online marketing. “If you build it, they will come” may work in Hollywood, but it doesn’t work with websites. You need to market your website online and understand customer intent.
If you need any help with online marketing, feel free to fill out our contact form here.
Search engines are putting a lot of effort into working out what people mean when they type words into a search box. AI, or artificial intelligence, is being refined to help search engines understand what people want, and help them find it.
Online marketing to find new customers is all about delivering the service or product that people are looking for. In a previous role, we ran a marketing company which had a call centre. To promote our services we advertised on google with many keywords, but one of them was “Manchester Lead Generation”. Now, consider why people might be searching for “Manchester Lead Generation”.
In a perfect world, everyone would be looking for a Manchester Lead Generation company to purchase services from them. This was rarely the case. (Before going on, I must first mention that we did refine our PPC campaigns so our adverts only appeared to people looking to buy!).
Initially many visitors to the site were looking for a job in a Manchester lead generation company. Others were looking to sell services, for example, utility companies.
Understanding that users typing words into search engines all have very different intentions saves you money. If you can identify people who are looking to buy from you, and not sell to you or work for you, then you won’t be wasting time or budget.
Social Media and Customer Intent
Most towns and villages at least have a facebook group that you can join.
Ensure that your business social media pages are ‘optimised’. This just means that they need to simply and clearly outline what you do or sell. Include keywords so people can quickly identify what you do. Once this is done, you can join the conversation and raise your business profile.
By being clear about what you offer, you’ll get visits from customers whose intentions are better aligned to what you offer.
Customer Intent and PPC
Ideally, your website will be nicely optimised and when people type in what they are looking for, your website will appear at the top of the results and you are getting lots of relevant visits.
If it’s a new website, then this is likely to take a bit of time. You may want to consider pay per click advertising.
PPC advertising is where you create adverts for your business, and when people search for something that you can deliver, you bid to have your advertisement shown to them alongside the other ‘natural’ search results.
If your advert is relevant to what people are searching for (your quality score), and your bid is higher than your competitors, your advert will be shown to the people searching and hopefully, they click on your ad. This then takes them to your website and you pay the PPC engine a fee. There are a wealth of options and variables to consider when setting up online marketing to find new customers (see our other articles, especially the one about negative keywords).
With Facebook, you can set-up your business page and promote it to the people who are likely to buy from you. If you are a child care provider, you may want to target working parents whose child is over 1.
When Online Marketing
Understand Customer Intent.
Monitor and report on internet traffic and conversion rates (be sure to split out your marketing channels).
Keep testing different strategies.
Keep your website regularly updated with fresh original content and share it online with blogs and social media.
Whether you are starting a new business or just a new website, Online Customer Solutions (OCS) can provide everything you need to make sales online.
E-commerce used to be very expensive and take a long time to setup and manage. Small businesses used to spend a fortune (£20k +) getting their shop online. These days there are a number of low-cost platforms that not just save a lot of money, but also provide an exceptional solution.
Solutions include as Paypal, WordPress, Shopify, WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento and OpenCart.
OCS recommend OpenCart. It is flexible, powerful, open source and has a solid support system via a large number of users. It is a low-cost solution enabling small businesses to make sales online.
The number of features out of the box is huge. All the standard stuff is there; account setup, stock control, order and payment processing (via extensions), email confirmations etc. It is completely customisable, ensuring that it looks exactly as you want.
There are also nice extras including wish lists, newsletter management, built-in affiliate system gift vouchers and much more.
Setup costs start at £250, and running costs (which includes hosting, management, ongoing support) starts at £50 per month.
Monthly costs depend on how much help you want. OCS can also setup and manage your online marketing and provide help and advice when it comes to social media, content and affiliate marketing.
Make Sales Online
Online Customer Solutions can provide everything you need to make sales online. OCS have many years of development and online marketing experience and can install, setup, manage and market your e-commerce site. We can also provide training.
Based just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.
Find out more
Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.
Every small and medium size business needs to find new customers. Online Customer Solutions (OCS) aims to help businesses grow.
People like websites because they solve a problem. Provide a service or product they are looking for. Customers buy from websites because they are authoritative, trustworthy and expert and provide a positive user experience.
Finding new customers starts with a review of your own website and ensuring that any marketing you do isn’t wasted. Once you are certain that you have a value proposition, you can work on getting new customers to your site.
OCS can help setting up an online marketing strategy or refining keywords and negative keywords to make sure the campaigns are targeting the right people at the right time.
Measuring the marketing is essential to keeping costs down and return in investment up. If you haven’t already setup Analytics, especially to monitor Events and Goals, Online Customer Solutions can set this up. Reports can be scheduled and emails so you can keep an eye on the key performance indicators. You can only improve something if you measure it!
Find New Customers
Located just south of Manchester in the UK, OCS provide solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.
Online Customer Solutions helps with your online marketing to increase visits and sales. We can also setup your new website or update your existing one.
Online Customer Solutions can help you grow your business online. Everything from helping you setup a website – or doing it for you – to help with online marketing. OCS can help with content marketing ,SEO, PPC, and much more. As a result your business will grow.
Having a great business idea is just the start, there are many steps needed to grow your business online and consequently increasing sales.
You customers can help you grow your business online. Ask for reviews, think of Ebay and the positive feedback score. If you have a number of good reviews – especially if you business provides services locally – you will feature higher in the search engines.
If you are a restaurant or hotel, responding to Trip Advisor reviews is essential. As a result, customers will see that you care about what people think and want to improve.
You are good at what you do, because more people find you (using the internet) the more customers you’ll get, furthermore, the more your business will grow online.
Get more sales by ensuring that you have a great website that makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for and buy. Ensure it is secure and trustworthy. Use a trusted payment system, for example PayPal.
Spend time marketing your business using social media and online advertising.
Try and win repeat business, talk to your customers and ask them for feedback. Ask for a positive review on Google or Facebook.
Make sure your business is listed in Google so people can find out your opening times, location etc.
Find out more
Located just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.
Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.