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    As an auto business owner, you know how important it is to build brand loyalty. There’s a lot of competition out there, and you want customers to choose you over another shop. Once they choose you, you want to build brand loyalty so they come back again and again.

    How can your auto business build brand loyalty?

    We’ll give you the steps you can take to use social media, review sites and email marketing to rev up interest, build brand loyalty and steer customers into your shop. Then, we’ll break down how to keep that brand loyalty and keep your customers coming back.

    Get personal. Stay personable. Personalize your customer service, customize your content and let your customers know that you care. 

    Coming right up, the 4 steps you need to build brand loyalty for your auto business.

    • Personalize your review responses
    • Build brand loyalty through customer service
    • Steer your content in the right direction
    • Use email marketing to build relationships

    1. Personalize your review responses

    It’s key for auto businesses to build brand loyalty on Yelp and Google.

    When customers are looking for the right place to go for a major repair or a quick oil change, they’re reading your reviews, first.  

    What will make them choose you over another business?

    What your potential customers want to see, first and foremost, are positive reviews from happy customers. But, what’s also extremely important is that they see thoughtful, personalized and genuine responses to all positive, neutral and negative reviews. In those responses, they can see that your shop is run by an owner who cares about their customers and wants them to have an excellent experience every time.

    Here’s how you can personalize your review responses.

    Address people directly

    When someone writes you a review, it’s important to respond in the most personalized way possible. Including the customer’s name at the start of your response is a great way to show that you care about each individual that you interact with online, which can build brand loyalty.

    Pick out details they mentioned in their review

    Pick out specific details, then highlight them in your response. Pointing out details shows that you really read their review and that you care. 

    Correct any misunderstandings

    This is your business. You can defend something that you don’t think is fair, or that you don’t think occurred. Just remember to stay professional and polite. 

    Apologize if necessary

    Sometimes all an unhappy customer is looking for is a simple apology. You can always acknowledge that you’re sorry your customers had a less-than-perfect experience at your business. 

    Invite people back to give you another try

    If a customer was disappointed with his visit, invite him back to give you another chance. It shows that you’re confident that experience was a one-off, and you know you can impress him next time. 

    Ask questions

    A review can be a good place to start a conversation. If a reviewer mentions they had a bad experience with a particular mechanic, ask who it was. Ask what day they came in and what time. Then, you can assure them that you’re handling it in house to ensure that your customers are enjoying every visit at your shop. 

    Here’s an example of a personalized response to a positive review. Notice that in the response, the owners are very personable. They reply using Paul’s name and pull out specific information in the review, “We’re glad you and your father have both always been happy with our service.”

    Here is an example of how a dealership handled a negative review in a professional, polite manner.

    The owner apologizes, says he’s disappointed that that reviewer had a negative experience, and invites the reviewer back again to give the business another try. 

    Every review that comes in for your auto business is an opportunity to build brand loyalty. Respond to your reviews knowing that it’s not only for the benefit of the reviewer, but for anyone coming to visit your page. Seeing your calm, cool and collected responses might be the reason why new customers drive over to your shop instead of another shop in town.

    2. Build brand loyalty through customer service

    Be there for the feedback, questions, complaints and concerns from your customers.

    When today’s consumers reach out to your auto business through social media and review sites, they expect a quick response. 

    90% of customers reach out to brands on social media and consider it the first place they’d turn with a question, issue or complaint.

    This means that each and every mention, comment and wall post that comes in for your business on social media has the power to influence a customer’s opinion of your business. And, it can impact if that customer comes by for a visit.

    • Monitor your Facebook for any reviews, mentions, comments or wall posts 
    • Check your Twitter for any DMs, tweets or mentions
    • Get eyes on your Instagram comments and DMs
    • Respond

    Try to respond within 48 hours to both positive feedback and questions and concerns. Even if you just say, “Thank you!” to a nice comment on Instagram, reply to a tweet or like a Facebook post, interacting with your customers across social media is a great way to impress them and show that you’re listening.

    3. Steer your content in the right direction

    Build brand loyalty and bolster your brand authenticity on social media. 

    When customers are researching auto shops on social media, they’re looking for a team they can trust. After all, potential customers are thinking about leaving their vehicles — one of their biggest investments — in your hands. And, they know when they bring their vehicle in for any service, they’re about to spend some money. Help them understand that your business is the best place for their car and their business. 

    Here’s Hovey Motor Cars in San Antonio, TX giving potential customers a look at who is running their business. Content like this helps build trust and loyalty.

    Tell your story

    Share content on your social channels that tells a story versus sells a product. This kind of content can include team member spotlights, educational tips and tricks, feel-good stories and engaging polls and questions. Telling your story can help you build brand loyalty.

    Here are some tweets from Kenneth’s Car Care in Kenwood, TX. which shows a varied mix of content. They showcase their history in the industry, great service and trustworthy team: 

    This tweet shows off their history and tells the story of how and why they got started.

    In 1976, Kenneth Majeski started Kenneth’s Car Center to give the community trustworthy repairs that treat customers like family. pic.twitter.com/Yrf1MnQIwF

    — Kenneth's Car Care (@KennethsCarCare) June 3, 2019

     

    Here, they let the world know that their service is top notch: 

    Accidents are sometimes unexpected. But with us, quality work is always expected! Give us a call at (832) 412-2123. pic.twitter.com/ansORJyZIQ

    — Kenneth's Car Care (@KennethsCarCare) June 14, 2019

    And, this tweet puts their trusted team in the spotlight, showing potential customers the kind of people they’ll be working with when they bring their car in to their shop: 

    When you come to us, you're coming to a reliable crew with decades of experience. pic.twitter.com/FcyyEoiwgd

    — Kenneth's Car Care (@KennethsCarCare) May 16, 2019

     

    Educate through social media

    As a auto business owner, you’re an expert in your industry. Boost loyalty with your customers by sharing helpful tips and tricks about driving, car care and maintenance with your customers on social media. This educational information will help keep your customers informed even when they’re not in your shop and will build brand loyalty. They’ll see your business as one that wants to help its customers even when they’re not in the shop. 

    In this example, Dan’s Auto Repair in White House, TN shares an article about driving tips for summer road trips:

    Dr. Tire Inc. lets their followers know the best times to rotate their tires:

    You can see how sharing helpful information can make customers more loyal to a brand. They know they can go to the experts at a trusted company for all of their questions and car care needs.

    4. Use email marketing to build relationships

    Stay top-of-mind with your customers with a good email marketing strategy. 

    Email marketing builds brand loyalty. The people receiving your emails have opted in to receive content from you. They want to stay connected with your brand and their looking for deals and discounts. Give the people what they want! 

    With a coupon or a reminder about a summertime special, customers who already love and trust you will come back again and again. And, they’re likely to recommend you to their friends since they can easily forward an email along. 

    We hope you use these strategies on social media and review sites and in your email marketing to rev up trust and build brand loyalty for your auto business!

    Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

    The post 4 steps to build brand loyalty for your auto business appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on June 16, 2016, and was updated on July 23, 2019. 

    Why do you need to learn how to get backlinks to your website? Well, everyone wants to rank higher in Google search results, but few understand how to make that happen. Many small business website owners, in particular, feel lost as they try to get noticed and compete against brands with million-dollar online marketing budgets.

    There is good news. You don’t need a massive marketing budget to improve your search engine rankings.

    You don’t need fancy tricks or even a lot of in-depth knowledge of how the internet works (though it helps). A basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), including how to get backlinks, will go a long way toward improving your website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs).

    Sound good?

    What is a backlink?

    Like the name sounds, a backlink is simply a hyperlink on another website that links back to yours. A backlink is like an endorsement in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

    Backlinks reflect the company you keep and the types of industries and blogs that recommend you to their visitors.

     

    Before we delve into how to get backlinks to your small business website, let’s cover a few SEO basics. From here, you should be able to develop a strategy that grows your backlinks, rankings, traffic and, of course, sales.

    Related: Beginner’s guide to search engine optimization for small business websites 

    There are three pillars of SEO

    Marble Pillars Represent Three Pillars SEO
    Before you can start building backlinks, you need to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works. This strong foundation can help you make smart decisions about your keywords, content and promotion throughout the backlink creation process.

    The three pillars of SEO include structure, content and authority. Each of these pillars is equally important:

    Structure

    If your website is not mobile-friendly and the on-page elements do not load well, then your content does not matter. Remember, 53% of mobile users will bounce if a website takes more than three seconds to load. They won’t read it if they can’t get to it.

    Content

    If your content isn’t entertaining, informative or interesting, people are not going to share or link to it. Why would someone recommend something that they did not find useful or interesting?

    Authority

    Reaching new audiences and capturing the attention of large groups of people get your brand noticed. This leads to more sharing, more linking, and more buzz around your brand.

    With these three pillars, you can see how websites that continuously invest in all facets of SEO perform better than competitor websites that do not. You can also see how a company that only focuses on backlinks can watch its efforts fall short.

    Bad backlink tactics

    Before you can actively start building backlinks, it’s important to understand why you must build them ethically.

    Stop Sign Represent Bad Backlink Tactics]

    In April of 2012, Google announced an update to their search algorithm, named Penguin. Penguin penalized websites that were essentially building their own backlinks for the sole purpose of manipulating the search results.

    The primary way to accomplish a large increase in backlinks was to purchase and pay other websites for those links. Thanks to the Penguin update, if you engage in buying links and are caught, Google can penalize you by removing your site from search results entirely.

    Since the initial update in 2012, there have been several more additions to the Penguin algorithm to account for bad link-building.

    Google is incredibly clear about what isn’t allowed in terms of building backlinks, so there is little risk that you will “accidentally” stumble into a bad link-building strategy.

    The below list of tactics is directly pulled from Google  and is explicit about what cannot be done:

    • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. (This also includes sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.)
    • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking between multiple sites.
    • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
    • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
    • Text advertisements that pass PageRank.
    • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
    • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
    • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links.
    • Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
    • Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites.
    • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature.

    See the similarities between all the violations? All of these tactics are meant exclusively to build backlink SEO. The content is not taken into consideration and neither is the user. Actively seeking backlinks in this manner can and should penalize your website.

    Google wants to protect its rankings and will punish pages that try to game the system.

     

    Google can easily discover if a website is using a strategy above because it knows what a natural backlink profile looks like compared to an unnatural one. They have your website’s backlink profile because they crawl and catalog every single link found on the internet.

    If you gain 10,000 links this Tuesday and only two or three over the next few weeks, and then all of a sudden gain another 2,000 a month later, there is a good chance you are engaging in one of the tactics above.

    How to get backlinks, then?

    It is important to address all of the negative ways to get backlinks so you can avoid them and focus on growing your search presence ethically. As a small business website owner, you might be approached by companies that use these tactics and promise results.

    The effects could be devastating if Google penalizes your brand because of shady practices.

    One of the safest ways to produce backlinks involves establishing yourself or your company as a thought leader (or influencer) in your industry.

    People out there are searching for your products or services, whether you are a neurosurgeon or a florist. You can position yourself or your brand as the best possible option to meet their needs. And this all starts with a blog.

    Related: How to start a blog

    5 steps to build backlinks on your website

    You don’t have to be a web guru or SEO specialist to build backlinks for your website. Here’s a simple, five-step process that you can build into your marketing strategy to grow your rankings, traffic and backlink count:

    1. Analyze – Discover what terms people are searching for in your industry.
    2. Create – Create high-quality, engaging content that targets those search terms (keywords).
    3. Publish – Post the keyword-targeted content on your website and optimize the page based on the term you chose.
    4. Promote – Let the world know you published the content.
    5. Monitor – Track and analyze your activity, organic traffic and backlink profile.

    We will review each of these in greater detail so you can apply them to your SEO process.

    1. Analyze —Discover what people are searching for

    The first step in learning how to get backlinks is to come up with a list of keywords that reflect what people are searching for to get to your website or competitors in your industry.

    For example, if you manage an auto repair shop, then customers might reach your site through terms like “oil change near me,” or “mechanic in [city name].”

    The good news is that you don’t have to guess what these keywords are to dial in SEO. With the right research tools, you can curate a list of words and phrases that are useful for your customers to find you and valuable to your brand as a whole.

    Start with on-site search

    If your website has a search bar feature, then your customers are already telling you what information they need. Google Analytics is able to capture these search terms and list them for you to review.

    A third of your site visitors will conduct an on-site search, so you can quickly curate a list of relevant terms.

    Look for patterns in the keywords and let them guide your content. For example, if people are searching wedding-related keywords, you might want to promote your space as a venue more. Your landing page with that content may need to be more prominent or you may need to create more content around those search terms.

    Analyze your competitors

    If you want to take a competitive stance in your SEO field, analyze the keywords of your competitors. Wordstream curated a list of eight useful tools for finding their top keywords and other keywords they may be missing out on. You can use this to guide your strategy.

    Related: How to find inspiration from your competitors (without stealing their ideas)

    Try Google’s Keyword Planner tool

    If you use Google Ads, tap into the keyword planner to drum up possible ideas and synonyms. With the keyword planner tool, you can type in one idea and then Google will recommend other terms and keywords, while showing you the search popularity of each one. You can gain new ideas while determining which tools would be most effective.
    How to Get Backlinks Google Keyword Planner Example
    As you can see from the example above, the keyword “Tinnitus cure,” is highly competitive, but the term “what is Tinnitus” only has 880 monthly searches. If you are an ear doctor, you could create a blog post with the later term, focusing on what Tinnitus is.

    You can also look at your search terms in Google Ads. These are not the terms you are bidding on, but the terms people use to find your ads. You may discover some keywords that Google never thought of.

    Related: Editorial calendar — The content, keyword and SEO connection

    2. Create — Produce great content targeting those search terms

    Once you have your list of keywords, it is time to assign content to each term.

    The world is your oyster in terms of content creation.

     

    You can create infographics, videos, eBooks, whitepapers and blog posts — to name a few. As a small business owner, you need to weigh your time and cost of production.

    An infographic might be impressive, but it can also be expensive and time-consuming. The fastest way to producing content in an economical manner is by blogging.

    For example, if you wanted to build backlinks and rank highly for the keyword “outdoor wedding,” a few potential ideas that come up include:

    • What to look for in an outdoor wedding venue.
    • Top favor ideas for an outdoor wedding.
    • Advice from wedding planners for an outdoor wedding.

    As you can see, each idea is unique, but all of the blog post ideas tie back to the target keyword.

    Pro tip: “Near me” searches grew 900% between 2015 and 2017. These are terms like “hair stylist near me” or “plumber in my neighborhood.” Not only are these terms popular, they are also effective. More than 75% of local mobile searches result in a same-day store visit and 26% of those visits turn into a purchase. Consider researching and building localized content targeting those popular search terms.

    Related: How to plan your company blog editorial calendar

    3. Publish — Post the SEO-friendly content on your website

    One of the biggest mistakes you could make in learning how to get backlinks is creating multiple pieces of content around one keyword.

    For example, the “outdoor wedding” keyword generated three ideas, but you should only use one per blog post.

    If you keep creating content around the same keyword, you will end up competing against yourself and your content will be less effective.

    Instead, take one keyword and research four or five similar terms that you can use. (This is where the Google Keyword Planner comes in handy.) You can take one keyword and find a dozen similar ones. If you use an SEO tool like Yoast, you will be alerted when you use a duplicate target keyword.

    Develop cornerstone content

    If you really want to rank for one keyword in particular, consider developing cornerstone content. As Instapage’s Stephanie Mialki notes:

    “Cornerstone content is … the highest value, most foundational content pieces for increasing traffic and brand awareness.”

    This is where strategic content investment comes in.

    Many brands will invest in high-quality content, like an eBook or whitepaper, to target a specific keyword. This is the cornerstone content. Then, they will create a handful of supporting blog posts that link to the main piece and direct readers to the valuable information.

    For example, if a cornerstone whitepaper is called “How to lose your baby weight in six months,” then the supplemental blog posts would cover topics and keywords like:

    • How much weight do women gain during pregnancy?
    • How long, on average, does it take to lose post-baby weight?
    • When can women start exercising after they have a baby?

    Each piece would have its own keywords (and would meet your blog’s quality standards) but would also link back to the cornerstone piece.

    Related: Step-by-step guide to writing a search-friendly blog article

    4. Promote — Let the world know you are creating great content

    Along with taking as many steps possible to rank well for your content, you can also drive people to read and share your blog posts.

    Remember, the more people who see your posts will link to it, growing your backlink count with the help of your social promotions.

    One of the top questions people ask is whether social media shares account for SEO. Social media is not a direct SEO ranking factor. If it was, brands could just buy their way to high rankings by promoting their content across various social channels.

    That being said, promoting your content on social media can generate traffic to your website and prompt others to link back to your content, which does affect your SEO.

    The more people you reach on social media, the more people are likely to link to it. This builds your backlinks.

     

    Plus, the traffic you drive to your content is captured in behavioral analytics. If your audiences spend a long time on your page, then Google will notice the audience behavior.

    The search engine can see that the page has a low bounce rate and is mobile friendly, signaling that the content is valuable. You may notice higher rankings as your social engagement grows because people enjoy the content you share.

    Naturally, these higher rankings help you build on your success and drive even more backlinks to your site.

    Related: Time-saving social media tips for business owners

    5. Monitor — Track and analyze your SEO activity and results

    As you start to regularly publish content and share it on social media, set up a process to track your backlinks and other data points.

    Once again, you don’t need to be a numbers wizard to monitor your insights. Google Analytics is free for website users and there are easy-to-digest tutorials that you can follow to learn about the tool.

    You can check your analytics weekly, but once a month is just fine. With Google Analytics, you can review a host of different metrics that can provide value to your brand and content strategy. These include:

    • Top pages and blog posts
    • Top channels to drive traffic (Google, Facebook, etc.)
    • Demographics and interests of your target audiences
    • Sources of traffic (desktop vs. mobile, Chrome vs. Mozilla)
    • Bounce rates, time on site, and other use behavior

    To track your website backlinks, I suggest using Majestic, OpenSiteExplorer or Ahrefs. You will be able to get some data for free, but it is worth paying for these services if your goal is to build backlinks to your website.

    Developing backlinks and improving your SEO is not an overnight project.

     

    Most brands don’t see the results they want for at least 12 months. Even if you are ranking well, you don’t want to stop. Letting your content grow stale is a great way to fall in the rankings. You don’t want all of your hard work to be for naught.

    Creating the best content you can will never get punished by search engines like Google. The search engines will appreciate you, your audience will engage with you, and your business will grow.

    Now go forth and broadcast your knowledge — and reap the benefits of your labor.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Garth O’Brien.

    The post How to get backlinks to a small business website appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Can you build a house without creating the blueprint? No. And the same goes for web design. Even though it’s tempting to get straight to business, it’s not that simple. For all but the most basic sites, a plan is necessary to ensure a logical design process.

    In web design, a website wireframe is the plan that will guide you along the way and keep your workflow organized. With wireframing, you can experiment with the site layout and overall functionality before putting your ideas into reality, helping you come up with the best user experience among several possibilities.

    This article created by our team at Amelia, will explain the wireframing concept and will give you some wireframe examples to inspire you to create your own.

    Defining the Concept of Wireframe

    So what is wireframing? Think of your website wireframe as a skeleton that holds everything together. This skeleton defines the shape, size, and strength of your website, as well as its looks.

    Wireframing represents the process of creating a visual mockup of the website’s structure. You can use it for apps or other software products as well.

    A wireframe contains simple blocks made of geometric shapes that indicate where each element should go once you start putting the website together. It sounds simple, and it is – because that’s the whole point of a mockup.

    You can move blocks around very easily, instead of going straight to the interface and having to rebuild the structure of your website. A wireframe works best as a guide to follow before moving on to a high-fidelity prototype that requires more effort to create.

    Benefits of Wireframing

    A clear benefit of wireframing is that it provides some sort of separation between the design process and the user experience. Instead of focusing only on how the platform looks, you’ll focus on the user’s journey instead.

    Likewise, when later working on the appearance, the designer won’t be bothered by aspects related to functionality, since these issues will have been mostly ironed out in the wireframe.

    For companies that work with larger design teams, this is a valuable aspect that eases the process and saves a lot of time. Creating a wireframe can be done with a pen and some paper or a big whiteboard until you move it to the virtual environment, so don’t worry about tools being too expensive or inaccessible to some.

    Digital wireframes are great for distributed teams where collaborations are required and not all people work under the same roof. Moreover, you can make iterations and revisions easier.

    How Can You Create a Wireframe?

    Oftentimes, UX designers create a quick wireframe that is not as detailed as it should be. A complete wireframe is the only way to avoid all potential mistakes or changes in the later prototype.

    Once you check out the wireframe examples included in this article you should have a good idea of how to create your own.

    The tools most often used for rapidly creating complete wireframes include Balsamiq, Figma, and Sketch, but you can use many others for this task. Despite the rough appearance and simplicity of a website wireframe, a more sophisticated tool can make your work much easier.

    Before anything else, focus on the fact that wireframes need to be practical. Practicality doesn’t go well with fancy looks, so get used to the idea that it won’t look the tidiest. Wireframes are designed to organize ideas, and they will act as a roadmap that you can follow to reach a specific result.

    As you will see in the following wireframe examples, they look like some sort of sketches that gather together all the ideas that need to be put into practice. The most basic form consists of some blocks and arrows on a piece of paper.

    Digitally, wireframes are a bit neater, as they contain clickable actions that allow for iterations and further changes. Thus, you can create a wireframe without using any specific tool at first, but digital wireframing tools are recommended.

    Below you will find 7 website wireframe designs that should inspire and encourage you to start your own.

    Wireframe Examples to Get You Inspired

    Fiber Website (Lo Fi)

    This low-fidelity wireframe design by Zach DeYoung is the perfect example to take inspiration from when designing an online store.

    It demonstrates a basic but highly effective layout for a product page with a simple navigation menu, well-spaced dummy text blocks for product features, and a prominent mailing list Call-to-Action strip.

    Sketchframes

    Mottom – Wireframe + Sketch file

    If you want to build a more sophisticated website, check out this wireframe example.

    Newspaper Website Wireframe

    Here’s an example of a more refined wireframe that looks organized and a bit fancier than the other ones presented here. It’s ZiyaFenn’s creation and it definitely stands out from the crowd because of its typographic elements and the tessellating block form. This can be used as inspiration for newspapers or news blogs.

    Free sketch wireframe

    Shopify Exploratory Wireframes

    Janna Hagan created this website wireframe for people who are trying to build Shopify sites. It is a high-fidelity wireframe focused on the layout design, but the wireframe is also useful for building visuals.

    Udacity Wireframes

    Regardless of what project you want to launch, there’s a lot you can learn by having a look at the wireframes created for Udacity, one of the Web’s most popular online learning sites.

    There’s nothing fancy looks-wise, but you can get a good idea of how much effort was spent in laying out each block of content for an overall pleasing and harmonious effect.

    Back to My Body Dashboard Diary Wireframe

    This website wireframe by Alyoop is an example of a simple digital wireframe. It’s neat, yet unsophisticated – a grey color palette, a few icons here and there, a few images and that’s it. Back to My Body Dashboard Diary is a good wireframe example for those who are just starting with this process.

    Wirebase

    Wireframe Landing Page Free PSD file

    Atomic Design template for Sketch

    Ending thoughts on these wireframe examples

    Now that you know more about wireframes and you’ve got to discover all these beautiful wireframe examples, here are some principles to keep in mind whenever you build one:

    • Build a scalable wireframe – you’ll always want to make changes or add elements to it
    • Respect the browser window size/the screen size – the content will be positioned inside this frame
    • Don’t build a wireframe based on the viewport – build it from header to footer
    • Use realistic content when building your wireframe – it will give you the clearest look
    • Stay away from stylistic elements – focus on functionality

    And, of course, remember to have fun!

    If you enjoyed reading this article about wireframe examples, you should read these as well:

    The post A Few Neat Website Wireframe Examples You Should Download appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    What is a content management system? For many established and aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s the star of their digital presence and a key driver of business success.

    Simply put, a content management system (aka CMS) is a framework for managing digital content. We’ll get into more specifics later, but it’s important to understand up front that if you’re talking about a WordPress website, for example, you’re talking about the WordPress CMS.

    WordPress is a content management system.

     

    A CMS designed for web content management, like WordPress, makes it easier to manage the digital content — think web pages, blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc. — that brands use to market their products or services. They typically support multiple users and can be customized to cater to various business goals and needs.

    The right content management system, used to its fullest potential, can help you start and grow a thriving business.

    You’ve probably heard of online tools like WordPress CMS and Drupal, which are two of the most popular CMS options on the market. Perhaps you already have been using a content management system, and if that’s the case, you can likely attest to just how invaluable they really are.

    But if you don’t have a CMS integrated into your business model, and want to learn more, you’re in the right place.

    Related: Create It — Building your presence, brand and product

    Understanding content management systems

    Here’s what we’re going to cover in this article:

    By the end of this article, you’ll know all you need to get started with a CMS like WordPress. Let’s hit it, shall we?

    What is a content management system?

    Broadly defined, any software that facilitates the content creation process can be classified as a CMS. In addition, the purview of these systems often extends to the editing process as well as all subsequent organization and publication therein.

    Perhaps the most valuable aspect of a solid CMS is that it eliminates the need for deep technical expertise in order to operate it. You read that right:

    In the age of the CMS, you can easily manipulate your content without a shred of technical expertise.

     

    Whereas you once needed to have at least basic coding knowledge to manipulate content online, like building a website from the ground up with HTML and CSS, you can now create and modify digital content it to your specifications without coding experience.

    Although CMS systems were once very costly (and therefore inaccessible to most businesses), the emergence of options like WordPress CMS — which is open source and available free of charge — has democratized the application of CMS. Moreover, the potential uses for these systems has exponentially grown over the years, providing even more versatility.

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    Types of CMS software

    If you do decide to add a CMS to your business, you’ll have three main categories of CMS software to choose from. Let’s discuss each one briefly so that you can make an informed decision.

    Open source

    This kind of CMS is so named because you can find it available to download on a web server for free. Thanks, internet!

    Open-source CMS bears no license or contracts, though you may need to invest in additional features like technical support, plugins or templates/themes. To create a website using an open-source CMS like WordPress, you’ll also need web hosting — the space on the internet where you place your website’s files.

    But, because there’s no big financial investment up front, open source is an easy one to recommend for users just starting out with a CMS. In fact, some of the most popular systems out there — like Joomla!, Drupal and the aforementioned WordPress — are prime examples of open-source CMS.

    Proprietary

    As its name implies, proprietary content management systems are created by one company, and then licensed out. In order to use one of these, you’ll need to purchase a license from the software’s owner and often pay an ongoing fee for future updates and customer support.

    Like open-source CMS, you may opt for additional upgrades to the standard software package, though that all depends on how intuitive the CMS is, and how many of its features apply to your operation.

    Be careful though, as these customizations can be costly and add up fast. Common proprietary content management systems include Microsoft SharePoint and Sitecore.

    Software as a Service (SaaS)

    These CMS platforms — which include most cloud-based systems — embrace a subscription model often presented as a consolidated package. Because of that, a key benefit is that you’re dealing with a single service provider.

    Pricing is typically available per-user or per-site and includes data transfer, storage and support services as well as content management.

    Some SaaS products are based entirely in the cloud, while others provide partial cloud systems allowing for customization. In either case, you’ll enjoy broad accessibility across your devices and real-time updates.

    GoDaddy CMS Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
    GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting, offered in multiple plan types via subscription, is an example of a CMS SaaS model.

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    How a content management system works

    Modern content management systems provide a consolidated solution for the management of virtually all web content. You can set up access for different users, giving them each the ability to take action on projects at various levels of access (or permissions).

    Although the content may greatly vary, most CMS systems share the same basic features:

    Create content

    Of course, you can create entirely new projects within a CMS, and these systems typically provide an easy-to-use framework to get started and the means to translate that ideally for an online environment.

    Publish content

    Much more than just the ability to post on the web, CMS formats your content so that it is easily readable by users and provides you with a venue to distribute it with the masses.

    Store content

    Most CMS systems have an internal database wherein you can store your content, including text, images, audio or video files. This gives you a one-stop destination for all your files, preventing the need for entirely separate storage space.

    Manage workflow

    Although not all content management systems are overly concerned with workflow, you will likely seek out this feature if you manage a team. Use your CMS to assign tasks and keep your team accountable through a variety of roles with differing levels of access.
    What Is A Content Management System Workflow Doodles In Notebook

    Enterprise content management vs. web content management

    While content management systems are universally concerned with the creation and management of digital content, you’ll find they actually have two different applications. Depending on your specific needs, you will either primarily use your CMS for enterprise content management (ECM) or web content management (WCM).

    For ECM, the CMS is merely a tool used to make it easier for your team members to collaborate. What this means is up to you. Perhaps you are using your CMS to manage sensitive documents and ensure that everyone is literally on the same page or to keep your records and digital assets accessible to your entire team. Regardless, you leverage the role-based access of your CMS to serve your overall business goals and drive productivity forward. Sharepoint is a good example.

    With WCM, the focus is on the content that publishes directly to the external web (i.e., what is publicly visible to users). Roles are used to designate authors, and WCM creates, edits and ultimately publishes to the internet, unlike the internally focused ECM content secure behind your company’s firewall.

    Despite their differences, WCM and ECM both operate relatively similarly. They simply publish their managed content in separate destinations.

    In both WCM and ECM, a content management application (CMA) provides each user with a graphical user interface (GUI) to manipulate the content without dealing with any HTML code whatsoever. Then a content delivery application (CDA) lends back-end support once content has been released.

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    Why should you choose a content management system?

    Now that we’ve answered the question of “what is a content management system?” in detail, it’s time to decide if using one is right for your business.

    Spoiler alert: It probably is.

    In fact, odds are unless you won’t be putting anything online for your business, you’ll need a CMS to keep track of all the things. And when you’re an entrepreneur, there are a lot of things.

    So, what value can a CMS bring to your venture?

    Flexibility

    This isn’t a boring, set-it-and-forget-it content management solution.

    Your CMS can grow and develop with your business and its needs.

     

    From plugins and extensions to integrations with systems you’re already using, you will constantly find more ways to get the most out of your CMS.

    For instance, add WooCommerce to customize the WordPress CMS for eCommerce, or supercharge your SEO with the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress.

    Want to give your website a new look? With a content management system like WordPress, you have thousands of different themes (which give your site its appearance) to choose from.

    Affordability

    Given the strength in your CMS software, you’ll be amazed at just how reasonable the rates are. Many popular options even offer tiered payment plans so that you don’t have to pay for any more than you need to.

    After all, you can always expand on the functionality you use as time goes on.

    No coding experience necessary

    For many CMS admirers, this is the most attractive part of the deal.

    While hiring a web designer may still be a good idea for some business owners, you don’t need to know how to do any HTML (or any other kind of code, for that matter) to use these systems.

    You can customize it to look and function the way you want, and the system will handle the coding for you. It’s that easy. And, it doesn’t hurt that if you do get tripped up on anything, YouTube has hundreds of tutorials for virtually anything you would want to know about CMS customization. Plus, the most popular CMS platforms have active user forums.

    Easy installation

    Set aside any fears you might have about those lengthy installation processes because, especially with managed CMS solutions, you don’t have to be a tech expert to set up a CMS.

    Most reputable web hosting companies offer simple setup solutions for popular CMS software.

    Related: How to find the best hosting company

    What Is A Content Management System Business Owners Working Online

    Customizable

    Whereas some other systems offer rigid functionality, your CMS won’t ask you to simply work around its limitations. In fact, you’ll be able to customize your system to an insane degree. How your site looks, the way it processes content and the integrations tied to your CMS can all be changed. You can finally bring your vision to life.

    Smooth updates

    You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to make a quick edit to your content. So your CMS doesn’t ask you to. If you need to make a change, just log in and do it in real time. There’s no “processing” time needed for this to show up on your site. It’s all instantaneous, ensuring that everything is always 100% up to date.

    Caveat: You will need to stay on top of the necessary software and security updates. The popularity of the WordPress CMS, in particular, makes it a target for security breaches.

    Related: How to update WordPress like a pro 

    Access controls

    Security is naturally a key concern for your business.

    Most CMS software uses a role-based permissions system that gives you the freedom to assign tasks and levels of access to different groups of people within your organization. The only people able to see or interact with sensitive data are those authorized to do so.

    Ideal for collaboration

    One of the key objectives of your CMS is to keep you and your team united in serving your company’s mission. The ability to share content both externally and internally makes it easy for you to work together since you’ll essentially be sharing the same digital workspace.

    Access anywhere

    Most CMS software is cloud-based at this point, and this is a tremendous benefit for your business. No longer will be you be trapped by the walls of your office. You can work anywhere with an internet connection.

    Search function

    With a wealth of indexing features, most content management systems make it easy to identify and retrieve a piece of content. Moreover, as any edits are made, you’ll be able to tell who changed what and when.

    Templates

    When you’re busy running a bustling business, you want to find a quicker way of getting things done without sacrificing the quality of the results. That’s where templates can be particularly useful, and as it turns out, CMS software either already comes loaded with templates, or you can easily download them for your own purposes.

    Languages

    How much you use this feature will depend on the nature and scope of your business, but content management systems typically are designed to provide multilingual functionality and/or support. Even if you don’t have use for it now, you never know where the future will take your business.

    Related: Complete guide to WordPress multilingual setup

    Search engine optimization

    Your content isn’t really serving its purpose if it isn’t being seen. Thankfully, the best CMS platforms tend to place an emphasis on SEO, either with built-in tools or plugins (hello, Yoast!) that can help you govern how well your URLs, text and other facets of your content mesh with current SEO best practices.

    Related: Beginner’s guide to search engine optimization for small business websites

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    The most popular CMS software: WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal

    At this point, you’ve learned a lot about what CMS software is, how it works and why you should most certainly consider using one for your business. Now comes the trickiest part of all: deciding which system is right for you.

    Of course, you have several possibilities out there waiting for you, and ultimately, you’ll have to be able to narrow it done to just one.

    The three most popular content management systems are:

    WordPress CMS

     What Is A Content Management System Hand Holding WordPress Logo

    We’ve mentioned this one a couple of times, but it’s so ubiquitous that it bears repeating.

    WordPress dominates the web. It’s used on more websites than you would imagine. Large or small, WordPress is everywhere. Let’s look at some interesting WordPress stats from BuiltWith:

    • Nearly 25 million live websites use WordPress.
    • More than 32% of the top 1 million websites are using WordPress.
    • 50% of the websites using a CMS, use WordPress

    Everyone from publishing companies and universities to banks and consumer product companies uses WordPress. This wide adoption and usage shows you the true capabilities of WordPress and that it truly is so much more than a simple blogging platform.

    Related: Why WordPress? 7 benefits of WordPress websites.

    WordPress makes it easy to:

    Sell products worldwide. Getting started with WooCommerce is relatively straightforward. Plus, there’s a complete set of both free and premium extensions on hand to help you build out wider shop functionality over time.

    Lock in recurring revenue via membership modules. Creating a membership site on the WordPress CMS isn’t difficult with a dedicated membership plugin. The membership model makes your content available via subscription or signup.

    Create your own tribe with a community site. The forum plugin bbPress, for example, integrates smoothly with the vast majority of WordPress themes and gives you a stripped down set of community options with the click of just a few buttons.

    Handle customer support professionally online. Dedicated customer support themes and plugins such as those offered by Hero Themes enable you to quickly put together slick and serviceable customer-facing FAQs and knowledge bases.

    Dominate your niche with a directory. Directory plugins such as Templatic’s Directory and GeoDirectory enable you to both create and monetize listings, with the option of adding advanced features such as ratings and reviews, should the fancy strike you.

    What really makes WordPress stand out so much, is its versatility.

     

    Though it is based on PHP and MySQL, WordPress is available as a free download that you can install on a hosting account, or via hosting providers like GoDaddy as a managed CMS solution.

    In both forms, it’s particularly popular among writers, but its powerful integrations and customizations lend it a variety of practical uses.

    WordPress gives users the ability to build a fully-featured, fully-customized website. Myriad themes and plugins are available to create a WordPress site that looks and performs just the way you want it to.

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    Joomla!

    Joomla! CMS Homepage
    Image: Joomla.org

    Joomla! is another popular content management system. Developed by Open Source Matters, this PHP-based CMS is generally considered more advanced than WordPress but isn’t necessarily as good a fit for non-tech savvy users.

    The Joomla! CMS offers a wide variety of features — including blogs, RSS feeds, multilingual support, search and caching — that might make it a great choice for businesses with mixed content.

    Customizable system. With thousands of verified third-party extensions in the Joomla! Extensions Directory and both free and paid high-quality templates, you’re free to customize without touching a line of code. There’s also lots of free documentation and video training to guide you through the setup.

    Powerful SEO tools. Customize your content’s SEO settings for optimal availability and searchability. Assign a meta description, keywords and robots settings for each menu item to make your content stand out.

    Diverse core functionalities. Easily redirect URLs, tag your content, create an RSS feed and add 15 different custom field types to articles, users and contacts. With search, your visitors can find the content they’re looking for quickly and easily.

    Scalability. Joomla! can adapt to your business’s complex needs to scale and add new features. Use an Access Control List to give different types of users granular access rights and Overrides to manipulate output easily without hacking the core, meaning your updates go smoothly.

    Multilingual. More than 70 translation packs make your site multilingual out of the box.

    Highly secure. Built-in two-factor authentication and extensive access controls keep your site secure. The Security Strike Team often releases patches before exploits are widely known.

    Customizable design. With template frameworks, the ability to create custom templates, and Jlayouts that allow you to render HTML from objects and arrays of data, you can create a one-of-a-kind site with responsive designs based on Bootstrap.

    Edit content. Add extra functions to your content in one click with editor buttons, drag and drop images onto your pages, and create categories with nesting and no limits on depth.

    Professional support. Find the answer to your question quickly by reviewing Joomla!’s extended documentation, consulting a worldwide community of developers in the forum and more.

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    Drupal

    Drupal CMS Homepage
    Image: Drupal.org

    Alongside WordPress and Joomla!, Drupal is the final remaining piece of the “big three” most popular open source CMS software. Primed and ready to handle custom post types, Drupal truly empowers the user to take control of the entire process, especially the user management and permission settings.

    Drupal is considered by many to be the Ferrari of open-source content management systems.

    In the hands of a knowledgeable developer, the sky’s the limit in terms of what it can do. Because it’s open source, Drupal has a large and ever-growing community that continually looks to give back to developing the CMS and its modules.

    Drupal offers a number of features designed to maximize productivity, visibility and integration with other systems so that you can focus on growing your business:

    Improved SEO. Drupal’s suite of search engine modules help to make your website more search engine friendly.

    Look and feel. Drupal’s extensive templating engine provides the ability to achieve the look and feel you desire to enhance and reflect your brand image.

    Easy API integration. Drupal makes it very easy to connect content and APIs to your website, so your business can leverage the wide ecosystem of online digital APIs.

    Search. Drupal’s powerful search options and taxonomy system enable categorization of content so you and your users can access quickly and easily.

    Content management: Whether it’s videos, testimonials, news stories, products or people, Drupal’s ability to manage large amounts of data makes it a powerful tool for many businesses. If your business involves categorizing data, products or people in diverse ways, Drupal provides the enterprise-level horsepower to manage your content.

    Easy content creation: With Drupal, you’re no longer bound to a third party for content creation. Drupal’s user-friendly interface allows you and members of your staff — even if they have little to no knowledge of HTML — to enter content and render it correctly. This is a great tool for small businesses where everyone on staff (including you) has to wear many hats.

    This is the rub: Drupal isn’t the easiest CMS for beginners.

    Much like that Ferrari we were talking about earlier or your trusty Japanese hatchback, a website requires regular maintenance in order to run smoothly.

    Open source means your website will need regular security updates and backups, fixing modules, and improving functionality from time to time. If that’s not your thing and you aren’t planning to hire a professional web developer, you might want to consider a simpler CMS like a managed WordPress solution.

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    What content management systems does GoDaddy support?

    What Is A Content Management System Sitting On Couch With Digital Devices

    GoDaddy’s hosting can be used for self-installation of popular CMS including WordPress (free version from WordPress.org), Joomla!, and Drupal. Managed WordPress Hosting is available for easy installation and complete support. Easy installation is available for Joomla! and Drupal as well.

    Here’s how to install WordPress on cPanel at GoDaddy.

    GoDaddy + WordPress CMS

    If you’re looking for an easier way to get started with WordPress, GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting is a great option. Here’s why.

    GoDaddy Managed WordPress is fast and simple, and offers a variety of features and options:

    Quick Start Wizard. Launch a new WordPress quickly with GoDaddy’s exclusive Quick Start Wizard. It collects information about your business and then uses this info to help you choose a theme, and populates the content onto your site.

    Managed and automated tasks. Be assured your site is safe with nightly backups. You’ll also always be on the newest version of WordPress, with all security updates applied.

    Speedy sites. Boasting a 0.215 second page load time, load-balanced servers and a clustered server environment, GoDaddy is prepared to scale for big traffic spikes while maintaining high performance.

    Auto-migration for quick transfer. Have an existing WordPress site that you want to move to GoDaddy’s awesome hosting? Migrate your WordPress site to GoDaddy with one click using the auto-migration feature.

    Test on your staging site. Create a staging site with one click so you can test any changes and update plugins and themes before publishing them live.

    Basic SEO needs handled. The WordPress search engine optimization tool handles your site’s basic SEO needs to help you get found by Google and other major search engines. No tech skills required.

    Malware scanning and removal. Say goodbye to scary malware, which hackers can use to steal your customers’ information and ruin your reputation. All GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plans include automatic daily malware scans. Malware removal is included with the Ultimate plan — finding and removing malware before it does damage.

    Daily backups. Rest easy knowing your files and databases are secure. Restore files or folders with one click.

    Award-winning customer support. Along with these features, you’ll enjoy 24/7/365 support for help with anything and everything WordPress CMS. And that’s priceless.

    GoDaddy WordPress CMS Sample Theme
    GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting

    GoDaddy + Joomla!

    Interested in using Joomla! as your content management system? We explain Joomla! hosting in detail on this page.

    Here are some features and benefits of hosting your Joomla! site on GoDaddy:

    Migration made easy. Get set up in minutes with GoDaddy’s one-click Installatron tool. Have an existing site or Joomla! hosting account? Migrate it from within your cPanel admin panel.

    Performance, speed and uptime. With several redundant locations in secure data centers across the world, GoDaddy guarantees a 99.9% uptime for your site.

    Dedicated storage. You’ll never need to worry about shared resources again! With dedicated storage, you won’t be impacted by other users.

    Security. Free trusted SSL certificates come with many plans.

    Here’s how to install Joomla! on GoDaddy.

    GoDaddy + Drupal

    Prefer Drupal as your CMS? Drupal Hosting from GoDaddy has you covered. Here’s what GoDaddy offers for the Drupal CMS:

    One-click migration. Use the one-click Installatron tool to easily migrate your site.

    High performance, speed and uptime. With multiple redundant connections on powerful servers in secure data centers all over the world, you can rest easy knowing you’re guaranteed a 99.9% uptime.

    Plans to fit all requirements. Whether you need a starter web hosting plan or are looking for a private server that can scale, GoDaddy can meet your needs.

    24/7 local support. Get tech support and troubleshooting help from customer care agents who speak local languages every hour of the day.

    In addition, GoDaddy offers a few plans for business hosting on both Drupal and Joomla!

    Here’s how to install Drupal using cPanel on GoDaddy.

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    Conclusion and next steps

    What Is A Content Management System Woman On Steps With Laptop

    So that’s all you need to know about the glorious world of CMS in a nutshell. We’ve explained how they work, what features you should be looking for in your ideal CMS, and even discussed some of the most popular systems out there.

    Still, this is only the beginning.

    Once you do have your CMS up and running, you’ll want to fully explore its capabilities and test some new functionality.

    Consider this your first step into streamlining your operation.

     

    The objective is not only to create an easy-to-use environment for your team to generate and store content but to optimize your operation from top to bottom. When you have optimized your backend processes, the difference will inevitably translate to your customers.

    In fact, one of the next steps to explore is introducing a CRM system into the mix. Managing customer relationships isn’t a job for just one tool, however. A wide variety of applications cater to such critical elements as customer data, sales automation, lead tracking and marketing.

    Your CMS handles the backend side of things, but don’t neglect your business’s connections to current and prospective customers alike.

    Take advantage of the freedom and efficiency afforded to you by your CMS and pass it on to your customers. The content and your customers go hand in hand, after all. So too should your CMS and CRM systems complement each other.

    But, we’ll save that for another article. For now, hopefully, this post has given you plenty to think about.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Anne Stefanyk, Christopher Carfi, Steve Burge, Naomi Miles and Sean Loiselle.

    The post What is a content management system and what CMS does GoDaddy support? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from our friends at Beaver Builder. Looking for more tools and resources to manage your web design & development business? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.

    Web developers often scoff when they hear the words “page builder,” because they’re used to coding their own customizations on top of WordPress sites.

    However, page building tools are now full-fledged solutions for creating websites, and they’re getting easier for beginners to use than ever before.

    If you’re proficient with a specific tool and know when to pull it out of the toolbox, you can build entire websites in a matter of hours.

    Finding the right WordPress page builder is key

    WordPress has plenty of great page builder options to choose from, and we’ve posted before about how to use Beaver Builder to create your own great-looking site.

    In this article, we’re going to talk about why you should consider using page builders for client websites, with examples from Beaver Builder. Then we’ll list five ways that WordPress page builders can make your work much easier. Finally, we’ll discuss how the Beaver Builder plugin and GoDaddy can help.

    Let’s dig in!

    Page builder plugins compared to the WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg)

    WordPress took a huge leap at the start of 2019 by integrating the new Block editor into the core. This editor was called Gutenberg during its development, and it still tends to go by that name.

    The Block Editor is WordPress’ attempt to enhance the User Experience (UX) with WordPress by offering a more visually based drag-and-drop editor.

    Related: Why you should use the new WordPress Gutenberg editor

    For page builder users, the Block Editor should feel somewhat familiar. It uses a system based on rows and columns, where you can place “blocks” with specific functions and then edit their content and configuration.

    This screenshot shows a Cover block, which lets you add a background image and invites you to add a title:

    WordPress block editor (Gutenberg)
    Cover block in the WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg)

    However, the WordPress Block Editor – while certainly powerful – is not yet as polished as most existing WordPress page builders.

    After all, page builders have had years to improve and polish the experience they offer, whereas the Block Editor is still new to the field. This means if efficiency and a wealth of features are what you’re after, page builder plugins are still the way to go.

    Related: WordPress page builders – 5 alternatives to Gutenberg

    Page builders help with quick project turnaround

    If your work involves building websites, every project you deliver should be of the highest quality possible. You also need to complete each project in a reasonable timeframe to maximize your earning potential.

    This becomes even more important if you’re a one-person team, because you can’t delegate work or search for new clients while you’re developing websites.

    Out of the box, WordPress already provides functionality to help cut down your site development time. You don’t need to create your own systems to manage website functionality such as blog organization, user registrations, and login functionality.

    However, it pays to optimize the content layout system with the right page builder plugin, because then you can create a full website in a matter of hours or days.

    Let’s say a client wants a simple website for their business, including basic information, galleries, contact forms, and maybe a map to show their location.

    Most WordPress page builders include these features out of the box as modules or blocks. This means you can simply add them to the layout and configure them.

    This screenshot shows a portion of the content panel in Beaver Builder:

    Beaver Builder page builder for WordPress
    The Beaver Builder page builder plugin for WordPress

    You can drag in rows and columns, then drag content modules or even WordPress widgets into the rows and columns, then edit the content directly in the layout.

    Beaver Builder is a front-end editor, meaning what you see when you’re editing is pretty much what you’ll see when you view the published page.

    Page builders help with complex projects

    Page builders can also get the job done when it comes to more complex projects, such as online stores. You just need to make sure whichever tool you choose is compatible with your WordPress eCommerce plugin.

    Related: 5 of the best WordPress eCommerce plugins

    WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce solution, so finding a page builder that’s integrated with it shouldn’t present a problem.

    Once again, using Beaver Builder as an example, there’s a special WooCommerce module that lets you add certain aspects of your products to your regular pages.

    For example, you can display a row of the most popular products on your home page. With the Beaver Themer add-on product, you can create custom layouts for the individual product pages and product group (archive) pages, as shown in this screenshot:

    Displaying a WooCommerce product in Beaver Builder
    Displaying a WooCommerce product in Beaver Builder

    Beaver Builder even has a Responsive Editing Mode, so you can check how the site appears on large, medium, and small devices, and tweak settings specifically for one of those device sizes, without ever leaving the editor.

    Compare this to the alternative, in which you code each feature and create manual customizations, then test the result on all device sizes.

    This is where the real power of page builders becomes evident. By enabling you to cut down on the time you spend coding and testing simple functionality, you can focus on the bigger picture and deliver better work faster.

    5 ways WordPress page builders can help you deliver client work faster

    Let’s talk about specific functionality with page builders that can make your life easier, starting with layouts.

    1. Access to pre-built layouts

    Many modern websites have similar layouts. This isn’t a bad thing, as some layout styles are applicable to multiple types of sites. Take home pages, for example – many have big hero sections with information such as what services are offered and contact data.

    Most page builders capitalize on these common layouts by offering you access to prebuilt page layouts or templates. They’re great to use as a foundation. Then you can customize or switch up any elements you want.

    This screenshot shows several different layout templates in Beaver Builder:

    Beaver Builder layout templates
    Beaver Builder layout templates

    Templates eliminate one full step of the page building process, namely placing all the key elements into a row and column layout.

    You can also use prebuilt layouts for simple prototyping and sending potential ideas to clients to speed up the process of understanding the design and content they want.

    Related: Creating website prototypes to avoid scope creep

    Of course, this only works if the page builder you use includes a broad enough selection of layout templates to use. The more options you have, the easier it becomes finding one you can use as a foundation.

    2. Drag-and-drop functionality makes development happen faster

    Without a page builder, you have to write code for each website element that you add.

    WordPress makes the development process one step easier because its platform gives you access to plugins and the Block Editor, which provide some built-in functionality.

    However, WordPress is still lacking the number one element that makes page builders so user-friendly: drag-and-drop functionality.

    As we’ve mentioned, page builders enable you to use blocks and elements to add the features you want within rows and columns. However, you might want to try various layouts and configurations, which means moving elements around.

    Drag-and-drop functionality enables you to move those elements in your layout by selecting and moving them with your mouse. You can try various layout combinations in a matter of minutes, letting you find the perfect one faster.

    While the WordPress Block Editor does include basic drag-and-drop functionality, WordPress’ grid system is still not a match for modern page builders, so they still take the win in this case.

    3. Common features are included as out-of-the-box modules

    Imagine you want to add elements such as a simple contact form, product box, and Call To Action (CTA) to your website.

    Without a page builder, you have to install a plugin or code new elements for the Block Editor. It’s not complicated, but the entire process is still a hassle, and the more elements you want to add the more tools you’ll need to install.

    WordPress page builders, on the other hand, often include dozens of modules out of the box.

    In our experience, they all tend to include common modules, such as a contact form, product box, and CTA. They often include additional modules that let you create objects such as an audio or video player, a button, or an image.

    Here’s a screenshot of the Basic tab of Beaver Builder’s standard module group, showing the most frequently used modules out of its entire set, including an HTML module that lets you enter code that’s inserted directly in the HTML output:

    Popular page builder modules in Beaver Builder
    Popular page builder modules in Beaver Builder

    By installing a single tool – the page builder – you get access to a large amount of functionality that might take a dozen other plugins to emulate. And you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues because they all work together in the same plugin.

    The broader the range of elements you have access to, the more types of websites you’ll be able to build.

    As page builders have gained more and more functionality, the range of projects they can handle has become much broader.

     

    Besides WooCommerce, the Beaver Themer add-on currently has integrations that let you style pages for Easy Digital Downloads and The Events Calendar, plus it works with Advanced Custom Fields and Pods to style custom post types and display custom fields.

    4. Easily teach clients how to maintain their websites

    One of the hardest parts of WordPress web development is that your work isn’t finished once you turn a website over to your client. In most cases, there’s a lot of back and forth as they learn the ropes of how to run their site on their own.

    Related: How to perform a website launch & handover

    You want your customers to give you glowing reviews and recommendations, so it’s in your best interest to keep them happy, but the more time you have to spend holding the client’s hand, the less time you have to work on new projects.

    The great thing about page builders is how easy they are to pick up for anyone, regardless of their technical knowledge or background.

     

    If your client can navigate through the web and solve basic technical issues, they’re probably able to use a modern page builder. This means that your clients might not need to turn to you as often to solve problems down the road.

    If they do run into problems, you can always refer them to the specific documentation provided with that tool.

    Consider using the documentation for your page builder to create a simple guide that covers the basics of what each client needs to know when you hand a website over.

    Related: How to train your client after a website launch

    For example, if you’re working with someone who’ll only want to add new images now and then, or publish posts on a regular basis, you can include some screenshots to cover the process, such as the following screenshot, which could be included in instructions for how to add an image:

    Photo module in Beaver Builder
    Photo module in Beaver Builder

    Admittedly, this can be a lot of extra work if you’re a solo WordPress developer. However, it’s something a lot of clients will appreciate, which is sure to pay dividends down the road.

    It’s also a good idea to check the documentation for the page builder you choose to see whether it would be useful for your clients, and how much you can repurpose, if you decided to create your own guides.

    5. It’s much easier to visualize your progress

    Here’s a very approximate process of developing a WordPress website without a page builder:

    • Fiddle around with the editor, theme, and plugins
    • Check the changes you’ve made on the front end to make sure everything looks as intended, in all browsers and on all device sizes
    • Repeat the process.

    This can go on ad infinitum as you try to get every single aspect of the project you’re working on just right.

    Page builders, on the other hand, rely on a much more visual approach to web development. In a lot of cases, they enable you to see exactly how the page you’re working on will look once it’s live, while you’re still tinkering with it.

    We mentioned that Beaver Builder is a front-end editor, so what you see during development is pretty much what you get after you publish the page.

    This screenshot shows three Beaver Builder Number Counter modules with a Text Editor module under each one. The toolbar for each module lets you move the module, edit it, duplicate it, change column settings, or delete it:

    Positioning modules in Beaver Builder
    Positioning modules in Beaver Builder

    For a web developer, a front-end editor means you can cut down massively on the back and forth between creating and checking the layout. Instead, you can simply focus on adding the elements you need, customizing them, and arranging everything so it’s just perfect.

    With Beaver Builder’s Responsive Editing Mode, you never have to leave the editor to check how the site appears on large, medium, and small devices. You can tweak the settings for specific device sizes, or even change the width breakpoint that defines large, medium, and small devices.

    With a visual page builder, you can spot mistakes quickly if something looks out of place, making it less likely that you’ll run into situations where you deliver projects with glaring mistakes in browsers or device sizes you forgot to check.

    How GoDaddy and Beaver Builder make WordPress development easier

    GoDaddy offers best-in-class hosting for WordPress websites. This provides thousands of web designers & developers with rock-solid server space for their client projects, plus other benefits.

    In order to get you up and running, there are both Quick-Start and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wizards to help tackle the biggest time killers when creating a site.

    There’s also a simplified, GoDaddy-specific version of the Beaver Builder plugin included, so you can try out the basic features of Beaver Builder.

    This means you not only get GoDaddy’s dependable infrastructure and reliable hosting, you also can also harness the power of Beaver Builder to create your layouts and simplify your WordPress development.

    Beaver Builder page builder plugin for WordPress
    Beaver Builder page builder plugin for WordPress

    If you want more of the features described in this article, you can upgrade to a premium version of Beaver Builder or even add Beaver Themer to customize the parts of your page normally controlled by your WordPress theme.

    Having practically everything you need under one roof is always going to be a timesaver. In our opinion, using GoDaddy and Beaver Builder together is the ultimate pairing of time-saving tools.

    WordPress page builders fill a specific role

    Many people look at page builders as hammers, with every project being a nail. But WordPress page builders fulfill a very specific role, which is to help you build websites with relatively basic functionality faster than you could otherwise.

    Page builders may be simple but they’re also highly sophisticated. Let’s break down some of the ways they can make your work easier:

    1. You get access to prebuilt layouts.
    2. Drag-and-drop functionality makes development go much faster.
    3. Most common features are included as modules out of the box.
    4. It’s easier to teach clients how to maintain their websites.
    5. It’s much easier to visualize your progress.

    Looking for more tools to help you quickly build and manage your client websites? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.

    The post How to quickly build client websites with a WordPress page builder appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on May 17, 2016, and was updated on July 26, 2019.

    Not sure how to find your next customer? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are plenty of online tools, like Google Trends, that can help with lead generation — and we’ll show you how.

    To tap into consumer trends, check out the strategies below. Then keep reading to learn how to use online listings, directories, maps and search engine optimization (SEO) to help customers find you.

    Related: How to get your first customer (or 1,000) 

    How to use Google Trends to help you find your next customer

    Here’s what we’re going to cover in this article:

    • Where to look for what’s trending.
    • How to use the Google Trends tool.
    • Using trends for customer acquisition.
    • Keeping up with current trends.

    Finding new customers is easier than it looks — they are literally all around you. Let’s get started.

    Hand Raised In Field
    Photo: Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

    Where to look for what’s trending

    Internet news channels and social media are great resources for finding out what is trending.

    No matter what kind of business you have, an online connection can be made to a trend if you look hard enough.

    Studies show that today, nine out of 10 American adults use the internet, so that is where you can find 90% of your potential new customers.

    But, how can worldwide trends have an impact on bringing new customers to your small local business? Believe it or not, you can pair popular trends with the unique services you offer if you use the right tools to do it.

    Bad news can be good news for your small business

    Say, for instance, you are a handyman. While browsing the online news channels you notice a lot of articles and posts trending about home delivery package theft.

    The sources show that an estimated 23 million Americans have had a package stolen from their front porch. Many consumers who want the practicality of home delivery have resigned themselves to the fact they need to have some type of front door security to ward off porch pirates.

    Due to this, there’s an increase in DIY installation of remote home security cameras and video doorbell surveillance tools have increased. In fact, consumer familiarity with video doorbells has increased by 57% over the past year.

    This is a trend you can use to grow your business.

     

    Now that you know what people need, you can tailor your services to be the installation expert solution.

    Keep an eye on social media

    You can find other new customer opportunities through social media trends. As of 2018, 79% of all Americans use social media.

    Say, for instance, you are a beauty technician wanting to add a new service to open the door for new customers. You visit Twitter and type in “#Beauty.” Among the results, there are many tweets linking to eyelash extensions.

    From there you can see the latest trending eyelash styles so you can offer the same. Even more, you can check out what other technicians are doing and create competitive packages and pricing — even create your own Facebook or Twitter ads.

    Related: How to rock Facebook advertising — even on a tight budget

    How to use the Google Trends tool

    Now that you have an idea of what trends you want to cash in on, let’s take it a step further with some deeper research. And where better to start than Google? Google now processes more than 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

    When it comes to absolute authority on how the world looks for info on the internet, Google is pretty much it.

    First, go to Google Trends and in the search box, type in the words you think people looking for your services might use, like “video doorbells.”

    Video Doorbells Google Trends

    As you can see from this graphic, web searches for the term “video doorbells” show they are frequently used keywords. You can search several different keywords to find which have the best performance.

    Pro tip: If you are unsure of which keywords to use during your search, try Google Keyword Planner to come up with a list of six to 10 words or phrases to use.

    Now, let’s apply a second search term, “video doorbell installation,” for comparison. While it’s not used as often as “video doorbells,” it trends similarly. What this tells us is that people looking for video doorbells are also looking for installation — that’s you!

    Video Doorbell Installation Google Trends

    Looking even deeper you can see the times of year the searches peak — the holiday months — November and December, being the highest. This makes sense as most home deliveries tend to happen around the holidays, leading to an increase in porch theft.

    You now have insight into the best time of year to invest in promotions for your installation services.

    The Google Trends tool provides many other filtering options that allow you to hone in on other great info like locations, comparisons and timing. You can watch when a trend drops so you can make an educated decision on the best time to change up your keywords and phrases as well.

    Related: How to promote my business online for the holiday season

    Using trends for customer acquisition

    Now that your service arsenal is full, it’s time to aim and shoot. Determining where to use this valuable information depends on whether you have a website or not.

    If you DO have a website

    Google crawls the web 24/7, indexing web content using information from past crawls and sitemaps that website owners provide. With this data, Google can serve up the most relevant answers to individual search queries.

    That means you want to make sure your website is optimized for the terms your target customers use to search for the types of products and services you offer.

    Strategically place these keywords and phrases on your web pages so search engines, like Google, can pick up the information to display when someone types it in the search parameters.

    To increase the chances that your website will appear near the top of the search results, your site has to contain the right words. This includes both the text that visitors see as well as the metadata that search engines see in the code of your website.

    Looking at our earlier research, position the six most popular search words or phrases throughout your website and add them to the meta tags and meta description.

    This is important because if Google doesn’t index your website, or indexes it for the wrong words, new customers simply won’t find it.

    For new customers to find you on the web, Google needs to find you first.

     

    The closer to the top of the search results page your site appears, the more clicks — and therefore, customers — you’ll get.

    The vast majority of web users research products and services on Google before they buy, so you need to hit that sweet spot.

    Related: Keyword research and content optimization tips

    Google Spelled With Candy
    Photo: lalo Hernandez on Unsplash

    If you DON’T have a website

    While having a website increases your chances of new customers finding you and providing you with credibility, there are still ways to use the web to get found through directories, maps and reviews if you don’t have a dedicated site.

    Create business listings with online directories

    First and foremost, go to the most widely used search resource and set up a Google My Business listing. Here is where you can engage with customers for free. It will also integrate your business listing with a map to your business or service area.

    Then ask your most loyal customers to submit reviews to your Google listing.

     

    This will cost you exactly nothing but likely will pay off in more customers.

    There are 50+ online directories where you can list your business.

    Pro tip: Check out GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings tool to showcase your business across top sites and manage your listings from one convenient dashboard.

    Related: Standout tools — GoCentral Google My Business listing feature

    Reviews

    Like Google My Business, many other directory listings also have a way for your customers to post reviews. Not only are they free, they work.

    90% of consumers say online reviews impact buying decisions.

     

    The star rating is the single most influential factor in a consumer’s decision to use a business or not. Having a solid set of online reviews is vital to gaining trust and starting new customers relationships.

    Related: How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients

    Try online advertising

    Have money set aside for advertising? Here is a list of popular online advertising opportunities to choose from whether you have a website or not:

    • Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) uses pay-per-click advertising. It can be costly but if you do it right, it pays off. This is another way to use Google Trends to pick keywords for your test ads.
    • Facebook Business Ads also offers paid advertising. Facebook ads allow you to really focus on your target audience by letting you choose the location, demographic and criteria to maximize your exposure. Each day there are 1.56 billion people on average that log onto Facebook and are considered daily active users. Now that’s a pretty big group of potential customers.
    • YouTube paid advertising puts your business ads on third party, related videos that get a lot of traffic. However, if you have the time and ingenuity, you can start your own free channel. You can post your own videos with keyword placement in the descriptions.

    Related: What’s the difference between Amazon advertising and paid ads on Google and Facebook?

    Keeping up with current trends

    Don’t get too comfortable though. Since a trend is something that is constantly changing, you have to stay on top of what is popular; search engine results evolve based on the activity of the users at any given week, day, hour or even minute.

    Comfortable Racoon Sleeping
    Photo: Successfully Canadian on Unsplash

    From a search engine optimization (SEO) point of view, it’s important to make sure your website is being found through relevant keywords and phrases in place at all times.

    Keep looking at news feeds for interesting trends that may go hand in hand with your services or open the door for a new service you can offer.

    Stay active on the social media platforms where your customers spend their time to see real-time trending opportunities.

    There are new customers everywhere — you just have to know where and how to find them. Using tools like Google Trends can help you get your piece of the trending pie and gain new customers!

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Cate Barker.

    The post How Google Trends can help you find your next customer appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Web design is not static — trends come and go, and what’s hot in 2019 might be old hat in 2020. If you want to keep your audience engaged, you’ll have to adapt constantly or your website risks falling out of vogue.

    That said, it’s important to understand that bad websites don’t necessarily involve bad design. Your website quality can also be influenced by how responsive it is, what type of content you include, how fast it loads, and many other aspects.

    This article created by our team at Amelia, will take you a deeper look at the various factors that can turn an otherwise good website into an absolute monstrosity.

    Is Web Design That Important After All?

    Before moving on to analyzing the aspects that make up the worst websites, you should understand the basic purpose of web design. It is supposed to:

    • Help users form a goodfirst impression of your site
    • Build a brand image
    • Increase customer conversion
    • Attract more traffic and improve discoverability (SEO)
    • Stir the interest of users and maintain their attention
    • Give a good visitor or customer experience

    Mistakes you should avoid if you don’t want to design bad websites

    Now let’s move to the mistakes that transform good websites in the worst websites:

    Bad Content

    The kind that makes you say “Nope!”

    Users may get over bad visuals, but they will never forgive bad content. All websites include content of some sort, whether it be sales copy, informative articles, or a directory listing. You need to make sure that the content you include on your own website is accurate and of high quality.

    Text with grammar mistakes, images with copyright issues, bad formatting — all these will make your website’s quality drop tremendously. Moreover, users won’t trust your website, as it doesn’t inspire any sort of authority.

    Good content is just as important as good structure and design, so give your user base something to enjoy reading or researching while navigating your site.

    Slow Load Times

    Bad websites load slowly. A few seconds can make the difference between a reasonable website and one that will be avoided at all times. People are impatient in the online environment — it’s not a secret.

    This is why the time factor is critical when designing websites. Users won’t bother to wait to see your website unless it loads fast. If it takes forever to load, they will move on to the next option they have, and the Internet is full of options.

    Since many users prefer accessing websites via smaller devices like mobile phones or tablets, load times can’t be ignored. Anything under 10 seconds is alright, but even that’s stretching it.

    Poor Navigation System

    A classic example of a website good navigation

    The worst websites are a pain to navigate. The system is cluttered, confusing, and very difficult to figure out. You should avoid allowing pop-ups on your site, which can confuse users and render them incapable of keeping track of their actions on the site.

    It’s best to keep the navigation system clean and simple. People should be able to access different parts of the website without having to backtrack at any point. Analyze other websites and see which navigation system seems the easiest to use.

    No Contact Details Included

    Regardless of your website’s specifics, you need to include some contact details. Whether you are a freelancer, an artist, or a company, people might want to contact you for various reasons.

    Make this action accessible by visibly including your contact details on the website. You can either include it in the footer of your website (which is visible regardless of the page the users are viewing) or you can create a separate page for contact details only.

    Bad websites make it a true quest to find any sort of contact information.

    Improper Font Sizes

     

    First of all, make your website scalable, so that users can see it properly regardless of the device they are using.

    Second of all, pay attention to what font size you are using. The typeface choice is personal, but the font size should be chosen according to a basic design rule: keep the body copy size around 16px, secondary text around 14px, and headers over 18px.

    No CTAs or Bad CTAs

    What to click, what to click

    All websites should include Call-To-Action buttons. They increase the rate of conversion and they make the difference between a mediocre website and a bad website. If you have no CTAs at all included, then do some research on how to build good CTAs from scratch.

    If you have CTAs, but they are too basic or they involve guesswork, you need to change the text. Keep it very clear: “Share now”, “Click here”, “Buy now”. Don’t use too many CTAs either —this can turn users the other way around in a second.

    Inconsistency

    Make sure that your website is consistent. Consistency refers to using the same color scheme for all pages, maintaining a certain layout, using the same font combo, pairing visual content, and so on.

    This is indeed an aspect that takes a lot of time, but that’s what differentiates poorly designed websites from excellent ones.

    Low-Quality Images

    Fake people looking fake

    Images are extremely important for a myriad of reasons. They are more appreciated than text, improve your SEO score, make your website look more professional, and more. But there’s one thing that can turn your website into an ugly monster: low-quality images.

    Either use HQ images from your own archive or buy them on the Internet. Royalty-free images are mass-used, so they won’t add any unicity to your site. Choose images that resonate with your visitors’ interests or your company’s specifics.

    Long Chunks of Text

    You are getting away with it only if you are a news site. Source: NY Times

    Another aspect you’ll notice on bad websites is too much text, arranged in huge chunks that are very difficult to read through. If that’s the case for your website, reduce the amount of text you include, leaving only the essential bits.

    Now, format those bits so that they are easy to scan. People won’t have the time to read all the information on every website they visit. Make it easy for them to gather the exact info they need by highlighting the most important parts.

    Cluttered Pages

    Don’t include too many things on one single page. Simplicity is key when it comes to web design. A bad website will contain cluttered pages that include too much information, most of it irrelevant.

    The purpose of a website is to follow the rules of good design — an airy layout with enough content to satisfy the curiosity or need of the user. You shouldn’t continue adding elements until there is no white space left on your page.

    A Lot of Ads

    No one can take away your right to place ads on your site, but bad websites are basically full of ads. When the adds take just as much space as the content itself, it is obvious that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

    One or two ads are enough for monetization purposes, and remember to avoid pop-up ads at all costs. Unless you want your visitors to be frustrated with your site, keep it clean.

    Duplicated Content

    Using the same content or titles on all of your pages won’t have any positive results. The worst websites out there simply copy and paste the content from one page to all the others.

    Hire a copywriter to create unique content for all of your pages or create it on your own. Even though it takes longer, and, as they say, “there’s nothing new under the sun”, a professional website won’t go very far without original content.

    Ending thoughts on these bad websites

    Now that you know how bad websites look and what mistakes you should avoid, get down to business. You will need to think through each move you make in terms of website design — from the content to the looks and where you put the contact details.

    Simply give it the attention it deserves and your website will turn out great.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about bad websites, you should read these as well:

    The post Bad Websites: How To Avoid Designing Them appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    This article is part of a multipart series. See the introductory post here.

    After the entrepreneurial dream has been hatched, after the basics required to create a venture have been put into place, and after the idea has been launched, true entrepreneurship kicks into high gear. That’s when the work of growing the business or venture begins to dominate an entrepreneur’s day-to-day activities.

    There is one noteworthy difference between launching something and growing it: Launching something is a project, while growing it is a process (or, more precisely, a set of processes).

    Before we get into the processes in the Grow It phase of the Journey, however, let’s remember where we started.

    4 stages of the Entrepreneur Journey

    There are four distinct stages that are the phases of the entrepreneurial journey:

    • Dream It
    • Create It
    • Grow It
    • Manage It

    GoDaddy Entrepreneur Journey Four Stages Infographic

    The Grow It stage of the Journey

    As one moves from the Create It stage into the Grow It stage, it is critical to understand the goals and constraints of one’s particular situation. What is the objective of the growth? Is it to bring in more revenue? Have a greater impact in the world? Something else?

    Before starting growth-oriented activities, ensure the goals of the growth are clear.

     

    It’s difficult to successfully execute on a growth plan if you don’t know the goals you’re trying to achieve or the metrics you are trying to affect.
    GoDaddy Entrepreneur Journey Grow It Stage Graphic

    Getting to the first growth milestone

    As you move into the Grow It stage, one of the first orders of business should be to get your first sale. (It’s fine to interpret “first sale” as a proxy for some other “first result” action, if your venture isn’t driven primarily by revenue.)

    Not only is achieving this milestone cause for celebration (congrats!), it also is a useful “forcing function” to ensure that your end-to-end processes are connected. If anything is disconnected in the process, you’ll quickly find out if you’ve sold something and notice any issues in delivering, billing, or servicing your offering.

    As you work through looking at the end-to-end process, you’ll notice areas where you direct your focus to expand your impact. These areas fall into a number of broad categories:

    • Grow marketing
    • Enlarge distribution, networks and partnerships
    • Improve conversion
    • Expand operations
    • Ramp finance

    Be sure to keep in mind that in growing your venture, it is important to test, learn, and iterate your way to an answer — especially with respect to growing the impact of marketing and conversion investments.

    Marketing and conversion test results are inherently measurable and lend themselves to an experimental approach.

    Example growth objectives for marketing

    When growing your venture, there are a number of growth objectives you can target with marketing impact. Ask yourself the purpose of the growth, and its connection to results that matter for your venture.

    • Are you trying to grow your reach and awareness? If you can grow reach and awareness while holding costs steady, this is a worthwhile objective to increase the opportunities you have.
    • Maybe you’re trying to increase traffic to your website. If your website is a primary driver to your business results, growing your traffic can improve your overall results, if you’re able to maintain or improve your conversion rates from those additional website visits.
    • Are you trying to increase foot traffic to a physical location? If you have a brick-and-mortar space, increased foot traffic means more browsers and buyers.
    • Is your product, service or offering something that has a long sales cycle? Or do repeat visits and purchases drive your long-term success? If either of those things are true, then growing your opt-in email subscriber list is a potential driver to growth.
    • Do your prospects and customers search online for information about you using local search? If so, showing social proof and growing your reputation and reviews might be in the cards.

    Look through the items above. Which marketing objective or objectives are most relevant for your venture?

    That set of objectives is the “what” answer to the “what are you trying to do?” question. Which leads to the next question — the “how.” Which tactics are at your disposal to drive that marketing growth?

    The sheer number of tools and techniques available to drive marketing results are staggering.

     

    Advertising, social media (both paid and engagement-based), email marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, online reviews, and even intentional word-of-mouth marketing techniques all can help drive growth.

    Womens Empowerment Ride Marketing Quote
    Angela Wolz, founder of Women’s Empowerment Ride, uses social media, email marketing, meetups and more to grow her venture. “These tools are an essential way of getting your cause noticed and supported,” she says. “Getting and staying in contact with clients, potential or established, is crucial to any success.”

    Resources to grow a business (or other venture)

    Here are a few resources that are definitely worth bookmarking:

    Bonus: Check out Slideshop’s data-driven Business Growth Strategy PowerPoint template, which can help you visualize the growth strategy of your business. The template includes business objectives, turnovers, market shares, sales, profits, market extension, new product development and more.


    Don’t grow it alone

    Soulfulofnoise Founders Watching Guitarist Networking Quote
    Xavier Tennison and Lynisha Hyche, founders of SoulfulofNoise, have forged strategic partnerships to help cover a variety of operating costs, including event venues and web design. “You got to put your products out, pick up the phone, write down everything you want to actually accomplish, and then write down whoever you think can help you accomplish those things and start calling them,” Xavier says.

    As you grow your venture, you’ll find that you simply can’t (and shouldn’t try to!) do everything yourself. When you’re first starting out, you may find it preferable or necessary to do many things yourself, from either a cost or learning standpoint.

    To grow, however, you may find you need or want to partner up with individuals or organizations that complement your venture. (Web developer and GoDaddy contributor Lisa Stambaugh refers to these complementary service providers as her power partners.)

    You may also look to partners to handle functions that, while required, are not your core strength and are better outsourced.

    Growing a partner network can help grow your venture in myriad ways.

    Building a network of complementary partners can grow your business through referrals. For example, if you’re an accountant, partnering with a web developer might make a lot of sense. As an accountant, you probably see a lot of small businesses, and in your conversations with them, you may find that they want or need an upgrade to their website. You can refer this business to your web developer partner.

    Similarly, if you’re a web developer, you interact with a lot of businesses and see which ones have their accounting house in order, especially if they are running an eCommerce operation that needs to integrate with bookkeeping. In those cases, you can refer business to your accounting partner.

    Synergies work.

     

    If you sell a physical or digital product, expanding your distribution channels is another mechanism to grow your business that’s worth exploring.

    If you have an eCommerce site, technology makes it simple to connect your websites to marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, Jet and eBay.

    Improve conversion rates to drive growth

    Michiel Kikkert CRO Quote
    Michiel Kikkert, owner of FXDomains, says conversion rate optimization work and a website redesign contributed to his venture’s growth over the past few years. “The new site launched in November 2017, and I’m happy to say that the effort was really worth it. … I have hit just over 24,000 customers — an increase of about 4,000 customers since 2014.”

    While your marketing efforts and partnerships are working hard to bring more visitors to your door, make sure that you are also driving growth by making the most of those visits.

    Tracking conversion rates and testing the results of different experiments in conversion rate optimization can significantly boost the results of your tests.

    Here’s why. Let’s say your website conversion rate of visitors to purchasers is 3%. And similarly, let’s say through testing and optimization, you are able to boost that conversion rate to 3.5% over the next year. A half a percent boost, that doesn’t sound like a lot, right? That half a percent boost can add almost 17% to your total conversions and revenue.

    Here’s how I did that math, with a few hypothetical numbers:

    Grow Business Conversion Rate Sample Chart

    If your fraction of visitors who convert is a fairly small percentage of your number of total visitors, tuning and optimizing your conversion rate can provide a significant growth boost.

    Growing operations

     Musician SYML Support Network Quote
    “I consider my business to be very data­ driven, which is a funny thing to say as an artist,” says musician SYML. “In the end, I have more time to create music because the backend is so efficient and lean.”

    Growing marketing, forging new partnerships, and improving conversions are components of the Grow It phase that interact with the world outside your organization. But how will you ensure you can handle that growth?

    Scaling your processes, infrastructure and staffing might be required to support the ramp and influx of new traffic and customers.

    Scale processes

    Processes are things you do repeatedly and on a regular or semi-regular basis. Leading up to the launch of your venture, there might’ve been some things you did in an ad-hoc or manual basis.

    A common example of this is sending out an email campaign and reminders to customers. When you were first getting going and in the early days, it was probably OK to craft those emails by hand and manually send them out from your email account. Now that you’re growing, however, the name of the game is automating repetitive processes where it makes sense. For example, systems like drip email campaigns are much better handled by systems that automate those processes rather than trying to do them manually.

    It’s important to use your judgment when deciding both what and how much to automate.

     

    Is that spreadsheet still working for you to track things? Great! Keep using it. That said, if there are places where you can layer in some lightweight automation like macros or basic scripts to automate repetitive tasks, do it.

    Additionally, if you find yourself doing repetitive things in multiple systems, repetitive things in repetitive systems, or doing repetitive things in repetitive systems, automation tools like IFTTT or Zapier might take care of some automating things for you that you historically had to do yourself.

    This will free up some hours each week for you to work on growing the business.

    Scale infrastructure

    Similarly, make sure that your infrastructure is built on a scalable foundation.

    For example, if your site runs on WordPress, make sure your web server is able to handle an increase in traffic and is configured with performance-improving tools like a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This goes for your email systems, internet bandwidth, and even physical facilities as well. Make sure they can handle your projected growth.

    Scale staffing

    Speaking of growth, employees, and physical facilities, here’s a fun fact: The W. L. Gore company — the company that makes Gore-Tex — has about 9,000 employees. However, any given Gore-Tex company building has at most roughly 200 people in it; they found a novel way to scale. The reason for keeping its facilities that size? Connection and communication. According to business researcher Gary Hemel, Gore-Tex founder Bill Gore felt that “once a unit reaches a certain size, ‘we decided’ becomes ‘they decided’” if it gets too large.

    Culture matters.

    Explore new products and new markets

    There are two other dimensions of operational growth to consider as well: new products and new markets.

    Based on your experience and interaction with your customers, you have likely uncovered complementary or adjacent products, services or other offerings that you may want to bring to market. These expanded offerings can help you to fulfill more of the needs of your existing customers, or they may enable you to reach new customers who formerly were working with another supplier.

    Similarly, you may find that your existing products may serve a market need in other locales than the one you had served at launch. This might mean opening up a new physical location in a new neighborhood or even a new city in your region. It might even mean international expansion.

    Any one of these opportunities can present significant opportunities to grow your venture.

    Funding growth

    As your venture grows, you will likely need increased capital to fund this growth.

    The easiest source of capital when things are humming along is to fund the growth from existing operations, funneling profits back into the venture. It’s straightforward and requires no additional effort on your part.

    If you’ve been in business for a while and have things well-dialed-in, you may find that a line of credit is the most appropriate resource for funding. Organizations like Kabbage specialize in funding of this type.

    However, based on the level or timing of your growth plans, you might need to look to outside funding sources. There are many different funding options available to you, spanning many different models.

    Editor’s note: The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

    Aim for thoughtful growth

    Understanding the tradeoffs and interactions between different parts of the business is the foundation of thoughtful execution during the growth phase.

    Since there are multiple dimensions to growth — marketing, sales, partnerships, operations, finance, culture and more — taking a measured approach is required to keep these various factors in balance.

    Grow sales too quickly, and you might not be able to meet production or quality goals. Grow your employee base too quickly without commensurate sales, and finances get tight. Grow without thinking about how it affects your organization’s culture, and you risk losing what made your approach unique in the market in the first place.

    The Grow It stage is one of the most exciting aspects of the Entrepreneur Journey.

     

    Thoughtful acceleration can get you to your objectives, and it can help you successfully reach ever-higher goals. As you reach those goals, you’ll find a balance between growth and managing the various initiatives that are in play to sustain the venture.

    This ongoing management is the focus of the Manage It stage of the Journey, and will be the focus of the next installment in this series.

    The post Grow It — Taking your Journey to the next level appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Patti Curtis is a maker in motion. Every morning when she arrives at Fogue, her studio and gallery for artists over fifty in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhoodshe’s greeted with a thriving community of creators honing their craft, selling their work, and plumbing the endless depths of artistic expression.

    Fogue is a type of business sadly rare in a culture that places a premium on smooth skin, wide eyes, and fresh faces. And let’s not sugar-coat it — this was an opportunity that arose out of ageism, plain and simple.

    After getting laid off from my executive position at age 53,” she recalls, “I soon realized I reached my expiration date in the corporate, consumer product development and marketing world. I decided to return to my roots and start making art.”  The first step was to make a website.

    A website that laid the foundation

    Inspired, Patti dove into the Seattle art scene and soon met a whole slew of older artists trying to get their name out there. The lack of venues friendly to their work stunned her. That set a fire in her entrepreneurial heart and from there, Fogue, a tongue-and-cheek take on a certain ageist term, was born.

    First step was a website. She turned to GoDaddy, with whom she already had a domain, and found out just how easy it was to get her idea online and in lights. “Back in 2008, I had to hire a website designer. I was thrilled to see how far GoDaddy had progressed.”

    Website Builder’s drag-and-drop galleries and easily customizable templates made it easy. “I have a professional, navigable website that I can edit and update on the daily if I want, right from my phone, along with the 24-hour customer support that’s key to my business.”  

    What happened next? A lot, fast. Patti connected with an enthusiastic audience looking for a place to work, a place to sell and a place to connect — and found a super space in Georgetown that she opened three short months after her website went live. From there, the canvas expanded.

    A year ago we started with an 800 square foot gallery and a 400 square foot art studio with 14 artists. We now boast over 6000 square feet of art gallery and art studios with 38 artists.”

    Visiting Fogue, this diverse, talented set of painters, sculptors and mixed-media creators is on full display. You don’t see age when you look at these works, and the experience dissolves the stereotypes that exist about older artists — and older people.

    Of course, being an artist herself, Patti manages to carve out time to make her Dada-inspired objects, such as intricatebejeweled steer heads that speak to the impermanence of life and the beauty of transformation 

    Seamlessly running the show

    Successfully growing Fogue and keeping some semblance of a life outside work requires efficient, integrated toolsPatti uses Office 365, which works seamlessly with Website BuilderI do my bookkeeping on Excel,” she says, “make presentations on PowerPoint, create art labels on Word, and run my email through Outlook.

    She also discovered the affordable GoDaddy SmartLine app, which adds a second line to her existing phone number so she can separate work and business and always know who’s calling. 

    can put my hours of operation in my settings, so the calls go directly to VM when I’m not open. This gives me somewhat of a personal life — it helps, anyway.” 

    As for advice to would-be everyday entrepreneurs, she counsels perseverance: “Hang in there. There are a lot of difficult days, but keep the wonderful days in your heart. Opportunities are yours but you have to chase them. Don’t lose sight of why you did this in the first place. 

    Visualizing the future of Fogue, Patti hopes to expand her mission deeper into the older Seattle art community and broaden her advocacy against ageism in the art world and beyond, while also keeping close to the entrepreneurial spirit that drove her to take the leap.

    In 5 years,” she says, I hope to have greater financial success to allow me to do more community events and outreach for seniors in my communityOur time has come, and we will buck the social norms of ageism every day.”  

    The post Always in Fogue – laying the foundation for a thriving art community appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Over the past decade, blogging and online business promotion have gone from marketing tools for niche markets to vital necessities for any business. It’s important for business owners of all sizes and industries to have a basic understanding of SEO marketing and the most effective methods of creating a loyal following. One versatile and effective tool for accomplishing this is making online quizzes. In this post, we’ll teach you how to make an online quiz and create interesting, engaging and unique content that ranks high in your customer’s Google searches.

    There are many benefits of quizzes. Quizzes can be used to promote special events, sales and coupons, while exposing your company to a vast number of potential customers or followers through social media.

    It’s a highly shareable, cost-effective method of marketing your company, products and services.

     

    But, if you’re not tech savvy, you might be wondering how to make an online quiz. Here’s what you need to know about building, using, and promoting online quizzes to drive traffic to your website and grow your business. We have all the details on the WordPress quiz plugin for you right here.

    What are online quizzes?

    Thanks to Buzzfeed and social media, online quizzes have become a fun and popular way for internet enthusiasts to pass some time while relaxing or waiting for an appointment and possibly learn a little something in the process.

    An online quiz can be about anything, can be any length, and either factual or fictional.

    Online quizzes are a great way to draw viewers into your webpage, and, again, are highly shareable.

    Short online quizzes are a perfect way for your business to exhibit knowledge and understanding of your specific industry, providing an example of your expertise, rather than simply saying you’re an expert.

    Here are some examples of industry-specific quiz ideas, uses and topics.

    Interior design

    A quiz is fantastic for compiling a potential client’s information as well as their preferred styles, special needs, or even their dislikes. This gives the interior designer a detailed lead to customize your first contact with them, present the best first impression possible and provide information pertinent to that particular customer.

    It also expands your marketing reach to those who might not know they are interested in your services by introducing them to topics or items they might be unfamiliar with.

    Hair or nail stylists

    With a nail salon or hair salon on every corner, it is important to stand out as an expert and keep your name in front of people.

    Creating an online quiz that highlights your salon’s specialty items, knowledge of products, training in protocols, and hygienic practices shows viewers that you have the background they are looking for and that they can trust your services.

    It is vital that you double check any facts or procedural questions used in these kinds of quizzes, because if you don’t it could have the exact opposite effect from what was intended.

    Electrician or plumber

    How To Make An Online Quiz Working on an Electrical Panel
    Most homeowners consider themselves to be a DIYer to some extent. Play on this when creating your online quiz and challenge the quiz taker’s knowledge on electric and plumbing home repair. Then follow-up with examples of what can go wrong if not done correctly.

    Include a call-to-action (CTA) for your company’s contact at the end, to ensure they know who to call when or before things go wrong.

    Avoid talking down to your reader and keep your quiz questions phrased in terms your target market will understand without belittling their home repair skills.

    Too many technical terms or too much jargon will alienate those who are unfamiliar with industry terminology, so think layperson terms when making your online quiz.

    Landscaping

    Show your potential customers what a good landscaper can do and should know. With every Joe and Jane who has a lawn mower claiming to be a gardener, it is difficult for a customer to know what to expect for their money. Clear up this confusion via an online quiz while you expose these valuable leads to your horticulture and gardening knowledge.

    House cleaning

    An online quiz is a great way to educate potential customers as you show them what they might not know or might be doing wrong when it comes to keeping a truly healthy home.

    Consider a quiz that tests the homeowners knowledge on toxic cleaning products or the best ways to organize a home. This highlights the need for your services to your potential lead.

    Benefits of online quizzes

    The examples above are just a few of the ways an online quiz can be used to boost business and traffic to your website. The benefits of quizzes are numerous.

    A few more ways quality quizzes can help your small business’s overall online presence are:

    Sales lead generation

    Using the “enter your email address to receive results” tool provides you with an automatic sales lead with contact information. To avoid irritating potential customers, make sure to mention up front that the results will be delivered via email.

    Finding out the quiz results will be emailed after the fact can be frustrating and could seem sneaky from a potential client’s point of view. Also, be sure to follow GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation.

    Know what information can you keep about your leads, and for how long.

     

    Related: How the General Data Protection Regulation might affect American businesses in 2019 and beyond

    Subscribers

    Offer quiz takers a subscription to your newsletter when they get their results. This is a great way to add to your subscriber list and generates leads of individuals who are interested in your product or services.

    Again, make sure not to surprise the quiz taker at the end with the subscription requirement and follow GDPR guidelines.

    Related: The 8 best WordPress plugins for email subscriptions

    Improve website engagement

    How To Make An Online Quiz Man Looking At Monitor
    Promoting online quizzes that are specific to your business or industry and link back to your web page with a newsletter subscription, coupon or contest entry increases the number of viewers. This way, your site puts important information about your business in front of a wider variety of potential walk-in/call-in customers.

    It also improves name recognition for those who might not necessarily need your product or services at the time of taking the quiz, but might have future need of your services. And most importantly, increased website engagement improves your SEO (search engine optimization) results.

    How to create an online quiz

    Now that you know why you should include at least one online quiz in your marketing arsenal, here’s how to make an online quiz, with all the resources and information you need to create your own short-form and long-form quizzes.

    The first thing you need to do is decide what information you want to present.

    What is the primary goal that you hope to accomplish with the specific quiz you are formatting?

    Then you can choose the topic of your quiz. Here are a few tools for picking your topic, once you know your goals:

    Keyword research – Use targeted keyword searches to research what the market is looking for, and to develop a general understanding of your industry and particular market.

    Related: Keyword research and content optimization tips

    Your blog – The best resource for quiz content is your very own blog. Using topics that you have blogged about provides the opportunity to link your quiz to specific articles on your webpage, better focusing your target marketing.

    Online resources for building quizzes

    Once you have figured out your content, the next step is to organize and lay out your content in a manageable, logical, entertaining, easy-to-follow and useful manner. When formatting your content, there are three main categories: true or false, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank.

    In addition to knowing which type and mix of questions will work best for your particular information collecting needs, you will want to determine the intention and length of your quiz. Do you want your quiz to be educational, entertaining or a mixture of both?

    Quizzes are a great way of promoting special events, sales and limited time products or engagements by linking quiz questions to the specific promotion and tailoring the questions in the quiz to this specific product, event or service.

    Your quiz should be long enough to engage your reader and collect ample information without becoming tedious. Avoid redundancy and complicated sentence structure.

    You want to maintain engagement and offer fun for the quiz taker.

     

    Typically quizzes that take five to 10 minutes or less to take are the best for catching a lead’s attention without putting them to sleep, increasing the chances that this lead will take future quizzes that you create and post.

    Now you have a captive lead — someone who has experience with your business and quizzes and keeps coming back for more.

    Creating a basic format of your quiz will assist you in the hunt for the perfect template or quiz building tool.

    Sites like Survey Monkey, Type Form, ClassMarker, iSpring Solutions and Online Quiz Creator offer a variety of quiz-making tools to simplify your quiz building process. See below for a brief comparison of these.

    SurveyMonkey.com

    This quiz site is ideal for multiple choice, fill-in and true or false questions when you want to collect data on sales, customer opinions, product concerns, or interest in future endeavors.

    In my firsthand experience, this is not a very user-friendly site for anyone not familiar with basic web knowledge.

    Longer quizzes are cumbersome and prone to entry errors, and the reporting process can be limited. This is a very good quiz building and data collection site for anyone who understands online forms well or whose needs are simple.

    Go to this quiz tool to learn more about what SurveyMonkey.com has to offer.

    TypeForm.com

    Type Form’s “Quiz Creator 101: Where to start?” makes it great for online quiz and online marketing newbies. Its examples and templates are vast and varied, giving you a greater range of quiz options.

    ClassMarker.com

    Tailored towards professionals and educators, ClassMarker is an educator or business training professional’s dream. Focused on teaching and information gathering, these templates and their features will save you hours in paper grading and paperwork immediately.

    iSpring Suite

    Unlike Survey Monkey and Type Form, iSpring Suite, offered by iSpring Solutions, allows you to do things like set time limits on test sections, for teaching and better memory retention.

    OnlineQuizCreator.com

    This user-friendly online quiz software is focused toward social media promotions on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Their quiz templates and features take on a fun feel, as well as incorporate social media campaign data-collecting tools for tracking each quiz’s success or missteps for better targeting of your audience.

    WordPress quiz plugins

    There are also many quiz and survey plugin apps, including WordPress quiz plugins and independent apps that plug into other types of websites. Here are the top five picks for WordPress sites, according to wpBeginner.com:

    1. LearnDash: The versatility of this app’s quiz building database and options made this wpBeginner’s No. 1 quiz-making app choice.
    2. TryInteract: This is a powerful web-based app capable of generating viral quizzes and building social media and web traffic.
    3. WP Quiz: Comes with three quiz types: trivia, personality types and flip cards. It is a user-friendly and flexible app for fun social media quiz making and promotion.
    4. Quiz and Survey Master: Not as user-friendly, this quiz making app is flexible and works for both quizzes and surveys.
    5. mTouch Quiz: Targeting mobile users, this WordPress Plugin App is created with learning and mobility in mind.

    Related: Qualifying leads with WordPress forms

    Now, go forth and create!

    The post How to make an online quiz to build an engaged customer base appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Oct. 31, 2017, and was updated on July 30, 2019.

    If you’ve ever felt you needed more time in the day, or that you’re only working on one project at a time and find yourself resisting or struggling to scale, you might want to learn how to productize services.

    In the website services industry, the struggle is real. We create products on a daily basis, but as a service.

    The thought of productizing our own services can seem elusive or mysterious.

    How do you know if your service can be turned into a product? Below, we’ll take a look at what productization includes and how to productize services for your own business.

    Related: 9-step web development project checklist for better website project management

    What is productization?

    Productization is taking “delivery” and making it repeatable, scalable and standardized. It also means that you personally don’t deliver the whole process from start to finish.

    For example, take a book, software, course or plugin. Those products can be delivered as a service. What you learn in a book or a course could be delivered as a consultation. A plugin or software to manage your budget and accounts can be done by a person.

    All of these examples could be delivered by their creator as a service, but as a product, they can scale faster and deliver a standard result to all customers.

    Don’t get me wrong, services are a fantastic way to run a business. But for some, they’re not as scalable or profitable as they originally hoped. The biggest problem with delivering a service is that, even with staff and a team, you can only deliver so much at once.

    Creating a product from your services is easier than you might think, but it requires you to swallow a few fears and take a deep breath.

    Service vs. product

    Productize Services Design Products

    Productizing your services is often seen as a magic bullet when it comes to solving many of the problems that website professionals face. We love the idea of having a suite of well-polished and well-defined products that suit our customers. But often, when it comes to delivering them, we’re still delivering a service.

    In his book, From Single To Scale, author Mike Killen talks about the three laws of scale that help define if something is a product:

    1. Do I have to do the work or can someone else?
    2. Can I receive 1,000 orders tomorrow and handle it?
    3. Is the process/delivery repeatable so anyone can do it?

    Frequently, we find that many website service-based businesses that want to productize services struggle because they can’t deliver a standardized service to their customers.

    Truly creating products from services and productizing your offering means you must adhere to strict rules.

     

    Sure, some products have add-ons and small customizations, but the standard delivery process itself does not change. Have you ever tried to negotiate the terms of your checking account at a bank? Your account is such a standardized product that the idea of customizing it is unheard of.

    It doesn’t have to be custom

    Productize Services Sewing Custom Bow Tie Tailor
    When you productize services, you leave some of the custom tailoring behind.

    Without a doubt, the biggest roadblock to creating a product, or suite of products, is that we believe customers want custom. We’re website designers and developers, right? Aren’t they’re coming to us because they want a custom and bespoke solution?

    We often fall into this trap, believing our clients’ businesses and their needs are so unique that they deserve 100-percent custom, individual requirements and specifications. But we’d be wrong.

    Customers want SOLUTIONS more than they want custom.

     

    If your desire is to productize services, you have to lovingly say goodbye to a certain level of customization. There’s nothing wrong with custom work — but the reality is, most businesses aren’t charging enough to justify a fully customized solution.

    Productize services by answering these 11 questions

    Here’s our 11-point checklist to see if your website-based service can be turned into a product.

      1. Does your service offer a solution to a problem?
      2. Does your service have a deliverable?
      3. Can delivery of the product be scaled?
      4. If some level of service is involved, can it be carried out by someone else?
      5. Has there been proven demand?
      6. What are competing companies doing?
      7. Does shifting your service to a product help your customers still achieve their results and continue to add value?
      8. Can the product offering and price be fixed for a wide audience?
      9. Can you tweak the current delivery of your service?
      10. Can you develop a watertight process?
      11. Is it something you are passionate about?

    1. Does your service offer a solution to a problem?

    The best gauge to know if your product will succeed is to evaluate whether or not it solves a problem. If it solves a problem, then you can almost be certain someone needs it. Focusing on your product as a solution is the best was to refine your product’s offerings, messaging and projections for demand.

    2. Does your service have a deliverable?

    Productize Services Boxes Delivery

    It’s nearly impossible to convert a service into a product if there’s no deliverable. When someone forks over their credit card to purchase your product, what are they receiving in return?

    Focusing on the deliverable can help you focus what exactly your product offers.

     

    In creating my business, WP Care Market, where we match small business owners with website consultants, I knew the importance of a deliverable to shift our services into products. With that in mind, we refined WP Care Market to be responsible for the website audit of the small business owner’s website before matching to a pro. This way, our customers receive beautiful reports on the intricacies and needs of their site before we make a referral to the website pro.

    3. Can delivery of the product be scaled?

    Review the three questions above from Mike Killen’s From Single to Scale and evaluate if your product can scale. Could you receive 1,000 orders tomorrow and deliver the same results to every customer?

    Consider a small business owner who builds custom tables from reclaimed wood. Often, we as website service-based businesses are delivering custom-built, reclaimed wood “tables” from hand (much like the aforementioned craftsman), but for Ikea prices.

    Ikea, on the other hand, can scale their table sales because the manufacturing and delivery process is scalable. It’s repeatable, and everyone gets the same thing. Yes, the product quality is different, but that doesn’t matter to Ikea’s target market.

    4. If some level of service is involved, can it be carried out by someone else?

    There are numerous companies that sell products that still require some level of service. Removing all elements of the human touch is not the point of productizing — removing you from the central hub of providing that service personally is the point. You must be able to remove yourself from carrying out the delivery of the product to truly transition your service to a product.

    5. Has there been proven demand?

    Productize Services Empty Cafe

    “Build it, and they will come” is the number one killer for new products. You must confirm that people want the solution first before looking to scale. Productizing should be seen as a solution to scale, rather than the first offering.

    6. What are competing companies doing?

    When you’re looking to shift your services into a productized offering, it’s important to know what your competition is selling.

    As a basic rule, to attract customers, you will want to be sure that you’re offering unique products or solutions.

    Beyond that, though, competitive analysis allows you to identify the gaps in your industry, whether they’re product gaps or organizational gaps. Identifying where there’s a need in your industry can help you to further refine your solutions to meet consumer needs.

    Related: How to find inspiration from your competitors (without stealing their ideas)

    7. Does shifting your service to a product help your customers still achieve their results and continue to add value?

    Shifting to productizing shouldn’t impact the results and value your customers found through your service.

    Picture yourself as a consultant where you coach business owners one-on-one on how to navigate the tricky world of online marketing. Shifting to providing productized services in an online course should in no way water down or de-value the impact of your technique, insight and advice. It might impact the personalization of your message, but it should still help the customer achieve their desired results.

    8. Can the product offering and price be fixed for a wide audience?

    Productize Services Audience Crowd

    As we touched upon earlier, the product needs to be delivered with a strict set of rules, which also determines a fixed pricing structure. This means you have to have a specific target market in mind, know what that target market will pay to solve their problems, and then price and structure your offer accordingly.

    Related: What a target audience matters (and how to find yours)

    9. Can you tweak the current delivery of your service?

    Think outside of what you’re used to delivering. Is there another way to deliver those same results?

    Say I’m a chef at a restaurant and someone wants to learn how to cook my meals. I gladly accept their offer, and we meet in the grocery store to get started. We pick out our produce and head back to the kitchen.

    Yes, this process is repeatable and standardized, but what happens when 1,000 people ask?

    We obviously can’t have 1,000 people in the store or the kitchen. So, we switch our delivery method to webinars, online videos, books and worksheets.

    10. Can you develop a watertight process?

    In John Warrillow’s book, Built To Sell, he talks about writing down the process for your most popular service to determine your best product.

    For example, if you are a website developer, write up your process for how the website delivers results to your customer. Does it attract traffic? Does it help them rank on Google? Do they capture leads and email subscribers?

    Next, are there other ways you can deliver those results through a watertight process? Possible avenues to help solve these needs might involve software, plugins or operations manuals, among many others.

    Related: How to start a web design business

    11. Is it something you are passionate about?

    Lastly, creating a new product is hard work. I can guarantee that if you are not passionate about the problem it solves, you’ll barely rev that engine and get the plane off the ground.

    When deciding to productize services, you most certainly will be putting in serious man-hours upfront in the early stages. Make sure it’s worth it.

    Where do you go from here?

    You’ve determined, “Good golly, I might have a product?!” So what are the next steps?

    Develop your product offering through standardization and process. Even if you don’t think you have a standardized method, try it. You might surprise yourself.

    To begin, ask yourself what happens from initial contact all the way to delivery. Go through each step, and look at what is repeatable. This is the start of your product.

    If you can write up a standardized series of steps for delivery and checked off all of our 11 items above, congratulations, you’ve got a product!

    The post How to productize services as a web designer or developer appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Aug. 3, 2018, and was updated on July 31, 2109. 

    Whether you have an eCommerce store of your own, or are just looking for a way to make items for sale on your website stand out, it’s important to learn how to take product photos that truly showcase just how amazing your stuff is.

    With that in mind, below you’ll find tips and tricks you can use to take better product photos that can lead to more sales.

    Related: 15 tips to improve product images and boost online sales 

    Product photos are worth a thousand words

    Clicking the button of your camera is easy, but using your camera effectively is something you need to master in order to stay competitive in the world of selling products online.

    A stellar photo can be the difference between you making a sale or it going to your competitor instead.

    Consider the fact that whenever you’re shopping for goods online, you’re probably paying close attention to the images you’re seeing — often without even realizing it.

    Let’s say Shop A has great products for sale, but they each come with lackluster images. Shop B has the exact same products, but every item for sale has images with fabulous lighting, making them look catalogue-worthy. Who are you going to buy from?

    Odds are you said you’re going to shop from the site with the higher quality photos.

    Let’s think about why that ties into how to take product photos. Aside from the fact that better photos are more appealing, when a store takes the extra step to make sure their images are the best they can be, it tells you that they genuinely care about what they’re selling, and the people they’re selling to.

    Therefore, the shopkeeper with the better photos will most likely be more professional to work with, and your goods are going to be handled with the care that you expect from a reputable company.

    Product photos give your website visitors the first impression of what their interaction and transactions with you will be like.

    Related: How to create a compelling eCommerce product page 

    How to take product photos that stand out

    Use these tips to take better product photos:

    1. Invest in the right equipment.
    2. Use a tripod.
    3. Take extra shots.
    4. Focus on the details.
    5. Use a background that won’t distract from the product.
    6. Consider using a lightbox.
    7. Make smart lighting choices.
    8. Practice with lighting until you get it right.
    9. Learn the ins and outs of your camera.
    10. Avoid putting too many products in a single shot.
    11. Use editing software.

    Let’s dive in, shall we?

    Related: GoDaddy introduces marketplace selling to its Online Store

    Product Photos Equipment

    1. Invest in the right equipment

    Though it is true you can take images with your smartphone, you might want to consider using fancier cameras for your product photos. DSLR cameras can produce higher quality images, make it easier to manipulate depth of field, and feature presets to do all of the hard work for you.

    2. Make life easier on yourself by getting a tripod

    There’s nothing worse than a blurry image, and tripods will help you avoid this. Let’s say you need a longer exposure time. Using a tripod will help you to do just that without blurring the shot. You need to make sure you each image is crisp, and in focus.

    3. Take more shots than you think you need

    Use different angles, and different positions, so that you have plenty of options when you’re editing your images to see which works best for your website or storefront.

    Showing more than one angle of each product also appeals to discerning online shoppers.

    Sometimes customers like to see more than one viewpoint of a product. After all, they can’t exactly pick it up and look at it, so giving them multiple angles might be just what you need to secure the sale.

    4. Focus on the details

    Remember how we just said that the customer can’t pick up the item to examine it? Giving a close-up of the details of your product is the next best thing. This could convince buyers that are debating whether or not to purchase your items to go ahead and click “add to cart.”

    5. Use a background that won’t distract from the product

    One of the reasons white is often used as the background color for product photos is that it’s less distracting than a more colorful background. Sure, in some cases it might seem like a good idea to put your product against a colorful or wild background, but for the most part you’re better off with a solid color to leave the focus on one thing — the item you’re trying to get someone to purchase.

    6. Consider using a lightbox

    A lightbox is designed to produce images with diffused lighting from all angles. Using one can help you take images without any shadows appearing around your products.

    What often deters people from purchasing a lightbox is that they can sometimes be expensive. You don’t need to buy an expensive lightbox, though.

    In fact, there are plenty of tutorials online that teach you how to make your own lightbox super cheap. Head over to wikiHow for just one simple tutorial I found for creating an inexpensive lightbox of your own.

    Related: How to use a lightbox + lighting setup 

    7. Make smart lighting choices

    As you explore how to take product photos, remember many people prefer studio lights to natural light. The biggest reason for this is consistency. You want every image to look just as crisp as the last one you took. The other reason for using studio lights is that you can predict exactly how they will look at all hours of the day.

    On the other hand, when you’re taking product photos in the sunlight, you might find yourself needing to change angles, or your entire set up every single time the sun changes position. This, along with moving clouds, might limit the window of time you have to take your photos.

    Product Photos Setup

    8. Practice with your lighting until you get it right

    You want to learn the proper positions of where to put your lights, and you might need to play with angles and test until you see which positions make your products look the best.

    It’s also important to make sure that if you’re shooting on or near a reflective surface, the lights don’t reflect on the products. You’ll also want to be cognizant of glare that could appear on your items.

    9. Learn the ins and outs of your camera

    We are fortunate enough to live in a time where there are written and video tutorials available for just about anything you could want to learn online. A quick search on YouTube will yield dozens of lessons.

    You can learn how to use nearly every camera that’s available on the market, editing software to help you make your images perfect, and virtually every element of the entire photo taking process. In other words, short of buying a quality camera, you really have no excuse for bad product photos on your site.

    10. Avoid the urge to put too many products in a single shot

    Once you figure out how to take product photos, don’t go too crazy. The last thing you want is your potential buyer getting overwhelmed by the number of products in an image.

    If they want to buy more than one thing, that’s fine, but bundling things in a single image should be avoided for the most part. Instead, it’s a good idea to take an individual photo of each product in said bundle so that your visitors can see each item by itself.

    11. Use editing software for your product photos

    Notice I didn’t say expensive editing software. The reality is there’s a lot of open-source editing software available for free. Some that are just as good, if not better than the expensive brands like Photoshop.

    To name a few options, TechRadar recommends GIMP, Paint.Net and Photo Pos Pro. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your images look like a million bucks!

    Related: 10 best practices for picture editing

    Keep testing until you find what works for your product photos

    The products you are selling are likely incredible. They deserve equally incredible product photos.

    Remember, it is brilliant images that establish the credibility of not only what it is that you’re selling, but the credibility of your company as well.

    Keep testing, and playing with your images, and eventually you will find the best method for shooting your products. With any luck, the images will keep getting better, and will ultimately lead to you making more money than ever before.

    Related: How to write product descriptions to increase sales

    The post How to take product photos that will help sell your goods appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This post was originally published on Oct. 19, 2015, and was updated on July 31, 2019.

    Location is everything on Google search engine result pages (SERPs) — the higher your site is listed, the more traffic you’re likely to get. In fact, a recent Path Interactive survey found that “75 percent of respondents either click on the first one or two results, scan page one looking for the most relevant answer to their query, or visit multiple results from page one.” When users search for a specific phrase or keyword, your site will show up based, in part, on its Google keyword ranking.

    By applying some SEO best practices to your website, you can increase qualified traffic, which means more new customers.

    Note: While targeting the keywords people enter into search engines to find specific products, services and other information is still an important part of an effective SEO strategy, it isn’t the only ranking factor. As Rand Fishkin, previous co-founder of Moz and CEO and co-founder of SparkToro, recently noted at MozCon 2019: “Establishing your site as an authority, and earning links from existing authorities, could have immense ranking benefits.” Improving content accuracy with comprehensive, up-to-date, correct content may also boost search rankings, Fishkin noted.

    Organic vs. paid search listings

    You can attract visitors to your website in a variety of ways, but taking steps to boost organic search rankings is one of the most effective tactics for getting found online.

    Unlike paid search listings, which are advertisements that display in sponsored areas of the SERPs, organic search results are “free” and based on, among other things, the site’s content and how closely it matches the keywords being searched.

    

    Related: Beginner’s guide to search engine optimization for small business websites

    10 ways to improve Google keyword ranking and overall SEO

    Few people click beyond the first page of search results, so if you want to be seen, you need to be among the top listings. Here’s how:

    1. Target relevant keywords.
    2. Give the page a name with a title tag.
    3. Entice visitors with a meta description tag.
    4. Add in a header (H1) tag with the target keyword.
    5. Include keywords in relevant, comprehensive page content.
    6. Make sure website navigation is clean, reliable and intuitive.
    7. Give search engines a guide with a sitemap.
    8. Optimize images.
    9. Build structure with internal links.
    10. Create valuable content to encourage backlinks.

    Once search engines know your site exists, they scan your site, index the information, and analyze the content to determine how and where your website should display on the results page. If your site isn’t optimized, it won’t rank well and may end up well below your competitors.

    Want to work less and rank higher? Give the experts at GoDaddy SEO Services a call for a free consultation.

    Each search engine has its own set of ranking criteria, but they all look at these same basic but key elements.

    1. Target relevant keywords

    Keyword Spelled On Wooden Game Tiles Represent Google Keyword RankingKeywords are the specific words or phrases that someone enters into a search box on a site like Google to find information.

    To help your business show up higher in the search results, it’s important to research and discover what your customers and prospects are searching for and then create content that targets those terms.

    For instance, if your web page is targeting “vegan dinner recipes,” use that exact phrase naturally throughout the page.

    Do not cram the page full of keywords in an attempt to manipulate search ranking — a practice known as “keyword stuffing” that Google frowns upon.

    Related: How Google Trends can help you find your next customer 

    2. Give the page a name with a title tag

    The title tag is among a number of meta tags aimed at defining an individual web page’s subject matter or target keyword.

    As Google and other search engines crawl a site, these vital tags clue them into what visitors will see when they visit the website. Thus, the meta tags help search engines determine the relevancy of the site for search ranking.

    The title tag provides a brief summary of what people can expect from the page. It displays in a few important places, including as the title for a business listing in search engine results.

    Title Tag Example Rachel Cho Floral Design Homepage
     Title Tag Example Rachel Cho Floral Design Search Results

    For example, the title tag for the Rachel Cho Floral Design home page — “Rachel Cho Floral Design | Best Wedding Florist NYC” — displays at the top of the business’s listing on the Google search engine results page.

    If you target a specific audience or location, consider including that in the title tag, like “best wedding florist NYC.”

    It helps if each page on your site contains a unique title, but keep it concise — less than 65 characters, including spaces.

    Related: Meta tags and the head section of a website

    3. Entice visitors with a meta description tag

    Meta Description Tag Example Rachel Cho Floral Design Search ResultThe meta description tag displays below your website’s link in search results. It’s the blurb that will, if written well, entice people to visit your site.

    Every page on your site should include a unique meta description using the keyword for that page.

    Keep your meta description tags less than 150 characters and avoid non-alphanumeric characters.

    Pro tip: If you have a WordPress website, use a plugin like Yoast SEO to help measure the effectiveness of your meta description. Yoast will alert you if you’ve exceeded the displayable character count.

    4. Add in a header (H1) tag with the target keyword

    Think of the header tag like the headline on a newspaper story. It tells readers at a glance what’s on the page to read or view. The header (H1) tag is generally the largest or most prominent text on a web page.

    Each page in your site should include only one H1 tag.

     

    While the header tag doesn’t display in the search results, it’s still important to keep it brief (no longer than a short sentence). Be sure to include the page’s target keyword in the H1 tag.

    In the example below, the H1 tag is “BESPOKE FLORAL DECOR” to correspond with the most prominent text on the web page.

    Header Tag Example Rachel Cho Floral Design

    5. Include keywords in relevant, comprehensive page content

    Your website’s content, including text and images, is a driving force for improved organic search rankings. Forbes notes that longer content tends to perform better than shorter content, with pages having 1,000 words or more performing best.

    Focus the page content on the subject matter of the target keyword for that page.

     

    Wikipedia is an excellent example of this concept. When you visit the Wikipedia Steve Jobs page you only see content about Steve Jobs. Wikipedia has earned the top Google keyword ranking for the term “Steve Jobs.”

    Wikipedia Steve Jobs Top Rank Google Search Results

    6. Make sure website navigation is clean, reliable and intuitive

    Website navigation refers to all the links on your site and how visitors navigate from page to page.

    Visitors and search engines rely on good navigation to get around your site.

     

    Is your navigation built in a code base search engines can read? It is best to utilize HTML and CSS.

    Is every page you want indexed linked through your navigation? If not, you have orphan pages. And if these pages are not important enough for you to funnel traffic to through your navigation, the search engines will rarely rank those pages.

    Ensure all the URLs in your navigation are valid. A broken link is like hitting a brick wall, so be sure to check your links regularly.

    Related: Make Google and your readers happy — How to fix a 404 error 

    7. Give search engines a guide with a sitemap

    A sitemap is essentially a map or directory of all the pages on your website.

    Sitemaps guide search engines throughout your site with the names and locations of pages.

    They can speed up indexing and, in some cases, increase site traffic by indexing previously buried pages.

    There are two types of sitemaps:

    • HTML sitemap
    • XML sitemap

    An HTML sitemap is typically linked from the footer. It is a web page that users can visit to see all the important pages on your site.

    An XML sitemap is really only for search engines. This type of sitemap has a specific protocol and code requirements.

    Every website should have an XML sitemap.

     

    Be sure your sitemap is listed in your Google Webmasters account and your Bing Webmaster Tools account.

    Related: How to use Bing Webmaster Tools to improve your site’s SEO 

    8. Optimize images

    Images help break up the text and add visual interest to web pages. In general, you’ll want to include an image on each page every 300 to 400 words.

    Apply these three critical components for image optimization to increase your search rankings and help you gain traffic:

    Include the page’s target keyword in the image file name

    For example, if you own a pet supplies company called Fluffy Fido and one of the pages on your website is targeting the keywords “organic dog treats,” the hero image file name might be: fluffy-fido-organic-dog-treats.jpg.

    Always use lowercase letters and separate each word with a hyphen.

    Use the Image ALT Text tag with the page’s target keyword

    This “alt description” is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines. Because search engines can’t see images the way we do, they depend on various attributes to appropriately catalog and index the image.

    For instance, the Image ALT Text for the image named “fluffy-fido-organic-dog-treats.jpg” would be Fluffy Fido Organic Dog Treats.

    Each word is capitalized and separated with a space.

    Ensure that the text surrounding the image echoes the image’s subject matter

    The text content around each image helps the search engines understand the subject matter of the image.

    If you use “fluffy-fido-organic-dog-treats.jpg” as the image file name with the corresponding Image ALT tag, and the page’s text content focuses on your business’s organic dog treats, Google and other search engines can safely assume the image is a picture of organic dog treats or should at least be associated with that term.

    Pro tip: Optimizing your images so the file size is smaller and the image loads faster can also help your search rankings and keep you from losing your audience due to slow page load speed.

    9. Build structure with internal links

    Inbound links are a big factor in how search engines rank your site. There are two types: internal links and backlinks.

    An internal link is simply creating a link from a keyword / keyphrase or sentence on one page of your website to another page on your website.

    For example, the sentence “Find notary services near you” could be linked to the list of office locations on your website.

    10. Create valuable content to encourage backlinks

    Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your site. Search engines weigh these more heavily when determining your rank.

    Unfortunately, backlinks are more difficult to get.

    One of the surest ways to get more backlinks to your website is by producing valuable content your audience is seeking and then promoting that content throughout your social media network. This is not a quick and painless tactic, but it is the safest and it is proven.

    Take the time to write valuable content and be active on social media platforms that make sense for your business.

    Related: How to get backlinks to a small business website

    See you at the top

    Search engine optimization can have a big impact on the success of your business. Use these tips and SEO best practices to improve your website’s Google keyword ranking.

    By making the effort to tune up your website for organic search, you’ll likely see your customer base grow with your search results.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Garth O’Brien and Jeff Trumpold.

    The post 10 ways to improve Google keyword ranking appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Small business owners and entrepreneurs continually have to adapt to change, both in their own ventures and to external challenges, and often on their own with limited guidance.

    This includes adapting to our vastly changing technology and societal landscape — dealing with everything from the rise of automation, the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) and robots to eliminate jobs, political turbulence, and even concerns about what the future of work might look like for them.

    Despite these concerns, entrepreneurs are optimistic about business growth, the power of technology, and their contributions to local communities, according to findings from the GoDaddy Global Entrepreneurship Survey, which was announced today.

    The study surveyed 4,505 small businesses in 10 global markets: the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

    The entrepreneur survey size in the United States was 500 small business owners with 25 or fewer workers, many of whom were single operators or entrepreneurs with just a couple of employees.

    Related: Navigating the four stages of the entrepreneur journey 

    GoDaddy Global Entrepreneur Survey 2019 Graphic

    Entrepreneurs take advantage of new technologies for growth

    Our survey found that 70% of U.S. entrepreneurs expect to grow at least 25% in the next three to five years.

    Looking at the results across generations, millennials are the most confident.

     

    They are nearly two times as likely than baby boomers to expect 50% business growth over the next three to five years.

    Websites fuel confidence in business growth

    Of note, entrepreneurs with a website for their business are more confident about growth than those without a website.

    Seventy-nine percent of entrepreneurs with a business website expect to grow at least 25% in the next three to five years, compared to 64% of those without a site — showing that having a strong online presence is indicative of ventures that have the confidence and savvy to invest in attracting new customers.

    Related: 7 reasons you need a small business website

    Entrepreneurs are confident when it comes to handling new technology

    Thanks to recent innovations — including everything from the cloud, to collaboration tools, to new online marketing tools — the opportunity for entrepreneurs to manage their businesses’ tech needs themselves has grown immensely.

    Seventy-five percent of our entrepreneur survey respondents shared that they handle technology needs themselves.

    Of note, our survey shows 80% of U.S. female entrepreneurs handle their own tech needs, compared to 63% of U.S. male entrepreneurs.

    Men are nearly twice as likely to outsource it to a company, ask a friend, or seek out a web professional or designer for their website and technology needs.

    Related: Create It — Building your presence, brand and product

    Future of work looks promising

    These same new technologies, like cloud and collaboration tools, are helping to shape the future of work, including empowering entrepreneurs to work from anywhere.

    While many believe younger generations may be more inclined to work remotely, it is actually the baby boomers (49%) and GenX-ers (42%) who are 50% more likely than millennials (26%) to believe remote work will be commonplace in the future.

    This could be due to older generations enjoying perks like working from a home office or on the road.

    Regardless, our research found that across all 10 regions surveyed, flexibility is the most compelling benefit to being an entrepreneur — ranking five times higher than the potential to earn more money.

    And not only are entrepreneurs confidently taking advantage of new technologies, they’re also unfazed by the prospect of AI, automation and robots eliminating their jobs.

    Seventy-five percent of entrepreneurs report that their small business will help insulate them from potential job loss stemming from the rise of these technologies. Women (76%) are also slightly more likely to believe than men (71%) that their businesses would weather these types of technological disruption.

    Related: Who’s afraid of the big, bad AI? (Not us.) 

    Entrepreneurship leads to greater fulfillment

    Our survey also found that U.S. entrepreneurs are positive about the impact they’re making on their local communities.

    Of note, millennials are the most optimistic, with 52% of them reporting that they show owning a small business is possible, and 55% of them reporting that they provide the services their local community needs.

    And perhaps the best survey finding of all?

    After all the challenges these entrepreneurs face and knowing everything they now know about running their own business or becoming self-employed, 87% of U.S. small business owners said they would do it all over again.

    More insights from GoDaddy’s 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Survey

    

    The post New survey reports U.S. entrepreneurs optimistic about growth and technology appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Web design is constantly evolving to suit the needs of an ever more sophisticated and demanding audience. What we knew about web design a year ago is already outdated. The new trends that emerge in web design are more advanced, more streamlined, and more user-friendly than ever before.

    Over the past 10 years or more, having a website has become an absolute priority for businesses and individuals alike, yet one cannot stop at putting up a few pages of content and hoping for the best.

    The problem is that websites are no longer simple pages to build a digital presence – they are also powerful tools that can increase the amount of money you make every month. To get the most out of your site, you need to pay close attention to website design.

    After all, websites have come a long way since the 1990s and modern web design involves somewhat more than throwing together a nice layout.

    In this article created by our team at Amelia, you will learn about ten of the most important elements you should keep in mind when putting together a modern website. Here’s what you need to know:

    Design – Importance and Level of Impact

    The best web design practices lead to the best feedback from users. The question is: why? Isn’t content more important than the way a website looks? Isn’t responsiveness more important than what fonts you use?

    Of course, these aspects contribute to the overall image of a website, but they are nothing without following the basic rules of web design.

    In order to make a site enjoyable, you need to make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing and it doesn’t tire the eyes of the viewer. Before anything else, you need to establish a good first impression which is a sum of elements such as good loading times, responsiveness, and design.

    The best-designed websites incorporate these elements thoughtfully and in a balanced manner so that the final result is satisfactory for the user. Web design is a continuous process and you’ll always need to make new improvements amid changing trends and the evolving expectations of your visitors.

    Essential Modern Web Design Elements to Keep an Eye On

    Moving on to modern web design, there are several important elements that differentiate nice, clean modern websites from other, older styles. Below you will find a list of these elements, as well as an explanation to help you achieve the best result.

    Minimalism

    People often mistake modernism for minimalism. These are not the same, but they influence each other greatly. The principle of minimalism is “less is more”, while modernism focuses on airy design, as clear-cut and clean-lined as possible.

    In modern web design, the idea of simplicity should be borne in mind. Following a minimalist principle will help your visitors instantly assimilate the information you provide them with.

    Color Palettes

    In modern web design, color palettes are quite unassuming – they are simple, yet impactful enough. You will have to be consistent with the color palette once you chose one because it will become part of your brand design.

    Get your web design inspiration from other big websites that have made their brand popular through the use of a simple, consistent color palette. See FedEx, McDonald’s, or Amazon.

    Navigation

    Another element you should pay great attention to is the site’s navigation system. The more complex it is, the easier it is to confuse visitors. It’s best to keep it simple and responsive so that users can rapidly access any section of the website they are interested in.

    Modern web design encourages using a clear navigation system with extra assistance to help users find the information they are looking for (e.g. using a search bar with suggestions).

    Typography

    People often forget that typography can impact a website’s design tremendously. The typefaces you choose can influence the overall feel of the website. You need to think twice when combining fonts, especially if you want to build a modern website.

    Typefaces come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s best to use larger font sizes so that users will encounter no problem in reading the content on all sorts of devices.

    It would be a good idea to get your web design inspiration from companies that use their own particular, unique font instead of ready-made ones you can find in online markets.

    A branded typeface can create a sense of individualism for the respective website, which is the exact result you should strive for. See Beyonce’s symbolic “Knockout”font as a reference.

    White Space

    The use of white space in web design is underestimated, as it can change the entire aspect of a site when used properly. When a website is filled with too much information, it will overwhelm users and they will probably skim through the content, not absorbing any of it.

    When adding a few areas that allow the users to breathe and take a break from all that content, you help them recharge their batteries for the next paragraph.

    White space is used as a much-needed visual break. It minimizes distractions and sets a clearer eye-path that people will follow when browsing your website. In modern web design, the use of white space is almost mandatory, as it accentuates relevant information for those in a hurry.

    White space is the easiest way to direct the attention towards a certain subject. It will also make the page look cleaner and airy, like a well-lit room.

    CTAs

    Remember what we said about a clear navigation system? Call-To-Action buttons will help you achieve that, while also increasing the chance to turn your visitors into actual clients.

    CTAs are pivotal elements in guiding the users through your website. When building a CTA button, you need to take into account where you place it, how you design it, and what text you use for it.

    Depending on your website’s specifics, you can use a CTA button on each page, but not more.

    Iconography and Photography

    A website is nothing without visual content. Of course, quality copy is needed to ensure the minimum amount of information that a user should get from the website they are visiting, but accompanying imagery makes it that much better.

    In modern web design, you will have to make sure that the images or icons you choose are suitable for the theme you’ve selected, the color palette you are using, and the subject of your site.

    You shouldn’t use too many photos, as they can slow down your website and make it look too cluttered. 2019 trends encourage using unique, high-quality photos that give the users a glimpse into what your site’s all about.

    The more personal the content, the better the user experience.

    Hero Images

    Another popular trend governing modern web design is using a full-screen image as a base for your website’s homepage. Hero images are max-size banner images placed above the fold to grab the attention of the users and pique their interest.

    Of course, you’ll have to make sure that the hero image doesn’t make it difficult for the user to read the text that’s above it. If it intersects with your navigation menu, the text must have a contrastive color and a bigger size to ensure clear visibility.

    Responsiveness

    Responsiveness refers to a website’s ability to look good and function well on any size device. If the user tries to access a section on your website but they can’t because it wasn’t designed for their device’s screen size, they will leave — as simple as that.

    Today’s users access the Web with a number of different devices at any given moment, and mobile users will form a large segment of the audience for any modern website.

    Background Videos

    Alongside the use of a full-screen image as the background for your main page, another trend has also become popular —background videos. These are more difficult to implement, given that you need to keep the website responsive, but they are worth all the trouble.

    They can be used to tell your story in a quick, engaging, and aesthetic manner, and from the moment the user enters your site, their attention will be grabbed by the background video.

    The video should include the key points of your work. This way, visitors will know right from the start what your website is about and they can direct their attention to whatever they are interested in without skimming through your copy.

    Ending thoughts on modern web design

    You’ve now read a few things about the most common practices in modern web design. There are, of course, many other aspects that could help you design a modern website, but following these basic principles is an excellent starting point.

    To get the most out of your site, lay the foundation using these elements and don’t forget to add a personal touch to your site to get closer to your visitors.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about modern web design, you should read these as well:

    The post Elements of Modern Web Design That You Should Know About appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    If you’ve got a side project, you might be a fledgling entrepreneur — but just don’t realize it yet.

    In 2017, Bankrate released a survey that revealed 44 million Americans claim to have side hustles.

    A side hustle (sometimes referred to as a side gig or side project) is essentially a second job. Those working a side project typically seek it out on their own. Side projects also generate a second income, whether the role is becoming a rideshare driver or freelancing as a writer.

    This allows gig workers to bring in a little extra money each month that they may use to pay off any debts or add to personal savings.

    

    A side project is more than extra income

    However, money isn’t the sole reason many choose to become members of the gig economy.

    Side projects often closely align with a person’s interests and passions.

     

    An aspiring chef may have a cooking blog where they share original recipes for meals. A writer may be actively freelancing at several websites and print publications. A skilled yoga instructor may teach classes on the side at yoga studios.

    The more these workers keep refining and focusing on their side hustles, the more it becomes possible that their side project can expand to become a full-time business.

    The aspiring chef’s cooking blog may be sponsored by food companies that want to advertise on the site. The writer freelancing with several media outlets will continue establishing bylines and growing their online portfolio. The yoga instructor may be considering opening up a studio of their own.

    Related: How to turn your web design side hustle into a full-time business 

    Turning your passion into a business

    Greek philosopher Aristotle has been famously quoted for saying, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    Individuals who continue to spend more time with their side projects focus on fine tuning their skill sets and growing their social media footprints. This better prepares them to take the next step forward — turning the side project into a full-time business.

    3 signs a side project is ready to be its own business

    How do you know your side project is ready to become a business? Let’s take a look at common signs a side project is ready to level up into its own business.

    1. Your net earnings exceed $400 yearly.
    2. You’re growing more invested in the side project.
    3. You’re actively preparing to quit your full-time job for your side project.

    After we determine if you’re side project is poised for startup status, we’ll explore what entrepreneurs need to do next once they’re ready to pivot the hustle into its own business.

    Related: Create It — Building your presence, brand and product

    1. Your net earnings exceed $400 yearlySide Project Doing Taxes

    According to Form 1040 from the IRS, individuals with net earnings of at least $400 from self-employment are required to file a tax return. The only exception to this filing rule are self-employment net earnings that are less than $400 for the tax year.

    Entrepreneurs might believe that they need to earn significantly more for their side project to actually become a business.

    The IRS, however, recognizes side projects earning more than $400 yearly to be the threshold toward self-employment.

    Earning $400 a year may not yet prepare your side project to become its own business, but the income earned must be reported in tax returns. Otherwise, you could be facing potential tax penalties before your side project has a chance to transition into its own company.

    Related: 7 tax tips for your side hustle

    2. You’re growing more invested in the side project

    This sign tends to happen in gradual increments. You might find yourself at your full-time job considering the following aspects of your side project.

    Return on investment (ROI) and continual growth

    How do plan to grow your side project and its customer base as time progresses? Will you be investing in marketing and advertising? What expenditures are your dollars currently going towards? Has the ROI from these expenditures been positive or negative?

    Hiring

    Is your side project growing to the point where you need help from a professional? Are you starting to think about outsourcing some of your workload to others with complementary skill sets?

    Bringing the side project to work

    Do you respond to emails from customers throughout the day or complete freelance work during a down period? Chances are you might be bringing your side project to work — and gradually doing a bit more each day than focusing on your day job’s workload.

    Once a side project becomes profitable — and stays profitable for at least three out of five years — it is no longer considered to be a hobby.

    It’s perfectly fine to be invested in your side project, but it’s important to be mindful that you do not drop the ball or start to slip on your full-time workload either.

    Related: How to keep your side hustle going while in school

    3. You’re actively preparing to quit your full-time job for your side project

    As your side project grows and becomes more successful, you might feel like it’s time to retire from your full-time job. This is an exciting feeling, but actually going through with quitting requires a great deal of practicality.

    It’s recommended that you do not put in your two weeks before you thoroughly answer these questions.

    Are you financially prepared?

    If you’re currently paying off a loan or have debt, it’s advised that you stay where you have financial security. Pay off any existing debt as quickly as possible. Then, begin setting aside money for an emergency nest egg and money for the startup.

    Create spreadsheets of your existing monthly expenses to track how much you’ll need to earn each month to keep the business thriving as well as yourself.

    This approach might mean you’ll be in limbo for a bit before making the leap into entrepreneurship. However, it also ensures that your leap forward comes with a safety net, stronger credit scores, and less worries you may run out of money and wind up dissolving the business.

    Related: How to get a small business loan in 7 steps 

    How will you stay insured?

    Many full-time jobs offer benefits including health insurance, 401(k) plans, and disability insurance. Once you leave your job, you’ll be in charge of determining how to stay covered with necessary insurance plans afterwards.

    Can you handle entrepreneurship?

    Meet with a mentor, or someone you know that has had a similar career path to the one you plan to pursue. They will likely be frank about the realities of entrepreneurship, including the number of hours you’ll actually have to work (hint: it’s more than 40 a week) and the amount of time and energy that must be invested in the role.

    Not everyone can handle entrepreneurship — and that’s OK!

    If you know you can do this, go for it. Otherwise, consider keeping your side project as a side project until you feel a bit more comfortable you can run it as a business.

    Related: Navigating the four stages of the entrepreneur journey

    How to transition side projects into startups

    If all three signs are pointing towards yes, it’s time to begin transitioning your side project to become its own small business.

    Entrepreneurship may be a risky field, but you can minimize the legal risks involved by checking these legal items off your to-do list.

    1. Draft a business plan

    Side Project Business Plan Doodle
    This document is going to act as a blueprint for your business. Remember that drafting one does not ensure your business will be instantly successful.

    What a business plan does is allow entrepreneurs to establish a common vision for the startup and objectively evaluate its feasibility.

    Entrepreneurs may write a business plan in a traditional or lean format. Let’s briefly sum up what should be included in either version.

    Traditional business plan

    A traditional business plan is fairly detailed and is around 30 to 40 pages in length. These plans include:

    • An executive summary that explains who you and your business are
    • What the startup does
    • The industry
    • The location
    • How it makes money
    • Why consumers will want to invest in your offerings

    This section is followed up by a business description (with more specific details about your services and products), an industry analysis of your competition, a market analysis of your audience, and who makes up the startup’s management team. There are also sections dedicated to the startup’s cash flow and financing requests from potential investors.

    Related: 5 best business plan templates 

    Lean startup plan

    Lean startup plans are much more straightforward. They also tend to be shorter, sometimes no longer than a page.

    Inside a lean startup plan, you can find the startup’s value proposition, and information about the side project’s key partnerships, resources and activities.

    There are also details about the customer segments and relationships and the revenue streams for the side project.

    Related: Using a Lean Canvas to create your business plan 

    2. Incorporate or form an LLC

    The benefits that come with incorporating or forming an LLC  early on for your side project turned small business are endless.

    Incorporating provides liability protection (found with most entities), significant tax savings, and the ability to establish credibility with consumers.

    After all, who wouldn’t feel confident about doing business with a company that has “Inc.” or “LLC” in their business name?

    Not sure which entity is the “best” one for you? Consider these popular legal structure options below.

    Sole proprietorships

    This entity allows entrepreneurs to exercise complete control over their side project-turned-business. They’re the ones calling the shots! Sole proprietorships are fairly affordable to form and require little filing paperwork.

    However, sole proprietorships are one of the few entities that do not provide liability protection. In the event an unforeseen circumstance impacts the startup, the owner will be held fully responsible and may have their personal assets impacted as well.

    Limited liability company (LLC)

    Unlike a sole proprietorship, an LLC provides the business with liability protection. This separates professional and personal assets.

    Liability protection aside, LLCs offer a lot of flexibility. You even get to choose the entity, S Corporation or C Corporation, that you would like to be taxed as an LLC!

    Corporation

    Your side project might be capable of going global, or public, one day. If that’s the plan, you’ll be glad you incorporated as a corporation. Much like an LLC, a corporation also provides liability protection.

    However, the entity is much less flexible than an LLC. This entity has a formal structure that makes it possible to accept money from interested investors.

    Partnership

    Side Project Partners Shaking Hands
    Two or more individuals may start a business together if they incorporate as a partnership. Remember that if you choose a partnership as your entity, make sure you’re going into business with a partner you know can make decisions with and work together for the greater good of the startup.

    Editor’s note: Make sure your brand is ready to go bigger by securing a strong domain name and attaching it to a professional website and email address.

    3. Register the side project’s trademarks

    Does your side project have a unique name, design, tagline or logo associated with it? This is your side project’s trademark.

    It’s a valuable piece of intellectual property for your budding business.

     

    The mark helps differentiate your company from competing businesses on the market and allows you to begin building brand recognition.

    If you have a unique mark, it’s important that you file a trademark application as soon as possible.

    The general rule of thumb is to register a trademark after incorporating or forming an LLC for your side project. Once your trademark has been registered, no other business can take or copycat the mark from you and pass it off as their own creation.

    Ready to register a trademark?

    Conduct a name search first through the USPTO trademark database to see if the mark is available. If there are no pending or registered applications for the mark, you are free to file a trademark application.

    Remember to pay the associated fee required with your application. You are also welcome to consult an attorney with any other questions you may have about trademarks or the filing process.

    While you’re waiting for your trademark’s registration, you can monitor your application through the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. Here, you can conduct a “trademark watch” to ensure other pending applications with similar marks are not registered.

    Busy entrepreneurs with a lot on their side hustle’s plate may also work alongside a third party. Online filing service companies provide trademark watch services. They work to keep an eye on the status of your trademark. This gives entrepreneurs peace of mind and allows them to focus on what they do best: turning their side project into a booming standalone business of its own.

    The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

    The post How to transition a side project into a startup appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    What are sextortion and blackmail emails?

    Sextortion and blackmail emails are emails that are received from an unknown sender, often disguised as a real business or person of power, demanding payment or another benefit in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about you.

    Recently, we’ve seen an increase in complaints regarding a blackmail email that sounds super scary. The email claims that a hacker broke into your computer and took a video of you doing bad things. In order to stop the anonymous sender from sharing this “video” with your contacts,  the sender demands Bitcoin (or some other crypto currency) payment.

    Sometimes, these emails contain a password you either used to use or still use, making it seem very convincing.

    These campaigns started carrying something similar to the following as the email body and then as an image or attachment:

    A similar type of email claim that a Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) attack would be carried out against your website if you did not pay or that your hosting account would be taken over and shut down.

    What to do

    First things first, never reply to these emails. Most often, they are sent using Spoofing techniques. Replying does nothing for you and could potentially be harmful. So, don’t reply.

    Second, DO NOT pay the sender. These attacks are fear based. They don’t have access to your computer, they didn’t record you on your computer.

    This is a numbers game for them. If they send out 1,000,000 emails with the same threat, they only need one to make any money from an unfounded threat. So, they’ll send as many emails as possible with as threatening message as possible to convince people to pay.

    While it is difficult to find the individuals behind the emails to try to hold them accountable, you can report the email via our reporting form using the SPAM option and/or file a complaint with the FBI via the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    Additionally, check your email address against Have I Been Pwned. It checks if your email address was involved in a number of breaches over the years. If your email address appears, we highly recommend changing your password.

    Threat shift

    In Information Security there are times when a bad guy changes how they carry out an attack, this is referred to as a “threat shift”. Crypto currency blackmail and extortion has undergone a recent threat shift from large email campaigns to website comment sections. The same rules apply in this situation, report the comment with your hosting provider and do NOT pay it.

     

    The post Blackmail via email best practices appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This post was originally published on Aug. 26, 2015, and was updated on August 1, 2019.

    One key component of every web page — every well-optimized web page, that is — is the meta tags. These are the parts of the webpage that tell Google and other search engines what a site is called, what it’s about, whether search bots can index it, what the keywords are, how it should look, and even where it’s located.

    Some meta tags are more important than others, and if you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of time and effort trying to fill out tags that really won’t do your website any good.

    Related: Beginner’s guide to search engine optimization for small business websites

    Quick-start guide to meta tags

    This article, which reflects important changes in Google’s search algorithms, will tell you important things like:

    Let’s get started.

    Where can you find meta tags?

    Ostrich Head to Illustrate Head Section WebsiteThere are three basic parts to a website:

    1. the Head (or header)
    2. the Body
    3. the Footer

    Think of your body as a website. Your head is clearly the header, the footer is your feet and your torso is, well, you get the picture.

    The header and the footer of a website are pretty much the same on every single page.

    Traditionally, you would put your company name and logo in the header, your operating hours, address and phone number in the footer. The body section of each page will change depending on what you put in there, but the header and footer will always remain the same.

    Look at the top of this page from GoDaddy. At the very top is the banner — GoDaddy, Help, How-To, etc. That’s the header. If you visit another page on the GoDaddy blog, that part will stay exactly the same.

    GoDaddy Blog Page Header Example
    Now scroll all the way to the bottom of that page. Did you see that blue banner down there, with all the text in it and below it? That’s the footer.

    GoDaddy Blog Page Footer Example

    If you visit another GoDaddy blog page, that banner and its information will stay exactly the same, too.

    It’s the body text, the part that you’re reading, that will change with every new page you visit.

    The purpose of the header and footer is to provide a template for each and every page on a website. This is so you don’t have to code a header and footer every single time you create a new page.

    And since the header and footer are permanent, it makes sense that you stick important code like meta tags inside the header. You could put it in the footer, but that’s a bad idea.

    That’s because the search engine bots will only crawl so much of a web page before they leave again. The only way to guarantee that the bots will see this important meta code is to put it at the very top where Google assumes it will be.

    So now you know where the meta tags are kept, what do they do exactly?

    Related: 10 ways to improve Google keyword ranking

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    What do meta tags do?

    Meta tags are a part of your search engine optimization (SEO).

    SEO is where you teach the search engines what your website and all its individual pages and digital assets (e.g. images, videos and documents) are about.

    For example, Google, Bing and Yahoo will all know that this page is about meta tags for websites and meta tags SEO, partly because of the headline and the keywords.

    The job of the meta tags is to define an individual web page’s subject matter or the page’s target keyword.

    Some meta tags are more important than others, but it is crucial they all align with the page’s target keyword.

    For example, the meta description tag tells us what a particular page is about. It’s the brief blurb about the page’s content and what we can expect to find.

    As recently as seven years ago, you could write a killer description that would persuade Google to rank your webpage higher than your competition’s. You had to do things like use your keywords in the very early part of the description — in the first four words, if you could swing it, no matter how bad it sounded to human readers — and make sure your keyword appeared in the title, URL and body text the right number of times.

    If all those things matched, your web page could rank pretty high for that keyword.

    Of course, we can never have nice things on the internet, and people started creating some pretty awful web pages that did what Google wanted, but people hated. It got so bad, the internet was filling up with all these terrible web pages that tricked Google, but were otherwise unreadable and unusable by humans.

    So Google banned a bunch of commonly practices SEO tactics because these SEO spammers ruined it for everyone.

    Today, the function of the meta description is to get people to read your page.

     

    When your web page shows up in a Google search result, the thing people are going to read about your page is your meta description. If you’ve written a good one, they’re more likely to read your page. If you’ve written a poor one or you didn’t write one at all and let Google try to make its own, people are less likely to read your page in the first place.

    This means your meta description is still valuable, but only because it entices people to visit your website rather than tricking Google into thinking yours is the best.

    The other meta tags have different functions, telling Google how to behave, what to show and what your site is/does/has, but you only need a few of them.

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    What meta tags do you need and which should you avoid?

    Here are the most important meta tags, and a brief description of how they work. Some of these tags help the people visiting your site, others help Google and/or the web browsers decide how to behave.

    Title tag

    The title tag is part of the SEO trinity. This tag must align completely with the page’s URL and content, the other legs of the stool. This is one of the strongest signals that informs the search engines that a page is about a particular topic, which directly impacts keyword ranking.

    When the search engine bots visit a website, they look at all the pages’ titles in order to learn what each of them are about.

    The title is different from a page’s headline. The headline is what people will see when your page pops up on a social network like Facebook. The title is what the search engine bots see. Just remember this simple mnemonic:

    H is for headlines, which are read by humans, T is for titles which are read by — dammit! Never mind.

    If you’re curious whether you should favor one over the other, the answer is no — they’re both equally important. People won’t click on a nonsensical or boring headline, bots won’t understand clever headlines that don’t include keywords. Go ahead and use the keyword in both.

    Here are some basic best practices for creating an optimized title tag:

    • Use a maximum of 65 characters (including spaces).
    • The page’s target keyword should be at the beginning.
    • Each page must have one title tag.
    • Each title tag must be unique (never use the same title tag on other pages).
    • Branding always appears at the end of the title tag.
    • Separate branding with a hyphen or a | pipe (that’s the symbol above the \ key).
    • If there’s room, be sure to put your company name or your own name in the title tag.

    Title Meta Tag Example GoDaddy Email MarketingA user sees the title tag on the search engine results page (SERP). The user will not see this content on the web page itself. It’s hidden so only the bots can see it.

    Pro tip: If you use WordPress as your content management system, I strongly recommend you use the Yoast SEO plugin. It will help you automatically create your title tags, which you can adjust on your own. It also gives you a place to write your meta description tag. Speaking of which …

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    Meta description tag

    The meta description tag indirectly impacts keyword ranking and greatly influences SERP click-through rate, but not for the reasons you might think.

    Seven or eight years ago, your meta description tag could fool Google into ranking you higher if you were clever — and dishonest and underhanded — about how you wrote it.

    But Google got smart, and they no longer consider meta descriptions when determining page rank. Where it does come into play is helping other people know what your page is about.

    If you write a boring meta description, or you don’t use the keywords in your description, and someone sees it on a search engine results page, they will be less inclined to click through to your page. And Google actually does take click-through rates into account.

    The more people click through to your page on their SERPs, the better your page will perform. The less they click, the worse it will perform.

    So, if you have a bad meta description, your page will have a tougher time catching people’s attention. And if you don’t write one at all, Google will pick its own text from your page in what it hopes is a good enough description of the content. But you know how cold and un-artful those search bots can be. Do you really want to trust them to make this decision?

    Here are some basic rules to follow when writing a meta description tag:

    • Never exceed 150 characters, including spaces. If you use Yoast SEO to write your meta description, it will tell you whether you’ve gone over that limit.
    • Put the page’s target keyword near the beginning of this tag.
    • Each page must have one meta description tag.
    • Each meta description tag must be unique (never use the same description on other pages).
    • Use call-to-action language that will convince the user to click on your search result.

    Description Meta Tag Example GoDaddy Email MarketingUsers will see this snippet on the SERP, and it will not be visible on your web page.

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    Meta robots tag

    Use meta robots tags with caution! You really need to know how to properly deploy this tag, and you need to clearly understand the various directives of this tag. If you don’t, leave it alone.

    The meta robots tag tells search engine bots how to behave on your site — which areas they can visit and record, which pieces of content they can avoid or ignore, dress code, curfew, things like that.

    But mostly, it’s the first two things: what to visit and record, what to avoid and ignore.

    Some of the robots tag commands instruct the search engines to index and follow a page and some tell search engines to, well, not index and follow it. As you might have guessed, these are the NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW tags.

    If you use either or both of these tags, you will receive zero organic search engine referrals. Those pages will be completely ignored and unseen by the search engine bots.

    The three main robot tags are:

    • <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, FOLLOW”>
    • <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
    • <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

    The first line tells the engines to not include that page in the index, but to follow all the hyperlinks on that page.

    The second line tells the engines to index the page, but to not follow the links on the page that point to other pages.

    The final line of instructions tells the engines to ignore the page and all the links on the page. That effectively renders the page useless for organic referral traffic. You would use one of these lines on a particular page, not all three at the same time.

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    Open Graph tags

    Open Graph Tags (OG Tags) are used for crafting customized share messaging on some social network platforms.

    Basically, if you want to share information from a particular web page on a different social network like Facebook or Twitter, you need these tags.

    They will tell those networks what information to display whenever you share a link from your site.

    For example, if you have ever pasted a link from a news story in a Facebook or Twitter status update, and it populated the headline and a photo, that’s a social graph. And it’s the OG tags that told the network how to do that.

    Here are the typical OG tags used on a website:

    • meta property=”og:title”
    • meta property=”og:description”
    • meta property=”og:type”
    • meta property=”og:url”
    • meta property=”og:image”
    • meta property=”og:site_name”

    These tags do not impact ranking directly. However, studies have shown the top ranking pages for competitive keywords tend to have the most share totals from Twitter, Facebook and other networks. (If you’re still not sure what you need, ask your web designer.)

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    Meta keyword tag

    What can I say? Meta keyword tags really serve no constructive purpose for U.S.-based websites.

    Google does not give this tag any weight, but if abused it can lead to a penalty.

    People used to abuse this particular tag by stuffing it with keywords. You could see a couple dozen different variations on a single keyword — athletic shoes, women’s athletic shoes, men’s athletic shoes, children’s athletic shoes, etc. etc. etc. — in the hopes that someone somewhere might search for that one niche keyword — mismatched corrective orthopedic athletic shoes.

    Those dirty rotten spammers ruined it for everyone, and, as a result, no one can benefit from meta keyword tags now.

    Rumor has it, however, that Bing relies on the meta keyword tag if two pages are tied after Bing has analyzed the pages against 200-plus other ranking factors. Since it really provides zero benefit, but it can potentially harm your site, there is no reason to use this tag at all.

    Related: How to use Bing Webmaster Tools to improve your site’s SEO

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    Other HTML meta tags

    There are dozens of other meta tags that can be used in the head section of a website. There are tags for the subject of the page, the geographic location of the page/your business, the owner, your email address, the date and so on.

    However, I would not use them.

    Every line of code impacts page load speed, and you want your web pages to load as fast as possible.

    A faster loading page is super important for improving your SEO.

     

    Since those other tags don’t help with SEO and can negatively impact page load speed, it is best to avoid using them.

    There is one exception, however: the Viewport tag. According to Moz:

    “In this mobile world, you should be specifying the viewport. If you don’t, you run the risk of having a poor mobile experience.”

    The Google PageSpeed Insights Tool will tell you more about it. The standard tag is: <meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>

    If you’re doing your own SEO, relying on Yoast SEO to write your description and title tag, that’s fine. But if you have no idea of what you’re doing, leave this tag to your designer or developer. Let them tell you what to do with it, or better yet, let them do it themselves.

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    Conclusion and next steps

    Meta tags are an important part of every website, but they don’t have the impact they did just a few short years ago. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. If used correctly, your SEO meta tags can still have an effect on your page’s search rank and online performance.

    Do you want to know more about SEO and how to use the different meta tags? Or, do you want to leave the SEO and meta tags to the experts?

    If it’s the latter, reach out to the pros at GoDaddy SEO Services to get your site the attention it deserves. Learn how you can work less and rank higher.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Garth O’Brien.

    The post Meta tags and the head section of a website appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Creating the layout design for web pages is the first skill that web designers must learn to master and, although website design is always changing, there are a few fundamentals that every designer should adhere to.

    This article, created by our team at Amelia, will cover eight basic rules of website layout design for both beginners and those who already have experience in this field.

    Whatever your skill level, you should find this list useful because it always pays to go back to basics in a world full of dazzling effects and fanciful innovations.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Page Layout Basics

    Page layout refers to the manner in which elements are arranged, in order to convey meaning and to trace a path that the user can follow when visiting the website. In graphic design more generally, one of the most important aspects is represented by visual hierarchy.

    The same applies to page layout —the most important content should stand out from the rest while the least important elements will be less noticeable. Visual hierarchy involves building an informational structure that helps the user to scan the page.

    Simply put, a good page layout gives the user clues about:

    • The importance of each page element
    • The relationship between elements

    The main objective of designing a good page layout is to transmit the message clearly and effectively without any distractions that might confuse the user.

    Set Your Target Audience

    You can’t design something without knowing the people you’re designing for. At the end of the day, users will be the ones that judge your page layout and their experience with the content will be decisive for a website’s success.

    A confusing layout leads to poor user experience and unsatisfied customers. By knowing your users and what they expect, you can create a functional, visually-pleasing page layout that fits their needs best.

    The overall purpose of a website is set entirely based on what the target audience wants and expects. The design process must thus be well-aligned with this purpose.

    There is little hope to build an appropriate page layout without knowing the reason behind people’s choices and why they prefer one thing over another. Always set and analyze your target audience to create an engaging page layout design that matches their requirements.

    The 8 Rules of Website Layout Design

    Now that you know the basics of layout design, check out these 8 rules that will ensure your layouts hit the mark:

    The Rule of Thirds

    This is a rule that’s not used in layout design only. Interior designers use it, painters use it, photographers use it —it’s quite universal. The rule of thirds refers to dividing the design into three rows and three columns using lines.

    Wherever the lines meet, a subject should be placed. Those who can’t seem to get their designs balanced should use this easy trick. It’s simple, effective, and there’s no chance of failing with it.

    Grids

    The same goes for grids. Both beginner and experienced layout designers work with grids to put their designs together — if not real grids, imaginary ones. Using a grid means separating the canvas into small squares to help you place elements in an evenly-distributed manner.

    Grids are very easy to adapt to any type of project, including page layout. They are known for making designs clean, balanced, and orderly.

    Visual Hierarchy

    This is the principle that was mentioned earlier in this article, but it’s time to define it as a rule of layout design. The human eye will perceive the elements on the page exactly the way you want, as long as you know how to do it.

    To respect this rule, decide how important each element on the page is and arrange these elements hierarchically. The most important elements have to obtain the biggest part of the user’s attention.

    Many people wonder: what should I do if all 10 items on my website are just as important? Well, you maintain the same level for all, but you can make the links more prominent so that they stand out and become easier to click.

    Balance

    There’s no aesthetic result without balance. Layout design (as well as other types of design) is based on balance and harmony. Imagine that a set of scales rests on your page layout. If you fill one part with more elements than the other, the scale will tip over.

    Avoid clustering elements in one part of the page and leaving the other empty. Marry balance with visual hierarchy and everything will turn out perfect.

    User’s Attention

    Websites include both static and dynamic content, so you’ll have to find a way to balance these two kinds of content. To catch attention easier, make generoususe of visuals. Images are easier to latch onto, and they are preferred by people who skim websites.

    This fact is backed by science as the human eye is a non-linear device. What that means is that you can be distracted easily by certain elements and, with well-chosen visuals, you can use this distraction to your advantage.

    White Space

    Layout design doesn’t mean you have to fill the whole page with content. White space is just as important because it gives users a moment to breathe. On information-packed websites, the cognitive load is truly tiring and the only way to balance it out is through negative space.

    Use it to divide your content into multiple areas and trace a path that helps users digest the information easier.

    Flow

    Visual flow it’s not the same as visual hierarchy, but the concepts are closely related. When talking about hierarchy, you just arrange elements based on their importance.

    When designing for flow, you combine these elements thoughtfully so that scanning the page is smooth and has a logical flow from one element to another. Here is where you set focal points and the direction the eyes of the user should take after passing these points.

    Consistency

    Finally, you need to stay consistent. A good UX is always a consistent one in terms of navigation, looks, typeface and —most importantly — layout. You can’t use a myriad of layout design styles for one single website.

    Keep it consistent and the result will be neat and coherent. Otherwise, all your efforts will be in vain.

    Ending thoughts on layout design

    Designing a website is often considered difficult due to the somewhat subjective nature of aesthetics. However, when you follow these simple rules of layout design, putting website pages together won’t seem that complicated at all.

    You just have to know how to place elements on a page to stir and maintain the interest of the user, while keeping it balanced enough to obtain a pleasing visual effect. Follow the rules listed here and you can’t go wrong.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about layout design, you should read these as well:

    The post Rules of Website Layout Design Every Web Designer Should Follow appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    If you want to generate interest in your products and attract more customers, there is something your brand needs to learn how to do: generate reviews.

    Reviews are essential for driving shoppers to your products and helping customers through the buyer’s journey.

    But, getting reviews from customers isn’t always easy.

    How to generate more product reviews

    This guide is aimed at helping you successfully go through the process of generating reviews. We’ll cover:

    Use this guide to learn the top tips for increasing your number of reviews and getting customers, as well as influential bloggers, to leave feedback about your products and brand.

    Benefits of generating reviews

    Before we talk about how to generate reviews, let’s look at why product reviews are so important. Once you know why reviews are so powerful, you’ll see why it’s essential for your brand to create a plan for collecting feedback.

    Customers use reviews to decide what businesses and products they trust

    A study from BrightLocal found that 91% of consumers read online reviews for businesses on a regular basis, and 86% wouldn’t even consider using a business if its rating was two stars or less. This is largely because reviews provide the ever-important “social proof,” or evidence that other people have entrusted a brand with their money and personal data — and have been satisfied with the result.

    Customers trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations by people they know

    The BrightLocal study also found that 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. When in doubt about a product or company, most people turn to reviews.

    Reviews can drive more traffic to your website

    Shopify shared that their “clients see as much as a 239% lift in impressions to product pages with at least one review compared to none.” When reviews appear on a product page and display in search, it can better catch the attention of searchers, increase click-through-rates (CTRs), and drive more website traffic.

    Reviews increase conversions and sales

    An eCommerce study found that “63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.”

    If you don’t have reviews, it could impact your sales and revenue as customers are more likely to buy when reviews about your products are visible.

    Now that you can see the value in collecting and displaying reviews about your products and business, here’s the good news: The BrightLocal study found that 70% of customers will leave a review for a business — provided they’re encouraged to do so in an effective way.

    Let’s look at how you can effectively encourage customers (and bloggers) to leave reviews.

    Related: How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients

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    8 ways to generate reviews

    To generate reviews, set up a system that invites past customers to leave feedback about their purchase. Also, generate even more reviews by working with bloggers to get them to write blog post reviews about your products.

    Here are some ways to make it happen:

    1. Highlight current product reviews.
    2. Make it easy for customers to leave online reviews.
    3. Ask customers to leave product reviews.
    4. Don’t be afraid to follow up.
    5. Offer an incentive and reward customers who leave reviews.
    6. Respond to bad reviews.
    7. Engage with good reviews.
    8. Ask bloggers to review products.

    Let’s look at each strategy in more detail.

    1. Highlighting current product reviews

    Generate Reviews Highlighters

    Customers won’t know that you want them to review your products if they never come across reviews on your site. The more visible you make your reviews, the more likely you are to generate more.

    If you prominently display reviews for all of your products, that will normalize testimonials on your site.

    This is a good thing. It plants the idea of sharing reviews in customers’ minds and helps them feel like they’re in good company if they want to leave one — instead of feeling like the odd man out.

    Highlight your reviews so they are easy for your customers to notice on your website, in search and on third-party platforms.

    On your website: Feature reviews on your product pages.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that the primary place where you should feature product reviews is on your product pages.

    Each of your available products should have its own webpage that shares information about the item, such as price, specifications, photos and, yes, reviews.

    When you build an eCommerce website, lay out your pages to feature a section for written reviews as well as a star-rating system. This will help shoppers as they try to make their purchasing decision — as well as encourage others to leave reviews.

    In search: Optimize your product pages for featured search snippets.

    Add reviews to the front-end of your product pages that customers can see on your website. Also, add back-end mark up, or structured data, to your product pages that customers can see when your brand shows up in search.

    Structured data, also referred to as schema, adds extra data to a web page so that search engines can better understand the page as well as add bonus information to the page’s search engine results. When you add product schema to your product pages, the search results for that page might include images, price, availability and ratings along with the standard search result information.

    A Reviews featured snippet helps increase CTRs for your product pages on search engine results pages (SERPs), as well as lets users know that you use product reviews and that they can leave a comment and rating after their purchase.

    Related: Structured data: The who, what and why of using schema

    On third-party platforms: Create profiles on sites that feature reviews.

    In addition to on your website and in search results, there is one other place where you can highlight reviews about your products: on third-party business directories and social sites.

    Many customers look for reviews on third-party sites that are dedicated to showcasing reviews.

     

    They also browse business profiles on social media and business directory listings to find information about a brand. So make sure your business has a presence in both places.

    Create a page for your brand on dedicated review sites such as:

    • Google Business
    • Yelp
    • Angie’s List
    • Yahoo Local
    • TrustLink

    Also, create pages and allow customers to leave reviews on social media pages, particularly:

    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn

    Claiming these pages and keeping them up-to-date will help you maintain an active presence on platforms that might already be used by your customers and makes it incredibly easy for them to see and leave reviews.

    Pro tip: Use a tool like GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings to get your business listed everywhere, all from one convenient dashboard.

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    2. Make it easy for customers to leave online reviews

    Generate Reviews Customer Leaving Review on Phone with Glass of Iced Tea
    Photo: BENCE BOROS on Unsplash

    The easier you make it for customers to leave reviews, the more likely they will be to do so. That means taking the time to understand your audience so you can provide them with opportunities to review your products on the platforms they most prefer to use.

    Encourage customers to leave reviews using a medium with which they’re comfortable.

     

    Here are a few platforms and tools that help you get in front of your customers and encourage them to leave reviews.

    Create a review request page on your website

    Don’t make customers search to find the right place to leave a review. Create one page on your site that explains to customers how to leave feedback. Include links to the pages and platforms where you’d like to generate reviews. For example, if your Google Business page needs reviews, direct users to that platform.

    Enable reviews on your product pages

    In addition to having a page that collects general reviews, also add an option to add a review to each individual product page. You want to curate reviews about products in the places where users are researching them.

    • Enable the reviews feature on WooCommerce. Many online stores are built using WooCommerce, an eCommerce platform that can be added to a WordPress site. If your store is built on this platform, simply adjust your settings to show reviews and allow customers to leave reviews of their own.
    • Enable reviews on WordPress. If you are using WordPress, but not WooCommerce, you can still add an online review tool to your WordPress site in a few steps.
    • Enable the reviews feature on GoDaddy Store. Another popular eCommerce platform is GoDaddy’s Online Store. If you use the Online Store builder to create your site, you can enable product reviews in just a few clicks.

    Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s Online Store makes it easy to display product reviews on your eCommerce website. You can showcase reviews from sites including Google, Yelp and Facebook.

    Highlight the reviews tab on your Facebook page

    Facebook is a great place to generate reviews, but your customers have to know that they can leave feedback there. Set up your page to highlight reviews. Make the Reviews tab visible and ask for reviews via posts and comments.

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    3. Ask customers to leave product reviews

    Don’t be shy when it comes to generating reviews, and don’t wait for the reviews to roll in on their own.

    Instead, get out there and actively engage with your customers and ask them to leave feedback.

    Once you’ve made it easy for customers to leave reviews, use communication to guide them to leave their feedback.

    Send a follow-up email after a purchase

    Automate the process of asking for product reviews. Create an email prompting customers to leave a review and set up a system that automatically delivers the email to customers a few days after their purchase.

    Related: 10 email automation tools for online business success

    When you do this, be mindful of delivery dates. Depending on the type of products you sell, you might want to give customers a few weeks to try out the item before asking for a review. Or, if the item is for immediate use, you might want to send the request only a few days after the purchase.

    Utilize retargeting ads

    You can even pay to present digital ads that ask past customers to leave reviews and feedback. Retargeting ads are digital banner ads or sponsored social posts that target only the people who you want to reach by identifying them through their email address or online activity.

    For example, if someone makes a purchase on your website, you can use their email address to target them with an ad on Facebook reminding them to leave a review. Another option is using Pixels on your site to target customers who complete the purchase process and present them with ads through Google display ads or sponsored posts on social media.

    Start a conversation on social media

    Leverage your social media connections and share posts and updates that ask customers to leave reviews. Share links that guide customers to the best place to leave a review, and remind them why it’s important for them to share their feedback.

    Also, create posts that share reviews left by other customers to bring reviews to the top of their mind and show that your brand cares about reading feedback.

    Deliver thank you postcards

    Your requests for product reviews don’t need to exist exclusively online. You can produce paper postcard reminders to send to customers or slip into bags after an in-store purchase.

    Print reminders can be effective as it gives the customer a tangible reminder about leaving their feedback.

    They might be home and find the postcard with the review request and be more likely to visit your site and leave a review.

    Use window decals to remind customers on their way out

    Another physical location that helps you connect with customers and invite them to leave a review is on the door of your business. Customers see the inside of your door on their way out of your business after making their purchase.

    Add a window decal that reminds customers to leave a review and tells them where they can do it. You also can get decals from sites like Yelp and Facebook that welcome customers to visit and review your business on that platform.

    Related: How to flag a Yelp review in 4 steps

    Train your team to ask

    All of your requests for feedback don’t have to come through physical and digital signage. Add a human element by training your team to ask customers to leave feedback.

    Teach your team the right way to ask for feedback.

     

    Train them to tell customers that their feedback is welcomed, guide customers to where they can leave their feedback, and promote the incentives that customers can get if they leave feedback.

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    4. Don’t be afraid to follow up

    If you’ve asked for a review in person or via email and the customer hasn’t responded, consider following up after a reasonable amount of time has passed (typically a week or just a bit longer).

    Thank them again for their purchase, communicate why reviews matter to you (they allow you to ensure you’re providing the best possible experience to your customers), ask them if they’re still willing to share their feedback, and provide a link to your reviews page so it’s easy for them to do so.

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    5. Offer an incentive and reward customers who leave reviews

    To encourage customers to leave reviews, offer incentives that drive them to act, and reward them once they leave their feedback.

    Generate Reviews Man Holding Currency

    Note: Rewarding customers is not the same as buying reviews, which is unethical and can backfire. If consumers are presented with a steady stream of glowing, five-star reviews, they tend to get suspicious.

    But rewarding customers who leave reviews of their own accord is perfectly ethical — and it can also net you additional reviews because it will show customers other people are enjoying rewards for their reviews (and they’re likely to want a piece of the pie).

    These incentives and rewards could take several forms:

    • A simple “thank you.” Never underestimate the power of personalized and heartfelt appreciation to inspire goodwill toward your company.
    • Promotion of stellar reviews. Consider featuring high-quality reviews on your social media profiles or elevating their visibility on your website. This can boost the ego of the reviewer and inspire other people to crave the same spotlight.
    • Points or discounts. If you offer a customer loyalty program, give rewards points, coupons or discounts each time a customer writes a new product review.
    • Contest entry. To generate a lot of reviews at one time, hold a contest that customers can enter by leaving a review.

    Related: What every small business should know about creating discounts

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    6. Respond to bad reviews

    Some brands avoid soliciting reviews from customers because they are afraid of one thing: getting negative reviews.

    It’s true that if you are actively seeking out reviews, your brand is going to get a few bad reviews in the mix. But, it’s not the end of the world.

    You simply need to know how to manage the negative feedback. That starts by not ignoring it.

    According to a survey by Review Trackers, 52% of customers expect a business to respond to their online reviews within seven days. Customers expect brands to pay attention to their feedback and provide solutions when needed.

    Plus, responding to bad reviews encourages others to leave reviews because they can see that your brand actually reads and considers the feedback. Customers will see that their review won’t go out into a void. People from your business actual see it and work to resolve unsatisfactory situations.

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    7. Engage with good reviews

    Don’t only respond when you see a bad review. Also, engage with the people who leave your brand raving reviews.

    Engaging with all types of reviews shows customers that you aren’t interested in only mitigating bad customer feedback. It shows that your brand is genuinely interested in hearing from your customers. This will encourage more customers to leave feedback as they will feel like they are actually being heard.

    Create a plan for regularly looking through all of your reviews and:

    • Say thanks or like a post when it includes positive feedback.
    • Follow up with a comment related to the feedback.
    • Copy good reviews and share them on social media.
    • Take screenshots of great reviews and add them to your website.

    Related: The best tips for responding to online reviews

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    8. Ask bloggers to review products

    So far in this post, we’ve mostly looked at how you can encourage customers to write product reviews on your website or other platforms associated with your brand. But, there is another way to generate reviews that help customers get to know and trust your brand. It’s by getting bloggers to review your products.

    Why get bloggers to review your products?

    There was a time when retailers had to rely on big platforms and channels for their marketing efforts. To promote products, they had to purchase ads on radio and TV stations or in magazines and newspapers. But that’s not the case today.

    Thanks to the power of digital publishing and social media, bloggers can review products and bring some serious attention to your brand.

    Getting bloggers to introduce and review your products can increase brand awareness, build your online authority and boost sales.

    But, unless you already have a large brand or following, bloggers probably aren’t going to cover and review your products on their own. You need to encourage bloggers and websites to write about your items.

    Here are some tips to strategically set up a plan that generates product reviews from bloggers and review sites.

    Find the right bloggers

    Getting your products reviewed on a blog starts with blogger outreach — strategic blogger outreach. Don’t make the mistake of reaching out to every blogger you see. Instead, target bloggers who will be most likely to feature your products.

    Look for bloggers who:

    • Review products. There is no point in reaching out to bloggers if they don’t write reviews in the first place.
    • Write best-of lists. Bloggers who regularly create lists of products will be even more likely to review your item.
    • Publish frequently. If a blog only publishes content a few times a year, it will be a less reliable publishing source.
    • Have ties to your industry. You aren’t restricted to bloggers in your specific niche. You can reach out to bloggers in other industries, but only if you have a way to show why your product is relevant to their trade.

    Related: Unexpected sources for sponsored blog posts

    Target the right type of websites

    In addition to reaching out to the right type of bloggers, you also want to reach out to the right type of websites. You want your products to appear on sites that will get you the most exposure, so look for high-authority sites that can connect you with the right audience.

    Generate Reviews Target

    Look for sites that have:

    • A large readership. Target blogs that regularly publish content, have a lot of comments and social shares, and boast a large email list (blogs with large email lists often note this somewhere on their site, usually near their opt-in).
    • Readers who would be interested in your products. You want your product reviews to get in front of the people most likely to buy your items. So look for sites that have an audience that closely matches the persona of your ideal buyer.
    • A strong social following. Consider the blog and blogger’s social following. If they have a lot of followers and review products, your goods will likely make it in front of their social audience.
    • High domain authority. Moz offers a free monitoring tool that tells you the domain authority of a website, which represents a page’s ability to rank on search engine results. Use this tool to see if a blog ranks high in search engines and has the potential to reach a larger audience.

    Pro tip: To find relevant blogs, try using AllTop to find top blogs categorized by industry, Tomoson to get paired with the right influencers, or Buzzsumo to find blogs with trending content.

    Make your outreach efforts personal and concise

    Once you find the right bloggers and websites, start your outreach efforts. Contact bloggers to see if they’re interested or willing to review your products.

    When reaching out to bloggers:

    • Don’t use an email template that you copy and paste for each blogger. Instead, make your correspondence personal.
    • Say something specific about the blogger’s website. Comment on something they recently published to make the email feel personalized.
    • Don’t bombard bloggers with too many details in your first email. Make the introduction, and then once the blogger agrees to write the post, provide the detailed information they need.
    • Follow up, but don’t be pushy. Bloggers get a lot of requests to cover products. So if you don’t hear from them, follow up once. They might have missed your email. But after that, let it go. They’re probably not interested and won’t be swayed by incessant follow-up emails.

    Related: How to work with influencers when you don’t have a budget

    Provide supporting information when you send your product

    Make it easy for bloggers to write about your products by sending information to help them create their posts.

    Provide bloggers with:

    • Press releases. Provide information about your product, mission and brand.
    • Product specs. Share specific details about your product such as type of material, sizes and dimensions.
    • Sample descriptions. Help the blogger see how you present your product’s benefits and features.
    • Appropriately sized, professional photos. Offer high-quality images to accompany the blog post, but don’t bog down the site with huge files.
    • Links to your digital platforms. Draw traffic back to all of your web properties.

    Related: What is a media kit and how do you create one?

    Offer freebies, not bribes

    Sending samples or free products to bloggers will increase your odds of receiving coverage. When the blogger sees your product in person, they can accurately review products and take their own photos.

    Many bloggers only write reviews of products they have seen in person, so you can and should send free samples to bloggers.

    But make sure it never comes off as a bribe. Your goal should be to provide a resource for their story — not provide a product in exchange for an article.

    Offer early access

    Another way to get bloggers excited about reviewing your products and build up hype before your products hit the market is by giving bloggers early access to your items before they go on sale to the public.

    This has worked in for generating reviews for video games. Bloggers feel special for getting early access, which makes them more likely to review your products.

    Set your expectations and know the legal rules

    It’s important to note that there are FTC rules when it comes to endorsing or writing about products on blogs and social media, especially if there is an exchange between the retailer and the blogger.

    So, be sure to know the rules and what to expect from bloggers writing about your products.

    • If there is an exchange of high-value goods or money between you and the blogger, their post will likely feature a note tagging it as a sponsored post. Bloggers must disclose if they received high-value products or payment in exchange for writing a post.
    • If there is an exchange of low-value goods between you and the blogger, their post will likely feature a note that says the blogger received goods in exchange for the story. Bloggers keep their readers’ trust by sharing these details.
    • The review might not always be positive. When you ask bloggers to feature your product, you will likely not get to dictate the editorial content of the post.
    • Bloggers also keep their readers’ trust by sharing their true views of the products they cover.

    Getting reviews from bloggers is just as valuable as getting them from customers.

    In fact, it can be even more valuable as it can help you generate awareness for your brand and drive traffic back to your website.

    But don’t jump into this strategy without a plan. Use these tips to create a strategic process that will generate reviews on the sites that will give the best promotion for your products.

    Editor’s note: The above content should not be construed as legal or advice. Always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal situation.

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    Follow these steps to generate more product reviews

    Now, you have a strategy for generating reviews. You’ve learned how to:

    • Highlight current product reviews.
    • Make it easy for customers to leave online reviews.
    • Ask customers to leave product reviews.
    • Not be afraid to follow up.
    • Offer an incentive and reward customers who leave reviews.
    • Respond to bad reviews.
    • Engage with good reviews.
    • Ask bloggers to review products.

    You now know that generating high-quality reviews requires a fair amount of effort and strategic thinking. But, the energy you invest in encouraging people to leave reviews and asking bloggers to write about your products is well worth it.

    It will pay off in the form of greater visibility and customers who are more willing to move purchases through to fruition. So put these strategies to work and start generating more reviews and selling more products today.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Dan Scalco.

    The post Generate reviews: 8 ways to get more product reviews appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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