Category Archives: Blog

Ecommerce Essentials: Navigating Hosting, Platforms, and Analytics

What makes an online shop tick? Behind an eCommerce website is a combination of various components working together to create a seamless online shopping experience for customers. Where do you start? Today, let’s go over three key components that you need to begin your eCommerce journey.

Ecommerce Essentials: Navigating Hosting, Platforms, and Analytics

The “back-end” of websites contain many pieces that come together to bring your online store front to life. Three major components that you need to build a growing website are a host, a platform, and an analytics tool.

Website Hosting

To start, your website needs a place where it can run and be accessed by online customers. That’s where choosing your website host comes in. Website hosting provides the infrastructure necessary for your website to be accessible on the internet. Think of it as renting space on a server. This server will house your website files and will be available for visitors when they type your domain name into their web browser. There are a variety of hosting solutions available. Performance, storage space, and security should all be considered whether you are shopping for a hosting provider or are hosting your site on a personal server.

Ecommerce Platform

After you have settled on a place for your website to live, you need to decide on an eCommerce platform. This could be something like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, or a custom-built solution. Your eCommerce platform provides the framework for managing products, orders, payments, and other essential functions. From designing your storefront to managing products, your platform will act as your base of operations. When choosing which eCommerce platform to use, consider your business needs, the scalability of the platform, customization options, ease of use, and platform support.

Analytics & Reporting

As your online shop grows, you will want to make adjustments overtime to improve your profits and customer experience. To monitor the performance of your eCommerce website, you need analytics tools that provide insights into traffic, sales, conversion rates, and other key metrics. This information helps you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. Google Analytics is just one example of an analytics platform that can be used to monitor and improve your site. When choosing a platform, you will need to consider the accuracy of the data, scalability, available features, and most importantly, data privacy and security measures.

Want to learn more?

Understanding the “back-end” of your website can help you make better business decisions. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie and Brandon Saunders go over common questions their clients have concerning the inner workings of eCommerce websites.

Boost Your Website Traffic: 5 Vital Areas to Drive More Visitors

Driving traffic is essential for the success and growth of online businesses. However, what parts of our business strategy do we need to work on to bring more potential clients to our sites? In this blog, we’ll discuss 5 key ways to get more people to visit your website and make your business more profitable.

Boost Your Website Traffic: 5 Vital Areas to Drive More Visitors

Driving traffic to your online shop is crucial for increasing sales and revenue. Here are the 5 most important areas you should optimize to drive traffic to your website:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is essential for driving organic traffic to your website. By optimizing elements such as website content, performance, and other technical aspects of your site, you can enhance your online shop’s visibility in search engine results. This increased visibility ensures that potential customers can easily locate your website when searching for products or services relevant to your business. By prioritizing SEO strategies, you improve the likelihood of attracting interested visitors and ultimately boosting sales.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing drives website traffic by creating content that attracts potential customers. Content such as blogs, videos, infographics, and so forth can be used on your own site to educate, entertain, and connect with your users, keeping them in your network. The key to successful content marketing is value: your content needs to be both quality and useful. To improve your content marketing, you need to understand your audience, create diverse content formats, and publish consistently. By investing in content marketing, your business can increase website traffic, brand visibility, and engagement.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a powerful driver of website traffic. Social media marketing drives website traffic by engaging with your audience on platforms outside of your site, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These social platforms allow you to reach audiences that your site couldn’t on its own and drive that audience to your content and products. Improving your social media marketing strategy involves creating a consistent social presence and also requires you to engage with your followers through comments, messages, and polls.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a potent driver of website traffic, offering your business a direct channel to reach and engage with their audience. By sending targeted and personalized emails, you can promote products, share valuable content, and encourage recipients to visit your website. To boost your email marketing efforts, focus on building and segmenting your email list, crafting compelling subject lines and content, and testing different strategies and content to determine what resonates best with your audience. Using email management software, you can also analyze email performance metrics to refine campaigns and effectively drive more traffic.

5. Website Optimization

Website speed optimization is crucial for driving traffic to your site as it directly impacts user experience and SEO. A faster website provides a better browsing experience, which can lead to higher visitor engagement, lower bounce rates, and increased time spent on your site. Improving your website performance involves multiple aspects of your site. You can boost your site’s speed by compressing images, minifying code, enabling browser caching, and investing in reliable hosting services. One important thing to note is that performance can vary across devices, so optimizing your site for mobile is essential as more users access the internet via smartphones and tablets.

Want to learn more?

 Driving traffic to your site is just one of many steps to turn visitors into customers. Listen our eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie dives into more tips and tricks to boost your online shop!

Navigating Success: Understanding Key Website Indicators for Your Online Business

In our last blog, we talked about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how they help you measure how well your business is doing. From tracking money matters to keeping customers happy and loyal, KPIs are like scorecards for your success. However, there’s another important thing you need to keep an eye on for your online shop to do well: key website indicators.

Navigating Success: Understanding Key Website Indicators for Your Online Business

What are key website indicators?

On top of measuring KPIs, it is important to track and review key website indicators. Key website indicators are metrics used to measure the performance and effectiveness of your website. From how customers engage with your site to the physical speed and responsiveness of your site’s design, these indicators can vary depending on your website’s goals and objectives.

What key website indicators should I track for my business?

Conversion Rate

When a visitor lands on your website, there are specific actions you hope they’ll take. You may want them to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a contact form, or complete a purchase. Conversion rates help us measure the percentage of users who complete those desired actions. By tracking conversion rates, you can better assess the effectiveness of your website in achieving specific goals or objectives. You can also use conversion rates to help you identify areas for improvement!

Traffic Sources

Tracking how many users visit your site is important, but another key aspect to consider is where your customers come from. Are they coming from search engines like Google, social media links on your online channels, or from somewhere else? Understanding where website traffic is coming from provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your various marketing channels, campaigns, and SEO efforts. By tracking sources of traffic such as search engines, social media platforms, referral websites, and direct visits, you can better allocate resources to your campaigns and optimize your marketing strategies!

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your website after viewing only one page. As an online business, first impressions are key, so measuring and decreasing your site’s bounce rate is crucial. Afterall, a high bounce rate may indicate issues with website usability, relevance, or content quality, which can negatively impact user experience and conversions. Watching bounce rates can help you pinpoint weak pages, guiding content & navigation tweaks for lower bounce rates.

Average Session Duration

The longer a user engages with our site, the more likely it is that they may consider becoming a customer! With average session duration, you can measure the average amount of time visitors spend on your website during a single session. Longer session times can signal strong engagement and interest, while shorter ones may mean visitors are struggling to find what they need or are facing usability problems. You can use average session duration to assess your website’s content and user experience, allowing you to enhance engagement and retention through adjustments.

Want to learn more?

Measuring key website indicators is one thing, but interpreting and leveraging them is another. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie discusses essential website indicators to track and offers practical tips for using them effectively.

Why KPIs Matter: Driving Business Success with Key Metrics

How are you tracking your business success? When it comes to setting your business up for success, it is essential to be able to measure your company’s growth over time. One way you can keep track of your business success is by setting and measuring KPIs.

Why KPIs Matter: Driving Business Success with Key Metrics

What are KPIs?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that help you track your business’s success in reaching its goals. To grow our businesses, we must set goals that will help us expand. Whether it’s increasing sales or expanding your reach, KPIs give you clear benchmarks to see how well you’re doing in reaching those goals.

Why are KPIs important?

KPIs can help you set your business on track for growth and success in a few ways. KPIs can:

  • Measure your business success – As discussed earlier, KPIs provide quantifiable measurements that help you under how effectively you are reaching your business objectives.
  • Focus your business efforts – By setting goals and using KPIs to track progress, you can focus on what really drives your business’ success.
  • Inform future business decisions – By analyzing KPIs, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize business processes, strategies, and performance.

Types of KPIs to Track

Financial KPIs

Financial KPIs are metrics that help you measure your business’s financial health and performance. These indicators, such as Revenue Growth Rate, Profit Margin, and Return on Investment (ROI), provide valuable insights into sales growth, profitability, and investment returns. By monitoring these financial KPIs, you can make informed business decisions and identify areas for improvement that help ensure long-term financial success.

Customer KPIs

Customer KPIs are metrics that measure the effectiveness of your business in attracting, retaining, and satisfying customers. Common Customer KPIs include Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), and Net Promoter Score (NPS), offer insights into customer acquisition, loyalty, and satisfaction. By tracking these Customer KPIs, you can understand your customers better, improve customer relationships, and create experiences that keep customers coming back.

Operational KPIs

Operational KPIs are metrics that measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your business’s operations. From Order Fulfillment Tim to Inventory Turnover, these metrics provide insights into how well your business is managing its resources and processes. Monitoring these operational KPIs can help you identify operational areas in need of improvement, leading to cost savings and better performance over time.

Marketing KPIs

Marketing KPIs are metrics that measure the success of your business’s marketing efforts. Important Marketing KPIs to consider include Website Traffic, Conversion Rate, and Cost Per Lead. These metrics provide insights into the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, customer engagement, and ROI. By tracking Marketing KPIs, you can optimize your marketing strategies, allocate your budgets more effectively, and drive better results that spread brand awareness!

Sales KPIs

Sales KPIs are metrics that measure the performance and effectiveness of your business’s sales activities. Measuring Sales KPIs such as Monthly Sales Growth, Sales Conversion Rate, and Average Deal Size offer insight into sales performance, customer acquisition, and revenue generation. Tracking these sales KPIs can help you identify sales trends, optimize your sales strategies, and focus efforts on high-value opportunities that lead to increased sales and business growth.

Having trouble tracking your business’ KPIs?

While KPIs are important to track, it can be easy to fall behind on them. It can also be overwhelming to find the right KPIs to represent your business growth. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie shares her top 3 KPIs and how to track them routinely!

Understanding Third-Party Cookies: What They Are and Why They Matter

Ever get the feeling that a product you viewed online keeps popping up in ads everywhere you go on the internet? This is due to the use of third-party cookies. In this blog, let’s discuss what third-party cookies are, how they work, and the privacy issues they raise.

Understanding Third-Party Cookies: What They Are and Why They Matter

What are Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are pieces of data created by websites you’re not currently visiting. As a user, you can visually see these pieces of data appear on other sites. For example, let’s say you are looking at a pair of shoes online. You choose to think longer before purchasing the shoes and exit. However, later that day while scrolling through your social media feed, you see the same pair of shoes you were just looking at being advertised to you! If you were to click on the ad, it would bring you right back to the site where you first saw the shoes. That is due to third-party cookies.

How do Third-Party Cookies Work

Third-party cookies are often used for tracking and advertising purposes across multiple websites. A few ways businesses use third-party are…:

  • Tracking Across Websites – When you visit a website, it may contain ads or images from third-party websites. These third-party sites can place cookies in your browser to track your activity across various websites.
  • Advertising – Third-party cookies are commonly used by advertisers to track your browsing habits and interests. This information can be used to display targeted ads based on your online behavior.
  • Personalization – Some websites use third-party cookies to personalize content and services for you based on your browsing history and preferences.

Controversies & Concerns of Third-Party Cookies

The use of third-party cookies has raised concerns centered around privacy and security. While personalized ads can be helpful in showing us products and services we might like, it can feel invasive. Tracking our habits and building detailed profiles of our online behavior leaves many users concerned about their privacy. Another concern is how safe the data collected by third-party cookies is. Third-party cookies can be exploited and attacked by malicious actors to steal sensitive information, leading to potential data breaches and privacy violations.

Want to learn more?

Recently, there has been a shift in the industry away from third-party cookies due to privacy concerns and regulatory changes. Major web browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox have announced plans to phase out support for third-party cookies or implement stricter controls. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast to learn more about third-party cookies and how to prepare for their upcoming deprecation.

Email List Growth: Tips and Tactics You Need to Know

As an online business owner, growing your email list is essential for connecting with your audience and customers effectively. How can we attract more users to subscribe to our email? Today, let’s dive into several strategies you can use to grow your email list!

Email List Growth: Tips and Tactics You Need to Know

Growing your email list is an ongoing process. In order to encourage users to subscribe to your emails, consider implementing the following strategies:

Enhance Website Sign-Up Forms

Where do users sign up for your emails? Whether you are have a pop-up form or a full on landing page, make sure that your email subscription forms are prominently placed on your site. You can place these forms in your  site’s header, footer, sidebar, or even within your content itself. The overall goal is to ensure these forms are easy to find and quick to fill out!

Craft Compelling Content

Once you have a new subscriber, it’s important to send engaging, valuable content. Share content that is relevant and useful to your readers such as industry insights, tips and tricks, how-to guides, and so forth. You can also send special incentives that keep subscribers opening your emails, such as discounts, coupons, or freebies. In your email sign up forms, consider giving a sneak peek of what users will gain by subscribing. This will encourage hesitant users to join!

Utilize Social Media

Another way to grow your email list is to use your other marketing channels as a funnel to your email list! One channel you can user is your social media accounts. Promote your email list on your social media channels and encourage followers to subscribe! This can be as simple as including a link to your email form in your social media description. You could also have a reoccurring post that promotes your email list to your followers.

Optimize Your Email Signature

The easier it is for users to join your email list, the more likely they will sign up. One effective location you can use is your email signature. An email signature is usually a short section of text at the end your company emails that contain your information such as your name, company name, contact information, and so forth. Include a sign-up link to your email list in your email signature to encourage recipients to join your subscribe for more content.

Develop Engaging Shareable Content

To further grow your email list, you need to reach out to beyond your social circle. One way you can do that is by creating sharable content that your current users can send to other people they know. Develop shareable content such as infographics, videos, or quizzes that encourage people to sign up for your email list to access more similar content. By creating shareable content that is relevant, high-quality, emotionally engaging, and easy to share, you can increase the likelihood of your content being shared by users and reaching a wider audience organically.

Want to learn more?

Want more tips on how to grow your email list? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie interviews business expert Tracy Beavers on the importance of email marketing and how to gain more subscribers!

Boost Your Site’s Impact: Top 3 Elements for Successful Above-the-Fold Content

Crafting good above-the-fold content is akin to laying the foundation of a sturdy building—it sets the tone for the entire user experience and determines whether visitors will stay or swiftly click away. So, what exactly constitutes good above-the-fold content? Let’s break it down.

Boost Your Site's Impact: Top 3 Elements for Successful Above-the-Fold Content

When it comes to above-the-fold content, prioritizing the most important elements can significantly impact your site’s user engagement and conversion rate. What should we focus on? In this case, the three most crucial aspects of your above-the-fold content are your headline, your call to action, and your visuals.

1. A Clear & Concise Headline

The headline is the first thing visitors see when they land on your website, and it plays a pivotal role in capturing their attention and communicating your value proposition succinctly. A compelling headline should be clear, concise, and engaging, giving visitors a reason to explore further. It should clearly communicate what your company has to offer. Whether it’s highlighting a unique selling point, offering a solution to a problem, or sparking curiosity, the headline sets the tone for the entire user experience.

2. A Strategic Call-to-Action (CTA)

Call-to-Actions are a must in your above-the-fold content. A strategically placed call-to-action button guides visitors towards their next step, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or exploring your products or services further. The CTA should be prominently displayed, visually appealing, and clearly communicate the desired action. Use persuasive, clear language that encourages action, such as “Shop Now,” “Sign Up Today,” or “Get Started.” By making it easy for your visitors to take the desired action, you can increase conversion rates and drive meaningful engagement.

3. Engaging Visuals

Visual elements such as images, videos, or graphics are powerful tools for capturing attention and conveying information quickly. Compelling visuals not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your website but also help to communicate your brand identity, showcase products or services, and evoke emotion. Choose high-quality images that are relevant to your content and resonate with your target audience. Visuals should complement the headline and CTA, reinforcing your message and encouraging visitors to explore further.

Want to learn more?

Crafting effective above-the-fold content is crucial to the success of your online shop. Afterall, it’s your digital storefront—the first impression that can make or break the user experience. What other aspects of our above-the-fold content can we optimize? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares how you can craft captivating above-the-fold content that grabs your user attention and boosts conversions.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

Do you feel like your website has been running slow? A slow website can be detrimental to your online shop’s success. Today, let’s go over what a slow website can look like and the negative consequences it could bring to your business.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

What does a slow site look like?

A slow website can be easily spotted by its poor performance. Some common signs that users may notice when visiting a slow site are:

  • Long load times – Pages may take a noticeable amount of time to load in, leaving users with an empty screen for a period of time.
  • Delayed or stuttering renders – Some elements of your page may take more time to load than others, resulting in page stutters.
  • Incomplete or partially loaded content – Users may see incomplete or partially loaded content on your page, such as half an image or text appearing gradually as it loads in.
  • Slow response time to user interactions– When a user presses a button, opens a menu, or interacts with a form, the site may appear to be unresponsive as it processes the user input.
  • Browser freezes or crashes – In severe cases, visiting a slow website may cause the user’s web browser to freeze or crash entirely, forcing them to restart the browser or navigate away from the site.

How can a slow site impact my business?

Frustrated customers

A slow site can lead to a negative overall experience. Pages taking too long to load, unresponsive buttons, and sudden shifts in the page when loading in new content can leave users feeling frustrated. Users are more likely to abandon your site if they have to wait too long for content to load, leading to higher bounce rates.

Lower Search Engine Rankings

Search engines like Google consider site speed as a ranking factor. If your site is slow, it can affect a search engine’s ability to crawl and index your site, affecting your overall performance ranking. Slow-loading pages may be penalized in search results, leading to reduced visibility and less organic traffic. This means that people searching for your products and services will be less likely to be served your site.

Reduced User Engagement

If your site’s slow performance makes it difficult to browse, you may end up with less customers interacting with your site. Slow sites tend to have lower user engagement metrics, such as time spent on page and number of pages viewed per session. This can negatively affect your site’s monetization, such as ads, and continue to bring down your site’s SEO ranking.

Negative Brand Reputation

A slow website reflects poorly on your brand. Users may perceive your site’s slow performance as unprofessional, outdated, or unreliable, which can damage your brand’s reputation and credibility. A tarnished brand can dissuade both old and new users from visiting your site.

Decreased Conversions

Slow websites often experience lower conversion rates. Whether the goal is to make a purchase, sign up for a service, or fill out a form, users are less likely to complete these actions if they encounter obstacles during the process. The harder it is for a user to buy your products, the less likely they will complete their purchase!

Want to learn more?

Want to learn how to measure and fix your site’s speed? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie dives into the importance of site speed, how to check it, and what you can do to improve it!

Finding the Best Platform for Your Business

Choosing the right platform for your business needs is crucial to optimize operations, expand your reach, and achieve success. However, it can be a very overwhelming process. Where do we start? In this blog let’s explore how to choose the most suitable platform for your business.

Finding the Best Platform for Your Business

Regardless of the type of platform you’re shopping for, there are a few key steps to follow to find a platform that fulfills your business needs:

Define your Goals

Before you start shopping for a new platform, sit down and write out what you want to achieve with this platform. What are your goals? What features will help you achieve those goals? If you are replacing an existing platform, what aspects of that platform do you like and dislike? Whether it’s selling products or services, building brand awareness, generating leads, or providing customers support, setting your goals will influence your platform choice and help you filter out inadequate ones.

Research Available Platforms

With your goals in mind, it is time to look at your platform choices. Research platforms online to get a glance at the top platforms available. You can also review industry publications and forums to see what fellow entrepreneurs and professionals are saying about these platforms. One important thing to keep in mind is to not research too many platforms at once. Collect a handful of platforms that, on the surface, seem promising. Research them in batches to make it easier to approach.

Evaluate Features & Functionality

When dividing into individual platforms, take a close look at their features and functionality and compare it to your business needs. Do their features suit your needs? Are there other features that you could benefit from? If there is a demo of the platform available, consider trying it out to see how it flows. Especially when you are transferring from one platform to another, exploring how it feels to use the new platform can help determine if it is a good fit for your business.

Consider Pricing

When looking at new platforms, consider the price. If you are migrating from another platform, how does the new platform’s price compare? Are you getting more for your buck? Is it cheaper? These platforms may offer different types of plans with varying prices. Some platforms may be as simple as a one-time license fee while other platforms may offer subscription based or feature based pricing. Determine a pricing plan that works best for your budget.

Think about Scalability

While you shop for platforms, consider the scalability of the platform and its ability to accommodate your business’s growth in the future. As your business grows, how do these platforms change in pricing? Do these platforms offer features and support to help you expand your business? Depending on the answers, you may find that, while some of these platforms work in the short term, they may become problematic in the long term. Choose a platform that can scale alongside your business without significant disruptions or limitations.

Want to learn more?

Want more tips on what to look out for when shopping for new platforms? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares her strategies for effectively gathering the information necessary to make informed decisions when selecting your next platform.

Building Trust and Credibility: Exploring the Benefits of Social Proof

In a crowded marketplace where every business is vying for attention, how can you stand out and earn the trust of your potential customers? Social proof can help! By harnessing the power of social proof, your business can not only build credibility and trust but also attract and retain loyal customers. Let’s explore how integrating social proof strategies can elevate your brand and drive success in today’s competitive landscape.

Building Trust and Credibility: Exploring the Benefits of Social Proof

Social proof is about using the influence of others to build trust and credibility. Testimonials, reviews and endorsements are just a few examples of social proof. By incorporating social proof into your marketing strategies and online shop, you can…:

Encourage Validation & Assurance

Social proof provides validation and assurance to potential customers by showing that others have found value in your products and services. When it comes to buying products online, many customers first check reviews before deciding to buy. By reading a positive review, they can see that other fellow customers have enjoyed your product or service. This validation can alleviate doubts and uncertainties, making it easier for potential customers to buy from you.

Reduce Risk Perception

When individuals observe others engaging with a product or service, it reduces the perceived risk associated with trying it themselves. For many customers, you may not be the first solution they have encountered. They may have bought from other merchants in the past with disappointing results. Through social proof, you can potential customers that others have found success with your products and services. If others have had positive experiences with your company, new customers are more likely to feel that they will also be happy with your company, reducing the fear of making a wrong decision.

Expedite Decision Making Process

Social proof can expedite decision-making processes by offering shortcuts for individuals to assess the quality or desirability of something. Without social proof, shoppers would have to find other ways to research if your products and services are what they are looking for. Such research can be time-consuming and lead customers off your site. Instead of conducting extensive research or analysis, potential customers can rely on the experiences and opinions of others to inform their choices quickly.

Build Trust & Credibility

Businesses can leverage social proof to build trust and credibility with their audience. While you as a business owner know your offerings are valuable, customers may not inherently trust your opinions on the matter. However, outside opinions can help. Positive reviews, testimonials, and endorsements from satisfied customers or influential figures can enhance reputation and foster trust among potential customers or followers.

Want to learn more?

Want to utilize social proof, but don’t know where to find it? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie explores what social proof can look like and how to use it.