It is no secret that for the majority of ecommerce website owners, generating more traffic and sales is the key to success. Knowing where to start and what to do is not always clear which is why we have decided to create our own practical guide to Ecommerce SEO.
Before you start to think about optimising your website, you need to have a plan. You may already have a good understanding of which keywords/phrases are important (get in touch if you don’t) but don’t just stop there. Take some time to type those phrases into Google and see who already appears on page one.
Press release, courtesy of Moore & Smalley and Freshfield PR:
When Mark and Lucy Fuller became frustrated with the lack of a suitable system for managing bookings at their South Lakes Hotel, the entrepreneurial couple decided to create their own.
The booking system they designed, in partnership with a web development agency BF Internet, has been so successful at maximising sales and improving efficiency, they have decided to launch a new venture offering the software to other hotels and accommodation providers.
Direct Room Sales has been designed specifically to help smaller independent hotels offer online sales, manage room allocation, and take electronic payments, all within their existing website.
Mark, who owns The Sun Inn at Kirkby Lonsdale with wife Lucy, said: “For smaller hotels, such as those with fewer than 20 bedrooms, there was nothing out there in terms of software that enabled them to manage online reservations in the efficient way that larger hotels do.
“We wanted a system that allowed us not just to sell our rooms online, but to sequence those room sales in a logical order, offer packages and extras, and do things like automatically change room pricing structures for weekends or certain times of the year. A key feature for us was the link into our EPOS to automatically charge the guest room account.”
2013 sees an overhaul of our hosting packages, which we’ve recently updated onto our website. After listening to feedback from our customers the new range includes a wider choice of upgraded and premium shared hosting packages, offering increased server resource, uptime and support for businesses who rely on their website as a key source of income.
When putting together a hosting package, it is the physical rack space that makes up the bulk of the cost, rather than the hardware itself. By upgrading our hardware specifications to allow servers to be shared between 5-10 websites, we’re able to offer this new range of competitive commercial packages. Sharing the rack space means enterprise features are available at the fraction of the cost of a dedicated machine, whilst offering comparable performance & uptime levels.
Content Experiments are a great way to analyse the design, layout and content of your site with the aim of improving each individual aspect of it. The purpose of these experiments is to enhance your site to give the best performance in respect of Conversions (the number of successfully completed goals for a given number of visitors).
Google’s Content Experiment tools are free, and seamlessly link to Google Analytics to make it easy to analyse the statistics produced. Each experiment is designed to help your site meet its goals – whether that it for customer to make a purchase, signup for a newsletter or to view a particular page.
Content Experiments let you target one page at a time, so that you can focus on the most important pages involved in reaching your website’s goals. By concentrating on the individual elements of these pages, you can trial different variations and measure how each one performs compared to the original.
For example, the screen shots above show the Direct Room Sales homepage and variants to be tested. This page is the first area a visitor will see, so the content displayed here is extremely important. Google Content experiments could be used on this site to display different content to different segments of its visitors, while measuring each variants’ success.
Having read our article about selecting a mobile presence for your business, the next step is to consider your overall mobile strategy. The strategy and presence you choose for mobile go hand-in-hand, they are decisions made on a case by case basis and determined by considering your users, the type of content you present online and your business sector.
Consider your users
The primary consideration for any web project should be the users, since they are usually your customers. When considering users and your mobile strategy you should seek to answer the following questions:
- Why will users be accessing my online content using a mobile device?
It is to purchase a product or make a booking? Or merely to find out more about your company? Or am I providing a tool for my employees?
- What will they be looking for?
Will your users want to find contact details, directions, opening times? Or maybe read your latest news?
- Is there any content from main website that they won’t need to see?
Word documents for printing, for example, probably aren’t very relevant to mobile users
- Are there any new features or content they’ll need?
With a mobile app you could take advantage of device features like the camera, push notifications and GPS
- Where will users be when using a mobile device?
Will they be out and about? Or sitting comfortably at home? An iPad user at home may browse together with a partner, whereas a smartphone user may privately browse on the train.
- What type of device will they be using?
iPad users may typically be at home, and possibly connected via Wi-Fi. There could be an opportunity to present these users with a great interactive brochure?
Some of these questions can be answered by looking at your website statistics (Google Analytics for example), some from placing yourself in your users shoes. Further insight may be gained by gathering information from users via a simple questionnaire.
Read the rest of this entry »
Whilst mobile browsing accounts for an ever-growing proportion of your website traffic, there isn’t one ‘standard’ approach for catering for mobile visitors. The information you provide to a mobile audience and the methods used to present it should be considered on a case by case basis; user demographic, business sector and budget all dictate which solution suits best. With this in mind we look at four approaches and ask; which mobile strategy is right for your business?
1. The simplest approach: Adjust your desktop site
The simplest and cheapest option is to simply adjust your existing desktop website. This basically comes down to testing it with the most popular devices (your website statistics are useful here) and making sure everything works i.e. all the functionality is accessible, products can be purchased, pages can be seen and forms filled in. The aim here is to ensure that whilst the user experience is far from optimised for a smaller screen, no visitor with a mobile device is prevented from using your site (and so forcing them to go elsewhere.) Read the rest of this entry »
Still not on Twitter?
Ranked by browsing behaviour analysts Alexa as the world’s 8th most influential website, Twitter is now in its 7th year of existence. What’s more, industry experts predict that social media will have an even greater influence on both the business and personal spheres in the near future.
Through dialogue with our clients and contacts, we have come to the realisation that many struggle to get started with new online platforms. With that in mind, the BF team have created a step-by-step best practice guide to the Twitter sign-up process.
For most businesses their online presence is a key asset in the marketing tool kit, for many it is critical. For those businesses that rely on their website as a source of revenue it is important for it to be online and performing optimally all day, every day. A web server is an important part of running an online business, it is relied upon and much in the way a plumber would rely on his van, a mechanic his tools and a photographer his camera. This article takes a look at whether your business would benefit from a dedicated web server.
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated web server is a physical server that is for the use of only one customer. The server is used to host websites belonging to that customer only; these websites are able to fully utilise the memory and processor resources within the system.
To ensure the security of the websites we host, server access (including FTP) is generally only available to members of the BF Internet team. In special cases or where legacy access is in place, all customers with external FTP access are now required to connect using FTP over SSL.
This change in security is part of a new requirement for PCI-DSS compliance, so that login details are transmitted in an encrypted manner rather than as plain text.
You should begin using FTP over SSL right away. You will need to adjust the connection settings in your FTP client to use SSL, this setting might be phrased as “FTPS (Implicit)” or “Implicit FTP over TLS”. Once this setting has been changed, FTP will continue to function as normal.
Regular FTP will be disabled on Tuesday 30th October.
Creating a smart & successful ecommerce website needs careful planning and consideration, balancing technology & design with good marketing and – more often than not – a keen price.
This article takes a look at 8 popular upgrades for ecommerce websites which improve customer experience and help drive sales.
1. Product reviews
When making a purchase offline consumers frequently act on the recommendation of others. In today’s social internet, product reviews are a great way of bringing this peer-to-peer interaction online.