Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
|The Quality of Mercy|
Philosophy is unavoidable, of course. As Chesterton long ago noted, everyone is a philosopher; whether you unconsciously absorb your philosophy from somewhere else (such as the newspapers) or think it through for yourself. And how you think about things shapes the way you act and behave, so nothing is richer in practical implications (even for art). Do you believe in God? But what kind of “God” is being talked about? What does the word mean to you? I have tried to address that question online here, and the main Second Spring web-site contains many useful articles on philosophical topics. Nevertheless, philosophy is never going to be a very effective means of evangelization. People open their minds, or change them, for other reasons than a good argument. “Heart speaks unto heart”, not head unto head, as Newman realized. The Christian faith places us under an obligation to communicate it where possible. But effective communication involves the imagination and the spirit, not just the reason or the intelligence.
Just as we cannot separate the virtues of faith, hope, and love, so we cannot separate truth, goodness, and beauty. It is the heart where they join together. The way we live and the beauty we produce are the most eloquent expression of the truth we believe. You cannot communicate a truth that has not changed you, and we are changed only by a truth that we recognize as in some way beautiful.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
So you've made the decision to start an online business. You have worked on making sure that your site is properly optimized and maybe have even done a few PPC (Pay Per Click Campaigns) but still aren't seeing any sales. These are both great steps to take to get the traffic you deserve to your site and definitely vital to your online success. But if you are not getting any sales, you must be asking yourself
"AM I EVER GOING TO GET ANY ORDERS!!!"
At this day in age converting the traffic that you are getting to your site is very important to your online success. Without any sales, you may find yourself closing the website down that you have put so much work into.
No Need To Worry! Help is on the way!!!
Below are 10 tips that I use on a daily basis to convert traffic into sales for my clients sites as well as my own. These are not listed in any particular order : )
- Easy Navigation: Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Place all the important links at the top of your site i.e. Home Page Link, Contact Link, Policy Link etc.. If you sell products on your site, make sure your categories are easy to follow and preferably in alphabetical order. This will make your visitors shopping experience less stressful.
- Payment Options: Place a logo picture of the type of payments you accept in a visible area on your site.Some people like to know what type of payments you accept before they begin shopping on your site. If they can not find an image of the type of payments you accept or a note, you could risk losing a buyer.
- Promote, Promote, Promote: If you have any promotions going on, list a banner at the top of the website, right above the fold (the area that your visitors see when they first get to your site) that displays your current promotions i.e. free shipping, special sales etc.. That way visitors see immediately what type of sales your site is offering. Make sure the sales show up on every page. If they show up on just your home page, visitors who land on your other pages may not know about your specials. If you are not familiar with adding banners above the fold, consult with your designer or hire a professional that is familiar with adding these type of banners to your website.
- Phone Number : I know many sites are Leary about placing a number on their site especially if you work at home. Consider looking into a company that offers 800 services. These services usually allow you to get an 800 number that can be customized to your needs i..e you can enter in the times you want the phone not to ring, set up voicemail option only etc.. A phone number is a great way to establish trust and look professional to your online visitors.
- Checkout Process : A lot of online websites end up with a lot of abandoned carts. Make sure once your visitors have gotten to your checkout page, that it is as easy as possible. If a cart is to complicated visitors will abandon their cart. Top reasons why they abandon carts: shipping cost is way to high, to many pages or complicated wording that makes them nervous to continue their order. To eliminate confusion and abandoned carts, you can implement a flat rate shipping fee. For Example: Your entire orders ships for 9.99 (us residents only). I just opened two new sites and they both have a flat rate option, both have been online for 2 months and have already started to get orders in. If you can't offer flat rate shipping, try to set up a page that outlines your shipping charges and which carrier you use to ship your orders.
- Be Emotionally Appealing (Sorry this one will be a little long but worth it) : Let's face it. We all love to shop and shopping online adds a extra special touch when shopping. The thought of finding unique items that may not be available in local stores and getting a nice package at the door with all of your goodies is really exciting. What does that really mean? Online buying is an emotional experience. So your job is to tap into the emotions of your buyers. Get to know your market! Are you marketing to Moms, Dads, Pet Owners, Geeks, Electronic Gurus etc.? Whatever your market, their is an emotion associated with it. Don't be afraid to step outside of the box. The one thing I always do with all of my online retail sites that I set up is to pick out images that are appealing to my market. I always have images on the home page that show a model in one of the products or similar products. For instance: If your main target market is mommies. What do mommies love? Cute adorable pictures of babies, toddlers and kids in the items they are interested in. If you can capture their emotions with your images, then you are more likely to convert your traffic into sales. With most of my sites, I take a funny approach when it comes to images. I try to think of concepts that will make people want to buy just because the site makes them feel happy. Playing into emotions is definitely a great way to increase sales and gain new customers. Which is always a plus. You can find royalty images for your site by doing a search for Royalty Free images. Most images only cost 1.00 each but may require you to purchase 10 to 15 credits up front for their images.
- Best Sellers : Show case some of your best sellers on the site and use bold graphics that say BEST SELLERS or Customers Favorite Picks. If you have products that are best sellers, chances are, your new visitors may think they are pretty great as well.
- Products: Whether you sell your own items or offer vendors items. It's very important to make sure you have a nice selection of products for your visitors to choose from. Although this is not the case all the time and there are some exceptions to the rule. It's still very important that when your site is live that you have products available to your visitors. Make sure not to have a lot of categories that do not display any items. Visitors may get frustrated or may think your site is not professional. If you have categories set up that may not have products in them for a couple of weeks. Think about disabling them until you have some products in them.
- Social Media : Incorporate social media if you can. You can do this by simply adding a Facebook "Like" button to your website. The more followers you get the more you can promote your sales to. You can add a "Like" button to your blog as well. Social Media is a really great way to get new customers. So this is something that you definitely want to make sure you add to your marketing goals.
- SEO with long tail keywords: As you know it's very important to make sure that your site is properly optimized with your keywords but did you know that there is a way to get sales from choosing out the right keywords. Many online website owners look at targeting 2 word keywords that can be very competitive or that may take months or even years to rank for. Try focusing on the long tail keywords in addition to your 2 word keywords. Research your keywords and pay very close attention to keywords you find that are 3 words and longer. Research shows that buyers are most likely to make a purchase if they are using long tail keywords to land on your site. Make sure you are optimizing the proper page with your long tail keywords. There is not worst then when a visitor arrives to your site using a keyword phrase to find out that the page they land on, has nothing to do with what they are looking for. You lose a visitors and your Bounce Rate goes up!
I hope you can use some of the above tips to increase your sales!