eCommerce Sites – How to Price and Arrange Your Items for Maximum Sales

When it comes to eCommerce website development, there is a clear and concise goal for your web design and for the site as a whole. Ultimately, your objective is always to try and increase sales and increase profits. Of course you also want it to look attractive, to be functional and easy to use and to represent your brand in the right manner but all of this is really just in service of creating a web design that helps you to make more sales.

If you use the right eCommerce website development company, then you should find that their experience and expertise informs their decisions and results in the best possible turnover and profits for you. Nevertheless, it is still always useful to understand the theory and principles behind it so that you can continue to implement best practices yourself – especially when it comes to aspects that fall outside the realm of design such as price.

Here’s how the right combination of pricing, positioning and design can help to make your items sell more effectively.

Contrast

Contrast can of course be aesthetic and making choices such as using red ‘buy’ buttons is a great way to make particular elements stand out and get more clicks.

The other type of contrast though refers to the way that you position items next to one another, with the objective being to place expensive items next to cheap ones. Why? Because this makes the cheap items appear even more affordable and the expensive items appear even more premium.

Say you have a $10 tie next to a $50 tie. Someone who wants the very best tie might be all the more impressed by your premium offer, knowing that it’s five times more expensive than the cheapest product. Meanwhile, someone who doesn’t have as much money to spend and who feels guilty about buying a new tie can convince themselves that the $10 tie is a great deal. They can compromise and convince themselves they’re being sensible by choosing the cheap tie. They’ve ‘saved’ $40 even though they’re still buying something they might not have otherwise. This way, the right pricing can really help to sweeten a good deal and good eCommerce website design should take full advantage of that.

POS and Upselling

What’s important to consider when looking at eCommerce website design, is that in order to make a sale you have to overcome certain psychological barriers. This is actually often the most important step in making a sale.

These psychological barriers include such things as customers not wanting to spend any money and not being bothered to go through the process of checking out.

Good eCommerce web development should take this into account first and foremost by making it as easy as possible for customers to make purchases. This is why Amazon’s ‘buy with one click’ feature is so instrumental to their success.

At the same time, webmasters need to make the most of customers who have already overcome some of these barriers. When a customer commits to buy any item on your site, they will instantly become much more susceptible to increasing their order. Why? Because they’ve already decided to make a purchase.

This is why physical retailers use POS (Point Of Sale) displays that sell extra items while customers are in the queue. It’s so easy for them to add extra things to their basket that it would be foolish to miss this opportunity. eCommerce sites can do the exact same thing by adding making it easy to add extra purchases at the checkout.

Similar is ‘upselling’ where you give your buyers the opportunity to upgrade their order once they’re already buying. Once they’ve committed to buy, tell them how for just $10 more they could have the very best service or product instead of the cheaper but ultimately inferior option they’re currently buying. It’s the smart decision after all!

Bundling

Sometimes a buyer will want some of your items but will not all of them. Other times they will want to combine multiple items but won’t want to pay for extra shipping or to pay full price when they’re essentially buying in bulk.
Thus, letting your customers combine their items into a single large order can often encourage more sales and is known as ‘bundling’. What’s great about bundling is that it can also be used to sell additional items that they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have bought. Adding extra items to bundled packages is also a great way to shift unsold stock.

Other Strategies

There are many more strategies that good eCommerce web design can use to psychologically encourage purchases too. These include the use of limited-time deals, social signals, Google remarketing and more.

The best way to get well versed in all these things and to ensure that your site is taking full advantage of all of them is to use a top tier eCommerce website development company like ColorWhistle!

Top 5 SEO Mistakes That Big Companies Are Still Making – Are You?

SEO is in a state known as ‘permaflux’. What this essentially means is that it is constantly changing, constantly evolving and never remaining in any one condition for long. This means that the best SEO principles that everyone relied on just a few months ago will no longer necessarily apply – and it means that companies need to stay constantly on top of these developments in order to continue with the right strategy that will help to grow their business with no risk of being penalized. No SEO technique is truly ‘futureproof’ so you need to stay adaptable and you need to stay informed.

To illustrate this point, it’s useful to look at some of the techniques that big companies and websites are still using today that are actually counter-intuitive. Read on and we’ll go over five big mistakes that even some of the major players are still making.

Using the Same Anchor Links

An ‘anchor’ is the blue underlined text for any link. So in other words, if you have a link saying ‘click here’ then the anchor is ‘click here’.

Many websites when trying to build their links profile will create guest posts and directory submissions but will repeatedly use the same phrasing – that being one of their keywords or being their brand name. The idea here is to increase the association between their brand and that phrasing thus climbing the ranks of Google.

It’s a nice idea in theory. And it used to work. But unfortunately Google has gotten smart to it and now sees this as obvious manipulation. Remember: Google best trusts the links that it believes are organic and natural, that are posted by real human visitors who enjoyed your website. And when real people link to websites, they don’t do it using the same keywords every single time. They might just use ‘here’ or they might use the website’s actual URL. The only way to avoid penalization these days then is to mimic this natural approach with varied and natural anchor text.

Only Going After Big Sites

Likewise, you should try to make sure your backlinks profile is varied in terms of its origin. If you have a link on a really bad, black-hat site with poor grammar and no relation to your website… that may not actually be the worst thing in the world.

Think about it: how many bad quality links do you think a website like the BBC has? Thousands! This is just part and parcel of having a naturally large links profile. You of course should avoid those sorts of links and you shouldn’t chase them down but the point is that if all your links are on PR5 blogs, this actually ends up looking just as suspicious as far as Google is concerned.

Not Using Google+

Google+ might not be as big as Facebook or Twitter but in some ways that’s to its advantage as it means it’s easier to get noticed. Moreover, Google+ is very useful for SEO purposes as it allows you to ensure your site is appearing in personalized search and it sends a clear signal to Google that you’re doing well. It’s likely Google uses G+ signals in their algorithms to some extent at least and this is only likely to increase going forward.

Not Using LSI Keywords

LSI stands for ‘latent semantic indexing’ and is a big buzz word at the moment in SEO. It basically means using synonyms and related words throughout your text in order to better help Google understand the context and subject matter of your posts. This is something you should be doing naturally anyway but the new term has motivated some SEOs and webmasters to finally wake up and take notice of that fact.

Using the same keyword repeatedly is actually destructive. Not only does it hurt the flow of your text but it makes it harder for Google to understand your content. If you keep saying ‘how to cast’ in your text then Google won’t know if you’re talking about fishing or sculpting (it’s a homonym). Thus, you need to use the other related terms (cast a line, cast in clay) in order to give Google the subtext it needs.

This is very important right now if you want to rank well but again it’s only going to get more important going forward. Remember: Google will keep getting smarter. You may be able to trick it now but it will ultimately not pay off in the long term.

Not Writing for the Reader

This is the biggest mistake of all and one that webmasters, business owners and SEOs have been taught repeatedly but never seem to learn. The point of SEO is to write for the reader first with only slight consideration for Google and its algorithms. If you are writing just to insert keywords then you are building your site on very shaky foundations indeed.

How Long Does it Take for SEO to Start Working?

If you run a business or just a website and you’ve just paid for your first month or SEO, you might now be left with a few questions. Questions like: what are they actually doing? Is that the right thing to do? And probably: how long is it all going to take?

The problem is that SEO is pretty… abstract. SEO for small business isn’t one job but rather lots of smaller tasks. It doesn’t necessarily yield immediately clear results and sometimes your SEO company may not even have anything to show for it… so how do you know they’re actually doing what they say they are? And that that’s actually the right thing to be doing in the first place?

And shouldn’t you be number one on Google by now?

SEO: What to Realistically Expect

Before we get started let’s address that point: no you should not ‘be number one on Google by now’. If any SEO company told you that you would be, then that’s as good a sign as any that you shouldn’t trust that service. No one can guarantee you the top spot on Google, or at least not for competitive search terms.
Something to remember here is that you’ll probably be going up against countless other companies all with the same goals as you. If you sell ‘blank CDs’… well then so do about 1,000 other companies, some of which will have been doing SEO for years and some of which will be spending millions on it. Your chances of getting to number one for ‘blank CDs’ in the next year are pretty slim.

There are ways around this of course. Targeting local phrases like ‘blank CDs Dorset’ for instance can greatly narrow your competition, as can going for more obtuse, long-tail phrases like ‘buy cheap blank CDs and DVDs’. Of course fewer people search for these longer terms but it’s better to be on page one for a less popular term than page 20 for a great one. This is how SEO for small business tends to work.

An SEO Timeline

Real SEO companies understand this but they also know you need to start earning money as soon as possible. That’s why they will start out with you by helping you to come up with a strategy that will work for you. Perhaps that means cleaning up your site first, perhaps it means spending some money on a PPC campaign, or perhaps it will mean doing social media. The point is though, that these days SEO doesn’t take place in a vacuum but is closely intertwined with SMO, advertising, content marketing and web design. Your SEO company should discuss this strategy with you early on and it should be something that makes sense to you and works with your brand.

This consultation and strategy can take about a month alongside doing keyword research to help you find what the best terms to target are for your company. Thus you could easily go for a month before seeing any tangible work but you should be in regular communication with your SEO provider.

Month two will likely involve the development of content, networking, optimization for your site and pages (basically changing the content and code to better reflect your goals) and maybe some link building/social media. This will likely continue for a few months at least before you start to see noticeable increases in your traffic coming from organic search. And that’s of course dependent on your budget – if you can’t afford much then you should expect results to be much slower.

Quality Over Quantity

If this all sounds a bit slow going then you might be tempted to instead choose an SEO company that promises to build ’50 links’ in the first month and to write ’10 articles’… all for $200!

That might sound tempting but try to keep in mind that SEO these days is all about quality and all about the long-game. Google has become much more sophisticated in the way its algorithms work and it’s no longer possible to ‘win’ in the search engines through volume alone. Posting lots of links only works if those are good links on high quality websites related to your niche. Likewise those links need to look ‘organic’ (as though they were posted naturally, not by you) and they need to have varied anchors. In other words, you get what you pay for and if you pay for quantity you might actually end up damaging your position in the search engines by looking manipulative.

This goes double for content – so if the content your SEO company is producing isn’t the sort of thing that you would want to read then look elsewhere.

So… how long does SEO take to start working? The answer is that it should start working right away. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be at the top spot on Google right away… or ever. This is not the only metric that should be measured on while hiring an SEO company .

If you’re worried, try talking to your company and looking at the quality of their posts. That’s the real hall mark of good SEO for small business.

Upgrading the Wetware: How to Make Yourself More Productive and Creative With Biohacking?

Got a plan to become the next big thing on the web? Get in line! Just about everyone out there is currently try to make it big on the web and it’s no surprise considering the huge opportunity that is on offer here. Doing business online allows you to reach a gigantic and highly targeted audience while at the same time drastically cutting your overheads. Existing businesses can scale themselves to unprecedented extents while individual entrepreneurs can make a killing from ‘passive income’ – meaning they’re earning while they sleep.

But did you know that 95% of online businesses will fail?

The simple reason for this is that there’s so many others out there like you trying to do the exact same thing. If you want to be successful and if you want to stand out, then you need to give yourself that competitive edge.

So how do you go about doing that?

One option is to try out the world of ‘biohacking’. So what precisely does this mean?

Why Biohacking is Right for Internet Entrepreneurs

The central concept behind biohacking is that you’re finding ways to get more out of your body so that you can then work harder. If you’re building an online empire, then you’re going to need all the help you can get. Forget about upgrading your hardware and software: it’s time to upgrade the wetware!

As someone who works online, you can work any hours you want and from anywhere. The only limitation is how much your brain is capable of. The good news? That’s a negotiable quantification…

Here are some examples of the ways that the top bloggers are ‘hacking’ their biology in order to succeed online where others fail:

Nootropics

Let’s start with the most interesting subject and perhaps the most controversial: nootropics. Nootropics essentially are ‘smart pills’ – supplements and drugs designed to enhance cognitive function for greater focus, recall and energy.

Before you think that sounds scary, bear in mind that you probably already use a nootropic daily, that being caffeine. Caffeine blocks adenosine which makes you feel more awake and spry while at the same time increasing dopamine and norepinephrine to improve focus and memory.

A simple example of biohacking is to add a little l-theanine to have with the caffeine (about 1 part caffeine to 2 parts theanine). This is a naturally occurring xanthine that can ‘take the edge off’ of caffeine and help you to feel a little calmer and less jittery.

More advanced would be to supplement with Piracetam and acetylcholine which is a combination said to increase memory. More potent still is something like modafinil – a military grade supplement originally developed for the treatment of narcolepsy.

Should you take things like Piracetam and modafinil to pump out a few extra words on your company blog? Certainly not. The mechanisms of Piracetam are not fully understood and some anecdotal evidence links it with brain fog. Modafinil meanwhile is also little-understood but known to be a stimulant and potentially addictive.

Better then is to stick with nootropics that work to protect and support brain function over the long term. That means things like the bodybuilding supplement creatine as well as omega 3 fatty acids (which improve brain cell membrane permeability) and co-enzyme Q10.

In other words, don’t mess with your neurotransmitters – it’s dangerous. But there are safe ways to supplement for your brain and they can have a cumulative and exponential effect in the long term. Nutrition alone can have a big and positive impact.

Sleep

All the supplements in the world though aren’t going to beat good-old sleep when it comes to boosting brain power. If you want to function your best tomorrow, then you need to get lots of high quality sleep tonight. Aim for 8 hours and try to make sure your environment is dark. If you want to go further you can experiment with other things too like sleeping mats or daylight lamps for a more natural wake-up.

Exercise

Regular exercise increases neurogenesis in the brain (the birth of new neurons) as well as aiding blood flow and demonstrably improving focus and memory in studies. It’s also corrective for a lot of problems that come from working online such as poor posture and lack of fresh air and sunlight (if you’re partial to jogging).

Of course the big question then is ‘which type of exercise’? But that’s a whole other article…

Health Tracking

Health tracking is the process of tracking your own biometric data in order to assess how your lifestyle decisions impact on how you feel, as well as how you can affect things like your resting heartrate etc. all of which correlate with things like productivity.

So there are plenty of options for the conscientious blogger or business owner looking to ‘hack’ themselves to better performance. The take-home message is that if your online business isn’t performing as well as it could, perhaps it’s time you questioned whether you are performing as well as you could be!

Your Guide to Creating Stunning and Effective Logos for Your Brand

When you begin your online marketing campaign and developing your digital presence for your company, one of the first things you need to look at is your logo. You should never underestimate how integral this will end up being to your web design and to your marketing as a whole and it’s critical that you get this part of the process right for many reasons.

Here we will look in-depth at the critical role that logo design plays as well as how you should go about creating one that will perfectly fit your brand and provide tons of opportunities for your marketing efforts.

Why Logo Design Is Important

When you create logo you effectively create a calling card for your business. The objective is going to be to create an association between this logo and your brand such that whenever anyone sees that image, they will think of your organization. Meanwhile, this will allow you to tie all of your disparate elements together. By using the same brand on your website, on your Twitter page and on your Google+ page, you will be able to effectively reinforce this association and create a sense of consistency that will really aid your marketing efforts and propel you forward.

If you lack this consistency, or if your logo is weak, then you won’t be able to establish relationship in the same way or you’ll undermine the integrity of your brand and the professionalism of your organization.

What’s more, your logo is going to define some elements of design that will become truths across all platforms. For instance the colors you use in your logo should likely be reflected in your site design and the wallpaper you use for your social media accounts. Your web development company can’t really get started on your web design until they have the logo because that image is going to inform every subsequent design decision.

The Hallmarks of a Great Logo

So now you understand the reason that logo design is important, You next need to think about how you can go about creating one and choosing the best logo design company. A good starting point is to think about all the criteria that a good logo should meet, which will help you to start narrowing down your options.

  • Simple – Good logos are simple so that they can be reproduced quickly and easily and so that they stay versatile for use in various different locations.
  • Enduring – Changing your logo every two minutes will confuse your message and turn off customers. Choose something that won’t look old fashioned in ten years’ time.
  • Appropriate – Your logo should in some way reflect the nature of your brand. Either it should relate to your industry/niche, or it should speak to the core values of your organization.
  • Eye-catching – Of course it’s also rather important that your logo be good-looking and professional looking so that it can be an effective ambassador for your company.

The Creative Process

These criteria might sound simple but when you sit down to try and get started you’ll likely find that it’s not so simple. The problem here is finding the inspiration you need when you’re starting out with a blank page and this can feel a lot like ‘writers’ block’. Think of it as ‘designers’ block’.

One way to get around this is to make a mood board. Mood boards are collages that include lots of images and elements relating to your niche, mission statement and brand. Take these images and draw them on a sheet of paper/cut and paste images that you like the design of and then step back to see which common themes emerge.

Avoid Clichés

A lot of logos are a little clichéd. If you’re thinking of using a light bulb, tick or globe then your logo is going to look like a million others – derivative and uninspired. Throw these off of your mood board for starters and you should be left with things that are a little more unique.

Research

Really you should always do some research regarding your logo design. Just because you like your logo that doesn’t mean that it’s effective in saying what it needs to say or in accurately representing your brand.

What’s crucial then is to do market research and to see what your customers, visitors and the general public all have to say about the image you’ve created. If you’ve narrowed your logo down to two or three options, you can use this method to pick the best ones.

Creation

When it comes to actually creating your logo it’s always worth using professional graphic designers to finalize the process. Not only will they have more experience when it comes to knowing what speaks to your brand and resonates with your audience but they will also have better tools and experience for actually creating a high definition and error-free logo.

Of course ColorWhistle offers logo design services so if you want to get started with a new image for your brand, Get in touch and let us know what you need!

The Challenges That Come From Having a Highly Successful Website

Every website owner wants their site to be a big hit. That’s kind of the point after all. If you have a highly successful website, then you’ll have a huge captive audience to market your products and services to and financial success will be all-but guaranteed. Plus of course it’s pretty vindicating knowing that the site you worked so hard on/your web development company has worked so hard on is doing well. And it’s pretty nice being an ‘authority’ or ‘thought leader’ on the web. There’s a certain prestige associated with owning a very popular blog or site…

But while you might have been dreaming of website success for a long time, it’s important to bear in mind that success can sometimes come with its own challenges. Very rarely does it live up to the hope and it can actually even be a cause of stress. The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for…

Of course you’re still going to work hard to try and make your site a hit and so you should. The pros far outweighs the cons. But the key is to keep these potential drawbacks in mind so that you’re at least ready for them and they don’t come as too much as an unfortunate shock…

Moderation

If you have some kind of comments section (which you should) then more visitors will inevitably mean more moderation. As you start getting hundreds of comments daily you’ll find it’s a ton to keep track of and what’s worse is that some of these users are going to be spammers or trolls. That’s pretty frustrating and it can end up wasting a lot of your time/getting you down. The answer is to take a no-nonsense approach and to make a few of your best members moderators – they’ll get a kick out of the responsibility and you’ll have outsourced the frustrating and time consuming task. Ask your WordPress web development company if this is something they provide.

Server Capacity

When you get tons of traffic to your site this will put a strain on your server meaning that downtime becomes more likely (and more devastating seeing as more people will notice). Make sure that you upgrade your hosting package before your traffic explodes – not afterwards when it might be too little, too late. Remember, down time is very bad for SEO.

E-Mails

Just as you’ll have a boat-load of comments to deal with, so too will you be inundated with e-mails from fans, detractors, consumers, clients and more.

Again this is a lot to work through and it’s not something you can give to one of your members. Once this gets really big, you’ll have to start hiring administrative assistants.

Overheads

Notice how you are now having to hire people and invest in more expensive hosting services. The point is, your overheads just went up. Of course your turnover did too so it’s no big deal but just keep in mind that it’s not all profit.

Stress

Believe it or not, having a very successful website can be highly stressful – especially at first!

Why’s that? Because now you have something to lose. No longer are you the underdog fighting to get yourself ahead of the pack – instead you’re at the top of the mountain and the only way is down. It’s stressful in a different way and if you’re not prepared for this anxiety it can actually be quite destructive. Just make sure you’re ready to have a few sleepless nights worrying about whether the post you just uploaded is going to destroy all your hard work overnight (it won’t) or that spammer is going to undermine all your marketing efforts (nope).

You also need to make sure that success doesn’t change you. When you were a new upstart this was probably an advantage as it will have given you the flexibility to change with the times, to be controversial and to try new things. Now you have something to lose you might be less inclined to play fast and easy with the rules of web design and marketing. Just be careful you don’t become yesterday’s news in the process!