How to Spot & Fix an eCommerce Fake in One Step

Every day we seem to hear about a new online scam. Queensland Police recently shut down 3 fake trader websites selling barbecue and fitness equipment, users followed the payment instructions but no goods were ever received.

 

We’ve read about SSL certificates and displaying your ABN as good ways to proclaim your eCommerce legitimacy and it’s decent advice. But when it comes to convincing your customers you’re legit you only need one thing – an easy, transparent dispute resolution process.

 

Having one boils down to choosing the right payment method.

 

Some payment gateways include buyer and fraud detection features that make dispute resolution almost as easy & transparent as the purchase itself.

 

Paypal Buyer Protection

 

Paypal has a policy called Buyer Protection helping anyone that purchases an item through Paypal dispute an order that is wrong or never arrives. They also do a pretty good job of treating both buyer and seller equally, requiring proof and agreement to a final decision. The system works very well for small goods purchases and importantly is clear and well-documented.

 

Stripe Dispute Management

 

Stripe processes transaction payments in checkout, deducting them directly from the purchaser’s credit card. If a transaction is disputed the buyer must do so directly through their credit card company, Stripe responses with a hold on that transaction amount while a formal dispute resolution process is undertaken. The Stripe interface allows you to submit evidence and in general behaves like the Paypal dispute process for the store owner providing clear documentation to help each party finalise the resolution.

 

Paypal and Stripe provide a transparent process for when transactions don’t go according to plan, but what about other payment gateways?

 

Bank Payment Gateways

 

If a customer does not recognise a credit card charge they can lodge a dispute with their card issuer. This triggers a chargeback scenario where the dispute is eventually lodged with the merchant. If you as the merchant are using a payment gateway that deposits funds directly into your bank account then you will need to lodge evidence on your own behalf. The processes here are legitimate and secure but interbank chargeback process can be long and protracted with no one place to see where the dispute resolution process is up to.

 

Third Party Payment Gateways

 

Also secure and legitimate these gateways have a general policy of letting the bank chargeback process take over when disputes arise. And while some popular gateways have good fraud detection features for merchants, you and the buyer are in the same boat as if you were using a bank payment gateway.

 

Transparently Not Fake

 

Fake sites make all eCommerce merchants look bad, but in reality most sites are reputable and real. Your best defence is a good offence, so make sure you have a easy, transparent dispute resolution process included in your payment options. It’s that final reassurance in checkout that removes any buyer nerves or doubt from the transaction.

 

And don’t forget to tell your site shoppers early and often about your return and dispute policies – as online merchants we must go the extra mile to deliver transparency and trust.

 

Conquering the Abandoned Cart

As a successful online retailer it’s second nature to see sales roll through your store, but the frustration of even a single abandoned cart never really goes away. That is unless you understand why it happens and employ tactics to convert them to sales.

 

Close to 67% percent of shopping carts are abandoned and this percentage has been going up every year since online shopping was possible. The reasons why abandoned carts happen have not changed much but the ability to address the problems head-on has.

 

Problem #1: Unclear or High Shipping Costs

 

Every single person out there is looking to try and save money on shipping. No one wants to show off their new item only to find out they paid twice the shipping cost – it’s like walking into a store and asking for a mark UP at the register.

 

Solution: Tell them early, often and be transparent.

 

  1. Australia Post – If you want to do shipping cost by the book then link your cart directly to real time AusPOST shipping costs. No games or great mysteries here because they can price check it directly on the AusPOST website – everyone wins.

  2. Flat rate shipping – You should have your shipping costs and margins down to a science by now but maybe you need flexibility AUSPost does not offer. Switching to a clear, concise rate structure by # of items or weight will allow you to incentivise a higher spend for better shipping rates.

  3. Free shipping – a massive winner so if it’s practical then do it. You can make everything free by adding a standard shipping cost into the price or set simple conditions to qualify and then make sure to remind them of those conditions on every page of your website, by using the word FREE.

 

Problem #2: Not Having the Right Payment Options

 

Having built hundreds of shopping carts ourselves we understand that the payment methods that work for your organisation may not be the ones that customers prefer. But the good news is we’ve come a long way since Paypal as a single option and new options spring up every month, you need to start nimble.

 

Solution: Provide 2-3 options, track what’s most popular on your site and re-evaluate every 12 months.

 

  1. Stripe – Imagine setting up an account in 10 minutes or less that allows you to process credit card payments right on your checkout page (SSL required). This is what you get with Stripe, in addition to removing sales friction from page-directs or extra account setups just to make a payment. It’s easy, seamless and it just works.

  2. Paypal – Still the golden, international standard for online payment processing and we still recommend it as a solid choice for accepting credit card payments. If your clients are also regular eBay shoppers will give them the comfort they need to convert the sale.

  3. Bank Merchant Account – With Stripe and Paypal you still don’t get direct access to your cash until it’s in your bank account. Setting up a merchant account with your bank and processing payments directly into your bank account makes money management easier. Most of the big banks offer this facility, it’s up to you to negotiate the fees associated with your merchant account.

  4. Layby – In the last 12 months multiple online layby options have sprung forth. End customers are really loving this, the immediacy of getting something now and paying for it over time. Zippay and Afterpay are the most popular choices but you need to check the fine print and make sure your preferred layby option will talk to your eCommerce system.

 

Problem #3: They Aren’t Ready to Buy Yet

 

Almost no one goes to a website once, adds a product to cart and checkouts straight away. They compare prices, look at other comparable products and check customer reviews on your products and business. You know this already, so accept it and start building a more memorable customer experience.

 

Solution: Make customers feel respected and supported.

 

  1. Wish Lists – They know you value their money, but have you shown them you value their time? Let customers continue the shopping journey instead of restarting with a Wish List. In return you get an email address and the chance to follow them up and sweeten the deal with marketing automation. If they are serious shoppers they will remember you for saving them time.

  2. Customer Support – All shopping carts being equal, this is where you can really set your experience apart. If your products have some complexity, can they live chat with someone about their questions? Better yet are you using intelligence automation to engage customers and provide answers and reassurance 24/7?

 

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when shopping carts get dumped, spending too much time on the problem and not the solution.

If you are addressing these top 3 concerns thoughtfully, effectively and with regularity then you’re turning frustration into knowledge and tactics that will help you conquer the challenge of the abandoned cart.

Turnaround Lacklustre eCommerce Sales in 3 Steps

You started your eCommerce site to expand your revenue and your reach, but lately its not doing anything noteworthy and you have a sneaking feeling you’re just coasting. Sound familiar?

 

Having produced and supported hundreds of eCommerce sites across many industries in the last 10 years we’ve seen common themes for successful sites. What these companies do, and the tools they use, can be boiled down to three areas.

 

1. Automate Site Visitor Analysis

eCommerce sales conversion rates average 3% globally, so for those that don’t convert you can still capture valuable behaviour data that will help you convert better in the future.

 

Optimizely for A/B Testing

 

What your designer or developer thinks might convert better could be wrong. Remove the need for arguments by using Optimizely and find out what users respond to. Use that data again to inform future sales strategies on your site.

 

Kissmetrics for Building Ideal Customer Profiles

 

With Kissmetrics, you can leverage data to determine where your best customers come from, who your best customers are, and how to convert more customers on your website. The tool allows you to view revenue metrics broken down by traffic source as well as providing insight into what’s keeping people from checking out.

 

2. Intelligent Pursuit of (More of) Your Ideal Customers

Once you have a decent read on what brings repeat visitors and sales to your site you need more of those customers. An effective content marketing strategy paired with cost-effective advertising will help you do that.

 

GoAnimate Explainer Video Creation to Demonstrate Product Benefits

 

The engagement stats on using video versus any other content medium are undeniable and exponential in some cases. Building shareable (and if lucky viral) product content is best executed through GoAnimate because its easy, engaging and cost-effective. Adding these to your website, your YouTube channel and social media also gives you a baseline of shareable content that can be used and reused.

 

Tribe to Find Your Ideal Social Media Influencer

 

To achieve faster and more high profile exposure for your brand use Tribe to find your power middle influencer. Tribe puts you in direct contact with the 250,000+ Australians that have more than 5000 social media followers. Submit your campaign brief and influencers will bid for your business then you get to choose who you work with and how. Aligning with a rising star is a powerful possibility with Tribe.

 

Google Shopping for a More Targeted Ad Spend

 

Advertising with Google Shopping is a visual and cost-effective way to display what you sell, matching up head to head with your competition. Product comparison via Google Shopping is a standard starting point for most online shoppers so make it easier for them to find your products linking directly to your website where all your great product content and authority lives. Conversion rates from Shopping campaigns can easily convert at 3 times the rate of general Search campaigns.

 

3. Find Your Evangelists and Loyal Supporters and Keep Them Close

You’re now intelligently and actively courting your new batch of ideal customers, but make sure not to leave your loyal fans hanging. They’re the ones who interact regularly with your brand and provide unsolicited positive feedback so ask them to formalise that positivity and then reward them for good behaviour.

 

Reviews.io to Harness the Power of Positive Feedback

 

You have to work hard for sales, but getting people to say nice things about your products & service is harder right? Not with Reviews.io. 90% of happy buyers will provide a review and this software not only manages the entire review collection and distribution process but it will help you achieve the coveted Google seller rating faster than a manual review process which helps you save even more on your Google Shopping advertising campaigns.

 

Smile.io to Create and Automate Your Customer Loyalty Program

 

They’ve already given you positive feedback and referred you to others, now it’s time to reward them. Personal emails and one off discounts are nice, but scaling the power of positivity should be automated and delineated.  Smile.io is a powerful and cost-effective tool allowing you to create your own influencers, putting you in the driver seat of managing your online reputation.

 

From Lacklustre to Arse-kicker

 

There is a theme here:

 

  1. Automate data capture to create insight about what works
  2. Use that data and insight to spend wisely, attracting more of what works
  3. Get serious about capturing crowd-sourced data and insight to create a continous loop attracting more of what works
Creating your own eco-system of what works does take effort, but so does starting an online store in the first place. In the fastest moving marketplace your data collection and analysis methods must be sharp and evolving, but thanks to the growth in apps most of the hard work is now automated.
These ideas and tools will give you the power to choose how fast you grow and that is anything but lacklustre.

How to Protect Your Website & Brand from Hackers

Tough to admit as digital marketers, but our website was hacked a few years ago. It was frustrating, time-intensive to fix and mostly embarrassing.

We hung our heads for a bit, but then realised our experience could actually benefit others. We had taken our website security for granted but the process of restoring our online reputation painted a clear picture of what we, and other WordPress sites could do to strongly discourage future hacking attempts.

While some of the information below is unique to our WordPress security service it is a strong guide for anyone needing to  keep their online reputation safe.

WK-Wordpress-Security

 

 

3 Website Stats to Make You Look Smarter and More Attractive

A pool full of metrics and you dive in it…yeah OK, Kendrick’s real song was not about website metrics but the haze of interpretation can be the same in both cases.

If you’re anywhere close to digital, marketing or IT, someone is likely to have thrust a Google Analytics report in your face and asked, “Is this good?” Instantaneously they’ve pushed you into the pool full of metrics, your clothes are sopping wet and you’ve got to make the best of it.

No one wants to look silly but its really easy when you look at the volumes of website usage data you can track in Google Analytics (GA) . If you can count the number of times you’ve looked at GA data on one hand (or no hands) then these 3 statistics below will help you turn the inquisition into a conversation.

1. Site Visitors

This is the total number of unique visitors to your website for the time period of the report. Essentially, how many different people took the time to visit the website because they were interested enough in the content.

So what is a good site visitor number? This depends entirely on whether the site is being actively promoted but also what kind of traffic can be expected for the topic and the time period.

Websites that are likely to have less than 1000 visitors per month:

  • Sheep Farmers Union of Invercargill
  • Knitters Guild of Kalgoorlie

It’s always possible a global revolution is being launched from these places but you probably get the picture, hyperlocal concerns that don’t change too frequently for an already small user base.

Websites that should have much, much more than 1000 visitors per month:

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology
  • You Tube

Extreme examples yes, but the point here is that sites that provide everchanging information and/or entertainment for a wide audience should be in the millions of site visitors per month.

Once you’ve had a look at the Site Visitor number on the report turn it around and start asking questions like:

  1. How does that number compare to last month, last year?
  2. Have you been actively promoting the site?

Timing is everything, maybe the website is seasonal like truffles or has a increasing visitor rate compared to previous time periods then the news story is better or more normal than you might think.

2. Bounce Rate

This one is really important. It represents the percentage of users that visited the site and did not proceed to any other pages.

A bounce rate of between 26-40% is excellent, 41-55% is average, 56-70% is below average, and anything higher than 70% is poor.

A high bounce rate (56%+) probably occurs for one of the following reasons:

  • What they thought they would find on your site was not at all relevant to the reason for their visit
  • What they found on the site WAS related to what they wanted, but it was not sufficiently engaging to stay
  • It took so long to load your website that they just clicked off because they got impatient

Ultimately if the website does not have interesting, relevant content or performs slowly once the visitors arrive then you could just be giving a lot of people a really bad experience. An important lesson for big and small organisations.

3. Device Type

As web designers we think this number needs more attention than it gets now, if only to illustrate the importance of flexible responsive design.

Broken down into Desktop, Mobile and Tablet, if you have a Mobile and/or Tablet usage of 25% or more than you must have a site design that rearranges to look good and flow well on mobile and tablet devices.

It has been over two years since Google declared that websites must focus on the mobile experience first, ahead of desktop, an edict no organisation wanting to grow can ignore.

Looking Smart, Sexy and Delivering Value

It might not be in your job description to understand Google Analytics but giving customers, including yours, a good experience with value-added information is going to keep them in your good sted.

Just like reading your first word or first book, digital literacy simply requires you to keep taking one step forward at a time, one topic at a time.

Women ARE Bad Drivers And Robots ARE Evil

Traitor…that is likely the nicest thing my female colleagues, team members, friends and family are thinking right now. Shame on me really, because I’m here to tell you why we should throw those antiquated ideas out the (car) window.

 

Women, on average, are are looking after more then one person at any given time, requiring more patience and thought in getting from here to there.  So if we take a bit more time or allow more than one car to merge remember the literal and metaphorical band-aid at the back of our mind.

 

The Light Bulb Moment

 

As a managing director I think a lot about our customers and the service experience we deliver. The best win we get is the light bulb moment on a client’s face telling us we nailed it and frankly I got into this business because of those damn light bulb moments. Helping people can be addictive and (spoiler alert) the IT industry is actually full of people like me.

 

So we love these “nailed it” moments but in reality we now have to nail it each time customers need our help, not just when we are face to face.

 

As our client base grows we have to be more strategic about that “nailed it” service delivery. How do we keep the service personal and effective, but expand it in a smart way?

 

The statistics around our customer service expectations are that at least 50% of us expect it to be 24/7. We also don’t want our time to be in vain, spending precious time on the phone, only to not get the answer or solve the problem.

 

Over time technology has rushed to fill the gap, sometimes quite effectively. Live Chat, as an example, is a personal and convenient conversation that can help us get the answer we seek or progress it to a point where we know what we need to do next.

 

What live chat does not fully solve, and it is a big gap for companies, is true scalability. As you grow your client base you need more team members to staff the chat. You train them on the same content, the same procedures and sit them in the same desk solving the same problems. Formulaic but not cost-effective in the long run.

 

Our own light bulb moment came last year when we saw how far artificial intelligence had come. Google, Apple and Facebook have been at this for years, but for the rest of us the technology has evolved from esoteric movie fodder to something far more practical and democratic.

 

Artificial Intelligence For Business

 

Companies of all sizes and industries can now have their own personalised service agent using artificial intelligence. Think of it as a harmonic merge of Siri and live chat, tailored for your business objectives.

 

Front line chat agents are expediters to the end game, allowing companies to be “on” all the time cost-effectively. They free up people on your team to excel at solving the complex issues, allowing you to hire for unique skills rather than repetitive tasks that scream low ROI.

 

While this opportunity may sound scary to some make no mistake, your competitors, your board, the CEO is already thinking about this. It is time for all of us to join the conversation and make technology work for us, improving the service experience while still preserving our fundamental humanity and those beautiful light bulb moments.

3 New Features Available For Your Next Mailchimp Marketing Campaign

An email to your clients, consumers and other stakeholders is one of the quickest and most effective ways to send out a key message instantaneously, but when you’ve got hundreds of contacts to get in touch with, it can no doubt be quite an exhausting task.

 

Email marketing platform Mailchimp allows businesses and e-commerce retailers to send marketing emails, automated messages and targeted campaigns in a straight forward way, and their continuous innovation in technology is allowing businesses to grow and gain more ground with their target markets.

 

The latest resources of Mailchimp allow you to communicate to your audiences faster, and here at WK Digital we can help you implement best practice email marketing so that you can run with it and utilise it for your business.

 

We’ve put together a list of the platform’s most recent features to show you not only how easy it is to use, but just how beneficial it can really be.

 

  1. Facebook ad campaigns

Mailchimp has taken a major step from email-only to marketing, now allowing subscribers to create beautiful Facebook ad campaigns. In the same familiar interface, you can produce an effective campaign strategy to match your branding style and target your audience.

 

Not having to spend time navigating through two different sites is one of the stand-out elements within this new feature. Also, because you integrate Mailchimp with Facebook, you’ll be able to track your return on investment, how many new customers you’ve gained, your orders total, the amount of people you’ve reached, and whether or not you should improve your marketing strategy.

 

Often it’s an easy decision for a business to advertise – after all, it makes sense to let the public know you exist. But choosing how and where to advertise can be problematic, especially when you’re a small business and your budget just can’t cater to the larger-fit costs of a broader campaign.

 

Mailchimp’s Facebook Ad Campaigns feature allows you to utilise the most popular social media platform in the world today, and target actual people. Other ad systems use cookie-based advertising to limit showing ads on a particular device or browser, but Facebook works quite the opposite. As most people access their Facebook profiles on varying equipment almost on a daily basis, you’re guaranteed to be seen.

 

  1. Integration to CRM programs

It makes sense for some businesses to integrate their email marketing component with a customer relationship management (CRM) application, which can make your three marketing components – contact lists, content and results – a lot faster and easier.
Mailchimp provides a connection to other websites and services, which you can plug in to your account, and they are so easy to use because there’s no need to learn about programming or coding.

 

The newest integrations, of which there are more than a dozen in Mailchimp, allow you to add subscribers, sync data, import content and see how successful your campaigns are. As an example, some of the integrated systems include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Shopify and PayPal.

 

It’s a brilliant way to learn what your customers are purchasing and then progress to creating more email campaigns customised to their interests!

 

  1. Stylish and customised email templates

You can truly design an appealing email campaign with a large variety of Mailchimp’s templates. There’s a choice of three ways to go about it – working with a basic layout, a pre-built theme or a template based on the message you want to communicate.

 

One of the best things about this particular feature is that for e-commerce retailers, you can actually showcase and sell products this way. You’re not limited to what you want to put across, and it can be anything from presenting special discount offers to offering vouchers and special packages to loyalty consumers.

 

These features, plus more within the platform, is why you use Mailchimp as a primary email marketing service, but here at WK Digital, we can help you apply all of that and guide you. If it helps your business grow, then we are at the forefront of making that happen.

Domain Ownership: How to Keep Your Domain in YOUR Name

Kicking off your first website or online business is a huge challenge. There are countless pitfalls to avoid, and plenty of chances to make a mistake. Thankfully, thousands of people have trodden that path before.

Learning from the mistakes of others is a clever move. There are a number of steps to securing the full rights to your own domain name and website, and we’ve broken it down right here.

The Dos of Domain Name Ownership

  • Choose your own domain name.

This comes with the heavy caveat that you do so with advice from an expert that doesn’t have a vested interest. If you know someone who works in search engine optimisation (SEO), ask them for assistance choosing a name. If you don’t, do your own research or find a cheap freelancer with the basic knowledge to help you out (consider a site like Fiverr.com).

  • Definitely ensure that your details are accurate and kept up to date.

There are plenty of horror stories of people who have paid for their domains for several years, then got a new credit card that cannot be charged. If your email address is still active, that’s fine – most providers will be more than happy to chase you for payment. However, if it’s not, you’re in trouble.

  • Set up auto-renew.

Set up your account to auto-renew if your finances aren’t too tight. That way, you can be sure to stay in business. Some agencies will take care of this for you if the domain is registered with their account.

The Don’ts of Domain Name Ownership

  • Don’t entrust your domain name to someone who doesn’t deserve that trust.

Sometimes it’s a great option to allow your web agency to handle the entire process, from purchasing the domain name, to building your site and handling the ongoing hosting. However, it’s important to maintain some security. Reputable agencies will always hand your domain name back when you choose to move on.

  • Where possible, own it yourself, under your own account.

Your website is your online presence, and your domain is the front door. Agencies come with an immense amount of useful expertise, and should certainly be trusted to manage your account. However, much like a real estate agent, its best if you retain the ownership rights to your own property.

  • Be wary of letting your domain expire.

If you can, pay for a couple of years upfront. Register with an email that you regularly check. There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing control of a domain that you’ve invested in for several years, and being forced to shell out thousands of dollars to a reseller or, worse, a competitor. This is especially relevant in Australia, where despite the existence of legal barriers to registering and owning domain names unrelated to your business, the practice of domain-camping is widespread.

Tips for a Great Domain Name

When choosing your domain name, you want to get it right the first time. Once your site is indexed, attracting traffic and earning backlinks, you certainly don’t want to have to start over and go through the messy business of redirects and lost site value.

One of the most important things you need to consider is SEO. While Google applies considerably less weight to domain names nowadays, it can still provide you a significant boost in the early stages of your site. Use keywords related to your industry, location or business name.

Avoid unnecessary characters in your domain name. In other words, don’t make the mistake of hyphenating your business name. Keep it simple, and related to your business.

Buy either a .com domain or a local country-level domain, such as .com.au. There are advantages to more local domain names, especially as Google continues its industry-leading drive to deliver the most relevant, local content to people using their search engine.

The Upshot

Your domain name is absolutely essential to your continued online presence. In order to maintain a continued online presence, keep the domain in your name or work with an agency that you trust. Agency expertise is valuable, but your property is your property. You don’t give your accountant your power of attorney, so don’t give your agency the right to use and resell your domain name. If things ever go pear-shaped, you’ll be glad everything is in your name.

Do You Really Need an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates can be difficult to wrap your head around. For some websites, they’re incredibly important. For others, not so much.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is essentially a guarantee that the website people are visiting is in fact secure. It’s a small file hosted on your web server that binds a cryptographic “key” to your business. When a person uses their browser to visit your site, it sends a request to connect. Your site will then respond with their SSL certificate, and the visitor’s browser will ensure that the SSL certificate is valid. It’s slightly more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.

When you’re browsing online, you might notice that some sites’ addresses are http://, while others are https:// – the “s” means that the site has an SSL certificate. Some businesses obtain an Extended Validation SSL certificate, which, among other things, allows them to display their business name at the start of the address in most browsers. A good example of this is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, found at commbank.com.au.

Why are SSL Certificates used?

SSL certificates are usually employed on websites that require a secure connection. This can involve credit card transactions, or even situations where people may be required to log in for a particular reason. If your site does not have an SSL certificate, then the information that travels between it and users is very unprotected and able to be easily accessed by outside parties. This can be a major concern if users are entering credit card information or other personal data into your site.

The Benefits of an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate ensures that you and your clients’ sensitive information is protected while en route, via encryption. It also provides authentication for users, ensuring that their information is being sent to the correct server, rather than an intermediary or imposter who may be attempting to farm data.

There is also a trust element to SSL certificates. Users, whether consciously or subconsciously, have been shown to inherently trust sites that display the padlock symbol or green colour associated with SSL certificates. When your site is receiving thousands of hits and every conversion matters, an SSL certificate can certainly help to improve your conversion rates. You wouldn’t stay in a hotel with no doors any more than you would give your card details to an unsecured site.

Beyond that, there may be some search engine optimisation advantages to using an SSL certificate. Google announced in 2014 that it would start giving a minor ranking boost to sites that hold an SSL certificate. Google is committed to a secure internet, and while an SSL certificate only forms a small part of their overall ranking algorithm, every little bit can help.

The Disadvantages of an SSL Certificate

The disadvantages to having an SSL certificate are minor. The cost can be an obvious deterrent for many small businesses, particularly if they aren’t running an ecommerce store or don’t have a pressing need to protect customer data.

Another concern is performance, as the extra transmittance of data between browser and server can cause additional load. However, this is usually only a factor for websites with large traffic.

Do you REALLY need an SSL Certificate?

There is no law or “internet rule” that requires most websites to have an SSL certificate. However, if you’re engaged in online commerce or otherwise handling personal data, it is highly recommended. For most small brick and mortar businesses simply seeking to have an online presence, an SSL certificate is not a major concern.

If you’re considering getting an SSL certificate, do your research first. Ensure that you implement any required redirects, as well as updating links where required. You may also need to perform a “fetch as Google” via your webmaster tools to ensure that Google can still crawl all pages on your site.

At the end of the day, the decision comes down to the function of your website. If data is travelling between your website and the user, then you need an SSL. If not, then you’ll be just fine.

Choosing keywords for your website optimizations

The first thing about choosing strong keywords for your websites search engine optimization (SEO) is to know what your potential client or customer is searching for that you can offer them. When a person comes to your site based on a particular keyword, will they find the items, goods or services they are seeking?  If not, you are leading them down a path that will come to a disappointing end for everyone. What are you offering that’s unique to your business?  How can you get people to come to your site for something very specific that they will be delighted to know you offer?

 

How do you do it?

 

Start by experimenting with search terms you think are your strongest possibilities.  When you enter them, what comes up? Are there lots of ads for that search term and what is the competition you have regarding those terms?

Ex: If you are a dentist, try Googling the search term dental care followed by your zip code. Location based key phrases are best with most brick and mortar businesses. If a lot of other dentists come up in that search, you are competing with those businesses for a piece of the pie using that term.  This can be costly if you are using a service like Google Ad Words as you will be competing with some of the bigger businesses for that piece of the pie.  If you have a specialty and can use search terms that are more specific to what you specialize in, you might be able to get great traction using terms about that specific service. Ex. Best tooth whitening in Orlando might be a little more targeted than best dentist in Orlando.

It’s not just about key words, it’s about key phrases.

 

What are the best tools to use and do I have to pay for them?

 

You can hire a professional SEO service, but be cautious. There are many companies that are great at this but many that are not as experienced as they profess.  Get references.

Google offers a few free tools that can be helpful. Google Key Word Planner, Google Trends and Key Word Tool io, are free and can give you some good information.

There are tools you can pay for that can be more in depth but costly.

Term Explorer and Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool are excellent products but can run as little as $35 a month to nearly $500 a month depending on what you choose.

 

How do you know when the keywords has too few clicks to not choose it?

 

It can simply be trial and error. Keep a watchful eye on it and if a key word or phrase is not bringing clicks to your site and more importantly conversions to sales, ditch it.

Remember that the sole purpose of key words is to bring people to see what you have to offer and get them to buy something, be it goods or services.